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Chapter 3 : And So It Begins
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“Oh Merlin, I can’t breathe!”
Dollie was panicking and that was never a pretty sight. Lily and Vivian were practically dragging her from their Gryffindor tower dorm. She could be strangely strong when she wanted to be. She was also mentally kicking herself for agreeing to do this. Not only had they woke her up especially early this morning, causing her to lose precious sleeping time, they had made her up! With make-up! Itchy make-up!
“Doll,” Vivian let her go and grabbed her shoulders before she can run back into bed. “Doll, you’re not half bad-looking, everyone knows that but you have so much potential to be breath-taking. Black and Lupin’s attentions have to be grabbed. The bed hair, non-existent make-up and wrinkled, baggy clothes just don’t do anything for you. Trust me on this.”
Dollie finally wrenched herself out of Lily and Vivian’s grip and began her quick breathing exercise. Breathe, breathe, breathe….
“Don’t breathe like that, it looks like you’re about to give birth or something,” said Vivian.
Dollie ignored her and continued for a few minutes, slowly feeling calmer. “Okay, but can I be alone for a second please?”
Vivian opened her mouth to not allow it when Lily elbowed her in the ribs. Lily’s elbows were really sharp, Dollie knew from experience. The countless times she had been elbowed for falling asleep in class. Her sides ached at the memory alone.
“Viv, we already put her through a lot this morning.” Lily turned to her. “We’ll wait for you in the great hall. If you don’t come, then we’ll levitate you out.” She turned and left with Vivian grumbling close behind.
Dollie closed the door and surveyed their work at the dorm-room mirror. Vivian and Lily hadn’t done a bad job really. They had straightened her usually shaggy mass of blondeness hair, into something that relatively resembles tidiness, and plucked her eyebrows till they no longer resembled albino caterpillars. Their only real mistake was the make-up. Lily and Vivian had argued long and hard over who would do the cosmetics part of her ‘transformation’. Finally, they settled on Lily doing the right side of her face while Vivian did the left. The contrast was, to put it kindly, extreme. Lily’s style was sweet, innocent and above all, subtle. Vivian’s exactly matched her name; vivacious, wild and seductive.
How Lily could look so lovely with this type of make-up was beyond Dollie. With the grey eye shadow, clear glossed lips and white powder blush, Lily carried the look that would have made any other teenage girl look like a child with poise and elegance. On Dollie though, she just looked terribly washed out, the choice of colours doing nothing for her pale skin and hair.
When she turned her face to Vivian’s side, she winced slightly and wondered again how the bloody hell did her friend pull off the look. Vivian had gone for the ‘Patriotic Gryffindor’ look, her lips and cheeks an excruciatingly bright fire-engine red with sparkly gold eye shadow and mascara on her eyes.
She knew her friend’s hearts were in the right place but she’d have to be bloody mental to show up at breakfast and in class with this face. She snorted slightly at the thought of McGonagall’s reaction as she pointed her wand at her palette face.
Instead of tepid water the spell should have produced, boiling hot water scalded her face as she swore loudly. Glaring at her wand, she shoved it into her pocket and went to the bathroom. She splashed on cold water, making the lobster red skin cool back to her usual colour.
After scrubbing as much of the colour off her face as she could, she blow dried her face and the parts of her robes that got wet. Standing dry in front of the mirror, she didn’t want to but as always, her mind started listing her faults while her eyes strayed to her physical flaws.
Her constant ‘Nightly Disappearings’ had left deep black bags under her eyes and ghostly pale skin that, unfortunately, matched her white blonde hair perfectly. Her eyes were not bad; they were the deep blue colour of ice glaciers, only without the shine. She actually had to admit she had nice, even lovely, facial features. Her eyes were large and bug-like, her nose bulbous with a bump on the bridge and elegant, and full lips that looked bee-stung. The features would have suited a large face but hers was heart-shaped and dainty, making the large facial features look awkward. It annoyed her that she looked like the typical blue-eyed, blonde bimbo everyone instantly thought she should be. It didn’t help that her grades were mediocre at best.
Her body wasn't anything to shout about. She had no shape to speak off, she was as straight as a board but she was slim with a few bumps here and there. She wasn't in the greatest shape, due to her lack of interest in sports. Unlike Vivian, who has an enviably full bosom, she has a very tom-boyish chest and usually hid under loose and baggy clothes to hide her slightly pudgy stomach.
She loosened her fists which she had been clenching unintentionally and checked the time. Ten minutes till class starts. She racked her mind to remember what subject they had today, Tuesday. Suddenly, her eyes widened as she remembered. Transfiguration. McGonagall was going to have her head if she’s late again! Grabbing her schoolbag from her bed (not making that mistake again), she ran out the room, slamming the door in her burst.
“Where is she?”
“Your fault, Lils, I knew we should have just dragged her out.”
Sirius noticed the two girls whispering furiously to each other as the Gryffindor table cleared and its students gathered their books, ready to go to class. What were they so ticked off about? Sirius wondered. Then he noticed that someone was missing. He glanced at James who was, as usual, ruffling up his hair in another futile attempt at making Lily notice him. James saw the glance before Sirius could turn away and gave him a sly grin.
He gave a wink and called out, “Oi Evans?! Come ‘ere for a second!”
Sirius grabbed his arm and glared, “What the bloody hell are you doing?”
“Let go, she’s coming.” James yanked his arm free and a stupid grin spread across his face.
Sirius looked up and indeed it was true, Lily was coming this way. James was practically bursting with pride but Sirius knew better. She and Vivian were only coming this way because they were all going to the same place, Transfiguration class, but no point in bursting James’s bubble.
When Lily reached them, James hopped to her side while Sirius shoved his hands into his robe pockets and walked behind them. Remus was reading his ‘Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration’ book and Peter was asking Vivian their homework a bit further behind them.
“Hey Evans, can I ask you something?” James asked Lily slyly whilst avoiding getting his feet stepped on by Sirius behind him.
“What is it, Potter?” said an irritated sounding Lily.
“Where’s that other friend of yours? Kent?”
Lily faced him with quizzical expression on her face. She snuck a glance at Sirius and gave him a quirked eyebrow followed by a small smile when he avoided her gaze as a blush crept to his face.
“Well, actually,” she said pleasantly, “ I haven’t a clue-”
Her sentence hung in the air as the whole group stopped, for there in front of the Transfiguration class door was a panting Dollie. Her face was a deep shade of red as she wheezed for air, holding on to her side. Her hair was tidier than usual but it was sticking out in all directions and in a big puff, probably because she looked like she had sprinted from the Gryffindor tower to the class while swimming through the sea of Hogwarts students. It couldn’t have been a pleasant run.
“Hey *gasp* guys, sorry *wheeze* I’m late,” she barely got out the sentence. Her best friends immediately rushed to her side, Lily fussing over the state she was in while Vivian fixed her shaggy hair.
Sirius hesitated but was about to walk over to her when Remus lightly grabbed his arm. “Give this to her,” he mumbled as he passed a vial in his hand to Sirius. Sirius inspected the thick green-purple concoction inside and mumbled back, “What is this?”
“It’ll make her feel better,” was the only explanation he gave as he pushed Sirius forward in encouragement.
Sirius shrugged. “Alright then, if you insist.”
“Here, drink this.”
Remus watched as Sirius headed to her with purpose. He watched as his friend bent down and offered her the vial. He watched as she accepted it. He watched as she reached for the vial, her long pale slender fingers brushing Sirius’s rough slightly calloused fingers. He watched as she brought the vial to her perfect cupid-bowed mouth, her full lips kissing the mouth of the vial as she drank the mixture. He watched as her complexion returned to its original pearl-shine paleness and her breathing slowed to a relaxed pace. He watched as she rewarded Sirius with an appreciative smile and pulled her arm away from his grasp as she helped herself to her feet.
The potion was the ‘fatigue revival’ potion, a potion that Madame Pomfrey had taught him to make and drink whenever he felt weak after his full moon nights. He could have just given her the potion himself, felt her fingers brush his, have her smile directed at him and help her up to her feet.
But he didn’t, couldn’t. He had made a promise to himself to stay away from her, to keep his distance. And that meant feeling his heart ache as he watched Dollie Kent walked into class with Sirius Black fitting perfectly at her side.
“So, how about rewarding me with your presence by sitting with me in class?”
Bloody hell, this bugger’s smooth, Dollie thought as Sirius followed her into class. She wasn’t planning to accept his offer, just because he gave her that potion whatever the hell it was didn’t mean she had to sit with him. But when she arrived at her usual table, she was surprised by the fact that Peter was sitting at her usual seat, asking Lily for help with the Transfiguration homework they had been given last week. Wide-eyed, she looked to Vivian for explanation but was greeted by a roguish wink and a nod to the direction behind her. She turned and came face-to-face with Sirius who, as he noticed at her filled table, gave her a smile and beckoned her to his table, of which he already laid his books on.
She let out an irritated sigh and, clutching her books and bag, she huffily walked to the table and sat herself down on the seat at the end of the table. Sirius sat in the middle seat, which left one seat empty. Strangely, that seat stayed unoccupied. If anyone even made a move towards it, James would hex the person with a flick of his wand. So everyone avoided that seat like the plague. She turned to ask James why was he doing it but became instantly tongue-tied when she saw that Remus was seated behind her. Their eyes met and she became lost in their pools of chocolate brown. She quickly turned to face the front, her face burning as she shuffled through her books, her hands needing to do something to make her forget her embarrassment. Not to mention all the glares she was getting from passing female Gryffindors and Ravenclaws, with whom they are having this lesson.
“Good morning, all,” Professor McGonagall greeted the class as she strode into the class, her cloak sweeping behind her.
Everyone shuffled about and quickly brought out their ‘Intermediate Transfiguration’ book. Everyone, that is, except Dollie. She dug deep and hard into her bag, panicking as the seconds passed. Oh no, oh no, no! Think! Think! she thought hard, where did she put her book? Her mental picture then showed her book… on her bed! Oh bloody hell! What was she going to do?! She already got enough glares from her housemates for being late for the majority of classes. Now she was going to lose more house points for not having her book. McGonagall was especially strict about that.
She looked up and met with the stern eyes of the Transfiguration teacher.
“Where is your ‘Intermediate Transfiguration’?” she questioned her.
“I… erm…uh…,” she stammered nervously, quickly trying to think up an excuse. She may be a smooth talker when it came to getting her friends out of trouble but when it came to getting herself out of a bind, she was pretty useless.
“Professor, it’s alright. I borrowed Miss Kent’s book.” Sirius piped up, waving his book to show her.
Dollie turned to him, her face full of confusion. “What ARE you doing?!” she demanded.
He just shushed her and turned back to McGonagall who was staring at him curiously, a smile playing at her lips.
“And, if I may ask, where is your book, Black?” she asked him, her steely eyes now focused on him.
Unfazed, he gave her a charming smile, “Well, Professor, that is a simple question as opposed to your usual ones-,” laughter greeted this response, “–to answer. My book is-,”
“-right here,” James responded, a book in his hand. “Here ya go, Messiar Black, it carelessly fell out of your bag and on to the floor where I found it.” He tossed it playfully to Sirius who caught it with ease and grinned mischievously.
“Why thank you, Messiar Potter, I don’t know how the devil it just fell out like that. Silly me.” He opened his book and turned the pages playfully. “Well then, now that that’s settled, let’s get on with the lesson. Come, come now, none of us are getting any younger.” Another round of laughter rang out, this time including McGonagall.
“Alright, settle down. On with the lesson, as Black just said. Today’s lesson we learn about how turn stick-insects into regular sticks. By doing this we have to…”
As McGonagall droned on, Dollie turned to face Sirius and asked him incredulously, “How the bloody hell did you do that?!”
Sirius just smiled slyly and beckoned his head to James. She turned to James next who then nodded to Remus. “It’s my book,” he explained softly, “Don’t worry about it, I have this.” He motioned to his ‘Theories of Transubstantial Transfiguration’ book and smiled.
She stared at him, dumbfounded by his kindness and his smile, not knowing what to say. She mustered up a small smile in return and started to copy the formula on the board.
“So have you thought about it?”
Transfiguration had just ended and now the Gryffindors were on their way to Herbology. She turned to Sirius who was, again, walking beside her. “Look, Black, that was really nice of you to do that back there. You didn’t have to, you know,” she said, avoiding his damn grey puppy dog eyes. Why was he staring at her like that? Surely Vivian and Lily can’t be right that he fancied her…
“Seriously, it wasn’t a big deal. And by the way, you’re avoiding the question,” he answered cheekily.
She rolled her eyes. “And what question is this?”
“How forgetful you are,” he laughed his bark laugh, “The one I asked yesterday. You know, about if we could hang out together.”
Vivian gasped loudly as she and Lily passed by when he said that. Dollie glared at them and they scampered, giggling away.
“Oh, that,” she answered, desperately thinking of an excuse not to go. “You mean, a date?” she asked nervously.
“It doesn’t have to be one if you don’t want it to be one,” he waggled both his eyebrows in mock seductiveness, “but I think you owe me that much for coming to your rescue twice in one morning.”
She hesitated at first, opening her mouth to decline. But then, in her mind, she saw Remus, jealous and aware of her existence, finally noticing her, seeing her with Sirius Black, his best friend. You have to make sacrifices to get what you want, she thought.
“Alright, if you insist.”
“Excellent,” he grinned. “Shall we say, this weekend? I’ll meet you at the Quidditch pitch on Saturday at four?
“It’s a date, Black,” she said loudly enough so that Remus would hear.
A/N:- Enjoyed it? Hit me with a review so that I can improve!
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