Chapter 4 : Focus
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“Ms. Bach, would you like to answer the question?” Professor McGonagall inquired, her lips pursed in a thin line.
“My apologies Professor, I seemed to have lost concentration. What was the question?” Nicoline replied as quietly as possible. With each word the class seemed to bore their eyes into her more and more.
“Five points from Ravenclaw, would anyone else like to try?” McGonagall continued around the classroom.
Nicoline couldn’t focus, her mind went everywhere each time it could. Where was her father? Was he kidnapped? What did her mother think? So many questions running through her head at once gave her a splitting head ache, but didn’t seem to phase her quiet demur at all.
“Nico, are you all right? You’ve looked ill since you saw the Headmaster this morning.” Amos whispered placing his hand on her knee. It wasn’t sexual in the least bit, it was like a brother to a little sister but still she felt someone’s eyes bore into her back.
“I might be coming down with a cold of some sort. I’m sure I’ll be fine after a good nights rest.” Nicoline smiled and rubbed his hand.
The rest of the class Amos kept his hand on her knee, while Nicoline drew circles and patterns on his arm to separate her mind from her father. Those eyes still were fixed on her back through the rest of the class, but she daren’t look back to see who they belonged too.
“Class dismissed.” McGonagall said sternly, as the students gathered their things and began to head out. Amos held his supplies in his hands, just about to place them in his bag when a strong force bumped him from behind, making him drop his things in a strew across the floor.
“Black,” Amos growled in a low tone, “What’s your problem?”
“Diggory, it’s not my fault you can keep a steady hand on your things.” Sirius replied giving Amos a smug look. Nicoline dropped to the ground and began gathering up Amos’ parchment and quills.
“Bach, so eager to help are we? Does he pay you as well?” Nicoline looked up and saw Sirius glaring down at her in a menacing way.
“Black, you prat!” With that Amos threw his fist towards Sirius’ face which made a sickening crack with the contact. Fists began flying in the empty classroom and Nicoline screeched as a spec of blood hit her face.
“Stop it! This isn’t going to help anything!” Nicoline shoved herself in between the two boys attempting to cease the fight. Both boys tried to fight around her but one slightly misplaced fist made contact with a horrible thud to her stomach. She fell to the ground clutching her stomach wincing in pain.
“Black, how dare you! Look at what you did!” Amos fumed kneeling beside Nicoline.
“Amos, I’m fine, just go to your next class.” Nicoline got up and wobbled to the door way, only to be met with the caring touch of Sirius who seemed disgusted with his actions.
“Don’t touch me, Sirius.” Nicoline said through clenched teeth, the pain was sending black dots to blur her vision but she could still recognize that mess of black hair anywhere.
“Nicoline, I’m sorry.”
Sirius sat in the Great Hall with his friends surrounding him as he stared at his plate. His face adorned a painful black eye along with a split lip from this morning’s events. He felt sick to his stomach, he had punched a girl. It was an accident, but he couldn’t help but feel responsible. He couldn’t explain why he acted that way towards Amos and Nicoline; his vocal cords just took over, leaving his common sense in the dust.
“Padfoot, you’re not eating anything and you still haven’t told us where you got that shiner.” James said spooning mashed potatoes on to his plate.
“It’s none of your business, Prongs.” Sirius snapped glaring at his best friend.
“Man, is it that time of the month or something?” James replied laughing. Sirius continued to glare at him until he saw a familiar figure walk into the Great Hall. Her dark auburn hair bounced slightly when she walked and she constantly licked her lips as she walked. Sirius got up from his respected seat and jogged over to meet her.
“Nicoline,” She turned towards him her eyes widening and made an effort to walk faster, “No! I just want to talk.”
“About what?” that familiar twinkling of bells met his ears and he smiled inwardly, “Hmm?"
“I just wanted to apologize for what I said this morning, I was out of line.” Sirius replied truthfully.
“Alright.” With that Nicoline turned and left. Sirius stood their dumbfounded; he had never seen Nicoline so blunt and straightforward. He bowed his head and began the journey back to the Gryffindor table but was rudely stopped by an equally tall figured in head to toe black.
“Black, what did you do to Nicoline? I know it was you.” Sirius met the eyes of Lucius Malfoy who sneered at him.
“It’s none of your business Malfoy; it’s between her and me.” Sirius glared at the blonde warningly.
“You better watch yourself Black, and stay away from Nicoline. She’s out of your league anyway; she won’t waste her time on the likes of you.” With that Lucius billowed out of the Great Hall after Nicoline.
Lucius was indeed after Nicoline, and quickly found her leaning against the wall in a near corridor. She appeared so small, being about a head and a half shorter than Lucius himself. Her head rested in her small hands and she shook slightly from the cold. She sighed and looked at the castle ceiling, wishing this all would be over soon.
“Nicoline, love, what’s the matter?” Nicoline turned her head and met the eyes of Lucius and relief swept through her.
“Lucius! Why haven’t you been in class?” Nicoline jogged towards him but immediately blushed at her eager actions.
“Ah my dear, I believe I asked you first.” Lucius enveloped her into a hug and softly stroked her hair.
“It’s nothing, just girl things that I’m damn sure you will have no interest in hearing.” Nicoline replied breathing in his familiar scent, a mixture of musky cologne and the dank dungeons.
“I heard about your father, and I am sure that is partly the reason you are upset, am I correct?”
“Yes, it is to a degree.” Nicoline replied separating herself from him.
“Your father is a powerful man, and I am sure he is just on a certain mission.” Lucius said placing a hand in the middle of her spine, “Now would you allow me to escort you back to your commons?”
The two traveled down the corridors toward the Ravenclaw tower chatting quietly. Lucius looked down at Nicoline fondly, as she laughed at a near painting attempting to serenade them.
"Nicoline, I do wish you would find better company then Diggory." Lucius scowled at the name, "He could never understand you, or where you come from. He couldn't even comprehend it even if it came over and started tap dancing on that overly large forehead of his."
"Lucius, you are beginning to sound like Sirius." Nicoline's smiled dismissed from her face as Lucious scowled even more than usual.
"Don't compare me to that fool, Nicoline. You know well what I mean."
"I know Lucius, I just wish I could have the company of both of you without insults flying at eachother." Nicoline said stopping to lean against a wall.
"I wouldn't dare to be caught in the presence of that boy. I simply cannot understand how you can endure it." Lucius stood infront of her adjusting his tie. The seventh year looked around and sighed heavily. "I simply think it was a mistake for you to be in Ravenclaw, you would have made a fine Slytherin."
Nicoline bit her lip at the thought, "I know my family would have proud of another Slytherin in the family. I suppose I didn't have the spirit to sport the infamous green and silver." Lucious' face softened and looked down at the younger girl.
"Sure you have, but I suppose a Ravenclaw on the family tree will give your family a reputation of brains."
"Yeah," Nicoline weakly replied lifting herself from the wall, "I just wish that you could find it in yourself to get along with Amos."
"That my dear, will never come to being. I just wish you could see him for what he is, a muggle lover. Born in a family of blood-traitors and destined to be."
"I know Lucius, you only wish the best for me. I heard of you and Narcissa being betrothed and all." Nicoline smiled changing the subject.
"Ah, yes. She'll make a fine wife, I'm sure." Lucius continued down the corridor with Nicoline ticking his shoes on the stone floor, "I suppose you will be the next to find your suitor."
Nicoline almost gagged at the thought.
“Nicoline!” a voice whispered harshly
“Stop! Get away!”
“Nicoline wake up!” unfamiliar hands shook the girl awake making her bolt upright.
“Where am I, Maureen is that you?”
“Yes it’s me dear, you’re in your bed it was just a dream.” Maureen said smoothing Nicoline’s hair lovingly. Maureen was the one of the few Ravenclaw friends Nicoline had in her year. She had beautiful dark brown hair that looked like melted chocolate that floated when she walked. Nicoline had a certain jealousy for her, that she was so beautiful but also earned top marks. Maureen walked to the bathroom before returning with a hot wash cloth which she used to dab Nicoline’s face with.
“Maureen, you are dating Remus Lupin correct?” Nicoline inquired placing a hand on her bare shoulder.
“Yes I am dear, why?” Maureen answered smiling putting the cloth away.
“Could you possibly ask Remus about Sirius for me?” Maureen cocked her head in question, “I had thought he had lost interest in me, but lately, he flinches every time Amos so much as touches me.”
“I have noticed that, I’ll ask Remus tomorrow. I do know that he has been muttering in his sleep about a girl though. I wonder if it’s you. You’d be such a handsome couple.” Maureen beamed at Nicoline and ran her fingers through her chocolate locks.
“I don’t know if I could stand being around all that trouble all the time.” Nicoline laughed desperately wanting to change subject.
“Well if you’re alright, you better go back to dream land, and perhaps this time they’ll be pleasant.” Maureen smiled sweetly and made a move to leave but Nicoline grabbed her wrist to stop her.
“Please will stay up a bit longer and chat with me? I’m not that tired anymore anyway.” Nicoline smiled faintly, not wanting the girl to leave. Maureen smiled and sat down again. The two girls stayed up until all hours of the night, until they both fell asleep sitting up, leaning against each other. When the two woke up, the other girls in their dorm looked at them curiously but really thought nothing of it.
“You’d best get ready, we’ll be late for breakfast.” Maureen said while tugging off her night shirt.
“I suppose I should.” Nicoline stripped as well and enjoyed a long shower.
Nicoline walked with Maureen down to the Great Hall for breakfast. She studied Maureen, how she could carelessly toss her hair around and still it fell perfectly back into its rightful place. She had shocking aqua eyes that twinkled whenever she laughed. Nicoline wished she could have such grace, without even trying.
“Nicoline, would you like to sit with Remus and I for breakfast?” Nicoline turned towards her and mulled over it for a moment. If Remus was there, then so would Sirius.
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt, so of course.” The two girls smiled and linked arms as they walked into the Great Hall.
“Maureen!” Remus stood up at the Gryffindor table and gave his girlfriend a kiss on the side of her mouth lovingly.
“Nicoline is going to be joining us this morning if you all don’t mind.” Maureen said smiling sweetly. All the boys nodded in response happy to have another female beside Lily and Maureen.
“Hey Nicoline,” Sirius said studying her and smiling, “you look nice this morning.”
“Thanks Sirius, as do you.” Nicoline blushed and Sirius beamed with pride before shoveling food onto his plate.
“Mails here, I wonder if mom sent that extra uniform skirt I forgot,” Maureen said furrowing her plucked eyebrows, “I think I’ve grown too much for this one.”
“I think Remus likes that length perfectly.” James said chuckling while Lily hit his arm playfully. Nicoline smiled at the two couples, they seemed so in love. Interrupting her thoughts a letter plopped down on the rim of her pumpkin juice. Picking it up, she immediately recognized the handwriting and got up quickly. Her father had written to her.
A/N: The chapters are continually getting longer!
I really liked this chapter a lot. It shows different sides of people.
Also, I am thinking about starting a story about Maureen, Nicoline’s friend, and Remus.