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Chapter 25 : Guilt Kicks In and I Start To See
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Snape waited with Arianna for another hour, which she was surprised. Severus was not one of those sweet guys (like Remus) who would wait to escort a girl back to her dormitory. But he sat with her in that empty classroom and listened as she babbled on about her brother and his stupid head.
He just sat there and listened to her. He didn’t really comment very much and he didn’t really react to what she was saying. He did agree with her that Sirius was acting like a big-headed git, but that’s what Severus always thought of Sirius.
When she decided that it was safe to sneak back into Gryffindor unnoticed, she stood up. Arianna smiled at Severus. “Thanks for sitting here with me.” She said awkwardly. “I know that you didn’t have to and it means a lot to me.”
He shrugged awkwardly like he didn’t know how to respond. “It was nothing.” He muttered.
“And I’m sorry for the, you know, crying and stuff.” She added, blushing at her earlier display of emotion. He met her eyes this time but didn’t say anything. “Well, good night Sev, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.” She said brightly. She pecked his cheek quickly before heading down the hallway back to the Gryffindor room.
Severus watched her go, silently contemplating the nights events. He didn’t really understand Arianna Black. Why did she, unlike her brother, seem to like him? Why was she risking so much by associating with him? It was like she didn’t know what would happen if word of the two of them together got out. Was she honestly that naïve?
Arianna snuck back quietly through the portrait hole. Surprisingly she hadn’t got caught by Filch tonight. If she hadn’t had such a miserable time earlier, she would have said it was her lucky night.
Thankfully, the common room was empty and she was able to sneak back up into her dorm room undetected by her brother or any of his friends. She was nervous about tomorrow morning however, what would she say to Sirius?
The next morning, Arianna laid in bed watching the sun rise over the top of the mountains. Should she get up and face the day? Face her furious brother and face Remus, who she knew she had to talk to today. It seemed like a huge weight was pressing on her chest, willing her to stay in bed.
Finally, making a conscious decision, Arianna threw back the covers and sat up quickly. She was a Gryffindor, that meant that she needed to be brave. She needed to face these problems, instead of hiding in bed all day. She wasn’t a coward.
Walking down to breakfast was torture, Arianna was constantly on the lookout for Sirius or Remus or anyone. When she got to breakfast, her brother and his friend were all clustered together. James was the only one who looked over at her, meeting her eyes briefly for a second before turning back.
Cringing slightly, she turned and sat with her fifth year friends. They all looked at her as she sat down and Arianna got the sinking feeling that they had just been talking about her. “Good morning.” She said, smiling at them and trying not to feel like an outsider.
“Arianna,” One of her friends, Amanda said, leaning across the table. “What was that whole fight with your brother about last night?” She asked curiously. Arianna had forgotten that since she and Sirius had fought in the common room that everyone else would have heard it too. So much for privacy and keeping things low. “You’re not really dating Snape, are you?” Amanda asked, crinkling her nose in dislike.
Arianna poked at her food. “I’m not dating anyone right now.” She said back, not really wanting to discuss this, even though these girls were supposed to be her friends.
“Yeah, I get that. But why Snape? You’re not actually going to date him, are you? I thought you were going to date Remus?” Amanda pressed.
“Yeah, you should totally pick Remus.” Another of her friends piped in. “He’s way cuter.” They all giggled and looked over at him.
Arianna ground her teeth in frustration. “If you like him so much Kate, then you date him.” She said, irritated. She pushed her plate back and got up from the table. All of her friends just stared at her as she walked away. She had a sickening feeling that as soon as she was out of ear shot, they were back to talking about her again. Some friends, right?
Once out in the hallway, she took deep breaths to calm herself down. Now not only did she have her brother ignoring her, but she had just isolated herself from her friends. But they didn’t understand, they didn’t get it. They only thought she should go out with the boy that was the best looking.
When had she changed from being one of those girls, to the girl she was now? When had she grown up and realized that some of the things she thought were different from most other girls her age?
Swinging her bag over her shoulder, Arianna walked down the hall, noticing the odd looks she was getting. News of her fight with her brother and supposed romance with outcast Severus Snape must have gotten out. Great, just what she needed, more people talking about her. Although this would probably be the scandal of the school year. Sirius was one of the most popular boys in school, along with James, Remus, and even Peter. Sirius always attracted attention and had made it a known fact that he hated Severus. The fact that his little sister, his favorite, was now dating enemy number one, was bound to attract gossip.
She arrived at class nearly fifteen minutes early, but she didn’t have anywhere else to go. Staying in bed was now sounding like the better of her two options this morning. Getting up and facing the day hadn’t proven to be a good decision.
Classes that day seemed to be more of the same. She sat a little isolated from the group, and noticed the whispers and odd looks she was getting. Is this what it felt to be Severus every day? She just wanted to turn to people and scream “stop talking about me! I’m right here!” But she didn’t. Something told her that would only make things worse.
She skipped dinner that night because she couldn’t bear to have to sit there, next to girls who were supposed to be her friends, knowing that they had been talking about her all day, knowing that they were some of the people who had spread the rumors along.
As she wandered alone in the hallways, Arianna was torn with what to do. How had she gone from being a girl with a lot of friends to a girl who was quickly becoming an outcast?
She was so busy watching her feet as she walked that she didn’t even notice him, until she almost plowed into him. “Oh, I’m sorry Severus, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” She said, smiling to see the one person who would understand how she was feeling right now.
“I’m going to do you a favor.” He said, his dark eyes searching over her face. “I’m going to get as far away from you as I can. I’ll tell everyone that you said you were too good for me, that you were only talking to me because you felt bad for me. That you were just doing what Sirius told you do, that you two were playing some big joke on the whole school. I’ll tell them what they want to hear. Don’t worry; I’ll make sure that I’m the one who ends up looking bad.” He turned away from her.
She grabbed his arm and yanked him back around. “What are you talking about?”
“This is only a small taste of what it would be like if we were together.” Severus said, looking furious. “All these stupid people talking about things they don’t understand. I’ve seen the way they treated you today. I saw you in the Great Hall at lunch, sitting just outside the group of friends that you normally sit with. I know that Sirius isn’t talking to you. And even I have heard the rumors.” He said heatedly.
“Severus calm down.” She said, frowning at the state he was getting himself into. “It’s not really that bad.” She lied. “I mean, yes Sirius is mad at me, but he’ll get over it.” She hoped, anyway. “And who cares about stupid rumors? In a week they’ll be onto some other person’s drama.” She hoped. “It’s okay.”
“You’re lying.” He said, his eyes narrowing. “Don’t try to make it seem like less than it is. You’re becoming an outcast because of me.” She shrugged. “You used to be one of their golden girls, and now because you’ve been with me, they’re turning you into some kind of freak.”
“Gee thanks Sev, that’s so sweet of you to say to me.” She said, rolling her eyes. He pretended to glare at her.
“I’m serious Arianna. This isn’t going to work. I can’t sit by and watch as you become just like me.” He turned away from her. “If you won’t end this, then I will.”
“Severus, don’t talk like that. We’re just starting to get to know each other, think about what you’re saying-”
“I know what I’m doing!” He yelled at her. “I’m tired of having to worry about you.”
“I never asked you to worry about me.” She said quietly. “You’re doing that all on your own.”
“Yes you did. That first day you ever stood up for me in front of your brother, you were asking me to care about you. Well you got your wish, Arianna.” He spat out, looking mad now. “And because you did, I’m not going to let this happen to you. So I’ll fix it, but you have stay away from me after that.”
“Severus! Wait a minute; it doesn’t have to be like this, why are you walking away from me?” She called out. But he just continued to walk away from her. He cast one look over his shoulder, his eyes meeting hers for a moment before he rounded the corner and was out of sight.
Now Arianna really felt alone. Not only was she isolated from her fellow fifth year friends, but also from her brother, the friends that they shared, and now she was cut off from the one person that she hadn’t realized she was counting on. She had thought that Severus would understand that he would be there for her when no one else would. But instead he had decided to handle this on his own, and left her standing her alone, wondering.
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