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Chapter 26 : I Told Myself I Won't Miss You
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Arianna went up the common room, hoping that someone there would see her and talk to her. Hoping that someone wouldn’t treat her like she was freak. Maybe Severus was right, maybe she wasn’t strong enough to handle this. That Gryffindor symbol came back to haunt her though, reminding her that there had to be something inside of her that proved she was strong. She could be brave and face things she didn’t necessarily want to.
Unfortunately, when she opened the door, her brother and his band of friends were in full swing. Sirius and James were re-enacting something and there was a large crowd of people grouped around them watching. People turned to stare at her as she walked in. Sirius didn’t see her at first because he was so busy with his show.
She gave the crowd a feeble smile. She saw the whispers start. Once the boys realized that they were starting to lose the attention of the crowd, they paused to find out why. Sirius’s eyes met hers for the briefest of seconds before he turned away like he hadn’t seen her standing there. Arianna’s smile wobbled, threatening to fall.
Remus wasn’t looking her, he was purposely laughing too loudly at the jokes that James was telling loudly. Lily was looking at her feet. Peter was the only one who was looking at her, and he looked like he was laughing at her.
The room began to swim around her. She saw herself standing on the edge of the group as her brother, who was probably her best friend as well, pretended that she didn’t exist. She saw the group of people whispering about her and staring.
Arianna lurched for the door and dashed back out of the portrait hole that she had entered moments before. She ran down the stairs, pushing people out of the way, and trying to get out of the castle as fast as she possibly could. She didn’t even look at the people as she shoved past them. She even thought that she knocked into a teacher, but she didn’t stop to look back and see who it was. Maybe they hadn’t realized who she was.
She pushed the heavy front door of the school open and escaped into the crisp fall night air. She didn’t stop running until her lungs started to burn and then she dropped onto the cold, wet grass of the Quidditch pitch.
She pulled up clumps of grass as she drew in deep shuddering breaths. What was happening to her life? She kept expecting that someone would have followed her out here. Isn’t that what always happened in stories? The heroine ran off into the night, but someone always came after her. Well, that was assuming that she was some kind of heroine, which she obviously wasn’t.
Where was Severus? There was no way that he would happen upon her this time, he was planning on staying as far away from her as possible, in some stupid plan to protect her. What was it with the boys in her life and protecting her? The thought of Sirius and his over-protecting ways just brought on another twinge of pain.
She heard the sound of footsteps on the wet grass and she held her breath. Maybe life really was like the stories. Had someone actually come after her? She was too afraid to look, because if this were just some innocent boy who wanted to practice Quidditch in the middle of the night (not unheard of, ask James) she was going to be very embarrassed.
Holding her breath, she turned her head to the side and saw, to her utter astonishment, Dumbledore standing there. He had his head cocked slightly to the side as he looked at her.
Arianna jumped hurriedly to her feet, trying to brush at the tufts of wet grass that were stuck to the front of her uniform now. She didn’t know what to do. Why was Dumbledore out here? What did she say to him? In her five years at Hogwarts, Arianna have never once had one-on-one time with Dumbledore. She, unlike her brother, did not get in enough trouble to attract his attention. Nor was she as brilliant as Lily to deem herself worthy of his praise. In fact, she wasn’t even sure that Dumbledore knew who she was.
“uh…Professor Dumbledore, sir. I was just out…inspecting the grass. I mean, we have a Quidditch match on Saturday, right? I was just, you know, making sure that conditions were ideal.” She fumbled with an excuse for why she would possibly have her face buried in the grass at night.
Dumbledore surveyed her. “Ah, I see. While that is most admirable of you, I admit that I was most puzzled as to why you were rushing out here in the late hours of the evening. I was nearly knocked over in your haste to….examine the field.” He said, his voice light and calming. Even though Arianna knew that there was no way that Dumbledore was dumb enough to believe her story about checking the grass for Quidditch (she didn’t even play Quidditch), she was somewhat relieved that he wasn’t demanding real answers.
“Why don’t you come up with me to my office and we will discuss the ah, grass conditions, over a cup of hot chocolate?” he suggested mildly, gesturing back to the twinkling lights in the windows of the school.
Arianna searched his face. For some reason, she felt that Dumbledore might have something else in mind to talk to her about than grass conditions. “Miss Black, I assure you that you aren’t in trouble. Now, if you please,” he held out his arm.
Reluctantly, she took his arm and let him lead back towards the castle. He chattered the walk back up about some Muggle candy that he liked. Arianna half listened, more intent on looking at him as they walked. She had never been this close to Dumbledore before. She had seen him at a distance of course. Her parents weren’t that fond of him, but Sirius adored him. Arianna thought he was funny, in a curious sort of way.
He stood in front of a stone gargoyle that Arianna had never really paid attention to before and said “Mars bar.” To her surprise, the gargoyle jumped back, letting Arianna and Dumbledore pass through to the winding staircase behind it.
Trying not to look too surprised, she followed him up. She looked around in amazement once they reached his office. There were hundreds of tiny spindley objects set on little tables throughout the spacious room. Also, all the walls were covered in portraits of former headmasters.
Arianna saw a particular picture that caught her eye. “Hey! That’s my great-uncle Phineas!” She said excitedly. “We have a picture just like that at home. It’s in the spare bedroom.”
The man in the portrait bowed to her. “How pleasant to see a member of the Noble House of Black.”
Dumbledore smiled at her. He conjured up two cups of hot chocolate and two plump armchairs for them to sit in. “May I?” He asked, pointing his wand at her robes. She felt the wet grass disappear and the damp leave her robes.
She smiled at him in gratitude and sat in one of the armchairs. She took the mug of hot cocoa that he offered and watched as he sat across from her.
After he had taken a sip, he lowered his glass and looked at her intently. “Would you care to now divulge the real reason you were face down in the grass. I admit that it was the distraught expression on your face that caused me to follow you.”
Arianna sighed and stared down into her cup. He had even added the little marshmallows that she liked. How could she not trust him? “Have you ever made…friends with someone that no else approved of?” she asked, “Someone that everyone else hated?”
“Ah.” He said knowingly. “I gather that you are referring to Severus Snape.” She raised her eyebrows, how did he know about her and Severus? He smiled at her. “The gossip of the students always manages to find it’s way to my ears. This castle has ears, I’m afraid.”
Trying to hide her surprise, Arianna looked away from his bright blue eyes. “Yeah, well then you know that Sirius isn’t speaking to me anymore. He’s furious at me for talking to Severus after all that’s happened this year. And Severus is mad because people aren’t being very nice to me after all this drama, so he’s decided the best way to fix it is to stop talking to me. It’s weird, but if those two didn’t hate each other so much, I don’t know. Sometimes I think that they’re more alike than they would ever admit. They’re both stubborn, proud, and idiots.” She felt her cheeks heat a little as words spilled out of her lips. She normally wasn’t much of a talker with teachers. Why would they care about her personal life? Somehow though, the result of not having anyone to talk to about this whole situation was making her confide in Dumbledore. And the fact that she knew that he wouldn’t judge her.
Dumbledore chuckled a little. “Maybe that is an observation you should bring to their attention.” He suggested mildly. Even Arianna had to smile at that. Telling Sirius and Severus that they were alike would probably cause them both to strangle her.
Her smile dropped. “Yeah, maybe if either of them were talking to me.” She thought for a moment. “I’m being stupid, aren’t I? I mean, it’s always family first. Blood before boys, right? I should just tell Sirius that I’m sorry and go back. That would be the right thing to do.”
“Or is that just the easy thing to do?” Dumbledore said quietly, steepling his fingers. “I have a feeling that if you went begging forgiveness from Sirius, he could clear up all this rumor business in a matter of days. Asking Sirius for forgiveness means that everything could go back to the way it was before, but the real question is, do you want that?”
“Of course I want that.” She answered immediately. “For things to go back to the way they were. I hate having Sirius hate me. No one would like it for people to be out there spreading rumors about them. It’s just that to ask Sirius for forgiveness would mean….that I would have to stay away from Severus, for good this time.”
“Ah,” Dumbledore said with a knowing smile. “Love changes everything, doesn’t it?”
“Love?” Arianna asked incredulously. “You must be joking. Me? In love with Severus Snape? I mean, I like him, but love him?”
“If not for love, then why risk everything? If you do not love Severus, then by all means, choose your brother. It is not worth it if it’s not for love.” Dumbledore replied, his eyes intent on her face.
“But….” Arianna couldn’t think of the words she wanted to say. She knew in her heart that she couldn’t just go running back to Sirius with a word of apology. She knew somehow that she didn’t want Severus out of her life for good. “Love?” She repeated the foreign word and Dumbledore smiled at her. “I don’t know if I’m ready for love, Professor. I mean, I don’t understand love.”
“And that’s the beauty of it. No one really does. Love is never easy my dear, and that is why your decisions are so hard to make. Just stay the course, do not give in to the easy choice. Make sure that you make the choice that your heart wants.” He stood and Arianna got up as well.
“Thank you for the hot chocolate, Professor.” She said, handing the empty cup over. “And…thanks for listening. I’m sorry for almost knocking you over in the hallway earlier.”
“It’s quite alright, no damage done.” He smiled at her. He went to his desk and scribbled out a note. “Take this in case you run into Mr. Filch on the way back. I want you to know that my office is always open if you want to talk, Arianna. I must confess that these old ears of mine can still listen.”
She smiled at him. “Thank you Professor Dumbledore, thank you for everything.” She took the note and walked down the stairs. Somehow, just talking to someone had made her feel better. Life didn’t look as dark now. The thought that kept haunting her mind however was that word, love. Was she really in love with Severus Snape?
* ok so i want you guys to be honest with me about this chapter. was it pushing it? idk, at first i thought it was a really cute idea, but idk if i took it too far. please let me know! the next chap is good, i promise!!!
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