The girls’ dormitory door had burst open and someone was at my side faster than was humanly possible.
I could smell smoke and feels the flames licking gently at my skin as hot fingers righted my position, tearing my hands away from the bed I had locked onto in order to steady myself. I was taking huge gasps of air, breathing unevenly in and out through my mouth. My entire body trembled and shook. My nostrils flared wildly and my eyes had become nothing more than yellow slits. I could only recall one time where I had been less human, but the memory only made things worse.
“He did it Jasper!” I croaked, in a voice that was harsh and low. “He-made-me-lose-control.” Each word was separated by a deep intake of breath.
I looked up to reach his eyes and the effect was immediate. I could feel my pulse steadying, the polluted blood pounded slower through my veins. The ice soothed the fire; I thanked him for it every day.
His face creased in perplexity, he didn’t have a clue what had happened to me. I knew he was wondering why I was in the state I was.
He had felt my panic, he had smelt my fire as I ran through the castle, and he had even heard my soft footfalls as I fled from the boy who would ruin me.
He had exited the hall immediately, frightened by what he would find if he left me alone any longer. As he flew towards the dormitory he had spotted the singe marks I had made on the carpet as I ran. With a low murmured spell he had hid the evidence. He could still taste my fear in the air if he tried hard enough.
He walked gingerly forward, not wanting to startle me any more. It was then, padding with extra caution had he heard the wild, ripping growl of a dragon escape my lips.
And with a bang he was by my side.
“I don’t understand.” He admitted, his eyes were still worried. “Lulah, what happened?”
I shifted my gaze away from him, ashamed. He was so strong and I was so weak.
“Tallulah.” My full name slipped from his mouth as a rumble.
“If you’re not going to tell me, at least show me.”
I heaved a sigh and concentrated hard, it would take effort for me to do but eventually my mind slipped into his. I began to play the library scene for him to see. It was some weird connection brought on by our condition. My father and his brother had been able to do it, and after mother had been…transferred, she had been able as well. It drained our strength so we only did it sometimes, but it could be helpful… and very dangerous.
My thoughts were still raging, but combined with Jasper’s relatively placid ones; I began to feel at ease.
“Oh.” He whispered, suddenly comprehending. “I see.” His tone was bitter.
I withdrew my mind from his and slithered away from him across the polished floor. I could judge him better from this distance away. And it was probably safer.
He was staring hard out the window, his jaw was set and eyes smoldering. There was no way to share memories without sharing side effects. He slumped back against the bed and placed his head in his hands, tangling his fingers tightly in his hair. I could hear him steadying his breathing.
“Do you understand now?” I murmured quietly, not really wanting for him to have to at all.
I stared at him, shocked by the underlying anger that quaked in his voice. His face was expressionless, but his eyes burned into mine.
“Lulah, you do realize what you’re doing, don’t you? This is just like last time!”
I recoiled, stung. I had expected more from him. Did he honestly think I wasn’t vividly aware of that? For God’s sake!
“You can’t Lulah, you can’t get involved with him. You have to play it safe.”
“I’m not trying to encourage him.” I yelled throwing my hands up in the air in frustration. “I didn’t ask him to come and have a chat with me Jasper, and don’t you dare think for even one minute that I don’t know what could happen here!”
“I didn’t say- I’m not! …” I frowned angrily out the window and I glared at the door. In all honesty I couldn’t afford to fight with Jasper, not when I needed him so very much.
“He’s not Rostam, Jasper.” I said after a long while, very quietly. So quietly that a human would not have heard. Jasper froze. That was the first time Rostam’s name had been spoken out loud between us in over a year.
“I know,” He snapped tersely, “but you can’t trust him, all the same you can’t get close to him.”
“Then what do you suggest I do?” I sighed back, trying to not be too mad at him. I swiveled around to face him again. He was thinking very hard.
“Just… just do what we always planned to do. Ignore him.”
“I’ve been doing that!”
“Well try harder!”
I leapt to my feet and grabbed my bag from the floor. It was time to go to the next class.
“Where are you going?” Jasper asked, shocked out of his anger. His sat on the floor looking up at me with surprised blue eyes.
Then I turned on my heel and walked straight out the door. Jasper could take his plan and shove it straight up his arse.
If I was being honest with myself, which I always tried to be, I knew that Jasper was right. I would have to try hard. Romantic interest in males on my part had only ever ended in disaster. Sadness flooded my mind as I remembered this. Another part of my resolve appeared. I couldn’t like him, I just couldn’t. And anyway, under any circumstances it was ridiculous that I should be so interested in him after only a week and a bit of knowing him and a less than friendly conversation.
With this in mind I walked quietly down the steps to the dungeon. I had been placed in Slughorn’s advanced potions class, an honour, according to Lucy, that was rarely bestowed upon new students.
At last I reached the classroom. There was a small cluster of students standing by the door (or leaning against it in some cases), talking and joking loudly.
I recognized the girl with the shimmering red hair. Her name was Lily Evans, and she was very nice. She was in my History of Magic class as well. From what I’d gathered she was with James Potter. She was also very bright from what I’d learnt.
I dumped my bag on the ground and slumped against the wall. If I was ignoring Sirius, I might as well do it properly, and that meant ignoring everyone. I turned my face back down the corridor and waited for the professor to arrive.
“Are you still mad at me?”
I snapped around in a flurry of dark hair. Sirius Black was standing behind me; I had not heard him approach. Once again I was shocked by how quiet he was. He smiled disarmingly at me and I set my jaw, determined to put on a good show.
“Haven’t you got somewhere to be?” I asked curtly. He smiled wider still, flashing his brilliantly white teeth. He stooped low and picked up my bag and offered it to me. I took it and slung it over my shoulder, nodding my thanks to him. The professor was walking down the corridor. Sirius’s eyes followed him and turned to me, he was deeply amused.
“Not unless you count here.”
My world had ended.
I glanced once more down at the stained page of my potions book. Following the instructions carefully I took the silver knife from my potions kit and sliced open my shriveled pods. I scraped the lot into the already simmering brew of boar’s blood and doxy venom.
My hair hung messily across my face, obstructing my vision as I stooped to read the next instructions. Stir clockwise twenty four and a half times.
And so I did. The potion was complete and I was finished. I sat back in my seat and turned to look around at the rest of the class, paying attention not to look at Sirius.
I had been placed at a table with three others, who Slughorn had said were roughly my ability. Lily Evans, some guy who everyone called ‘Snape’ and Sirius Black, who had, up until his question before maintained a stony silence. It seemed that my plan to ignore him was working well enough.
I watched as Snape stooped to scribble something in the margin of his book, he was muttering to himself as he did so. He seemed a little strange. I really wished he’d wash his hair.
There was a soft rumble of laughter from beside me. Curious I turned to see.
Sirius’s face was half shadowed by his hair as he stooped, doubled over with suppressed laughter. It wasn’t so much the fact he was laughing that surprised me, it was more the fact that he was smiling, that real, good humor filled his eyes. I’d never seen him laugh before. It was immensely hard to not join in.
At last I cracked a smile. Severus had snapped his book shut with a glower and was now determinedly ignoring us. Instead he pulled out a heavy volume of some book and began reading.
Sirius stood up straight again and threw me a grin. I smiled, not thinking quick enough. Damn it; and I’d been doing so well until now. I looked down at my hands, frowning and trying to compose my face.
There was a sharp cough behind me. I whipped around too quickly and sent a vial of liquid flying in my haste.
Professor Slughorn frowned exasperatedly at me. I was the same height as this portly man.
“Now, now Miss Wiley.” He scorned, his voice straining with the effort of telling off one of his star pupils. “I would have expected you to know to take more care in this room.” He clucked his tongue. Beside me Sirius snickered so I threw him a condescending glare.
“You’ll just have to-”
Just then the bell rung. Slughorn was forced to stop punishing me for the time being in order stop the mad rush for the door.
“Slowly now!” He demanded as students pulsed out into the hall, jostling with each other in their haste to end the day. Lily waved goodbye, casting me a grim smile. I returned it waving back. Snape gave me an extremely dirty look as he passed; I suspected it had something to do with my amusement before. Sirius slowly grabbed his bag and began to walk towards the door.
“Er, Mr. Black, if you don’t mind!” Slughorn called from behind my shoulder. “I’d like a word with you about priorities. That’s two weeks in a row now you haven’t handed in your homework.” Sirius groaned audibly and loped back on over. He waited next to me as Slughorn finished reprimanding me.
“Now, yes, where was I?” He asked, pulling out a handkerchief and wiping his brow.
“I believe you we scolding me sir.” I replied smartly, I bit my lip trying to look wide eyed and innocent. It worked. Slughorn’s brow creased as I looked up at him through my lashed with smoldering eyes. Sirius’s position shifted, and I flicked my burning eyes for him for only a second. I didn’t realize at the time that it wasn’t exactly the best thing I could have done.
“Yes, that’s right.” The professor decided. “Well, just clean up and get to dinner I guess.”
I nodded once and placed my bag on the desk before bending down and vanishing the fluid with my wand. I was only half listening to Sirius’s and Slughorn’s conversation, so naturally it surprised me when I realized the professor was gone and Sirius was kneeling down besides me to help, picking up shards of glass delicately with his long thin fingers.
I chose to ignore him, he didn’t speak and neither did I.
At last I stood and threw the glass in bin and the rag in a sink. I grabbed my stuff and headed for the door.
“Not even a thank you, hey?”
Sirius Black was by my side, holding the door open patiently, waiting for me to go through. He was smiling that crooked half-smile again. I fought to keep a straight face. I rolled my eyes and turned to face him.
“Thank you.” I said it very precisely, looking him in the eyes, hoping to scare him. He only smiled slightly. Instead he raised his hands like a conductor and said-
“And again with a little more feeling.”
I fought the urge to smile and swept past him and out into the corridor. It was hard for me to stick to a normal, human pace when I was this aggravated. Much to my annoyance, he kept pace with me. Easily.
“Well?” He demanded. He moved in front of me and blocked the only passageway I was aware of out of the dungeons. His lanky frame filled the doorway.
“Not a chance.” I replied sharply, folding my arms across my chest, waiting for him to move.
“You don’t smile much, do you?” He asked with a half-smirk, half-frown. I looked down. No, I didn’t… not anymore.
“Why should it be any of your business if I don’t?” I snapped back, my temperature and anger rising. “I don’t know you for a start.”
He pushed away from the door frame and took a step towards me. He was taller than me, by a head at least.
“Hello, I’m Sirius Black. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
And to my great astonishment, his voice rang with sincerity. I looked down at his outstretched hand, his pale fingers we extended towards me. I wanted to touch him so badly. What was wrong with me?
“Look, could I just get past?” I asked, I didn’t trust myself to be alone with him any longer. He grinned impishly and shook his head, his locks falling into his eyes.
“Nope, not until you we get the pleasantries out of the way.”
I looked down at his hand once more. It was still extended, and then I looked up at his heavenly face. My thoughts jumbled a little. Holy heck, what was I thinking? Then I reached out and took his hand in mine.
“Hello Sirius, I’m Lulah Wiley. It’s nice to meet you too.”
And then I released his hand like I had been shocked and pushed past him roughly.
This was going to be a lot harder than I’d first planned.
A/N: Done. Edited. Finito (hm, is that even a word in any language?) Oh well. I hope you liked it :)
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