It was nearly early morning by the time I had crept back into the common room, my head still reeling and body still shaking.
My own determination had shocked me before, but it had been in a moment of idle foolishness. No, I was not giving in to my disorderly teenage hormones this easily.
It was the indecision more than anything that bothered me.
I wanted to stay safe, but I wanted him. I was going to keep my distance, but if all went to plan I’d have him in my bed. It was torture to be near to him and so much worse to be away from him.
I never let it show of course, but it was.
I could be thinking anything, absolutely anything. ‘Gee, I wonder if Jasper’s ever going to get a girlfriend’; ‘I hope mum would be proud’. Then I’d see him and whatever I’d been thinking or doing seemed suddenly so irrelevant.
The resolve would be there, so clear in my mind. It was simple, he wanted me and I wanted him. A perfect match. Then after a moment's hesitation the smarter more logical side of my brain would kick in.
No Tallulah, it would say sternly. Think about it. Think about what you’d be putting at risk for you and your brother if you got close to this boy. It’s reckless and irresponsible Tallulah, don’t do it.
And so I wouldn’t, because after that moment’s uncertainty he would be gone. He was always gone. One minute he’d be there and the next he wasn’t, like a flippin’ ghost or something.
And I could see reason again. Miraculously my head would clear and I could think straight. I would scorn myself for ever thinking like that. Just as I was scolding myself now.
As if he was really going to invite me to that party, he was probably just saying it to satisfy James. I heard him myself- ‘only the best for Sirius Black’. A felt such a fool to actually have thought I heard indecision in his voice. What was there about me that should make him so nervous? Nothing. I must have been going insane.
Anyway, Jasper might be going back on his word, but I was not going back on mine! For once I was going to be the stronger Wiley, let Jasper take my place as the hot-headed, irresponsible sibling for a while.
No Halloween party for me… not today.
I padded softly across the threshold, nobody was awake and the fire had burnt low. The embers cast eerie shadows and soft glowing light around the room.
This would be the perfect place for me to rest for a while; I didn’t feel quite ready to go up to my dormitory just yet.
I slunk across to one of the numerous elegant couches and sat down immediately. I felt a little better. I sighed and pulled my legs up underneath my chin, wrapping my arms around knees. I leant heavily against the backrest and closed my eyes.
All was quiet for a moment.
“Are you going to tell me where you’ve been?”
My eyes snapped open, but I was not startled, I had expected Jasper to be here. I was honestly surprised that he hadn’t been waiting out on the couch, like a disapproving father. I was prepared for the questions he was about to bombard me with.
I stared at him, his face was hard and expectant, but I could see the real concern behind his eyes. Pools of blue against his alabaster skin.
I sighed and wearily unfolded my limbs so they were stretched across the whole couch.
“I went for a walk.” I said lamely, it sounded like a lie even to my own ears. I thought fast. “I wanted to…figure some stuff out.” Okay, so maybe that wasn’t the best path to take. Jasper’s brow creased. He still looked worried.
“Hmmm…figure some stuff out.” He pondered, not looking at me. “And where did you thoughts take you?” His tone was casual, but I knew he was onto me. I wasn’t giving in.
“Oh, you know…around.” My tone mirrored his flippancy. He rolled his eyes and spoke again.
“I smelt you Lulah.” He said bluntly, as if this were a fact that was childishly clear. I had smelt his scent too, but I wasn’t going to let him know I understood.
“Oh, I better go and have a shower then!” I smiled brightly at him and sprung lithely to my feet. I dashed towards the dormitory door, faster than humanly possible as usual. But he blocked my way. His hands locked around my arms and he steered me back to the couch.
That was out of line!
I snarled at him, the sound was guttural and low. His eyes widened slightly. I hadn’t used the tone with him in a while.
He didn’t realize how much I really didn’t want to talk about tonight. It would make me hurt.
I twisted angrily and growled again. This time he set me free, stepping away cautiously, afraid that I may make a run for it again. I was not fool enough to do that.
We might have almost matched each other in speed, but he was stronger. Agility would not serve me quite as well if I were locked in his iron grip.
He continued to eye me warily. To prove my point I flopped back onto the couch, still fuming that my escape had been foiled.
He knelt in front of me on the floor. He folded his hands on his lap and seemed to gather his thoughts.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” He was repentant, but I only set my jaw in an angry defiant line. “You were there weren’t you? In the tower.”
I turned my gaze to him, trying hard to scorch him with my amber eyes. However this plan too was ruined, his clear blue gaze soothed my irate thoughts, just as it always did. I conceded defeat.
“Yes.” I replied, my voice quieter than a whisper. “Yes, I was.”
He paused evidently deciding how to best put something. His brow furrowed as he thought. He seemed to be struggling to find the words.
“Lulah,” He said at last, “You are my sister, and I love you more than anyone else in the world.” He stopped again, looking up from his hands to meet my gaze steadily. I new he meant what he was saying, but I couldn’t help wonder what he was getting at.
“I thought, starting at Hogwarts that it would be…the same as Olydias. I thought, we thought that it was going to be the same story. Block out everyone and they’ll block you in return.”
His eyes burned into mine.
“But it’s not. Things at Hogwarts are far different from that. Tallulah,”
I registered the use of my full first name; whatever he was going to say must be important.
“What we’re doing, trying to exclude ourselves, it isn’t working. People are noticing us, we’re interesting because we reject ourselves, the Marauders asking me to accompany them tonight, and Sirius’s…preference for you are living proof of that.”
I had almost stopped breathing, what was he going to say? That we had to leave?
He sensed my horror, either that or saw my eyes widen. Hastily he spoke on, more passionately now.
“I’ve got it figured out, surely you must too, we have to stand out to fit in. It makes sense; I just can’t see how we didn’t notice before!”
My face was a mask of incredulity, but perhaps even more than that, fear. Stand out, as if we didn’t already, what other way was there?
Was he mentally stable? There was no way I would allow myself to put myself and the people around me in such danger. I’d been so unstable, so unpredictable after our parent’s deaths, and that was when I was by myself.
No way, there was nothing that Jasper could say that would change my mind.
“You’re insane.” I hissed. “Do you honestly think that’ll make things better? We might as well just stand up at breakfast and announce to the whole school ‘Hey! Guess what? My brother and I, yeah, well we’re not actually human!’ I’m sorry Jasper bro; I just don’t think it’ll work.”
He started to interrupt me, to get to his feet also but I placed my hand firmly on his shoulder and pushed him back down. There was another more important side to my rebuttal that I hadn’t told yet.
“You were the one who told me to hide in the first place you filthy little hypocrite! ‘Let’s go to Hogwarts, but lay low.” I said, mimicking him again.
“Mum and Dad said it was the right thing to do too, and so I did! I hid in Romania and nothing is going to change now. Think about it Jasper! The one time we show ourselves, the one time we abandon all pretence and what good comes away from it? What comes away from it at all? Nothing, that’s what.”
I was breathing deeply now, my chest rising and falling in uneven movements. My eyes were brimming with tears. I didn’t even know I was crying. My body was shaking, this was too much for me, too much for me too handle. I wasn’t properly in control. The astronomy tower incident had shaken me up enough already and now this. My palms had started to glow. I wasn’t getting anywhere.
I sank back onto the seat and put my head in my hands and let the tears fall. I took a few steadying breaths but they did little to help. I felt Jasper’s hand on my shoulder. With an angry snarl I ripped myself from his grasp and moved across to his vacated seat.
“I’m not asking you to go out and reveal that you’re part dragon. I just think we should… relax.” He said quietly, calmly.
“I don’t think you quite see it the way I do Jasper.” I choked; my voice strangled but still nothing more than a quiet hiss.
He looked at me with wide, sympathetic, pleading eyes. For once they did nothing to appease me. I looked back at him, taking in his coolness, his calmness and all his god-damned composure. Why couldn’t he just understand and let me be?
“The one time I let go, the first time ever relaxed and quit pretending around someone and…” Once more I broke down into sobs. I couldn’t master this misery.
“…and mum and dad die.”
I gazed at him through my damp lashes, my tortured expression mirrored his. Tears now leaked from the corners of his eyes too, they rolled down his cheeks and onto his tightly pressed lips. He shook his head.
“No Lulah, don’t let me hear you say that. Not ever.”
I had to protest.
“But it’s my fault Jasper. My fault they’re dead.”
He shook his head again, this time more forcefully.
“No it wasn’t! I was there too; I’m as much to blame as you are.”
I pressed my eyes tight shut, trying to block out his words. He continued on and I heard him.
“It is not your fault they died! He knew about us months before he realized that he could use you. What he’d seen you do, it was only a confirmation of what he already knew. He would have come after us and them even if he hadn’t seduced it out of you that day! Jesus Lulah, how many times do I have to tell you that? It’s not your fault.”
I turned my face towards him, my expression hard and impassive. I wanted so badly to believe his words, but I’d spent so long convincing myself it was my fault that I had forgotten what the truth was anymore.
I swept to my feet and this time he made not move to stop me.
“Regardless, I’m not changing.”
A/N: WOW, DRAMA ALERT. woowoowoo. Haha. Sorry, still on a sugar high ;) Please review. I hoped you liked it! edited version.
Write a Review The Burn-Out Heart: Chapter 6- The Morning After the Storm