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Chapter 13 : Chapter 13- Gossip of Sorts
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“C’mon Lulah,” He murmured, his lips brushing against my ear and his voice unintentionally seductive. “You can deal with them, I know you can. In fact, you don’t have to deal at all. We can walk straight past.”
He seemed positive this plan would work, but I knew teenage girls better. I knew without a doubt that if walked just a little further down the corridor I would be bombarded by some question, congratulation or insult. I didn’t want to have to face any of them so I continued to argue on, unwavering in my defense.
“Or,” I suggested. “We could just turn right around here and walk back the way we came.”
He sighed, he knew me well enough by now to know that there was no arguing with me when I was this way.
“I still don’t see why it bothers you so much.” He said as we veered left down a smaller deserted corridor. The furious muttering and gossiping of sorts slowly died away.
I sighed too, stopping and leaning my back against the wall. He released me and waited patiently for my reply.
“Of course it doesn’t bother you.” I grumbled. “The insults aren’t directed at you, you’re the one they’re getting jealous over. I’m surprised you honestly don’t seem to notice.”
I eyed him suspiciously, trying to find a hole in his oblivious pretence, but there was none. He honestly wasn’t aware of the effect he and I had caused together.
The rumors and gossip had started almost as soon as we had disappeared through the bushes together and hadn’t been seen for almost a good three hours. They had increased that evening as we walked into the great hall together and later that night as people witnessed our good-night kiss.
News certainly traveled fast in Hogwarts.
By the next day everybody seemed to know. I was the subject of many resentful glares, but sometimes someone would ask me if it was true or congratulate me. I didn’t mind those people as much, though I tried to avoid the attention as much as possible.
Sirius on the other had merely received hurt glowers from his numerous female admirers. He had always been completely ignorant of the extra attention females seemed pay him, and now was no exception.
“Does it matter if I notice it?” He asked. “Isn’t the more important question do I care?”
I nodded, having to agree with him there.
“Do you care?” I pressed, already knowing his answer.
“Not as long as I have you.”
He stepped forward and wrapped me warmly in his arms once more. I pressed my face into his chest and inhaled his intoxicating scent. I was soothed as he stroked my hair from the top of my head, all the way down my spine until his hand came to rest at the small of my back.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t like the attention.” My words were a little muffled against his chest and he laughed.
“When you’ve been at Hogwarts as long as I have attention like this is nothing. Believe me, I’ve witnessed worse. You should have seen the hype when Lily and James finally got together.”
He laughed remembering some private joke and I laughed too, imagining all too clearly how it must have been for them.
“That didn’t die down for almost a month, but the news of us will be over soon, you’ll see, people will get used to it.”
I was placated.
“Thank you.” I said, touching his face carefully, not pushing too many boundaries. I had a habit of subconsciously lowering my steely emotion barriers when Sirius was with me. That made me all the more dangerous, but I was getting a lot better that controlling the madness within.
He tilted his head down and breathed softly in my face, his eyes bright and filled with deep humor.
He crushed his lips to mine gently, cautiously once more. He still seemed unable to think of me as his, no matter how many times I assured him that I always had been and always was. He refused to believe that I could love him as much as he loved me.
He was always being careful with me, not wanting to push me away. I didn’t mind, I appreciated the intent, but he needed to understand, and I would make him. Somehow.
I entwined a hand in his hair, silently assuring him it was okay. He paused a moment and I wanted to growl ‘Just do it!’ against his lips, but I knew it was unwise and risky to push myself when I was already putting him in danger.
Sirius seemed to sense the hesitation in my body. Instead he pressed his warm lips gently to mine, one, twice, three times. He worked his way down my cheek and across him jaw. He nuzzled his face into my neck where he kissed softly the hollow at the base of my throat. Every nerve in my body was quivering, all of my senses in overdrive. I had to stop this soon or I’d do something bad to both of us.
Sirius sighed contentedly and drew his face away from my neck, though his firm hands never let down their hold of my body; but that was fine with me.
I reached up to stroke his hair, memorizing the soft texture of it beneath my skin. My hand ran down his temple and jaw. I gently smoothed out the soft dimple on his flawless skin. He smiled and it appeared again. I laughed and dropped my hand from his face and laced my fingers together with his instead.
Sirius stepped back from me and looked swiftly up and down the length of the corridor. No one had witnessed our moment. Thankfully.
He pulled me away from the wall and started to drag me along with him.
“Shall we go to class?” He asked looking amused. He stooped gracefully to pick up my discarded school bag. He frowned when he found out how heavy it was.
“Let me carry it.” He suggested, ignoring my protests. Then again, he wasn’t fully aware of the fact that weights like that seemed barely more than a feather to me.
In the end I gave in and let him take it. He eyed me suspiciously for a moment as he heaved it onto his shoulder.
As we walked I spoke.
“You have defense against the dark arts now?” I asked. I’d never gone to the extremes of memorizing his time table.
He nodded and rolled his eyes. “We’re revising non-verbal spells, again.”
I rolled my eyes along with him and groaned my sympathy.
“On the plus side though, we’re doing it with Slytherins!” This fact seemed to brighten his mood and his grimace was replaced by a sly grin.
I stopped walking now and took my bag from him. We were outside the classroom door. I was already a little downhearted by the fact this was another seventy minutes I wouldn’t get to be with him.
“I’ll see you at dinner.” He promised as we stopped outside me classroom. The eyes in his seraphic face were wide, sincere and beautiful.
I kissed his jaw and said, “I know. I’ll meet you there. Have fun in Defense against the dark arts.”
“Oh I will,” He promised smiling impishly. I laughed lightly, turning to face the door.
“See you at dinner!” He called once more happily over his shoulder, winking at me. Several people nearby, passing down the hall turned to stare, their mouths hanging open.
I felt the heat rising to my face, but did not blush, because I never do. Instead I ignored it.
“See you then!”
Then I opened the door and mentally began to brace myself for the lesson to come.
I was sitting by the common room fire reading, doing homework. My mind wasn’t really on the job; it had drifted away ages ago, wondering what Sirius was up to.
I pictured him next to me, and thought about what sort of things he would be telling me. Time seemed to move faster when I was with him. Funny that.
There was a light, unnatural breeze, I didn’t shift to see, but I knew who it was.
“Hello Jasper.” I laughed.
He chuckled too and sat down beside me on the floor. The dull but warm light emanating from the embers gave his skin an unearthly glow. His eyes flickered and his face was twisted up into a mischievous smile. It had been a while since I’d seen that look, though I could still remember it well. I knew he was up to something. This was the expression Jasper wore when he had a plan.
He watched me take in his features, judging his mood. He smiled wider still when I began to smirk.
“What are you up to now?” I asked, putting on an air of weariness, though it was all for show.
“Well, it just so happens that the Marauders have invited us to do a little, well, Marauder-ing. This afternoon James asked me if I’d like to go out with them tonight and Sirius was there too. He asked if you’d like to come as well. Lily will be with James of course, so you won’t be the only girl.”
My eyes gleamed with excitement, as if I hadn’t had enough excitement to last me a life time! The thought of sneaking around the castle at night with Sirius empowered me. I leapt to my feet.
“When’re we leaving?” I demanded.
“As soon as we like.”
And with that we were off.
I sat amongst the rowdy group of six, crowded around a circular table. It was warm and comfortable in The Three Broomsticks. Madame Rosmerta; an attractive, busty witch and also the barmaid of the pub hadn’t seemed at all surprised to have seven Hogwarts students appear out of the blue in her bar so late in the night.
She had been only a little inquisitive about the new additions (Jasper and I), but once the basic introductions had gotten out of the way, she gone back to her cleaning.
So now I sat, squished between Sirius and Peter. It was an awkward position to be in, considering how tightly packed we were around this small wooden table.
Sirius’s arm was wrapped tightly around my waist, not that I had any objections. But Peter kept making me laugh, and it was hard to collapse in a fit of laughter and not drag Sirius along in the process.
At one stage during the night Peter had leaned over and whispered in what he appeared to think a furtive way-
“Just to clear this up, you and Sirius are actually an item aren’t you?”
I’d stared at him incredulously for a moment, wishing him to be joking. I was frozen in that position until Sirius leaned over my shoulder and said-
“Yes Peter. I think we are.”
After I had recovered from the initial shock Sirius confided in me with a laugh that Peter had been dead serious. I clutched my side laughing and turned back to the main conversation.
“Well, I got a letter from mum yesterday,” James was saying quietly, “and she says dad’s not too well. If he gets much worse I might have to leave school for a bit.”
We all murmured our sympathies and condolences. Sirius looked almost as down as James. Lily rubbed James’s back reassuringly. Peter chewed his thumb nail anxiously. It was Remus who snapped us back out of it.
“I think he’ll be fine Prongs.” He whispered. “He’s been through worse, and with your dad’s spirit he’ll beat it, particularly knowing that worse things are out there.” He stopped at this point and looked out the window. The other six of us turned our faces that way too, but all we could see was out own worried, pale faces gazing back at us.
“He’ll pull through.” Remus said again.
Remus’s words echoed in my head. Worse things. Yes, I knew all about worse things, and I knew there were a few of them here in England. I’d known of him when I was a little child, back when Jasper and I both had been very young, when we’d lived in England until our parents had been moved to Romania.
Though we hadn’t really understood at the time, three words were enough to send shivers down our spines. You-Know-Who. I shivered to think of it again, or Voldemort. Nobody called him that though, nobody was game enough. The threat had somewhat died away while we lived in Romanina.
He had become something like a bad dream, a forgotten childhood fear like the boogeyman that ceased to exist as time passed by. But being here again, hearing the stories, it all came flooding on back.
I already had one person to watch out for, did I really need another?
I was jerked out of my grim reverie by Sirius’s alluring voice at my ear. His warm breath tickled my skin.
“This is boring. Want to duck out?”
I gazed around myself alarmed. Had he no pity at all? Wasn’t he at all sad for James? But as I looked around myself I realized that conversation had long left that particular topic. They were now all talking and laughing about the first Quidditch match of the season that was fast coming up.
How long had I been out of it?
Sirius answered my unasked question. “You’ve been tuned out for a while.”
I grimaced. “Oops.” I muttered and Sirius laughed.
“So? Do you want to go somewhere else or not?” I looked at his face. The enthusiasm was catching.
“Of course I do!” So he grabbed my hand and leapt to hit feet. Our friends’ faces turned to us as we stood.
“Going somewhere?” Jasper smirked, and peter nudged him in the side pulling obscene faces.
This caught Madame Rosmerta’s interest. She put own the bottle of magical stain remover she was using.
As Sirius and I edged towards the door, possibly looking like fugitives she said sternly, “Don’t be out too late you two and make sure you keep it ‘G’ rated, ‘PG’ at the least.”
Sirius winked at her. “No problems Rosmerta. We were going to play scrabble anyway.” And then he led me out of the bar and into the night. As the door closed behind us I heard her say-
“So Master Black has found himself a lady, and about time too!”
“Rosmerta m’dear,” James said. “That’s exactly what I’ve been saying.”
The breeze was cool, but not unbearable. Well, for me at least. I looked over at Sirius and barely stifled a giggle. He had a scarf wrapped around his neck and a thick cream woolen beanie covered his head. At random, curls of his hair poked out from beneath it. His pale skin was paler than usual except for his cheeks which had been stained pink by the wind.
I continued to gaze worriedly at him. After a moment more of his teeth chattering I’d had enough.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go back to the bar?”
“No!” He insisted. “No, I’m fine. The cold just gets to me a bit. That’s all.”
I pursed my lips in disapproval and continued to walk on, holding him tightly to my side, unbothered by the cold the slightest.
“You’re very warm.” He commented after a moment’s silence. “I’ve noticed it before, but it’s more obvious out here in the cold.”
I bit the inside of my cheek. How I wanted to explain to him why I was warm. But I was afraid that would be too much. In fact, it was something I’d been thinking about a lot over the past few days.
Every time I was close to him, every time we touched my temperature rose. Sometimes I even caught flame. I wasn’t sure if there was any way I would ever get a hold over it.
Should I, or more importantly, could I tell him the truth? Would he be able to handle it? Would I? What would his reactions be, maybe if I voiced it out loud the seriousness of the permanent danger I was putting us both in might sink in a little more. However at the moment I was keen on leaving things as they were. We hadn’t been together all that long, and as much as I hated to even think it, there was a chance that we could split up some time in the future. Besides, I wasn’t sure if I was entirely up to being that open with anyone besides Jasper. It would be going completely against our somewhat fractured philosophy of remaining inconspicuous.
No, I’d leave him in the dark for a while. May one day the time would come, but he was not suspicious for the time being, and I hated to cause him pain.
Besides, I was amazed by how much easier it was becoming for me to get a handle
over myself lately. I could almost control it instantaneously. I figured it probably had something to do with the amount of practice I had now had…
For a moment we stopped to catch our breath under a fir tree. The moon shone brightly through gaps in the clouds and the leaves. The large branches shielded us a little from the stormy breeze. Sirius’s teeth stopped knocking together for a while. He pulled his hands from his pockets and moved to wrap the around me. Instead I grabbed them halfway through the movement and wrapped his frozen fingers in my own warm palms. Sirius sighed.
“Thanks,” He murmured shuffling closer to me and kissing the top of my head. I tilted my head up and searched with my lips for his mouth. At last I found it and we shared a kiss.
“You’re welcome.” I breathed back. I pulled his arms inside my jacket and he twisted them tightly around my waist, drawing me closer as he did. He would be warmer there. I snaked my own arms up inside his expensive, tailored jacket and held him against me.
We stayed still in this position for some time. Sirius’s heart beat steadily against my own and in that moment, I felt that I could have stayed like this for an eternity.
A/N: So, I found my USB, and long overdue updates are coming your way!!! Woo hoo. I was so happy to post this chapter. Please tell me what you think.xx Laura
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