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Echoes of light by maraudersmap
Chapter 7 : Together?
 
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Disclaimer: I didn’t write the Harry Potter books. J K Rowling, on the other hand, did. 

Stunning character introduction by .1smallTREE @ tda.

Chapter seven: Together? 

Anna Louise Parker had never been a likeable girl. She was lazy and rude, and everyone knew it. She did have a few qualities, however, and the most outstanding of these, was that she hadn’t turned out like her mother.

Anna Louise had known of her mother’s cruel and manipulative mind for a long time. Ursula Parker was the cause of Mrs. Walburga Black’s unhappiness; she’d made an innocent, young boy torture a fellow student; and she was the reason that Anna Louise’s old divination teacher had tried to commit suicide. Her methods were amazingly cunning, and though she was a gruesome woman, she was said to be one of the most intelligent witches in Britain.

Little did Anna Louise know that her disdain for her mother would be the one thing to make Victoria Jones succeed in her plan to befriend Sirius Black.

As the Slytherin entered the Charms classroom, preparing herself for what she considered to be the easiest class there was, the first thing she noticed was Sirius Black, the boy she was ashamed to call her ex boyfriend. She knew that she couldn’t be blamed for falling for him – his mysterious charm and good looks were certainly an alluring combination. But she was disgusted to think that she was no better than the other girls... the silly, desperate girls who were still obsessed with him. It was almost scary how they’d never gotten over him. And creating a club? Anna Louise snorted. The only reason she’d joined was because it was dead amusing to watch how they all pretended to be over him.

She made her way to the only empty table in the room. A glance at the clock on the wall told her that the class didn’t start for another five minutes, so almost without thinking, she stole a subtle glance at Sirius again. He was sitting with that Roxanne girl, the one who didn’t seem to care that she was the most hated girl in Hogwarts at the moment. Sirius said something, and Roxanne’s happy laughter echoed throughout the room. With a sudden feeling of loss, Anna Louise remembered what it had felt like to laugh with him. She didn’t miss it, not in any way, shape or form, but she couldn’t deny that no matter how silly their relationship had been, it had felt nice while it lasted.

Someone entered the room, and Anna Louise turned to spot Victoria Jones, another ex girlfriend of Sirius’. The brown-haired Ravenclaw was the only one who seemed to share her opinion of the club, Anna Louise remembered. Victoria looked awful: She had dark circles under her eyes; her hair was a mess and her facial expression was one of deep anxiousness.

“Hey,” the Ravenclaw greeted, positioning herself beside Anna Louise, who nodded in response. She didn’t really feel like talking to anyone, and apparently, Victoria felt the same way. The two girls sat in silence until Professor Flitwick entered, both eavesdropping on Sirius and Roxanne’s conversation.

“Good evening!” the small man said excitedly. “Today we’re going to try something new.”

He winked in their direction, and Anna Louise assumed that it was directed at Victoria, who blushed. Then the Professor explained their assignment. For two whole weeks, they were going to be working in pairs, he said, and each pair would receive one charm that they were going to do as much research on as possible. At the end of the time period, each pair would do a presentation.

None of the students seemed particularly interested. That is, until Professor Flitwick said, “Now, onto the pairs...” He started to read from a piece of parchment, “James Potter and Charlotte Whitey, you two will study cheering charms... Tobias Steel and Roxanne Wintringham, a summoning charm...”

The students were too busy finding out who they were going to be paired with to notice the almost invisible silver light erupting from Victoria’s wand, finding its way to the Professor’s parchment. That is, everyone except Anna Louise, who even heard the words the Ravenclaw muttered.

At first, she couldn’t understand what Victoria had done. But then the Professor shook his head a little confusedly and read in a slightly unsure voice, “Sirius Black and Victoria Jones, the flame-freezing charm...”

Anna Louise gaped. So these were the true colours of the girl she’d believed to be sane? How ironic, how pathetic, how completely and utterly ridiculous. Torn between shock, contempt and amusement, she elbowed Victoria’s side softly. Victoria looked at her questioningly, but upon seeing the Slytherin’s facial expression, her already gaunt face paled.

“I...I...” she stuttered, eyes wide. Anna Louise raised an eyebrow, smirking.

“Yes?” she said innocently. Victoria’s eyes narrowed as she straightened her composure.

“Don’t you dare tell anyone,” she whispered harshly. “Ever.”

Though Anna Louise had to admire the brunette’s nerve, she wasn’t scared. “Or what?”

Victoria opened her mouth, closed it, and once again her facial expression changed, this time into a pleading one. “Please, Anna Louise.”

Anna Louise imagined all the fun it would be to expose Victoria’s feelings to the world, or better yet, to use this newfound information as blackmail. Oh, the joys of screwing someone over... And then it hit her. Ursula Parker, her own mother, must have thought the same thoughts, felt the same way. The idea was sickening. Was she turning into her mother? Her cruel, manipulative mother, who undoubtedly would’ve done what her daughter was now contemplating doing?

The Slytherin’s eyes found Victoria’s pleading ones. She knew that she had no choice.

“It’s alright,” she heard herself say, “I won’t tell anyone. You have my word.”

Victoria couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. Rather than staying to confirm that she had, in fact, gone crazy, she sent her fellow club-member the most grateful smile she could muster, got up and headed towards Sirius.

This was it.

Sirius was sitting with his legs popped up on his desk nonchalantly. His black hair was falling into his eyes in a graceful rather than annoying manner, and his long fingers were absentmindedly flipping the pages of the Charms textbook. He didn’t look at her when she positioned herself beside him, her heart beating rapidly against her ribcage.

For a moment, none of them said anything. Then Victoria drew a deep breath and said in what she hoped was a cheerful voice, “So, the flame-freezing charm, huh?”

She caught a small whiff of his aftershave, and it intoxicated her, not because it smelled so good, but because she associated the manly smell with him, Sirius Black and everything that he was.

He looked at her, and his grey eyes were cold. Victoria felt a shiver run down her spine. She remembered a time when those eyes had been filled with warmth, when a smile had been marking his handsome face... How could he merely sit there without remembering the time they’d spent together, the kisses they’d shared?

“Interesting, isn’t it?” His voice was sarcastic. Victoria had expected his cold demeanour, but she hated it nonetheless. She was surprised to feel something else entirely too, though: Happiness. Sitting this close to him, talking to him... It had been almost two years since the last time, but the familiar feeling of being where she was supposed to be was the same. If only Sirius had acted differently.

“We should get started,” she said and wrote “The Flame-Freezing Charm” on a piece of parchment, praying he wouldn’t notice how unsteady her hand was. Then she said, “What do you know about it?”

“’It changes the properties of fire so that the heat feels like a warm breeze,’” Sirius read, surveying the pages of his book uninterestedly. For a moment, all that could be heard was the light scratching of Victoria’s quill.

“It’s a very easy charm,” she mused. “I’m surprised Flitwick would want us to study something that easy...”

She glanced at him, and her stomach did a strange sort of loop when she saw that he was mouthing something to Roxanne, who sent him a flirtatious wink from across the room.

“When you’re done,” Victoria said coldly, “You might want to help me with this.”

“Oh?” he said his expression one of indifference. “Why is that? You seem to be managing perfectly fine on your own.”

“We’re together on this, Sirius,” she said seriously. “You may hate it, but it’s a fact.”

She wanted to take back her words the second they left her mouth.

“We are together on this, Victoria. You may hate it, but it’s a fact,” Sirius stated, causing Victoria to sigh with despair.

“It’s not that easy,” she admitted miserably. “Mum’s going crazy because I won’t meet him, and now she’s practically begging me to come by myself.” She buried her face in her hands.

“I’ll come with you whether your mum likes it or not,” Sirius said, and his eyes were determined. “I understand why she’s upset, Victoria, I really do, but that Walter person is not your father. She can’t pretend otherwise.”

“But that’s exactly what she’s doing!” Victoria wailed. Tears started to fall from her brown eyes. “And I have to go alone, Sirius, I have to...”

He wiped away her tears with the palm of his hand as he wrapped his other arm around her shoulders.

“We are together on this...” he whispered into her ear once more. “We’re together on everything, and the world will just have to accept that.”

Sirius’ face darkened. For a second, a complete silence surrounded the two of them. Victoria’s breathing hitched, and she realized that if she ever were to tell him that she still had feelings for him, this would be the moment to do so. She felt sick when she opened her mouth, sick with nerves, but Sirius’ snort cut her off.

“Ironic,” he said dryly. “Here I was thinking that you detested that word and everything it means... together...”

He raised an eyebrow at her.

“I don’t,” she replied quickly, desperately. “I don’t anymore, and I...” she drew a deep breath, “I want to be your friend, Sirius.”

The utter shock his face expressed would normally have satisfied her, she supposed, but she couldn’t quite bring herself to care. No one in the room seemed to notice the loaded conversation taking place at the desk near the window, nor the fact that Sirius Black was speechless for the first time in a very long time.

“I mean,” Victoria continued hurriedly, “I realize that this is all very sudden, but you must understand that I’ve been thinking about it for a while, Sirius... We messed up, you and I, but our friendship was a good one, you can’t deny it.”

She’d be able to express herself better if she wasn’t so affected by his presence. She felt her cheeks heat up, and she averted her gaze. Playing absentmindedly with a loose thread on her sweater, she said softly, “So what do you say? I know I’m two years too late, but I think we ought to try.”

Sirius still didn’t say anything, but she didn’t dare to look at him. All thoughts of getting a good grade on their Charms assignment were gone from her mind when Professor Flitwick dismissed the class, causing Victoria to moan silently with disappointment. Before she got the chance to talk to Sirius again, Roxanne was there, one hand on his shoulder.

“Hey!” she said, beaming so brightly that she lit up the entire room. “What do you have next?”

Sirius quickly got up and put his arm around her waist. Victoria looked away and started to gather her book, quill and parchment in her old school bag, trying to ignore the way her stomach clenched with disgust at the sight of the happy couple.

“Care of magical creatures,” he replied smoothly.

“Me too!” Roxanne squealed. Then she spotted Victoria, and her smile faltered slightly. “Oh,” she said uncertainly, “I didn’t see you there, Victoria. Do you want to join us?”

Victoria, more than a little surprised by the girl’s question, didn’t have the chance to answer before Sirius said coldly, “Jones doesn’t take care of magical creatures.”

“Alright,” Roxanne smiled. With a nod in Victoria’s direction, she headed out of the classroom with Sirius’ arm around her.

Victoria watched them go, her head spinning. This hadn’t turned out the way she’d planned. At all. She hadn’t meant to tell Sirius that she wanted to be his friend, and the civil conversation they’d been supposed to have had been nonexistent. Why hadn’t she acted smoother, more confident? He had been so devastatingly cold... It seemed so strange to think that there had been a time in which he’d sent her a smile the moment he laid eyes on her.

“Miss Jones,” Professor Flitwick said squeakily, “A word?”

Her mind still occupied by Sirius, she walked up to the Professor’s desk in a daze.

“I would like to congratulate you on the wonderful befuddlement Charm you preformed to pair yourself with Mr. Black,” Flitwick said with a small smile. “May I ask why it was so important to be his partner?”

Her cheeks reddened with embarrassment.

“It... it makes sense, sir.”

“Yes,” the small man replied thoughtfully, “It does.”

A/N: I am terribly sorry: I know it’s been a while since I last updated. I hope this chapter was worth the wait, though. Personally, I’m not so sure. Oh well, at least it’s over 2000 words! :D This is my slightly delayed Christmas present to you, my readers. Without you, this story would be awful. Thank you for reading, and of course for all the helpful reviews. Please, don’t stop now: Review! :)

(Oh, and if you have any questions about this story, do not hesitate to visit my 'meet the author'-page on the forums. I'll answer almost anything.)


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