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Chapter 12 : Stirrings
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Over Scarlett's lifetime, there was absolutely no doubt in her mind that she made decisions that altered her fate. In Scarlett's mind life was just a complicated series of roads, and after each one there was the feeling of no return.
So, as Scarlett continuously found herself in Lord Voldemort's inner circle, she found that, many times, she felt past the point of no return. From getting her Dark Mark to allying herself with the Blacks and the Notts, she was more aware than she had ever been that every action she took was one that led her closer and closer to her fate.
She never thought her complicated series of roads and paths would lead her to a friendship with none other than Sirius Black.
Now, there was, without a doubt, still flickers of animosity. After all, one was a Death Eater and a Slytherin while the other was ready to be an Auror and had a Gryffindor badge on his robes. It was thus not very surprising they still fought even as they began to laugh with each other more and more.
And they were both equally competitive.
"I'll race you," Sirius offered one windy night, pulling himself onto a tree as he snuck some sips of Butterbeer from the four he had received. "If you win, you won't have to get me anything anymore. If I win, well--" Sirius cracked a smile-- "I won't have to see you, will I?"
"Merlin, it's a win-win," Scarlett muttered, bringing alongside a grin of her own. "Fine, Sirius Black. We'll go to the Pitch, right now, and see how it goes. Five laps?"
"I could do ten."
"I could do fifteen," Scarlett offered, shrugging good-naturedly. "Really, if you want to be more tired when you lose, it's your call. Ultimately, though, I think I'd enjoy the extra burn, you know, just to keep me motivated."
"Burn?" Sirius skeptically asked, looking at her with mirth. "It won't be burn for you. It'll just be torture."
"You're underestimating me," Scarlett warned, looking up at the tree above her as another leaf fell from the highest branch and nearly hit her square on the nose. "I just--I don't think you realize, really, how many days I've spent running the Pitch."
"You don't play Quidditch," Sirius pointed out. "You don't have to practice at god-awful hours of the morning."
"I don't play Quidditch because I'm a girl and Slytherin doesn't let girls play," Scarlett retaliated instantly, rolling her eyes at her response as a breeze blew strands of hair into her face. "I still practice mostly with them, though. Because Gryffindor always somehow tends to injure half the team during practice."
"What, us?" asked Sirius innocently, and he laughed, a large bark that trembled the trees. Scarlett looked over in the direction of Tenereus, her smile fading slightly, before turning back to Sirius with a competitive gleam in her eye.
"Yeah, you. Bring it on, Sirius Black. I'm ready."
Amortentia is, perhaps, one of the most dangerous potions in existence. Invented alongside Pirelli's Miracle Elixir, Amortentia has created quite a name for itself, becoming in the Wizarding World one of the strongest ways to overtake an opponent. Invented in the 1500s by Angelus Pirelli, the potion caused 'quite a stir' in the West Mariano village, where Pirelli resided. This village later became well known for its invention of Amortentia and was featured as the City of Love until its eventual destruction in 1775.
Amortentia, meaning 'love attack' or 'love trial' in Latin, has the ability to make the drinker susceptible to obsessive attraction to the potion creator. While in his state, the drinker is possessive and protective of the creator, believing that the creator's wishes are those that are best. The drinker is in a vulnerable position; very extreme cases of Amortentia can even become fatal to others as a result of jealousy and to themselves as a result of overwhelming grief. Otherwise, the drinker finds themselves attentive to the potion creator and their wants until the potion itself wears off.
Generally, the potion's effect lasts for two to five hours and wears off over time. The longest report of Amortentia was four hundred and seventy-two days by a very besotted Marcus Wilshack in Cairo, Egypt. Otherwise, the effects of the potion can be altered by the attractiveness of the girl or the weight of the male. They can also be altered by the age of the potion in question; as the potion ages, its effects become longer-lasting. In Marcus Wilshack's case, the Amortentia is believed to be one of the first ever made.
The potion has also become very popular as perfume for women, particularly the French. As Amortentia has one of the most attractive scents to any who encounter it, many believe that, by wearing it, the scent adapts to fit all who meet it. However, ingredients in the potion--particularly toadstool and dove's feather--tend to cause an allergic reaction to those who do not have French blood.
"What are you reading?"
Theodore Nott's head snapped up and looked straight into the eyes of his sister, an enthusiastic smile on her face brightening the sour mood on his. "Nothing," Theodore assured, closing the book so that his page rested on his index finger. "I'm not reading anything of your interest. Why aren't you sleeping?"
"Because I didn't want to." Georgiana smiled at this, settling next to Theodore on the couch as the clock nearby the fireplace chimed for midnight. "Because this is my couch. Either way, I caught you. Not trying to poison her, are you?"
"Scarlett wasn't going to come back for a long time," Theodore supplied, looking at Georgiana with some traces of irritation. "You could have just slept in her bed 'till she kicked you out at around five. Which would have been perfect, really, because we have a meet today, and you would've had to wake up then."
"When would Scarlett have slept?" Georgiana retaliated, leaning back on the head of the couch, lazily smiling at Theodore as she positioned herself comfortably. "Unless, of course, you're planning for her to sleep with you--"
"Your face is so red," Georgiana pointed out, laughing, and at her tone Theodore glared mutinously.
"And you have been thinking about it..." Georgiana whispered, a slow smile finding its way onto her face. "That's the problem, you know. You do think about it."
"Watch it, Georgie," Theodore threatened.
"You know I'm right," accused Georgiana, beaming. "You know I'm right because you're still thinking about her, right now! No matter what you threaten me with, you're still going to be thinking about her! And that--" and Georgiana kissed her brother's bright red cheek before standing up-- "that just sucks for you, I fear."
"You're not tired?"
The sun began to, very softly, appear on the twilight sky. It had to have been somewhere around four thirty, and even though fatigue was beginning to set in, the competitiveness of the couple could not be matched by their own exhaustion.
This had to have been, at most, the fifth time Sirius and Scarlett had raced, because, being very competitive, they also had the unfortunate knack of being vulnerable to one of the most common human impulses: cheating.
At first, it had been Scarlett that had raced across their defined finish line, though Sirius believed that she had cut corners in their fifteen-lap race. After that, Sirius defeated Scarlett without a breath to his name, though she claimed he had skipped a lap without her knowing.
After a long breather and many more cheating rounds, Scarlett and Sirius had, again, found themselves on the Pitch, racing an inordinate number of miles. Scarlett, in a moment of motivation, had raced a nose ahead of Sirius, and as they were both monitoring each other with expert preciseness, they both could properly determine that they were on their seventh of fifteen laps. Fifteen long, painful, breathtaking laps.
Finally, at the finish of the seventh lap, they both simultaneously fell on the cool grass, just as the sky began to swirl into lighter hues. Both took deep, gasping breaths, their bodies molding into the soil beneath them.
"Scarlett?" Sirius asked, though it was roughly cut off by winded gasps, each coming half a second later than the last. They stayed like that for a long while, right until the point where they could both take even breaths, even if their legs felt incapable of running.
"Yeah?" Scarlett said, settling into the grass, her eyes closing in fatigue though opening very hastily afterwards. She glanced over at Sirius, who had a wild smirk on his face and had sat up, Indian-style, on the grass, right where the right goalpost was.
"What if I told you, right now, that I fancy you?"
Scarlett blinked, repositioning herself on the grass slowly so that she was kneeling. She looked, for a very long time, at Sirius, in an observant and calculating way, and, accepting the challenge, Sirius looked back, hardly blinking.
And all of a sudden Scarlett firmly slapped him across the face, enough so that a loud SMACK resounded through the whole Pitch. Sirius immediately laughed, and Scarlett did too, shaking her head in disbelief.
"Nice try," she complimented. "But you are going to be very, very sorry that you said that."
"Amortentia," Slughorn began, stirring the concoction that was contained in an ancient cauldron. "Now, before we even attempt to brew this complicated potion, let us first think about its qualities. What is the history of Amortentia?... what ingredients are in it? Anyone? Anyone?"
Theodore Nott raised his hand. "Amortentia was invented by Angelus Pirelli in the 1500's."
"Correct!" Slughorn beamed, looking around the room for more answers as he penned the fact down. "Anyone else with any information on Amortentia?" He paused as he looked around the room; the only one that was meeting his eyes was Theodore. "Mr. Nott!" Slughorn said, his voice rising and lowering with increased enthusiasm, and Theodore smiled politely.
"There's dove's feather in it," Theodore pointed out, "and toadstool, so that when people put it on their wrists to smell nice they normally get an allergic reaction."
"Very excellent!" Slughorn praised. "Yes, indeed; when dove's feather and toadstool are combined in a potion and applied directly to the skin there is a very large possibility of an allergic reaction! Of course, occasionally a Muggleborn salesperson will sneak some Amortentia into a perfume and--voila! It has caused many lawsuits, though," he chided, and maybe one person laughed at this. "The French--particularly the ladies--have built an immunity to the allergic reaction as they have used it on their skin for centuries. Anyone here of French descent that we could test this on? The reaction comes fairly quickly, and only lasts for a few minutes."
"What about Scarlett?" Narcissa quietly offered, and Georgiana smirked, leaning back in her seat. "Scarlett moved from France, and her whole family is French."
Scarlett groaned, looking up from the palms of her hands towards Narcissa. Dark blue rings marked her eyes prominently. "Is this required, sir?"
"You don't have to," Theodore muttered, right next to her, and Scarlett looked over at him. As if his assurance for her to not was motivation, she stood up, and, nearly stumbling into a desk, made her way to the middle of the classroom, where the Amortentia bubbled.
I'm going to kill you, Theodore wrote on a spare bit of parchment, folding it and handing it to Georgiana, who sat behind him. She read the note with amusement, sharing it with Narcissa, who let out a tinkling laugh that foreboded what was about to come.
"Lovely!" Slughorn said, and, very neatly, took an eyedropper and put one teardrop-shaped portion of Amortentia on the middle of Scarlett's wrist. She rubbed them together, looking at Slughorn with distaste as she slowly circled her wrists.
Slughorn took her wrist, examining it, before a large smile broke out on his face. "Not allergic!" he said happily, and Scarlett nodded, her face rather expressionless. "Five points to Slytherin for your participation! Thank you!"
As Scarlett made her way back to her seat, Theodore felt his stomach fill with butterflies--the air was drenched with the smell of vanilla and hazelnut, the smell that was so purely Scarlett and was so purely irresistible--and he looked back at Slughorn with a fair bit of will power, watching out of the corner of his eye as she took out a piece of parchment and began writing down notes.
It was strange, really, that he felt this way, that he liked to feel this way. It was a feeling that Theodore had felt before but never like this. The only thing that could describe what he felt now--this aching, seething, tempting feeling--was none other than fancy, a potion of chemistry within him that combined lust and friendship and the hints of something more...a potion as strong as Amortentia, strong enough to paralyze Theodore where he was and make him feel as if he were struck dumb.
It was not much longer that Georgiana retaliated, and, in her happiest handwriting, Theodore read:
I told you so.
A quiet stirring of the trees alerted the pair.
The sun had really started to change the sky, and the moon was fading as the clock was sure to have turned five. The birds had only just begun to sing, but it was the trembling that awoke Scarlett, who was leaning against the golden post that stretched high onto the Pitch, from a partial sleep.
The night had been very peaceful; only broken with the sounds of talking, Scarlett and Sirius had a lengthy conversation, where they had taken to falling asleep for minutes at a time before being woken by the other speaking again. The cycle, in all, had given them at most a half hour of honest sleep, and each were forming marks under their eyes.
Now, however, they were as alert as possible for pulling an all-nighter, and they looked at the castle before turning to each other. Sirius shrugged, and Scarlett looked again at the castle before turning back to Sirius, whose eyes were closed.
"What was that?" Scarlett muttered, breaking the peace, and Sirius opened his eyes, blearily shrugging again, looking back at where the castle entrance was with little interest. There seemed to be no one there from the look of the place, but, as Scarlett was a very alert Death Eater, she would have known--
Death Eater. There was a meet today.
Immediately, Scarlett stood up, grabbing the side of Sirius's robe with enough grip that he stood up too. "What? he asked irritably, and Scarlett's eyes widened, hastily pulling him away from the Pitch toward an entryway of the castle that the Death Eaters had never used. "Bloody hell, woman--"
"Keep your voice down," Scarlett whispered, as the two entered the castle. "That could be a Quidditch team, it could be Slytherin, and I just don't want to be seen."
At least the second part was true.
Sirius shrugged and then he smiled. "So," Sirius began, "we did it. Defied the rules, conquered the world, stayed up all night..." He groaned. "We have class today, do you know that?"
"You could always skip, like I do," Scarlett suggested, a smile on her face as she attempted to wash away worry. "And, yes, you're right. Now, who won the bet? Do you not have to come anymore, or do I not have to pay you?"
"Ah..." Sirius grinned, thinking, before looking back at her. "I'll admit defeat. But only for a week, right? After all, I'm just being chivalrous--"
"Sirius Black, chivalrous..." Scarlett trailed off, shaking her head in disbelief. "I never would have thought it. But I'm not going to argue. I need some money, anyway."
Simultaneously, they both turned toward each other, and beamed equally and happily, Scarlett's lips finally revealing a genuine smile, her worry temporarily disarmed as the couple enjoyed the early morning serenity.
But, even though each smile was equal, there was something special about Scarlett's, something that only Sirius caught onto. It may have been pure exhaustion that had brought upon this discovery, or it could have been there all along, dormant until Sirius was ready to discover it.
The discovery's after-effects, of course, were going to be more brutal than not, but couldn't the after-effects wait? Now, right now, all Sirius really felt like doing was enjoying this moment--enjoying Scarlett and her smile.
Because, when Sirius came down to it, she was actually rather beautiful...
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