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Chapter 10 : Waltzing With Trouble: Part II
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ATTENTION: CHAPTER NINE HAS BEEN UPDATED AS OF AUGUST 24 2009- IF YOU READ IT BEFORE THAT DATE READ IT AGAIN. 4000 OR SO WORDS HAVE BEEN ADDED AND YOU WILL NOT UNDERSTAND THIS CHAPTER IF YOU HAVEN'T.
“Remus!” They caught the surprised boy in a tight hug, making him stumble back a little with force of it, kissing him on each cheek as they continued to squeal in that annoying high-pitched girly way of theirs.
James also noted though, that Evans’ squeal wasn’t actually... that annoying.
He suddenly found himself wishing that she would squeal like that for him.
Jealousy twisted and writhed in his gut, rising in his chest as Lily pressed her nubile and deliciously feminine body against Remus’ side and he slung uncertain arms around both grinning girls.
“It’s nice to see you too girls.” Remus laughed lightly in that sophisticated way of his.
“Finally! Some normality has arrived! Thank the lord!” Gules cried, squeezing Remus a little tighter.
“We’re so glad you’re here Remus,” Lily agreed fervently from his other side, absently noting that Potter seemed to be frozen silent from where he stood off to their side with the funniest stare directed their way.
“I’m glad I’m here too.” Remus smiled gently, giving each girl a squeeze in turn, sneaking a nervous glance at James who looked like something extremely close to murderous.
“Why don’t I get a welcome like that?” James muttered mock-darkly, getting everyone’s attention, they all paused to look at him.
Lily couldn’t help but feel resentment as she looked at him.
He hadn’t changed a bit.
“Because you’re an arrogant toe-rag.” The words were out of her mouth like a reflex before she could even think to stop them. Lily watched, confused by the hurt that flashed in Potter’s eyes and the way he looked to Gules unsurely, as if asking what was going on.
Lily couldn’t help it though, as far as she could see, Potter seemed exactly the same as he did before.
Gules looked from Lily’s unreadable gaze to James’ carefully casual countenance. She smiled sympathetically at James. Lily was going to need a bit of time and a lot of persuading. Clearly.
Awwww, poor Jamesiekins is feeling left out, she really must do something about this.
“Jaaaaames I’m sooooo excited to see you!” Gules squealed, extricating herself from Remus’ arm and throwing herself at James, catching him off guard with a fierce hug.
James looked down at her with a grin.
“I didn’t want it from you, you dolt.” He winked down at her.
“Oh!” Gules cried, slapping a hand to her heart. “I am offended! You ungrateful, good for nothing, lump of shi-“
“How about we go inside?” Remus suggested suddenly. Gules stopped advancing on James with a dangerous glint in her eyes and turned to Remus with a grin, not noticing James give a long sigh of relief behind her.
“Yes! Let’s go inside my peeps!” Gules exclaimed with an expansive gesture of her arms. And with that, they all traipsed inside, laughing as James cried out indignation with “Hey! That’s my word!”
Each and every one of them forgot to close the front door behind them.
The next hour was spent laughing and talking about each of their summers, properly catching up with Remus.
Lily found that, astoundingly, Potter hadn’t made any suggestive comments, or made fun of her in any way. In actuality, he’d barely made two comments directed at her and for that, she was sort of enjoying herself. She was irked to find that contrary to what she had initially thought an hour ago, Potter did seem to have changed... slightly.
She discovered that this unnerved her greatly.
Gules found that she had missed Remus more than she had realised and now that he was finally here, she would have an extra buffer between her and Black, in fact, now that the group was a whole lot bigger, it meant that she might not even have to talk to him anymore. She didn’t find this thought nearly as comforting as it should have been.
James found that, if it was possible, Lily had become even more beautiful since the last time he’d seen her, and her witty sarcasm, accompanied by that mesmerising beauty, seemed to have glued his mouth startlingly shut. Not at all, the way he had been hoping things would go.
Remus, on the other hand, found, that there seemed to be some kind of sexual tension in the room, between which two parties, it wasn’t hard to guess, and another kind of tension seemed to be in the room as well. When he realised who it was, he was puzzled. Oh so puzzled that Gules Bedoni would be tense and not at all the happy, sharp-minded (and clumsy) girl he’d seen just over a month ago. Oh she was pretty good at hiding it, but something didn’t seem just right with her. She seemed to be...on edge.
But what none of them realised amidst all of their numerous realisations and discoveries in that hour, was that another pair of ears had been listening for some time with growing resentment.
Sirius shifted his weight slightly from where he stood on the front doorstep, staring into the Bedoni household through the open doorway.
There, in the hallway mirror reflection he could clearly see Gules, laughing with someone; a boy, with his back to Sirius.
The boy was none other than his best friend Remus Lupin.
He watched her eyes glisten with amusement as Remus retold a particularly funny story about a family get together a week ago. He noted how she couldn’t seem to stop smiling.
It could’ve been because the story was funny, but Sirius knew it was something else entirely.
When she clutched his forearm as she bent over the table breaking down into tears of laughter, something inside of him clenched and twisted nastily. Things were suddenly becoming a lot clearer.
He tried to swallow the bad taste in his mouth, to get rid of it, but it wouldn’t go, just like the sick feeling in his chest.
This was a good thing, he told himself nonchalantly, it meant that everything was back to normal and he didn’t need to apologise for something that he wasn’t sorry for.
Well at least not anymore.
He’d caught himself just in time, he should count himself lucky that he didn’t do something that he knew he would’ve later regretted. She so obviously doesn’t want an apology, and he would’ve humiliated himself in doing so. Sirius Black does not get humiliated.
Sirius stepped away from the door abruptly when he realised that this was the second time that day that he had been spying.
On the same girl.
He then whipped around and strode back to Potter Manor.
He didn’t look back.
But all he could see was her smile.
“Man, it’s already twelve! We’ve been talking for hours!” Remus exclaimed, on glancing the kitchen clock (that had been bought from a pawn shop in south London and just so happened to be shaped as a zucchini).
“Yeah, time flies by when you’re with me.” Gules replied with a smug smile.
“Err... yeah, whatever you say.” James scoffed with a smirk, his stomach promptly rumbling loudly as he ducked away from Gules’ attempt to thwack him on the upside of the head. “Hey! Everyone has to keep their hands to themselves!” He exclaimed defensively as Gules attempted once again to thwack him... and succeeded. But there are exceptions... James thought to himself as his eyes fell on Lily, whilst rubbing the back of his head tenderly.
And making his hair that little bit messier.
“Ugh... I’m starviiinggggggg.” Gules cried in anguish a moment later, rubbing circles over her stomach.
Lily agreed with her and rose from the table to begin making something for lunch.
“Nah Evans, why don’t you girls come to mine for lunch, Remie and I would love to have you over.” James suggested with a hopeful smile.
Lily looked unsurely at Gules, who was nodding her head up down enthusiastically and not too discreetly (sending her dark hair into a riotous mess).
“Yeah, suppose so, Gules seems to... like the idea,” Lily remarked dryly her eyes flickering to Gules’ wide and all encompassing grin. “As long as Gules and I don’t have to cook.” Lily’s gaze flickered to Potter’s, challenging him.
She didn’t know it, but something in his stomach flipped and swooped when her expressive eyes met his; that defiant gleam causing him to feel strangely hot.
“Of course Evans!” James exclaimed with an easy smile. “Don’t you know? Remie and I are master chefs just waiting to be discovered!”
Remus opened his mouth to interrupt but was cut off with Gules’ snort.
“Well, if you’re anything like me, which I’m guessing you’re worse, it’ll end up with one or more of us suffering from broken body parts... and probably a charred lunch.”
“You offend me Gules! Ye of little faith!” James cried, mock-offended, throwing a melodramatic hand to his heart. “You’ll see! Remie and I will cook up a sumptuous feast that’ll leave you begging for more!” He declared with a decided point of his index finger.
Remus, once again, attempted to interrupt, but... was cut off by Gules.
“Yeah yeah,” Gules sighed exasperatedly, grabbing James and ushering him out, Remus and Lily following. “Stop talking and start walking you chatterbox, I want food and I want it now.”
“Sheesh, talk about demanding. Remie and I are artists oh so ignorant one, we are not to be rushed. The culinary arts take time and the utmost care, nothing must get in the way of their creation, including demanding and ignorant customers. Understood? Remie understands, he’s another masterful artist, almost as masterful as me. Remie-“
“Oh for pity’s sake, stop calling me REMIE!” Remus interjected finally, causing the group to burst into sudden laughter, completely unaware that a pair of grey eyes were watching them all from a bedroom window in Potter Manor.
“Where’s your third musketeer?” Gules asked suspiciously a few moments later, on entering the grand and very empty foyer of Potter Manor. She looked around as if expecting Black to jump out from behind a Greek pillar.
Well you can never be too careful, knowing Black, he might just do it to see if he could scare her enough so that she stumbles backwards, trips over some air and tumbles down the front steps.
But as everyone already knows, you need a lot less than that to make Gules Bedoni trip.
In fact, you don’t even have to do anything. Just stand by and watch, and it’ll happen all by itself.
“My muske-what?” James asked confusedly, from beside him, Remus smiled knowingly, shaking his head at James and answered Gules himself.
“We don’t know where Sirius is. We woke up this morning and he was gone; he does that sometimes,” Remus looked at Gules curiously.
“Padfoot? I didn’t know Padfoot was a muske-thingy!" James paused in thought. "So..." He grinned. "What's a muske-thingy?” James looked at Gules expectantly. From beside her, Lily stifled a smile, silently horrified that she even had to.
Gules’ reply however, froze on her lips when another voice interrupted loudly.
“Is that my name I hear? Good to know you’re all talking about me. Nice things, I hope.” Sirius flashed a wolfish grin their way as he bounded easily down the expansive stairs towards the group.
“Hey Evans,” He grinned as he reached them on a graceful jog, slinging an inviting arm around a slightly befuddled James, who was staring at his friend as if concerned that he might be on drugs.
Gules thought she might agree, and had to remind herself to snap her mouth shut before she started looking like a complete nutter.
“Has my mate here been charming your socks off then Evans?” Here he jiggled James in a brotherly affectionate gesture, earning another unsure, but still pleased look from James. “If you don’t fancy him now, he hasn’t been trying hard enough.”
Lily just stared at him, blushing wildly and trying to find something say, luckily for her,
Remus chose that moment to interrupt.
“Padfoot, you’re back,” Sirius turned to him and smirked.
Behind his back, Lily looked at Gules with wide eyes, mouthing the words “I thought you said he was a prat!” Gules looked at her helplessly, knowing no more that her friend did as to the reason for this sudden change in the boy she had thought was a cold, distant... bastard. But then again, this was the warm person he became with friends... except she had never witnessed it before.
“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” Sirius’ smirk widened.
“Obviously, you’re back in more ways than one.” James remarked with a grin from beside him, referring to the very moody and distant Sirius that he and Gules had had to put up with for the past week. It seemed to James, that the Sirius he had been used to was back, and it was about bloody time. Maybe he had finally gotten over this whole trust thing with Gules.
“Where’ve you been?” Remus asked, shutting the front doors, and following the group into the kitchen.
Sirius smiled beguilingly at Remus, a mischievous glint in his dark grey eyes.
“Around,” Sirius replied vaguely, and to all that knew him, that meant that Sirius wasn’t telling.
“Right, are we going to cook up a storm for these lovely ladies or not?” James began, clapping his hands and rubbing them together decisively.
“Whatever you do, don’t cook up a fire,” Gules remarked dryly as she and Lily seated themselves on some kitchen stools, watching the boys amusedly as they started pulling cooking utensils out and setting up.
As the boys began flicking and waving their wands around like experts, and the cooking began (as did their friendly banter) Gules couldn’t help but stare at Sirius in wonder. Especially when that smile (or smirk) was constantly on his face. She just couldn’t tear her eyes away from him, it was just so different to see him like this and it didn’t escape her attention that he hadn’t said a word to her, smart-arse remark or otherwise. She picked up a nearby motorbike magazine and began chatting with Lily when she realised she had been staring again.
“Hey Padfoot!” James exclaimed suddenly, getting everyone’s attention. “Did Gules tell you that you’re a muske-thingy?! I don’t know what that is! But it sounds manly!” He grinned, Sirius returning it (though Gules noticed that it didn’t quite reach his eyes).
“It’s a musketeer Prongs.” Remus corrected with a good-natured sigh. “Get it right,”
“Muske-thingy, musketeer, same thing,” James replied with a nonchalant shrug, searching for something to do while the lamb roast... roasted, and when he didn’t find anything, he turned to Gules. “You enjoying Padfoot’s motorbike magazine Gules?”
Gules and Sirius’ heads snapped up in unison, their gazes colliding in the next second and holding there for a moment.
“I didn’t know you were interested in motorbikes...” He murmured with a friendly smile.
She looked at him in confusion, sudden suspicion settling in her stomach.
He was being friendly.
Something was definitely up.
“I’m not,” She snapped, throwing the magazine down as if it had burned her. She then turned and began talking to Lily about what she would wear to the Potter Ball (it had been earlier decided Lily would come as well) completely ignoring the fact that Sirius was still looking at her, that friendly smile on his face.
Remus looked on, a confused smile on his face as Sirius turned his attention back to the charmed knife that had been chopping the carrots quite a bit faster than it should have.
Remus also noted with interest, how Gules’ eyes kept on wondering to his grey-eyed friend quite a bit more than was normal.
Interesting, he thought to himself, very interesting.
“Mmmmmm, this roast is, to put it simply, fabulous,” James moaned in pleasure as he stuffed yet another forkful of lamb roast into his mouth, an hour later as the five teenagers sat at the kitchen table enjoying the lunch the boys had made.
“Alright alright, no need to fluff up your own feathers, Potter.” Lily put in, from where she sat, across from him. James grinned in response.
“I’m the one that cooked it anyway, so he shouldn’t be 'fluffing' in the first place.” Remus countered with a smug grin.
“You did not!” James retaliated, offended. “I distinctly remember pointing my wand at the roast!”
“And I distinctly remember that shortly afterwards, the roast turned into a thimble,” Sirius interjected with a smirk.
“Oh shut up... small insignificant details anyway... it’s not as if I didn’t fix it...” James muttered, shovelling some more roast in his mouth and chewing grumpily.
“You know,” Sirius began, giving Gules a lopsided smile that immediately put Gules on edge. “You’re like the male version of... Gules, here,”
“Black... I think you might be on to something,” Lily conceded with a nod of agreement.
Gules felt herself heat up with anger that Lily of ALL people was agreeing with Black. Over the past hour she had watched in deep suspicion as Sirius had morphed into some kind of charming, sarcastic (but not in the vicious way he had always been with her) funny alien that was the complete opposite to the moody, cold idiot he had been for the entire summer up until... that day.
Something in him had switched. And she didn’t like it. One bit.
The worst part of it was that he was even being friendly with her.
She knew it was a trick, she wasn’t fooled for a second. But unfortunately for her, she was helpless as she felt herself falling into his trap; she was rude every time he addressed her or attempted conversation with her and fell into a sullen silence as conversation continued around her, her eyes narrowed accusingly as she stared at him.
Now her friends thought she was being the idiot. Not him.
“Don’t call me Gules,” She growled at him, glaring at his easy, deceivingly friendly smile.
“What would you prefer I call you? Pip-squeak?” Sirius laughed, smiling at her.
However, to Gules, it only served to anger her even more.
She narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
“Stop being nice,”
She frowned at the sudden laughter bubbling around her; she gazed accusingly at Lily, at Remus and at James who were all practically wetting their pants.
“No one’s ever complained before when I’m nice,” Sirius smirked at her from across the table. “Which doesn’t happen often...” He trailed off, winking at her.
“Just stop it.” Gules replied quietly, not understanding the irrational, yet powerful anger that was all but blinding her.
“Aren’t I good enough to be your friend?” He asked with a friendly smile. But Gules saw through it, although his lips were smiling, his eyes were dead serious, and what she saw in them she couldn’t decipher. Although for a moment, she could’ve sworn she had seen his eyes quickly flicker to Remus’ smiling face in a way that was almost... jealous...
Whatever it was, she didn’t like it.
“What have you ever done to deserve my friendship?” She hissed, watching with satisfaction as his smile faded slightly as did those of their friends, who were watching them uncertainly, looking back and forth as if watching a tennis match.
“So anyway,” James said suddenly, giving them all a smug smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Back to my fabulous roast,” Remus and Lily caught on quickly, chatting animatedly with James as Sirius and Gules stared each other down for a long moment.
Gules eventually turned away, looking back down at her plate.
If she had looked up she would have seen his confusion mingling with guilt and anger in his eyes as he stared at her.
Then he too, looked away.
“I can’t bloody believe this!” James exclaimed on an evening, two days later, as he sat on the Bedoni lounge room carpet, staring wide-eyed at his opponent, who was currently sitting across from him, grinning widely. “You won, again!”
“What can I say?” Sirius smirked, high-fiving Remus and winking at Lily, who were both watching the scene before them amusedly. “I’m just talented like that, oh and uh, black really suits you by the way.” He grinned at James’ 'harrumph'.
As everyone laughed amusedly at Sirius’ remark, Gules folded her arms crossly over her chest, glaring at Sirius and wishing someone would just smack the prat over the head already.
That's my line you stupid line-stealing-slime-ball, she thought furiously to herself.
“Gules,” Lily laughed, nudging her in the ribs lightly from where they sat on the other end of the lounge room, out of earshot from the boys. Unfortunately for Gules, Lily was speaking quite loudly and had earned them the attention of all occupants in the lounge room. “Why the long face? Go on, cheer up, why don’t you play Sirius, you’re the master of exploding snap!”
Gules stared at Lily incredulously as if she’d just told her she was joining a can-can troupe in Paris.
“What?” She hissed at her friend, trying to ignore all the pairs of eyes that were on them and make sure she wasn’t hear by anyone but Lily. “You suddenly like him now?!”
“Aw come on, he’s not that bad,” Lily smiled gently; she was actually quite enjoying herself.
“Yes, he is. You don’t know him,” Gules hissed back.
Lily narrowed her eyes sadly. “I think you’re being a little too suspicious Gules, honestly, he’s not that bad. You told me to give Potter a chance, why don’t you give Black a chance?”
Gules tried to ignore the sting in her chest that came with the betrayal from her best friend. It was like no one saw what he was doing and Gules was the only one that could.
Even the adults were encouraging her to challenge Sirius to a game of exploding snap since she’d been so uncharacteristically ‘down’ the past couple of days.
Well of course she’d look bloody down when Black was being so bloody chirpy all of a sudden, and it was no coincidence that they had suddenly switched places, Gules being the moody, sullen one and Sirius the happy, fun-loving one.
Gules knew he’d wanted it that way. She knew it. And she wasn’t being too suspicious.
Now even Lily thought he was alright! Lily! Of all people!
Gules wanted to yell at them all, wanted to throw something at their heads so that they would all see what a farce this was. Sirius was trying to make her seem like the party-pooper instead of himself.
“Yeah go on Gules, show Padfoot how good you are.” James agreed, grinning with encouragement as he cleaned his charred face with his wand. There were a chorus of ‘yeah’s and ‘go on Gules, play’ as everyone in the lounge room turned to her expectantly. Gules’ eyes flickered from the Beatrice and Harold Potter’s smiling faces, to her parents’ almost identical facial expressions; she looked desperately at Remus, James and even Lily, but all they did was smile.
God, everyone BLOODY LOVES HIM! HOW WAS THAT POSSIBLE WHEN ALL HE HAD BEEN UP UNTIL A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO WAS A MOODY SMART-ARSE?!
The world worked in mysterious ways.
“I don’t want to play,” She gritted out through pursed lips, tightening her arms protectively over herself.
She didn’t see Remus’ smile fade slightly, as he glanced at Sirius unsurely.
“Oh come on Gules!” James exclaimed exasperatedly. “What’s wrong with you all of a sudden? Stop being such a party pooper! Play!”
The sting in her chest heightened when she heard his almost imperceptibly mocking voice drawl “Yeah Gules, play.”
Her gaze slowly met his smiling grey eyes and her heart clattered in her chest, making her angrier still. No one could see what she could see and it was killing her, but if they all stopped and looked closely enough they would all see that the seemingly genuine smile on his lips was a big fake ploy to hurt her, for those grey eyes didn’t hold an ounce of warmth, the curtain had veiled his eyes and they were stone cold, staring at her challengingly.
In that instant Gules suddenly saw the stark similarity between him and his family; he could be as warm and friendly as he liked, but that cold stare had ‘Black’ written all over it.
It was in times like these that she realised that no matter how much he tried to put distance between himself and his family, he still had ‘Black’ blood running through his veins.
“Fine,” She agreed quietly, seating herself across from him, breaking eye contact.
She picked the cards up quickly and efficiently as she would have under normal circumstances, dealt them just efficiently and placed her first card down with such efficiency that she almost looked like she was back to normal again.
But then cards exploded in her face shortly afterwards.
For a moment she didn’t know what had happened but when the laughter erupted around her, and she heard that distinct bark-like laugh she could already feel the anger, the embarrassment and the frustration swell in her stomach morphing into a sickening sensation that bubbled in her throat.
When she felt the tears prick her eyes, she knew it was time to get out of there.
She knew she was being dramatic, but at that moment, she didn’t really care, she rose from the ground, spun on her heels, not meeting anybody’s gazes, especially the pair of grey eyes that regarded her with mild interest and left the room.
“She’s a bit of a sore loser isn’t she?” Sirius remarked with a smirk, wanting for the silence to be broken and for the ache in his chest to stop.
No one said anything for a moment.
Then Remus rose from the carpet and left, just like Gules had two minutes ago.
Sirius’ stomach clenched, in much the same way his fists did.
However, he was soon able to relax moments later when Remus came back in, rubbing the back of his neck tiredly, saying that Gules was just going for a quick and that “everything was fine.”
He looked away, attempting to swallow the sudden feeling of unease.
“Is it just me? Or is this dress just a little bit tighter than when I tried it on in the store a couple of days ago.” Gules said the next morning as she and Lily stood in her bedroom, surveying the shrinking dress that Gules currently had on.
Lily smiled guiltily.
“I might’ve tied the straps a little too tightly,”
“Oh it’s okay, I don’t need to breathe tonight anyway,” Gules grinned at Lily’s withering look.
It was the day of the Potter Summer Ball and they were just trying on their dresses to see if... they still fitted.
One can never know what a little too much chocolate can do... in a few days.
“Sorry,” Lily got to loosening the intricate straps that covered Gules’ back. “I’m a little... on edge.”
“Why? Nervous about seeing James in a tux?”
Lily gave her a withering look... again.
Gules grinned... again.
“No. I- what’s going on with you? You’ve been acting... strangely.” Lily asked quickly in one breath.
Gules sighed, turning to her.
“Isn’t that normal? You should be used to it by now,”
Lily smiled softly. “Yeah, but this... is stranger still. For the past two days you been Miss Grumpy-pot, and today, all of a sudden, you’re back to normal... or so it seems,” Lily narrowed her eyes in mock suspicion.
“That’s because Black isn’t around.” Gules said with a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders, wiggling her way out of her dress and getting changed back into normal clothes.
“But really, Gules, he isn’t-“
“-that bad. I know,” Gules cut her off dryly. “So you keep saying. What’s made you change your mind so quickly? You should really learn to hold grudges,” Gules suggested with as she looked for her t-shirt; that damn thing was here two minutes ago...
“I dunno,” Lily mumbled. “I suppose, I listened to what you said,”
Gules spun around so quickly her head hurt.
“What I said?! Me? I had said to give James a chance!! Not BLACK! And I didn’t think you would be civil to James so quickly either...” Here Gules smirked.
“It’s not what you think, he just, doesn’t seem so bad anymore-“
“I know I know, it’s the Lily that sees the good-side in people coming out. I’ve always told you it’s unhealthy,” Gules waggled her finger, as she returned to her search for her t-shirt; oh bugger it, she was just going to get another one.
“What are you looking for Gules?” Lily asked, as Gules’ search became a little more frantic. She tended to chuck things around as she looked for something; for example, a particularly heavy text book just went whizzing past Lily’s head and landed heavily on the bed behind her.
“My ABBA t-shirttttt!” Gules whined, pouting at Lily with slumped shoulders.
“Gules,” Lily laughed.
“What?” She looked at her confusedly. She knew that people liked to laugh at her, but
really, laughing for no reason? Come on, she wasn’t that funny.
Or was she?
“You’re wearing it,”
Gules looked down.
She would never cease to be amazed by her own stupidity. It really was quite astounding.
“I’m ready,” Lily said as she entered the lounge room that evening, only to find Gules, dress, make up and all, lying with her feet resting up against the coffee table watching a muggle Disney Movie called Cinderella. Gules’ head snapped to Lily and in an instant, her smile brightened her face as she looked her up and down.
“It’s about time,” She quipped, getting up and turning the television off quickly. She turned to Lily with a grin. “James’ mouth is going to fall off when he sees you.” Gules murmured with an approving smile, looking Lily’s emerald silk dress up and down.
Lily blushed, then looked at the now blank television.
“What were you watching?” She asked with a smirk.
Gules looked shocked.
“Who me? Nothing interesting, just some documentary on... birds” Gules looked at the clock nervously, and grabbed Lily’s arm. “I told you, you should have gotten ready before, my parents have already left, now, we’re late,” Gules then stumbled over her dress in her hurry to get out of the house, causing her to mutter darkly about her 'stupid dress'.
“Fashionably late,” Lily countered.
“Oh.... my... God,” Gules and Lily gasped in unison as they were ushered into the entrance hall of Potter Manor. Gules couldn’t believe it; it looked exactly as she had imagined it that night when she, David and Linda had broken in; it felt like it had happened an eternity ago.
It was like a vivid dream, bright colours, and swishy dresses; gold, everywhere. The bubbling chatter from the three hundred or so people that flowed out from the ball room and into the entrance hall, washed over the astonished girls.
Gules looked up towards the stairs, imagining the beautiful women that would sashay down them, their delicate hands sliding alone the banister with a grace Gules could never manage.
Her eyes travelled over the sea of faces, all laughing and talking until her eyes stopped one face.
And she also noticed that this face looked absolutely, adorably gob-smacked.
Gules watched with a grin as James walked over to them from the other side of the room, not taking his eyes off Lily for a millisecond, as if he’d lose her if he blinked.
He probably would, that girl has long legs and she puts them to good use when making a getaway.
“Evening... ladies.” He murmured, staring down at Lily, a small smile on his face.
Lily just blushed and avoided his gaze.
“James, close your mouth, you’re making a puddle on the floor,” Gules chided with a smirk. James snapped his mouth shut, jerking out of his trance and began trying to make conversation with a very quiet Lily.
Gules was about to move away when someone else, suddenly appeared by her side, his deep voice close, making her head whip around quickly.
“Good evening milady,” Remus grinned, in an uncharacteristically mischievous way – he did that sometimes, he was a Marauder after all – bowing down to Gules, taking her hand and kissing it gently.
Gules grinned back, curtsying with a little bit of a wobble – what? Did you think she was going to miraculously become graceful tonight or something? – and kissing Remus’ cheeks in turn.
“Looking good Remie,” Gules looked him and down appreciatively, taking in his slightly messy blonde hair, the pristine tux and the soft, knowing smile. “We need to get you a girl,” She added with a smirk; and she knew which one too.
If only Remus would realise it too.
Well, the girl in question needed to realise too, for that matter.
Remus looked at her with slightly squinted eyes, as if he knew what she was thinking, then, shrugging it off he smiled and took her arm in his.
“Well for now, I’ve got you, and I get to make all the other blokes in here jealous,” He grinned at her again, as if the idea made him extremely happy.
What Gules didn’t know, was that the idea did make him extremely happy. He didn’t want to make all the blokes jealous (although that was a bonus) he just wanted to make one particular bloke jealous.
He was conducting, for lack of a better word, a small experiment.
Just as he was about to lead her away into the ballroom, Gules froze, stopping any progress, staring up at the grand stair case; an indecipherable look in her eyes.
When Remus followed her gaze and found who she was looking at, he hid his smile into his hand.
The one and only Sirius Black was frozen, in much the same way Gules was, in the middle of the stair case – which he must have been descending at the time when he happened to have glimpsed Gules – staring down at her; a carefully blank expression on his face.
Gules turned away abruptly and looked up at Remus a little dazedly, ignoring the frustrating speed with which her heart was beating all of a sudden, and began walking again.
The ‘experiment’ was off to a flying start, Remus thought to himself in satisfaction.
“Gules, is something wrong? You seem a little... flustered,” Remus murmured amusedly, a knowing glint in his eyes. Gules looked at him confusedly with narrowed eyes.
“No,” She quipped, jutting her chin out in indignation and turning away from his twitchy lips. “It’s just hot in here, that’s all,”
She ignored the knowing smirk that suddenly graced Remus’ face, but almost as soon as she stepped inside the ballroom, all thoughts were unceremoniously swiped from her mind and she was once again, gob-smacked.
It was exactly the same as she had remembered it the night when she’d broken in, with the haunting moonlight wading in through the dusty windows, except now it was like everything was in technicolour.
The gold curtains, the polished mirrors, the beautiful people laughing and dancing, the sweet and rhythmic music floating out from the orchestra and the chandelier... no longer coated in dust, but twinkling brilliantly showering the room in little sprinkles of light.
Everything was just so bright and alive, it was like she was living in a dream.
Little did she know that the evening wasn’t going to pan out like one.
“It’s gorgeous isn’t it?” Remus commented from beside her, leading her further in. Gules barely registered her greeting to Mr and Mrs Potter, whom had been chatting with her parents and some other ministry officials as Remus continued to lead her through the crowds to the edge of the dance floor, on which the twirling couples glided around the floor, completely engrossed in each other.
“I think...” Gules murmured dazedly as she stared at her surroundings in unashamed wonder once Remus came to a halt off to the side of the dance floor, next to the crop of circular tables. “I can’t be completely sure... but I think, I’m about to... wet my pants.”
Remus laughed abruptly; he couldn’t help himself.
“Thanks for warning me, I’ll make sure to keep some distance between us.” He grinned at her suddenly panicked expression.
“I wasn’t kidding,” She said simply, before shooting off across the room in the direction of the bathrooms; small teetering steps in her un-walkably high heels and movement constricting red dress.
Remus shook his head with a laugh; she was one hell of a girl.
“Merlin’s pants, this roast in nearly as fabulous as the one I cooked!” James exclaimed in wonder, on taking his first sumptuous bite of the ball dinner a little later that evening. The other occupants of the table stared at him incredulously.
“I cooked that roast,” Remus clarified once again with a long mock-sigh, James didn’t reply but rather, settled for dismissing Remus’ comment with a wave of his hand.
“Anywho, moving on,” Gules cut in with a laugh. “Did you guys that see that short fat bloke with the greasy moustache chatting up my mum before? He looked old enough to be her father!”
“What bloke?” Sirius asked with a smirk. Gules narrowed her eyes at him, ignoring that he had even said anything.
“Are you talking about the one with the magenta dress robes?” James asked with an amused look.
“Yes! That’s the one!” Gules exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air in triumph.
“That would be the Minister of Magic,” Lily snorted with the rest of the teenagers and Gules could only harrumph, completely unnoticed, as the laughter bubbled around her.
“Oh shut up, all of you, how in the world was I supposed to know?!”
“Well if you read the Prophet every now and then...” James trailed off.
“And what? Get myself depressed with all the murders and kidnappings and whatnot?” Gules looked at James accusingly. His smile, just like all the others at the table, faded rapidly, to be replaced by a guilty look. “I’ll pass thanks, and I’ll leave all you lovely people to read it,” She snapped, stuffing the last piece of roast into her mouth and chewing it with ferocity.
All the others averted their gazes guiltily; they’d had no right to make fun of her lack of political knowledge.
Everyone averted their eyes that is, except for one person.
Who that was, shouldn’t be too hard to guess.
“So you’d rather turn a blind eye to all the suffering that’s going on at the moment so that you can sleep better at night?” Sirius murmured quietly, staring at her from across the table with an unreadable glint in his eyes. “That’s the coward’s way out. You’re going to have to face it someday.”
Gules glowered at him, and her anger only heightened when Sirius looked completely unaffected by it.
That stupid, insolent, obnoxious son of a bit-
“How dare you give me a moral lesson,” She spat; James, Remus and Lily looked at each other nervously, this wasn’t good. “You have absolutely no right, it is none of your bloody busi-“
“Gules,” Remus cleared his throat, interrupting her before she completely lost her temper.
“Let’s dance,” He smiled at her, when her gaze flickered to his and there, they had a silent conversation; in that one look.
You’re stopping me from causing a scene.
Yes, and I’m also stopping you from humiliating yourself. You can never win with him; there’s no point even trying.
No, you couldn't have.
Right, let’s get this partay started.
Don’t ever say that again.
Right, sure thing.
She glanced back at Sirius, who continued to regard her with an enigmatic look, before turning back to Remus, her heart beating a whole faster than it had been before.
“Good idea,” She smiled at him and he slid his hand smoothly into hers – Sirius looked on with a suddenly venomous look in his eyes – and lead her away from the table, weaving her through the cluster of round, mostly empty tables and onto the busy polished dance floor.
Within moments they were dancing smoothly around the dance floor, twirling around just like all the other couples. Gules looked up at Remus with narrowed eyes.
“You didn’t have to do that,” She said quietly. He just smiled down at her, his amber eyes twinkling at her.
“Yes, actually I did. You were about to chew his head off,”
“And that would’ve been bad because...” Gules trailed off and looked up at him mock-confusedly.
Remus ignored her question, looking at her thoughtfully.
“You really don’t like him do you?”
Gules gave him a disbelieving look.
“Now really, what would make you think that?”
Remus chuckled, as the song sped up a bit and they spun a little faster. They were quiet for a couple of moments, looking around themselves at the other couples on the dance floor.
Gules almost choked on her own spit when she saw Lily and James twirling along right next to her parents. She blinked a few times to make sure she wasn’t hallucinating.
Nope, there they were, Lily refusing to look James in the eyes and James gazing down at her, absolutely besotted.
Just as she was about to point them out to Remus, when he interrupted her, taking her away from her thoughts.
“Now, I don’t know much about dancing, but what I do know, is that the man is supposed to lead,”
Gules smiled up at his smirk (why does everyone seem to be doing that?) and simply shook her head.
“Isn’t that a little sexist Remie? It’s not like you to be a slave to the chauvinistic values inflicted on us by our society.”
Remus laughed softly, shaking his head in wonderment.
“Is that your twisted way of saying that you’re going to continue leading whether I like it or not?”
Gules grinned cheekily.
“Maybe you should trust someone every now and then.” Another voice cut in from behind her.
Gules and Remus abruptly stopped dancing, realised belatedly that the song had ended, and the introductory notes of the Wizard’s Waltz were now wafting through the ballroom.
They turned to Sirius, whom was standing a little closer to Gules than she would’ve liked.
She took a step back, lightly bumping into Remus’ chest behind her; she narrowed her eyes at his soft smile.
“That ‘someone’ definitely wouldn’t be you,” She spat, aware that there were more than a few pairs of eyes watching them indiscreetly.
Sirius shrugged off her comment and grabbed her hand before she could so much as utter a word in protest. Gules frowned at the sudden zing of electricity running up her arm; the pleasant warmth that was spreading all the way to her shoulder.
She should’ve ripped her hand away from his grasp while she’d still had the chance, but instead, she just stood there, looking up at him with a stupid look on her face.
Uh oh. Not good.
“May I have this dance?” He asked suddenly, in such a polite way she almost fell for it.
But just as she was about to turn around and walk away, Remus got her first and with a small but powerful nudge forward she found herself tripping into Sirius’ arms.
Against her will.
“Of course she’d like to dance with you,” Remus grinned and winked at Gules as he walked away, hi-fiving James and Lily whom were standing at the edge of the dance floor watching them openly with grins on their faces.
She simply stared at them with her mouth hanging open.
Those slimy back-stabbing bastar-
“Don’t look so enthusiastic,” Sirius commented dryly, dragging her out of her murderous thoughts and making her eyes meet his defiantly. “Are we going to dance or not?” Sirius continued. He was silent for a short moment, but when she didn’t say anything a startling smirk lit up his face and he cocked his head derisively. “Scared?” Her eyes narrowed into thin slits; her stomach jolting with momentary excitement.
She never backed down from a challenge.
And she was going to show him just that.
She didn’t utter a word, for the answer was clear in her defiant eyes; confirmed only when she slid her hand over his firm shoulder – trying not to notice the heat permeating through his tux that seeped into the skin of her fingers – clearly preparing for the starting position of the Wizard’s waltz.
She saw his eyes flicker slightly - in the direction of his shoulder, where her hand was now resting – and flicker back to hers. Something was going on behind that indifferent stare, there was movement in the curtain. Something was going through his mind. But what?
A few long seconds passed as they looked at each other, then, without his silver flecked eyes leaving hers, his left arm found its way around her waist.
Her breathing hitched slightly, at the light pressure of his fingertips on her lower back. It was a light touch, so why did it feel like it was singeing her skin?
His gaze wandered as he tightened his grip on her much smaller hand, with his much larger one, and held it out to their sides.
Then his eyes were back on hers.
And she suddenly couldn’t find the strength to breathe.
In the back of her mind somewhere, there was a part of her screaming that this wasn’t a good idea; that he was in total and complete control; that this wasn’t going to end well.
The other part was telling it to shut up.
Out of nowhere, Gules noticed that the song was quickly coming to the end of the introductory notes and panic set in as she realised something.
She couldn’t remember the first step.
No matter how hard she tried to frantically recall the first step as the introductory notes of the song ended, she couldn’t remember it for the life of her.
Luckily for her though, it seemed that she was in the hands - or rather, arms - of a pro; he began to guide her steps, pioneering her around the room in a graceful swirl of movement, his eyes, still not leaving hers. As she looked back at him, her mind was blank.
Then a confusing thought entered her mind.
He was the one leading.
He was the one in control.
This had never happened to her. However, any further thoughts were wiped from her mind as he dipped her; she held onto him for dear life and concentrated on breathing as the feel of his arms encircling her made her feel slightly light-headed.
Everything was in slow motion, the room around her blurred as all she could see was his face. There was nothing but his face.
Nothing but his eyes.
As they continued to spin around the room, in complete synchronisation , they were the picture of perfection. Their dance was perfection. So unlike their relationship.
Her breathing was shallow, her heart was crashing about in her chest.
The subtle touch of his fingers on her arm as they made their way back to the curve of her lower back, the heat of his body wafting over to hers despite the space between them, the feel of his hard shoulder beneath her fingers, the potent strength of the warm hand that was clasping hers firmly.
Gules’ gaze intensified as she noticed the curtain slide from his eyes; so many indecipherable emotions showed themselves. But she couldn’t pick any one of them.
Curiosity slid into her chest; despite herself, she found that she wanted to know what was going on in there; what was going through his mind. She couldn’t explain it; all she knew was that she was intrigued.
Then she saw it. Something that made her stomach flip in sudden uneasiness.
It was written in his eyes clearly.
Although she had seen it before, this time it was different. It had intensified.
But as quickly as it was there, is morphed into something else.
It was all she saw, before her ankle got caught on something, just like it had only days before and she toppled over onto the waxed dance floor, accidently barrelling into another couple.
She had gone to grip him as she fell, but he had slipped from her reach and she’d had nothing to grasp at but air.
She gazed around as everything rapidly came into focus. The music seemed to have abruptly stopped and she dimly noticed everyone on the dance floor suddenly ceasing movement and turning to them in curiousity.
Her face was still flushed from the dance, her muscles seemed to have turned to putty as well, but with every tick of the clock a sinking sensation was settling in her stomach and she was rocketing back down to reality. It seemed like all motion in the room had stopped; not a single person moved, all eyes were focused on her. Her eyes found the faces of Lily, James and Remus; they were holding their breaths, looking at her concernedly, as if to say “Please don’t blow up.”
She dragged her gaze to the smirk she knew would be on his lips, a sick feeling of surprising betrayal taking hold of her stomach.
She’d fallen for his stupid act, and he had made a fool of her.
Something snapped inside of her and that was it.
“You disgust me,” She hissed at him, venom dripping from her every word.
She rose so quickly her head spun, without meeting any concerned – or mocking – gazes, she did the only thing she could think of through the angry haze of her thoughts.
“Gules wait,“ Remus grabbed her shoulders just as she reached the doors, turning her forcefully to face him. She met his eyes lividly, noting how he looked like slightly taken aback.
“Don’t defend him if you value your life,” She gritted out, her eyes left his face, travelling over his shoulder where she saw Sirius, glaring at them.
She spun around out of Remus’ grip and left.
“Good evening cousin,” said a tall young male, of about sixteen as he sidled up to James and Lily, whom had been staring after Sirius as he ran out of the ballroom, much like Gules had, moments ago.
James gave him a side-long glance, hoping if he didn’t talk, his cousin would magically disappear.
But unfortunately for James, he had been brought up to be polite, and polite James would be. Even to his cousin.
“Good evening Eamon,” He replied in a strained voice. He felt Lily turn around in curiosity, eyeing Eamon with a friendly smile.
Eamon finally noticed her presence.
“Why hello there!” He exclaimed with a bright, hazel eyed smile, much like his cousin’s in a way. “How rude of me, I’m Eamon Phillips, Jimmy here’s maternal first cousin. And you are?” He grabbed her proffered hand and kissed it gently, his lips lingering on her skin longer than James would have liked.
“Lily Evans, nice to meet you Eamon,” She smiled back in that friendly way of hers, making James want to throw something at the wall.
Eamon was still holding her bloody hand.
“Oops!” James cried as he stumbled forward, breaking Eamon and Lily’s contact as his body ran straight into their intertwined hands. “Must have had a little too much champagne.” He rubbed his tummy and hoped he looked a little tipsy. Lily gazed at him with a funny smile on her face, as Eamon frowned knowingly at his cousin.
James straightened up again, and placed himself once more, in between Lily and Eamon.
“So...” Eamon began after a moment. “Who was that bird that ran away from Padfoot?”
“That was Gules Bedoni and his name is Sirius to you,” James gritted out, finally.
“Gules is a good-looking bird, that’s for sure,” Eamon commented with a smirk. Lily and James looked at him disbelievingly. Who says ‘bird’ anymore? “A little clumsy though... man Padfoot must really like her if he ran after her that quickly.” He paused in thought.
“Quite the contrary actually,” Lily put in, her face a little red. James wondered with delight if it was because of anger. “They don’t like each other much at all,”
“Sirius is probably out there now, arguing with her,” James continued grimly.
“And you’re not going to stop him?” Eamon asked with a sly smile.
“No, they should sort things out,” James replied stonily, turning away from Eamon’s sly smirk. His cousin had always unnerved him; and the fact that Eamon was in Slytherin didn’t help.
“Interesting...” Eamon murmured thoughtfully. James felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up on end; Eamon was up to something. “Well,” Eamon snapped out of his thoughts turning jovially to James. “Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be staying over in a couple of weeks, your parents invited me,” He grinned. “Later Jimmy.” And with that, he practically skipped away.
Lily turned to James with a small quirk of her lips that sent his heart stammering in his chest.
She said nothing, but only raised one eyebrow.
They were staring at each other just as Remus came up to them, looking from one to the other confusedly. James and Lily finally looked at him.
“Let’s hope they don’t kill each other while they’re out there,” He muttered, looking back out the entrance to the ballroom that two of their friends had disappeared out of moments before.
By the time Gules reached the pond and came to a sudden halt, bending over her knees, her breathing was being torn out of her.
On any other night she would have relished the thick summer air, the beacon like half-moon, and the rippling sounds of the pond water. But it was as if none of it existed; she choked on the dry sobs as they wracked through her body; she rubbed her chest , trying desperately to ease the tightness.
She couldn’t breathe.
“Don’t like being humiliated do you, Bedoni?” A derisive voice asked from the darkness behind her.
She stopped breathing for a moment, her sobs abruptly ceasing; she was completely still for a heart stopping minute and all she could hear was the steadying pulse of her heart.
Then she spun around to him, her eyes blazing.
“I hope you’re happy,” She said quietly, straightening her back slightly.
Sirius smirked, eyeing her coolly. “Oh I wouldn’t call it happiness; more of a strange satisfaction,”
Her lips contorted into a disgusted snarl.
“You disgust me,”
It happened so quickly she had to blink away surprise; his distantly cool gaze disappeared and morphed into a burning hot look with the intensity of a laser.
“I suggest you get off your moral high horse,” He growled, taking a step towards her; almost smirking when she took a hasty step back. “Or I’ll tear you off it myself,”
“Oh really?” A smirk suddenly took charge of her lips, making him stop advancing on her. “And how do you suppose you’re going to do that?” She took a surprisingly nimble step away from him. So nimble, in fact, that it took him a moment to realise she was now standing behind him.
“Everyone thinks you’re such a good person,” Sirius practically hissed as he turned to face her. When she merely continued to smirk, the anger heightened and he took another step towards her. “So innocent, so pure,” He let out a mirthless laugh, making her smirk fade slightly. “You should get an award. You’re a stellar actress,”
Gules gasped as the smirk slid from her lips entirely, the sting in her chest fanning her fury. “How dare you-“
“There you go again with that superior tone of yours, trying to make yourself feel like you’re on top again,” Sirius drawled lazily, with a smirk of his own. He was in control again.
“Me?” Gules guffawed. “Superior?! You’re the one that walks around like a god!”
Sirius’ smirk widened fractionally.
“And you hate that don’t you? You hate feeling like you’re not in control anymore don’t you?”
“What the hell are-“
“Is it maybe because of this control-freak complex of yours that you’ve been trying incessantly to get under my skin?” Sirius’ smirk widened into a malicious grin. “To bring me down to your level?” He paused watching her with a triumphant glint in his eyes at her sudden silence. “And when you didn’t succeed and I did, you became quite grumpy,” He gazed at her mock-pityingly. “You didn’t know who you were dealing with,”
Gules was silent. She didn’t know what to say.
So Sirius continued.
“You control everyone around you,” He moved a step closer to her. “James does everything you want to do, which believe me, he has never done, for anyone. Evans listens to your every word, and Remus’ already small backbone mysteriously disappears as soon you’re around,” He flashed her a smile without an ounce of warmth and she found that she was suddenly cold, even though it was distinctly warm night. “But no one notices because you do it with that warm smile of yours,” He mimicked her smile, but even though from afar it probably looked gorgeous, Gules only saw something terribly, terribly ugly. Her stomach twisted painfully. “And then you throw in one of your sweetly sarcastic comments, or some self-deprecating remark so that they think you’re all honest and open,” He chuckled in that low gravelly way of his, making a sick sensation rise in her chest. “You have everyone fooled. But not me,” Any trace of a smile was quickly swiped from his face and he gazed at her, a coldly calculating look in his eyes. “You didn’t fool me,” He took a long moment to look at her, making her feel sicker and sicker by the second. “You can be over-bearing and controlling with everyone else, but not me. It’ll never be me,”
“You think I’m so bad?” Gules yelled suddenly, taking a step towards him herself. “Why don’t you take a look inside yourself instead of analysing others?” She paused, a vicious smile taking over her face. “Or maybe, you analyse others because you’re scared of what you might find if you take a moment to look in the mirror,”
Sirius regarded her with a cool look.
“All I see when I look in the mirror, is a very handsome young man. And I’m quite comfortable with that, thanks,” He laughed at her. “See? There you go, trying to get under my skin again,” His smile faded to a look of complete seriousness in an instant. “Why don’t you take a look in the mirror? You might want to see that smile you had on your face a moment ago.” He shook his head in mock-pity. “It’s definitely not the warm smile you show everyone else.”
“You act like you’re so indifferent, so untouchable,” Gules spat at him, ignoring his words. “And once, I used to believe those disinterested shrugs, but I know better now,”
Sirius laughed softly, smirking mockingly at her, daring her to continue.
Blind with anger, she laughed back at him.
“That’s right, you laugh, like always. Just shrug it off with a patronising laugh,” She contorted her face into a cold smile when his smirk twitched slightly. “What? You think that’ll I’ll fall for that act like everyone else including your so-called best friends?” She shook her head. “You act like nothing affects you, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve seen the anger, the hurt. And the indifference is your only defense. Tell me something Sirius,” She took a slow breath, stepping closer to him so that her face was merely an inch from his. She absently noted his eyes flickering to her lips “What is it you’re hiding?” She reached out in a movement that neither of them understood and touched the healing scar that traced the left side of his jaw with her index finger. “Did you hurt someone?” She whispered with a smile. “Or did someone hurt you?”
He shoved her away suddenly, his skin burning, his whole body burning and served her with his customary unreadable stare.
“I wish you could see yourself right now.” He said with a low voice. “That triumphant gleam in your eyes because you think you’ve gotten to me. Tell me something?” He smirked. “Is that the mark of a good person?”
Gules ignored the tightness in her chest and continued.
“Well at least I’m not a calculating, sly, conniving, sadistic bastard,”
“That’s where you’re wrong. That’s exactly what you are.” He looked at her for a moment.
“You just hide it better.”
“I am not sadisti-“
“That’s what you think; but not just a moment ago, you were breath away from jumping in glee when you thought you’d hurt me.” He watched hungrily for her reaction. “Because if you hurt me, then I wouldn’t be able to hurt you,”
Sirius waited for a reaction, and was extremely disconcerted when all he got was a smile of realisation.
“It’s all so clear now,” She murmured, breaking eye contact.
“Finally, she sees it,” He sighed.
“You’ve been trying to hurt me this whole time; trying to embarrass me, get a reaction out of me. Make me angry enough to leave you and James alone for good,” She looked up at him with renewed anger. “But it didn’t work, because James likes me. And that,” Here that vicious smile returned. “Bothered you!” She paused in thought. “So that’s why you’ve been acting so nice the past few days. You thought you’d try to make me look bad,”
“You’re on the defensive again,” He remarked with a half-hearted smirk.
“Nope, wrong again. You are,” She laughed loudly. “You’re so bloody possessive of your friends. Why’d you want me to go away anyway? Scared I might see through your act?”
“Like I saw through yours?”
“I don’t have an act,” She replied in a dangerously low voice, belatedly realising that he cheeks were wet with tears. When had she started crying?
“You’re an over-bearing, calculating coward.” He said simply.
Gules narrowed her eyes mockingly.
“A bit of a contradiction isn’t it? Why don’t you try this one then?” She waited a beat. “You may act like you’ve got it all together and nothing fazes you, but I have never seen a more lost boy in my life,”
“Right,” He scoffed.
Her anger increased at his unsatisfactory reaction.
“Or how about this one? No matter how much you act like you’re not,” She waited a beat, wiping her wet cheeks absently with her wrist.
“You’re exactly like your family.” She hissed, smirking at him.
His eyes suddenly turned to hers with such intensity that she was instantly silenced.
The hurt she found in those piercing grey eyes stole her breath.
She should have been feeling satisfied right about then. She had finally succeeded in getting to him.
So why did she feel like she was about to throw up?
“Why don’t you try this one on for size?” He asked slowly, with a dangerously strained voice. His eyes were completely unveiled and the fury she found there slightly scared her. “You want to be a journalist and yet you don’t read the Prophet for fear of depressing yourself. How do you suppose that’s going to work then?” He asked with a malicious smirk. “Coward,”
Gules absently made a note to go find James and kill him for spilling the beans to Sirius about her career aspirations, before the anger and hurt smothered all coherent thoughts and instead all she was left with was a throbbing ache in chest, and hot tears streaking down her cheeks.
How had he known about the niggling doubts about whether or not her future was in journalism?
How had he known about that her deepest fear was being lost. In life.
And if journalism wasn’t for her, that’s exactly what she would be. Lost.
How had he known it would hurt so much if he played on it?
With no more words left to say, she just placed her hands firmly on his chest and shoved him back with all her strength.
She didn’t even see his surprised face as he stumbled and fell backwards into the pond.
She didn’t hear the chorus of gasps from her friends whom had been watching them for
She missed it all because she ran.
She had never thought she could hate someone, she really didn’t think that someone could actually hurt her that much.
But Gules found, that someone, could indeed hurt her that much, so much that her chest felt tight with suppressed anger, so much that she just wanted the hit something... really hard.
But when she had tried that two seconds ago, she also found that it... really really hurt.
Gules sent a lone twig flying across the ground with a swift, frustrated kick.
Well it wasn’t much of a kick considering she couldn’t really move in her dress.
Why was he able to hurt her like that? Why did he affect her when he barely knew her?
But apparently he thought he knew her quite well. He seemed to think he had her all sorted out.
She’d show him how much he knew her; how dare he insinuate that she was anything like him. She wasn’t calculating, she wasn’t over-bearing and she certainly wasn’t controlling.
Gules paused for a moment, recalling the sick sensation in her stomach as every word slipped from his lips, something inside her clenching painfully.
The hot tears that had streaked down her cheeks.
Yeah but that was because the accusations were so mortifying and unfounded, Gules reasoned, not because she had agreed with him.
God... had she agreed with him somewhere inside?
The unanswered questions flitted around in her head and she continued on walking at a furious speed through the forest for the first time that summer, absently listening to the rhythmic crunch of leaves and twigs beneath her feet.
With a jolt, Gules realised that she had never hated herself more in her life. Tonight she had astounded even herself with what she had said, she hadn’t thought she was capable of such words.
Never in her life had she said such hateful things to another person.
She hated Sirius Black all the more for bringing that out in her.
The anger heightened, rising in her throat until she thought she couldn’t bear it anymore.
She stopped, waiting for her breathing to even out, waiting to calm down.
It took longer that she would’ve liked.
But in the aftermath of her anger, came a new feeling.
As she stood there, in the centre of the forest, with the waning moonlight washing in through the gaps in the treetops, and the muffled noises from the not too distant ball washing over her, the determination expanded in her chest, filling her completely until a fire ignited that she never knew existed in her.
She had never before wanted to hurt someone so badly, just out of spite; revenge. But this time it was different; Sirius Black had done what he had done to countless other people.
He’d hurt them just because he felt like it, because he got satisfaction out of it, and just plainly because he could.
She hadn’t really cared up until this point but now...
Now, she was going to hurt him back.
She didn’t know how, or when, but she was going to hurt Sirius Black right back.
James, Remus and Lily watched the completely drenched Sirius dragged himself from
the pond; his face carefully blank.
“Mate,” James breathed, looking uncertainly at Remus and Lily. “What the hell just happened here?”
Sirius’ gaze snapped up to their faces, frightening all three of them with the fury held in those grey eyes.
His face was definitely no longer blank.
“Something that’s been a long time coming,”
“But I don’t understand why she was angry with you-“ Lily began.
“Or why you’re angry with her.” James finished with a confused look. “Because you must’ve been angry enough to do something... not so good... and she didn’t like it... so she pushed you in the pond,”
Sirius just served them each with a mocking smile.
“For reasons that your small innocent minds will never understand,” He pulled out his wand and dried himself and began walking inside. Remus reached out and grabbed his arm. Sirius stopped in his tracks, turning to Remus slowly with a challenging raising of his dark eyebrows.
“Something wrong Moony?” He drawled.
“Why don’t you drop this act and tell us what happened? We can all see you’re pissed,”
But Remus seemed to have chosen then wrong words, for as soon the word ‘act’ left his mouth he got to witness that astounding talent that Sirius was prone to using; Remus could only watch, helpless, as Sirius distanced himself just with the use of his eyes and no matter what any of them said now, Remus knew that Sirius would get further away, despite the physical closeness.
It was too late, Remus was quickly losing, and he could clearly see those grey orbs veiling with icy accuracy.
Remus cringed as a small, cold smile caught Sirius’ lips and regarded them all with that same remote look.
“Good night all,” And with that, he calmly extricated his arm from Remus’ suddenly lax grip and made his way inside in long leisurely strides edged with that customary grace that only Sirius could manage.
Sirius waited until he was safely locked up in his room, before he grabbed the nearest item and hurled it, with all his strength, against the wall.
He wondered why he wasn’t feeling nearly as satisfied as he should’ve been feeling when it broke into lots of tiny, miniscule pieces.
He repaired it with his wand, then picked it up and threw it again.
And he still didn’t feel the satisfaction.
“They argued,” Remus said simply when Sirius had disappeared from sight. James nodded but Lily just looked at them both confusedly.
“But I didn’t hear any yelling, and when Gules argues... she usually gets vocal,”
A small smile took hold of James’ face as he looked down at her. “A loud argument with Sirius usually isn’t that... serious; he may have a temper on him, but loud arguments just don’t mean that much,” James explained. “But the arguments that sound deceptively like a conversation... they’re the ones that are... serious...” James trailed off, having to stifle a small smile at the lame, unintentional joke about his friend’s name.
“And I’m guessing that’s why Padfoot ended up in the pond,” Remus added with a shake of his head. “It must’ve been bad,"
“But I could’ve... sworn that there was an attraction or something there...” James ran his hand through his hair tiredly, Lily’s stomach jolting with the recognition of the familiar gesture. “But I should’ve known. I mean, they’ve practically been at each other’s throats from the moment Pads arrived. And sometimes, they don’t even say anything and you know they hate each other,”
Remus laughed, patting James’ shoulder.
“It must’ve been quite an experience being stuck in the middle,”
“You have no idea,” James sighed.
“But you’re wrong. There is something there,” Lily interrupted, turning to James directly.
More directly than she had all evening. James just stopped himself from grinning like an idiot.
But his lips twitched a bit.
“I saw it when they were dancing,” Lily looked lost in thought for a moment. “There was definitely something,” She finished decisively.
“Yeah, I saw it too.” Remus nodded in agreement. “Maybe that’s why...” He left his sentence unfinished.
“...they seem to hate each other so much,” James finished for him. A look of realisation dawned on all three of their faces, they shared knowing glances and couldn’t help but grin at each other in glee.
“So much for small innocent minds that could never understand,” Lily smiled smugly at the boys.
James laughed loudly, causing Lily’s head to whip in his direction, a strange sensation settling in her stomach. “Quite right Lily, quite rig-“ James cut off abruptly with the realisation that he’d just addressed her by her first name and gazed at her fearfully. She just stared at him, looking at him with a strange look in her eyes, and for those few moments, James wanted to crawl in a hole and die.
But when the soft smile curved her lips, he suddenly found himself thinking what a waste it would’ve been if he had.
“I should... go find Gules,” Lily murmured quietly with a shy smile. “Night Remus, night Potter,” James and Remus nodded, bid her good night and parted ways with the redhead in the stunning emerald green dress.
But just as Lily had reached the picket fence she heard her name being called. She turned slowly, her heart pumping in her chest, just like in all those cliché’ muggle movies she always liked to watch, and found James standing just to the side of the pond, with a goofy sort of smile on his face.
For some reason though, that smile made Lily’s face feel strangely hot.
His smile widened.
“Call me James,”
What James and Lily didn’t realise as they walked back to their separate destinations was that although they were walking in two different directions they had the exact same manic grins plastered on their faces.
Remus was grinning too from where he had stood – watching them - , though, for entirely different reasons.
About an hour later when Gules was just pushing her bedroom door open, returning from her walk in the forest, she almost jumped a mile high when she found that her room was not empty as she had expected.
Lily was sitting on Gules’ bed in her pyjamas, facing the door, staring at Gules with a stern gleam in her eyes.
“Bloody hell Lily!” Gules cried, pressing a hand to her heart, trying to slow it down. “You scared the bejesus out of me!”
Lily just continued to look at her, her facial expression not changing in the least.
“Good,” She said simply.
Gules looked at her confusedly, as she dropped her shoes on the floor and went to get changed. “What’s got your knickers in a twist?”
Lily ignored her question, getting up from Gules’ bed and following her into the joint en suite’ bathroom, where Gules was cleaning the little make up she had on.
“Where have you been for the past hour?” She demanded suddenly. “Your parents have been asking about you; they thought you went home after you fell. I had to tell them you were tired and went to bed just in case they found out that you had in fact, disappeared to bloomin'-knows where,.”
Gules, shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly as she wiggled out of her dress. “Thanks,”
She gave her a small smile. But Lily completely missed it, for she was staring at the hem of Gules’ dress; it had dirty splotches all over it; a twig hanging off a loose thread.
“You went in the forest?!” She asked, astounded and vaguely disappointed. “You didn’t even tell anyone,”
Gules looked at her with a confused smile. “I don’t need to tell anyone. I was just going for a walk,”
Lily just gazed at her for a moment, looking like she was about to continue arguing, then thinking better of it, she ignored Gules’ statement and tried another tack.
“What happened tonight? Why did you leave?”
Gules just shrugged her shoulders again and turned away to grab her pyjamas.
“Black tripped me. I was humiliated. I left. End of story,”
Not it was Lily’s turn to look confused.
“Gules,” She enunciated slowly. “I think you’re a little confused-“
“And then,” Gules continued, almost in a world of her own. “He followed me outside and... and called me- Lily, am I controlling?” She asked abruptly, looking at Lily anxiously. Lily’s gaze softened.
“Sometimes, you like to be in control of what’s happening and what we’re doing. But... it’s okay, I like not having to make decisions all the time.”
“Oh my god! Gules exclaimed loudly, slapping a hand to her forehead. “I am a control freak! I’m an overbearing horrible control freak of a person! How can you be friends with me?!” She gazed at Lily, panic in her eyes.
“Because you have the best of intentions,’ Lily sighed gently. “And although sometimes you can be a little suffocating, I know when to stand up for myself. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t be friends with you if I found you over-bearing,” She paused thoughtfully. “Is that what... Sirius called you?”
“Among other things,” Gules quipped, then turning away and walking back into her room, she felt the familiar anger rising in her throat. “I hate him. He humiliated me tonight. In so many ways,”
“Gules, I think you misunderstood something,” Lily began gently as she followed Gules into her room, seating herself on Gules’ bed. “Sirius didn’t trip you tonight,”
Gules’ gaze snapped to Lily’s angrily.
“What are you saying?” She narrowed her eyes.
“I’m saying that your shoes got caught on your dress and you lost your balance and fell,”
Gules frowned at her. “You’re wrong,” She muttered. “I know what happened.”
“Yes,” Lily continued gently, going into the bathroom and grabbing Gules’ ruined dress. “And I know what I saw,” Lily held out the hem to Gules; they both examined it quietly for a moment.
Then Gules noticed something that made her heart sink.
An image flashed through Gules’ mind of how she had tripped over that exact part of the dress on their way to the Potter Ball; how she’d had to lift it up from the ground.
And the rip couldn’t have been made from her walk in the forest because she had taken her shoes off.
Gules was stupefied, she didn’t know what to say; the sudden sickening guilty sensation brewing in her stomach was making her feel a lot like she was going to hurl.
A couple of minutes later, after Lily had retired to bed, Gules finally collapsed onto her bed.
She cried herself to sleep.
A/N: Don't know what to think of this chapter, hope it wasn't too long and boring. HUGE SORRY FOR THE LONG WAIT, please review lovelies, and bear with me, next chapter will be more interesting : )
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