Chapter 1 : Allure
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All the properties of the wind that made its journey through the night, unseen and unfelt by all but the window that shook in a quiet and shrill warning, were shared by the man that sat underneath that very window, bathed in the halfhearted light cast by the dwindling flame.
He was a young man, not yet through his teens, but his face was aged and worn by the long years he had spent on this earth. Longer than the years of his peers, that was for sure. He had only lived seventeen years, or thereabouts, but they were long and tedious ones.
He was adorned in clothing that might have seemed unusual to the ordinary eye, but to his niche it was but reality. Long robes, as dark as the night outside, covered the young man from head to toe. You couldn’t see the skin of his arms, nor in fact that of his face. His hair hung in a matted tangle before his eyes, casting a shadow down to his chin. His appearance was sinister, silent and almost invisible. If it wasn’t for the flickering flame, he would not have been there at all.
It was this that bore him such a great similarity to the wind. He seemed to have a way of disappearing; coming and going at his leisure, able to slip past the eye in a manner that should have been impossible.
But it wasn’t. Because he was used to it.
It was through practice and practice alone that he had learnt to elude the eye, to cheat the mind. He managed to inject fear into the blood of any who crossed him, another trait that he had developed and mastered over time. However, it wasn’t through malice that such skills were acquired and exercised, but rather through the deep desire to survive. Without these demons of stealth on his side, the young man would never have made it through the years. Hard ones, albeit, but years of a life worth living all the same.
It was at this point in time that the man moved, seemingly summoned by a call unheard to the untrained ear. It was a subtle movement, but one of calculated certainty. There was a slight pause again before the young man got slowly to his feet, seeming to glide across the room with easy elegance. It was as though his feet didn’t even touch the wooden floor.
He pulled open the door, causing a soft breeze to infiltrate the room. One moment later and the flame had flickered its last – it blew out. He shut the door behind him and stepped slowly down the corridor, down the stairs, into the parlor below. Though it was well past midnight, the remnants of a once-merry fire were still glowing in the grate. The room, for the most part, was as dark as the room the man had just deviated from, but there was a new warmth to be felt down here. Maybe it was the space – the cold that radiated from the man’s heart hadn’t yet been able to infiltrate the rest of the parlor.
His form was halfway across the room in an instant, taking large strides, when he suddenly stopped. Something had caught his ear. He listened.
But he still didn’t move. The room took on a new mood – caution, suspicion.
It seemed as though the man finally decided that what he had heard (or imagined, as might have been the case) was of little significance. He continued across the room until he reached the entrance. A thin, white hand protruded from underneath his robe, his skin almost appearing luminescent in the half darkness.
And he paused there, his hand quivering on the door, as though he was waiting for something again. And then it came.
The voice was soft and feminine, holding a question in its tone. But the young man knew just as much as his company that there was no question in the matter. Perhaps she wanted to hope, even just for a moment, that it wasn’t actually him. And they both knew that was folly.
“Were you expecting someone else?”
The question was infused with a bitter tone, as though he resented the conversation though it had barely begun. But, at the same time, there was a smooth tenderness that coated the words; something that, try as he might, Sirius wasn’t able to rid himself of. At least not when he was associating with Lily Evans.
She was the only person who managed to crack through his hard exterior, delve into the true soul that lay beneath. It wasn’t something that he understood, nor relished the feeling of experiencing it. He resented the fact that this girl didn’t treat him the same as everyone else did.
Without so much as another word, Sirius pushed open the portrait concealing the doorway to his escape from the room, one that he would have much liked to do alone though he knew that wouldn’t be the case. Not now that Lily was there, at any rate. He held the door open and waited for the red haired beauty to step over the threshold before he closed it behind her, ignoring the murmurs of protest that came from the doorway’s keeper, otherwise known as the Fat Lady.
And he didn’t wait for Lily, nor did he check over his shoulder to determine whether or not she was following him. As much as he might have hoped she had turned around and left him be, he knew that she didn’t have the strength nor the courage to do so.
It had been going on for too long now, too long for either of them to stop. It was like the desire had been there all along, hiding deep inside each of them and trying desperately to claw its way out. So far, however, Sirius had been able to keep that desire at bay; although he couldn’t say the same about Lily. He knew he was just leading her along, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop it, to call it quits. And it was damn near tearing him apart.
She followed him down to the seventh floor of the castle. He could hear her labored breathing a few yards behind him but was unable to decipher whether it was a result of the walk or in anticipation of what was to come.
A door appeared in the middle of the corridor as if on cue and Sirius stepped forward to open it. He allowed Lily to pass inside before him before following her. The room mirrored the young man’s imagination, a small room sprawled out in front of him. It was like a miniature version of the Gryffindor common room, but lacking the coziness and warmth. In fact, the room had a rather cold and harsh feel to it, echoing Sirius’ own headspace.
This was an observation that didn’t go unnoticed by Lily, her wit sharper than most at the school. “It gets colder in here every night,” she said, her voice only half accusing. For, as much as she would have liked to blame Sirius for this whole situation they found themselves in, she knew it was just as much her fault as his.
Another new addition that had appeared over the last week or so was the liquor cabinet that sat over the other side of the chamber. Sirius walked over to it in a few steps and pulled it open, rummaging through until he found a bottle of scotch. He poured some into two glasses, only out of courtesy since he knew that Lily wouldn’t even go near the drink, before downing his own portion in an instant.
He knew that it wasn’t much of a compliment to her that he needed to be halfway to intoxication before he even said a word to her, but Sirius was beyond the point of actually caring; this whole thing that they had engaged in was a mistake and they both knew it. But, he found himself concluding, he was more responsible than she was – he knew that she didn’t know any better. Again, he knew that he was leading her on in this.
He refilled his glass and took another long gulp before replacing the class on the small cabinet, the second full tanker still sitting untouched.
He placed his hands on the wood, enjoying the cool sensation he felt, and leant forward. He let out a harsh sigh and shook his head, his dark hair falling in a veil across his eyes.
There was silence in the room for a few minutes as neither party made a sound, neither initiating the inevitable.
A painful numbness fell across Sirius’ body as he felt the effects of the alcohol consuming him. It was time. He picked up the glass for one final swig, letting it fall to the ground where it shattered into fragments – much like his resolve, he found. He was weak and the little strength he actually held was yet again cracking under the presence of Lily Evans.
“Sirius,” she said again, but this time there was no questioning in her tone. She knew what was coming – she was just waiting for it.
Soft as the sound was, it hurt the young man’s ears. It hurt his heart and the very essence of his being. He hated that she had such a hold on him and as much as he wanted to tell himself that he was the one bearing the power in their relationship, he knew that it wasn’t true. Neither had enough power to face what he so desired. He wanted to finish, to give up, but he didn’t want to lose these nights either.
They were hard, he hated them, and yet…
He craved them.
Sitting through class of an afternoon it was all he could think about. The disgust, first and foremost, was what always came to mind but he could never shake the thoughts. She was always in his conscious and subconscious and she wouldn’t leave him alone.
Sirius couldn’t help but wonder whether Lily knew this. Though… he suspected that she didn’t. He didn’t give a lot away, he knew that, and he hoped that if he kept his cold demeanor she would eventually do what he wasn’t strong enough to achieve – she would end it all.
He took a step towards her, raising a hand to brush a strand of red hair out of her eyes. She looked so vulnerable. It wasn’t fair that someone who held such a strong hold over him could look so innocent. He leant forward, his lips next to her ear, and his hand still linger on her neck, the strand of hair suspended in his grasp. He murmured an indecipherable something into her ear – he didn’t even know what it was.
All he knew was that it wasn’t her name. He couldn’t bear to say her name aloud, at least not while he was alone in her presence. It might have been what finally tipped him over the edge and he wasn’t prepared to risk that.
Pushing her petite body up against the wall, only a few yards in the small stone chamber, Sirius placed his free hand on the girl’s waist and grabbed at her flesh with strong hands.
And he shoved his lips against hers, finally succumbing to the desire and letting himself go at last. He just hoped it would all be over soon.