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Chapter 47 : Two to Tango
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A/N: Fun fact: if you listen to "run this town" there is DEFINITELY the sound of a duck quacking in the background. What, don't believe me? Listen to it. Man, I really hope you guys think I'm funny. I guess you didn't come to this story for humor, it IS "horror" (:-O) but whatever. I do it for the lolz.
Sirius had always believed that he hated Severus Snape. After all, the boy gave him endless reasons to be hated; he was slimy and rude and untrustworthy. Even the way the boy held himself irked Sirius and had irked Sirius for years upon years. The entire history of Snape and Sirius's relationship was long and consistently unpleasant, and even thinking about the boy now made Sirius grimace.
Sirius had always believed that he hated Snape. He had always assumed that the dislike for the Slytherin was as strong as dislike could get, and that had been his assumption since the moment he had seen the greasy-haired boy on the train to Hogwarts. Snape had given him no reason to enjoy his presence; this had been completely acceptable because Sirius had not wanted to get close to the Slytherin at all.
He had always assumed that that was as bad as it could get.
And even though Sirius felt nothing that wanted him to bond with Severus Snape, he did abruptly, angrily, and painfully realize that he did not hate Snape at all. Maybe what he felt for Snape was just annoyance or a House rivalry that was stretched to, at most, slight dislike.
But Sirius could not imagine hating anyone else, not even Snape, after he saw Theodore Nott kiss Scarlett Devous.
It was such an irrational hatred, the kind that could have only been spawned by jealousy. Theodore and Sirius did not have the same foundation of dislike that Sirius and Snape had. There were hardly any bad qualities about Theodore; he was, quite possibly, the nicest Slytherin in the House. Technically, the two should have at least been acquaintances.
But when something—or someone—like Scarlett entered the equation everything changed. His view on Slytherins was not wholly lost, but it had softened significantly since he had begun to fancy her.
Even with a softening towards Slytherins, the logic between the could-have-been friendship—or at least acquaintanceship—of Sirius and Theodore completely nullified. In fact, the appearance of Scarlett made it impossible; the prejudices which had before existed between Sirius and Theodore morphed into something sour. Not rivalry exactly; rivalry seemed too superficial a way to describe it. Jealousy didn't quite fit, either.
It was just... hate. Annoying and irritating, ugly and poisonous, it mixed with Sirius's blood like alcohol, though his vision didn't blur in the same way. Instead, his eyes were immediately drawn to the most insignificant of things, like just how annoying it was when Theodore suddenly grabbed Scarlett's hand as if he owned her.
And that brought thoughts about the entire ceremony and how he didn't seem to fit with her at all and it riled Sirius up again and again. He was constantly on edge as the reception began, because as soon as he was sure the hate was subdued another thing was brought to his attention and the cycle started again.
The reception had been going on for at least fifteen minutes, and nothing had really begun; most of the guests were congratulating the happy couple. In fact, besides a few children and seniors that found the task daunting, the only people that were not crowded around the two were the Marauders with the exception of James, who was spending Christmas Eve with Lily.
Sirius really was not enjoying himself, though he supposed he should have expected it to be this bad. He still was not really sure why he was here and why he had agreed to come, but he felt that it would have been rude (although much more pleasant) if he had backed out of his promise.
But Sirius wasn't really that kind of person. Now he wished that he was.
Fortunately, it was at that moment that Sirius and Scarlett subtly caught each other's eye, and immediately after Sirius stood up. "Hold on," he said to Peter and Remus, who were anxious for food, alcohol, or both. "I'll be back."
A few seconds later, Scarlett gently touched Theodore's shoulder. "I'll be right back," she said, and pecked him lightly on the cheek. "Promise."
They met inside of the house, Scarlett taking longer than Sirius to extract herself from the crowds. When she finally caught up, though, she did not make any indication that she knew him, her eyes slyly looking for any pureblood socialites as she said icily, "Black."
They had established this back when he had agreed to come to the wedding. Under no circumstance, she had said, would they act as if they were more than enemies in a public place. It was simple, and logical, and Sirius knew she was doing it, but he could not help but be angry anyway because there was really nothing to be happy about.
So, channeling all of his hatred from Theodore, Sirius bit out, "Devous."
Simultaneously, though it was barely noticeable, they winced; they had only just realized that the surname was useless.
"Are you leaving now?" Scarlett asked, and the question was genuine though it came out harshly. "Or are you staying awhile to steal a couple of drinks off of us?"
Sirius scowled at the idea of staying later as well as the knowledge that he couldn't leave without getting drinks unless he wanted to arouse suspicion in Peter and Remus. "Don't worry about it," he dismissed, walking at a more heated pace as he reached a closet that held coats and robes.
Scarlett rolled her eyes and turned back once again to look out for anyone. "It's my wedding," she said, and the words almost made Sirius cringe. "I can worry about whatever I damn well please."
Sirius opened the closet and stepped in with some difficulty. "Still a bitch," Sirius insulted, and Scarlett glared, turning her back for the last time to check the hallways.
"Still a bastard," Scarlett snapped, satisfied with the hallway's vacancy as she moved into the closet next to him and shut the door.
"Muffliato," Scarlett whispered, pointing her wand at the door. "And, uh, obfirmo."
Stashing her wand back in her purse and throwing the purse to the corner of the closet, Scarlett sighed deeply and leaned against the wall. "Damn," she said bluntly. "Damn it, damn it, damn it."
Sirius had always thought that he and Scarlett meeting in a closet was a bad, bad idea. It was cramped, and even more so due to the coats, and they were only inches apart. It was also dark and humid and small, so small that Sirius almost brushed against Scarlett's body—
It was also to be recognized that Sirius was on edge and Scarlett was too beautiful for her own good. Sirius's hatred and jealousy morphed into something else as he watched her weave a hand through her hair, and desperately he did not want to be dissatisfied any longer, because damn it was this night going to suck and he really couldn't be blamed for wanting Scarlett then when she was so close to going into bloody Theodore's arms instead of his own—
"I can't," Scarlett said as if she had read his mind, or perhaps they were just thinking the same thing, for her breaths seemed to be shallow as she looked at him. "I... just, Sirius—"
She cut herself off, though, breathing deeply, and Sirius inhaled too, feeling outrageously wronged as the seductive scent of what could only be Amortentia spread throughout the closed room. "I'm sorry about that," she said. "It's, um, Ambrose.
"And I'm sorry," Scarlett said, closing her eyes. "About everything. I can't believe I asked you to come."
"I can't believe I said yes," Sirius retorted. "I can't believe I thought for one second that this was a good idea."
"I know," she confessed. "It was stupid of me to ask, but, Sirius..." she shook her head. "It's not easy for me either."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Of course," he said sarcastically. "Pull this off again, yeah? Talk about how everything is always just your problem or Theo's problem, because that's all there is, right? I'm just to the side, you don't give a shit if you hurt me because I'm the one that's secret. Is that right?"
"Sirius—ugh—I made a mistake, okay?" Scarlett admitted. "I've made so many mistakes and I shouldn't be with Theodore, and I know that, but hell, Sirius, I don't know what to do! I can't get out of it anymore because I'm married and I'm not going to do things like this anymore because—I'm just so stupid, and I have been forever and why would I invite you to my wedding, for Merlin's fucking sake? What is wrong with me?"
"Great job!" Sirius yelled. "Great job for figuring it out now! Congrats on inviting me to your bloody wedding so I can watch you get married and just think about how many drinks I'm going to need to get it out of my head! Because hell, if I don't, I'm going to have to watch that asshole grab your hand or tell you a fucking joke like you're together! And, really, that bastard touching you is the last thing I'd want to see!"
"I'm sorry!" Scarlett screamed.
And then it was unsure if it was Sirius or Scarlett that started the kiss but there was no doubt that both were not looking to get away from it. Scarlett's past rule forgotten, coats fell to the floor as his hands roamed her body and her hands roamed his and it was so, so wrong, to be kissing at her wedding, but it was so, so right, because they were in love with each other and stupid because of it.
Scarlett broke off the kiss first, seemingly in defeat. "I'll talk to him," she promised, her eyes closed and her breathing erratic.
"When?" Sirius asked impatiently.
"As soon as I can," she said. "I promise."
Suddenly, from outside of the compact closet, Sirius could hear the click of heels.
"Scarlett?" Georgiana yelled, and he could hear a door open as Georgiana searched. Scarlett's eyes widened, and she turned away from Sirius and leaned closer to the door. "Scarlett, where the bloody hell are you? You're supposed to be dancing in fifteen minutes!"
"Shit," Scarlett muttered under her breath. She kissed Sirius one last time, though it ended far too soon for his liking, and she lifted the lock and silence enchantments. She held up five fingers and mouthed wait as her other hand turned the doorknob.
"Sorry, Georgie, I was—ah—thinking," Scarlett lied, squeezing Sirius's hand one last time before she exited the closet. "Think I could sneak in a quick drink before dancing?"
Sirius leaned back on the closet's wall as he heard Scarlett and Georgiana leave the hallway. He could have used a drink then too, but more than anything he really wanted Scarlett and, more specifically, her to break it off with Theodore.
Because Sirius was just so, so, so on edge, and hell if she didn't soon then she was going to end up driving him crazy.
Sirius was drunk.
Not smashed, because he wouldn't have been able to walk three steps without stumbling, and not tipsy, because there was no way Sirius had that much of a hold on how much alcohol he drank. Drunk was really the only adjective to describe it; however, as each drink in his hand emptied he leaned farther and farther away from sobriety.
Remus stood next to him on his right, and the two leaned against the house wall, the open bar being conveniently close. Remus had been nearly attached to Sirius for the entire ceremony, and Sirius was pretty sure he knew why, recalling right when he had come back from being with Scarlett.
"Please tell me," Peter insisted again, as the group trudged through the snow, "why the hell we are here, again."
"Sacred place, Pete," Remus chided. "But, uh, I agree. Sirius, why are we here?"
Sirius rolled his eyes. Remus and Peter had been asking questions the entire service, and, while it was a more-than-welcome distraction, it was also incredibly annoying. Even though he knew that if he were in Remus or Peter's place he would be asking the same questions, he did not want to hear it now.
He really did not want to hear it now.
So he huffed, stopping abruptly and nearly making the two boys knock into him. "Because," he explained, "James is with Lily Christmas Eve, and I don't want to go to the Potter's house alone. Their cat annoys the hell out of me."
"Please," Peter scoffed. "you love the Potter's house, James or not."
"And you love that cat," Remus added. "Remember that time you chased it around at two in the morning—"
"You woke up the Joneses—"
"And they threatened to call the police—"
"Free bar," Sirius interrupted, frustrated.
"Works for me," Peter said.
Remus, however, didn't accept his excuse as quickly. "Really, Sirius?" Remus asked, giving him a flat look.
Sirius rolled his eyes again and walked more quickly. "Really," he assured them. "Now, let's go get plastered."
Remus's suspicion had not worn away, even though he was only about two drinks behind Sirius. Peter, on the other hand, had not really questioned Sirius's paper-thin excuse, and was now actually next to a surprisingly attractive though likely intoxicated girl on the dance floor.
And, right next to them, Theodore and Scarlett were swaying, Scarlett's head turned away from Sirius in a gesture that had him annoyed at her cowardice. He took another gulp of Firewhiskey, spinning the bottle cap in his hand and ignoring the wave of dizziness only large amounts of alcohol could cause as another song started up.
Sirius watched as the couples backed to the edges of the dance floor, and his gaze darkened as he recognized the song as a tango. He had already been subjected to seeing Theodore and Scarlett dance the same way he had danced with her in the forest, though when the new husband and wife danced it was much more fluid and much more professional.
Logically, rationally, it was perfect.
But Sirius hated it anyway.
Remus watched him blearily as he, too, took a swig of his drink. "I know you fancy her," he said, and even though he was drunk Sirius could still hear the annoying authoritative tone in his voice. "I know that you don't want to say anything but, Sirius, I know and I've known since October."
The sharp violins began to play, and Scarlett and Theodore started to tango, looking as if they had done it for years. Sirius averted his eyes from Remus and the couple both and said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
The instrumentals continued on as Remus accused, "You know exactly what I'm talking about."
Sirius looked at the couple again, and his grasp on his drink tightened when he saw the way Theodore looked at her. Jealousy and anger seeped into his words, uncontrollable, as he said bitterly, "I don't think you should be talking, Moony."
"What?" Remus asked, sounding annoyed but transparent.
"Georgiana." Sirius said it flatly as he sought her in the crowds. She looked beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but it was more noticed by Sirius that her arms were wrapped around Matthew Cornfoot. "You fancy her, don't tell me you don't."
"Yeah, so?" Remus said, sounding surprisingly bored with the information, though Sirius supposed it was the alcohol talking. "Don't change the subject. Scarlett, do you fancy her?"
"I don't want to talk about who I fancy," Sirius evaded, and he glared at the couple again. "I don't even fancy anyone, I don't see why you and James—"
Remus scoffed. "Don't lie, Sirius, I know why we came. I know who you go with every single night. I know why you don't want to talk about it, either. But you'd better."
"I don't fancy Scarlett," Sirius denied, though the expression on his face contradicted his words. "I don't bloody fancy anybody, all right?"
Remus glared as he finished his drink. "Fuck you."
Sirius shook his head at Remus. "You're acting drunk," he said angrily. "I'm sorry if what I'm telling you isn't what you want to hear."
Remus huffed indignantly, looking irritated. "This isn't going to change anything, you know! You can keep lying to me, keep lying to James, keep lying to Peter—hell, you can keep lying to yourself. But you're just digging yourself into a damn hole every single time you try and tell yourself that you don't fancy her too much, that you're above it all. And the moment you realize anything otherwise you're going to be in too deep!"
"Oh, fuck you," Sirius said, too drunk and too pissed and still too jealous to think of anything more substantial to say.
He did not love Scarlett, he was pretty sure. Yeah, there had been times when he had wondered, but he could not love her. She was a Slytherin; fundamentally something had to be separating them from love. He fancied her, yes. He loved the way she looked, and he loved her sense of humor. And maybe he did care about her too much.
He didn't think so. He was pretty sure that he didn't.
But he was not entirely sure. And, his drunkenness admitted, he did feel something for her that was much more than a shallow fancy.
Was it love? He had wondered the night before she had left for the wedding. He hadn't stopped thinking of her since.
Yet this was not enough damning evidence. Sirius took another gulp of his drink and turned away from the couple in disgust, refusing to answer the question; all the while the hole he was digging became a little bit deeper.
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