Chapter 11 : Rejections, Acceptances
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Chapter 11 - Rejections, Acceptances
It had been two days since we’d heard about the Marauders’ party, and yet the news still hadn’t died down. The corridors were buzzing about who was asking who, what people were going to wear, and whether any of the Marauders had dates yet.
Frankly though, I didn’t sodding care.
This entire thing was just ridiculous. What was the point of working up energy to obsess about dress robes and potential boyfriends? And no, my resentment wasn’t just due to the fact that my prospects were grim and the only person yet to ask me anywhere was a spider-collecting Hufflepuff with a nervous tic.
And it wasn’t helping matters that Emma, Florence, Lily and Mary were just as bad as the mindless drones that twittered on about those inane things. Not only were they lusting after the Marauders like every other bloody girl in the school, but they were constantly asking me whether I planned on going and if so, was I going with Davey? A question they continued to ask with poorly concealed amusement.
It was enough to give me a headache. A headache bad enough to warrant me, Iris Wright, to skip yet another lesson this week - these bloody House Bonding lessons were nothing but a bad influence.
So there I was, roaming the halls when I should have been sitting demurely in Ancient Runes, listening intently to Professor Babbling (whose name suited her perfectly, by the way) drone on about the importance of hieroglyphs and logograms.
I suppose I really had been led astray by Sirius Black, Davey Gudgeon and Gwenog Jones.
‘Pricks,’ I muttered to myself furiously, blaming them for the fact that my grades were most likely going to take a blow from all the bunking I’d been doing – which I was sure my parents were not going to relish.
Still, it had given me an excuse to explore Hogwarts castle and think everything through. I trailed my fingers along the rough stone walls of whichever corridor I was now walking through, carefully avoiding turning my head towards any classroom doors in case I was identified.
First of all, what in the name of Merlin was I going to do about Davey? I didn’t exactly want to go out with him, but he was quickly becoming my only choice, and I would absolutely loathe being by myself at the Marauders’ party, since I was certain that my friends would be preoccupied with their dates. What kind of message would that send to Si-people? I quickly corrected myself. I didn’t care what he thought. And I didn’t want to break the poor boy’s heart, either – he’d seemed embarrassed when I pretended to rush off to the loo to clean my robes. So embarrassed that he’d also fabricated an excuse to leave. Plus, I’d have to face him at some point.
Secondly, what was going on with Florence at the moment? One minute she was obsessed with Rabastan, and the next she’d rushed off to chat up Peter Pettigrew? With apparent selective amnesia, as she’d seemed to have forgotten what she’d done earlier. Since then, every time we’d attempted to make her explain herself, she’d just shrug and say, “I changed my mind. I wanted someone better than Rabastan.” The old Florence would never have considered Peter better than Rabastan. The materialistic, shallow Florence, who I was actually starting to miss. This new Florence was spouting self-help advice like “don’t settle for less than you deserve”. Not to mention that she wasn’t spending her entire life grooming herself in front of the mirror. I didn’t exactly love these aspects of her personality before, but at least she’d had a personality. Now she was a mantra-chanting robot.
And speaking of Peter Pettigrew, how the bloody hell could he have been in two places at the same time? One possible method was the Time-Turner, which I’d read about, but it was unbelievably rare and only provided to very gifted students by the Ministry of Magic. And Peter wasn’t exactly a genius. The other day, Emma informed me, he’d asked her if she thought that Dumbledore was a vampire, because, and I quote, “he’s been alive for so long”.
Furthermore, what was Avery doing sneaking into the Slytherin common room that night? Mary told me he’d been expelled, along with Mulciber, for casting the Cruciatus curse on her – an event which had made me yearn to return the favour. But I’d thought, at least they were expelled and couldn’t do any more damage. Although now it seemed Avery could come and go as he pleased, and it evidently wasn’t exactly a one-time occurrence since there’d been no shouts, gasps, or screams of protests coming from the Slytherins’ grimy lair.
Everything was just a big bloody mess. And I had no idea what to do about any of it.
It was just as I was thinking about what a sorry state of affairs I was in that I spotted Sirius, skulking around the corridors in pretty much the same mood I was in. Which, coincidentally, was despair with just a hint of confusion.
I sighed and gritted my teeth, knowing that he’d notice me in a minute so I might as well do the awkward introductions and be on my way.
He looked up sharply, but relaxed when he saw me. “Wright,” he nodded back.
I looked around uncomfortably at my surroundings for a bit, digging for something to say. I settled on the possibilities of the next House Bonding lesson – no way was I going to mention his stupid party.
“So, what d’you reckon we’re going to be doing for the next House Bonding lesson?” I asked hesitantly.
“I couldn’t care less,” he said shortly. “Listen, do you mind if we talk for a minute?”
“I thought that was what were doing,” I replied, stung by his off-hand behaviour.
“About something else,” he said, his mouth quirking up in one corner.
“Fine.” I shrugged, crossing my arms and staring at him in what I hoped was an intimidating manner. “What is it you want to say?”
He looked discomfited, rubbing the back of his neck in the way he did when he was going to say something he didn’t want to. It bought back a rush of familiarity I wasn’t sure I was happy with.
“Erm, fair enough, I just wanted to, you know, I’m sure that you probably – that is to say, it’s a possibility…”
“Spit it out.” I sighed.
“Yeah, er, it’s just that – obviously other people will have, I mean, you’re an attractive girl – woman, so…”
“What?” I demanded hotly, my temper rising.
“D’you want to go to the party I’m having?”
“Oh.” I said, my shoulders relaxing. “I already am. Is that it?”
“No, no, you don’t understand – I mean, with me. As my date.”
My mouth fell open in a really unattractive way. In fact, I had to physically move around my jaw a little bit to click it back to its proper place.
“What? Are you serious?”
“Always.” He grinned, his effortless charm back.
I exhaled, ignoring his terrible pun. “No, really. You expect me to go to your party with you? After we agreed to stay out of each others’ business?”
He looked taken aback. “Well, only if you want to. I mean, I’m not going to force you.”
“Do you remember what you did to me, Sirius?” I asked him angrily, holding back the tears of frustration and hurt that threatened to well up in my eyes, “or have you forgotten already?”
“No, I haven’t forgotten, but it’s different now, isn’t it?”
“No.” I informed him abruptly. “I can’t trust you ever again. I’ve promised to make an effort and be friendly towards you, but that’s it.”
“I’ve changed.” He pleaded softly. “Honestly, I have.”
“I seem to recall you saying that to me a while ago.” I said coldly. “Somewhere between girls four and five.”
A flash of pain went across his eyes.
I laughed in disbelief. How could he be hurt? He didn’t have the right to feel hurt. He was the one who was unfaithful. The last thing I needed at the moment was Sirius Black adding more misery to my life - so I ignored the pulling sensation of desperately wanting to scream “yes!” and quite possibly throw myself at him.
“The only reason you’re even asking me is because you feel sorry for me, and I’m not going out with you on a pity date.” I sighed; certain that this would make him back off.
“It’s not a pity date!” He exclaimed, sounding genuinely shocked. “It’s not. Let me prove it to you, Iris. Please, just let me show you I’ve changed.”
“I can’t.” I said resolutely. “I can’t go through all that again.”
“It won’t be the same.” He said quietly, stepping forward and holding my gaze intently.
I sighed, wanting so much to accept but unsure that I could trust him. Though… I couldn’t help remembering that he had shown me how different he’d become over the last few months. He’d been trustworthy and dependable in House Bonding in a way that he hadn’t before in our relationship. Maybe he really had changed.
“Alright.” I said, closing my eyes and hoping that I wouldn’t regret it. “I’ll go to your bloody party with you.”
He grinned, a brilliant and honest smile that lit up his whole face. “Thank you.”
“You better not make me sorry for this,” I warned him. “Or I’ll set Gwenog on you.”
He laughed at my feeble joke. “I’d be more scared of Davey and his spiders.”
I smiled, then looked up him. “Please, Sirius. Tell me you won’t do it again.”
“I won’t.” He said sincerely. “I promise.”
I couldn’t be bothered to tell the girls about what had happened. There was sure to be a big situation (‘you did what!?’) that I just didn’t want to deal with. So instead I went straight to Davey.
And there he was, crouching amongst the owl dung and dirty straw, cooing appreciatively to a large black owl.
Rowena was in here somewhere. I never visited her, a fact that I felt slightly guilty about. At least, I did until I remembered the fact that she liked to nip at my ears; a fact I was annoyingly reminded of until I swatted her away.
“Alright, Davey?” I asked, ignoring the guilt that burned in my stomach.
He jumped up, looking at me nervously. “Oh, hello Iris.”
There was an awkward pause as I tried to work out what to say. I was certain that “Davey, I’ve found someone better, and it’s my cheating ex-boyfriend” wasn’t going to work.
“Davey, I’ve thought about… what you asked me in the Three Broomsticks the other day.” I began.
“You have?” He said eagerly. “And?”
I sighed. “I’m really sorry, but I can’t. I’m already going out with someone else. Sort of.”
His face fell. “You are?”
“Yeah. I think.”
“So – I’m not even in with a chance?” He said sadly.
“I’m sorry.” I repeated, looking down at my feet guiltily.
“Would this “someone else” be Sirius Black, by any chance?” he asked suddenly.
My neck snapped up painfully. “Yes – ow! How do you know that?”
“Lucky guess.” He said bitterly.
My eyes narrowed in confusion. How could he have known? Had Sirius been talking to him about me?
“Davey? How did you know that?”
“Doesn’t matter.” He said abruptly, moving swiftly past me. “I have to go.”
So I was left alone in the Owlery, standing on the dropping strewn-floor, listening to the screeching of the owls, and feeling thoroughly perplexed.
Well, that was one situation resolved… maybe. Now it was time to tackle Florence.
I headed down to the Ravenclaw dormitories, where I was sure I’d find her in exactly the same position I’d left her in this morning – foetal, rocking backwards and forwards on her bed and repeating her mantras to herself. Yeah, things had gotten bad.
I walked into the common room, scanning around for Florence. Nope, she wasn’t here. I waved at a few people I recognised and walked up to the dormitories. I rapped my knuckles on the door. “Florence?”
I turned the handle and walked into the room. Her bed was made, her trunk was tidy, and all her make up and accessories had been cleared off the dressing table she had claimed for herself on the first day we moved in. What the bloody hell? Florence was never this neat.
I sighed and tapped my knuckles on my bed frame, thinking about where she could be. I had no idea what had happened inside the Slytherin common room, but it had changed Florence for the worst, and I knew that I had to intervene before she did something stupid.
Just as I was about to exit back through the door and search for her, Lily floated in, looking annoyingly happy.
“Hello?” I said, wondering what had happened to make her so weird.
“Hi, Iris.” She replied, smiling.
“What happened?” I asked her.
“I asked James to the party, and he said yes!” she exclaimed happily.
“Oh wow, well done!” I congratulated her, thinking about how funny it is was to hear her say she’d asked James out.
“Thanks.” She replied, beaming. “You know, if you’d asked me last year, or last month even, whether I’d go anywhere near James Potter willingly, I would have laughed at you.”
“I know.” I said, grinning. “I think that’s the first time you’ve even said “James” instead of “Potter”.”
“Merlin, I think it is,” she realised. “How things change.”
How they did indeed.
“Anyway, have you seen Florence anywhere? I’m worried about her.”
“No.” She said, frowning. “I’ll help you look though. Ever since that night, she’s been completely different.”
I nodded, biting my lip. “What do you think happened?”
“I have no idea.” Lily replied. “But it can’t have been good.”
“Look at her stuff.” I tipped my head towards her belongings.
Lily turned around and took in the unusual sight. “Whoa, what happened there? She’s never that tidy.”
We exchanged a concerned look, and started walking around, looking for Florence.
“Did I tell you?” Lily asked me, giggling. “About what Severus has been doing lately?”
I laughed. “No, what?”
“Ever since the Marauders announced that they were having a party, someone’s been leaving a black rose outside our dorm every night.”
I stared at her, my urge to laugh gone. “Lily! That’s just creepy…you mean he’s been getting up into common room?”
“Well yeah,” she shrugged. “As much as I hate to say it, he is fairly clever.”
“How do you know it’s him?” I asked.
“Who else would it be?” she replied.
“True.” I admitted. “So why a black rose?”
She sighed. “When we first became friends, he asked me if I was named after the flower. I told him yeah, my parents were very into gardening, then he joked that if he was named after a flower it would be a black rose.”
“Pshh,” I snorted. “More like a Venus Flytrap.”
She elbowed me. “Anyway, I think it’s meant to be a sort of invitation or something.”
“That’s just a little bit disturbing.’ I said, my eyebrows furrowing. ‘I think he has problems.”
She laughed. “Probably.”
We had just turned around the corner when we banged straight into Emma, and sent her flying.
“Oh crap, sorry!” Lily exclaimed, and I held out my hand to help her up.
She grabbed it and pulled herself up, straightening her robes and pulling them over her bum with dignity.
“It’s too late, everyone’s seen it now.” I grinned.
She smiled faintly, picking up her school books and shoving them back in her bag.
“Need any help?” Lily asked her.
“No, thanks,” she replied quietly.
I looked at Lily, worried. The fall couldn’t have disturbed her quite that much. Usually she would have laughed it off.
“What’s up?” I questioned.
She took a deep breath. “I don’t know if I should tell you.”
My eyes narrowed. “What is it?”
She swallowed. “I’ve just seen Sirius and Florence… together.”
“What do you mean by “together”?” I said breathlessly, my heart lurching forward and skipping a beat.
“Iris – they were kissing.”
I backed away, shaking my head. “That’s impossible. You’re wrong.”
“I’m sorry,” she said solemnly. “But it’s true.”
“I don’t believe you!” I shouted angrily, my eyes burning with the urge to cry.
“I’ll show you.” She led me up to the broom cupboard on the third floor; Lily following us silently.
“They’re in there,” she whispered, pointing to the door.
Numb, I pushed it open. Florence was wrapped around Sirius, kissing him passionately. His hands were tangled up in her hair, and her leg was around his waist.
My heart tightened, as if it was being squeezed in my ribcage.
“You promised.” I choked out accusingly.
He looked up, saw me, and grinned. “I don’t change my ways that easily, Wright.”
His hair was tousled and his pupils were completely dilated, making his eyes appear black.
“You fucking bastard!” I cried out, tears now running down my face.
I turned to Florence. “How could you?”
She shrugged, her dark expression mirroring his. “Because I’m better than you, and I deserve him.”
I squeezed my eyes shut, pushing away the tears.
“Aw, don’t cry Iris,” Florence said. “It makes you look ugly.”
Sirius laughed, then turned back to her and started kissing her again.
I stepped backwards, slamming the door on them both, and ran for it. I didn’t know where I was running, and I didn’t care. I just wanted to get away from them.
God, I never learnt my lesson, did I? I knew I couldn’t trust him. But I blindly did it anyway, just because he made a fucking promise.
Well, I should have known. A promise from Sirius Black was nothing but a lie.
I sprinted through the school, my legs feeling weak and my head spinning. I was so dizzy.
“Maybe I should stop for a minute,” I thought to myself.
That was my last thought before I collapsed, and everything went black.
My eyelids are so heavy.
I tried to open them, catching a glimpse of three blurry people.
Maybe I’ve gone blind?
I tried again, pushing them open blearily. The three faces sharpened into focus, turning into Lily, Emma and Mary. They were looking down at me worriedly.
“She’s awake!” Mary shouted in relief.
I winced. “Calm down, I plan to use my eardrums later in life.”
Lily looked concerned. “You okay?”
“No,’ I replied groggily. “Where am I? What happened?”
Emma and Lily looked at each other. “You don’t remember anything?”
“Does she have amnesia?!” Mary asked excitedly, bouncing in her seat. “This is brilliant! Just like on those Wizard soaps!” The others turned around to glare at her reproachfully, and she caught on, mumbling, “sorry”.
“-I remember looking for Florence.” I interjected. “And then I remember talking to Lily...”
“…Then what?” Emma asked gently.
“I don’t know, I don’t remember anything after that. Oh wait! I remember something about a door?” I questioned, uncertain of what to make of my hazy memories.
Emma looked anxious. “Try to think back.”
“Why is everyone so sad?” I laughed nervously. “Cheer up! I’m alive.”
No one smiled.
I sighed irritably, and obediently closed my eyes and tried to remember. Bits and pieces started returning.
Long blonde hair, tangled up in someone’s hands…
A lean, tanned leg, curved around a toned waist…
A pair of familiar dark eyes laughing at me…
…Sirius and Florence.
The familiar sting of tears returned to my eyes.
“Oh Iris.” Lily said, noticing my facial expression and realising that I had remembered what had happened, “We’re so sorry.”
“Don’t worry.” I exhaled, brushing my eyes roughly. “I should have known better.”
“No one could have known.” Emma reassured me, stroking my back.
“Yes, I could.’ I sighed. ‘It’s happened before and it will happen again. I just hate myself for believing that he’d honestly changed.”
They all looked lost for words.
“Seriously, it’s fine.” I sighed, holding up my hands.
“God, Florence is such a cow.” Mary blurted out loyally
I laughed humourlessly, grateful for their support.
“No one knew.” Emma said, thoughtfully. “No one knew what she was really like.”
“Yeah, I’ve known her for six years now, and she may be self-obsessed but she was never deliberately spiteful or vindictive to me,” I said.
“People change,” shrugged Lily.
“It’s true,” Mary agreed. “I never would have thought that Florence was capable of doing something like this, but there you go. You never know what people are really like.”
“No, you don’t.” I agreed quietly.
All of a sudden, I felt an overwhelming need to get out of bed. I struggled to pull myself up and threw off the heavy sheets smothering me.
“What are you doing?” cried Emma, pulling me back down. “You’re not supposed to get out of bed yet.”
Lily nodded. “Madam Pomfrey said so.”
“Sod Madam Pomfrey,” I said crossly, moving over to the side of the bed so that I could sit up. “I want to talk to someone.”
Lily, Emma and Mary looked at each other with raised eyebrows but decided to leave me alone.
I carefully got up off the bed and stood up. My legs ached a bit but other than that, I was fine. I walked stiffly out of the Hospital Wing with my head held high.
“Iris, you’re still wearing your hospital robes!” Emma shouted out.
I really didn’t care.
Marching over to the Hufflepuff common room, I hid patiently behind a statue of Andros the Invincible until a blonde girl in yellow robes turned around the corner. She muttered a password (just loud enough for me to hear) to a still life painting of fruit in a blue bowl. Once she had passed through to the common room, I walked up to the painting and bent down until I was face-to-face with an orange.
Feeling stupid, I echoed “charitable” nervously. The still life slid aside and a large circular hole cut into the wall was revealed.
Triumphantly, I crouched down and stepped awkwardly into the small hole.
The immediate glare of yellow filled my eyes as I glanced around the busy room, which was painted in a bright shade of banana. Squinting, I searched for Davey, ignoring the weird looks I was getting from people.
“Hello, can I help you?” a kind dark-haired girl asked me politely.
“Hi, yeah… thanks. I’m looking for Davey? Gudgeon?”
“Oh yeah, I know Davey. I’ll get him for you.”
“Thank you!” I said in relief. Hufflepuffs were so nice.
She wandered off and I was left alone, giving people evil looks for staring at me in my grungy hospital robes. I looked around at my surroundings, noting the round wooden furniture and plump yellow armchairs. “Thank Merlin I’m not a Hufflepuff.” I thought to myself, grateful for the muted dark tones of our common room.
The girl appeared from a small round door, pulling Davey through with her. She said something to him and pointed to me, and a blush erupted on his cheeks.
Timidly, he walked over to where I was standing. “Iris, I’d like to apologise for the way I acted earlier today. It’s none of my business who does or doesn’t court you, and I’d be very grateful if you could forgive me for being so rude.”
“Don’t worry about it, Davey,” I sighed, ignoring the fact that he’d used the word court. “Turns out you were right.”
He looked at me curiously.
“About Sirius.” I explained. “He’s still a two-timing tosser.”
“Oh.” He replied evenly, seeming uncertain of whether to be sympathetic or happy.
“Anyway, what I came here to say, is that –“ I gulped. “- I’d love to go to the Gryffindor party with you.”
He gave a whoop of joy. “Yes! I knew you’d come to your senses eventually.”
I smiled stiffly. “So. I’ll see you later.”
“Wait!” he exclaimed, grabbing me by the wrist. “Don’t you want to come up to my dorm and er… see my spider collection?”
I tried not to shudder. “As tempting as that sounds, I’m going to have to say no.”
He looked disappointed, dropping his grip. “Well, never mind. I’ll show you my hairy monsters another time.”
“I’m sure you will.” I muttered under my breath. “Listen Davey, I really have to go, yeah? I’ll talk to you at House Bonding.”
And with that hit of realisation, I remembered that not only was Davey in my House Bonding group, but Sirius was too.
Which meant I’d still have to endure another nine months of him.
As well as facing him at the Marauders’ party.
A/N: Hi everyone! Sorry for the wait, I've been busy with coursework and stuffs. I hope you enjoyed it (despite the horrible twist!) and as always, reviews and favourite quotes are amazing. Oh, plus I'd be interested to hear your predictions about what you think is going to happen :D
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