Chapter 1 : Under the Stars
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Winner of two Golden Snitches.
Best Marauders 2011 & Dominic Yaxley as Baddest of the Bad Guys 2011
Reference Cast List:
Sirius Black - Jared Padalecki
Elsa Yaxley - Rachel Leigh Cook
Damon Avery - Marc Blucas
(chapter image by Camila @ TDA)
"When I die, I want to be buried in a field of wildflowers like the one in the meadow behind the manor. Please make sure that when it happens I'm not placed in a box in the ground. I don't like confined spaces, I want to be able to breathe in the fragrance of flowers for all eternity,” she said softly, staring up at the warm summer sky.
“Where did that come from?” he asked, turning to gaze at her sad face.
“They always put dead people in those boxes and put them in the ground where they are trapped for the rest of time. I don’t want to be that way, Sirius. You have to promise me, you won’t let them do that to me. Promise?”
“Of course I won’t, but I don’t understand why you’re thinking of your death. Are you sick?” Sirius asked, suddenly worried his friend was going to die on him.
“Don’t be silly, Sirius. I am going to live forever!” she laughed and hugged him close. “But even things that live forever die eventually.”
He never did find out why I was thinking of my death, she mused to herself as she listened to the boys in front of her idly chatting about their summers, completely ignoring the fact that she was there. Which wasn’t entirely unusual: they had ignored her every September of every year leading up to their Sixth Year at Hogwarts. It was only during the summers that they paid her any mind, and only because they had to, because they were forced to.
Standing, she excused herself from the compartment to go and change into her school uniform. It didn’t really matter that they had only left King’s Cross less than a half hour ago, or that she would probably be the only one who had changed so soon. All that mattered was that she was out of the compartment and away from those who would ignore her.
If this were her last year at Hogwarts she would make the best of it. Next year, she thought as she stepped into her school clothes. Looking at the blue of her uniform, she had to wonder – not for the first time – how it was that she had been placed in Ravenclaw. It wasn’t like she was as smart as her housemates; she had to work twice as hard for her grades as they did.
It was of no surprise when Elsa was found with her nose in a book when she finally found a compartment that wasn’t full. If anything surprised Elsa, it was by who had plunked themselves down in the seat in front of her.
“Shouldn’t you be off torturing someone?” She said without a second glance up from her book.
“Shouldn’t you start behaving more like a lady?” he bantered right back at her.
“Not if it still means I give you the satisfaction in believing that you had something to do with my sudden change of heart.”
“I see you are still wearing my ring.”
“I forgot to take it off,” she answered quickly, snapping her book shut in annoyance and pulling the ring off her finger. “You can have it back; there is no way in Hell that I am going to marry you. Not now, not ever.”
He ignored her like he always did when she tried to break off their engagement. She still had two years to accept that there was nothing she could do that would stop their marriage from happening. Except that Damon Avery would never understand her deep loathing for him.
Elsa opened her book again, glancing over the top every now and then to see if he was still sitting there. She would give him credit for trying, but he simply would never change her mind from what she knew to be the truth. The Avery men were nothing more than scoundrels with pretty faces and deep pockets. Something she wanted nothing to do with. Though, she thought, he is cuter than Gareth. She shook the thought away before it could fester into anything more.
It took what seemed like an eternity for Damon to take the hint, and it only seemed to dawn on him that she wasn’t going to play his game when Sirius and James popped their heads through the door. She didn’t so much as bother saying goodbye to Damon when he pushed past the boys and disappeared down the corridor of the train.
“Don’t tell me, he was trying to convince you that marrying him was for the best?” Sirius said as he pushed her feet off the seat and plunked down beside her.
“Something like that,” Elsa laughed and made a grand show of tossing Damon’s ring into the bottom of her book bag. “How was your summer?” she asked.
“The usual,” Sirius answered, looking at James as if they shared a secret that she wasn’t privy to. “Mum nattered on about Eleanor and Regulus being such a cute couple together, and how it was a shame I’d never be so lucky as to have a wife as lovely as Eleanor.”
“Eleanor is a hag,” Elsa said suddenly, making both the boys burst into laughter. “She may be my sister, by it’s not like I can choose who I’m related to.”
“Speaking of relations, how’s that demon brother of yours? Perfected his murderous glares yet?” James asked.
Elsa paled at the mention of her twin brother, who was absolutely nothing like her. He was cruel and heartless and downright psychotic. Dominic Yaxley was everything her father wanted him to be, the perfect heir to his legacy. She would never understand her brother.
“What’d he do this time?” Sirius asked, draping his arm around her shoulders.
“Nothing,” Elsa blurted out and returned to reading her book.
“Later?” he whispered to her, knowing she would eventually tell him what was bothering her. It had always been that way.
Nodding, she turned her attention to the scenery passing them by. Sirius had always been like the brother she had wished for. Ever since she was five, Sirius had been there slaying dragons with her, braving the fierce Bee Kingdom of Buzz when their Queen had sent her drones to attack Elsa. He’d been her mermaid Prince when they swam through the lake behind the manor. He’d spent the summer cooped up in bed after she’d given him her Dragon Pox. There was nothing Sirius wouldn’t do for her, and she was grateful for the friend she had in him. He was her confidant, and the brother she would always remember.
Somewhere between the green pastures and Hogwarts, Elsa fell asleep, and waking only when she heard the ruffling of clothes. Rubbing away the sleep, she just about screamed seeing Sirius pulling on his slacks. It was not the way she would have liked to be awoken.
“Good Lord Sirius!” she shouted at him. “There are bathrooms for that!”
He turned to look at her, his shirt unbuttoned and his hair tousled like he had fallen asleep too, but all he did was give her that lopsided grin of his. Rolling her eyes, Elsa picked up her book and put it away in a desperate attempt to ignore her friend standing in front of her half-dressed.
“I thought you were sleeping. James is taking too long in the bathroom and we’re almost there. It’s not like you haven’t seen me in swimming trunks. It’s no different,” he answered, as he buttoned up his shirt before tossing his tie around his neck.
“That is not the point! What are people going to think seeing you getting dressed with me in here?” And even as she said it, a blush crept up on her.
It didn’t matter that she didn’t see Sirius that way; people would only think of her as another one of the girls who had thrown herself at him. Nor did it matter that Dominic wouldn’t care what she said; he would pulverize Sirius for even considering he was in her league. It was one thing to be a Ravenclaw in her family; it was an entirely different thing keeping her friendship with a Gryffindor who made it abundantly clear he wanted nothing to do with his birth family’s views.
James returned a moment later, looking as flustered as ever, a look Elsa had learned to recognize. He’d run into Lily Evans and again confessed his undying love for her. Boys! She mused, and collected her things as the train rolled to a stop.
To say dinner was eventful was to agree that watching paint dry was a pastime she enjoyed. The only good thing that came about the night was that she was able to slip away from the table unnoticed by her classmates and meet Sirius in their usual spot. The train ride was simply not enough time to catch up on things, and she had a lot to tell him. It was tradition that brought her to their spot on the Quidditch Pitch that night.
Sirius was already there when she arrived, laying on his back staring up at the night sky with its wisps of clouds and stars smiling down at us. Elsa knew she wouldn’t startle him, because who else would be meeting him on the first night of school in their spot?
Taking a seat next to him on the grass, he glanced at her before returning to staring at the stars. It was always how things were. They’d lie together watching the stars, pointing out the constellations they spotted and making up their own if they saw something that looked like an object. Sometimes they could sit there for hours and not say a word, even with unspoken worries hanging between them. She took solace in his presence, found comfort in his silent company, and knew that no matter what happened he would always have her back.
“Do you remember when we first met?” She asked, knowing he’d remember and a smile crept over her face.
“Yes. You came skipping into the parlour dressed like a fairy and declared yourself a princess,” he answered with a light laugh.
He rolled onto his side and looked down at her, the pensive look on her face as she remembered their first meeting. They’d been so young, so innocent with not a care in the world. Now she longed for peaceful days where the only worries she had was whether the house elf would remember to cut the crusts off her peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of the constant insecurities and fear she felt now: constantly wondering if today would be the day when Dominic fulfilled his goals.
“I miss those days, Sirius,” she whispered.
“Are you going to tell me what happened?”
“You said you would.”
“You never lie. And you’re terrible at it.”
“I’ve had a lot of practice this summer,” she said, sitting up suddenly. “I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to.”
“Of course you could. You can tell me anything and I’d keep it a secret. You know that.”
“That’s not the point Sirius, this is a secret that could ruin everything.” Elsa's voice carried an edge of fear he had never heard before.
“Not everything. You’d still be my best friend.”
“I’m not sure about that,” she blurted out.
“Don’t be silly, we’ve faced everything together.”
“I promise,” she looked at him, a sad smile on her face, “I promise when I can find the words, find the right way of telling you, I will. But for now, drop it.”
Sirius gave her a quick nod, and immediately she knew he would not drop it. He was going to hound her until she told him, and while she wanted nothing more than to tell him what was bothering her, there was nothing he could do to fix it. Sirius may have been many things, but he was no miracle worker, no matter what he claimed to be. He may have been her wizard warrior when they were children, but they were no longer five years old, and that world was gone.
Elsa shook her head before laying back down on the soft grass beneath her. If she had her way, she’d spend the whole night out under the stars, avoiding anything that had do with Hogwarts for just one night. Outside, in the wide open space of the Quidditch Pitch, she could almost picture herself laying in the field of wildflowers behind her parents' manor with Sirius beside her as they made up the silliest stories about the Kingdom of Buzz and how the vile Queen had long since been overthrown by a young Princess. It was perfect.
In the distance she could hear the soft sound of crickets as they called to their wayward children. The wind that blew gently through the tree tops, rocking the birds to sleep with the softest of songs that only they could hear. The world slept peacefully while her mind ran ramped with thoughts of summer. She knew that if she didn’t soon find a way to deal with what had happened she was going to be as crazy as her brother and that was something she would never let happen.
“Can you do me a favour?” Elsa asked, not for the first time or the hundredth.
“What is it?”
“Don’t let me become like Dom.”
While she knew he would try to figure out what she had meant, she wasn’t going to give him the option. As soon as he agreed, she would retreat to the Ravenclaw Common Room where she could fall into blissful empty sleep and wake to join the rest of her classmates for the first day of lessons. But as she sat there waiting for him to answer, she knew that no situation with Sirius Black was without its disadvantages. He was not going to let her leave without an explanation. He was not going to watch his friend slip into delusional thinking that would ultimately led to insanity and an incarceration in St. Mungo’s. He’d fight for her when the battle called for it, and he would fight with her if she needed him to snap her out of her wicked thoughts.
“You are nothing like Dominic,” Sirius began, “and don’t give me that bullshit about you being twins. You being twins has absolutely nothing to do with it. Dominic is a nutter: absolutely loony. And if you believe for one second I would let you become anything like that deranged little monster, you have another thing coming. I don’t know what happened over the summer, and right now I don’t really care. Whatever Dominic did, if he thinks he can hold it over you now or that he will get away with it again, he’ll have to deal with me.”
For a moment Elsa said nothing, not sure if words would even be useful at that point. Sirius had made himself clear, plain and simple; she was nothing like her brother, which she knew. Fear did funny things to her, it always had. Rather than run to face her fears head on as Sirius had always done, she ran away from them. Locking herself away in her bedroom closet to avoid seeing the monster under the bed, or the evil thing she called a brother in the next room. And fear was exactly what was causing her problems. Fear of becoming a monster, of Dominic winning and her losing. Losing was definitely not in her vocabulary – even if she failed on a regular basis.
“Thank you,” she said and rested her head on his shoulder. “I think it’s time for bed.”
“Want me to walk with you back to the Common Room?”
Like everything they had done that night, the walk back to the Ravenclaw Common Room was tradition. Ever since second year, he had walked her to the door and waited until she was safely inside before leaving. It had nothing to do with fear of something happening and everything to do with spending a little longer together. Like every other year, Sirius helped her up off the grass, and escorted her through the dark.
Their walk remained quiet, not because they had run out of things to say, but more to avoid being heard. They strained to hear everything: the heavy foot falls of a teacher, the graceful tapping of cats and mice as they chased their prey through the castle weeding out the weak who had grown fearless in the quiet of summer, or the telltale sign of prefects unable to sleep and begun their duties early. Though, like always, they managed to arrive at the common room without being caught.
“Good night Sirius,” Elsa said softly, giving him a gentle hug.
“Sweet dreams,” he answered and headed for the Gryffindor Common Room.
Author's Note: Also (mods, validators, and curious members of the site), if you're wondering about the arranged marriage, I promise you, well before the end the characters will either agree to cancel the wedding or have it. For now though, Elsa disagrees with it. I'm not giving away what the answer will be, just wanted to make it clear that eventually she will make a choice that both her and Damon agree on.