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Chapter 7 : Cooling Off
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Elsa Yaxley - Rachel Leigh Cook
Dominic Yaxley - Chad Michael Murray
Damon Avery - Marc Blucas
Sirius Black - Jared Padalecki
(chapter image by Sililoquy @ TDA)
Rather than fleeing to her Common Room as she had planned, Elsa wandered the corridors, uncertain of where to go. She had always known that there was a chance that Sirius would react the way he had, that she might lose her friends over the truth. ‘What’d I expect?’ She mused as she stomped angrily through the halls. She tossed her book bag in the corner and returned to pacing.
“You keep that up and you’re going to wear a hole into the floor,” Dominic said, leaning against the wall as he watched his sister.
Elsa froze and turned to look at her twin. Had he somehow figured out that she had told Sirius and Cordelia the truth? ‘Was he in the library just then when I told them?’ She thought to herself.
Dominic bore the same cocky grin he wore when he’d strut around the school, his hair falling carelessly into his cold blue eyes. He made no move for his wand, which in Elsa’s opinion meant, for the moment, she was safe. At his feet lay his school bag, slightly worn with use, bits of parchment poked out the top and an ink stain was on the bottom.
“What do you want Dom?” she asked bravely.
“I heard you agreed to go to Hogsmeade with Damon. I hardly believe you, who can’t stand the sight of him, would agree.”
“Your point is?”
He seemed genuinely shocked by her answer, and for a moment stood there staring at her. Was he trying to determine if she spoke the truth? As if by some chance or miracle he could read her thoughts or tell when she was lying.
“There you are,” Damon said as he rounded the corner and saw Dominic standing not very far from Elsa. “I told you to leave her alone, mate. You proved your point, now sod off.”
Dominic shrugged and looked over at Elsa before picking up his bag. Of course she was surprised that he was listening to Damon in the first place. While Damon was right, he had proved his point in class, it was not beneath him to flaunt it and make her feel worse about the situation. He had been tormenting her for years, what was one more day?
Damon watched her closely, uncertainty in his eyes. Elsa smiled faintly at him before returning to her pacing. If he stayed that was his choice but she had to work out her problems somehow, and pacing seemed to help.
“You alright?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered quickly, “no. Merlin, I don’t know.”
“Want to talk about it?”
“With you, not really,” she answered honestly. “You wouldn’t understand.”
She was almost tempted to blurt it all out. He had been at the house that day; he would have known what was going on even if Gareth or his father never told him. Damon was a bright boy; he would have been able to figure it out. The fact that his older brother had burned her nightgown would have given it away. If she could trust Sirius and Cordelia with her secret, Damon was bound to understand it more than anyone else would.
Sighing, she shook her head trying to clear the fog of uncertainty. She hated when she couldn’t think straight. She needed to collect herself and straighten out her mind before she did anything stupid. Yet, as Elsa stood there wondering what to do, Damon walked across the corridor and took her hand in his.
“If we’re going to make this work,” he said, “then you need to trust me.”
Afraid she might start crying Elsa turned away from him and placed her head in her hands. What was she supposed to do? Sirius was angry with her, and she honestly didn’t blame him. If she told Damon she knew he wouldn’t walk away from her, he’d stay with her. Though she had no idea what he would do to console her. She had been avoiding him for the majority of their lives and now, when she needed a friend, he was the one standing there holding her hand.
“Come on, it’s still raining outside, and I know how you like thunderstorms. Everyone else is hiding inside, let’s go for a walk,” he suggested.
“How did you know I liked thunderstorms?”
“You used to run outside and play in them, much to your mother’s dislike,” Damon laughed, “you tried to drag Cordelia out with you one time when we were all over. I think it was your ninth birthday party. We were all outside and it started to pour. Everyone ran inside and left the house elves to clean up. You ran back out and danced in the rain.”
Elsa glanced at him with a look of surprise on her face. She had never expected him to remember her ninth birthday, she barely remembered it. She wasn’t sure if it was creepy or sweet that he could remember that, but she wasn’t about to make a comment about it.
In truth she was glad he was there keeping her company and keeping her mind from the thoughts that threatened to make things worse. She wanted to yell at Sirius for not being the friend she needed him to be, she wanted to make him understand that she wasn’t completely like him. Betraying her family was the last thing she would ever do, and turning Dominic in would create a scandal she was certain would ruin her family. Her father would lose his job at the Ministry, Dominic would be arrested at sixteen, and she was an accomplice in hiding it. It was far better to keep it a secret then revealing it. Azkaban would destroy her.
Nodding, she picked up her school bag and draped it over her shoulder before walking with Damon through the school. Slytherins and Ravenclaws alike stopped to gawk at the couple; it was a well known fact within the houses that Elsa hated Damon and would never be caught dead in his company. Though, as she walked through the school with him at her side, her hand found his. They walked hand in hand through the school, drawing stares and soft whispers from the rest of the student body. Elsa didn’t care, and neither did Damon.
“I suppose it would be a silly question, but should we use a water repelling charm?” he asked her.
“Nope, though, we could use a warming charm. No sense catching our deaths in the rain,” she said and saw him nod.
He cast the charm for both of them and stuck his wand back in his pocket before they continued onward into the rain. Damon took her hand back in his and let her lead the way. She was the one that was in the bad mood after all. Thunder rumbled low in the sky, and lightning illuminated the school in all its glorious wonder.
They walked around the school, hugging the walls before they passed the greenhouses and made their way across the grass towards the lake. The loud plink plink of water on water brought a smile to Elsa’s lips as she turned her face skywards. Closing her eyes, she let the rain wash away her stress, her fears, and her worries.
As she twirled in the rain, a laugh escaped her throat before she took off running. She ran through the rain splashing muddy water as she went. Passing the Quidditch Pitch, she slid and would have fell into a shrub if Damon hadn’t caught her.
“Amazing actually,” Elsa said as she straightened her clothes. “Why I didn’t come out here earlier is beyond me.”
They moved onto the pitch. Looking up at the goal posts Elsa smiled remembering the game she had played not long ago. It had been fun and she almost missed the thrill of being on a broomstick, racing from one end of the pitch to the other.
“You played amazingly the other day,” Damon commented and drew her attention away from the night sky.
“Yup, not surprised you didn’t notice. I made sure I sat where you wouldn’t see me. You really should play.”
“Not as long as Dominic plays or Robert is Ravenclaw’s captain,” Elsa answered simply and walked away from him. “Dominic is cruel and I’m not going to give him any more reasons to hate me.”
“I told you, one day you won’t have to worry about him,” Damon said walking up behind her. “I’d keep him from bothering you if I could.”
“It doesn’t matter. Dominic is perfect in the eyes of my father, he can do no wrong. He could kill me and my father wouldn’t care.”
“Elsa,” Damon said putting both arms on her shoulders which she shrugged off. “Your father wouldn’t have arranged for us to marry if he didn’t want you safe and taken care of.”
“Not the point, Damon,” she answered and turned to look at him.
Lightning flashed across the sky, and for a few seconds Damon looked godlike standing there watching her. His eyes bright with belief in his words, his cheeks rosy from chasing after her, and his hair matted to his perfect skin. A smile crept across his lips and for the first time Elsa wondered what it would be like to kiss them. The thought startled her and she turned away from him. There was no way she was going to kiss him.
“I know why Black isn’t talking to you, and Dominic does too,” Damon said suddenly making Elsa spin around and glare at him. “Don’t look at me like that. I wasn’t the one that walked away from you.”
“How do you know he walked away from me or that he’s mad at me?”
“Talking in the library is a really bad place for privacy. Of course, only Dominic and I were close enough to hear you tell Cordelia and Black. I can keep Dom from telling your father if you keep Sirius from telling Professor Dumbledore.”
“He’s not even speaking to me, Damon. How am I supposed to keep him from doing that?’
“I don’t know, but if your father finds out...” Elsa shuddered at the idea of her father finding out. “My point exactly,” Damon added.
“I hate you,” Elsa glared at him.
“No you don’t,” Damon said cockily and took a step closer to her. “You hate that I can make you smile, that I remembered that you like playing in the rain. You hate the fact that for the first time in sixteen years you’re actually considering our engagement, but you do not hate me.”
Elsa stared at him dumbfounded by his statement. Most of it was true, in fact, if she thought about it, it was all true. Of all the reasons she hated him, she hated him most for making her like him, to consider him a possible husband. It was cruel and unusual. He took another step towards her, close enough that he could reach out and touch her, but he did nothing.
She found herself taking a step towards him as much as she wanted to step away. If she had believed him capable, she would have thought he had used Amorentia on her, but she knew the truth. There was absolutely no way he would have had it brought into the school and he couldn’t brew it himself without making a disaster of it first.
“See,” he said softly. “Why can’t you just admit it?”
“That you like me.”
“Maybe if it were true I’d have no problem admitting it,” Elsa said softly.
They stood there for what seemed like forever before Elsa heard someone approaching from behind Damon. Looking around his body, Elsa found Sirius walking towards them. A smile appeared on her lips as she ran around Damon towards Sirius. Maybe he had forgiven her, or maybe he was out walking around trying to clear his thoughts like she was. She watched as a scowl formed on his lips and he turned to walk away from them.
“Sirius, wait, please?” Elsa yelled after him and ran to catch up to him, but stopped midway between the two boys. “I’ll see you later Damon,” she called back to him and watched him nod.
Sirius had stopped and looked at her, disgust etched on his face. She understood why he’d walked away. It must have been hard to hear her tell him the truth. He had hounded her since the school year started trying to find out what was bothering her and now that he knew, she was sure he regretted ever asking.
“Can we talk?” Elsa asked. “Please?”
“What more could you have to say?” Sirius asked clearly angry with her.
“I don’t have a choice, Sirius. I’m not like you. I can’t betray my family!” She practically yelled at him.
“He killed a child, Elsa! He needs to be in Azkaban.”
“Could you send Regulus to Azkaban?” She asked coldly and watched Sirius’s face harden, but he said nothing. “I didn’t think so. You hate your family so much but you would keep Regulus’s secrets if he asked you too. You wouldn’t send him to Azkaban no matter how much you hated him, no matter what he did.”
“Dominic isn’t Regulus, Elsa. Dominic is crazy. I don’t know of a single person – witch, wizard or muggle – who would kill a child at sixteen!”
“I can think of two,” Elsa said crossing her arms over her chest. He gave her a pointed look and she continued. “The Dark Lord and Dominic. Now, that’s assuming the Dark Lord killed someone at sixteen but he’s damn scary and I’d assume him capable of it.”
“I don’t get you Elsa, I thought I did, but I don’t,” Sirius snapped. “I thought you were different than the rest of them. I guess I was wrong.”
Elsa watched him walk away as tears formed in her eyes. She wanted to run after him, to scream at him, to tell him he was wrong, that she was nothing like the rest of them, but she couldn’t move. Watching him leave was heartbreaking and she wanted nothing more than to make everything better again. She regretted telling him the truth.
Damon walked up behind her and pulled her into a hug and let her cry. She sobbed into his soaked chest and tried desperately to forget about Sirius, though she knew she had to deal with him sooner or later. If he didn’t want to talk to her then so be it, but her secret had to be safe with him.
“Do you want to go back inside?” Damon asked attentively, looking down at her.
“No. I want to hide from the rest of the school and forget I ever knew Sirius Black,” She said honestly and only after she said it did she realize just how much Sirius’s words had hurt.
“Come on,” he said and draped his arm over her shoulder and led her away from the pitch.
They walked in silence, listening to the storm as it blew fallen leaves around their ankles. Elsa had no idea where Damon was leading her and she didn’t really care. Slowly they came back to the lake, and looked towards the school. The torches inside flickered and danced along the windows. From time to time Elsa watched as a student or teacher walked past casting a silhouette against the glass.
He stood in front of her and watched her carefully before he spoke. “Black is an idiot if he can’t see what he’s doing to you. I may not like him, I may not like that you’re friends with him, but I promised I’d keep you happy, even if it means talking to him, I will, if you want me to and if it will make you happy.”
Elsa eyes widened in fear at Damon’s offer.
“Oh please, no. Don’t talk to him, please. You’ll only make matters worse. I’ll handle Sirius, you handle Dominic. Please promise me you won’t talk to Sirius?”
“You have my word, I won’t say a word to Sirius unless you ask me to,” Damon said seriously and kissed her cheek. “Now, let’s get you inside and out of those wet clothes.”
She arched an eyebrow at his comment, rolled her eyes and left him standing in the rain. She didn’t need him to walk her back to her dormitory and she certainly didn’t need him making cheesy passes at her either.
Ignoring the stares of her classmates, those who seemed to think that running in the rain was reserved only for the crazy and children, Elsa made her way to her common room. Hoping to avoid Sirius or any of his friends, she quickly walked through the busy corridors. Practically running the last few steps, Elsa answered the riddle to enter the common room and found her friends sitting around the fire.
They all looked up at her but she ignored them, running up to her room to change and go to bed early. There wasn’t anything she wanted to say to them and she was exhausted anyway. She hoped for the first night in a long while, she would sleep. Though, she doubted it since Sirius was not talking to her. Cordelia didn’t seem nearly as shocked about the truth as she had first anticipated. But Sirius’s reaction was far worse. Somehow she was going to make things better, but for the moment she allowed herself to hate him.
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