Polite or courteous. Avoidance of rudeness toward others
My head was pounding so viciously it felt as if someone was trying to crack it open with a hammer. Not a particularly pleasant
sensation I tell you now. I opened my eyes slowly - first one, then the other – instantly regretting the choice when a sickening, spinning sensation added itself to the throbbing pain.
I was currently lying in my bed – though with no memory of how I had gotten here. For a moment I let myself hope that the events that had happened the previous night were nothing but a bad dream and that now I had woken everything would go back to normal. But upon discovering I was still dressed in the clothes I had been wearing when I had gone out – and not to mention Sirius’ jacket, which was still pulled around me tightly, smelling exactly as he had last night – I knew it would never be normal again
I would never
let myself trust Lucius again for what he had done – and I would certainly never forgive Violet for her part in it, either. It hurt my pride to no end to know that someone I loved had betrayed me so deeply.
Reluctantly, I snuck a peek out through the velvet curtains surrounding my bed – scrunching my eyes at the blast of sunlight that instantly attacked them. I wasn’t surprised to find Bella’s own curtains still shut tight around her bed.
A quick glance at the small, brass clock on my bedside table told me it was nine forty-five. Our first class of the day, which was double Defence, had started long ago - and I had no intention of getting out of bed in time for Charms after lunch.
I let my head fall back onto my pillow heavily, and it wasn’t long before I fell asleep once again.
When I next woke up it was to the sound of voices. First of all I heard Bellatrix chattering loudly – her lack of compassion for those of us who were half-dead obvious.
“Will you lot shut it!” I grumbled loudly, pulling my pillow out from behind my head and attempting to cover my ears. That was until my curtains were rudely pulled open and someone tore the pillow off me.
“Morning, Alex” Severus was standing above me, clearly amused at my dramatics.
Reluctantly, I sat up – my hands instantly flew to my forehead as the pain in my head flared up once again and I groaned lowly.
Next second I was met by a goblet of a pale, orange coloured liquid being thrust at me by Bella, who was looking rather less worse for wear then I most certainly did.
“Drink it” She ordered, holding it up under my nose.
A putrid smell immediately filled my nostrils and I couldn’t help but gag.
“What the hell
“It’s a tonic – I managed to talk that assistant of Mellicks into giving it to me. It’ll get rid of that headache” Bella replied and I took the goblet off her immediately – that was all the convincing I needed.
I gulped the liquid down as fast as I could, trying my best not to throw it all back up – the taste was horrid. But Bella was right – within seconds my headache had started to dissipate and after a minute it had vanished completely. Though the nauseous feeling of wanting to vomit was very much still there.
“So, what exactly happened with you and Sirius Black last night, hmm?” Bella asked, her arms folded across her chest.
I groaned inwardly “What are you talking about?”
I couldn’t possibly tell her what had happened with me and Sirius last night because I myself had no idea
. The last thing I remembered was him hauling me off the ground by the lake in my drunken state – who knows what could have happened after that.
I didn’t seem to be injured
in any way, at least.
Bella raised her eyebrows “Well after your little disappearing act we went out looking for you, thinking you were in some sort of trouble – until we actually found you safe and snug in the arms of Sirius Black
” She spoke the last sentence in a sing-song voice, though her face showed she was clearly disgusted by the thought.
“You should have seen Evan when he saw Black there outside the common room – he went absolutely mental
” she continued “I can’t believe it didn’t wake you up, the way Evan and him were at each other’s throats” Bella cackled as she relayed the scene.
“I was out cold – I don’t think anything
could’ve woken me up” I muttered in response.
Bella snorted “Tell me about it. Kendra and I had to drag you up the stairs and believe me, that was no bloody picnic”
“Then you should blame that bloody
boyfriend of yours for getting me in that state in the first place” I replied derisively.
“I brought these back for you” Severus interrupted. He was seated at the foot of my bed, holding out my wand and pair of red pumps. I took them both gratefully, until I felt some sort of sticky residue on my shoes – which I guessed was probably from the alcohol I was spilling all over myself last night. I performed a quick cleaning charm on the pair of them before dropping them with a loud clunk
on the floor beside my bed.
“Thanks Sev. But – How’d you get up here?” I questioned, as the Girls’ dormitory was strictly off limits to boys - the staircase had a nasty habit of collapsing if one so much as tried to climb it.
Sev smiled sheepishly from behind his black curtain of hair “I borrowed Rods’ broom” he replied and I laughed openly – Severus had never been the best flyer, and the thought of him struggling to fly Rodolphus’ broom up the staircase was nothing short of hilarious.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay” Severus added, brushing his hair out of his eyes “Lucius is a jerk for what he did”
I nodded in agreement – I still wasn’t feeling up to talking about the subject of Lucius. All I knew was that me and him were finished, and quite frankly, I’d be happy if I never had to see his face again.
“I know he’s a jerk – and I’m fine” I answered, smiling through my lie. I was much too proud to let Lucius know that he had wounded me like this. The best thing, I thought, would be to pretend I was fine.
I glanced at my clock quickly and was surprised to find it was close to dinner time – I had quite literally slept all day.
“Feeling hungry?” Bella asked, thankfully changing the subject “Sev and I were heading down to dinner"
My stomach growled furiously at the mention of food, but I was reluctant to see anyone else right now – Lucius especially.
Bella, who could obviously read the expression on my face spoke again “You should stay here and sleep that hangover off some more. I’ll bring something back for you”
“Thanks, Bella” I breathed gratefully and it was then that I remembered Severus’ absence from the masquerade.
“Wait a second, Sev, where were you
Severus faltered a moment “You know parties aren’t really my thing, Alex” he answered with a half-smile “Especially one’s those half-wit Marauders are attending”
At once I snapped “You didn’t go because of them
?” I asked incredulously – I was so sick of Severus being harassed by that bunch of prats. I knew the only reason they targeted him specifically was because they knew he wouldn’t retaliate and they enjoyed watching him suffer.
“It’s okay – I had Transfiguration homework to finish anyway” Severus answered and I cringed at once, forgetting all about the Marauders.
“Shit! That’s due tomorrow, right? I completely forgot”
Bella cackled “No need to stress – it’s done already”
I raised my eyebrows at her – she certainly did have a talent for finding students to do our homework for us.
“Yeah? Who’d you get to do it this time?”
“Montana Price. Fifth year – she was more than happy to do us a little favour
” Bella replied with a sinister smile.
I breathed in relief. I did not
particularly want to land myself in detention once again.
After about a thousand years of trying to convince the pair of them that I was fine, and they should go down to dinner without me, they finally left.
It was only after they had gone, and I was left alone, that I let my smile falter.
After another full night’s sleep both my head, and my heart were feeling considerably better, and even though I had slept in and missed breakfast – mostly on purpose because I was delaying the prospect of seeing Lucius again – I thought it was best I got up for my Potions class that morning.
Bellatrix, who usually relied on me waking her up as soon as I did, was skulking along beside me – slightly pissed that she had to go to class on an empty stomach, though it was her own fault really.
I had been doing a lot of thinking that morning – about Lucius mostly. As much as it hurt me to know what he did, I couldn’t help but feel that now I was no longer with him – I was free. Free from his sharp eyes, his brooding moods and his expectations. I didn’t have to care about what he thought of me anymore.
“What the bloody hell are you carrying this thing around for?” Bella questioned, interrupting my train of thought and snatched Sirius’ jacket out of my hand. She held it to her nose and gave it a wary sniff.
“This is Black’s, right?”
“Yes, which is why I’m returning it to him” I replied impatiently and took the jacket back from her.
“What?” Bella asked disbelievingly, her forehead set in a frown “Why don’t you just burn it!”
“Because... Well – that would be rude” I replied rather half-heartedly, having not even considered that option.
Something was seriously
wrong with me
Bella snorted “Since when did you care about being rude
” she asked, staring at me sceptically.
I ignored her question as we were nearing the Potions classroom – and my stomach had started a series of nervous flips. I forced myself to keep calm – I knew I would have to see Lucius again sooner or later, though that didn’t mean it would be any more pleasant.
Lucius was seated at the table nearest the door, next to Frank Longbottom, and his cold gaze immediately met mine as I entered the room. His face was its usual expressionless mask, and even after I had torn my eyes away from his own I could feel his sharp stare burning into me.
Before I left my dormitory this morning I had made the decision to keep my cool, plant the fakest smile I could muster on my face and make everyone believe I was completely fine.
And I had achieved all of that so far – until my eyes came upon the dark haired-boy sitting next to the seat I was cruelly forced to occupy and a familiar glint of anger surfaced inside me. After what Severus had told me about why
he didn’t want to attend the Masquerade the other night – there was no way in hell that I was going to play nice with Sirius Black.
Roughly, I shoved the jacket at him before sitting irritably and leaning my elbows on the table in front of me.
Sirius had his eyebrows raised at me disbelievingly – making me feel incredibly awkward.
“Good morning to you too, Cortez” he drawled – his amusement evident in his tone “Aren’t we just a box of sunshine this morning”
I inhaled sharply, ignoring him completely as he continued.
“You were in quite a state the other night, weren’t you” he stated with a taunting grin “I hope your day of skipping classes has put you in a better mood”
Still, I continued to ignore him.
“I have to admit I’m surprised to see this again” he said, holding his jacket up to inspect it “I thought you would have, I don’t know, burned it – or done something equally horrible”
I groaned inwardly – was I the only one who didn’t think of that?
“I don’t even get a thank you for dragging your drunken arse back to your common room?” he started again, and I knew now, by the tone of his voice that he was purposely trying to provoke me.
He grinned smugly at me and I glared at him darkly in return “No, you don’t get a thank you – you disgusting prat” I spat bitterly “Because of you and your stupid little friends over there” I continued, pointing to nowhere in particular “Severus didn’t want to show up to the Masquerade at all!”
A bark of laughter escaped Sirius’ lips before he replied “Good! The less I have to see of old Snivellus the better”
“Don’t call him that” I warned – very aware that Severus was sitting only a few feet away from us.
Sirius, however, wasn’t given the chance to respond as Professor Slughorn entered the room to begin the lesson.
“Good morning class – I trust you’re all rested and recuperated from your exciting Halloween night” Slughorn bumbled and Sirius nudged me in the arm knowingly.
I growled and elbowed him back roughly – that sure wiped the stupid smirk off his face.
Slughorn let out a low chuckle “But such things a Professor ought not to know, eh? Let’s get on with the class then. Today we will be concocting a Mandrake Draught”
I groaned – Mandrakes were one of the few things in the world that totally creeped me out. Luckily the one’s we used in class were already matured and ready for potion use.
“The Mandrake Draught is used to cure petrification. But beware, this draught is a particular tricky one – team work is essential” Slughorn added with a stern look in Bellatrix and James’ direction.
“The recipe is on the blackboard, as well as on page two hundred and forty-five of your books. Good luck”
I snatched my book out from my bag and darted off to get our potion ingredients before Sirius could start speaking to me again.
Once I had reached the store cupboard, which wasn’t so much a cupboard but more a small, high ceilinged room with shelves full of various potion ingredients littering the walls, I opened my book to find what I needed.
I found a jar of mandrake easily enough, and took a large piece out of it – it was dried and wrinkled and I felt disgusted just looking at it.
“So I’m guessing you’re not too happy with me” I jumped in fright as Sirius spoke in my ear quietly.
I rolled my eyes – boy, was he a smart one.
“Go away” I hissed “I can get these myself”
I reached for a jar of dried nettles which was on a higher shelf – but as much as I stretched I couldn’t get hold of it. I turned around to find the ladder, but before I could locate it, Sirius reached above my head and brought the jar down.
“Of course you can” he grinned as he pushed the jar into my hand.
By now a few students were entering the room. I could see Remus Lupin eyeing the pair of us curiously from the corner of my eye so I moved on – with Sirius trailing behind me.
I crouched down to look for pomegranate juice on the bottom shelf, but had a hard time locating it. The ingredients were supposed to be stored alphabetically but sometimes things got mixed up. I searched around on the shelves above instead.
“Look, I’m sorry for calling Snape “Snivellus”” Sirius whispered beside me, seemingly not wanting to be overheard by the other students looking for their ingredients “I promise I won’t do it again... around you” He added with a smirk.
I stopped what I was doing and stared at Sirius in disbelief “What the hell is wrong with you?” I questioned and was met by a dark frown.
“It’s like you’re trying to be... civil” I explained, more than a little suspicious as to what Sirius was up to.
Sirius raised his eyebrows inquisitively “Perhaps it’s my maturity catching up with me”
I snorted in response “Highly doubtful – “
“If you two aren’t doing anything productive, do you mind getting out of the way” I was rudely interrupted by the angry scowl of Lily Evans – who was standing with her hands on her hips in front of us, glaring at me darkly.
I opened my mouth to protest before Sirius pulled me by the arm out of the way and held a vial of pale, red liquid up to my nose.
“Pomegranate juice” he grinned proudly, distracting me from Lily.
“You’re up to something” I stated simply before pushing the nettles, mandrake and potions book into Sirius’ arms “Since you clearly don’t need my help, you can find the rest by yourself”
I stormed out of the room and returned to our table instead to prepare the cauldron. A few minutes later I noticed Violet pass by me. She attempted an uneasy smile, though I merely glared at her in return and she hurried off quickly.
Sirius, who witnessed the exchange on his way back to our table, eyed me curiously.
“I heard what happened with her and Malfoy” he said lowly, indicating to Violet with a nod of his head.
I stiffened immediately, swallowing the lump that was forming in my throat – of course he had heard. Half the bloody school had probably heard by now, if not the whole lot of them. And I could guarantee that more than half would say I deserved it too.
“Kind of ironic, isn’t it? You find him shacking up with your roommate the same night you’re fooling around with Stone” Sirius continued with a bitter laugh.
I glared at him darkly “I’ve told you already – there’s nothing going on with Xavier and me” I growled “I’m hardly going to lie about that now, am I”
Sirius’ eyes narrowed “Then what about you and Rosier? He seemed awfully upset when he saw me with you outside the common room – and all I was doing was waiting for someone with the bloody password to get you in there”
I fussed myself with sorting out the ingredients for our potion before I answered. I myself was still not too sure on that subject – I knew how Evan felt about me, but I didn’t know if I felt the same way.
“It’s... complicated” I replied, while searching in my potions book for the first step to distract myself from thinking about it.
“So something has happened between the two of you then?” Sirius asked while plucking the knife I had picked up out of my hand and began to cut the mandrake himself – he obviously hadn’t forgotten the last time I had threatened him with it.
I took the top off the vial of pomegranate juice and poured it into the cauldron, heating it slowly.
“Why do you care?” I asked Sirius accusingly, narrowing my eyes at him.
Sirius shrugged in response “I don’t – I’m only trying to make casual conversation with my Potions partner so that she doesn’t try to stab me with a knife again” he said sarcastically while waving the small knife in my face.
I slapped his arm away irritably “How about we discuss your love life instead, hmm? Tell me, Sirius Black, the name of your latest conquest” I spat sarcastically, added a drop of snake venom to the cauldron and stirred it briskly.
“I do not have conquests” Sirius threw the mandrake in the cauldron, taking extra care to make sure the hot liquid splashed on my hand.
I drew my hand back instinctively, preparing to slap the stupid sod right on the face – but he caught my hand roughly before I did so.
“Don’t even think about it” he hissed down at me – his nose barely an inch away from my own.
I could feel the curious gazes of Kendra and her partner, some dark-headed Gryffindor girl, who were at the table nearest us. I snatched my hand back instantly and continued to stir the potion as the book instructed, ignoring Sirius’ dark stare.
So much for being civil.***
I was relieved to get away from my idiot of a Potions partner when the class had ended. I had spent the remainder of the class desperately trying to ignore Sirius and his probing questions – I was still certain that he was up to something; why else would he be acting so strange?
It was in my next class, Transfiguration, that I was confronted by Xavier Stone.
Professor McGonagall had ordered us to choose someone to pair up with from the other house, so immediately I darted to Xavier – since he was the only Ravenclaw I knew remotely anything about, and felt bad about avoiding him the other night at the Masquerade.
We had been working on the topic of Untransfiguring and were given the task of turning various objects back into the animals they were supposed to be. The tricky part of it all was that we had to actually guess what animal the object was supposed to be before we Untransfigured it.
How in the name of Salazer am I supposed to know what animal a pair of spectacles used to be? Xavier, thankfully, chanced a lucky guess and got it right – It was an owl. Really, what does an owl have to do with spectacles? Hogwarts is a madhouse, I tell you that now.
The entire class was in absolute disarray, with various animals flying and darting about the room – and McGonagalls unsuccessful attempts at ordering students to keep them under control.
Xavier and I had already successfully Untransfigured our animals, letting them run wild and free around the class as we watched the madness unfold in front of us. I leaped onto the nearest table to escape a hungry-looking badger that had decided to snuffle around my feet – obviously in an attempt to look for food.
Xavier joined me, Transfiguring a pencil into a large, black umbrella to shield the pair of us from the various species of birds squawking above us – McGonagall reallyhadn’t thought this lesson through very well, I guessed.
“Is it safe to say I can talk to you now without you running away from me?” Xavier grinned as we huddled under the umbrella together.
“As long as that skunk over there doesn’t come our way, I won’t be going anywhere” I promised, and Xavier grinned in reply.
But his expression soon changed into something more serious.
“I heard about you and Malfoy breaking up” he said lowly – aware that Lucius was in the same class we were.
My throat immediately tightened at the mention of his name – that was the second time today that subject had been brought up, though I guess it should have been expected.
“I know it’s not much use now, but, remember that thing I wanted to tell you at the Masquerade?”
I nodded my head in response.
“It was that I saw Malfoy and that girl, Parkinson, leaving the party together earlier on. Looking pretty cosy too,” Xavier admitted, his dark eyebrows knitted together in a frown “I just thought you should know”
“Oh...” I responded quietly, feeling like the biggest git for brushing Xavier off that night when he was only trying to help me.
The awkward silence that had formed between us didn’t last long, however, as McGonagall swooped down on the pair of us.
“Miss Cortez and Mr Stone. These tables are not for sitting on – they are strictly to be used for work only!” She growled as she hurried past us in a whirr of green robes – waving her wand around like a madwoman. How she knew it was us I will never know, as we were half concealed by a large umbrella.
As an afterthought, she turned around and added “Where on earth did you get that umbrella, Stone?”
Xavier peeked his head out under the brim “Transfigured it, Professor!” he yelled through the noise surrounding us.
Professor McGonagall merely shook her head at us disapprovingly before she marched off to help Kendra and Maxwell, who seemed to currently be cornered by a large peacock that they had just Untransfigured from a paper fan.
Xavier and I moved back to our chairs, though I made sure to keep my feet off the ground this time.
“So I hear you and Evans broke up too” I said to Xavier in a casual attempt to take the focus off my pathetic excuse for a love life “You didn’t tell me”
Xavier blushed a little before he answered simply “I didn’t really want to make a big deal out of it – Lily was always busy with her Head Girl duties, so we didn’t get to spend much time together. I thought it would be best if we ended things” he finished with a shrug of his shoulders.
I forced myself to bite my tongue instead of congratulate him on his lucky escape from the horrible wench.
“Funnily enough, she approached me yesterday asking if it was true that you and I were together” Xavier added with a laugh “Now where would she get an idea like that?”
I groaned in response “I think that’s the work of my good for nothing sister – she’s out to get me I swear”
Xavier shook his head in amusement, but said nothing more on the topic.
Thankfully, McGonagall soon let us leave class early as she rounded up Mr Filch to help her control the last of the straggling animals. Personally, I would have loved to hang around and watch that old Squib get trodden on by a couple of goats – but unfortunately upon asking McGonagall if I could do so I ended up with twenty less House Points and a dirty glare from said Squib himself. So instead I hurried off after Xavier to wait outside our Arithmancy class.
I left the library later in the afternoon, with Kendra and Isobel, heading to the Great Hall. We had finished working on our Arithmancy homework - which was the only homework I actually had to do myself as none of the students in the years below us actually knew how to do the work.
It was during Arithmancy that day that I realised that even without the underlying motive of sabotaging Lily Evans I had first had when I struck up my friendship with Xavier – I actually, genuinely liked the guy.
Xavier was patient, he made me laugh – and most of all, he had an unexplainable way of making me totally forget about everything I was worrying about.
I was talking to Kendra about her budding romance with Xavier’s fellow Ravenclaw friend, Maxwell, when I was abruptly halted by a tall, pale haired boy stepping into my path.
It was Lucius – and he did not
look happy. He lowered his face to mine before speaking.
“You and I need to talk”
Kendra snorted beside me “I don’t think she wants to speak to you
” she spat, jumping to my defence.
Lucius turned to her, looking thoroughly irritated.
“I don’t believe anyone asked for your
opinion, you filthy half-blood”
I rounded on Lucius at once “Don’t you dare
talk to her like that” I growled, before briefly telling Isobel and Kendra to go on without me.
“What do you want, Lucius” I asked sharply when they were out of hearing range “I really
don’t have the patience for you right now”
Lucius raised an eyebrow curiously “No, I daresay you’re much
too busy with Stone, or Black or whoever else is vying for your attention these days” he replied venomously.
I laughed in disbelief – was he seriously going to play that
“I don’t have time for this” I spat impatiently, moving to pass him but instead he grabbed my arm roughly before stepping and blocking my way.
“You and I need to talk
” he repeated again, this time narrowing his eyes at me – it seemed I wasn’t going to get away that easily.
I exhaled sharply “What could be so important that you need to resort to violence
to tell me” I spat, snatching my arm out of his firm grasp.
Lucius folded his arms across his chest briskly and lowered his face to mine once again before he spoke lowly.
“It’s about the Dark Lord”
A/N: Hi everyone! Fairly quick update I think? I hope that pleases you. So this chapter is kind of a filler... mostly just after-effects of the Masquerade. Sorry to leave you with a bit of a cliff-hanger... but good news! I've already started writing the first part of the next chapter so hopefully that will be out soon. Please remember to review! I'm mostly interested to find out what you guys think of Alex's friendship with Xavier and this new attitude towards Alex that Sirius has going on. And for those of you who were worried about it in your reviews, Lucius will still be very much in the story xo
p.s If you're wondering when i'll be updating my chapters check out my authors page it will say how far along the next one is!