A/N: Oh my god ... do you want to kill me? Is there anyone even still reading this? Well, if there is I would just like to make a ginorrrrrrrrmous apology! This chapter has been nearly finished for roughly ... 8 months I think. And I just finished it then. Obviously school/life has kept me busy but I've also just had lots of writers block. I really really hope you like it and I cant tell you how good it feels to post a chapter again, I have majorly missed this story. So I really hope you enjoy the chapter and reviews would be just loverly and are great inspiration for me to write the next one faster! The next chapter definitley shouldn't be as long a wait. So, please enjoy the very long over-due chapter of As She Is ...
PREVIOUSLY: Kate went into Hogsmeade with the Marauders but Sirius was acting depressed and went off on his own. Kate then tried to look for him and found herself lost in a forest and facing a Dementor, when the mostly unlikely person came to her rescue - Snape.
Orangey-brown leaves fluttered down on my face as I opened my eyes. The weather had cleared up. A cloudy white sky streaked with grey frowned down at me as if to say, “It’s about time you woke up.”
Except skies don’t talk, so I didn’t bother replying. I think I might be slightly delirious.
Groaning, I placed a hand to my head where I had recently discovered a peach-sized throbbing bruise, and sat up slowly. At first, no one was in sight, but it wasn’t long before my eyes wandered drowsily over to a sallow-faced, black-haired boy sitting cross legged on the ground, using his wand to open and close the flower in his hand. Somehow, Snape’s position reminded me of a child and it was strange to see him through an innocence filter. When he heard my groan, he immediately stopped and looked at me, his expression unchanging.
I nodded, memories suddenly flooding my mind. “What happened? What was that thing?”
Snape didn’t answer me, standing up and walking past me back towards the road.
“Wha – hey! Where are you going?” I demanded, scrambling up also and following him. He ignored me again and quickened his strides.
“Snape! Answer me!”
Anger and fear and uncertainty flurried around my head like a blizzard. Snape continued walking but I slowed down as a weight dropped in my stomach.
“Snape, I – what if – what if it … comes back?”
I felt embarrassed by voicing it, but I couldn’t help but ask. I never wanted to feel that that fear again in my life. And I never wanted to relive those moments again.
“It won’t,” he finally answered, turning and facing me.
“It could,” I whispered.
“No, it won’t.” He continued walking.
“Snape!” I called angrily, jogging up to him and hauling him around by his arm so that he would face me. “I have the right to know.”
He yanked his arm away and wiped it against his body, as though it was dirty. “I don’t owe you anything, Renald. All you need to know is that I got rid of it.”
I glared at him, trying to ignore his insulting gesture. “And the bruise on my head? How did that happen?”
“It’s not my fault that you’re easily scared.”
“You fainted, Renald.” He rolled his eyes disdainfully and the dislike which had been momentarily at bay for him began seeping back.
I blinked. “I fainted? I’ve never fainted before.”
“Dementors bring out different things in different people,” he told me, his beetle black eyes unfathomable. Dementors … I remembered what memories the Dementors had brought to the surface and shivered.
“I hate them.”
It was quiet for a few moments before Snape spoke, his voice rougher than its usual silky softness.
Some sort of bond was formed just then between us, a connection that neither of us could pinpoint or explain, though I’m sure we both felt. It wasn’t a romantic sort, or even a friendship bond, it was just a kind of mutual understanding. We accepted each other on some level because we could relate. I don’t think either of us really even wanted it, but it was like we couldn’t have stopped it if we tried.
And like shutters closed on windows, the warmth in Snape’s eyes snapped shut and he pulled his face into an ugly sneer at the person behind me. The one person that I had been dying to see just a little while ago but now wished he hadn’t waited until now to make his appearance; the one person that always seemed to show up and steal the stage, whether I wanted him to or not. The one person that was sometimes such a complete idiot.
An example of said idiocy would be right now as Sirius gripped his wand tightly, angling it towards Snape, whose actions mirrored his.
“Sirius! Where have you been?” I asked him over-enthusiastically, painting a grin on my face and walking over quickly, doing my best to distract them. Sirius ignored me, glaring at Snape instead.
“What the hell were you trying to do, Snivellus?” Sirius snarled.
“He wasn’t doing anything to me, Sirius,” I assured him firmly, stepping between the two boys and trying to pull Sirius away. Sirius ignored my protests, focusing only on Snape.
“Kate – get – out – of – it,” Sirius growled, attempting to get past me to Snape. But I would not be moved.
“I didn’t touch her, Black,” Snape replied in such a disgusted manner that I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt. “Nor would I ever touch anyone like her.”
A jet of light flew through the air towards Snape but he blocked it.
“Stop it!” I cried, pushing on Sirius’s chest as hard as I could.
Sirius was furious. “Don’t you ever – “
“What’s the matter, Black?” Snape sneered, his black eyes glinting maliciously. “Didn’t Daddy teach you how to duel properly?”
Sirius appeared to be beyond words, so incensed was the look on his face. All of a sudden, he dropped his wand and threw himself on Snape, knocking him to the ground and showering him with punches.
“You –“ punch “have –“ punch “no –“ punch “idea!“ punch. Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch went Snape’s face, crumpling like a trodden on piece of paper.
Snape’s lip and eyebrow were leaking a dangerous red onto the forest ground and the violence was nothing like in the movies where it’s gallant and exciting, instead it was savage and ugly and I flinched every time I heard the sound of Snape’s nose breaking, because I’d never seen something so awful. Hysteria bubbled in my chest and I felt almost on the verge of tears.
“Stop it, Sirius,” I begged. “Please stop it!”
He continued for few seconds after he felt my weak hand grip his arm and then he pulled away, heaving with fury. Snape wiped his nose and looked at the blood dripping from his hand. Then he climbed up off the ground and spat out some blood from his mouth. It landed right at Sirius’s feet. He just stood there for a moment. Then he swept his way out of the forest, without a backward glance. Before this however, he gave Sirius a look of utter loathing, such loathing that I had to look away.
Sirius and I stood in a heavy silence that bore down on us like a ton of bricks. Neither of us were looking at each other. As the silence stretched on, with its end out of sight, I more clearly evaluated the feelings clouding my head and realized that as well as hysterical, they were very, very angry. But I also knew that something wasn’t right with Sirius and a wise, calm inner voice told me to be gentle.
“What?” he asked sharply, the word plonking itself heavily on my chest. Oh to hell with gentle.
I glared at him. “Why do you have to be so stupid?”
“Stupid?” he repeated incredulously, still worked up. “You’re calling me stupid after that little – I mean, did you hear what he was saying? I can’t believe you’re sticking up for him … and I was doing it for – “
“You were not doing that for me, Sirius. That was based entirely on your emotions; I just happened to be the excuse.”
“But he said it on purpose! He knows what – You – you just don’t understand!” he roared, taking a step towards me.
“Of course I don’t!” I shouted, standing my ground. “You don’t want me to understand, Sirius! All you do is try to keep your life a mystery to everyone else so that then you can blame them for not understanding when something bad happens and you can just wallow in your misery! You don’t want anyone to understand you, even when they try to. Even when they spend half the day worrying because you had a temper tantrum and wouldn’t explain it!”
He groaned in aggravation and pulled his hands angrily through his hair. “You’re talking about today, aren’t you?”
I waited a few moments, staring at him. “What do you think?”
Sirius kicked a stone on the ground moodily. “That wasn’t … there was a reason.”
“I know. I just wish you could tell me what it was.”
He held himself almost unconsciously stiff and rigid, and I couldn’t help but be aware of a sense of hardness emanating from him. His exterior was so hard, that it was easy to believe that that was all there was to him – rock hardness that couldn’t be molded or broken – but right now I could tell things were cracking. It was like he wanted to soften but he didn’t know if he could.
I sighed and took some steps closer to him, breaking the invisible barrier that was forged between us.
“Let’s just forget it, okay? We’ll talk about it later.”
Always a great solution.
“Yeah,” Sirius nodded. “yeah, thanks.”
I molded my face into a small smile and attempted to push my feelings into the back of my mind so that I could try and enjoy the less angry Sirius.
“Should we go back to Hogsmeade?”
The calming sound of deep breathing filled the room, accompanied by darkness and a glowing strip of moonlight that filtered through the window. Everyone was sleeping peacefully – and it was my cue to leave.
Gently lifting my blanket off I climbed out of bed and tip toed to the bathroom as I needed first to use the toilet. When I went to wash my hands I made sure my eyes didn’t linger on the mirror; what good was a mirror that seemed to show only my imperfections?
I hurried out still on tip toe and the soft, creaking sound of the Girls Dormitories door swinging shut was the only disturbance of the stillness of night. I followed the route that I had now memorized. It’s odd how quickly and correctly I had remembered the way seeing as how my usual sense of direction was embarrassingly poor. The over-sized tee-shirt that I was wearing kept sliding off my shoulders and I shivered as the night air bit at my skin. I should have put something warmer on.
When I finally reached the mirror at the end of the corridor a sense of relief filled me and I paused for a moment, just basking in the feeling with a small smile, before continuing to tip toe towards the place that showed my greatest desire for me to view at leisure.
It wasn’t until I was just a few steps away from the mirror that I noticed a shadow slumped against a wall on the floor. I peered through the darkness.
The figure looked up at me and grinned, confirming my suspicions as to who it was.
“Kate! I was hoping you’d come,” Sirius told me far too cheerily for this hour, flicking his hair out of his eyes and patting the floor beside him.
His eyes followed my legs as the tee-shirt rose when I walked forwards and sat beside him on the floor. I felt heat rise in my cheeks as I turned my head to face him. He was facing me too, both of us resting out heads on the wall. I could feel his breath on my face. It smelt strange.
I looked at him, perplexed and unsure whether to laugh or not. “Blood? Well … it is sort of important, you know, to keep us alive …”
He let out a short bark of laughter. “Not that type of blood.”
“Well what other type is there?”
“You know … the type that makes all the p – problems and starts all the … a - all the fightsssss.” His words sounded slurred.
“What fights, Sirius?”
He wasn’t looking at me now; he was staring at the mirror across from us as he spoke with the cheeriness draining from his voice with every word.
“There were always fights,” he said quietly. “He was ssso … angry.”
I felt myself becoming concerned and I twisted around to face him better. “Sirius, are you okay?”
“Yeah … I – no, I don’t – I don’t know. What does it even matter?” He gave a hard and bitter laugh. “It never mattered to him anyway.”
I stared at him and he suddenly faced me, a million emotions playing on his face. “The w- worst thing, Kate, is that I – I don’t even know if he really … or even if I really … “
He looked at me, his face stuck somewhere between the hard, teenager that locked up all his emotions and the scared little boy he kept inside.
“… And I’ll never find out, now. Kate, I don’t even know if I’m sssad, or – or pissed, or if I don’t care, or if I care so much that I feel like I’ll explode. I – I just don’t know, Kate! I don’t know how I’m supposed to deal with this! I don’t – “
I pulled his hands away from his face where they had gripped on tight, like he was trying to rip his hair out.
“Shhh! Sirius, its okay … its okay …”
His face was screwed up, and his shoulders hunched. He was trying so hard to keep whatever pain it was that he was feeling inside, but I think it was inevitable that he would feel it.
“I just don’t … know,” he gritted out with his eyes closed, like every word was hurting him.
“It’s okay,” I whispered. “It’s okay not to know.”
As he looked up at me his nose touched mine and tingles ran from that spot all the way down to my toes. He didn’t move his face away from mine and I was frozen, still gently gripping his hands. I couldn’t think of anything except how close he was to me, and how his eyes felt like they were burning my face, and how I could feel him trembling from trying not to cry.
Or maybe that was me.
“What do you want, Kate?” His voice was husky.
I thought of the mirror, and my parents, my freedom to be who I really was. I thought of Lily, Alice, James, Remus, Peter … I thought of Sirius.
“I … I want to just be able to be me,” I whispered to him. “And … and I want …”
“I want you,” he breathed and he leaned forwards and kissed me.
His hand came around to cup my neck and his fingers tangled in my hair. I felt like I was melting into him and I kissed him back, unable to think of anything except Sirius. I leaned onto him, bringing my arms around his neck so that he was closer. We stopped for just a moment and then it felt more heated and intense and anytime my mind wandered to the realization that I was kissing my best friend, he would trail his fingers softly down my cheek leaving a burning mark, or he would pull me closer, or deepen the kiss … and I would completely forget. I couldn’t think of anything except Sirius. He was everything.
It wasn’t until I opened my eyes for a moment and noticed the almost empty bottle lying on the ground that my mind connected Sirius’s breath and slurred words and I realized what was in fact startlingly obvious and what I should have realized before. I didn’t honestly have any experience with drunken people so I hadn’t known what to look for. Even if I did want this kiss to happen – I couldn’t work it out right now – I didn’t want it to happen for the first time when Sirius was smashed. Who knew if he even wanted it? We had to stop.
“Sirius,” I muttered a little breathlessly, pulling away and unwinding my arms from around his neck. “Sirius, we have to stop.”
He looked at me with his arms still holding onto my back and neck and our legs all tangled up in each other. This had gone further than a first kiss should have.
“We don’t have to,” he disagreed with the hint of plea.
I closed my eyes for a moment and remembered the feeling of his arms around me before reaching behind me and loosening them.
“Yes we do. You’re not thinking clearly and you’re not in control of what you’re doing.”
He dropped his arms and moved over so he wasn’t touching me anymore, and I had to admit, it hurt a bit.
“Let’s go back up to the common room and you can go to sleep,” I suggested quietly, standing up and offering my hands to pull him up. He squeezed his eyes shut for a few moments like he was trying to decide something then, slowly, allowed me to pull him up.
It took longer than it should have to walk back to the common room, due mainly to Sirius’s inability to walk straight. It would have been funny in any other context (i.e not after we just kissed) but instead I just felt tired and confused about why Sirius had to have gotten so wasted. I wondered what it was that had made him drink so much. Alone. He barely talked on the way back but every now and then he would throw me this look, like he was searching my face for something.
We reached the common room without too many problems (aside from Sirius stumbling everywhere and the Fat Lady nearly refusing us entry) and I turned to face Sirius and say good night. But when I looked at him he looked broken down and was still stumbling and couldn’t keep his head up and it felt impossible to leave him by himself.
“Come on, Sirius,” I said, stifling a sigh, taking his arm and leading him to the boys’ staircase. “It’s time for you to get to bed.”
He let me pull him along and up the staircase dazedly but still seemed confused. “Why are you coming with me?”
“Because, Mr. Black, you need my help.”
“No I don’t,” he denied almost as if it was a reflex and it made me smile. But he made no effort to stop me as I gently pushed the 6th year boys’ door open and crept with Sirius towards the one empty bed. It was in between James and Remus’s beds, both of whom were fast asleep. I pulled down the covers and Sirius climbed in slowly and unsteadily.
“Goodnight, Sirius,” I whispered so I didn’t wake the others. I was close enough to see his face but not so close that it was as intimate as before. But Sirius, with his eyes only half open, grabbed my hand as I made to leave and pulled me towards him, kissing me softly on the lips. For the second time.
“You don’t have to change, Kate,” he murmured, pulling away slightly so that his lips still brushed mine when he spoke. And because I didn’t know how to respond I just nodded wordlessly even though he probably couldn’t see in the darkness and moved away. But something I stood on and made me jump and pause, looking down to see what it was. A scrunched up piece of parchment that must have missed the bin next to Sirius’s bed. I picked it up and smoothed it out and was reading the first line – Sirius, I’m not sure how to – when someone stirred and I jumped again. I hurried out of the room quickly before they could wake up and, biting my lip, decided to fold the piece of parchment up and put it in my pocket to read later. I know it was an invasion of privacy, but I had to know why Sirius had acted so strange all day. Why he had gotten drunk off his face. Why he had kissed me. Twice.
And I had this feeling that the answer was in this letter.
A/N: argh did they just kisss? twice? c-rrrrazy stuff. please review :)