So Sirius spent the next two and a half days observing Everly Hallman. He snuck glances in the corridors between classes, stared unabashedly during lessons (often being caught and scolded by his professors,) and had taken to watching her from the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall at meals. And as such, he began to compiling what he dubbed “The Everly List.”
Number One: 7th year, Hufflepuff.
He had quickly determined this when he spotted her at the Hufflepuff table that night at dinner. Both Everly herself and Lily said they shared classes and (after prodding at him repeatedly) Remus finally confirmed that he thought he had seen her in classes with them over the years.
Number Two: Very serious about her school work.
In class Monday, the next day, Sirius noticed that Everly took very detailed notes. No matter what the class or how boring the material was, she sat slightly hunched with her nose near the parchment while she copied down the lecture. And Sirius would wager that it was word-for-word.
Number Three: Observant, but non-confrontational.
She caught him looking at her more often than the professors did, and yet made no attempt to tell him off or question him about it. In fact she would instead get a little pink in the face and look away, pretending she hadn’t seen him at all. Which was incredibly annoying, if he was being honest with himself.
Number Four: She was Charlotte Hayden’s best friend.
At first, Sirius had been elated by item number four. The mysterious “Evie,” "Ev," "Evs," and "Everbean" (Admittedly, he didn't quite understand her nickname process) Charlotte had mentioned periodically throughout the past year all happened to be the same person. And that person was one and only Everly Hallman. And, obviously, since he was friendly with Charlotte she’s be willing to help him with Everly. It was foolproof!
Tuesday morning, two days after the library incident and the second full day of his Everly related stalk-studying, was when he discovered the pair’s friendship. He had been on his way to breakfast with James and saw the two Hufflepuffs walking together. Charlotte was saying, “… bit of a prat, but honestly it’s hardly that big of a deal, Ev. I don’t know why—” as they rounded the corner and entered the Great Hall. Thrilled by this revelation, he had waited until he caught Charlotte by herself on the way to lunch to ask for her help. Unfortunately, their conversation did not exactly go according to plan.
For the sake of full disclosure, she laughed in his face actually.
“No way,” Charlotte said dismissively, after realizing that he wasn't messing about. “You’re off your rocker.”
“Come on, Charlie! I just want to talk to her, ask her to reconsider—”
“No gonna happen, Black. And if you call me Charlie again I’m going to break your nose.”
Though taking a subtle step away from her, Sirius refused to relent. “I just want to know why she won’t go with me! I mean, it’s me! How—”
Charlotte stopped, folding her arms across her chest, looking thoroughly annoyed. “Have you ever stopped to consider that there could be girls that aren’t interested in your stupid games and your so-called charms? Stop thinking like such a bloke, for Merlin’s sake. If she wants to talk to you, she will. Leave her be.” She paused, scowling effectively to cut off his impending protest. “Look, she’s not your type anyway. Everly’s pretty, of course, but more importantly she’s a kind person. She’s smart and rational and she’s actually got priorities. She isn’t one of your daft, racy conquests. She respects herself, and other people too for that matter. To be completely honest, Sirius, Everly’s out of your league.”
And with one final look at his stunned face, she left him in the Entrance Hall. He stood there for several moments feeling like she had broken his nose after all.
Number Five: She was out of his league. (?)
He was still thinking about the words hours later at dinner. Sirius heaved a sigh, slumping onto the bench next to Peter before dropping his head to the table heavily.
After a beat of silence Peter prodded his shoulder experimentally. “Padfoot?”
Sirius gave a noncommittal grunt in response.
“You… er, alright there?” he asked.
Again, Sirius gave a great grunt before mumbling to himself crossly. His words didn’t even sound remotely like English. Peter decided against bridging the language barrier.
However after a few minutes Sirius heard something sitting down across from them, “What’s his problem?” Instantly, Sirius recognized Remus’s voice, but still did not move.
Sirius had quite a high opinion of Charlotte Hayden. She was honest and she had never lied to him before as far as he knew. So, he deduced that she was a truthful person, which was a hard quality to find in recent times. And because of this, he (inwardly) had the utmost respect for the at-times-strange girl. Yet he couldn’t help but be bothered by their conversation. He continued to turn the words over in his head with mounting aggravation.
“She’s not your type,”
What did she mean by that anyway? Girl was his bloody type. Okay, sure, he had a history of dating pretty faces who didn’t ask too many questions. So what? That didn’t mean that he couldn’t be interested in more… substantial girls too, right?
“Sirius, Everly’s out of your league.”
So quickly he almost got a crick in his neck, his head snapped up and he looked at his friends. “Do you think Everly Hallman’s out of my league?” he demanded. James froze in the process of sitting down, one leg over the bench. Peter and Remus exchanged startled glances.
“Uh… what?” James asked after deciding it was safe to sit down fully.
“Charlotte Hayden told me Everly’s out of my league. Do you think she’s right?”
“I wouldn’t say she’s out of your league,” Remus said slowly, putting his fork back down on his plate and loosening his tie.
James nodded with a bit of a shrug. “She’s just not susceptible to your usual... erm, methods." Sirius looked at him blankly, waiting for him to continue. "Listen, Hallman’s not already panting over you, mate. You can’t give her that stupid "Look" of yours and have her fall all over herself to get to you. The girl’s got some higher standards then you’re used to. No offense,”
“It’s called a Smolder, Prongs, not a Look,” he corrected absently, frowning as he considered this. He supposed it made sense in a way.
James rolled his eyes, ignoring him. "You're just going about it wrong. You've got to talk to her like she's... well, like she's not a girl I guess. Get to know her, not uh get to know her if you know what I mean."
“I don’t know why it bothers you so much, Padfoot,” Peter cut in from the seat next to him. “What’s the big deal? Just ask another girl to Hogsmeade. I heard Mary Macdonald fancies you; why don’t you just ask her?"
Sirius found himself immediately dismissing this idea. “I don’t want to go with Mary Macdonald. I want to go with Everly.” He returned his gaze to James to find he was on the receiving end a most peculiar look. “What? What’re you looking at me like that for?”
James was fighting against the grin overtaking his lips. “Well, if I didn’t know any better Padfoot, I’d say you really fancied this Everly Hallman.”
Instantly, Sirius felt his nose wrinkle. “Good Godric, I don’t fancy her. I just—” he paused, unsure how to finish his sentence. Three sets of eyes were trained on him curiously. He struggled to find words. “I don’t know. I just want to know why she doesn’t want to go with me to Hogsmeade…” He trailed off lamely, looking away sheepishly. However, he looked back in time to see Remus and James trade mischievous smirks. He felt annoyance creep up inside of him. “Look, I can’t explain it. I just have to know what it was I did wrong, alright? That’s all. Let it alone.”
Remus gave him a strange look now. “Sirius, you know it’s alright for you to actually like a girl for once. We’re not—”
Pushing away from the table, Sirius glowered. “I don’t like her! Merlin, just forget it.” He turned and stalked out of the Hall feeling increasingly aggravated with each step.
Sirius fumed to himself as he headed back to Gryffindor Tower. He shouldn’t have said anything. Peter was right. What did it matter if a- a mousy little Hufflepuff didn’t want to go to Hogsmeade with him? He could just as easily ask someone else. He had already noticed Mary making eyes at him for the past week anyway; he was sure she’d go with him. Sirius could hang around the common room until she came from dinner and then ask her to Hogsmeade when she came in. However, even as he was thinking something held him back. It seemed too simple...
Stopping in the middle of a staircase, Sirius gaped at himself. “Too simple”? What on earth was wrong with him? He liked simple! The less effort he had to put in the better! That was practically his motto. Everly’s pale face materialized in his head then: her round blue eyes and her startling little smile--ugh. He gave himself a shake, continuing up the stairs. Everly Hallman could stay at the school and finish all the bloody homework she wanted and he would take Mary Macdonald to Hogsmeade and that would just be that. Everly Hallman was just some girl he’d forget by the end of the week. He was sure of it.
As Saturday evening rolled around Sirius had decided that Mary Macdonald was a fairly appealing date. She was a decent amount shorter than him with long blonde hair, brown eyes, faintly tanned skin, and quite a nice arse to boot. She laughed at Sirius’s rubbish jokes and smacked his arm playfully when he made crude remarks about her. Mary Macdonald was the perfect date for him really.
And, as he discovered before they parted ways after several hours in Hogsmeade, Mary was quite the fantastic snog.
However, as he began to walk around the castle aimlessly, something continued to eat at him: He hadn’t been able to stop thinking of Everly. It had been nowhere near as easy as he originally intended.
In fact, even after Tuesday night in the common room when he had asked Mary to Hogsmeade he found himself thinking of her. Mary had agreed enthusiastically that she’d “love to.” Instantly, he was thinking, That was how a girl should respond to being asked out, not wondering about what homework she had to finish.
The persistent nagging had continued. Throughout the rest of the week he still caught himself staring over at her inquisitively before scolding himself and trying to shove her out of his head. Over and over again he tried to shake himself out of it.
And yet, there he was after a day spent with a funny and incredibly snogable girl, thinking about her again. Everly’s face had repeatedly popped into his head during every pause in the conversation. Sirius wondered what she was doing, even as Mary had her arm threaded through his. It was almost involuntary.
He was beginning to think that there must be some sort of foul play involved. Perhaps he had accidently swallowed a strong dose of love potion or something? It was the only way he could explain why her stupid Scottish accent (he had determined that it was definitely Scottish, which was now Number Six on The Everly List) kept permeating his every other bloody thought.
His calculating thoughts were interrupted, however, by a sound around the corner. He heard several thumps and then a jeering voice he immediately recognized.
“Oh look, the little Mudblood had a spill! At least now you’ve found your place: At our feet, with the rest of the filth.”
Sirius quickened his step and rounded the corner, already drawling his wand from his pocket. “Oi, Avery—” he started angrily, only to stop short at the sight of Everly Hallman carefully stacking several books on top of each other on the floor. She glanced up at the sound of his voice, looking surprised.
“Get bent, Black.” Sirius looked up to see two Slytherins standing a few feet away from Everly: Avery, tall and dark-haired; as well as Mulciber, who was bigger and blonde.
Sirius had barely even heard him as his eyes jumped back to where Everly was on the ground. It appeared that she had fallen and her books had scattered haphazardly across the corridor. However, Sirius knew it was more likely that she had been tripped with a jinx when her back was turned.
It was strange how tense he felt the second he spotted her on the ground. He felt his face harden and anger licked the inside of his veins almost violently. To be honest, though Sirius had never been too interested in Muggle dueling, he wanted nothing more than to beat the two smarmy gits into a pulp with his bare hands. The urge was sudden and forceful and he almost did it. However, instead, he felt his feet moving stiffly over toward Everly. He bent down in front of her. “Are you okay?”
She nodded and Sirius felt something twist in his stomach as a small smile spread over her pink lips with a small laugh following. “Oh yeah, I’m fine. They do this sort of thing a lot,” He could tell that she was trying to joke around and brush it off but he felt his hands clentch instantly.
His heart thudded painfully against the inside of his chest. Jaw tightened almost as tightly as his fists, he gave a curt nod. “I’ll take care of it.”
Her lips fell opened for a second before she quickly protested, “Oh, Sirius, no—you shouldn't—”
Sirius ignored her. Standing up, he turned and began walking toward the Slytherins. “I’m going to say this once, and only once,” he stated in a very low and controlled voice, staring them down. “Clear off, and leave her alone.”
A grin stretched over Avery’s face. “Surprise, surprise: Black’s got himself a new toy! She’s rather pretty; I can see why you’d go for her. Might have myself if she wasn’t such vile Mudblood scum—”
Sirius jerked toward him furiously, but felt a pair of hands wrap around his arm and a voice in his ear, “Sirius, please, just leave it. It doesn’t matter, honestly,”
Glaring, he opened his mouth to argue but was saved the trouble when Mulciber spoke up.
“Tell me, Hallman, what’s it like to be Black’s newest whore? Does he pay you well—?”
Before he knew what he was doing Sirius was charging toward the Slytherin duo and tackling Mulciber to the stone floor. In a whirlwind of fists and shouted curse words, he was startled to suddenly find himself flying through the air and landing none-too-gently on his back on the other side of the corridor.
As he struggled to sit up, he watched Avery pull Mulciber to his feet. He'd drawn his wand and fired a hex toward Sirius, only to have it bounce back at him. Avery leaped out of the way before settling with a glare. “You’ll get yours, Black! Just wait and see.” And with that, the two Slytherins hurried down the hall and out of sight.
He looked over and saw Everly lowering her wand and picking up her books before walking over to him. Sirius felt a smile tug at his lips without his consent when he saw the concerned frown on her face. She placed her books next to him and crouched down to his level to survey his appearance. A nervous jolt yanked at his stomach when she lifted her hand and brought it towards his face. She gingerly touched his lip and he cringed at the sharp throb it gave in response to the contact.
“What were you thinking?” she scolded quietly, now glancing at his swollen knuckles. “Mulciber’s huge on his own, let alone with Avery backing him. You could have gotten yourself hospitalized for the rest of the year.”
“I could have taken them,” Sirius said, ignoring the slight defensive tone in his voice. “Besides, I’m fine.”
“Yeah, because I managed to throw up a Shielding Charm to separate the lot of you.” Everly stated, collecting her books and standing up again. “Can you stand?”
He chose to overlook her first comment, pushing himself off the hard floor and forcing himself not to wince at the ache in his back or the pounding in his head. “Of course I can stand; I told you, I’m fine. See?”
She frowned before shaking her head. “You should still probably go see Madame Pomfrey. You’re bleeding.”
“I’ll be alright. I’m a fast healer,” he said, grinning a bit. “Here, let me—” Before she could protest, he cradled her books under one arm and began walking away from her.
“Hey! Wait—come back! Give me back my books,” she called, hurriedly catching up with him.
“You’d think you were a Ravenclaw with all these books,” Sirius joked, casually leaning to keep the books out of her reach. “What are all of these anyway?” He pulled the bottom book from the pile and peered at the cover. A wicked grin came over his face. “Well, well, what’s this? Everly Hallman, I never would have guessed that you’d be one for risqué novels.”
Flushing brilliantly, she quickly snatched the book away and hugged it to her chest. “It’s not risqué, it’s a romance.” He merely wiggled his eyebrows at her suggestively, causing the bridge of her nose to go redder and a mumbled, “Oh, bugger off.”
He chuckled, looking down at the remaining three books. The first was thin and had a picture of an apple drawn in some sort of grey ink on the front. He vaguely recalled Remus explaining that it came from a Muggle utensil. The second book was a very thick volume on what appeared to be magical medical treatments. And the third was the same book she had been writing in that day in the library. He looked at the third book curiously; under closer inspection, it looked rather like a diary. He began absently adding things to his list as he stared down at the cover, forgetting that he was supposed to be forgetting her existence:
Number Seven: Guilty pleasure in the form of “romance novels.”
This could be used to his advantage, both for teasing and for… other purposes later on.
Number Eight: Muggleborn.
He’d have to keep a closer eye on her when those dirty snakes were around. And he might start listening to Moony a tad more carefully when he went off about Muggle rubbish.
Number Nine: Appears to keep a diary.
That could be just plain fun for him, really. And if he managed to sneak a peek at it he’d have plenty more to add to his growing list.
Number Ten: Possibly studying to become a Healer.
Interesting. Though, he heard the job was very time-consuming. Then again, he would be able to fulfill certain Healer/Patient fantasies he’d had.
...He’d have to weigh the pros and cons later—
His train of thought suddenly sputtered to a standstill. What? What did he just—? Bloody hell, what did it matter if her job would be time-consuming? It wasn’t like he was planning his future with hers or anything. Or was—? He gave a rough shake of his head as his thoughts were interrupted by a teasing voice. “Done poking your nose through my things yet?”
Despite himself and his previous train of thought, Sirius felt a sheepish smile take over his face when his eyes met hers and he muttered a small “Sorry,” Though, he did not give her things back to her. They held eye contact for a moment before she looked away. He decided he could properly berate himself for his thoughts later.
They walked together in silence for a few minutes before she spoke up again. “You really shouldn’t have gone after them like that, you know.”
Disbelief coating his face, he gaped at her before springing into speech. “They were having a go at you! What was I supposed to do? Just let them get away with it?” He scoffed. “Not bloody likely.”
She looked over at him thoughtfully. “That’s incredibly kind of you, Sirius.” she said, so sincerely that Sirius looked away and felt the back of his neck get warm. There was a small pause before she continued quietly, her voice calm and somehow still filling the hall around them. “But still, what did the retaliation get you? A few scrapes and bruises to leave you a little worse for the wear? It doesn’t change things. They’re still prejudice, and I’m still a Muggleborn; so they’ll still try and rough me up a bit when they get the chance. The only difference now is that they’ll be more interested in making life more difficult for you too.” Sirius didn’t mention that he had a history of disagreements with Slytherins in general. The way she talked made him listen, which struck him as odd, seeing as she was being so… rational. Logical. There was something passionate about her voice, though. He was still so curious as to how her mind worked. “It’s a vicious cycle really, when you stop to think about it. They do something, then you respond, then they even the score, then you do the same, and it just continues on and on. For generations even. You know what I mean?” She looked over at him, suddenly looking rather red. “Merlin, I’m sorry. I never talk this much.”
“No, no! It’s fine, really. It’s nice.” He hastened to dispel her apology, his eyes roving over her pale face. Number Eleven: Has a dark freckle by the corner of her left eye. “I get what you mean though. It’s a never ending battle, I suppose.” He tried to meet her gaze. “But some fights are just worth it.” Her eyes darted over to meet his, obviously catching on to his train of thought. Now was his chance. He could ask her about Hogsmeade, about why she “didn’t date,” about—
“Well, here we are,” Her voice sounded a little forced and uncomfortable. Sirius suddenly felt himself being ushered through a doorway and into what he immediately recognized as the Hospital Wing.
The sneaky little—
“Miss Hallman, I was expecting you to be here at half past and it’s already—oh! Mr. Black, heavens, what happened?” Madame Pomfrey had come bustling over toward Everly only to notice Sirius. The woman falter slightly before switching course and heading toward Sirius.
He tried to catch sight of himself on a mirror somewhere—did he really look that bad?—before the mediwitch had him sitting on a nearby cot to “clean him up” while muttering about reckless behavior. After he was deemed properly fixed and was free to go he glanced over at Everly, who he realized had taken her books back from him while he was being fretted over, to find her casually perusing the textbook. “Good as new,” he said cheerfully in an attempted to alleviate the tension from earlier as he walked toward her. “Nicely played, by the way, tricking me into coming here.”
She merely smiled her pretty smile. “I’m glad you’re alright.”
“Ready to go?” he asked, trying to ignore the lack of flirtation she responded with. She had joked around with him well enough in the library when they first met. What happened? Other than her rejecting him, obviously.
“I’ve got some things to talk to Madame Pomfrey about.” He opened his mouth, but she seemed to anticipate what he was going to say. She was quick to assure him, “You don’t have to wait for me. I’ll be a while. The two of us tend to get caught up in our talks.” She lowered her voice a little. “She’s quite the gossip, actually.”
Sirius forced a smile, nodding. “Of course, right. Well, until next time, Miss Hallman.” And he ducked out of the Hospital Wing and headed up the stairs hurriedly. He noticed how late it was, deciding that dinner was long over. He wasn’t particularly hungry at the moment anyway. He’d eaten quite a bit in Hogsmeade. Merlin. That felt like ages ago. His time with Everly seemed to have lasted hours, though at the same time it didn’t feel nearly long enough.
That night, as he lay in his four-poster bed, he replayed his encounters with Everly over again in his mind. No matter how he turned it over in his head, he couldn’t puzzle out why Everly Hallman affected him so much. She was attractive of course, though no more or less than most of the other girls he had dated. She was smart, friendly (though only sometimes apparently, in his case,) and exceptionally mysterious. As he pondered, Sirius came to a conclusion as sleep began to consume him. There was no denying it anymore: love potion or not; he fancied Everly Hallman. She was just…
Number Twelve: Wonderfully different from any other girl.
Wowwie. Mammoth chapter. I'm not sure how much I like this chapter. I feel like the flow is kinda off or something. Either way, pleasepleaseplease leave a review with what you think! They make me happy. :) Until chapter five!