Chapter 11 : Act 9 – Implosion
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Act 9 – Implosion
1. A violent collapse inward, as of a highly evacuated glass vessel.
2. Violent compression.
- I took a deep breath and listened to the old bray of my heart. I am. I am. I am. ~ Sylvia Plath
- A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm. ~ James Thurber
Awareness came in slow, warm waves. Anya turned on her side, breathed in and out and stuffed her face in the warm soft pillow. Then a second later, she jumped awake, everything that had happened coming back in a wave that had her shivering. Anya stretched her muscles with controlled moves, as she did after a particularly strenuous workout, but felt no aching anywhere. She felt better than she had this morning actually. A hand went to her head. It was bandaged, but didn’t hurt.
Anya looked down on herself: the white cotton nightgown she was wearing wasn’t hers. It was a little big for her, but also warm and comfortable. She wasn’t in her room, but she remembered that. Remembered waking up in a world of pain, being healed, washed and soothed, put back to sleep. A god-blessed dreamless sleep.
Anya carefully sat up, and put her feet on the ground. She tried getting up carefully. But she had nothing to worry about it seemed, she was fine, everything was in place and working properly.
Slowly, Anya let herself think… she was unafraid when she went through her memories of what had happened. She tried to remain cold, to think her way through this… but she couldn’t. She felt lost, thrown in the midst of something she didn’t belong into, in a world of forces he couldn’t compete with and the panic of not knowing her way out was starting to bite at her.
But someone could answer. Someone had to. After all, hadn’t her mother prided herself of always knowing the secret? There was cynicism in that thought, a surge of resentment that Anya didn’t know was in her. But she welcomed it as an ally, as a reactions that should have come sooner.
The despair had passed now, Anya wasn’t sorry for herself anymore.
She was furious!
Hatred came so easy when it was directed at the people you loved. It was all one emotions: lovehate with the darker side crushing the softer one and all directed at one clear target: the woman that had dragged Anya into a world of conflicts an values she didn’t understand, ignoring everything Anya was, for the sake of her own pride.
Anya took her wand from the nightstand, and went for the door. She stepped out in the hall. It was lit by warmly glowing candles, painted in clean, warm tones, decorated to fit expensive and fine tastes.
Only when she was in the hall did Anya realize that she didn’t know where to go.
Then voices came to her ears, hushed because they were coming through a closed door and a couple of walls. But Anya knew one of those voices. She followed it, almost hypnotized. Strange, Anya thought, that she’d wanted to go home when in fact her mother was right here, not a room away from her. As always, Katherine was ever too far and always carrying her destructive force with her.
Anya tightened her grip on her wand and stood right in front of that door.
Without caring at all about what she was being bad-mannered, Anya fisted her hand and knocked hard on the dark wood of that door. The sound of her fist banging against the wood was a staccato that was meant to sound rude and deliberately indiscreet. Purposely interrupting without giving a shit.
The door opened almost immediately, but only by a fraction, barely showing the face of a nervous, slightly angry looking woman with dark hair and wide dark eyes that made Anya think of a younger-looking McGonagall. The woman didn’t bother to hide her irritation when she spoke.
“What do you want?”
“My mother…” Anya said faintly, her voice raw and completely devoid of life. She said it with the certainty that her mother was in that room, plotting as always her ridiculous schemes, getting involved in things that were none of her business. Shedding blood – other people’s blood – to justify that adrenaline fix that she needed, covering it all up with nice words and idealistic morals. All bullshit!
“The meeting isn’t over kid.” The irritated woman was about to close the door in Anya’s face but Anya’s anger got the better of her. She snapped her hand against the smooth wood, stopping the door from closing.
“I don’t care.” She hissed out. The woman hesitated, glared down at Anya and was sure about to say something, but Anya interrupted.
“Don’t you hide from me, Katerina.” Anya spoke in clear Russian, not bothering to hide her loathing. She chose those particular words deliberately. She chose them because she knew the effect they would have.
‘Don’t hide from me’
Those had been the exact same words her father used to say to her mother every time she didn’t want to talk to him. Anya had never called her mother by her first name before either. But she had made a decision now, and everything had changed.
There would be no more running after her mum, no more sharing lives that weren’t made to fit together. It was just a disaster, it was a mistake to be in her mother’s life when Anya clearly couldn’t handle herself in it… She was so tired of feeling weak. A looser, a good-for-nothing. Why should she subject to that humiliation for someone who clearly didn’t want her enough? Why should Anya be a nobody, a burden, in Katherine’s world when she had her own? A world she shined in…
Anya should be where she belonged: away from all this.After throwing something so destructive Anya’s way, Katherine had nothing more to claim when it came her daughter, no more decisions she could make for her…
Everything was broken now.
The second that her mother’s name came out of Anya’s lips, a chair scrapped the floor sharply and Katherine Rain was in front of her daughter. Anya stared at her mother coldly. Katherine looked at her with an expression that Anya wasn’t able to decipher. It was a mix of many emotions that made Anya’s resentment rise up like a tidal wave.
“Now is not the time Anya. I’ll talk to you in a moment…”
“I don’t care.” Anya hissed and pushed at the door more violently than Katherine expected. It slipped her mother’s fingers and opened wide.
Katherine looked surprised beyond response, but Anya didn’t have eyes for her mother at the moment. Disgust written all over her face, Anya saw all the people gathered there, around a table. It had to be at least 25 of them, huddled close together over papers and whatnot. And Professor Dumbledore seating at the head of the table.
Anya couldn’t help the grimace. Of course, he was there… every time that something horrible was about to crash into her life, he’d been there. Like a prologue to disaster…
Anya turned her tear filled eyes to her mother, looked at her with open revulsion, without holding back one ounce of it.
“I’m leaving.” Anya whispered as two fat tears fall down her cheeks, followed by a lot more. Her voice barely wavered – she was proud of that.
“I’m leaving your house and your life and I don’t want you to ever try to contact me again, in any way. We’re done. Goodbye mother.” She was trembling as she turned away, but she felt strangely numb. Disengaged from herself, looking on the scene like a ghost.
Anya felt a sadistic pleasure at the shock on her mother’s face. Let her suffer.
I want you to hurt like you’re in hell. I want your pain, your tears. I need them!
Let this be the punishment for what she’d made Anya suffer. For everything Anya had been denied, for the life she had missed, just so that Katherine Rain could do what she thought was right. Sacrificing everything for that abstraction.
Anya was caught by the arm and turned around.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry baby, but please…”
Anya wretched her arm away and stepped back. The pain in her mother eyes was a stab in her chest and it hurt with the same intensity that her anger burned.
I hope it hurts, I really do. I hope it burns you up from the inside like hellfire.
“Don’t touch me.” Anya hissed, pushing Katherine away. Anya was just a few inches taller than her mother and in that moment, she felt stronger too. Anger gave her strength. Her pain gave her courage she didn’t possess.
I hope you know this pain is your fault and that you cry about it endlessly… like I did…
“I didn’t know they were going to come after you like that! I tried to protect you, I tried…”
That was all it took for Anya to snap. That almost frantic tone her mother spoke with, that tone that Anya had heard only once, in a situation not dissimilar from this one… It made Anya look at Katherine in contempt, a creature she despised. Her anger, the pain, the humiliation, all the repressed feelings Anya had carried around for so long exploded from her in a wave that filled the entire house.
The bitterness tinted Anya’s every word, her every look.
“You didn’t know? Really? What did you think would happen mother?” Anya kept raising her voice with every word, but she didn’t care who heard anymore.
“All those people, th-those psychopaths that kill people for fun – something which you know - and you still put their names on first page! You… you send Bellatrix Black after me! Bellatrix Black! How could you do that?”
The silence after Anya’s words was piercing, so much that her ragged breaths were the loudest thing in that tastefully decorated corridor.
“What, you have nothing to say now?” Anya stared at her mother, so unbelievably disappointed that she could hardly believe what was happening. Even then, her mother said nothing to defend herself, to justify her actions. Even now Katherine Rain thought she had done nothing wrong…
Anya felt her heard break a little bit more.
“Don’t!” Anya hissed between tightly clenched teeth. “Don’t you say my name like that, like you care. If you did, you would think of me first, before all these people!” Anya screamed, for the first time wanting to be heard, she wanted to scream the walls down. She wanted everyone in that room to know how much she hated them and everything they stood for.
“Even though you want me in your life, you make your decisions alone, you always do… and I hate you for it. Do you hear me, I hate you!”
I hope you suffer endlessly, like I suffered. I hope you scream I pain like I did… for you - for nothing…
“No! No, you don’t.” Katherine said, more in despair than anger. For a second, panic had had full control of her senses.
“I’d take it all on my skin tenfold just so that you wouldn’t have to suffer a second of it! It’ll never happen again. I know you’re afraid, but I’ll protect you, I will, I swear…”
Anya ached to scream. One uninterrupted scream that would scrape away all her anger and leave her finally pure and in peace. The tears that blocked her vision were wiped away in an angry move.
“Afraid? Protect me? Yes, I am afraid. No, you can’t protect me. I think you’ve proved one too many times that you have no idea what that word even means.”
Katherine breathed in for a couple of times, probably trying to control herself, slow down her pulse. She had to think, think. She’d put her daughter’s life in danger and Anya had the right to be angry, but she couldn’t let her get carried away with it. She couldn’t let her only child run away into the night in an act of rebellion. It would be better to keep Anya by her side by force than to know she was out there, running into certain danger, completely unprotected.
“There are so many things you don’t know.” Katherine said, finally starting to feel almost calm again. Her heart was still beating fast. “I am doing this for you, there is no one else but this Order that can protect us. Some really terrible things are about to happen Anya, and…”
“Oh, I know all about that, I read your article. Let me guess: this Voldie guy is going to try and start a civil war and innocent people are going to die and you just have to speak the truth for the greater good… Am I close?”
Her mother was silent and frozen like a stone and Anya rejoiced savagely in her small victory.
“Sound a little familiar, doesn’t it, mother?” She said with a cruel smirk. “Well, I’m not going to stick around to see what happens this time…”
The pain in Katherine’s face was plain. Oh, it felt so good to know that Anya too possessed to power to hurt her. She didn’t feel so defenceless anymore, so pathetic.
The words that came out of her mouth next were something that she had promised herself she would never say – something she would never even think.
And yet she said them because she wanted to be hurtful. She said them despite knowing they were a lie, because in that moment there was no pity in her, just the desire to hurt as much as she’d been hurt. Anya wanted to see her mother suffer, to know that she wasn’t the only one that felt so forgotten, so abandoned.
“…Last time it was dad made that mistake. Remember how that turned out for him?”
The dry sound of the slap echoed in the tomb-like silence that had fallen in the house. Anya felt the sting in all the left side of her face, but the only reaction that she could call out from herself was a choked breath, tears that rushed faster than ever. Anya chuckled without knowing why. This was the first time her mother had put a hand on her… but Anya was already too far lost into the moment, nothing would have surprised her now.
Katherine looked terrified of her own actions… and Anya took advantage of her shock. She turned to look at her mother with grimace on her lips that was trying hard to pass for a smile, but it was too cruel to wear that impersonation well.
“… my god! Oh please, hit me again! Every time you do is another time you admit I’m right. I’m right to want to stay away from you, mother. You are death to everyone around you.”
She watched her mother pale so much that she thought the woman would surely faint. And she liked it, she loved every second of it. Every moment that this incredible storm inside her raged higher was another scar on her soul, another laceration of her heart. And every word she spit at her mother was another chunk of that pain that Anya wanted to let out. She wanted to vomit it all out of her, all that revulsion, the loneliness and the hurt. She wanted to hurl it all at her mother and finally be free of it.
Free of her.
Anya brought up her wand and tried to disarm her mother. It was in vain, she knew… the spell was deflected without the smallest difficulty, reflexively. Anya had known it would be like that, but kept going, sending hex after careless hex in her mother’s direction. All of them were easily avoided – Katherine even took the time to assure that the bouncing spells didn’t harm any part of the house. But Anya had a point to make. She got aggressive… and the second that Katherine sensed that intent, she disarmed Anya fast.
“Stop! You can’t fight me!” Katherine said pleadingly and Anya laughed, a laugh that was bitter on her lips, sounding every bit as hysterical as she felt.
“No, I can’t. I can not, can I? I’m doomed to lose, don’t you see? In a fair fight, you’d disarm me with both your hands tied behind your back!”
The panic in her mother face was a joy to witness.
I hate you I hate you I hate you…
“I can’t fight you. I can’t fight, period. Bellatrix Black and her lot it not even going to enjoy killing me – it would be that easy for them.”
“I will not allow anything to happen to you!” Katherine said resolutely.
“You already broke that promise once.” Anya snapped back. “You promised him that nothing would happen and he died! Now you’re going to promise me?” The silence was heavy, interrupted only by Anya’s hard breathing.
“Don’t you see mother? You’re setting me up for a test I cannot pass. I can’t! I won’t play this game with you anymore. I’m leaving…”
“You have nowhere to go. I am all you have!”
So cruel of her to remind Anya of that… but it was not true…
“You’re wrong, it’s the other way around. I am all you have. And I can go wherever I please: there isn’t a single ballet school in the world that doesn’t want me. I get dozens of scholarships every year, offers from theatres everywhere!” And rubbing that in her face was the coldest revenge.
Anya watched her mother as she steeled herself, as she shook her head in denial. The look in Katherine’s eyes burned, and for a moment it gleamed with a violence that Anya had never seen there before… she’d never seen her mother so desperate, and Anya mistook it for hostility.
Didn’t recognize the true nature of the feelings and was frightened by it.
Katherine came close and grabbed Anya by the forearm, her face inches away from Anya’s.
“No, you can’t. You can’t break free from me that easy. I live in you, in your bones, in your soul. I made you. Your blood whispers my name. Even in your rebellion, you are mine.”
Anya felt her mother’s shaking, even after she left go of Anya’s arms. Heard the pain in her mother’s voice and knew that she had misunderstood. That her mother was just as vulnerable and destructible as Anya was.
They both were bad for each other. They would both be better if they just kept each other at a distance. Her mother refused to see that. Katherine wanted it all, she didn’t make compromises. Anya was a little more realistic than that…
And she felt so close to collapsing that the it seemed painful to go on… She just wanted this to be over. She wanted to go away, disappear. But when Anya tried to move, she felt her mother’s arms come around her, hold her in a tight embrace that tasted of desperation and demanded everything.
“I love you Anya, you are my heart. I love you so much. I’m sorry.”
Anya felt her soul pour out in a violent sob that shook her head to foot. She fought the embrace, trying to be free. Free of those arms and everything in between.
“No, you don’t…” Anya said through tears of pure despair. She heard her mother sob and shake at the cruelty of those words.
“…you don’t love me enough mother.” Anya whispered and knew in her heart that it was true. Her mother’s silence was even more devastating than anything she might have said. It was an admission. Silence is the universal yes, Katherine herself had said that.
With a violent contortion Anya managed to free herself from her mother’s caging embrace. She couldn’t help but look at the woman that had borne her and feel unwanted… and the deep rejection that followed, the feeling abandonment was… unspeakable.
… it took her breath away.
Anya looked straight in her mother’s wide, shocked eyes… and didn’t get that usual feeling of intimidation by all that her other was. Her mother’s incapacitating selflessness, her courage and recklessness didn’t frighten her anymore. Now Anya had nothing left to fear. The worse that could have happened had just happened.
And Anya was still standing. Even if barely.
All at once, Anya realized that she hated the whole world, most of all those people that her mother called innocents. Those people that Anya had always had to share her mother with, people with whom she had had to fight for her attention and love.
She hated them all!
“Do they adore you? Do they think you’re so brave, so selfless? Always sacrificing everything for justice and all that bullshit.” Anya’s voice lost all its strength, all the anger evaporated, leaving her alone with her pain and rejection. All alone, as she’d never felt before… She only had the strength to whisper.
She watched her mother shake her head in denial.
“No? Well, they should. You do sacrifice everything mother. Even me… without a second thought… and it hurts! Don’t you get it? It hurts and can’t take it anymore, I can’t take it anymore!”
She screamed those words out with the last energy she’d had left, and once dried up, once she was empty, something inside her broke. All the anger had been preserving her, protecting her from this. This exactly was the truth Anya hadn’t wanted to face: the clench in her heart, the unbelievable pain that found a hundred different ways to hurt, to break her apart and leave her bleeding for days…
She started crying. Not just tears flowing, like before, but passionately, bitterly sobbing, shaking and her voice breaking. Crying as if someone had died.
“I f-feel… like an… or-orphan…” Anya choke out in between sobs that didn’t give her time to breathe.
She couldn’t hold herself up anymore, felt her knees bend. She fell on the soft carpet and with her head hung low, she cried it all out… but there seemed to be no end to her pain. Anya knew the hand that landed on her shoulder, but she screamed as if it was made of fire and the hand retracted fast. She could hear her mother’s soft crying even over her own louder sobs.
She didn’t feel the spell that settled over her so gently. She felt as if she’d cried herself to sleep… and sleep did come, more welcome than any other time, peacefully dreamless and warm, wrapping her up in his arms carrying her into a serenity that she’d thought she’d forgotten.
And there was silence there.
Silence and no thoughts of anything. She was away from herself… And it was heaven.
Dumbledore put a hand on Katherine’s shoulder. The slight tremble he felt was the only sign that she was crying. Anastasia was in the huddled in a corner, sleeping, her breathing not yet normal. Dumbledore hadn’t had the heart to let this continue. They were both hurting each other and he could not see an end to it – even to his rational mind that discussion had been a vicious circle.
Anya couldn’t understand, she didn’t want to understand any reason that might justify losing her mother to this fight… or herself. And of course, it was also not his problem to solve, but Dumbledore couldn’t imagine mother and daughter solving it tonight.
As he passed near a mirror, he saw it had fractioned into a hundred pieces, not one of them falling off frame. Every mirror in this floor had broken, probably even in the upper floors as well. He fixed them easily. Unintentional magic was something not normal for a girl of Anya’s age, but Dumbledore knew that Anya controlled only a small portion of what were her capabilities. It didn’t surprise him that her distress had had such consequences.
Dumbledore neared Katherine, who was still kneeling on the floor.
“I have put her to sleep. She will be calmer in the morning.” Dumbledore said softly.
“She will never forgive me.” Katherine whispered as if she was talking to herself. Dumbledore knew what she was taking about but he also knew that arguing with Katherine at this moment would do more harm than good.
“She is too young to understand your reasons Katherine.”
“Oh, but she is not. She has seen all this before Albus. She has seen this all before.” Katherine whispered as she stood up. The only sign that she’d been crying was the barely perceptible puffiness around her eyes. She was quick to put herself back together.
“She has seen me make mistakes and will never forgive me for them, or trust me not to make them again.”
“Dimitri was not your mistake.” She heard Alastor say sternly. Katherine startled to find him at her side, she hadn’t even heard him… but his voice carried the conviction of someone who knows fact beyond any doubt. He’d always been so sure of himself.
“He had a choice to make and he chose to fight. His death is not on your hands.” Alastor continued. Katherine flinched at hearing it spelled out like that, but she needed it. She’d needed to hear it put that way, to convince herself to believe it again.
“The meeting is over, by the way. They all left when voices started to get loud enough for us to hear them… they didn’t want to intrude.” Moody added and Dumbledore nodded.
But Dumbledore raised a hand to stop her apology before she even started it. “No, I am. I ask too much of all of you… but I shall make amends. Whatever you and Anastasia decide, she will have the protections she was promised.”
“And I’ll do better, I swear. This was all my fault.” Alastor was fast to add, but Katherine shushed him with a look. He’d been apologizing all day when Katherine should be thanking him for saving her daughter’s life. This screaming match that she and Anya had had was nobody’s responsibility but hers. Katherine neared Anya and with a spell she lightened her weight so that she could carry her daughter home, but before she could lift her up in her arms, Dorea Potter was by her side.
“Katherine… you are welcome to stay here. Until we are sure that the spells over your house haven’t been breached and we put up some extra protection. Please, I insist. There is no need for any of us to take unnecessary risks.”
Katherine looked in the warm hazel eyes of that woman and didn’t have the strength to say no. For Anya’s sake she had to stay at the safest place possible these days.
“Thank you Dorea.” Katherine said and was surprised to see the other woman’s eyes practically fill up in a moment.
“Oh my dear… we all own you so much after what you did. You’re welcome to stay as long as you need.”
Katherine had never had an older sister, but sometimes two kindred spirits know each other. Dorea was almost 15 years older than Katherine but ever since they had met almost a year and a half ago, they had had a connection, which was kept alive by the sincere respect that each of them had for the other.
If Katherine did not already admire Dorea for her incredible intelligence and practical soul, the older woman would have earned her undying gratitude all over again for healing Anya today after the run in with Bellatrix. And now she was offering Katherine and her daughter a place to stay and she was doing so in such an open way that Katherine couldn’t help but be touched by her generosity.
“Is she ok?” Katherine asked, and Dorea knew what she wanted to know.
“Oh, yes. The internal bleeding was the most worrisome, but it was minimal thanks to Alastor’s protective spells. I have fully healed her. All she needs to do now is sleep it off and take it easy for a few days.”
Katherine nodded and made her way into the Potter’s guest rooms with her daughter in her arms.
Once Anya was safely tucked in her bed, Katherine found Alastor waiting for outside the Potter’s guest room. He was leaning against the wall and when she saw him, Katherine was stricken yet again by how very changed he was from Hogwarts. A lifetime of fighting had roughened him up. From a mischievous boy that never stood in place and always attracted the worst trouble on himself, he had turned into a warrior.
There was something intrinsically sad about that.
“She said it just to hurt you, you know. That part about Dimitri…” Alastor let the meaning of those words float in the air. Katherine was good at understanding even the most cryptic phrases. She understood this time too and Alastor felt her eyes on himself as her attention sharpened.
“How do you…”
“She was fully conscious that she was lying, and she said it because she knew it would cause you pain. To prove to herself that she could… I heard it in her head.” Alastor had a queer look in his eyes when he said that, but Katherine was more captured by what he’d said than the look on his face when he said it.
“You did what?!”
But before her temper could flare and he could be the victim of it, Alastor explained himself in a rush. “I was just trying to understand her… I…” Alastor lowered his head and his voice, and Katherine recognized the body-language of shame. “…I wanted to know if she thought what happened to her was my fault.” He murmured.
Katherine rolled her eyes. He’d never change, no matter how many years passed…
“If you apologize one more time, I’m going to personally hex your bones inside a matchbox!” Katherine warned, and Alastor knew when she was joking and when she was threatening for real.
“Actually, I was about to say dinner was ready, but it’s the same.”
Katherine managed an eyeroll and a small smile. She would politely excuse herself from dinner. Food was the last thing on her mind at the moment. She could only hope that she would not be paying any offense.
“Dorea also said that if you wanted to be excused than you were welcome to simply go upstairs to you room and rest. No need to be formal.”
Katherine nodded absentmindedly.
“Goodnight Alastor.” She said back to her old friend, but she doubted that there would be anything good coming for her after this night…
Sirius had camped himself outside, right by a very specific window. He didn’t know what he was waiting for exactly but he knew that something would happen. The clock sounded midnight. The silence of the night was a symphony he liked, especially this close to the park. He could practically hear the city breathe. He liked doing this - staying up and just listening to the silence. But that was not why he was fighting sleep tonight.
He, James and Alicia had heard that nice screaming match that Anya had had with her mother. Hell, there was maybe someone up in Scotland who hadn’t heard, but London and surroundings were all updated to the news…
After what he’d heard, Sirius had been stunned. He hadn’t realized that there were other people in the world who felt that having no family at all was better than having one like theirs… At first he’d though Anya a coward for wanting to run away, scorned her for it. But the more he heard the more he realized that it wasn’t about fear. She wasn’t running away just because she was afraid. She was mostly angry. And she seemed certain that she would die. After what he had seen, Sirius was inclined to think she was right.
One thing was clear though: She was going to run away. Sirius knew she hadn’t been bluffing, had recognized the truth in the voice - it had been like looking at himself in a bloody mirror. And the other thing that was certain was that she would be in big trouble if she got out of the Order’s range.
What that girl didn’t seem to understand was that it didn’t matter how far she ran or how much she distanced herself from her mother. Even though through no fault of her own, she had ended up on Bellatrix’s ‘things to do’ list, and if there was one thing Sirius knew was that dearest Bella never gave up on her hunt. She was obsessed by it. The more challenging the game was, the more fun she had. She’d keep going after Anya until she got what she wanted, and with Bella that usually involved a lot of pain.
The whole situation was a mess really… or an opportunity, depending on the way one chose to look at it. He had been dying for dear Bella to give him a reason to hurt her like she deserved and now… he had bait. He didn’t even need to go looking for Bellatrix because the way this was going, she would be the one to come to him.
Well, technically, she would come for Anya, so all Sirius needed to do was stick around for when Bella showed up.
Besides, Sirius owed Anastasia Rain a helping hand, and right now she needed one.
A soft noise from inside her room made him snap to attention. It was the faintest sound, repeated: careful steps that made great effort not to be heard. Sirius smirked. He had to give it to this girl: she was good. Even with the sound-amplifying charm, he’d almost missed it. But then again, she was some sort of prodigal ballerina right? It stood to reason that she would know where to put her feet.
Sirius’ smirk almost turned into a smile. It was so strange how the most casual people that you think you will never see again stroll back in your life like that.
He checked to see if the Disillusion spell was still on him as it should.
A second later the window opened with such stealth that it barely mage the faintest sound. Sirius saw a long white leg cross over, followed closely by another. Ok, maybe this girl wasn’t so smart after all – where the hell did she think she was going to go barefoot?! Sirius watched as she made her way to the ground carefully, her wand between her teeth. She even bothered to close the window…
And then she was running soundlessly towards the gate of the Potters back yard which would get her in the street.
Sirius waited for her to be out where the street was lightened by the many poles before he took off the charm that made him invisible. Once out of the Potter estate, she started running like the devil was on her heel. Sirius turned on the spot, disappearing into thin air and almost soundlessly appearing right in front of her.
She was running – he’d calculated that, counting on it in fact – so she ran right into his arms, bringing a wave of heat with her. The impact against him knocked her breath out of her with a sharp hiss, just as one of his arms went around her back to keep her from falling to the ground and the other hand clasped over her mouth to stop a scream that might come. But she hadn’t had the time to get to that.
“Shshsh… Don’t scream, please.”
Her pulse was going so fast he almost felt her heartbeats against his own chest. He was sure it wasn’t his heart, because he felt quite calm. He looked at her pleadingly as he eased his hold on her middle, letting her feet touch the ground again but not entirely letting her go. And just to show some faith, he took his hand away from her mouth also. She pushed away and he let her, but she didn’t run away - even though she still looked at him like he was the Big Bad Wolf.
“What… what do you want.” She asked, breathy voice hardly louder than a whisper and still managing to sound demanding.
He looked at her up and down and smiled teasingly, tried to make his tone as light as he could.
“Where exactly did you think you were going to go barefoot?”
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