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Poison Ivy by KateRhodes
Chapter 11 : The Kitchens and their secret-Part I
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3


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 Josh was exactly where I thought he’d be. When he saw me approaching him he shouted something at his friends and jogged my way. I waited for him to come; I wanted to be as far away as possible from his lads. After all, Josh had been nice to me and I did not need to humiliate him. I was perfectly aware that I should be feeling bad about this, we had been dating for a very short time but I just could not take it anymore.

-“Hey Hun! What are you doing down here so early?”- he asked, smiling. I looked at him without returning the smile.

-“I needed to talk to you”- I said. His gaze darkened immediately. He was too smart not to know what was coming.

-“You’re dumping me, right?”- he asked. I could see he was more upset than he’d liked, but it wasn’t a heart break. Thank Merlin.

-“Yes. It just doesn’t really work, I’m getting bored. I like you, wouldn’t mind talking to you and seeing you around… but I told you if I felt the need to cheat I’d break it up. So I’m breaking it up”- I informed him. He smirked.

-“Who is it?”- he asked.

-“No one in particular”- I replied flatly.

-“Fair enough. Thanks for not cheating on me”- he said. I nodded.

-“See you around”- he nodded and I left. As I made my way back to the common room I realized that I was actually playing a very dangerous game. Was I going to give in to Potter or not? Now that Black was allowed to talk to me again were we going to go back to that weird thing we had before? And what about Lily? No, James was not an option. Whatever needs I had would need to be fulfilled by someone else.

 

The common room was still empty. It had taken me ten minutes to go find Josh, break up with him and come back so I didn’t expect it to be packed anyway. I took the biggest armchair I could find and my Transfiguration book and sat close to the window, curled up in myself. Half an hour later someone broke the quietness of the room. I was about to complain when I heard Rhea speaking.

-“I have not had a chance to ask her, I’m sorry!”- she said.

-“Rhea, you do realize we need to know this, right?”- it was Black speaking to her.

-“Yes… you do not think she’s dangerous, do you?”- Rhea asked. Concerned dripped from her voice, tainting the casual mood they were trying to keep up. 

-“Of course not! I’m just… we need to know. Besides, maybe she can even be helpful… you know, with Remus and all”- he told her. I heard Rhea mutter something like “yes, you are right” before she spoke properly again.

-“Anyway, what else did you want to ask me about?”- she enquired. I heard Black growl. I swear, I will never understand how he manages to make such noises.

-“Why did Naomi dump Josh?”- I smiled to myself when I heard his question.

-“What? When? She hasn’t!”- Rhea replied.

-“Yes, she told me she was going to when I bumped into her this morning”- Black informed her.

-“Oh… I don’t know. Well, she never really liked him anyway so she could dump him any moment… but why now?”- Rhea wondered. I heard steps coming down the stairs.

-“What are you doing down here?”- it was Potter.

-“Hey James”- Rhea greeted him.

-“Hello baby, what are you guys whispering about? Leaving me out of a master plan are you?”- he joked. They all chuckled.

-“Nah, apparently Naomi broke up with Josh this morning. We were just wondering why she’d do that today and not any other day”- Rhea said nonchalantly. I heard Potter gasp.

-“She broke up with him?”- he repeated.

-“Yeah, that’s what she told me”- Black informed him.

-“Anyway, I’ll ask her later”- Rhea said –“I was thinking on asking the girls to go have lunch in Hogsmeadge. Would you join? We can go for butter beers or something and spend the day downtown”- she suggested.

-“Sounds like a plan”- Black agreed.

-“Yeah, I heard there’s a new pub where the old shoe store was. We could go check it out later, after dinner maybe”- she said.

-“Huh? Yeah”- Potter murmured absentmindedly.

-“Cool!”- Rhea exclaimed. I smiled. She was too cute sometimes –“I’m going to wake everyone”

-“Yeah, we’ll get Moony and Wormtail”

 

When I was sure they had left the common room I got out of the armchair and walked up to our room. The girls were getting dressed. I took a look at myself on the mirror and decided I’d change my top. I was wearing the jeans I got in Spain so I put on a white t-shirt and my black jacket.

-“You look nice”- Lily said.

-“As always”- I replied.

-“So… I saw Sirius just now, ehm… did you dump Josh?”- Rhea asked.

-“What?”- Meg, Jo and Lily jumped on my bed, cornering me.

-“Yeah, I did”- I said flatly.

-“Why?”- Rhea inquired. The girls looked at me intently.

-“I was bored. We had no chemistry and I was starting to consider other boys so I just broke it up before I cheated on him”- I explained.

-“You are starting to consider other boys?”- Jo asked. I felt a sudden need to disappear. Too much interrogation too early in the morning. I did not like questioning, if you hadn’t noticed by now.

-“Yes, I am. Now get off my bed and out the room”- I sneered. They all did as told immediately. I sighed and walked out with them.

 

The Marauders were downstairs waiting for us. I looked at them and felt powerful. There I was, coming down the stairs to the two most wanted bachelors in the entire school… and both looked at me as if I were God’s gift. I realized that I should just go for Black and leave Potter alone, for Lily’s sake… but the fact that he was somehow forbidden was what made him more alluring. That and the fact that I was still deeply irritated by the size of Black’s ego and hooking up with him would only enhance it further. I could not let that happen, no matter how hot he was. Ugh, I was giving myself a headache.

The walk to Hogsmeadge was fun. We were just a bunch of people having a good time on a Saturday. The boys took us to a pizza place for lunch, much to my dismay.

 

-“You go ahead and eat it, it’s fine to have some pizza from time to time”- Jo told everyone else. They looked doubtful. Lily looked at me.

-“Go for it, I won’t punish you”- I half joked. They all smiled, happy.

-“I do not understand. Do they really have to have your permission to eat?”- Pettigrew asked.

-“No. They can do what they want”- I replied.

-“Whether Naomi decides to stop talking to us later or not is up to her”- Rhea said, chuckling.

-“Would you really stop talking to your friends because they eat?”- Lupin enquired, slightly disturbed.

-“No, of course not. Only if they get fat”- I retorted. The girls laughed, the boys just stared.

-“I am so happy I am not a woman”- Black said.

-“Are you sure about that?”- I teased. Everyone went absolutely silent. I realized that he had not had the chance to talk to me publicly, yet. I had just broken up with Josh. Would he talk to me now or not? I swore to Merlin that if he did not reply, I would make sure he never got a Father’s day present.

-“Wanna check?”- he smirked. When he said that, looking at me openly, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted. He had been wise enough not to try and let me down. Good for him and his balls. 

-“What are you having for lunch?”- Potter asked. I turned my attention to him. Lupin was explaining something to Lily and Jo and Rhea was engaged in a discussion about Chess with Pettigrew. That left me to talk to Black and Potter. Great.

-“Diet coke”- I replied. He opened his mouth to protest but Black was faster.

-“You know you’re going to pass out one of these days”- he said. I glared at him.

-“Do not get too emotional during my funeral”- I retorted. He chuckled.

-“No, he’s right Naomi”- Potter said. I looked at him slightly shocked. Everyone stopped talking and looked at us. I was in trouble. Yes, Potter had called me by my name before but only that night when no one else was around.

-“Are we allowed first names now?”- Lupin asked, saving me. I smirked.

-“Well I guess I can give you such a privilege”- I said, bored –“If it makes you happy”

-“Wow, you really are in a good mood today”- Rhea said, chuckling. I smiled at her.

-“Josh was really getting on my nerves”- I said, flatly. I did not miss the look that crossed both, James’ and Sirius’ eyes. And I did not miss Sirius’ annoyance at the fact that it had been James who had earned them all the right to call me by first name in public.

 

A couple hours later we were all slightly drunk at the Three Broomsticks. Butter beer there was amazingly good and even I couldn’t refuse a pint. Today, due to the general good mood, we had overdone it a little bit. It was then that James said we should go check the new pub. We all agreed and left the Three Broomsticks laughing and joking. I felt good; the evening was being way more fun than I expected. When we got to the door of said pub, I decided I’d stay out for a cigarette.

-“I’ll stay with you”- Rhea said. I didn’t reply, busy as I was lighting the fag. She leaned on the wall and stared at me.

-“What?”- I asked, annoyed at the intensity of her gaze.

-“Why do you sneak out at night?”- she asked. I chocked on the smoke and started coughing.

-“I thought you were asleep”- I said. My brain started working as fast as the butter beer allowed it to. Why would Rhea ask me this? Why now? Was she trying to take advantage of the fact that I was visibly intoxicated with alcohol?

-“Most of the nights I am, but I’ve seen you out once or twice”- she replied. She was smiling sweetly as if this was an innocent question but Rhea wasn’t a good liar. And even if she was, she wouldn’t have been able to fool me. I could see the anxiety reflected in her eyes. She really wanted to know.

-“I’m not telling you”- I said flatly.

-“Oh, come on Naomi, you have not been cheating on Josh, have you?”- she tried, I have to give it to her. But I was not buying it.

-“Rhea, why the hell do you care?”- as I spoke, it all clicked. It was me Sirius and Rhea had been talking about, both, in the infirmary and this morning. What was it they said?

-“I’m just curious!”- she exclaimed. I glared at her.

-“Shut up, will you?”- I snapped. I was trying to remember what I had heard that day in the Hospital Wing.

 

-“It can’t be… I mean, you guys have a reason, you do it for Remus… but why would she go through the trouble?”- she asked. Okay, so there was something going on with Lupin. Something that was important to his friends. Something they had to act upon.

-“I don’t know Rhea, I don’t know… but I want to find out”- Black said. His voice sounded a little anxious.

-“Why? What’s so special about her Sirius? I have never seen you care for a girl like that”- Rhea inquired. I heard Black sigh.

-“I told you… there’s something I can’t tell you… I… let’s just say it’s not the first time I see her, okay? I’ve met her before”- he said. Who are they talking about? It can’t be about Remus because, as far as I know, he is a he and they are talking about a she.

-“Sirius, you worry me”- Rhea said in aggravation. I couldn’t help but to smile. Rhea was too nice to everyone.

-“I’m fine!”

-“No, you are not! Look at you! It had never been this bad”- she said. I was beyond confused by now. What did she mean it had never been this bad? Had he gotten injured before?

-“I told you, things got out of control. If I did not jump in… then we would have been in trouble. You know Remus is not supposed to leave the house. We would have had to explain how he managed to stop the Whooping Willow”- Black replied. What the hell is the Whooping Willow? Which house is Remus not supposed to leave? Ugh.

-“What was she doing there anyway?”

-“That’s what you have to find out, love”- Black said. I heard Rhea chuckle and some steps coming from behind me. I pushed the door open and stepped in the Hospital Wing. Rhea and Black looked at me. Rhea smiled.

 

So it was me they had been talking about. And… how did Sirius know? What did he mean he’d jumped in? I was confused, but something told me that the answer was dancing naked in front of me. It was so obvious I couldn’t find it. But Rhea was going to tell me, I needed to know. I looked at her; she was looking funny at me.

-“Rhea, what is the Whooping Willow?”- I asked. She frowned.

-“It’s a tree, of course. The Willow that’s on the grounds, you know? The one that moves all the time?”- she explained. So it wasn’t a secret thing, she explained it as if everyone knew what the Whooping Willow was. Okay, yeah I knew the tree. It was to our right that night when I saw the wolf. Ugh, I had to put all the pieces together. What did I know? There’s a wolf around here. There’s a dog that keeps saving my life. The Whooping Willow was near us that night. Sirius Black ended up in the Hospital Wing after that night with wounds way too suspicious…

-“I’m worried for Sirius”- I said.

-“Why?”- Rhea was confused, and drunk. It was now or never.

-“You know, Remus is not supposed to leave the House… although Sirius lets him leave it. But if he keeps getting such bad wounds someone will start asking questions”- I had no idea what I was talking about, but I hoped it was enough to fool Rhea. After all, I was not Queen Bee for nothing. My lying abilities were beyond awesome. To me, the sentence I had just uttered made no sense at all. I even doubted it was grammatically correct.

-“How do you know about Remus? And the House? And Sirius?”- Rhea’s eyes widened in shock. I took another cigarette and lit it to buy some time to think. I realized that I could not fool her long enough to find out about it all, I had to chose. What did I want to know? I certainly did not care about Remus and, as curious as I was to find out what the House was, what I really wanted to know was how Sirius had gotten those wounds and why he knew I was on the grounds that night.

-“Well, I was out the night he got the injuries! I saw him”- I leaned against the wall casually, as if we were discussing the weather forecast for the week. Truth be told, I was slightly excited.

-“If you were anyone else I’d say you can’t tell anyone about it… but, of course, you know that already. Why haven’t you told him you know he is an animagus, too?”- yeah, so I was a very good liar but I could not hide my shock. My face gave me away and Rhea paled –“Don’t… oh Merlin, you didn’t really know!”

-“Now I do”- I replied. It was still sinking in. Sirius was an animagus. Sirius was an animagus. Sirius was… Sirius was… Sirius was the DOG. Shit. Shit. Holly Shit. It all made sense immediately. Of course he acted weird around me at the beginning of the year. Of course he’d seen me before. He’d saved my life in Santorini. What he was doing there I had no idea but it didn’t matter. Sirius Black had saved my life twice and he hadn’t even told me about it.

-“Naomi, he is going to kill me”- Rhea pleaded. I looked at her.

-“I need a shot”- was all I could say. I threw the cigarette away and stormed in the pub, followed by a mortified Rhea. I ordered two tequila shots.

-“I don’t like tequila”- Rhea muttered. I raised an eyebrow at her.

-“Who told you it was for you? I’m taking both”- and I did take them both.

-“Wow, someone’s going wild tonight”- James joked. Everyone else had found us and joined us.

-“Hogwarts bores me, I need some action, love”- I replied, winking at him. Everyone laughed.

-“Tequila it is, then”- he said. We ordered another round of shots for everyone except Rhea, who was still worried.

-“Rhea, I’m not gonna tell. I am not even going to think about it ever again. Let’s just pretend that conversation out there never happened”- I whispered to her. She looked at me.

-“Sirius wants to know about you”- she told me.

-“He knows enough. My secrets are my own, do not make the mistake of thinking I will share them”- I warned her. She nodded.

-“Okay, forgotten then”- she smiled sweetly and I nodded at her. Then I looked around.

 I was starting to feel drunk as in, I don’t care about anything because I am drunk, drunk. I loved the feeling, and the recklessness that came with it. My naughtiest nights had always been spiced with Tequila shots. Lily was laughing loudly with Meg, Jo and Remus. Rhea had just joined them. James was smiling at me while waiting for the bar tender to serve him. I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind. Okay, so Sirius Black was an animagus. That was okay, I didn’t really care. He had saved my life. Was that good or bad? Did it make a difference? Yes, it did. I owed him now. I owed him my life. I looked at him. He was talking to Peter. I couldn’t stop it, something strange moved in my stomach as my eyes lingered on his perfect hair, his perfect nose, his perfect eyes… and lips. They were, definitely, more than kissable.

-“Hey, are you okay Naomi?”- James asked me. I snapped back to the real world. Okay, so Sirius Black had saved my life. That did not change a thing because I was not supposed to know. Just like I did with all that threatened to break the delicate equilibrium of my life, I locked this knowledge away with my feelings. And whatever it was that had danced in my stomach. I would never give in to Sirius Black, no matter what. There would be no living with him if I did and he was already insufferable enough as it was.

-“Amazing”- I replied, smiling. He was about to say something but I was too drunk to play games with James. It could get out of control very easily and I was not risking it so I turned towards the bar, ignoring him completely. I ordered another drink and when I was about to pay for it, someone got in the way.

-“Let me buy you this drink”- said a beautiful stranger. I had never seen him before but he was hot. He had the most amazing blue eyes ever. I smiled.

-“Thanks”

-“What’s your name?”- he asked, leaning against the bar next to me.

-“Naomi, yours?”- I saw that everyone else was busy so I just decided I’d have a bit of fun. After all, I had just broken up with my boyfriend. And I needed a man.

-“I’m Tom”- he replied. I smiled again, looking straight into his eyes and then to the floor. It was infallible. They always fell for it. He moved a little closer –“So… what are you doing in Hogsmeadge?”

-“I’m on my way to Glasgow, just spending the night”- I lied –“What about you?”

-“I’m here for business… kind of… how old are you?”

-“You should never ask a woman her age”- I teased.

-“I know, but that’s when the woman’s old and ugly only”

-“I’m only twenty…”- I said pretending to be ashamed by my young age. He looked surprised.

-“Really? You look older”- he said. I bit my lip seductively and looked at him through my eyelashes.

-“How old are you?”- I took a lock of my hair and started playing with it, tangling my fingers carelessly. His eyes travelled from my face to my hand… and to my neck. This was so easy.

-“I’m 22”- he said. Oh, so it wasn’t bad at all. Specially since I was seventeen already, which made me an adult under Magical Law. Just to let you know, I missed a whole year of my life after the attack in which my mom died, so I’m in seventh grade but I turned seventeen at the beginning of summer.

-“You look older”- I said. It wasn’t going to take long now. We had gone through the compulsory talking bit, now we could just kiss me any minute. To be honest, I was hoping he would because I was not in the mood for ridiculous, senseless talk. My head was spinning. I could see he was talking to me but I was paying him no attention at all. I just stood there, looking at him. Yes, he was handsome. Very hot. I wanted to kiss him.

-“… so, yeah, you should come sometime”- he was saying. I smirked and raised an eyebrow.

-“You know, I am tired of talking”- I said right before leaning in and kissing him. If he was shocked, he did not give it away. He kissed back and I was soon lost in his lips, totally oblivious to the rest of the world.

 




REMUS’ POV

 

-“Are we allowed first names now?”- I asked Naomi. I could see she had just been put into a difficult situation by James and I did not want this to ruin the evening we were having. Everyone seemed to be getting along pretty well and it was rather enjoyable.

-“Well I guess I can give you such a privilege”- she replied flatly. This girl just doesn’t put any interest into anything –“If it makes you happy”

-“Wow, you really are in a good mood today”- Rhea said, chuckling. Naomi smiled her way. I took a zip from my butter beer.

-“Josh was really getting on my nerves”- she said matter of factly. I looked at her, slightly disturbed. Rhea had been right when she said she was only dating him for “popularity purposes” like Prongs had said. I glanced at James and then I noticed something. It couldn’t be, could it? Was Naomi the reason he was so jumpy lately? It made no sense, especially since he knew Sirius fancied her. In fact, we all knew it except for Padfoot himself. Yet, the way he was looking at her was not the same as last week. What had happened in between?

 

A couple hours later we were all slightly drunk. It was then that James said we should go check the new pub. We all agreed and left the Three Broomsticks laughing and joking. When we got to the door of said pub, Naomi announced she was staying out for a cigarette and Rhea decided to stay with her. The rest of us walked in. We ordered some firewhiskey and stood close to the bar.

-“I hope Rhea gets her to talk”- Padfoot told me. I frowned.

-“What are you talking about?”

-“I need to know what she was doing out last full moon”- he whispered. I stiffened. I had almost forgotten about that. I did not dare to think about what could have happened if she wasn’t an animagus.

-“Do you think she’ll tell her?”- I highly doubted that Naomi would share such a secret.

-“I don’t know, but we have to try”- I drank some more butter beer and watched Sirius carefully. He was staring at the door intently, as if staring would make her come in sooner.

-“You care for her more than you want to admit”- I tried. He glared at me.

-“I have already told you all. Naomi is hot, I like hot girls, I want to sleep with her. Full stop”- he hissed. I rolled my eyes right before replying but Prongs joined us.

-“What’s up?”- he asked.

-“Not much, just trying to make Padfoot here come to terms with the fact that he’s fallen for Queen Bee”- I joked. I was expecting Prongs to continue the joke and help me annoy Sirius but, instead, he looked around nervously.

-“Well, he is made it clear all he wants is to do the girl, right?”- he asked Padfoot.

-“Absolutely”- Sirius replied. Of course, he was totally oblivious to it but I had noticed the weak spark of relief crossing James’ eyes. From where I was standing, Sirius was not the only one who wanted to do Naomi.

-“Whatever you say”- I needed to think. The signs were there but… how had this happened? Of course, James was in love with Lily but that had never stopped him from sleeping around with other people. Mainly because Lily had never said yes to him. Naomi did not have to be different, if I was absolutely honest. She was the most beautiful girl we had seen and she had this thing about her that made everyone go crazy. Even I had fantasized about her at some point. However, it was true that only Padfoot had become obsessed with her until now. And there was a reason for it; Sirius knew something about Naomi we did not know. He knew her from before. And he had talked to her one night, as in civilized conversation. And then there was the… well, the night I had attacked them both. So yes, I could see why Sirius was head over heels for her… but James? Truth be told, it wasn’t the same. All I could see in Prongs was lust but still… I got the feeling that he was hiding something.

-“You look really thoughtful”- Lily said. I smiled at her.

-“I am just trying to get all the pieces of my personal puzzle together”- I half joked. She chuckled.

-“Are the boys giving you a hard time?”

-“Well, you know them… they like to get in trouble”- I said. She smiled and looked at Sirius and James who were now talking to Peter.

-“They are… special”- she conceded. Jo and Meg joined us and we started joking around. After a little while I realized Naomi had come back in. She was at the bar; talking to a guy I had never seen before. She was flirting with him. I glanced at Sirius but he was caught up in the conversation he was having with Peter so he had not noticed. James, however; was staring.

-“I’ll be back”- I told the girls before walking to where Padfoot was standing.

-“I can’t believe it”- he hissed. I turned around and saw the stranger kissing Naomi as if there was no tomorrow. And she did not seem to be unhappy about it.

-“Well, she’s free to do as she pleases”- I said. He glared at me.

-“She was not supposed to”- he blurted. My eyebrows snapped upwards. I took him by the arm and dragged him away from everyone else to avoid them hearing –“Explain that, Prongs”

-“What? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t… you know, look at her for Merlin’s sake”- he said.

-“Of course, anyone would do her. I just want to know why I get the feeling you are hiding something from me. No, I want you to explain why I get the feeling you thought it’d be you she’d be kissing tonight”- I sneered. James looked at me a little confused.

-“Why do you care? Don’t tell me you like her that way”- he paled slightly. I sighed.

-“I am not jealous, if that’s what you mean”- I told him.

-“So? Why do you care if I was expecting her to be with me or not?”- he raised an eyebrow. Always arrogant. That was our James.

-“Prongs, you know how Padfoot feels about Naomi. Besides, she’s Lily’s friend! Don’t tell me you’ve given up on Red”- I exclaimed. Guilt crossed his face the moment I mentioned Lily’s name.

-“Of course I haven’t! You know I haven’t! Lily is the love of my life! But she is not interested yet and I have noticed that since I don’t ask her out all the time she is nicer and actually talks to me instead of just yelling”- he said. That was true; I had to give it to him.

-“So?”

-“So in the mean time, while I prove to her I am a grown up now… you know, I can’t be celibate! I have never been, anyway! Why is this such a big deal?”- he said, clearly frustrated.

-“Prongs, it wouldn’t be a big deal if your best friend was not in love with the girl. And… I don’t know, I guess if you had just told us it’d be okay! Why did you hide it? And what is it you’re hiding anyway?”- this conversation was borderline absurd, I was fully aware of that.

-“We had a moment, okay? Nothing happened as in, I have never kissed her or anything, but he did have a moment. Maybe two…”

-“What? When?”- I had no idea about this. Obviously.

-“Tuesday night. I couldn’t sleep, remember? I went downstairs to read and she just came in around midnight. I had seen her in a bloody towel! We started talking and, oh well, she’s just… she knows how to get to me! I can’t help it!”- he exclaimed. I wanted to laugh, but I pulled it together.

-“Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad to me”- I said.

-“There’s another one… Friday night, party… we danced and then we… ehm, talked? I lost it, told her I wanted to rip her clothes off, basically”- I laughed. I shouldn’t have, but I laughed.

-“Okay, Prongs, you need to find yourself a girl. Any girl, just not Naomi, okay?”- I told him. He looked appalled.

-“For Padfoot’s sake?”- he asked me sheepishly.

-“For Padfoot’s sake”- I nodded.

 

Sunday I just decided I’d lock myself away in the library. I had so much work to do I couldn’t afford to have Prongs or Padfoot distract me. I sat at my favorite table and took out my things. I got so into my work that I did not notice time flying by. I went through Transfiguration and Potions. Right when I was about to start the Charms essay, someone sat next to me.

-“Hey, sorry to bother you… I brought you lunch”- Charlie was there, smiling sweetly at me. She put the box on the table, blushing.

-“Hey, I… ehm… what time is it?”- I felt nervous. Of course I had dated many girls before, but Charlie was just too sweet. She was nicer than the others, different, somehow. I felt attracted to her personality more than to her looks, and let me tell you, she did look very, very good.

-“It’s half past two already”- she said, chuckling. It was then that I noticed my stomach growling furiously.

-“Ehm… thank you, thanks very much”- I took the box and smiled at her.

-“It’s okay. How are you doing? Is it going well?”- she asked.

-“Yeah, I’m almost done. I only have a Charms essay left”- I told her.

-“That’s good”- she said. Oh, no, please… awkward silence. I’m so crap at this. I mean, what am I supposed to say? Anything, right?

-“Do you want to go for a walk later? Maybe after dinner?”- I asked her. I wasn’t sure this was a good idea but her smile took away all doubts. I really liked this girl.

-“Yes, I would like that very much”- she replied –“I’ll let you finish your work. See you later”

-“See you later”- I smiled at her and she left. Charlie. Maybe she was the one, maybe she and I could build a relationship strong enough for her not to freak out if I told her… maybe this time. Maybe.

 

I finished my Charms essay around three. When I got back to the Common Room I noticed that none of the Marauders were here. I went to our room but it was also empty. I searched for the map, but it was nowhere to be seen. They had it. Frustrated, I decided to take a nap.

-“Moony! Wake up!”- ten minutes after I’d fallen asleep Wormtail woke me up.

-“Ugh… what is it? Where were you?”- I growled. I did not have a good awakening.

-“Room of Requirements! We just saw you came back from the Library so I came to get you”- he informed me.

-“What are you guys up to?”

-“Have you forgotten? It’s the Greasy Sunday!”- he exclaimed. Oh, right. How could I forget? Every year, the first Sunday of October we pulled a prank on Severus Snape during dinner. Honestly, you would expect him to stop coming but apparently he forgot. Truth be told, we pulled pranks on him so often I don’t think he’d noticed some of them had an official date.

-“Right, I’m coming”- I stood up and followed him out.

-“By the way, what did you tell Prongs yesterday night?”- he asked me. I looked at him.

-“What are you talking about?”

-“I saw you drag him away and talk to him at the pub”

-“Oh, right, he was worried about something related to Red”- I said. Peter smiled.

-“Well, whatever you said, it worked. He’s back to normal. Now I’m worried about Sirius”- he explained. I frowned.

-“What’s wrong with him now?”

-“He didn’t take it well when Naomi made out with that guy at the bar”- he said. Right. Naomi Ivy was going to be the death of us.

-“Is he still lying to himself?”

-“He’s in denial. It’s a serious case, we’re gonna have to do something about it”- he said matter of factly.

-“Yeah, you’re right. Let me think, I’ll figure something out”- I said as we pushed open the Room of Requirement’s door.

-“Finally! Come, quick”- Prongs yelled in excitement.

-“This is going to be legendary”- Padfoot smirked mischievously. I laughed and took a sit. Plotting time.

 




NAOMI’S POV

 

I had, somehow, finally managed to get all my work done. Of course, it was almost midnight by now. It had been an awful Sunday. I had woken up real late, missed lunch because I took a too long shower and discovered that there were three essays due between Monday and Tuesday. So I had gone to the library around four in the afternoon and not left my table until I was done. I had, of course, missed dinner too. My mood was not good. I was hungry and tired and utterly bored. The fat lady’s impertinence did not make me any happier either. All in all, when I walked in the Common Room I was ready to hit something, or someone.

-“Where have you been?”- I rolled my eyes. This couldn’t possibly be happening.

-“What do you want, Black?”- I spat.

-“I want to know where you were. You missed the prank! Poor Snivellius will remember this one until graduation”- he chuckled. It was rather amusing just how much his laugh reminded me of a dog’s bark. Oh. Oh. Of course it did. How silly of me.

-“How mature”- I retorted, moving towards the stairs.

-“Wait! Don’t leave, not yet”- he asked. I looked at him and sighed.

-“Look, I am tired and hungry and not in a good mood at all. You do not want to talk to me right now”- I said matter of factly.

-“Actually, I do. So how about I take you somewhere you can eat something and you talk to me for whatever long it takes to go there and back?”- he suggested. I could not resist. I would have gone with The Carrows themselves if they offered me food right now.

-“Okay, but only because I am about to pass out”- I sneered. He chuckled.

-“Cool, wait a here a second”- he said before jumping up the stairs. I levitated my books to my room and took a moment to look at myself on the window. Then I realized I was checking I looked good to go with Black to the kitchens. Of course I did… he was a good looking bachelor, after all. Then I couldn’t help but wonder, what if I did Sirius? What if I just slept with him to eliminate the sexual tension between us and stop him from flirting? I would be much happier if we went back to only annoying each other… truth was that after that guy at the pub I had realized how much I missed flirting and, basically, doing whoever I felt like doing. Yes, I did not sleep around… or so people thought. The only difference between a slut and a proper girl was that sluts got caught. And I was just too good at not getting caught. 

-“You look amazing, love. No need to check”- his voice said. I looked around but he wasn’t here.

-“Very funny Black, now come on, I really need to eat something. This is a matter of life or death”- I groaned.

-“I thought we had agreed on first names”- his voice said. This time, it was much closer.

-“Right”- I muttered.

-“Tell me where you were at dinner and I’ll take you to the kitchens”- he said. I was beginning to worry. Was I hallucinating? I had checked the entire room twice and he was NOT here. Yet, his voice sounded dangerously close to me.

-“I was in the fucking library Sirius! For Merlin’s sake, where are you?”- I snapped. He chuckled.

-“I’m right here”- he whispered in my ear from behind. Okay, I had to give it to him. This trick was definitely almost irresistible. He managed to send shivers down my spine and that was something very few could achieve.

-“Nice trick”- I said without moving an inch.

-“Thought you’d like it”- he breathed. I could feel his warmth now, he was standing behind me, real close.

-“Now, kitchens?”- I commanded.

-“Of course. But first come here”- he put his arms around my waist and pulled me closer. Before I could protest, he removed his arms and pulled something over us. It was a cloak.

-“What the hell are you doing?”- I asked snippily. 

-“It’s past midnight, you don’t want anyone to see you sneaking around with me… do you?”- he joked.

-“Right, because a cloak running around Hogwarts is so not suspicious at all”- I retorted. He laughed and I couldn’t help but to turn around and look at him. We were very close, too close indeed. My reckless side pushed me to take advantage of the situation. ‘Do it, he’s hot and you’ve missed the thrill of casual sex’ the little voice said. ‘Yeah, but I would have to kill him afterwards to stop him from growing an ego big as this castle’ I told the voice. It couldn’t argue so I let temptation go away.

-“A secret for a secret”- Sirius said. I smirked –“Last time I went first, so it’s your turn now”

-“I have always been allowed to do magic outside school, even when I was little”- I told him. I saw surprise flickering in his eyes. He wasn’t expecting that.

-“What? Why?”- he couldn’t stop himself from asking.

-“Ah ah ah… that’s another secret. Will you pay the price?”- I teased him. My stomach growled.

-“I will, but after you’ve eaten something”- he said –“My secret: this is an invisibility cloak, a real one. It can’t be charmed or conjured in any way. It belongs to James”

-“You gotta be kidding me”- I moved out of it and looked the way I had just come from. I could not see him at all. This was so cool. Wow. The Marauders had just earned a lot of respect from my side.

-“Get back in here!”- he said, chuckling.

-“This is awesome”- I exclaimed. He put an arm around my waist, pulled me really close to his side and started walking.

-“It is useful, yes”- he joked.

-“Just how much do you know about the school?”- I wondered out loud. He smirked.

-“A lot. More than anyone, actually”- he replied. And I knew he was not showing off. It was absolutely true.

-“You know, I think I would find you amusing if you were not such an asshole”- I told him. He looked at me and pretended to be hurt.

-“I am not an asshole”

-“You are”

-“Well, you are a bitch… and I like you anyway”- he muttered. That took me by surprise. What was I supposed to say? What did I want to say? My comebacks usually came without thinking, it was natural. This time, however, there was no sarcastic comment, no mean words. I… what did I really want to say? He stopped walking and stared at me. I felt under pressure, terribly claustrophobic. Why was it so difficult?

-“Why is it so difficult for you to say something nice?”- he asked –“I’ll pay the price for this secret, too”

-“I… I’m not nice I guess. It comes naturally; I do not have to think about how to act. I’m just… mean”- I said. This was a lie. I was a nice girl but only three months a year. I just couldn’t bring myself to break my cocoon when I was at school. Attachments made people weak and weak people got hurt. I had hurt enough in my life; I was just not risking it again.

-“I know that. You are that way, we all know it and that’s fine. But even the coldest people can be nice sometimes. In fact, you have been nice to Lily and Rhea”- he had raised an interesting point there. Despite my lack of emotions, I did care a little bit for Rhea and Lily. I wondered if the reason I had never had a friend before was not that I was too cold to have one but because I had never found the right people to be friends with.

-“Yeah… that’s true”- I thought about it. Maybe I was looking at it from a wrong perspective. Maybe saying something nice, or being nice to someone from time to time was not a sign of weakness. Maybe it was just part of… being? I couldn’t help but wonder, if I was Ice Queen all the time would I get to a point where I just did not come back to normal during summer? Was I being so careful avoiding getting hurt that I was actually hurting myself?

-“Try it. What do you really want to say when I say ‘I like you even though you are a bitch’?”- he asked. I frowned. What was I supposed to do? This was too transcendental to be sorted out in a corridor with Sirius Black. However, I realized that it was my best shot. I could try, experiment and see how it went. Could I open the cocoon for just a few very well chosen people? But if I did and eventually got attached to, let’s say, Lily and Rhea… they would become my weak points. ‘But they can also be the source of further strength’ the little voice told me. I couldn’t find a good counter argument; after all, Dumbledore kept saying that it was friendship and love what would save us from Voldemort’s threat. That was all I needed to give it a go. Carefully and precisely, just like a scientific experiment, I decided I would try it. Anything that gave me an advantage over my mother’s murderer was welcome, even if it meant changing my life strategy completely.

-“I kind of like you, too?”- there, I said it.

-“It wasn’t so hard, was it?”- he replied, smiling. I felt no different from before. I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad sign.

-“You owe me”- I said matter of factly. He chuckled.

-“And back to normal in a second. See? Being nice will not kill the bad seed in you, that’s impossible to murder”- he joked. I smirked and we resumed walking.

-“Do not try to change the subject”- I warned him. He stopped in front of a portrait with a pear on it and tickled it. The portrait opened and he led me in.

-“Take a sit. What do you want?”- he asked me. The kitchens were definitely not a quiet place. House Elves ran from place to place, popping here and there. It was crazy.

-“Anything that’s not fried or contains sugar, chocolate or anything fattening for that matter”- I replied. He looked slightly puzzled but a tiny house elf came to his rescue.

-“Chicken salad, is that good my lady?”- he asked.

-“Sure”- I smiled at him. Sirius sat next to me.

-“You tell me why you can use magic and then I’ll pay for both secrets at once”- he said. I bit my lip, thinking. I could maybe trade two small secrets for a big one, right? If I got him to tell me he was an animagus it would make my life much easier.

-“Okay, fair enough”- I accepted –“I was involved in a nasty accident and missed school for a year. My dad got special permission so that I could be homeschooled while in recovery”

-“So you learnt magic at home, right?”- he asked. I chuckled.

-“For a year, yes”- I replied. He smiled. The house elf brought the salad.

-“Go ahead, eat. I want your full attention so my turn comes after you’re done”- he said. I couldn’t resist, I was just too hungry. 


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