Chapter 11 : That Funny Little Feeling
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That Funny Little Feeling
I wasn’t exactly keen on the thought that there was an emotion out there that I wasn’t knowledgeable on. Or the fact that someone might be able to read said emotion even better than I could. Though, perhaps those weren’t entirely accurate terms. I knew what the emotion of love – lust even – felt like, but it had never been experienced first-hand. I knew that people felt a great deal of sentiment and longing for the person they admired, but certainly there was more. Love wouldn’t be such a hyped up thing if it was anything similar to friendship. What was the line that separated love and sex and friendship and trust?
After nearly two hours of excruciating dialogue between my mother and Sirius, the former announced with great surprise that her shift at the café was due to begin in half an hour. She left in a flurry and was out the door before I even had time to bring my cup of tea from the coaster to my lips.
The only sound in the kitchen now was the soft padding of feet coming from the apartment above us. And, as much as he was trying to catch my eye, I looked everywhere except at Sirius. He cleared his throat. I drained what was left of my tea and then muttered something about needing to use the bathroom.
After relieving myself of nearly three hours’ worth of tea, I stared at myself in the mirror and chanted the lines that were now running through my head.
He knows. He knows. He knows.
He knew. He’d heard. It was impossible for him to have not. A person would have to be practically deaf to not hear with the thin walls. And of course Sirius Black had ears like a fucking bat.
Then again, I had my own talent of being able to avoid topics that I didn’t want to talk about like it was my job. Perhaps I would be able to deter him away from asking about it. Albeit, I seriously doubt it as it seems like a pretty pressing topic for him. I mean, if the girl you previously hated but now are kind of “friends” with turns out to have a crush on you…. I can see where his concern is coming from.
I had freely admitted in the past that I found Sirius physically attractive, what was there to make him think that my feelings didn’t go past that? How was he to know that I hadn’t been jealous of all the girls he’d been hitting up in London? That I was only weary of the constant strand of females around him?
The answer was that he didn’t and he couldn’t. But, then again, how could he tell if I didn’t even know myself?
When I wandered out of the bathroom to find Sirius sitting on our sofa with the remote to the telly in his hand. The channels were flying by so wildly that I wondered if he even had enough time to register what was happening on each program. He finally stopped on some show containing a dysfunctional albeit loveable family and a laugh track.
I sat down next to him carefully; worried that he might try and bring up the earlier topic again. However, he seemed content to simply be silent and focus on the screen. I did so as well.
It was a silly show with a stupid plot but Sirius and I both starred at the characters as though we were personally connected to them. It wasn’t until the final cheesy joke right before the credits began to roll that I noticed why such a show appealed to us. For him it was a family with differences but being able to work through them. For me it was the idea of a family in general.
It was only then that I was able to hone in accurately on Sirius’s feelings. However much he might say that he hated his family, there was some part of him that was desperate for their attention and affections.
Miraculously, fantastically, and impossibly, Sirius did not bring up my maybe-crush on him again. In fact, we’d even made it to a quaint café (not the one my mother worked at) for lunch without any real conversation. There was light talking but it consisted of discussing the Charms homework or the latest Quidditch match.
“You have to be kidding me. Seriously. You must be joking,” Sirius insisted after I’d replied that I’d never been to a game of Quidditch. Apparently, such a thing went against the religion of teenage boys.
“No, I’m being completely honest. Never been to one.”
I frowned and sent a cold look at him. “A large crowd with emotions running on high isn’t exactly an ideal place for me.”
His disbelief sobered almost instantly. “Is that a problem? Do you think it would affect you?”
Pressing my lips together, I mulled over the circumstances. It was completely possible that being around that many people would send me into frenzy. Of course, then there was the chance that being around so many emotions would help sate the hunger. I would be able to take little bits at a time from so many people. That, however, seemed rather immoral and I made a mental note to consult the Headmaster before I tried attempting anything of the like.
Unable to think of a real answer, I gave Sirius a half-hearted shrug. “Is it worth the risk?”
Sirius looked up from the menu he was flicking through and gave me a hard expression. “Look. I understand that you’re really sensitive about your…condition…but you can’t just stop living life because of it. Deal with it. Deal with it and then live a normal life. Take precautions, make plans. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice everything.”
My defences immediately went up. “Oh. You mean much like you’ve dealt with your family issues?”
His jaw tightened and eyes flashed back down to the menu which he then gave a furious flip of the page. I dug my nails into my palm and felt as though I should start slamming my head against the table.
“Right. Sorry. I…I really didn’t mean that. It’s just…I can tell, you know?”
He didn’t look up but responded stiffly, “Tell what?”
I blinked. “That you don’t really hate your relatives as much as you’d like everyone to think.” I avoided his gaze, which was now fixed on me before continuing, “I mean, yeah you don’t like them and all, but you hide the hurt with anger and hate.” I gave a dry cough. “Or at least…that’s what I picked up on.”
I braced myself in all ways – mentally and physically – for a wave of overwhelming emotions and argument. I anticipated his fury and anger. I expected him to lash out at me. I thought it was going to be like that time in the closet.
But it wasn’t. He didn’t do any of those things. He simply sighed and ran a hand over his face. He didn’t seem anger or anything of the sort. In fact, I took a deep breath and found the air filled with exhaustion.
“Look, you’ve never had a family. Not like a real family. And I kind of think you’re lucky and better off that way. You don’t know how hard it is to try and impress them. How to make them proud.” He sounded especially bitter when he said: “Even more so with my family.”
A waitress approached us with a pen poised to take orders. Sirius barely paid her a glance before waving her off with a fluid movement of his hand.
“You would think that a family would be supportive about what you want to do and what you believe in, yeah? Or not shun you because you get sorted into a house that’s different from the rest of the family? Or disown you because you decide that you aren’t going to join with a dark wizard? Yeah. No. They didn’t. Because my family is fucked up. If you aren’t just like them, you’re wrong. And I was done with that. And they were done with me.”
I opened my mouth to speak, but Sirius cut me off again.
“So, yeah, I guess I’m pretty pissed about that. And I also wonder what my life could have been like if I’d had a family that actually gave a damn about my opinions. What if I hadn’t been born into one of the most ancient and strict pure-blood families?”
Towards the end of that, I caught the mixing emotions of fear, sorrow, angst, and perhaps even a blur of hope. But I wasn’t so focused on the emotions as much as all the vulnerability that Sirius was showing me just then.
I actually sat completely frozen and gobsmacked for the better part of a minute. This was maddening. Sirius Black did not show vulnerability. I honestly didn’t even know if he knew the meaning of the word. He didn’t show weakness. He didn’t show fear. He didn’t show any emotions besides being cool, collected, and utterly nonchalant.
I could handle him being polite and the odd nice that he was. But this was beyond comprehension. “Stop it. Just stop it.”
“You…you aren’t supposed to act like this. You’re supposed to be that guy that shows no emotion.”
“Elaina,” he said far too gently for my taste, “you -- better than anyone -- should know that everyone has emotions.”
“Not you. You can’t. You can’t show me weak emotions like this. You can’t ruin this image that I have of you.”
“I thought you wanted us to be friends. That I shouldn’t be a bastard to you anymore.” He sounded thoroughly confused.
“I…No. That’s not it either. It’s just…you’re supposed to be this strong male persona. You’re not supposed to have weaknesses.”
“Elaina,” he started gently, “everyone has weaknesses.”
“I know,” I said miserably.
“Then accept the fact that I have them too.”
“I don’t know.” By this point, I was near the verge of tears. All the changes that had been occurring over the past few days were finally setting in. And it was more than too much for me to handle. It felt as if all the stability I thought existed in my life was crumbling with one ill-timed gust of wind.
“Are…are you alright?”
I shook my head. Too long. I’d gone too long without eating something to feed my dementor half. I was suddenly all too aware of the woman laughing obnoxiously to her date’s less than humorous remark. And, before I could rationalize what I was about to do or tell myself how wrong it was, I was making that terrible sucking noise again.
The woman’s laughter tapered off in a matter of seconds, leaving nothing but a polite smile upon her lips. Sirius stared at me with wide eyes, and, with my newly stable emotions, it fully hit me as to what I had just done.
I’d fed in public. I fed right in front of Sirius. But, most of all, I fed without a second thought as to what I was doing.
I gasped and dropped my head onto the table. No, no, no. No. That didn’t just happen.
“Merlin,” I whispered. “Merlin, save me.”
Horror and disbelief flowed through Sirius. “Did…did you just do that?”
The only response I gave was a moan.
“Holy fuck, Elaina. That…that’s not natural.”
I picked my head up a grimaced at him. “Oh, really, Black? I had no idea.”
“Look,” he started, “Okay. It’s really not that big of a deal. I mean, sure, you just stole some of her emotions to feed your inner dementor. But, weirder things have happened, right? It’s…you have to. That’s why we’re here. You need to feed in an environment where you can take a little from a bunch of people, rather than a lot from a small amount.”
“You don’t understand. It’s morally unjust! I can’t just go around doing things like this to people. It’s not normal.”
His frown deepened. “Honestly, I haven’t seen anything normal about you in all the time I’ve known you. You’re…different. So what? We’re all different. Remus is a you-know-what. I’ve been disowned by my parents and can turn into a dog. James’s parents are old enough to be some of our classmate’s grandparents and he’s a fucking stag. And Peter! That kid is gutsier than most people think! He’s not afraid to do things for his friends, but he can hardly talk to people he doesn’t know. And he can transform as well. You see, Marshelle, we’re a pretty fucked up bunch. Nowhere near this perfect delusion you have of us. You’ll fit in just fine.”
I sniffed. “You think?”
“You’re my friend. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
And at that moment, I realised there was some truth to his words. Albeit, we had a rather awkward, fresh friendship, I could tell that it was on its way to being something more natural. But, apparently, there is a time when you know so much about someone’s dark past, problems, and worries that you reach a point of no return and friendship is thrust upon you – whether you want it or not. And, to be quite honest, I was still torn on that last bit. Perhaps by the end of this trip some things would be cleared up.
Now that Sirius and I had established a relationship that we both seemed marginally comfortable with there seemed to be another subject that needed to be addressed.
I didn’t know how you knew if you liked someone. If I’d asked my mother that would be almost like admitting that I liked Sirius. I supposed that I could ask Remus. I figured that James had enough of his own relationship problems whilst dealing with Lily Evans. It would also be far too inappropriate and personal an issue to ask Dumbledore about. But then it hit me. The most sought after and admired boy in Hogwarts was sitting right across from me. Surely, if there was anyone that knew anything about love, it would be him.
“Mhmmmm?” he questioned through a long sip of soda. The idea of ordering drinks was hard enough at a Muggle restaurant. After scaring away the waitress, she eventually came back, hesitantly untucking the pen from her white hair. When Sirius said that he wanted a Butterbeer, I nearly had a heart attack, but the woman simply frowned, which deepened her wrinkles.
“Root beer!” I quickly blurted out. “He means root beer.”
The woman nodded and repeated the order before scurrying off to fill our empty cups.
“How do you know if you like someone?”
For a moment, I thought he was going to spew his mouthful of root beer at me. However, he managed to choke it down with a pained look upon his face before being sent into a coughing fit.
My cheeks flushed deeply as I was fully aware of what such a question could be inferred to mean. “How do you know if you like someone?” I repeated.
“Well,” he started hesitantly, “I suspect that it depends on the sex of the person.”
“I don’t understand.”
He shifted awkwardly in his seat. “I guess it depends on if you’re a boy or a girl. In my observations, there are different reactions for each.”
I blinked at him.
After giving a heavy sigh, he continued, “It seems to me that when a girl likes a boy she likes him unconditionally. She is willing to do anything with him – kiss him, sleep with him, date him – the whole nine yards. It’s different for a boy. There are those girls that we would want to snog or fuck, but they rarely overlap with those that we would actually consider dating.”
I pursed my lips and allowed his statement to sink in. Well, it certainly did explain why Sirius felt comfortable having so many lovers, but then again actually courting very few of them. However, I didn’t feel as though he had properly answered my question.
“As interesting as that is, you didn’t explain what liking someone actually entails.”
He gave another short output of breath. “When you like someone, you can’t get them out of your head. You want to be with them all the time. You would do anything for them. You get jealous when they’re even in the presence of the opposite sex. You tenderly know them and want to protect them, but then again, there are those passionate times when you only want to snog them senseless.”
A lump grew in my throat. That definitely did not apply to me. While I did find Sirius sneaking into my head annoyingly, it often came with bitter remarks rather than soft emotions.
“I…you must have felt that a lot then. To describe it so thoroughly, I mean.”
He shrugged. “Not really.”
“So…you don’t really like all those girls you sleep with?”
“Were you not listening to what I said before?”
“So…you didn’t really care about Felicity or Arina or any others?”
“Nope. Not really.”
“Then who’s to say that you wouldn’t do the same for me?”
And then I wanted to shoot myself with the Killing Curse for saying such words. But Sirius just laughed.
“You aren’t my type, Marshelle.”
My boobs aren’t big enough, you mean.
“We’re friends now, after all. It’s just awkward if two friends start dating. Besides, even if I did want to use you like that, you wouldn’t. You don’t like me, I can tell. And you certainly aren’t the type to fuck a guy just because you can.”
I frowned in thought. Perhaps Sirius had some sort of sixth sense of his own – one that allowed him to tell when a girl liked him. I imagined that this must be the case seeing as he said those words with such certainty.
“I really am glad that you can tell me what I’m feeling.” It might have sounded sarcastic and biting coming from someone else, but I meant it wholly and completely.
“Funny, isn’t it? You can tell anyone anything about their emotions, but you can’t read yourself.”
“Isn’t that just typical thing to happen? My one weakness, if you could consider it that.”
He gave a half-hearted chuckle before playing and twirling the straw in his drink around. “I suppose that while we’re on this topic, there’s something else I should warn you about.”
My back stiffened. “What?” I asked warily.
“Don’t be alarmed. Just some minor stuff so that we don’t have another…um…incident…where you might walk in on someone…one of the Marauders…at an unwanted time. If you catch my drift.”
“Oh. You mean like when I saw you and Felicity….you know.”
I swear to Merlin that there was a tinge of pink of the cheeks of Sirius Black.
“Yeah, that,” he mumbled. “Surely you noticed the Chocolate frog card on the door.”
I though back to that traumatic time. I recalled a scrap of paper fluttering on the entrance to the room, but I really hadn’t paid much attention to it at the time.
“Either way, whenever the room is being used for fucking, there’s a card on the door. I just suggest that you don’t come in at such times.”
“Uh. Of course. Yeah. That wasn’t all that pleasant….”
“Glad you feel that way as well.”
“I rather think that most people would.”
A silence settled over us again.
It wasn’t until our server came back again that we spoke.
“Hi, my name is Ivan and I will be your waiter for the rest of the evening as Paula’s shift ended.”
Sirius nodded in agreement, but Ivan’s eyes weren’t on him – they were on me. Or rather, my breasts. We both noticed at once and Sirius cleared his throat loudly. I wondered briefly if these printed t-shirts were an excuse for men to openly ogle a woman's chest.
“Sorry. It’s just, your shirt kills me. ‘Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus’. It’s funny. Never tickle a sleeping dragon. Gets me every time.”
I immediately felt like I’d been struck with a strong hex. Sirius went wide eyed as well, but he recovered quickly enough that he was able to follow up with: “Oh. You know Latin? That’s interesting. Not many people do these days.”
Ivan laughed. “Latin? No. Not at all. I know Hogwarts.”
Whoo! Cliffy! By this point you should all know how much I love leaving you on edge ;)
Hopefully this chapter answered all your questions about Sirius and Elaina at this point in time. I know there isn't a chapter image up yet, but I really just wanted to get this up and posted. Honestly, it's 4:30 am here and I'm adding this chapter XD
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and have a great new year! This is my gift to all of you. You can leave me one in return by filling out that nifty little box down below and sent a review :D
~The Forgotten Muse
EDIT: As you might have noticed, I've finally got a chapter image up. For the first time in this story, it is NOT a character. Cross my heart that there will be a person on the one for next chapter :D
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