Thank you so much for the lovely reviews on the previous chapters. They really make my day! I wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year, I hope you had a good break =)
Now, here's the next chapter as promised. I hope you like it. Please, please, pretty please leave a review! It takes two seconds and reading them has me smiling for a while :)
Lots of love,
The next week and a half went by pretty quickly. We punished Grace for hurting Lorena with public humiliation. It was easy to steal her diary and make copies of an entry with some inappropriate thoughts about Sirius Black and James Potter. Frank apologized to Lorena and even tried to get back with her but she did not take him. Fortunately, I had trained her well. After all, my minions deserved better than cheating bastards. Rhea had gotten over Amos pretty quickly and she was now flirting with the Quidditch team’s second beater, Mark. He was not as good looking as Diggory but he was infinitely nicer and had a genuine interest in Rhea. Remus and Charlie were officially dating since the weekend so the Marauders were halved. Sirius and I had not been alone again. He had kept his word, though. Our relationship had not changed the slightest bit. We argued almost every day. He was just too annoying. I had gotten to the point where I wasn’t sure if arguing was a hobby or if I actually did hate him deep inside. I had not tried to be nice to him again, or anyone. James, however; was giving me a little trouble. We had had two more moments in which we had been way too close to losing it, although nothing had happened in the end. He and Lily had been doing a great job as Heads, their latest achievement was a new rule that did not allow professors to set more than two deadlines in the same date. This meant that if you had a potions and a charms essay due on Monday, no one else could give you work to hand in that same day. This was a great idea since we usually had ridiculous amounts of work to give in on one or two days and then the rest of the week almost free. Now we would have an even amount of work per day, meaning it was easier to organize ourselves and all nighters were not so common.
It was Friday, 13th of October. The first Quidditch match of the season. I finished applying mascara to my eyelashes and hurried out of the room. My army of minions was waiting for me outside the common room. The girls from Ravenclaw were required to support Gryffindor in this match, given that I was a Gryffindor. Hufflepufs were allowed to sit separately and cheer for their team. I was a mean Queen, but not cruel. Quidditch was sacred and I respected that.
-“You look amazing!”- Hannah exclaimed. I smirked. We started walking towards the grounds. My army had grown considerably. There were so many of them I could not remember their names. Jo did that for me. We got to the grades just in time.
-“Are Hufflepufs good players?”- I asked to no one in particular.
-“They do not stand a chance against Gryffindor”- Remus said, sitting behind me. I turned to smile at him.
-“Is Charlie excited?”- Lily asked.
-“She’s nervous, but hopefully she’ll be okay”- he replied. We had accepted Charlie for Remus’ sake and, surprisingly enough, she was not as bad as we thought. Provided that we kept her away from Mia, who was a total annoyance.
-“There they come!”- Meg announced. I turned to face the pitch.
-“Wow, I had not noticed how good Lewis looks in Quidditch robes”- Lily muttered. I glanced at her with a raised eyebrow.
-“I was beginning to think you were gay”- I said. Lily looked at me, frowning.
-“It’s the first time I hear you fancy someone”- I retorted. Jo laughed.
-“That’s just Lily. She’s too exquisite to fancy normal people”- she explained.
-“I am not exquisite! I just… don’t know, it’s hard to find someone I really like”- she defended herself. I smirked.
-“Well, you are going to go talk to Lewis in the after party”- I told her. She blushed but did not protest. Good thing.
-“I always enjoy watching these boys in their Quidditch robes”- some girl with unknown name said.
-“Yeah, Potter looks hot!”- a blondie exclaimed. I glanced at Lily waiting for a reaction, but nothing happened. I was confused. I was almost certain she did like him, even though she would never accept it. And she was not a good actress.
-“Shut up, have you seen Sirius Black? That, my friend, is hot!”- someone else said. I searched for him with my eyes. Yeah, I had to admit he looked more handsome than usual. The familiar mixture of lust and annoyance grew in me as I analyzed him.
-“Do you know if he’s seeing anyone?”- a short Ravenclaw asked. I stiffened slightly but no one noticed.
-“No, I don’t think so. Why?”- Jo replied.
-“Because he’s not hooked up with anyone lately and that is not normal. He’s Sirius Black”- the blondie said. I rolled my eyes.
-“He’s probably ran out of whores”- I sneered. They all looked at me wide eyed.
-“That just doesn’t happen. Everyone wants to be with him, and the ones who have always want more”- the Ravenclaw said in aggravation. I snorted.
-“He’s not that awesome”- I said faking boredom.
-“Well, it’s good to know you are not interested in him”- another girl added. I raised my eyebrow.
-“Yeah, if you were we wouldn’t stand a chance”- the blondie told me. Stating the obvious. Irritating little people.
-“Thanks for stating the obvious”- I spat. Lily looked at me.
-“I am beginning to get worried. You’re mood swings are out of control as of lately”- she whispered in my ear.
-“No, they’re not”- I replied coldly.
-“So you know why you’re moody, you’re just not telling us”- she concluded.
-“Smart girl”- I said before turning to the pitch again. I wanted to watch the game because I liked Quidditch but I could not take my eyes off of Sirius Black. It was beyond irritating, especially because when I managed to look somewhere else, Potter flew across and my eyes followed him for a while. These Marauders were something. There should be a school rule prohibiting such hotness, let me tell you.
The match was not very exciting. Gryffindor had clear advantage and were winning from the beginning. Charlie did a good job as goalkeeper but it wasn’t like Hufflepuf had many chances to try to score. Rhea surprised me, I had no idea she was that good. I knew she was into Quidditch a lot, a little too much maybe, but she really was a natural. Of course, she did spend her summers with Siruis and James and they did play almost every day. Sirius Black was the best beater I had seen. He seemed to know where the bludger was going to be at all times. He had also a lot of style. And I mean this. He was a spectacle to watch. It was as if the natural elegance he’d inherited from his family was enhanced when he got on the broom. They were all very good to be honest. But then there was James Potter. He had been specifically designed to fly. I had never seen anything like it in my life. The broom was part of his body. He made it look as if humans were meant to fly rather than walk.
-“Firewhiskey?”- Remus asked me later that same night. We were at the after party in Gryffindor’s Common Room. The victory had been smashing.
-“Sure”- I smiled at him and he poured me the drink. I moved around the place, checking the scene while zipping from my glass. Lily was talking to Lewis, they had been engaged in a very enthusiastic conversation about muggle movies for the past hour. He was also a muggle born.
-“Looks like Red’s found someone to have fun with”- he said. I turned to my right and smirked at Sirius.
-“It was about time. I was beginning to worry”- I replied. He chuckled.
-“She’s going to end up falling for Prongs”- he said. I rolled my eyes.
-“Obviously”- was my response. He smiled and sat on the couch.
-“Will you sit with me?”- he asked. I half smiled and took a sit.
-“You still owe me payment”- I reminded him. He nodded.
-“I know. Two secrets, right?”- he enquired.
-“Yes… plus interest for the delay”- I said. He chuckled.
-“What’s the interest?”
-“That I get to ask”- I told him. He looked thoughtful for a moment but then smiled.
-“Okay, so shoot”- he accepted. I wanted to know so many things about him that I had no idea what to ask first. I had two questions and only two. I had to be careful.
-“How did you get the wounds I asked you about in the infirmary one month ago?”- I asked. He stiffened immediately. I could see that he was not expecting this question, and he did not like it. He did not like it at all.
-“That’s out of bounds”- he said. I raised an eyebrow.
-“We did not establish boundaries”- I retorted. He glared at me.
-“I told you it was Longbottom’s cat”- he replied.
-“I had no idea wolves were the new cats”- I spat. He paled considerably and stared at me intently. He did not say a word, neither did I. I had no idea what we were doing next because we’d just fallen into this eye contact contest and none was willing to let go any time soon. I wished I knew what he was thinking, what was crossing his mind that moment. And then, my plea was answered. My intuition told me he was deciding whether he should come clean with the dog thing or not. I decided to help him out a little.
-“You know I know. And I know you know”- I said softly.
-“How?”- he asked. I was about to reply when the blond girl who had been talking about him in the grades during the match approached us and interrupted our conversation. To say her appearance pissed the shit out of me would have been the understatement of the century. I felt murderous.
-“Excuse me, Sirius Black?”- he did not look at her.
-“Yes”- his gaze was so intense my insides began to boil. Desire slowly grew inside me, running through my veins like poison.
-“They need you over there, there’s some sort of problem with the Firewhiskey”- she said.
-“OI! PADFOOT HURRY UP!”- we heard Remus shout across the room.
-“Wait for me”- he whispered to me as he stood up. I watched him go to his friends. I watched him take care of whatever the problem was. I watched him joke with Remus and James. I watched him go find Peter and make a toast all four of them.
-“Can I get you a drink?”- the voice brought me back to the party and I panicked as I realized that I had wasted the last fifteen minutes of my life staring at Sirius Black. I looked up to see who it was talking to me and recognized John Smith, one of Gryffindor’s chasers.
-“Hum, yeah, Firewhiskey please”- I smiled at him.
-“Be right back”- he said. I looked around the room, wondering if anyone had noticed just how hypnotized I’d been. Everyone was drunk already so no, I was totally safe. I breathed, relieved. John was back in a matter of seconds.
-“That was fast”- I said, taking the drink.
-“You cannot keep such a beauty waiting for long”- he replied, smiling. He was hot, and tall, and nice, and above all, he was NOT Sirius Black. So I went for it. Desperately.
-“I would have…”- I said, biting my lip seductively. Fortunately, he took the hint and came closer. He sat on the couch and took my hand. I sat on his lap.
-“Why have I never talked to you before?”- he asked me.
-“There is a whole army of minions keeping me from simple communards”- I said. He smiled.
-“Then it’s a good thing I do not see them around now”- he told me, leaning closer to me.
-“It sure is”- I said before letting him kiss me.
I woke up late that Saturday. I tried to sit on the bed but the headache was way too big. I did not recall drinking so much last night, but oh well, it wouldn’t be the first time. I looked at Lily’s bed only to find it was empty. She had woken up already.
-“Is anyone alive?”- I asked.
-“Naomi?”- Rhea’s face looked at me from above. Thank Merlin.
-“Water”- I said. Rhea chuckled and disappeared from my vision range. She came back with a bottle of water.
-“You did not look drunk at all last night, what’s with the hangover?”- she asked, sitting on the edge of my bed.
-“I do not lose control no matter what”- I explained after drinking half the bottle. Much better.
-“You amaze me”- she said. I took my wand and performed a couple healing spells to make the headache go away. Thankfully, it worked.
-“So, what did I miss last night?”- I asked. She looked around nervously.
-“Lily and Lewis kissed, James hooked up with Mia again and… well, Sirius and Jo…”- it took a moment to sink in. Then I realized it kind of bothered me. A little bit. Nothing to worry about.
-“Sirius and Jo? I had no idea they liked each other”- I said looking at my nails. I needed to do them like, now. Rhea eyed me carefully.
-“They don’t. Well, Jo likes Sirius, just like everyone else but he doesn’t like Jo at all”- she told me. I noticed that her tone was reassuring, as if she was making sure I wasn’t… hurt. But why would Rhea think I would be upset?
-“Rhea, what exactly happened last night?”- I asked her, taking my nail polish remover and some cotton from the night table.
-“Well… I saw you talking to him. To Sirius… you looked like you were getting along pretty well… then this blond girl showed up and Sirius went to Remus and James, to help them fix something… and you kind of…”- I realized she must have seen me, after all. So Rhea had witnessed my little moment of weakness. And she had interpreted it all wrong. I was about to correct her but her words got my attention again.
-“He came back for you and saw you were kissing John. I thought he was going to kill you both. If it hadn’t been for Remus, there would have been quite a fight”- she explained. I was too shocked to say anything.
-“You know… it pretty much looked as if he… as if he thought you were cheating on him”- she added. I raised an eyebrow but the words would still not come. There was a weird swirl of feelings inside me and I was afraid. I had officially lost control over myself. I was totally unable to name the things I was feeling inside but they were all different and some even opposite. How confusing.
-“He then just… you know, kissed the first girl he saw. Who happened to be Jo”- Rhea said. I drank some more water and then, finally, found something to say.
-“I am going to kill Sirius Black”- I said. It was closer to a threat than a sentence, if I was honest.
-“Oh dear, I shouldn’t have told”- she moaned –“Don’t do anything, please”
-“Shut up and go away. I need to think”- I spat. I was so angry I did not give a shit it was Rhea I was talking to. Normally I wasn’t so rude to her but I could not care less.
-“Of course”- Rhea said, standing up and walking to her own bed.
I took a shower and got dressed without a word. I was confused. I left the room without saying goodbye to Rhea. I let my feet walk wherever they wanted to go. When I couldn’t take life anymore I always shut my brain down so that my gut would tell me how to fix things. I knew that if I did not find a solution soon I would get into a fight with Sirius. A really big fight. I was so mad at him. Who did he think he was? Why did he think he had a claim over me? He had no right to put up such a show last night! I kept walking, more like jogging actually. The adrenaline needed to be burnt, somehow. I found myself standing outside the music room. I pushed the door. It had been a long time since I had last played the piano or the guitar and I missed them both. I took the acoustic guitar I had seen the day Lily brought me there and sat on a couch. I started playing one of my favorite blues “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen. Although I had not told Lily about this, I did have a very nice singing voice too. I had learnt to love music from my mother and it was from her that I’d inherited my talents. It always made me feel better, the music. By the time I left the room I was okay again. I had come to the conclusion that Sirius Black was the one breaking all my schemes, he was the source of all my trouble and the one who had planted the seeds of feeling inside me. It wasn’t Hogwarts, it was him.
-“I still have not come up with a good idea for my Halloween costume”- Rhea complained when we got back to our room that evening. I sat on the window edge and lit a cigarette. It was just four days before Halloween.
-“It really isn’t that difficult”- Meg said.
-“What are you wearing?”- Jo asked her. She shrugged.
-“I am going as a belly dancer. You know, Arabic style”- she informed us. I nodded approvingly. She’d look good on that. I imagined her in something similar to Disney’s Jasmine from that cartoon movie Aladdin.
-“Sounds cool! Where did you get the idea from?”- Lily asked, sitting on her bed.
-“I watched a cartoon movie with my muggle cousin over the summer holidays and the princess in it looked hot”- she said. I suppressed my chuckle. They had definitely been around me too long.
-“Lucky you! I just do not have the slightest clue”- Rhea moaned.
-“Are there any other cool kid’s movies?”- Jo asked. I looked at her.
-“I like your idea”- I said. They looked at me.
-“What do you mean?”- Rhea asked.
-“There’s this company called Disney who does cartoon movies for muggle kids. They usually have a princess in them and they are all quite hot. We could dress up as one each”- I explained. They looked interested.
-“How many are there?”- Jo questioned.
-“Enough”- I replied.
-“I also watched this one about a gipsy girl, she was soooo sexy”- Meg informed us. I smiled. I always liked Esmeralda.
-“So, Naomi, you choose”- Lily said. I looked at her.
-“You are going to be Ariel, the mermaid”- I told her. She smiled.
-“I know that one, I loved the movie when I was little”- she exclaimed, happily. It was a little cliché to have Lily playing Ariel, with the red hair and all, but it was just perfect.
-“Good. Rhea… you… can be Cinderella”- I said. She looked puzzled.
-“Cinderella suits you perfectly. She’s sweet, blonde and so princess like”- Lily told her. She smiled.
-“What’s the dress like?”- she asked.
-“It’s shinny and you get to wear crystal shoes”- Lily replied. Rhea loved the idea.
-“What about me?”- I looked at Jo.
-“Mulan”- I said. Lily chuckled.
-“Cool. She’ll look really good in that dress she wears at the beginning of the movie”- the red head said.
-“Yes, it’s perfect”- I told Jo. She nodded.
-“So, what about you?”- Meg asked me.
-“Let’s get everyone else sorted first. Who else do we have?”
-“Letty, Penelope, Lorena, Odette, Hannah and Silvia”- Jo informed me.
-“Letty can be Rapunzel. Her blonde long straight hair will go with the costume perfectly”- Lily suggested. I nodded.
-“Penelope is a little harder, isn’t she?”- Meg observed. I thought about it.
-“She can be Belle”- I said. They nodded. I noticed Jo was writing this down. How efficient.
-“Lorena?”- she asked me.
-“She’s Pocahontas. Her skin color is like perfect”- Lily exclaimed. I nodded again.
-“She’ll be Odette”- I said. They looked puzzled –“From the Swan princess”
-“Oh, right. That’s so cool! I always loved that one”- Lily said. Rhea looked absolutely lost; she had never seen any of these movies.
-“Then we’ll have Silvia as the Sleeping Beauty”- Meg said. I nodded, Jo wrote it down. Rhea groaned.
-“Will you, please, explain this to me? I do not have muggle relatives!”- she complained. I chose to ignore her.
-“What about Hannah?”- Lily asked.
-“Hannah’s going to be Esmeralda”- I said. Meg looked confused.
-“I thought you were keeping Esmeralda for yourself”- she said.
-“I am taking Megara”- I informed them. Lily chuckled.
-“I knew it. She’s the naughtiest, sexiest of them all”- she said. They all smiled, understandingly.
-“So you guys have some research to do. I want you all to check your princess, learn a little of her tale… and take her outfit and change it into something appropriate for Halloween”- I instructed. They all looked at me excitedly.
-“This is going to be so cool”- Meg said. I lit another cigarette and watched them as they all got ready to rape the library’s muggle section. You have to love my minions.
That night, before I went to bed, I got a letter from Lulu. A real letter, not just a couple sentences scribbled on a parchment.
My dearest Naomi,
How have you been? I am very sorry it’s taken a month to reply, I have been terribly busy with a new Modeling Campaign I am doing for Sparkling Magazine. I was so pleased to read you finally agreed to attend Hogwarts. I am sure that, by now, everyone’s at your feet. Do take care of the school, I did work hard to establish a good set of social rules and I wouldn’t like my legacy to be forgotten. I trust you’ll do an amazing job.
Thank you very much for the invitation to your Halloween party. I am looking forward to it, not only because your parties are always fun but also because I know it will boost your popularity and I am always happy to help you – not that you really need my help, but oh well. Besides, I do miss you, lovely.
I hope you do not mind me bringing some friends to the party with me; I assure you they are the best of the best guests to have. You know I only surround myself with the elite.
I have important news to tell you, but I would rather deliver them to you in person, so I’ll wait until Saturday.
See you very soon,
She was sweet, a very nice friend, but she was the shallowest person I’d ever met. She drove me nuts but I kept her close because, well, she was Lulu H after all. I folded the letter and left it on my night table. I scribbled a quick answer telling Lulu it was fine for her to bring whoever she wanted and sent it with my owl. I loved Hogwart’s beds. They were incredibly soft and comfortable. I shut my eyes and sighed in pleasure, getting in bed was one of my favorite moments of the day. I felt tired but, for some reason, I did not fall asleep straight away. Things were going well. I was already deciding what my friends were wearing, who they talked to and, basically, when they breathed.
The following morning was incredibly boring. Thankfully, at lunch time the Marauders decided to sit with us. I was reading a copy of the Sparkling when James sat in front of me. I looked up from my magazine and gave him my nicest smirk.
-“How’s your day going?”- Remus asked to no one in particular.
-“Boring”- Rhea whined. Sirius had sat right next to her.
-“Have you decided on Halloween costumes yet?”- he asked. I shot a look at the girls warning them to keep their mouths shut.
-“We have”- Lily said, smiling.
-“So?”- Peter asked. I rolled my eyes.
-“Don’t even try to find out”- I told him. Them, actually. They laughed.
-“Okay, okay. I really am looking forward to this party”- Remus said. Then I remembered we had totally forgotten about Charlie. I had to find a princess for her immediately.
-“It’s going to be fantastic”- Meg said. I drank some juice and noticed James looking at me. I put the glass down and smiled at him quite provocatively.
-“I am hoping you’ll save a dance for me”- he told me. I glanced over at the rest of our friends but they were discussing decorations and were not paying attention.
-“You are the only decent dancer in the school, of course I will”- I told him.
-“Are you taking anyone?”- he asked me.
-“Don’t think so. It’s more fun if you go without a date and have to find one there”- I said. He smiled approvingly.
-“I will find you there, then”- he said. I smirked and stood up, since everyone else was leaving, too.
The excitement about Halloween was palpable. Everyone was talking about costumes and making plans for that night. I had to keep my minions close at all times because the number of people trying to talk to me about the party was becoming life threatening. Since Narcissa had been overthrown there was only one party going on and I had not decided if it was going to be open to everyone. Rhea, being the strongest of all my girls, had become my personal bodyguard for the past two days.
-“I cannot keep pushing people away from you, Naomi. You have to decide if you’re going to let everyone come or send invitations tonight”- she complained that evening when we made it to our room. We had just been assaulted by a couple of desperate third year Gryffindors.
-“Yeah, why have you not decided yet?”- Jo asked me. I took a cigarette and sat on the window pane. The truth was that I had been thinking about other things. The Halloween party had become a real problem although no one but me knew it. James had implied a couple times that he was determined to get with me that night. Josh had cornered me in a corridor the day before and asked me to get back with him. John kept following me around even though I had made it very clear that our thing at the Quidditch party had been a one night stand only. And just as if all that wasn’t enough, the only one I wanted to have on Halloween was Sirius. He had surprised me greatly by sticking to the rules. He had not made a single comment about our “thing” and we treated each other just like before. Yes, he had gotten mad that night at the Quidditch celebration but I could pretend that never happened. I hated to admit it, but I was ridiculously attracted to him. Of course, he was the handsomest of them all so it was absolutely normal. The only thing that annoyed me was that he was still an arrogant prick, which made the proudest part of me want to destroy his ego. As if I had had any luck at that.
-“Hey, Naomi, what’s wrong with you?”- Meg asked, waving at me.
-“Let everyone know that anyone in fourth year and above can attend the party”- I said vaguely.
-“Cool”- Jo took a piece of parchment and began scribbling the announcement.
-“Are you going to tell us what’s bothering you or not?”- Lily enquired, coming closer to me.
-“No”- I replied, flatly. She sighed.
-“You know, I thought you were warming up to us a little, but…”- she trailed off. I smirked.
-“I am nicer than I used to be. That doesn’t mean I enjoy sharing personal information with anyone”- I replied. She smiled.
-“So, you are admitting that you are changing… right?”- Rhea asked. I raised an eyebrow.
-“Absolutely not, do not make the mistake of thinking that being ‘nicer’ means I’ve suddenly grown a heart”- I said coldly. Rhea whined.
-“Naomi you are impossible”- she complained. Lily chuckled.
-“So they say”- I winked at her and she rolled her eyes.
-“I’m off to bed, I’m so tired”- Meg informed us. Everyone nodded in agreement. I knew I should get in bed, too but I was just not that exhausted. I could use some running time, I thought.
I waited until all four of them were in bed and with their curtains shut and then walked out of the room. I was aware that they were not asleep but I wasn’t sneaking out. I was just leaving when they were in no position to follow me – walking around in their pj’s was strictly forbidden. I hurried down the stairs. Once outside the common room I thought just how useful it’d be to have that cloak of James. I had not spoken about it to anyone, just like I promised Sirius but I was curious as to how James had come to own such a thing. I remembered then that Sirius still owed me two secrets. What did I want to ask? No, more importantly, why was this so essential to me? Why was Sirius Black all I could think about these days? Was he really that intriguing? Yes, I had to admit that he was. I had never met anyone like him. He had ran away from his family, one of the most important Death Eater families, to go live with the most wanted Blood Traitors. That was something I just couldn’t resist. Besides, he was making life impossibly difficult for me. I kept drifting from hatred to lust when it came to him and that mix was irremediably alluring.
I pushed the doors open and stepped out. The air was getting really cold by now so I ran to the farthest corner of the ground as fast as I could. It was earlier than usual but I saw no one on my way, so I figured I was the only student with a reason to be wandering outside the castle after sunset. No, I wasn’t the only one. Another reason why Sirius was so interesting: he was the only other unregistered animagus I had ever met. Not that I could talk to him about it, yet. But it was still worth my attention. I took another look around to make sure there were no witnesses and then transformed. There, for just one moment, while I was running under the silver light of the full moon, I felt like I wanted to be a panther forever. Passion and instincts, no thoughts. Invincible.
I was stressed. It was just such bad timing. Full moon two nights before Halloween? It was so unfair. We all knew Remus would make it to the party but it was not going to be the same. He was going to be tired. I hurried down the stairs to make sure there was no one in the common room and went back up to get Padfoot and Wormtail. As I grabbed the invisibility cloak I remembered Padfoot telling me he’d shown it to Naomi. She had not said a word to anyone, not even to me. That was nice of her. I was mad at first, thinking that she would use the information to her advantage. After all, she was a Queen Bee and that’s what they did. I was happy that she hadn’t though. I was starting to really like the girl. I knew it was mainly the thrill of a secret affair, the flirting game we had engaged ourselves in and the fact that I had not had her yet but still, it was fun and it made me think of her for a fairly relevant amount of time a day. Of course, I was still planning my wonderfully perfect wedding with my Lily Flower but that would have to wait. She did not seem to like me yet and now she was dating this idiot who happened to be in my Quidditch team. I swear if he was not playing for me I would have had his legs broken for kissing my girl.
-“Thinking about Lewis again?”- Padfoot joked as we stepped outside the castle.
-“I should have made him run a hundred more laps last practice”- I growled. He chuckled.
-“Lily will come around, do not worry Prongs”- Wormtail told me. Always the romantic.
-“Yeah, right”- I really did not want to talk about this. We got to the Whooping Willow in no time.
-“Okay, Wormtail you know what to do”- Padfoot said. Peter nodded and transformed. It took him less than a minute to get to the nod. I transformed first because I wanted to stop thinking about Lily and that idiot who she had decided was a better date than me.
I was about to walk in the passage when we heard a very unfamiliar growl. The first thing I thought was that Moony had escaped the house but that was, of course, impossible. I was not expecting to see what I saw when I turned. Sirius was standing very still, having a staring match with… with… a panther. A black panther. My brain started telling me that it was impossible, panthers just did not wander around the North of England but I was too busy contemplating its beauty. Then logic kicked in. Sirius was in danger. I hurried towards the animal, ready to charge but Padfoot’s voice stopped me.
-“Don’t!”- he yelled. Now I was beyond confused. I tilted my head to the side. He looked at me –“Prongs, just go make sure Moony’s okay. I’ll handle this”
I did not know what to do. I mean, my best friend was facing a fucking panther and instead of running away he was just staring at it, telling me to go away… to our other friend who was most likely going through the transition process. I felt terribly guilty. We were never late, Moony relied on us. He had explained that transforming was the most painful part of it all. I decided that if Sirius thought it was okay to stay there, he must had a very good reason for it and he would explain later. Besides, he could transform to that gigantic dog in no time so he was not really in a life threatening position. I hurried to the Whooping Willow and run in the tunnel. Wormtail, who had been holding it still until then, ran after me.
I could not believe my eyes. James was an animagus, too. And so was Peter. I had been watching them since they left the doors. I do not usually spy on people, that’s Jo’s job… but I was curious. I followed them to the Whooping Willow and saw them stand there, waiting. Then Peter transformed into a mouse or a rat, I wasn’t sure since it was dark and, well, I was hiding so my vision range wasn’t that good. As if that was not shocking enough, the Willow stopped moving after a couple seconds and remained still. I had never seen it quiet before. And then, right there, before my eyes, James transformed into this beautiful stag. I couldn’t believe it. Why would these three boys go through the trouble of becoming unregistered animagus at their age? I needed answers and I figured that the only way of getting them was to pay the price. So I walked over to them. As soon as I came within their seeing range, James stiffened and became alert. My animal senses told me that he saw me as a threat but that did not surprise me. What did surprise me, though, was that after a moment of hesitation he got ready to charge against me.
-“Don’t!”- Sirius yelled. He knew, of course… he’d seen me. I tilted my head to the side, James did the same. Then Sirius looked at the stag that James was and said –“Prongs, just go make sure Moony’s okay. I’ll handle this”
I wondered what he meant. Why would Moony not be okay? Who was Moony, anyway? I figured it had to be Remus… or Peter. One of the two. I did not have much time to dwell on such thoughts because as soon as James was gone, Sirius faced me. I knew he knew I was Naomi but he hadn’t had confirmation that I knew he was an animagus, too. I had a choice. I could either stay and make him face the truth or leave. If I stayed, he would have to explain about Santorini and the night by the lake when the wolf attacked. If I left… well, things would pretty much stay the same. What was I going to do? I looked at him. He was standing there, looking at me.
At that point, I realized how screwed up my life was. I was a bitchy Queen Bee with no heart… except when it came to a boy who’d ran away from his family and drove me absolutely nuts. The only person that had managed to get some feelings out of me, besides my father, was the type of guy I hated. Arrogant, spoiled, full of himself and selfish. Yet, I had engaged in this flirtatious friendship thing with him without even noticing. But I hated him, with a passion.
-“Naomi, I know it’s you”- he whispered. ‘To hell with it, bring it on’ I thought before I transformed back to human form.
-“I should have told you before”- he said. I smirked.
-“If you had done all you should you wouldn’t be here tonight”- I told him. He half smiled. We were standing one before the other, keeping a fair distance between the two of us. I could feel the tension in the air, neither of us knew very well how to handle the situation. But I always found a way. Always.
-“I told Rhea. I think you should know”- he added. I nodded.
-“I know you told Rhea. She told me”- I replied.
-“I should have known better than to ask her to find out, right?”- he joked. I smiled. A little.
-“She did not stand a chance. I got her to tell me about you without confirming if what you’d said about me was true or not”- I looked at my nails, faking boredom. Sirius laughed at my gesture.
-“You’re too good”- he praised me. I looked at him again.
-“You still owe me two secrets. There is no getting away this time”- I told him. He nodded.
-“Okay, what do you want to know then?”- he asked –“I guess you are not asking how I got those wounds anymore, right?”
-“You’ve been an animagus for two years at the very least”- I said. He looked a little taken aback.
-“How do you know?”- he asked.
-“You saved me in Santorini”- it was not a question, it was a statement. That truth fell between us like a bomb. I could almost see the wall he was desperately trying to build. I was so not letting him go away.
-“I would have done it for anyone”- he replied, coldly. I moved a step closer.
-“I know”- I said. The puzzled look he gave me was so cute I wanted to chuckle but I composed myself.
-“Then why would you bring it up now?”- he enquired.
-“I never thanked you. You have saved my life twice. So, thank you”- I said. He smiled.
-“It’s okay”- he replied. And just like that, the tension lifted and it was just Sirius and I again. Easy, flirtatious and somewhat unstable. He looked over his shoulder towards the Willow and I noticed it was moving like crazy again.
-“So, my question, the first one, is why would a fourteen year old wizard prepare to become an animagus?”- I asked. He smiled at me but instead of replying, walked over, took me by the hand and guided me on the opposite direction of the Willow.
-“Let’s just get out of here, first, okay?”- he said. I shrugged since I really did not care. We sat ten minutes later on the sixth greenhouse. It was the furthest away from the school and darker than the others. If anyone came by it would be really hard for them to spot us.
-“So, stop trying to delay it and answer the damned question”- I commanded. He chuckled.
-“Look, I can’t tell you that because it is not my secret. There is a reason why I did it, a really good one, it wasn’t just for fun, but what that reason is I cannot and will not tell you”- he explained. Fair enough.
-“Okay, fair enough. If it’s not your secret to share I will not ask again”- I said.
-“Second question, then”- he grinned. I thought about it.
-“Why did you run away from home?”- I asked. He looked at me in silence for a long minute before taking in a deep breath. The way he looked at me that moment told me I had made the right decision trusting him. From that moment on, Sirius Black would always be a friend. A friend I hated with my gut, but a friend, nonetheless.
-“I always told everyone it was because I was tired of the whole pure blood thing… but the truth is… and I am telling you the truth only because I know you will give it to me when it is your turn… I ran away because I couldn’t take the pain and loneliness anymore. You have no idea how difficult it is to live in a house where no one wants you, no one loves you, no one cares if you’re there or even alive”- he said. It was that instant when I finally understood why he was such an arrogant prick. It was nothing more than insecurity. He needed a constant validation of his life. He needed something that proved to him he was good enough to be wanted by someone else.
-“That’s… wow, I… I don’t know what to say. You know I’m not a nice girl so I am not used to having this moments with anyone… no, actually… I am not used to caring about what to say to anyone”- I stuttered. He smiled.
-“So you do care”- as much as I hated myself for it, I had to admit it. I could not just deny it anymore. I had spent the last two months trying to avoid this and had failed miserably. Yes, I was still the baddest thing around town. I was mean, cruel and the coldest Queen Bee Hogwarts had seen. I was still in my cocoon, keeping feelings well away, locked and protected. Yet, Sirius Black had managed to find a weak point and he had broken in me. I stared at his face, trying to find all the reasons why I hated him. I hated him because he… truth was I did not hate him. I was afraid of him. I was afraid of him because he was the only person besides my dad who had found a way in my fortress. I did not even hate his ego. It annoyed me to no end but I never hated it, I actually found it rather amusing. And now that he had opened up to me… now that I understood why he was so arrogant and stupid, why he was the womanizer I knew him to be… I felt something else. Something I had not felt ever before in my life. So yes, I had to say it no matter the consequences.
-“Yeah, for some odd reason… I care. I mean, I don’t want to just say something, anything because that could hurt you and… I guess I don’t want to hurt you”- I told him. I knew it was a shitty answer and very vague, too. But I could not just go from super cool Poison Ivy to little cute White Rose.
-“Believe me, it hurts enough as it is”- I was not expecting such… emotion. He did ache from the memory of how unwanted he’d felt in his own house. In his family’s house.
-“Hey, Sirius”- I said. My hand flew to his face on its own and before I could stop it, I was kind of caressing him, somehow –“You do not have to feel like that anymore, you know it. James is like a brother to you. Remus and Peter are your best friends and Rhea would die for you. There are lots of people here who love you or care for you at the very least. What the hell, I care… and you’re the only one who’s managed that in my entire life besides my dad”
-“I was not enough for them”- he said, defeated.
-“No, Sirius. It wasn’t you as a son what your parents did not like. It was you as… a person with free will and reasonable common sense. They wanted you to be a murderer, to enjoy other people’s suffering and to fight for something absolutely ridiculous and pointless… I’m sorry but I am glad you are not enough for them; you are en… I mean, if you were… well, I couldn’t be here”- I said. I had to stop myself. I had almost, almost, said that he was enough for me. Enough for me? What did I mean? Where had that come from?
-“I was beginning to think you really did hate me”- he muttered. I looked at him with an eyebrow raised. I could tell he meant that, and he was relieved it wasn’t true. I had to postpone my analysis of the ‘enough’ thing for later.
-“Well, I do find you impossibly annoying and I feel like murdering you at least once a day… but I do not hate you”- I said. Then I realized something else –“Actually I do not hate anyone…”
-“Because hatred comes from the heart, too… and you don’t have one”- he finished for me. I stared blankly at him.
-“Exactly”- I replied. He sighed and looked up to the sky. I just kept staring at him.
-“Did I ever tell you I’m named after a star?”- he said all of a sudden. I looked up and scrutinized the tiny shinny dots above us. After a few seconds I found it.
-“That one there”- I told him, pointing at it. He turned to look at me, genuinely impressed.
-“Wow, I did not expect you to know”- he said, sincerely. I did not return his glance, I kept facing the sky.
-“There are many things you don’t know about me that would surprise you to no end”- I informed him. He chuckled.
-“Will I ever learn them?”- he asked. I gave him a quick glance before focusing on the stars again. Then I smirked.
-“Secret for a secret, you know that already”- I said.
-“You know, I really like that game of yours”- he said, adjusting his position to come a little closer. I pretended I didn’t notice.
-“It is not a game. If there is something I have learnt in all these years of manipulating people and governing them is that information is the most powerful weapon you can have”- I explained, looking at him again. He took a moment to think about it.
-“I believe you are right about that”- he conceded. I rolled my eyes.
-“I am always right, Sirius”- I told him quite pretentiously. He smirked. Then there was silence. I wanted to keep the conversation going but I really did not know what to say. This was also new for me. I always knew what to say. I took a cigarette out and lit it, smoking helped me think.
-“Can I have one?”- he asked.
-“Now, that is a surprise for me”- I said, giving one to him. He chuckled. I watched as he lit it and smoked, his gaze lost in the sky again. His black semi long hair was slightly messy, some locks fell on his forehead. He exhaled the smoke for the second time.
-“You know… I can give you a picture if you want”- he teased. I hit him on the arm.
-“Yes, please. I need something to practice my aim with”- I retorted. He looked at me and smiled. A true, sincere, wide smile. The most beautiful sight I had ever laid my eyes upon.
-“Thank you”- he said.
-“For what?”- I frowned. Sometimes he did that and it was another thing that annoyed me greatly. He just changed the topic for no reason and expected everyone else to follow his line of thought, as if we could see how he’d gotten to this new topic in his head.
-“For making me feel better. After telling you… you know, about my family and all”- oh. Oh.
-“Oh… no, don’t… I… you’re welcome?”- I stuttered.
-“I haven’t even told James. He knows I was unhappy there but…”- I smiled.
-“You are boys and boys don’t talk feelings”- I finished for him. He smirked.
-“You don’t talk feelings either”- he pointed out. I chuckled.
-“I don’t have feelings but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about them”- I replied.
-“Rhea says you do not talk about it, either”- he said, frowning.
-“I tend to avoid these talks, that’s true. I just, you know… the girls expect me to have the answer to everything and I always do, except when it comes to feelings… I guess that’s because I don’t believe in it… in the whole being attached to people thing; so I can’t help them fix something I think shouldn’t be there in the first place”- I told him. He looked into my eyes and came a little closer.
-“For someone who’s never tried to make anyone feel better you did a pretty amazing job”- he said.
-“What can I say? I’m just so damned good at everything”- I teased. He raised an eyebrow and looked at me mischievously… and then mischievousness slowly turned into desire. I knew that look, I had seen it before… his eyes darkened and his face became harder, more manly. It was as if his features became more savage when lust took over him, making him impossibly attractive.
-“I know something else you’re amazing at”- he whispered, coming closer.
-“Really? And what would that be…?”- there was no point in trying to deny it. I wanted him, so I would just give in.
-“Hmm.. something like…”- he could not finish the sentence.
-“PADFOOT! Here you are!”- I could tell he was just as annoyed as I was when we had to break eye contact and look at Peter. He was running towards us, waving his arms enthusiastically. What the hell?
-“What’s wrong Peter?”-he asked him. The boy got close enough to actually stop running, so he panted a little before replying.
-“Nothing! We were just worried… Prongs told me to come look for you…”- he trailed off but I saw understanding flicker in Sirius’ eyes. Another Marauder’s secret I had to find out about. I realized I had developed a habit of discovering all their hidden tricks, it was fun if I honest with myself. Too bad no one but Sirius knew I knew of the invisibility cloak, the kitchens and now, their animagus forms.
-“I’m okay”- he said, casually. Peter smiled.
-“Yeah! Hello Naomi, sorry”- he blushed.
-“Hey”- I said. Peter was a cute boy but, of course, that I had finally given in to Sirius did not mean I would start being nice to everyone. Not a chance. Actually, I had just realized I could just save my niceness for Sirius and Sirius only. My friend. The first true friend I ever made. Wow.
-“So, what happened to the… ehm…”- Peter asked vaguely.
-“Gone, don’t worry”- Sirius replied.
-“What’s going on?”- I had to pretend I had no idea what they were talking about, of course.
-“Ehm, nothing! Nothing! Everything’s fine”- Peter squeaked. I raised an eyebrow.
-“Right”- I said rolling my eyes.
-“What are you guys doing out…”- I guess it hit him right then. What he had interrupted.
-“I was actually leaving”- I said, standing up. Sirius almost tried to stop me but he refrained himself. Thank Merlin. He stood up, too. Peter looked slightly mortified.
-“I’ll walk you”- he said. I nodded and all three of us made our way back to the castle.
-“I… ehm… Padfoot”- Peter said as we walked up the stairs. I realized it was so past curfew not even the prefects were up anymore.
-“Keep it down, Peter, there might still be some patrols around”- Sirius warned him.
-“Sorry, ehm…”- he glanced my way quickly and nervously. I rolled my eyes.
-“What is it?”- he asked Peter. He sighed.
-“I’m hungry”- he complained..
-“I know about the kitchens”- I told him. He looked surprised but, above all, he looked relieved.
-“Great! I am going to get some snacks, I am starving. Do you want to come?”- he said, much more lightly. Sirius chuckled.
-“I’m fine, had a massive dinner”- he said.
-“I don’t eat between hours”- I told him. He looked at me funny but did not say anything.
-“This is my stop, then! See you tomorrow!”- he said happily, getting of the stairs right before they started to move again. And just like that, it was Sirius and I. Alone.
-“I was thinking…”- he began. I couldn’t resist.
-“Did it hurt?”- I asked. He chuckled.
-“Be nice, Peter’s gone”- he pretended to be hurt. I raised my eyebrow.
-“Whatever, I was thinking we could go… you know… running, sometime”- he suggested. I have to admit that was the best idea Sirius Black had ever had.
-“I believe it is the first time you and I agree on something”- I half joked.
-“Oh, no. We agree on a lot more other things. We just pretend we don’t because arguing is way more fun”- he retorted. I laughed. We were almost at the Fat Lady’s portrait by now.
-“I still think you’re an asshole, just so you know”- I told him, smiling.
-“And I still think you are a bitch! Who told you otherwise?”- he said, faking aggravation. I told the portrait the password and we walked in the common room.
-“I was just checking”- I said, waving good bye and walking towards the stairs.
-“Where do you think you’re going?”- he asked, grabbing my arm and pulling me towards him. I found my face buried in his perfectly sculpted chest, wrapped in his perfume.
-“To my room”- I replied, pushing away from him just a little. He smirked.
-“Kiss me goodnight”- he whispered. I wanted to. I really wanted to. But… I had just finally accepted the fact that he was a friend, someone I could… maybe, eventually, learn to trust. He had broken in me and that made him too dangerous. If I let him get emotionally involved with me I would end up breaking his heart and, thus, he’d be mad. And then he would be the most dangerous enemy of all because he’d be the only one who’d ever seen what’s inside.
-“Goodnight, Sirius”- I said, pushing away and climbing the stairs. Then I made the biggest mistake of my life. I looked back and saw him smiling at me until I disappeared from his sight.