I wondered aloud for maybe the tenth time, as I propped myself up against my pillows. Our dormitory was silent except for the soft snoring that came from the corner bed next to mine, where Kate was fast asleep. Emma had left in the early hours of morning to see her boyfriend off at Hogsmeade station.
I was safe to discuss my insecurities with my two closest friends. Nora was wide eyed and awake staring at the canopy of her bed, deep in thought. Lily was possibly the only one to bother getting dressed for the library this early on a Saturday as she sat at the dressing table brushing through her long hair as she contemplated.
I was impatient. The thoughts kept swimming around in my head stealing my peace. His intense eyes seemed burned into the back of my eyelids. The words he said kept repeating over and over again in my head.
I walked away for your benefit, not mine…
His angelic voice… URRRGH! ENOUGH ALREADY!
What!? What does he want! Why me? Why now?! For my benefit?
Pfft! Like I’m going to fall for that!
“What does it mean!?” I demanded loudly again, “Is it just me…?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Nora said honestly. She pushed back the sleeves of her night shirt and propped herself up on her elbow turning to her side and looking at me, “He’s definitely not denying it anymore,”
“Either that or he’s playing her!” Lily said strongly as she picked up her wand and straightening out her fringe.
“What do you mean?” I asked hastily pushing myself up on the bed and looking at Lily's reflection in the mirror.
She sighed before placing her wand back down on the table and turning to us,
“Well, I just think it’s a little strange that all this, ‘We-can’t-be-friends-because-we-are-too-close-to-each-other-and-that’ll-just-ruin-your-relationship… blah blah blah’ ” she made air-quotes with her fingers, “It all started when you and Jason seemed serious right?”
“I guess...” I said unsurely as Lily started pacing around the room as if she was about to crack a secret code.
“I mean, don’t you think he’s sort of guilt-tripping you into staying close to him because he’s that sure you’re not going to give up on your friendship for Jason?” She paused in front of my bed unleashing the full soul-searching power of her emerald greens.
I swallowed nervously.
It was truly disturbing to face the fact that my friends seemed to have better insight into what was happening with me and Sirius than… me and Sirius!
“What else did he say?” Nora asked me with a worried half-glance at Lily.
“I told you, he said he walked away from it for my benefit, not his” I repeated mechanically now.
“And by ‘it’, he meant-”
“Yes Lily! I think he meant our almost kiss, Ok!?”
My voice rose in anger at having to repeat something I felt so horrible about.
“Shhhh!” Nora urged warningly as Kate stirred in the corner.
“Urrrggh! What do I do?!” I said in an impatient voice.
“You ignore him! That’s what you do!” she said pointing her index finger at me, looking bizarrely like my mother. “This is serious Capp, you can’t keep dealing with this issue with how your heart feels anymore, ok? You’ve got to be strong and think with your head and decide,”
“Lily-” Nora said warningly but she didn’t stop.
“No, she needs to hear it, Nora!”
“Hear what?” I asked.
Lily turned to me and her expression was different. She looked like she wanted to be stern and supportive at the same time. “Capp, you can’t keep going through this cycle over and over again. I mean how many times have you shown Sirius you care about him? And how many times has he responded?”
I was sure it was rhetorical but still I opened my mouth and closed it again not knowing how or what to reply.
“Exactly what I thought,” Lily continued, “You finally make a decision and then he says one word and it’s all ‘I think I’m in love with him again!’” she mocked me but beneath it she was serious, “What he said was just to make sure you’re not leaving him. To be plain and simple Capp, it just seems like he wants the best of both worlds,”
It was a truth too harsh to believe. I opened my mouth again but she cut me off before I could speak.
“I know! I know!” she held up her hands defensively to stop the stream of protests. She pulled her long hair over her shoulder and sat down on the end of my bed. Her bright eyes were tender as she tried to understand me.
“I get it Capri, I do” she said softly placing a comforting hand on mine, “he’s just that guy who’s always there for you. You couldn’t help it…”
I swallowed trying my hardest to break her gaze.
“You guys have a lot of history together. I mean both of you weren’t exactly just friends at any point in your life right?”
I glanced sideways at Nora unsurely as Lily continued.
“We weren’t always this close Capp, so I can tell you I used to watch you and Sirius and envy you because I never had with Severus what you have with Sirius.” She looked down, almost ashamed to admit it.
Her comparison made me realise how much she must care about Severus to speak of him like this. And none of us had ever even bothered asking her about her friendship with him. They’d been pulling apart slowly for months now, but none of us bothered to find out why or even be there for her to talk to.
Even Nora looked astonished as Lily said it.
Lily looked up to face me again after a long pause and I could swear her eyes were glistening with tears.
“Anyway my point is I get why you and Sirius have this special connection. He saved your life and you feel like you owe him everything, he’s always been there. You keep pulling away and… he keeps coming back… right?”
I nodded mutely thinking that finally someone understood exactly what I felt.
What she said next blew me out of the water. I’d never seen Lily’s expression change so drastically so fast!
“Well SOD IT!” she said loudly getting up off the bed and making me and Nora jump back into our pillows, “It SOOOOOO easy to fall for the mighty saviour of one day and forget about all the bloody things he’s done in the past!”
Nora and I exchanged fretful looks. Lily’s eyes were widening worryingly and she’d nearly starting puffing out smoke. Her hands were clenched into fists by her side and her hair oddly made her expression even more frightening. I pulled my covers slowly up to my chin in case I needed to duck and cover.
She took a deep breath, “It does not mean he’s a changed person! Just because he happened to be there at the right place at the right time to save your life doesn’t mean he’s suddenly become a BLOODY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR!”
Lily was losing it right before our eyes! Nora shot me another terrified look.
Lily seemed oblivious to our scared-out-of-our-wits faces and continued, “He’s just as arrogant and pretentious and stuck-up as he’s always been! Conceited, bum-headed TWIT!” She said through gritted teeth.
“He still thinks he’s better than everyone else, still hexes people in the middle of the hallway! He still slides his hand up his STUPID hair as if there’s any possible way that could make it look better. AND he still won’t stop showing off with that DUMB FLYING YO-YO so that girls as dim-witted as a doornail will fawn over him!"
She paused breathing hard, to think of a good enough word I suppose, and then- “He’s a weasel!” she declared, “That’s what he is! You DO NOT want to date a WEASEL!”
Kate snored loudly at the end of Lily’s monologue adding great significance to it. I had to admit I was impressed by what that girl could sleep through.
Realising she was no longer talking about Sirius, Nora and I gave Lily a unified dead-pan look.
Great! We’re done with discussing my issues!
What are best friends for?
Apart from the earlier “Lilyncident” the morning was bright, warm and welcoming.
I tied my elbow guards into place as I came down the marble stairs, to the entrance hall wondering how I was going to act around Sirius again with this new awkwardness between us. Lately we seemed to be living in a series of awkward moments and nothing more. Just then a voice spoke two steps behind me
“Hey! There’s my right wingman, umm… woman, haha! Ready for some flying?” asked James in a high-spirited voice.
I smiled, “You know it!”
Sirius wasn’t with him and I caught myself before I could question James about it. I wasn’t paying any attention to Sirius today. Affirmative.
“I’ve got some new scoring moves. Some I’ve modified from Quidditch Today and Score. I think they’ll work well with our flying style,” James continued to prattle on about Quidditch.
I nodded enthusiastically. Quidditch was truly the only thing that could take me off my downward spiral. Why hadn’t I thought of it before?
“Seen the girls?”
“Already down at the pitch,” I replied, “Harvey and Andrew went early to pick up the chest. So that just leaves…”
Well so much for not thinking about him!
“Sirius… Right. Listen Capri,”
“Whoa! James,” I raised my palms feeling a speech coming on, “I’m way ahead of you alright! Right now I just want to forget about everything else and train hard ‘cos next Tuesday I want to kick some Puffs!”
James laughed, “Let’s do it!”
“Alright we need to do some ground training today and in about half an hour we’ll get up in the air” James looked around at the team and clapped twice, “Laps, let’s go!”
Ok. Flying, I love. Laps, not so much!
The team lined up behind James as usual for ground training. I had to take off all my protective gear finally the Quidditch robes as well, before falling into the end of the line behind Harvey Parker’s burly self in my red t-shirt and black jogging-pants. The pants fit me a little snugly and I’d worn them thinking that under the Quidditch robes it would be fine. But the matter couldn’t be helped. I looked around the pitch for the last time but I couldn’t find Sirius.
“Alright team, you know what to do,” James called from the front holding the Quaffle up high in his hands.
This was James’s way of improving coordination and reflexes while jogging. Everyone would jog in a line around the pitch and the person in front would pass the ball over their heads to whoevers behind them. The person behind would catch it and pass it on. The last person, when they grab the ball, would race to the front of the line and pass the ball back.
Oh would you look at that, I’m the last person!
“Not starting without me are you?”
I jumped at the voice that came from behind me.
“Glad you could join us Sirius!” James said with an unconvincing tone of disapproval.
“Easy Captain, I’m here aren’t I?” Sirius laughed. His eyes were on me. My eyes were on my shoes. Icky wet grass on my shoes.
“Hey Capp,” I could practically hear his smirk. However at that moment I was suddenly fascinated by Harvey Parker's spikey blonde hair in front of me.
Sirius stood beside me next to the line and pulled off his jumper. The white t-shirt underneath snagged to it pulled up along with it.
Dammit. Ok this is not fair!
The push-ups he apparently did had not been in vain. The white shirt pulled up over revealing a tightly toned set of abs.
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Beeped Lily’s voice in my head.
“Baby, throw me your stuff I’ll look after it!”
My eyebrows shot up into my hair and I craned my neck to see who’d spoken.
Of course. Vanessa Droughton. She was where the blonde jokes started. Emma hated her for kissing her boyfriend. The math was pretty simple, I like Emma I hate this bitch.
There she was in the front row of the stands wearing a bright pink camisole and shorts in the misty cold.
I turned around to look at Sirius incredulously only to see him bundle up his jumper and throw it to her. Hoping my jaw wouldn’t fall openI bit down hard.
“Alright let’s go!” James started jogging and everyone behind started picking up to pace themselves. Sirius jogged alongside me for a short distance while I completely ignored his existence. Then without warning he slid into the line between me and Harvey.
“Thanks for saving my spot, Sugar” he turned over his shoulder and winked at me.
What the eff? Did he just call me Sugar?
I gritted my teeth. Grrrrrrr.
Oh I will so get back at him in the air! Mutt!
I was the last person in line. Again. Great.
I could see Harvey pass the ball to Sirius and I readied myself. But-
The ball slipped off Sirius' hands and rolled over toward the mid-field line.
I let out my frustration in a loud huff as we both ran after it. The team continued to jog watching us as they took the turn by the goal posts.
Sirius and I raced toward the ball which surprisingly still kept rolling. He reached the ball first and I skidded to a halt beside him on the wet grass.
I figured it was Quidditch training, a place to blow off steam. And I had a lot of steam!
“Ace work!” I said coolly.
“Hey, I’m a Beater!” Sirius said defensively picking the Quaffle off the ground, “I’m used to much smaller balls, ok?”
I stared at him for second, “Yes, I kinda figured that!” I said maintaining a straight face somehow.
He gave me a look with crooked smile. His way of saying I was being a wiseass. Damn that crooked smile of his!
He tucked the ball under his arm and walked toward me with a cocky grin.
I never got to find out what because incredibly, the ball slipped out of his arms again and started rolling once more across the pitch.
“Unbelievable! Get the bloody ball in here NOW!” James yelled from the outer circle of the pitch, still jogging with the team.
“Nice hands, hero!” I said rolling my eyes as Sirius sprinted after it and picked it up quickly. I turned and walked back to the team with my hands on my hips pulling my shirt further down.
I heard the wet grass crunch beneath his feet as Sirius jogged over to catch up. When he reached me, he turned and walked backwards looking at me up and down with a fresh smirk as if seeing me for the first time.
I looked at him confused.
“Nice legs,” he said with a wicked grin and ran off to join the team.
Second time. My eyebrows shot up and I just stared after him for a second.
What the bloody hell happened to him!?
I ran after him and joined the line again.
“What the hell happened to you?” I asked directly.
Ommph. The ball came over the top of his head and hit me squarely in the chest successfully knocking the wind out of me and making me fall to the ground. I just coughed and spluttered, unable to grasp what just happened.
OK. That’s it! Screw the high road.
I pushed myself up just in time to see Sirius laughing over his shoulder at me. There was nothing else for it. I picked myself up, grabbed the ball and ran as fast as I could to catch up with the team. When I neared Sirius I pulled the ball up and thumped it really hard into the back of his head catching it back on the bounce.
“OW! BLOODY HELL CAPPIE! THAT HURT!” he yelled angrily.
“That was for YOUR BENEFIT! ASSHOLE!” I yelled all dignity forgotten as I raced by him to the front of the line. Panting slightly from all the running I finally took my place in front of James and passed the ball over my head.
“Nice one,” James chuckled behind me catching the ball, “but you still screwed up my training!”
James called the team to a halt after a few more paces.
“Ok, everyone line up mid-field. Clearly we have issues training as a team,” he looked at me and Sirius in particular, “So maybe some individual training will help!”
When James smirks during training it was never a good thing.
There was a loud collective groan from the entire team. Fan-bloody-tastic.
I collapsed onto the bed after barely being able to stand long enough under the shower to get all the mud out of my hair. Suicide drills were specifically designed for torture!
I didn’t know how long I slept but when I woke up the sun was setting. It’s bright orange light was tinting the thick approaching clouds.
I jumped out of bed wondering wildly if I’d slept through one whole day and no one had bothered to wake me up! Turning around quickly I checked the wall clock above the door.
Shit! I was supposed to meet up with Mia, Jason’s best friend, and help her out with some Arithmancy.
My stomach gave a loud rumble as if saying, 'Don’t you dare go to the library without eating first!'
My red-t shirt and jogging pants were neatly folded on top of the dresser. I looked at them confused. I thought I might have left them in the bathroom in my tired state and just collapsed on the bed.
There was a small parchment note on top of the neat pile which read.
Magically washed and dried. For future reference (although I’ve said it a thousand times!) please use laundry basket for extremely smelly and muddy post-Quidditch training clothes. That’ll be 5 galleons please!
Lily (Self-appointed dorm warden.)
I laughed to myself and changed into the freshly cleaned clothes too late to look for anything else and made a mental note to thank Lily for being so helpful.
I pulled out my hair trapped beneath the t-shirt collar and pulled it up into a loose bun, picked up my books and bag and hurried downstairs.
Stephan was studying with Nora at a table close to the armchairs. They both looked up as I came down.
“Hey! I was gonna come up in a bit and wake you for dinner,” said Nora, “umm, the team’s already down at the Great Hall..."
I nodded, “Ok, thanks. I’ll see you guys later.”
“Do you want me to come with you?” asked Nora.
“Oh no, don’t be silly. I’m fine.” I said reassuringly, “I’m heading to the library afterwards. Don’t wait up,” I walked over to the portrait.
“Bye, Capp” Stephan said unsurely with a short wave.
I hurried toward the Great Hall which was a lot less fuller than usual at dinner. Students had probably eaten early what with it being a holiday with nothing else to do since Hogsmeade visits were forbidden right now.
When I entered the hall I immediately scanned the Ravenclaw table for Jason so I could sit with him instead. But the Ravenclaw table was empty except for a few second years and seventh years, none of whom I knew well enough.
My eyes then fell on Severus at the distant Slytherin table, eating quietly through a slice of apple pie. Head bent low, he forked the food a few times before picking up a piece and shoving it into his mouth. He seemed particularly bored. My mind drifted off to Lily’s speech this morning, about how she’d envied me and Sirius.
I wondered if Severus had changed, or was he still the same sulking withdrawn young boy I met on the train all those years ago?
As I watched, Severus tilted his head and uttered something under his breath to the person beside him. The person listened quietly and nodded, clearly agreeing. He turned and suddenly looked up.
Even at a distance his chilling grey eyes looked grim as they locked on mine. His cold stare froze me where I stood. Did I imagine the hint of a smirk on his face?
“Regulus did join these “Death Eaters”?”
“Trust me, that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the stupid things he’s done for that family.”
I swallowed and looked away but Regulus had already diverted his attention to a long-haired brunette next to him. I sighed and hoisted the strap of my bag higher on to my shoulder heading towards the Gryffindor table.
Only three of the team were remaining. Sirius to my dismay sat at the end between James and the vacant spot on the bench.
I smiled and took a seat a next to Sirius creating enough space by wedging my bag between us. Abbey Morrison also smiled and took her leave muttering about homework while I silently ate through my steak-and-kidney pie.
Now it was just me, Sirius and James sitting in a row.
Sirius wiped his mouth on a napkin and sipped from his goblet quietly.
The silence that stretched between us while the rest of the hall babbled on was a little disconcerting.
I shifted in my seat unsure of what to do. I was too tired to pick a fight but my ego wasn’t ready to let go of Sirius’ outrageous behaviour just yet either.
“Are you mad at me?” I said aloud setting my goblet down.
“No, of course not!” Sirius and James said together.
I gritted my teeth and turned to them. “Not you,” I growled at Sirius, “I don’t care if you're mad at me! I was asking James!”
Sirius clenched his jaws and looked away from me.
“Ok, will you both just stop? What is it this time?” James looked at us disapprovingly. It was a rare look coming from him. I forked my pie aggressively and shoved a piece into my mouth.
“Close your mouth when you chew,” said Sirius annoyingly.
“Mee mee meee mee me!” I deliberately shovelled another forkful of pie into my mouth mocking him.
“Classy,” he muttered sarcastically draining his goblet. If only I could just knee him in the jewels right now!
“Ok that’s it! I’m going to the common room. You two sort this out!” James pointed at us like father disciplining his kids. It was a comical expression on him but he stormed off pulling his bag roughly through the throng of people scattered along the path none the less.
Sirius and I both sighed in unison as James left the hall. I downed a goblet of iced water and then I had nothing to do but wait for him to speak. I wondered why he was sitting with me, why he hadn’t taken his leave with everyone else.
All his suggestive comments from earlier came tumbling back into my thoughts and as each comment ran through my brain my blood began to boil at his audacity. Speak dammit! So I can bash your skull in!
My fists clenched on my laps.
“Done?” he asked quietly.
“Ok. Thanks” He got up. I was highly confused.
“What? Thanks for what?”
“For not finishing the pie?” he said as if it was obvious and picked up one of the left over pies. With a wide sarcastic smile Sirius walked right past my flabbergasted self and headed out of the hall.
Oh hell no!
Immediately I picked up my books and marched out of the hall. The Entrance hall was dimmer than the Great hall and I looked around the empty chamber for a sign of Sirius. Yet he was nowhere to be seen.
Footsteps… I listened carefully and ran up the staircase to the second floor. There he was walking along the corridor with his arm around blonde and bouncy Vanessa.
“SERIOUSLY?” I yelled.
They both jumped and turned around.
“It’s just Sirius,” he said with a hint of a smirk as I reached them, “there’s no ‘Ly’!”
I gritted my teeth again.
“Vanessa, right?” I turned to the girl who was twirling a thick lock of hair around her finger, and holding a large piece of pie in her other hand, “Do you mind giving us a minute? We need talk some things out,” I said in the sweetest voice I could muster.
“Umm…” she looked unsurely toward Sirius.
“We’re kinda busy,” Sirius said with unconvincing regret. “Well, about to be,” he amended flashing another cocky grin making Vanessa succumb to a fit of giggles. I rolled my eyes.
“Can we do this later?” he asked me in a voice that mocked my sweet voice.
This is why you shouldn’t push my buttons. I narrowed my eyes at him then looked calmly at them both. Sirius however had a glint in his eyes like he saw something coming.
I pulled out my wand so quickly that Vanessa didn’t even have time to blink. “Confundo” I said with my wand tip directed between her eyes.
She stared blankly at me for a second and then suddenly crossed her legs at the ankles.
“I need to pee!” she declared.
I smiled sweetly at her, “Turn left” I pointed to the far end of the corridor.
She looked around and seemed content with the directions.
“Thank you!” she said hurrying off. I watched her leave before turning to Sirius who had a wide smirk on his face.
“I’m impressed,” he admitted leaning against the stone wall of the corridor. Sirius shoved his hands into his pockets looking at me amused. His tall frame cast a long shadow across the floor. Though we stood feet apart from each other in the distance our shadows merged together as one. His posture, gaze, espression all maintained with ease the fine balance between attractively dissmissive and arrogantly haughty.
It was hard to keep a clear train of thought whenever I confronted him. So I rarely did. He could be charming at will, and I couldn’t defend myself against the force he unleashed with his eyes alone.
For my benefit! Urrgh!
Everything he said just made me angrier.
“So why did you hunt me down?” he asked, tilting his head making his hair fall into his eyes.
“Are you kidding? You’re not going to apologise?”
“Apologise?” he laughed as if the idea was preposterous, “For what?”
“For being such an ass!” I said angrily.
Sirius looked at me closely, a soft playful smile still playing on his lips. I hated this. I lost control when I was angry and it was easy to read me like an open book. But not Sirius, he kept his cool when I was yelling a million curses at him. It unnerved me.
“Why are you doing this? Did you drink too much?”
“Unlike you darling, I can handle my liquor” his lips flowed seamlessly over the words as if he was ready with them before I’d finished my question.
“What was that earlier? Nice legs?! Seriously? What’s gotten into you?” I demanded. I realised inside I was more worried than angry. It wasnt above Sirius to try something stronger than alcohol.
“Don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy the attention?” Sirius responded.
My jaw dropped open at his sudden shift in attitude. It was like he was possessed, “You're joking, right!?”
“What? I saw the way you looked at Vanessa,” he laughed amused. “Clearly, you're jealous.”
Words failed me as I stared at him. Unbelievable!
“Hey,” he smiled tenderly, pulling me out of my shocked state, “its ok.” His fingertips held my chin and pulled my face up to face him, “I like you when you're jealous,"
I slapped his hand roughly away from me as the heat rose behind my ears.
“Sorry,” he smiled to himself clearly not meaning it.
“No! You do not hit on someone and then say sorry! Particularly not someone with a boyfriend! What the hell?”
“Ok!” he held up his hands defensively, “Let’s not fight.”
I stared at him coldly with gritted teeth.
“Why are you being such a jerk, Sirius? This isn’t you.”
I wasn’t sure I was really ready to know the answer.
“Because, I’m done…”
“Done?” I repeated mechanically.
“Sorry, I don’t follow,” I said both with agitation and confusion.
“It’s simple really. With every other girl, I’m completely honest, I’m myself. With you… I’m not.” He said in a clear matter-of-fact voice. He was being serious.
“I’ve come to realise that as you were my best friend, what you thought of me mattered to me very much. And as such I may have made some serious errors in judgement. One, was pretending to be someone I’m not with you. Kind, sweet, honourable and preppy? Yeah, definitely not me.”
It was clear by now this was the last thing I ever wanted to hear from him. But he seemed oblivious to my internal torment.
“Cappie, the guy you’re trying to hold on to is not real…” I stepped back from him shocked.
I cannot begin to explain how fast my head started spinning at these words. But he didn’t stop.
“You should now that from here on out, that person is gone and he’s not coming back. I’m being myself. Finally. With you and with everyone else.
I’m sorry for pretending this long… What can I say, I wanted to be the best version of myself for you.” He looked at me intently as if trying to communicate something deeper but I could only stare in shock.
“So to be honest…"he shook his head, "I’m never honest, never one to sacrifice, I’m not chivalrous, and I really don’t care what people think about me. This is me…I'm sick of pretending to be the good-guy and getting shit for it in the end. None of it matters anymore..."
Sometimes pieces of our world crash down so fast it feels for a moment as if you’re free falling through space. Where gravity still has no hold on you and reality is a bleak horizon you can choose not to believe in. Only for a moment...
“Why are you being like this?” I said weakly.
“Because trying to be your hero didn’t really pan out the way I hoped.” He replied bitterly his eyes narrowing. My heart stopped and then picked up on double speed. It was my fault now?
I tried to keep my voice even, “So…I’m just another random person to you now?”
He looked at me with a tender expression as if he actually pitied me. I looked into his eyes. It was just another trick, it wasn’t real. He wasn’t letting go of me… He wouldn’t, not like this.
But his silence was confirmation.
I nodded absorbing it in putting on a fake smile, “You’re just going to bury the past five years, saying it was all pretend?”
He was inches away from me. He’d drawn closer and I hadn’t even realised. When he spoke I wanted to know if he meant it. I looked deep into his eyes glistening bright as ever, not for a moment breaking their hold on me even as he spoke.
“It was you who buried our past first. I’m merely taking the only option left,”
I clenched my jaws. Why does it always come down to this? Fine. So this is how it is.
I sighed. It shouldn’t make a difference to me. I had already made my choice. It was like Lily said… Only it was me who had been holding on to the best of both worlds.
Now I was forced to let go of one.
I had to be strong. I had to think with my head, not my heart.
“Fine… Consider me relieved to be just another person.” I said as bravely as I could.
Sirius closed his eyes once with a placid smile to acknowledge it, “Let the chips fall where they may…”
“Whatever,” I turned to leave. There was nothing left for me here.
But I’d barely taken two steps before his hand shackled my wrist from behind and pulled me back to him with such force that my back hit his chest hard knocking the breath out of me. His other hand slipped under the strap of my bag and held my waist. Anger boiled within me.
“What are you DONING?” I demanded angrily, struggling against his viselike grip.
“Just one last piece of friendly advice,” His voice spoke in my ear. It was the voice he used to seduce any girl he wanted, deep, strong and smooth. I wanted to jab my elbow back into his ribs, but his arms had me held tightly I could barely move. “Being my best friend, you’ve dodged the receiving end of all my pranks for the past five years,” he released me.
I turned around to face him fully intent on punching him in the face but his eyes were alight with mischief again, his grin cocky as ever. The face I knew and loved.
“Prepare to pay in bulk,” he said with a wide wicked grin.
When I reached the library it was only to see Mia and her two friends coming out. I was rattled, on edge, boiling with anger and out of breath.
“Mia!” I called out to her hurrying along the corridor hoisting up my heavy bag.
“Hey! I thought you weren’t going to show,” said Mia pushing her long black curls behind her ear.
“I’m so sorry,” I huffed, “I kind of got caught up with some stuff.” Best not to go into details with my boyfriend’s best friend no matter how badly I needed to just scream and vent on something!
“Are you ok?” She asked watching me. I must clearly not look ok.
“Yeah, fine. Sorry I’m late” I brushed it off.
“It’s ok, umm… do you mind doing it now? We’ve only got an hour to curfew though.”
“I’m in if you are” I said smiling at her.
Mia beamed back and promptly waved her friends good-bye.
We found an empty table at the back of the Library easily enough. I followed Mia along the shelves lined with old books as she headed to the back and sat down opposite her. Getting quickly to the subject I delved into the Arithmancy problems more so to escape the thoughts in my head with the intense concentration needed to solve the problems.
Mia was very smart, (obviously being a Ravenclaw) and with a little help she quickly caught the grasps of the problems. At the end of a half hour we’d nearly completed the problems she wanted to discuss.
“Well that’s that,” I closed my book. “Did you have anything else you wanted to discuss?” I added to be polite.
“Nope” she said with a ‘pop’ sound and pulled out the quill she was sucking the end off, “You know Capri, you’re a really good teacher. You should join tutoring!”
I laughed, “Thanks, but with OWLs approaching and Quidditch and everything I’m barely keeping my head above water.”
“Shame, I’m sure Jason might even consider letting a fifth year tutor him if he knew your skills!” she wiggled her eyebrows at me.
I laughed and rolled my eyes. Clearly she was a lot more comfortable with me that I was with her!
“Ahh Madam Pince,” a loud voice came from the front of the library “How lovely to see you this evening!” Both of us turned towards it looking through the shelves that barred our vision.
My fists clenched on the table.
“Quiet Mr Black! Need I remind you this is the Library?”
“No, of course not!” Sirius replied with a loud whisper that carried across the room, “I’ve got another request form for Moste Potente Potions. It’s such a page-turner!”
Although I could only see Madam Pince though the shelves of books as she took the slip of parchment from the hand that held it out for her, I could hear the sarcasm clearly in his voice.
She picked up the slip of parchment and held it up to the light. Unable to deny him the book she allowed Sirius to pass into the Restricted Section of the Library with a sour expression.
He passed by Madam Pince’s desk and came into view. As if he knew we were watching us he turned swiftly to look at us through the shelves and winked before moving along.
I needed some scream therapy now!
Hoping to leave, I collected my books quickly putting them into my bag.
“He’s really good looking.” Mia said out loud, “I don’t know how you guys are just friends…” she chewed on her fingernail thoughtfully.
She was clearly fishing for something.
“We’re not friends. We’re not anything right now,” I said shortly not even sparing a glance to see her reaction. She didn’t seem to care as she pondered a bit more.
“Do you know if he’s… available? You know…” she asked hesitantly trying her best to look casual about it.
I spared her a smile, “I wouldn’t know. I’ll see you around then?” I got up turning to leave.
“Ohhhhh dear God!”
What nowwwww?! I whined in my head.
“Capri, why in the world are you wearing those pants?” she asked accusingly.
I sighed deeply and turned to her. “Look, I was too tired to look for anything else and these were just there. I know they’re a little snug but it’s really not that bad! Honestly!” I said annoyed.
“Oh man!” she slapped her forehead, “you haven’t seen it!”
“What?” I was suddenly self-conscious, “Did I sit on something?” I tried to turn over my shoulder. I did have my clumsy moments.
“No…” Mia took out her wand and pointed it at the cabinet that held old dusty volumes of charms books. “Morpho Speculum”
The glass panes on the front doors of the cabinet turned to mirrors and I could see my reflection on it. Mia stood up and turned me around by my shoulders so I could see my back.
The heat rose instantly to my cheeks. I could feel my skin burn with humiliation and fury.
“What the fuck!?”
Across my bum, charmed in silver writing were the words, ‘Property of S.B’.
Ohhhhhhhh he so dead!
I was about to lose it.
Scratch that, I was losing it.
This was going to be a hundred times worse than when Lily’s freak out today morning. I probably looked like I was pumping out steam!
Jason! Mia will definitely tell Jason about this. I am all kinds of screwed!
Panicking and losing my mind with the anger I felt, I roughly dumped my bag onto the table and nearly ripped it open.
Please be there. Please be there. I hoped blindly rummaging inside.
“What are you… looking for?” Mia asked uncertainly standing a few feet away from me possibly fearing my current serial-killer look.
“Yes!” I exclaimed finally pulling out the folded brown shorts. I carried them around for when James decided to suddenly ask the team to stay behind after practice to discuss tactics and I had to use the showers in the grounds. Mia looked slightly frightened for my sanity.
All dignity, time, place and person forgotten, I pulled off the black pants in the shelter of all the thick book shelves and quickly slipped into the brown shorts.
I took a deep breath. I will not be his punch bag! I will not sit back and just take this!
Wand held tightly in one hand, my black jogging pants in the other, I stomped toward the Restricted Section.
“Ms. Waltham! You can’t go in there without a-! What are you wearing!”
“They’re called shorts.” I said though gritted teeth, “And don’t worry I’m only going to return something!”
With a mighty push I threw open the doors of the Restricted Section. It was dim except for the lamps that lit up the few tables at the centre.
There he was.
He sat comfortably reclining on his chair pushed back on two legs, with a small book open between his fingers. His eyes however, were on me.
I glowered at him.
Sirius was delighted. His silver eyes were sparkling with the anticipation he’d had for this moment, when I finally found out. The tip of his tongue was folded behind his dagger tooth, only he could pull off such a wicked grin and make it insanely attractive.
I wished to wipe that smirk clean of his face. Permanently!
“You egotistical, self-centred BASTARD!” my voice rose high ringing through the hall making some of the curse-books scream. As I saw how much he was enjoying tormenting me, I began to shake with anger.
“QUIET OVER THERE!” Madam Pince’s voice rang out. The books screamed again.
The blood rushing through my skin burned my face hot. My wand surged powerfully beneath my tight grip. “What the HELL are you playing at?”
“What? You didn’t like it?” Sirius tilted his head. “I thought you liked ‘Personalisation’…” He seemed to enjoy my burst of outrage even more, still swaying back and forth on his chair.
In three quick strides I’d crossed the space over to him. I leaned far over the table reaching past his shoulder and grabbed the back of his chair pulling it sharply forward. The front legs of the chair hit the floor with a loud clunk and Sirius jerked towards me with the force of the pull, his face stopping inches from mine.
His smug smile stayed unchanged as he bit back a grin.
I was almost on top of the table still holding onto the back of his chair. My knuckles were white on the top rail. I could barely keep my breathing even. Silence stretched between us as our eyes searched each other’s. He wanted to know if he’d cracked me yet, I wanted to know what had cracked him.
Sirius' lips parted as if he was about to say something but then closed as if he thought better of it. His long hair brushed against the crook of my elbow. It tickled me and I let go, pulling my hand back. My eyes shifted to him while he stared back expectantly.
Unnerved, I slid off the table and picked up the pair of ruined pants I’d dropped on the floor.
“Do you know who saw this?” I asked slapping the garment in front of him so he could see the silver writing. I wondered if Mia had already gone running to Jason.
Sirius widened his eyes with mock interest, “Please tell me it’s Jason? You’ll make my day!”
“Mia!” I said through my teeth, “his best friend! You know what’s going to happen now don’t you? Why are you suddenly so hell-bent on ruining my life?!”
“Mia…hmm” Sirius completely ignored me and contemplated thoughtfully, “tall… curves… hot. She takes Muggle Studies right?” he asked perking up.
He pouted at me, “Am I close?”
“No!” I slapped him across the back of his head.
“Ow! Ok! no need to get violent. If you’re into her I’ll back off!”
He really wasn’t holding back as he plastered a fresh grin on his face.
I wanted so badly to just throttle him right there. My eyes probed into his hoping he’d spontaneously combust.
“You know what S.B stands for?” I asked angrily pointing at the inscription with a clear comeback in mind. But he beat me.
Sirius gave a bemused smile, then deliberately raised an eyebrow, “Sexy Beast?”
“SON OF A BITCH!”
“Too many vowels,” he smirked.
My nails bit into my palms as I clenched. I wasn’t going to be entertainment for him. Words failed me… I was too angry to think. In fact I was feeling light headed. I decided to just leave this mess behind and get back at him later…
“Thanks for the souvenir!” He held up my black slacks.
“Arrgh!” in my aggravation I practically pounced at the table grabbing a fistful of the black material. Sirius pulled on his end with the tight grasp and I automatically lurched forward. I huffed loudly at him blowing the strands of hair out of my face as his grin widened with enjoyment.
Thick heels clunked quick steps on the stone floor as they entered the Restricted Section disturbing the silence between us. Madam Pince came to stand between us.
“That’s it! Both of you OUT! NOW!”
Sirius laughed unable to control himself, “It was worth it. Same time tomorrow, Madam Pince?”
“We’re going!” he picked up his book and left the Restricted Section with his hand still clenched on the end of the pants dragging me behind holding the other end.
“Oi!” I yelled as he dragged me right out of the library past a flabbergasted Mia still holding my stuff, “Let go!”
“Why? You gave it to me!” he said without looking back as he headed down the hallway.
“No, I bloody did not!” I yelled back at him. Sirius tugged again and I lurched forward once more. “Give it back!”
The harder I pulled the harder he pulled back.
“What are you, three?” I asked exasperated pulling forcefully enough to turn him around.
“Yes,” he finally let go, “on Fridays and Saturdays. It gives me an excuse to eat other people’s pudding.”
I narrowed my eyes at him giving him a look. Taking a bold step toward him I pointed my finger at the tip of his nose.
“Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to meet Jason, tell him everything you did and tell him I had nothing to do with it! Understand?”
Sirius waited watching me as I stood in the hallway huffing furiously with my finger all but burrowing up his nose.
“Aww Capp,” he patted my shoulder, “it just so sweet that you actually think I’m going to do that!” he gave me another patronizing smile before turning to walk away.
“Hey? What the hell, Sirius? What am I supposed to say to him now?” I was actually asking for options!
“Tell him roses are red and violets are blue. And tell him sometimes, nobody gives a crap!”
“Very nice! Come up with that all by yourself did you?” I asked condescendingly and Sirius nodded sarcastically like a school boy. “So this is the new you? A total asshole?”
“You are not required to like it, Sugar”
Again with the Sugar! I clenched my teeth, “Am I required to kick your ass? Because I’m totally down for that!”
Sirius’s smirk grew wider. He folded his arms behind his back and leaned forward just a little. “I don’t know about kicking, but kissing? I’m definitely in!”
I looked at him murderously for a split second before tearing after him as he ran flat out along the hallway laughing hysterically. He pulled his leg over the banister and jumped down onto the moving staircase just as I struggled to pull out my wand.
I barely caught a glimpse of his cocky snicker as he gave me a farewell salute and disappeared into the corridor below.