I huffed and sped up down the second floor corridor, but Avery did not give up.
"I asked you a question!"
He caught up with me right outside the girls' bathroom and pulled at my arm, forcing me to stop.
I glared at his long ugly face, so much alike with both our fathers'. His hand felt like a vice on me, one that I immediately pried off.
"I do not owe you an explanation," I said in an angry whisper. "I am not here to please you or your stupid little friends. Why don't you go play with Snape and Mulciber, and leave me alone?"
I turned my back on him again and hastily entered the Moaning Myrtle's bathroom, hoping he would not follow me in there.
I had not taken two steps inside, when I felt his hands grab onto my neck and push me against the hard stone wall.
"Then what exactly are you here for?" he hissed at me. "To befriend Mudbloods? Your father may put up with that little hobby of yours, but I am not going to."
There were plenty of things I wanted to say in answer to that, but none that I could voice while his fingers were wrapped tightly around my throat.
"Oh, I know you're not afraid of me. But you might want to be afraid of the Dark Lord. This is a war, in case you haven't noticed. So you'd better choose a side and fast."
The stone sinks were beginning to dance in front of my eyes.
This is your bloody war, I wanted to scream. Not mine.
"The Dark Lord could use someone with your powers. Come over to our side. The right side."
Now I could hardly see anything. My eyes were drifting shut and I could feel my own senses slowly evacuating my body.
That was when Avery was suddenly pulled off of me, leaving me to sink to the floor.
Only moments later, I heard my cousin shouting in pain. I stood up on shaky knees and looked frantically around the bathroom, trying to focus on the two figures fighting in front of the large cracked mirror. The unknown person beating up my cousin had his back turned on me, but it didn't take me long to make out his face on the reflection on the spotted glass.
"Black, what the hell do you think you're doing?" I yelled.
He did not answer me straight away. Instead he took extra care making sure Avery would not be able to move for a long time, before finally turning back towards me.
"Helping you," he said simply.
And that was what did it for me.
"I do not need your help!" I shouted with an energy I did not know I still had. "I can deal with my own cousin!"
Black stepped back, surprised by my sudden outburst.
"Didn't seem like it to me," he replied with a deep frown.
"You nosy little Gryffindors just have to step in and play hero, don't you?" I said, my voice shaking. "I need no hero! I can take care of myself! I've handled my stupid cousin my whole life!"
Black looked like he was ready to match my shouts, but he didn't have to because suddenly I stopped yelling. And just like that, shouting was replaced by crying.
I have no idea how it happened. I remember standing in front off Black shouting my head off and then next thing I know, I was lying on the cold floor crying my eyes out.
Which was not a state I wanted anyone to see me in.
"Leave me alone," I sobbed, looking no higher than Black's shoes.
I heard his hesitant steps as he walked away from me, but just when I thought he had left, I heard his voice speaking quietly from the doorway.
"You know, you wouldn't have to put up with this if you ran away."
Even through my tears, I had to laugh.
"I'm not a Gryffindor, Black. I actually weigh my options," I said evenly.
Black nodded silently and then turned away and left, leaving me behind to ponder the reasons I resented him so much.
Except it was not really resentment. It was envy. Because, Gryffindor or no Gryffindor, Black had still been braver than I would ever be.
He had escaped, when I couldn't.
A/N: I hate to have to say this again, but please leave a review. It gets me to write faster ;)