Chapter 19 : Shifting Perceptions
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The castle was beginning to look increasingly festive as December continued. Streams of holly were wound around the banisters, twelve magnificent Christmas streams were stationed in the Great Hall that twinkled with fairy lights and elegant baubles and unfortunately for Sirius, there was an abundance of mistletoe. Rowan laughed her head off at this seeing him trying to evade kissing some random girl who just happened to be stationed the mistletoe at the time.
"I'm sorry mate, but it's just bloody funny seeing you duck around the corridors and as if you're a secret spy for the KGB or something," Rowan said referring to the notorious secret police of the USSR who held her country in an iron grip.
"The who?" Sirius asked eyeing the empty corridor warily before darting out and walking very fast. Rowan jogged to keep up with him. They were off to Arithmancy lessons.
"The KGB. Stinking filthy scums—" Rowan stopped herself before realising that there was no big brother here at Hogwarts and they wouldn't be swooping down on her. "Scums of the earth they are, basically arresting people for BREATHING,"
"The who?" Sirius repeated.
"The stupid secret police," Rowan grumbled she flung out an arm effectively stopping Sirius. "Slow down would ya? I'm gonna look like I just rolled out of bed at the rate we're going,"
"You DID just roll out of your bed," Sirius rolled his eyes.
"Ah yes but Konstatin doesn't need to know that does he?" Rowan attempted to smooth down her hair some more.
"Morning Sirius!" a flirtatious voice called out. Sirius inwardly groaned. Then he put on a smile and looked at the source of the voice.
"Morning," he replied to the girl. He had not the faintest clue who she was. Had he ever seen this girl before?
"Mistletoe," she giggled pointed to one that was nearly right above them. Sirius nearly jumped a foot back.
"Oh! Well. It's a good thing that my girlfriend—", he grabbed Rowan's hand who looked at him bewildered. "Is here with me,"
"What—" Rowan began only to be cut off by him.
"Look at that love, mistletoe, c'mere," Sirius said yanking Rowan closer to him. The girl looked disappointed.
"Didn't know you were seeing each someone Sirius, usually the school kind of knows about you and your relationship status," the girl said frankly.
Rowan stifled the urge to roll her eyes. It was a true testament to how much crazy the females the schools were if the girls in school didn't know about his "Relationship Status." God, it was like he was some bloody celebrity.
Girls were pathetic, she decided. And the majority of the female population except for Lily and Marlene gave women all over the world a sore reputation.
"Oh erm, well, we've been keeping it relatively quiet. It's still new," Sirius hurriedly said.
"Oh! Well…okay then. Have a nice day you two and happy holidays," the girl said before moving past them. However upon looking back she shot Rowan the stink eye and Rowan stuck her tongue out at her.
Sirius dropped her hand abruptly and raked it through his hair. She turned and looked at him with an unamused expression. "Mate I'm going to kill you. You're not going to know when, or know how, but mate you're dead meat."
"Funny that you say that since you're the vegetarian," Sirius quipped. She whapped him with her bookbag.
"Ugh Sirius you're impossible,"
"You couldn't live without me," Sirius breezily replied swinging an arm around her. Rowan shrugged it off and stomped off ahead of him.
"I'm pretty sure I can mate. Can't you just man up the next time some girl tries to ambush you under the mistletoe and just tell the girl 'NO'?" Rowan called out from behind her.
"No cos I'm a world class prat remember and I enjoy making your life miserable." Sirius cheekily replied.
"Up yours Black! Up yours!" Rowan said laughing a little bit.
"You're not supposed to laugh when you say that,"
Funnily enough no other girls did try to bother him when it came to the mistletoe the rest of the day. Nor the day after, or the day after that. Sirius nearly breathed a sigh of relief.
But of course, all good things must come to and end. And his came rather abruptly unfortunately.
Several girls gave him wistful stares as he breezed through the Great Hall one night for dinner and he glanced around him as he slid into his seat. James noticed this and raised an eyebrow.
"Something's a bit off mate," James remarked.
"Yeah…it feels odd. Where's the red-head?" Sirius asked referring to Lily.
"Coming I suppose. My whole world doesn't always revolve around her ya know?"
"Really? Really?" Sirius dryly replied. James flicked a pea at him.
"Mate…did you and Rowan have a fight?" Remus asked warily as he watched Rowan storm down the aisle with murder written on her face.
"Nooooooo, why do you ask?"
"'Cos she looks like—"
"OUCH!" Sirius cried as Rowan slammed his head face down on the table.
"Like she's going to kill you." Remus finished. James gawked at his mate.
"Remember when I said I was going to kill you? Well guess what mate, today is your lucky day." Rowan growled. Sirius winced and raised his head.
"What'd I do?" he asked bewildered.
"YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT I WAS YOUR GIRLFRIEND!" She shouted.
James started sniggering and Remus bit back a laugh.
"ROWAN FORLANI!" Another voiced yelled. Wearily Rowan turned around and saw Marlene running up to her. Marlene slapped her lightly on the back of the head.
"What was that for!"
"How dare you not tell your own goddamn roommate about this important development in your life, that you, are going out with Sirius?" Marlene demanded.
Rowan clapped her hands to her head. "NO! NO, I'm not going out with him! See Sirius! This is what you've done!" she shouted.
"WHOA everyone calm down!" James said loudly waving his hands. Everybody looked at him.
"Padfoot, Rowan, kindly explain yourself. And by god if this is true then Padfoot I'm going to kill you."
"For not telling me!"
"Christ people I'm not going out with Rowan. I only said because I got ambushed under the mistletoe for the thousandth time a couple of days ago, Rowan was there and I just said that she was my girlfriend just to save my arse."
"Mate how stupid are you?" Remus asked amazed. Rowan shot him a grateful look.
"What?" Sirius asked annoyed.
"You're YOU. You're like a mini celebrity, if you say something like that, then people assume that it's true and it spreads like wildfire! No wonder all these girls are looking at you as if someone had just died." James shook his head.
"I despise you." Rowan snarled tugging a plate towards her. Marlene laughed and sat down next to her.
"I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you." Sirius said.
"Like this," Sirius promptly said standing up on his seat. He waved his arms and yelled "HEY! HEY!"
James waved his wand and a loud bang sounded. The students fell quiet and the girls whispered upon seeing the infamous Sirius Black standing up before them.
The professors who were dining however, did not look amused.
"CAN I HAVE EVERYONE'S ATTENTION? GOOD!" Sirius yelled.
"I'D JUST LIKE TO SET THINGS STRAIGHT, THIS GIRL HERE AND I," Sirius pointed his finger down at Rowan who flushed and slid down her seat.
"ARE NOT GOING OUT! THANK YOU AND YOU CAN RESUME YOUR DINNER." Sirius sat down and Rowan slid completely out of her seat and hid underneath the table.
The Slytherins looked at him unimpressed and began talking amongst each other. However the majority of the female population looked greatly relieved.
"Well done mate. Way to be a huge egotistical git," Remus gave him a salute. Sirius grinned.
"Get up Rowan,"
"No, my dignity has been compromised beyond relief," a muffled reply came. Marlene tisked and patted her on the head.
"Come on Ro," Sirius coaxed.
Her head emerged and she resumed her seat. She looked at him coldly and then picked up her goblet of water. With a deft flick of her wrist Sirius was suddenly soaked with cold water.
"Big lumphead," she said crisply before getting up and stomping away from the dinner table.
Sirius sighed and grabbed a napkin. Wiping his face he gazed after her and swore.
"Mate sometimes you're reaaaaalllly dumb." James said.
"The obvious," Remus added.
Sirius glared at him and threw a breadroll at them. Unfortunately for him, McGonagall passed by them at that exact moment and said, "Five points from Gryffindor Mr. Black, and detention tomorrow night for your public announcement tonight."
"Yes Professor," Sirius answered tiredly. Once she left, Sirius swore again and ran a hand down his face.
"Mate, kill me now. Just please kill me now," he told James.
"I'll let Rowan have the pleasure of doing that," James replied returning to his dinner.
Rowan was in a thunderous mood for the next couple of days and Sirius did his best to steer clear of her. He knew that if he tried to apologize now she'd lop his head off.
She glared at her essay and sat back and rubbed her eyes. It was half past one in the morning and she was tired, frustrated, cold and hungry. She couldn't concentrate any more.
What she really felt, for the first time, in a long while, was tired. Physically tired. Her eyelids felt tired. Her eyeballs felt tired. She wanted to sleep so badly but she didn't know if her bloody body would let her.
Rowan wanted to scream. She just felt so….augh she couldn't find the words to describe how she felt right now.
It must be the stress of studying that must be getting to her finally.
She threw down her quill and got up stretching her arms overhead. Rowan rolled her shoulders and exhaled.
Rowan threw herself on the couch and shut her eyes. Her mind still whirled a million kilometers an hour.
She was so caught up in her thoughts she didn't even register the extra weight that was added on the couch. Then she felt someone smooth a finger over her brow.
Goosebumps erupted on her skin and her eyes flew open. Sirius's face registered and she inwardly sighed.
"Hey," he said softly.
"Do you want an early Christmas pressie?"
"I said, do you want an early Christmas present?" he repeated.
"Sirius what the hell are you prattling on about?"
"Just say 'yes' damnit,"
"Brilliant, c'mon, get up," Sirius stretched out a hand and tugged at her arm.
"Oh man Sirius, this better be good." Rowan warned him getting to her feet.
"It is, trust me,"
Sirius led her towards the Portrait Hole, but stopped her just before getting out.
"Here, come under this," Sirius slipped something silvery, fluid over her and she glanced around her.
"James' invisibility cloak," Sirius replied quietly exiting out of the Portrait Hole.
"Whoa, he has one of these?"
"Sorry, these things are really rare."
Throughout the long walk down to their destination, Sirius was suddenly struck by how distracted at how close Rowan was to him, and the times where she placed her hand on his chest or came even closer to him due to the fact that with two people underneath the cloak, those people had to be closer together in order to be properly covered.
This was a new feeling.
"Where are you taking me?" her breath tickled his ear.
"Here," he whispered finally stopping.
They stopped and Rowan carefully rose the cloak above her and looked up. She saw a giant pear.
"Why are we in the standing outside of a big arse pear?" she asked exasperated.
"For this," Sirius replied tickling the giant pear.
Sirius brought her to have pancakes, as a late, late dinner or an early, early breakfast.
Rowan grinned and poured maple syrup over her stack of pancakes and took a great whiff. It smelled so good.
"This has got to be the best early Christmas present ever mate,"
"And an apology all rolled into one," Sirius added.
She raised a carefully plucked eyebrow. "Oh really?"
"Yeah. Ro, I'm sorry for being such a git and putting you in that mess."
"Seriously Sirius you need to man up and just be a bastard and stop being polite to these twits." She grumbled.
Sirius chuckled and took a bite of his Belgian waffle.
"Yeah I know. Niceness."
"Barf." She said shortly.
"But I am sorry. Truly." He repeated sincerely.
Rowan softened and smiled grudgingly at him. "Apology accepted. You know what my weaknesses are."
"Pancakes and the allure of the unknown," Sirius promptly replied.
This time she tipped back her head and laughed. Sirius appreciated how her soft her skin looked and then he mentally slapped himself. Where the heck were these thoughts coming from?
"Ahh yes, the great unknown. That and the fact that literally anything is possible."
"Cheating death or coming back to life or being resurrected?" she said.
The pair of them sat for awhile enjoying their midnight (or rather 2 in the morning) breakfast, chatting and here and there Sirius realised that something had changed and he wasn't so sure if he liked the change.
He was starting to see her differently.
She was…this unknown factor, this mercurial little star that was always in beaming in his life.
Then he remembered what the lot of them had discussed about mates dating mates and how it could be a terrible, terrible idea. And Sirius inwardly winced at the sheer prospect of ruining his friendship with Rowan and never having her in his life completely.
Man life would be of the suck without her.
However the possible sense of complete disaster didn't deter him from doing somewhat that was either very, very stupid or very, very, nice.
A/N: I'd really appreciate if you could review. xoxoxo
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