“Yes, dad,” Bera drawled, giving Sirius daggers while his back was turned.
“I feel your eyes on my back,” he said in a sing-song voice, while he continued chopping vegetables.
“I honestly don’t see why you’re making soup,” Bera said in an irritable tone. “I got scratched by a werewolf, I didn’t come down with a case of the flu,” she drawled, playing with the bandage on her arm.
“It’s all the same to me,” Sirius muttered, placing the chopped vegetables into the broth.
“And since when do you cook!?” Bera shrieked. “Goodness, Sirius, when did you become my father instead of my boyfriend?”
“It’s not my fault that I just want to take care of you,” he sighed, seating himself beside Bera. They were at Grimmauld Place, but they weren’t alone. Regulus was lurking somewhere around the house, but didn’t bother coming anywhere near the two love birds. Mrs. Black had gone out to run some errands in Diagonalley and wouldn’t be back until later on that day.
Bera was spending a few nights at Grimmauld Place so that Sirius could basically treat her like a baby. There was nothing wrong with her! So, yeah, her arm still hurts every once in awhile and she has the occasional temper tantrum, but she was just fine! It’s not like she took a bludger to the shoulder and fell from a broomstick to fall to her death, though, that did happen before. Ironically enough, Sirius was the one to hit her with the bludger.
Bera snorted to herself at the memory. “What’s so funny?” Sirius asked, smirking at her.
“It’s just the way you’re babying me...it made me remember the Quidditch match last year when you almost killed me,” she said, laughing at the thought. She began laughing louder and louder.
“I don’t see what’s so funny about that,” he said in a serious tone. He never liked that topic. He could never get over the fact that he’d almost killed the girl he loved. “And I was under some sort of potion.”
Bera gasped for air as she continued to laugh. She pounded her fist on her table. “The irony,” she said, choking on her own laughter. “I mean...you almost killed me six months ago,” she roared. “And now we’re engaged!”
Sirius didn’t see what was funny. “And?”
“It’s such a joke!” Bera roared, still laughing her heart out and pounding her fist on the table.
Sirius held his tongue, but looked at Bera as though he had no idea who she was anymore. What she had just said hurt him a lot and it didn’t even seem as though she cared. In fact, she was rather insensitive--and Bera Zabini was never exactly insensitive towards others’ feelings. “So you think this entire relationship is a joke?” He asked, biting the inside of her cheek.
Bera heard Sirius’ tone and the laughter subsided and the smile disappeared from her face. “What? No, no, no!” She said hurriedly. “That’s not what I meant, Sirius!” She said.
“No, it’s fine. I get it.” He muttered.
“Sirius! I didn’t mean it that way!” She said in a pleading tone.
“I’m really trying, Bera,” he said in a casual tone.
“Trying to what?” She asked.
“I’m trying to keep my patience with you,” he sighed. “You’re so irritable and just about everything I do, you snap at me for,” he muttered.
“I don’t mean to,” Bera said. “I really don’t--I don’t even realise I’m doing it,” she said apologetically. “But, lately everything just makes me so-so--”
“Exactly!” She said. “I honestly don’t mean to Sirius,” she said, placing a hand on his shoulder. She looked into his eyes to show him that she was telling the truth. “Do you believe me?”
“Yes, Bera, I believe you,” he sighed, hugging her tightly. “I’m sorry about treating you like this, by the way,” he said quietly. “It’s just...I don’t want to lose you...I’ve already lost my father, I can’t lose you, too.” Sirius hugged Bera even tighter. “It’s just that you were so close..to...to, well, you know.” he said. “I’m sorry for leaving you alone like that.”
“It’s not your fault, Sirius,” she said, rubbing his back in a soothing manner. “I’m the one who got lost, don’t blame yourself,” she said. “I’m alright..I’m just a little different.”
“If I didn’t leave you alone in those woods, you’d probably be the same,” he muttered.
“Sirius! I’m not dead! Can you at least be thankful for that?” She asked. “Please.” She said, looking into his eyes once again. “Just please.”
“Alright,” he sighed. “I never want to lose you. Ever. I don’t care what the circumstances are,” he said. “You’ll always be my Mini Zabini.”
“I still hate that name,” Bera chuckled.
“I know,” Sirius said in a smug tone, running his fingers through Bera’s hair. “Why don’t you go lay down in my room for a little while and take a nap while I finish cooking your lunch.” Bera frowned at Sirius. “You need to rest, the more sleep you get, the less irritable you’ll be later.”
“Fine,” Bera sighed. “I’ll be upstairs,” she said, standing up from the chair and leaning down to place a quick kiss on his lips, but he quickly turned his head so that she kissed him on the cheek instead. Bera stood up straight and glared down at him.
She felt frustration flow through her as she looked down at Sirius. “What the bloody hell was that for? Do you think you’re going to get werewolf germs or something?!” She hissed.
“No, of course not, love,” he sighed. “Please, go upstairs and lay down. You’re getting snappy again.”
“No, are you afraid to kiss me on the lips?” She snapped. “As a matter of fact, you haven’t kissed me not once since I’ve been back!”
“I know, I know,” he muttered.
“So, what’s the problem?!” She seethed.
Sirius got slightly scared. “It’s just..Well, it’s because...You see...You’re just so...,” he struggled to find the word until he finally said, “Fragile.”
“‘Fragile’? You think I’m fragile?” Bera asked. “Sirius, I can beat you up! I’ve taken a billion bludgers to the head! I’m Slytherin Quidditch Captain! There’s nothing fragile about me!” She said exasperatedly.
“I know...but, that stuff has nothing to do with me kissing you,” he said. “You’re fragile in the romantic-relationship way,” he said.
“But, why did you kiss me on the platform?”
“I wanted to do that since fourth year, for one,” he said as though it were the most obvious thing. “That was also the only way you’d listen to me, believe that I truly had feelings for you, and genuinely wanted to be with you,” he said.
“Since fourth year?” Bera asked, raising an eyebrow. “You fancied me back in fourth year?”
“Yeah,” Sirius said with a nod.
“Wait, wasn‘t I just angry at you!?” Bera said angrily. Sirius rolled his eyes. “So you won’t kiss me because I’m fragile?”
“Yeah,” he muttered.
“So when are you really going to kiss me?”
“I’m not sure, actually.”
“You’re scared,” Bera said, suddenly.
“What? I am not,” Sirius said in a defensive tone.
“You are too.”
“I am not!”
“Yes, you are.”
“Just take your nap already!” Sirius shouted.
Bera eyed Sirius, folding her arms. “Fine.” She stated, finally making her way upstairs to Sirius’ room, which was directly across from Regulus’ room. As she made it to the top of the stairs, hoping that he wouldn’t come out of his room, if he was in there.
As Bera made her way to Sirius’ door, she placed her hand on the knob to turn it, but suddenly stopped herself and turned to glance at Regulus’ door.
She had barely glanced at Regulus’ door for half a second before the door had opened. He walked out of the door, running his fingers through his hair with one hand and was carrying a book in the other. He saw Bera standing there and his eyes widened for a second. It was quite unexpected to see Bera just staring at his door like that.
It made him slightly happy, giving him butterflies. The butterflies almost threw him off balance when he locked eyes with Bera, who quickly looked away. “Er, hi,” he muttered looking at the floor. He hurried down the steps as quickly as he could before Bera could get even so much as a ‘hello’ to escape from her lips.
She shrugged to herself and opened Sirius’ door. She entered his room and slipped off her shoes and neatly placed them by the door. She walked over to Sirius’ bed and lifted the thick sheets and rolled into his soft bed. She sighed happily to herself, seeing as it felt so good to rest. Sirius was right; the rest would do her good.
As Sirius continued to cook Bera’s lunch, he sighed to himself. Hopefully these side effects weren’t permanent. He wouldn’t be able to live with a cranky Bera for the rest of his life. One day he would do just the wrong thing at the wrong time and that would be the end of Sirius. Sirius chuckled to himself at the thought of being murdered by Bera.
It would be quite comic, in a sense. If Sirius were in someone else’s shoes, he’d laugh at himself. Bera could keep him amused in the strangest of ways, even when she wasn’t in the room.
His mind wandered to the thoughts of her being frustrated at the fact that he wouldn’t kiss her. Bera was too special. He cared for her too much. He wanted to move things slow. They had a whole year to just enjoy everything while they could before they were married.
He didn’t want to rush things, but then again, the least he could do was just kiss her on the lips every once in awhile. He’d already done it once, and now she wants it to be a regular thing. Would that be what would happened if the two decided to take things further in the next few weeks, month, or even year?
He sighed, that wouldn’t do. He wanted this relationship to last. He didn’t want Bera distracted from her studies. Even after their marriage, he wanted her to still be focused on school.
“You’re cooking?” Sirius heard from behind him. He turned to see his younger brother.
“Yes, for Bera, actually,” Sirius stated.
“So..does she know about...you know?” Regulus asked, with a smug smirk on his lips.
“Of course she bloody doesn’t know! I would be murdered! Would you like to be attending a second funeral in less than a month!?” He shrieked.
“If it’s your funeral and Bera is the murderer, yes, actually,” Regulus stated, seating himself at the table. “I would send her a dozen white roses every single day until the day I die as she spent the rest of her lovely days in rotting away in Azkaban.”
“Very funny,” Sirius drawled. “Of course she doesn’t know,” Sirius muttered. “It didn’t mean anything.”
“Is that why you won’t kiss her?” Regulus asked suddenly.
Sirius immediately stopped what he was doing and turned to face him. “No,” he stated coldly.
“Oh,” Regulus shrugged as he opened his book.
“How the hell--?”
“I heard her shouting at you about it from my bedroom. She has developed quite a temper, hasn’t she?” He asked. “It’s amusing, really.”
“Stop talking about her like she’s some sort of animal!” Sirius grunted.
“Well, she does have animal-like traits,” Regulus snickered, knowing that he was getting under his brother’s skin.
“What do you want?” Sirius muttered.
“Nothing, actually,” Regulus shrugged, looking down at his book. He grinned to himself smugly. It made him happy that Sirius’ and Bera’s relationship was having problems already. It was only a matter of time before things started going wrong slowly; one-by-one. Things would get worse. He was sure of it.
It was in Sirius’ nature to screw up everything in his life that begins goes well, after all.
“Bera, wake up,” Sirius said in a soft voice.
“What?” Bera grunted, rolling over onto her back.
“I have your lunch,” he said, glancing at the tray on his bedside table.
“I’m not hungry,” Bera muttered, burying her face in one of Sirius’ pillows.
“Bera, you’ve only been asleep for 20 minutes!” He sighed. “Get up,” he said, shaking her.
“Fine, fine,” she muttered sitting up. “I’m so tired,” she murmured, resting her forehead on Sirius’ shoulder.
“Alright, well drink the soup and eat the vegetables and take your potion, and then you can go back to sleep,” he said. “I have to go to Gringotts to get some money from my vault.”
“For what?” Bera muttered, looking up at Sirius.
“It’s nothing,” he muttered. “Just make sure you eat.”
“I will, I will,” Bera yawned. “See you later,” she said, giving him a lazy half-smile.
“See you,” he said, grinning at his beautiful girlfriend. He stood up from his bed and placed the tray in front of her. He left Bera to her meal and began to head for the door, but he suddenly stopped.
Sirius hesitated before he turned around and walked quickly back over to Bera. “One more thing,” he said as he cupped Bera’s face in his hands and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Bera looked at Sirius in shock as he removed his hands from her face and smiled. “See you,” he said.
“Bye,” she said softly, feeling a smile play at the corners of her lips. She hadn’t been expecting that, but she liked it. She wanted to kiss him again, but wasn’t sure if he would let her.
Bera ate her soup in silence and placed the tray on the bedside table, once again. She stood up from the bed and picked up the vial from the tray. She glared at the blue potion that rested within it. She hated taking this potion because it tasted of cinnamon.
Generally, one would be happy to take a potion that tasted of cinnamon, but not Bera. When Bera had attended a ball that her parents had hosted when she was about eight years old, she had eaten too many cinnamon pastries and had continuously thrown up later on that night. Now even the smell of cinnamon makes Bera want to gag.
So, taking this potion was like a repeat of last Christmas. It sent shivers down her spine thinking of how many times she had thrown up that day. This potion was indeed her worst nightmare corked up in a tiny glass vial.
Bera took a deep breath before opening the vial and pinching her nose. She poured the potion down her throat and almost threw up right there, but swallowed it down.
Once she had completely swallowed the potion, Bera coughed for about a full minute before rushing down stairs and pouring herself a glass of water and drinking the entire glass.
“Thirsty?” She heard from behind her. She turned to face Regulus, who had a smug grin on his lips.
“No, actually,” Bera muttered. “I just had to take my potion and I almost threw up.”
Regulus furrowed his brow. “Why?”
“It’s cinnamon flavored,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
Bera could have sworn that she almost saw Regulus smile. “Oh, yes, I remember,” he muttered in amusement. “And how many times a day do you have to take this potion?”
“Three,” Bera replied, rolling her eyes. There was a lingering silence between the two. “Well, I’m heading upstairs to take a nap,” she announced as she began to head for the stairs.
“Bera, wait,” Regulus sighed. Bera stopped walking and turned to face her ex-best friend.
“What?” She asked softly.
“You don’t have to keep ignoring me like this,” he said, looking her in the eye. “I know you don’t hate me anymore.”
“What makes you so sure?” She asked, folding her arms.
“I know you better than anyone,” he said, smirking. “You can’t hold a grudge forever.”
“And?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Well, first I want to say that my offer still stands,” he said. “Secondly, I would like to be friends with you again, because I miss you and I love you,” he sighed.
Bera remembered what offer he was talking about. He still wanted to be with her, despite the fact that she was engaged to his brother. Bera knew that when Regulus said that he loved her that he didn’t mean it in a brotherly way. He really loved her.
“You’re too late,” Bera said, looking him in the eye. “But, if you want to be friends, I think that we could try,” she said. “Just friends.”
“But, would you just--”
“Regulus, no,” she said firmly. “Just friends,” she repeated.
Regulus sighed deeply. “Alright, friends,” he agreed. Bera turned on her heel to head upstairs to get back to that longly awaited nap. “Wait,” Regulus said.
“Yes?” Bera asked impatiently and slightly irritably, turning to face Regulus, once again. She crossed her arms and waited for him to say whatever he needed to say.
“Were you really rushing upstairs to take a nap, or were you really avoiding me?” He asked curiously.
Bera bit her lip before hesitantly replying. “Yes and no,” she said. “Yes, because I wasn’t exactly sure how a full conversation with you would turn out,” she muttered. “And no, because I actually am tired and am in desperate need of a nap.”
Regulus grinned to himself at Bera’s answer, knowing he could never speak to Bera without smiling. “Why?” Bera asked suddenly.
“I was wondering if whether or not you’d like to play a quick game of Wizards’ Chess?” he asked.
Bera rolled her eyes and sighed to herself, trying to hold back a smile. “Sure, why not? But--this game getter be quick,” she warned.
“Checkmate,” Bera said with a sly grin on her lips as she observed the chessboard.
“What?” Regulus said dumbfoundedly with his eyes tracing over the chessboard over and over until he sighed in defeat. “I always used to beat you!”
“Yeah, ‘used’ being the keyword,” Bera grinned.
“No way! You definitely cheated!” Regulus said in mock anger.
“I did not!” Bera argued with the same tone. “I won fair and square.”
“You didn’t!” Regulus argued.
“What’s going on?” Sirius asked, poking his head into the kitchen.
“Bera cheated at chess!” Regulus said in a child-like tone, pointing an accusing finger at Bera.
“I did not,” she said, standing up from the table and making her way over to Sirius and hugging him.
“Right,” Sirius muttered as he hugged Bera back tightly.
Regulus looked away as an unwelcome feeling crept to his stomach. He’d forgotten all about Sirius and was enjoying his time with Bera; it reminded him of the old days. But, if Bera ever returned his feelings again, his offer still stood. His would always love Bera Zabini.
Yay, chapter 3! What’d you think?
And speaking of Regulus, I’m planning on writing an alternate ending to The Ballad of Bera Zabini for those of you who wanted Bera to end up with Regulus, instead of Sirius. I think I’ll start posting it after I get a few more chapters up on this story.