“So Taylor how about I give you my present now?” Sirius whispered into Alex's ear and she jumped up in surprise and almost knocked over Remus's owl.
“Jeez Black! Do you really have to creep up on me like that? Have some boundaries.”
“I know a good demonstration where boundaries are broken, would you like to help me show and explain Remus what it is? Don't worry, there wouldn't be so much explaining involved, mostly just the showing, a lot and a lot of showing...” he said slowly, glancing up and down Alex in a slimy manner.
“I will punch you,” Alex said in a dead-serious voice.
“So you're into that all that kinky aggressive stuff,” he said licking his lips.
“You know what? Just show off, if you can't contain yourself go and jerk-off in the toilets!”
“Alex? What was that?” James asked bewildered.
“I just have enough of him!”
“Well then maybe I'll do that, oh and look Tiffany's there! I'll ask her to help!” he gave them a devilish grin and walked away.
“How was your Christmas Peter?” Remus asked, smoothly changing the subject.
“It was fine,” Peter pipped.
“I got another really descriptive book about becoming an animagus!” James told them excitedly, “It's really old, I nicked it from my uncle's library.”
“This is spinning out of control,” Remus groaned, “You're going to get yourselves killed and I'm going to have to live with the guilt.”
“Light up Moony, it's all going to be a-ok,” James patted him on the back and then lifted his suitcase up on the shelf in the compartment.
“A-ok? Did you travel back in time to one of those weird old time movies?” Alex raised her eyebrows at James.
“Sorry,” he sighed in explanation, “My mum likes to watch them during the holidays.”
“For once I can say I am really not looking forward to going back to Hogwarts,” Alex heaved herself into the train seat and started staring into the moving countryside.
“I have a feeling this is going to be a hard semester, all the professors were saying they were going easy on us until the holidays and that January was when the real deal begins. Plus I have Quidditch practices and knowing Sean, he isn't anywhere close to lighting up, not with the Quidditch cup at stake. We have only one match left, but it's against Slytherin and that isn't going to be easy.”
“We'll win for sure,” James said confidently, “I believe in every single member of the team, my faith is with you.”
“That's very inspirational and all, but on top of that we have Slughorn's stupid dinner parties and, if we want to get any further to transforming we will need to work really hard. The holidays have only just finished and I'm already so tired,” Alex yawned and rested her head on the window.
Nobody said anything for a few minutes and that's all it took for Alex to nod off. She dreamed a strange dream, where her sister was excepted to Hogwarts, but then sorted into Slytherin. Alex tried to get the sorting hat to change it's mind, but it wouldn't and then suddenly Izzy was a few years older and Alex was watching her from the Gryffindor table. The younger girl was laughing with her Slytherin friends, but there was some sort of coldness about her. And then Lucius walked up to her and kissed her straight on the mouth, hugging her around her waist and putting his hand beneath her skirt on her thigh. This was more then Alex ever wanted to see or take, but the dream wouldn't change and she could only watch her little sister flirting with the blond-haired boy.
“No, Izzy, no.”
“Alex wake up,” Sirius gently shook her and Alex opened her eyes to meet a pair of concerned gray ones.
“What happened?” she groggily asked.
“You fell asleep, is everything alright? What did you dream? You were shaking and talking,” Sirius said, the panic visible from his voice, though he tried hard to contain it.
“Oh, I'm fine,” Alex said, removing a strand of hair from her face.
“Are you sure?” Sirius asked, still not budging away and was inspecting her face closely for any signs of trauma.
“Really, I'm quite alright. I just had a dream about Izzy, it's nothing to worry about.”
“If you're sure...” Sirius said, not looking convinced, but he did move away and sat opposite Alex.
“What time is it? It seems to be getting dark already,” Alex said peering out the window.
“It's just after four, you know how quickly the sun sets in the winter, it feels like we have less of the day,” Remus explained.
“Wow, I was gone for a really long time.”
“Did you not get a good night's sleep?” Peter asked.
“Basically I haven't been sleeping well for the entire vacation, I just have this restless feeling all the time,” Alex said.
“Do you think it might have anything to do with Tom Riddle and all your dreams? Are they coming back?” Sirius asked, his eyes full of worry.
“Sirius you are such a drama queen, this has nothing to do with it.” Alex told him.
“I still think you should go and talk to Dumbledore,” Sirius pushed.
“No way! I am not going to see the headmaster just because I'm having trouble sleeping. I'm sure it's just some hormonal change or stress from school. If I'm not worried, there is absolutely no reason for you to be.”
“What do you guys think?” Sirius asked the other three, hoping to get support from the male population.
“Don't drag them into this,” Alex warned.
“We're your friends, we can tell you what we think,” James said.
“I think you should take care of yourself and, if you still have trouble sleeping after we get back to Hogwarts you should see Dumbledore or at least madam Pomfrit,” Remus told her kindly.
“I agree, we don't want to lose you.” James told her.
Alex was touched by this, but still thought they were overreacting immensely.
“You guys, nothing is going to happen to me! I can't sleep because I am worried about school and Quidditch and becoming an animagus. This has absolutely nothing to do with the crap that happened last year, I am sure of it,” she told them firmly.
There was a knock on the door and a little first-year peeped into the compartment shyly.
“Yes?” Remus asked kindly.
“I have these from professor Slughorn,” he told them, pulling four purple invitations from beneath his robe and handing them out, Peter again not getting one.
“Argh,” Sirius groaned loudly in despair at the purple ribbon and it seemed to scare the little boy.
“It's ok, you can go, thank you,” James dismissed him and then added, “I definitely wasn't so small and skinny when I was a first-year.”
“Shh, he can still hear you! Do you really want to take away the ounce of self-esteem that he has left?” Alex scolded him.
“But he's so small,” James hissed.
“He'll grow into it and just for the record, you were even skinnier,” Alex smiled smugly.
“I was not!”
James had the genes that absolutely every piece of clothing hung from him like an oversized stretched jumper and he could eat all he want, but he still stayed thin as a stick. Although in the last year he did gain some muscle weight, so he didn't look so abnormally skinny next to Sirius or Remus, who were both broad-shouldered and quite muscular.
“Oh the horror,” Sirius gaped as he untied the purple ribbon and straightened the parchment.
Alex quickly read hers.
Dear special student,
As a lot of you were unable to attend my Christmas party in December (Alex begged Sean, for hers, James's and Sirius's sake, to schedule an emergency Quidditch practice on that date, so that they wouldn't have to attend) I have decided to host a little post-Christmas gathering for all of you in hope that we will celebrate the holidays in each others jolly company. The dinner-party will take place on the following Friday, I'm hoping you all will be free and ready to attend.
prof. Horace Slughorn
“He's a little minx, that one!” Alex shrieked after reading the invitation.
“He made sure that we got the invitations before we even got to school so none of us had made any plans, arrangements, set up practices or landed ourselves detention. We have to go, there is no way out of it,” she shook her head.
“Maybe I could still convince Mcgonagall to give me detention...” Sirius mused.
“What do you have in mind?” James asked.
“I'm thinking something with leeches, ink and half a pound of bananas.”
“You had me at leeches,” James agreed.
“No way you guys! You are not abandoning me!” Alex complained.
“Do you want in on our prank too Taylor?” Sirius looked at her.
“No! But you are going to the Slug dinner, both of you!” she told them sternly.
“You're not my mother, you can't tell me what to do,” James whined.
“You'll have Moony there for moral support,” Sirius told her.
“No, Sirius you have to go. Otherwise Slughorn will regret giving you that permission slip, you already missed the last party,” Alex pointed out, “We are going, it's final.”
“Fine,” James groaned, “you're worse than my mother,” he grumbled under his breath and Alex rolled her eyes.
“Like little children,” she said to herself, shaking her head.
“So Alice, I haven't gotten the chance to talk to you yet,” Alex said on Friday when they were already “mingling”-as Slughorn liked to call it- at the post-Christmas party.
“Hi Alex,” the girl smiled gently.
“So, good news about the whole Frank-Christmas card thing, I sure didn't get one. You go girl!” she encouraged her.
“I really hope it means something,” Alice said wishfully.
Alex knew the girl well enough to not suggest again, that she should just ask Frank out.
“What about a little lively music? Are you ready to have some serious fun?” Slughorn yelled and at that moment all the lights dimmed down and music started blasting from all around them.
“Is he serious?” Alice raised her eyebrows, laughing.
“It looks like it,” Alex looked around in disbelief, as people were actually starting to dance.
“Slughorn managed to get some enthusiasm into them.”
“Ok, now I know that I never want to see Eric dancing again,” Alex pointed to the corner where a patient Lily was trying to teach her boyfriend at least the bases of moving with the music.
“Poor Lily,” Alice smiled sympathetically.
“Look there's Frank, why don't you at least go dance near him?” Alex gave her friend a little push.
“I can't,” Alice shook her head.
“Yes you can, come on, I'll go with you.”
Alice gradually agreed and they danced their way to the other side of the room, where soon Frank and Alice were dancing next to each other, sending shy glances each others way.
“Young love,” Alex smiled and wiped and imaginary tear of her cheek.
“It really get's you, doesn't it?” suddenly Matthew appeared, laughing.
“We're acting like an old emotional couple.”
“So, would you like to dance Agatha? That sounds like an old person's name, right?”
“It would be my pleasure Ernesto, my dear old husband,” Alex laughed and took his offered hand.
“You know this reminds me of a time when I was young and full of energy, it was a warm summer night and there was a garden party at my great-aunt's place,” Matthew continued to play his role.
“Oh, yes, the blossoms filled the air with a thickly sweet smell and we drank tea and did nothing interesting at all,” Alex laughed loudly and raised her hands to dance with the rhythm of the music.
They danced for a few more songs and then decided to go and get a drink.
“There you go, it's not the kind of tea you like, but it's good old pumpkin juice,” Matthew handed a glass to her.
“Oh thank you Ernesto, this reminds me of our old Hogwarts days,” Alex said dramatically.
“What are you talking about?” James popped up from nowhere.
“Yes, and who's Ernesto?” Sirius followed.
Alex glanced at Matthew and they both burst into fits of laughter.
“What is happening here?” Sirius gave James an “are they crazy?” look.
“I have no idea and who is this Ernesto?” James shrugged.
“Oh no one, just an old friend,” Alex managed to say.
“You have an old friend named Ernesto?” Sirius asked in disbelief.
“Oh yes,” Alex nodded dead-seriously.
“Well more importantly-I have an old friend named fire-whiskey,” Sirius pulled out a little flask from underneath his coat.
“Where did you get that from?” Alex hissed.
“If I told you, I'd have to kill you,” he said and took a swig out of the flask, “Want some?” he whispered into her ear.
“Ew, no thanks and your breath stinks.”
“Give me some of that,” James pulled the fire-whiskey out of Sirius's hand.
“Alex!” Lily came running up to her, “You have to help me! I cannot dance with Eric anymore, he sucks!”
“Oh well, I guess that's where you made a mistake by picking him. I am a jaw-dropper on the dance-floor,” James said, tugging on his robes and running his hand through his hair.
“Ew Potter you smell! Have you been drinking?” Lily asked bewildered.
“No,” James said with a guilty look on his face and quickly hid the bottle behind him.
“Whatever,” Lily rolled her eyes, “Will you come dance with me?” she pulled Alex towards the dance-floor.
“Is Eric really that bad?” Alex asked when they started moving to a quick song by a band named the fire-hippogriffs.
“At first I thought he would pick it up as we went along, but that boy is a lost cause,” Lily said.
“How will you guys dance at your wedding?” Alex joked.
“I don't know, I'll have to figure something out,” Lily said seriously.
“Lily, you aren't joking?” Alex started freaking-out slightly, “Do you really think you're going to marry him? You've been together for a few months!”
“I know Alex, I'm not stupid,” she rolled her eyes, “We're only thirteen or in his case fourteen, I know it's quite far-fetched to think we'll be together forever, but I really like him.”
“Despite his dancing skills?” Alex laughed.
“Despite his dancing skills,” Lily agreed.
“Mind if we join you pretty ladies?” James asked, wiggling his way in between Lily and Alex, closely followed by Sirius and Remus.
They danced in a circle for a while, chit-chatting in between and singing the lyrics to songs as they went along.
“I must say this is the best Slug-dinner/party I've been to yet,” Sirius said.
“That's because it's the only one you've been to,” Alex said.
“Oh yeah, right,” Sirius seemed a bit confused, “Then maybe it's not so good, because it drags on and seems like it's at least half a dozen dinners in one.”
“Now you're just not making any sense,” Remus shook his head.
“Well I can safely say that it's the best one I've been to,” James said.
“That's because at the last ones you didn't have your two best friends with you,” Sirius grinned.
“Two?” Alex asked in confusion.
“Me of course, and fire-whiskey!”
“Ok, you are starting to get to drinking topics here and since I am not interested, I will go and find Eric. I owe him a few more dances,” Lily said.
“I'll join you, I'm going to get something to drink,” Remus said, leaving them.
“I guess it's just us three,” James said, “Well you know what they say: three's a company, four's a crowd.”
They all moved in so that they made a smaller circle.
“Do you remember the day you came knocking on my door?” James started reminiscing.
“I was scared out of my pants, I thought your mother was going to bite my head off,” Alex laughed.
“The last thing I expected on that day was that a little pixie-haircut muggle-born girl would come knocking on my door.”
“I sure didn't expect that I would gain such a friend that day,” Alex smiled.
“And do you remember how you hated Sirius when you first met him?” James laughed.
“Yeah well, things sure have changed since then,” Alex said, glancing at Sirius who gave her a smile and they shared a moment that only they could, “but I still hate you, just a tiny bit,” she laughed.
“I bet you do,” Sirius grinned.
“Did you know how nervous Sirius was on the first day? He practically strangled me, just so that he would have something to do,” James continued.
“Why were you so nervous?” Alex asked, but as she said it, she realized what the answer was, “Oh yeah, you were worried about getting sorted into Slytherin.”
“Thank god I jumped that bear-trap,” Sirius said, relieved.
“And do you know the hours he obsessed and obsessed over getting you to notice him Alex? He drove me absolutely mental- oh...”
James's face dropped suddenly as he realized what he had just said and a look of panic crossed Sirius's. Alex covered her mouth in realization.
“Ok, I've got to go,” James said quickly and fled into the crowd.
“You liked me?” Alex looked at Sirius for an explanation.
“No,” he answered.
“But James just said...”
“James is a little bit confused and a little bit drunk,” Sirius grinned taking Alex's hands in his and swinging her around the dance-floor then pulling her close to him.
“Wow Black, I didn't know you had it in you-the dancing I mean.”
“There's a lot of things you don't know about me, baby,” he whispered, for a second once again not being able to get out of his skin.
“Oh yeah, like the fact that you had a crush on me back in first year?” Alex teased, a smile spreading on her lips.
“No, now where did you get that from?” Sirius smirked.
“Just admit it.”
“When you admit that you found me irresistible, I mean look at me-who wouldn't?”
“I can't believe I am saying this, but yes I did think you were cute, sadly that impression was ruined the second you opened your mouth.”
“Oh, but you did think I'm cute,” he wiggled his eyebrows and spun Alex beneath his arm.
“Cute in a puppy-dog sort of way,” Alex giggled slightly.
“Oh come on! I am a man! You must have thought I was sexy, not cute.”
“Nah, I think the exact word I described you with was: cute,” she laughed again.
He pulled her to his hip and suddenly Alex was very aware of his hand on her hip and the fact that she was pressed very closely against his body. Sirius leaned into her so she could feel his breath on her neck and he whispered slowly: “And what do you think now? Am I still cute?”
She tilted her head to see his face and to asses, if he was just doing one of his supposedly charming flirting things. But she was met with a pair of grey eyes that seemed totally serious and he looked at her with a burning sensation that sent shivers down her spine and she started leaning in, closer and closer, their lips were just about to touch when suddenly reality came crashing down in shining light and Alex was slammed into a different world.
“What? How could this be possible?” the snake-like creature yelled.
“No,” Alex moaned, “Not again,” everything was dizzy and she was caught between two totally different surroundings, not being able to focus on either of them.
“I am not the only one? Another?” he hissed, grabbing his head with his long pale fingers.
“Alex! Alex! Are you there?”
She felt rage, burning rage that was not her own. Every inch of her was trembling with the pain of the heavy emotions. She started transforming into a different mind.
How could there be another? I thought I was the only one, this is not possible.
“Alex! Wake up!”
Everything collapsed in darkness.
A/N: Hello! So I know that a lot of people were disappointed with the last chapter and hopefully you liked this one more. I would also like to point out another thing: my first language is not English so please, if you find some spelling mistakes (feel free to point them out) but please don't be too harsh. I am doing my best and sometimes I spell a word which is actually correct (so the program doesn't underline it with red), but the meaning is different or something in that area. I do always read through everything, but of course some errors escape me. I am sorry.
Please tell me what you thing about this chapter. I have now already gone through a month of my summer vacation and I have rested well after a tough year, so you should be expecting fast updates as I plan on writing a lot! (:
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