Even though I’d been awake for less than twelve hours, I hadn’t slept all that much the night before, and the events of the night before had utterly tired me out. I was planning on spending the rest of the night playing games with the guys, goofing off and relaxing, but no one engaged me since they were all busy revising for exams after the break the night before. I was of the opinion that the professors all got together and conspired against us . . . I could just imagine McGonagall thrusting her first into the air and shouting, “Exams for everyone!”
I’m sure everyone else cheered at her. And I bet it was that bastard Snape who chimed in with, “And let’s make sure they’re all within two days of each other, right before Christmas holiday!”
The school week went by and by the time Saturday night rolled around, most of the decent members of the population at Hogwarts were really not up to too much. I supposed the complete blow-out the week before probably contributed to that. However, I needed entertaining. I had lost track of everyone, and with no usual fallback- Nicki- I was a bit lost for something to do. Obviously it wouldn’t be studying.
Even Potter was studying and that arsehole never took exams. He was always too busy saving the world, or being BFF’s with Dumbledore.
I should have been a world-saving arsehole.
I headed for the kitchens, as I usually did at this time of night. Dad said it was because I was so active, and Will said it was because being a douchebag required a lot more fuel that being a normal person; Mum said it was both. I was waiting for the stairs to change on the fifth floor when I heard a quiet sob from down the corridor.
Shit, shit! Run!
The staircase hadn’t even come fully up to the floor yet, but I leapt onto it and willed it to take me away as fast as it could. Crying people were not my forte. They made me bloody uncomfortable.
I got down to the kitchens and greeted my friends, the house elves. “Hey! Little buddies! What the fuck’s up?!”
“Mr. Black!” Sassy cried, breaking forward from the crowd of elves, all of whom looked almost exactly the same.
“Sassy!” I exclaimed back. Sassy was my favorite of the Hogwarts house elves. As her name would lead you to believe, she was extremely sassy, which I thought was hilarious.
“Mr. Black – what can I do for you?” she asked cheerfully.
I sat down on the floor and leaned up against one of the cupboards as I thought about what I might want to eat.
I made to choose, but then quieted down again. I always seemed to have quite a difficult time making choices. “What’s easy for you to put together?" I asked "I don’t want to put you out.”
Before Sassy could answer, my snarky little sister and Cat popped into the kitchens. “Why aren’t you that nice to people?”
I groaned and rolled my eyes. “For fuck’s sake, does everyone come to the kitchens at night?”
Lupin shrugged. “I think it’s just our family, what with Mum and Dad always gallivanting around the castle at night and genetically passing their troublesome natures to us.”
“Rhetorical question,” I sneered.
Lupin ignored my rebuff and went on being difficult. “Where are your friends? All finally left you?”
“How about a sundae?” I asked Sassy, choosing to pretend that Lupin wasn’t here.
As Sassy skipped away to prepare my delicious dessert, I sauntered over to Cat. She looked at me with a skeptical stare and backed away into the wall as I advanced on her. When she finally hit the wall I leaned over her and put my hand against it above her head, successfully boxing her in.
“Excuse me!” she cried, putting her hands on my chest and pushing me away. “But isn’t Seamus one of your best friends?!”
Smirking, I replied, “Well, yes. But I’ve been hitting on you since you were twelve. It’s all in good fun! And I’m certainly not going to change that just because you’re dating one of my best mates.”
Cat rolled her eyes and I backed away. I saw Lupin eyeing me like she wanted to murder me, so I decided not to test my luck. Also, I’d just seen Sassy running back over with my sundae. “Well, I’m out of here.” I made a face at Lupin and winked seductively at Cat before leaving the kitchens.
I took the first bite. Ah, Sassy, you’ve done it again.
I fell into distraction as I made my way back to the common room. I wasn’t looking forward to getting back. It wasn’t even midnight and nearly everyone would be asleep, or revising.
I was lost in thought until I reached the fifth floor, and I once again heard the quiet crying. This time, there was a voice, comforting the crying girl. What caused me to do what I did next? Well, I can’t call it anything other than morbid curiosity. Setting my sundae down on the ground I crept quietly toward the source of the noise.
“I can’t believe I’m crying. I don’t cry. I’m not a crier!” I heard a soft, sad voice claim.
“It’s okay, dear,” another voice soothed. “You’ve just had your heart broken by the biggest arse we know.”
“We weren’t even together,” the first voice piped up again, choking a little less than the first time. “I was just a stupid girl who fell for someone who could never fall back. I just . . . I just wish it hadn’t happened this way. I thought I was fine after that . . . Relapse . . . Last weekend, but I was wrong. I’m not over him.”
The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew whom the first voice belonged to. It was Nicki.
I gasped quietly and crept towards Nicki and her friend. I couldn’t imagine her crying. For Godric’s sake, it was Nicki! Most people believed I was thick, and perhaps they were right, but it didn’t take a genius to know that the thing that had her upset was what had happened between us.
“It’s okay,” Nicki’s friend said. “Just talk it out.”
I heard a sigh, and then Nicki started talking. “Well, when we started shagging, it was just a fun thing between two friends. Neither of us has ever been in a serious relationship, and neither of us wanted to be in one. I thought he was hot, and he thought I was hot, and everything worked so well.
“But I started to like him,” she continued. “The things he would do. I mean, the way he would put his arm around me when we were with his friends, and the cute, harmless way he poked fun at me. After we were, you know, together . . . He would hold me. He ran his hands up and down my back and let me stroke his hair. No guy had ever treated me so well before – oh, don’t start, I know you didn’t like him even before what happened – and, well, I don’t know, I just can’t imagine anyone else treating me like that again.”
Almost all of my concentration was going into listening, and the small remaining bit went into making sure I breathed so quietly that neither girl would hear me in the deathly quiet corridor.
“I kept trying to tell him, but I couldn’t get the words to come out. So, instead, all I could do was say the exact opposite of what I wanted. I kept repeating how I could never be in a relationship; those things were absolutely mad! I know you hate him, and you think that he’s an arse, but he didn’t know that I liked him. He didn’t realize that he was breaking my heart - ”
Breaking her heart?
“Breaking your heart?” Megan cut in, saying it like it was positively the most ridiculous thing in the world.
“Well, I’m being melodramatic,” Nicki clarified, “but I’ve never been rejected before and it hurts.”
“Oh, Nicki,” her friend chastised her. “He was sleeping with you while he was basically dating another girl. Does that not make him a terrible person?”
As I waited for Nicki’s response, I wished I could peak around the corner and see what was going on as well. Mum always said you could tell a lot about what a girl was thinking while watching her while she was talking.
“By definition,” Nicki said, after a long pause. “He probably isn’t that nice of a guy.”
Ouch . . . Well, we all knew it was true.
“But then I’m not that nice of a girl, either. And besides, I’ve done that to someone before.
“But I don’t feel wronged,” Nicki continued. “I mean, if I didn’t hate the bitch and her entire existence, I would feel bad for her. She probably doesn’t even know about me, and she certainly was wronged.”
It was true, Emma didn’t know about Nicki.
“I just. I really just wish I hadn’t gone and told him that I liked him. Stupid Drunk Nicki,” she grumbled. “When he told me that we needed to stop seeing each other because there was a girl he was talking to, and he believed they could ‘have a real relationship’ I played it so cool. I was as cool as the fucking arctic. He never had to know how I actually felt. I don’t know what I was thinking when I told him that I was into him. I think, deep down, I was hoping that when he found out that I liked him, he’d want to be with me instead of . . . Her. And now, I’m not only heartbroken, but shot in the pride and embarrassed as hell.”
“Well, the important thing is that you don’t go crawling back to him if he wants to shag again. At least, you have to play hard to get,” her friend advised.
At this, I chanced a peak around the corner. Nicki was sitting, leaned up against the corridor wall. Her friend – who I recognized as Megan – was sitting across from her, with an unpleasant, condescending look on her face.Compared to the red-nosed, puffy-eyed Nicki (who, incidentally, looked ready to burst into tears again at any moment,) she looked positively ferocious.
“You don’t think I’d like to be able to laugh in his face if he asked me again? But I’d be lying to both of us if I said that I would be able to. I like being with him. I don’t like that I do, but I do. Al doesn’t realize it, but he can be a really sweet guy, and I fell for him.”
“Nicki-” Megan began.
But Nicki jumped up and cut her off. “I’ve had just about enough of your criticism. I know that you’re trying to help, but you’re never going to understand what I feel, or why I feel it.”
Megan looked taken aback, she stood too.
“I know you hate him, and I appreciate that you do. It makes you a really good friend. But you should know better than anybody that the person you like isn’t always the one that you should.” Nicki cleared her throat and stood up straight. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to put the pieces of my life back together in time to begin revisions tomorrow."
I could honestly say that it was the only time in my life that I had thought this: I should have paid attention in class.
I was about to be a unicorn stuck in the headlights when a portrait a few steps away whispered, “Quick! Over here!” And swung open.
I took a split-second to thank Godric that I was a wizard and at Hogwarts before I leapt into the small compartment. The portrait swung closed in what I imagine was just in time. I heard muffled voices go by about a half a minute later. It couldn’t have taken them long to get to the staircase, but I waited in the painfully small space for a few extra minutes before pushing lightly on the back of the portrait.
I hopped out, straightened my clothes and turned towards the portrait.
“Thanks,” I said. “It was a little cramped, though."
The portrait - a beautiful woman of about twenty or so, dressed in long flowing robes of a few centuries previous - smirked at me. "Well, I can make the space bigger, but to be honest, you seemed a bit of an arse." She gave me one last supercilious look before I turned away, rolling my eyes. These oldies could be so cranky.
I was about to refute her claim, but then Nicki's sobs echoed most unpleasantly through my head. The familiar guilty feeling reached it's way into my gut once more.
I pushed it away and decided to go find my sundae.
“Yeah, I rather am.” I said, and quickly turned my back on the portrait.
I headed back to the staircase, exhausted and ready for bed. Unfortunately, my sundae was gone. My delicious, chocolatey, creamy sundae.
Sometimes, those house elves were too good at their jobs.
Now I had no way of keeping the newfound information from my mind.
It was insane to hear the same story from Nicki’s side. The previous weekend she’d assured me that she didn’t like me anymore. I guess that’s what she thought.
I’d never taken Nicki for the emotional type.
Should I talk to her about it?
No, no, that would be mad. I went through all the trouble to keep her from knowing I’d eavesdropped.
Besides, she’d probably be terribly embarrassed if she knew . . . She seemed embarrassed to be crying at all.
And I don't want to mess this up even more by telling her I know about her...
I arrived at the portrait of the fat lady, mumbled, “Sarcophagus,” and dragged myself inside. Most of my friends were sitting around and studying.
I caught sight of Nicki, sitting alone at a desk, looking over her notes. There were no traces of the red of puffy eyes and nose from a few minutes before. I walked up to her, putting aside what I’d seen once I remembered that I still had to thank her. “Nicki?” I said, as I walked up to her.
She turned around and her face was an unreadable as they come. “Yeah?”
I sat down in the chair next to her. “I just wanted to thank you. Lupin told me what you did. I know you didn’t want anyone to know you were involved and it really means a lot to me.”
Nicki smiled a small smile at me. It was nothing like her usual toothy grin. “Well, I realized how much it meant to you. I just wanted to be a good friend. If I get a few days of detention, well, so what? It won’t kill me.”
How am I friends with someone who’s so damn nice? How can she even stand being around me?
“Well, you’re revising. I don’t want to keep you from studying. I just wanted you to know that I was really grateful."
She nodded at me and then turned back to her notes and books. I sighed to myself and decided I was going to go to bed before any other bad things could happen
I lay in my four-poster for what seemed like hours, but was probably only a half hour or so. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d heard, and I didn't know what to think of any of it.
Why couldn't things just have stayed the way the were? It was a perfect arrangement, really. A nice shag, and then just back to friends. How come it had to get so complicated so fast?
Every time I thought back over the last week and the last few hours, guilt pooled more and more in my stomach. I knew it wasn't entirely my fault, but that didn't mean I couldn't have handled the whole thing far better than I had.
But Nicki knew how she felt, more than I did. And when she had said she was over it, I had believed her. Nicki didn't like relationships. She was a no-strings-attatched, let's-keep-it-casual, no-L-word kind of girl. And now I was breaking her bloody heart!? I didn't know her heart could be broken!
I decided I was just going to put it out of my mind for now, considering meddling would only make things worse.
I wished several things: that I’d never gone down to the kitchens, that I’d never opened that letter that Nicki sent me, and even that I’d never started getting together with Nicki at all.
But I disagreed with my last thought before it was even fully formed. Being with Nicki had been great, and it was always a blast. And she really had meant more to me than just a fling.
I groaned out loud as I rolled over.
I hadn’t even realized he’d been in here, but Dean called out from the shadows, “You better not be doing what I think you’re doing.”
“I’m not, you arse.” I made a rude hand gesture towards him even though I knew he wouldn’t be able to see it in the dark.
Nothing more from Dean.
It’s a good thing Christmas hols are coming, I thought. Because I just need to get away from Hogwarts for a little while.
And then I remembered how ridiculous my family was and thought it might be safer to stay at Hogwarts.
A/N: There you have it, y'all! I'm sure everyone can tell that their story isn't quite over but it's on hold for a while as the Black family heads home for Christmas hols! Sirius P.O.V. next time!
A/N2: And, as always, a big thank you to BellaCamille who is going to have her work cut out for her as she attempts to make my next chapter readable, haha!