Chapter 5 : A Matter of Immense Confusion
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The first few weeks of school flew right past me; it was always like that with the initial happiness of being back at school before the same old drudgery set in.
On the last Saturday of September, the grounds of Hogwarts had turned into a beautiful patchwork quilt of brown, red and orange. Lily, Maia, Alice and I found ourselves picking our way through this patchwork of autumn leaves to the pitch.
Quidditch trials started today, and despite the fact Mary had been on the team since third year, she still wanted us around for moral support.
We had finally made our way up into the stands, where we found another group of spectators – Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew and Sirius Black. Of course they were there to support James as well. Not that he needed it. It was hinted James was the best chaser that Hogwarts had seen in the last fifty years. Sirius and Peter seemed to recognise that, as they cheered loudly and fist pumped whenever he scored a goal. This was to Remus’ great embarrassment. He appeared to be trying to distance himself from his friends when they did that.
Lily and I looked at each other and nodded in agreement. She took a deep breath and put on her friendliest expression. “Hi Remus,” Lily greeted him cheerfully, settling into the same row as the boys. “Pettigrew. Black,” she said, nodding her head in the direction of the others as a form of recognition.
“Hello, Evans. I didn’t expect to see you out here. Is it because you finally want to profess your undying love for Potter?” Sirius joked.
See. This is what I meant. Sirius Black was the most confusing person ever. One minute I began to think he could be a little mature and nice to talk and then he goes and starts joking around.
“Of course not. We’re here to give our moral support to Mary!” Lily replied haughtily, and promptly decided to take the furthest seat away from him next to Peter.
We'd all agreed to help Maia in her bid to gain Remus' affection, even if it meant bearing the annoyance of being around the rest of them. To be fair, Lily and I had come up with the idea. Alice was quite content with anything we did, as she had her eye on the sixth year beater, Frank Longbottom, and was just happy to spend some time in his proximity.
Maia carefully slipped in next to Remus and struck up a conversation with him about the latest Transfiguration homework, so it meant the only seat free was between Alice and Sirius. Great. Alice would be too caught up in ogling Frank, meaning I would be left with only Sirius for a companion. After having an internal rant about him I didn't know how civil I could be towards him.
Then there was that incident of me falling into his arms. Did the gravity around me somehow increase when I was near him, because I seemed to do a lot of falling over around him. I really didn't want to appear as a damsel in distress so here was my chance to prove him wrong.
“You’re not going to lose your footing up here, are you?” Sirius joked. “I doubt I’d be able to run down the stairs quick enough to catch you.”
“Haha, very funny Sirius. I thought from your name you wouldn’t have been much of the joking type,” I quipped back, quite pleased I had been able to make a reasonable comeback with a pun included into it.
“I would say good one, but James already used that pun on me in second year. I’m afraid you’ll have to find a new one.” Sirius smirked.
“Well, if I have to compete against James, I’ll have no chance of winning. You two always come first in everything,” I complained. So being civil and not look weak towards Sirius wasn't so hard, after all.
“Hey, what can I say? I’m sorry I’m so amazing!” he replied. “Anyway, I don’t come first in everything. Lily and Snivellus beat me in potions, and I know for a fact that you beat me by a whole two per cent in the Muggle Studies exam last year. I don’t mind you and Lily too much, it’s just the thought of a Slytherin actually beating you is the depressing thing.”
“Hey, I heard that, Black." We both turned to see Lily giving Sirius an evil glare, and she continued. “I really don’t really understand why you lot hate Severus so much; he’s a perfectly nice person, and he actually has manners, unlike you and Potter.”
I hated it when she brought up Snape being nice. I mean, I used to sort of like him back in first year. But now, he was vile. I glanced over to Sirius and with his face being all contorted I guessed he felt the same as I did.
Lily’s outburst in defence of Snape, jilted the conversation that Sirius and I had going. I could have brought up how deluded Lily must be in still liking him, but she would hear and that would not be good. In the end, I turned to Alice and listened to her gush over Frank's flying.
Several windswept hours later, the newest Gryffindor quidditch team had been formed. George had picked fourth year, Arianna Bloom, to join Mary and James in playing chaser, third year, Anthony Johnson, to be the new seeker, and Ben Harper, a fellow seventh year to join Frank in playing beater.
I murmured to Alice that I was going down to talk to George, but she seemed to have gone into a state of hypnosis due to the fact that Frank was a mere hundred metres away and didn’t seem to hear a word I was saying. The others would have enough common sense between them to figure out where I had gone, especially since George had been waving to me while keeping as well. I got up out of my seat, glad that I could finally stretch my muscles after being sedentary for three hours.
“Hey, where are you going?” I turned, and saw that it was only Lily.
“Oh, just to congratulate George on the new team. Do you want to come too?” I asked, already knowing her reply.
“Ha. I think I’ll pass. Potter will interpret me being there in the wrong way, no doubt. You go and have fun,” she said with a wink. Wait, what was the wink for?
“What was that wink for?” I heard Black’s voice repeat my exact thought. That was odd. I didn’t realise that he’d been paying attention to my departure. There I was thinking no one would.
“Oh, no reason, Black, you’ll probably know in a couple of weeks.” Lily had an extremely smug expression fixed upon her face.
“If it’s any comfort, I didn’t know what that wink was about either,” Peter said.
“Yeah, but Pete, one major difference here – you never know what’s happening. I, on the other hand, have a very inquisitive mind and must know the reason behind every action,” Sirius said mockingly. See, another reason to dislike him. Even if I didn't like Peter all that much, he didn't that treatment from his supposed friend.
“Well I’m going to leave you guys to analyse the meaning behind the wink, while I go congratulate George. I’ll see you all at dinner.” With that I left. Though I didn't want to admit, I was glad I could leave. All of their arguing was far too much for me.
Despite clambering down the many flights of stairs from the top of the stadium to the pitch, I still managed to catch George, who was struggling to get an angry bludger back into its case.
“Hi George. Great try-outs just then.” I said, hoping that I wouldn’t scare him, as he hadn’t seemed to have noticed me.
“Woah! I didn’t see you there, Thalia!” Yep, I had managed to scare him. “Did you enjoy it then? Mary’s excellent, so tell her not to worry about getting kicked off of the team. I know she gets like that.” That was nice of him. Especially as Mary got extremely paranoid before every try out. She always worried that there would be some new second year who would be able to fly much better than her and take her spot on the team. It was safe to say that hadn’t happened yet.
“Yeah, it was great. I think we have a definite shot of winning the cup this year. The Slytherins have been so unbearable with all of their gloating for the past three years. I think it’s time we won.” I grimaced, remembering the Slytherin’s replaying the moment when their seeker caught the snitch every Potions lesson. Of course Slughorn did nothing to stop it; he was head of Slytherin after all.
“It would be nice to wipe the smug looks off of their faces for once, I have to admit.” George grimaced as well; clearly, he also remembered their gloating.
“Well, it was nice talking to you George, but I’d better be heading back to the castle before dinner finishes. A hungry Thalia is not someone you'd want to see.” Now I sounded like an idiot. This always seemed to happen when I was round boys. I felt like I needed to be trained in how to deal with them.
“Hey, if you don’t mind waiting five more minutes, I can get changed and walk up with you,” George replied enthusiastically. Ok, maybe I hadn't appeared too weird.
“Yeah, don’t be too long. I still haven’t figured out where the kitchens are, so we can’t tempt any of the house elves into giving us some food.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be quick,” he cried over his shoulders before running towards the Gryffindor changing rooms.
I had an enjoyable walk up to the castle with George. He told me some hilarious anecdotes about the previous Gryffindor quidditch captain. Percival Estray was such a quidditch fanatic that he used to force the team up at four in the morning and run laps around the lake. No wonder Gryffindor had lost the cup.
When we entered the castle, we both went our separate ways. I went to the Great Hall to catch the remnants of dinner, and George headed off to the tower to clean off the three inch layer of mud which was coating him.
I scanned my eyes down the Gryffindor table, and to my luck I found Lily, Maia, Mary and Alice seated at the end closest to the staff table. I headed towards where they were sat and slid into the seat.
“You took your time. Having fun were we?” Lily asked with a very mischievous look in her eye. Why did she insist on these secret signs? If she came out with it, it would be much easier.
“Yeah, it was nice. George entertained me with stories about Estray,” I said directing the last part towards Mary, who had forced us to listen to her rants last year about his crazy quidditch training schedules.
“Eurgh, don’t remind me of him. I’m really surprised he wasn’t in Slytherin. With all of that evil stored inside of him, he would have made a perfect death eater!” exclaimed Mary.
“Ha, true. Though he must have some good inside of him, because there hasn’t been any Gryffindors who have defected to the dark side yet.” I turned to Maia and smiled. “On a lighter note I hoped you enjoyed that quality time with Remus, as I was forced to endure three hours next to Black.” I pretended to be angry. In truth, I didn’t really mind. Like I said before, Maia and Remus really would make a great couple.
“Yes it was really good. Thanks Thalia, It’s nice to talk to a boy who doesn’t think I’m some dumb blonde and can talk to me on an intellectual level,” Maia said while her face was slowly turned a deep red. “What about you Alice? I saw you ogled Frank the whole time?” Maia clearly wanted to deflect the attention she was currently receiving onto someone else.
“It was nice. I managed to walk back with him as well, and he was telling me how he wanted to be an auror,” Alice said, starting to blush as much as Maia had just done.
Lily must have sensed the awkwardness that Maia and Alice were feeling as they talked about the boys. Being the good friend that she was, she asked both of them if they wanted to go and crack a start on the Herbology homework. They both agreed, and the three of them headed out of the Great Hall.
Mary stayed while I finished my dinner, patiently making patterns on her plate with the residues of her food.
Once I finished, we both decided to meet up at the tower, since I wanted to visit the library first.
As I entered the library, I was greeted by the familiar must smell of old books. I breathed it in enjoying every individual scent in the air. This instantly brought calm all over me. None of the others, bar Lily and Remus, understood my need for this smell to keep me sane. Well, none of them seemed to enjoy reading like the three of us did.
Even simply seeing the endless aisles of books made me smile. Madam Pince gave me a small smile before heaving a big pile of books onto a trolley. I even got her to be nice to by being a regular here.
I headed over to the small section that Remus had talked about. I'd finished Wuthering Heights a couple of days ago, and I needed another book to feed my muggle literature addiction while I was at Hogwarts. I had to force myself from avoiding the latest Fifa LaFolle book. Those romance stories were far to addictive for their own good.
I crept down the aisle, ready to tear as many books of the shelf as possible, I was even going to sneak some out if I went over the limit. Though I didn't break many rules, books were the only thing I would risk my disciplinary record for.
My brain was going into overdrive due to the excitement that I only just realised there was another person here when they began speaking to me.
"Thalia? Is that you?"
I paused for a moment, trying to identify the voice. Aha, that was it. "Sirius? I know Remus told me you liked muggle books but I didn't think he was serious."
“Bloody Remus. I thought I could trust him," Sirius muttered. "He managed to keep it from James at least. You can’t tell anyone, Thalia. It would ruin my image. Then the teachers may actually expect me to do some work.”
"Well, that might be a good thing, you know. You could end up learning something instead of copying Remus' notes..."
"Nah, there's no need for notes." Sirius smiled. "I have a surprisingly good memory so it's all stored in there."
He tapped his head, and I couldn't help but let out a laugh.
"Yes, I made you laugh!" he cried out.
"I didn't realise that was one of your aims in life, but I'm glad I helped you achieve it," I joked.
"Of course it is, your face lights up when you do, and it's nice." Sirius took a little step towards me and I couldn't but feel my stomach do butterflies. I didn't know whether this was sign the situation was a good one or not.
"Er, thank you," I mumbled. I could feel blood seep into my cheeks, but even that didn't stop me from taking a step forward and meeting Sirius. What was I doing?
"You're welcome," Sirius mumbled back. He took another step forward so we were practically touching. He seemed so vulnerable right now, I didn't know what to do. "See, even your eyes have lit up. They're not the swirls of thought they usually are."
He raised his hand and cupped them around my chin. This time, I didn't question anything. I just felt the warm touch of his fingers move gently down my jaw until stopping.
I gazed at him, finally raising my eyes which had been firmly affixed on the stone floor and saw the jade green of my eyes mix with the grey of his. His lips were slowly opening as if he wanted to say or do something with them. I didn't want to think what. I only thought of the moment, and in that moment, him.
“Oi, Padfoot! Where are you, mate? We need to go and help Moony!”
I ignored the voice shouting in the background, too entrapped by Sirius’s face. I didn't want myself to think that he was good looking and end up like one of those girls but it couldn't be helped. Sirius remained passive as well and stayed motionless. I didn't know what that meant.
“There you are!” James burst around the corner as Sirius and I jumped apart. “Woah, sorry for interrupting. Was something going on here?” he questioned, and clearly trying to hold back his laughter. “Longwood? I never would have expected to have found you two together! Maybe there’s hope for me and Lily after all!” James said gleefully, while patting Sirius on the back.
So he was serious about him and Lily then. I could use that as evidence to Lily then. Though how would I explain why he said that. And wait a second; did James assume we were doing something other than just standing here. Because I could assure him we were most certainly not. We were only talking, nothing more.
“Haha, very funny James. We weren’t doing anything,” Sirius replied, blood seeping to his cheeks too. Was he embarrassed to be found with me? I didn't know what to think.
“Are you, sure? Because, that’s not what it looked like to me,” James replied while laughing at the same time. He had evidently given up on trying to suppress it.
“Yes we’re sure,” I told him. “And you’d better not breathe a word of this to anyone Potter, or I’ll tell the whole school about that time when you tried to ask that half veela to dance at your parents’ Christmas party, and she rejected you.”
Our dads used to be Aurors together before mine died and James' grew too old. They were even pretty good friends so we were invited to all of their social occasions including the famed Christmas party. At least I got to find out about his home habits through that.
James face turned from amusement to pure shock. Sirius burst out laughing about the fact that the great James Potter had been, in fact, rejected.
“You…you wouldn’t, would you?” James stuttered.
“I will if you dare say a word about what you just saw to anyone. Is that clear?” I said, using the sternest tone I could muster.
“Yeah, yeah. Anything, as long as you never mention the veela incident ever again.” James looked relieved. He glanced down at his watch, and his face got serious. “Come on, Padfoot. We have to go. It’s time. Moony needs us.”
James swept out of the library, but Sirius remained in the aisle with a worried expression on his face.
“Don’t worry. I wasn’t planning on telling anyone about this,” I said, trying to calm him.
“No, it’s not that. Just don’t go outside tonight. Promise me that,” he said, still with that expression of worry firmly plastered over his face.
“Yeah, sure, I wasn’t planning on going out anyway. I have an exciting night of Herbology homework planned.”
“OK, good. I’d better get going before James gets annoyed. See you around, Thalia.” He gave me one last look before disappearing too.
Too confused about the strange occurrence, I grabbed a random book of the shelf and headed out of the library. I even ignored Madam Pince's cry of goodbye. All I wanted to do was figure why what happened happened.
I was so wrapped up in my thoughts about what had just happened, that I barely realised I had made it back to the Gryffindor tower. I didn’t even know which book I got out of the library. Hmm, the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. This should be a good read.
“Banshee,” I said the password to the Fat Lady and climbed through the portrait hole. So much for doing my Herbology homework. I think I would read this instead.
Author’s Note:This has now been updated as well, thanks to my wonderful beta pixileanin! What did you think of the Sirius/Thalia action? If you want to be lovely you can leave a review, and thanks again for reading :D
Fun fact! The veela which rejected James was Fleur's mum!
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