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 the moral support. 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.
“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.
Even though seemed to have gotten over our former enmity since the incident of me falling into his arms, there was still this awkward tension between us.
“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.
“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. You’re staying on my hate list even longer for that insult about Severus.” We both turned to see Lily giving Sirius her evil glare, and she continued. “I really don’t really understand why you guys hate him so much; he’s a perfectly nice person, and he actually has manners, unlike you and Potter.”
Poor Sirius. I’d only been on the receiving end of that glare once in fourth year, when I spilt green nail varnish over Lily's copy of the Standard Book of Spells Grade Four. Trust me, it wasn’t pleasant. But hey, I guess Sirius was used to it, given that he was best friends with the person who received that look the most.
Lily’s outburst in defence of Snape, jilted the conversation that Sirius and I had going. Not knowing what to say to continue it, I turned to face Alice and struck up a conversation with her about how well Frank was flying today. Sirius also seemed to have sensed that the conversation had come to an end, and joined in with Maia and Remus’s conversation about the Transfiguration homework, despite the fact he usually abhorred things like that.
Several windswept hours later, the newest Gryffindor quidditch 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.
“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.
“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.
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.” Aw, 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.”
“Hey, if you don’t mind waiting five more minutes, I can get changed and walk up with you,” George replied enthusiastically.
“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. I had a feeling the reason behind Gryffindor repeatedly losing their quidditch matches last year was due to the team being so sleep deprived. I could recollect Mary using History of Magic lessons as a time for napping.
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.
“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.
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. To my great surprise, I saw the shadow of someone else in that aisle. I didn’t realise anyone else read muggle books here. I mean, Lily obviously did, being muggle born and all. But she usually read them at home and preferred to read magical books whenever she could.
Oh, wait. What was Remus saying to me on the first day back at school? Yep. I remember now. Sirius read muggle books as well. But wasn't it only an act of rebellion towards his parents? I’d already had one confrontation with him today, and I really didn’t want to instigate another.
Well. It’s now or never. I’ll just have to go and see who else is seeking solace in the great words of Charles Dickens.
I walked quietly into the aisle and could immediately tell who the person was from their familiar hair, which they liked to push back to get girls attention. That hair belonged to Sirius Black. Why did things always happen like that? I'd hoped that it wouldn't be the person who I really didn’t want it to be, and it’s them. I would have even preferred it to be a Slytherin. That would have at least been funny - a supposed muggle hater reading muggle books
“Hello, Sirius. What are you doing down here? I’m surprised you have enough concentration power to read a whole book.”
“Hey, I’m not just beauty and brawn. I have brains too!”
“Ha, I know. Remus told me about your secret muggle book addiction. I’m surprised it wasn’t just a rumour started up to embarrass you.” I said.
“Damn, my secret's out. Bloody Remus. I thought I could trust him. He managed to keep it from James at least.” Sirius looked very sincere. “You can’t tell anyone, Thalia. It would ruin my image. Then the teachers may actually expect me to do some work.”
“You know I would never tell on you. I know more than you think,” I said, trying to put on a mysterious air, when in fact I was just lying to get at Sirius.
“Really now, Miss Longwood…?” Sirius said while lowering his voice while taking a step towards me.
“Why yes, Mr Black. You would be very much surprised by what I knew,” I replied while lowering my voice like him. I found myself taking a step towards him as well. My common sense was telling me not to do this. Putting myself in a precarious position with Sirius Black was never a good thing.
“Care to tell me any of these ‘secrets’ about me? I could tell you whether they were fact or fiction.” His face was adorned with that trademark smirk. He really was good looking.
Don’t worry, I didn’t like him in that way. I was just noting why so many other girls found him physically attractive.
“Well, just looking into your eyes, I can tell you’re not as hard as you make yourself out to be. You can see the sadness swirling around there,” I said while being captivated by the endless pools of grey his eyes formed.
“Hmm, I guess that could be considered a fact. The reason for the sadness you’ll have to figure out by yourself. I wonder what I can learn from your eyes,” he replied, and placed his hands along my jaw bone almost as if he needed to have them there to hold his concentration.
Our eyes connected and it almost felt like we were laying bare our souls to each other. Sirius moved closer and I could feel his breath upon my face. The reflection of my jade green eyes mixing in with the silvery grey of his.
“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. Sirius remained passive as well and stayed motionless.
“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.
What did he mean by there may be hope for him and Lily? Was he actually serious about her after all? And wait a second; did James assume we were doing something other than just standing here. Because I can assure we were most certainly not. I was admiring his appearance, that was all. Yet it did almost feel for about a second that Sirius was going to kiss me.
“Haha, very funny James. We weren’t doing anything,” Sirius replied, turning beetroot red very quickly. Wow. It was weird seeing Sirius not the calm and collected self he usually was. Was he possibly more embarrassed than me?
“Are you, sure? Because, that’s not what it looked like to me,” James replied while laughing at the same time, as 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,” I replied venomously.
My parents used to be friends with the Potters as our fathers were aurors together. Since my father died, our families drifted apart. My mother had never been very keen on them, but we still got invited to their annual Christmas party. As this party included the high society my mother liked to associate herself with, we always attended. Therefore, I knew lot secrets about James’s home habits. He wouldn’t be too pleased if they were spilled to the entire school.
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 said anxiously and swept out of the library.
Sirius still 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 make him not look so worried.
“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 said, and disappeared behind the many lines of bookshelves.
Too confused about the strange occurrence, I grabbed a random book of the shelf and headed out of the library.
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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