Chapter 7 : Black Dog
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“I gotta roll, can’t stand still. Got a flaming heart, can’t get my fill. Eyes that shine burning red, dreams of you all through my head.” – Led Zeppelin, 1971
Gemma Rawnsley placed her cigarette between her lips and took a long, hard drag. The smoke filled her lungs and after several seconds, she exhaled shakily and finally felt calm.
She didn’t normally sprint out of the Great Hall without anyone noticing but the Daily Prophet morning cover had sent her into a tailspin. Authorities had found thirteen murdered Muggles several Underground stations away from her parents’ music hall. Her left eye started twitching and she quickly inhaled again. Gemma knew her Mum and Dad encouraged mixed audiences, which worried her. Were these new followers of ‘Lord Voldemort’ starting to target the family business just because they were more tolerant and accepting of Muggles?
She couldn’t be sure.
The blonde took another pull from her cigarette and abruptly sat down on one of the stone benches in the main outdoor courtyard. She quickly finished the rest of her cigarette, trying to fight off the chilly October air, and started chain smoking when she lit another off the end of her first.
“Bloody hell, Rawnsley!” her best friend Giovanni Costa exclaimed when he finally skidded to a stop. He took several deep breaths and then reached into his pocket to pull out his own packet of cigarettes. He placed one in his mouth and lit the end of it with his wand. Gemma cowered slightly as he exhaled. “You can’t scare me like that!”
“I didn’t mean to,” she retorted softly before taking another drag herself.
“Well give us some warning before you bolt next time, eh? You were like a fucking ninja - you were there and then suddenly you weren’t,” Gio snorted as he slowly sat down next to her.
He took another lazy inhale and then placed a hand on her knee to comfort her.
“Today’s headline shocked all of us, you know. You’re not alone. You’re like family to the band and me. You don’t have to run away every time something goes wrong.”
“Thanks, Gio,” she muttered as she squeezed his hand. They smiled at each other lightly and then put their cigarettes back in their mouths.
Although they had never been romantically involved, Gemma knew she would always have a connection with the Italian Seventh Year. He was the first child to show up on their doorstep and immediately began to treat Gemma like a sister when her parents started to house him every night. Since his parents kicked him out when he was 15, Gio wanted nothing more than to be a normal teenager and Gemma knew her family and the band gave him the sense of stability he craved.
However, Gio gave her stability as well. He was the only one who seemed to understand the burden her Seer abilities placed on her. Most people thought she was crazy and a wandering spirit reminiscent of the 1960s, but not Gio. He treated her like a human being. Gemma appreciated the way he let her practice her tarot card readings on him, tried to find her the newest Divination novels to educate her and sat up late into the night to keep her company as she tried to read the stars. Although the Hufflepuffs were good friends with the rest of the band, they often talked about their hopes, dreams, and worries over cigarettes and leaned on each other for support.
“And believe me, no one hates this ‘Voldemort’ bloke more than I do. Why do you think most of my family left Italy just after the first Muggle World War? I’ll tell you: Fascism.”
“I don’t think he’s exactly a Fascist, Gio,” Gemma chuckled, not surprised that the boy was spouting off about politics. “He’s not telling everyone that England is the best country in the world, although he does spout that purebloods are racially superior to everyone else.”
“Well no, he’s not England’s biggest fan, per say,” Gio responded with an eye roll, “but he is hyper nationalistic about purebloods. He may not think the United Kingdom is the greatest society on earth but he sure thinks that about the Wizarding World. He wants us to return to our former glory and honor.”
“Merlin, did he ever take History of Magic? No one wants to go back to the Middle Ages. Life sucked back then,” Gemma snorted.
“Exactly. But after the Middle Ages and all the witch-hunts, we went into hiding to preserve our numbers. We even switched our government from the Wizard’s Council to the Ministry of Magic. But you see in his eyes, we let the Muggles win. Even though the Ministry is completely corrupt and draconian, it’s not enough. He wants a violent upheaval and he wants it now,” Gio said with severity as he placed his cigarette between his lips.
He paused, took a drag, and then continued as he began to exhale.
“He wants all the power to be in the Ministry’s hands, with him at the controls. That’s why he has so many spies there. This ‘Lord Voldemort’ is building an army Gemma, mark my words. He’s starting to use his so-called ‘Death Eaters’ to carry out his will but he’s got bigger plans. He wants to take over the Ministry and then take over all of Europe. And he wants all the Muggles to die.”
“So much for my cheerful morning,” Gemma muttered.
“Oh come on, you can’t be ignorant about what’s going on,” Gio replied as he tapped the end of his cigarette to the side.
“I know you don’t mean that. You’re choosing to be ignorant because you want to be. I know you’re a Seer and you can read people like an open book but you seem to have forgotten that I’ve known you for a very long time. You always know what’s going on so you can prepare. When the chips are down, you pack up and leave,” he finally said before taking another inhale. “You’re a gipsy soul. I get that. All I’m saying is that you better not skip out on us when push comes to shove. You may be the best at hide and seek, but we will find you whether you like it or not. Just accept it.”
He laughed and ruffled her hair playfully. Her grimace turned into a smile and she shoved him back. They jostled, laughed for several minutes, and then finally calmed down as they both finished their cigarettes. Gio turned to reach into his pocket when Gemma stopped him. She pulled out two small bags and rolling papers from her patchwork sack. Using the stone bench as a flat surface, the Hufflepuff rolled the tobacco and dried gillyweed into a spliff and handed it to Gio.
“You think we’ll get caught?” she asked with a grin.
“It’s seven in the bloody morning,” he replied before putting it between his lips. “No one in their right mind would be out here patrolling.”
They both giggled and began to pass the spliff back and forth between them; Gemma felt her headache start to slowly fade away as the gillyweed began to have its desired effect. She tried not to smoke this early in the morning because it always made her extremely tired in the afternoon but she hadn’t slept a wink the night before. She was on edge and convinced herself that she was not waking and baking because she’d never actually gone to bed.
Her dreams had been too intense for her to sleep.
The Hufflepuff tapped the spliff off towards the side and then put it back in her mouth. As she inhaled, she tried not to think of the visions of a certain Gryffindor that had danced through in her head. Suddenly, she felt dizzy and sick to her stomach so she handed the spliff back to Gio.
“Here, take it. I don’t want anymore.”
“Gemma,” Gio warned as he accepted the object, “you never turn down a smoke. Something’s up and if you don’t tell me, I won’t bring you anymore gillyweed.”
“Well if you’re going to threaten me that way,” she sighed as she reached out and took the mixed cigarette from his hands, “I guess I don’t have a choice.” She inhaled and then sucked up her exhale from her mouth into her nose. After expelling a large stream of smoke, she handed the object back to him. “I’ve been having some bad dreams lately. I can’t sleep.”
“What’s in your dreams?”
“The question isn’t what, it’s who,” the blonde answered softly.
“Spill,” Gio said as he handed the spliff back to her. She smiled at him appreciatively before letting the smoky mixture fill her lungs.
“Every night I have these visions and they are always different versions of the same theme,” Gemma began as she began to pick at her baggy yellow sweater. “I’m stuck in some foreign place and then I see this large black dog. He’s not a cute, cuddly dog, though. He’s mean and he’s menacing. He scares me. I start to run away, usually into another foreign world entirely, but he keeps following me. As hard as I try, I can never get away from him.”
The girl then took another drag of the spliff and brushed the bits of fabric she’d nervously severed from her uniform towards the ground.
“I obviously know who the dog is. He’s Sirius. I just don’t get why I’m scared of him. He’s never done anything nasty towards me. In fact, he’s been nothing but a gentleman since we met at that party for James about a month ago. We shag and then leave. That’s it.”
Gio began to chuckle softly and when she raised an eyebrow at him, his laughter grew in volume. He grabbed the spliff from her hands and then inhaled while slapping his knee.
“You may be a Seer but you sure suck at seeing what’s directly in front of you,” he finally coughed out as he exhaled. “You’ve never been able to read your own future clearly so I’m going to do it for you this time. You fancy him and you’re fighting it.”
“You’re running away from the dog in your dreams because you’re running away from Sirius in real life,” Gio responded as he plucked the spliff from her fingers before she put it to her mouth. She scowled at his words and actions. “Have you ever tried turning around and petting the animal chasing you? No? That’s what I thought. You’re too scared to accept that you finally fancy someone and he could actually make you happy.”
“Me? Happy? With Sirius Black?” Gemma guffawed when he handed the spliff back to her. She jokingly inspected it before taking a puff and exhaling. “Are we smoking the same thing here? He wants me for my sexuality, not my personality. That boy shags more girls than anyone at this school.”
“Not lately,” Gio responded with a singsong voice.
“Giovanni Costa,” Gemma warned, “you better not be taking the piss.”
“I’m not. He doesn’t have eyes for anyone else but you, love,” the boy said as he put an arm around her shoulders. She knotted her eyebrows in annoyance as he squeezed her tightly. “Many girls have tried to tempt him but he isn’t wavering. He’s only been shagging you for the past month.”
She shrugged her shoulders, releasing herself from Gio’s half hug, and then straightened out her long hair as she processed the new information. While she hadn’t been with anyone else, she expected Sirius to see other girls; with his aristocratic, debonair looks, he was born to play the field. Their relationship was supposed to be unattached and infrequent. Instead, Gemma realized that both of them were getting in over their heads. She couldn’t stop dreaming about their connection and apparently he couldn’t either.
“How did I let it get this far? What the fuck do I do now?” she groaned as she buried her face in her hands.
“Live a little!” Gio answered as he slapped her lightly on the back. She dropped her hands and looked up at him quizzically. He grinned in response. “So you fancy him. Why does that have to be a bad thing? For Merlin’s sake, you’ve got Sirius Black, one of Hogwarts’ most sought after blokes, on a leash. That boy is head over heels for you and you’re too scared to admit you feel an attraction towards him. I know he makes you happy. He’s even got you bloody singing again! Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve heard you use your pipes? Ages.”
Gemma took a deep breath, realizing that he was completely right, and sighed painfully as she tried to pass the spliff back to him. He looked at the dwindling roll and waved his hands in front of him.
“No, I’m done with that. You need it more than I do. Now I have to go eat something or my stomach is going to eat its own lining. I’ll see you back at the Hufflepuff table when you finish.”
“Suit yourself,” Gemma muttered in response and then put the spliff back into her mouth. As she took a very large puff, she waved to Gio as he walked back into the Castle; the sound of his footsteps faded and Gemma was alone once again. She tried to block her friend’s words out of her head but she couldn’t help but question her flighty thoughts. Why was she so scared to be emotionally intimate with Sirius? She shared everything with Gio and they got along perfectly well.
A small gust of wind blew across her and she squeezed her eyes shut as she tried to fight off the cold. When the burst of weather subsided, she took another drag, watched the smoke swirl upwards, and realized that Sirius Black scared her because he was unpredictable. Gio offered her stability while Sirius presented the exact opposite.
As the Hufflepuff had pointed out, she’d never been able to read her own future very well; her emotions always got in the way. Yet, she knew that there was something more than their uncertain future together that propelled her away from Sirius after their brief affairs in random places.
She never approached him and always reasoned that he only seeked her out because he wanted to have sex, nothing more. That’s what males like him did. However, he didn’t fit her stereotypical mold. Sirius liked to show up out of nowhere and playfully pull her into a broom cupboard, wink to her from across the Great Hall, and even surprise her with a red rose just because it was Monday. She’d never met anyone like him before. Every time they met, Gemma couldn’t help but feel an intense connection between them and up until now, she refused to acknowledge its implications.
However, Gio’s prodding ripped apart her excuses. Her feelings were raw and out in the open and she immediately felt the extreme urge to run. She quickly smashed out the burning object under her black flats and poised herself to bolt when she heard footsteps.
She turned around to see Sirius standing several yards away from her at the entrance of the courtyard. The breeze softly pushed several stands of his long black hair into his face and he shoved them away as he jogged over towards her.
“I saw your friends in the Great Hall but I didn’t see you. They said you’d be out here - can I bum a cigarette?”
His loaded question hung in the air as she gazed into his bright grey eyes; the air whooshed out of her lungs and she felt dumbfounded. She hadn’t seen him in a week and all of her emotion frustration immediately transformed into sexual desire. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him towards her. Her actions caught him off guard but he soon yielded to her when she began to kiss him hungrily. Gemma let her hands run through his locks as he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
“There’s an abandoned classroom on the First Floor not far from here,” she said breathlessly as his lips grazed the soft skin on her neck. “Take me there. Now.”
He grinned wolfishly, quickly picked her up, and carried her back into the Castle. Her fears melted away as she began to giggle incessantly as they roamed the halls to look for the private spot. When they finally found their makeshift paradise, Sirius placed Gemma on one the old desks and began to delicately kiss her neck again as his hands roamed under her sweater. She tipped back her head and moaned appreciatively.
The Hufflepuff decided to take Gio’s advice and lived a little before her first class of the day. As the pair began to put their school uniforms back on, she tried to squash her feelings as she saw Sirius humming and grinning like a madman.
“Stupid Gio,” she muttered to herself as she pulled on one of her white socks. “He just had to fuck with me today.”
“What’s that, dear?” Sirius asked, raising one of his brows as he began to tighten his red Gryffindor tie.
“Nothing,” Gemma responded softly and he kneeled down beside a desk to tie his shoes. Gemma felt the earlier dizziness return and grasped onto the desk beside her. Sirius didn’t notice her slip and instead focused his attention to his other shoe. She took the opportunity to silently sneak out the door and reasoned that Gio’s insight didn’t change anything.
Her relationship with Sirius was purely sexual and nothing more - at least that’s what she kept telling herself as she nervously lit up another cigarette.
Author’s note: So a lot of important information in this chapter even though not much happened! Gemma is a Seer, Voldy’s on the warpath, and Sirius is becoming a one-woman man. Will Gemma’s abilities predict her future – or someone else’s? Stay tuned kids.
Any favorite quotes in the story so far? Do you like the POV change? I’m making this story a bit of a round robin so the next chapter will be centered on Aeryn.
I was able to write this chapter really quickly because Gemma is my favorite character and I had a lot of time on my hands. I’m going to be busy until Monday so expect a relatively longer wait until the next chapter.
I set up a Meet the Author page! So go post in that if you want to know anything about the story/me. Also thanks to badname for the multiple reviews!
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