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Like a House on Fire by 800 words of heaven
Chapter 33 : Asphodel, Powdered Root of
 
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Sirius' POV:

She was out flying again.

I hated it when she did that.

Didn’t she know how dangerous it was out there? Sure, flying around the Quidditch Pitch at midnight at the end of April wasn’t exactly the same as walking into Lord Voldemort’s secret lair (he seems the secret lair type) and cheerily declaring that you were a muggleborn, but it was up there.

I chucked the Map onto the table, propped my feet up next to it, right over my Defence Against the Dark Arts essay, and closed my eyes and sighed.

It had been two weeks since The Incident, and Millie still wasn’t talking to me. I’d lost count the number of times I had tried to coax her into a conversation, but she just kept on ignoring me. It was almost bearable when we were in company, but it was sheer torture when we were alone, and since Millie was so determined to pretend that I didn’t exist, those moments were now confined to our Potions classes.

Merlin, I couldn’t have believed that there would come a time in my life where I actually looked forward to Potions classes.

Because that was what I had been reduced to – it was the only way I could spend time with Millie now, but only because she had no choice. And it wasn’t as if she was nice to me in those moments. If I had thought the days when she was prickly and always scowling at me at the beginning of the year were bad, it had nothing on what she was now…

I sighed again.

I really needed to talk to her. I needed to explain myself. I needed to tell her that it was all just a misunderstanding. I had been drunk, and I was just on my way to find her, and then I’d just bumped into Marissa, and she’d… she’d… well, she’d shoved her tongue down my throat.

And I was certain that Millie would understand that if anyone had a tongue shoved down their throat unexpectedly, they too, would have stood there in shock, hands tightened in surprise, unable to do anything.

And it wasn’t as if I’d enjoyed the experience.

Marissa was a terrible kisser.

And besides, I was spoken for. Sirius Black was many things, and a one-woman man was one of them.

But how to convince her of that fact?

Short of kidnapping her, I had no idea.

“Padfoot? What are you doing down here so late?” Prongs asked, as he flopped down in the couch opposite mine. I hadn’t even heard Lily and him come in from their patrols.

“I could ask you the same thing,” I said, smirking lazily. “I’m quite sure patrol duty ended a while ago.”

He grinned, but a blush still crept up his neck. “You didn’t answer my question.”

I shrugged. “Homework,” I replied as nonchalantly as I could.

Prongs raised an eyebrow.

“What? Finals are coming up. Thought it was about time I put in the effort.”

“Padfoot,” he intoned in that annoyingly superior voice of his.

“Prongs,” I intoned back, mimicking him.

“What’s going on, mate?” He asked softly. “We’re worried.”

“We?”

Prongs shrugged. “You know, me, Moony, Wormtail, Lily, and Sarah.”

“Not Millie?” I internally cringed. I hadn’t meant for that to slip out, but I hoped I hadn’t sounded as interested as I was. I don’t know what Millie had told our friends about us, but I hadn’t said a word. I just didn’t know what to say.

Prongs looked at me for a moment. “So this is about Millie, is it?”

I glared at my best mate. “Isn’t it always?” I asked sarcastically.

“What happened?” He asked calmly, not taking the bait. Dammit. I could do with a good argument right about now. There was all of this anger… and frustration… and other things, just waiting to come pouring out.

I shrugged. “We’re having a bit of a disagreement, I suppose.”

He looked at me some more.

“What?” I asked, incredulously.

“Come on, mate. Even I can tell it’s serious. What happened between you two?”

“It’s complicated… but, in short, I messed up.”

“Well,” Prongs grinned. “There’s nothing new there.”

Noticing the positively murderous scowl on my face, Prongs sobered once more. “It’s that serious?”

I nodded silently, staring into the fire.

We both sat there in companionable silence.

“Have you tried talking to each other about it?” Prongs ventured after a while.

“She’s fastidiously ignoring my existence,” I replied in a monotone. Merlin, I just missed her so bad. I missed kissing her, and holding her, and listening to her talk, and watching her draw, and making her hide her secret smiles at my idiocy behind the curtain of her hair. I missed the smell of her blueberry shampoo as she tucked her head underneath my chin, and the way her firewhiskey eyes lit up when she laughed, and the moments when she’d slip her hand into mine as we walked back from the library after our Arithmancy study sessions.

Merlin, I was such an idiot.


~*~

 
Millie's POV:

I was out flying again. There was no Quidditch practise these days, and I really missed the feel of the wind in my face, my muscles pleasantly aching from gentle exercise, and the sheer joy of not having both feet flat on the ground.

Too bad it was at times like this that thoughts of a certain someone surfaced.

For the majority of the time, I tried to forget that I knew or had ever known someone by the name of Sirius Black, but these unguarded moments up in the air had a way of making me forget what I was supposed to forget.

I felt the tears collecting at the corner of my eyes for the umpteenth time. I furiously brushed them away. I’d spent too much time these past two weeks wasting tears on that good for nothing, arrogant prig, and he could go to the innermost circle of hell for all eternity and it wouldn’t be long enough. He didn’t deserve any of my tears.

But it hurts so much when your heart breaks.

What had he been thinking?

Merlin’s bloody beard, what had I been thinking, going and falling in love with the most notorious playboy to grace the halls of Hogwarts? I thought he’d changed. That he actually liked me. Or at least, respected me enough to not go shoving his tongue down other girls’ throats.

Holy Merlin! How long has this been going on for?

Was that just the first time, or was it just the first time he was caught?

Was this his plan all along? To use me like this?

The bloody bastard!

I’d kill him, if it didn’t mean not ignoring him anymore. However, I was above such things. I wasn’t going to let some stupid boy bring me down. I had other things to worry about, like my upcoming final exams, and what the hell I was going to once I graduated, and what flavour of wedding cake I was going to coerce Lily and James to have for their wedding reception (nothing was official, but it was dead obvious that they were going to get married and have a dozen kids as soon as humanly possible).

There was no way in hell that I’d let Sirius Black get me down.
 

I couldn’t, however, ignore the fact that Potions classes had become quite awkward now. At the beginning, when I didn’t know him that well, his presence was annoying, but at least it was bearable. Talking was at a minimum, definitely, but honestly, I didn’t care enough about him to actually want to talk. But then, I got to know him better, and we started “dating”, and then we had to come up with that dastardly plan to get James and Lily back together again, and then our friends started hanging out with each other, and then he’d always make me eat my breakfast, and then he started winking at me at the Potters’, and then he was just so sweet when we went to Witherwoods, and then we shared that absolutely romantic night under the stars on Valentine’s Day, and then I fell in love with him…

Well, Potions classes weren’t so bad anymore.

But now, they were a nightmare.

I had been ignoring him for the past two weeks, but I made a point of it especially during Potions. It was at times like these, when I was left alone with him for extended periods of time, that I was most susceptible to his charms and conniving ways, and I refused to be roped in and strung along by him anymore. And if that meant that I had to ignore the existence of an entire human being, so be it.

Of course, it didn’t help matters that aforementioned human being had enough presence to make the sun look a bit dim (but only when it was cloudy).

In short, Sirius Black was a difficult human being to ignore.

With final exams fast approaching, we were practising making the Draught of Living Death, for some strange reason. I got how it might pop up on our exams, but considering it was the first potion we ever made in a NEWTS class, two years ago, I was pretty confident that we didn’t need to brew it two weeks before the exam. The time could have been far better spent actually learning something.

However, considering the inordinate amounts of time I had spent recently on ignoring certain members of the human population, I guess it was a good thing that we were doing such a dead easy (pun not intended) potion.

Yet I’d still forgotten to grab the powdered root of Asphodel from the supply closet.

I sighed, and headed over to the cupboard. It was quite obvious that someone who was most decidedly not Slughorn had reorganised the cupboard.

In alphabetical order.

Which put Asphodel, powdered root of, right on the top shelf.

I had to crane my neck to even see that far up. I’d conveniently left my wand over on the table, so I couldn’t even levitate the blasted thing down, and pulling up a chair was just far too risky a move for such a clumsy person like me. I just knew that if I tried, I’d manage to pull down half the contents of the storage cupboard with me on my way to death by chair falling.

I sighed again. There was nothing for it. I’d just have to struggle my way through this. I stood on tippy toes, placed one hand on a chest height ledge for leverage and support, and stretched the other as high up as it could go along the top ledge. My fingers scrabbled along the scarred wood, catching nothing but air for a few desperate moments. I wobbled around on my toes for a bit, just to see if that changed things.

No luck.

I was just about to make a little jump up for it, when I felt a presence behind me.

I was so surprised that I gave out a little squeak of alarm, freezing in place as the body pressed close to me, an arm, much longer than mine reaching up beside my arm and grabbing whatever it was looking for.

I froze all over again when I realised to whom the body and attached arm belonged.

I felt that familiar tingle travel up my spine as Sirius’ body heat seeped through the back of my jumper. The hairs on his arm tickled mine softly, and the subtle sound of his breathing had me gripping my support ledge tighter.

I hated how he still had this effect on me.

Wasn’t it bad enough that he broke my heart?

Why must I still be so physically attracted to him?

It just wasn’t fair.

“Here you go,” he murmured as he took a small half step away, giving me just enough space to lower my arm and come back down from my awkward stance. In his hand, he held the jar of powdered Asphodel root.

I stared at the knot of his tie, trying to make up my mind.

Should I accept the jar from him? I needed the bloody thing, after all.

But if I did that, I’d have to acknowledge his presence.

And that wouldn’t do.

But I needed the jar.

By I was so angry and in love with him right now.

It didn’t change the fact that I needed the jar.

In the end, Black made the decision for me – he grabbed my wrist with one hand, and placed the jar into my listless grasp with the other.

An electric shock travelled from where our skin touched, to straight down my spine, causing me to stiffen in embarrassed awareness. Ugh! I so didn’t want to be attracted to him!

I knew he noticed my response by the way his fingers tightened around my wrist and fist almost imperceptibly.

I wish the idiot would let me go, but he just stood there, holding my hand in both of his, staring down at where we were joined, as if he’d never seen hands before.

And I must have been an even bigger idiot, because I could do nothing but stand there, too, still looking in the general area of the knot of his tie, simultaneously rejoicing at his nearness, kicking myself for enjoying it, and cursing him to hell and back for being so… so…

Sirius.

I saw his Adam’s apple bob a bit as he swallowed, and the movement caused my eyes to snag and move upwards to his face.

Then he licked his lips.

I really wish he hadn’t done that, because I sure wasn’t looking at his tie anymore.

A moment passed.

Then he said, “We need to talk, Millie.”

Talk?

Talk?

After all that had happened, he wanted to talk?

Well, let me tell him; I was in no mood to talk. What I wanted to do was curse his arse, and accompanying body, from here to Pluto, then leave him there to freeze on the cold, lonely, icy hunk of rock orbiting so far from the warmth of the sun.

And then I wanted to cry and ask why he’d done it.

Because despite all of it, despite how much I told myself I didn’t care, or want to care, I still did.

I needed to know why he did it.

So, perhaps, talking wasn’t such a bad idea.

His gaze moved up and locked with mine.

I swallowed convulsively as I tried to battle the sheer intensity of those molten pools of grey.

“I’ll see you in the kitchens after dinner,” he finally said.

Then, being the complete prig he is, he suddenly let go of my hand and just walked away.

I was left holding the jar of Asphodel, powdered root of, in my now sweaty palm, and wondering what the hell had just happened.




AN: So guess who FINALLY wrote a new chapter? Are you guys excited? Are you guys even reading this story still? Because if you are, let me just say, that I love you guys so much! This fanfic, being my first ever, is my baby, and I really do want to finish it, but seriously, if it weren't for all your love and support and constructive critcisms for it, I might just have abandoned my baby by now. So really guys, thank you so much!

Aside from that, you should be happy that I didn't make this a filler chapter just full of angst and stuff, because I considered doing that. But then I realised that I can't write enough angst to sustain a whole chapter, I didn't want to write a filler chapter that much because there'd been a couple just before the last one, and that I guess all tension building had been done simply by me not updating for months. So I give you this! It's on the short side, but I like writing shorter chapters for this story. I promise some fun times ahead, though! And a re-appearance from Regulus, although I haven't decided in what capacity just yet. Any suggestions?

As always, let me beg a review or half in the little grey box below! I'd love to hear from those who still read this!

Adios, amigos! :D


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