Chapter 23 : Attracting Flies
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Disclaimer: It's all Jo's.
After the most awkward good night in the history of good nights the next morning did not hold any better promise. After three hours of sobbing her hear out Isla had managed to finally come to her senses. I mean that wasn’t to say she was completely over Black (though Merlin knows why she could have ever been so infatuated with him) but she was at least able to speak without her bottom lip quivering like some love-sick puppy.
‘So what classes do you have today Is’?’ I asked as we got ready after two hours sleep (Merlin what was wrong with me!?)
‘Double Herbology and Potions.’ She listed off effortlessly.
‘What a lucky girl you are.’ I teased.
‘Hmmm.’ She replied glaring at my mocking tone.
‘Do you feel like coming down for breakfast?’ I asked awkwardly.
‘Not today, but maybe tomorrow.’ She smiled as we made our way down towards the Great Hall.
‘Well I best get off, I need to read something up before Herbology so the Slytherins don’t think I’m more of an airhead than they already do.’ She joked and it was warming to see a smile spread across her features.
My own smile mirrored hers before her words reverberated around my head, causing my smile to falter.
‘Yes Cal the Slytherins, one of the four houses of Slytherins, wear green, your best buds until a couple of months ago.’ She teased.
‘No Isla.’ I paused.
‘No Isla what Cal? Why on earth do you look like you’ve just seen a ghost?’ She asked bemused.
‘Look Isla, something happened last night. Something I didn’t get a chance to talk to you about because well you were...’ I trailed off awkwardly.
‘Because I was crying enough to fill the Pacific Ocean over that knob, yeah’ She continued.
‘Well yes but, well Lily made me go an find Black to thank him last night-‘
‘What on earth do you have to thank him for?’
‘That time when he, er, dived to save me’ I said twisting a piece of my blonde hair between my fingers, this was a horrendously uncomfortable conversation to be having with Black’s ex girlfriend who was also my sister; Merlin I felt so guilty for even apologising to the boy.
‘Oh, yeah that.’ Isla looked down at her ballet pumps, scuffing her feet uncomfortably.
‘Well yeah anyway I went to look for him, only to find him hanging Snape upside down by his ankle.’
‘Oh he’s such a dick, why on earth did I ever go out with him?’
‘Well, yeah obviously. But trust me, listen to this story and Black seems like the good guy.’
‘Cal? Did those words actually just come out of your mouth?’ She gawked.
‘Yes.’ I laughed.
I then went on to tell last night’s events (though I did leave out the horrendous last part where I screamed at Black for trying to kiss me, though looking back upon reflection; had he actually tried to?). Isla’s jaw slowly dropped the further on I went.
‘And then Black walked me back to my dorm.’ I shrugged, finishing the story lamely.
‘I can’t believe Severus? Calling you a blood traitor, threatening you? I mean that’s so unlike him.’ Isla mused.
‘Tell me about it, if I hadn’t heard it myself I don’t think I would have believed it.’
‘Well I’ve got to give it to them the marauders were nice in helping you out.’
‘I couldn’t believe the words were coming out of their mouths. I mean Black was actually trying to make Severus apologise to m-’
‘Wait,’ Isla cut me off mid-sentence, ‘did you say Black walked you back to your dorm?’
‘Er, well like halfway.’ I mumbled.
‘But without anyone else?’
‘Well yes.’ I replied from between my curtain of hair.
‘Ha.’ Isla laughed causing me to look up questioningly.
‘Nothing Cal.’ She said smiling warmly at me though I could see a bizarre twinkle in her eye.
‘I should’ve just walked back on my own shouldn’t I? I’m a bad sister aren’t I, I mean that’s your ex.’ I sighed heavily.
‘No of course you aren’t you idiot! I would have hated Sirius even more for not, especially after Snape’s threat. I just think it’s funny.’
‘Funny?’ I asked bemused, where on earth was she going with this?
‘Just odd isn’t it? Considering how much Sirius doesn’t like you?’
‘Well yeah it is odd, but I mean, like you said after Snape’s threat I think anyone would have done the same.’
Thank Merlin I hadn’t told her about the end of the night.
‘Yeah I guess. And I mean its Sirius right, you hate him. Nothing’s going to change because of one little time he’s stood up for you?’
‘Exactly.’ I smiled awkwardly.
‘Right well I will take your warning about the Slytherins and see you at Lunch?’ She smiled.
‘In the Great Hall?’ I asked surprised.
‘Yes I think I need to show my face.’ She said determinedly.
What on earth had I done?
‘Stebbins!’ A voice called loudly.
I blinked utterly perplexed; I knew that voice, heck, I loathed that voice. That voice never had boded well for me. In fact whenever I heard that voice, particularly when it was calling my name, I made it my soul purpose in life to get as far away from it as was humanly possible within the school grounds (my previous place of solace had often been the Slytherin common room, undoubtedly I was no longer welcome there; the drama’s of a life of a sixteen year old). That voice meant only one thing for me; impending humiliation – I wondered if I could simply turn on my hell and walk straight back out of the hall.
‘Stebbins! Are you bloody deaf or something?’ The voice shouted again more loudly this time so as to attract the attention of practically every person currently eating their breakfast.
Apparently there was no chance of me turning on my heel and walking straight back out of the hall.
I twisted away from my beloved Ravenclaw table to seek the face that matched the voice. Black sat with his motley crew as always; all of whom had apparently simply thrown their food in the direction of their face in hope that some may in fact reach the intended target. What was rather more surprising than the adolescent boys’ rancid eating habits was the fact that currently perched next to the boys were none other than my two best friends.
I could not help at gawk at the pair in a most unsightly manner. My eyes tried to communicate with them, to ask them why the hell they were sitting next to those boys, even Lily, a devoted Gryffindor through and through rarely sat at her own table; the Ravenclaw table offered more solace away from Potter for her. They simply shrugged at me and carried on their conversation.
WHAT ON EARTH WAS GOING ON HERE? HAD THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN?
‘Stebbins sit down and stop acting like an idiot.’ Potter said sternly.
I glared at him; though admitting defeat and doing as he said. I walked towards Lily, who just happened to be sitting next to Black. I went to sit on her other side in order to avoid an awkward conversation between Black and myself but Lily, being the wonderful friend that she always was shifted quickly away from Black opening up a space for me to sit. I glared at her.
‘You and Potter really would make a good couple with your matching sadistic behaviour.’ I muttered to her as I sat in my allocated seat.
‘I am much more of a comical genius than Potter could ever be though.’ She replied smiling sweetly at me, ignoring my deathly glare as she did.
‘Morning Stebbins.’ Black nodded as he shifted to give me a little more room on the bench.
Bloody hell he was actually trying to engage in conversation as I sat on the Gryffindor table eating breakfast with him and his friends. I must have surely woken up in a paradox universe?
I mean that’s not to say that those four boys were necessarily my number one enemies anymore (though Lupin was still in a shady area of high distrust). I couldn’t exactly forget what they’d done for me the previous night, it was just, well, this was weird. Us sitting all together like this, as though we had been friends for years was, in my own lofty opinion, jumping the gun a bit. They had essentially signed up to be my personal bodyguards for the next two years of our lives, and defended my “honour” (well if I had any left), and they made me realise that they weren’t complete and utter arseholes. But I mean it was those four idiots? Nevertheless, nearly six years of shit could not be forgotten over a light breakfast on a bright Wednesday morning. They were still all arrogant, idiotic, little boys; maybe now less so towards me, but they still bullied people; Severus was a key example. Whilst I respected at the very least there comradery and that however much they didn’t like me, they still stood up for me and they wanted to protect me from the “evil Slytherins” our past couldn’t be forgotten so easily. That’s not to say of course I couldn’t use some help in deflecting some of the anger directed towards me from a certain green table, but I mean I didn’t exactly want to be best buds with them or anything.
Annie could clearly read the hundred and one thoughts that were flying through my head, she looked at me pointedly, clearly telling me to get over myself and deal with it. They had at the very least not said anything too scathing thus far.
‘Good morning Black.’ I replied, tearing my gaze away from Annie.
My eyes caught his as I did so and uneasy feeling filled my stomach. There was one slight, minor detail I had forgotten. I could most likely eventually deal with the whole sitting with aresholes who wanted to look out for me; I could probably have even accepted the fact that despite Black being an absolute idiot to my sister, Isla had after all actually dumped him. What I could not get over was the fact that Black had apparently tried to shove his tongue down my throat last night. But that would have to be dealt with later.
‘Well what a happy turn of events this has turned out to be,’ Potter said happily looking round at all of us, ‘you girls eagerly sitting with the best looking boys in Hogwarts,’ He smirked arrogantly.
‘Oh really Potter? Because I had a feeling Lily thought Montgomery was the best looking boy in Hogwarts.’ I said eager for him to bite back at my remark.
‘Clearly even though we’ve essentially become your bodyguards you’ll still determined to be the same old Stebbins? He quipped though I could see for once there was a smile behind his words.
‘I’ll just try to be less catty.’ I smiled in response.
‘So Lily, Stebbins was actually joking when she said –’ Potter began as we all groaned as one at his insistency to get Lily to agree with him.
‘You know,’ Black began in a low voice so that only I could hear what he was saying, ‘I wasn’t actually going to kiss you last night,’ he continued as he looked down at his plate of food.
‘Please Stebbins, you’d have to beg me for it for me to even consider.’ He snorted.
‘It just seemed that you stepped closer-’ I began rather awkwardly.
This caused him to hastily look round to see if anyone was watching our interaction.
‘No, seriously Stebbins, there is no way I’m attracted to you or would want to kiss you’ he said looking at my closely, ‘no way at all.’
‘Good.’ I replied though uncertain of the sincerity or truth behind his words.
It wasn’t exactly like I wanted Black to like me, or even want to kiss me. In fact there was no way I ever wanted that to happen. It was just I couldn’t help but think that the awkward gaze he was giving me was not the look of a man who was sure of his words. Then again I wasn’t ever very good a reading people’s faces – I had often mistook a look from Evan to be one which invited me over to join him and his friends; in fact it had been the complete opposite.
‘Ok.’ I replied shaking the thought from my head.
‘So have you had a chance to talk to Isla about last night?’ He continued.
‘Yes, I spoke to her this morning when she woke up.’
‘And how did she take it?’ He asked apprehensively and in that moment he looked like a very worried little boy.
‘Surprisingly well, it just obviously hasn’t come at the best of times.’
‘Though I’m not sure if she’ll appreciate me sitting with you every meal time.’ I said honestly, whilst looking at him closely for his reaction.
‘Well that’s understandable.’ He grimaced.
‘But that doesn’t mean we have to go on hating one another.’ I offered.
‘And you can come sit with us whenever you feel like it.’ He shrugged trying to pose the comment in a most nonchalant fashion.
‘I think I might.’ I said offering the dejected boy a small smile.
Bloody hell I must be seriously ill to be being this nice to Black. Worse still my world was certainly beginning to shift in a direction I was not altogether sure I was comfortable with or even ready for.
Hold on now I’m choking,
Give me a second to collect myself,
You must be joking, otherwise I’m laughing to myself
Attracting Flies – AlunaGeorge
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