Chapter 14 : Dragon's Breath
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"You wanna explain what any of that was?”
I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. We’d just Apparated back to the hotel room and Sirius was already giving me shit about my actions. Who did he think he was? My mother?
No, not her. Because she was shacking up with some random Hufflepuff that knocked her up. That’s my mother – the responsible one…the one who was supposed to be an example for me.
“What would you have done in my situation?” I hissed.
“Honestly, my parents can barely stand each other much less sleep in the same bed so I don’t think new siblings would really be an issue for me. Besides, Regulus is nauseating enough as he is.”
I scowled at him. “Look, I really don’t care what you think of me right now. I just want to forget about everything that happened tonight. I’m sure you can understand why,” I bit acidly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a shower before we head over to Ivan’s party.”
I hurried out of the room before Sirius had the chance to say anything else on the matter. I had the terrible thought that he would try and lunge at me and force me to stay and have whatever conversation he wished with me. But he didn’t. As I was leaving the room, I heard him sigh heavily and then the vague sounds of ice clinking within a glass and liquid being poured. Somehow, I doubted that he was simply fixing himself a nice drink of water.
After resisting the strong urge to throw the bathroom door open dramatically, I shut it softly with self-control that was on the point of breaking. Several deep breaths later, the water was at a temperature I deemed close to boiling and my clothes were discarded on the floor.
As I scrubbed generically androgynous smelling shampoo into my hair, I attempted to sort through the events that had occurred within the previous few hours. My mother was…had been…seeing a man. A man that she was going to marry. A man that she was going to marry because she was pregnant with his child – his children.
I ran the scenario through my mind over and over again. Was I overreacting? Dipping my head under the powerful stream of water, I began to pick it apart. Was it the fact that my mother was dating someone? Honestly, I wanted to believe that I wouldn’t care if she had told me she was seeing a man. After all, she was a grown woman. And why should she be denied the chance to find a nice guy just because she’d had some hard times in her life?
But it wasn’t as though she was introducing me to a man that she’d just started dating. He wasn’t some new suitor with whom she’d only gone out for coffee with or something. She had been seeing him for three months, at least. How did she know that he was a decent man in that amount of time? People could be deceiving, if I’d learned anything over the years. For so long, Sirius and Remus had hidden behind masks of fear and scorn, only to be revealed as amiable people that considered themselves to be my friends. How was my mother to know that this man wasn’t the opposite of them?
And she was having children with him. Children that would have such an age difference with me that should I ever be seen with them (something that I wouldn’t allow to happen at any point in the foreseeable future) people might think that they were my children rather than my….half-siblings. The whole thing was just utterly ridiculous.
Perhaps I wouldn’t feel so off put by this whole ordeal if it had started out normally. If my mother had introduced me to this guy after they’d gone on a few dates, I would have been creeped out, but gradually accepted the fact that she was seeing someone. After a healthy few years or more, they would have announced an engagement and then, even more years later, they would have a small, quite wedding that would be attended by me and Daniel’s family. Months or years later (though preferably never), they would happily have a child. One. If that.
But, no. That would never happen. Because that was all too clean and simple for whatever greater power seemed to be looking over my existence.
The bar of soap that I had been furiously scrubbing my skin with suddenly seemed as offensive as my mum and that stupid man. With a grunt of rage, I threw it against the wall and watched it slide harmlessly down.
And that was the final straw. Literally nothing was going the way I wanted it to. Even the fucking thing of soap wouldn’t break when I wanted it to. I collapsed onto the floor of the tub and the tears that had so refused to come earlier in the night where making their way out.
After one of the very attractive blubbers, there was a sharp knock at the door. “Elaina? Elaina, are you okay? I heard a noise….”
I removed the palms of my hands from my eyes. Dammit. I hadn’t even considered the fact that Sirius would be able to hear my antics. I cleared my throat in hopes of hiding my raspy crying voice before responding, “I’m fine. Just dropped the bloody soap.”
It would have been very convincing had my voice not broken halfway through. In his paused reaction and extended “okay” I could tell that he didn’t believe me. But he did leave me alone. I kept weeping, comforted only by the fact that I could pretend my tears were water from the shower head and not my own weakness.
After a long shower and pity party for myself, I decided to take a quick nap before Sirius and I set out for a real party. Two hours into what was proving to be beneficial to my sanity, I was interrupted by yet another knock on my door from my pseudo-roommate.
Without waiting for a “come in” or even confirmation that I was awake or, more importantly, decent, Sirius bounded into the room with several swatches of cloth in his hand.
“Ah, Sleeping Beauty,” he said with a smirk.
“What do you want, Sirius?” I responded with a rough, sleep induced voice, my cheeks flushing in the dim light. He didn’t really mean the beautiful thing. It was just his use of social constructs and common Muggle literature; he wasn’t implying that I was beautiful. Still, I couldn’t help the heat that flooded my face.
“I need a woman’s opinion.” He held up the fabric next to his face and I saw that he was actually carrying shirts. I blinked thinking that my eyes were still sticky with sleep. Was Sirius Black asking me for fashion advice?
Now, I wasn’t completely daft when it came to clothing, but I would not pretend to be an expert either. The haute-est my wardrobe ever got was occasionally pairing a cardigan with my blouse instead of a jumper. The highest heels I had towered at a staggering height of one inch. After all, what matter did it make what you were wearing when no one looked at you?
“Um. Okay. I’ll do my best.”
“Which one of these makes you feel like you’d want to shag me?” He made a face and then quickly amended, “Or rather, shag me the most.”
“I don’t want to shag you, period,” I said wearily.
“Marshelle, I don’t want to shag you either. But, if you were a drunk female of questionable virtue which of these would make you feel the most likely to hook up with me?”
I pursed my lips and analysed the colours he held near his face. They were all cool shades that highlighted his light and dark good looks. The black top was just as dark as his hair yet, edgy and mysterious as it was, I couldn’t see it as the overtly flattering hue Sirius was looking for. Next was a pale blue-ish grey that looked as though it almost matched his eyes. However, it was much too close. Last was a pretty navy blue. I pointed to it with confidence. Not only did the dark colour take note of his fair complexion, but it also brought out the blue undertones in his hair, and made his eyes standout like double moons on the night sky.
He nodded as though he had known the answer to his question the entire time. But I could taste his false confidence and smiled softly to myself.
“And what about you? You’re the one with someone to impress. What are you gonna wear for Ivan?” I grimaced at the way Sirius trilled out his name.
“I don’t see why it matters. I’ll probably just wear this,” I waved my hand to indicate my worn jeans and jumper. Sirius gave an exasperated sigh, draped the shirts over his shoulder, and then plopped down onto my bed with me.
“Oh, Elaina. So young, so naďve.”
“I’m fairly certain that I’m older than you.”
“Semantics,” he snipped with a wave of his hand. “It’s just so innocent of you. You’ve got to show what you’ve got if you want to attract attention at a party.”
“I don’t want to attract attention.”
“Sure you do. No matter what any girl ever says, she likes to be looked at to some degree.” I almost opened my mouth to protest but deciding that I would not be able to deter him from the absurd notions. I simply sat back and listened, an amused smile of doubt on my face. “You all claim that you don’t want it or you don’t care, but you want that tiny bit of acknowledgement that you look good. And as much as you love to get it from your girl friends, it feels infinitely better for it to be done by the guy you like. In your case, Ivan.”
At this I pursed my lips. “Look, I don’t see why you’re so caught up on the idea that I have a thing for Ivan.”
His eyebrows shot up and surprise echoed through the air. “Why, because you would be foolish if you did not. Personally, the bloke has no appeal for me and I can think of a dozen bastards that are better people than him, but he has that one edge. He doesn’t know you and that provides a certain ignorance to your parentage.”
My lips twitched at the hint of my mother but I had to agree. “And he is rather attractive,” I said almost as though I were trying to convince myself.
Sirius wrinkled his nose. “Sure, if you like that whole Scandinavian pretty boy look.” Did I? “But don’t you want to impress him?”
“Good.” He pulled me off the bed and transformed my outfit with a flick of his wand. For a moment, I was impressed with his wand work and the sheer skill that came with transfiguring my clothing so easily. And then I became aware of what was actually happening. My jeans and top melded into one and then vastly began to shrink.
“No,” I said before the tube dress had even settled onto my body. I refused to look down at it, but from my exposed legs, arms, and shoulders I could easily use my imagination just how scantily dressed I was. “Sirius, no.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Red isn’t really your colour.”
“Red?” I squeaked just before he moved his wand again. This time, I was comforted by the feeling of coverage on my legs and arms and summoned the bravery to look down. There was a dark washed pair of jeans covering my legs in a tighter fit than I would have ever worn naturally tucked into high boots with a slight heel. A soft grey leather jacket slid over my arms and covered a creamy coloured camisole that may or may not have been silk and plunged a bit too far for my liking.
I went to respond but Sirius cut me off. “It’s this or the dress so choose wisely.” My mouth snapped shut.
Nearly an hour and a half after Ivan told us to show up to the party, Sirius and I Apparated to the address that we had been given. We stood in a long, narrow hall with rows of doors and devoid of any people. We faced the door of 4D and silently in front of it. For a place where a raging party was supposed to be taking place it was awfully quiet. Had we really gotten the right flat?
I turned to ask Sirius but he spoke before I got the chance.
“Look, Elaina, are you sure that you want to do this?”
I gave him a wild look. After all the preparation we went through and he was suggesting that we nix the party? Sure, the thought tugged at me. I was nervous about going to what could be considered my first real public event but after all the work we had gone through to get to this point it seemed silly to just throw it all away. Obviously we had both spent time on outfits. And after Sirius had left the room I had flipped through some fashion magazines left in the room and magicked my hair into compliance and make up into perfection. I’d mentally prepared responses to every question that I could ever think that would be asked of me. There were several breathing exercises and even more foetal positions resumed. The icing on my preparation cake was the feeding that Sirius accompanied me to before we arrived at Ivan’s doorstep. After that, there was no turning back. I was feeling optimistic and I needed to let out pent up emotions from my mother.
“Believe me, if I didn’t want to be here right now, I wouldn’t be.” This seemed to appeased Sirius well enough because he shrugged and then pushed open the door that was in front of us.
I could see a plethora of people laughing and talking, dancing and gulping but it was all like I was watching the telly on mute. I could see and feel the fun. The vibrant feelings coming off of the party goers were so palpable that I was certain that even Sirius had to be able to feel them.
After another step, I felt like I was walking through a curtain with the soft brush of magic on my cheek. And suddenly my muted outside perspective of the party became a sonic boom of people getting up close and personal. I could almost literally feel the storage of consumed emotions within me fading away and my stomach aching.
Was this really the right decision? There were so many people laughing and enjoying themselves that it would just be all too easy to take a little off the top.
Above all the chattering was one girl who had a dark cloud of hair and an even bolder voice. “I may be a princess but my vagina is a warrior!” she exclaimed to all those who would listen.
Oh, Merlin. What did I get myself into?
As though he could sense my discomfort, Sirius grabbed my wrist and sent a silent question my way. I nearly told Sirius that I wanted to leave when a flurry of blonde hair came buzzing towards us.
Ivan wore a gigantic grin and red shirt as he pushed two cups at me and Sirius. His eyes lingered on Sirius’s hand and I quickly snatched my arm away. I accepted the cup with a gracious smile and Sirius followed.
“Hey! Glad you guys could make it!”
Before we could respond there was a loud crash that sounded suspiciously like glass shattering. A yelp and quick laughter followed, but this simply elicited a sigh from Ivan. He muttered something about going to see what happened before wandering off. I suspected some of the more hushed tones I could just barely hear as he walked away were curses so dark they were probably unsuitable for even Sirius’s ears.
Nearly immediately after Ivan had left our presence, Sirius grabbed the red plastic cup full of alcohol from me. Some of the amber liquid sloshed over the side and dripped onto my shoes.
Sirius shook his head and removed his wand. “Rule number one about parties, under no circumstances should you ever take a drink from someone that you didn’t see prepared right in front of you. Exceptions are of course closed bottles and cans. Date rape is a serious thing.” He waved his wand over my cup.
“‘A Sirius thing?’ Is this something that you have prior experience with?” I joked hoping to hide the slight panic attack I was having at the thought of being drugged. Was I sure I should be here?
“Elaina, there is a time and a place for banal and overdone puns on my name and this is neither.” He squinted at the liquid. Since nothing had happened from what I could tell it was safe and Sirius handed the drink back to me with a shrug.
Without testing his own drink, he tipped it back and drained it within one gulp. He made a face after. Did that mean it was strong? The only alcohol I’d ever had was Butterbeer and a little bit of wine now and then with a special meal. Sirius, I presumed, had plenty of experience with liquors. I put the cup to my lips and tentatively took a small drink. It tasted sweet and slightly like what I imagined licking a tree might be like; it burned all the way down my throat.
“Why didn’t you check your drink?” I said mostly to see if my vocal chords would still work or if they had been reduced to ashes with the smouldering liquid I’d just consumed.
“Because,” Sirius started, head swivelling around the party in what I took to be a search for my alcohol, “if someone wanted to get into my pants, I wouldn’t have to be knocked out first.”
Before I could tell if that was directed to me as an insult or a compliment, Sirius wandered off to the kitchen. I didn’t follow but stood in the same place, certain that Ivan would come back after he magically mended whatever had been broken.
The party continued on around me. People said loud dirty jokes and laughed even louder. A roar would erupt every time a person at an oblong table managed to launch a small white ball into a triangle of cups much like the one in my hand. A few people in the corner gyrated to the thumping music and it struck me that the magical sound barrier was probably a very smart idea. One couple was showing the rest of us their sexual prowess by practically fornicating in the corner. I averted my gaze from them quickly and took a large gulp of my drink. Perhaps the burn would travel to my eyes and burn away that image.
It didn’t. But the burn seemed to decrease and the flavour increase with each drink that I took. I didn’t know if this was because my senses were being seared away or if I was simply acclimating to the sensation. Either way, I found myself not caring. I gave a little giggle.
I went for another drink only to find that my cup was dry. With a sigh I decided to seek more of the mixture. I moved into the direction I’d seen Sirius wander but I had to stop suddenly as I began to feel uneasy on my feet.
“Whoa. Easy there,” a deep voice laughed as a hand firmly gripped my elbow righted me. I turned.
“Ivan!” I cheered with a large grin.
He chuckled again. “I think that’s the happiest anyone’s been to see me all night.”
“Oh, I’m always happy to see you,” I said, blind to the fact that I’d only met him once before this.
“The feeling’s mutual,” he said slyly. “Now, wherever were you trying to go?”
“I seem to have run out of…whatever it was you gave me.” I gave a sad look to the red plastic chalice.
“Ah. Well, let’s get you some more then, yes?”
“Please!” Ivan nodded and slipped an arm around my waist. As soon as he touched me, I could feel the want in his body. Longing, attraction, a fizzy happiness slipped through the tighter he held me. Every other emotion in the flat was dull compared to the contact he was giving me.
Sirius seemed to have the right thought in going towards what appeared to be the kitchen as Ivan leaded me in the same direction. “It really is a lovely party.”
Ivan laughed. “I don’t know if I would go that far. But the scenery has improved vastly since you arrived. And it seems as though the women here think the same thing about your friend Cyrus.”
“Sirius,” I corrected but followed his gaze towards the other side of the kitchen where my fellow Gryffindor was getting rather cosy with a girl wearing a slinky dress that I had a sneaking suspicion looked rather like the one that I had been wearing earlier.
All at once, the casual hunger that I had been able to push to the back of my mind came forward again. Along with it came the biting words Sirius has said to me earlier as he implied that I was a prude. I was not. There was just simply no one around that would get close enough for me to prove it.
Except now there was. There was a very attractive boy with his arm around me who was project feelings that clearly said he was interested. I spun around quickly to see Ivan’s face and lost my balance. His arms wrapped around me to prevent me from collapsing onto the floor.
“You okay there? Seems like you don’t drink that much. I mean, Dragon’s Breath is pretty serious stuff, but you shouldn’t be this bad after one cup.”
I stared at his face without response. My stomach growled and my heart ached. Two birds could be killed with one boy’s mouth.
“Hey, Elaina….” His brow furrowed with concern.
I didn’t know what it was – the alcohol, the burning of hunger, or how badly I simply wanted him – but the next thing I knew, I had my lips pressed against his. His shock was apparent albeit his pleasure was as well. I could feel the give of the dementor within me as I pulled out his happy feelings. Though, there was something different about it…something far less wicked and evil. Something more natural. As though I were taking in the affection rising between our bodies.
Then I was aware of everyone else in the room. The fact that Sirius could see us. I was torn between wanting him to witness this and wanting privacy. The reminder of the couple I’d seen getting down and dirty earlier in front of everyone propelled me back to sanity.
I jerked away suddenly. Half out of shock, half out of embarrassment. “S-sorry. I…I didn’t mean to-”
He simply laughed before taking my hand in his tan palm and pulling me into a somewhat more secluded area. “I don’t know what these boys at Hogwarts have been teaching you, but you don’t ever apologize for kissing someone.”
I felt my lips twitch into a nervous smile. He was wrong in thinking that I had boys swarming me in school, but I didn’t bother to correct him. Explaining why I was avoided would bring up even more touchy subjects. Like the fact that my biological father was a dementor.
“Of course. I’ll keep that in mind.” Well, that’s what I intended to say anyway. Before any words (or sounds in general) could escape my mouth, it was covered yet again by Ivan’s.
His lips were far more daring than mine. They danced about, intrusive and fearless. The movements were easy for him and I wondered briefly if he’d had nearly as much practice with girls as Sirius. I decided that was an accurate assumption, and attempted to push the eldest Black son out of my mind.
Despite the valiant effort on my part, he kept seeping into my brain. The way his eyes trailed protectively across my every movement tonight. Carefully watching the drink that I tipped down my throat. Grimacing as I slurred words and grabbed onto Ivan’s arm to steady myself.
As Ivan’s mouth moved from my now swollen lips to my temple, I found myself imagining what Sirius would think of this situation. He’d certainly seemed to have taken a liking to me in this past couple days. Would he be ashamed and loath me for what I was doing now? Or would he be impressed that I wasn’t afraid to prove him wrong tonight.
Of course, was it even his business what I did? I was doing this because I was drunk. And because Ivan’s lips had looked far, far too appealing for his own good. Besides, had Sirius not been involved with such sinful things himself? He had no right to judge me on my own choices, because I had no doubt that Sirius would label me no matter what I did. So, I decided to do what I wanted and not worry about what Sirius or anyone else at this party thought.
My mind made up, I wound my fingers into Ivan’s hair and let him kiss me until my lips felt numb and my body was quivering with alcohol, excitement, and a happy dementor.
Yo! First off, don’t be too mad about me getting this chapter out way late. Life gets in the way. I’m a sophomore in college…I don’t have as much time for writing. Strike that. As a history major, I’m always writing. I just never get to write for purely pleasure. Sucks. But that’s life, right?
Anyway, there’s a bunch of fun stuff in this chapter, right?! Party, party. AND IVAN. Thoughts? Let me know. Feed that review box; it’s hungry. Also, I always always always read and respond to reviews. Just keep an eye out.
~The Forgotten Muse
EDIT 5/29/2013- Updated chapter image.
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