Chapter 14 : Middle Names, Regulus and My Life Story
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"Sirius whatever-your-middle-name-is Black!" I shrieked, limping into the Great Hall.
Thankfully it was semi-empty. His head shot up from the Gryffindor table, his mouth stuffed with what appeared to be bacon and pancakes. My walking cane made a clicking sound, the colour red blazing like a fire.
"It's Orion, by the way," He said, his mouth still full. "Although, I'm still figuring out James's. Want to help? You seem very good at figuring those out. And I assume you remembered what you wanted to yell at me about?"
"Um, yes? You fucking moron! Why the hell would you hook up with not one, but two Ravenclaw girls who just happen to share the same dormitory?"
"Fuck's right, oh! Do you know what mayhem the common room went through? I gave up my bed because the two girls didn't want to look at each other."
Okay, that was sort of false. Amelia's roommate Eva is a slag, so it didn't come as a surprise she had snogged Black, but it wasn't because the two couldn't stand to see each other that Amelia slept in my four-poster. After getting back to my dorm to see Amelia in hysterics, and Zoe and Sydney doing their best to help her, I convinced her that it would be no problem for her to sleep in my bed. I shared with Charlie, which wasn't so bad except for the rude wakeup call this morning in the form of a kick in the rear. This, of course, led to me landing on the floor, and needless to say, I was not in the best of moods.
"Could you not keep your womanizing habits in check for one night? Or at least have the decency to hook up with someone who has no morals and doesn't think you actually like them, like Kendra for example."
"Hey! I resent that."
I turned to see Kendra sitting with Lily and eating breakfast.
"Sorry, Kendra," I said, wincing."
She gave me an indignant look. I turned back to Black to see him smirking. Giving him the middle finger, I snagged a piece of his bacon, ignoring his cry.
"Anyways, if I ever see you go anywhere near Amelia – the red-headed one – again, I will cut off your manhood and then force feed it to you."
"Ooh, jealous there Ace?" He said, wiggling his eyebrows.
I bared my teeth at him. "You wish."
"Oh that I do! My utmost desire is to have you pine for me, Ace. It is all I ever wanted in life. Your undying love is what drives me in life."
I smirked at him, taking a goblet of pumpkin juice in my hand. Taking a sip, I raised my eyebrow suggestively. He gave me his own patented smirk, the rest of the marauders looking at me with wary expressions. As I lowered the goblet, I reached across the table and put my hand on his.
"Oh Black, your hair, your smile, your wit. There is only one thing I could possibly think of doing to you right now."
Then I dumped the goblet of pumpkin juice on his head. He spluttered as orange liquid seeped into his hair and shirt, staining his face with it. I gave a lifeless laugh and limped away.
"I see you got your walking stick back," he yelled to my back.
I ignored him and stomped over to the Ravenclaw table, dropping down beside Charlie, Carter and a stricken Amelia. Nodding in acknowledgement, I shoved a piece of bacon in my mouth savagely. Ah, bacon. Even when no one else is there to comfort me, you are. I began to idly curse, muttering swears under my breath. Amelia kept her eyes on her bowl of cereal while Charlie kept falling asleep at her pancakes.
Carter on the other hand, was freaking out over some quidditch plan he wanted us to try out for the next match (which was months away), the diagrams and drawings scattered along the table. I ripped another piece of bacon apart with my teeth before pouring myself a bowl of what Charlie calls 'sugar shit' but what I call 'cereal heaven.' After about a minute of my muttered cursing, I finally felt someone hit me on the shoulder. I looked up and saw Frank.
"Frank Longbottom, Gryffindor extraordinaire," I exclaimed half-heartedly. "How's it going?"
"Well, I just wanted to know, when are we going to get together to practice those non-verbal spells? I mean, I get that you're still a little injured, but if it could be anytime soon, that would be great."
I smiled up at him. "Yeah, soon would be best for me too. I have quidditch practice tonight, but seeing as I can't really do much, maybe you could come watch with me and we can look over the theoretical side of it, and then after we can actually do it."
Frank smiled, ruffling his brown hair. "Sure. Meet you at seven on the pitch then?"
"Practice starts at six-thirty, so I'll start working on it a little before you get there if that's okay."
"Better than okay," Frank said. "I'd rather have you understand everything and explain it to me than try and figure it out together."
"Oh bugger off, you minger," I laughed. "Go on, get to breakfast. And bring me some treacle tart later, okay?"
"Haven't you had enough treacle tart?"
"What makes you say that?"
"Well," Frank chuckled, "didn't you find some at the edge of your bed this morning?"
"Now Frank Longbottom, however did you know that?"
He winked. "I bunk with the marauders."
"Oh yeah," I said, rolling my eyes. "I forgot. You're so much better than any of them."
"Oh! Miss James you make me swoon!"
"Mr. Longbottom you make my heart flutter yourself."
"And don't you forget it!"
I rolled my eyes again. "Okay, so I'll see you at the pitch at seven o'clock sharp?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world!"
I laughed as he tipped an imaginary hat in my direction and skipped backwards away from the Ravenclaw table, kicking his legs out like a leprechaun. Frank's happiness was contagious and I even saw Amelia smile a little. Turning back to my food, I poured milk into my bowl and began eating. Taking a drink from my apple juice and fruit punch mix (old habits die hard – I've done that since I was a little girl), I looked up to see Carter staring at me strangely.
"Want to take a picture Carter?"
"You can't practice."
"I know. That's why I'm walking with a cane. I've been hurt."
"You can't practice."
I rolled my eyes, but Charlie said something before I could. "Yeah Carter, I'm pretty sure that's what she's been saying. Merlin, have you been drinking fire whiskey? I'm not ever going to kiss you if you become a drunk."
"You can't practice."
"Carter!" We both shrieked at the same time.
His glazed eyes suddenly closed. He seemed to be in intense thinking mode. I stared at Charlie and she stared back, both of us obviously wondering what the hell was going on with Carter. Even Amelia saw something was up and she looked at him quizzically. Suddenly, his eyes shot open.
"You can't practice."
"I get it Carter, I can't practice. What's up?"
He ignored me and began getting together all of his diagrams and paraphernalia from the table, tucking them under his arm as his grabbed a piece of toast from his plate and rushed off.
"Carter!" Charlie screamed after him. "Carter, we were supposed to… oh what's the use?" Her voice dwindled off for the last few words and she propped her head up with her hand. "My boyfriend is a useless piece of crap."
"You were supposed to go out today?"
"Just to take a walk around Hogsmeade. We were supposed to talk about… things."
"About what happened the last time?"
Her cheeks coloured and she gave a small nod. Amelia looked at us, the question clear on her face, but I shook my head imperceptibly, silently trying to tell her that I would tell her later. As Charlie viciously attacked the last piece of toast on her plate, I took another swig of my drink and set the empty cup on the table.
"Okay, I have to finish some things up since I missed so much class, but see you later, eh? Be in the library if you need me."
Charlie nodded, her eyes dark, while Amelia gave me a pleading look of desperation. Obviously, a steaming mad Charlie wasn't something she fancied being around.
"Amelia, you needed help with your Charms paper, right?" I asked, earning me a grateful smile.
Amelia nodded, getting up from the table and briskly walking away from Charlie to get around the table to meet me. I giggled and Charlie looked up. As I gestured at Amelia – who now looked like a frightened kitten – Charlie caught on and smiled too. I gave her a wink and walked away, hooking arms with Amelia and turning her around as she got closer.
I dragged her back to my dormitory to get my book bag, all the while listening to her idle chatter about how Ray Davies had asked her to Hogsmeade this morning, after allegedly hearing she was a good snog, and how Amy Warwick agreed after Amelia herself declined. As we got to the library, I nodded at Madame Pince and she gave me a tight-lipped purse of her lips – which is the best greeting she's ever given anyone, so who am I to complain?
I made my way to my favourite table that looked over the quidditch pitch and dropped down onto one of the plush chairs. Amelia sat down across from me and pulled out some parchment, some ink and a quill. As she started scribbling down whatever it was that she was working on, which I was only 20% sure was Charms, I stared out the window, longing to get back on my broomstick and fly around the pitch.
Bloody limp. I still had two weeks until the Healers allowed me to do anything strenuous, whether I was using my legs or not. I sighed and turned back to the task at hand, flipping through my potions textbook looking for the Draught of Living Death. As I finally got to the page that contained the information on it, I heard a thump and turned sharply. A tallish boy with jet black hair was turned away from us, his back tensed as he tried desperately to balance a stack of books in his right hand and a falling vase the size of a hippogriff in his left. I quickly brandished my wand.
"Wingardium Leviosa." I said quietly, the vase hovering in midair. I quickly ran over and placed the vase back on the pedestal it had fallen off of. "Might want to be a little more careful there," I whispered cheerfully.
The boy turned to me and I almost gasped. His eyes were gray, exactly like someone I will not mention (cough cough, Black). He gave me a look and I felt my cheeks colour.
"Sorry, you look like someone I know," I said sheepishly.
"Yeah, I hear that a lot. Let me guess, you're part of Sirius Black's immense fan club?"
I snorted. "He wishes."
The boy gave me a curious glance. "You don't think Sirius Black is Merlin's gift to woman kind?"
"Oh please, don't make me laugh. That prick is such a pain in my arse."
The boy smiled. "Glad to know not everyone loves my brother."
Realization struck me and I slapped my forehead with my palm. "You're Regulus Black! I knew you looked similar to him." Regulus smiled and nodded. "So what are you doing here Regulus? Studying for a test? Writing a paper that was due last week?"
"Finishing some extra credit for Transfiguration. For the life of me, I can't seem to quite get the grasp of it, though McGonagall's pretty nice about letting me do extra work to keep up with the rest of the class."
"That's cool. Were you coming over to sit at the table?"
"Um yeah, that's where I usually sit, but I saw you two, so I was turning to go. That's when I hit the vase."
"Well, it's not as if we're doing anything particularly interesting, but if you want, you can stay. There are two other chairs."
Regulus smiled at me. "Thanks."
I returned the smile and walked back to the table, sitting down with Regulus dropping down next to me. I saw Amelia's gaze flicker up and her cheeks colour when she saw who the newcomer was. Well wasn't that interesting. I smiled and turned back to my work, glancing up every so often as Regulus asked Amelia question after question about Transfiguration – which I knew was her best subject. Suddenly, I felt the atmosphere change and Regulus tense dramatically beside me. I looked up and saw Black – as in Sirius (heretofore referred to as Pain In My Arse or PIMA) – standing there, staring lividly at Regulus.
"What are you doing here, Reg?" PIMA spat out acidly.
Regulus's face had turned stony, the polite, thankfully boy from before gone. "Studying. That is what a library is for, Sirius. Not for shagging like you would have hoped."
The tension could have been cut with a rusty spoon. I looked from one brother to the other, fear running through my veins. No one talked for half a minute before I finally spoke up.
"Sirius," – oh Merlin it pains me to say his given name – "what are you doing here?"
"I came to apologize for what I did to poor Ally last night." I rolled my eyes as Amelia's own brown ones filled with tears. "That was right out of order, and I'm really sorry. Will you forgive me Ally?"
Amelia began to pack up her stuff, giving Regulus a glance or two, but otherwise looking determinedly at the table. When her bag was packed, she turned to PIMA (yeah, that was hard to do, so heretofore using his last name), and gave a small shake of her head. Then, she ran out of the library. Regulus gave Black (okay, okay, I'll call him Sirius), a dirty look and gathered his own things.
"Wow Sirius, I thought you were thick, but that was harsh," he said stiffly, then turning to me. "Thanks for letting me sit with you…"
"Lexi. Lexi James."
"Well thanks then, Lexi James. See you later?"
I nodded and he sprinted off after Amelia. I turned to Black and began hitting him with my walking cane, it taking a reddish colour again, although it had been green before. Merlin, this boy made me mad! He began swearing under his breath, careful not to be too loud or Madame Pince would have us thrown out.
"You arse!" I shrieked. "Her name is Amelia! Ally isn't even close. And what do you care if Regulus is here? Merlin! Black, you can't get mad if your brother hangs out with people. He is a human being."
Black finally caught my wrist that held the cane and his grip tightened. "Okay, first, I feel really bad about calling her Ally. Could you please apologize for me? I don't think she'll ever want to be around me again." Although my expression made it clear I wasn't going to, he continued. "Second, I can get mad if my brother hangs out with anyone I don't think he would. He has ulterior motives."
"Yeah, because you've never studied with someone you thought was a nice person. Oh wait! You fucking don't! You just shag them in the library. Merlin, I think I like Regulus better."
I heard Madame Pince's shuffling from behind the endless number of bookshelves and quickly packed up my stuff.
"So he gets to be called Regulus but you still call me Black? How is that fair. You've only known him for five minutes!"
"Doesn't matter. He's nice, so I'll call him by his given name."
With that, I turned around and walked away and out of the library before Madame Pince could throw me out. I heard Black's footsteps behind me and tried to hurry up, although with his long legs and my obvious limp, he caught up to me very fast.
"Oh come on. He's a Slytherin. You can't possibly think him a good person."
I sighed, rolling my eyes. "Better than you."
"Look, you can't seriously get mad at me for being mad that he's hanging out with you."
"Because he's my family. And you already know I'm not overly fond of my family."
"Why not? I've heard that they're pretty big into keeping the family name 'pure,' and while that's bad, I haven't heard anything to suggest they're giant supporters of You-Know-Who, but you act as if they're vermin."
"They're worse than vermin," he scoffed. "And maybe if you told me what happened with your family, I might tell you what happened with mine."
"Yeah right. If anyone's giving up information first, it'll be you."
"And why is that?"
"Because how should I know it's worth my story?"
He stopped me, putting his hand on my arm and pulling me over to a small classroom. Opening the door, he checked to make sure it was clear and then dragged me into it. I gave him a look but he just closed the classroom door behind us and began to take off his shirt.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. What the fuck do you think you're doing?" I asked.
He gave me a sad smile. "Showing you how bad my story gets."
Then he took off his shirt (and yes I did see his abs and I may have ogled, but come one, it's Sirius Fucking Black – he's bloody hot) and turned his back to me. I gasped and my hands flew up to cup my mouth. Running across his back were thin white lines that formed words in some places. I could easily read 'traitor,' 'blasphemy' and 'disgraceful.' I took a hesitant step forward and then took three more so I was inches away from him. He didn't turn around but he did tense when I began to trace the small scars that ran from his shoulders to his shoulder blades.
"Sirius," I whispered. "Sirius, I'm so–"
"Don't say you're sorry. Just don't."
"I'm sorry," I said, completely disregarding his demand. I threaded my arms around his waist under his warm ones and lay my forehead against his (very much shirtless) back. "I'm so sorry."
I kissed one of the scars and he relaxed, turning but keeping my arms at his waist. He put his arms around me and held onto me as I slowly traced one of the words with my fingers.
"You called me Sirius," he finally said, pulling away.
"I've called you that before."
He smiled, looking into my green eyes with his grey ones. "I know, I just wanted to point it out."
I smiled back at him and he pulled one hand up to cup my cheek, his eyes still on mine. I saw them flicker to my lips for the briefest of seconds but they quickly returned, his gaze now a smolder. He began to lean in and his forehead touched mine. I took a shaky breath in and he stopped, his nose less than a centimeter away from mine. He kept his gaze trained on mine as he leaned in once more and –
There was a knock on the window. I let out a shriek, tumbling over a chair that had been behind me. I felt my neck snap back and my head hit the hard floor, although not that hard. I scrambled up and assumed a Kung Fu-like position. Black gave me a look and I shrugged, straightening up. Looking at the window, I saw a familiar brown owl with white spots along its wings, a piece or parchment held in its beak. I opened the window and the owl hopped in, dropping the parchment into my hand. I opened it, my heart stopping at the messy scrawl inside.
I've started to move in, but I'm very confused as to where everything is supposed to go. And where is my bedroom?
I may have cursed very loudly. Actually, I certainly did curse very loudly. Black gave me a look but I waved him off.
"Uh, speaking of families… I have to go. And you," I said, gesturing to his (very much naked) chest, "should probably put on a shirt."
I turned to go, my hand picking up my cane from the table it was leaning on. I let my bag bounce off my hip as I hurried out of the classroom, Black's footsteps reverberating behind me. My limp became more pronounced as I walked faster, hurrying to get to Hogsmeade. I began to walk down the staircase in the Great Hall when I felt someone's hand on my shoulder. I looked up and saw Black, his expression worried.
"What's happened?" He asked, almost sounding genuine.
"Um, my sister needs help with something in Hogsmeade. Not really important. Have to go."
"What does she need help with?"
I searched my mind for a good reason. "Um, just stuff. Now can I go? I can't walk properly anyways and this stupid fucking bag isn't fucking helping."
With that, I took off my book bag and threw it down the steps, wincing as I heard the ink bottle inside break all over my books.
"Damn!" I shrieked, making a small second year topple over in surprise.
Black rushed down the stairs and grabbed my bag, darting around the other students to get back to me. He held my book bag out to me but I shook my head.
"I can't deal with this right now. Just throw the bag out or something and I'll figure something out later. I really have to go."
Hey," he said, grabbing my arm as I tried to get past him again. "I can clean it up. I heard the ink bottle break and I can fix that. Just tell me what's up. You look like you're about to strangle someone."
"Well considering my sister's about to move into my flat share, ruin my life and kick me out of my room, I have the right to strangle someone."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. You have a flat share?"
I gave Black a look. "Look, if you really want to help with my bag, I would be really grateful, but I have to go. See you later."
With that, I pushed past him and limped down the stairs as fast as I could.
I walked through Hogsmeade swiftly, my cane slipping every so often on the ice. Because of my hurried exit from Hogwarts, I had left all and every single one of my jumpers in my dormitory, along with my coat, leaving me to shiver in the cold December air. But I walked briskly, hurrying as fast as I could, until I heard a whizzing that reminded me of someone on a broomstick. I, along with everyone else on the path, looked up and I smiled as I saw Black circling around on his broomstick. As he got closer to the ground and dropped down, I wiped the smile off my face and gave him a stony glare.
"What are you doing?" I asked, continue my walk.
He smiled cheekily. "Looking for you. Your bag is clean and put back into your dormitory, and I brought you this."
He handed me his jumper that I still hadn't given back and a large furry coat that I recognized as Charlie's.
"First, how did you get my bag back into my dorm? And how did you get my cane and treacle tart there this morning anyways? Second, thanks."
I took the jumper and put it on, shrugging into the coat right after. Giving him a thankful smile, I hurried up, walking past The Three Broomsticks. Black followed me, broomstick in hand.
"So, you gonna tell me what this is about?"
I sighed and rolled my eyes, trying to avoid large patches of ice. "Why should I?"
"Um, maybe because I showed you the scars on my back? You know, I've never showed anyone but the guys in my dorm. And that's only because I wouldn't have been able to hide them anyways."
I sighed, colour rising to my cheeks as I remembered the sight of them (and incidentally his naked chest because damn, that boy is fit). "Fine. You really want to know?"
He nodded enthusiastically. I rolled my eyes and he smirked.
"Whatever. It's not a happy story."
He grabbed my hand and began stroking it lightly with his thumb before I snatched it away. "Well, you're not always a happy girl."
"Merlin, you're cheesy," I said, rolling my eyes. "Anyways, the saga of Alexandra James starts a long time ago when I was like two."
"Like two or two? This is a big deal you know," Black interrupted.
I gave him a death glare and his smirk dropped. "When I about two years old, my mum left us. One day she was there and the next she wasn't. My sister, Cami, who is seven years older than me, so she was nine back then, was really messed up about it. But my dad got really messed up. He started drinking. As a muggle, he couldn't cope with my sister's magic, and he started lashing out at her. She looks exactly like my mum, so I guess that triggered something for him. He would drink and then lash out at her.
"Cami was only nine years old. She didn't realize that the drinking wasn't normal so she didn't tell anyone, it wouldn't matter. Well Cami went off to Hogwarts and I was left alone with him. He never hit either of us though," I said at Black's horrified expression. "He never hit us. Whenever Cami would come home from Hogwarts though he would swear and curse at our mother, telling us that if we ever did what she did he'd make us pay for it. He would get really drunk and one Christmas night, when I was seven, Cami took me out to see the lights.
"When we got back, he went mental, throwing things and swearing at her. He threw the refrigerator onto the floor and it just barely missed me. Then he went into his den where his whiskey was and that was the last time I saw him. That night I went to sleep crying and when I woke up, Cami had packed all of my stuff into a bag. The presents from under the tree were in another bag and all of Cami's stuff was in a third.
"Undetectable extension charm, I think. She stole my dad's car – that's a muggle mode of transportation – and drove out into the middle of nowhere and I saw this old man standing there, waiting for us. He had a really long beard, so when Cami got me out of the car, I called him Funny Bearded Man. It was actually Dumbledore, which is embarrassing to this day. But anyways, Dumbledore brought us to my aunt's house. My aunt was my dad's sister, so she knew a little bit about magic, but not much. Her children were younger than us and they were all little brats, but we had nowhere else to go.
"We stayed there for a while, until Cami graduated from Hogwarts. By that point, she left and found herself an apartment and I went off to Hogwarts. She wrote every so often, helping me through everything, but then one summer, she stopped communicating. I got really scared, and then my aunt got a visit from the police saying my dad had killed himself. Two weeks later, Cami showed up at my aunt's doorstep. Of course, my aunt couldn't turn her away, so she stayed with me for the next few weeks. And then one day I was at home – well, my aunt's home – and the phone rang – and that's a sort of muggle communication," I said at his confused expression. "And it was my sister and she told me she was sorry. I asked her where she was and she told me she was where it all started.
"I had my aunt drive me back to my dad's house as fast as she could, but it was still a 20 minute drive. When we got there I broke down the front door and rushed in and she was there, just lying there in the kitchen, blood everywhere and a large kitchen knife next to her body. I had my aunt call the hospital, but it took them a while to get an ambulance out to the house. Even then, the bleeding wouldn't stop. She had charmed the knife blade. Apparently it was a habit for her to cut herself, but this time she just wanted it to stop. I tried to stop the bleeding, but there was so much blood. There was just so much of it. So… much… blood. It was everywhere…"
I trailed off, my breathing starting to get laboured. My vision started to go red and I saw the scene again. My sister on the ground, lying in a blood puddle. So much blood…
"Are you okay?" Black asked quietly.
I looked at him, the memory fading away. "Yeah, I'm okay." I wiped a tear off my cheek and kept walking – or should I say limping. "Anyways, that summer my aunt kept me close, not letting me out of her sight. I was fourteen and she wouldn't even let me make a sandwich without supervision. I couldn't go anywhere alone and if I was in the bathroom for more than five minutes she would threaten to break down the door, just in case I was trying to kill myself.
"I finally had enough after she took all the razors in the house away. I mean, a girl has to shave her legs right?" I gave a small giggle, letting the tears fall freely down my face now. "So when I got back to Hogwarts, I talked to Dumbledore. He realized I would run away if he didn't do something so he found a flat in Hogsmeade for me, a flat that was shared with an adult witch, so she could keep an eye on me when I went back. Within a week all my stuff was there and after that, I never went back to my aunt's or my dad's.
"Cami went to St. Mungo's when the muggle hospital couldn't cure her magically-inflicted wounds. That was two years ago. And now, Cami's out and apparently she's moving in with me. And I don't think I'll be able to handle living with her. Since I left my aunt's, I haven't had to think about my family, and now, she'll always be a constant reminder about how fucked up it is. That and the fact that she's such a fucking burden what with her suicide attempt."
I stopped talking as my flat came into view. I started walking faster, ignoring the fact that a large patch of ice was directly in front of the steps leading up to my flat. As I started walking faster, my cane slipped on the icy ground, along with my right foot. I went flying, but then I felt warm hands grab me from around my waist. They set me upright and I turned to see Black, his broomstick disregarded on the ground a few feet away.
"Thanks," I said uncomfortably.
"Yeah, it's icy. You might want to be careful," he said smirking. "As for your sister, she seemed very concerned for you in St. Mungo's before you woke up. Give her some credit. Now, is this your flat?" I nodded and his grin widened. "Can I come up and see your room? Maybe I could acquaint myself with your bed."
I scowled and punched him in the ribs, but all he did was jump back. "Oh, shove off you perv," I said half-heartedly.
"Fine then. I'll see you Ace."
With that, he came closer and kissed me on the cheek before turning and walking away. Grabbing his broomstick and jumping on it, he flew off into the beautiful day sky, leaving me on my porch with a hand on my tingling cheek and dread in the pit of my stomach at having to go in and help Cami with her stuff.
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