Chapter 7 : The Order of the Phoenix
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The Order Of The Phoenix
The warmth of the bed was seeping into my skin, like little pricks that just covered the entire length of my skin. But no matter how lovely warm I was, how comfortable I was, how easy it was for me to hide beneath the blankets and just sink into the pillow, my mind was still somewhere far, far away.
The Order of the Phoenix.
Which was a rumour, I thought. Not something real. Seeing them however, part of it of course, in full view, with Sirius behind telling me that it truly was true, now that wasn’t something I had expected as well. So of course I tried to escape. I winced, thinking of what I had done.
“No!” I shouted loudly as I manoeuvred past James and Sirius back to the door. “I’m going back. This is a load of flobberwurms.” I exclaimed. “Perhaps even a really bad dream.”
Sirius’s arm was around my waist in a split second and I felt him pull me against him. My body flushed against his and I could feel the heat burn again. I slackened a bit but did not halt my protests. This was a really, really bad dream, and I had to snap out of it. Pinching wouldn’t help. I was in the kind of dream that would feel real from the very beginning till the very end.
“Lais, wait!” Sirius’s arms were now becoming straining and I found myself half-wrestling with the man I should’ve avoided from the start. Merlin, I was going mental.
“No!” I exclaimed loudly and I found myself reaching out to the doorknob as I faintly registered the befuddled looks on the others in the room. “This is a bad dream.”
“God, snap out of it, Lais!” Sirius muttered another curse. “You can’t leave this room, I swear to Merlin I will drag your arse back!”
“I’d like to see you try!” I shot back.
I heard the sardonic laugh echo slightly in my ears. “Oh you will sweetheart.” I hated when he used his sarcastic voice. I raised my heel and brought it back down, digging it into his foot. I heard the exclamation of pain as his grip on me loosened. A wave of euphoria went through me, unfortunately it only lasted mere seconds because just when my hand curled around the doorknob I felt something collide with me and I lost my balance.
Somewhere in the hassle I couldn’t help but find it somewhat hysterical that I was in the so-called Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and instead of being cool, casual and trying to be helpful, I was actually wrestling on the floor with Sirius Black. That was not going to be an impression I would be able to change soon enough.
“Let go of me!” I struggled again and tried to knee Sirius down under. That was a low blow, literally and figuratively. But I was running out of options and my urge to flee was so bloody strong right now that I had no other choice but surrender and let go. Just leave all of it behind and crawl under a rock and not come out for several years. As pathetic as it may sound. Sometimes your irrational sense takes over. In my case it had taken over full throttle.
Sirius blocked my knee by pushing it away.
“Sirius!” Lily’s outraged voice rang in my ears and before I knew I was hauled back to my feet, Sirius’s arm firmly gripped around my waist. I found myself yelping with surprise. I could see the shocked faces of the few strangers I didn’t recognise. But James’ amused face only fuelled the embarrassment.
“She started it.” Sirius muttered lowly, only to be confronted with Lily’s glare. I winced, it was even painful for me, despite the fact it wasn’t meant for me.
I could hear James’ low whistle as he winced when I lashed out at Sirius again. “Bugger Lais, stop it!”
“Then let me go.” I exclaimed, I pulled my wrist out of Sirius’ grip and found myself glaring at everyone else. “I don’t understand why I’m here.”
Lily gave me a weak smile before reaching out. “I think it’s best if we all just sat down and talked.” I knew she wasn’t asking whether I would stay, I doubted I had no other choice but to remain here. Regardless, Lily was the first to take notice of me and her kind voice was the only thing that actually kept me here.
“Fine.” I brought out difficultly.
“Sirius, you go and get some tea.” Lily ordered. Sirius blanched.
“Tea?” He gritted out.
Lily gave him a pointed look. “Yes, tea. I think it’s best to separate you two. Just for now.” She clipped and I blushed. Of course I had to go and behave like a two-year-old, wish I thought of the embarrassment before I made an utter fool of myself.
Naturally, the embarrassment paled in comparison to the knowledge I now possessed. What the Order of the Phoenix did made sense, at least, now it did. There just had to be something besides the Ministry that kept an eye on things, I’m not quite sure whether it was such a pleasant idea though. I was now a member of the Order of the Phoenix by fault, not because I was useful, no because I had gotten myself in a difficult situation and since I was more of a liability than actual help they made me a member. Of all the reasons it was because I had proven myself to be completely useless.
I scrunched my eyes shut again trying to get some sleep. Talking to Alec seemed like months ago, but I knew it was only a day. Not to mention I was probably going to be interrogated by Darcy and Georgiana once I found the courage to leave my room. As I pulled the covers over my head, refraining from screaming out loud, a sudden crash from the living room pulled me out of my pathetic misery. I bolted upright, my wand was already in my hands when I heard the agitated voice of Georgiana cry out.
“Oh for crying out lo- LAIS!” I winced and quickly shuffled towards the door. “You better be in here otherwise-” She cut off abruptly as she glanced at my attire. Her blue eyes widened with surprise before she recovered. “Right, you’re home.”
I swallowed. “Where else would I be, Gee?” I moved past her towards the kitchen. “Tea?” I asked and she rolled her eyes before collapsing on my sofa.
“Merlin, no.” She muttered. Her blonde hair was pulled back in plait and I could see that she was coming back from work, her robes were impeccable, no surprise there. “Besides, I’m not here to chit-chat.”
I rolled my eyes and waved my wand at the kettle before I turned my eyes back to Georgiana again. In the eleven years I’ve known her there was one thing that always stuck by me. Georgiana was an achiever. She achieved things, she wasn’t perhaps the brightest witch I had ever met. But whatever it was she started, she always made sure it ended on a good note. I on the other hand had a knack for breaking things. It didn’t matter what I did, but I would always mess up and break something, either an object, or a person. Hence I was more of a liability.
“Well, why are you here then?” I asked her as I pulled myself from that annoying little thought that seemed to have taken hold.
She raised her eyebrows. No one was able to do it like her. I sighed briefly before nodding.
“Alright, I suppose I know why you’re here.” She dropped the eyebrow and gave me a brief smirk.
“So are you going to tell me whether you’re shagging Black again?” I waved my wand at the kettle. Bloody hell.
“Of course I’m not shagging Black, Gee!” I hissed. Treading careful waters here. “You know I’m not interested in him like that.” She rolled her eyes.
“Piss of Lais. You’ve been wanting to get into his pants ever since you laid eyes on him.” Georgiana commented dryly. I gasped. She really had her way with words.
“Nuh-uh!”I spluttered. “That’s not true!”
“Lais, honestly. Have you even taken notice of anyone else since the two of you met up again? I mean, sure, he did you a favour after the attack on Diagon Alley. Don’t get me wrong.” She brushed off a strand of hair. “But after that whole ... noob at Hogwarts I thought you were done with him. He’s not worth it, Lee, despite the fact he’s absolutely fit.” I rolled my eyes. She could’ve laid off that last bit.
“Yes, we all know how terribly charming Black is.” I gritted. “But there’s nothing going on.” I assured her as I waved my wand again, shutting the kettle up.
She gave me one hard stare and as I averted my eyes to grab a mug from the cupboard I could feel the disapproval she exuded.
“Honestly!” I added. “I don’t think I even want to be with Sirius that way. Not after last time.” I shrugged and wrapped my fingers around the hot mug. It was far too hot.
The cold was nipping at every inch of exposed skin as I dragged my feet across the path to Hogsmeade. I could hear his boisterous laugh before he had even caught up with me and I turned around swiftly. Sirius had Peter in a headlock as he ruffled his dirty blond hair. Peter’s face gradually turning scarlet as Sirius finally let go of him. His eyes fell on me and I was tempted to give him a smile, I wasn’t quite sure whether he deserved it.
As I turned around, making my way to Hogsmeade I could hear him call my name.
“Lais, wait up!” He jogged up towards me as I didn’t bother to turn around. It’s been over a month now. You’d expect one to be over it but for some reason it still stung when I saw him, no matter how brief it was.
His hand grabbed my elbow and I was surprised that I pulled away quickly, not wanting to feel his touch. My skin was already burning, and not because it was so incredibly hot. It was burning, burning with anger.
“What?” I barked. Sirius hesitated briefly, it shone in his eyes and he dropped his hand.
“Fine, suit yourself.” He muttered before spinning on his heal and making his way back to his friends. And just like that Sirius forgot about me entirely.
“Lais?” Georgiana snapped her fingers and I glanced at her, slightly startled.
“What?” I snapped involuntarily. Georgiana briefly stared at me. Her eyes burned a hole as she obviously refrained herself from telling me how she truly felt.
“I don’t know what it is that you’re hiding.” She began firmly. “But whatever it is, it can’t be good. And I just know it has to do with Black.” I opened my mouth to interject but she held up her hand, silencing me immediately. “I don’t want to hear it Lais. He hurt you, badly. I would know, as I was there. But I can’t keep you from seeing him, just don’t sell yourself short. People aren’t likely to change unless there is something in it for them. And Black isn’t any different either. Don’t give him too much credit, because I know he doesn’t deserve it.” Her brief speech stung me a bit. “You deserve better.”
It felt odd being back at the Ministry of Magic after what felt like a very tumultuous week. Yet, regardless of how I thought it was like, work was still waiting for me in the morning, and having missed already a few days I just could not afford to skive off anymore. It wasn’t like me either, to miss a few days because I felt like my whole life was put upside down. It was hard to imagine that it was only nine days ago I was confronted with the Order of the Phoenix for the first time. It felt longer.
My feet were moving on their own accord as I passed the second level of the Ministry of Magic. The Auror office was right beside me and I found myself wishing to see a glimpse of Sirius. This silent confession was overruled by the undulated force of guilt. I was so horribly preoccupied with Sirius Black that I forgot that it was him who had made a fool out of me. He was the one that hurt me, even though it was years now and it nearly didn’t sting as much as it used to, I just couldn’t forget that there might be a possibility that it would happen again. As Georgiana already pointed out; people didn’t change and there was a certain kind of truth that rung in those words. I didn’t change much after Hogwarts and in the brief few moments I spent with Sirius, he didn’t either. Perhaps he was a bit more mature, but being a slick git had nothing to do with maturity.
I sighed and entered the Auror office, my feet hesitating briefly before I pushed on, moving past Aurors who did not give me any attention. There were cubicles next to each other, aligned perfectly as those who were needed their moved on their own accord. I felt horribly out of place. More so than usual and though my own department, the Department of Mysteries, barely associated themselves with the other departments at the Ministry, and even though isolation was perfectly common for those in my department, I found myself wishing to be part of this department. Just for a little while.
“Lais?” I spun on my heel and found myself looking at James. I smiled nervously and moved towards him.
“James.” I muttered breathlessly, feeling as though I’ve just walked a marathon. “I need Sirius.” I could see the gears shifting in his head as he raised one of his eyebrows. Something he had perfected throughout the years at Hogwarts. Somersaults were terrorising my stomach and I pushed my hand against my robes, fighting the urge to run.
“Right.” He replied. “Of course you do.” I mentally slapped myself. “Can’t say I’m not surprised though. Thought you wouldn’t want to talk to him after last time.”
“Which is why I need to see him.” I responded meekly. “I made an utter fool out of myself and I rather fix it.” James grinned playfully and his contagious grin was relieving, as I momentarily forgot about the fact I was about to apologise to Sirius.
“Wouldn’t worry too much about it.” James’s voice was playful. “He can handle much more than a knee to the groin. Don’t think it did much damage anyway.” My cheeks burned as James reminded me oh so gently of my very childish moment and I sighed.
“Yes, well. If h-he had just-”
“Speak of the devil.” James cut me off and he bounced on the heel of his feet as a massive grin coloured his face. I quickly spun around as Sirius emerged from behind a cubicle.
The first thing I noticed was the fact he looked exhausted, the second that he was conversing with an unknown wizard, whose back was turned to me. My eyes were glued to Sirius however, my mind on overdrive as I wondered what I should say next to him. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to ponder when suddenly his eyes found mine. I could see the confusion lingering in them before he masked it with a blank look and he excused himself from the wizard before making his way towards us.
“Here’s your chance to apologise.” James muttered as he nudged me with his shoulder. I scowled at him before mentally fumbling with words.
“Sirius.” I blurted out. “Good thing I ran into you.” Sirius raised his eyebrows at this, looking uncannily like James for a brief moment. “I need to talk to you.” He dropped his eyebrows and I found his blue eyes staring me down.
“About what?” He wasn’t going to make things easy for me.
“W-well.” I stammered before words suddenly left my mind and found myself staring at a wizard that I recognised. This was the wizard that was talking to Sirius not just a minute ago.
His eyes were bright, almost too bright, with heavy set eyebrows and dark hair that was mopped to one side, almost sloppily done so, but his robes were impeccable and shouted out wealth. It felt like such a contradiction but that wasn’t the thing that startled me, it was something else that frightened me. In fact, I knew that face from somewhere and I wasn’t planning on running into him ever again. Not after last time, because last time, his aim was to kill me when I overheard him at Diagon Alley.
I gasped as I felt the colour draining my face, leaving it pasty and right at that moment his eyes met mine.
And that’s when I knew I was in trouble, because in that split-second I knew he had recognised me. Just the way I had recognised him.
A/N: Leave me your thoughts :)