Chapter 17 : Kisses, Blood and Something More (?)
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I kissed Sirius Black, I screamed at myself in my head. I'm kissing Sirius Black right now! What the hell am I thinking? But his hands on my waist dispelled my thoughts, pulling my attention only to him. He tried to lift me up onto the couch but instead, I straddled him. Running my hands through his hair, I felt his own run up and down my back and I shivered. He grinned into my lips and I had to smile back. I kissed him deeper, running my hands down his chest. Suddenly I heard someone clear their throat.
"I'm pretty sure you shouldn't be putting his blood pressure up so high when he's still recovering from his wounds."
I jerked back, falling off the couch in the process. Scrambling up, I saw Cami at the door to my bedroom, an eyebrow raised. She smirked at me and I tried to smooth down my hair. Straightening my clothes, I stumbled backwards, trying to find my way to the door.
"Um, yeah. I need to go do something… personal."
With that, I turned around and scrambled out of the flat, not bothering to grab my coat or cane. As I closed the door to my flat, I stumbled outside to a bench that was facing the building. Slumping down, I buried my head in my hands. A slam of a door made me look up and I saw Cami walking towards me. Sitting down, she wrapped her arms around me.
"I thought he was just a friend," she said, grinning.
I groaned. "He's supposed to be."
"How are you going to survive the entire holidays with him?"
"The entire holidays?!"
"Well, yeah. I offered him the couch."
"Cami, that's supposed to be your bed. Where will you sleep?"
"Where will I sleep?"
"I'm sure there's more than enough room on the couch for both of you."
"So, you have my present?"
I looked over at Sirius as we walked down the streets of Hogsmeade. He grinned at me through the falling snow.
"You promised me a Christmas present."
I rolled my eyes. "Sirius, its Christmas Eve. Even if I did get you a present, I couldn't give it to you until tomorrow."
"Couldn't or wouldn't?"
"Wouldn't. And even so, how do you know I got you one?"
He smirked, tugging one a lock of my hair. "Because Ace, I know you. And you wouldn't dare let me down."
"Well, you'll just have to wait until tomorrow, won't you?"
"Oh, you are a tease, Ace."
"Well, did you get me something?"
"Of course I did, Ace. I wouldn't forget you."
I smiled, bumping his shoulder with mine. He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and we kept walking, enjoying the peaceful, snowy day.
"You going out tonight?"
I looked away from the cereal cabinet to see Sirius walking towards the kitchen table with his pajama pants on. Let me rephrase that. With only his pajama pants on. They weren't even his in the first place. Rosie has an entire drawer full of guys pajama pants for her 'overnight guests.' Although I can't deny that it made it less awkward to stare at him when he had pants on.
"Um, no. I have to work tonight since Cami and Rosie have the night off. No exceptions," I said as he opened his mouth to say something.
"Oh come on. It's New Year's Eve. Shouldn't you be trying to get drunk and have a good time?"
"Last time I got drunk I almost snogged you."
"Isn't that good reason then?"
I rolled my eyes and brought the two bowls of cereal over, dropping his in front of him. He grinned at me but I just rolled my eyes again. Digging into my breakfast, I smiled as he got up and brought me back a glass of pumpkin juice.
"No problem. I feel like you deserve it. After all, you are letting me stay here," he said, ruffling my hair.
I ducked and growled. "Don't touch the hair, Sirius. And it isn't for free, you know."
"What? I thought you were doing this out of the goodness of your heart?"
I laughed. "You owe me another jumper, how's that?"
"I got you one for Christmas."
"You let me keep the one I had already taken from you!"
"Well, it's better than taking it back," he said, smirking. "Plus, your gift was a pair of scissors."
"I thought you might need some. Your hair and everything."
He raised his eyebrow at me and I stuck my tongue out. I took my last bite of cereal and picked up my glass of pumpkin juice, downing it. Walking past him to get to the sink, I hit Sirius over the head. He whined girlishly and I grinned.
"That's for not getting me another jumper," I said, walking over to the door and taking my coat off the coat rack and my cane from the umbrella holder. "Be back late. Tell Cami or Rosie if you're going out and don't come back if you're out later than two in the morning."
"You sound like my mother."
"I reckon I'm a fair bit sexier than your mother."
"That you are."
I smiled and saluted him goodbye.
"One butterbeer and two shots of firewhiskey, please."
I smiled at the newcomer, rolling my eyes. "Wood, go home."
"What?" He gasped dramatically. "But I'm not drunk yet."
"Wood, you're at a table. It's customary to order food if you're at a table."
"Well, I would go up to the bar, but you aren't working up there tonight," he said, winking.
I rolled my eyes again and smacked him upside the head. "Actually, I am. We're shorthanded on staff tonight. And even if you did go up to the bar, you're underage."
"Oh, come one, it's New Year's Eve."
"Oh, come one, Ace," a silky smooth voice said from behind me. "Let the man have some firewhiskey."
I looked around to see Sirius leaning against one of the tables. His easy smirk made me grimace.
"Oh shove it, Sirius," I growled, but I couldn't help the smile that made its way onto my face. "Now the both of you either order or get out."
"Is that any way to treat your costumers?" Wood said cheekily, but I silenced him with a glare. "Okay, okay. One butterbeer and one order of fish and chips."
I wrote it down on the pad of paper and then turned to Sirius.
"One shot of firewhiskey and one order of plain chips."
"Sirius, you're not of age," I sighed.
He smirked at me. "Actually, I am."
"You're getting butterbeer."
"No, I'm getting firewhiskey."
"You're getting butterbeer and you'll like it."
I smiled at them and walked into the back room. Ava looked up expectantly and I placed the order slip on the counter. She smiled, passing me a plate and an order slip. I checked to make sure the order was complete and then brought it out to the correct table. Just as I was about to go back to the bar to get Wood and Sirius's drink order, I felt a hand on my arm. I looked over to see Wood and Sirius grinning at me, aprons on.
"What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" I asked, furiously. "If Ava finds out you've been messing around in the stock room, she'll have my head."
"Ava was the one who gave us the aprons," Wood said, grinning like a two-year-old hopped up on five pounds of pure sugar.
"What? No, that's not possible." I quickly made my way to the back room, excusing myself from the customers for a moment. "Ava, did you give two boys aprons?" I asked the older woman.
She smiled her trademark Louisiana smile. "Well, sugar, I think I did. We're shorthanded and they were willing to do it for a free meal."
"Ava, they have no idea what they're doing."
"Oh, sugar. You man the bar and they'll get and give out orders. Just running around. Don't think I haven't seen you racing about, taking no time for a breather."
I shot her a look but she just smiled sweetly, shooing me out of the back room. I groaned and made my way back to the bar. I saw Wood already at a table where a family was seated. He laughed at something the kid said and I felt a smile make its way onto my face. He wasn't bad – for a Gryffindor. Especially one who shared a dorm with the marauders.
Then again, Frank wasn't bad either. And if I had to be truthful, maybe the marauders weren't so bad themselves. As I looked over, searching for Sirius, I saw him leaning on a table, watching me as I had stared at Wood, smiling. His face was stony and his eyes flashed dangerously, but as he realized I was now watching him, his eyes cleared, leaving nothing for me to decipher. I looked down and then back up at him again, but he had walked over to a table and began taking their orders.
I quickly turned my attention back to the customers at the bar, trying my best to mix their drinks, avidly avoiding Sirius's gaze, while also avidly trying to avoid any sort of contact with Wood. 15 minutes before midnight, Ava came out and sat down on one of the bar stools, a covered platter of food in her hand.
"Well, boys, sorry I can't officially pay you, but you aren't my employees," she said in her trademark American accent. "I can, however, give you enough food to make your bellies burst."
She uncovered the platter and I could practically see the boys salivating. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed a paper bag and a few plastic containers, grabbing a plate before the two boys devoured everything. Filling the containers with food, I felt someone watching me. I looked up to see all three of them looking at me curiously.
"I'm not particularly hungry, and I'm pretty sure Cami wouldn't mind some food." I filled up the last container and smiled at them. "Anyways, I should get home. Rosie'll have my head if she can't at least get to her party for 11:45. Bye Ava, Wood. See you in a few, Sirius."
With that, I dropped my apron underneath the bar in one of the cupboards and walked around the bar, making my way to the door. Almost as soon as I touched the door though, I heard Sirius's voice behind me.
"Wait up, Ace. Let me walk with you."
I rolled my eyes. "Sirius, if you're not ready in three seconds, I'm leaving." As if to prove my point, I grabbed my cane and opened the door. "One… Two… Thr–"
I turned around, looking at him incredulously. He now had a paper bag identical to mine, stuffed to the brim with plastic containers of food. He grabbed his coat from the coat rack and smiled at me.
"Are we going, or not?"
I glared at him and took a step outside, turning to watch for patches of ice. Just as Sirius caught up to me, he swore and I looked over at him.
"Forgot something. Go on without me, okay?"
I rolled my eyes. "Was going to anyways," I yelled over my shoulder, but he had already raced back to The Three Broomsticks.
I kept walking shivering in the cool night air. I saw windows lit up with candles and streamers and blinking lights. It reminded me of when I was younger and Cami showed me the ball dropping in New York on the television set. Of course, wizards here likely didn't care about anything in New York, especially the ball dropping. As I continued to walk, I pulled one arm – the one not holding the cane – around me, hugging myself. A harsh wind blew past, making my hair fly back, stinging my cheeks. Suddenly, an arm wrapped around me and I looked over to see Sirius. He now had two paper bags in one hand and an easy smirk on his face.
"I got firewhiskey," he said, holding up the second paper bag.
I frowned. "Sirius, you're underage. Ava won't like that you stole that, even if you did pay for it."
"Like I've been trying to tell you, I'm 17 already, and Ava sold it to me. I wouldn't steal alcohol. I'm much too good to do that."
I snorted. "You're not 17, Sirius. And even if you didn't steal it, you shouldn't have tricked Ava into selling it to you."
"I swear, I'm 17!"
"Stop it, Sirius. I don't believe you."
"Fine. Believe this."
With that he grabbed me by the arm and twirled me around to face him. Holding on to both my arms now, he twisted and I felt unimaginable pressure. My ears popped and I felt like I was going to be sick. Just as we were supposed to touch ground, I felt something hit me and I went flying. Stumbling back on a patch of ice – seriously, do wizards even know what salt is used for? – I fell and landed on my arse. Swearing, I picked myself up and saw Sirius doing the same a few feet away. Looking up, I saw my flat and scowled.
"You can't apparate into my flat you minger. There are enchantments. Stupid, fucking, 17-year-old git."
I muttered that last part but he still heard it. Grinning, he skipped over to me.
"Told you I was of age. How else do you think I got to Hogsmeade?"
I stiffened, remembering what had happened. His happy face died too and he stepped away from me and towards the door.
"Right. That was not the best entrance. Anyways, shall we go up?"
I nodded stiffly and opened the door, walking in. Stumbling up some stairs, I let Sirius open the door to my flat, and walked inside. It was dark. Too dark for Cami and Rosie to be here.
"Sirius?" I asked, my voice barely a whisper. "Sirius, what's happening? Why is so dark?"
He was right behind me but he quickly went around, pulling me behind him so my back was pressed against the door. Pulling out his wand, he slowly walked forward. When all I could see of him was a faint silhouette, I saw him slip and fall, the loud crash seemingly too loud for the total silence that had fallen in the span of 30 seconds.
"Sirius?" I cried, running forward.
The light from his wand illuminated him and I took the extra few steps needed to be next to him and then fell to my knees.
"Are you okay? You went down pretty hard. Nothing hurt or…"
My voice trailed off as I saw him pick up his hand from the floor. It was covered in blood. I looked past him and my breath caught in my throat.
Not two feet away, Cami lay on the floor, her hair matted with blood. I looked down and sure enough, angry red slits were running down her arm, blood gushing out like a fountain.
I felt Sirius pull away, and could barely hear him telling me to stay where I was and not do anything foolish. Then I saw him pick Cami up and race out the door. A large crack from where they just were made me turn, but I saw nothing. Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt them fall down my face. Looking at the dark stain that was blood, I felt something well up inside. I would distract myself.
When Sirius got back, he found me crouched on the floor, in the middle of a dark room, scrubbing the floor. I had mopped up the remaining blood with the towels from the bathroom and they were now in a large pile near me, the light blue stained with dark blood. I had been scrubbing the floor for five minutes, but I couldn't get rid of the dark stain.
It was hard to see, since I hadn't actually tried to put out any lights, but I continued to scrub, dunking the scrubbing brush in the blood laced water in a large bucket I had filled earlier. He walked over and crouched down beside me, silently conjuring up a small ball of pulsing light that hovered over our heads.
"What are you doing," he asked, taking my hands of the brush and holding on to them.
"This is my home. Where I sleep at night. If her blood… if I had to sleep knowing it was still out here… I can't let it stay here. I need to clean it up."
"Why don't you let me do that?"
I looked up at him and nodded blankly, sitting back on my ankles. He gave me a funny look.
"Do you want to go to your room?"
I nodded again and stood up, walking over to my room. Sitting down on my bed, I looked at the wall, my mind racing around what had just happened.
"Why don't you let me do that?" I asked her cautiously.
She nodded and sat back on her ankles. Staring at the floor, I saw tears continue to fall down her face.
"Do you want to go to your room?" I asked again.
She nodded and slowly stood up. I was about to get up in case she stumbled – her cane was lying on the floor near the door – but she calmly walked over to her room, her gait unmarred by her usual limp. Merlin, her eyes were dead. I had seen that before, seen that expression in the mirror after they had gotten through with me. But Lexi? She was so strong. I looked back at the floor she had been furiously scrubbing and flinched. Clean linoleum stared back at me. It looked as if she had completely cleaned it minutes before I got back. Yep, I was going to need some heavy artillery.
"Can I come in?"
I jerked my head over, so that instead of staring at the wall, I was staring right into Sirius's grey eyes. I nodded slowly and I swear I saw something break in his eyes. He came over and sat next to me. I vaguely registered something in his hands, but didn't care. I was still staring into his eyes, the grey colour hypnotizing me.
"Distract me," I whispered. "Stop me from reliving it. From reliving everything."
I choked up at the last word and felt more tears fall down my face. He nodded and held out one of the things in his hand. I looked at it. A shot glass. I looked back at him and he smiled sheepishly, holding up the bottle of firewhiskey. I smiled back, a half-hearted one at best. His smile faltered and he quickly opened the bottle and then poured the alcohol into my glass. Almost as soon as he had finished, I threw it back, coughing as it burned down my throat. He gave me a look and then poured me another. I threw that back too.
"Watch it, Ace. Too much and I'll have to hold your hair up while you bend over a toilet bowl," he said, no trace of a smile on his gorgeous features.
"Well, you are obviously horrible at distracting me."
"We're in a bedroom, no one else in the flat, and you get mad when my idea of a distraction is alcohol instead of something else?" I gave him a look and he smirked. "You have to admit, I didn't even insinuate anything until now."
I gave a lifeless laugh. "Yes, thank you."
He smiled. "So, distract you?"
"Well, the saga of Sirius Black starts when I was about seven."
"You can't copy me Sirius," I said, giggling a little.
His face lit up at my veritable smile. "I can if it'll distract you!" I tried to suppress my smile but all that happened was a strange grimace that made Sirius crack up. "Anyways," he continued, "I actually was around seven years old when everything went downhill. I was with my mother in diagon alley and she commented on how muggleborns should be taken out back and killed. I asked her what was so bad about them and when I got home, I got five lashes."
"With a whip?!" I exclaimed incredulously.
"My parents are notoriously old fashioned. Anyways, the next time my mother said something like that, I was even more defiant. After 4 years, I got shipped off to Hogwarts. My parents thought they had beaten the fight out of me, but the next time I got home, those words were branded onto my back."
"For being in Gryffindor?"
He gave me a look. "My parents are notoriously old fashioned. Anyways, over the years, it just got worse and worse and then the night I got here, I was trying to sneak out and leave. My mother found me and, unfortunately, we were having a family gathering. Even more unfortunately, half of my extended family are death eaters." My hands flew up to my mouth and he gave me a sad smile. "I was just lucky that my father decided to spare me. He pinned that note to my jacket and then gave me my wand. He told me if I didn't disapparate within three seconds he would kill me himself. So I came here, like I had planned."
"Why did you plan to come here," I asked.
He smirked at me. "Oh, come on, Ace. I was going to explain why I hadn't been writing and then I was going to give you my Christmas present. Afterwards, I was going to go to James's, but since you were so gracious to let me use your couch, I decided a few days with my favorite girl wouldn't hurt."
I gave him a look and he smiled back at me. "Oh shut it," I said, a smile tugging at my lips.
"Have I properly distracted you?" He asked.
"Make me laugh and I'll be properly distracted."
I laughed drunkenly, waving my glass about. Sirius had an impish grin on his face and I tried to mirror it to no avail.
"I feel wasted," I told him, giggling.
"That's 'cause you are."
I gasped dramatically. "Sirius Black, are you trying to get me drunk?"
He smirked. "Why, is it working?"
I hit his arm playfully and downed another shot of firewhiskey, grimacing at the burn down my throat.
"I keep thinking about that kiss," I admitted, taking another shot. "About what happened."
He nodded, taking a sip of his drink. "Me too."
"But not just that kiss. Others too."
"With other people?"
"We've only ever kissed once, Ace."
"Well, that doesn't have to stay like that, does it?"
He gave me a wary look. "Ace, you've had a lot to drink. Maybe you should just go to bed."
I gave him a coy smile. "I am in bed. And you're in my bed too. Want to comment on that?"
"No, Lexi, I don't."
"Wow, you called me by my given name," I said. "How many times as that happened? Not enough, I'm going to say."
"Go to bed, Lexi. Sleep off the alcohol."
I looked at him and placed my hands on each side of his face. "If I told you I wasn't drunk, would you believe me?"
"Lexi, you just admitted you're drunk not five minutes ago," he said, rolling his eyes.
I leaned in and slowly let my lips touch his. "Well, what if I lied? What if I've been pretending to be drunk because it's easier to do that than admit to myself that I can't deal with the fact that my sister tried to kill herself again?"
"Because you're not that good of an actress," he said, pushing me away. "Now, go to sleep. Let the alcohol burn off."
He walked out, leaving me to lie back on the bed and cry into my pillow.
I woke up, my heart in my throat as I heard a sharp crash from outside my bedroom door. I sat straight up and scrambled to my door. Thankfully, I had fallen asleep in my clothes. Opening it a crack, I saw light illuminate a (very shirtless) Sirius sitting on the couch and a (very drunk) Rosie standing behind him. I saw her wink and something stirred in my stomach. Yanking open the door, I stormed over to her and slapped her across the face.
"What the –"
"I told you she was suicidal! I told you to stay with her until I got back. Why couldn't you just do me that one favour? She's back at St. Mungo's you fucking slag!" I screamed at her as she put a hand to her cheek.
I slapped her again and the jerk of her head somehow made me quite happy. I was about to hit her again, this time with my fists, when I felt Sirius grab my arms and pull them behind me.
"Ace, calm the fuck down," he said slowly into my ear.
"I will not calm down! My sister's life is hanging by a thread because of her!"
"Ace, maybe you should go back to sleep. The alco–"
"I am not drunk," I hissed, trying to yank my arms from his grasp. "I am livid, that's what I am. She couldn't wait to get to her party and it almost killed Cami."
Sirius twirled me around and looked me dead in the eye. "Rosie didn't almost kill your sister. Cami chose to try and take her own life. Deal with it."
I felt tears well in my eyes and I shook his hands off me. Giving Rosie one more withering glare, I walked over to my bedroom and slammed the door closed. Taking one deep breath in, I let out a screech of epic proportions, storming over to my bed and throwing the covers onto the floor, whipping the pillows at the door. When I was at my last pillow, I turned and threw it at the door again, but instead of hitting it as I would have liked, I saw Sirius grab it before it hit him in the face.
"Get out," I said harshly, sitting down in my bed.
He shot me a look and walked over, placing my pillow back on the bed. "Calm down. I was just making sure you weren't getting tortured." I stiffened and he seemed to realize what he said. "Oh shit, I'm sorry."
"Come on, I'm sorry."
I looked at him, my gaze burning into his. "So I've heard."
"Merlin, Ace. Just calm down. Let things go. You're so emotional."
"I'm emotional?" I shrieked. "I'm emotional? I just saw my sister, lying in a pool of her own blood, not 12 hours ago. I think I have the right to be emotional, you cold-hearted git."
I felt tears running down my face and I quickly wiped them away. Almost as soon as I put my hands back in my lap, Sirius grabbed them and held on.
"Lexi, I just think you're too tired to make sense of anything. Just lie down, okay?"
I nodded, wiping the new tears from my cheeks. Snuggling into my pillow, I let the tears fall freely while Sirius gathered my other three pillows and handed them to me. I gave him a sad smile and he made his way to then end of my bed and grabbed the sheets and blankets. Pulling them over me, he brushed the hair off my face and kissed my forehead.
As he began to pull away, I reached out and grabbed one of his wrists. He looked back at me and I sat up, pulling him towards me as I did so. As he came closer, he put both hands on either side of me and I relinquished my grip on his wrist to put my arms on his shoulders, linking my hands behind his neck.
I leaned forward and kissed him, pulling him closer to me as I did so. One of his hands flew up and tangled into my hair. This time, he pulled me closer and I leaned back, slowly lying down. He came with me, his other hand resting on my waist. I threaded one of my hands in his hair and then brought both of them to his chest, slowly pulling them down until they rested at his hips. Suddenly, he pulled away, looking at me curiously.
"Lexi, are you sure you're not drunk? I don't want to do anything if you're drunk," he asked, letting one of his fingers trail up my arm.
I shivered and smiled. Kissing him again, I threaded my hands through his hair. He pulled away again though, and put both of his hands next to my head, looking down at me.
"I trying extremely hard to be a gentleman here, considering I'm almost 100 percent sure that you aren't completely sober, but you really aren't helping," he said.
I smirked his own trademark smirk. "Then don't be a gentleman."
And he obliged.
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