Chapter 2 : Chapter One: A Hungry Lion
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Chapter One: A Hungry Lion
“I wish there were some other way for you lot to get to school,” Warren Rosier scoffed while pushing his family’s way through the crowded platform of King’s Cross Station. “Filthy muggles everywhere,” He muttered angrily.
Annette, Evan, and Ella all nodded in agreement, weary of shoving their way through the loud and overwhelming throng of people.
Ella grimaced with disgust at the muggles that kept bumping roughly into her, knocking her petite body in all different directions as if she was one of them. She was a Rosier, a creation of generations and generations of pure magical blood while they possessed not an ounce of it.
Stupid bloody muggles.
She grasped the back her brother’s shirt to avoid losing her way in the buzzing crowd. Evan looked over his shoulder at his sister reassuringly, “We’re almost there.”
I damn well hope so. Ella thought bitterly. All she wanted to do was take a relaxing nap on the train. Her parents had kept her and Evan up all night lecturing them about their future and the importance of their choices. It was nothing new really – they both were well aware of their parents’ high expectations.
Evan halted suddenly, causing Ella to run painfully into his solid back. She placed a hand over her aching nose before slapping Evan’s back roughly. He merely laughed at her.
“Violence is not the answer, Ella!”
“That hurt.You could have warned me, at least. What if I had broken my nose?!”
“You and I both know there’s a simple spell to fix that.”
“That’s not the point, Ev.”
Annette rolled her eyes at her bickering children, “Will you two stop? We’re in public, for Merlin’s sake.”
“Right,” Ella replied dryly, stepping gingerly away from her brother and placing herself in her father’s shadow for protection. Warren patted Ella’s blond head delicately as she eyed the brick barrier to Platform 9¾.
“Go ahead, dear.”
Ella smiled at her father appreciatively before walking with swift grace through the barrier. She sighed with relief as she saw the familiar large scarlet steam engine in front of her, welcoming the excited chatter of the witches and wizards surrounding her.
No more muggles!
Her mother was quick to join her on the platform, along with her father and brother, who were pushing the luggage carts.
The Rosier family regally weaved their way through the others towards the Macnair clan, their heads held high and proud.
Noelle happily embraced Ella, “I can’t believe we are sevenths now!”
“It’s surreal, isn’t it?”
“It’s going to be the best year yet, Miss Macnair,” Evan said in a charming manner, hugging Noelle in greeting. Ella stifled a snicker as Noelle turned a dark shade of pink.
Noelle’s mother was the only member of her family accompanying her at the station. Walden Macnair, her father, was a complete nutter. There were rumors of his violent madness always floating around the pureblood gossips. Noelle’s two older brothers had a reputation of being no different. It was surprising that a person as sweet as Noelle was produced in such a demented family.
“Did you hear about the Blacks?” Catherine Macnair asked Annette curiously, her blue eyes studying Walburga Black and her youngest son, Regulus. Catherine had always been a woman of gossip. “Sirius left this summer before Bellatrix’s wedding. He’s living with the Potters now.” She said in an appalled manner.
Warren shook his head with disapproval, “so the boy finally escaped to the muggle-lovers.”
“Poor Walburga, I couldn’t imagine the shame,” Annette replied empathetically.
“It was only a matter of time.” Evan shrugged carelessly. Ella knew he hated the Gryffindor with a deep passion.
Ella wasn’t surprised by the news either, Sirius would have left eventually. It was blatant how much he hated his heritage after he was sorted in the house of gits – Gryffindor. Walburga hadn’t even allowed Sirius to attend parties since his first year due to her embarrassment, but Ella doubted that it bothered Sirius. He had always been extremely rebellious and had a habit of causing chaos wherever he went.
Ella made it an effort to keep her distance from the menace that was Sirius Black.
“You know Walburga – she is as tough as they come. She immediately disowned the boy, of course.”
“I would have done the same.” Warren concurred, lowering his deep voice, “Andromeda and now Sirius… the Blacks keep breeding one blood-traitor after another. Hopefully there will be better luck in the Black-Lestrange clan.”
“I do have faith in Regulus,” Evan said evenly about his sixth year friend. Evan liked to think of him as his protégé, the young Black was seen trailing his footsteps usually.
Warren nodded firmly, “as do I, Evan.”
Annette gazed gratefully at her obedient children, “It’s all right, Warren. I don’t believe that we will have problems with these two.”
Catherine pulled Noelle close to her, “Neither will I.” Catherine smiled, gripping her daughter’s arm tightly. Ella watched Noelle’s pretty face crease slightly in pain. Ella knew that Noelle had a difficult time dealing with her ruthless family. They believed that Noelle was a weakness in the Macnair line – her family’s Achilles heel. However, Noelle remained ever submissive to their will, as all daughters did.
“Let’s get you lot on the Express, shall we?” Warren offered kindly, sensing the teenagers’ unease. “Evan, would you give me a hand with the trunks?”
“Of course, Father.”
Annette embraced Ella fondly, “My rose, I can’t believe you’ve only got one more year. I remember when you and Evan were ickle firsties!”
Ella gave her mother a genuine smile, “Time flys, doesn’t it, Mother?”
~ ~ ~
For the first time in his life, Sirius Black was invisible.
His mother’s gray eyes looked at him – or rather through him – her cold gaze unmoving. Her natural haughty expression did not change, not even by the slightest muscle. She didn’t acknowledge him with the resentment he expected; in fact, she didn’t even acknowledge him at all. It was as if he didn’t exist, as if she had not spent the last seventeen years of her life raising him.
He was only a ghost of her first-born son.
Sirius watched as Walburga Black fussed over her second-born, smoothing down the boy’s unruly dark curls – dark curls that matched Sirius’ own. She smiled keenly at his younger brother, her dark eyes sparkling with pride as she ushered him towards one of the coaches of the large scarlet steam engine.
Regulus was the apple of her eye, something that Sirius had never been. Not even as a child. Sirius had always been different; he had always been a challenge – the rebel. Regulus, on the other hand, was the perfect son, doing whatever expected of him, which pleased his parents to no end.
His heart tightened as he watched them, but not out of love or envy. Sirius had never loved his family. Frankly, he hated them all, except for his kind Uncle Alphard, who had sent him a handsome sum of inheritance when he had finally escaped the hellhole that was his home.
And although Sirius didn’t like to admit it, he had a hidden fondness for his pretentious younger brother. He was afraid for him. Regulus was too young to understand the true dangers of his choices – he couldn’t comprehend the terrors that Voldemort was capable of.
Yet his mother pushed Regulus forward with complete knowledge of what truly serving Voldemort meant. Sirius hated his mother the most – she was purely wicked.
Their hatred for each other was certaintly mutual. For Merlin’s sake, she blasted him off the family tree after he left. He could picture her laughing madly with delight as she did so.
Nevertheless, Sirius Black was not one to be ignored, especially by his shrew of a mother.
“Padfoot,” His best friend clasped a hand on his shoulder, “you know you’re better off without that lot.” James Potter consoled him, following Sirius’ distant gaze.
Sirius could not deny that he was happier without them – he was free. They might be his family by blood, but Sirius was not one to let the pure magical blood that ran through his veins dictate his life. The Potters were his family now. They had kindly taken him in after he ran away. It was undoubtedly the best summer of his life. Sirius had even bought a motorcycle.
Yet he still could not rid of the empty feeling in his chest.
Sirius tore his stormy eyes from his birth mother, burying the hollow sensation deep within him. “You’re absolutely right, Prongs.”
“Sirius, you know you’ll always be a part of this family.” Mrs. Potter smiled gently, her hazel eyes watery. She embraced him warmly, “Come home for Christmas, will you?”
“Of course, Mrs. Potter,” He returned her hug, giving her a polite kiss on the cheek, “Thank you for everything.”
“Our home is your home, as long as you and James don’t get in too much trouble. Then we’ll ban the both of you prats.” Mr. Potter gave Sirius a wink.
Sirius let out a bark-like laugh, “I solemnly swear we’ll try to stay away from the muggle police.”
“We both swear it!” James added enthusiastically.
“The muggle police are the least of my worries.” Mr. Potter muttered under his breath.
Mrs. Potter lovingly ruffled up James’ untidy dark hair, “You better behave, Jamsie. You are Head Boy now!” She exclaimed loudly, causing the surrounding people to look at them curiously.
“I don’t know how the hell you pulled that off, son.”
“Pop! That was awfully rude.”
“Honestly, I don’t know how you did either.”
Truth be told, James was the biggest troublemaker at Hogwarts with Sirius’ help, of course. How he received the grand honor of Head Boy, Sirius is unsure.
James apparently didn’t understand either. When he received the envelope enclosing the polished gold badge, James was certain it was a mistake.
It wouldn’t have been such a shock if their friend Remus became Head Boy for he had been a prefect since fifth year – something that James never was. The whole thing just didn’t make sense… but they both knew that Dumbledore would never make such a careless mistake. Dumbledore always knew what he was doing.
James gave an exaggerated frown, wrinkling his dark brows, “Thanks for the support.”
“I think you’ll do a brilliant job!”
“At least Mum loves me.”
“Now, now, James,” Mr. Potter shook his head at his son amiably, placing a strong hand on his shoulder, “You’ll do great. You’re a Potter, after all.”
James instantly pardoned his father for his initial qualms while staring at Sirius expectantly for further praise. “Don’t you have anything to say, Sirius?”
Sirius smirked, “Not a thing.”
“I see how it is, Padfoot. We are no longer friends.”
“Must you always be such a drama queen, Prongs?”
“He takes after his mother.” Mr. Potter teased his wife lightheartedly.
Mrs. Potter laughed, “I am not a drama queen!”
“Father, I’d like to believe that I take after you.”
Mr. Potter laughed, completely amused by the entire squabble, “You all are mad.” They all continued to laugh together while making their way to one of the train’s coaches to say their good-byes.
Sirius and James quickly found an empty compartment, hoping that Remus and Peter would join them soon. They stuck both of their dark heads out the window, frantically waving at the Potters.
“Behave boys! We’ll miss you!” Mrs. Potter exclaimed as the Hogwarts Express signaled its departure. “Write us! We love you both!”
“And stay away from motorcycles!” Mr. Potter shouted before saluting them proudly.
Sirius watched them become smaller and smaller as the train slowly rolled out of King’s Cross Station. He didn’t take his eyes off them until they were no longer visible. The Potters meant more to Sirius than he could ever explain – they were the closest thing to a genuine family he had ever had.
The compartment door slid open suddenly, revealing a tall, slim boy with sandy brown hair. “I’ve been looking all over for the both of you.” Remus Lupin smiled kindly at his close friends. A short, plump boy stood behind him, a wide grin on his chubby face.
“Moony! Wormtail! Join us!” James exclaimed from excitement. The Marauders, the four friends dubbed themselves, were reunited after the long summer. “We have quite a tale to tell you!”
The two boys entered the compartment, eager to hear about their friends’ summer adventures.
~ ~ ~
Ella rested her head drowsily against the cool glass of the compartment’s window. She admired the landscape transforming beautifully infront of her as the train sped down the tracks.
The clear open meadows, colored with wildflowers and evergreens, glistened in the afternoon’s golden sun. The vivid fields altered into purple mountains carassed the painted sunset sky. The mountains lead way to the deep, dark green forests filled with oaks and pines. The forests welcomed the starlight, taking comfort in the night.
Ella knew the journey by heart. She fell asleep somewhere near the edges of the mountains from fatigue, but the colors remained in her dreams.
“Ella,” the masculine voice sounded distant.
She tried to disregard the voice, unwilling to part from her peaceful slumber.
“Ella, wake up.”
Her firm pillow started to stir, shaking her softly awake. She wrinkled her nose as she opened her eyes lethargically. She rubbed a perfectly manicured finger under her eyes and patted down her hair, hoping she still looked presentable.
Her brother simply smiled at her, rubbing his sore shoulder. “Sorry, my arm was falling asleep…”
“S’okay,” she mumbled, looking out the window. The night sky lay like a blanket over the treetops of the forests. They must be close to Hogwarts.
“We should probably change soon.” Noelle suggested gently, trying not to disturb her drowsy friend. Ella’s eyes shifted to scan their compartment, noticing that Thorne and Ariana were already dressed in their school uniform.
Ella nodded her head slowly, “Of course. Do I look all right?”
“You’re always lovely,” Thorne replied in a monotone, though his eyes were shining.
Ariana rolled her eyes in an exaggerated manner while Evan shifted in his seat uncomfortably. Thorne might be his best mate, but he did not appreciate when Thorne would openly compliment his sister’s looks. He was very protective over his sister.
Noelle, however, smiled brightly, “Thorne, you’re always such a gentleman.”
“Thank you.” Thorne replied though his eyes never left Ella’s face.
Ella’s face remained placid, her pretty features frozen. “That was very kind of you,” She replied in her natural silky voice, dismissing his flattering remark at once. “Noelle, would you like to accompany me to the changing rooms? Evan, you might as well change now, too. Don’t you have a prefect meeting soon?”
Noelle bounced from her seat, her robes already tucked in her pale hands.
“Well, I would have changed earlier if it weren’t for a certain someone,” Evan teased his sister casually.
Ella let out a sleek laugh, “how selfish of said someone.”
She stood from her seat to stretch her languid limbs. She ignored the pair of brown eyes watching her attentively.
“But not to worry dear sister, the prefect meeting is in precisely ten minutes and we will be arriving at the Hogwarts’ grounds in thirty.”
Ella grabbed her purse from the floor of the compartment and pulled out uniforms for both she and Evan. “Do you know who Head Boy is?” She asked him curiously, raising a light eyebrow.
“Er – not yet, but I suspect its Remus Lupin. Dumbledore loves his precous Gryffindors, you know.” He said with contempt. He was still bitter that he had not received the honor of Head Boy. Evan felt as if he was the most deserving of any student. He was a scholar and a terrific leader, which was evident from the Slytherin House winning the Quidditch Cup for the past couple years under his captaincy.
Thorne sneered, “That’s absurd. Lupin? I’ve never heard him say more than five words.”
“He’s very nice,” Noelle said delicately.
Ella wrinkled her nose, “I think he’s strange.”
“There’s something not right about him.” Evan agreed.
“They say he’s ill,” Noelle defended.
“It’s not like you stood a chance anyways, Evan,” Ariana drawled in a bored manner, “Dumbledore’s quite the muggle-lover.”
“I don’t think that should really factor in the decision much,” Evan frowned at the smug brunette, crossing his arms in an annoyed manner. “Dumbledore may be a muggle-lover, but he’s not a complete imbecile .”
As dearly as she loved her brother, he really could be an ignorant arse sometimes.
“She does have a point, Evan,” Ella countered him casually, twisting a strand of golden hair between her fingers. “We are from a prominent pureblood family.” She dropped her voice low. “Do you honestly think Dumbledore doesn’t know about the Dark Lord? I mean, it’s been obvious in the papers lately, especially after Gloria Gladstone disappeared – one of his students.”
She watched her brother flinch slightly at the name of their missing schoolmate. Gloria was in the same year as they were and Evan personally knew the girl, even though she was a Hufflepuff muggle-born (which was as bad as they come in Ella’s eyes).
“Ella.” Thorne warned her. “Now is not the time.”
Ariana merely laughed.
“Why would he appoint someone that would even have the slightest chance of being involved?” She pushed further as a only a sister would, visibly angering Evan.
He furrowed his golden brows. He knew she was right. “I don’t know, Ella.” He growled, exiting the compartment angrily. Noelle frowned deeply at Ella, grabbing her hand to lead her to the changing rooms.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t have said anything about Gloria.” Noelle whispered.
“Don’t worry about Evan, Noelle. He’ll be fine.”
“He was close with her, though. Wasn’t he?”
“I suppose. I never really asked.” The blond shrugged.
The Slytherins quickly approached the long string of girls were waiting outside the changing rooms.
“I hate lines.” Noelle frowned slightly.
Ella let out a silky laugh, catching the attention of the waiting girls.
“When have we ever waited in a line, Noelle?”
The younger girls swiftly moved out of their way, allowing them to easily enter the changing compartment.
“I think they’re all full, Ella. We can wait a moment…”
Ella knocked on two of the small stall doors. “Excuse me, ladies, but Noelle Macnair and I, Ella Rosier, do not like to be kept waiting.”
Immediately, two messily dressed girls exited the stalls, Ravenclaws by the look of their uniforms.
Ah, yes, it’s good to be Queen.
“Thank you.” Noelle said politely, but the girls were too afraid to even make eye contact with her. She then shook her head at Ella, a small smile gracing her gentle features. “Ella, you really shouldn’t have scared them. Sometimes it frightens me how good you are at intimidating people.”
“It’s a gift.” Ella gave her friend a smile as they both entered their separate stalls.
She quickly discarded her sundress and neatly placed it on the bench. She pulled on her white dress shirt, buttoning it halfway before reaching down and grabbing her pleated black skirt.
Then she saw it.
A huge, filthy rat with beady eyes staring at her hungrily.
In a very uncharacteristic fashion, she let out a loud squeal as she hurriedly put on her skirt and grabbing the rest of her belongings, not bothering to finish dressing.
“Er – Ella?” Noelle asked, utterly confused. “Are you – er – are you okay?”
Ella didn’t bother answering. She was already sprinting down the corridor of the train past the flabbergasted faces of the waiting girls.
That is until she made contact with a hard body.
“Excuse me!” She exclaimed as she looked up into the annoyingly handsome face of Sirius Black.
Bloody hell, you’ve got to be kidding me.
“Black,” Ella hissed, “move.”
“Now I know you have better manners than that, Rosier.” He smirked down at her. Ella watched as his sparkling eyes began to wander down her frame, his smirk only growing wider as he noticed her disheveled uniform. “You look a bit… frazzled. Although, I can’t say I mind…”
She could feel her blood starting to boil. How dare Black stare at her like a hungry lion.
“There was a bit of a situation in the changing rooms.” She retorted. “Now, move.” Sirius’ raised his dark brows. “Please.” Ella sneered, her irritation quickly rising.
Sirius crossed his arms casually, still making a point to block her path.
“What kind of situation?”
“Frankly, it’s none of your business.”
“I’m quite curious…” His grey eyes were glinting playfully as he challenged her. “I could be of service.”
“The only useful thing you could do is move out of my way, Black.”
“You know, I’m quite good at buttons.” Sirius teased her, swiftly moving a large hand to touch the unbuttoned collar of her shirt. A heat rose up in her chest at his touch, her body betraying her. “Usually, I have the pleasure of undressing a girl first, but I’ll make a special exception for you.”
Ella swatted his hand away, “You are such an arse.” She took the chance to duck under his arm past him and making a quick escape to her compartment. As much as Ella hated to admit it, she couldn’t ignore the burning feeling of Sirius’ eyes on her back.
It only made her hate him more.
Noelle entered the compartment quickly behind her, a concerned expression on her pretty, round face.
“What happened back there?”
Ella let out a frustrated sigh before launching into a detailed narrative of the mysterious rat in the girls’ changing rooms and the torture that was interacting with Sirius Black.
She left out the fact that the small patch of skin where his fingers had grazed for a mere second was still radiating with warmth.
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