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Chapter 10 : Hogsmeade
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10 THINGS I LEARNED IN EUROPE1) Traffic Laws are like the pirate code. They are merely guidlines.
2) Groups of three or more are forbidden in Harrods. Don't ask me why.
3) Keep away from Parisian pidgeons.
4) Don't be afraid to use self-defense tactics on the vendors outside the Eiffel Tower illegally selling mini Towers. They will grab boobage and/or hit you when you tell them no.
5) It is VERY entertaining seeign said illegal vendors run from police.
6) MIND THE GAP in the U.K. underground. Ha ha!
7) Pickpockets come in all forms. Even German Tourbus drivers.
8) Some girls are pathetic and can't live without their boyfriends for 10 days- at least, not without some major crying jags.
9) Getting buzzed off French wine at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant while wearing heels is not such a clever idea.
10) Germany and Britain are the places to go for eye candy- Ha ha haha ha! Just kidding!
Anyway, on a more serious note, I am a girl and therefore I change my mind a lot. So apologies to the first twenty or so people who read the last chapter! I added a bit at the end so if you think you're one of them GO CHECK before you read this one!
Other than that, ENJOY!
P.S. I just thought of number 11) DO NOT under ANY circumstances watch The Reader, He's Just Not That Into You or Atonement on an eight hour plane flight while sitting next to your history teacher!!!! )
Chapter 10~ Hogsmeade
I met Rabastan at the bottom of the stairs in the entrance hall, stomach churning uncomfortably when I saw the bouquet of fat red roses in his hand. But, reverting back into my hide-all-emotion philosophy, I grinned at him and skipped down the last flight of stairs right (unfortunately) into his arms. He lifted me off the ground in a hug before setting me down at arms length.
"You look fantastic."
"Thanks," I lauged flirtaciously, digusting myself even further. "You're not looking so bad yourself, Mr. Lestrange." We were attracting more than a few curious stares and I could feel my face getting hot so I said, "Shall we?"
"I dare say we shall," he replied in a fake pompus tone. He offered his arm, clearly mocking the manners we'd both had drill into our heads as children and I laughingly took it, trying to ignore the sick feeling in my stomach and the gawking gossips around us.
"Can I ask you a question?" I asked as we walked down the lane to Hogsmeade.
"You just did," he chuckled.
I rolled my eyes but didn't acknowledge his cheek further. Instead I pushed on, "Why did you ask me out?"
"Why do you think I asked you out?"
I sighed pretending to be exasperated, "I dunno! That's why I'm asking the question!"
We laughed and he slid his hand down my arm into mine. My chest tightened but I wasn't sure if it was in a good way or a bad way.
On the one hand, it felt sort of nice. Not nearly as wonderful as Sirius's hand but nice all the same. On the other, I knew exactly who he was. Or maybe I should say what he was. Because any person that would participate in such heinous activities couldn't possibly be human (and still sleep at night), could they? I knew what he did over the holidays, I knew exactly what he would be doing once he graduated and I knew what he would expect me to do too once my own graduation came. And I definitely knew I didn't want this.
I loved Sirius. That wouldn't change, no matter how much I wanted it to. But my relationship with Rabastan had definitely developed into more than just a platonic friendship. And wasn't sure I was entirely opposed to this.
And why shouldn't I at least try to be happy for a bit? I didn't approve of his extra curriculars but I couldn't control him. And maybe, in time, I could very subtly get him to see things my way. Maybe, like Sirius and I, he already did but chose to hide it like me for his own safety. It was a small ember of hope and entirely unlikely, I reminded myself as I felt his left arm pressed to mine between us, but I would hold onto it anyway.
"Well," he said after a minute. "I thought it would be fairly obvious. 'Specially to a Ravenclaw-" I gave him a mock glare, whether he interpreted it as one for the teasing condesceaing tone he was using or just the mere mention that I wasn't a Slytherin, I'm not sure. "I asked you out because I liked you. A lot. It's an embarassing amount actually and it's been this way for ages. I just never got a chance to show you how much I fancied you before this summer."
I swallowed, hard. Not only because of the queasy feeling in my stomach at the mention of this summer (because there wasn't a doubt in my mind that he'd stayed away because of Sirius and his absence opened up the door for Rabastan- because then he obviously knew we weren't together then, unfortunately), but because I hadn't expected such a serious (not to mention frightening) answer. Most of the time the mood with Rabastan was light, we rarely touched on the serious subjects. I wasn't sure how to proceed.
"Merlin, Bas!" I laughed (trying not to sound shakey). "Way to make a girl blush!"
"You asked!" he laughed with me.
And, just like that, the lightness was back again. It did nothing for the tightness in my chest but I would take what I could get at this point. I breathed a sigh of relief. Serious, I found, was not my forte. Unfortunately, life in pureblood mania at times like these was rarely anything but staid.
We chatted happily all the way down to the village. Then, as I had feared, he lead me to Madame Puddyfoot's.
I loathed Madame Puddyfoot's.
Perhaps it stemmed from my bitterness, watching hords of happy couples flock there when the love of my life hardly noticed I was a girl (until last week appearantly). Or maybe it was that I'd had to hear Sirius replay his dates which often involved that God-forsaken shop (even though he hated the place nearly as much as- if not more than- I did). Or maybe what nauseated me was the gushy atmosphere I was so uncomfortable in. I wasn't used to everything being sugarplums and hot cocoa and it made me edgy.
Obnoxious fairy-looking things floated around dangling mistletoe granades over unsuspecting victims while a constant tinkling of sleigh-bells could be heard above the chatter of couples sitting at candle lit tables. The whole place smelled of Christmas, cookies and cheerfulness but made me feel exactly the opposite.
As I was on a date, though, and it would be rude to show how thoroughly I detested the very first shop he'd taken me to, I smiled acrossed the table at him. Pointedly ignoring the other couples who stared and whispered to each other (four of the girls actually left their dates to go discuss it in the loo- pathetic! Do people have nothing else to do?). I lied to myself and tried to become convinced that it was something- or someone- else causing the stir but my logical, cynical brain-chamber knew better.
I sipped my sickeningly sweet drink though and listened to Rabastan's stories. I didn't tell any of my own because I was afraid to give too much away about my friends (in case he figured out that they weren't exactly pureblood-Muggle-haters like the friends I was supposed to have), Sirius stories were definitely out, and he already knew all of the funny ones involving my family. I laughed at all the right times, chimed in teasingly at the precise places I was supposed to and pretended to eat the brownie he bought me (while really subtly stuffing bits in my napkin so he wouldn't notice it wasn't dwindling).
We talked about classes, Quidditch (He liked the Wasps while I remained a loyal fan of the Harpies) and absolutely pointless rubbish until the sun began to set outside the shop.
An offensive fairy hovered above us, cackling with glee at how clever he or she was (I cannot, nor do I try to, distinguish fairy-genders) for holding mistletoe above the couple on their first date like it was a fucking bomb. But (to my relief) Rabastan ignored it, looking around us as if he'd only just realized that all the couples who'd been in here when we'd come had long gone. Back up, through the winter weather, to the cozy castle to snuggle by the warm fires or to the merry Three Broomsticks to be unfrozen by the many bodies radiating heat there.
My date swore, earning a very scolding look from Madame Puddyfoot, and said, "I told Rose we'd meet her and the rest of our lot at the Three Broomsticks for some butterbeer- or Firewhiskey in their case." He added a cheeky grin.
I rolled my eyes, stood up and ignored it, "Well, you know how touchy she gets about punctuality. Merlin help us if she's on her period."
The Three Broomsticks was packed and noisy, as usual.
Hogwarts and villagers were overflowing tables and chatting and laughing at the top of their lungs to be heard over everyone else. The heat in the place was astounding compared to the icy conditions outside. So many bodies were packed together that I almost didn't noticed Rabastan's arm move from around my shoulders to the small of my back. Almost.
He guided me gently and expertly through the crowd towards the back, past Madame Rosmerta and a table of teachers, who I waved to ("Kiss ass," Rabastan coughed, earning a playful smack from me). Finally, I spotted a rather large booth with all of the seventh, some of the sixth and two fifth year Slytherins sitting at it.
Rosalie, the Rosiers, Zambini, Ophelia Flint, Theo Nott, the Macnairs, the Dolhovs, Adara Yaxley and (to my horror) Regulus all greeted us as we came and sat down. Bas took my coat for me (even though I informed him cheekily I didn't need nor want his help) and we settled in very close to each other in the booth. He slipped his arm comfortably back around my shoulders and I saw Rosier slip his arm around my cousin, to compete with Rabastan to be sure. I wondered why she hadn't told me they were dating. Probably because she knew I thought he was a world-class git.
I had too much of my own romantic drama right now though to care what Rosalie's love life was doing. I got a horrible feeling in my stomach as Rabastan gently massaged the shoulder near his hand and moved his leg til it touched mine under the table.
If he started playing footsie with me, I was going to throw up.
"I'm gonna go get a drink," I told him, feeling suddenly suffocated. "You want anything?"
"Nothing you can order at the pub," he answered with a mischievious glitter in those gold eyes.
My chest tightened but I rolled my eyes at the innuendo. "Be serious, Bas."
He sighed, "If you insist. I'll take a butterbeer," he said with an eye roll, shoving money into my hands. "You sure you don't want me to get it? Or come with you?"
"No," I answered, almost too quickly. But I managed to play it off with a laugh. "Merlin! Bas, the way you carry on you'd think I was a bleedin' invalid!"
The rest of the table laughed as I turned on my heel and headed toward the bar. It wasn't until after I ordered the butterbeers from the Rosemerta that I noticed the booth directly acrossed the pub from our own-the one next to the table my Ravenclaw friends were sitting warily- and the tawny haired boy watching me intently.
The reason I'd spotted him so quickly though was not that I'd been looking- because I'd been doing exactly the opposite by trying NOT to see him today- but because of the strange golden glow around him.
No, literally. There was an ACTUAL outline of gold!
Sirius always had an intoxicating air about him, no one could deny that. But never had it actually been visible. It took me longer than it should have to realize that my ears were tingling oddly and another moment to figure out why this was significant when the love of my life was radiating golden light.
Then, I remembered the earrings.
My stomach convulsed sickeningly as I stared back into Sirius's eyes, unable to look away. It was like a train wreck. I was being told exactly what I wanted by the diamonds another bloke had given me. This was beyond twisted.
Because there he sat, his arm around a blonde Gryffindor in my year named Lydia McBride, while surrounded by his three cronies, their dates, the girls in their year from Gryffindor (including Mary, the blonde he'd been talking to on the train and a very disgruntle looking redhead who's name had gotten lost in my head amongst all the romantic and familial clutter that plagued me) and a few seventh years from their house. But he hardly seemed to notice what they were all laughing about, too busy staring me down with those penetrating eyes. I didn't need earrings to tell me I wanted him. What I needed was some magical jewelry to tell me how the hell I was supposed to get him without being killed by my family first.
I jumped out of my skin when Madame Rosemerta set the butterbeers in front of me with a clunk. I'd nearly forgotten I was in a crowded Hogsmeade bar packed to the brim with other people. It had almost- for a very brief space in time- seemed like Sirius and me alone again, in that dark corridor.
I shoved the memory forcefully from my mind as I broke eye contact with him and paid Madame Rosemerta. I didn't look up again until my back was fully turned towards their table and I could only feel his eyes burning into my scalp without the danger of another staring contest or the pull of that golden aura around him.
I didn't look over at him as I sat back at the table next to Rabastan, who smoothly reclaimed my shoulders with his arm again, either. My ears had almost ceased tingling and I wasn't about to start the frenzy again.
"Here you are," I said in a (hopefully) steady voice, as I handed him his drink.
"Why thank you, love, " he grinned.
I fought the reflexive vomit clawing it's way up my esophogus again and smiled sweetly.
"You two are nauseatingly perfect," Rosalie teased.
"Hark who's talking," I retorted. "Did the little birds help you get dressed again this morning?"
The whole table laughed at our easy banter. It scared me how easy it was to fit in with them, how simple they were to fool. Was it because I was just an insanely talented actress, were they too daft to realize it or was it something else entirely? What if-?
No. I was not nor would I ever be one of them. Never.
That's what you said about dating a Death Eater. A very Sirius sounding voice reminded me.
Oh, shut up! Give the girl a break. It's not like she had much of choice the mess you left for her! The Andromeda voice answered.
Oh. My. God.
Voices that were not my own were having arguements in my head. I'd finally cracked. It was official, I was a certified nutter. Agrippa help me now.
The conversation flowed easily to Christmas balls and the various parties I would no doubt be forced to attend while I was at my parents' house.
I shuddered at the mere thought of them. Long ago, I'd realized that my parents' seal of approval was not something I wanted. Ever. But I knew they would be thrilled to pieces once they heard that I was dating Rabastan Lestrange. The golden boy in our circle. He could do no wrong and my parents already loved him. Approval would be gushing from every word of the letters I was bound to get.
That alone was enough to make me want to vomit again.
I was almost certain this holiday would be the most horrifying affair I'd had yet. And, living in a world full of Death Eaters and Dark Arts supporters, that is saying something.
A mere hour and a half seemed like eternity to me.
I didn't allowed myself a peak at Sirius but saw his brother glace that way then away again with repulsion on his face and knew he and the blonde must've been snogging.
An intense jealousy washed though me.
Someone else was kissing those delectably soft lips. Probably running her fingers through his hair and pressing herself close to him too. I had no right to feel territorial, because I was sitting here with another blokes arm around me, but it was an emotion out of my control.
Though, I was proud of myself for resisting the temptation to see if he was still watching, if he looked sad, if he cared at all that the girl he'd kissed- his best friend- was sitting acrossed the Three Broomsticks at a table full of our enemies, wrapped in another's arms. Of course, I knew these were stupid fantasies. Sirius never cared what his casual encounters did once a new slag came along for him to concentrate his carnal urges on. But just the same, I was glad I hadn't looked.
The later it got the more people filtered in and out of the pub. Many groups of Hogwarts students returned to the castle and the shady pub regulars began to come in. I shifted uncomfortably as an old rickety wizard grinned at me toothily- looking me up and down like my brother's friend Goyle always did- and sunk closer to Rabastan.
He must've noticed too because it wasn't long after that when he whispered in my ear, "Let's get out of here, yeah?"
"Thought you'd never ask," I sighed in relief, popping immediately from my seat and saying my goodbyes to the rest of the table.
Bas laughed and, after a small wave to his friends, followed suit catching my hand and intertwining his fingers with mine. I felt more than one pair of eyes seething into my scalp but didn't dare look up into any of them as I exited the pub with my date.
I'm not entirely sure why I was so genuinely relieved to be alone with the Death Eater again, but I was. A discerningly relaxed sigh escaped me once the door closed behind us. I inhaled the crisp night air and only realized then that I'd been holding my breath.
He chuckled, "Better?"
"Much," I said without looking at him, or extracting my hand from his.
For a minute we just stood there in silence as my face cooled and the knot in my chest loosened a smidge. Then he said, "C'mon, let's go back up to the castle. We'll freeze if we stand out here all night."
I sighed, half contentedly and half resigned, and let him lead me towards the castle again. I had strange feeling that we weren't alone as we walked hand-in-hand down the dark Charms corridor together but brushed it off as a persecution complex developing on my part. Suspision was my habit by now. So I mentally shook myself and tried to focus on the whispered conversation I was supposed to be having with my date.
"Why are we whispering exactly?" I asked in an amused stage murmur.
"I dunno," Bas laughed. "I was whispering because you were!"
We laughed together as we came to the door to the Ravenclaw Common Room and ignored the question the door asked, though I already knew that the answer was a grindylow.
"I suppose this is good night then," he stated unnessecarily.
I gulped and nodded, too nervous to speak all of the sudden.
This was it. This was the moment I'd been dreading all night.
And just like I'd known he would, Rabastan slowly leaned in and covered my lips his own.
Like with Sirius the kiss was deliciously apprehensive while at the same time managing to be strong and confident. My lips felt pleasantly warm but didn't tingle. Unlike with Sirius, I kept the majority of my senses in tact. The light headedness wasn't NEARLY as bad and my knees locked but didn't feel like pudding. Maybe it was because he hadn't pulled me as close as I'd been with Sirius. I couldn't feel his heart thumping rapidly against my own nor did his heavy breath share the air space with mine. We weren't touching at every surface either- in fact, unlike with Sirius, the spots we were touching were out numbered by the ones we weren't. And I was able to pull away without any sickening revelations about where those lips had been (though, I'm sure, I didn't want to know where his had been either).
And without waiting for him to reply, or giving him a chance to pull me into another kiss, I answered the door and slipped into my Common Room.
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