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You and A Promise by goodbyetrain

Format: Novel
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 13,256
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language,

Genres: Drama, Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Regulus, Bellatrix, Lucius, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 06/25/2006
Last Chapter: 07/23/2007
Last Updated: 07/23/2007

Summary:
Banner : MSW 



She was invincible and no one would shake her. The wall around her heart separated her from overbearing parents and the people who devoted themselves to blood, the life she swore she'd get away from. She would surround herself in the promise of freedom, and pray she would not get lost in it.


Chapter 1: Honor
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Disclaimer: All places, characters, and other little things that you know are Jo Rowling's are hers, and not mine. Original everything else is mine.

Enjoy! (:









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What?!

I stood up quickly, almost spilling the hot tea all over my skirt. It did, however, spill on the tabletop and a house elf ran over to immediately clean up the mess with a towel.

I held the top of the chair tightly, glaring down at my mother, before sitting down again. Her crystal blue eyes were completely focused on her cup as she daintily stirred sugar into it.

Her long brown locks were tied to the crown of her head in an elegant bun, like always. She was always so proper, so polite. People always say I looked exactly like my mother.

They were right.

Right now, her lips were pursed in slight annoyance.

“Wait, wait,” I began again, shooing the house elf away. “You’re sending me where?”

Her eyes were sparkling with amusement. “You heard me very well, Claire.”

“But—but—Mother, think about it!” I pleaded, holding onto the table. I started to look around wildly, to prove my point. The cloudless sky hung peacefully above me, the grass of our backyard perfect as always. I smiled at the thought of such a nice day, but I continued. “You’re taking me away from the only school I’ve ever known! My whole life is at Beauxbatons. I’ll be leaving my friends, my studies, my teachers—”

“Claire…” she interrupted warningly.

I looked to the sky, holding out my hand. “—for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?”

“Claire, don’t make this into a big thing,” she said simply, taking a small sip of her tea. How dainty of her.

“Mother!” I cried, throwing my head back quickly and placing my hand across my forehead. Time to get dramatic. “I’ll never survive in such a school! I’ll grow old and stupid; I won’t learn anything! I’ll be an old woman who’s never amounted to anything, I’ll sit alone in my rocking chair without any teeth! I’ll die lonely and cold! I can’t do it, Mother, I can’t do it!”

I paused, for effect. I could feel her staring at me; I suppressed the grin that threatened to cross my lips.

Much to my displeasure, my darling Mother burst out laughing.

I snapped my head down again, glaring at her. Her shoulders shook with every passing second as her laughter rang throughout my ears. So polite she was, gracefully covering her mouth with her hand.

“Oh, Claire… such dramatics,” she replied, wiping the sides of her eyes.

I pouted and returned to my cup, carefully pouring sugar into the steaming tea. A white cloud appeared in the black liquid and quickly sunk to the bottom of the cup.

“Claire, dear, it’s what you’re Father wants.”

I looked up at her. “Why? Why do you want to send me to Hogwarts?”

“Well,” she started, stirring her tea again. “It’s much closer to home.”

“And?” I pursued.

“And anything else is for us to know, and you to know later.”

A grin slid onto my face. I knew how to make her spill. “Mother, I’m only thinking about my future,” I said, biting my lip.

“And so are we…”

“Aha!” I cried, standing out of my chair again. “So it is about my future, then!”

She shook her head, but the smile didn’t disappear from her pretty face. “What would your Father say? You, acting like this…”

I sat down and took a crumpet, biting it very ‘un-lady-like’. “I dunno, Mum. What would he say?”

She wouldn’t get mad at me. She wasn’t my Father. She only laughed again, muttering, “You’re so impossible sometimes, Claire.”

I leaned back, munching the crumpet, letting my long brown hair fall down the back of the chair. “There better be some good news after this, Mother.”

“Well, actually, there is,” she replied, patting her mouth with a clean white napkin.

Sometimes I wondered why she was always so proper. She must have learned to be the "perfect pure-blood wife" when she was a young girl. I frowned inwardly, not wanting that for myself.

I smiled pleasantly. “Do tell, Mother.”

“The Blacks have invited us to stay at their lovely home for the rest of the summer.”

Instantly, my sly grin crept slowly along my face. This was certainly good news.

“Claire…I know what you’re thinking, and don’t you dare think of harming one hair on that boy’s head,” she said sternly, her eyes flashed.

“Oh, but, Mother!” I whined. “I can’t help it! He’s such an arrogant, egotistical, bigheaded, pompous, self-absorbed—”

Claire…”

“—boy,” I said, defeated. Oh, how I despised him. “He only thinks about himself, that Sirius Black.”

“Yes, but you have to learn to get along with him, Claire. You two have been at each other’s throats since the minute you met.”

“It’s not my fault!” I replied, throwing up my arms.

“Can’t you at least attempt to be civilized with him?”

“No,” I replied quickly. I folded my arms over my chest, quite child-like actually. “Mother, we don’t even like the Blacks. They don’t like us. Why do we have to pretend with all these families? Who cares if we’re all pure-bloods?”

“Claire, I know you’ve never understood this, but that’s the way we live. We are pure-bloods,” she said softly.

I rolled my eyes. What nonsense. Pretending to like other families for the sole reason that they were pure-bloods. Pure-blood relations, pure-blood marriages, pure-blood everything… It made me sick to my stomach.

“Respect and honor. You were born into this world, not only of luxury, but also of ambition, of authority. You must uphold the family honor and prove to the world the superiority of the pure-bloods,” she said.

I had heard it repeatedly, for as long as I can remember. And as she told it to me again, I began to mouth her every word mockingly. A creed I was forced to believe in. More like a belief I wanted nothing to do with.

She stopped and looked at me with sadness in her blue eyes, the eyes that exactly matched my own. I looked away from her, determinedly staring at the marble fountain that stood in the middle of the backyard. Clear water poured out from the tip of crossed wands; the water shined in the afternoon sunlight.

“Toujours pur, Mother. Toujours pur,” I said quietly.

“That’s right,” she said, nodding.

That’s right,” I said again, she missed my sarcasm. I drank the last of my tea and set the china cup back onto the table. I stood up and curtsied, a smile plastered unpleasantly on my face. “Mother, dear, may I be excused?”

“Yes, Claire, you may,” she replied and nodded again.

I took one last glance at my Mother before disappearing into the large house I called my home. I passed through one of the many long, yet pointless, hallways of the house, and climbed up the staircase to my room.

I walked into my room and fell heavily onto my bed, sinking into the fluffy blankets and staring at the ceiling. I proceeded to throw my stuffed Quaffle into the air angrily, and catching it every time it fell.

“‘Superiority of the pure-bloods,’ what rubbish!” I said through gritted teeth.

Nothing made us different from other wizards and witches. Nothing. It was a pathetic excuse for ‘pure-bloods’ to gain unnecessary authority to make them feel better about themselves.

I sat up, catching the red plush toy one last time. I didn’t need to think about this. I should be planning. I hadn’t seen Black in two years since his family had gone on some trip last summer, thus canceling our visit.

I smiled evilly, hugging onto my Quaffle tightly.

“I’m going to make this the best summer Sirius Black has ever had.”
[[ 6/25/06 Thanks for reading! Please let me know what you think. [:

Chapter 2: Secrecy
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I groggily pulled myself out of bed as dear mother’s voice was very annoyingly calling up to me from downstairs. That screechy, whiny, incredibly god-awful voice that I had to wake up to every single day…

Oh, but today is different, isn’t it, Mother? Today is much different from the rest.

I smiled evilly. My reflection’s crooked grin flashed back towards me as I attempted to brush my hair. Attempted, of course, being the key word.

Today was the day the lovely Mr. and Mrs. Harper and their lovely daughter were to arrive to spend the last week of summer. Today was the day I was to be a perfect gentleman, and not even think about harming dear Miss Claire Harper.

I laughed aloud, only to be reprimanded by Mother, her voice yelling up at me again. I should be tone deaf by now; I know I am. Sixteen years of that can do it. Sixteen miserable years of being stuck in this place, having to listen to every single deriding, nasty, rude little comment she throws at me…

I put on the pair of slacks and oxford shirt I had laid on my chair the night before. They were nicely pressed, dear mother had made sure of that. However was I to greet the Harpers with wrinkles all over my clothing? Wasn’t I supposed to be a perfect gentleman in their presence? Wasn’t I to listen to my dear mother?

“Will you get yourself down here this minute?” she hollered. “They’ll be arriving soon! And brush that hair of yours!”

She didn’t even like them. I swear, all she did was criticize them whenever they weren’t around and were brought up in conversation. Or… more like what she considered conversation. Oh, they’re dear friends, aren’t they, Mother?

What rubbish.

I could hear a loud knock on the door from my room. I took one last glance at my reflection and headed down the stairs. Old and dead family members, portraits, of course and thank Merlin, sneered at me unpleasantly. I stuck my tongue out at one particularly nasty one, in the same time, losing my balance and so gracefully falling down the rest of the stairs.

She laughed. Laughed.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she chided herself. “I didn’t mean to, it’s just… My, what an entrance!”

Mother laughed, though it was incredibly fake, and the Harpers chuckled to themselves as I stood up and brushed my slacks off. I smiled sickly, and held my hand out to Mr. Harper.

“A pleasure, sir,” I said, giving him a firm handshake.

“You’d do well to watch where you step, young man,” he replied. “A true pureblood knows where and when to step at all times.”

I nodded brusquely, my smile fading. “Mrs. Harper, beautiful as ever,” I told her, bending down to kiss her hand.

“Always the charmer,” she smiled graciously. “It’s good to see you, Sirius.”

I stepped back, right into an awkward silence. I could have sworn the grandfather clock on the second floor was ticking much more loudly than ever before…

“Will you stop being rude and greet Miss Harper?” my mother snapped at me through gritted teeth. She turned her head and smiled at the Harpers, laughing courteously. Fake.

I stepped forward again, that smile grossly plastered on my face again. “Miss Harper,” I forced out.

She smiled coolly. Her blue eyes danced with laughter, a loud laugh she didn’t dare release. “Mister Black,” she replied. And she held out her hand.

I took her hand so reluctantly and quickly pressed my lips to it. I let it go and glared at her stupid satisfied smile.

“Wonderful! Let’s all go to the dining room. I’m quite sure dinner is ready,” my mother said immediately and hurried Mr. and Mrs. Harper towards the dining room. Dear mother glared at me over her shoulder before engaging herself in “conversation” with the Harpers, leaving her and I behind.

“So, for a very long time I’ve been wondering if you have two left feet,” she said casually. “I actually once thought it was two right ones. But alas, I was right! Which is it, by the way, do you mind me asking?” she said very quickly.

“Neither, thank you very much. Have you put on some weight? You look,” I replied, cupping my cheeks with my hands. “A little chubby.”

She laughed delicately, but it was fake. Why did everything have to be so fake around here?

“No, actually, I haven’t. Dear, dear… you might want to get those eyes checked. I’ve read about these hopeless cases, where—”

I cut her off. “I’m going to dinner.” I rolled my eyes and followed the adults into the other room.

“Oh, marvelous! I’m quite hungry,” she replied.

I didn’t look back, but I could hear her footsteps behind me. Oh, Merlin. This was going to be the longest week of my life.

* * *


“So I tell the Mudblood, ‘I really couldn’t care less about what you think, filth. You’ll never be a proper wizard, even if you dreamed it!’”

I almost banged my head on the table. I swear I almost did. My mother laughed loudly at her own joke. Mr. Harper’s booming laugh shook the plates on the table, and Mrs. Harper covered her mouth politely.

I was a little glad to see that she looked about as horrible as I felt. Okay… I admit I was very relieved to see her glare at her soup and her hand shake with anger.

I could tell she hated it as much as I did. She hated sitting here and listening to them laugh and make fun of everything they thought they were better than. Being helpless and unable to shut them up because of dishonor and lack of respect. It was almost like she was stuck… just like me.

But that didn’t change anything.

“Oh, Vera, I forgot to ask you,” Mrs. Harper began when the laughter died down. Mother stared at her. “How is Regulus?”

That’s a strange question…

Oh, he’s doing quite well,” Mother replied. I looked at her suspiciously; she only smiled widely. “In fact, I’m sure he should be coming home very soon.”

I blinked. She blinked. We basically had no idea what the hell was going on.

“That’s wonderful! It will be so nice to see him again, after so many years!” Mrs. Harper exclaimed.

Two. Only two years.

Mrs. Harper looked genuinely happy. Her daughter was staring at Mother. “I’m sure he’ll be just as pleased,” dear Mother said.

The door opened and shut with a loud bang. Speak of the devil.

“Regulus, darling!” Mother exclaimed loudly as he came into the dining room. I rolled my eyes. “Come and greet our guests!”

He looked tired, but smiled at the Harpers. Mr. Harper stood and shook Regulus’ hand, without chastising him, mind you, and Mrs. Harper smiled and allowed him to kiss her hand.

A house elf rushed into the room and filled Regulus’ plate as he sat down.

“We were just talking about you, darling,” Mother said sweetly. I hated how differently she treated us. She yelled at me, glared at me, chastised me. But she always fawned over him. He, the perfect son. He, the one who wasn’t a complete disgrace to her and her family.

The weakling, as far as I’m concerned.

“Were you?” his small voice replied.

Mrs. Harper nodded and smiled. “Why, yes, Regulus. Your mother and I have been talking. We’re very excited, my dear boy.”

Something was definitely happening around here. And I decided to make it my business to find out exactly what it was.
[A/N: Alternating point of views. (:

Chapter 3: Pride
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[ A/N: So I'm completely loving writing this story, so if you like reading it, I'm pretty sure my job here is done [= ]







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The horribly long and boring dinner had ended, with the adults acting stupid, and one of the Blacks’ house elves showed me to my room. I didn’t need it, of course. I always stayed in the same place.

“I do hope you’ll enjoy yourself here, Claire,” Mrs. Black said before the house elf whisked me away. “Just treat the house like it’s your very own home.”

“I will, Mrs. Black, and thank you very much,” I replied cheerfully, though very aware that she was threatening me rather than welcoming me. She very well did not want me to treat the Black House like it was my own; she wanted me to watch my toes and keep from crossing any lines.

I wouldn’t. Not with her, at least.

And so the house elf led me up the staircase. The old and dead Blacks nodded at me, sneered at me, curtsied and bowed. For the most part, I ignored them, seeing as they were merely paintings and the worst they could do to me was… well, sneer.

“Your room, Miss Harper,” the house elf said in a small voice and bowed. I thanked him and entered the familiar room. It was the same basic room for guests. I wasn’t interested in anything luxurious or fancy. That room was reserved for my parents. Mrs. Black, that showoff.

I sat on the bed, not feeling very tired at all, and then I remembered the strange reaction Sirius had to Mrs. Black’s stupid joke. He seemed angry, which was strange… because last time I checked, which was granted, two years ago, he always enjoyed them.

Oh, maybe I didn’t get a good enough look.

I sat back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. A week. Seven days. Somehow I knew it would seem a lot longer than it should be, a lot longer than it sounds. And then I’m off to Hogwarts. Great. Wonderful.

“Claire, can we come in?” my mother’s voice came after a knock at the door.

I sat up. “Yes, Mother.”

My mother opened the door and came in, closely followed by my father, who looked happier than usual. Which I suppose was a good thing. Mother sat next to me, while Father stood beside her with his hand on her shoulder.

“We hope you’re enjoying yourself here, Claire, dear,” my mother said with a small smile.

“Are you enjoying yourselves?” I asked, looking from her to him.

They looked at each other, and my father nodded. “Claire, we’ve got news for you,” she said quietly. Father went over and closed the door to the room, confusing me.

I figured I was about to find about her strange interest in Regulus Black this evening. It sticks out to me as the most memorable event of the evening, besides Sirius falling down the stairs, of course.

When I didn’t say anything, she continued. “The Blacks are having a banquet to celebrate a special occasion,” she began. “They have, of course, so kindly invited us to hear their big announcement.”

I blinked. “And do you have any idea what the announcement is?” I asked.

“Oh, no, not in the slightest. But Vera told us that they are very proud,” she replied. Father nodded.

“Well, that’s wonderful, Mum. But…” To be honest, I had no idea why she was telling me this.

“Your mother and I realize the importance of this banquet, and we strongly advise you to be on your best behavior, Claire. We know how hard it is for you to resist a little temptation. And anything you may cause can potentially lose our good graces with the Blacks, which could be devastating. Is that understood?” Father said firmly.

I nodded and smiled. “Completely. Crystal clear, and everything.” He gave me a look, that look, you know. “I understand, Father. You have nothing to worry about.” He didn’t seem convinced, and neither did Mother, but they seemed to accept my answer anyways.

“We hope you’ll be mature about this,” Mother said before kissing me on the forehead and standing to leave. I smiled, and they left together, shutting the door behind them.

I stood up from the bed and began pacing the room. So I could either do something terrible to humiliate Sirius in front of possibly a large group of stuffy purebloods, or I could obey my parents’ wishes and stay out of trouble.

Of course, there were rewards and consequences of both choices. It was a very unpleasant decision. And I bet Father would be severely upset with me, and would probably punish me for quite some time if I were to disobey him.

Ah, how could I resist? The only reason I agreed to come here was to stir up trouble for Sirius in the first place! I’d be going against everything right and holy if I didn’t do what I came to do.

But losing the “good graces” with the Blacks… “Devastating” results… extreme punishment, though he didn’t say it, I know.

Well, I sincerely apologize in advance, Father.

* * *


When a pureblood tells you there’s a banquet coming soon, they definitely mean there is a very important and very lavish ball tonight. When told to children, it means if you’re even thinking about messing anything up, you’re already asking for a beating.

My father is a smart man, and he had already realized I was up to something. So he proceeded to force me into wearing a large, uncomfortable dress, hoping it would hinder me in some way.

I ripped off most of the lace and ruffles.

I was walking down the hallway towards the ballroom, my dress a little shoddy, but still a little nice-looking. A pair of handsomely dressed men stood at either sides of the ballroom doors, and they opened the doors for me, since they were getting paid for it and all.

And I’ll even save you the pain of describing the whole scene, because it’s pretty basic. Tons of people dancing, food (lots of that), and incredibly tacky decorations were all I saw.

I spotted my parents, and decided it would be better if Father didn’t see my dress just then. So I made my way through the crowd of people towards the food table, naturally.

I grabbed a plate and stuffed it full with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and chicken, while going through my plan. It had to be perfect; I had to take extreme care.

“Well if it isn’t little Claire Harper!” a voice called out as I sat at a table with my hands full of food.

I grimaced before plastering a smile on my face as Mrs. Malfoy stood next to my chair. She placed her hand on my shoulder, and pressed her bony cheek to mine.

“How are you, darling? I’m quite sure I haven’t seen you in years! Look at you, so grown up!” she exclaimed delightedly.

“I’m doing very well, Mrs. Malfoy, thank you. How are you? And the business?” I replied.

“Oh, you know how that goes, my dear girl!” she laughed. She became a little serious and beckoned me closer. She whispered, “I do think my business is going better than my husband’s! But don’t let anyone else know, of course.”

I nodded knowingly. “Of course, Mrs. Malfoy.”

She beamed. “That’s my girl, Claire! Oh, I must have forgotten! Lucius!”

A tall, pale young man appeared at her side, his face flushed from dancing. He was handsome, sure, but I think I already had my idea about him. He looked exactly like his father.

“This is my son, Lucius. He attends Hogwarts, like you will from now on, am I correct?”

I nodded. “Yes, Mrs. Malfoy.”

“Lucius Malfoy,” he said, bowing. I returned the gesture with a curtsy.

Mrs. Malfoy beamed again. “Lucius will do his best to show you around and help you out, so don’t be afraid to ask for it!”

“I won’t be,” I replied shortly, already tired of her and this Lucius person. “Well, if you’ll excuse me,” I told them, walking quickly away from the table and sadly, my food, too.

Just then, I spotted the unfortunate victim of tonight, typically chatting up a couple of dimwitted girls. I was tempted to do the deed then, but I rather desired a larger audience, so I had to resist. Instead…

“Oh, Sirius, darling!” I yelled out, causing the girls to turn their heads my way. Sirius looked mortified. I strode over to the group and looked at Sirius. He glared at me.

“Yes?” he asked through gritted teeth.

I pouted. “Now is that any way to talk to me?”

The girls looked towards Sirius, puzzled. One rolled her eyes, and they walked off without a backward glance.

He stared after then, mouthing silently; he then rounded on me. “What the bloody hell was that for?” he almost yelled.

I shrugged contentedly. “Couldn’t help myself.”

“You little—” he began, but I had already begun walking away.

I had begun getting seriously hungry by that time, and I was wondering whether my wonderful plate of food had been thrown away or not. Knowing purebloods and their money, it was probably gone because of the large amount of food already here.

Sighing, I sat at an empty table away from the crowd. A loud tinkling of glasses stopped the dancing and music; we all turned our attention towards Mr. and Mrs. Black, who wore proud smiles. I could see Regulus standing behind them, wringing his hands.

“We’d like to thank all of you for your company here tonight,” Mrs. Black began. It was an empty expression of thanks. Purebloods were never allowed to turn down an invitation.

Mr. Black continued, “Of course, we appreciate all the support and… We have a very important and special announcement to make.” He allowed his wife to make it.

“As you all may know, Regulus has already expressed interest in Voldemort and his men—”

I rolled my eyes at the whispers of approval that erupted throughout the crowd.

“Regulus has decided to take the responsibility of terrorizing blood traitors and Mudbloods at Hogwarts, and has taken Claire Harper as his assistant!”

“What?!” I yelled, but the overwhelming applause drowned me out. I stood up quickly, but a rush of icy water fell on top of me, sending goose bumps and chills down my spine, and all I could hear was Sirius Black’s stupid laughter.


[ 10.15.06 -

Chapter 4: Rivalry
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[A/N: I started writing the chapter in the middle of the party, but realized.. well, we can't stay at the Blacks forever, can we? So I moved it along. It's Sirius this time.. yeah [:







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I rolled my eyes as the woman who just happened to be my mother continued to pick apart everything about me. She didn’t stop complaining, did she? I was getting tired of her bickering. Her topic for today, like every first day of school…my being in Gryffindor.

“Never in a hundred years has one Black been placed in any other house besides Slytherin!” she said, for the third time. “The humility, I don’t know where we went wrong with you, boy…”

I tuned her out instantly, I didn’t need this. I was finally going to get away from her and Father for nine months. I wasn’t going to see them, I was going back to my true home. Life was pretty good right about now.

I started to look around, maybe I’d catch James before he stepped off the platform. If not, well, I’d find him in our compartment.

“Oh! What a pleasant surprise!” my Mother remarked suddenly, throwing her arms up to show emphasis.

My eyes grew wide at the sight, my jaw hung down in shock. This…couldn’t be happening.

Claire Harper and her mother were walking towards us, to my complete disgust, Harper was pushing a trolley with her trunk on top.

My mother greeted hers, kissing her on the cheek somewhat awkwardly. I glared at Harper, she returned it, no less, with her annoyingly blue eyes. She scoffed and folded her arms, turning away from me. I rolled my eyes and started to watch as our mothers talked their bloody heads off, like they didn’t spend the whole summer together.

Onto other matters…

Why wasn’t I informed of this? Am I not important enough to know when my mortal enemy is coming to my school? When the hell was this decided?

“Oh, it was so lovely to see you again, darling,” my mother said, waving at Mrs. Harper. The fake tone of her voice was almost sickening.

I watched as Harper and her mother walked to another side of the platform, and I sighed in relief.

Mother rounded on me. “Don’t you dare even think about doing anything to that darling girl while you’re at school. If I hear one word about you—”

“I know, Mother,” I cut her off, running a hand through my hair.

She threw me a look of utmost disgust, but I was so used to this, I didn’t even care anymore. “Ungrateful boy,” she sneered. “We put a roof over your head, food on your table, the only reason why you’re surviving is because we care enough to let you live.”

I mouthed the sentence along with her, moving my head back and forth. I had heard it enough times to have it completely memorized.

She took in a deep breath, like she was going to lash out at me, but instead cried, “Get out of my sight, boy! And act civilized for once!”

I didn’t need telling twice. I grabbed my trolley and began pushing my trunk through the crowds of students. I could see the little first years, reluctant to leave their parents behind on the platform. The other students were hanging around casually, waiting for the last train whistle to blow.

I placed my luggage away and boarded the train only minutes before the last whistle blew shrilly. I walked down the line of compartments, peering closely into each of the windows.

As I looked away from one, I saw Harper doing the same thing as I.

“Don’t tell me you’re actually going to attend Hogwarts,” I spat at her, smirking.

She looked over her shoulder, but continued to walk down the hall. “Well, what does it look like, Black?” she retorted.

“What, Beauxbatons not nice enough for you?”

She turned around, folding her arms again, and leaned against the wall. “You act like I wanted to come here."

My smirk faltered. “You didn’t want to?”

It was her turn to smirk. She knew it, she knows sometimes curiosity gets the better of me. And she took full advantage of it.

“Are you getting soft, Black?”

I rolled my eyes and began to walk past her. “I don’t need this. I need to find my friends.”

She raised her eyebrows, a look of total shock on her face. “What?” she asked. “You mean, people and your large head can fit into one compartment? Now that is just something I must see!”

I stopped instantly, only inches away from her. I glared into her blue eyes, giving her my look of loathing. She continued to smirk, I hated that whatever I gave her had no effect.

“I don’t have a big head,” I said through clenched teeth.

“And staring at yourself in the mirror…?”

“And what about you, Miss Quidditch? Think you can let go of your broom long enough to let some air out of that head of yours?” I snapped at her.

“Think you can stop playing with your hair long enough to get your head through the door?”

“I don’t play with my hair!”

“Yes, you do!”

“Merlin, you’re so impossible!”

“Like you’re a bloody saint to be around!”

“What the hell are you doing here anyways?”

I could hear the sound of compartment doors opening over our shouts, but I didn’t care. Right now, all I cared about was finding some way to affect her; she couldn’t just take everything thrown at her.

“What, you finally care about something other than yourself?”

“I care about a lot of things!” I was losing this one. I knew it. And she probably did too.

“Sorry, Black, your hair doesn’t really count in this one,” she said coolly, playing with a loose strand of her own hair.

I gaped at her, my mouth hung open. She wore that smile of satisfaction. She had won, and I hated her for it.

“Sirius!”

Her eyes flickered to a person behind me and I turned around, grateful to see my best friend, James Potter, standing there. He wasn’t the only one, as dozens of Hogwarts students had come out of their compartments to watch Harper and I yell at each other.

“Had a good summer?” James asked, his eyes dancing with amusement. The others had decided that the show was over and returned to their respective compartments.

“No, James. I didn’t,” I replied shortly.

“Hm. Who’s your friend?” he asked, nodding towards Harper.

“My wha—”

Harper pushed her way past me, extending her hand, a smile on her face. “Claire Harper, pleased to meet you,” she said sweetly.

He took her hand, and kissed it. I bit the inside of my cheek, to stop myself from screaming. “James Potter. The pleasure’s all mine. How long have you known Sirius here?”

Her infuriating smile widened. “Oh, Sirius and I have known each other for too long.”

“Can’t really say you two are fond of each other, eh?” James asked.

“What does it bloody look like?” I interjected harshly.

She laughed. Laughed. “No, I’m afraid we’re not.”
[IMPORTANT: Because I know it'll be asked.. No, Sirius did NOT know that she was going to Hogwarts. He was too busy dumping water over her head. Alright [: I hope you enjoyed it !]


Chapter 5: Mockery
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[A/N: Here tis! The next installment. (: A few notes.. It's Claire's point of view this time, of course. And.. I refuse to treat Peter Pettigrew badly in my story. I don't like him either, but that doesn't mean I'm going to shun him or have the characters shun him. Anyways, I hope you like it!]





You and A Promise
Chapter Five : Mockery
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So I spent the rest of the train ride with Black's friends, who were relatively agreeable, which I found to be quite a surprise. I don't know why, but I guess I expected them to be the same as Sirius himself. Sometimes it's nice to be proven wrong. Well…in this case.

They spent most of the time reliving old pranks they pulled and telling them to me in the outmost detail. To be perfectly truthful, they were quite impressive. And they gave me ideas for later. Not like I was taking notes or anything…

I enjoyed myself immensely, particularly when the conversation turned towards the greatness that is Quidditch, and I also enjoyed watching Sirius sulk in a corner of the compartment.

And sulk he did. He huffed, scoffed, and brooded while facing the window almost the entire time, only leaving to grab some sweets from a lady who pushed a cart around.

Now, I'm pretty sure you know Sirius' friends, and quite well, so I won't go into descriptions, names, and whatnot. I could easily tell they were some of the most popular blokes in school; let's just say our compartment received an amount of visits from girls.

"There is no way Chad Livingston is going to get the Chudley Cannons into the Cup," I told James after a third group of girls had made their exit.

Remus nodded his support, but kept his mouth full of sweets. He swallowed and replied, "They've lost too many games. They'd need a miracle to even think about it."

"Exactly!" I exclaimed, throwing my arms up. "Remus, will you knock some sense into him?"

James chuckled and shook his head. "No, Claire, what you don't understand is…" He got a misty look in his eye and pounded his chest with a fist. "You don't have the faith."

And it was a little quiet for a while.

That is, until the rest of us started laughing rather loudly as he blushed. Even Sirius took a second out of his brooding to crack a little smile.

"I'll live without the 'Faith,' if that's alright with you, James," Peter said, wiping the tears from his eyes. The rest of us nodded in agreement, a statement that we were, well, just fine without the Faith.

The conversation continued as I told them I'd return. I slid the compartment open and shut and began walking down the hallway of the train. I passed all the other compartments on my way to the bathroom, watching as students of every year laughed, ate, talked.

On my way back, I didn't look into the windows of other compartments; instead I kept my eyes on the hallway in front of me, but for some reason, I didn't see Lucius walk towards me.

And it happened, you know, that slowness that happens when you pass by someone without taking your eyes off of them. Anyways, it happened. But he stopped a second before I would have passed him, and somehow my feet stopped too.

"Regulus is waiting for you," he stated plainly, and I wanted to hit him for it. But I couldn't and I couldn't say anything either. A million sarcastic remarks ran through my head, but I had a feeling I shouldn't say any of them.

So instead, I blurted out, "Where?" Stupid, stupid!

He smiled, which made me want to hit him even more, and said, "Six compartments from the front." And he continued walking.

"Why me?" I whined under my breath and continued walking, in the opposite direction.

Regulus' compartment was two away from Sirius' and it seemed too entirely close for comfort. I put my head down and opened the door to reveal a compartment full of Slytherins. Regulus was sitting among them, and he waved for me to come in and sit.

A few more 'Why me's' flitted through my head as I say down next to these absolutely disgusting boys and I plastered on a smile while greeting Regulus.

"Claire, darling, how are you?" Regulus replied, obviously possessing a little more backbone while surrounded by this lot.

"Wonderful, Regulus, darling. How are you?" My comment generated a few chuckles from his friends.

He sighed happily. "To tell you the truth, I'm quite excited. And I'm sure you'll be just the addition to get our plan in motion, am I right?" I smiled, but said nothing. "I'll be in contact with you throughout the year, but as of now… enjoy your new school."

I stood up, taking this as my leave. "Why, thank you, Regulus. I'm almost positive I will." I made my way through the boys' legs and arms and out of the compartment. I stood in the hallway for a while, leaning against the glass of the windows facing outside, not just ready to rejoin Sirius' friends.

This can't have been the reason my parents sent me to Hogwarts. How could they even think of doing something like this? It seemed so shallow, so incredibly stupid

"What do you think you're doing?" a voice yelled at me, startling me so bad I jumped.

It was Sirius. And I panicked.

"W—what?" I managed to get out.

"What do you mean 'what'?" he continued to yell. He gestured to his own compartment, and not the Slytherins'. My heart stopped beating at a thousand kilometers a second.

I stood up straight and replied, "I was simply talking to your lovely friends."

"More like flirting with my mates!" If he wasn't going to stop yelling, we'd soon gather another large crowd…

I frowned, and in my innocent voice, asked, "Now why would I ever do that?"

He was fuming. Really. It was hilarious. "Oh, I don't know! Maybe because you like to torture me? Completely and indefinitely like to wreak havoc? You're miserable and unhappy unless I'm suffering?"

I was going to laugh in his face, but I chose instead to reply. "Where would you ever get an idea like that?" I asked quite seriously.

He stared at me for a while, his mouth hanging open, and then you know what he did?

Turned around and walked back into the compartment. Left. I practically skipped in after him.

Once I entered the compartment, the boys fell silent, and that, my friends, is when you know someone had just been talking about you.

Each had a look of sheer guilt on their face, and as I resumed my seat, Sirius returned to his window to brood some more. I wondered whether to call them on it or say something else, but the train had begun slowing down, signaling a rise of everyone in the train.

I sighed and started pulling a sweater over my head, and my school robes. James bowed me out of the compartment and followed after, and the others walked out after us. The hallways was now crammed with students who wanted to get out, pushing and shoving and yelling as the line slowly moved.

We finally got out, and I stood looking at the enormous castle that was Hogwarts.

"Pretty nice, huh?" Peter asked, nudging me in the arm.

"Mmmm," was my reply.

- - - - - -


My face burned as I put my head down and walked towards the group of scarlet and gold clad students cheering and pounding on their table. I ignored the stares from the Slytherin table, and even James waving for me to join him and the rest of his friends. And I even tried to ignore Sirius' blank face as I sat with them.

I don't even want to think about what my father will do when he finds out.

After the Sorting was over and the food had appeared, the hall erupted in clattering plates and conversation.

"Smashing job, getting into Gryffindor," James told me while spooning meat onto his plate.

"What? Oh… thanks, James," I replied.

He smiled and waved it off. "So this year…" he began, and the others leaned towards him, including me, I found. "Best prank ever." He paused between words for effect.

"Definitely," Peter piped in.

"But," he paused, and we all leaned in closer. "I just haven't thought of it, yet."

I sat back, rolling my eyes. Then my eyes fell on the giant plate of mashed potatoes. And Sirius' currently empty seat.

Evil cackle.

I hastily grabbed the plate and scooped a large portion of mashed potatoes in my hand. Of course, the boys gave me quizzical looks, but I cast them off. I placed my hand under the table and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

How long does it take for someone to get back from having "a talk" with Dumbledore anyway?

A while later, he was walking back towards the table, looking somewhat pleased with himself, which got me even more excited. When he got closer, he determinedly kept his eyes away from me, which I was hoping for, and smiled at James.

He was five seconds away from sitting, three seconds, one second.

And splat.

He sat in that big pile of mashed potatoes easy. He winced and jumped up, the mashy, potatoey, greatness dripping off his robes in glory. I licked the potatoes off of my fingers in pure satisfaction. Sirius glared at me.

"Mm… buttery," I remarked, still licking my fingers.

I was waiting for yelling, screaming, anything. But I didn't get a reaction. A hall full of thousands of students to watch, but he didn't say anything. He looked at me for two seconds, turned around, and walked out of the hall while taking off his school robes.

I had won, of course, but I swear to Merlin—and I don't understand why—but I didn't feel like I did at all.

Why didn't he yell? Why didn't he throw some insults at my face? Maybe he was trying something new… mind games possibly?

Two could play at that game. That arrogant git had another thing coming if he thought he was going to show me up.

"That was nothing short of brilliant," James exclaimed through fits of laughter, snapping me out of my thoughts.

I turned my head away from the aisle between tables to look at him. "Yeah," I said, uncertainly.

"Oh, yeah. Brilliant," he replied, and returned to his food, still laughing.
[ 1/7/07 - I hope you liked it! (: Happy New Year everyone!



Chapter 6: Ambition
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A/N: Hellooo. If it means any thing, this one is my favorite so far. (: It was a blast writing it, so enjoy!








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"Gryffindor?! How on earth can she be in Gryffindor? If that bloody hat could do one measly thing to smite me in all my years of Hogwarts—"

"Don’t you think you're overreacting?" Remus asked quietly, looking up from his book.

"No! Overreacting? How can I possibly be overreacting? If there was ever a time for acting—" I continued shouting, until…

"Oi, cool it down, mate. She's just a girl," James said as he strode into the common room. He patted my shoulder and sat down next to Remus, examining the book cover before deeming it unworthy of his time. He looked at me intently.

I couldn't even believe he could say that to my face. "I think it's enough that I have to spend almost every summer with her, but now, every day? And what was with the potatoes?"

James had to stifle his laugh in a not-so subtle cough and I glared at him. Remus closed his book and put it on the table, a sign that he realized he wasn't finishing it anytime soon.

"Sirius, she's probably not even in all your classes," Remus said coolly.

I threw myself on the couch opposite them, very dramatically, actually, and exclaimed, "With my luck, she probably is!"

Will this nightmare ever end?

James yawned loudly. "You're alright, Pad. Anyways, I'm off to bed. 'Night." I waved my hand to let him know I heard him, and he disappeared up the stairs.

"I wonder where she is," Remus mused, picking up his book.

"I'm going for a walk, and yes, at this hour," I finished, knowing exactly what was coming after.

He sighed, defeated. "Don't get caught. It's only the first day."

I nodded and headed out of the common room, hoping to find some clarity in the empty, quiet halls.

You know, someone is seriously out to get me, because I can't even have my quiet halls in my time of need. Someone decides that they're going to hang around my halls and talk in hushed voices, while I need the peace and quiet.

I keep walking, hearing the voices get louder with every step I take. But the louder they get, the more I realize that maybe I shouldn't be here at all.

"Gryffindor, eh? How very ambitious of you."

Quiet. Until—

"Look, I don't get to pick where I go. It's the stupid hat."

Harper?

I peer around the corner to see Harper and Lucius Malfoy, standing in the middle of the hallway, around midnight, alone. Lucius Malfoy.

Malfoy laughed deeply. "Of course it is," he said, as though he was unconvinced. "Now, darling, don't forget…" He reached a hand to her cheek.

"I won't forget," she replied harshly, turning away.

"Aggressive, are we?" He grinned, but it faded as quickly as it came. He grabbed her face. "Listen, you brat. We won't be tolerating any more sarcasm from you, so do what you're told—"

I don't know what happened. I saw Malfoy grab her, and I —I don't know— I snapped. He grabbed her and I started walking towards them. Oh, Merlin, I'm going mad.

I walked towards them and I grabbed Malfoy's wrist.

"Lucius, old chap. Charming to see you, as always. But I see you've left your manners somewhere else? Laying hands on a… lady." Oh, the hesitation.

Malfoy narrowed his eyes, freeing his wrist from my hand. He said nothing, he turned sharply and turned down the next corner. When I turned towards Harper, she had already started going off towards the common room.

"Hey, wait!" I called after her. She didn't stop; if anything, she started walking faster. I ran to catch up with her, my footsteps echoing, and I was afraid some pompous prefect would come down the hallway at this very second.

I caught up with her, but she didn't look at me, or say anything to me, and too many questions were filling my head, and before I could even stop it, they started coming out.

"What was that about? What are you up to? And—"

"Why is that any of your business?" she snapped.

Of all the ungrateful—

I was about to lash back at her. I swear I was. But I could see… Her face was still red from where Malfoy had grabbed her, and I couldn't say anything after that. What the hell was going on? What the bloody hell was going on?

"Your face?" I asked this incoherent, kind of question.

"Shut up!" she replied, and I had had enough.

"You know, I just saved your arse, the least you can be is a little grateful. From the looks of it, you owe me."

She laughed, and it was the most annoying sound I had ever heard, like this ringing, ridiculous, incredulous laugh. She looked at me with this face and said, "Fat chance."

My anger was stewing inside of me, festering like an open wound as we continued to walk next to each other, but completely separate. What was I thinking when I decided to help her?

We had reached the portrait of the Fat Lady; of course, she was asleep, because things just don't go right in my life, do they? Can't even get some appreciation

"Oh, just perfect," I heard her say, and somehow I didn't, couldn't doubt she was talking about being locked out with me.

"Yeah, well, this isn't exactly the night I had in mind either," I said, leaning on the wall next to the portrait.

She rolled her eyes. "Forgive me for not caring."

I sighed, frustrated. "It would kill you to be civil, wouldn't it? You'd melt into a puddle of goo, wouldn't you?"

"Shut up," she said.

And I did. And it was the loudest silence I've ever been in.

The Fat Lady's snores were drowned out by the silence, and it made absolutely no sense to me. And I was confused and angry and I wanted to somehow yell without waking up the entire castle.

I was not overreacting. This girl who continued to ruin many of my summers had come and decided to ruin all of my days, and I couldn't take it. She had come and decided to work her evil dark magic on my best friends, and make me sit in mashed potatoes that would have been better had they been in my mouth. She was going to ruin my life, and I was not overreacting.

"You are the most annoying person I have ever, ever met," I told her. "I will not let you ruin anything anymore. This is my life, and you will not control it. This is war, do you hear me? I am going to rock your world, Harper."

She smirked. "Oh, yeah?"

Yeah, yeah. "Yeah. That's a promise."

"Fine. Will you shut up now?"

She is going down. "No, I won't."

"What?" she asked disbelieving.

I was about to answer, but the portrait creaked open a little and Remus poked his head out of the hole in the wall. "Claire? Sirius? I thought I heard voices… What are you two doing?"

"Being tormented," Harper said. She was being ridiculous, of course.

"Just get in here before a more responsible prefect catches both of you," he said in a tone that told me I was going to have to talk to him later.

"Gladly," I replied, and crawled in after Her Majesty, thinking about the promise I had just made.
[ Please leave a review to let me know how I'm doing [; Thanks for all the support! You guys are absolutely amazing!


Chapter 7: Invincibility
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[ A//N: I just want to say thank you to everyone reading this story (and reviewing!) for all the support! Writing this one is a true pleasure and I'm so happy that you enjoy it. With that said, I hope you continue to enjoy this story . (:








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I couldn't sleep that night. One would think if you were acutely, despairingly tired, you might be able to rest a little, but no

Claire Harper doesn't get her bloody sleep.

So I instead resorted to sitting on the windowsill watching nothing in particular, but everything that came into sight. The grounds were alive at night with sounds from owls, insects, and other creatures. I could even see some of those insects flitting around.

And it was then I wished I had something productive to do, besides sitting here, keeping my mind off other things that won't allow me to sleep.

It was quite an eventful night, one I'd like to erase completely from memory, if you please.

War… how ridiculous. He thinks he can—ridiculous. That newfound confidence, it was almost sickening, really. He has another thing coming if he thinks he can beat me.

I am unbeatable. I am unshakable.

I am making myself feel a lot better, but I will never admit to anyone that I feel a little… I'm not used to anything like this. I'm used to winning, and that's what I'm good at. I don't lose.

But I can also take a challenge. Especially one given by Sirius Black.

I am unbeatable…


I was suddenly aware that my face still stung, quite a bit, and I rubbed it. Lucius Malfoy had to be the foulest person I have ever had the misfortune to meet.

But, as always, I keep doing what I'm told instead of fighting back. Why do I do that? I don’t agree with any of this. I hate all of this.

I hate being here in this ruddy school, I hate Malfoy and I hate Regulus… those arrogant, selfish pricks…

Things just don't go right in my life, do they?

Sitting here on this bloody windowsill and not sleeping. And then one of the girls turned over, muttering something incoherent in her sleep. I glared at her enviously.

My eyes were heavy. I trudged my way past open trunks and shirts in every shade of color to my bed and threw myself on it. I wished that it felt more comfortable to me; I even went down a mental list of all the techniques that are supposed to get you to fall asleep.

Where would I get a glass of warm milk?

I wouldn't even know who to ask it from.


I didn't know how long I lied in bed, thinking about a large glass of warm milk—maybe with some sugar in it—or even if I ever fell asleep at all, but the sun rose anyways. Time went on anyways, whether I was properly rested for it or not.

The other girls I shared dorm with rose themselves from their beds, smiled at me with their bleary eyes and tousled hair, and filed into the bathrooms.

I pried myself from my own bed and quickly decided that today was not going to be my day.

Almost twenty minutes later, I was heading down the staircase, most definitely after everyone else had left to breakfast, after trying my best to look a little less dead. You know how you look when you haven't any rest.

Unfortunately, there was another person as late as me.

"Don't you look charming," James Potter's voice floated across the common room to me; the sarcasm was somehow refreshing to me. He was sarcastic, but friendly.

"I couldn't sleep last night," I told him as we walked towards the portrait hole.

He nodded. "That… is obvious."

I rolled my eyes, too entirely exhausted to mumble another response, let alone come back with anything snippy or clever enough. I had managed, however, to crawl out of the hole and start the commute to the Great Hall.

"Now, now. We can't have you in such a state on the first day of classes!" he said cheerfully, realizing that I wasn't going to respond to his previous statement. "What kept you up, anyways?"

Crap. What kept me up? What kept me up?

"Just anxious… I suppose," I said with a small smile.

"That would make sense. Just don't let the small things get to you." He winked, and we were silent, for a while, actually.

Oh, I always let the small things get to me, don't I? I must be queen…

The Great Hall seemed to be pretty bloody farther than I remembered. All I wanted to do was ram my head into a table, maybe get a little warm milk if I could. Was that too much to ask? I mean, really.

It seemed like ages before James said, "The Great Hall, madam," bowing before the doors.

Finally. I nodded my thanks to him and followed him into the hall, which was bustling with movement and chatter. It seemed like every single person was talking, eating, and reading mail all at the same time. It was total mayhem; it felt happy, though, and warm.

Nothing at all like I'd felt anywhere else before. I was so used to snobbish rich people who barely talked, laughed—The Great Hall was such a surprise.

I could see Peter standing up and waving to us from the Gryffindor table and I waved shyly back. I was increasingly aware of the fact that I didn't belong here at all.

"Morning, James, Claire!" Peter exclaimed when we sat down next to him, Remus, and Black.

"Morning," James and I said together.

And you know what? I was hardly tired anymore, and in fact, I was happier. I had to thank Peter later…

The boys quickly got into a discussion about their next "prank," as they called it, and I received it with a welcome, taking the time to eat breakfast instead.

If only it wasn't interrupted.

"Who are you?"

I looked up from my eggs to see a redhead—with her hands on hips, mind you—looking at me questioningly.

I rolled my eyes at her blunt, and rude, question. "Excuse me?"

"I said… who are you?" she said slower, as if I couldn't understand proper English or something.

"Sorry, but why is that any of your business?" I was too entirely close to ending with, "cow."

She huffed. I swear I could have punched her face for it, her and her huffing could…

"Well, because, technically, you're in my seat."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. What are we, grade school students? 'You're in my seat,' because her name's written on it, right?

I was fully awake by this time, fully aware of removing myself from this cow's "seat" and walking out of the Great Hall without a look back.

I did regret not taking my eggs with me, but decided instead upon eating a rather large lunch. And then I realized that I had no idea where I was going, or where I was supposed to be going, and the answers to both of these questions were probably in the Great Hall, where Professor McGonagall had told me to pick up my schedule.

At the moment, I was not feeling an overwhelming desire to go back at all.

But walking around when I didn't know where I was going was not helping anyone, so I stopped. And I chose to observe the paintings on the walls of the hallway. At least it gave me something to do.

Pretty girls in flowing, pastel dresses… old heroes long gone…

"Magical, aren't they?"

I didn't flinch. I didn't jump. But I felt myself close down completely, I became cold as stone… yet I couldn't show it and I couldn’t tell him to shove the—

"Yes," I said quietly as he stood next to me.

Regulus turned towards me. "Lucius told me what happened last night."

It was then I noticed his arrogance was gone, and he was alone. And I was disgusted with him, for being such a fake prat, for always masking himself behind his burly bodyguards, for always being so irritable.

I am unshakable.

"What of it?" I replied, all the while staring unfocusedly at the wall of paintings.

He sighed. I saw his hand move towards his head, probably scratching it uncomfortably. "Look, I know this isn't exactly what you were expecting…"

What does he know about what I was expecting? What does he know about anything?

I wanted to scream at him, maybe pull out my wand and threaten his life, but my mother's voice floated into my mind, everything she ever told me when I was growing up, everything I should do, should say.

"And I know that you don't want to do this 'coming of age' thing…"

Always smile, but never condescendingly. Always tell them what they want to hear, but never what is on your mind. Always praise, but never criticize.

I am unbeatable.

"You're right," I said firmly, turning to look at him. He stopped talking, though I hadn't realized he still was. He looked confused. "I don't want to do it. I don't want to be here. But I haven't been given a choice, I've been given an order."

Regulus shook his head, frowning. "Other people have chosen their own paths. You aren't stuck."

Always do what you're told, and never question anything. Always tell them what they want to hear, but never what is on your mind.

How dare he say those things to me, when he wouldn't even do the same? He was in the same place, stuck, just like me.

"Claire… you can be free."
[ 3/31/07 -


Chapter 8: Habit
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[A/N: Sorry for the long wait ! I hadn't realized at all how long it had been.. I apologize -_- Anyways, the next chapter will most definitely be out quicker, as I'm very excited to start writing it, :D I hope you enjoy this chapter, though ! ]








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My head hurt. It was this pounding headache that I wished, for at least twenty minutes, would subside. Twenty minutes of just lying here, and then I tried not thinking about my headache and maybe thinking about something else.

But that just made me think of Harper and the fact that I didn't understand a thing about what happened and that made my head hurt even more.

James snored. Loudly. I'd definitely make fun of him in the morning, if I could ever get to sleep. And I cursed, frustrated that something was going on and I didn't understand. I wasn't used to any of this. And I'd be lying if I said it didn't unnerve me to see her with Lucius Malfoy.

But should it? I wasn't entirely convinced that this was my problem to begin with. Really, why should I care? I can't even stand the girl.

Sighing, I decided that I would think no more on the matter. It wasn't any of my business what Harper did in her free time. If she wanted to prance around with the likes of Lucius Malfoy, then so be it.

But she didn't want to.

She didn't want to, she didn't want to, and I knew that. He had hit her… her face had been so cold as she stared ahead, her cheek bright red from Malfoy's slap. She was so eager to return to the common room, so relieved when she walked up the stairs to her dormitory without a word or glance back.

What the hell was going on?

I heard sheets rustle and I looked up to see the sun shining through the breaks in the curtains and Remus sitting up in his bed. He looked at me questioningly.

"Morning, Sirius," he said, his voice tired, but pleasant. He scratched his head. "You're awake earlier... than usual."

I nodded. "Couldn't sleep," I replied gruffly. I rubbed my eyes with the palms of my hands, as if rubbing them might lull them to sleep or something.

When it didn't work, I chose instead to watch as Remus got out of bed and began making it. He was always keeping himself busy, doing something productive. I guess that's what I liked about him. He was different from the rest of us, but at the same time… exactly the same.

"A lot on your mind? Do you want to talk about it?"

I thought for a while, and he patiently waited for my answer. But the truth was…

"I'm not sure I even know what's going on with me," I said. "I can't even really explain it."

He nodded knowingly, sitting at the foot of my bed. "Just give it some time. Maybe something else needs to happen before you can understand."

And I suppose I was also fond of his practical and reasonable answers to all of life's overbearing questions. There was a little method to what I often thought was his madness.

This moment was no exception; I wanted to lash out, yell that I didn't have the time to be waiting for something more. But I had been yelling quite a bit lately; he had probably heard enough of it.

"I'm sorry I've been so mental lately," I told him, suddenly feeling very guilty for my actions. I had been acting childish… well, more childish than usual, of course.

He smiled pleasantly. "Understandable. It's quite obvious you two aren't the best of friends," he laughed.

"Too true," I agreed. "Sometimes I just wish she didn't get to me so much…"

He said nothing, only laid a reassuring hand on my shoulder for a second before heading out the door and down to the Great Hall. James' snores still filled the dormitory and it was beginning to bother me; I dressed and went down for breakfast with Peter, who had awoken too.

Peter and I made our way down the relatively empty hallways, and I thought that waking up early must have had one advantage and this was it. I smiled at the thought of getting the freshest toast and eggs, straight from the kitchen.

I told Peter of my fantasies, and he agreed wholeheartedly.

"I guess I have you and Remus to thank," he began. "If you two hadn't been talking so much, I would still be in bed." He stuck out his tongue and laughed.

Maybe I would change my late morning routine…

When we reached the Gryffindor table, Remus was already sticking a fork through his potatoes and skimming over the morning's paper. He looked up and smiled as Peter and I sat across from him.

"First day of classes!" Peter exclaimed, grabbing a goblet and stretching for the pumpkin juice. It was just out of his reach; Remus moved the pitcher over and Peter smiled his thanks. "I think I would rather give up Mondays altogether."

"Cheers," I replied, taking a swig from my own goblet. "Anything of interest in there?" I nodded towards the newspaper.

"To you or to me?" Remus said sarcastically and I rolled my eyes, chuckling. "Would you just like the sports page?"

"Please and thank you, sir," I said in a dignified voice, taking the page from him. I scanned the back and front of the page for yesterday's games, found that the Kenmare Kestrels had lost miserably to the Falmouth Falcons, and set the paper down on the table.

I would get over the devastation. Somehow.

"Oi, aren't we going to talk about this year's pranks?" Peter asked, his eyes hopeful. I didn't blame him; I wanted something to make up for the rather dismal start to this year, and some fresh pranks would definitely do the trick.

A brand new year with unsuspecting first years… my heart was swelling with all the possibilities!

Remus nodded and I replied, "Sure, mate, we just have to wait for the Princess to wake up from his snoring."

Peter suddenly stood up and started waving his hand to someone near the entrance to the Great Hall. I took a quick guess as to who it was, and I was proved correct as James and Harper sat down at the table.

"Morning James, Claire!" Peter exclaimed happily.

They replied in unison, and James quickly got started on his breakfast. Before he could take a rather large bite from his pancakes, though, Remus cleared his throat loudly, causing James to look up from his syrup-soaked cake.

"Yes, can I help you?" James inquired, only mildly irritated at the interruption.

"Yes, you can," I said in a sweet voice. "You see, James, today is the beginning of a new year."

"Yes, James, and while I will have to follow the rules sometimes, a new year brings new ideas," Remus nodded his agreement.

"Yes and James, we find the possibilities nearly endless," Peter finished, his voice mimicking mine, just as sickeningly sweet.

James placed his fork on his plate and cracked a wide grin. His eyes wandered around for a fleeting moment and he raked his fingers through his hair—an early sign that he had spotted Lily Evans somewhere near.

"Boys, you're right. A new year…"

And just like that, his voice trailed away, and everything else trailed away as well. There was a dull ringing in my ears, though I wasn't able to shake it out.

I was right about Lily Evans. She had suddenly walked over, was now arguing with Harper, and just as suddenly Harper left; she walked right out of the Great Hall and Lily sat in her seat.

"Evans!" James exclaimed loudly, or what I thought to be loud. I shook my head, but the ringing had subsided, and I began to push the now cold eggs around my plate. James started talking animatedly to Lily, who was keeping up the conversation, much to my surprise; Remus, Peter, and I shared a look.

We knew we'd probably be hearing about the whole thing all bloody day. And I had yet to poke fun at his snoring. And I was currently trying to keep my mind off Harper—she had absolutely nothing to do with me.

If anything, I had to prepare myself for the greatest battle of all, the final blow that will take Claire Harper down once and for all.

I smiled to myself at my devilish cunning, sticking my fork in a fluffy stack of fresh pancakes and casting off worry for the time being.


Chapter 9: Change
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[A/N: Forgive me for the absense. I suppose I had another lapse of writing Harry Potter fanfiction. But this is the next chapter, after all! (: I do hope you enjoy it; I am very proud of this particular one.

A quick note, though, with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.. as always, a new book brings forth brand new information that is, frankly, so very helpful. :D Although there are no spoilers in this chapter, I have decided that I am certain it will have spoilers in the future. I will, however, be sure to notify when there are.

Thank you, and enjoy! [:






You and A Promise
Chapter Nine: Change
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I felt as though could have kissed him with the look he gave me. Such promises… they ignited a feeling inside of me, but… I couldn't ignore that with it came anger at him, at his daring. How could he possibly tell me something like that, with a straight face, not expecting me to laugh at the sheer boldness…

I couldn't possibly believe anything was as simple and plain as he had put it to me. Seasoned experience had taught me otherwise.

"Free? You must be joking," I told him, being sure to sound as skeptical as I felt. He looked at me, though, and I instantly regretted casting his words as a joke.

He wasn't joking, and I knew that, I was positive of it. I knew he didn't appreciate what I had said.

Silence fell as an uncomfortable hold, and I shifted, wishing to break it. "If anything's a joke," I began, reaching to scratch my elbow, though there was no itch. I suppose it was a rather nervous habit of mine. "…It's this whole thing."

I chanced a look at him, only to find him staring at me questioningly, but there was something else in his expression… something I couldn't figure out.

"W-what?" he asked, his stutter almost barely noticeable.

My eyes widened in horror. "No! Not this, Regulus. Not this at all! I mean me! Me being here." He seemed to breath again and I stared at him, confused. "To tell the truth, I expected to receive a shower of Howlers by now… Gryffindor… joke…"

Regulus looked from me to the floor. "Although I don't understand why you're worried about that… I don't know, I guess your father is busy—" He stopped abruptly, catching sight of the dark look I had given him.

I probably knew exactly what my father was doing and why it was keeping him so busy, but I knew even more that I didn't want to speak of it or hear of it from anyone. Ashamed as I was, I had, on the Hogwarts Express, silently chosen to keep my father's fame completely covered up at my time at Hogwarts.

"It's a coming of age thing, Claire. You and I… we've already been sold to the Dark Lord. We're only here to do as he says… infiltrate the school, gather followers, make examples of enemies… You're here because he's here."

"Then why on earth are you talking to me about freedom?"

He looked at me sadly. "I don't want to give up on hope. Sometimes… I guess I'm—I'm afraid it's all I'll have left."

"Hope, freedom? Sounds like a whole bunch of rubbish you've started believing in for the sake of it."

These things I didn't believe in… what had hope ever done for me, really?

I was attacking him, and all he was trying to do was help. But I couldn't trust his intentions and I couldn't even begin to grasp the ideas he was trying to incite in me; how could I when all he kept around him were bleeding pureblood maniacs? But as he stood before me, his eyes sad, his heart open to me… I could feel something inside of me was changing. I wasn't entirely sure I would accept it.

His gray eyes were shining with something I could hardly understand.

"I'm believing in something, whether you think it's good enough for you or not," he replied harshly. Surely he wasn't suggesting I thought hope was below me… "I want to be able to breathe. I'm sure you can understand that. And if you're not going to fight for it, then so be it. But I am not going to stand here and pretend—"

I had embraced him, hardly knowing what I was doing, causing his words, his fiery speech, to cut short. He placed a single awkward hand on my back.

As the rush of affection I suddenly felt towards him passed, I pulled away from him, almost squirming under his emotionless stare. My cheeks, I knew, were tinted pink with my embarrassment at the display. "I'm stubborn," I said apologetically.

"I'm trying to help," he said, breathless.

"I don’t understand why," I stated quite honestly.

He opened his mouth to respond, but he was suddenly interrupted by a scuffle of shoe on carpet from down the hallway. I was surprised by how quickly he jumped behind a pillar; he looked at me calmly.

I turned my eyes back to the paintings on the wall in front of me, though my mind was racing around somewhere else. I didn't dare look around to the person who had interrupted my conversation with Regulus, but then I suppose I didn't have to…

"Well, well, Claire… you scampered off quickly, no breakfast and without a clue as to what your first class is… not the wisest choice on the first day of classes."

I smiled brightly at Remus Lupin's words, glad at least that it was he who met me and not someone else. My eyes flitted back to the pillar, and I was surprised to find Regulus was gone already, our conversation over; Remus handed my schedule to me and I thanked him gratefully.

"And some toast and jam, just in case," he added, pulling a wrapped bundle from his robes pocket.

"My word, you do think of everything, don't you?" I told him playfully, taking the bundle and unwrapping the napkin. I do admit there was a little contempt in my voice. I breathed easier knowing he had not caught my mistake.

He smiled modestly and I was very sorry for my feelings; I pushed them away from my mind, deciding against questioning Remus' character ever again.

It was entirely too hard for me to place much trust in anyone since I arrived here…

I stuffed my schedule in my own pocket and took a large bite of the toast, just now realizing my hunger. Perhaps I should have just socked the redheaded girl and eaten a plate of eggs and bacon in peace…

We walked in silence as he showed me the way to the Transfiguration classroom, advising me very seriously that it would be a tragic mistake to be late to McGonagall's class. I silently agreed with him, noticing almost at once she was one I shouldn't cross. I told Remus of my observation.

He laughed, though impressed. "I only wish I had been more fortunate. She's a bit terrifying when angry… should come with a warning label…" I laughed appreciatively at his joke and he smiled, looking very pleased with himself.

"Well, it's right here, at any rate. I can show you the other classrooms as the day progresses, if you like," he offered as I pored over my schedule.

I nodded, realizing that I had not once stopped smiling since Remus had joined me. How extraordinary…

"I might find that very helpful, yes," I replied, staring up at the large and wooden classroom door. The hallway was empty, of course, as students were still gathered in the Great Hall finishing their breakfasts.

We were silent again, and I was very happy to find it was hardly uncomfortable at all, though Remus didn't seem to think so…

As we made our way back down the stairs, he asked me, "How do you like Hogwarts so far?"

I had to fight another sarcastic comment at this; beyond the fact that I had no desire to continue school here, I was never very partial towards, what I considered, idle chitchat.

I decided to bite my tongue for a few moments before choosing my words. "I suppose I'll have to stick around for a while before making any assumptions," I offered for a response.

He seemed to accept my answer, and he smiled—or he hadn't stopped, whichever. "Bit picky, are we? Not as grand as France?" His tone was not condescending at all, and I took some comfort in it. Perhaps it would do to be comfortable enough with Remus after all, if he could make a joke.

I chanced sticking my tongue out at him, and he roared with laughter, his boyish face overcome with glee. Although I was confused, never having felt close to a person before, I decided that I did appreciate his company after all.

After his laughter—though at my expense, it didn't bother me—had died down, he suddenly realized he was running late for something. Glancing quickly at his watch, he muttered something about the Great Hall and offered me to join him in the "festivities."

I must have agreed, because he began pulling me back in the direction of the Hall, his eyes slightly worried, but excited nonetheless.

He ran ahead of me, tearing down the empty hallway, and I followed after him, wondering wildly what had sent him into such a hurry. We reached the Great Hall a few minutes later; Remus skidded to a stop, throwing his hands in front of him and stopping himself from colliding headfirst with the large doors.

With a last look at his watch, he wrenched the doors open, his panting suddenly stuck in his throat.


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