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Zalia Blackwood- Variety Is The Spice Of Life by JMarie_MischiefManaged

Format: Novel
Chapters: 24
Word Count: 156,090
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: McGonagall, Lupin, Snape, A. Longbottom, James, Lily, Sirius, Lucius, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, OC/OC, Remus/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 06/20/2013
Last Chapter: 04/04/2016
Last Updated: 04/04/2016

Summary:
You know your life's messed up when you're sorting out your feelings about certain Marauders and playing a lethal game of hide and seek with death eaters at the same time.

I'll just keep fending off blonde nymphomaniacs, furry little problems, unexpected deaths, and an excess of Sirius Black's hair product with my weapon of choice; sarcasm.

Find the Humour in the Horror, right?

 




 

 


 
 
 


Chapter 1: Chapter I: Cats
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Just came back to see the first chapter. Ugh. The beginning isn't that great. And the writing is definitely not exactly how'd I'd want it to be. Buuuuut I promise that once you get past the first couple annoying bits this story really picks up! There are some secrets and surprises in store for you, my readers. I hope you end up loving Zalia as much as I do!

Disclaimer to Brothers Grimm for Snow white references-


Nothing but a few characters and the plot are mine, the rest is JKR!

Song of the day:

Summertime Sadness- Lana Del Rey <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 













 

Prologue:

 

 

 

 There are too many cats in the world, I swear.

Then again if there was even just one in existence I would consider that too many. I just didn’t like them, sadistic, cunning, felines. Whatever, it’s not like my family owned one or anything. My mom was allergic so we couldn’t possibly. I just hated putting up with other people’s cats. Ugh. This one was especially getting on my nerves. It’s like it could sense my hatred towards it and just to spite me, tried to get as close as it could. I scowled as the orange and white ball of malicious fluff tried to climb onto my lap, evil creature.

I turned my attention to the man sitting in front of me. Mr. Malfoy was… cold. Cold as ice. From the tip of his sharply pointed nose, to his sleek, black shoes. I scanned him over with my ever-perceptive eyes, taking in his full appearance. He was tall; I could see that even though he was sitting down. He had short cropped white blond hair that looked as though it could be receding, but he sat higher than I did so I couldn’t quite tell. A slender, pale hand protruded from his well-kept black wizards robes and tapped the armrest of the polished mahogany chair in which he sat. As I turned my attention to his face I had an itching urge to scowl. Mr. Malfoy’s face looked as though it was formed into a permanent sneer. Seriously. I would have believed it if he told me that’s how he looked in the hospital when he was born. His face had no wrinkles (which added to my suspicion of the permanent facial expression). His eyes were surprisingly bright, for someone who so obviously lacked color in every other respect. They peeked through his sour face like gems, shining bright green. They weren’t just evil (yes there was some of that in there, but that wasn’t all) there was also intelligence and even a bit of bravery or defiance if I was correct in my appraisal (which I usually was.)

Mr. Malfoy’s lips pursed and he cocked his head as he looked me up and down, same as I had him. Our eyes locked and I smiled my signature crooked smile.

He raised an eyebrow, “Welcome to Malfoy Manor Miss Blackwood.”

 

 

 

Chapter I:

            Don’t look, it’ll only make it worse…

            What do you mean worse!?

            Just don’t look!

            But what if…

            Don’t! Oh now you’ve done it.

            It really isn’t that horrible.

            Yes. Yes it is.

            Oh, Shut up.

           

            I was having an argument with myself like any normal person does. Like I said; there are too many cats in the world. I would gladly help the world out by personally getting rid of at least one, namely the Malfoy’s cat, if only I wasn’t worried it might tick them off a bit.

            I sat in my room lying on my floor with a first aid kit and its contents spread out around me and a mirror, propped up against a pile of books, in front of me. I was nursing a nasty scratch on my face that was given to me by the Malfoy family’s oh so generous cat. Really it did not have to do that. I was only trying to push the thing off of my lap when it decided my face was the perfect place to swipe at. Lovely. Just what I needed. Tomorrow was my first day back at school. Tomorrow. Great way to introduce myself you know, ‘hello, no my name is not Scarface, I just so happened to be mauled by a ferocious beast yesterday.’

            I tentatively touched the long scratch with an anti-bacterial wipe from the first aid kit and winced at the contact. The scratch stretched from just above my right eyebrow to the hollow of my right cheek. True it could have been worse, I could have gotten my eyes scratched out, but to be honest I didn’t really feel like focusing on the bright side of this situation. I groaned as I dabbed at the cut. I slowly set down the wipe and bit my lip, my eyebrows creating a thoughtful expression on my face as I did so. This was my ‘I know I shouldn’t do this… but I’m going to anyways’ look. Usually there was some stupid thing that I did that followed it. Like now for instance, as I crept down the hallway outside my bedroom towards my parents’. It was late, around 2 a.m. I think. I had had dinner at the Malfoy’s and gotten home around 10:00 after walking back. I knew I had school tomorrow, but really? How was I supposed to be expected to sleep!? I was petrified about the next day.

            See, the thing was, I had never exactly been to Hogwarts before.

            I was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Blackwood, an extremely wealthy family, and I had never set foot inside a real school. I had been home schooled by countless tutors growing up, traveling the world. Needless to say, I didn’t see all that much of my rich parents, except for their money of course. That was always there. Not that I cared. It wasn’t like I needed them, or anyone for that matter. I was a solo act, and that’s how I liked it.

            This year my parents (for some ridiculous reason) had decided I was to attend actual school. I was originally supposed to go to beaxbattons academy, but when I heard it was an all-girls school I said no way. We compromised on Hogwarts. It seemed all right, from what I’d heard, but I had a disadvantage… a few of them actually. I had never been to school yes, but I also hadn’t really interacted with people my age. Of course I’d had boy flings, been on dates, that sort of thing, but I didn’t have friends. Also, it was my final year, so pretty much everyone that I would be around would be set into their groups and that would suck. I was likeable (most of the time) but I didn’t go out of my way for people, and I was pretty sure this year was going to be boring without having anyone around. I was terrified of being a loner.

            I shook my head as I approached my parents’ door. I was sort of an expert at this particular endeavor, but I still had to be careful. My parents refused to let me practice magic this summer, saying I had to get used to not using spells for everything like I could when homeschooled, because Hogwarts had rules. Please. Like I couldn’t handle that. My mom kept my wand in her dresser drawer. She had no clue I knew it was there. Come on. She had hid everything in there when I was younger. All I had to do was get it out, use it and put it back carefully. Piece of cake! I had been sneaking the wand out all summer. It was understatement to say I had no respect for rules, or authority. Not that I was a total brat, yeah my parents had money, but I was mostly respectful to their face, if only so that they wouldn’t get pissed at me. I tried to keep up appearances and stay on everyone’s good side in the authority department. Enemies weren’t very helpful when they outranked you.

            I grabbed the wand and tiptoed back into my room smiling a little. My parents wouldn’t have noticed my scratch (since a ran to my room when I got home, and didn’t even speak to them since this morning) so they wouldn’t have any idea if I fixed my face for tomorrow. I sighed and positioned myself comfortably, sitting cross-legged in front of my full body mirror next to my flat screen T.V.(yeah my room didn’t lack much given I was the only child of the blackwood family). I lifted the wand and chanted as I waved it over the scratch, smiling as it faded away, leaving creamy skin that matched the rest of my face. I ran back to my parents room, slipped the wand in the drawer, then ran back to mine and climbed into bed quickly. I had to get some sleep before tomorrow. Me as a zombie equals- bitch mode; not a great first impression.  

 

 

 

_-_-_-_-_-_-_

 

            “Wake up young woman!” I heard my mom calling the next day

“MUM………” I groaned the next morning as I lifted the covers, thought better of it and put them down again. I was way too tired to get up now.

            “Zalia………” My mum warned.

            “I’m too damn tired! I’m not going!” I announced as I closed my eyes.

            “ZALIA GRACE BLACKWOOD. GET UP THIS INSTANT.”

            I grumbled to myself as I rubbed my eyes and swung myself out of the lovely queen sized bed that I knew I was going to miss at this school I was going to.

            I heard my mother marching up our three flights of marble stairs since she hadn’t heard me answer and I sighed.

            “I’m UP Mum, all right?”

            I heard the footsteps receding and yawned as I opened the door to my rather large closet.

            Now, I fancied myself as a not-too-shallow human being, not too superficial, but hey my parents had money so I was going to shop. And I did. My favorite place for shopping was Milan hands down.

            I glanced down the rows of shirts deciding what to wear when I remembered I had picked out my outfit a few days ago. Good thing I didn't have to waste time on that this morning.

            I grinned my lopsided grin as I looked at myself in the mirror after putting on the outfit, and doing my hair and makeup.

            I looked good.

            Like, really, really good.

            Damn I was full of myself. Eh.

            I did look pretty great though. I was wearing tight black jeans with a silky, deep blue and purple blouse that had a heart-shaped neckline. Not too revealing. That was one thing I hated about girls. Most just forgot how to be classy I guess. I was not a whore. I had my black Channel boots on and a few golden bangles on my wrist. I sighed as I stared at my hair. I had always wanted to be a blonde, it would go great with my fair complexion. But to no avail. I had dark, big black curls that cascaded down my back. I took good care of my hair so it didn’t get frizzy like most naturally curly hair does but stayed in shiny swirls of ebony around my face. My lips were naturally rosy and plump, I only ever used gloss on them, no lipstick for me. My cheeks however always needed blush. I had super light skin, and super dark hair, and abnormally red lips. My Dad used to call me Snow White after the muggle fairytale princess and it stuck with all the maids and everyone so I sort of went by Snow at home. For makeup, I only used mascara for my eyes since they attracted attention anyways. They were big bright and blue. Electric. With a slight grey tinged towards the center.

            I grabbed my pair of ray bans in one hand and leather jacket in the other as I marched downstairs. All of the clothes that I would be bringing were already packed and in our car along with anything else I would need, beauty products, school books, book bags,  broom, oh and of course Athena. Athena was my dark grey owl with black circles around her eyes. I absolutely adored her. We had been companions for about six years and she was extremely loyal. We traveled the world together. My family sort of caught on to Greek names after I named Athena (after the Greek goddess of wisdom). My mother named her new owl Artemis (Greek goddess of the hunt) and our two dogs’ were called Apollo and Ares (Greek gods of the sun and war).

            Athena hooted at me as I got into the car after walking around the huge fountain in the middle of our circular driveway. I waited patiently as my parents walked out the front door and towards the car. Of course, it was only to say goodbye. They were far too busy to come with me to platform 9 ¾. I tapped Athena’s cage with my manicured nails and sighed, bored. The driver merely shrugged when I asked him how long it would take to get to the train station.

            “Love you Snow,” My father said as I lowered the window of my car door and stared at him with an indifferent expression.

            “You’ll like it there I know you will.” My mother said, approaching.

            “Of course,” I forced a smile. This was mum’s old school I would be going to anyways.

            “Well we have to go, but send us an owl as soon as you get there sweetie!” My mum called as she walked away with my father.

            I waved at them, “Definitely!”

            I had no intention of writing to them whatsoever.

            Not that they'd notice, of course.

            The drive to Kings Cross station was fairly short. My stomach started doing a weird flopping thing halfway there and I grimaced. Nerves. I was nervous and we weren’t even there yet.

            The driver parked our car outside the station and followed me inside, carrying my suitcases with him. I had a lot of stuff, so I tried to find him a trolley as soon as possible.

            “Here you are…… Jimmy.” I said helping him with the bags.

            Jimmy beamed at me, touched I knew his name. I didn’t mention the fact that I read it off of the nametag on his uniform.

            We set off through the crowd until I reached platform nine..........then went past it to number ten.

            “Oh bloody hell….” I murmured as I scowled at the platforms.

            Jimmy looked at me nervously and I sighed, extremely confused.

            I was about to suggest sending an owl to mum and dad to ask why the hell I was told to go to platform 9 ¾, when I saw some boys about my age rushing towards us with owls on their trolleys. Owls. I watched them come closer but waited until I could hear their conversation and make out the word “wand” before I spoke, sure that they were headed to Hogwarts.

            “Excuse me.”

            I was surprised how steady my voice was considering I was melting inside. I was so nervous about this whole new school thing, I may have vomited up my breakfast if I had had any. Oops. Forget the most important meal of the day.

            There were two boys there. One had dark blonde hair that was a bit too long, and raggedy old clothes on. The other was taller, and more muscular, with black hair and dark, dark eyes.

            “Yes?” the taller boy replied as the other eyed me curiously.

            “Are you, you know, headed to platform 9 ¾?” I was worried. I didn’t want to sound stupid asking for a platform and three quarters of one.

            “Sure, why?” The boy shrugged.

            I sighed, relieved, “Well I’m new to Hogwarts so I don’t really know……”

            I trailed off, but the boys got my hint. They led me to a wall and I watched as they explained about the magical platform and the blond haired boy ran through it, or rather, into it.

            The dark haired boy gestured for me to go and I looked back at Jimmy warily before taking the trolley from him and saying goodbye. I looked ahead at the wall, which looked quite solid at the moment and grit my teeth. I closed my eyes and ran until I heard a train.

            I looked around. Wow. This was impressive.

            “I’m Amos by the way. Amos Diggory.”

            I turned my sight away from the gleaming Hogwarts express to face the dark haired boy who held out his hand to me. He was rather nice looking, this Amos Diggory. And nice too.

            “I’m Zalia, Zalia Blackwood.” I replied, casting him my most winning lopsided grin.

            Amos smiled back, “Nice to meet you, see you around!”

            He left quickly and I felt slightly disappointed. I didn’t know anyone else’s name, so I had been hoping to sort of stick with Amos. Well, that plan failed.

            I looked at the clock and frowned. Uh oh. We were leaving in five minutes. I had all this luggage still!

             After dropping Athena off with the other pets I looked around and found the luggage compartment quickly, trying to get everything on was a different story, most people were on the train and I was panicking. I had two more suitcases!

            “Crap….” I murmured as I shoved the whole cart into the luggage compartment. Screw it. Sue me, I don’t care, I’m leaving the whole damn cart in there.

            The whistle blew and I sprinted towards the student compartments as the train hissed. My eyes widened and I grabbed for a handle as the train started to move.

            “Need a hand?”

            “Yes!” I yelled at whoever had grabbed me.

            The rescuer hauled me inside the train as it took off and I sat leaned against the door, my breathing heavy.

            “Oh thank goodness you were---” I stopped short when I saw my rescuer's face.

            Oh Merlin

 


 

 

 

 

 















Right so I know It's not too eventful, but it's going to start off developing character's a bit before the plot thickens. I have nearly the next three chapters written and they'll be here soon! RR please!

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 2: Chapter II: What You See is What You Get
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Okay, here's the second one, remember i don't own anything in the HP world here except the plot and some characters. Thanks for reading! review please, I would most certainly appreciate it.



disclaimer to Florence and The Machine for the song "Landscape"


Song of the day:

      Landscape- Florence and The Machine

 

 

 

 
 

 

 









Chapter II:

 

Oh Merlin.

I was staring into a beautiful pair of perfect eyes. The boy in front of me was incredibly good looking. He had a chiseled jaw, a nice nose, great complexion, and messy, black hair. Then those eyes. Grey. Not bright, but not dull. More.... intriguing.

He was overall a hot piece of man.

I swallowed. I needed to recover. I was Zalia Blackwood after all. I did not care who this guy was, no one saw me lose my cool.

“Thanks.” I managed as I straightened up.

“No problem!” He beamed at me and I looked him up and down. Good body too. Really good body.

“What’s the holdup Padfoot?” I heard someone call from down the aisle.

A moment later another guy appeared at Sirius’ side. He was rather handsome as well. A nice face, glasses (looking quite well on him), messy black hair, cut shorter than my rescuer’s though, and this new boy was slightly taller, with a leaner build.

“Who is this?” The new boy looked me up and down and I stiffened a bit.

“I don’t know, I just saved her from being run down by the Hogwarts Express though.” The grey eyes twinkled.

I steadied myself. Sure these boys were hot but so was I. I stuck out my manicured hand and smiled slightly. “Zalia Blackwood.”

The boys looked at each other and each shook my hand.

“Year?” The rescuer asked.

“Excuse me?” I was taken aback. I just told them my name and they didn’t share theirs?

He looked puzzled, “Year. What year of school are you in?”

“I know what you meant, but I thought we were exchanging names first?” I raised an eyebrow at the boys.

“Uhhhh you know, Potter and Black…..” The taller boy answered looking a bit funny.

“Say what?” I asked. These two were a little weird.

“You know! The Marauders!” the taller boy continued.

I shook my head, confused. “No, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The boys exchanged a look before my rescuer answered. “You’re new aren’t you?”

I lifted my chin, “Yes, and?”

My rescuer smiled. “The name’s Sirius Black.”

I started. Black….. the name sounded familiar, but I didn’t dwell on it.

“Potter, James Potter,” said the other boy as he ran a hand through his hair.

“Sorry, just everyone here sort of knows us so we thought, you know…..” The one called Sirius Black shrugged at me.

I raised my eyebrows really high this time. These boys thought they were so popular that they didn’t even introduce themselves to anyone? Okay, maybe I was a bit harsh when I said I was full of myself. These guys take the cake.

“I see.” I answered a bit cold.

The guys looked at me and grinned, “So do you know anyone? Where are you coming from?” they questioned me.

“I was homeschooled, I traveled around, so I’m sort of coming from….. well nowhere I guess. But no, I don’t know anyone here.”

“Nice, you want to sit with us?” Potter asked me slowly.

I nodded back and followed them into their compartment a few steps away. Thank goodness I didn’t have to barge into a compartment without knowing anyone inside. This is was easier. Much easier. Plus these guys were supposedly popular. That was a plus. If I was seen hanging around with the good crowd on the first day things were bound to flow a bit nicer for me.

There were two other boys inside the compartment waiting for us. One was slightly pudgy, but cute in a little-boyish sort of way with light blonde hair. The other was rather handsome, with the sort of eyes that seemed a million years old, someone you could trust.

Hey, what can I say? I read people pretty well.

“Hey mates, this is Zalia, she’s new, she’s gonna hang with us for the ride.” Black told the two.

The wise-eyed one stood up and shook my hand with a shy smile, “I’m Remus Lupin, nice to meet you Zalia.”

I gave him a small smile, this was by far the most mature guy here, “Nice to meet you too Remus.” I answered.

The other boy didn’t get up but waved to me, “Hey, I’m Peter!”

I looked at him with a mixture of annoyance and pity, “Hey Peter, nice to meet you.”

The boys sat down, Potter by Remus Lupin and Black by Peter. I decided to sit by Potter; him and Remus were probably the safest bet.

“So why were you so late on the train?” Black asked me.

I sighed, “My luggage. It took me forever to get it on the train, finally I just shoved the whole trolley in there and left.” I answered plainly.

The boys looked at me startled, then they laughed, Black the loudest. “Nice one” He said.

I shrugged, “Seemed like the thing to do.”

Black and Potter seemed to be appraising me again, deciding what sort of person I was. I felt a bit uncomfortable so I looked at Remus who happened to be reading a muggle book I knew well.

“How are you liking Lizzy’s character so far?” I asked him.

He looked up and stared at me before answering, “I’m not too far into it yet, but she seems to be the smartest character by a long shot.”

“Oh, I agree, the other sisters, except maybe Jane, are complete idiots. The mother too. I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ last year, I remember it pretty well. I liked it a lot.”

Remus smiled at me, “So do you read a lot of Muggle books?”

I nodded, “I guess, it’s not that I mean too, there’s just a lot of muggle books and authors I happen to like.”

Remus stood up to come sit on the other side of me seeing as our conversation was a bit awkward with James Potter sitting in the middle, watching us with a strange sort of look.

“I like them too. The old ones especially, like this. I liked ‘Sense and Sensibility’ too.” Remus said, sitting down beside me.

I smiled a little, “Me too, I love Jane Austin a lot, but I think Charles Dickens will always be my favorite.”

Remus’ grinned wider, “He’s great, I didn’t like ‘Great Expectations’ but ‘Oliver Twist’ and ‘Cricket on the Hearth’ were pretty good.”

I chuckled, I liked Remus. He wasn’t stupid or silly like most guys. I could tell he was genuine. No false flirting or anything, we could just talk.

Black interrupted us by releasing a chocolate frog that was really wild. I yelped as it jumped onto my head and then onto James’. Black rolled around with laughter with Peter as Remus and I chuckled. Potter was trying to swat the thing off his head when he stiffened, his gaze on the corridor outside the compartment.

I followed his eyes and saw a group of girls in the compartment across from us. One girl was leaving it. She was tall, but not overly so, with pale skin and long fiery red hair. Potter stared at her while she left  and Black snapped his fingers in front of his mate’s face.

“Oi! Wake up!”

Potter jumped a little, “Yeah, yeah…..”

“Come on mate, we’ve been telling you to move on for years.”

“I know, I know I just….I can’t help it Sirius.”

I looked back and forth between the boys. Before venturing a guess, “So does Potter have a secret crush?”

They all laughed accept James. “Err not exactly a secret crush.” Remus answered.

Ah, Potter had probably asked this girl out for a while and she wouldn’t have him. Poor boy. I bet it did his ego some good though.

“Is she just not interested…?” I asked, not wanting to pry, but still curious.

“Well she….” Sirius looked at James carefully.

“She sort of hates my guts.” James finished for him.

“Oh,” I answered, “Well that’ll do it. Sorry.”

They all glanced at me for a moment before we lapsed into a soft silence, as though we were all mourning Potter’s hopeless love.

We sat and talked through the train ride the rest of the time, and I came to find that I rather liked the marauders. Or at least, some of them. I really only talked to Remus, and James some. Sirius Black was a downright arrogant scoundrel, and Peter, was…..a little kid really, he was sweet, but immature.

Halfway through the ride it was time to change into our robes. The boys were actually kind enough to leave for the bathroom and let me have the compartment to change. Which I did, making sure all the windows were covered. After that we all chatted, not too much about me though (thank goodness) I did not like answering questions. The only one who did ask was Black.

“So Blackwood, what’s your story?” They all looked at me expectantly.

I looked at Black coldly, “My story?”

“Yes.”

“Well, if you must know, I was born in a hospital, then raised by my parents.” I answered without a twitch of a smile, though the boys still chuckled at my sarcasm.

Black cocked his head to the side, “What about the in between bits?”

“Nope.”

“Blackwood……”

I glared at him. I didn’t even know why I didn’t want to talk about my life so much. I just didn’t at all, especially with him. It was so obvious I wasn’t interested in a personal conversation. So obvious that Black knew I was pissed, and he kept pushing. Rude.

“Come on Blackwood, why didn’t you go to school?”

“Is this twenty questions----?”

“Do you have brothers and sisters?”

“----or is this an interrogation?”

“What about cousins? I hate my own personally.”

“Are you finished yet?” I snapped.

By this time the other three boys besides Black were watching us like a tennis match.

“Maybe I want to know.” Sirius said.

“Maybe I’m not interested so piss off.” I replied coldly, our eyes locked.

He was silent.

Match, point.

“Sooooo……” Remus said, trying to clear the awkward tension after my last sentence.

“I’m going to get some air.” I sighed, standing up and giving Black a glare.

He winked at me. Winked.

Who the hell did he think he was?

 

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

 

“All out! Come on! Let’s go!”

I threw my leather jacket on as the Hogwarts student body was hustled off the train and onto the platform by Hogwarts. It was beautiful. Despite the crowd rushing around me, I stopped to admire the torch lit castle from this distance. The stone walls were sort of alluring.

Once we reached the castle I felt the familiar turning in my stomach. It was the sorting. My mom told me about this. It was for first years. I would be sorted alone out of the seventh years since I was the only transfer student. A tall, serious looking woman with a tight brown bun of hair, by the name of Professor McGonagall, directed me to stand behind the first years as they were called. I would be last. I glanced around the great hall from the back of the crowd. No one seemed to notice me yet, I tried to hide myself closer to the shadows. I shifted from foot to foot as I waited for the first years to hurry up and finish. I knew the four houses and what they stood for, but the only one I didn’t really want was Slytherin (though some people I was –ahem- close too might disapprove of that statement.)

Suddenly, faster than I realized, my name was being called. I straightened from where I was leaning against the door frame of the great hall. It was eerily silent as I heard the unbearable clacking of my boots against the polished floor. I breathed deeply and forced a calm, confident expression onto my face, holding my head high. I quickly sat down upon the chair and the hat slipped over my head. I could hear its slippery voice, it sounded like an echo, or shadow. The voice of something not quite alive, but still very much there. I clenched the edges of the chair as I waited for the hat’s decision, knowing full well that everyone in the room was staring at me. I could imagine the sneer on Sirius Black’s face. Come to think of it, I didn’t really know why he annoyed me so much…..

“GRYFFINDOR!”

Cheers erupted to my left and I sighed, a thousand pounds lifted off of my shoulders. I was in Gryffindor. Brave, Loyal Gryffindor. Sweet.

I stood up and carefully made my way over to the Gryffindor table where my fellow classmates were cheering and whooping. I grinned a small bit in spite of myself and searched some of the faces in the crowd. The table was crowded but there was one seat close to me open…..

Oh what the hell, you’ve got to be joking.

Sirius black was patting the seat next to him, grinning at me from ear to ear. I stared at him and rolled my eyes. I would have found another place to sit had Lupin not waved me over. He was kind. I had to sit with them after that.

“I knew it was gonna be Gryffindor! Didn’t I say so Prongs?” Sirius asked his best friend as I sat down, giving Black a look of annoyance.

“Congratulations, are you planning on becoming a Seer?”

I honestly don’t know what had gotten into me. The very presence of Sirius Black just pissed me off to no end. I had no idea why, but I felt the need to constantly argue with him.

“What if I am?”

I snorted and turned away from him. I could tell that, as we sat and ate, it was definite news that the new girl was sitting with the marauders. Apparently I had received an unusually warm welcome from them. Heads were turning our way, wanting to know all the juicy news about me. I could tell the gossipers were all worked up seeing as school had just started. I was sort of dreading going to the dormitories. Obviously I wasn’t going to be bunking with the marauders, but they were the only friends I had made, if you could even call them that. I ate a lot at dinner, not caring what the boys thought. I was starving after not having a proper meal all day. Dinner and desert passed quickly and soon I was being ushered up towards Gryffindor tower along with the rest of my house. Remus explained a few things on the way up, like the staircases, Filch the caretaker, and Dumbledore. I was grateful for that. I needed info on all the works around the school pronto.

I reluctantly waved bye to the boys and headed up stairs to my assigned room when we reached the common room. I was nervous, not really knowing what to expect. Girls could be vicious if they wanted to. But I was willing to put up a hell of a fight if I had to deal with any queen bees or bitches.

I slowly pushed open the door of my room and looked around. No one but me was there yet. There were four four-poster beds, each in a corner of the room and a door facing opposite me, which I assumed was the bathroom. My bags were stacked next to a bed in the far corner with a window over it. I smiled, I liked windows. There were drawers for my clothes under part of the raised bed so I started putting things away. I stacked my books in a pile on the wooden chest at the end of the bed and placed my non-essentials and knick knacks inside it. I was just about to head to the bathroom to sort out my beauty supplies when a girl came into the room. I stopped for a moment and looked at her. It was the red head that James Potter was in love with. She was very pretty, not the normal pretty girl though, she was exotic looking with bright green eyes, flaming red hair, pink lips and rosy cheeks.

She noticed me and turned her head slightly before sticking out a hand.

“I’m Lily,” She said brightly, “Lily Evans, nice to meet you. You’re new aren’t you. Oh this is great! I’m sure you’ve got tons of questions.”

I composed myself and shook her hand before setting down the stuff for the bathroom. “I’m Zalia Blackwood, nice to meet you Lily, yeah I’m new.”

I didn’t really address the questions part.

“I’ve been here since first year, so I’ve pretty much got the works under wrap. Plus I’m head girl!”

Oh joy. I was sharing my room with the head girl. It was all I could do to keep from grimacing. It was going to be hard to break any rules with her there.

“That’s great, I don’t really have a lot of questions yet, but I only just got here. I don’t really know anyone. This is all completely new territory for me.”

Perfect. I was great at disguising my thoughts. I sounded just as eager as Lily did in this conversation. Well, maybe a little less excited.

“I saw you talking to Potter.”

The change in her voice was drastic. I looked her over. Yep. She hated that boy all right, or at least she thought she did. I could tell from her face right then.

“Yeah, that group seemed….. nice enough.” I chose my words carefully.

“Really?” She snorted, “I’m warning you now, those four are trouble makers.” She thought for a moment, “Maybe not so much Remus Lupin, but the rest are just awful. Especially Potter.” She spat.

I was beginning to like Lily more now, she had a strong personality. I could respect that. She also thought Remus was nice, which I liked since I felt a strange sense of loyalty to him.

“Ah, gotcha. Yeah, I was really talking to Lupin the most. That Sirius Black is way too full of himself.”

Lily smirked, “I know, he so is. Potter too. Those guys are just so…. So…. So damn arrogant!”

I laughed, she said the word ‘arrogant’ like it was some sort of horrible disease.

“What about Peter?” I asked her.

Lily stopped for a moment, “He’s….. I don’t really know about him to be honest. He’s just sort of there.”

“Oh my gosh I totally know what you mean!” I said.

This was fun. I liked Lily a lot more than I thought I would. She was nice, and confident, and didn’t like Sirius Black. She would definitely make a good friend.

I hadn’t really thought about my ‘social status’ I guess you could say, until I got there. But now I knew what exactly I wanted. After watching tons of movies with cliques and all that I knew ( or liked to think I knew) everything I needed. I wanted a solid group of friends. A great Clique. One that would be admired. The classy girls. The ones who didn’t come cheap. I smiled to myself. Lily was already in, I knew that, but I had to get some others as well. Good looking girls, smart, and of course, willing to take me as a sort-of leader. This would be a good year if I could get on top. Not that I cared about being some sort of social dictator, no don’t get me wrong here. I only wanted to be respected. Nobody pushed you around if you were in the upper levels of the social hierarchy.

Lily and I shared a few more comments before two other girls burst into the room.

Lily beamed at them and hugged the taller of the two.

“Mary!” She yelled before going to the other one, “Rose! I missed you guys, good holiday?”

They both nodded before Lily introduced me as I suspected she would.

“Guys this is Zalia, she’s our new roommate!”

They grinned at me and we all said hi.

My other two roommates, Mary Macdonald and Rose Faraway, were nice. I didn’t like them quite as much as Lily yet though. Mary was tall, taller than Lily even, about 5’8 or 5’9 or something. She had short brown hair that framed her sweet face well. She had a swimmer’s build, very athletic. She wasn’t a great beauty or anything but she was fine, average. And I noticed she wasn’t wearing any makeup. That was a plus; all natural was my style, and with a few tips she could look even better. The other girl was tiny in comparison with Mary. Rose was shorter than me by at least two or three inches and I was 5’5. She had long straight, willowy brown hair that fell around her heart-shaped pixie face like a waterfall. She was really pretty, her lips were perfectly curved, a nice small nose, and green eyes. Not like Lily, whose eyes were almost nearly neon green with their bright sparkle, but a dark forest green, softer, more suitable for someone like Rose who seemed quiet and sweet.

We all chatted a bit, I tried to step back and let the girls catch up. I did not want to annoy them on our first day.

I was coming out of the bathroom when I heard the first piece of relevant information that they had said yet.

“……and Potter doesn’t want to do it. Sirius is all convinced this has to be the best one ever.”

“The best what?” I asked, sliding onto a cushion on the floor next to Rose.

“She’s met the lot of them.” Lily told the two girls as I waited for an answer.

“The Marauders always throw this huge homecoming party and this year they’re trying to outdo themselves. I’m not quite sure what or how, but I know Potter is trying to talk Sirius out of something.”

Lily grimaced, “If Potter doesn’t want to do it it’s probably really, really bad. Like REALLY bad.”

I laughed and the girls looked at me, “What could they possibly do that could be that horrible? It’s the marauders I get it but come on.”

The three of them stared at me. Mary answered, “You have no idea about those guys. I’m serious. They are a bit crazy I think. They don’t care about consequences or anything, they just care about a good time.”

“Sounds like my kind of people.” I teased before getting up.

“So what’s your story anyways Zalia?”

I paused. The question didn’t annoy me nearly half as much as when Black had asked it.

“Well, my parents let me travel around and do homeschooling then suddenly this year,” I snapped my fingers, “They said ‘nope, you’re going to school’ and here I am.”

            Rose smiled at me, “So….. how do you feel about it?”

            I frowned. How did I feel about it? I answered her honestly. “I don’t know yet, but you guys seem nice enough and I think I like to be able to go to an actual school.”

            The girls seemed to like my answer. If I was going to make this my band of friends, they would need to like me somewhat. Should be easy enough, they were all desperately calling for a makeover of sorts. And I was happy to oblidge. They would feel connected to me and have some sort of Loyalty after I adopted them under my wing. That’s what Gryffindor was all about anyways right? Loyalty.
 
 
 
 


Chapter 3: Chapter III: Two Heads Are Better Than One
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 


 

A/N: Hello lovelies! Guess who's writing like mad? Yes that's right, me. I apologise in advance for how this is going so far. It's not terrible, but still far from my best work. I swear the character's are going to take off soon! I've got tons of surprises in store for you all! Really, it will get better. Keep reading! I hope you all won't hate me for this chapter, it's sort of a filler, nothing super exciting happens yet. Enjoy anyways!!

Oh, and here's the disclaimer: Nope I didn't invent the Harry Potter series (however much I wish I had.) Also, credit to Jane Austin for her works, and Charles Dickins, aaaaaand the Bronte sisters (their works of literature are mentioned)

Read and Review please!

PS- About halfway through it switches to Sirus' point of view.





Song of the day:

           Shark In the Water- VV Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 








Chapter III:

 

            Monday Mornings. Those terrible, terrible things.

            “Why God why?” I groaned as I dove under the covers once more after Lily’s wakeup call to us all. She was… really efficient.

            I felt a hand drag the covers off of me and I looked up, extremely pissed.

            “Up.” Lily Evans told me with a raised eyebrow.

            “Yes Mother dearest,” I grumbled as I reached for my pillow and half-heartedly tossed it in her direction. I doubt she even noticed.

            I got ready; I washed my face and did my regular morning routine with my creams and natural oils, and all that jazz. I noticed Mary, who was next to me blow drying her hair, glancing over at all my potions and beauty products.

            I smiled at her, “Do you want to try anything?” I gestured at my supplies.

            She blushed, “Uh no, no I’m okay.”

            “You sure? I don’t mind at all, in fact I have a potion for extra silky hair you can use right now if you want, while you’re blowing drying you hair.”

            She smiled as I handed her the bottle, “Thanks.”

            “No problem.”

            Mary and I joined the other girls in our room after a minute. I stopped short as I saw Lily, kneeling by her suitcase, on the verge of tears.

            “What’s wrong?” I asked, genuinely concerned.

            Rose answered with a wild look in her eyes, “We get free dress on the first day, no school uniform. Lily tried to charm her clothes with some sort of ironing spell and they all turned muddy and green! She can’t fix them!”

             Oh. Psh. No problem at all. Not to brag or anything but I was sort of a wiz with those handy everyday charms and though I didn't think I could fix Lily's clothes at the moment, I could definately charm my own to fit her. I smiled a bit. I loved doing things like this. It made me feel rather needed I guess, to help someone. And Lily definately needed me now. I could sense she was a bit insecure already, so having nothing to wear wasn't exactly going to help her confidence.

            “I’ve got this.” I said as the girls all turned to me.

            I noticed that Lily’s clothes were all old and tattered anyway. It would be fun to dress her up in my designer things.

            “Oh no, I couldn’t!” Lily said, her eyes wide as I pulled out the perfect thing for her.

            I held out some really cute skinny jeans, a green silk frilly blouse with white trim that matched her eyes, a cute white blazer and my black boots that had a tiny heel to them.

            “Oh yes you can.”

            Lily looked great in my clothes. I also gave a few silver bangles and a pair of nice sunglasses to borrow for the day, since it was sunny outside and hers were all scratched.

            The three of us stood back to admire Lily who gaped at herself in the mirror.

            “Thank you!” She squealed and hugged me.

            I noticed Rose and Mary watching Lily with a bit of envy so I turned to them, “Should we all have a ‘dress-up-in-Zalia’s-clothes’ day?”

            Luckily I knew the spell to expand and shrink clothes for the girls so they could fit them. For Rose I picked a cute, short black skirt and blue blouse that tucked in, with a pair of blue and brown wedge sandals, a brown and black belt and a silver heart shaped necklace. She looked adorable. For Mary I chose jeans, like Lily’s but with a long flowing black shirt with a white anchor print on it, and a black belt to accentuate her slim waist. I also gave her my black ankle boots and a dark green cashmere sweater to give the look a dab of color.

            I was already dressed before any of them of course, wearing high waist light-wash jean shorts and a purple lacey blouse tucked in, with short brown boots, a light pink fashion scarf, and a long peacock-feather necklace. And of course my Ray bans in hand.

            “We look……” Rose started as we all stared at ourselves in the huge bathroom mirror.

            “Hot.” I finished, and we all giggled.

            “We’re going to draw some attention.” Lily told me with a grin.

            I grinned back, giving her my signature lopsided grin. The first time I had used it since leaving home. She gasped and my smile faltered.

            “What?”

            “Omigoshthatswhathedoes!” She said in one breath.

            “What?!”

            “You have the same exact smile as Sirius Black!”

            I scowled as the other girls stared at me laughing.

            “Do it again.”

            I did, just for their amusement, and their eyes widened.

            “You do indeed have the Sirius grin.” Rose told me.

            I glared at her, “Where I come from it’s called the Zalia grin.”

            “Sorry!” She giggled.

            Oh well, I wasn’t going to change my smile just because he had the same one. Besides I bet it looked better on my face than his. The girls and I hurried down to the Great hall for breakfast. We were running late so nearly everyone was already sitting down inside.

            I glanced at the girls and gestured that we should link arms. Lily raised her eyebrows and I smiled.

            “We’re going to make an entrance.” I told her slyly.

            She nodded and smiled. The girls could tell this year was going to be different for them. This year I had turned them into hot ones. I was going to drag them to the top of the food chain with me. I didn’t really know where it came from. Before now I had no interest in whether I was popular or not. Oh well, it was all rather fun to be honest.

            I took a deep breath and we walked into the hall.

            Oh it was perfect.

            We got the best reaction ever, like I thought we would. See I pretty much figured that before now Lily (although admittedly admired by James) and the other girls were sort of…. Nobodies. It would be a shock to see them all dolled up, plus I was here, new girl. Perfect mix to draw attention. It went really quiet as we strutted towards the Gryffindor table. I knew we looked good. The girls took my lead and held their heads high with smirks on their faces. Lily and I were gorgeous, but Rose and Mary were good looking too. With these outfits and primping, we were killer.

            I smiled to myself as the marauders saw us. James dropped his toast in his lap as he took in Lily. The other three just gaped at us, as did most of the boys in the hall. Some of the girls looked at us adoringly, others with jealousy, I didn’t really care, as long as we made an impression. I steered the group towards a few empty seats that were opposite the marauders. I felt Lily tense, but she didn’t say anything.

            The hall went back to its normal chatter as we sat down and I grabbed an apple. I bit into it and glanced up. I nearly choked on the apple. Sirius Black was sitting in front of me with a dumbfounded expression. It was hysterical.

            “Need something Black?” I asked him casually.

            I glanced at my girls who were all looking extremely pleased with themselves and obviously loving the attention.

            “Nope. I’m good.” He said after swallowing.

            I could feel Lily fidgeting under Potter’s intense gaze so I snapped my fingers in front of him.

            “Something wrong Potter?” I asked him.

            James finally tore his eyes away from Lily and looked at me, grinning.

            “I just--you know--wow--”

I had to bite my tongue to not crack up.

            “You look good.” He finally said, blushing.

            “We know.” I said nonchalantly.

            Lily looked at me. I shrugged. “Well we do look good.”

            She giggled and then cleared her throat as the boys stared. I guess Lily didn’t giggle all that much. Rose and Mary were beaming as they talked to few people to my left. Lily sat on my right and kept glancing at me while buttering her toast, as if not sure what to do.

            I was already having fun, so I decided to stir the pot a bit more.

            “What are you doing for the homecoming party this year?” I looked at Black with an indifferent expression.

            “I thought you were new.” He told me frowning.

            “I am.” I rolled my eyes.

            “I think we would have noticed her Padfoot. She’s definitely new.” James told him.

            I tilted my head towards James but didn’t blush. Zalia Blackwood did not blush. Ever. I was as cool as a cucumber, always.

            “So anyways the party?” I asked.

            “What about it?” Sirius asked, not meeting my gaze.

            “What are you doing for it?” I said impatiently.

            “Oh you know, this and that.”

            I pursed my lips.

            Black chuckled, “Okay the thing is I can’t really tell you about the party. It’s a surprise.”

            I raised an eyebrow.

            “Hey,” James muttered to Sirius, “I thought we said we weren’t gonna do that. It’s too….. difficult.”

            I watched the boys argue quietly.

            “No Prongs, we’re still doing that. It’s going to be epic.” Sirius grinned…….he grinned a lopsided grin. My lopsided grin. Nope. I wasn’t going to just sit there. That grin was like my….. thing. Seriously. I felt really territorial about it, don’t ask me why.

            I had to fix this, quickly. I glanced at Lily, then at the boys and flashed Sirius my own lopsided grin. He stared.

            “Oi, Padfoot!” James said, punching his best friend in the shoulder, and laughing at my smile.

            “Yeah, it seems you’ve been copying Zalia’s grin this whole time Black.” Mary said from my left.

            My eyes sparkled as Sirius frowned at me. I could tell he didn’t like me err, claiming his territory so to speak. Oh well, he was going to have to get used to it. I didn’t like to share.

            “So Lily, who’s head boy this year?” Asked a small girl on the other side of Lily, with long blonde hair.

            “No idea,” Lily answered her, “For some reason Dumbledore hasn’t introduced us yet, maybe there was a problem…… I don’t know.”

            “Err, Lily?” James looked at her tentatively and I kept back a laugh. He looked as though he was trying to tame a tiger.

            He wasn’t far off as I could see Lily’s eyes flash daggers at him. She was a tiger. A tiger lily. Yep, that was my new nickname for her.

            “What Potter?” She hissed at him.

            “I…..” Potter swallowed, looking extremely frightened, “I’m sort of….. the new….head….boy.”

            I stared at him. Even I was shocked by this, and I didn’t know the bloke all that well.

            “You’re what?!” Lily yelped.

            “Yeah I got the letter and everything.”

            “Let me see it! I don’t believe this…..”

            Sirius and the other marauders laughed as James shakily pulled out an open letter from his bag. Lily snatched it from him and read it, her eyes narrowed.

            “Well Potter….. I guess….Oh Merlin, why did you get picked?” She groaned.

            I felt a little bad for James. He wasn’t all that terrible and Lily was being a bit rude. Potter didn’t seem to be offended though, he just shrugged.

            “I’ve no idea. Honestly. I thought it’d be Remus for sure!” He gestured to his quiet friend.

            Yeah, Remus was definitely the smart choice for head boy, I wondered why he didn’t get picked…..

            Remus shrugged and I looked at him. He looked tired and absentminded.

            “Couldn’t sleep last night?” I asked him quietly.

            He looked at me surprised. “How’d you know?”

            “Intuition,” I answered.

            “I dunno why, I just couldn’t shut off my mind last night.” He yawned.

            I nodded to him, “I have those nights. They are not fun. I usually end up reading the whole night.”

            He grinned at me, “Me too, I got through nearly ten more chapters of ‘Pride and Prejudice’.”

            I laughed, “Nice.”

            “Well I better get going, I’ve got Potions first thing today and its all the way in the dungeons. Catch you later Zalia.” Remus got up and swung his book bag over his shoulder. Peter followed him out, leaving Potter and Black with us.

            “What do you have first?” Lily asked me.

            The girls looked over at me as I got out my schedule. “Today I’ve got Transfiguration, then Herbology, Defense against the dark arts, Potions, and History of Magic.”

            Lily bit her lip thoughtfully, and I could see James stare at her longingly.

            “You and I have Transfiguration and Potions, but that’s it for today.” She told me.

            “That’s all right!” Rose said brightly, from the other side of Mary, “I’ve got everything but Potions with you!”

            “Me too,” Mary supplied.

            “Great, we should probably start heading for Transfiguration since we all have that together anyways.” I told them and we all got up.

            “Where are you headed?” Black asked me as I grabbed my bag.

            “Transfiguration.”

            “Awesome, we’ve got that first too.” He nudged James and they got up to walk with us. I rolled my eyes and linked my arm with Lily’s who looked really uncomfortable at walking to class with the marauders.

            “It’s all right,” I said to her quietly, though she scowled at me in return.

            I nearly started laughing as I looked at the boys. James was in heaven, he could hardly believe he got to walk with Lily to class.

 

*

 

Sirius’ POV:

 

            How the hell did she learn to smile like that? That was my smile. She didn’t even do it right.

            I fell back onto my bed in our dormitory as James shuffled around some papers looking for his potions book. I rubbed my temples. It was only Thursday of the first week back and I was already behind in school. I closed my eyes and visualized our plans for the party this weekend. It was going to be awesome. I definitely needed a good time after the load of work we’d had this week. Besides that new girl was driving me crazy as well. Zalia Blackwood was a right piece of work. She made me mad to no end, but I couldn’t pass up an argument with her ever. It was simply too enjoyable (although at the same time I wanted to practically murder the woman; lopsided grin and all.)

            “Found it!” James called from where he was knelt on the ground, next to his extremely organized papers. Note the sarcasm there.

            I grunted and got up, following James downstairs, out the portrait hole, and down towards the dungeons for potions. Honestly it was one of my favorite lessons. Mostly because James and I could get away with anything under Slughorn’s none-too-watchful eye, and he would still invite us to those slug club parties, or dinners, whatever they were. Slug club was rather vain when you thought about it. A teacher, exclusively inviting only the worthiest students? A bit sketchy to be honest, and a slap in the face to those who never received the crisp-parchment invitations that were always delivered by the ever dutiful first/second year students.

            James and I walked briskly into the classroom and sat down at our table, positioned (of course) right next to Lily’s….. and Snivellus’.

            “All right Evan’s?” James asked Lily breathlessly, scuffling up his hair as he did so.

            It took everything in my power not to roll my eyes the first few years of his -ahem- fascination with Lily Evans, but now I felt no guilt whatsoever in doing so. Prongs was a love sick prat who’d been after the same, uninterested girl for years. Honestly, I was a loyal wingman, but the situation allowed for at least some exasperation on my part.

            Lily scowled at him, “Sit down Potter.” She spat rather coldly.

            I snorted and sat down. Really, I didn’t know why James put up with it. Lily was perfectly lovely….. except around James (or during exams), but she was still an uppity little spit-fire and I could not understand the foundations for James’ crush whatsoever.

            “Right,” James replied, with a slight frown as he glanced towards Severus Snape’s sneer peeking out from the other side of Lily.

            “This year’s going to be the year mate,” James said as he plopped into the seat next to me and began leafing through his potions book. “I can feel it. This year she’ll see sense. I swear.”

            I just nodded to him in response and tapped my foot, bored. I was too used to James’ optimistic outburst about his and Lily’s non-existent relationship to care very much.

            “Today we’ll be needing safety goggles, as well as gloves. They are charmed to withstand any temperature, and will hopefully protect you from any… err…. mishaps we might have today.” Professor Slughorn announced, striding to the front of the class. His large stomach and many chins bouncing as he did so (the evidence of his addiction to his much loved favorite snack--candied pineapple).

            “This lesson we’ll be handling some rather dangerous ingredients. I trust you can all be mature about dealing with potentially explosive devices.” He continued, looking at James and I with a knowing expression.

            I grinned. Well this sounded promising.

            James got up eagerly to gather the supplies for the lesson as I waited. James and I as partners and working with flammable materials? Now they were just asking for something to blow up.

            “All right mate, let’s get to it.”

            James chuckled as I rubbed my hands together, a purely mischievous glint in my eye.

 

*

 

            “What on EARTH were you two thinking?!”

            James and I looked at our feet, trying to seem ashamed of ourselves as we sat in Professor McGonagall’s office.

Potions had been a riot. Literally. I couldn’t quite understand how we were in so much trouble. We’d been given the instructions from the bloody book! James and I had turned to the page we were supposed to and gave it a once over before I saw a warning down at the bottom:

Warning: Ingredients for this draught must not be shaken when mixed together. Dangerous when shaken.

            So obviously we shook them.

            It was brilliant if you ask my opinion. Which I don’t think McGonagall was actually.

            “YOU COULD HAVE SERIOUSLY DAMAGED THE CLASSROOM AND YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS!”

            Bloody hell, she did have a pair of lungs on her.

            I winced slightly, but was still trying to fight a small smirk from occupying my face.

            James and I had set fire to a good portion of the classroom. We’d taken a bunch of the contents of our cauldron into a smaller glass jar, sealed it, and shaken it roughly before tossing it away from our general direction. It had instantly exploded, catching the floor, the other cauldrons, and the occasional student’s uniform on fire. McGonagall had gone mental about it when she came into the classroom. And of course Snivellus (Severus Snape) had forced James and I to take the blame. The git. I mean, we had done it, but still. He was a slimy, gangly, git, and I detested him. (it was an old hatred, went waaaaay back.)

            “Do you even realize what you could have done? Do you even care?!” McGonagall continued to yell at us, her eyes darting between us with a furious expression. “You’re both extremely lucky that no one was seriously hurt!”

            “We’re very sorry Professor. Sirius and I weren’t thinking clearly at all. I can’t tell you how much we regret our actions.” James said, looking thoroughly abashed.

            I repressed a laugh. We regretted our actions? Not likely. James was an excellent actor, but McGonagall wasn’t going to let us off easy either way. Nearly all the teachers had grown immune to the marauder charm after first year (unfortunately).

            “Well then, since you seem to realize you were in the wrong, you’ll completely agree with me when I hand you a punishment of two full weekends of detention.”

            I repressed a groan. Two weekends?! That was uncalled for! And what about…. Oh crap.

            “Can we start them next weekend professor? Please?” I asked frantically. We could not miss the marauder homecoming party. There was no way in hell that could happen.

            She looked at me warily, “No, I’m sorry Mr. Black--” James cut her off.

            “Please! We’ll add in Fridays as well! Just let us do them starting next week.” James seemed to realize what I was on about and started pleading.

            She looked between us suspiciously. “Well, all right. But I will be tacking on those two extra Fridays as well. You are…. Free to go.”

            James and I sprang up and sped out of the room but not before I said goodbye to McGonagall.

            “See ya Minnie!”

            “BLACK!”

            But James and I were already gone, down the corridor, muffling our laughter as we ran. Old Minnie should be used to her nickname by now. I used it all the time.

            The rest of the day flew by quickly, nothing happened quite as eventful as potions, but it was just as well. James and I didn’t really need any more detentions. Considering that last year Minnie had bitterly informed us we actually held the record for number of detentions. It had made my day.

            Remus and I were walking into the great hall for dinner, after laughing about Vivian Macnair’s magnificent fall down the stars (she was a Slytherin, and a rather nasty one at that) when I heard the unmistakable yell of James potter.

            “Oi!!”

            I turned my head and nearly fell over laughing. James was striding towards Remus and I with a furious look. He was blue. Literally. James Potter was completely blue. His hair, his face, his robes, his shoes.

            “Err…. What happened?” I asked, trying to sound concerned as I stifled my amusement.

            “Snape! That’s what’s happened! Him and Avery hexed me and then ran off before I could even do anything. Bloody cowards.” James growled.

            “Can you fix this?” He asked Remus sharply, gesturing to all of himself.

            “Erm, yeah, hold on…. Let me just….” Remus hurriedly brought out his charms book, found the spell he was looking for and turned Prongs back to normal.

            We all headed into the Great hall after that. And there was steak for dinner. Needless to say I was having a pretty good day and was in a great mood…..

            “Well look who it is.”

            …. And there it goes. Out the window.

            “Hello Blackwood, I’m having a great day. How about you?” I greeted Zalia with a sarcastic grin.

            To my surprise, the next comment (which was of course an insult) came from Lily, instead of Blackwood.

            “Maybe if you got your head out of your---” She started angrily.

            “Hello Lilykins!” James interrupted her enthusiastically.

            She narrowed her eyes. Oh James sometimes you have no tact whatsoever.

            “Potter.” She spit it out like it was something quite distasteful. (which it probably was to her.)

            “How are you?” James didn’t pick up on her tone apparently.

            “Oh I don’t know! How bloody well am I?! Maybe you should be asking how Mary is Potter! Is Mary all right!? Why don’t you bloody well ask me that?!” Oh dear. I think she might’ve been a bit upset.

            Prongs looked at me bewildered. I shrugged.

            He looked at Lily fearfully, “Err…. How is Mary?” He winced under Lily’s glare.

            “She’s in the bloody hospital wing Potter! Because you damn well put her there!” She yelled at him, causing a few stares our way.

            “Sorry?” James looked just as confused as I was.

            “You and your stupid pranks! Mary got her hand all burnt today in Potions! How do you suppose that happened?!”

            Ah…. Crap.

            “But…. McGonagall said no one was hurt!” James looked at me frantically.

            I put a hand on his shoulder, “She said no one was seriously injured mate. There’s a slight difference.”

            Lily looked at us in disdain.

            “I’m sorry! I wasn’t thinking! We shouldn’t have done it!” Prongs tried desperately to fix the situation.

            “Leave it. She’s already mad at you. Don’t start whining in her ear.” Zalia muttered.

            I scowled at Blackwood’s condescending tone.

            “He can do what he wants.” I snapped.

            Zalia rolled her eyes, “I don’t remember talking to you Black.”

            “Funny that.”

            “Like I said; go whine in someone else’s ear.”

            “I’ll do what I like thanks.”

            “Not if it concerns me.”

            “Well guess what! It doesn’t concern you!”

            “I’ll decide what concerns me, thank you very much.”

            “You don’t even make sense!” I raised my arms in exasperation.

            “That’s rich coming from you!” She pointed at me with her eyes narrowed.

            “See what I mean?! No sense at all.”

            “You sir, are a tosser.” She said scathingly.

            “And You Madame, are a complete nutter.”

            “Tosser!”

            “Nutter!”

            “Shut it the both of you!” Remus looked at us with an annoyed expression.

            We both fell silent. I was surprised when Zalia looked at Remus with a slightly bashful expression. What a weirdo. I was still trying to figure out how she went from being friendly (well sort of friendly) that first day, to being a snotty little brat. Bi-polar chick. I shook my head and sat down next to James who’s expression clearly said he was pining after Lily. I rolled my eyes and fought the urge to hit him on the back of his head. No girl was worth what James had done for Lily over the years. I couldn’t believe he was still gunning for her.

            “Oi, ‘e ilav oor urk poo too!” I told James excitedly as Pete sat down by us.

            “Sorry?” He raised an eyebrow at me. I swallowed my mouthful of steak and potatoes before repeating myself.

            “We still have more work to do.”

            “Work?” James frowned.

            I rolled my eyes, “The party dumbarse.”

            “Oh right. About that….” James looked nervously at Lily who was talking animatedly to Zalia and Remus, a few seats down.

            “I’m, err, not sure about our little surprise.”

            “Don’t be stupid. It’ll be brilliant.” I said brightly, before taking another huge mouthful of my delicious dinner.

            “I’m serious.”

            I grinned at him, “No, I’m Sirius.”

            James groaned, “Come on mate are we still using that one after all these years?”

            The joke had lost in charm on everyone except me after about second year. I still thought it was excellent though.

            “I’ve got everything under control for Saturday.” I promised James.

            He looked at me skeptically, but sighed in defeat. “Just…. Don’t tell Lily it was originally my idea.”

            I shook my head and patted him on the back, “Wouldn’t dream of it.”

            I didn’t get why James, Pete, and Remus were all so worried about our little surprise. I knew exactly what I was doing. Besides, Hagrid had agreed it was going to be great! It wasn’t even that dangerous. Just a bit…. Unexpected.

            The four of us Marauders left the Great hall and headed to the Gryffindor Common room (except Remus who decided to go for the Library instead, waste of time if you ask me.) I was getting a bit excited as thoughts of Saturday came pouring into my head. Even James was getting worked up (though I know he thought our plan was a bit far off.) I couldn’t sleep that night (We had gone to bed slightly early considering that we were going to be up quite late the next night, on Friday.) I tossed and turned. Eventually I did get to sleep, but not without a few dreams.

            I was climbing up…. A staircase I think. There was no one else around as I looked. I didn’t know where I was. It was all black around me, all I could see were the stairs. I kept going up, up, up. Then I noticed a change. Down, down, down. Now I was going downstairs? I hadn’t turned around though. I stopped, confused. Suddenly the dream changed. The stairs were a part of Hogwarts. I was on a broken staircase that was suspended in the air outside the window to the Gryffindor Common room, hundreds of feet above ground. My school robes whipped around me as I scrambled to get a better hold of the railing.

            “Take my hand!”      

I heard the voice cry out to me through the wind and looked up. A hand was coming through the window, trying to grab onto me.

“Help!” I yelled, as I leaped up and grabbed the hand.

The hand was strong. It held me firmly as the stairs fell away below my dangling feet and I was left hanging in the air.

I looked up and saw the owner of the hand.

My brother looked down at me with a smile.

“Regulus!” I screamed at him.

“You know, I was going to help you, but honestly why should I?” He asked me with a blank expression.

“You can’t just let me die! I’m your brother!” I yelled at him, shocked.

“Yes, but, you didn’t seem too brotherly when you left me alone. You left me Sirius! You didn’t take me with you! You abandoned me!” He looked angry now, very angry. His gripped slackened.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered.

He let go. I screamed as I fell through the air and saw Regulus’ hand draw back through the window.

“I’m sorry!” I yelled as I fell further and further to the ground. Then….

 

 

-Thump-

I groaned as I tried to sit up. My blankets were wrapped around me tightly, so that when I tried to stand I merely hit my head on the bed frame.

“Oww.”

But I suppose falling out of bed is not as bad as falling from the window of the Gryffindor common room. I rubbed my head and extracted myself from the sheets before looking at the clock. 5: 30 a.m. Well there was no way I was going back to sleep after that dream (not to mention my throbbing head) so I headed towards the bathroom to take a shower, tripping on my way in.

By the time I was out of the shower, dressed, had my teeth brushed (oh and applied some fancy products to my hair. Don’t even start. That stuff is not just for girls.) It was only 6:15. I was bored. So having nothing else to do I jumped on all my friends. If I had to be up this early, so should they.

First jump -Umph-

“Wazzup” James muttered, yawning.

Second jump -Umph-

“Argh!” Pete called out.

“Don’t even think about it padfoot.” I heard Remus mumble just as I was about to pounce on him.

“Aww, you ruin all the fun Moony.” I sniffed.

“Shut up.” He answered glaring at me before he put his head back under his pillow.

Did I mention Remus is not much of a morning person?

“Come on, get up!” I called around the room.

I was usually really, really wide awake after taking a shower. I’m sure you might’ve noticed.

“Black….”

“Now!” I yelled.

“Sirius….”

“All right I’m going to count to three! One…two…” I stopped when a pillow came flying towards my face.

“Padfoot!” James snarled at me before stalking into the bathroom.

I jumped up and down, “One down two to go!”

Needless to say that by the time we were all ready and heading downstairs, out of the common room for an early breakfast, I was the only one who was in a good mood. This was quickly remedied though, by Lily’s appearance after we sat down to stuff our faces with the most important meal of the day. James joined me in my good mood at the sight of her.

“Lovely Lily! How are you this good morn’?” He asked her enthusiastically.

She glared at him before sitting down at the other end of the Gryffindor table, far away from us.

“I don’t think she’s interested.” I told James seriously.

Remus grunted, “James I don’t think she’s over the fact that you and Padfoot set fire to the potions room and injured one of her friends.”

James grimaced, “Maybe I should go….”

“Apologize?” Remus finished, “Bad idea prongs.”

Of course, James got up to go apologize anyways.

The rest of us three marauders watched in amusement as James tapped Lily’s shoulder, he said something, she said something, he said something….. and then she stood up and walked out of the hall, leaving her unfinished breakfast behind her.

“Told you.” Remus said under his breath as James came back over with a scowl on his face.

“I told her it wasn’t really our fault, and about what it said in the book, you know, the warning and all….”

I mentally slapped James across the face. Idiot. Like she’d take that as an excuse.

“Then she got mad and said how immature we are, and I said that maybe she should go out with me and straighten me out…. Then she left.”

Yeah well, that’s Lily and James for you. Ever the lovebirds.

We all laughed except James, who brightened a moment later.

“Hey she’s coming back!”

We all turned to look as Lily did indeed walk back to her seat and sit down…. With Zalia, Rose, and Mary.

I felt a bit of guilt as I observed Mary, with a bandage wrapped around her left arm from her elbow to her fingers, which she was gingerly moving around. Whoops. Guess James and I didn’t really make the connection from the ‘danger warning’ to people actually getting hurt. Oh well too late now. I decided not to beat myself up about it. I mean it’s not like anyone died.

Remus however, seemed not to share my outlook as he stared from me to James and back before giving a huff of disappointment.

What?” I asked him.

“Oh nothing Sirius. Just go on eating your breakfast. I hope Mary isn’t left handed, or she won’t be eating hers.”

I looked at James for a moment before getting up from my seat and grabbing a bit of toast to bring with me.

“Oh, Sod it all….”

James stood and followed me. Knowing that we had better get this over with before either Lily or Remus had our heads.

“Err…. Hi Mary I see your hand’s all bandaged up.” Great opening line James. Fantastic.

“Hi,” She looked at us a little shyly, not seeming to be angry at all. I glanced at Lily. She had her arms crossed very tightly, but wasn’t saying anything.

“We’re sorry about your hand and all. We didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt.” I apologized. I was proud of myself. I sounded very mature. I grinned.

“It’s all right, don’t worry, Madame Pomfrey says It’ll be right as rain in a day or so.  Besides, it didn’t hurt all that much.” Mary said brightly. I liked her. She wasn’t all whiny like Lily, who seemed to be looking at Mary like she had just grown antlers.

James and I walked back to our table, looking quite pleased with ourselves.

“I’m starving” I reached for a biscuit.

“You’ve already had eggs, toast, pancakes, sausage, and an apple!” Remus looked at me indignantly.

I shrugged, “Sorry Remus, but just because you haven’t got the stomach of a normal bloke….” I trailed off grinning at him, as I grabbed a second biscuit.

“Bottomless pit….” Remus grumbled, but I noticed him placing a few more things on his plate.

It was going to be a good day. I could tell already.

 

 

 


Chapter 4: Chapter IV: Surprise, Surprise
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           As you can probably tell, I've been updating this story as fast as i can, and will try to keep it going like that. Next chapter is almost finished anyways and I'll put it up soon! Zalia does have a secret love-life thing going on and i hope you won't hate her character when you find out exactly what it is. (let's just say you probably won't see it coming.) 

Read and Review!




Song of the day:

            Don't You Worry Child- Swedish House Mafia

 

 

 

 

 

 






Zalia’s POV:

 

“Why didn’t you say anything then?” I asked in a bored voice.

“Because I thought Mary would!” Lily cried indignantly.

I sighed. Lily was all in a huff about Mary’s all-too-forgiving response to the apology of the boys responsible for her none too serious burns.

“Lily you know I love you, and you know I know that those two rub you the wrong way, but once in a while you need to chill out.” Mary looked at Lily seriously before placing a pancake on her plate.

Lily narrowed her eyes. “You let me know,” She grabbed her book bag and stood up. “You just let me know when you get asked out and tortured for years by the same insufferable toe-rag, by the name of James Potter.”

“Aww come on Lily, don’t leave I---” Mary started. But Lily was already gone.

I waved my hand, “Oh, let her sulk. She’s just got to get it out of her system.”

“She’s been getting it out of her system ever since she met the marauders.” Rose said quietly from behind the newspaper she was reading.

“Too true, “ Mary nodded.

I had grown used to this sort of thing. Lily was cool headed and organized about nearly everything…. Except her temper. She couldn’t put a cap on it for the life of her. I didn’t really mind, but I guessed Rose and Mary could grow tired of it after years and years of her attitude towards the marauders. Even I noticed a bit of an overreaction from her towards James. Not that I could really talk. I was almost as bad with Sirius. Only he was a mangy git and thankfully didn’t ask me out every five seconds.

I glanced towards where he was sitting for a moment. Oh good lord. The idiot had just made milk come out his nose. He caught my eye and sneered.

“You got something to say to me Blackwood?!” He yelled across the hall.

I raised an eyebrow, “Why would I be talking to you Black?” I asked him coolly.

He rolled his eyes and turned back to his friends.

I turned my head back to Rose and Mary to find them looking at me curiously.

“Why don’t you like him?” Rose asked me.

“He just…. gets on my nerves so much. I want to hex him every five seconds.” I muttered, pouring myself a glass of OJ.

“Mhmm….” Rose looked like she was trying not to laugh.

What?” I asked slamming my glass down. Ah, did I mention I’m not a particularly nice or patient person?

“It sounds like there’s some, erm, tension there.” She told me, wraggling her eyebrows suggestively.

I choked on the juice I had been drinking, “Excuse me?!”

Rose shrugged, “It’s not like you guys are serious anyways. It’s almost like you just like fighting.”

I opened and closed my mouth a few times before frowning. “We are serious. I can’t stand him. He’s a jerk. A very, very sarcastic jerk.” Ha, that’s a half a lie. I did like fighting with him. But at the same time, I also meant it when I insulted him. He really did annoy me.

“Whatever you say dear.” Rose went back to her newspaper without another word.

“Shut up.” I huffed. I didn’t like it when people didn’t take me seriously.

 

*

 

“For Merlin’s sake! Can’t you do anything?!” I yelled as the hummingbird on my desk vanished for a second time.

My last class of the day was transfiguration. For some stupid reason McGonagall decided that today she was going to give us assigned seating. Two to a desk. And guess who I got paired with? That’s right, Sirius effing Black.

Black rounded on me. “I’m trying! Maybe if you would do some work instead of just sitting on your---”

“Don’t even think about calling me lazy!” I interrupted him. “I was the one who changed the clay model into a live hummingbird in the first place! All you had to do was turn it blue! You’re so stupid!” I slammed my book down.

Sirius glared at me, “Well if I’m so stupid then DO IT YOURSELF!” He threw his hands up and plopped back into his chair.

“I’m not doing this by myself! We’re partners Black!” I spat at him, “Do you know what that means? It means two people, sharing the work. It does not mean one person does it all by themselves!”

“I don’t care! Apparently I’m too stupid to understand anyways!” He said childishly.

I rolled my eyes at him, “Oh, don’t tell me I offended you. Grow a backbone for goodness sake!”

He just glared at me.

I batted my eyelashes at him, “Aww, did I hurt your feelings?” I asked, the sarcasm dripping from my voice.

“Shut up.” He snapped at me, his arms folded tightly.

“Help me with this,” I said, pointing to the bird, which had just reappeared on my desk again, “NOW.”

Black raised an eyebrow, “No.”

“Black….” I gritted my teeth.

“I’m not doing any bloody work with you!”

“Don’t be such a baby!” I yelled at him in exasperation.

“Both of you will be getting detentions if you don’t shut it!” McGonagall yelled at us. We both jumped at the sound of her voice. “Black, pitch in.” She added after a moment.

I looked at him smugly as he grudgingly got up to try the color changing spell again. By the sixth time…. It finally worked.

As soon as class was over I stuffed my books in my bag and stalked out of the classroom, without a backwards glance.

Dinner was much more pleasant. I made us all sit far away from the marauders, and my friends brought my mood back up to par. By the time I got to bed I was back to my normal bratty, happy self.

 

*

 

“Up, now.”

Lily’s daily wakeup call was something I got used to that first week of school. There was nothing for it. She was relentless, but I guess it was a good thing. I always had plenty of time to get ready for the day and look good.

I yawned and stumbled into the shower, sighing as I turned the water up to superhot and closed my eyes as I let the steam soak into my skin. After my shower I got dressed in the school uniform, put on a dab of mascara and lip gloss, plaited back my long black hair, and grabbed my book bag, heading downstairs.

“What are you wearing tomorrow?” Lily asked as we walked into the Great hall for breakfast.

“What do you---” I stopped. I had completely forgotten about the marauders’ homecoming bash. Crap.

“Err, not sure. Is it casual or what?” I asked, but instead of waiting for an answer I marched over to where the marauders’ sat, talking amongst themselves quietly.

“…. Then if we can get it up to the---” Sirius was saying.

“Hey, Zalia!” Peter said, a little too loudly, interrupting Sirius.

They all stopped to look at me as I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. “You weren’t talking about me now were you?” I asked them slowly.

“Nope, not at all.” James told me.

I rolled my eyes at them, “Whatever, I just had a few questions about the party.”

Remus patted the seat next to him, “Sit down.”

I hesitated; I didn’t really want to sit with the marauders. Especially not Sirius. However, I motioned for Lily to come sit down with us and she listened to me, thankfully.

I sat down next to Remus, with Lily on my other side (as far away from Potter as she could be).

“Okay, so is the party casual, or formal, or dressy casual? How many people are going? Do we have to have dates? Where is it?” I launched into my questions and looked at them all expectantly (except Black.)

“You lost me at ‘Okay’.” Sirius said. I ignored him.

Thankfully Remus caught on. “It’s dressy casual I guess, you can wear jeans and a nice shirt or whatever. Everyone in fifth year and above is invited. They all show up. Even most of the Slytherins won’t miss it. No you don’t have to have a date. Aaaaand…. What was that last one?”

I smiled at him, “Where is it?”

“Oh, that. We don’t reveal the location to anyone until the morning of, so that no one –ahem Slytherins- can sabotage it.” James answered through a mouthful of toast.

I sighed, “But you can trust me and Lily!”

Sirius narrowed his eyes, “Not likely.”

I snorted, “Whatever, we’ll know soon enough.” I got up and grabbed Lily.

I managed to snatch a piece of bacon off of Sirius’ plate, before booking it to the other end of the Gryffindor table.

“BLACKWOOD!” he yelled at me as Lily and I sat down laughing.

 

*

 

Saturday Morning I spent hours primping up in anticipation of the evening. It was, after all, my group’s first sort of debut. I glanced at the piece of parchment in my hand and waved it at Lily, “This doesn’t even make sense! They’re having it in a corridor?!”

Lily frowned, “Let me see that.”

I handed it to her and fell on her bed dramatically. A moment earlier a piece of crisp parchment had flown into our room and landed on my bed. The invitation read:

It’s our last one! If you found this in your dorm room then you are officially cool enough to come to our homecoming party. So be there! 8 p.m. seventh floor corridor.

-The marauders.

“Oh no, no, no they must mean it’s going to be in the room of requirement.” Lily said as if it was obvious.

“The what?” I sat up.

“Room of requirement. It’s this room on the seventh floor that turns into anything you want it to. That’s actually really cool of them to do. I wonder what they made the room for the party….” Lily trailed off. I was surprised; she rarely praised them of anything.

“Zalia!” Mary burst into the room.

“What?” I asked, as I fiddled with my hair.

“I don’t know what to wear! I mean, last year I wouldn’t have cared, but now I have a new sort of reputation to uphold and---”

“Oh, stop rambling I’ll find you something.” I told her. Really now, it was sort of ridiculous we made such a huge deal out of this. Oh well, if we were going to be “it girls” we might as well have had fun with it.

I got up and waved my wand, making all of my clothes hover in the air in front of me. I went along as Lily and Mary watched, tapping certain items I was sure weren’t going to make the cut, until I was left with several different outfits.

“Right well, I’m just going to assume we’ll all be picking clothes from my wardrobe, so I’ll get four different outfits shall I? Rose should be here soon too.” I muttered as I picked out different things for each of us. Of course, we wouldn’t get all dolled up until later.

Rose brought us all lunch at about noon while Mary, Lily and I were all doing face masks, painting nails, and (in Lily’s case) studying.

“Where did you get all this food?” I asked Rose as I grabbed a French roll for myself. You couldn’t possibly sneak food out of the Great hall. Ever.

I frowned as Rose paled somewhat, and her eyes flickered to Lily for a moment.

“Rose….”

“I--- I--- got it from the kitchens.”

“Aren’t the kitchens like, off limits or whatever?” I asked her carefully.

“How on earth did you find them?” Mary asked her eagerly as Lily scowled; I suppose it was her duty to though, she was head girl after all.

“I saw the marauders one day, they went down a passage and, after they left, I went down it too. It led to the kitchens.” She said looking at the ground, “What? I was curious!” She added defensively as she saw Lily’s disapproving look.

I grinned my lopsided grin at her, “Rose you little troublemaker!” I said happily, “I wouldn’t have thought you to be a rule breaker!”

She rolled her eyes and sat down to eat a peach.

 

*

 

Thankfully, all of us four had decided to go as a group (although I didn’t mention to the girls I wasn’t a completely single girl-- but more on that later); no dates to the party. Thank goodness, it was far less complicated that way. Not that I wouldn’t have been able to find a date. I’m sure I would have, being the mysterious, good looking new girl and all.

I grinned to myself as Lily, Mary, Rose, and I all linked arms and walked out of the common room. It was nearly deserted since we were twenty minutes late to the party and everyone was there already.

We rounded the corner of the seventh floor corridor and my grin grew even wider and more lopsided (in an endearing way of course). Remus was standing outside. He looked good in a navy blue, cotton button down shirt, black jeans, and an expression that clearly told me that my girls and I looked pretty dang good.

Lily was sporting a dress (it had taken some convincing to get her into it let me tell you). It was cute, a green that matched her eyes and not too short or fancy (a summer dress) with tan wedge heels, not too high.

Rose looked absolutely adorable in black tights, grey boots, a short frilly dress, belt and scarf all matching, and her long hair trailing down her back.

Mary had on tight jeans, high heels and a silky blouse, with a bit of extra bling. Her hair was sleek and shiny, from the products I had let her borrow.

I had on a similar outfit to Mary’s with jeans, black stilettos, a flowing red top, black fashion scarf, and bling. I had on a bit more makeup than usual, foundation, smoky eye, and the tiniest bit of pink lipstick. My long black hair cascaded in dark ebony swirls all around me, reaching to my waist, and was a huge contrast to my pale blue eyes.

I smiled at Remus as we grew closer.

He raised an eyebrow at me and smiled back, “They’re all inside; I’ll let you in.”

I looked at him curiously, “Aren’t you going to go enjoy the party?”

He shrugged, “Downside to having it here is one of us has to stand outside to let people in. It’s all right, we’re taking turns. At least for a little while longer.” He smiled good naturedly.

I patted his arm, “Well, don’t stay out here for too long!”

He nodded and then walked back and forth along the wall, before letting us inside after a door appeared. I was the first one in. I let out a low whistle.

It looked…. Pretty dang awesome.

We were all standing inside what looked like a giant indoor muggle carnival. I had been to a bunch of carnivals before, since I had traveled so much and been around so many muggles, and this one had it all. There were drink bars and food stands all over the place, which were charmed to give you anything from cotton candy to cracker jacks to slurpies (of course the bars had alcoholic drinks otherwise it wouldn’t have been a party). There were a bunch of little roller coasters and a Ferris wheel spread around. There were also giant speakers everywhere with music blasting out. I saw game stands with people playing carnival games and running around. There were even a bunch of banners with each of the marauder’s faces on them in each corner of the gigantic auditorium, with either ‘Team Sirius’, ‘Team Remus’, ‘Team Peter’, or ‘Team James’ written on them. I rolled my eyes as I saw the banners. Arrogant boys.

“You girls look good tonight.” Speak of the devil.

I turned to see Sirius grinning at us as he leant against a nearby food stand.

“We know.” I answered, tossing my hair behind my shoulder. Sirius came up close to me and I tensed. He leant in so that his mouth was next to my ear.

“But not as good as I look, love.” He whispered.

I jerked my head away from him and smiled the lopsided grin that I knew annoyed him. “Just keep telling yourself that darling.”

He frowned as I turned away from him to grab Lily’s arm. “Come on!” I yelled above the noise, “Lily my dear, you are single and ready to mingle!”

Lily looked alarmed as I dragged her through the crowd (leaving Rose and Mary behind somewhere along the way) and into a line that was waiting for a particularly exciting looking ride.

Lily looked at the ride uncertainly, “Are you sure this is---”

            I stopped her before she could finish and clapped a hand over her mouth, “Now, now Lily we are here to have FUN. F-U-N, FUN. So don’t get all head-girlish on me all right.” She glared at me and I sighed taking my hand from her mouth.

            “Say it with me Lily. Fun, fun, fun, fun!” I jumped up and down, for some reason I had a particularly strong surge of energy at that moment in time; usually I didn’t like to draw attention like that, but I was feeling a bit reckless right then. Lily rolled her eyes at me.

            “Lily say it!” I told her with a pout.

            “I---” She started.

            “She’s right you know Lilykins, you should have fun tonight!"

            Oh look its Lily’s favorite person! Ha.... juuuust kidding. 

            “James, can you not bother me for just ONE NIGHT?” Lily asked him in exasperation.

            He hung his head in mock defeat and I tousled his hair as he walked off.

            “Poor boy, I think you broke his heart Tiger Lily.” Oh yes, when I said that was my nick name for Lily I meant it by the way.

            Lily twisted a strand of hair that had broken loose from her fancy up-do that I had constructed out of her fiery red head of hair. “He’s been messing with me since first year; you’d think he could give it a rest.”

            I shrugged, “Maybe he can’t help it Tiger Lily. He just loves you too much to bear it!” I said dramatically.

            She looked at me skeptically, “Are you sure you haven’t had anything to drink yet Zalia?”

            I put my hand on my heart in mock offense, “That is insulting my dear Lily.”

            My eyes widened, “Hey! That is a good idea though! I need a drink!” Oh Merlin I was in a good mood tonight.

            Lily blinked, “After the ride. I’m not standing in line for this again….”

            Luckily the wait was only a few moments longer before we were strapped in and ready to go. The ride had two loops in it and a couple of drops. I wriggled around in anticipation and Lily bit her lip nervously.

            “Are we sure this is safe?” She asked me as we started to move.

            I nodded to Lily, “Don’t worry it’s--- OH SHIT! HOLY CRAP!”

            I screamed as we went upside down and Lily clutched my arm, “WE’RE GOING TO DIE!” She shrieked in my ear and I groaned. There went my lovely eardrums.

            By the time the ride was over Lily and I sat panting in the seats, our eyes wide with fright. I had forgotten how fantastically THRILLING those things could be, and Lily probably had too (she was a muggle-born; she must have been to a carnival when she was little). We wobbled off of the ride and sat down on a bench a few feet away.

            I caught my breath and Lily and I looked at each other for a minute before we burst out laughing.

            “I--- you--- dying---Oh my goodness!” I said in between laughs. Lily clutched her chest from the giggles and I felt a weird tug on my heart.

            This was what it was like to have a best friend.

            I had never really been anywhere long enough, or been involved in anything that allowed for me to have a best friend. I felt strangely emotional for a moment, before I regained control of myself. I was Zalia Blackwood. I did not get emotional. I shook my head slightly.

            “I need a drink.” I said suddenly, before walking towards a nearby bar.

            “Cherry Daiquiri.” I ordered my favorite drink. Really, it was the most delicious thing ever.

            “Good choice.”

            I didn’t even turn around to answer, “Are you following me Black?” I asked in a bored voice, as I grabbed the drink that appeared in front of me on the counter of the bar.

            “You wish.” Sirius came to stand next to me.

            I scoffed, “What are you doing here then?”

            “Why getting myself a drink of course.” He answered with a roguish smile, “I think I’ll have a…. Strawberry Mojito.”

            “Mhmm.” I took a sip of my Daiquiri.

            “So what do you think eh? Best party ever or what?” He asked.

            “It’s certainly…. Creative.” I answered slowly.

            “What the hell does that mean?”

            I smiled a little, “Calm down I didn’t mean to offend you. Although I suppose if you did take offense that would be fine with me….”

            He grunted in response as he grabbed his own drink off of the counter.

            “Anyways, why would care about my opinion?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

            “Ah, I don’t. I was just making conversation. It’s called courtesy. I don’t suppose you’ve heard of it?” He answered sarcastically.

            “Very polite of you.” I rolled my eyes.

            “Oh I know, I’ve got it all don’t I? The looks, the smarts, even the manners!”

            “Yes, you’ve even got the giant ego.” I said snippily as I walked back over to Lily who had been joined by Mary and Rose.

            “That boy thinks he’s the most valuable person on earth I swear.” I huffed as I sipped on my drink.

            The three girls looked at me in amusement.

            “Well I’ve spotted the Hufflepuff seventh year guys,” Mary said and I gave her a look, “The good ones.” She added after a moment.

            I nodded slowly and followed Mary over to a group of decent looking boys who were hanging about and being a bit rowdy. I hadn’t really mentioned the fact that I wasn’t exactly single to any of my new friends (I know you all are dying to know about my love life, but it will all be revealed in time). I saw no need to tell just then, and harmless flirting was all right for the moment.

            “Mary, love!” One of the taller boys called to her and she gave a shy smile.

            “Johnny!” She called back as we approached them.

            “Zalia!” I looked around surprised to hear my name called. Who did I know in Hufflepuff….?

            I turned to see a tall dark haired boy approaching me who looked very familiar.

            “Don’t tell me you don’t remember me!” He called as I bit my lip. Crap! A name, a name, a name, come on…. I racked my memory. Finally it clicked. Platform 9 ¾.

            “Amos Diggory?” I asked, praying it was the right answer.

            “There you go,” He answered, clearly pleased I remembered his name.

            “I didn’t know you were in Hufflepuff.” I told him as Mary, Rose, and Lily all found someone to talk to (flirt to is more like it).

            “Yep!” Amos said brightly, “I was hoping you’d get in there too, but Gryffindor’s better than Slytherin I suppose.”

            “Yes, I suppose so.” I smiled; Gryffindor was better than Hufflepuff in my opinion, but I decided to hold my tongue and just go with it. I liked Amos anyways.

            “How does this homecoming party compare to the others?” I asked.

            “It’s actually really cool. I mean the others were brilliant as well, but they definitely beat themselves out on this one.” He admitted.

            I sighed, “Don’t tell them that. They don’t need their egos inflated any more than they already are.”

            He laughed, and I smiled coyly.

            “Here, let me get you another drink.” Amos took my nearly empty glass. I nodded.

            Just then James’ voice came out loudly over the speakers and the music stopped.

            “Guys! SHUT IT FOR A MINUTE!” He yelled. Luckily we all listened.

            “Now we’ve got a, err, presentation for you all. Enjoy.” He left and we all stood around staring at each other.

            “James sounded nervous….” Lily said to me quietly as she put her hand on my arm. I nodded, catching her meaning. If James Potter was nervous about something, you ought to be nervous too.

            I narrowed my eyes as Sirius came into view brandishing his wand. What was he going to do now?

            He strode toward the middle of the auditorium (which was pretty empty), placed a box beneath his feet, and made it grow until he was standing on a gigantic stage. He then took out another box and set it on his right before pacing far away from it.

            “We, meaning the marauders, thought that we would all go out with a bang at this year’s homecoming!” He amplified his voice with his wand. “So we got something that you lot have probably never seen before.” He winked and I braced myself.

            With a wave of his wand Black made the box on the side of the stage grow and grow until it was taking up most of the stage. To give you some perspective on this, imagine five American football fields; that was the size of the carnival auditorium. Now take one of those football fields and make it a stage. That’s how big the stage was. Everyone was whispering as Sirius levitated the box upwards once it was big enough. The bottom of it was nonexistent so the whole thing slid off of something else. A giant cage. And the cage wasn’t empty.

            My heart jumped in my throat as a strangled gasp escaped my lips and the watching crowd backed away as one moving mass. Gasps, screams, yells; all filled the space around us. I felt Lily start back-peddling and I wrenched my arm from her grip, moving forward, my eyes set on the giant cage. I don’t know why I was moving forward, I just was. I was captivated.

            Before me, stood a dragon.

            It was breathtaking. I was well versed in Magical beings (the subject interested me a lot) so I knew what I was looking at. An Antipodean Opaleye. The most beautiful of all dragon kinds. Opaleyes were a non-violent breed, but they did breath fire. The one in the cage was either young or a runt; it was small. It’s eyes glittered sharply, changing color at the subtlest movement. It’s scales shone brightly against the light, a pearly silver glaze covered the creature, giving it a heavenly appearance. I gazed at it in wonder, not noticing that Sirius and I were the only ones remotely close to it.

            The creature gave an echoing call. I froze. The sound it made was awful. It sounded so sad. My brain starting working as normal again. I was looking at a dragon. An innocent dragon. It was in a cage. It was sad.

            “SIRIUS BLACK!”

            I swear the bloke jumped nearly a foot in the air.

            “HOW DARE YOU!” I yelled at him over the roar of the crowd around us, my arms raised as I strode to just below where he was standing on the stage. I stopped beneath him and he looked down at me, frowning in confusion.

            “YOU LET THAT CREATURE GO THIS MINUTE!” I continued.

            Understanding crossed Sirius’ face before it was taken over by a look of panic. He jumped off the stage, grabbed my arm and began hauling me off to the door to the seventh floor corridor.

            “Let me go this instant!” I yelled at him, outraged.

            What was he doing? Was he going to throw me out?! He had another thing coming to him if he was planning on kicking me out of this so-called party. I dug my heels into the ground, attempting to slow us down. Bugger. Black was strong. Really, really strong. I gritted my teeth angrily as he continued to drag me away effortlessly.

            We passed Remus who started to speak before Sirius cut him off, “I need to talk to her outside. You keep everything going in here. They’re all in shock, the Nutters.”

            “Remus!” I cried, my eyes asking for his help.

            He looked at me and then left, shaking his head. I glared after him. Traitor. Sirius finally got me outside the door and let go of my arm, which I had been trying to wriggle from his grasp.

            “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!”

            Sirius moved to cover my mouth and I swatted his hand away.

            “Will you be quiet?!” He hissed, glancing around the corridor for teachers. I had forgotten that it was waaaay past our curfew.

            “A dragon Sirius? A fucking dragon?!” I whispered to him angrily.

            He sighed, “I didn’t know you were going to freak out. It was supposed to be the grand finale.”

            I stared at him, “You caged an innocent creature for entertainment. That’s despicable.”

            He visibly flinched at my words, “For Merlin’s sake Zalia! We’re not hurting it! It’s perfectly fine!”

            “How the hell did you even get it?!” I asked him, still making my words as cold as ice.

            He hesitated, “Hagrid helped us get one. Then James and I charmed its cage to shrink, with it inside. Well, it worked.”

            “No shit, Sherlock.” I spat at him.

            “It’s nothing serious Zalia.”

            I scoffed, “Nothing serious?! You caged a bloody dragon, one that didn’t hurt anyone, and brought it to a party for entertainment. I mean, what did you even expect to happen? That we’d all just applaud you for bagging an Antipodean Opaleye?”

            “I---” Sirius paused, “Hang on, how do you know what dragon that is?” he asked me, bewildered.

            I rolled my eyes, “I don’t live under a rock, Black. But don’t avoid my question. What the hell do you think you are doing with that dragon?”

            He paused and rubbed the back of his neck, clearly uncomfortable. Good. He should be.

            “Look,” he sighed, “We aren’t trying to hurt it. It’s only in there for a few hours. It’s used to being transported in cages anyways. It’s not like we’re harming it for sport or anything. It’s just like a main event sort of thing. So people can say that the marauders did that. That we had a dragon at our party.”

            I thought about what he said for a moment. It was true the marauders were big headed, but I didn’t honestly think they meant to cause the dragon harm. It was only a show for them. The dragon, really wasn’t being hurt, but I was still bitter that they put it in the cage at all.

            “Please…. Just let it go in an hour?” I asked. My voice came out softer, and sadder than I meant it to. Sirius noticed; his face softened, and he nodded.

            “I promise.”

 


Chapter 5: Chapter V: Ask No Questions, Hear No Lies
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Right, so this I'll keep this short, but I just wanted to say that this is my favorite chapter (so far) and is getting a bit deeper at this point. R/R! Love you :)




Song of the day:

            Bulletproof- La Roux

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Sirius’ POV:

           

“I promise.”

           

            I kept it. The promise that is. The dragon was back at Hagrid’s after an hour. Other than Zalia’s little -ahem- episode, things had gone off without too much of a hitch. Everyone got over the initial shock of being face to face with a dragon, and curiosity replaced their bewilderment. People gathered around, watching it, some even daring to come up onto the stage. The dragon itself was rather subdued. It stayed crouched in the cage, letting out a few hums of sound or a ring of smoke every now and then. Still, Zalia’s words had rung in my ears for a while after our talk:

            “You caged an innocent creature for entertainment. That’s despicable.”

            : I frowned. We weren’t hurting the creature. I firmly believed she had overreacted, but her disappointment in our plan had still affected me. I don’t know why. It’s not like I needed her approval for anything.

            Hagrid had happily taken back our little ‘Opal’ (yes we named an Opaleye dragon Opal, how original right?), after Remus and I had charmed her back into the tiny box and smuggled her out of the castle under James’ invisibility cloak. We had gotten in and out without a hitch, and the party was still going strong when we returned to the room of requirement. James had decided to shut down the rides though, seeing as everyone was getting rather drunk by then and we didn’t want any accidental casualties from anyone falling off of rides or the like.

            I left my three best friends to their own business and headed to a bar. I was getting a bit ticked off at the level of responsibility I had taken that evening. I mean come on, I had actually listened to Zalia. Ugh. I was Sirius Black; a reckless man, and now felt like getting very drunk. So I was going to do just that. I hadn’t had the opportunity to have a drink since before summer, and I was feeling a bit deprived you might say.

            “Fire whiskey.” I murmured to the enchanted bar.

            “Well Hello there!”

            I turned around at the voice, and raised an eyebrow at the girl standing beside me. She looked slightly familiar. Probably a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw since I knew nearly all of the Gryffindors. She had golden hair, long and lush, with brown eyes and a sweet face. She was tall and pretty dang good looking. I grinned.

            “Care for a drink?”

            She smiled coyly, “Don’t mind if I do Mr. Black.” She stumbled a bit as she tried to move closer to me. She was drunk, very drunk I could tell. Excellent.

            I downed my fire whisky and ordered two more: One for myself and one for the girl.

            “I don’t believe I have the pleasure of knowing your name.” I gestured towards her, feeling the alcohol burning my stomach. It was a thrilling feeling. A tingling sensation started to build up as I took a swig of my second Fire whiskey.

            “Emily Buckley, at your service.” She slurred her words and made a sloppy, sweeping gesture with her arms. I winked at her and closed the distance between us.

            “Well Emily, has any one told you your eyes are like a golden, chocolate river of beauty?” I said softly as I set my face into a very, err, suggestive look. I tried to hold the face and not laugh at how ridiculously cheesy my line sounded.

            She giggled and some of her fire whiskey slopped onto the floor out of her cup. “No, I can’t say they have.”

            I took her hand in mine after downing the last of my fire whiskey. I was feeling quite drunk at the moment. Perfectly smashing to be honest. I stepped even closer to her.

            “Do you know what?” I whispered in her ear, feeling her shiver at the touch of my hot breath, “I think I know a place we could go for some privacy….”

            Hey now, stop that. I can feel you judging me. But this was my lifestyle. I was the Hogwarts playboy. And when a new prize presented herself, I was more than eager to go ahead and have fun, and feed my reputation.

            I lead Emily out of the party, drinks in our hands, and we made our way (slowly considering how drunk we were) to one of the many broom closets around the school. Once inside I wasted no time in getting down to business, and she was all the more eager to comply. What can I say? The ladies just couldn’t keep their hands off of me.

 

*

 

            “I hate Alcohol, I hate alcohol, I HATE alcohol--”

            “Shut up.” James snapped at me as I continued muttering on about how much I hated, well, alcohol (as you might’ve guessed). I pressed my hands into my closed eyes and groaned as pain rippled through me. Throwing myself off of the Astronomy tower sounded like a very tempting alternative to the brain-melting, head-splitting, life-altering hangover that was currently inhabiting my body. Bloody hell. Why was I such an idiot. It’s not like this was the first time I had experienced a hangover. Far from it in fact. I believe the first one was sometime in fifth year.

            I tried (and failed) to ignore the blood that pounded through my head while I waited for Moony to come back with the hangover potion and relieve me from my torturous state.

            I returned to muttering, ignoring James’ glower (he too was feeling the effects of our underage drinking, though perhaps not to the same point as I was).

            “I hate noise, I hate sunlight, I hate parties, I hate alcohol, I hate alcohol, I really, really hate alcohol--”

            “Bloody hell Sirius STOP. I’ve got the potion for Merlin’s sake.”

            I opened my eyes at the sound of Remus’ voice and shakily took the glass vial filled with potion, from his outstretched hand.

            Sweet, sweet relief. There is such a thing as heaven on earth, I thought as the sensation of poison being drawn from a wound lapped through me. Slowly draining out the aching pain from my body, lifting off the weight of my hangover and leaving me refreshed and actually able to look around without my eyes watering.

            “Thanks mate, I’ll never drink again.”

            Moony rolled his eyes at me, “Of course not,” He said doubtfully.

            I flexed my fingers and cracked my joints, amazed at how quickly the hangover potion actually worked.

            “What time did you shut everything down Remus?” I asked my friend.

            It had been Remus of course, who had been in control of the party until the very end. It seemed James had left with a girl in the similar way I had (he may have had a crush on Lily, but he still had no qualms about having fun whilst she remained indifferent to him). Peter had left the party rather drunk (but alone) and gone to bed before any of us. After my, err, snog session with that Emily girl (no, we hadn’t done the dirty, if you dare to believe it), I had stumbled back to our dormitory and fallen asleep. Waking up this morning with the result of my revelries.

            “I don’t know, sometime around 2:00 am, after you lot all left.”

            I shrugged, James’ ears went pink, and Peter looked at the ground.

            “Sorry Moony, we just left you there.” James said apologetically.

            Remus shrugged, “Whatever, I still had fun. Besides one of us has to have  some sort of sense of responsibility around here….”

            I clapped him on the back, “That’s right! Well now that we’ve cleared that up I think it’s time for food.”

            The other three nodded and we ran down to the kitchens. Breakfast was already over (seeing as we had all slept in) so we went on to plan B. I tickled the pear in the portrait of the passageway to the kitchens and it let us in. I hurried down, my growling stomach spurring me on. If there was anything I loved more than parties, it was food. Delicious, golden rolls, bacon, eggs, jam on toast, it was all so—

            “Erm, Hi.”

            I stopped short at the end of the passage stairs, and the three amigos behind me ran into me, resulting in a large crash and a pile of marauders in the middle of the kitchen floor. I groaned and shoved Peter’s leg off of me, attempted to stand up and look somewhat suave still.

            “What are you doing here?” I asked. My voice harsher than I meant it to be.

            The four girls before me stood up, and gave me a look. This was just my luck of course. Who else could I possibly run into but her.

            Zalia Blackwood folded her arms in front of me, “Us? What are you doing here?”

            “I asked you first.” I muttered as the rest of my friends recovered from our unintentional dog-pile.

            She huffed, “We missed breakfast.”

            I looked at her friends behind her and then back to Zalia. Of all people I didn’t think to find them down in the kitchens. It wasn’t likely that Lily, Mary, Rose, or Zalia knew where to find this place.

            Zalia looked at me with a small smile playing on her lips, “Come now, you didn’t actually think you were the ONLY ones who knew how to get down here did you?” She asked as if reading my mind.

            I cleared my throat, “No, I just didn’t realize we were going to have to eat breakfast with you lot.”

            Lily looked at me, “Feel free to leave and come back after we’re gone.”

            I hesitated. My stomach was fighting against me. I was absolutely famished, but I didn’t relish the idea of having to deal with them at the moment. Luckily the decision was made for me.

            Remus stepped forward, “Don’t be ridiculous. The Kitchens are big enough for the both of us.” He went to sit down at the large table, next to Mary.

            I exchanged a look with James and Peter who both shrugged and went to join the girls as well. Defeated, I followed suit.

            It could have gone worse. We actually held a polite conversation with them (I know, I know; I could hardly believe it either). Although some people were a little more bitter than others. Lily would barely acknowledge James’ presence, all of the girls sort of ignored Peter, and of course Zalia and I weren’t willing to be the least subtle in our bickering.

            “Pass the jam.” She muttered to me.

            “Sorry, I’m busy.” I answered while biting into a sausage.

            “PASS the jam.” She said more forcefully.

            I sighed, picked up the jam, and placed it just out of her reach (don’t ask me why, but somehow we ended up at the end of the table, across from each other).

            “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

            I shrugged and continued eating, until something hit my face.

            “What the--” I looked around wildly to find that the flying object happened to be a piece of half eaten toast. I looked across the table at Zalia who had a pleased expression on her face.

            “How old are you?!” I asked her, wiping some butter off my cheek that was left behind by the flying toast.

            “Me?!” She yelled, “You’re the one who wouldn’t even pass the jam!”

            “FINE,” I gritted me teeth, “If you wanted to start a food fight all you had to do was say so.”

            Zalia’s eyes grew wide as she watched me grab a hand full of eggs.

            “You wouldn’t da--” her words were stopped as I launched the eggs at her head and they hit their target. Bullseye.

            “SIRIUS BLACK!” She screeched at me and her eyes flashed as she grabbed a plate of butter, her hands shaking in fury.

            I bit back my laughter and chortled at her, “I think you’ve got some egg in your hair,” before diving under the table.

            And so it began. Perhaps if Zalia and I hadn’t been so intent on throwing food at each other we might have noticed our friends watching us in silence with shock etched into each of their faces. At least, they were like that until I, err, miscalculated one of my throws and hit Lily in the face with a handful of hash browns. She turned as red as a beet and for some reason this action sparked everyone else’s participation in our food fight, which turned into a full blown war.

            Ten minutes later I took a moment in the chaos of it all to glance around the disastrous room. Food was splattered everywhere (even the ceiling). James and Remus were huddled behind a blockade of chairs and were throwing food at Mary and Rose who had taken refuge behind a counter top and were throwing our breakfast back at them with equal vigor. Lily was kneeling back-to-back with Zalia. They were simply launching food at everyone and anyone they could see. Peter was scampering in between tables and chairs, trying to stay out of the line of fire. The house-elves had long since evacuated the area and were probably hidden elsewhere in the giant Kitchen. I, myself, was situated behind three wooden chairs and was having a great time scooping out handfuls of grape jam and tossing it in Zalia’s  general direction.

            “Argh!!!”

I glanced up to see James fall backwards, spitting a mixture of eggs and bacon out of his mouth. With a wild war-call he leapt out from behind a chair, grabbed whatever food was in reach, and ran towards Rose and Mary who screamed and ducked back behind their counter/ barricade, as if fearing for their lives.

My laughter at this scene was stopped short as a small cake hit my left eye, toppling me backwards. Blinking through the frosting I growled at Zalia who was holding her stomach and cackling, a look of glee on her all-too-pretty face.

I stood up and Zalia’s laughter pittered off as a bit of fear flickered through her face so fast I wasn’t sure if I had imagined it or not. This had gone far enough. I had frosting in my eye and oatmeal in my hair. I rubbed my hands together and adopted (what I hoped was) an evil look. Apparently it worked. Zalia let out a sort of squeak and practically flew over to the passageway. Oh no, she doesn’t. I grinned and took off after her. No way was she getting away with this. I always had the last word. With satisfying images of dunking Zalia in a vat of pumpkin juice and the like flashing through my imagination, I raced after the she-devil, determined to make her pay. She had started all of this anyways.

She was fast, but I was faster. My long legs were quick from long hours of running with James, and quidditch conditioning. I chased her up the stairs of the passage way and ran out into the corridor as her robes whipped around the corner and into the next hall.

“Run, run, run as fast as you can!” I called after her, my legs carrying me as fast as they would.

I grinned wider, knowing I was almost upon her as approached the next corner behind which she had just disappeared.

“You can run but you can’t h---Argh!” I rounded the corner and fell flat on my face as a slender leg appeared and tripped me.

“Care to finish that statement?”

I looked up to see Zalia grinning at me as my nose began throbbing. She pulled her leg back and made to continue running down the corridor. Luckily my good sense hadn’t left me and I grabbed her ankle before she could run off.

“Ah!” She toppled to the ground, just in front of me and I stood up before she could recover and try to escape.

“Looks like I win.” I smirked at her as she looked at me and sat up.

“Ah, ah, ah” I wagged my finger at her and grabbed her wrist as she attempted to make a dash for it.

“What do you want?” She snapped at me, while trying to wriggle out of my grasp.

I looked around, pretending to think. “I want you to say it.” I told her smugly, “Say ‘Sirius Black always wins’.”

She gaped at me, horrified, “Never!”

I shook my head, “Overlook your pride my dear. There is no shame in losing to me.”

Zalia raised an eyebrow and stopped struggling. “That’s all you want me to say?” She asked slowly.

I frowned. I hadn’t expected her to give in so easily. It wasn’t as fun that way. I nodded anyways.

She heaved a sigh, and I looked at her in surprise. Was she really going to lose to me? Just like that? I had pegged her to be almost as strong-willed and stubborn as I was. I suppose I had been wrong….

“All right then,” She started. Without thinking I let my grip on her arm slacken just a bit in anticipation of her surrender.

Her eyes flashed and before I knew what was happening Zalia had me with my back on the ground and had her knee on my chest. A smug look, and a glint of triumph in her eyes.

“I win.” She grinned at me.

I growled. Damn it. This was not supposed to be going this way. I paused in thought. There was no way she was stronger than me. Deciding that this was indeed a fact, I tested it. Within seconds Zalia was on her back, and I was on top of her, holding her wrists down.

“Uh no, I don’t think so,” I said quietly, “I win.”

She glared at me and struggled uselessly against my strength.

“Let me up.”

“Nope.” I answered happily.

“Black.”

“Sorry,” I shrugged.

“Sirius….” I frowned. She sounded different. Not angry anymore. I paused as I saw her gaze flitting to something behind me.

“Erm, Padfoot?”

James and Remus were looking at me with a worried expression. I swallowed. Oh. I hadn’t really thought about how, err, compromising our position looked. After all I was on top of her, on the ground. I scrambled off of Zalia who sat up and straightened her top, clearing her throat awkwardly.

“Right, I need to go…. Do…. Something.” Zalia practically ran down the corridor, keeping her gaze set firmly on her feet.

James and Remus looked at me carefully.

“What?” I asked defensively. It wasn’t like anything had happened! For Merlin’s sake they were looking at me like they had found me snogging McGonagall! Oh. Bad image. No, no, no…. do not want that in my head. No, thank you.

“Sirius?” Remus raised his eyebrows at me. I shrugged.

“We were just fighting.”

James snorted, “Right and you ended up on top of her.”

“It’s not like that,” I snapped. James raised his hands in surrender.

“Whatever you say.” He paused, “You don’t…. you know…. fancy her do you?” He winced as if the question was painful to ask.

I barked out a laugh. What a ridiculous thing to ask! Me fancy her?! Oh I don’t know? Did Lily fancy James?! Was the world going insane? No. It was preposterous, stupid, unthinkable, and any other adjectives to describe such an impossible idea.

“No way,” I scoffed as we headed towards the Gryffindor common room.

“Oh, good,” I glanced at Remus. He sounded relieved. Oh well, I suppose it would be pretty bad if I fancied Zalia. Which I didn’t. And never would. Just to clear that up.

We spent the remainder of our Sunday in the common room or up in our dorm. Moony forced us to do small amount of work. Unfortunately he wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to explain that I had ‘Homeworkitis’. Which, if you must know is an extremely serious condition causing me to be unable to do homework without dying a painful death. Uh, yeah the revelation of my condition didn’t move my friend’s compassionate heart in the slightest. I ended up doing the homework.

Two transfiguration essays, and one potions research paper later, I was ready to go to sleep and stop thinking so much. I said goodnight to my mates (as it was 9 pm and I could get away with going to bed early considering the party the night before), and climbed up to dormitory, falling into a deep sleep nearly as soon as my head hit my wonderful, fluffy, feather pillow.

 

*

 

            “What the hell is that?”

            “I don’t even want to know.”

            “It looks like something that’s come out of my nose before!”

            “Really, James? As if I wasn’t grossed out enough before…..”

            “It’s some sort of mutated snot monster.”

            “If you must know, that is a flesh-eating slug.”

            We all turned around to look at Zalia (who had revealed this last bit of information) and took turns staring at her until she threw up her arms.

            “What are you looking at?!”

            Remus answered her. “I think we’re all wondering how on earth you would know that. Out of everyone here.” He gestured to our group (The marauders and Mary).

            She looked at Remus bashfully (Merlin knows why), “I happen to know quite a lot about magical creatures.” She paused, “It’s my favorite subject,” She added a bit defensively.

            I stared at her. Zalia Blackwood, the put-together princess, was into magical creatures? Okay, didn’t see that one coming.

            “Wicked,” Remus smiled at her and she returned it uncertainly. Godric, those two were strange.

            “All right,” I said loudly, “What’s this about them being ‘Flesh-eating slugs’?” I asked. I didn’t know about everyone else, but that seemed to be pretty important to me. I usually didn’t like the idea of having my flesh eaten soooo…..

            “Oh right,” Zalia waved her hand, “they’re not so bad. It’s just that their spittle, or slime if you will, is extremely corrosive.”

            I raised an eyebrow at her, “Right….”

            She rolled her eyes at me, but didn’t get the chance to reply, because just then our Care of Magical Creatures’ teacher began speaking. The lesson wasn’t all that horrible. I got paired with Moony, and we were able to complete the task (move our slug out of the garden box and onto the grassy lawn), with only a few minor burns from the slug’s corrosive slime. Peter and James were sent to the hospital wing after Peter panicked and dropped the slug (as it began to squirm in his hands), on top of James’ head, who yelped and in his panic threw the slimy creature back up into Peter’s outstretched arms. Peter’s arms were burned all over, and the top of James’ head was extremely red and tender. So yes, it was pretty hilarious. Zalia and Mary (who were partnered up) did pretty well. Mary was frightened of the thing, so Zalia did all the work, but she didn’t seem to mind and looked like she knew what she was doing, since she picked up the slug in a certain way and got it onto the lawn way before anyone else did.

            After we were all dismissed, Remus and I decided to trudge up to the hospital wing and pester Prongs and Wormtail about their pathetic display during class. I realized it was one of the first times I’d gotten to talk to Moony just by himself since the start of school. I’d always sort of seen him as my older brother. He wasn’t as stupid as the rest of us, and he’d been through more as well. It seemed as though he had an answer for everything, and though we weren’t quite as close to each other as I was to James, he was still one of my best mates and I trusted him completely. We decided to take a shortcut through one of the secret passageways so as to avoid having to walk through a particular corridor, which we knew Peeves often set up booby traps in. Our conversation was light and comfortable as we walked. It was easy talking to Remus. I tentatively asked how his family was (always a touchy subject for him, as mine was with me), but he just shrugged;

            “Not much to tell, Padfoot.”

            I nodded and sighed, not quite knowing what to say. I wasn’t all that great at comforting people. I always struggled to find what to say wihtout sounding like an idiot. It turned out I didn’t have to this time. Right as we turned a corner in the passage Remus stopped still in front of me and I nearly ran into him.

            “Merlin….”

            I looked ahead of us and my mouth opened, hanging agape.

Marlene McKinnon, a girl I knew slightly well, was hugging her knees and sitting in the middle of the passageway, her head bowed, and her body racked with clearly audible sobs.

Marlene was nice, smart, and an all-around good quidditch player. I wasn’t close to her, but I liked her well enough. She was a sixth year Gryffindor, true to her house, and a half-blood (her mother the one carrying magical powers.)

I stared at Marlene’s small form and stayed still as Remus knelt down beside her and tentatively touched her shoulder, saying her name quietly. She jumped back and looked between us, her eyes wide and red from sobbing, and her long brown hair was a huge mess.

Coming to my senses (finally, I mean, I wasn’t the best in these situations but still), I walked forward.

“Marlene what happened?”

She looked at me and Remus, and put a shaking hand on the stone wall to steady herself.

“I—I---”, She tried to talk, and her voice came out like the croak of a frog. Fresh tears sprang to her eyes and Remus held out a hand to her. Instead of taking it she looked at him and promptly collapsed into his chest, sobbing into his school shirt as he patted her back somewhat awkwardly. Marlene mumbled something into his chest which neither Remus nor I could understand, so we all simply stood there until she calmed down a small bit. At least enough so that she could talk in between sobs.

“It--- it’s my d-dad,” She cried, trying to steady her breathing which came in heaves.

Remus and I exchanged a look.

“He---”, She pinched her eyes closed as tears flooded her cheeks, “Th---they killed him!”

Remus stared at her and before she could collapse into his chest again I grabbed her shoulders and shook her softly.

“Marlene, what are you talking about?” I asked her, fearing I already knew the answer.

Marlene’s family was good and strong, her mother was an Auror (Dark wizard catcher); one of the most noble and dangerous of magical professions. Her father was a muggle, and seeing as Marlene’s family was well known to be profound in their views against the dark arts, there was only one answer I could think of as to who had killed her father.

Though you might already be informed of this, let me take a moment to explain something that might not be so crystal clear. We are at war. No, not the kind of war with armies meeting on the battle field, or with nuclear weapons being fired. This was an even more deadly and dark form of war fare. See, the magical arts were intended by most to be used for good, for art, to enhance the beauty of the world. Those with Magical powers are bestowed with an incredible gift that holds responsibility as well as power (yes, I know, who am I to talk about responsibility), but it’s true. See, there will always be bad in the world. It has to be balanced out. No light without dark, no day without night, no good without evil. The problem isn’t destroying all the bad; it’s keeping it in check. At the moment the wizarding world is facing an incredibly terrifying threat. See, we at Hogwarts don’t feel its effects as much as everyone else. The school is fiercely protected by its’ magical properties as well as Albus Dumbledore (our head master) but in the world outside, there is a war going on. People are dying right and left, because unfortunately, evil became un-checked and got itself a leader; by the name of Lord Voldemort. He rallied the pure-bloods who were all too eager to wage war on those with magical abilities (who were seen as un-worthy because they weren’t of direct magical descent, i.e. muggle-borns) and also muggles. Voldemort’s followers grew too strong too fast. The Ministry of Magic couldn’t react to them. Everyone had to pick a side. Good versus evil (literally). We might’ve been able to crush him, but he was one of the most talented, twisted, and powerful wizards of all time. He poisoned everyone with fear; he struck out quietly at first. There were…. Disappearances. Then unexplained murders. And finally it was made clear, that anyone who opposed Voldemort’s line of rule would be targeted and killed. Soon even people who knew what he was doing was wrong joined him out of fear either for themselves or their families. It was either kill or be killed. Hogwarts is almost a safe haven. Almost. But if Voldemort can’t touch us, he can still reach the ones we love.

Example one: Marlene McKinnon.

She looked up at me and for just one moment, her entire expression changed. Her eyes narrowed and she clenched her fists. “Who the fuck do you think it was Sirius? It was him. Him and his death eaters.”

Before Remus or I could stop her she let out a heart-wrenching cry and punched the stone wall around us with her entire force. Remus grabbed her as she cried out from pain, blood dripping from her crumpled hand.

I grabbed Marlene from Moony, and lifted her up so that I had one arm under her legs and one around her waist. She didn’t even bother to protest as I began carrying her to the hospital wing to get her obviously-broken hand fixed. She simply buried her head in the curve of my neck and began crying again. With Remus following quickly behind us I half jogged up to Madame Pomfrey, my jaw set tightly. I was going to kill my family (but more on that later).

“Good Gracious!”

I set down Marlene on one of the Hospital beds and ignored the questions from James, and Peter, who were sitting on their own respective cots. Moony sat at her right as she laid down and covered her face with her hands, moaning as Marlene remembered that she had broken one of them moments ago.

I turned to Madame Pomfrey and explained to her about everything (asking her discreetly if she could give Marlene a sleeping draught as well as fix her broken hand). She nodded sadly and I saw a small tear escape her eye before she turned away to get her supplies. Leaving Remus to sit with Marlene I slowly walked over to James and Pete who were looking at me with panicked expressions.

“Marlene’s dad’s dead.” I told them quietly and simply, “Murdered.”

They were silent. The really, really, messed up thing about it was that it wasn’t even shocking. He was an obvious target for the death eaters (Voldemort’s followers), and we knew way too many people who had lost loved ones in the past year or so. I looked up to see James staring over at Marlene, his brow furrowed, and Pete who was fiddling with his school robes. I sighed and rubbed my face.

“This is so flipping messed up.” I muttered.

James looked at me sharply, “You don’t have anything to do with Mr. McKinnon’s murder. Don’t you dare start feeling guilty Padfoot.”

I grit my teeth and refused to meet his eyes. He knew me too well. I stared over to where Marlene was and narrowed my eyes.

“I need to find my brother.”

On cue, James and Pete both grabbed my arms to stop me from leaving.

“No, you don’t.” Peter told me firmly.

James nodded, “He’s still at school Sirius. He may have twisted ideas about things, but your brother hasn’t murdered anyone.”

I glared at them both and wrenched away from their grip, backing up.

“You don’t even know. You don’t know my family. You don’t know what the hell my brother could have done. What he will do.”

I left the Hospital wing without a backwards glance and ran out before any of my friends could stop me. I decided to cut time out of my search and go back to our dormitory up in Gryffindor tower to get the marauder’s map. It was a map of every single thing in the Hogwarts grounds and showed exactly where everyone was on it. I could find my brother (who was a sixth year Slytherin) way easier that way. And I needed to find him. Why did I need to find him you might ask? Oh, you know, so I could kill him. Or at least cause him extreme discomfort.

I was different from the rest of my family. The Blacks were known supporters of Voldemort (or ‘You-know-who’), and I was little more than a piece of dirt to them. Actually, I don’t even think I ranked equality to a piece of dirt. My mother hated me, my father hated me, my brother, well, he didn’t exactly hate me, but we did not get along. Same went for each of my cousins and extended family. And I hated them all, every single bloody one. Whoever said blood was thicker than water had never met my family. My twisted, sick, pure-blood mania family. My brother was on track to become a death eater as soon as he left school, and my family couldn’t be more proud of him. I was different. I was in Gryffindor (a first for my family in all the long years of my ancestors’ attendance to Hogwarts). My first year at Hogwarts was about the time when I realized how incredibly evil my family’s views on life were. They sickened me. So, at the moment it seemed only rational to find my bloody brother (the only family member I could get to just then) and pin the blame for the murder of Marlene’s father on him. Yeah. Only reasonable thing to do.

I stomped up the changing stair cases, towards the Portrait of the Fat Lady (the entrance to Gryffindor common room), ranting in my head; Bloody, stupid, murdering, damn, ugly…. “Detestable….”

“Excuse me?”

Crap. I hadn’t realized I was talking out loud.

“Sorry, wasn’t talking to you.” I said bitterly brushing aside the person in front of me who was, of course, Zalia Blackwood (who else?).

“Oh, well then, by all means, just keep on your way.” She answered snippily.

I sighed, “I really wasn’t talking to you.”

“Oh.”

I looked up to see her staring at me with a mixture of pity and confusion.

“Are you….” I raised an eyebrow at her as she looked me over, “Okay?” She asked.

Hold the phone. Um, I’m sorry, what? Was she, Zalia Blackwood, being nice to me, Sirius Black. Whoa, weird.

“Um, yes?” I answered, momentarily caught off guard by her niceness.

“Right….” She said slowly as I frowned. “I don’t believe you.” She folded her arms.

Of course she didn’t.

“I’m fine, Okay?”

She pursed her lips, “Sirius. What the hell happened? You’ve got blood on your clothes and you look like you just saw McGonagall in the shower or something.”

-Shiver- Did she really have to put that mental picture in my head? Ugh.

“I’m fine.”

She didn’t move. I rolled my eyes. Damn her. She wasn’t going to move out of my way (she blocking the entrance to the portrait hole, see), until I answered her question satisfactorily. Fine, you know what screw it. I’ll just tell her then….

“Marlene McKinnon’s father was killed.” She blinked at me. “Remus and I found her crying and she got really upset and punched a wall, breaking her hand. I carried her up to the Hospital wing, and got blood from her hand all over my robes.” I frowned at myself. My voice sounded oddly robotic and empty.

Zalia’s arms fell to her sides and she looked at the ground, “Oh,” She said quietly.

I nodded to her.

“How did he die?” She asked softly.

I snorted, without meaning too, and sneered at her, the anger towards my family, spilling over (unfortunately I wasn’t one to control my emotions very well). “Oh I don’t know Zalia, how do people opposed to You-know-who usually die?”

She looked at me strangely and took a step back, “What on earth are you talking about?”

I glared at her, “Marlene’s dad was a muggle, so they went after him. Her mom’s an Auror. He was an obvious target. So they took him out.”

She just kept looking at me. I waved my hands, “How thick are you?! He was murdered!”

She backed up again and her eyes grew wide, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I slapped my palm to my forehead and groaned, “Voldemort!” I yelled at her, waiting for her to flinch like people always did when they heard his name. No one called him by it, he was only spoken of as ‘You-know-who’ or ‘He-who-must-not-be-named’. She didn’t move a muscle.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” She yelled at me, her voice high pitched.

Wait a moment. Okay. Was she somehow playing dumb? How was I supposed to make this any clearer?! V-o-l-d-e-m-e-r-t! The devil himself! Marlene’s dad was MURDERED!

“Wha—I---” I looked at her, utterly bewildered.

“How do you not know what I’m talking about?” I asked her, literally amazed at how the conversation was playing out (temporarily forgetting about how much I wanted my little brother dead- figuratively).

“I---” Zalia gasped and looked like she might have a heart attack.

I paused for a moment as one tiny, impossible thought flickered through my mind. I looked at her, “You honestly don’t know, do you?” I asked her, slowly.

She shook her head.

I whistled long and low. Wow. This was…. Complicated. For one, I didn’t know how someone could NOT KNOW about the wizarding war brewing all around us. For another, how was I supposed to explain it?!

I took a deep breath and started from the very beginning.

“Years ago, things started happening…. People began to disappear….” I continued telling her everything I knew. I could have been talking for hours for all I knew, she hung onto my every word as though I was offering her some sort of missing piece to a mystery she had been suspicious of for years. She was absolutely silent as I spoke. Once I was finished, she didn’t say a word. Just looked at me with an odd expression, her chest heaving as if she was breathing hard, but her mouth was tightly closed.

Finally, she cleared her throat.

“When you say that the families chose sides….” She narrowed her eyes at the ground, “Do you know, which families? It can’t be all of the purebloods.” She looked at me sharply, as If daring me to tell her it was true, but I shook my head.

“Not all, just most. James’ family is one of the most wealthy pureblood families, and his parents are some of the most strongly opposed to You-know-who.”

She frowned, “How did I not know any of this…. Any of it?” she whispered, more to herself than to me.

I shrugged, clearly baffled by the question myself. It seemed impossible that she didn’t know about it at all.

She chewed her lip and I remember the reason I had come up there in the first place. I was about to ask her to move when her head shot up.

“Tell me, about the Malfoys.” She said quickly, her eyes were wide and she looked panicky.

I swallowed hard and looked at her carefully. What on earth was wrong with her? What did she know about the Malfoys?

“They support him. A lot. They’re one of the worst.” I said scathingly. It was true. The Malfoy family was well known to be supporters of the death eaters. Almost as bad as my own family. I grimaced.

“It’s not true.”

I looked at Zalia, shocked. What?!

“Um, yes, yes it is.” I said uncertainly.

“You’re lying.” She whispered, her eyes flashing dangerously as she stepped closer to me.

“Zalia What the hell! I told you the truth!” I said angrily as she sneered at me.

“It’s not!” Her voice quivered and I stared at her, she drew up a shaking hand as if to slap me, and the lowered it.

“What’s wrong with you?!” I yelled at her. Honestly she was freaking me out a bit.

“The Malfoys aren’t like that!” She said, as if she was pleading with me to tell her she was right. “They aren’t evil!”

“Zalia! They support him entirely! They aren’t even shy about it!”

“Don’t!” She yelled and closed her eyes, her whole body quaking. “Don’t say another word against them!”

I blinked at her, totally caught off guard, and bit angry.

“The Malfoys are low-life scum-bags who---”

“DON’T!” She screamed at me.

Oh Crap. I stared at her in shock as I saw a tear trail down her cheek. What the hell was going on? Why was she freaking out? Why was she freaking about the Malfoys and not the revelation she just had about a wizarding war?!

“Zalia….” I reached forward, feeling a little bit bad that she was crying.

“You’re just stupid,” She hissed at me and looked up (no trace of tears remaining on her face), I recoiled my hand. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. There may be some sort of war going on, but the Malfoys aren’t a part of it!”

“Yes, they are.” I said firmly.

“They can’t be!”

I was fed up now, “How would you even know?!” I yelled in exasperation.

“I know they wouldn’t be involved in something like that!” She yelled shakily.

“You didn’t even know there was a flipping war going on until I told you!” I yelled harshly, “What makes you think you know anything about them?!”

She screwed up her nose and huffed, “I know more about them than you do!”

I threw my hands in the air, “Oh really?! HOWS THAT?”

She came up close to me and drew herself up to her full height (still much shorter than me).

BECAUSE I’M DATING LUCIUS MALFOY!”

With that she whipped around and went back through the portrait hole, leaving me alone by the stairs, standing stock still, and taking in the shocking information she had just screamed at me.

HOLY. SHIT.


Chapter 6: Chapter VI: Ignorance is Bliss
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 Chapter VI: Ignorance Is Bliss-

Zalia’s POV:

 

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, nope, no, no way, no fucking way.

I paced around my bed, my chest heaving, my body shaking.

There it was, the missing piece. A wizarding war. I knew it too, I just knew it. I was going to kill somebody, or maybe just everybody. I was going to kill my lying parents; I was going to kill this Voldemort person, but most of all….

I was going to kill my fucking boyfriend.

I knew he wasn’t exactly what you would call a good person. I’d known that for a long time. Yes, I was in a relationship with Lucius Malfoy. Go ahead and sit there, with some disgusted look, judging me. I sure as hell deserved it for being such a bloody idiot. It had all started out as a sort of thing to make my parents happy, but then….

Okay, you know what, I’m going to back up even more than that, and tell you just how the hell I did not know there was a flipping war going on.

Susan and Roland Blackwood. My lovely parents. I knew they weren’t telling me something. I did. But a war? Really? A WAR?! See, it all made sense now, all of it. The reason I was sent away. Why I couldn’t go to school, why I traveled too often to make friends, why I couldn’t settle down. Oh, there were other things too. Why I was never allowed to subscribe to the papers, why I was forbidden from nearly every form of news out there. My parents had told me it was so I wasn’t affected by the manipulation and garbage of the media. Bull-shit. Total crap I tell you. They just wanted to keep me in the dark so I wouldn’t know about Voldemort, death eaters, murders, and the fact that my entire world was under attack by a phsycho-pure-blood-freak killer.

“Ahhhhhh!” I buried my head in a pillow and screamed.

I felt so bloody stupid. Here I was going about life looking like a total bitch, while everyone else was completely aware of the danger surrounding us. I understood that Hogwarts was set apart from everything, but still. I had been here two weeks and Sirius effing Black has to tell me there’s a war going on. I couldn’t create a more humiliating situation if I tried.

I put my hand on my forehead and let out an angry sob. That wasn’t even all of it. I think the worst part about it all was everything to do with Lucius. I had known him for a long time. We didn’t really speak much growing up. I was always away, traveling. One day though, my parents told me they wanted me to sort of…. I don’t know…. Get him to like me I guess. They bribed me. Get one date with Lucius, and I’d get Rome. I always wanted to go to Rome, so I did it. Eh, it was one date, what harm could possibly be done? I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We agreed to go out to dinner one night, when I was visiting home in between traveling last year. Both of us sort of knew our parents had set us up (neither knowing why though). And I expected it to be awkward and silent, then we would just go home. But that’s not really how it happened. See, that night I did something really, really stupid. I started to like him. He was cold, and quiet, but also really smart and clever. He had a sick sort of sense of humor, and he was dark. During dinner he and I spent about half the time just throwing comments back and forth. We started this mutual respect thing. We were both selfish and stubborn, but even though we didn’t really get along, we understood each other. He was a mystery I wanted to solve, a puzzle that I wanted to piece together. So after that date I went home, really confused. I had no idea what was wrong with me. Our new relationship (if you could even call it that) was weird and I liked it. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt some sort of magnetic pull because he showed up at my house the next day, and we just walked. To nowhere in particular, just walked. We talked about the strangest things. Then there were long pauses of silence, but it wasn’t awkward. It was almost like we could hear each other thinking.

Our parents were thrilled. Lucius and I joked and decided we would be in a ‘pretend’ relationship just to please them. It was fun, we did everything normal couples did. Held hands around our families, and stood next to each other. Without us realizing it, we had developed our odd friendship into a real relationship, even when no one was watching. I could talk to him about anything, because he wouldn’t judge me.

So now as I sat in my room I punched anything and everything within reach; I wanted to hurl myself out a window. Because I was stupid. Because I was weak. Because I had done what I always said I’d never do. I’d let a guy fool me.

Because Lucius Malfoy was cold, and dark, and selfish, and arrogant, and stubborn, and sarcastic, and mysterious. And I fell in love with him. I fell in love with that stupid, egotistical, smooth-talking bastard. And he was going to pay for it.

I stayed completely still, draped over the edge of my bed like a wilted flower, letting my breathing slow to a normal rate. When it was no longer ragged, and I found that my hands weren’t shaking ridiculously, I reached over to grab a piece of parchment and a quill from atop the wooden chest at the end of my bed. In case you’re wondering, no, I wasn’t going to write hate letters to my parents and Lucius. I curled my upper lip at the thought. I preferred to hash this out when I could have the pleasure of making eye contact with them. That made it so much more personal. And this was personal.

I sat down cross-legged on the floor and dipped my quill in ink, preparing the words in my head which I was about to send off to my boyfriend. I would deal with my parents later. Lucius was priority. Honestly, the sad fact was that my parents trying to shelter me from all of this and keep me in the dark, wasn’t all that far-fetched considering how well I knew them. It was easily believable of their weak-minded, cowardly personalities. I loved them, of course, I always would, but I wasn’t proud of them. They often sickened me.

But Lucius…. He was a different story entirely. I was stuck with the parents I got. They were my family; no exchanges. But I chose him. I chose Lucius. I believed in him, trusted him, hell I defended him! He had betrayed me in the utmost sense of the word. What we felt was a lie, I told myself. Unfortunately, you didn’t just stop loving someone. And that’s why it hurt so much. I still wanted to believe him. I still wanted to be with him after all this. I scribbled down on the parchment, angry at myself almost as much as Lucius.

The letter was short, to the point. I tried to sound…. Normal. I wanted to catch him off-guard. That would be the only way to discern if he had been playing me our whole relationship or whatever was going on.

I bounded over to the bathroom mirror and put some cover-up around my puffy, red-eyes to try and mask the fact that I had been involuntarily crying my eyes out a few minutes ago. I hated people seeing me when I was down and in trouble. The only people to ever see me cry were my parents and I preferred to keep it that way.

When I was satisfied with my appearance I grabbed the letter and marched out of Gryffindor tower, and down onto the castle grounds; heading for the owlery. Athena was fast; she could get my message to Lucius swiftly and have his response back in no time. It so happened that I had the perfect opportunity to confront my boyfriend; I grimaced, (the title felt somewhat of a lie just then), that weekend. Lily had come back from a prefects meeting a few days ago informing me of the schedule for the Hogsmeade visits. They had all agreed on the third weekend of every month. This being the third week of school was also the third week of the month, so in just a few days I would hopefully be meeting up with Lucius somewhere, err, private down in the town. I wasn’t one to draw a crowd unless the dramatic scene happened to be in my favor. This time it wouldn’t be, and believe you me there would be some screaming and few choice words coming out of my mouth when I saw that boy.

My boots stomped up the stone steps of the owlery as the hooting of the feathery birds grew louder and louder. I had been scowling at the ground so intently that I hadn’t seen someone head around the corner in front of me.

“Oof!”

I rubbed my head and crinkled my noise as I looked up and recovered from the head-on collision.

“Sorry!”

My expression softened somewhat. I shook my head and waved a hand dismissively.

“It’s all right Remus. I should have been watching where I was going.”

He smiled and moved to pick up something on the ground. Without thinking I snatched my letter (which was the afore-mentioned object), out of his reach and held it close to me. He yanked his arm back and raised an eye brow.

“Okay, then. I’m going to head back down stairs….”

I closed my eyes and sighed. Remus Lupin; what a strange, unexplainable boy. He was, in all essence, good. He had a good heart, good looks, good manners, a good sense of humor….. I mean, the list went on and on. He was more mature than his friends, as any passing stranger could see from just looking at the marauders. I suspected that he held them together so that they had the perfect balance of trouble, but stayed within the realms of good-natured humor, and refrained going too far and getting themselves expelled for any incredibly stupid ideas. He was quiet, but I got the sense that inside his head was a realm of quick-wit and uncharted waters of a brilliant mind. I couldn’t figure him out for the life of me; what he was thinking or anything.

“Remus….”

He looked at me, his golden-brown eyes twinkling.

“If you wait a moment, I’ll walk back with you to the castle.” I suggested to him hopefully. I good dose of Remus Lupin was just what I needed at that moment in time. He had a strange calming effect on me. I felt the need to be a better, and more controlled, person in his presence. Seeing as there was currently a lightning storm of emotion atop a volcano of brewing bitchiness raging inside me, calming was probably a good idea.

He nodded slowly and gestured towards the entrance to the owlery. I ducked my head and shuffled inside, quickly finding Athena and attaching the letter to her leg.

“It’s for Lucius,” I whispered to her before she let out a hoot and flew out the window of the tower.

“Ready?” Remus asked me as I reappeared around the doorway of the owlery.

“Yeah,” I took the lead as we went down the stone stairway and bit my lip, annoyed at the awkward silence surrounding us.

As I stepped out onto the stretching plain of grass at the bottom of the stairs, I turned to Remus and smiled.

“Would you mind if we stepped into the Library for a moment on the way to the common room?” I asked sweetly.

He shrugged, “Whatever, I’m in no rush.”

“Thanks!” I tried to keep up beat, but Remus seemed a bit preoccupied and I frowned. He was supposed to be putting me in a good mood. I wasn’t supposed to be having to put in any effort into a nice conversation.

            “So, how are you Zalia? You and I haven’t talked all that much since that first day on the train.” I looked up to see his usual smile back on his face. Perhaps he realized he should be better company than he had been. Not that I was one to talk, but it was in his nature to be charming and nice. Not mine.

            “Is Hogwarts everything you dreamed of?” He teased.

            I rolled my eyes, “Oh yes, right down to the last dirty Slytherin.” I replied sarcastically.

            “Really though, I know we aren’t the best of friends, but if you need anything or whatever, you can always ask me.”

            I looked at him skeptically, “Thanks, but usually I figure things out on my own.”

            “Obviously,” He replied tersely, “But all the same, I’m happy to help.”

            I nodded politely as we continued walking, now inside the castle, towards the Library. I skimmed my fingers along the sides of the walls absentmindedly. The cold, dark stone felt rough against my fingers. My eyes wandered to the hundreds of moving paintings lining the inside of the castle. Not one was the same as another, and each work of art had a life of its own.

            “Damn!”

            I stopped quickly and looked at Remus with a raised eyebrow, surprised at his outburst. “What’s wrong?” I asked sharply.

            He sighed as he stood looking at his watch, his brow furrowed. “Oh nothing, I just promised to help Lily with some transfiguration notes she missed, and it’s already eight fifteen. She’ll be gone from the classroom we were supposed to meet in by now.”

            I snorted and turned to keep walking towards the Library, “Lily needs assistance? How bizarre. I’m sure her education won’t suffer from the absence of those notes Remus.” I told him humorously. If anyone could get by on their own academically, it was definitely Lily. She was not only diligent, but also extremely clever.

            He caught up to me, taking long strides to keep up with my fast pace. “You’re probably right, but I still feel guilty for just not showing up like that.” 

            I shook my head at him as we entered the library, “You need a good dose of trouble put into your system my dear friend,” I told him confidently, “Now, I would have thought that being one of the famous marauders would have taught you to throw caution to the wind, but I can see that isn’t the case.” I lowered my voice as I saw Madame Pince (the crabby Librarian whom I was nearly positive would sacrifice her life for her beloved books.), give me a hard glare as we walked into the large, book laden room.

            “Zalia,” Remus leant against a book shelf as I panned through a few, searching for a particular potions book. “Pranks and ditching friends are not the same thing.”

            I continued searching through the titles, “Still, I’m sure Lily won’t mind. It’s not like you have a reputation of unreliability.”

            “What book are you looking for anyways?” he asked me, changing the subject. Probably assuming that trying to argue with me was a futile effort. He was right of course. It was.

            “It’s called, ‘Asiatic Anti-Venoms’.” I replied, focusing on the shelves of books in front of me, frowning as I did not find the object in question.

            “Oh!” Remus exclaimed, receiving a harsh hiss from Madame Pince and ducking his head.

            I chuckled and looked at my friend, who stood blushing besides me. Madame Pince was too strict on the Library rules for her own good.

            “Oops,” He whispered to me as I covered my mouth, laughing. “Anyways, I wish you would’ve told me. I checked that book out yesterday.”

            Wow. Nice going. I did not just waste my time looking for it or anything like that. I sighed and straightened up, “Of course you did.”

            His smile was forced and he gave me a sorry look, “I can lend it to you if you like?”

            I nodded, “Thanks, I need it pronto.”

            And I did too, Slughorn was bloody awful to deal with if you missed homework, and I needed that book to finish my paper. Oh well, at least the whole thing was keeping my mind off of my family and Lucius. Ah…. Damn it. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think about it….

            I followed Remus as we left the Library, heading to Gryffindor Tower, seeing as I needed the book and he had it in his dorm. Besides, it was almost after hours, and the two of us did not want to get caught running around the school then. After we had realized that, Remus and I practically raced through the halls, determined to reach our common room before that time.

            “Good lord!” I wheezed loudly as we turned yet another corner of the castle. “I never realized how gigantic this place was before! We’re getting nowhere.”

            Remus didn’t answer my outburst as we continued on our way, passing many portraits who told us to hurry up before we got detention. I didn’t bother telling them off. It wasn’t worth the time. Instead I focused on putting in one foot in front of the other. I wasn’t exactly the most athletic person, and this activity was quickly wearing me out, my body was weighing me down, and my breathing felt heavy as Remus gained more speed and I seemed to be slowing down. No bloody way was I going to look stupid in front of him. I grit my teeth and put on a burst of speed, barely passing Remus up as we came around a corner next to the wooden door of one of the many broom closets Hogwarts had to offer. And just as we turned, the door of the closet flew open, hitting me bang in the face as Remus ran into me.

            “Argh!!!!”

            A string of curse words issued from both Remus’ mouth and mine as we toppled to the floor hard (considering our speed) and ended up in a pile of limbs.

            “What the---?”

            I looked up.

             Oh Bugger.

             I had landed at the feet of our dearly beloved Mr. Black.

 We meet yet again.

            “What the hell padfoot?” Remus hissed as he untangled himself from me and stood up rubbing his sore leg.

            But Sirius didn’t look at him. Actually he didn’t look at anything. What he did do was stare at me wildly, with his eyes wide enough to completely unnerve me. I fidgeted as I stood up and brushed myself off. Look away, damn it, I thought imploringly. But just because things weren’t bad enough for me, the next series of events took place;

            The three of us froze as we heard a loud bang in the distance and a muffled yell.

            “What was----” I started to ask as I stared in the direction of the yell, but I never got the chance to finish.

            Sirius grabbed Remus and I by our collars and dragged us into the broom closet with him, closing the door behind us all as I wrenched free from his grasp. I was about to berate him angrily when he put a hand over my mouth. Um, no, not okay. I kicked him in protest, but he kept his hand there.

            “Don’t speak, they’ll find us out.”

            Wait what? Who? Why? I opened my mouth to speak, but Sirius gave me such a look of panic that I left my mouth hanging open with no sound coming out, too surprised at the whole turn of events too even lash out at him just then. I looked at Remus who was staring at the closed closet door intently as if he knew what was going on. He probably did. Stupid marauders. Always knew everything that was happening.

            After a few moments of only our breathing reverberating around us in the small space, I began to hear footsteps. At least three pairs. They were growing louder, heading in our direction. I noticed Sirius and Remus had slowed their breathing, making it nearly silent, and I followed suit. I knew that it was probably after curfew at that point and I did not need to be found stuck in a closet with two out of four marauders.

            The footsteps grew to their loudest and I heard muffled voices as I realized that the people, to whom those footsteps belonged to, were standing just outside the door in the hall. Then they stopped all together, and the voices grew louder.

            “….I swear I’m going to bloody kill them. All of them!” Said the first voice loudly. It sounded gruff and deep. A boy then.

            “Shut the hell up!” Snapped a second one, this time a girl from the obvious shrillness.

            “Do see my face?! That thing didn’t---!!” The first voice started angrily.

            “Look, they’re already on the hit list so calm down Amycus.” A third voice inserted, “They won’t make it five miles out of this school without getting killed,” The voice said scathingly. It sounded male. “Black’s a blood-traitor; his own family are willing to take him out. Potter’s just as bad. That Lupin bloke doesn’t need to be taken out; Snape seems to think he won’t last a month without his friends. And as for Pettigrew,” A harsh laughter escape through the party of three just outside and I shivered, an eery feeling creeping up my spine, “He couldn’t survive a moment out in the world. Not the way things are turning now. So don’t worry Amycus. They’ll die soon enough. All of them.”

            It grew completely silent as we listened to the people amble off to some other part of the castle. I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding as I tried to piece what I had heard together. These people were pissed, obviously. And at the marauders considering that they seemed to want all four members dead. I wasn’t sure what they meant about Sirius’ family, or Remus not lasting a month at all, but I didn’t like any of it. Those people, whoever they were, were a different kind of wizard. I hadn’t even needed to see their faces to realize that I was legitimately frightened of them, and wanted to take them on at the same time. Though that made little sense, it sparked a surge of adrenaline through me and I fidgeted as I remembered where I was.

            Oh. Right. This was a bit awkward. I was stuffed into a rather small closet with two guys that were very attractive. Not that I was attracted to them or anything. Sirius stood closest to the door; our feet were touching and I tried to meander my way into a more comfortable position that was in less proximity to him. Remus was at the back of the closet, leaning against the wall, looking thoughtful and a bit worried. After about five minutes of absolute silence I huffed, annoyed.

            “Well Black?” I asked him impatiently as I held out my arms and raised my eyebrows, adopting the same annoyed look I had whenever he was around.

            He blinked at me and raised an eyebrow of his own, “‘Well’ what?”

            I folded my arms and looked at him, “Why on earth did you drag me into a broom closet, and force me to keep quiet? Who were those people out there? Why were you in here in the first place? How the hell are we supposed to get to Gryffindor tower without being noticed? And also,” I drew a deep breath, “Will you kindly remove your foot as you seemed to have stepped on my own.” I hissed at him, narrowing my eyes with each new question.

            Sirius moved his foot and looked at Remus before answering my question. “I pulled a prank on some Slytherins (the people talking out there a moment ago) and I was hiding in here for cover. I decided to make a break for it when I ran into you guys. It was better just to drag you in here instead of letting the Carrows and Macnair have a go at us.”

            I lowered my gaze from Sirius’. His eyes as he answered me had been….Strange. Not like usual. Instead of playful or annoyed or arrogant, or even worried, he seemed nervous around me. His grey eyes bored into me, as if questioning me about the last time we met. When he had told me about the wizarding war in our world. And I had screamed in his face….That I was dating Lucius effing Malfoy. I was really disturbed now as I realized the look in Sirius’ eye wasn’t just questioning, it was also disappointment. I hated it. I hated the fact that he thought lowly of me. That I was an un-worthy person. Un-worthy of what I’ll never know, but the idea irked me to no end and I shuffled away from him, subconsciously moving towards Remus who was staring at Sirius with a bemused expression.

            As I looked from Remus to Sirius another thought came to me. Crap. That was another complication entirely. I flashed my eyes towards Sirius and as we made eye contact, I hoped he got the message. I needed his discretion. Sirius was the only person at the school who knew I was in a relationship with Lucius Malfoy, and I didn’t relish the idea of him spreading it around. To anyone. Even his marauders friends like Remus. Before today I had kept it a secret so as to spring my boyfriend on my friends at Hogsmeade or something; you know, shock element and what-not. But now….I did not want anyone to know I was dating him. If more people thought like Sirius did I would be shunned from the people in my house; Gryffindor. I’d be called ‘traitor’. Hell, they might even kick me out altogether. Besides….I didn’t know why, but I was nearly positive Sirius had told me the truth. And if the Malfoys were involved in the war, on that side of it….I, myself, would be ashamed to have ever been involved with him.

            I wasn’t sure if Sirius understood or not, but for the moment he said nothing to Remus about what he knew of me. Thank goodness. Unfortunately the other side of my mind (the ungrateful one) was bitter about it. I didn’t like being indebted to anyone. Especially not Sirius Black.  

            I twitched my lips upward for a split second anyways, and I hoped he notice; even in the dim lighting of the cramped closet.

            “So…. What now?” Remus asked, voicing the question that had been hanging in the air.

            I looked expectantly at Sirius. He had gotten us into this mess. He was in charge of getting us out too; whether he liked it or not.

            Sirius wouldn’t meet my gaze, but looked at Remus. “I have the….” His eyes flickered in my direction nervously before he continued, “you know.”

            Remus looked at Sirius before his face lit up in obvious comprehension. What in Merlin's name were they going on about now?

            “I can’t get a detention this early in the year. Come on mate. You know McGonagall will take it out on me worse than with you and Prongs.” Remus looked at his best friend with pleading eyes and I rolled my own. It’s like they had their own weird language. They didn’t bother explaining anything to me of course.

            Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Would that be wise though? In, err, present company?”

            I stamped my foot, “I am standing right here you know.” I hissed at them both.

            Remus ignored me and nodded to Sirius who huffed in defeat as he reached into his robes and brought something out. I moved closer out of curiosity. In his hands was a silvery, smooth cloak. The fabric was a kind I had never seen before, and rippled like water in the air. I reached out a hand to touch it without thinking, but blinked when Sirius drew back his hand, the cloak with it.

            He looked at me with a stern expression. What? Sirius Black was taking something seriously? How very odd indeed.

            “If we show you this,” Sirius looked to Remus, “If we do, then you have to give us your word you won’t reveal the secret to anyone.”

            Oh goodness gracious, what the heck could possibly be so important? It was a cloak for Merlin’s sake! I scoffed and reached out a hand for the cloak, expectantly.

            Sirius drew it away from me even farther, “This is no laughing matter, Zalia.” 

I pursed my lips and stared him down. “I promise, whatever it is. I’ll keep you secret.” Sirius looked at me skeptically and we locked eyes, “You have my word.”

            “Well that settles it!” Remus happily interrupted the tense moment by grabbing the cloak from Sirius and looking towards me. I gave him my full attention as he began speaking.

            “Right, so I don’t really know how to put this other than bluntly,” he began, moving his hands as he spoke. I nodded to show I was listening and he continued, “This cloak, that I’m holding now, belongs to James. It’s been passed down in his family for years. It’s not just an ordinary cloak or anything like that. It’s one of those rare and unique magical objects. This is an invisibility cloak. Not like a disillusionment charm or anything. The cloak itself makes anything it covers invisible. The magic doesn’t wear away, and it’s never been faulty. It’s one of our marauder secrets. No one knows about it.” He paused before adding, “Well, except you I guess.”

            I cocked my head to the side and considered his words. Yes, an invisibility cloak made sense for them to have. Honestly, I wasn’t even surprised. I mean, (though I was loath to admit it) the marauders were clever, but some of the stunts they pulled could only be possible with a certain amount of help from objects, just such as the cloak I was now staring at. It was impressive, and extremely handy.

            “You can’t tell anyone.” Sirius said hurriedly.

            I rounded on him, “I gave you my word.” His gaze lowered, “I was put in Gryffindor for a reason you know.” I sniffed.

            Remus nodded to me, “I know you can be a bit….” I raised an eyebrow at him, silently warning him to choose his next words carefully.

            “Headstrong,” He said quickly, at the look on my face, “but I don’t think you’re the type of person who’d double cross me--” he blinked, “us.” He corrected himself.

            I smiled at him and sighed, “Okay! So, shall we get going then? Though I’d love to spend all night in a broom closet with you charming gentlemen, I must confess I have a few things to put in order before tomorrow morning and we simply can’t stay here.” I said sarcastically. Remus chuckled while Sirius ignored me.

            Twenty minutes later we were up in the common room (having successfully meandered our way there under the shelter of the invisibility cloak), and bidding very awkward goodnights to one another before I hurried up to my room; Crawling into bed before the rest of the girls even got up stairs. I was sick and tired of the whole day. So when Lily came into the room and whispered my name later that night, I slowed my breathing and pretended to be out already; silently willing myself to drift off into a dreamless sleep.

Because quite frankly, I’d had enough for one day.





 
A/N:

Eh. Not too sure about this chapter. It's really just a filler. Sorry about that, but the others are much better! I promise :)

 
 

 

 

 


Chapter 7: Chapter VII: Old Habits Die Hard
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      This is an entirely Lily and James sort of Chapter. Hope you like it! It was a neccassary step in thier difficult relationship.... <3

 



 



 



 

Song of the day:

 

            Give Me Love- Ed Sheeran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Chapter VII: Old Habits Die Hard

Lily’s POV:

 

 

          If you were me…. You’d be mad too.

            I mean, come on. He ‘accidently’ (notice the skepticism with which I say that) dropped the cake all over me? Yeah, right. He was full of it. Full of what you might ask? Oh, lots of things. To name a few things there’s arrogance, stupidity, bloody quidditch talent, stubbornness, trouble, oh and just to make it interesting why don’t we add some frog legs in there to.

Yep. That pretty much summed up my idea of James Potter.

So there I was. Covered in chocolate cake and frosting. Because Potter had decided he wanted to give me a cake (another one of his brilliant jokes I’m sure). And in the extremely simple act of placing it in front of me while I was sitting in the great hall, he managed to drop it in my lap, splattering its messy remains from my chin to my shoes.

“You---” I stood up and turned to him, my voice quaking in fury as I pointed a shaking finger at his chest. He had the good sense to back away in terror.

“You---” I started again, hardly able to articulate words considering how angry I was.

“I’m sorry Lilykins I---”

At the sound of his ridiculous nickname for me my eyes flashed and I opened my mouth; this time the words came out loud and clear.

“What the HELL is wrong with you?!” I started as he back-peddled swiftly.

I had had enough. For years, he had tormented me, refused to leave me alone. I was the source of his amusement; a joke. He loved playing pranks on me, humiliating me with his stupid nicknames and pretending to fancy me. Well I was DONE.

With no one to hold me back (seeing as my friends had already left for class) I stepped over the edge of the bench as everyone in the hall stared at us; probably fearing for James’ life. And for good reason too.

I came up close to him, my finger still pointed towards his chest. I backed him up against the Hufflepuff table and the people sitting close by moved away to a safe distance.

You listen to me,” I said in a deadly quiet voice.

LISTEN!” I screamed as he opened his mouth as if to disagree. He clamped it shut quickly and blinked at me.

“I am sick,” I spat the word at him, “of this; of you. Of the whole stupid thing! For years you’ve made me into some kind of joke. Constantly torturing me with your so-called attempts to flirt or whatever you want to call that. WELL I AM FINISHED WITH ALL OF IT! For some STUPID reason you love torturing me! I’ve put up with it for years! YEARS! All you ever do is pull pranks on me, say the stupidest things, and mess with my life! WHY?! What have I ever done to you?!”

By this time I was in tears, and my head was spinning from the emotion spilling out of me. But I had already started the rant; there was no going back now.

“And don’t you dare---” I poked his chest hard, “don’t you DARE try to tell me you like me! Normal people are nice to people they like. Normal people don’t use people that they like for their own sick jokes and constant amusement. Well SCREW YOU! I am over it!

I got even closer to him and narrowed my eyes to slits. His own hazel ones stared into mine as I radiated my anger at him through every part of my body and he shuddered.

“LEAVE,” I poked his chest, “ME,” I poked it again, “ALONE.” I poked it a third time before I turned on my heel and strode out of the great hall, wiping away my angry tears as I left.

So much for breakfast.

 

*

 

“Where is it…. where is it….” I shuffled through the many piles of papers, quills, and books that surrounded my bed, as I sat in the middle, cross-legged. I chewed my lip in thought as I went through the studious mess around me for a third and final time before accepting that the object, for which I was so thoroughly searching, was indeed not there.

After my, err, chat with Potter at breakfast, I had (In my emotional instability) decided against going to my next class. I had almost immediately regretted my decision though, and as I burst into the dormitory room I had grabbed all of my papers, books, etc. before setting up camp on my bed and creating a whirlpool of educational enlightenment around me to drown my sorrows (and guilt for missing a class of course).

I sucked in a deep breath and my chest heaved as I rubbed my eyes. Ah, crap. I groaned as I carefully extracted myself from my school-work fortress and sulked into the bathroom. I had forgotten that I had bothered to put on a bit of make up this morning and was now sporting two bold looking raccoon eyes. After washing away the makeup, I turned dejectedly from the mirror and, going back to my messy bed, I sighed and rubbed my temples.

I had been wearing a bit of light makeup every day since the beginning of the new school year, just to give myself a natural glow I guess. My newest roommate (a Miss Blackwood to be precise) had helped me perfect a technic that was aimed to enhance your looks instead of remake them. I liked it. It was a good tactic. Zalia wasn’t one of those stupid, preppy, plastic girls that usually came with her type of… well…. persona (for lack of a better word). I mean, for someone who was so well-off, drop-dead gorgeous, and intimidatingly popular, she wasn’t a complete bimbo. She did scare me a little though. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked her. She was sort of everything that I was afraid to be or do. She had the guts to be a bitch to people, stand out in a crowd, and come off as really intense, but at the same time she wasn’t an awful person. It was a weird sort of balance, but it worked for her apparently. I didn’t know how close of a friend she would be (or could be), seeing as we’d really only just met, and she didn’t seem the type to like ‘girl talk’ or open up to people. But, honestly, I was just happy to be on her good side.

Almost as if she could hear me, Zalia chose that moment to walk into the room and speak.

“Good sides, bad sides. What’s the bloody difference?!” She exclaimed as she threw her hands up in the air and walked further into the room.

I snapped my head up to look at her, alarmed. Had I been talking out loud….?

“Do you know how many times I’ve been asked if I was on ‘Team Lily’ or ‘Team James’ today? Do you?” She continued, coming to sit on my bed and causing more than a few books to slide onto the floor.

I sighed, relieved. Oh. She was talking about me and James. Then I sighed again as I remembered breakfast, this time it was more of a huff though. She was talking about me and James.

Zalia looked at me and raised her eyebrows, “Well Tiger Lily? What the hell happened?” She asked me, not even trying to attempt to be subtle.

I rolled my eyes at the nickname she had adopted for me and shrugged, “He pissed me off for the umpteenth time. That’s all.”

Zalia folded her arms in front of her chest. “Now Lily, I think you owe me a much better explanation than that.”

When I looked at her skeptically she smiled a bit and continued.

“You see, everyone knows that I know you.” She said matter-of-factly as I blinked at her. “So, since you decided to make such a ‘public exhibition’ of yourself, I have been tainted by association and practically assaulted in the corridors by half-wit two-bit gossipers begging me for Intel, whom I was forced to escape from by threatening to tear them limb from limb.”

I rolled my eyes at my friend and lowered my head in defeat. It wasn’t like I was going to be able to extract myself from the situation anyway. With Zalia, resistance was futile.

“I don’t really know myself though,” I told her honestly as she scooted closer to me on the bed. “It wasn’t like he really did anything different today. I mean, nothing that was un-ordinarily stupid for him, just the usual antics.” I looked at Zalia who nodded her head, listening. “Then, I don’t know, I just snapped. I was so angry, Zalia. I don’t really understand it. But I guess I just had a breakthrough moment. I needed him to understand. To comprehend exactly what I was mad about. Because usually he brushes aside my anger like it doesn’t matter. I wanted to make him listen once and for all and actually have him get what I’m saying.” I took a deep breath to steady myself as I finished. Wow, I was really into ranting today. Though I think the one at breakfast had been a bit more violent.

“Huh.” Was Zalia’s reply to my explanation. I looked at her a bit disappointed. This was the part where she was supposed to give me friendly advice. After all, Zalia might be a bit more independent and confident than the rest of us, but surely she knew how the giving and receiving of advice between friends worked?

Answering my silent question Zalia picked up some of the scattered books on the floor and placed them next to me. “Tiger Lily,” I fought the urge to roll my eyes and instead grabbed at the ends of my hair. I might as well accept the nick name. She wasn’t going to change it.

“I think you’re right.” She continued.

I looked at her sharply. “You do?” I asked slowly.

“Yes,” She replied with a calculating look. “I don’t have a problem with James like you do, but I get why you can’t stand him. He just thought it was all fun and games with you and you got pissed and finally just forced him to take you seriously and actually respond to your anger instead of just accepting it.”

I gave her a strange look as her words settled over me and I realized that she was completely right about all of it. I started laughing and Zalia raised an eyebrow at me, “Are you a Seer? Because I think you just read my mind.” I said to her sarcastically and she joined in my laughter. I loved her laugh. It was musical. Zalia was so uptight most of the time, that I didn’t often hear her genuine laugh. Usually it was just its ghost that was heard, or a sarcastic and condescending version of her actual, tinkling, melodic laughter.

We giggled for a few minutes before I suddenly let out a squeak and Zalia paused, staring at me.

“Lily?”

I practically flew off of the bed as I answered, “My next class! We have Transfiguration Zalia! I already missed one class today, I can’t even think about being late to another,” I threw my bag over my shoulder and booked it down the dormitory stairs, ignoring the whispers and looks thrown my way as Zalia and I wound through the common room and through the halls, barely reaching the Transfiguration classroom in time for our lesson.

I heaved a sigh and closed my eyes as literally two seconds after Zalia and I took our assigned seats, Professor McGonagall strode into the classroom, glancing around the room before spotting Katrina Blithe (A seventh year Ravenclaw) and one of her friends doing something suspicious looking in the back of the class. As the professor went to deliver a lecture to the two girls I was concentrating on peering determinedly at my own blank sheet of note paper in front of me, and trying to ignore the fact that I was pretty sure James Potter’s eyes were burning holes in my back, they were staring so hard. I clenched my jaw as I felt his intense gaze on me, and swiveled slightly to look at him from his position at the desk behind me.

I looked at him pointedly, crossing both my arms and legs as well as biting my lip. However much I disliked the boy, I also felt the tiniest, teensiest bit of regret that I had yelled at him quite so much. He was still a toe rag though.

Once he realized that I was waiting for him to speak, he slipped me an open notebook and a quill.

“But I don’t kn---”

“Just watch the page.” James said glancing at me nervously. I glared at him before turning around and setting the two objects on my desk and staring at the blank page on which the blank book was turned…. Until it wasn’t blank anymore.

A messy, small scrawl in dark green ink appeared on the page before me and I gaped at it:

Hey, Lily. This is a magic book. As you might have guessed. If you write on it with the quill I gave you, I’ll be able to see it in my magic notebook.’

I hesitated before scribbling on the paper with said quill. Almost immediately I could see my writing become a dark scarlet red:

And why would I do that? Why would I exchange any form of communication with you Potter?’

:All right, so it was childish. Sue me. I didn’t care if it was hypocritical, seeing as I had to pass notes with him, to talk to him about not passing notes, but I digress. His reply followed soon after:

Look, I know I’m not on your top-ten list of people to talk to, but I would like to talk with you anyways. Only for a moment, after class. No stupid stuff, I promise.’

I resisted the urge to look back at him as I wrote my reply after much deliberation:

Fine. But just this once, Potter. Just this once.

He answered quick as a whip and I rolled my eyes at what appeared on the paper:

We can still talk on this paper right now anyways. Class is boring.’

Shut it.

:After I had had the last word I carefully stowed the magic notepad in my bag and forced myself to pay attention to McGonagall’s lecture.

Class wasn’t that awful. I listened to the professor’s instructions and followed them well with the help of my partner, Molly Gaffney (A seventh year Ravenclaw who was extremely smart and quiet). We got our work done and had no trouble at all transfiguring the different plants into each other. Zalia, however had no such luck. Throughout the class the yelling from her table grew louder and louder until McGonagall told Zalia and Sirius to stow it. I felt sorry for her as she slumped back into her chair and scowled at her partner who was trying to balance a pencil on the bridge of his nose. I caught her eye and she just shook her head in exasperation as I turned back to Molly with a small smile. The marauders have a way with us girls don’t they? I told myself sarcastically as class ended. Zalia grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the room.

“Hold on a  moment,” I told her as we exited the doorway.

She let go of my arm and raised an eyebrow, “What?”

I bit my lip (Yes, I know, I did that a lot. Hard to the kick the habit, what can I say). “I promised….” I lowered my voice and shuffled my feet, “I promised James Potter that I’d speak with him after class.”

Zalia leaned away from me and delivered a grim smile, “Fine. I’ll just go meet up with Rose and Mary for the free period then.” I nodded my head and turned to go before she stopped me.

“Oh, and Tiger Lily?”

“Yes?”

She smiled her lopsided grin, “Don’t kill the poor boy. And at least try to let him keep all of his limbs attached.”

I waved her away and she skipped off as I turned to find Potter. He was leaning against the stone wall, watching me from in between the people who were still filing out of the class.

I took a deep breath before walking up to him. “All right Potter, you wanted to talk, so let’s hear it.”

I tried to keep up the tough act and intimidate him, but his eyes were staring into mine with such intensity that I had to look away.

“I just wanted to say that you were wrong.”

I snapped my head back up and opened my mouth to argue. I was wrong? Oh hell to the no. But he put up a hand and I slowly closed my mouth.

“I just mean that I haven’t tried to make you a joke over the years.”

I looked at him skeptically, “Really? What would call it then?” I asked him scathingly.

He paused, “I really only wanted to get to know you I guess. And before you shoot me down let me just say that I’m a marauder. Pranks and stupid things are just how I channel everything, whether it be anger or err…” He glanced away from me, “flirting.”

I threw up my hands at him, “Unbelievable. I can’t even comprehend why you keep up with this charade, Potter. Still? After all this time?”

He put his hands in his pockets and breathed in sharply, “You don’t believe me.” He stated.

I nodded enthusiastically, “You’re damn right I don’t believe you. And do you want to know why?” I said dramatically. He nodded his head like he did indeed want to know this important information. I snorted at him and held up my fingers to count on them.

“First off, you’ve done nothing but humiliate me for years and get on my nerves. You say pranks and jokes are just expressing yourself, well that’s absolute bullshit, and either way, it’s been seven years since you first started it all and if you actually cared about me, you would have stopped once you realized it pissed me off.” I took a breath before continuing, “Secondly, you sleep around Potter, you have your own bloody fan club and girls slung around your arms all the time at parties. How on earth am I supposed to take you seriously with all that.” I gestured to all of him and he raised an eyebrow. “Thirdly, you can’t possibly have a crush on me because, A: no one has a crush on someone for seven years and doesn’t move on. And B: You don’t know me. You don’t know who I am or where the hell I’ve been.” I took a step back from him before adding, “So there.” As the pathetic ending to my tirade.

I crossed my arms and looked at Potter triumphantly. I had just debunked all his stupid reasons to his face. Finally, he would have to just admit it to be a joke and we could all move on from the ‘James and Lily drama’.

What came next though, I was not prepared for. Not at all.

James turned to face me with a strange look on his face that I’d never seen before.

“You know what Lily, you’re still wrong and I’ll tell you why. I have been paying attention to you all these years because I do like you. Whether or not you accept that fact is up to you. I like you because you’re smart, I like you because you’re funny. I like the way you bite your lip when you’re thinking. I like that, even though I don’t understand why, you’re favorite place is the library. I like that whenever you wear your hair up, you tie it with the same blue ribbon. I like your laugh, I like your smile, and I like the way you know the answer to every question in class.” He paused for breath and I stood stock still. “Don’t you think that maybe the reason I have other girls around is because I’ve been trying to get away from my feelings about you? That maybe I am trying to get over a seven year crush which seems so impossible to you? And maybe,” he stepped closer to me so that I could feel his breath and my eyes widened as I stood rooted to the spot, “Just maybe, I’m around all the time so that I can get to know you. Because I want to know you Lily. I don’t even care that you hate me, because I know you do. I do stupid things around you because I don’t know what else to do. But it’s okay. I think that this morning I finally got it. You don’t want me to like you? Fine. I’ll do my best to respect your wishes.” He stepped away from me before slinging his bag over his shoulder and walking away.

“See you around Lily Evans.”

 

*

 

“Lily, you’ve hardly touched your food. Are you feeling all right?”

I was sitting in the great hall eating dinner next to Rose (Mary and Zalia had gone off somewhere). Actually my dinner was just sitting on my plate. There really wasn’t any eating going on as far as I was concerned. I was too confused for food at the moment.

“Wha—huh?” I muttered as I turned my head to look at my dark haired friend.

She gave me a small smile, “Something on your mind?”

Yes, there really was. James bloody Potter had got into my head, and I had no way of funneling him out. The thing was, I really, really hated him right now, but he also had inspired a burning curiosity in the pit of my stomach. The things he’d said…. He didn’t just come up with them, they were true. I did bite my lip when I was thinking, My favorite place was the Library, and I always tied my hair with a blue ribbon. The thing that I didn’t understand, was that if Potter knew all these things, then there had to be some truth to what he’d been saying to me. And that scared me. Because that meant…. That I was some-what wrong about him.

I shook my head slowly in answer to my friend, “No. I ju---” I stopped as something caught my eye and I turned my head away from Rose.

“I’ll be right back.” I got up hastily from the bench and paused before turning back to a bewildered looking Rose. “Actually, scratch that. I’ll see you in the dormitory later.”

With that, I scrambled away from my uneaten dinner and strode quickly out of the great hall in pursuit of a certain person whom I had just observed leaving the hall himself.

I knew it was rather impulsive of me. Stupid even, but it couldn’t be helped. If there was one thing I couldn’t stand, it was being confused by something. And by this particular something, I was very confused indeed.

“Potter!”

I yelled at the be-spectacled boy in front of me as I caught up to him. He looked at me in surprise and I inwardly scolded myself. What am I doing? I don’t even know what I’m going to say! This was new territory for me. I never played things by ear.

“I need to talk to you.” Oops. Guess I did now.

 

*

 

It was dark outside. Everything seemed so still and quiet, as if the world knew that I, Lily Evans, had just made a miracle happen. It was a strange elated feeling, I was sort of freaking out and panicking, but I also felt content. Like I’d just made the right decision. Which I hoped I had. Because if not, then I was a bloody idiot.

What might this miracle be you may ask? Well I’ll tell you, only don’t faint from the shock of it. Lord knows I almost did. And I’m the one who made it all happen in the first place.

I was now friends with James Potter.

Like, right now. As in, this moment, right here. I was friends with James Potter. Pals, chums, comrades, allies, mates, buddies.

“Oh Merlin,” I sunk down into a chair in the fire-lit Gryffindor common room.

It had happened so fast, I didn’t even realize what it might mean until I had left the classroom, in which Potter and myself had had our little conversation in. Then I mosied on up to Gryffindor tower where I now sat. Puzzling at my own sanity (or lack thereof), reliving what had just happened….

We were sitting in the dark, empty classroom. Sitting on the tops of two desks and facing one another. A soft breeze was coming through the window, just giving off a bit of an autumn chill. I kept my eyes firmly on my feet, which were swinging back and forth, and tried to keep from kicking myself. What on earth was I doing? What was I trying to accomplish here? When I finally got the courage to look up at the boy in front of me I was surprised to see him already staring at me in anticipation, refusing to speak first. Oh well, I couldn’t really blame him. It was I who had asked to speak with him anyways.

I cleared my throat, “Err, Potter.” He scowled as I used his last name and I rolled my eyes. “I just wanted--- I guess I--- I just wanted to clear a few things up.”

He looked at me curiously. His bright hazel eyes gazed at me from behind the lenses of his polished spectacles.

“Oh.”

I ignored him and continued, “So, when you said all of those things…. Earlier….” I could feel my ears go a bit pink at the memory. “Did you mean them? I mean really, really mean them?”

He got down from the desk top he had sat on and stood to face me. I stood as well, feeling a bit awkward being the only one sitting.

“Yes.” He looked me straight in the eye, and I looked right back. His brow was furrowed, as if from frustration, but in his eyes there was something different. A sort of sadness, or plea maybe. I couldn’t decide. But I did know something in that moment. Whether or not it was willingly, my whole self just suddenly realized that James Potter was not a bad person. Talk about a revelation.

I blinked. “I believe you.” Wait, what? I did?!

He stared at me and backed away before stopping and coming closer to me again. “You do?” He asked slowly, as if he thought I didn’t know what I was saying. Which I don’t think I did actually.

“Yes.” Oh Merlin, my mouth was not willing to cooperate with me.

He stepped even closer to me and I shuddered a bit. The only time I had ever been close to James Potter was when I wanted to rip him a new one. This was a very different situation. I don’t know if either of us really knew what to do. Then my mouth did that thing again, you know, where it just opens and words fly out, even though I didn’t tell them to.

“I don’t think you are trying to make me into a joke. I don’t know why, but I believe you. I still think you’re arrogant and stupid sometimes though. And this is not an apology…. Just an understanding. I don’t think you’re a bad person. Even if you did hex Severus for yea---” I clapped my hands over my mouth as I realized what I’d said. Severus Snape. I’d said his name. I swore I wouldn’t mention him again. Not after what happened between us. He was my ex-best friend.

James was scowling at the floor, “Why do you care about him at all?”

I jumped at the malice that had crept into his voice, before I got defensive. “You don’t know anything about him Potter. All you did was torture him for years. Please, don’t pretend as if you know anything about our friendship.”

He started pacing and I looked at him, alarmed, as he turned to me. “Lily, you know. You know what he did. What he said. That bastard doesn’t deserve your friendship.”

I narrowed my eyes, “Oh, and you do?”

His eyes widened, “Snape is bad news. I admit I pulled a few pranks on him over the years, but he had it coming to him, and he did the same to me. I wasn’t bullying some helpless bloke, Evans. Him and his friends are into some dark stuff.” He paused and lowered his voice, “You know as well as I exactly what they plan to do once they’re out of school.”

Oh yes. I knew. My dear old friend was joining the wrong side of the wizarding war. My entire face darkened, my eyes lowered, and my brow furrowed. I bit my lip and sighed. As much as I wanted to hate James Potter for what he’d just said, I couldn’t. It was true. All of it. My ex- best friend, a person whom I’d known since before we started Hogwarts even, had gone down a path that was much too narrow and steep and dangerous and wrong for me to follow. Severus Snape. I still cared about him of course. Those few people that you meet in life, who truly understand you and know you inside out, are hard to find. But once found, you never forgot them. I knew I never would. But Sev had done too much, and planned to do even worse, for me to ever let things go back to the way they were. He had chosen the wrong way. And I had to let him go. For his sake as well as mine, our friendship was over.

I looked at James and hoped to high heaven that he couldn’t see my watery eyes. “I know.”

He gave me a sad look and came to stand in front of me. “I know I’ve said it a million times, and you didn’t believe me. But, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was being such an ass this whole time.”

I looked at him with a small smile. “I forgive you.”

And it was done. I meant it. I forgave him. Just like that. Finished.

He stepped even closer to me and I was almost sure he could hear my heart pounding in my chest. I swallowed hard and kept my eyes trained straight ahead of me. Looking directly at his well-toned, muscled chest…. Oh. Bad idea.

I snapped my head up to look at him, “James?” I frowned as my voice came out like a whisper.

He smiled at the use of his first name and leaned close to me…. “Lily…”

Oh no. This wasn’t going as planned. Oh no no no no no….

I panicked and did the first thing I could think of.

I thrust my open hand into the small space between us and stared up at him with a frightened expression.

“Friends?” I asked, my voice came out like a squeak and I knew that my eyes were probably as big as saucers.

James looked at me, down at my open hand, and back at me before his face broke into a grin and he shook my hand.

“Friends.”

 

I sighed, as I watched the glow of the fire-light dance around the room. It was fairly cleared out, the common room that is. Only a few people remained to play chess or study before heading up to bed. I grabbed a pillow to curl up with and stared off into space, wondering what was going to happen tomorrow. If I was right (and I probably was) I had just started a new chapter in my life and let go of a few things that needing letting go of, and held onto a few things that needed holding onto. It felt good. It felt right.

I was drawn out of my contented thinking by my dear friend Zalia bursting into the common room and stalking over to me. I sat up a bit to make room for her on the couch, and she collapsed onto the cushions in a huff.

I smiled to myself as I observed my roommate. Zalia was different. Different than any of my other friends. She was, by far, the strongest person I knew (in spirit, not body, obviously). And yet I felt a need to look out for her. Like she was a person made of glass hiding behind a shield of iron. I felt sorry for her. I didn’t know why, but she seemed sad. I got the feeling she was buried so deep behind a barricade of unemotional strength of will, that she even fooled herself into thinking she could handle anything. I doubt the girl had cried more than twice in her life.

“You all right?” I asked her as she tossed her long black tendrils of hair behind her and sat up.

“No.” She sniffed.

I raised an eyebrow at her, “Care to elaborate?”

“Well,” She said in her patented, official-sounding voice, “There was a certain tall, dark haired boy running around today. You know of whom I speak. Him…. Mr. Sirius Black.”

I bit my tongue to keep from laughing.

“So he decided it would be freaking hysterical to transfigure my clothes.” She turned to me with a glint in her eye, “Transfigure them….invisible.”

I couldn’t help it. I let out a small chuckle and Zalia gave me a look.

“It’s not funny Tiger Lily! The only thing that saved me from kicking his sorry arse was that I knew how to reverse the spell, so he barely saw anything. You know how I am with charms like that. Anyways, he ran off after I fixed my clothes, and before I could administer any amount of pain to the bloke, he was gone. Idiot. He can’t hide from me forever.” She looked around us as she said this, as if waiting for Sirius to pop out from behind a chair in the common room.

I gave her a sorry look. It was a dreadful prank. Sirius did push the limit sometimes. I decided to warn him to cool it the next time I saw him, or Zalia would quite literally have his head on a plate. I had a feeling that his being after Zalia lately had something to do with the fact that she didn’t fall at his feet and worship his charming-self. I suppose one good thing about James’ old crush on me, was that Sirius never, ever tried to hit on me. Thank Merlin. I don’t think I could have taken two marauders.

I patted my friend’s back and was about to start my consoling speech when a certain person walked through the portrait whole.

“Hey there, Lily.”

I swear, it was like somebody put a freezing spell on the whole room. Everyone looked at James like he was crazy for trying to talk to me after what happened this morning. Of course, they didn’t know about our two other talks today that had changed the whole dynamic of our…. Err…. Relationship? No, I’ll go with friendship. That sounds better. Yeah, our new-found friendship.

I saw Zalia giving James warning signs in the corner of my eye, but he ignored her and looked at me expectantly. I sighed and gave him a small smile, knowing that there was no going back now.

“Hey, James.”

Oh bloody hell. You’d think I’d just said that I was in love with Slughorn, the way everyone was looking at me. Even Zalia. Especially Zalia.

James smiled at me and walked over to the staircase of the boys dormitories. “’Night Lily!”

“Good night!” I called back to him, cringing at all the eyes on us. Not that the place was packed. As I’d said earlier, there were few people around, but every one of them was staring at us.

As soon as James had disappeared up the staircase I felt my arm nearly come out of its socket as Zalia dragged me up to our room with a confused look on her face. As we got up stairs, she closed the door and turned to me as I sat calmly at the end of her bed, crossing my legs.

“Okay,” She said slowly as she swiped a stray curl away from her face.

What,” She asked me with a raised eyebrow, “The hell was that?”

I gave her a nervous smile, “We came to an agreement?” I winced as she rounded on me.

“You did what?! I don’t understand you Lily! You almost murdered him this morning! You’ve despised James Potter for practically your whole life!” She took a breath and came to sit by me.

“What changed?” She asked in a somewhat calmer voice.

“It’s like this,” I tried to think up a good explanation for the whole problem (actually an explanation to why there was no problem). “We talked…. Privately. And I let him explain everything. I really listened to him. And I made him listen to me too. Which he did. So…” I took a deep breath, “We decided to be friends. I called a truce. No more stupid things from James and I won’t scream at him.”

I sighed when I finished and Zalia looked impressed. It sounded so much simpler when I said it like that. We were friends; no more yelling, no more ‘Lilykins’ (hopefully), and no more wanting to tear my hair out at the sight of him.

“Well…. I still don’t really get how that all happened, but whatever!” Zalia stood up and flounced over to the bathroom, presumably to take off her makeup.

“You do know that he’s going to want to talk to you at breakfast tomorrow Lily. That’s what ‘friends’ do.”

I hesitated. Oh, right. Well, even if we didn’t talk at breakfast, people would see us being civil to each other and start the gossip mill anyways. Better to get it over with. It was going to be big news though. My detestation for James was known throughout the entire student body.

“Yeah.” I shrugged indifferently and went to my trunk to get out my pajamas. Though it was already Wednesday, I could tell that the rest of the week was going to be long and drawn out. I was in for an interesting morning tomorrow anyhow. Not only because of James, but also because if James was sitting with us, so were the rest of the marauders, and that meant Sirius and Zalia battling it out with their equally stubborn personalities.

I just hoped I remembered to be nice to James. Or at least civil. After all, old habits die hard.


Chapter 8: Chapter VIII: Who's Laughing Now?
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 Song of the day:

            SAIL- Awolnation

 

 

 

 

  Chapter VIII: Who’s laughing now?

Zalia’s POV:

 

        I was getting anxious. It was already almost Thursday night and I hadn’t received a response to the letter I sent Lucius. I was racking my mind for anything weird I might have said in the note that might put him off, but I couldn’t think of a single thing. I was counting on him showing up in Hogsmeade this Saturday. I needed to confront him. I was not a naturally emotional person, so when I got pushed too far (like now for instance), I starting imploding…. Silently…. On the inside. You couldn’t tell to look at me, but I was ready to blow. So, that being said, I’d rather put off steam at the person I was really upset with (aka my lying boyfriend) and not someone else.

            “Zalia, you’re doing it again.”

            I blinked and sat up from where I was slumped over the edge of the couch arm.

            “Hmmm?”

            I looked over at Rose, who was sitting on the burgundy, wool rug by the fire place, with Mary; both working on a potions essay. The petite brunette rolled her eyes at me.

            “Did you hear anything I just said to you?”

            I shook my head at her and pursed my lips, slightly miffed that my train of thought had been interrupted.

            She just shook her head and turned back to Mary, muttering, “Oh, never mind….”, under her  breath.

            “Honestly, Zalia, are you all right? You’ve seemed sort of….I don’t know…. Distracted lately.”

            I looked at Lily who was watching me cautiously and answered her. “I’m perfectly fine. But, if there was something distracting me, which there isn’t, I probably wouldn’t tell you about it, Tiger Lily. No offense.”

            She just sighed, “Whatever.”

            I shrugged, not too bothered about it. The girls would have to deal with having me not answering personal questions. It just wasn’t my thing.

            “Hello there, friend.”

            I smiled as I watched James approach our group, with Remus close behind, and settle himself on the couch besides Lily, who looked only slightly uncomfortable. Oh well, she was the one who decided to be friends with him. I was pretty surprised when Lily told me about her truce with James, but I don’t think my reaction was anywhere close in caliber with the marauders’. Seriously, not even in the same ball park.

            When Lily, Rose, Mary and I had arrived for breakfast this morning, (Lily and I having told the other girls about the James thing) it was apparent that James had not told his friends about his new friendship with his ‘Lilykins’. Lily was blushing bright red throughout the whole thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. After we had sat down in the great hall, the marauders arrived and, of course, James skipped over to Lily’s side and sat down next to her.   

            Everyone who saw what was happening watched in horror, positive that James was going to get terribly punished by Lily for the grave offense. Then it happened. To everyone’s extreme and utter shock; Lily gave him a winning smile and offered to pour him some orange juice.

            Let me just say, I wish I’d had a camera. The murmuring among the great hall, and the happiness on James’ face was one thing, but the other marauders’ reactions were priceless.

            I had looked over at them immediately to watch it unfold, and they did not disappoint. They were standing in the middle of the great hall when James’ had run over and sat down by us. After ‘The Moment’ (as people were now calling Lily and James’ first public show of friendship), Pete simply ran to James’ side and sat down next to him, timidly saying hello to me and my friends. Remus remained rooted to the spot, dumbfounded, with his mouth hanging open so wide that I was actually afraid it might come unhinged. But, Sirius…. Sirius took the cake. He kind of just stood there for a moment. His lips tightly closed, his knuckles white as he gripped his book bag, then he walked over to us. I had stuffed my mouth with bacon to keep from laughing as he came to a stop next to us. Then, as Lily and James turned to look at him, he promptly dropped his bag and an extremely intelligent remark flew out of his mouth;

            “What the fuck?”

            That Ladies and gentlemen is when I practically spit out my bacon from laughing, Remus came to his senses and walked over to calm down a clearly freaked out Sirius, Lily went a violent shade of red, and James asked if anyone wanted some toast with a very pleased expression on his face.

            I thought it had all gone very well, personally.

            “Is this seat taken?”

            I smiled coyly up at Remus who had a smirk on his face as I gestured for him to sit down next to me on the couch.

            “So….” Remus leaned close to whisper to me. “Is this weird or what? I mean, it’s great and all, but who saw that coming?” He looked over at Lily and James, who were exchanging polite small talk.

            I snorted and whispered back, “I don’t think anyone did to be honest. I haven’t been here for very long, and even I was shocked by this new friendship thing.”

            Remus nodded and I noticed the small brown freckles that were splashed across his nose, for the first time. He wrinkled his nose as he observed our two friends, and I smiled.

            “All Lily told me, was that they talked it out. I’m just glad that they worked out their differences,” I glanced at the newspaper I had been holding. I had made a point to subscribe to the daily profit now that I knew what was going on in the world. “I mean, we definitely don’t need people fighting over stupid things all the time, around here. They were a little over the top.”

            I continued looking over some random newspaper articles, until I noticed Remus’ odd silence. I looked up to find him staring at me with a face that clearly said: ‘You are unbelievable’.

            “What?” I asked him sharply.

            I could see a small smile tugging at the edge of his mouth. “Seriously, Zalia? What about you and Padfoot?”

            I looked away pointedly. I knew he was talking about Sirius of course, but really, ‘padfoot’? What kind of nick name was that?

            “That’s different.” I stated flatly

            He just twitched his mouth a bit and gave a halfway smile. “Of course it is.”

            I folded the newspaper on my lap and scooted forward. “Look, Sirius is the most immature, annoying, egotistical, proud, tall, dumbarse that I’ve ever met. That’s why it’s different.”

            Remus just smiled, “You two are too similar. That’s why you don’t get along.”

            Excuse me? I raised an eyebrow at him, “Umm, no. He’s a bloody idiot. I’m not. Case closed.”

            He shook his head, “Come on, give me an example of what he’s done that’s so awful.”

            I gave him my lopsided grin. That was too easy. I was about to start naming off instances when a voice travelled into our midst.

            “Moony! You traitor!”

            I put on my ‘Sirius-is-here’ glare and looked pointedly at Remus, “There you go, right there.”

            He gave me an apologetic look as Sirius strode onto the carpet and into the center of our group.

            “Traitor?” Remus asked him, clearly amused.

            “Yes!” Sirius gave me a look, “You’re fraternizing with the enemy!”

            I rolled my eyes, “I didn’t realize we were at war, Black.”

            He looked at Remus with an exasperated expression. “See! She doesn’t even know when she’s fighting a battle.” He paused to look me up and down, “I mean, I’m winning, but still.”

            Remus looked at each of us and then focused on Sirius. “Really, mate?”

            I opened my newspaper back up, and pretended not to listen to them. On the inside though, I was trying to make sense of Black. He was pretending like he had never found out about Lucius. I was too of course (I wished desperately that I had never screamed at him about it), but I’d thought he’d be acting more weird around me, or more cruel or something, I don’t know. But if he was fine with going on with our normal banter and insults, who was I to complain?

            “Don’t tell me you’re going to trade off onto the losing team.” Sirius warned Remus, gravely.

            “There are no teams.” Remus said flatly.

            “Are too!” Sirius exclaimed, sounding hurt, he gave Remus sad look. “You’re just as blind as she is.”

            I looked up at Black and sighed, “Fine. If we’re at war, you tell me. What are the terms of this battle?” If he wanted a fight, he would get one. Little did he know that I was probably one of the most competitive people ever to grace the surface of this planet.

            Remus stood up and glanced down at me, “Are you really going to do this?”

            I nodded and sighed, “We are definitely going to do this.”

            Sirius stared at me for a moment before his face broke out into an excited grin. “Yes! Okay, I get Remus, James, Lily---”

            “Nope!” Lily remarked without even looking up from her book. I smiled.

            “Fine then, I get Rose and---”

            “I don’t think so.” Rose told him from her spot on the floor.

            I leaned back into the couch. “We’ll do girls versus boys.”

            Sirius thought about it for a moment before agreeing. “All right, the ammunition is pranks Blackwood.” He smirked at me, “This is a full on prank war.”

            I nodded slowly after hesitating. It wasn’t that I couldn’t take these guys, I could, but they were still the marauders. Pranking legends. I smiled wickedly. I was up for a challenge.

            “Fine,” I said, “But there are to be no pranks that could get someone hurt, nothing that has to do with anyone being naked,” I stared at Black pointedly and he didn’t even have the decency to look ashamed at the reference to his invisible clothes trick. Ruffian. “and nothing illegal.”

            Sirius looked at me skeptically and I rolled my eyes “Nothing too illegal.”

            He nodded, looking satisfied. He should be. I couldn’t believe I was doing this. Whatever. I was all in now. The marauders were going down.

            “We start tomorrow, and it goes until one of us surrenders.”

I glanced at Remus who gave me a look that was full of pity; I glared at him. He obviously thought we didn’t stand a chance.

            That pissed me off. I didn’t need pity. I was going to win this stupid thing, no matter what.

            Sirius rubbed his hands, “All right boys! Time to go, we’ve got some planning to do.” He gave me a wink and I stood up.

            “So do we.” I replied. “Lily?” She stood up immediately, at the look on my face, and rallied Rose and Mary.

            As us girls, and the guys left at the same time to go plan the utter destruction of one another, I stomped up the stairs with a determined look.

            It was so on.

 

*

 

            “Shhhh! Honestly! Rose, for Merlin’s sake stop quivering.”

            “Hey, I’ve never been up here before, this is really scary.”

            “Don’t be such a baby. Get your arse up here. We need all of us to pull this off.”

            It was around two in the morning. The girls and I had stayed up all night brainstorming and I finally convinced them to kick off the prank war tonight. The boys would never suspect it. Besides, we were playing by the rules. Technically it was the next day so….

            “Are you su---”

            “Of course I’m sure.” I snapped at Mary.

            I loved the girls, but they were still a bunch of ninnies. All we were doing was creeping into the boys’ dormitory and laying out a prank for them to wake up to. We kept tiptoeing up the stairs until I got to the door marked ‘7’ for the seventh years. I held my breath and slowly pushed the wooden door open. Praying that it wouldn’t creak. Luckily it didn’t. As soon as I stepped inside, I cast the ‘mufliato’ charm on all of the four-poster beds in the room, each with their curtains drawn, to make sure we wouldn’t wake them.

            I ducked my head back out and motioned for the girls to follow me. I slowly crept into the room, my sock-covered feet not making a sound. Lily came in after me, then Mary, then Rose.

            I quietly opened the giant pack of plastic cups I had carried up the stairs with me. We had all waited in the common room that night until a house elf had arrived to clean it (as they did every night), and then asked said house elf for a giant pack of plastic cups, which the little creature was only too happy to provide.

            I handed them out to the girls and we all made our way further into the room, silently avoiding the dirty clothes, trash, and other strange things that covered the floor. Then, just like we had practiced in our own dorm, we cast the aguamenti charm on each cup and began filling them up with water, then going and placing them everywhere in the room. I had made sure we had enough to cover the entire floor, plus extra, like the night stands or something. It was an old school prank, but I thought it was good to start old school. Just to give the boys a taste of what was to come, before the good stuff.

            The girls and I somehow, without a hitch, managed to get the whole room covered in plastic cups full of water (leaving a path for us to get to the door). After we all exited the room, the girls waited outside for me and I took out a jar of honey (also courtesy of the house elf) and emptied its contents all along the door path (backing out as I did so), and in random spots along the way, just to make sure that they didn’t have any safe zones when they woke up. After that, I put a sticking charm on the cups so that they couldn’t be removed or tipped over from their spots on the floor, unless by a spell.

            As I left and closed the door, I smiled, pleased with our handy work. The four of us giggled and whispered as we ran quietly back to our room, feeling like little devils in the night.

            Once we were all in bed I turned off the light and whispered into the darkness.

            “Good night boys…. Sleep while you can.”

            Oh, the thrill of causing your enemy’s downfall.

 

*

 

            “Zalia, up.”

            I smacked my lips and turned onto my side. I was so damn tired. There was no way in….

            “Get your lazy arse out of bed Blackwood!”

            I fell out of bed at the sound of my red-headed friend’s voice and groaned.

            “Sweet Merlin Lily, are you trying to murder me?”

            “Just waking you up, Love.” She gave me a wink as I looked up to see her tying her hair back with a baby blue ribbon. How on earth she was able to do that I’ll never know. Have you ever tried tying your hair with a ribbon? I have, and let me tell you it’s flipping impossible.

            I grumbled and stood up, fixing my sheets as I did so. “What time is it?” I yawned.

            “6 a.m.”

            My mouth dropped open. “What the hell?! Why am I awake? This is an ungodly hour of the morning! You know what, no, it’s not even morning. It’s still night time.” I rubbed my eyes and fell backwards onto my bed. I could almost feel the three sets of eye rolls directed at me from my friends.

            “Do you want to miss the prank or what? I want to see the looks on their faces when the boys come down stairs.”

            I hesitated and considered Mary’s words.

            “Oh, sod it all….” I started getting ready for the day, I took a shower and got dressed, deciding to forego the makeup. I did not care. I would look good enough without it anyways. After the four of us were completely ready (about an hour later- shut up, I know we took forever), we sauntered downstairs to hang around the common room until the boys got up.

            I immediately fell onto the nearest couch, snuggling into a pillow. “Wake me when you hear someone coming down the stairs….”

            Only, I never got the chance to go to sleep, seeing as moments later we heard a crash and an extremely loud cursing tirade coming from the exact location of our prank. I sat up, wide awake now and looked at the girls who each shook their heads as if knowing what I was about to do.

            “Let’s go!” I bounded up the stairs towards the boys’ room. Ignoring the sounds of indignation from my roommates.

            I burst into the room to see the results of our hard work and found four, very grumpy looking boys staring up at me from their various uncomfortable positions on the floor (covered in water from the cups, and in some cases, honey).

            I burst out laughing as I saw them, doubling over from the force of it.

            “You cheated!” The complaint came from Sirius, who was making a failed attempt at walking on top of the cups, and pretty much just falling over/crawling.

            I crossed my arms, “I did not!”

            He scowled at me and cursed as he fell again, “You did too! We said the war started today! Not last night…”

            I grinned at him, “We did this at two in the morning. So it actually was today.”

            The look on his face went from confused, to impressed, to pissed-off. Ha.

            Zalia-1   Sirius-0

            “Okay, I felt a little sorry for you guys at first, but screw that.” I turned to James’ voice and started laughing again. He had clearly fallen out of bed, and was lying on his back in a puddle of water and a bunch of crushed cups, looking very uncomfortable, “We’re taking you down.”

            I narrowed my eyes at him, “You may think we don’t stand a chance against you, but may I remind you who’s on the floor lying in our prank, and who’s laughing.” All four boys scowled at me. Excellent. Even Remus’ annoyed look wasn’t enough to bring my competitive spirit down.

            I tossed my hair over my shoulder and moved to go back downstairs.

            “I believe I won that round.”

 

*

 

Sirius’ POV:

 

            “I can’t get this damn honey out of my hair….”

            “Shut up.”

            “You shut up.”

            “No, you shut up.”

            “The both of you shut up! You’re such girls….”

            “You shut up, Moony.”

            “I will actually punch you right now. In the face.”

            I started laughing. Remus? Punch Me? I could take it.

            He stopped and turned to me with an evil grin. “No wait a minute, I think I’ll just shave off your hair in your sleep.”

            I froze and subconsciously grabbed for my precious locks of luscious, black hair. He wouldn’t….

            “Scared now Black?” He grinned at me and I scowled.

            “No….” Although, my voice sounded uncertain.

            “You should be worrying about my hair, not Padfoot’s.” James whined as we walked through the castle towards the dungeons for Potions class.

            “Just take a shower when we get back.” Pete told James as he continued to complain after his honey-matted hair.

            I had to admit, I wasn’t prepared for the prank this morning. But even though it was a surprise, it wasn’t a really great prank by any means. Sure it was annoying and all, and yes we got soaking wet, couldn’t walk anywhere, and James ended up falling into a bunch of honey, but come on. We could beat that.

            The four of us arrived at the classroom and took our seats. I watched James and Lily exchange a few sentences and stared. It was just so weird. Like a law against nature had been broken. Lily Evans hated James. It was just a fact. I mean, what next?! If James and Lily could be friends, then anything was possible. I half expected Remus to announce that he was going to become a professional ballerina.

            James sat down beside me, with a stupid grin on his face and I sighed. Although they were friends, I sort of felt like Lily was giving him false hope of a potentially romantic relationship between them, which would be fine and all, but I highly doubted that she would actually go out with prongs.

            As Slughorn began to explain about the lesson I leaned back in my chair and gazed around the room, tousling my hair. My eyes stopped on a certain girl with long, black hair, towards the back of the classroom.

Ah, there she was. My nemesis. In all her shining glory, chewing on the end of her quill.

            I have to say, she had me extremely confused. She hadn’t known there was an unofficial war going on in the wizarding world, She was dating Lucius Malfoy, and then she had decided to join in a prank war against me. I mean, really, what the hell?

            The one thing that really bothered me though, was her boyfriend. I could care less if she was going out with someone, but even though I didn’t like Zalia, I knew she wasn’t stupid. Therefore, I could not comprehend her choice of love-interest. I’d met Lucius Malfoy, and he was way older than Zalia. He was cold and careless, not to mention he was on his way to becoming a full-fledged death eater. Why on earth was she dating him?

            I stared at her absentmindedly and let my mind wander. Surprisingly, I wasn’t even pissed at her for going out with him, I was more just shell-shocked by it. Then there was the fact that she’d screamed at me and then pretended that we never had that weird revelation-like yelling match outside the Gryffindor common room. She acted like it just never happened. So, I didn’t bring it up.

            I rubbed my temples and glanced down at my notebook. I think I might’ve actually been getting a head ache from all that awful thinking. My head was meant for looking good, not for swirling thoughts and complicated problems.

            James and I spent most of Potions class messing up our fungi-face potion and trying to ‘accidentally’ fling it across the table at Snivellus. We were having a great time until Lily turned around and gave James’ a look, and he stopped immediately resembling a dog with its tail between its legs. Oh well, class ended a few moments after that anyways. As we were leaving I caught Zalia’s arm and she gave me a look.

            I walked her over to the opposite wall of the corridor so we would have less chance of being overheard. I took a deep breath. I needed to clear my mind, and talking to her was the only way to do it.

            “I haven’t forgotten that conversation.”

            She tilted her chin up and gripped her bag tighter, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Black.” She grumbled.

            I rolled my eyes, “Yes, you do. So let’s skip the part where you deny everything. I was there, I heard you.”

            She looked at the ground and then threw her hands up, “What do you want me to say?!” She whisper shouted at me.

            “I don’t know, but it worries me. You’re friends with some people that I care about here, and even if I’m not close to Mary, Rose, or Lily, they have a right to know if you are on the death eaters’ side.”

            She looked up at me, shocked, and I stared back confused. Well, if she was dating Malfoy what other conclusion did she expect me to come to? I didn’t know her all that well, what was I supposed to think?

            “How could I be on their side when I didn’t even know there were sides until a few days ago?” She asked slowly.

            Oh. Right. I tried to back up my argument. “But you’re dating Lucius Malfoy.” I said the name with disgust. They were good friends of my family, the Malfoys. That fact right there was a mark against them.

            She clenched her hands into fists at her side and screwed up her face. I honestly felt like I grew bit shorter just then, not that I was scared. Psh. I wasn’t scared of anything.

            “Not that it’s any of your business, Black,” She hissed through gritted teeth, “But that fact may well change this weekend. So don’t worry. I’m not a safety hazard for the precious marauders or anyone else.” She glared at me, “But you might want to be more careful. From what I heard in that broom cupboard, you’re doing fine putting you and your friends in danger without my help. I think your pranks have rubbed a few Slytherins the wrong way.”

            She turned on heel and walked over to Lily who was watching us curiously. I stayed where I was, feeling like she had just slapped me. Had she really suggested I was careless? Reckless? Okay, so maybe I was like that about little things, but I could take a war seriously. There was real danger and I knew it. I was putting my friends in harm’s way? She had pissed me off at an entirely new level this time. That—

            “Pads? Come on, we don’t want to miss lunch.”

            I was shaken from my thoughts by my three best friends who started heading in the direction of the great hall. With a furrowed brow I followed them. I was hungry after all.

            “Sorry James, we’re not sitting with the enemy.” I held James’ collar as I saw him try to make a beeline and sit next to Lily. But Lily was with Zalia, and I was not going to sit with her. No way.

            My best friend glared at me, “What the hell? Just because you don’t get on with Zalia doesn’t mean that I should have to sacrifice ‘Lily time’.”

            Remus stared at him, amused. “‘Lily time’?”

            James nodded as we sat down, “Yes, now that we’re friends, I get to have ‘Lily time’.”

            Moony, Pete, and I all shook our heads at our lovesick friend.

            I decided to jump right into the topic that was on my mind as we piled on sandwiches to our plates. “Any ideas mates? For pranks on the girls?”

            Pete looked up, “I don’t know, but it has to be good, I mean, they got the first prank! We always get the first prank in a prank war!”

            I nodded and then stopped, looking at Peter, “Wait, we’ve never done a prank war like this before.”

            Pete’s ears went red and he started grumble incoherently. I ignored him and turned to James, my main partner in crime.

            He sighed and looked towards Lily, “All right, I suppose we’re going all in. So here’s what I’m thinking….”

            Our brainstorming took up the rest of lunch, but by the time we were done, we had a plan. I thought it was pretty funny, it would definitely get the girls good. We were going to use a hate potion. Now before you get all worried, it sounds worse than it is. A hate potion causes its drinker to show their worst traits for a day. It amplifies every bad thing about them. When James suggested it I jumped at the idea. We hadn’t done something like it, and it would be rather entertaining. As we wandered up to the Astronomy tower, I grinned as imagined what the girls would be like. I had a better chance of guessing Lily and Zalia’s actions seeing as I didn’t talk to Rose and Mary all that much. I figured Zalia would just be a bitch all day, maybe hex a few people. Lily would probably be the more fun to watch. She would get all nerdy, start yelling at people, freak out about her pet peeves which were clicking noises, and people talking in class (I’d known the girl for seven years, I had a pretty good read on her, considering James talked about her all the time). All in all I was looking forward to the prank tomorrow. Oh, and from now on, we would be locking our dormitory door. I didn’t fancy another episode like we’d had this morning. And James still had honey in his hair.

            After our last few classes the mates and I went back down to the great hall for dinner. This time I gave in and we sat with the girls. Zalia wouldn’t look at me, but it was better than having her yell at me I guess. Besides, what did she have to be mad about? She’s the one who was being a—

            “--- so then I told him to shove of, because there was no way in hell I was going to help him with the essay. I mean come on, you know what Griffin is like. He’s a gormless, pratt, who can’t, and won’t, do any work. I’m not an idiot, I knew when he asked for help he really meant for me to do the whole thing for him. He tried giving me these weird cow-eyes. Ha! Like I was going to fall for that, he’s not even that attractive. Sirius are you listening to me?”

            Well, I was trying to. But Mary McDonald was talking a million miles an hour, and I’m sorry, but it was hard to keep up. I had got sat in between Mary and Remus, with Rose sitting on his other side, and Zalia, Pete, James, and Lily across from us. I liked Mary, she was nice and all, but I wasn’t sure if she was actually breathing in between words. She was talking so fast and so much that I found myself just staring at her mouth. Wow. It was like watching something in fast-forward mode.

            “Um, yes.” I answered, giving her a smile.

            She raised an eyebrow, “I’m sure you were. So then you agree, that Hogwarts should cut down on the food portions. We don’t need to eat that much right?”

            I stared at her, alarmed, “What? No! We need food!”

            She crossed her arms and gave me a smug smile. I nearly smacked myself in the forehead. She was joking. Now she knew I wasn’t listening, oops. The jig was up.

            “Sorry?” I offered.

            She rolled her eyes, “Yeah, yeah. Anyways, I was going to ask you. What’s happening for quidditch this year? I know James’ is the captain and that’s great and all, but when are try outs for the team?”

            I looked at her, impressed. It wasn’t often that you found girls wanting to talk about quidditch. “Are you going to try out?”

            She blushed, “Maybe….”

            I smiled crookedly.

            She shrugged, “I spent hours practicing this summer. I really want to get on the team, and with Veronica and Louis’ spots open this year, I hope I’ll have a shot.”

            I nodded slowly. Veronica and Louis had been the old beaters on the Gryffindor quidditch team, they’d graduated last year, leaving the beaters’ spots for this year wide open. I looked Mary up and down. She was a good size for a girl, tall enough and athletic looking. She might make a fair beater.

            I turned to James and threw a roll at him. “Oi!”

            He turned from his conversation with Lily and Peter to look at me, annoyed.

            “Mary wants to try for beater this year.”

            His expression changed to one of excitement as it always did when the topic of quidditch came up. He had a weird obsession over it. Now don’t get me wrong, I was a keeper on the team, and I loved the sport as well, just like any normal bloke, but James just went kind of….mental…about it sometimes. Seriously. I was there this summer, when the letter came from McGonagall saying he was captain, and he went a bit insane for a while. His parents and I were really worried.

            “Are you good?” James turned to Mary with a glint in his eye.

            The poor girl looked a bit flustered and shot me a glance before answering. “Yeah, I’m all right.”

            “You’re going to have to be better than all right to be on my team.”

            Lily hit James as Mary adopted a fearful look.

            “Oww!” James rubbed the arm that Lily had aimed at as I laughed. “Sorry Evans, but Quidditch is one thing I am abstinent about. My team is going to go down in history as the most epic Quidditch team Hogwarts has ever seen.” He looked off into the distance as if imagining it all, glory and fame.

            Lily rolled her eyes, “Just be nice to my friends James.”

            “I promise,” He held up a hand, “…. Unless they make me lose a quidditch match. Then I can’t promise anything.”

            Lily thought for a moment, “I suppose I can live with that,” she sighed.

            We all looked at her, and she took a mouthful of salad before she noticed our silence.

            “What?”

            “Still weird to hear you being nice to Prongs.” Remus told her and her cheeks flushed.

            “Well,” I rubbed my hands together as I decided to keep the conversation going. If there was one thing I hated, it was silence. I would rather just chatter off about nonsense. “Anything interesting in the paper today?” I glanced over to Rose who was reading the daily prophet.

            She put it down and looked at me, “Not particularly.”

            I took a mouthful of potatoes, “Oh come on, there must be something.”

            Rose glanced around our table before answering in a low voice, “There’s been more disappearances.”

            The entire atmosphere around us changed. I drew in a breath and squared my shoulders subconsciously. Lily and Mary looked at each other and then back at Rose. Peter gave an odd sort of squeak, James growled, Remus frowned, and Zalia stared down at the table, her eyes wide.

            “Anyone we might know?” James asked softly.

            Rose sighed and shrugged, “There’s so many now-a-days, that it’s impossible to tell. They don’t even name them all in the news any more. The only people they name are the ones that were clearly murdered by---”

            Rose stopped speaking as Zalia got up abruptly and her silverware clattered to her plate as she silently stalked out of the Great Hall.

            All of us stared after her until James broke the silence, “What’s up with her?”

            I grimaced. I figured it had something to do with Zalia only just finding out about the war. I felt kind of sorry for her, even if I didn’t like her. Being told something like that had to have an effect on you.

            Lily stood up, “I’ll go talk to her.”

            I sighed and closed my eyes, knowing that what I was about to do was not a good idea. Definitely not a good idea, but it had to be done. I was the one who’d told her about everything in the first place, and Zalia didn’t seem like the type to confide in anybody, even Lily. She would never admit her ignorance of the war to anyone else. I was the only one she could talk to, the only one she could ask questions too. And having the upbringing that I had, I knew I could answer nearly all of them. I had to go deal with her.

            I stood up, facing Lily, “No, I’ll go.”

            Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn’t’ blame them. I did sound pretty crazy.

            “No, Sirius,” Lily told me with a firm expression, “she’ll rip your head off if you try and talk to her. I don’t know what’s going on, but she doesn’t seem to be in a good mood.”

            I bit the corner of my mouth, “I know, but I do know what’s going on, believe me, I can deal with her.”

            “What’s going on then?” She asked quickly.

            “Sorry, Evans, not my place to say. She’s not my favorite person, but I’m not a complete arse. I won’t spread around the issues of others.”

            I stared Lily down as she considered me, and ignored the worried expressions on James, Peter, and Remus’ faces. I hadn’t told them about the heated encounter with Zalia. Sure, she probably deserved it, but I wasn’t one to start the rumor mill, even if it was just my friends. It didn’t seem right.

            “All right,” She answered finally and sat down, “But if she hexes you, don’t come crying to me about it.”

            I nodded and without a word, turned to follow after Zalia. Damn her. This wasn’t going to be pleasant.

            I ran out into the nearest corridor and groaned when I didn’t see her anywhere. Instead of just running around trying to look for her, I decided to cut to the chase and go up to the dormitory to get the marauders map, and spot her on it.

            I sprinted up (without so much as breaking a sweat I might proudly add) and got the map out of James’ trunk, in which we always kept the map and invisibility cloak.

            “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

            I smiled, still pleased with the password we had come up with to get the map to reveal itself. I opened the parchment quickly and scanned around for Zalia’s name. I twitched my mouth to the side in a sour expression when saw she was in the Girl’s dormitory. See, the problem with that was that no boys could go up the stairs to the girls’ dormitories. The staircase actually turned into a slide if any of us even tried. The girls could get up to our rooms fine, but, oh no, boys weren’t to be trusted. I snapped my fingers as a light bulb came on in my head and a thought hit me. Boys couldn’t get up there…. but dogs could.

            Perhaps I should explain. I am an unregistered, illegal animagus. I know, sounds just like something I would do right? In fifth year, James, Pete, and I all became animagi in secret, for reasons that will become known to you in due time. But this means that the three of us could transform into a certain animal at will. The road to being an animagus is not one many venture after, there are very few animagi in the world, and to be one unregistered with the ministry of magic is highly criminal. After the long and difficult magic is performed, a part of you is translated by the magic into an animal that reflects a bit of you I suppose. My animagus form was a shaggy, bear-like, black dog.

            I checked the map to make sure that everyone but Zalia and I were still at dinner. I couldn’t risk anyone seeing me as a dog. After I made sure the coast was clear, I ran down stairs and transformed. It was a euphoric feeling. My sense of hearing and smell were heightened, and my sight became less colorful, but somehow sharper. I felt the different muscles in my body changing and wagged my tail as I bounded upstairs to the girls’ room where I transformed back into myself. I didn’t trust Zalia to know about the animagus form. Not at all.

            I took a deep breath and knocked on the door, seeing as it was locked.

            “Lily?” Zalia’s muffled voice asked.

            I cringed and just knocked again, hoping she would open the door to see who it was. Because if I told her it was me, I was going to be stuck out here for a very long time. Luckily I was right, I heard the door click and watched as Zalia’s head slowly peeked out from the small opening.

            “What the hell are you doing here?” She narrowed her eyes and I pushed past her into the room, before she could shut the door on me.

            “Nice to see you too.”

            She glared at me as I laid back on one of the beds and made myself comfortable. Unlike our room, the girls’ was pretty clean. It was also more vibrant, and better smelling. I looked around and saw a poster of the Beatles (a muggle band) on one wall, and a huge tropical calendar on another. There were picture frames of friends and family on every night stand, except on, the one closest to the big window.

            “Why are you in my room? How did you even get up here?”

            I sat up and gave her a smile, knowing it would annoy her and also, that I probably shouldn’t egg her on. Ah, well.

            “Just fancied a chat, dearie.”

            “I’m not kidding Sirius, why are you in here?”

            I clicked my tongue and looked her up and down. She looked like some sort of beautiful, terrifying creature with her hair sticking out like she had been pulling on it, and her unnatural pale-blue eyes wide. I decided to just get down to business and not piss her off anymore if I could help it. Not that she didn’t deserve it.

            “You okay?” the concern in my voice surprised me even.

            Zalia just continued to glare at me until she let her arms drop to her sides and sat on the bed that was next to the night stand with no pictures. Figures. That was probably her’s.

            “I shouldn’t have left dinner.”

            It was a statement, one that she said more to herself than me. I shrugged.

            “It doesn’t matter. I know what’s bugging you, I didn’t tell the others.”

            “Thanks,” She said stiffly. I could she hated feeling gratitude towards me.

            I hesitated, not wanting to say the wrong thing, but also curious.

            “How--” I paused, searching for the right words, “Why didn’t you know about it? Any of it?”

            She looked at the floor and then sat up more, probably trying to look intimidating. It wasn’t working.

            “I traveled around a lot. I never got close to anyone. My parents wouldn’t let me read the news, I was kept away. No one, no one ever said anything. None of them.” He voice got all scratchy at the end and I nodded to her.

            Huh. That’s tough. Everyone keeping something like that from you. It sucked, and that’s really all there was too it. It just sucked.

            “So why did they let you come to school now? Not very smart of your parents if they were trying to keep you ignorant of everything.” I told her a bit harshly.

            She snorted, “Because they’re so freaking scared. That’s why. This was their way of letting me know. They knew that even if I didn’t go to school, I would be done with my studies soon, go out in the world, and then I would figure everything out. They thought that if I went here then I would figure it out in the safety of Hogwarts, you know, to ‘soften the blow’. Bloody cowards. Couldn’t even tell me themselves.” She reached out and picked up a quill, turning it in her hands as she scowled at the floor.

            What she said sort of made sense, but if it was true, then she was probably pretty pissed at her family. I snapped my head up when she started laughing.

            “You know what, that’s not even it. It makes so much fucking sense now, Sirius. They wanted me to go out with Lucius so that they’d be safe! Ha! It was all a joke! A fucking joke! I get with Lucius, and the Malfoys make sure my family doesn’t get slaughtered by Voldemort! Everybody wins!” She cackled and snapped the quill she was holding in half.

            I was silent, not really knowing what to say to that, and she stood up.

            “Are you sure they are working for Voldemort?” she came close to me and stared into my eyes with her icy blue ones, “Are you absolutely sure?”

            I swallowed and nodded my head. I was positive. I knew for a fact the Malfoys were working for him, and Lucius himself was probably going to be a death eater, if he wasn’t already. I felt bad for Zalia. She just found out her parents were lying cowards, and her boyfriend had a secret life as a muggle-hating murderer.

            “Do you want to know anything else?” I asked her calmly.

            She thought for a moment, “What exactly does Voldemort stand for? What’s his angle?”

            I scoffed, “If you can even call it an angle. He hates all muggles and muggle-borns. Just anything that doesn’t involve magic really. He’s got these crazy pure-blood power ideas and will kill anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship at his feet. You can take Hitler, you can take Grindelwald, you can take any villain you can think of and Voldemort’s got them beat. He’s evil. Just evil. The things he’s done….” I trailed off.

            She looked me over and sat on the bed next to me. I glanced at her, a bit surprised but she just asked another question, “And your parents? They’re on his side?”

            I stiffened, the instinctual barriers that always came up when my family was mentioned started rising, but I answered her anyways, somewhat gruffly, “Yes.”

            She frowned, “It must be hard living with them like that. You’re obviously not on the same track as they are.”

            I laughed, “Yeah, it was. But I ran away from home after the end of last school year.”

            She looked up sharply, “You ran away? Where did you go?”

            I smiled, “James’ parents took me in, I spent a lot of time there anyways, but they actually let me move in.” I loved James’ parents. They were really like my own. I called them both ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’. Besides, James was already like a brother, moving in just sort of solidified that statement. But I could never repay them for their kindness. Not ever.

            “That was…. nice of them.”

            I nodded, somewhat amused by her response. However cool or confident Zalia might be, she was still just as socially awkward as the rest of us sometimes.

            She got up and walked towards the closed door, smoothing down her school robes, “I think I’ll go join the others now.” She said firmly.

            I stood up and looked at her, wanting to say one last thing before we went back to our normal ‘I-hate-you, you-hate-me’ relationship. “Zalia, I know this is all new to you, but be careful,” She gave me a strange look and I continued. “I just mean, watch your back, even here at Hogwarts. You can’t trust anyone. People are doing things that they know are wrong just to save their skin. It’s a dog eat dog world out there.”

            She swung open the door and turned back to me for just a moment.

            “Don’t worry Sirius, I never trust anyone. Even the devil was once an angel.”

 


Chapter 9: Chapter IX: Rain, Rain, Go Away
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 A/N:

Hey there! i know this is a really long chapter, but i had to fit it all in. The next chapter might be just as long, or I may split it into two.... not sure yet, but we shall see! Review and let me know what you think! Thanks :)


 

Song of the day:

            Wrecking Ball- James Arthur(version)

 

 

 

 







Chapter IX: Rain, Rain, Go Away

Zalia’s POV:

 

        My stupid coat wasn’t even keeping me warm. Now, please, someone tell me why it was so bloody cold in the middle of September? I expected an autumn breeze or something of the sort, but no! I got gale winds and cloudy skies.

            I half regretted my choice of clothing, but at the same time, I was proud of the outfit. I was decked head to toe in all black. I had on tight black skinny jeans, a black V-neck tank top, and black leather jacket with a zipper on the side, a black circle scarf, and black high heeled boots that went up mid-calf and had buckles on the sides. I had done my make-up dark on purpose. Not trashy dark, just sort of ‘intimidatingly dark’, with thick black eyeliner, curled eye lashes, mascara, and red lipstick. I was also wearing a black beanie and had worn my long, dark hair down. I looked pretty badass.

            And that was exactly what I was going for, because yesterday I had received a letter from Lucius, saying he would love to meet up with me in Hogsmeade on Saturday (which was today). So I had to look badass of course. I couldn’t very well pull off the half-crazed-violent-dark-confrontation I was planning without looking the part, now could I?

            I had gotten up earlier than my friends and was dressed and downstairs before they even woke up, leaving a note for Lily and the girls saying I’d catch up with them later. Hogsmeade visiting times went from 7am to 7pm, and I had agreed to meet Lucius at Honey dukes at 7:30am. There was only one other person in the great hall when I’d gotten breakfast, and she was a timid looking Hufflepuff, probably a first or second year. We didn’t exchange words. I’d stuffed down a bit of toast and some oatmeal before heading out into the cold weather and down the path towards Hogsmeade, setting my face into a determined expression before I even got there.

            I looked up at the sky and frowned, hoping it wasn’t going to rain. I wouldn’t be able to walk around in high heeled- badass- boots very well when the ground was all slushy. I pulled my beanie down over my ears so they wouldn’t get nipped by the cold air, and sniffed as my nose started to run. I was going to do this. I knew that Lucius had lied to me about a huge, gigantic part of his life that was completely awful and wrong, but a part of me hoped he’d just say, ‘Who me? No way Babe. I’m just a normal guy, you know that.’ Because I really wanted it to be okay. I really wanted to have been right in going out with him.

            Of course, even as the thoughts went through my head I knew there was no way in hell that it was going to be okay. It was over. I was going to end things with Lucius, and as I set my mind to it I tried to banish all thoughts of false hope of Sirius being wrong. If I was going to break up with my boyfriend, I was going to break up with him. I never did things halfway. I’d loved him all the way, so I’d have to hate him all the way too. Adrenaline began coursing through me as I entered Hogsmeade Village. It was eerily silent, like everything was holding its breath. I quickened my pace as I approached Honey dukes sweet shop and slipped inside, rubbing my cold hands together.

            I nodded my head politely to the store worker and browsed, waiting impatiently for Lucius to show up. I was at breaking point now. I needed to just yell at him and get it all over with.

            “Guess who?”

            My lips curled maliciously at his voice, but I twisted them into a charming smile before I turned around to see my boyfriend, who had snuck up behind me and covered my eyes with his hands.

            “Hi.”

            I had to tame the rage inside me for a bit as I remembered that as of that moment, I was still dating the guy in front of me. Of course that didn’t stop me feeling slightly sick as he moved in and began kissing me. I kissed back…. A little…. Just enough to keep him at bay of my true feelings. I didn’t want to have our falling out in a sweet shop.

            I pulled away a bit as Lucius moved to deepen the kiss and he frowned.

            “Let’s go somewhere a bit more private.” I whispered to him, and smiled sweetly and his eyes widened as he took my meaning to be rather ‘suggestive’, if you catch my drift.

            He nodded and I grabbed his hand, pulling him out of the shop and onto the nearly empty streets of the wizarding village.

            I stopped and turned to my boyfriend, “How about the shrieking shack?” I asked enthusiastically. “I’ve always wanted to see it. It’s said to be the most haunted building in Britain.”

            He shrugged, “Sure, if you want.”

            I gave him a swift kiss on the cheek and held his hand as we walked towards the broken down, abandoned shack that was located on the outskirts of the village, where no one would be able to hear us (hopefully).

            I watched Lucius as we walked; annoyed that he looked so good for being a stupid traitor. He was tall and lean, his skin was pale, but not sickly so. His hair was white blonde, barely brushing his shoulders, and was combed back. His eyes were cold, and pale grey. His face was unique. Very noble-like. His features were sharp and angled, making him look more feline and princely.

            I turned my thoughts away from his good looks as we approached a small clearing, and put my hand on Lucius’ arm to stop him.

            “Something wrong?” He asked me.

            Oh yes, something is very, very wrong. “No, not at all, let’s just sit for a moment.”

            Lucius just turned his head to one side and looked at me with a smile before sitting down on a nearby boulder. I sat down next to him and he grabbed my hand. I cringed slightly.

            “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in ages.” He asked, his breath hot on my neck.

            “Oh, I’ve been all right, I haven’t seen you in a while either.” I told him breathlessly as he pulled me onto his lap.

            “What have you been up to?” He asked me, nuzzling my neck.

            I sighed at the contact. “Oh, you know, this and that.”

            He chuckled, the vibration coming from his mouth and transferring onto my skin. I closed my eyes.

            “It must be weird when all the other girls are dating guys in school, and then you have me, who’s already out and about in the world.”

            I nodded, my eyes still closed as he ran kisses down my jaw line. It was true. Lucius was quite a bit older than me. Six years to be exact. He had graduated from Hogwarts about six years ago, in Slytherin house. Slytherin. Ha. That’s should have been a dead give-away to his traitorous tendencies. Anyways, when we started dating, our parents obviously didn’t mind about the age difference, since they had pushed us into the relationship in the first place. It was merely by chance that we felt such a magnetic pull towards each other. Our ages had never bothered me, in fact I pretty much forgot about it.

            He laughed again, “You know, my parents were all in a fuss when you got picked for Gryffindor, but I told them not everyone could have the luck of getting into Slytherin.”

            My eyes flew open. All the sensation from his kisses, gone. His last sentence knocked some sense into me and I stood up.

            “Did you now?” I asked through tightly gritted teeth.

            Lucius frowned at me, “What’s wrong?”

            I laughed the maniacal laugh that possessed me when I was really pissed. Lucius paled. He’d heard the laugh before. I laughed even louder at his expression. That’s right dumbarse. You’re so in for it.

            “Babe, I don’t---”

            I stopped him with a wild expression, “Oh it’s ‘babe’ is it? It’s ’babe’?”

            Lucius stood up and looked at me like I was crazy. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

            I threw my head back and cackled. “What’s wrong with me? That’s a great question. GREAT question, I don’t know what the bloody hell is wrong with me, because I’M DATING A FUCKING DEATH EATER!

            He froze. His expression, slowly turning from confused, to panicked, to angry, and then back to panicked. I smiled, loving the reaction.

            “Who told you---” He started, but I held up my hand.

            “Does it matter how I found out? Are you going to literally murder them if I tell you who told me?” I laughed again, “I wouldn’t put it past you.”

            Lucius just grimaced.

            I walked towards him, adopting a mocking, casual tone. “Were you planning on telling me, Oh, I don’t know…. Ever? Or were you just never going to let me know about a huge part of your life that I am not okay with?” I asked him, my smile growing wider as he backed up, his hands in front of him in defense.

            “Zalia, I meant to tell you about all of it, I---”

            “YOU DON”T EVEN DENY IT!” I pointed accusingly at his chest, my own heaving with fury.

            He shook his head and tried again, “I knew you would react like this so---”

            “DON’T!” I screamed at him and shut my eyes. “Don’t even think about telling me you were scared of what my reaction would be.” I opened my eyes, and narrowed them to slits, pure hatred radiating from me.

            “I don’t know what you’ve done, who you’ve killed, who you’ve helped to kill. Who you’ve tortured,” I said the words like they were poison spewing from my mouth. “You’re working for a bloody psychopath who wants to take over the world, and you’ve done things,” I dropped my voice to almost a whisper, “You’ve done things that I don’t know about, and never want to know. You’re a part of something so…. so…. wrong! I don’t even know who you are!!!” I sniffed as angry tears came cascading down my cheeks and I growled. The idiot had made me cry. I never cried. I wiped the tears away and cringed back as Lucius moved forward as if to comfort me.

            “And even then,” I laughed crazily again, “Even then Lucius! Even if none of that was true, you still lied to me. You let me believe everything was fine and dandy, when there was a fucking war going on. A WAR! Are you hearing what I’m saying?! DO YOU UNDERSTAND?! BECAUSE I DON’T! I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU COULD BE SUCH A FUCKING ASSEHOLE AND STILL MAKE ME LOVE YOU!” I paused and took a deep breath;

            “But that’s okay, because now I hate you too.”

            Lucius moved forward once again and I stepped towards him at the same time, making him jump in surprise. I stood on my tiptoes and screwed up my face, trying my best to portray every damn emotion coursing through my veins just then, and let me tell you, there was a lot of them.

            “And you of all people, Lucius,” I stared into his eyes, pleased to see even the smallest bit of remorse in them, “You of all people know that when I hate something, I hate it with everything I have.”

            I stepped back from him, closing my eyes as I turned to leave, hoping he’d just be silent and let me have the last word. That he’d just let me go.

            “Zalia, please I---”

            Before another syllable passed his lips, I turned and my hand whistled through the air, coming down with an echoing crack on his cheek. I regained my balance after the hard slap I gave him and glared as tears started to form in my eyes again.

            Lucius looked at me in shock, slowly moving his hand to his red cheek.

            “I never want to see you again. I never want to speak to you again. You disgust me.”

            And that was the final word.

            He let me go, and so I went. I went back towards the village, keeping the brimming tears at bay until I saw a dark alleyway and ducked into it, hiding my face from the world as I sat on the ground. Alone. Refusing to let anyone see how much I really felt. Refusing to let them see how much one stupid boy had hurt me.

            Perhaps If I’d had the ability to see through invisibility cloaks, I would have seen a group of four teenage boys, huddled under one cloak in the clearing, watching Lucius and I moments before, with wide eyes and gaping mouths.

            Perhaps If I was smart, I wouldn’t have worn dark, washable make up, that was now streaming down my face, being pushed along by my glistening tears.

            And perhaps, if I’d turned around for even a moment as I left my ex-boyfriend standing in the clearing by the shrieking shack, I would have seen one small tear escape down his cheek, before he hastily wiped it away.

 

*

 

            “I still don’t know if she’d want any. I think we should just stick with the pumpkin pasties for now and---Hey, Zalia!”

            I moved towards my friends as Lily’s voice called out to me from the middle of the crowded sweet shop. It was a while after I’d broken up with Lucius. I’d stayed in the alley for at least a half hour, until more people started arriving in the village. Then I’d made my way stealthily across the street, ducked into ‘The Three Broomsticks’, and ran into the bathroom to fix my makeup before anyone could see me. After I’d used a few spells to redo my hair, make up, and just overall fix myself back up, It was around 9am and I knew Lily and the girls would probably be in the village soon.

            I ducked around the shops, browsing and keeping an eye out for anyone I knew. Especially Lucius, though I was nearly positive he’d had the good sense to dissaperate the hell out of there after I’d screamed at him.

            “Hey!” I was pleased to hear my voice come out rather cheery as I called back to my friend. If there was one thing I could do, it was act. Or lie. Same thing really.

            “How come you got here so early?” Rose asked as I finally broke through the crowd and reached them.

            I shrugged, “Just wanted to do some browsing before the crazies got here.” I smiled and jabbed a thumb over my shoulder to indicate the rowdy group of younger Hogwarts students that were swarming through the store.

            Lily cocked her head and gave me a look, “I could hardly get you out of bed to witness our prank on the marauders, and now you get up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds?”

            I shrugged and decided to change the subject. We were heading into dangerous territory. “Speaking of pranks, is it only me, or are any of you worried that the marauders haven’t done any to us yet?”

            The girls circled around and Mary lowered her voice, “I was thinking the same thing. We’ve got to be prepared guys. I’m sure they’ve got something up their sleeves. Stay on the alert.”

            The other three of us nodded our head in assent. But before we could finish our team huddle, a shrill voice broke through the group.

            “It can’t be! I haven’t seen you lot in ages!”

            We all turned around and I noticed Lily cringe a bit as she apparently recognized the voice.

            “Tammy.” Mary said with a somewhat forced smile.

            Tammy was gorgeous. And I immediately disliked her (no not because I was stupidly jealous of her looks). She was just completely plastic. She was tall and perfectly proportioned with just the right amount of curves. She had platinum blonde hair, which I would bet my right hand came from a bottle, super tan skin, bright blue eyes, perfectly done make up, and was wearing bright pink rimmed sun-glasses on her head. Her pink lips were stretched into a wide smile, and she struck a pose as she came to stop in front of us, one perfectly manicured hand on her hip, the other daintily holding a shopping bag.

            “How are you?” She squealed as she went to hug Rose, Mary, and Lily. I folded my arms in front of my chest.

            “We’re fine.”

            I stared at Rose, shocked by how cold her tone was. She was probably the nicest person I knew, I’d never heard a sharp word from her once. It was almost unnatural for her voice to take on any other sound than her usual happy go lucky, sing song tone.

            Tammy brushed it off, “You look gorgeous, girls. I’ve missed you.” She sighed and clicked her tongue, “We need to catch up.”

            Before waiting for Lily, Rose, or Mary to answer she spun around to face me.

            “Who on earth are you?”

            Oh, hell no.

            I smiled sweetly, meeting her skeptical gaze, “Zalia Blackwood. Charming to meet you.” I held out my hand and she shook it, giving me a look like she was trying to detect any sarcasm in my voice.

            “I’ve never seen you before.” She said, looking me over.

            “Looks like we’re on the same page,” I told her, “I’ve never seen you before I either.”

            She gave a sharp nod and a fake smile before turning back to the other three girls who smiled at her, except for Rose that is.

            “You three have to come up to the dorm tonight, it will be so much fun! I don’t know why we don’t hang out all the time anymore.” She told them excitedly.

            I raised an eyebrow. So they were old friends? Seemed a bit odd. For those three to hang out with someone like Blondie over here. Then again, I had dated Lucius Malfoy, so I probably wasn’t the best judge of who to associate with.

            Rose tilted her head and sighed, “You moved out, Tammy. Remember?”

            What? I stared between the four of them. Tammy was supposed to be in our dorm?! Where had she moved too? Was that even allowed?

            The blonde just waved her hand, “Yes, yes, that’s beside the point.”

            Lily spoke after shooting me a worried glance. “Tammy, we won’t all fit in your dorm. There’s too many of us. You’re already living in there, so that means there would be six of you and then us four.” She emphasized the word ‘four’ to make sure and include me. My mouth twitched into a small smile.

            “I suppose you’re right. Well, I guess I’ll just have to come by our old dorm then! I’d love to be back there, You know the only reason I’m with the sixth years is for Brigitte. Anyways, I’ll come by at around eight or so, then we can have a sleepover! It’ll be just like old times, with the four of us!”

            She just flounced off back into the crowd, not even letting any of us answer her. What the hell was that about? I turned to the three of my friends who gave me sheepish smiles and I raised both eyebrows.

            “So, how long have you known Malibu Barbie?”

 

*

 

The Three Broomsticks was pretty crowded. Packed not only with its usual busy customers, but many Hogwarts students as well. The girls and I had decided to pop in for a drink after we had hit up Zonkos joke shop, Gladrags wizardwear, and Dervish and Banges (Lily needed to repair her omnioculors). Zonkos had been a blast, we got plenty of things for potential pranks on the marauders (some more inventive than others), but we would wait for them to pull one on us before we hit the boys with what our genius prankster minds came up with again.

I dragged me three friends over to a booth that was slightly secluded (at least a little less noisy than around the front of the pub). I scooted in with Rose beside me and smiled slightly as a pretty young woman with long, whispy blonde hair came up to us, a drink tray balanced on her hip.

“I’m Rosmerta, what can I get for you lovelies?” She asked, blowing a strand of fly-away hair from her face out of the corner of her mouth.

“Four butterbeers.” Lily said automatically. I shrugged; it was what I would have ordered anyways.

The young woman nodded, looking somewhat flustered. “Right away, right away….” She sauntered off, avoiding a booth of pervy looking guys who reached out to pull her over as she walked by.

I tapped my nails on the table and put my chin in my other hand as I gazed off. It was only early afternoon, and I was already feeling drained from the whole day. But I guess it wasn’t without cause. I had woken up extremely early, had a messy break up with my death eater boyfriend (I mean ex-boyfriend), and dealt with a plastic Barbie doll who seemed like one of those people who just loved being a complete tart.

From what my friends had told me, ‘Tammy’ (Tamara Goldberg) was a queen-bee in her own special way. She wasn’t extremely popular, but she had her little group of minions whose only aspirations were to serve their plastic queen. Lily, Rose, and Mary had been friends with Tammy since they started school, all the way until around the end of fifth year. Lily said that the three of them had had enough with her schemes, backstabbing, and controlling attitude by then, so they decided to let her know how they felt. Apparently Tammy freaked on them and moved out of the dorm to live with her younger sister Brigitte (who was also in Gryffindor) in the dorms for the fourth years (now sixth years). The girls didn’t speak to Tammy until she approached them and ‘forgave them’ (whatever the hell that means) and they politely agreed to be…. acquaintances (I think that’s how Mary put it). The story checked out, and made sense, but what I didn’t understand was why Tamara Goldberg suddenly wanted back into the good graces of her former BFFs. Actually, in the back of my mind I had a hunch, I just hoped I was wrong.

Rosmerta came back with our drinks and Lily grinned around at us.

“What are you smirking at then?” I asked her.

She just kept grinning, “To the best of friends!” She held up her drink for a toast, and we hesitantly joined her, “And to our final year at Hogwarts!”

I nodded to my silly friend as she took a swig of her butterbeer and I a sip of mine. I had too much on my mind to be in such a euphoric mood as Lily, but Rose and Mary seemed to be on the same page with her.

“I think we ought to make a pact.” Rose said decidedly.

Mary frowned, “A pact?”

Rose nodded enthusiastically, “Yes! You know, like a bucket list, only instead of things to do before we die, they’re things to do before we graduate.”

Actually, it wasn’t a terrible idea. And could possibly be quite fun. “I’m in.” I said before gulping down some more of my drink.

Lily and Mary looked at each other before shrugging, “Why not?”

“So captain, how does this work?”

Rose rummaged in her tote bag for a moment before taking out a piece of parchment, a quill, and ink. “So, I say we all go around and say something that we want to do this year, that’s really the easiest way to do this. Then after we come up with a proper list of things, we start checking them off, and we all have to do them.” She looked at each of us in turn.

“I’ll go first,” I volunteered. Far be it from me to shy away from a bucket list opportunity.

I thought for a second before smiling, “I think we should all go for a swim in the Black lake this year.” I told them.

The girls shrugged, it sounded fairly mild.

My grin grew wider as I added on, “In November, just before it freezes over.”

All three girls gaped at me.

“N-November?” Lily spluttered, as if she hadn’t heard me correctly.

I nodded simply and motioned for Rose to go next. She seemed to regain her bearings and I sighed as Mary started to protest my idea. This was ridiculous.

“You guys, the whole point of a bucket list is to try and do things you wouldn’t normally do. Things what are a bit crazy, a bit risky, and hilariously fun. We won’t be able to do this if you don’t grow a pair and live life on the edge a little.” I told them sternly.

“Yeah guys, live life on the edge. Like me. I like to live dangerously.”

As he always seemed to do, Sirius Black appeared of thin air to continue his annoying habit of randomly popping into my life. He mussed up his black hair as he leant against our table, smirking.

I rolled my eyes, “The only thing dangerous about you is the amount of product you use in your hair.”

James snorted as he sidled up next to Sirius who glared at me and sat down next to Mary, without an invitation of course.

“Make yourself at home.” Lily said sarcastically as James sat beside Rose and Remus and Peter appeared.

Somehow, we ended up being squished into a booth with the marauders. I was stuck in between Lily and Rose who were fidgeting uncomfortably as the boys took over the conversation and steered it towards quidditch.

“….So then she tells me it’s Macnair. Macnair! As in Vivian Macnair, the Slytherin. If she’s not a bad egg I don’t know what is. But now that she’s their new captain, we’ll have to aim even more pranks at her, Padfoot. I refuse to lose a single match to that snake.”

I growled under my breath and dug my nails into my palm. I didn’t like being squished, I didn’t like Sirius Black, and I did NOT like talking about subjects that I had no interest in. All those things at once and –POOF- you get a pissed off Zalia.

“Move,” I told Rose suddenly, who looked at me in alarm.

“Move,” I said again, this time slightly harsher. Rose sent me a hurt look, which I ignored (yes I know, not very nice of me), and slowly scooted out of the booth, forcing Peter and James to as well.

“Where are you going?” Mary asked me curiously.

“I need to use the loo.” I said shortly as I brushed past Peter and then tripped oh so gracefully over James’ foot.

“Oof!”

“Sorry!” James said quickly, helping me up, “Are you all right?”

I glanced up at the bespectacled boy and frowned, “Of course I’m all right, I only tripped.”

He shook his head, “No, I mean….you seem tired.”

“I woke up early.” I brushed off the question smoothly as I bent down to fix one of the buckles on my boots that had come unclipped.

“Why?” Peter asked as he stood next to James, who for some reason (I know not why) gave Peter a dirty look, as if he shouldn’t ask such a question.

“I wanted to browse around in the shops without having to deal with the ickle students getting in my way.” I answered.

James caught my eye and I paused. He had such a strange look on his face. It was…..sad, understanding, maybe curious. He held out a hand to help me up when I was finished fixing the buckle, and I took it slowly.

“You’ll be all right.” He said quietly so that I only I could hear, and I dropped his hand.

What an odd thing to say. I looked at him curiously. It was almost like he knew….

My eyes widened and I turned without answering him, making a bee line for the bathroom. No, he couldn’t know. There was no way. It was just me being paranoid; my over-active imagination getting the better of me.

I paced around the small bathroom for a moment before I stopped in front of a sink, gripping either side of the ceramic edges tightly and taking a deep breath. Why was I freaking out? Because James might know my secret? I looked up into the mirror that was hung on the wall in front of me.

“Why are you so bloody scared?” I growled at my reflection, “Get a grip.”

I looked down again and let go of the sink, my fists clenched tightly. It was bad enough that Sirius effing Black knew about my problems, but I don’t think I could stand it if the other marauders knew. Black had told me that he hadn’t said a word to anyone. Had he lied? Maybe. But even if he did, would it really be so awful? I frowned. It wasn’t like I’d done something bad; it was just a bad situation. What was I afraid of? That they would judge me?…. But that wasn’t all.

I sighed and closed my eyes. I was afraid of looking stupid. Of looking naïve and ignorant. Because it was pretty pathetic that, even though no one told me, that I still hadn’t figure out that Voldemort was trying to take over the wizarding world.

And I couldn’t admit that to anyone. My pride was wounded enough, I didn’t need others to know about my issues. Which were resolved now anyhow.

I straightened up and looked in the mirror, finger-combing my hair and fixing my beanie on my head. I was being ridiculous. James probably didn’t know. It was all over. If Sirius and I never spoke of it again, it would all just go away. Probably.

I jumped as the door to the bathroom burst open, and three familiar looking people pushed through the opening.

“We thought you passed out in here!” Mary exclaimed as she, Lily, and Rose filed in, standing in front of me as I hurriedly composed my face into a smiling expression.

“I wasn’t gone that long.” I told her skeptically.

Rose sighed, “Well no, but we needed an excuse to leave the booth. Sirius and James wouldn’t stop talking about Quidditch.”

Lily groaned, “I know I told Potter that we’re friends now, but does he have to be around all the time? I’m still not over my previous impression of him, and I feel like yelling at him sometimes. Like now, when all he wants to talk about his how much he hates the Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin Quidditch captains!” She said in exasperation.

I held back a laugh, “All right, let’s go back then, and tell them we’ve got to go do some more shopping or something.”

Mary nodded, “I like that escape plan.” She said as we walked out of the loo and back over to the booth where the four boys sat, Sirius and James were still bashing on the other Quidditch captains, Remus was silently drinking a gillywater he had ordered, and Peter was watching his friends with a fascinated expression.

“Not that this hasn’t been perfectly lovely,” I said to them as we stopped at the table, “But you’ll have to excuse us, we have some shopping to do.”

I was surprised when all four boys got a panicked look on their face and James jumped up.

“No!”

The four of us girls stared at him. What the heck?

His ears turned pink, “I mean…. you haven’t finished your drinks yet.”

I narrowed my eyes suspiciously.

“What Prongs means to say,” Sirius stood up and clapped his friend on the back, “Is that he wants to talk to Lily some more. And since they’re friends now I think that’s a grand idea.”

James turned beet red as Lily shuffled her feet and looked extremely uncomfortable. Mary and Rose laughed, but I met Sirius’ eye and raised an eyebrow, still suspicious of the boys’ strange behavior.

“Fine…” I said slowly, sliding into the booth with the others in tow. Lily sat next to James and looked directly at the table as he started talking about the wonders of being a team captain. I nearly laughed as I could tell she wanted to strangle him, but was determined to give the friendship a chance.

I started up a nice conversation with Remus, and Peter joined in as we started discussing the teachers at Hogwarts. I was surprised to find that once you got him talking, Peter had quite a lot to say. I always assumed he was really quiet and timid, and….well…. just sort of a tag along to the marauders, but the way he talked made me think he was just as clever as they were. All he lacked was the arrogance and swagger, which he could very well do without, and I liked him for it.

After we’d finished our butterbeers, we girls decided it was time to leave, and Lily looked desperate to get out of her position between James and Sirius, who were arguing about something stupid.

“We really should get going,” I told Remus and Peter in an apologetic voice. They nodded and I turned to Rose.

“Time to go.”

“What, do you decide everything now? Why should I listen to you!”

Everyone froze, including me, and I could feel my mouth hanging agape as I stared at my dark haired friend in shock.

“What?” She snapped as she stared around at us all.

“Can you stop that infernal tapping!”

All our heads swiveled to look at Lily who had just yelled at Peter (who happened to be tapping his fingers nervously on the table). I raised my eyebrows. What the hell?

“Don’t tell him what to do!” Mary shrieked.

My eyes darted between all of my friends and I spoke slowly, “Okay…. What’s wrong with you guys?”

All three girls turned to me with sour expressions.

“Wouldn’t you like to know!”

“Nothing’s wrong with me! It’s all of you!”

“I put up with you lot for too long!”

I shrank back, shell-shocked at their responses. What was going on?! I was about to start ranting at my friends, pissed off that they were yelling at me, and each other, when my eyes clapped onto to something and then narrowed dangerously.

Sirius Black was laughing behind his hand and trying not to make it obvious. I looked sharply at the other boys to find James staring at Lily with a slightly guilty expression, Peter twiddling his thumbs nervously, and Remus looking at the ceiling.

I glared at them and took a sharp breath, “You didn’t.”

Sirius stopped laughing and looked at me quickly, “Didn’t what?”

I growled and pointed to my friends, “What did you do to them?”

The boys stared at each other in obvious panic and I rolled my eyes. Sweet Merlin what had they done?

“You’re hair’s so stupid!”

You’re stupid!”

“Shut up you ninny!”

I’m the ninny?!”

WHO IS MAKING THAT TAPPING NOISE?!

I grimaced and tuned out my crazed friends, looking at the marauders. I don’t know what they did, but I was certain that they were responsible for the way my friends were acting.

Sirius smiled at Lily who was looking ready to pull her hair out from the tapping and I noticed him discreetly clicking his fingers under the table. Yep, they definitely did something.

I stood up and threw some money on the table to pay for our drinks, “All right! That’s it! Everyone out!” I yelled as Mary, Rose, and Lily grew louder, and looked as if they might actually start hitting each other.

They listened to me (surprisingly) and once the eight of us had maneuvered out of the pub and onto the streets, I grabbed Remus by his collar and dragged him off as he yelped in surprise. I dropped my hold on him as we walked into an alleyway and pushed him lightly.

“What did you do?!”

He grinned at me sheepishly, “Would you believe me if I told you ‘nothing’?”

I glared at him, “Unless all three of them are on their period right now, and are somehow experiencing highly unusual and powerful mood swings, then it had to be something you lot did.”

Remus’ face turned pink as I mentioned ‘that time of the month’, and I rolled my eyes.

“Hey, that’s what you guys get for joining in a prank war with the marauders.” He said defensively.

I just looked at him, “Okay, what the heck did you do? I mean, this is a really weird prank. You made my friends go all bitch-mode,” I paused as another thought occurred to me, “And why am I not like them? Why didn’t it work on me?”

Remus frowned, “We gave them a potion. We slipped it in their butterbeers while you were all in the bathroom. It’ll wear off later so don’t worry, they’ll just be in extremely bad moods for a few hours. Oh and we didn’t prank you because…. we didn’t want to.” He said nervously.

I looked around the corner of the alleyway to see Peter holding back a screaming Lily who was trying to attack James, and Sirius rolling around laughing as Mary and Rose yelled at each other.

“You didn’t want to make me an evil bitch for a day?” I asked in disbelief as I turned back to him.

That didn’t really make sense, I mean, Sirius and I were sort of the team leaders of this thing. Why would they leave me out of a prank?

Remus fidgeted and I narrowed my eyes (seemed like I was doing that a lot today). “Why?” I asked sharply.

“I meant we didn’t have enough of the potion for all of you.” he said quickly.

I crossed my arms. Yeah, right.

“I don’t believe you.” And I didn’t. Remus was an awful liar.

I locked eyes with him and made my face into a pout, hoping it would break him down as it usually did with most guys. It worked. Remus let his arms fall to his sides and looked at me bashfully.

“We were there this morning, Zalia.” He said quietly, looking away from me.

I frowned, “You were where?”

“We were there. We saw it happen.”

I shook my head, still not getting it. “What are you talking about?”

He sighed in exasperation. “We know about the whole thing with Lucius. We saw the break up.”

Well, shit.

I’m surprised my face didn’t become permanently deformed after that, what with all the expressions that must have flashed across it just then. I was pissed. Who the hell did they think they were, spying on me?! And how did they even do it?! It didn’t make any sense. Lucius and I had been on the outskirts of Hogsmeade. No one had been there. I was sure of it. We were in the middle of a clearing. I would have definitely seen….. unless….

“The invisibility cloak.” I whispered, more to myself than Remus.

He gave a quick nod and had the decency to look ashamed.

“You spied on me?” I growled, my voice rising a bit.

He backed up at the look on my face (which was probably pretty scary). “We didn’t mean too---” He started, but I cut him off.

“You had to have followed me! There was no way you just happened upon us! Why were you even there?! No one goes to Hogsmeade that early!” I yelled, waving my arms in the air.

“We were picking up a few things for tonight.”

I paused and looked at him. Now usually, when I get mad at someone, I disregard pretty much everything they say and just yell at them, but Remus was different. Even though I was pissed, I wasn’t nearly as angry with him as I would have been with Sirius, or even James or Peter.

“What do you mean picking things up?” I asked gruffly.

Remus looked relieved that I seemed to be calming down, “Well, it was supposed to be a surprise. James wanted to ask Lily and all, but us marauders were planning a sort of get together tonight. We needed to grab some….. beverages.”

I frowned suspiciously, “A get together?”

He nodded, “James wants to get to know Lily more, and so he thinks our groups should spend more time together. Sirius took some convincing,” I rolled my eyes, “But he came ‘round. Besides,” Remus smiled at me cheekily, “You’re not so bad to talk to.”

I pursed my lips, “Yes well, I’m still mad at you for eavesdropping….” I hesitated, “but I suppose we can all meet up in the common room tonight.”

Good Lord! What had happened?! It was like I was a defused bomb around this guy! I was completely calm….how weird. I couldn’t even stay mad at him.

Remus spoke again as I frowned, thinking about how I needed to start cracking down on people more. “We’ll see you in the common room at midnight. I best go get my mates before one of them is killed by your rabid friends.” He ran off towards the group.

“Those rabid friends are the result of your handy work!” I yelled after him.

I sighed and began to walk slowly towards the girls. I was going to have to deal them in bitch-mode for hours to come. How lovely. Oh, and the marauders had witnessed me breaking up with Lucius. I was going to hold that against them for a while. Not to mention the fact that it was completely humiliating.

“Lily, please don’t actually kill her. You are friends.” I said flatly as I came upon Lily holding Mary by her hair.

Our next prank was going to be badass. That’s all I had to say.

 

*

 

The girls and I ended up going back to the castle early. Lily, Mary, and Rose couldn’t go anywhere without screaming at someone or actually trying to attack them (and each other). By the time we made it to the great hall for dinner, the potion had worn off completely, and my friends were apologizing to me and one another desperately, vowing to get back at the boys for their low prank.

“I’m not kidding. Potter better watch his back!” Lily exclaimed, brandishing her fork with a piece of broccoli at the end of it.

Rose nodded, “I can’t believe they did that! They actually spiked our drinks!” She said in horror as I tried to tune out my friends while reading the daily prophet. I had had all day to ponder just how ‘inventive’ their prank had been. I was over it. Then again, they hadn’t spiked my drink. Out of pity for me. I almost wished they had so I didn’t feel so pathetic. I mean, when the marauders feel bad enough for you to leave you out of a prank, it’s sort of insulting.

“Guys,” Mary groaned suddenly, “I just realized…. Tammy’s coming up to our dorm tonight.”

I froze. I had completely forgotten that Barbie had invited herself over. I had told the guys we would hang out with them (I still didn’t know why I did that. They pissed me off). Oops.

I cleared my throat, “Err, I sort of told the marauders we would meet up with them tonight.” I said, waiting for the explosion.

“You WHAT?!

Ah…. There it was.

“Yes, so we have a dilemma.” I said, buttering a roll.

The others groaned and Mary slapped her forehead with her hand. “What have you done?”

I frowned at her, “I didn’t invite Tammy over. In fact, none of us did. We’ll just tell her we had a previous engagement,” I paused and grinned, “Or better yet, just let her figure it out when we aren’t there tonight.”

Lily sighed, “As much as I dislike Tamara, she’s expecting us to be there. We can’t just not show up.”

I rolled my eyes. Lily was too kind for her own good.

Then, right on cue, who else but Tamara Goldberg sauntered over to our spot at Gryffindor table. Her hips swung precariously and she had a fake smile plastered on her face. She sat down in between Lily and I, even thought there was no room, and turned her back on me.

“Lily darling, I just came over to see when you’d all be heading off to the dormitory!” She said in a sickeningly sweet voice.

I sighed and closed my eyes. I really did not like this chick. She was rude and had decided she didn’t like me from the moment we met. As she attempted to ice me out of the conversation I realized that I had been right about her.

Tammy was a jealous bitch who didn’t like me taking her old spot in the group. Well, I had news for her. I wasn’t planning on going anywhere anytime soon. She was going to have to get used to me, and the fact that I didn’t back down from anyone. But, for the sake of my friends I would try and be civil to her for the time being.

“Well, I’m sorry Tammy but we already have plans tonight.” Mary said awkwardly.

I saw Tammy’s face take on an evil look for a moment before it vanished, “Oh, and what might those plans be?” She simpered.

“The marauders asked us to hang out tonight. We’re meeting them downstairs at midnight. Sorry.” Rose told her matter-of-factly.

“Oh! Well that’s just perfect! I’ll see you all in the common room later. I don’t mind getting to know those boys, if you know what I mean.” She winked suggestively and ran daintily back over to her minions as I looked at my friends sadly.

Well, this would be interesting; a night of Tammy and the marauders? What had we gotten ourselves into?

The four of us headed to our dormitory after dinner to get in some homework time before we had to meet everyone down stairs. Around eleven thirty I began looking through my clothes for something cute.

“Aha!” I said, pulling out a pair of silky dark-blue pajama shorts, and a black T-shirt with The Beatles on it (My all-time favorite band).

I turned to go change when I stopped and caught sight of Lily coming out of the bathroom.

“Um, no.”

She looked at me and frowned, “What?”

I pointed at her outfit, “You are not wearing that.”

She was wearing a pair of old, ripped, baggy grey sweats, and a very tattered looking, ugly, brown sweatshirt with a picture of a wolf on it.

“What’s wrong with it?” She asked in an offended tone.

I raised an eyebrow, “If this is an attempt to try and get James to stop fancying you, I have to say; it just might work.”

Lily glared at me as Rose stuffed her fist in her mouth to keep from laughing.

“Well, what am I supposed to wear?” She raised her arms in the air.

I stroked my chin, pretending to think. “I’ve got it.” I snapped my fingers and dove past Mary, over to Lily’s clothes bag, knowing the very thing I was looking for.

I drew out a pair of plaid PJ shorts and a tight black tank top. Lily gaped at me.

“I can’t go down wearing that!”

I rolled my eyes, “Yes, you can.”

“Potter might look at me.” She whimpered.

I bit my tongue at the look on her face and threw the clothes at her. “Stop whining and put it on, we’ll need to meet them in a few minutes.”

Lily listened to me, but kept tugging at her clothes as we made our way quietly downstairs. Rose nearly fell, halfway down, and that sent all four of us into a fit of giggles the rest of the way, until we got to the common room, which was lit only by the flickering fire in the large fireplace.

“Took you long enough.”

I glared at Sirius and chose to ignore his comment.

The boys were sat in a wide circle on the rug in front of the fire, waiting for us. I almost let out a giggle as I saw James trying to keep his eyes off of Lily, and failing dismally. This did not go unnoticed by my red-headed friend who sat down next to Remus, far away from the bespectacled boy.

“Right,” James rubbed his hands together, “Let’s get down to business---”

“James,” Lily interrupted him, and I could almost see his heart leap as she said his name, “Tamara Goldberg will be joining us soon.”

James’ face fell as did the rest of the marauders, “Why?”

“She invited herself, the toad.” I replied scathingly as Peter laughed beside me.

Lily ignored me, “She wanted to hang out with us, so when I told her we would be with you lot…. She sort of…. Decided to join.”

Remus and James made the same disgusted noise in the back of their throat and Sirius laughed, “What’s wrong with having a blonde around?” He asked roguishly.

I glared at him, “Shut up, Black.”

“Make me.”

“Is that an invitation?”

Before he could respond we were joined by a shrill voice.

“Oh! I didn’t realize you’d already come down!”

I grimaced, and the expression was mirrored by everyone but Lily and Sirius who seemed to be determined to try and like the Barbie. Tammy walked over and sat down next to James and Sirius, who gave her a wink. I rolled my eyes. He was such an idiot.

“Right, so like I was saying,” James said, with an edge to his voice now that Tamara was here. “Remus, you have the drinks?”

I stared at the brown eyed boy next to me as he produced three bottles of firewhiskey with a mischievous smile. So those were the ‘beverages’ they had been collecting so early in Hogsmeade.

“Right here, Prongs.”

James nodded to his friend, “Excellent. Padfoot, the cups?”

I watched Sirius get out a pack of plastic red cups from under one the of the common room couches, and hand them out to all of us.

“So now,” James grinned, scooting closer to the group, “We begin.”

I frowned. We begin?

Sirius looked around happily as Remus passed him a bottle of firewhiskey and he poured some into his cup, “We’ll start off with a game of ‘I never’. If you’ve done what the person says, you drink. Last one with a full cup wins.”

We passed around the alcohol, each filling our drinks. I smiled at Remus who grinned at me and then patted Lily’s back comfortingly as she paled, looking a little scared.

“Yes! I love this game,” Tammy called out from her spot beside the two dark haired boys, “I’ll go first.”

I rolled my eyes, “Of course you will.” I muttered.

She turned her eyes on me like a hawk, “You got a problem with that?”

I stared back at her, mildly surprised, “Not at all.” I answered coolly.

She relaxed back into her fake smile and looked around. “I’ve never kissed a girl.”

I held back a snort as I watched the four boys each drink (even Peter, which sort of surprised me).

It was Sirius’ turn next as he was sitting beside Tammy. He, of course, said the obvious one.

“I’ve never kissed a bloke.”

Remus chuckled, “I should hope not.”

All of us girls drank, and I saw James stiffen as Lily took a sip from her cup. Aww, poor, jealous, sap.

Next was Rose, then Mary, then Lily who spluttered for a bit before coming up with one;

“I’ve never gotten completely drunk.”

I watched as Sirius, James, and Tammy took a swig immediately, then Remus and Peter and Mary, somewhat hesitantly. I looked towards Remus since it was his turn, But Sirius decided to jump in.

“That’s complete bull.”

We all looked at him, but he was staring directly at me. I raised an eyebrow.

“What are you on about?”

He nodded towards my drink, “You didn’t take any.”

I rolled my eyes, “That’s because I’ve never gotten drunk, Black.” I told him in a condescending tone.

He shook his head, “Bullocks.”

“No, it’s not,” I turned away from him, “And I don’t care if you believe me. It’s Remus’ turn.”

Remus nodded to me and gave Sirius a look before speaking;

“I’ve never been to a wedding.”

I looked at him questioningly, but he just shrugged as the rest of us all took a drink. Then it was my turn.

I smiled smugly as I said mine, “I’ve never spiked anyone’s drink.”

Mary, Rose, and Lily crossed their arms in unison as they watched the marauders each take a drink slowly, all four of them blushing.

“Whose drink did you spike?” Tammy asked, laughing. No one answered.

“I’ve never ‘done the dirty’.” Peter said quickly.

Well, that changed the atmosphere. Now, we were getting to the good ones. Each of us watched each other silently and I saw James staring at Lily, his expression becoming extremely relieved when she didn’t take a drink. As I suspected, Sirius and Tammy both gulped down some of their firewhiskey…… but then so did Mary!

Lily, Rose, and I gaped at Mary as Remus, James, Peter, and Sirius congratulated her (typical). She blushed and refused to tell us anything about it. I let it go as we turned to James for his turn. I would get it out of her later.

The ‘I Nevers’ got more and more intense as we went ‘round. This was probably due to the fact that most of us were tipsy, and some of us were drunk (a.k.a. Sirius and Tammy, who were taking large swigs of their firewhiskey). When we got to Sirius for the fourth time, he opened his big mouth and said;

“I’ve never wanted to go home for the holidays.”

That certainly put us all in a depressing mood. James, Remus, and Peter got very quiet and wouldn’t look at each other. I assumed, because they knew the details of Sirius’ home life (or past home life, now that he was living with the Potter’s). Lily gave him a sad smile, and Mary and Rose just hung their heads.

And then there was Tammy;

“Why?”

We all gave her annoyed looks.

“Because, he just bloody didn’t.” James growled at her. She stared back at him, blankly.

“I just think it’s rather odd to want to be at school all the time.” She stated, examining her polished finger nails. I rolled my eyes.

What is your problem?”

Bloody hell! I jumped as Tammy turned her blue eyes on me, pure bitchiness coming through them. I stared at her. Did she really just see me roll my eyes? I took a deep breath;

I will not lose my cool.

I will not lose my cool.

I will not lose my cool.

“Why are you even here new girl?”

Fuck that.

“What the hell is your problem? Why are you here?” I asked, my voice becoming very hostile.

I saw everyone except Sirius (who just smiled and sat back to watch) look between the two of us, alarmed. But hey, she started it. I had literally done nothing except put up with her.

“I’m here because these are my friends.” She sneered at me. “I don’t know why you’re tagging along with them. But they’re only being nice because they feel sorry for you. I’ll tell you this now, for your own good. NO ONE wants you here; they just pity you.”

I blinked and stood up, ignoring Remus’ warning look.

“Look, bitch,” I said, tossing my hair back, “I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but these are my friends. I don’t know what sort of insecurity problem you have, but don’t take it out on me. Just because you’re jealous that they replaced you with me, doesn’t mean you should waltz in here and try to get me to leave. I’m not going anywhere. Lily, Mary, and Rose dumped you because they didn’t want to put up with your crap. Deal with it.”

I folded my arms at the end of my outburst and cocked an eyebrow as Tammy stood up, looking furious. She turned to Lily who visiblly winced from her spot on the ground.

“Lils!” She cried and I narrowed my eyes. Lils? My nick name, Tiger Lily, was better. “Are you seriously going to just sit there? This chick is a total bitch and you’re just letting her walk all over me? We’re supposed to be best friends!”

I opened my mouth to help out my red headed friend, but there was no need. I watched in surprise (and glee) as Lily closed her eyes, gave a huff, and stood up, her hands on her hips.

“If we were supposed to be friends, then why were you such a jerk all the time?” She asked as Tammy stared at her in shock, just like the rest of us. The only person Lily ever yelled at was James. “Zalia’s right. We have had enough of your crap, and now you don’t like that we’ve moved on. That we’re done being your friends. But that’s too bad.” Lily walked forward and Tammy put her hands up as if to block a punch, “You were such a bitch to everyone Tammy! You still are! Zalia is my friend, and she’s actually a good one. Like Rose, and Mary, not you. You don’t know how to be a friend. I was going to try and be nice to you since you invited yourself down tonight, but it’s impossible! You’re just a complete bitch!”

Whoa. I thought I’d seen Lily mad when she yelled at James, but that was nothing compared to now. She was something to be feared. I watched with wide eyes as Tammy let a few tears slide down her cheeks. I couldn’t blame her. Lily was flipping scary! The expression on her face said ‘death’. James was looking up at her in awe, as if watching a terrifying angel. I probably would have rolled my eyes, but Tammy ran from the room, toppling me over as she passed. I groaned as I hit the ground, but no one helped me up. They were all still watching Lily with dumbfounded looks on their faces. Mary and Rose’s face slowly broke into smiles as they watched their red headed friend stare at the space where Tammy had been moments before.

“Don’t mind me,” I grumbled as I brushed myself off, “I only fell over.”

Remus snapped his head towards me and gave me a sheepish smile, which I ignored, as I walked towards Lily and sat, pulling her down next to me.

I felt a lot better. I had yelled at two people I very much disliked today, and it was a great feeling, getting things off my chest.

“I’m sorry.”

I gave Lily a look of confusion and she turned her head towards me, “I’m sorry about Tammy.”

I waved my hand and laughed softly as James and Sirius decide to call it a night, gathering their things and standing up to leave.

“Don’t worry about it. She’s just a jealous bitch.”

Lily laughed shakily as we all got up to go to bed. I smiled softly as the four of us passed the sixth year dorms, knowing Tammy was inside, seething. Oh, well. If she wanted to go up against me, she could. I didn’t doubt that she’d have it out for me after this, and maybe even Lily. Nothing to worry about. Bringing down a plastic clown like Tamara Goldberg sounded like a good challenge.

I closed my eyes as I crawled into bed and Lily turned off the lights. Heavy rain drops pounded on the window besides my bed and I sighed. So, it did rain today. I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep as the white-noise of the rain sounded in my ears. Perhaps cloudy weather wasn’t so bad after all.

 


Chapter 10: Chapter X: All's Fair in Love and War
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Song of the day:

            Sunshine & City Lights- Greyson Chance

 

 

 

 Chapter X: All is fair in Love and War

Sirius’ POV:

 

 I was starting to think Minnie didn’t like me.

            That was my third detention this week! James and I had already passed the record, so there wasn’t much point in getting so many of them now. Not that I was planning on being a better student. Ha. I was just starting to get a little exasperated at the amount of trouble we got into. And sometimes we weren’t even trying! What can I say? It was a talent.

            “Tomorrow night boys. Seeing as you already have detention Wednesday and Thursday.” McGonagall told us in a resigned tone.

            Prongs and I stood up to leave the room, since Minnie sounded like she was finished with us.

            “Oh, and don’t forget the detentions you have Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well. For that fire in Professor Slughorn’s class.”

            I let out a low whistle and closed my eyes. Damn. I actually had forgotten about those. I saw James grimace. The both of us had detention every night this week. I kicked a bench sitting against the wall in the corridor as we passed, taking out my frustration….and killing my foot at the same time. James and I walked down to the great hall for lunch in silence, both lost in our own heads.

            You know how I told you my head wasn’t meant for deep, difficult, intense thoughts? Yeah, well, I stand by that statement. Since school started all I’d been doing was think, and think, and think. It was sort of freaking me out. I mean, that was Remus’ job! He was the thoughtful, methodical one. I was the dare-devil. Prongs was a dare devil also, but less of a playboy. And Peter…. Well, Pete was great, but he was still our trusty sidekick.

            Then there was the girls. Who had somehow weeded their way into the lives of us marauders. Mary, Rose, and Lily had had very little to do with us (not counting James’ infatuation with the afore-mentioned red head) before this year. It was kind of strange that they were hanging around with us now. Not that they were super annoying or anything, I mean, I wouldn’t be Sirius Black if I turned away female attention, but where those three were, there was also Zalia Blackwood. Whom I felt sorry for usually….until she opened her mouth.

            I held back a shudder as I remember that last day in Hogsmeade, where my friends and I had found ourselves looking upon a highly personal, and incredibly frightening sight. We had all just stood there under the invisibility cloak, rooted to the spot as we watched Zalia dish it out to Lucius Malfoy. Afterwards we’d talked about it briefly. None of the others could get over the fact that she’d been secretly dating Lucius, or that she hadn’t known about the war or anything. I hadn’t told the guys that I’d known before-hand. They would have been pissed that I didn’t tell them earlier. I just kept my mouth shut, all the time feeling pretty good that Lucius Malfoy had just been taken down a few notches by a quick-witted, 5’5, stubborn, dark-haired, fire ball. I would have liked to yell insults at him myself, but I’m sure they meant more coming from Zalia.

            I was pleased with the whole thing until flipping Remus decided it would be too cruel to pull a prank on her right after the break up. And then James agreed (Pete couldn’t care less, either way). Oh, come on. She wasn’t made of glass. Zalia could handle a little prank. If she couldn’t, she never would have decided to enter into a prank war with us. But, I was overruled, unfortunately. Moony and Prongs couldn’t go against their consciences. They were under the impression that Zalia was very emotional. Well, (at risk of sounding like a jerk) seriously? Emotional? Weren’t girls always emotional? Wasn’t that just what they did? Either way we ended up exempting her from the hate potion, against my better judgment. But, I still had a great time watching Lily trying to decapitate Prongs.

            James and I joined Moony and Wormtail at Gryffindor table, and I wolfed down a few bacon sandwiches.

            “Do you mind if I sit here?”

            I looked up, my mouth full of food, to see little Rose Caraway standing next us, looking quite timid and awkward. I smiled at her, before realizing there was probably bacon sticking out of my teeth. Ooh. Not very attractive, Sirius. Remus, being the tactful one, scooted over for her.

            “Of course.”

            She smiled gratefully, “Sorry, it’s just, Mary and Lily had to go up to Madame Pomfrey, and Zalia got held up talking to Professor Kettleburn after class.”

            I grabbed more food, not caring too much about any of it. I didn’t mind at all if Rose sat with us. She was quiet, and cute, and simple. Not dramatic like her black haired friend.

            “Lily went to the hospital wing?” James asked hurriedly at the mention of Madame Pomfrey.

            “It’s nothing serious, she and Mary just got jinxed by a couple of Slytherins.” Rose said, soothingly.

            James’ reaction was predictable. He banged a fist on the table, “Which Slytherins?”

            Rose swallowed, “I, erm, I don’t know.”

            Prongs narrowed his eyes at her and I felt bad for the poor girl, who had gone white, “Honest, I don’t!”

            “Calm down mate, before you have a heart attack.” Remus told him firmly.

            I nodded in agreement, “Sound’s like there’s no lasting damage done to Lilykins, she’ll be all right.”

            James looked at us hesitantly and I sighed, leaning forward, “You know if I had been there, I would have hexed whoever did it into next week, but I wasn’t, and neither were you. So unless we go on a full blown investigation, we won’t be finding the idiots who jinxed them.”

            Prongs nodded, leaned back again, and stretched. I did the same; I was not looking forward to my next class; Transfiguration. Not only would I have to deal with Minnie (who was already pissed off about my number of detentions), but also Zalia. My lovely partner.

            “What time is it?” I asked Remus. He was the only one of us who carried a watch ‘round.

            “Hold on, it’s in my bag….” He reached down to grab his book bag from under the bench, beside Rose.

            “Merlin!” He cried as he brought out the slim, silver object. “It’s already one, forty-five, we’ll be late for McGonagall.”

            I groaned and jumped up; I could not get another detention for being late to class. I actually feared for my well-being if James and I showed up tardy and had to face McGonagall. She would go mental.

            Rose followed us out of the great hall, seeing as she had transfiguration as well. I was surprised to see how well she could keep up with us as we sprinted towards the classroom. All four of us marauders had sprouted up over the summer, and the shortest of us (Peter) was 5’11. Our long legs carried us around swiftly, but Rose was so tiny, I wondered how she got her legs to move so fast. We reached the class quickly and ducked inside, doubling over from the sprint.

            “….the….hell?”

            I looked up. Well, that was odd.

            There was no one there. The classroom was completely empty, and Transfiguration should have started already. I looked around frowning when I heard the classroom door slam behind us.

            “What’s going on?” Remus asked to no one in particular, though I wanted the answer to that question myself.

            That’s when I noticed something peculiar, and not all together good.

            “Guys…. Where’s Rose?”

            We craned our necks, trying to spot the small brunette, but she wasn’t there. That’s when a feeling of dread coursed through me and I ran to the door, using my full strength to try and wrench it open.

            It was locked.

            I turned to my friends in horror. We had forgotten which team sweet little Rose was on. And it wasn’t ours.

            I saw my own face reflected on Remus as he too, came to the same conclusion. “It was a set up.” He muttered bitterly as the four of us looked around, waiting for whatever it was the girls had planned.

            Suddenly a loud voice echoed through the room, “It’s the big bad boys! Come to play with Peevsy, have you?”

            “Shit.”

            My eyes widened as Peeves the poltergeist swept down through the ceiling and cackled around us, flicking ink as he did so. Of all the bloody accomplices they could have gotten, the girls went and employed Peeves into their plan. The ghost was a complete nutter! His life’s purpose (well, afterlife’s purpose I suppose) was to cause destruction and havoc in Hogwarts….forever. The teachers hated him, and personally I thought he was brilliant when he messed with Minnie and Ol’ Slughorn, but if he was after you you’d better run….and duck and cover. Because Peeves had the ability to be an absolute menace.

            “Piggly-wiggly Potter!” The ghost shrieked, as ink flew right into James’ cursing mouth.

            “Black! The bimbo, buggy, bone-head!” I ducked as a book flew towards my face.

            “Loopy, loony, Lupin!” He screeched and swooped down low over Remus’ head.

            “And poor, portly Pettigrew.” Peeved made a face and tipped over a desk at Peter’s feet as he blushed.

            Ah, Peeves, ever the lyrical genius. I took a stance as the four of us watched the ghost fly around the room some more.

            “The girls come to Peevsy, and what’s does they say? They tell me a plan; they hatched right away! The messy marauders are trapped in a room, and Peevsy can have lots of fun with them soon!”

            I had to give it to him. It actually rhymed.

            “What are you doing here Peeves?” Remus called in a pissed-off voice.

            “Nosey, nosey, you is Mr. Loopy.” Peeves scolded as he dipped down to hover slightly above us.

            “Cut the crap Peeves.” I spat.

            “Rude you are! You bumbling, nimby!” He yelped and did cartwheel across the air before vanishing behind an open closet door.

            “What was that ab---”

James never finished his sentence.

            Because, just then, Peeves raced back into the room with a giant bucket of honey, pouring it over all four of our heads, without so much as a warning.

            I let out a very loud and violent stream of curses as the warm, sticky goo covered me from head to toe. James, Peter, and Remus howled as Peeves dropped the bucket, laughed, and flew into the ceiling, so as to be far away from the scene of the crime.

            “Damn it!” I yelled as I saw the door of the classroom open, seemingly of its own accord.

            Oh yeah, now that we’re flipping covered in honey, now we can leave. I tried to wipe some of it away from my face and hair as I made my way slowly to the doorway, followed by my three friends.

“I swear, when I get my hands on them I’ll----”

            “Argh!!

            I spluttered and yelped as some sort of white powder was thrown in my face and I backed up, falling over, and taking down my friends with me. I closed my eyes and mouth as the powdery substance kept pouring down and I heard a lot of laughter from somewhere above my place on the ground.

            After a minute or so, I rubbed my eyes and then opened them, hardly being able to see through the thick, dusty cloud around us. I looked down at myself. Damn. They got me this time. I was covered in goopy, white, dusty, honey, everywhere. It looked gross, and felt even worse.

            “Now, that is a sight I will always remember.”

            I stood up with Moony, Prongs, and Wormtail, as we faced our enemy with as much dignity as we could muster. I glared at Zalia as she stood in front of us, her arms crossed, and leaning on one hip, with a very cocky expression stretched across her face.

            “Wipe that smile off, Blackwood,” I spat, “This isn’t over.”

            I stalked down the corridor, my friends in tow, determined to go take a shower up in the dorms. Zalia called after us;

            “Oh, I hope not! I’m only just getting started!”

 

*

 

            I think it took about five showers to get the entire residue of the prank off of my body. And even then I found some sticky spots.

After we’d dealt with the cleaning ourselves up, we’d put our minds to uncovering what had happened. It turned out the girls had convinced Peeves to cover us in honey, then they waited outside the class for us, and ambushed us with buckets of flour. James and I had gotten another detention for missing Transfiguration, since we were washing up in our dorm during the class time. That was flipping fantastic. But, the girls weren’t at all sympathetic when we’d told them. They still were bitter about us spiking their drinks. Something about us ‘playing dirty’. What did they want? We were at war!

            There’s was a good prank, anyways. They had accomplices and everything. Rose had played her part well, and even switched the time on Remus’ watch when he wasn’t looking. It was all thought out and the execution wasn’t lacking. But, that only made me more determined to pull one over on them in turn. Even better than the other pranks we had already done.

            I couldn’t think about that now though, because even though I prided myself on being a completely lazy person when it came to school, I actually wanted to pay attention now.

            Yesterday afternoon, McGonagall had called me up to her office. Just me. Obviously I thought it was something to do with detention, or my schoolwork, or my overall student record. It actually had to do with all three. In fifth year, all of us students had had meetings with our heads of house to discuss possible future career paths, you know, Healer, Teacher, etc. I think that that day was the first I’d ever actually thought about what would happen after Hogwarts. I was very much a ‘live-in-the-moment’ type of person, and maybe it was stupid, but a career, or even a job had seemed so far away. It still did, as I’d sat in McGonagall’s office yesterday, but less so than in fifth year.

            Minnie had calmly explained to me about how my schoolwork/school conduct was affecting my future. And I’d listened. Because, though I may seem like one of those guys who just becomes a bum after graduating, I actually had a few goals in life. Of all the professions there were in the wizarding world, or even the muggle world, being an Auror seemed by far the most exciting and useful. Becoming an Auror (a dark wizard catcher) was a job that would make the time I’d spent learning all these spells and facts worthwhile. I could do some good in the world. I won’t deny that it did have something to do with my upbringing. But, I didn’t want to be an Auror as some pathetic attempt to annoy and rebel against my family (although that was definitely a plus). No, it was because having grown up the way that I did, I’d seen first-hand the effects of dark magic, and exactly how corrupt and evil it really was. I wanted to be out there putting a stop to it. Fighting for a worthy cause. I wasn’t meant to be idle. I wasn’t meant to be cooped up in an office somewhere. I needed to do something. And being an Auror was just the right fit.

            I’d actually been really concerned when Minnie told me how bad my grades were. Not to mention the fact that my disciplinary record was off the charts, and wouldn’t look good on an application to the Aurors’ office. She’d questioned if it was still my aspiration to become an Auror, which of course, it was. So she’d set it all out there, punched in the numbers and told me where I stood. It wasn’t good. I needed to apply myself this year if there was any chance that the Auror training office would possibly accept me. McGonagall had grudgingly told me not to worry about the disciplinary record, seeing as one year of good behavior was not nearly enough to erase six years of detentions. Although, my obvious lack of respect for rules might count against me, there was really nothing I could do about it.

            I cleared my throat and focused my eyes ahead at Professor Bins. He was actually quite interesting (albeit bizarre) to behold. He looked about five-hundred years old, with scraggly silver hair that was wiry and stood up all around his head. He had a deep, over-hanging forehead which, combined with his abnormally bushy eyebrows, made it impossible to see where his eyes were (I had no idea how his vision worked considering that). His bushy mustache twitched when he spoke and he was constantly shaking like a leaf. His hunched-back and withered limbs quaked as he turned about the room. All in all, he gave the impression of a walking corpse and I wasn’t surprised that his class (History of Magic) was awful, and it was impossible to learn anything from our teacher. This was bad news for me, since I had promised Minnie (and myself) that I’d study and bring up my grades, and the only way to do that in History of Magic, was to learn everything in my free time. Bugger. I was a fairly bright bloke; rather ingenious at magic when I wanted to be. James and I spent hours coming up with new spells as well as learning abstract ones that were difficult to perform, when we felt like it. Magic was fascinating, but there was a difference between magic for your own devices, and magic for school. I knew if I made an effort to pay attention in all my classes, I would be able to pass easily. But, I was still Sirius Black, and extra effort, or studying, did not come naturally.

            As I tried to tune back into what the drawling old Professor was rattling on about, a sharp point hit the back of my neck and I whipped my hand around to the spot instantly.

 I wasn’t just spazzing out. The prickling sensation had originated from a small, crumpled piece of parchment that now sat under my desk after being launched at the back of my head. I reached down with a smirk, and snatched the ball of paper from next to my feet. I smoothed it out on my desk, not bothering to hide it from Mr. Bins. Honestly, a hurricane could whip through the room, and he wouldn’t notice.

            Are you actually listening to Bins? Or do my eyes deceive me?

            I twisted my mouth sideways as I looked at the dark green ink on the paper. The author of the note was sitting in the back of the room, charming his spectacles to turn different colors and sizes at the moment. I picked out my spelled, notebook pen and clicked it to write back my response. James, I, and the other marauders all had specially spelled pens and notepads so that we could communicate with one another in class or wherever (one of our little projects). James’ writing was always dark green, mine was plain black, Remus’ was a golden yellow, and Pete’s was chocolate brown.

            I watched as my dark writing appeared on the paper as I wrote on the crumpled parchment;

            Shut up, Prongs. I was just watching to see if Bin’s eyes actually exist under his brows. I’m positive they don’t.

            I tapped my fingers as I waited for James’ small writing to appear again on the note;

            Yeah, I don’t know how he can see like that.

            I smirked as I wrote my reply;

            He can’t.

            I heard a soft snort from the back of the classroom and turned around to see my best friend laughing behind his hand before looking back at the wrinkled note paper.

            Did you see her earlier, Pads? She was watching me!

            I frowned, confused.

            Who the hell are you talking about?

            Lily!

            I rolled my eyes;

            You’re such a prat.

            Don’t act like you didn’t see it. She wants me.

            It was my turn to snort as I scribbled my response.

            In your dreams you idiot.

            Yes, yes she is.

            Now I outright laughed. I had a hard time wrapping my head around James’ crush on Lily. Not that she wasn’t great, or whatever, but I didn’t understand how he could like her that much. I’d never been in love. I didn’t ever want to be. It seemed like a stupid thing to do. I mean, having all of your hopes and dreams in the hands of someone else? A risky business that. It seemed weird that most people wanted to fall in love. I was fine being a playboy forever. Having a string of girls to fool around sounded just dandy, maybe a girlfriend every now and then, but that was it. No serious attachments.

            Are you going to ask her out then?

            I was surprised at his response.

            No, I need her to trust me first. I’ll have to be friends with her, and only friends for right now.

            That was genuinely a good idea. Usually when it came to Lily, Prongs was rubbish at ideas, but it seemed as though he might finally have come up with a plan that would possibly…. maybe…. work.

I’m impressed.

What can I say? I’m just bloody brilliant.

I leaned back in my chair and smirked.

Just keep telling yourself that, mate.

I didn’t get to see his reply since class ended right then. I happily grabbed up my books and bag, heading out of the classroom with James in tow.

“You know I’m brilliant.”

I rolled my eyes, “Yeah, you’re fantastic.”

“You’ll believe me when I tell you what I’ve come up with.”

I paused and looked at Prongs who had a devious smile on his face. That meant trouble. Excellent.

“What have you come up with then?”

“Only the most epic prank anyone’s ever thought of. And if we can pull it off, we’ll be legends.”

I looked at him and smirked, “We’re already legends.”

I heard a snort from nearby and looked over to see Mary and Zalia walking past us with amused looks.

“Dropping some eaves, are you?” I asked harshly.

“No,” Mary answered, turning pink. Ah, I felt a tad bit bad then. Mary was all right. I mean, she liked Quidditch after all. Oh! Quidditch---

I turned away from the girls as they sped past us, to look at James, “When’s tryouts mate? The season starts soon.”

I watched as he tousled up his hair in a nervous manner, “I know, I know. I’m working on it. Do I just pick a day then?” He asked me with a pleading look.

I nodded, uncertainly. Surely being Captain of the team wasn’t that nerve wracking.

“Right,” He frowned to himself, “Right, err…. This Friday. Yeah, that works. Before our detentions.”

I nodded encouragingly and clapped him on the back. I’d try and be supportive of my friend, but if he didn’t screw his head on straight by the time season started, there’d be no more Mr. nice guy. Being the good friend I was, I told him this of course;

“James, get your shit together before you muck up the whole team captain thing.”

He grimaced and gave me a worried look, “Shut up Sirius, you’re not helping. I’m under enough pressure as it is.” He mussed up his hair again before muttering quietly; “I’ll be the worst captain ever.”

I snorted, “Don’t worry, there’s no way you can be worse than horrid, half-pint Holly.”

We both laughed at this. Holly Hillowits had been the Gryffindor quidditch captain three years ago, and more than lived up to her not-so-flattering nick name. Horrid, half-pint, Holly was a tiny brunette who’d had the worst temper I’d ever seen, and probably ever would see. I had made the mistake of telling her to take anger management classes the first time we’d had quidditch practice, and she’d almost kicked me off of the team. In my defense, she had made more than half the team run off crying in the first ten minutes, and most of them were guys!

“Amen to that,” James nudged my arm as we trudged along, and I hit him back. Then, as macho men do, we ended up in a shoving match. I won. I grinned as I threw Prongs against the stone wall and he gave a grunt, looking up to glare at me as he rubbed his now-sore shoulder.

“Sirius!”

I stopped and looked around in confusion. Who did I know with that high-pitched of a voice? Oh…. Right. My question was answered as a head of sleek, platinum blonde hair bounced into view.

“What do you want?”

I frowned at James. I knew he didn’t like her, but I sort of did. I didn’t know why, I’m sure she was incredibly annoying, but I almost felt like we understood each other, having slightly similar reputations. Besides, she was hot.

“Hey, Tammy,” I smiled crookedly.

“You boys going to supper?”

I cleared my throat to keep from laughing. Supper? What was this, the middle ages?

“Yes, we are.” James answered gruffly, clearly pissed-off that the girl was talking to us. Most likely because she was not one of Lily’s favorite people. Therefore James had to hate her.

“Oh, good!” She said brightly, falling into step beside us as we started walking towards the great hall. “I’d love to sit with you!”

I don’t know why I found it so amusing. I guess I just loved that she never asked permission or anything, I liked Tammy’s spunk, even if she was rude. James however, seemed not to share my opinion. But before he could tell her to shove off, I cut in.

“That would be fantastic, Tammy.” I told her in a suave voice.

I could see James getting ready to boil over next to me, but I ignored his glower. The other girls had been sitting with us lately, and if Tammy did as well, she would really annoy Zalia. Which was great. And Tammy was good entertainment over all, with her unwavering ability to piss everyone off. Even Remus, which was hard to do.

I watched gleefully as Zalia zeroed in on Tammy’s presence as the three of us walked over to Gryffindor table. Ha. She looked fit to murder someone. Most likely myself or Tamara.

“Hello!” I said brightly as we sat down. If I hadn’t been so happy to see Zalia’s death stare, it might’ve bothered me how everyone else reacted. They all hated Tammy, I knew that…. but still! Even Peter had the courage to glare at her, and normally he didn’t look at girls; period.

What,” Zalia half whispered as she gripped her fork tightly, “Is that thing doing here?”

Well, now. That’s not very nice.

“Sirius invited me to sit with you all.” Tammy replied smoothly, staring Zalia down. It was sort of fascinating to watch them have a silent battle, slinging daggers at each other with their narrowed eyes.

I smiled at my friends sheepishly as they all threw me half curious glares, and Remus gave a huff.

“That was kind of him.”

We all turned to Rose with surprised looks after her comment. I was shocked that she was able to put so much venom into her sweet voice.

“Wasn’t it?” Tammy smiled, unperturbed as she served herself some salad.

“Yes.” I gave Zalia my crooked smile, slightly disappointed when she returned it widely, instead of glaring. She knew I was trying to get to her.

“Well,” Mary rubbed her hands together nervously, “I had the absolute worst time in Transfiguration today. McGonagall went on, and on about the different types of shape-shifting, and how warped a person can get if they’re reckless. You know, the normal tosh that she spits out about ‘caution among the wise’. Anyways, Bertrand Windry was tugging on my hair and….”

I tuned out the rest of Mary’s mindless chatter and focused on the deliciously, golden looking leg of lamb that was sitting on my plate. Food. Dear, sweet Merlin. I don’t think there’s anything in the world better than good food.

Remus leaned forward and whispered to me as I dug in to my meal. “Why’d you have to bring her here to---”

“Something to say there?” Tammy asked loudly as her eyes darted between Remus and I, who looked at each other a bit miffed.

“I was talking to my friend.” Remus mumbled. It was strange to see him not liking someone, you could tell he hated being rude, but he also hated Tammy. What a dilemma for the poor fellow.

“Come now Lupin, we’re friends.” Tammy raised her glass to him and they met eyes.

“Are we?” He asked, cocking an eyebrow. James, Pete, and I watched them warily.

“Why shouldn’t we be!” She smiled warmly, her glistening white teeth showing between her parted lips, “I have no quarrel with you. It’s not as though you betrayed my friendship or anything.” Her eyes tightened and she glanced towards Lily. But before the redhead could respond, Zalia did it for her. How predictable.

She snorted loudly, “You should not be talking Blondie.”

“I don’t believe I was speaking to you.” Tammy answered, without looking away from Remus, who was staring at his hands awkwardly.

“Do you think I care who you were talking to?” Zalia asked in a hard voice, “You need to leave well enough alone, Tamara. You’re not wanted here. By anyone.” She paused and glanced at me for a minute, “Except maybe Sirius, but his opinion isn’t worth crap anyways.”

I frowned, “Hey!”

Both girls ignored me and Tammy turned to Zalia, locking eyes with her. “If you don’t like what I have to say then leave. I am welcome here,” She gestured to us marauders, which was slightly untrue, seeing as three out of four of us didn’t like her at all (Me being the exception of course).

Lily broke into the conversation, “Look Tammy, we’re not friends, you made that clear a long time ago, and I should have stood up to you then. But either way, I’m finished with you now, and so is everyone else.”

She gave me a pointed look and I flickered my eyes downward. I didn’t want Lily to be mad at me. She was one of the few people at Hogwarts I actually respected.

“Lily, don’t patronize me. I’ll do what I like, when I like, and if you have anything to say about, take it up with someone who cares. I don’t. Like I said earlier,” Tammy grit her teeth, “Feel free to leave. I’m not going anywhere.” Our whole group grew silent, watching each other. Most were glaring at either me or Tammy, but I didn’t care too much.

Tammy was as stubborn as Blackwood and Lily, I’d give her that. And that was no easy thing. She seemed to be able to hold her own against them, I found it amusing to watch all the drama. Like watching one of those muggle movies.

“I set a date for Quidditch try outs!” James blurted out. I gave a bark of laughter as I bit into a potato. Prongs hated awkward silences almost as much as I did.

Mary’s eyes widened, “What?” She yelped, “When?!”

“This Friday, before I---- Oh hell.” James’ face went gaunt as he looked past our table and over our shoulders.

I turned my head, looking to see what had had the effect on my friend, same as everyone else.

Oh.

 McGonagall was striding towards us, with a determined and steely expression plastered to her sharp face.

“What the devil did you do?” James hissed at me, his eyes flashing with worry.

I leaned over as Minnie got closer, “Me? Nothing! What about you?”

“I didn’t do anything! I ju----” James started angrily.

“You two shut the hell up…. Hello Professor!” Remus’ face changed drastically from worry to a polite smile as McGonagall stopped before us all. We knew it couldn’t be good. But honestly! I hadn’t done anything, and I feared James and I would be expelled sometime soon for all of our trouble. We already had detentions for every night, what else was there to do with us? I gave Minnie a small smile, which she ignored. Oh Merlin, we were doomed.

But to my deep relief and satisfaction, she turned to Zalia instead of me or my friends.

“Professor?” Zalia stood up and narrowed her eyes, obviously confused.

McGonagall clicked her tongue and sighed, “The headmaster would like to speak with you Miss Blackwood.”

I leant back in my chair and grinned, as Tammy sent Lily and the girls a devilish smile.

“Now?” Zalia asked, trying to hide her worry. She wasn’t as good an actress as she thought she was, I don’t think.

“Yes,” Minnie answered, “But, not to worry child. You are not in trouble….”

Damn it. Why were the marauders the only ones who were punished around here? Oh right. ‘Cause we caused all the trouble.

“But it is of some urgency.” Minnie sounded slightly uncomfortable, but she drew on her tight lipped expression as she left to walk back over to Dumbledore and the rest of the teachers, who looked to be leaving the great hall.

Zalia stood up slowly, clearly just as baffled as the rest of us. Rarely did you get to speak with the great, white, bearded, headmaster himself.

“I suppose I’ll see you all later.” She said in a fake-bored voice as she made to follow Minnie. I winked behind her back and took on a smug smirk. I hoped it wasn’t good whatever it was. The dramatic little----

"Save your smirks for someone else, Sirius. I hope you’ll consider jumping off of the Astronomy tower while I’m gone.”

I sat up straight, staring at Zalia’s retreating back as Pete, Remus, and James laughed loudly. Bloody hell! Had she seen me wink? Tricky little thing.

“Well,” Tammy exclaimed in a satisfied voice as she put her hand on my arm. I didn’t really mind. She wasn’t terrible to look at. In fact she was just the opposite. And I, the legendary Sirius Black, would never refuse flirting with a gorgeous blonde. “I’m simply exhausted.” She smiled at me, attempting to rearrange her face into a simper. It wasn’t half bad.

“Sirius, would you hate me if I asked you to walk me back to the common room?” She batted her eyelashes and I smiled. Not so smugly though, now that my dark haired enemy was gone. I didn’t enjoy Lily’s glares nearly as much as Zalia’s.

“Of course not.” I stood up to walk out with Tammy, ignoring the obvious grunts and scoffs from my annoyed friends.

We walked out of the candlelit hall, no one paying much attention to us, as we both had the same reputation regarding our ‘romantic lives’. We went through relationships like nobody’s business. Or, hook-ups I guess.

“I’m surprised you didn’t have a new girl sitting on your lap today.”

What? I gave her a look and she giggled. Typical girl.

“I only meant, that you should be careful,” She continued, her eyes twinkled as we strode through the silent halls, “People might start to think you’re losing your touch if you go without a girl for too long.”

I frowned. People wouldn’t really think I was losing my touch…. Would they? I shook my head and cleared my throat, looking at Tammy sideways.

“People can think what they like. I’ll never lose my touch.” I told her smoothly, a whisper of a smirk playing on my lips.

“That’s what I thought.” She looked straight ahead of us, smiling slightly. She puzzled me. Tamara Goldberg was a platinum-blonde puzzle. And I hated missing pieces to things like that.

“What are you on about?” I asked her, grimacing as my voice betrayed curiosity. I usually liked to have the upper-hand in conversations with beautiful girls.

She glanced at me before speeding up some, smiling all the time;

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

 

*

 

What have you done?

Somewhere, deep down, deep, deep down.... Did I have a death wish? I was honestly considering it. Because, that was probably the most reasonable explanation for my actions. And I had to have something, anything to tell them. Or maybe they would just murder me first and ask questions later. I don’t know if I would blame them. I had done something bad. Not even bad. Just plain awful. And there would be several people wishing to have my head on a silver platter by tomorrow morning….

 

 

“You did what?”

“This is a joke right? A sick joke?”

“What have you done?!

“I hate you.”

“I hate you more.”

“How could you do this to us?!”

All very good questions. But I didn’t have any particularly great answers for them. I was in the wrong, and I knew it. But the only thing that could fix the situation was, unfortunately not an option I was considering. For more than one reason.

I hung my head as my best friend approached me slowly, walking across the stretch of the dormitory floor, as I stood with my back to the closed door.

“Why?”

I looked up at him. Of all the questions, this one might be the worst. But it was also the one I had to answer. Because I had done the unthinkable.

“It was her idea.” I said weakly as Remus growled at me and Peter glared.

“You twat!” Prongs spat as he turned away from me, “Of all people, on the whole damn planet, you pick Tamara Goldberg. You choose to date her!”

I winced. There it was.

“Sorry?” I offered with a small, pathetic smile.

“Sorry? You just made the wicked witch of the west your girlfriend, and you say SORRY?

I nodded, unsure of what to do. Tammy had some sort of pull on me. I liked her. I liked her evil side. I liked her girliness. And I really liked her strawberry shampoo that’s scent lingered in her soft, blonde hair.

James sighed and sat back on his bed. Remus and Pete mirroring his movements. I stayed still, knowing that I would be doing to wrong thing if I came any closer to my ticked off mates.

“You do realize she’ll be around all the time right?” James asked, staring up at the ceiling.

I cleared my throat, “I know you don’t like her but----”

Remus snorted, “But what? But too bad, because she’ll be sitting on your lap at meals from now on? Feeding you grapes from her hand?”

I scowled. This wasn’t going very well. “No…. I promise I’ll keep her in check.”

All three of my fellow marauders sat up and raised their eyebrows. James looked me up and down;

“You’ll keep her in check?” He repeated, skeptically.

Before I could reply, Pete asked quietly, “Why do you even want to go out with her?”

Moony and Prongs watched me carefully as I furrowed my brow, trying to compose an acceptable answer.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully, “I just like her.”

James snorted, “I think it’s her mile long legs that you like.”

I gave him a look, but he just stared back with a challenging expression until I sighed, “Okay, so maybe she is extremely good looking,”

Remus snorted.

“But,” I continued, “You know that if that’s all I liked about her, I wouldn’t have made her my girlfriend.”

They paused at this. They knew that I might be the least reliable, most reckless one of us…. But I didn’t put my friends through hell for nothing. I liked Tammy, so we were now going out. My mates didn’t like it, but they would live.

“Fine.”

“Whatever.”

“Just keep her out of our dorm.”

I opened my mouth to respond to the last statement, (which happened to be Remus’) but he amended it;

“Keep her out of the dorm when we’re in here. I don’t care what you two do alone.”

I noticed his tone of disgust even though he tried to hide it.

I would never have admitted it. To anyone. But I felt slightly…. Abashed by it. Knowing that deep down my friends thought I was a dirty guy, who slept with any available, beautiful woman.... it was slightly hurtful. My reputation, I couldn’t care less about. But my friends…. even they thought I was a man-whore. And I wasn’t. Though they would never believe me.

“Thanks,” I muttered to them all, as I walked over to my bed and sat down, ready for a long nap….

My eyes snapped open. Crap. I remembered my promise to McGonagall. I could no longer use free periods for leisure time. That was now designated homework time.

I groaned as I got up, feeling gravity trying to pull my body back towards the comfortable sheets. I stood up anyways, slowly reaching for my book bag and taking out my copy of ‘Advanced Potions making’. I had at least two over-due essays to work on for Slughorn.

“Here goes nothing….”


Chapter 11: Chapter XI: The Golden State
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    Hey guys, sorry it's been a few chappies since I've done an authors note, but here it is anyway. Please review and let me know how it is! The next chapter's almost done, and its a pretty long one.






For some fun facts about the characters look at the bottom of the chapter!






 I'm still not J.K. Rowling and therefore have no rights to the HP industry, unfortunately. 




Song(s) of the day:

            Roar- Katy Perry

                       AND    <3

            Radioactive- Imagine Dragons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 







 

 





 

 





 

 





 

 





 

Chapter XI: The Golden State






 

 






 

Lily’s POV:






 

 






 

        I kept my eyes trained downwards, staring at my charcoal black shoes as they clicked along the cold stone floor.






 

            I was tired. Too many sleepless nights; too much thinking. Usually I was fine with lots of thinking. It was a habit of mine to over-analyze things, but lately I had been over-analyzing myself. And that was exhausting.






 

            The people around me, or rather, my relationships with the people around me had changed drastically as of late. First there was James, who I had suddenly found myself being polite too. And every time I felt the urge to scream at him, I asked myself if I was overreacting. Surprisingly, nine times out of ten, I was. James really didn’t do anything that any of my other friends didn’t. I had just seen everything that he did in the worst light when we were growing up. He wasn’t that bad. And he had even stopped asking me out.






 

            Then there was Tammy. *sigh* Tammy, Tammy, Tammy…. She was one of my oldest…. acquaintances (for lack of a better word), but I also couldn’t stand her. She was rude and vile. Not just to me, but also to my friends. I prided myself on being fiercely loyal. It was one of my best qualities. And if someone was mistreating my friends I wouldn’t stand for it. And that was fine. Good. I’m glad I wasn’t the type of person to take things lying down, but that didn’t mean I liked having an enemy who used to be my friend. Tammy was one of those people whose life was completely fake. Fake hair, fake smile, fake friends, fake tan. When she had been friends with Rose, Mary, and I, she never talked about her home life. We never saw her over holidays, and we never mentioned anything about it. She could hide behind her condescending grin, but I knew she wasn’t happy. It was sad. She hated her life, secretly. Her ‘friends’ were just minions. But despite all that I still had to yell at her, to be nasty, because I’d had enough of her taking it out on everyone else.






 

            But I wasn’t proud of the way we argued now. It disturbed me. There were only two people in the world that I’d ever screamed at like that besides Tammy: James Potter and Severus Snape. And I was trying to keep that number down. Hopefully she would be last one on the list to suffer my wrath. Oh, I could be scary, and I knew it. But I didn’t like it. That was Zalia’s job. She was the intimidating one. I just got good grades.






 

            I kicked a stray button that was lying on the floor of the corridor in my path, as I walked into the Great hall. Rose, Mary, and Zalia trailed behind me, too wrapped up their conversation to notice my silence. I was in a sour mood. I hated when that happened, I tried to be happy all the time, but I was only human. And sometimes things just hit you, figuratively.






 

            And then…. sometimes things hit you literally.






 

“Oww!” I yelped as my funny bone hit the hard ground, and the rest of me followed. Something very solid, traveling at high-speeds had just hit me from behind, launching my body straight down, in front of my friends, who I could tell were trying not to laugh.






 

I growled, annoyed as I saw a hand appear in front of me.






 

“Will you please watch where you’re….” I looked up, ready to lash out at the person responsible for my fall, but the words were lost in my throat.






 

Oh. My. Godric.






 

He was gorgeous. Absolutely beautiful. It wasn’t just one thing about him, it was all of it put together. His features were perfect, and his expression was so kind, that it made his face even better. I think I stared at him for way longer than necessary, but it was worth it. He had jet black hair, so dark that in the outline of the lights from the hall, it looked almost tinged blue. His eyes were a bright blue, thinly rimmed with grey and green. Light freckles splashed unevenly across his nose and he had a tiniest hint of stubble lining his chiseled jaw.






 

“Are you all right?” His dark, shapely eyebrows furrowed with concern, and I collected my thoughts.






 

Come on Lily, don’t look like an idiot in front of him!






 

“I’m fine,” I smiled coyly and placed my slender hand in his. It was rough, and strong as it pulled me up in one swift movement. I didn’t mind one bit when we ended up standing closer than necessary.






 

I remembered the manners I’d been brought up with (thank Merlin), and stretched out my hand to grasp his again, “I’m Lily Evans.”






 

He shook my hand and smiled warmly, his gorgeous blue eyes twinkling, “I’m Robert Spencer. But you can just call me Beck.”






 

Oh wow. That voice. That low, accented, smooth voice.






 

Snap out of it woman!






 

I shook my head slightly and looked at him curiously. His voice was clear and crisp, but the words were oddly clipped. “You’re not from around here are you, Beck?”






 

He smiled wider and shook his head, letting go of my hand. “No, I’m not.”






 

I raised my eyebrows, but he just kept smiling, so I asked the obvious question;






 

“Where are you from then?”






 

He took a step back, as if suddenly noticing how close we were standing. Can’t say I wasn’t a little bit disappointed.






 

“I’m from The U.S.. California to be specific.”






 

I scanned his figure, (hopefully discreetly). So he was American? And a surfer by the looks of it. I mean, he did live in California. He was tall and lean, covered in a golden glow. The tan added to my suspicion of ‘surfer boy’.






 

I cleared my throat, still trying to get over his intoxicating appearance. “Ah, the Sunshine State.”






 

He laughed and tried to pass it off as a cough behind his fist. I felt my face flush deep red and he smiled, “You probably mean ‘The Golden State’. Florida is the ‘Sunshine State’.”






 

I mentally kicked myself. Of course I would say something stupid like that.






 

“Oops! Either way, it’s still in America.” I replied cheerily, hoping he’d forget my embarrassing blunder. Hell, I hoped I could forget it.






 

He nodded and looked around. I did as well, trying to ignore the few stares aimed at us in the hall. That’s when I noticed several things at once. A: Super-hot-American-boy was not wearing the standard school uniform (hence the reason I could make out his lean body beneath the tight T-shirt). B: My three best friends were standing quite close to us, alternating between giggling and staring. And C: Professor McGonagall was walking straight towards surfer boy and I, with her usual tight expression.






 

“I see you’ve already met our head girl.” McGonagall said as she approached. I looked between her and Beck, trying my best to piece together the situation. McGonagall saw me struggling and (thankfully) filled me in.






 

“Mr. Spencer is a seventh year transfer student from America. He’s already been sorted into Gryffindor, so you Miss Evans, are his head girl. I expect you and Mr. Potter to help him along. See to it that he understands everything.”






 

She looked Beck up and down, and I could have sworn she blushed, even just the tiniest bit. I couldn’t blame her. Teacher or not, she was still a female, and Beck was extremely handsome.






 

“Well Mr. Spencer, I suppose that’ll be all. Listen to Miss Evans here, and don’t get into any trouble.” She whisked herself away, back up towards the staff table, where I could see Dumbledore chatting animatedly to Professor Kettleburn.






 

“So….” Beck shuffled his feet and looked at me sideways.






 

I smiled and patted his arm lightly, “Come on, I’m sure you’re hungry.” I led him over to my usual spot at Gryffindor table, my smile growing wider as I noticed the stares of many girls from around us. Sizing up the new guy. As soon as we sat down, Zalia, Mary, and Rose descended, crowding around with eager expressions. Well, I couldn’t be the only girl who noticed his charming features.






 

“I’m Zalia,” My friend smiled at him brightly, and stretched out her dainty, manicured hand for him to shake. I sighed to myself. I couldn’t compete with Zalia Blackwood. Nobody could. I saw him first, but I didn’t really have a claim to him. Besides my other friends were single, why should I begrudge them a chance to get with Beck?






 

Had I not caught Zalia’s eye just then, I might have clammed up and lost any hope with Beck all together, but I didn’t. I locked eyes with my back haired friend and she twisted her head and gave a small smile. Somehow, I knew what she meant.






 

I smiled widely at her and she winked, nodding towards the new boy. Zalia was letting me have him.






 

“So,” Beck said quietly (after Rose and Mary introduced themselves), leaning his head down towards my ear (which tingled madly from the closeness). “How does all this work then?”






 

I raised an eyebrow and looked up at him. “How does all what work?”






 

“Everything.” He gestured wildly with his arms and I snorted.






 

“That’s specific.”






 

He laughed and I felt a rush of butterflies in my stomach.






 

“Okay, well how about we start with clothes. I don’t think I’ll get away with wearing this every day.” He gestured to himself and I looked down at him, taking in the tight T-shirt, khaki shorts, and athletic shoes. That shirt…. left almost nothing to the imagination.






 

You could wear that every day I if had any say…..






 

I shook my head, “Sorry, baggy school uniform is what you’re getting from now on!”






 

He clicked his tongue, “Aw, dang it.” He smiled teasingly.






 

Were we?.... was he?.... were we…. Flirting?






 

“So what else can you tell me?” He asked softly, his face closer to mine than need be.






 

 “I’m not sure. Tell me what you want to know.” I smiled coyly.






 

Beck carelessly draped his arm around my shoulders, “Where do we sleep?”






 

I probably flushed then.






 

“We all sleep in Gryffindor tower. There are the girls’ dormitories, and the boys’. You’ll be in the seventh year boys’ room.”






 

You’ll be in the seventh year boys’ room….






 

You’ll be in the seventh year….






 

You’ll be in….






 

My eyes widened as I realized what I’d said. He would be bunking with the marauders. With James. That was not good.






 

“What’s wrong?” Beck looked at me concerned. I was never good at hiding worry from my face.






 

I flapped my hand, “Oh, nothing. It’s just….” Just what? What could I say? That he would be sharing a room with a boy who had proclaimed his undying love for me for six years? “It’s just that I know the seventh year boys. Be careful around them.”






 

He raised an eyebrow at me, “Be careful?”






 

“Yeah, they’re legendary trouble makers.” Mary put in as she helped herself to some bacon.






 

“Speak of the devil….”






 

I followed Zalia’s line of sight to the group of four boys approaching our table. And James….. James looked pissed. He marched past his three friends and came straight over to us.






 

I felt angry for a minute. Who was he to be mad? What right did he have? What claim did he think he had on me? None. That’s what. But after the initial wave of annoyance, I felt bad. We were supposed to be friends after all. I’d try to keep the flirting with Beck to a minimum whilst James was around.






 

“Who are you?






 

Oh, boy.






 

“This is Beck,” I jumped in, trying to save things since Beck looked rather offended at James’ tone. “He’s a transfer from America.”






 

James grunted in response and sat down.






 

“And that’s James….”






 

I sent Beck an apologetic look, only to find him sporting an amused expression.






 

I ignored the smug smiles on Mary and Rose’s faces and leaned over the table, away from Robert (Beck).






 

“He’s a seventh year.” I told James quietly from my spot across from him. He looked up, frowning.






 

“So? That’s nice, he----” He paused, and looked from me to Beck, and back again. “He’ll be in our dorm?”






 

I frowned at his horrified expression. Why did he have to be so judgmental? For all he knew, he and Beck could get along great!






 

You know that’s not going to happen.






 

My eyes widened at the voice that had suddenly appeared in my head;






 

Who are you?






 

I’m you.






 

Don’t be daft.






 

You know hearing voices is the first sign of insanity.






 

I grit my teeth and ignored the annoying voice, turning instead to the three more agreeable looking marauders who came to sit down around us.






 

“Beck, this is Remus, Peter, and Sirius,” I pointed to each of them in turn, giving Sirius a sour expression as I reached him. I was still pissed off that he had let Tammy sit with us at dinner.






 

“And this is Beck,” I continued, “He’s a----”






 

“Seventh year who’ll be sharing our room.” James finished for me in a grim voice, “As if we weren’t cramped enough already.”






 

I sent my ‘friend’ a look, but Beck just chuckled and shook hands with Sirius, Remus, and Peter.






 

“Nice to meet you.”






 

The three boys’ faces lit up as he spoke:






 

“You’re foreign!”






 

“American, right?”






 

“Wicked!”






 

I rolled my eyes and saw Zalia do the same. Boys.






 

“Yeah, came over from ‘The Golden State’.” Beck told them pleasantly.






 

I turned bright red and refused to look at him. ‘The Golden State’. He wouldbring that up again.






 

“So why are you here? Not to be rude or anything.” Remus asked him curiously, reaching over to grab some toast.






 

Beck shrugged, “I’ve never really stayed in one place to be honest. I’ve always been traveling around either homeschooling or at a random school in some place. It’s my last year and Mum and Dad thought Hogwarts was the best place to be now…..so here I am!” He grinned at us and I smiled up at him, (looking away slightly when I noticed James’ scowl).






 

“You’ve traveled a lot?” Zalia asked, looking at him with a most curious expression. I suppose it was because their lives were similar. She’d had much the same past as he did, traveling around.






 

“Yeah, fifth year I spent the whole time being homeschooled and traveled around Japan. Last year I went to Durmstrang….” A pained look flickered across his face for a moment as he said this, “….but that place was…. difficult.” He finished quietly.






 

I exchanged a look with my friends and was about to ask him about ‘Durmstrang’. But before I could, we were joined by a singularly unwanted presence.






 

Siri!






 

Tammy scampered over to us, as fast as her high heels could carry her, and plopped herself into Sirius’ lap.






 

What. The. hell?






 

I stared at Sirius who held a pained smile as Tammy planted a kiss on his cheek and kicked out her legs, grinning at all of us before fixing Zalia with a particularly venomous look. Zalia, however, wasn’t even watching Tammy. She was staring directly at Sirius, who was looking right back. I watched them have some sort of silent conversation before Beck spoke up.






 

“Hello,” He smiled at Tammy and I snapped my head towards him as he introduced himself. His face fell as he saw my narrowed eyes and he looked between Tammy and I before giving the smallest of nods, figuring out that I did not like this chick. Not that I was trying to be controlling, but there was no way in hell I would let Tamara Goldberg dig her manicured claws in Robert. Besides…. he was my friend first….






 

Why,” Zalia finally moved her gaze over to Tammy, “Are you here?”






 

I clenched my fist and tried to form an expression of disgust, but I’m pretty sure I ended up looking like a shell-shocked guppy with my mouth hanging wide open, when Tammy answered:






 

“I’m just here to see my boyfriend, isn’t that right Sirius?”






 

No.






 

Just…. no.






 

“Excuse me?” Mary spluttered, staring at Sirius like he had announced his girlfriend was a troll.






 

Oh wait…. He pretty much had.






 

“You….you….” I opened and closed my mouth about fifty times, trying to form words. But Zalia recovered first. Her face seemed to be struggling between pretending not to care, and releasing a torrent of fury.






 

“Then why don’t you take your boyfriend back to where you came from. I don’t want to throw up my breakfast just because you two ogres are sitting in front of me, pawing at each other.” Her voice was like ice: sharp, piercing, and nearly bursting with vindictiveness.






 

Tammy giggled (the most annoying sound you could possibly imagine), “Oh Zalia…. don’t be jealous. You never had a chance with him anyway.”






 

Zalia laughed and everyone within a five-foot radius jumped. It wasn’t her normal laughter, or even her fake, bored laugh. It was a maniacal cackle, and she threw her head back, making it all the more frightening.






 

“Jealous? Don’t flatter yourself. Sirius isn’t worth my spit,” Zalia narrowed her eyes and took on an evil grin. “You’re the closest thing to a girl that he could get, Tammy.”






 

I turned my head, a smirk spreading across my face as I saw Tammy take on an ugly look and sniff, grabbing Sirius’ hand and leading him off to go sit with her minions. At least she was smart enough to leave quickly after realizing exactly how pissed off Zalia was about the relationship.






 

The girls and I jumped as Zalia took her cutlery knife and (with startling force) drove it into the wooden table so that it stuck straight up. The hilt of the blade vibrated in its place as she crossed her arms and glared at where Sirius had been sitting moments before, his prize girlfriend on his lap.






 

“Can you believe him?” She asked no one in particular.






 

I shook my head, a grimace covering my face as the anger I was feeling finally set in. “That idiot.”






 

I huffed and sat back, frowning as the three marauders who were left, shifted uncomfortably. Why weren’t they screaming at Sirius? They hated Tammy almost as much as we did. Why weren’t they….






 

Oh.






 

“You knew.” I said quietly giving James a look of disappointment. He put his hands up in defense.






 

“I’m just as upset about this as you are. But there’s no talking to him.” He sighed dejectedly.






 

Remus sat up and gave a grunt of disgust as he glanced to where the happy couple now sat. Tammy had her talons curling through Sirius’ messy black hair. “He likes her.”






 

We all sat silent for a minute and I nearly forgot Beck was next to me, he was so quiet. I took a deep breath and voiced the question we were all thinking:






 

“Why?”






 

Zalia gave a snort, “Isn’t it obvious?”






 

I gave her a confused look and she took her knife out of where it had stuck in the table, setting it down beside her plate.






 

“Sirius despises me so much that he decided to date Tammy just to flipping annoy me. He’s made it his mission to ruin everything!” She threw up her hands dramatically and I raised an eyebrow. “Well, that and the fact that they’re perfect for each other. Both are extremely vain, arrogant, stupid, selfish, intolerable, repulsive….”






 

I sighed as my friend rattled off down the list and felt my skin tingle as Beck’s arm brushed against my own.






 

“…. not to mention, they’re both whores.” She finished, taking a hard bite out of her toast.






 

“I just don’t get it.”






 

We all looked at Rose who sat looking like a dainty fairy, her chin in her hand and holding a glass of OJ in the other (with her pinky out by the way- typical Rose).






 

“I just mean,” She continued, realizing we were watching her, “that Sirius is actually a good bloke. I don’t know why he’d want her.” Rose glanced hesitantly at Zalia who just scowled into her bowl of fruit. “Sirius is nice sometimes, and not really awful or anything. But, Tammy….. she’s just….”






 

“An evil nazi bitch, resurrected from hell to wreak havoc and destruction on our lives, mine in particular, with her sadistic, vile, plastic, pedicured mind.” Zalia finished flatly. I almost laughed at her outburst until I realized she was right.






 

 






 

*






 

 






 

Beck and I had been wandering around the school for hours. He’d insisted that I showed him where everything was personally.






 

(Personally! Go me!)






 

I was happy to find that he wasn’t just a pretty face. Beck was…. charming. He was funny, sarcastic, nice, clever, and a complete gentleman (he opened doors for me!). Luckily, I wasn’t one of those swoony girls who just stared at a boy’s chest all day. I was able to have an actual conversation with Beck, even if he was really good looking.






 

I learned a lot about Beck. He came from a fairly normal background; his mother was a muggle, his father was a wizard. He’d lived in California his whole life (except for the traveling), and he’d had about a dozen tutors over the years. He was the oldest child, having a little sister (Genevieve) who was ten, getting ready to start her first year of magic school. Apparently Beck’s parents were considering sending her to Hogwarts. Beck was the test run, but he didn’t mind.






 

He had been all around the world; Asia, Iceland, Bulgaria, Africa- the list went on. Unfortunately I’d never really traveled, being the only witch in the family. I couldn’t really take holidays too far off places to study magic. And we never took family trips. My parents always said it was because they liked to keep it on the down low during vacation time, but I knew it was because we just didn’t have the money for it.






 

“….I’d like to take you there sometime.”






 

I jolted myself out of my thoughts to look at Beck as we walked back down the stairs of the owlery (he had needed to send a letter to his parents).






 

“Lily?” He asked, waving a hand in front of my face.






 

I swatted it away playfully, “What was that you said?” I smiled sheepishly.






 

He sighed dramatically and gave me an unconvincing, disapproving look which was slowly replaced with a grin, “You weren’t listening.”






 

“No! No, I was!” I pleaded, giving him my puppy dog eyes.






 

He shook his head, “It’s all right. I was prattling on anyways.”






 

I jumped down the last three steps of the staircase and landed on my feet, doing a sharp turn to meet Beck’s eyes. “And what were you saying about taking me somewhere?” I asked carefully.






 

He rolled his eyes, “You would hear that part.”






 

I smiled, “Honestly, it was really interesting. I just get lost in my own head sometimes.”






 

He shrugged and we walked quietly back towards castle’s main door. I closed my eyes and breathed in the sweet, autumn air around us. I loved fall. It was my favorite time of year. I liked the wind and the mild cold. I loved the colors of the leaves as they scattered about, covering the ground in gold, brown, red, and green. I loved the sharp silhouettes that the bare trees made against the sunsets.






 

I opened my eyes again, smiling contentedly as we walked inside the castle. Most of the portraits we passed nodded politely, knowing me as ‘Lily Evans, head girl and one of the most reliable people you could hope to meet’. I looked at them, going along with a skip in my step as Beck kept up with me, taking in his surroundings (he was still getting used to the sheer size of the place).






 

“The sea cliffs in Etretat.”






 

I stopped, startled, and looked at Beck questioningly.






 

He gave a bashful smile and continued, past me, down the corridor.






 

“Earlier, when I said I’d like to take you somewhere….. that was it. The sea cliffs in Etretat, France.”






 

I stood still for a moment, watching his back with a blank look. I didn’t really know what to think, much less what to say. I was touched I guess. It was a beautiful thought. No one had ever suggested something like that to me. I felt my heart beat a little faster as I made my feet move again, and followed after Beck. But the idea of it also made me feel…. nervous? I’d only known him for a day. Sure I liked him, but he was already suggesting we’d go on trips to far off places…..






 

I shook my head. Typical me: over-analyzing everything. I was being paranoid. He was just being sweet.






 

I sped up to Beck and glanced at him, sideways. “What are they like?”






 

He looked at me sharply before we turned a corner, “Hmm?”






 

“The sea cliffs. What are they like?” I asked softly.






 

I saw him smile quietly to himself out of the corner of my eye. “They’re amazing. The cliffs are sandy, lined with dark ridges and they drop off straight into the clear, bright water. And it’s not just the cliffs either, the fields around are pretty cool too. They’re covered in tall grass year ‘round…..” He looked at the floor, “I don’t know, I just thought you’d like them.”






 

I laughed lightly as we came to the portrait of the fat lady, outside the Gryffindor common room. I was tired, and Beck could find his way up to his dormitory on his own. The seventh year boys’ room was the last one on the stairs; easy to find. Besides…. I didn’t really want to deal with the marauders. I would take my leave now.






 

“Someday.” I smiled, giving him a light punch on his arm.






 

He frowned, “What?”






 

I walked through the portrait hole, calling over my shoulder before it closed; “I’ll see the sea cliffs…. someday!”






 

 






 

*






 

 






 

“I don’t remember….there being….this many….steps….”






 

I looked over my shoulder at Rose who was wheezing hard as she struggled up the rickety wooden bleachers, following in our band of friends. I was fairing only slightly better than she was. By the time Zalia (who was leading us) stopped, I was sweating all over and breathing pretty heavy.






 

“We’ll have a nice view from up here.” My black haired friend said pleasantly, crossing her legs and rearranging her cotton top.






 

I sat down beside her and looked around skeptically.






 

“We could have watched just fine from farther down.” Rose grumbled, sitting next to me.






 

Zalia waved her off, “Either way, we’re up here now.”






 

It was damp out, the sunlight hadn’t heated up the morning yet and the fog from the night before lingered around us. The quidditch pitch was nearly deserted. Besides the four of us (who sat ridiculously high up in the bleachers), there was Tammy (come to watch her ‘boyfriend’), and a few other fan girls or friends. And of course the Gryffindor quidditch team (or rather the potential Gryffindor quidditch team since they were in the midst of tryouts), headed by their captain, James Potter.






 

James sat on his broom, hovering above the ground giving some sort of speech to the eager players around him. Though some people might be surprised by this, I actually liked quidditch, and knew quite a bit about it. I knew all of the proper positions and the basics, such as beaters, chasers, keepers, and the scoring and all of that; but I also knew the different rules and penalties and that sort of thing. I didn’t talk about quidditch a lot (mostly because if I brought it up James would go off on a tangent), but I was a fair player and enjoyed watching it.






 

James slid off of his ‘silver arrow’ broomstick and onto the ground. I watched as he directed the young hopefuls to stand next to the others in their separate groups: beaters together, chasers together, and so on. My heart skipped a beat as I saw Mary walk slowly over to the other beaters, her slim ‘Comet 180’ in hand. I so wanted her to do well. Mary tried to hide it, but I knew she really wanted to make the team. She would be gutted if she failed.






 

James ran back over to his broom and flew up into the center of the stadium, flanked by Sirius who sent a wink in Tammy’s direction (excuse me while I vomit) and called the first name. A smallish boy with bright blonde hair flew up shakily to kick off the team tryouts. He was (apparently) going for chaser. James and Sirius hovered off to the side and we all watched as the team’s keeper, Vice Jordan, (who would almost certainly be staying on the team) launched the quaffle straight at the kid. The boy yelped and caught the ball by the tip of his fingers. He seemed so surprised that he had actually caught it that he promptly fell off of his broom, and was saved by Sirius just before he hit the ground.






 

The tryouts went on and on, every now and then Zalia would get up and yell insults at Sirius for something or other as he helped to orchestrate the process. But since we were so far up, I doubt he could hear her. Most of the kids there were tiny, looking to be second or third years. Sometimes there’d be a good chaser or seeker here and there, but most of the people who had turned up were trying for beater since that was the position that needed filling.






 

About halfway through the process I felt a tap on my arm from Rose, who pointed down to the center of the stadium.






 

I stood up when I saw Mary fly towards the boys for her turn.






 

“Come on Mary, come on….” I chanted quietly to myself as Zalia and Rose got to their feet beside me.






 

Sirius handed Mary a beaters’ bat and took one for himself. They flew off to opposite ends of the pitch and Fedora Jones (one of the team’s chasers from last year) set loose a bludger that sailed towards Sirius who knocked it lazily away, in Mary’s general direction.






 

I held my breath and watched in anticipation as Mary hit the bludger extremely hard. It flew straight at Sirius’ head so fast, that instead of hitting it back he had to dive out of the way.
            “Whoo!” Zalia cheered (thought I think it was mostly to do with the fact that Sirius had almost been impaled.)  “You GO GIRL!” She waved her arms as the bludger came back around, “KILL THAT THING!”






 

I wasn’t sure if she was talking about the bludger or Sirius.






 

Either way Mary did spectacular. I hadn’t known she was that good to be honest. We’d played a few pick-up games of quidditch over the years, but Mary must have conditioned extremely hard last summer to get up to the caliber she was now. I was going to murder James if he kept her off of the team.






 

After the final player had his go, the girls and I hurried down the stairs (the long, long stairs), and stopped along the edge of the quidditch pitch, just within hearing range of the final results.






 

I rubbed my hands together from the cold and was grateful when Rose grabbed my arm for warmth. She looked colder than I was, shivering so violently that her knees were knocking together. That’s what we got for sitting outside, in fall, at 7 in the morning.






 

“You all did very well today, but as you know, there is only room for seven players on the team. I’ll read out the names and positions of the players I’ve selected, and then I’ll name off the reserve players.” James looked around the semi-circle of people in front of him, with Sirius off to the side, smirking. He knew he was a shoe in. He had nothing to worry about. But Mary was biting her lip and frowning at the ground, probably praying that she’d been good enough.






 

“Our chasers,” James announced in an authoritative voice, “Are myself, Sirius, and Fedora.”






 

I nodded as Sirius and Fedora stepped forward. Same chasers as last year. That had been expected.






 

“The Keeper will be Vice.”






 

He walked towards James, hands in pockets, and a knowing grin on his face.






 

Again, same as last year.






 

“The new beaters,” (I held my breath), “are Mary McDonald and Aero Spinnet.”






 

“Oh, thank all that is holy!”






 

I laughed with Zalia and Rose as Mary blundered over to James and the team, clear relief splashed on her face. A large, burly boy who’d I’d never seen before walked over to stand by Mary, with an unreadable expression.






 

“Finally,” James continued, “The seeker is Twisha Wood.”






 

Silence.






 

Twisha Wood was not the same seeker as last year.






 

Gabriel Sutile was last year’s seeker, and was standing in mid stride, with a dumbfounded look, his mouth hanging open.






 

Ouch. That had to hurt. Being the only one from last year who was outright replaced.






 

Apparently it did; “What? What the hell?!”






 

I scanned James’ face as he answered, clearly upset that he had to make the cut. “I’m sorry Gabe, but the try outs were open and fair. She beat you.”






 

The new seeker, a small, spritely looking girl stepped forward. She had large dark eyes, mousy brown hair, and looked completely stunned as she walked towards the rest of the players; the final piece of the newly formed Gryffindor Quidditch team.



 

 



 

James then read out the names of the reserve players and dismissed the remaining students. 



 

 



 

 The rejected kids grumbled, moving off back towards the castle, and Gabriel Sutile left with them, swinging his fists violently, his jaw set tightly and eyes trained straight ahead. I felt bad for him. But I felt great for Mary, and that sort of made up for it.






 

“Congrats!” I yelled over to her with a wide smile as Zalia, Rose, and I approached.






 

“Hold it!” James called to us in an annoyed tone, “I need to talk to my team. You can wait.”






 

I stopped, surprised that he had said ‘no’ to me. To Lily. His Lilykins.






 

Oooh….I am never thinking that nick name again.






 

We waited until the ‘group huddle’ was over before rushing to Mary and smothering her with excited hugs.






 

“I’m so happy for you!”






 

“You were amazing up there!”






 

“Sirius almost got hit!”






 

Mary, Rose, and I turned to Zalia on the last one, and raised our eyebrows.






 

“What?” she asked casually, “As long as we’re celebrating things, we may as well celebrate that.”






 

I shrugged. Why not? Sirius was on the naughty list at the moment anyways, for the whole Tammy issue.






 

“I say we go celebrate with a drink!” Mary announced, throwing her arms around us as we began walking back towards the castle.






 

“A drink?” I asked suspiciously.






 

“Yes, the boys have got some butterbeers up in the common room. James has been saving them for the team,” She grinned widely, “of which I am now a member! So let’s go drink!”






 

We all giggled and I gave my friends a look, “Well, all right, but we are not getting drunk,” I said firmly, “We have classes tomor----” I stopped as Zalia wagged her finger at me.






 

“You are mistaken, Tiger Lily. Tomorrow is Saturday. As in, ‘the weekend’. As in, ‘no school’.”






 

I grimaced, “Fine. But I for one have no intention of waking up with a hangover.”






 

Mary smiled at me before skipping ahead of us, “That’s all right Lily! You can make the hangover cure for the rest of us! You’re best at potions anyway!”






 

Zalia and Rose winked at me before running up to ‘frolic with Mary’ and hummed the tune to ‘Hey Jude’ as they went across the field.







My friends…. are special

 







Fun Facts:

Rose's mum died in childbirth-

James suffers from a mild case of sleep paralysis-

Mary's 'first time' was with a Gryffindor boy-

Lily once punched her sister Petunia in the face-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 12: Chapter XII: Live Coward, Dead Fool- Part 1
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 



 

Song of the day (and one of my all time favorites):











            Light 'em up- Fall Out Boy


 

 










 















 Chapter XII: Live Coward, Dead Fool

 













 

 













 

Zalia’s POV:













 

 













 

       













 

             The iron grates of the medieval fire place opened automatically for me as I stepped onto grey marble floor and dusted off the soot from my clothes. Without waiting for a servant to arrive and escort me to wherever it was I was supposed to be escorted to, I took off down the nearest corridor. I ignored the dull hum of whispers from the portraits lining the walls and dashed up the closest staircase I found. I took the wide steps two at a time, gripping the railing tightly and whipping around the corner once I reached the top landing.













 

            Two young looking maid-servants approached me as I crossed the large drawing room. I set my eyes on the door behind them and ignored their worried looks and questions. Throwing open the heavy oak door I stalked down another passageway, arriving quickly at a wrap-around balcony. Clenching my fists I walked past the open, glass double doors and into the crisp wind of the afternoon.













 

            My eyes narrowed as I scanned the open deck, looking past the exotic birds, lush plant life, and ridiculously expensive décor. Once I found my target I walked forwards, setting my jaw.













 

            He was wearing a dark, tailored suit with a blood red tie. His mustache was trimmed to perfection, and his speckled grey hair had been combed and jelled thoroughly. He was talking to someone in a low voice. The companion wore similar apparel, holding a briefcase in his hand tightly. This was most likely a business transaction. My eyes glinted. I hoped my arrival would put a hold on their plans, whatever they were.













 

            As I came closer the men noticed my presence and cleared their throats in synchrony.













 

            “I told you to wait in the foyer.”













 

            I slapped a hand against my forehead dramatically, “Oh that’s right, I’m so sorry.”













 

            The man with the briefcase stepped back awkwardly, “Maybe I should come back later, Roland.”













 

            I turned towards him with a very wide smile, “That would be just lovely.”













 

            Briefcase man hurried away. Once he had exited the deck I turned towards the man I’d been looking for.













 

            “You have a lot of nerve sending for me to come here.”













 

            He sighed, “You should have waited as I asked. I was in the middle of a business deal.”













 

            I rolled my eyes, “Your whole life is a business deal.”













 

            “Don’t be dramatic, Zalia.”













 

            “I’ll be dramatic if I like.” I answered testily.













 

            “You need to show some respect.” He said gruffly.













 

            I scoffed, “Respect for what?”













 

            He pursed his lips and I sneered.













 

            “Don’t try and talk to me about respect…. Dad.”













 

            “Now you listen here-”













 

            I interrupted him, “No. No I will not. Because I listened to you for years and got screwed over for it.”













 

            Dad took a sharp breath and narrowed his eyes at me. I could tell he was putting a lot of effort into not yelling at me.













 

            “I refuse to discuss this with you now. Your mother will be here in a few hours. Then we can all sit down and have a rational” He looked at me pointedly “discussion.”













 

            I crossed my arms tightly over my chest. “Fine. Can’t wait ‘till Mummy comes home.”













 

            With that I turned on heel and stomped through the mansion, to which I had used to refer to as ‘home’. I ended up at my old room, quickly locking the door behind me as I stepped inside.













 

            I ran my fingers through my long, thick hair and pulled it back with a spare hairband on my wrist. Sighing, I strode to the double doors across the room and flung them open, welcoming the cool air onto my face.













 

            I closed my eyes and tried not to wince as everything from the past few days hit me. My mind was about ready to implode with frustration. Not only had I been unceremoniously summoned by my parents, but once I got there I had to wait before I could yell at them. I was livid when professor McGonagall had collected me from the Great Hall and told me about the owl my parents had sent. The very concerned and demanding owl. I’d managed to postpone the trip for a few days and fix in my mind exactly what I wanted to say, but that didn’t make me look forward to the inevitable screaming match that I was in for.













 

            So to say that I had been mentally preparing for this evening would be quite correct. I didn’t just have to hold my own, I had to demolish them.













 

            I rested my elbows on the iron gate lining the edge of my balcony and frowned. I’d have to think up an excuse for Lily and the girls when I got back. See, I hadn’t felt in the chatting mood when I’d left today, so I hadn’t told any of them I was going. They probably had all sorts of crazy ideas as to why I went missing. I wrapped my jacket tighter around me and watched the last of the sun disappear beneath the horizon, leaving a pink and orange tinge hanging in the sky.













 

            There was one good thing about going away for a day. I would get to escape Sirius and Tammy. Or rather ‘Sammy’, as people were now calling them. Honestly, they were disgusting. I had to sit through nearly every meal with the two of them at least groping at each other if not sucking-face unashamedly. And I couldn’t leave because, well, that would mean surrender. The girls and I had always sat in the same spot in the great hall and I absolutely refused to move because some barbie was suddenly all over Sirius. Sometimes, when he could tell that James was about to blow a gasket, Sirius would discreetly get Tammy to move to another table with him. But these were rare occasions unfortunately.













 

            In other news, Mary had taken a liking to a one, Vice Jordan. She was loathe to admit it but we could all tell she was totally into him. They’d walk back from Quidditch practice together, give those awkward hugs and blush. It was so cute I could puke. Then there was Lily, who was starting to melt in the direction of James Potter. Or so I believed. I don’t think she quite fancied him yet, but she was definitely intrigued, and that was progress. Rose was still her quiet self, but I often caught her daydreaming in class, or staring into space with a peaceful smile. This along with the fact that she’d been rather late returning to our dorm at nights, led me to believe that she was hiding something, or someone. Either way I wanted to know what was going on.













 

            And all this, added to the fact that I was now facing my impending doom in the form of my parents, was evidence that I was the most miserable person around. I’d been even more cold-hearted and mean than usual. The only person I was able to have a rational conversation with was Lily, and sometimes I even snapped at her. It annoyed me that everyone else was just sort of going along in life, while I seemed to be stuck in a rut. Sure I went to classes, ate meals, avoided Peeves the Poltergeist like everybody else. But that was just going through the motions. Every little thing seemed to get on my nerves. I was furious with my parents for lying to me about everything. I was still reeling from my intense break-up with Lucius. I hadn’t quite come to terms with the state of the nation (a.k.a the wizarding war). And then there was Sirius. Godric, I hated that boy. He went out of his way to flaunt Tammy at me. Not because he was trying to make me jealous or anything, Merlin no. But because he knew I hated her guts. And she had no problem helping him out with pissing me off twenty-four-seven.













 

            I raked my fingers along the edge of the balcony and scowled as I walked back inside my old room, shutting the double-doors. It was too cold outside now, and too dark. I switched on a nearby lamp and grabbed the closest book I could find, burying my nose in it to try and drown out the irritating thoughts that were pounding in my head.













 

            Soon, I heard a light knock on the door and I got up to open it quickly. Not worried it could be one of my parents. They would never come to fetch me themselves.













 

            I probably scared the maid who had knocked on my door with the nasty expression on my face when I opened it. But I really didn’t care.













 

            “Where are you here to take me to?” I asked her dryly.













 

            She gulped, “The dining room miss Blackwood, If it pleases you.”













 

            “No, it does not.”













 

            “Um, I-I’m so sorry miss--” She squeaked.













 

            I rolled my eyes, “Oh for goodness sake just take me there.”













 

            She put her head down and took off quickly down the corridor. I followed close behind. I would have gone by myself, but I didn’t know which dining room my parents were waiting for me in, since there was more than one. Besides, the maid probably would have freaked if I hadn’t allowed her to do her job.













 

            We arrived outside the entrance to the east dining hall when the maid stopped and gave a curtsy. I nodded to her impatiently and strode inside.













 

            “Ah there you are, ma chérie.”













 

            My lips curled automatically. “Hello Mother.”













 

            My boots clicked along the shining surface of the polished wood floor and I looked around the room distastefully. There was no one in the world who needed so much decoration in a dining room. Three, giant crystal chandeliers were hung from the vast ceiling, twenty feet above. Greco-Roman style statues sat amongst a number of vases and paintings. And random pieces of ‘fine art’ stood on display around the room.













 

            The massive, mahogany dining table was set with an ornate table cloth and fine china, and included embroidered napkins as well as ridiculous amounts of silverware and crystal goblets.













 

            On either end of the table, both in high back, velvet arm chairs, sat my parents. My mother’s eyes gazed over me, taking in my appearance as her hand nervously tapped the table in front of her. Her streaked grey hair was swept back into a bun, and she hadn’t yet changed out of her business pantsuit and high heels.













 

            My father looked the same as he had earlier, blood red tie and all. The only difference now was that he looked more anxious. He gripped the sides of his chair as I walked forward and sat down directly in the middle of them, with at least six chairs on either side of me, separating us.













 

            I crossed my arms and cocked an eyebrow. I was surprisingly calm. I had been over-thinking this moment, and now that it was here I didn’t feel as angry as I thought I would.













 

            “We assumed you already ate before you arrived.”













 

            I noticed that the plates in front of my parents were nearly empty and that a butler had arrived to carry them away. They had already had dinner without me. I nodded sharply.













 

            “Of course.”













 

I hadn’t eaten. But I wasn’t going to tell them that.













 

            “Then shall we take our conversation into the library?” Dad asked.













 

            I stood up in answer and walked straight to the door on the left, knowing it to be the library. My parents followed and walked in just as I had stopped on the other side of the room, my arm resting against a book-shelf.













 

            “How have you been dear? Has Hogwarts reached your expectations?” My mother asked softly.













 

            I sighed, “Yeah it’s been a blast, Mum.”













 

            She gave me a look and I shuffled my feet uncomfortably. I wasn’t interested in making small talk.













 

            “Your mother and I…. are concerned about you.” Dad said.













 

            Here it comes….













 

            I gave a huff as they exchanged a look.













 

            “Really?” I asked.













 

            “Yes,” Mum put in, “We’ve gotten some disturbing news.”













 

            “Disturbing news?” I asked innocently; trying to keep the mocking tone out of my voice for as long as possible.













 

            “We got a letter from the Malfoys.” Dad said intently.













 

            I raised my eyebrows, “Did you now?”













 

            “We know that you ended things with the Malfoy boy, and this worries us.”













 

            I almost laughed out loud at the concerned looks on their faces. This was ridiculous. This was what they were angry with me about? What a joke.













 

            “Is it a crime to break up with your boyfriend now?” I asked; my voice teetering just on the edge of sarcasm.













 

            My dad’s face hardened, “Don’t start. Why did you end things? He was a good match for you. Suitable. His family and ours would benefit greatly from the union.”













 

            I pursed my lips, “He was suitable?” I asked quietly, “It would have been a good union?”













 

            They nodded together and I brought a warm smile up to my face, a warning sign that we had reached a dangerous point in the conversation. I always took on a sickly sweet tone before blowing my top.













 

            “Oh, I’m sorry,” I knit my eyebrows together in fake concern, and for a moment my parents’ faces looked relieved.













 

            “…. I didn’t know you wanted to be death-eaters.”













 

            Bam.













 

            My mom gasped and clutched at her chest while my father looked like I’d just slapped him. Satisfied with their reaction I leaned against one hip and slipped on the tiniest, mocking smile.













 

            “What did you say?” Dad asked me, in almost a whisper.













 

            “You heard me.”













 

            His eyes blazed, but it didn’t faze me. I stared right back.













 

            “What-- how-- when--” My mom stuttered and I answered her.













 

            “Since you failed to mention anything about everything to me, I found out on my own.”













 

            “That’s why you broke up with him?!”













 

            I stopped, confused. What other reason was there?













 

“Of course,” I answered my dad’s outraged tone.













 

“You KNEW he could protect you and you LEFT HIM?!”













 

I stared at my father, bewildered. What had he expected? That I’d run into Lucius’ arms and beg him to keep me safe while he killed innocent people?!













 

“YES!” I yelled.













 

“You STUPID girl!”













 

I whirled on my mother. The anger I had been expecting earlier finally bubbled up and I bristled.













 

“What the hell did you think I was going to do?!” I yelled.













 

Don’t raise your voice!” Mum trilled. I scoffed.













 

YOU don’t get to tell me what to do!”













 

“We are your parents!”













 

I laughed my maniac cackle and they backed up a step as I threw my head back.













 

“What were you thinking, Snow?!”













 

I snapped my head to glare at my father. This was not the time to bring up childhood nicknames.













 

 “Don’t you dare call me that.”













 

He looked hurt for a moment, but I ignored it. “You lied to me for all this time. Did you think I’d thank you for it?!”













 

My parents exchanged a look before my father answered. “We thought you would understand. It was for your own good.”













 

I laughed again, “My own GOOD?! Are you kidding me?! Do you know how I felt having to find out at school? Having to realize how stupid and ignorant I had been? Having to understand that every single one of the very few people I’d trusted had been lying to my face?!”













 

My mother paled, but Dad kept a glare locked on me. “You know we did it for your protection, Snow.”













 

“I don’t need your protection!” I snapped, “And don’t call me that!”













 

He threw up his arms, “You have always been like this! It’s exactly why we didn’t tell you!”













 

I kept my eyes narrowed, “What are you talking about?”













 

“You!” Dad yelled, “You and your high and mighty attitude! We kept everything away from you so that you could stay safe. We knew that you would take their side if we told you! We knew you’d put yourself in danger!”













 

I stared from my father to my mother in shock. “You didn’t tell me because you thought that I wouldn’t agree with you?” I asked; my voice barely audible.













 

My father swallowed uncomfortably.













 

“We knew you’d make the wrong choice.” Mum said softly, and an almost pitying way.













 

I willed my face to emit pure anger as I looked at her, my nostrils flared.













 

“The wrong choice?”













 

She nodded, as if hoping that I was finally coming around. I couldn’t believe it. They thought they had made the right choice? The right choice? The right choice? They couldn’t possible say that and know what was going on out there. But they did. I knew they did. They were business partners. They knew everything about anything they invested in. And I knew damn well that they knew exactly whose side they’d taken. I was beyond furious. It wasn’t even about the lies anymore. This was worse. My hands were clenched into fists and actually started shaking. I mumbled the words at first, as they flew to my mouth.













 

“What did you say?” Mum asked.













 

“GO TO HELL!!!”













 

Pure shock reflected from my parent’s faces. I didn’t care. I’d crossed a line now that had only ever been tested before. Of everything they had expected. Compromise. Maybe even an apology. They weren’t ready for this.













 

“HOW DARE YOU!” My mother screamed, matching the volume of my voice.













 

“How dare I?” I trembled, “How dare I?!













 

My father was opening and closing his mouth, still shocked that I had cursed them.













 

“HOW DARE YOU SPEAK TO ME ABOUT MY DECISIONS!” I screamed at them. “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME HERE TO REPRIMAND ME! HOW DARE YOU PRETEND THAT YOU HAVE BEEN REAL PARENTS! HOW DARE YOU TELL ME I WAS WRONG!”













 

            They stood stock still as my chest heaved and I felt angry tears prick my eyes. Mum had tears streaming down her face, while dad was staring at the ground, the skin around his eyes was tight.













 

“You know NOTHING.” I spat.













 

I made to leave the room. I was too disgusted with them. I was done. I made it to the doorway before I felt a rough hand grab my arm and pull me back.













 

“We’re not finished.”













 

I turned to look into my father’s face. His eyes bored into mine bearing everything that I had felt over the past weeks; anger, confusion, hurt, etc.













 

I ripped my arm from his grip. “Yes, we are.”













 

“We are not!” Mum answered firmly.













 

I paused and looked at them, waiting.













 

“You don’t understand….” My dad started in a pleading voice.













 

I laughed dryly but he held up a hand.













 

“Let me finish. You don’t understand. We thought you would be grateful. We thought that we were protecting you. Not just from the world, but from yourself. From your own decisions. We didn’t want to burden you. Once He-who-must-not-be-named had risen to power, we knew his was the winning side. Though we might not agree with his…. methods. It was the only way to keep you safe. To keep us safe.”













 

I shook my head at him. They still didn’t get it.













 

“Just surviving isn’t enough.” I answered, “We don’t deserve to live if we pick the wrong side. If we choose to support him. What’s the point of living, if you hate yourself anyways?”













 

My parents stared at me. Looking as if they’d never considered this.













 

“But….” Mum started.













 

“The difference between us,” I said quietly, “Is that you’re cowards. And I’m not.”













 

Fresh tears fell from my mother’s eyes. My father lowered his gaze from mine to the ground. Finally. Finally, I’d gotten through. Finally they understood why I was so damn furious.













 

I’m sorry.”













 

It was so quiet that I almost didn’t hear it. But I looked up into my father’s face and hardened my gaze.













 

“You know it’s all wrong. You know how many innocents suffer from something that you support.”













 

He nodded slowly. I sighed.













 

“And you know the position that you put me in.”













 

Again, he nodded.













 

I looked from him to my sobbing mother and moved towards the door way. I was finished with them. Before I left the room, I paused and looked back.













 

In a dead tone I muttered; “I’m ashamed of you.”













 

I left. Slowly wandering the corridors until I arrived at my old room, where I grabbed my wand off the bed and stepped onto the balcony, gasping for breath. I felt suffocated. I couldn’t stay there.













 

After staring at the wand in my hand for a good two minutes, I gave it a slight flick and closed my eyes, wishing for anywhere.













 

 













 

*













 

 













 

I knew I was on a beach before I even opened my eyes.













 

A swirl of fresh, sea-salt air glazed over me and I took a deep breath of it before opening my eyes to look around. I was definitelyon a beach. Which beach? I had no idea. But that didn’t matter. As long as I was far away from anything familiar. In fact, I was rather glad that I had no idea where I was. It would make the forgetting a whole lot easier. I reached down and ripped off my boots and socks, sighing as my feet slid into the cold, squishy sand. I walked along the shore line, staring at the shells and pebbles around my feet, and the seaweed that had been brought in by the tide. There was no one else around. I could see a short pier way down at the other end of the beach, but I was in a small area that seemed cut off from the beach town and deserted, for all intents and purposes. I sat down next to the water and took my hair out of the sloppy ponytail I had put it in earlier. I let my hair whip around me in the salty breeze, and ran soft sand through my fingers.













 

I closed my eyes and laid back. Not caring if I got sand all over me or not. I knew I had made the right choice. I would have imploded had I stayed at the mansion, or even gone back to Hogwarts. I couldn’t deal with it now. I needed at least a few hours to be at peace with myself and regain my composure. When I went back, there would be so many questions. Questions, questions, questions. That’s all there was now a days. I was either answering them, or asking them. Either way I was sick of it. I needed to relearn the meaning of the word ‘peace’ before I went back to my reality.













 

I spent a few minutes staring at the night sky. Actually just looking, and not thinking for once. I could almost feel the tension draining, leaking out of my body and being lapped up by the ocean tide. I was happy to give it up. The ocean could have my tension if it wanted it. It could have my anger too, and my hurt. But unfortunately all it took was the tension. Oh well. I suppose I had to go back somewhat normal. I couldn’t suddenly become nice overnight. I was still Zalia Blackwood: A bitch of a fighter, who had trust issues, and wasn’t too keen on her parents at the moment.













 

I don’t know how long I sat there for. Eventually I scrambled up the sandy bank to get away from the water, and laid down near a palm tree, staring up at the sky, trying to name all the constellations I could see. The clear skies, bright moon, and sounds of the ocean were calming, and at some point or another I fell asleep. Content to know that I was alone, where no one would come and find me.













 

 













 

*













 

 













 

The next morning I woke early. The sun hadn’t even completely risen yet. My back and neck ached terribly from lying on the ground all night, but I didn’t regret my little excursion. I apparated to Hogsmeade since it was the closest I could get to Hogwarts, and sent a quick owl (courtesy of Rosmerta the barmaid) directly to Dumbledore. His reply was swift and I followed his instructions to hike up to the castle and then to his office; where I quickly told the password, ‘humdinger’, to the gargoyle and entered cautiously.













 

The headmaster’s office was…. almost exactly how I pictured it. Except maybe for the phoenix. As I’d expected, the room was filled all manner of objects ranging from knick-knacks, to valuables, to just plain weird. There were many, many books and I was surprised to see the sorting hat sitting atop a particularly tall book shelf. I don’t know why, but I’d always assumed the hat had a special room, or compartment to itself, for safe-keeping.













 

“Ah, looking for Dumbledore I presume.”













 

I stared at the hat, startled, “You can talk? Even though there’s no sorting going on?”













 

“Of course I can talk,” It sighed, “This is exactly why you weren’t put in Ravenclaw.”













 

I huffed, “Excuse me, it was just a question. No need to be rude. You are only an old hat.”













 

If I didn’t know better I’d say the hat was smirking at me. “I know more than you think, girl. But even with a look inside your soul, you were quite a difficult one to place. You could have done so much, gone down so many different paths.”













 

I frowned. I liked belonging to Gryffindor. I was rather proud of it actually. And here a manky, old hat was telling me that I could have gone anywhere.













 

“I belong in Gryffindor.” I said sharply.













 

“Perhaps,” The hat replied cryptically, “But you are not so straightforward. There is more to you than meets the eye. You bear the qualities of more than one house. It is what you choose that defines you.”













 

I looked at the hat perplexed, “What on earth are you on about now? I haven’t chosen anything.”













 

“You may not see it now, but in time. All that I have told you will be clear. You belong in Gryffindor because that is what you admire most about yourself. You wish to amplify those qualities. And you will. In time, you will.”













 

I shook my head slightly and moved away from the strange object. Ugh. I did not need some sort of prophetic, talking hat to tell me all about my ‘inner soul’ this early in the morning.













 

I moved around the office, examining random objects and watching the clock tick by, waiting for Dumbledore to arrive. Just as I was getting anxious (and quite hungry for some breakfast) a voice made me jump.













 

“Here you are my dear. I apologize if I kept you waiting.”













 

I cleared my throat and turned to face the headmaster, “Not at all.”













 

His eyes twinkled as he took a seat behind a large, wooden desk and gestured for me to sit in a chair across from him. As I sat and crossed my legs I looked at Professor Dumbledore curiously.













 

“If you don’t mind me asking sir, why am I here?”













 

The professor gave me a look somewhere between a smile and reproachful gaze. “I received about five different owls from you distressed parents in regards to your whereabouts ever since you left their home yesterday evening, Miss Blackwood.”













 

I met his eyes steadily and nodded. I had expected as much, “What did you tell them?”













 

He sighed, “I told them that you would most certainly contact them when you were feeling up to it, but for now they needed to be appeased with the fact that you were safe and sound.”













 

I nodded slowly, “And how did you know I was safe?”













 

His eyes twinkled again and I found myself mesmerized by them. They were…. immortal, sad, and wise.













 

“I often go to the beach or a lake to find some peace of mind, myself.”













 

I smiled at him slightly. So he had known where I was. I was mildly disappointed that I hadn’t been as unattainable as I had hoped, but still, this was Dumbledore. It was sort of his job to know everything.













 

“Your parents have requested to speak with you.”













 

I looked at the bespectacled man sharply.













 

“I don’t think so.”













 

He gave a wry smile and absently stroked his willowy beard. “I have told them it is up to you.”













 

I nodded curtly. Damn right it was up to me. After all, I was technically of age. They couldn’t force me to do anything. “I’ll not speak with them. At least…. Not now.”













 

The headmaster nodded like he’d been expecting that answer, “I’ll let them know. However,” He gazed at me intently over the rim of his half-moon spectacles, “I must ask you to remember that no matter what, they are still your family, and to err is human.”













 

I fidgeted uncomfortably and looked away. Was it possible that Dumbledore was aware of what was going on in my family? There was no way he could know what had been said last night, or about Lucius. And yet…. The look in his eyes made me wonder.













 

“I know that.” I answered curtly.













 

Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled. He didn’t seem to care that I was being short with him. “I would suggest that you remain within the school grounds from now on, and refrain from any nighttime adventures Miss Blackwood.”













 

I gave him a pointed look, “Yes, sir.”













 

He smiled at me knowingly, which annoyed me. I didn’t like being in a room with someone who seemed to know more about me than me.













 

“Can I go now?” I asked.













 

The headmaster flicked his wrist and the door flew open. “Yes….” I got up to leave. “Unless…. There is anything you wish to tell me.”













 

I turned slowly to find Professor Dumbledore watching me quietly.













 

“No, sir. Nothing.”













 

He nodded and I left the room quickly, feeling unsettled, restless and hungry. I really didn’t want to deal with other humans and so decided to have breakfast in the kitchens. It was early, around 6 o’clock, and I had the castle to myself as I wound down to the painting of the pear and tickled it.













 

The house elves were more than accommodating when I entered and sat at a small table. I was soon surrounded with anything and everything a person could imagine for breakfast. I ate my fill and felt slightly better with food in my stomach.













 

“Thanks, Lolly.” I told a small, wiry looking house elf as she cleared away my plate happily.













 

“Of course Miss Blackwood!” She squeaked.













 

I sighed, “Please, call me Zalia.”













 

She looked anxious for a moment, but eventually said, “Yes, Miss…. Zalia,” and hobbled away quietly.













 

After breakfast I lingered longer than necessary in the kitchens. Far from eager to go and talk to everyone. I didn’t want to answer questions from my friends. And I really didn’t want to deal with the happy couple, a.k.a ‘Sammy’.













 

Eventually I stalked back up the passageway and headed to Gryffindor tower. I needed a shower and a change of clothes if I expected to function at all today.













 

With a sour expression I went up the staircase, through the portrait hole, and up to my dorm. Praying that the girls were still asleep.













 

“You!”













 

Oh dear.













 

“Mph!”













 

I was tackled by a mane of wild red hair as soon as I opened the door. I fell down with Lily on top of me and growled. Yes, me. I actually growled. This was exactly not the way I had been hoping to be greeted.













 

“Where the hell have you been?”













 

I blew Lily’s hair out of my face and shoved her away roughly. “Get off, Lily.”













 

She scrambled up and looked at me with an irritated expression. Rose and Mary came up behind her and crossed their arms simultaneously. I rolled my eyes.













 

“Really, guys?”













 

“You took off without saying anything! Where have you been?”













 

I stood up and brushed myself off.













 

“Is that sand in your hair?” Mary asked incredulously.













 

I pursed my lips and ran my hands through my matted hair bitterly, “Yes it is. Now if you’ll excuse me I am in dire need of a shower.”













 

Lily scoffed, “I don’t think so. Not until you tell us where you’ve been and why you disappeared without a word.”













 

Let the questions commence….













 

“Where I was and why I was there is not your business.” I answered with a raised eyebrow.













 

The girls gave me identical smirks, “Zalia Blackwood, what are you not telling us?”













 

I flashed them a glare and moved towards the bathroom. “I’ll give you whatever answers you like. After I take a shower and freshen up.” I closed and locked the bathroom door before they could argue.













 

The shower was nice, it helped me relax somewhat, but it took me forever to knead all of the sand out of my hair. Seeing as I’d slept on a beach all night, there was a lot of it. I wrapped a towel around my body as I stepped out of the shower and wrung out my sopping hair into the sink before I ventured back into the room, carrying my wand and dirty clothes that I’d brought into the bathroom with me.













 

“Took you long enough.” Lily said as I opened the door, crossed over to my bed, and waved my wand so that clean clothes appeared in front of me.













 

After choosing a simple blue cotton shirt and a pair of black jeans I dressed and turned to go get my brush when I found three pairs of eyes on me.













 

“Oh, all right,” I huffed, irritated, “What do you want?”













 

“Where have you been?” Rose asked curiously.













 

I sat down on my bed and huffed when the three of them joined me.













 

“I was…. with my parents.” I said slowly.













 

They looked at me confused, “So, why didn’t you tell us?”













 

“I guess it just slipped my mind.” I answered lamely.













 

Lily raised an eyebrow, “Yeah, right.”













 

I glared at her, “I didn’t feel like answering your questions or whatever. Besides I’m back aren’t I? Jeesh, you’d think I’d been gone for a month.”













 

Mary laughed softly, but Rose and Lily gave me skeptical looks. Sensing that they weren’t buying it, I went on.













 

“I’m not comfortable talking about personal things. Of which I consider my family one. So you’ll pardon me if I assumed you wouldn’t mind.”













 

Rose nodded and Lily gave me a weird look that was something between suspicion and understanding.













 

“You couldn’t have just said that you would be gone for a day?”













 

I rolled my eyes, “Oh come on. You would have asked me a million questions about where I was going. Anyways,” I sighed, “I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’m back.”













 

“Right,” Mary said, “Which reminds me…. Why did you have to go?”













 

“Oh, you know; family stuff. One of my great Aunts died.” I lied casually.













 

Lily narrowed her eyes, but I continued comfortably, “I didn’t know her very well, but supposedly she used to visit when I was a baby. The funeral was yesterday evening.”













 

They seemed to be believing me, and I felt relieved.













 

“What was her name?” Lily asked.













 

“Mildred,” I answered automatically, “She was ninety-four.”













 

“So, the sand?” Rose asked carefully, “In your hair?”













 

“Oh, that” I thought quickly, “My aunt had always been fond of the ocean. We had her ashes thrown into the sea as she wanted. It was windy though, and the sand from the beach got all over me.”













 

Tiger Lily nodded slowly along with my other two friends and I repressed the urge to scowl. I was a good liar. It came naturally I suppose. But it bothered me how automatic and easy the lies came sometimes. Almost like lying was my default mode.













 

“Well, I’m starving!” Rose broke the solemn silence and I stood up.













 

“Let’s go get breakfast.” I didn’t bother telling them I’d eaten in the kitchens. That would just raise more questions.













 

We meandered down to the great hall and I grimaced as we entered and I saw Sirius and Tammy cuddling up at the Gryffindor table by the marauders. Ugh. I could see my disgust mirrored in James’ and Remus’ faces as they cringed away from the couple.













 

“Can’t we just…. not sit there?” Lily asked me hopefully.













 

I sighed and shook my head, “No. We won’t give her our spot. It’s what she wants. And I don’t care if they start snogging on my flipping plate. I refuse to let her think she’s won.”













 

We sat down across from the boys and I smiled at James who gave me a nod.













 

“I see you’re back.”













 

Before I could answer, he cut in:













 

“Aw, and I was getting my hopes up that you were gone for good.”













 

I glared at Sirius, “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”













 

“Nope,” He answered cheerfully and began running kisses along his girlfriend’s neck. Tammy giggled. Gag.













 

“Can’t you molest your whore somewhere else?” I asked dryly.













 

Tammy sat up and gave me a glare, “Shut the hell up.”













 

I rolled my eyes, “Whatever.”













 

I could feel all of our friends tense around us, but they should have gotten used to the bickering by now.













 

“You’re just jealous because no one wants you.” Tammy sneered, “I have the best looking guy in the school and you can’t get anyone.”













 

I actually smiled at this, “I can get any guy I want, I just don’t. I’m not easy Tamara.”













 

Sirius frowned, “Tammy’s not easy.”













 

I laughed, “Right, for a minute there I thought you were serious. Excuse the pun.”













 

Tammy leaned towards me from her spot on Sirius’ lap. “You’re going to end up alone, because you’re an ugly prude with a smart mouth and bad attitude.”













 

I sighed and addressed my friends, “You know what, I’m not feeling very hungry anymore. The two trolls over here have ruined my appetite.”













 

“That’s it, just walk away. You know I’m right.” Tammy said loudly. Loud enough to draw attention.













 

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. When I opened them again I looked Tammy straight in the eye and ignored the people around us who were watching.













 

“You know, bitch,” I put emphasis on the word and stood up. “I’m not really offended at the things that come out of your mouth,” I smiled, “They’re not nearly as foul as the things that go into it.” I looked pointedly at Sirius.













 

James and Remus started laughing behind their hands and a lot of people made cat calls, but I wasn’t going to get into it with her again. I walked away, swinging my hips, leaving Tamara Goldberg with her mouth hanging open. I almost told her to close it; it wasn’t like she needed anything else getting tangled with her tongue.













 

 













 

*













 

 













 

Sirius’ POV:













 

 













 

I watched her walk away with a scowl.













 

“Siri, can you take me to my room? I don’t want to walk alone.”













 

I turned to my girlfriend with a forced smile, “Of course I can.”













 

“Thanks sweetie.” She simpered. I pretended not to see Mary making gagging motions across from us.













 

We left the great hall and walked hand in hand to the Gryffindor common room. We made it about halfway there before Tammy grabbed the front of my shirt and shoved me backwards behind a tapestry. I didn’t really complain. Our relationship was mostly physical. We spent all our free time in passages or closets in heavy snogging sessions.













 

“I need to get to quidditch practice….” I said eventually.













 

Tammy curled her fingers through my hair and pulled away to look at me. “Seriously?”













 

I raised an eyebrow at her, “You don’t want me to slack off on the athletics now do you?”













 

She smirked and shook her head. This was what I liked about our relationship. We weren’t false. We knew each other’s motives and coped with them. Tammy liked my status in school and my body. I liked her effect on Zalia and her body. It worked well enough.













 

“See you later.” I ducked out of the passage and jogged up to the dormitory to grab my broom for practice.













 

As I opened the door to the room a voice called; “Have you seen Lily?”













 

I looked around, surprised to see Robert Spencer (the newbie) standing there.













 

“Sorry, what?” I asked gruffly.













 

“Lily Evans. Have you seen her?”













 

Uh oh.













 

Warning signs flashed in my head and I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. Why was he looking for Lily. James’ Lily. As in the future Lily Potter.













 

“Why?” I said sharply.













 

Robert (or Beck I suppose) looked amused. “I just have a question to ask her.”













 

“Oh yeah?” I crossed my arms. I didn’t like this. James was my best mate, and he was desperately in love with Lily. “And what’s that?”













 

“Ah,” Beck smiled slightly, “I’m afraid it’s for her ears only.”













 

I twisted my mouth and huffed. I didn’t have anything against this guy. He was fine and all. I liked him in fact, he seemed like a good bloke. But the fact remained that he was asking after Lily. And that was a problem for me.













 

“Look,” I said after a moment, “I just have to warn you. James fancies Lily. And to be frank he’ll kick your ass if you move in on her.”













 

Beck’s expression didn’t change. “I know Potter likes her, but they aren’t going out. And honestly I don’t see it happening in the future.”













 

I paused. Beck had a point….. but it didn’t matter.













 

“Sorry. I won’t help you out with Lily. James is my best mate.”













 

Beck nodded and moved to the door, “I get it. But let Potter know that I like Lily too. And if he can’t handle a little healthy competition then he’s not good enough for her anyway.”













 

I frowned as he left. Great. Flipping fantastic. Now I was going to have to tell James the Beck was going after Lily.













 

I grabbed my broomstick and ran to the quidditch pitch. Not looking forward to being the bearer of bad news.


 






 (The original chapter was too long so this is a modified version. I'll be uploading the second part soon! Sorry-)







 


Chapter 13: Chapter XIII: Live Coward, Dead Fool- Part 2
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Thanks so much for reading this story, I'm having loads of fun writing it! Keep reviewing and let me know what you like, you don't like, and even some suggestions for the future :)

 

Song of the day:

           We Are Young- Tulisa <3






 

Sirius' POV: 

 

 

 “He said WHAT?!”

It was after quidditch. James and I had gone to the library to look up a book on poisons and potions. As we were studying, I decided not to stall the news about Beck any longer.



 

Madame Pince looked up from her desk and gave us the evil eye from across the Library. I winced as James slammed the text book closed on my hand without noticing.



 

Rubbing my sore fingers I answered weakly, “Yeah, but you know Lily. She doesn’t go for guys like him.”



 

James snorted, “Are you kidding me? Didn’t you see the way she kept looking at him? All he has to do is smile and she goes all red and flustered!”



 

The jealousy in his voice was apparent. “Yeah, but come on. They just met. I’m sure if she gets to know him she won’t like him.”



 

James looked at me doubtfully, “Nice try Pads, but you and I both know that’s not true. As much as I hate to say it.”



 

I sighed, “Maybe he has some terrible hidden quality?”



 

Prongs just shook his head. “It isn’t fair. I’ve known her for seven years. Seven years. And he waltzes in and sweeps her off her feet!”



 

“They aren’t dating or anything you know.” I said gruffly. Trying to appease my friend.



 

James just scoffed, “It’s only a matter of time.”



 

I was silent. I knew he was right. We could all tell Lily was developing a crush on the surfer boy.



 

“Why so glum?”



 

I looked up to see Moony coming towards us and gave a half smile.



 

“Trouble in paradise?” He asked me hopefully.



 

I frowned, “No. At least, not for me.”



 

“Oh.” He shrugged, disappointed.



 

“She’ll be lost forever.” James muttered, “They’ll get married in a year. Have two kids. Live in a town house.”



 

I rolled my eyes.



 

“I’m going to die alone.” James groaned.



 

“Get yourself together man.” Remus told him.



 

James ignored him. “Seriously guys. What do I do?”



 

I was quiet. I had no idea. I’d never loved someone the way James loved Lily. I couldn’t even fathom feeling such a thing. And he was in love with her. Believe me. I’d lived in the same dorm with him for seven years. He was head-over-heels for the girl.



 

“Nothing.” Remus said simply.



 

We looked at him. “What?”



 

“Do nothing,” Remus continued, “Just be her friend. Stick by her and above all,” He wagged a finger at James, “Do not act jealous.”



 

I laughed, “Right. Good one Remus.”



 

When I heard silence I stared at my friends, “Oh, you’re serious? Okay.”



 

James ignored me and nodded, “Right. No, I can do this. I can be her friend. I can ignore Beck.”



 

I was about to make an un-helpful comment when a pair of soft hands covered my eyes from behind.



 

“Guess who?”



 

I smiled slightly at the high-pitched voice and grabbed the slender hands, “Hey.”



 

Tammy bent down and planted a kiss on my cheek. “Oooh, what are we talking about?” She asked eagerly, registering the serious looks on Prongs and Moony’s faces.



 

“Nothing,” I said quickly, “ Where have you been all day?”



 

James and Remus walked away and left us alone as Tammy answered, “Oh just hanging with the girls. How were your quidditch skills today?”



 

“Good, as usual.” I smirked.



 

She bent down again, only this time put a kiss on my lips. I grabbed her into my lap and the kiss grew more and more heated until….



 

“Ugh. For the love of Godric Gryffindor. Can’t you play tonsil-tennis somewhere else?”



 

We broke apart and looked around for the owner of the voice.



 

“Hello, Lils.” Tammy grinned at the red-head.



 

“Honestly, it’s gross. Some of us are trying to study.” Lily continued, crossing her arms.



 

I gave her a sheepish smile, which she answered with a glare.



 

I grimaced.



 

And just because Lily was one of the only people who could make me feel guilty, I grabbed Tammy’s hand and stood up. “Come on.”



 

She looked at me startled, “What?”



 

I glanced to Lily quickly before looking back at Tammy, “We can do this somewhere else.”



 

Tammy gave me a look, saw Lily’s satisfied smirk, and stomped out of the library. I scowled and followed.



 

“Tammy, wait!” I called as she barreled down the hall.



 

She stopped long enough for me to catch up with her and then continued down the corridor with a nasty look on her face.



 

“That was uncalled for.”



 

I looked at her bewildered, “What?”



 

“That!” She pointed behind us, “What was that back there?”



 

I frowned, “I just thought we could go somewhere more private.”



 

She scoffed and sped down the hall again, “Somewhere private? You don’t have a problem snogging me senseless in public when Blackwood’s around.”



 

I gave her a look and she raised her eyebrows, “Why did you make us leave? Don’t tell me you fancy Lily Evans.”



 

Oh for the love of….



 

I looked around frantically. If James ever heard that he’d murder me.



 

“Godric, no!”



 

She raised her hands, “Well?!”



 

I took her arm and dragged her into a passageway. She wrenched away from me and tapped her foot impatiently.



 

“Look,” I said quietly, “I don’t like Lily being mad at me okay. I don’t have a problem with her. Just Zalia.”



 

“Well, that’s fine,” Tammy said, “But I dohave a problem with Lily. So I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but we are not going to be conforming to her every wish. If I want to snog you in the library then I damn well will!”



 

Okay. I know it wasn’t quite the time. But I found Tammy very attractive after that last statement. I nodded to her, not caring about what I was agreeing to, and grabbed her close. Smashing my lips against hers.



 

We were in the passage for a while. And when we came out it was dinner time. Both of us were…. erm, breathless shall we say. Our clothes were wrinkled and askew; our hair disheveled. When we arrived in the great hall for dinner I was happy to see that Zalia noticed our state and narrowed her eyes. We approached the table and walked over by the four girls that were sending us glares.



 

I sat down (Tammy taking a seat on my lap) and began piling a large amount of food onto my plate.



 

“You’re looking particularly ugly this evening, Lils.”



 

I turned to stare at Tammy with wide eyes. James shot her a death look and Lily’s lips parted in surprise.



 

“What the hell?” Zalia asked, voicing the thoughts of us all.



 

Tammy just shrugged. I shook my head. Apparently my girlfriend felt the need to make up for what had happened in the library. No one said anything, but I felt awkward as I saw a flicker of hurt in Lily’s eyes.



 

Remus cleared his throat and brought us out of the uncomfortable silence. “So I, uhh, was wondering if I could ask you something Zalia?”



 

I ignored him and grimaced as Tammy tried to feed me a bread stick. Rose and Mary sniggered at the look on my face.



 

“Yes?” Zalia answered Moony in a bored voice.



 

“Do you want to go…. with me…. on the next Hogsmeade trip?”



 

What.



 

Forks and knives clattered all around and head swiveled to stare at Remus with wide eyes.



 

“What?” Zalia asked him in a high voice.



 

I felt my eyes go as big as saucers and irritation set in. I gave Moony a glare. What was he thinking?! How-- Wha-- I mean—



 

“Just wondering…” He said in a non-chalant voice when Zalia continued to stare at him. But I could tell he was blushing.



 

A horrifying thought came to mind and I gaped at my friend. Did he…. fancy her?



 

Then it got worse.



 

“Sure. I’d love to go with you, Remus.” Zalia smiled at him sincerely and I nearly fell out of my seat.



 

“You have got to be kidding me.”



 

Why?” Zalia rounded on me with narrowed eyes.



 

Oops… had I said that out loud? Oh well.



 

“Ju—you— and—him—and-- ”  



 

“Please let me know when you are able to articulate a sentence,” she sneered.



 

That snapped me back to normal. “You can’t date Remus.” I said flatly.



 

“That’s none of your business.” A deeper voice answered.



 

I turned my head to look at Remus and was surprised to find him actually scowling at me.



 

“You cannot date her.” I told him, jabbing a finger in Zalia’s direction.



 

He met my stare and raised an eyebrow, “Funny. I remember saying something similar to you a little while ago.”



 

Tammy stiffened next to me.



 

“I’m putting my foot down.” I said. Ignoring the fact that I was being completely irrational.



 

Remus and Zalia huffed at the same time. Freaking me out even more.



 

“I don’t know how to make this any clearer. You-don’t-get-a-say.” Zalia said slowly.



 

“I won’t have it!” I said frantically.



 

James sighed from the other side of Remus, “Marauders’ meeting.”



 

Peter, Remus and I gave him surprised glances and he narrowed his eyes at us, “Now.”



 

I tossed my silverware onto my plate with a force and stood up roughly. Forgetting that Tammy was sitting on me, she ended up halfway off the bench. I ignored her muttering and cursing as I helped her up, then left the great hall with my three companions. Leaving five highly confused girls in our wake.



 

The thing about marauders’ meetings. If one was called to order, it was mandatory for all four members to attend. They were a rare and serious business. In fact, the last time a marauders’ meeting was called was when James punched Peter and broke his nose in sixth year (long story. Suffice it to say it was a very big misunderstanding.).



 

I ran up the staircases, ignoring my friends and scowling at the ground. I was pissed off at a lot of things. But mainly myself and Remus. You know what, scratch that. Just Remus. I was afraid Prongs was right. We were in need of a meeting. Badly.



 

I arrived in Gryffindor tower and ran up the stairs to our dormitory. Getting there before the others. Which gave me another two minutes to brood about my problems. Finally the others got there we took turns giving each other dirty looks. Except for Peter who just got out a bar of Honey dukes chocolate, sat on his bed, and started munching on it.



 

“All right,” James said taking the lead and standing in the middle of the room. It was sort of weird. Remus had always been the peacemaker. But now he stood watching me with an unhappy expression.



 

What is going on?” James asked us.



 

I pursed my lips and Remus rolled his eyes, stepping forward, “What’s wrong is that Sirius here has decided he and only he has the power to determine who dates whom.”



 

I glared at him. “I don’t give a crap who you go out with. As long as it isn’t Zalia Blackwood.”



 

Moony threw up his hands, “What do you care? You’re not the one who is going to go on a date with her!”



 

I bristled and stood taller, “It doesn’t matter! If you two start dating then she’ll be around all the time.”



 

Remus snorted, “For your information, I didn’t ask her to be my girlfriend. And why do you hate her so much? She’s not even that bad.”



 

I ran my hands through my hair and glanced away, “You don’t get it. She’s a bitch, honestly. She goes out of her way to be nasty. She’s not even that nice to her friends!” I turned to James, “Surely you see what she’s like to Lily sometimes.”



 

Prongs gave me a look, “Keep me out of this, Pads.”



 

“It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t concern you. Besides,” Remus said, “You’re dating Tammy.”



 

I scowled at him and could almost feel James and Peter mentally taking his side.



 

“That’s different.”



 

“No, it’s not,” Peter snorted.



 

I whipped around, “Shut up.”



 

He looked away and I turned back to Remus, “You don’t hate Tammy as much as I hate Zalia.”



 

He looked at me in exasperation. “Are you kidding me! I think you underestimate how much we despise her!”



 

James raised an eyebrow and gave me a look that said clearly; he-has-a-point.



 

“Sorry, I say no.” I told them.



 

Remus just copped an amused look, “Umm Padfoot. I think you should know that I’m not asking your permission.”



 

I looked from Remus to James to Wormtail. None of them would meet my eyes. I threw up my arms and stalked into the bathroom.



 

“Fine! But after this date you’re done! She is off limits for any relationship with any of you!” I yelled before slamming the door.



 

I didn’t hear an answer. They were probably just humoring me.



 

I growled and grabbed a comb to brush my hair. A habit I’d acquired ever since fourth year; when I’d realized that my hair was bloody amazing.



 

How could Remus like her? Did he really like her? Or maybe he was just being overly friendly like he sometimes was. More importantly, did she like him? She had said yes to the date thing. Did Zalia fancy Remus? Godric, that was a repulsive thought. Not that either of them are unattractive or anything. I mean, Zalia’s hot. But I hated her enough so that I didn’t notice that much. And Remus was good looking too, with his hair and—



 

Whoa, okay weird territory there. Anyway. The point was that they could very well like each other. Except that I didn’t see Lupin being into her at all. She was mean and cold often, and he was just the opposite. It didn’t make sense.



 

I set down the comb and wrenched open the door. Deciding that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else without understanding what was really going on. I walked over to where James and Moony sat on the floor, talking in low voices. They stopped as I approached.



 

“Do you like her?” I blurted out.



 

Remus raised an eyebrow, “To whom are you referring?”



 

I grunted and sat down with them, “Zalia; do you fancy her?”



 

He hesitated. “I don’t know. I like her well enough.”



 

James cleared his throat and looked around awkwardly. I ignored him.



 

“Then why are you taking her out?”



 

“I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like it’s some fancy date. We’re just going to hang out. I think there’s more to her than meets the eye.” Lupin said.



 

I rolled my eyes, “Don’t tell me you like her because she’s hot.”



 

He shot me a glare, “Just because you look at girls like they’re a piece of meat doesn’t mean we all do.”



 

Ouch.



 

I tried not to let it show that the comment stung me. “Well, you can’t like her for her personality.”



 

He shrugged, “I don’t see why you hate her so much. Sure she can be cold, but she’s got some good qualities too.”



 

I snorted, “Like what?”



 

“That’s why I’m taking her out.” Remus said smirking, “To find out.”



 

I sighed. It was just like him do something like this. He had a fascination for troubled souls, or people who were rough around the edges. I suppose it had to with his ‘furry little problem’, but I had my doubts that Zalia had any sort of niceness hidden inside.



 

“Whatever,” I said finally, “Just don’t marry her.”



 

He grunted and I got up. Before I left to go down to the kitchens for food I apologized to Peter for snapping at him. He took it casually and I raced out of the dormitory, still mildly annoyed at my mates.



 

 



 

*



 

 



 

Don’t drop it.



 

Don’t drop it.



 

Whatever you do don’t effing drop it.



 

I narrowed my eyes in concentration as I held out my wand in front of me. Levitating a mattress wasn’t exactly the easiest task in the world. And levitating a mattress with someone on it was flipping difficult.



 

I grimaced as the corner of it hit the edge of the door frame and jostled the slumbering person atop it. Luckily they didn’t wake up, but that was probably due to the sleeping potion they’d taken a few hours earlier.



 

“Hurry up,” A voiced hissed in my ear.



 

I turned to give James an exasperated expression. “I’m bloody trying!”



 

Remus gave me a light nudge and I turned my back to them. Continuing through the door frame (which Moony had spelled to expand) I slowly took the bed down the staircase, putting every ounce of concentration into A: not dropping the bed, and B: not falling.



 

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. We were riding brooms while doing this.



 

It was the only way to get up to the girls dormitories and back down again without it turning into a slide or something. Remus, James, and I had flown up the stairs slow and low. Leaving Peter (who was rubbish on a broom) as a look out.



 

Once we’d gotten our precious cargo downstairs the guys and I left our brooms in the common room and continued (with the levitating mattresses) out the portrait hole. Wormtail watched the marauders’ map for any teachers or whoever could be wandering around. We could not afford to get caught. Even more than usual. In the state we were in it looked as though we were kidnapping four very unconscious girls. I didn’t see Minnie being very understanding about it.



 

We wound our way down the castle (which took a loooong time) and quietly crept outside onto the grounds and into the cold night air. I smiled as the great oak doors shut behind us softly and led the way out of the courtyard and across the grassy area. Eventually we got to our destination and I almost yelled with glee. This was, by far, the best prank we’d ever come up with. Even better than when McGonagall had shown up in her bloomers, but that was another story.



 

It was two days after Zalia had come back from her ‘aunt’s funeral’ (which sounded like a load of tosh if you ask me, but whatever). James had come up with the general idea and the rest of us had added the details and execution process. We’d slipped sleeping draughts into each of the girls’ drinks at dinner and watched happily as they all began yawning and blinking rapidly. They’d skipped out of dinner early and went to bed. Then we waited. The mates and I sat around the common room playing chess and the like, until around midnight when everyone else had gone to sleep.



 

Next came the difficult part. After a few times of practice, Moony, Prongs, and I all flew up to the girls’ room. Unlocked their door, crept inside, made sure they were all still asleep, and then levitated their beds. Remus was definitely the best at charms, so he took both Zalia and Mary’s beds at the same time. Prongs got Lily (of course), and I got Rose. And there we were. About to complete the most epic prank ever.



 

As I looked out over the water I grinned at my friends and they smiled back widely. Without a second thought I performed the complicated spell we’d all practiced, and cast Rose’s bed out over the freezing cold water of the black lake. It went out far, about thirty feet from shore, and stopped. I stopped the bed hovering two feet over the water and left it at that. Praying the spell would hold as long as it was supposed to (eight hours). I moved out of the way and Remus went next, carefully lining up Mary and Zalia’s beds with Rose’s. Then went James. He looked forlornly at Lily and sighed. I rolled my eyes as he said his ‘goodbyes’ and ‘apologies’ to her, and then cast her mattress with the rest.



 

I clapped my hands softly and jumped up and down; pleased with our handy work. Moony rolled his eyes, but I noticed a skip in his step as we trudged back up to the castle and to Gryffindor tower. We narrowly avoided a run-in with Peeves, as Peter hadn’t been looking at the map properly, but eventually we made it all right.



 

It was one’ o’clock by the time we were in bed. I closed my eyes; pleased, and winked in the direction of the window. Oh, she was going to kill me. They all were. But I was way too excited about what we’d just pulled off, to care. We were going down in history. We were legends.



 

 



 

 



 

 


Chapter 14: Chapter XIV: Easier Said
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 A/N: Hope you enjoy this chapter, it was one of my favorites to write :) And it introduces a new POV! Keep on reading and reviewing, Thanks!




 Also- credit to J.M. Barrie for Peter Pan/Tinker Bell references.

 

Song of the day:

            Help, I'm Alive- Metric  <3

 














  

Zalia’s POV:

 

        There was a breeze. It was cold and damp, but kind of nice. I sighed and listened to the birds. They sounded close, and loud. But I liked the chirping and the melodies that they made. It was a nice way to wake up.

            I kept my eyes closed and turned slightly. Man that had been a goodnight’s sleep. I’d been exhausted at dinner. I wasn’t quite sure why. Maybe it was all the stupid, miserable problems I had with life. Or maybe I was just tired from the double potions class we’d had with the Slytherins that day. They’d somehow managed to get everyone detentions. Yeah. That had been fun. Actually though, it hadn’t been just me being tired at dinner had it? No, all four of us girls had left together. That was odd wasn’t it? I’d been way too tired to think clearly at the time, but now that I remembered it, it had been rather strange. What a coincidence…..It was almost as if….

            “Oh Fuck!!”

            I yelled and sat up so fast that my bed did a weird flip flop thing and sent me over the edge of it. I hit the water hard and my scream was drowned out as I went under the icy liquid.

            Right. So there were lots of problems. Number one, I didn’t tend to sleep on a bed over a lake. Number two I was probably going to die from hypothermia. And number three; Sirius Black and the rest of the marauders were so fucking dead, they had no idea.

            I gasped and gulped for air as my head broke the surface and I scrambled up onto my bed, shivering and trembling. I was soaked to the bone, and so cold that my fingers were blue and numb. Luckily I had enough sense to realize what was going on, and why I had just taken a plunge into the flipping arctic sea.

            I sat up slowly and started muttering curses at the losers who’d put me there, floating in the middle of a bloody lake.

            “Wazzgoinon?” Mary asked groggily.

            I was about to warn her not to get up, when she swung her legs over the side and attempted to stand; expecting good old fashioned floor to be beneath her. Yeah. Nope.

            “Ahh!” She shrieked as she flopped into the water of the lake and I groaned audibly.

            Luckily Mary’s tumble had awoken the other two girls in our company and I yelled at them before they too took an unintentional dive.

            “Don’t move!”

            They both stared around in awe and confusion and I resisted the urge to start screaming profanities in frustration.

            “What the hell is going on?!” Lily yelled as Mary clambered back onto her mattress, soaked through like me.

            “We’re on the flipping Black Lake!” I shrieked at her as I gestured to the large, glassy water surrounding us.

            She sat up straighter, “I know that! But Why?! I don’t remember deciding to sleep out here!”

            Mary spluttered and tossed a wad of algae on her arm back into the lake. “It’s obviously those tossers.”

            I rolled my eyes as Rose and Lily both took two more minutes to comprehend the situation.

“Oh!”

“Potter’s so dead.”

I grunted and rubbed my cold hands together. Well, looks like James has put a bit of a setback on his potential relationship with Lily. Serves him right. Nutter.

“What do we do?!” Rose asked frantically.

I clenched my jaw tightly. What do we do?

“We don’t have our wands.” Lily said, stating the obvious.

“We don’t have anything.” Mary said, again stating the obvious.

“Well, we need to do something.” Rose finished.

I looked at them quickly before narrowing my eyes and standing up carefully on the unstable mattress. Then I did the only thing that came to mind:

“SIRIUS FUCKING BLACK! GET YOUR SORRY ARSE DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT BEFORE I CUT OFF CERTAIN BODY PARTS AND MAKE SURE YOU CAN NEVER HAVE CHILDREN! I SWEAR TO GODRIC I’LL DO IT! JAMES POTTER I WILL MAKE SURE YOU NEVER GET A DATE WITH YOUR LILYKINS! PETER….. JUST SCREW YOU! AND REMUS, FAT CHANCE OF TAKING ME ON A DATE NOW! YOU’RE ALL BLOODY IDIOTS! AND I SWEAR ON MERLIN’S SAGGY LEFT--- ”

At that moment I felt a tug and a pull and was lifted right off the bed.

Lily, Rose, and Mary screamed as the same happened to them. My breath caught in my throat as our bodies tumbled through the air, straight towards the shore of the lake where four very pleased looking idiots were standing.

I narrowed my eyes as we came closer and prepared to hit the ground. “YOU ARE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE! I AM NOT--- ”

What ‘I am not’, they never got to find out. Just then the pulling sensation left and I screamed as I went straight down and hurtled into the water for a second time that day. Luckily I was close to shore so after I came up it only took a few strokes before I was on dry land. As soon as I touched the shore I stood up. Ignoring the pins and needles coursing through me. I walked past James, who was cowering under Lily’s fierce glare. Past Remus, Peter, Rose, and Mary who were arguing, and straight to the black haired boy standing under the tree, eating an apple.

“HOW DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!”

He paused and looked at me. Apparently this was not the comment he’d been expecting.

“HOW DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!” I screamed again.

He-whom-I-so-deeply-despised smirked and walked towards me. I stopped and drew myself up to my full height. Still not nearly as tall as him, but it was intimidating enough.

“How do I want to die?” He repeated curiously.

“I’M GOING TO KILL YOU NO MATTER WHAT, I THOUGHT I’D JUST BE NICE AND LET YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN WAY. YOU KNOW. BY THE KILLING CURSE. OR DROWNING. OR MAYBE BY SPIDERS. YEAH THAT’S A GOOD ONE!” I was almost sure my voice was going to be at that level of screaming permanently.

Sirius just stared at me, amused.

I jabbed his chest, “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!”

He stepped back, “It was a prank. Remember we’re in a prank war?”

I laughed loudly, drawing the attention of the rest of our group. “We could have DIED!” I screamed.

He frowned, “Dramatic much?”

I shoved his chest roughly, “We could have, Sirius! Did you not realize we could have drowned?!”

James, Peter, and Remus came over to back up their friend, though they looked worried. “What are you on about?” James asked.

Lily walked over, “You put us under a sleeping draught and set us afloat on the Black Lake, Potter!” She yelled at him, red in the face, “What if we had fallen if off, and not woken up?!”

The effect was instantaneous. I could literally see the blood drain from all four of their faces. Remus took a step away from us with Peter. James began vehemently expressing his regret to Lily (who just walked away). That left Sirius and me in a staring contest. I realized that they hadn’t actually thought that it was really dangerous. They probably thought they were bloody brilliant. But I was Zalia Blackwood, and that meant that I didn’t give a toss what went on in their heads.

“You are so flipping lucky that we can swim.” I told Sirius quietly, before walking back towards the castle with Mary, Lily, and Rose.

By the time we reached the Gryffindor tower, people were starting to head to breakfast. We got some strange looks as we passed. Probably because Mary and I were wearing wet clothes, and all four of us were in pajamas.

By the time we’d gotten ourselves washed up, dressed, and ready we had to rush to the great hall and eat quickly. Thankfully the boys had had the foresight to sit somewhere else (although Tammy looked less than pleased by Sirius’ side as she watched us take our seats). It didn’t make a difference though. I was still extremely pissed at them all. Just because they’d moved away for breakfast didn’t mean all was forgotten.

Eventually (as the day drew on) the feeling of panic had left the four of us girls, and we relaxed a bit. Lily smiled as we walked to Transfiguration later;

“You know one thing good about them doing the prank?”

I raised my eyebrows, “What?”

She grinned and walked into McGonagall’s classroom:

“Now it’s our turn.”

 

*

 

We got them back. Not quite as well as they had gotten us. But we weren’t really into life-threatening pranks.

The night of the ‘B.L.I.’ (Black Lake Incident) we spent a while brainstorming about our revenge. Lily’s ideas were way too subtle. She came up with things like turning their dessert into a bowl of worms. I mean honestly, they would love that. Mary and Rose didn’t have much to bring to the table either, and my only idea was to kill all of the marauders. Needless to say that option was shot down pretty quickly.

So we just did little things. We spelled the marauders’ mouths shut for a day. They vanished all of our school books (Lily was murderous on that one). We made their clothes invisible (yeah, took a leaf out of their book). They made our food taste like feet. Etc. It went on like that for at least a week.

Then, our little Rose had a brilliant, brilliant idea.

It took us a while to get the products. We had to wait until the Hogsmeade trip that weekend (which I did not attend with Remus Lupin in case there was any doubt). We assured the boys that we hadn’t surrendered after their last prank, but that we were biding our time. It made them nervous. Ha.

After we did our shopping and organized the supplies, we set our plan in motion. We had to get it all done before the boys came back from Hogsmeade. Lily, Mary, and I crept upstairs into their room while Rose stayed as look-out in case the boys came back early.

“They’ll never know what hit them.” Mary grinned as we hurried inside and shut the door.

The boys had locked their room, but a simple ‘alohamora’ spell from me and it was open for business. The three of us stifled our laughter as we walked into the bathroom and went to work. We were almost done when we heard Rose’s voice outside the room.

“No, really! I need your help!”

Mary and Lily squeaked. I grabbed our ‘supplies’ and dashed out of the bathroom after a quick check that there was no evidence of our being there.

“What on earth…. Rose, I just need to get something.”

The three of us froze. We’d forgotten there was a fifth person living in the dormitory. Beck.

“Crap!” I whisper shouted at the two friends by me.

“No!” We heard Rose from just outside the door.

“What? Rose, please move.” Beck sounded annoyed.

Mary and Lily dove under the closest bed and I followed suit.

“Damn!” I whispered again as I saw there was room only for two. I heard the sound of a door handle…. Beck would come in any second now….

Then I pulled a very Zalia-like move.

I grabbed Lily, dragged her out from under the bed and put myself in her place, grinning. She stared at me shocked and I winked.

“He likes you better anyway.”

Lily just had to time to shoot me the evil eye before she scrambled to sit on top of the bed and compose herself.

“Lily?”

I put a hand over my mouth to keep my breathing silent.

“Hi!” I heard Lily say, nervously.

“Err…. Hi. What are you doing here?” Beck asked. I was tempted to laugh at the awkwardness.

“I….um….I was…. looking….for you!”

Oh bravo. You’re a stunning liar Tiger Lily.

“You were?” I could hear Beck’s pleased tone. He definitely fancied her.

“Yeah, I wanted to know….” There was a long pause, “why you’ve been avoiding me?”

I almost slapped a hand to my forehead. Real smooth.

“I…haven’t?” was his confused answer.

“Well why weren’t you at dinner the other day?”

“I was umm…. Busy?”

“Right…. So… sorry I guess?” Lily spluttered





 

 





 

 This was disturbingly pathetic.

“It’s fine….”

They lapsed into an awkward silence until I’d had enough and pinched Lily’s leg that was hanging over the side of the bed.

She yelped and tried to turn it into a cough.

“Are you okay?” Beck asked.

“Yep, yep. I’m grand.” She replied weekly before attempting to kick me. She missed.

“Ooookay then. I need to take a shower so….”

Mary and I stared at each other with wide eyes and we heard Lily stand up.

“No!”

“What?” Beck asked confused. I was starting to feel sorry for him.

“You can’t take a shower.” Lily stated.

“Err, why not?”

“Because….Because….” Lily stuttered and I rolled my eyes. This should be good.

“Because I’m supposed to give you a tour of the grounds. I didn’t get to show you all of the land when you first got here. And it’s McGonagal’s orders. It must be done today, before everyone gets back from Hogsmeade.”

Beck paused, “Right now?”

“Yeah, I have to take roll of everyone when the Hogsmeade trip is over so this is the only time I have.”

Hmm. Maybe I’d underestimated her. That was a rather believable lie.

“Okay,” Beck sounded indifferent and a few moments later we heard footsteps, and the door shut.

Mary and I crawled out from under the bed and I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.

“Thank Godric!” I said as I stretched my arms.

Mary giggled and I gave her a look.

“What’s so funny?”

She giggled again, “Can you imagine if Beck had taken that shower? If he’d used our modified soaps?”

I pictured what might have happened and let out a small laugh.

“That would have been a sight to see.”

“We still don’t know exactly what they’ll look like.” Mary pointed out.

I nodded, “The only bottle we could identify as someone’s was Sirius’ and I do believe the potion we gave him is the best.”

Mary let out a guffaw as we made to leave the room.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces.”

 

*

 

The rest of the day went on forever. Mary, Rose and I spent the hours messing around and/or catching up on homework. Lily had had to show Beck around all day (though I’m sure she wasn’t complaining). Finally people began returning from Hogsmeade. Just before dinner time we saw the marauders head up to their dorm. We ignored them and the three of us (Rose, Mary, and I) headed down to meet up with the red-head and surfer boy. Rose and Mary were jittery with excitement and I tapped my foot impatiently as we sat down in the great hall. Any minute now the boys would be walking into our trap.

“How was your tour?” I asked Beck slyly as he passed me the juice.

He gave a smile and glanced at Lily, “It was really good. I had no idea how far the grounds extended.”

“Did Lily show you the kissing tree?” Mary asked casually.

Tiger Lily turned beet red and Rose giggled.

“As a matter of fact I did.”

I raised my eyebrows as I took a bite of meatloaf. “You two must have had a wonderful time.”

Beck’s smile widened, “Lily’s great, she even offered to help me out with History of Magic.”

I smirked and Lily ducked her head, “I’m sure she did.”

Our conversation was cut short when the doors to the great hall were flung open with a loud bang.

“THEY’VE GONE TOO FAR!”

The widest smile there ever was graced my face as I watched Sirius Black stride towards us. Laughter erupted throughout the entire hall. Lily, Beck and the rest of us tried to stifle our own, but it was a poor attempt.

Because Sirius Black…. was bald.

“Did you lose something?” I called out loudly as he came closer.

His body shook with rage and I cracked up as his three companions walked in behind him. The laughter around us grew to an even higher level, and Lily openly cackled as she saw James. He had green hair and purple skin. Remus was sporting a huge orange afro, and Peter had black shaggy hair all over his body, making him look like a small sort of yeti.

I was laughing so hard that tears were coming down my face as the boys finally reached us, with murderous glares.

“I think—I think—that—that you should—look in a mirror!” Mary gasped in between laughs.

“MY HAIR IS GONE!” Sirius shrieked.

I doubled over, “Oh Godric, it’s even better than I pictured!”

Beck roared with laughter, “You lot look gorgeous!” He ducked as James tried to punch him.

“MY HAIR!” Sirius Screamed, “LOOK AT IT!”

I stood up and cackled, “What hair?”

The look on his face said ‘I hate you’.

“LOOK AT ME!” James screamed at us, “I’M PURPLE!

Peter whimpered as Mary tentatively petted the fur on his arm.

“YOU CROSSED A LINE!” Sirius yelled, pointing a finger in my face.

I swatted it away, “Get OVER yourself, Black. You look hideous with or without the hair.” He growled and I chuckled, “But I must say I think you should keep the naked mole rat look for a while.”

“MY HAIR!” Was all he could reply.

It sent the table into another bout of laughter.

“I’m bloody PURPLE!” James yelled.

“You need to fix this!”

NOW!

I just smiled and shook my head at them.

Sirius and James sprinted out of the hall, probably to go and talk to Madame Pomfrey about a solution. The thought made me smile wider. We had bought the potions form Zonko’s joke shop and they were guaranteed to last for twenty four hours. There was nothing Madame Pomfrey could do for them.

Peter sat down in between Mary and Rose. Apparently he was more hungry than he was humiliated. Both girls were petting him like a dog and laughing as Beck kept bursting out with brilliant remarks.

I was probably the only one who noticed Remus slip out of the hall quietly, a small smile gracing his face. I grinned slyly as I dug into my salad.

Best dinner ever.

 

*

James POV:

 

“No you don’t understand!”

“I said goodbye, Mr. Potter!”

“But-- !”

Shoo!

“No, but-- !”

“OUT!”

I turned around and stalked out of the hospital wing before Madame Pomfrey could hit me with the mop in her hand. I ran down the staircases as fast as possible, to get to the kitchens and avoid everyone. Usually I wasn’t that anti-social, but this was an unusual circumstance. I mean, I was purple. And my hair was green. I hadn’t even noticed the hair until Sirius’ told me. I believe his exact words had been;

“Oh, boo hoo, so what you’re purple?! AT LEAST YOU’VE GOT HAIR! Even if it is GREEN! I’M FLIPPING BALD!”

: He had a point. A hairless Sirius was slightly worse than colorful a James. But only slightly. And as much as I hated looking like a freak, even I had to admit what a brilliant prank the girls had pulled over on us. Godric only knew how long the potions would last. The effects of them had appeared twenty minutes after our showers. We’d figured out something was wrong when Sirius started screaming like a little girl and running around with chunks of his hair in his hands. But by then it was too late, and all four of us were screwed.

I tickled the portrait of the pear absentmindedly and ran down the passage. Briefly saying a hello to the nearest houselves, I helped myself to a hunk of cheese and bread. I really didn’t care what it was that I ate.

Soon enough I was finished, and raced back upstairs before the houselves could bombard me with trays of sweets, and snacks. I made my way up to the dorm room, grinning widely as my peers openly laughed at my new look on the way. Ah, well. Might as well be a good sport about it if there wasn’t anything I could do to fix it.

I opened the door and yelped as something hard hit my nose.

“What the--?”

I looked down to see my copy of ‘Fifteenth Century Fiends’ lying on the ground. Opening the door wider I saw Sirius kneeling in front of my trunk, tossing papers, quills and books behind him.

“What are you doing?” I asked, amused, as I sat down on my bed.

“There’s got to be something.” He answered without looking up.

“Oh.” That cleared it up.

“For the hair I mean. I’ve got to fix the hair.”

I rolled my eyes, “Yes I know, your precious hair is in a state of nonexistence. But you heard Pomfrey. There’s nothing to be done.”

“There’s got to be something!” He insisted as he threw back an ink quill that broke open on Peter’s bed. We both ignored it.

“Come off it. We’ll just have to be men about this.” I said.

Padfoot gave me a look. “This is the hair, James.”

“Right.”

“So you know what we have to do.”

I frowned, “What?”

“We have to get the girls back, good.” He grinned.

I grimaced. I wasn’t exactly sure that was a good idea. We’d been at this prank war for a long time, and eventually would need to call a truce. I was never one for surrender, but there was a first time for everything. I wouldn’t say anything just then though. There would be no talking to Sirius whilst his hair was in any way damaged.

“Sure, man,” I punched his shoulder as I bent down to grab my quidditch shoes.

“Oh, not again.”

“What?”

Sirius gestured to the shoes, “You’re going out for an extra practice again?”

“What does it matter?”

He rolled his eyes, “You know how much I love quidditch mate, but you take it to a whole new level. You’re obsessed with the bloody sport!”

“I’m captain this year! I’ve got to be on another level!” I replied defensively.

He just shook his head, “Whatever. I can’t blame Evans for staying away from you if you’re like this.”

“Oi!” Bringing up Lily Evans like that was out-of-bounds. There were just some things we knew not to use against each other. Sirius left my feelings of Lily alone (most of the time), and I tried to stay away from the subject of his family.

“I’m just saying.”

I ignored him and left for the quidditch pitch, running my hands through my hair as I went. Lily, Lily, Lily. It seemed like I’d thought of her more in the past month than I had in all the other years of school put together. Which was a lot. She was crazy. I mean seriously, seriously insane. What with her unnatural ability to follow rules. It was fascinating. Her and her firey red hair, with a temper to match; there was no one else like her. There never would be. I couldn’t explain it. I just knew she was perfect for me. Like another half of something.

Don’t get all judgey. I wasn’t not a sappy guy. But there was something about Lily Evans that made looking at any other girl just…. boring.

I sighed to myself as I got my broom and quidditch equipment out of the shed to practice. I unleashed the golden snitch and mounted my well-maintained broom. I flew higher and higher, loving the exhileration and air that rushed through me. Flying was the most amazing feeling besides being in my animagus form. I kept my eyes peeled for the snitch and did a few loops in the air. Despite being a chaser on the team, I enjoyed playing all of the roles in quidditch. I found seeker as one of the more fun and easier positions for me. And if I was doing extra practice alone, it was a ball that I could use without a partner.

Apparently though, that wasn’t an obstacle that day.

“Looking for this?”

I whipped around on my broom and grinned as I saw Mary McDonald hovering a few feet away with the golden snitch in hand.

“This is a private practice McDonald,” I teased, “Get your own snitch.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Maybe I’ll just keep this one.”

“Hand it over!” I yelled over the wind.

She smiled, “Come and get it!”

I took off like a flash after her as she sped away. I liked Mary. She was a kind, honest, Gryffindor; my favorite kind of person. Not to mention she was bloody good at quidditch. I hadn’t known her at all before this past year, but she was a well enough friend.

“You and your green head will have to go faster than that if you want to catch me Jimmy!”

I smiled wider and lent down low on the broom to pick up more speed.

“Better hurry up McDonald!” I yelled as we raced each other.

Mary was an excellent flyer. Almost as good as I was. We flew as fast as possible, doing trick moves and dives, skimming the bleachers, and even flying backwards. I hadn’t realized how much showing off we were doing until I heard a light applause from down below.

We both slowed up and headed to the entrance of the changing rooms, where a red-headed girl was standing. My hand absently jumped up to ruffle my hair as I landed.

“Hey, Lily.”

She ignored me as usual but did make eye contact. That was good…. ish.

“You were amazing Mary! I didn’t know you could fly like that!” She exclaimed as Mary blushed.

“James was good too, wasn’t he?”

I smiled slightly at Mary; thankful for her two-cents about my flying skills.

Lily just pursed her lips. I looked away disappointed. I had been making progress in our friendship, before the Black Lake incident. But since then I’d found myself right back in the immature-good-for-nothing spot. It wasn’t nice.

“Lily!”

I turned, surprised to see Remus walking towards us.

“Hey,” Lily waved to him.

I shuffled my feet, annoyed. So she would acknowledge him? But not me? He had had just as much to do with the Lake prank as I had.

“I wondered if you would be down here.” He smiled at us.

“I just gave James a good ass-whooping on the broom.” Mary said.

Aaaand my gratitude towards Mary is gone.

I rolled my eyes, “That’s not what happened.”

“Oh please, she was way beyond you.” Lily sneered.

I gave her a look and she blinked.

“Come on, I was joking guys.” Mary said nervously.

I kept my gaze on Lily. Moony looked between us and grabbed Mary’s arm.

“I’ll walk you back.” He told her quietly.

The brunette hesitated, “I don’t if that’s such a-- ”

He dragged her along before she could argue. I twirled my broom around slowly; feeling awkward about the situation. I didn’t know what to say. Fortunately Lily spoke first.

“I should go. I don’t really want to be seen with ‘The Purple Guy’.” It was meant as half a joke, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

I scoffed, “That’s real nice, Lily.”

She sniffed, determined as ever to keep her high ground. “I’m leaving.”

I grabbed her elbow before she could go. Making up my mind to say something about our whole relationship (or lack thereof), “You need to get over this.”

She frowned, “Get over what?”

I let go of her arm and gestured openly, “Everything, Lily! You have to stop having a different standard for me than you do for everybody else!”

She opened her mouth to interrupt, but I kept going.

“You have got to get over your grudge against me. I thought you had when you agreed we could be friends. And yes! The Lake thing was stupid! But come on! You’ve obviously forgiven Remus! Why not me? You have got to let go of this high horse you’re on.”

She stared at me with a blank look and I sighed; “And lastly, you have to stop being so mean. Though you may not know this, I am a human being; with feelings just like you.”

I brushed past her to walk towards the broom shed and squared my shoulders. I felt better. A whole lot better. Just because I was completely in love with Lily didn’t mean she didn’t frustrate the hell out of me. And if I ever wanted some kind of relationship with her, I would need her respect. Leveling with her was the first step on the road to her heart. She needed to wake up and realize she could no longer step all over me.

I walked back to the castle as the sky grew black, and stumbled up to Gryffindor tower. Sirius and I spent most of the night holed up in our dorm, playing chess. Eventually I hit him in the head and left because he was so gloomy about his hair. Instead I found Remus who was in the library (such a bookworm). I’d sat down with a book and chatted to Remus until he gave up on trying to study, and paid attention to me.

I was about to tell a group of giggling/hovering first years to bugger off when a sharp voice came around the corner.

“Oi! You lot had better scatter before I make you.”

I smiled slightly as Marlene Mckinnon came into view and plopped herself into a chair beside me.

“Thanks,” I muttered.

She waved me off, “Don’t mention it.”

“How are you?” Remus asked her softly.

Aw crap. I’d forgotten. I’d actually forgotten about Marlene’s dad dying.

“I’m fine,” She shrugged.

Remus gave her a skeptical look and she rolled her eyes, “Godric Remus, don’t even start. It’s not easy, obviously, but I’m getting on.”

I cleared my throat and looked away. I hated these conversations. The ones with feelings or where I was supposed to know what to say and do.

Marlene laughed and I looked around.

“Oh James,” She ruffled my hair, “You’re such an awkward little boy when anyone talks about serious stuff.”

I ducked my head, “I really am sorry, Marls.” I told her with as much condolence in my voice as I could muster.

She frowned, “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Moony and I looked worried, but a moment later our friend’s smile was plastered on her face again, “So come on, tell me what happened?”

I laughed slightly, “You mean with our bad hair day?”

She raised an eyebrow and looked me up and down, “I’d say it was more of a bad skin day James, or are you trying out a new look on purpose? Because I’ve got to tell you; I think it’s bloody brilliant.”

“No, believe me, this wasn’t on purpose.”

“And if it was, we would have gone with something a bit more awesome than just purple for James. Probably more like rainbow.” Remus put in.

I ignored him, “You know Lily right Marlene? Lily Evans?”

She nodded.

“Her and a few friends did it. They must have snuck in our room somehow and got into the soaps or something.”

Marlene looked surprised. “Lily? Lily Evans? Lily Evans the Head Girl did this to you?”

“Uh, Yes.”

She slapped her hand on the table loudly and laughed. “But I thought she hated you! And loved rules? Godric James, what happened?”

I blinked, “I—I don’t know.”

“Is her heart beginning to thaw your way?” Marlene asked eagerly with a hint of amusement.

My own heart pumped faster at the thought. Before I could answer Remus sighed.

“Don’t get his hopes up Marls.”

We both gave him a look and he shrugged at me.

“You know the reason Lily has been spending more time around us is because of Zalia.”

My shoulders fell slightly. He was right of course. Zalia was the reason Lily was around more this year.

“Zalia Blackwood?” Marlene asked with a tone of distaste.

We nodded.

“That girl is a piece of work.” She snorted, “D’you know the other day in Herbology, she turned to me and said, and I quote: ‘Would you mind shutting that abnormally large hole in your face. I’m trying to get something done over here.’: And just turned away. I was only talking to Tory Dunbar for goodness sakes!”

Remus and I laughed.

“Oi! I happen to think it was incredibly rude!”

I said, “Well obviously. I mean, it was Zalia.”

She folded her arms and leant back.

“Zalia doesn’t sugar coat anything. Being rude is what she does.” Said Moony.

“You sound like you know her.” Marlene looked at us.

“Well….” Remus started.

 But me being my un-tactful self, blurted out:

“Remus asked her out!”

He rolled his eyes at me as Marlene let out a disgusted noise.

“I thought you were the smart one Remus!”

He shrugged, “She’s not all bad.”

“She’s awful!” Marlene cried.

She huffed as a few people shushed her, and leant forward.

“Remus Lupin. You are, hands down, the most sensible person I know. Why would you want to date a tart like that?”

He twisted his mouth, “Okay. I didn’t actually ask her to go steady, Right? I asked her to go to Hogsmeade one time. Is that a bloody crime?”

I shook my head as Marlene went to answer, “Don’t bother Marls. His business is his own.”

She stuck out her tongue at me, “Fine then. I’m only trying to look after you lot.”

Remus’ face softened, “You need to look after yourself, Marls.”

I nodded, “And as a change of subject. I’d like to ask you two something.”

They turned their attention to me and I hesitated. Lily had asked me not to say anything to anyone about it. But Marlene needed something to focus on besides Remus’ love life and her father’s death.

“Halloween is coming up, and Lily and I, well mostly Lily, asked Dumbledore if we could have a Halloween dance as well as a feast this year.”

Marlene’s eyes lit up and I smiled;

“He said yes. So I need to you to keep this quiet, but we’ve been trying to decide whether it should just be a dance, or a costume party as well.”

“Costumes,” Marlene said before Remus could open his mouth.

“Definitely costumes. Are you kidding me? I’m totally going as Tinker Bell!”

Moony and I exchanged a look.

“Err, who?”



She gasped, “You haven’t heard of Tinker Bell?! Bloody hell!”


Madame Pince hissed from behind her desk, but Marlene ignored her.

“What’s that?” I asked.

She said, “Only the best bad ass fairy, ever.”

 

 

 

At our blank looks Marlene rolled her eyes, "It's a muggle story. You know, like babbity rabbity for wizards."

 


I smiled hesitantly, still confused. Muggles had fairytales?

“Right,” Remus frowned, just as lost as I was.

Marlene smiled excitedly and stood up, “You have to read the story sometime. Anyways, I’ve got to run. Thanks for the Halloween news James!”

I watched her skip away and sighed. I had no idea how she was acting like this after the news of her father’s death. Maybe they hadn’t been close? No, he was still family. She must be in denial.

Moony and I went up to the dormitory not too long after Marlene left. Both too exhausted from the days adventures to do much of anything else. I layed in bed for hours despite my fatigue, and only drifted off after attempting to count the stars outside of my window.

The next day was fun. Honestly. The hair and skin grew on me until I was even feeling slightly sad to see it fade around my second class. Remus and Peter seemed to enjoy their looks as well, laughing off the comments shouted about. The only one who wasn’t willing to see the glass half full was Padfoot. He skulked about in an oversized hat. Refusing to take it off in the classroom (resulting in another two detentions), and would literally scream at anyone he thought was making fun of him. As a best friend it was hard to keep a straight face all day.

“Merlin, Pads….” I muttered as he finished yelling at a few first years who’d pointed at his head. “You need to calm down.”

He growled at me.

“Really mate, it doesn’t look half bad.”

“Shut up.” He snapped. I did.

Finally by dinner his hair grew back to its original ‘potency’, and he was telling anyone who would listen how much he’d rocked the bald look.

“No really! I quite liked it.”

“The look was growing on me.”

“I mean I do have a very nicely shaped head.”

Remus and I looked at each other in amusement and exhasperation.

“Spinning tales I hear.”

I looked up at the silky voice and my eyes darted towards Sirius as he stared at Zalia indifferently.

“Hell, no. I’m telling it how it is.”

She raised both eyebrows and looked around as she sat beside Remus.

“Where’s Malibu Barbie?”

Sirius pursed his lips, “If you’re referring to Tammy, I honestly don’t know.”

Lily batted her eyelashes exageratedly as she sat down, “Aww losing track of her already?”

Zalia muttered under her breath, “Maybe you should keep a tighter leash on your bitch.”

Luckily Sirius didn’t seem to hear her.

As an awkward silence insummed we were joined at the table by a welcomed presence.

“Evans!”

Each of us looked around to see Marlene McKinnon bounding over. She scrunched in between Zalia and Lily; ignoring the formers huffs of protest.

“You,” She pointed to Lily as she grabbed a few chips off of the red-head’s plate. “Are a bloody genius.”

Lily looked bewildered as the rest of us shrugged.

“Excuse me?”

“You know! the Halloween thing!”

Oh, for the love of….

I immediately stared at my plate. Avoided what was sure to be a glare from Lily Evan’s. I'd told Marlene to keep it a bloody secret.

“And how?” I could hear the annoyance in Evan’s voice, “Did you know about that.”

Marlene looked puzzled for a moment before she smiled at Lily, “Oh no, don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. James’ made me promise.”

Yeah sure, now you want to be secretive.

“I just wated to tell you it’s a fantastic flipping idea. And I am so looking forward to it.” She stood up, considered for a moment and grabbed a few more chip’s off of Lily’s plate, who didn’t seem to care. “Oh and before I go,” She stared at each of the girls in our group, “I am going as Tinker Bell so don’t even think about taking that costume.”

She flounced away happily and I stared everywhere except on the other side of Zalia.

You.

Bugger.

“I told you not to breathe a word!”

I grimaced.

“James Potter!”

Ugh. The full name.

“I’m sorry!” I put on my best puppy dog eyes and looked over at Lily. To my surprise she wouldn’t meet my gaze. In fact she wouldn’t meet anyone’s gaze.

“I suppose it would have gotten out sometime.”

I could hardly believe my ears.

“Eh, what?”

She sighed, “Don’t worry about it.”

Our entire table turned its eyes to Evans who just ignored us and buttered her bread. Remus gave me a surprised look and Sirius a questioning one. I just shrugged, as bewildered as the rest of them.

“And you,” Zalia looked to Lily and I in turn, “Have some explaining to do. What is this Halloween thing you failed to mention?”

I nodded to Lily who gave everyone an apologetic glance, “James and I asked Dumbledore if we could have a Halloween ball this year.”

She shushed the mumbling from our friends and continued, “And apparently, “She gave me a pointed look before quickly glancing away, “It’s going to be a costume party as well.”

Mary clapped her hands together, “Perfect! I have a great Peter Pan costume--”

She stopped short at Zalia’s horrified expression, “What?”

“You are not,” She said sternly, “going as a boy.”

Mary flushed.

“I have a better idea anyways.” Zalia continued happily as Mary’s shoulders slumped; defeated.

“Why don’t you let her go as what she wants?”

Zalia rolled her eyes at Sirius, “You don’t get it. You’re a guy. You don’t have to be graceful or beautiful--”

Padfoot frowned, “Who says I’m not beautiful.”

Everyone groaned and Remus slapped his hand to his forehead.

“What, what did I say?”

We ignored our vain friend and I chanced a look at Lily. She seemed…. Passive. Reserved about something. She hadn’t lashed out about my spilling the beans. But it didn’t look like it was because she liked me or anything. It looked more as though…. She didn’t have the heart.

My brow knitted in concern and I felt a nudge in my ribs. I looked over to see that Rose was sat beside me, a knowing look gracing her face.

“She’s been like that all day.”

“Did something happen?” I asked quietly.

“I don’t know,” She sighed, “I can’t get her to talk. Zalia even threatened to throw her into the lake if she didn’t speak up. But I think she figured out it was an empty threat.”

I nodded solemnly. My heart was slightly sore for Lily; wondering what she was sad about. What I felt towards her wasn’t misplaced infatuation or lust. I cared for her deeply. The root of my affection was in knowing who she truly was; purely good and selfless.

“I’m sure it’s just a passing mood,” Rose half-whispered.

I nodded again and turned to look at the small girl. I found her watching me with a curious fascination before a warm smiled curved onto her face and she settled back into her seat on the bench.

I was about to tune back into the conversation around us when a loud bang rang out through the hall.

Everyone froze. Eyes widened. Breathing hitched. And no one moved a muscle.

-CRASH-

Again a deafening bang ran through us. This time people stood up, craning to see what was going on. I looked to the teachers’ table to see them looking nearly as concerned as the students.

I frowned and felt my heart race a little faster as the doors to Great Hall Burst open and flurry of tangled limbs crashed into view.

“Gerroff me!” A man yelled as everyone rushed towards the scene.

Even in the panic I stepped nearer to Lily as we ran forward. Wanting to keep her close just in case.

“What is the meaning of this?” Dumbledore bellowed into the crowd. People dispersed to let him through. His brow furrowed over his half-moon spectacles.

I could see only half of what was going on in the middle of everyone. But Filch was glaring at a young, thin looking man who had succeeded in shoving him off and was panting as he looked into the crowd as though searching for something.

His face looked familiar, but I didn’t place it at first. His eyes fixed on something just behind me. His face grew gaunt and desperate. I frowned as a million questions rushed into my mind. None of them however, applied to what happened next.

“Zalia!”

Nobody moved. Had he just called out for Zalia? Zalia Blackwood?

“ZALIA!”

Even Professor Dumbledore looked befuddled. I looked down and locked eyes with Lily, whose face emanated great concern. Exactly what I felt. Who was this? What was going on?

As my black haired friend stepped forward the puzzle pieces fell into place and I knew who I was looking at. Not long ago had I watched him apologize to the same dark haired girl.

“YOU!” Zalia stared at him with disgust as she stepped towards him.

“I’M SORRY!” The man yelped.

Zalia’s face flashed with confusion and distrust.

I stared at the scene with wide eyes. Had he come here to apologize to her again? Hadn’t he gotten the picture in Hogsmeade? I’d heard what she’d said to him then and it hadn’t been a picnic.

“What the hell are you talking about?!” Zalia looked around uncomfortably at the people staring at them. I felt bad for her. What was this guy playing at, storming into the school in the middle of dinner? Was he trying to make things worse for her?

“I didn’t know! I swear! I didn’t know!” He screamed frantically, attempting to pull Zalia towards him.

She cringed away and screwed up her face, “What are you TALKING about?!”

“I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry….”

Zalia actually looked frightened as he reached out for her again. An emotion that looked unnatural upon her face. Whispers flew around the hall as Dumbledore called down McGonagall and the other teachers.

“Lucius….” She said his name with surprising intensity. Instead of moving away she reached forward and grabbed his face in between her hands, staring at his wide eyes.

“What happened?”

The hall grew completely quiet again as the man brushed away from her grip and began back-peddling.

“I’m sorry….I’m so sorry….”

She screamed at him in frustration. “WHAT DID YOU DO?”

“I didn’t mean to….” His voice was barely audible and a sense of dread filled me even as I felt Lily grab my arm. I couldn’t bring myself to look at her. The two people before us were to engrossing.

“WHAT. DID. YOU. DO!” She asked again.

The man closed his eyes and told her; his white blonde hair falling limp.

“You parents….I’m so sorry.” He had the gall to look her in the face as he said it:

 
                                                       “They’re dead.”









 

 









 

 









 











 

Yep it's a cliff hanger: the next chapter will be put up ASAP, I promise. Thanks so much for reading, hope you loved it!









 

P.S. I'd love reviews on what you think of James' POV- Thanks!









 

 









 

 









 

 









 

 









 

 









 

 












 


Chapter 15: Chapter XV: When Death Comes Knocking
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 A/N: Here you are: the aftermath to Zalia's parents' deaths. Not too long of a chapter, but i'll update again soon.

R and R, sil vous plait!

 

Song of the day:

            The Tudors(Trevor Morris): A Howling Widnerness (the death of Jane Seymore)

 



 

 

 

Zalia’s POV:

 

 

 

Every bone in my body was petrified. I could feel the blood in my veins grow cold and my skin turn to stone. I was frozen. My eyes moved of their own accord, up and down Lucius’ face, searching for some sign of a trick or lie. But there was none. He was telling the truth. But…. he couldn’t be.

 

“They’re dead.”

 

I was utterly aware of the silence drawing on after the words.

 

I couldn’t

 

I didn’t

 

I can’t

 

I won’t

 

What? What? What? What had he said?

 

My mind tried to grasp what he had told me, but it wasn’t possible. I just…. No. There wasn’t…. No, no, no.

 

NO.

 

“Liar,” I hissed at him.

 

He swallowed hard and backed up. “No….”

 

“LIAR!” I snarled and before I knew it my wand was out.

 

And then it was gone.

 

I looked around furiously, searching for the culprit. Dumbledore strode forward with my wand in his hand and gave me a stern look.

 

“Give me,” I grit my teeth, “my wand.”

 

He sighed sadly and said, “no.”

 

“Give me MY WAND!” I screamed at the headmaster completely ignoring the stares and whispers and audience I had surrounding me.

 

I couldn’t breathe.

 

I couldn’t think.

 

“Miss Blackwood I think you need....” Dumbledore began, but my eyes flashed.

 

“GIVE ME MY WAND!”

 

-Silence-

 

“Zalia Blackwood, listen to--”

 

“GIVE IT TO ME!” I was shrieking like a banshee at that point.

 

“Miss Blackwood,” McGonagall stepped forward cautiously, “I think you should calm--”

 

“Don’t you DARE tell me to calm down!” I screamed at her. She stopped; alarmed.

 

“Give me my fucking wand!” I yelled again.

 

The headmaster didn’t even flinch. Once I’d realized no matter how much I screamed I wasn’t going to get it, I turned back to Lucius.

 

“YOU!” I lunged forward and slammed him against the castle wall next to the large oak doors, with my forearm against his windpipe. “What the hell do you think you’re playing at?”

 

“Zalia Blackwood!”

 

I ignored McGonagall’s calls.

 

“You came here to what? Trick me? What are you playing at, huh? TELL ME!”

 

I was delirious. Acting on impulse and rage.

 

But I had enough strength left to look into his eyes and see what he had come here for. Lucius was scared. Terrified. And had been desperately searching for me when he’d come to Hogwarts. Icy chills swept through me as I realized he really was being honest. They were dead. He knew it. I knew it. He had come to tell me. He wanted my forgiveness. But…. Why?

 

And I understood then. It clicked. If he wanted my forgiveness, that meant he had played a part in my parents’ deaths.

 

And more than any grief or fear or despair that I felt when I knew that they were dead; I wanted revenge.

 

And who better to kill than the messenger who’d come to tell me.

 

“AHH!” I screamed as the floodgates on my emotions burst through, giving me a sudden burst of energy.

 

Lucius’ face shone with fear as he understood what had just happened. I was no longer in control.

 

I slammed his head against the stone wall and heard a sound –smack- as he cried out in pain. Before he could recover I punched him in the face. The stomach. The chest. Anywhere and everywhere I could reach until he was slumped on the ground; a pile of blood and bruises.

 

Only when I paused for breath did I realize a peculiar thing. No one had tried to stop me. I couldn’t even hear anyone else. Frowning, I turned around.

 

“What….” A small gasp escaped my lips as I saw behind me, Dumbledore and McGonagall pounding on an invisible surface, and casting spell after spell towards me. But nothing would reach. It was as if I was locked inside an unreachable, invisible shield/dome.

 

I didn’t understand. Who had cast the shield spell around me? I couldn’t hear or reach anyone who was watching Lucius and I in the Great Hall. As my mind worked that out, I calmed down somewhat and realized how much pain my hands were in. I looked down, surprised to find them bloody and gashed. I hadn’t even felt the skin break as I’d beaten Lucius to a pulp.

 

Suddenly, as I was looking away, hands cascaded around me, grabbing and pulling. I yelped when I realized the teachers were trying to subdue me. Hundreds of thoughts flickered through my mind: Where had the shield spell gone? Why was I being taken away? Where were my parents? Oh yes, dead. I wanted my wand. I wanted to murder Lucius Malfoy. And the rest of his family. And the death-eaters. And Voldemort himself.

 

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even kick my way out of the grip of Horace Slughorn and Minerva McGonagall. So I changed tactics as they dragged me out into the corridor, away from the masses of shouting students who had watched the entire ordeal with horror. Probably thinking I was a mad-woman. I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything. I made myself go limp as they moved me away, and Slughorn lost his grip. I slammed into the ground and plastered myself against the cold, stone floor. Refusing to move.

 

I never knew why. I never understood what had triggered it, but when Minerva McGonagall’s hand touched mine I screamed.

 

Not just a scream though. I didn’t know how, but power and pain mixed together to form it. The magic. It was a shriek that came out of me. So loud and shocking that even I clapped my hands over my ears as it poured out. With my head facing down and my eyes closed, I didn’t see it, but I heard it.

 

As I screamed, the stained glass windows around us shattered into a million pieces and rained down to the floor. Doors flew open, drapes blew away, and a gust of something unnatural ran through the castle.

 

When it was finished I stayed there, gasping for air as I felt everything closing in.

 

“Oh, God,” I prayed for the first time in my life, “Oh, God, please no.”

 

I kept my eyes shut as the hands lifted me up from the ground and I sobbed into whoever was carrying me.

 

Because I’d spent my whole life shutting down and shutting off, I couldn’t control my emotions. They were either not there at all, or they consumed me. And once I’d let them in, I couldn’t be consoled.

 

I cried, and cried, and cried some more. Probably for hours. I never opened my eyes for a moment; eventually falling asleep in the bed I’d been put in by the stranger who’d carried me away.

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

            Day 1,

 

            Let’s see. Today I don’t feel better. Today I feel just as shitty as yesterday, though maybe less of a homicidal maniac. Mr. Flenderson promised not to read this. But just in case you are Flenderson, here’s a little note for you: Fuck off. Oh, and no, I’m not watching my language today. I’m letting it have free reign so that I can sound almost as foul as I feel. This journal is pointless. It won’t help. But at least it gives me something to do in here.

 

            Now, I’m supposed to write about how everything makes me feel. Well, first of all, this shit-hole is a fucking dump (See, no filter on the language; told you). I don’t belong here. I’m not insane. I’m not even dangerous. Well, except to Lucius Malfoy, but I heard he fled the country.

 

            Apparently Dumbledore told everyone that I was going away for my parents’ funeral and to ‘settle their affairs’. I appreciate his attempt to let me keep some dignity, but after I lost it in the Great Hall I’m almost positive everyone believes I’m absolutely bonkers. I don’t want to go back there. But I really don’t want to stay here. So if facing my judgmental peers is how I get out of this then I’ll do it. I can be tough. Even now. Just because I let what’s under the surface show through that day, doesn’t mean that I’m a changed person. In fact I feel more closed off than ever. Ah, but now I’m getting too deep so I’d better stop writing about that. I don’t want Mr. Flenderson to know how I actually feel in case he does read this.

 

            I’m running out of room now. I’ll probably have to write again tomorrow. Bugger. I hate this. Then again I hate everything at the moment. Even me. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t hate me. If I write that then Mr. Flenderson might think I’m suicidal and then I’ll never get out of this place. And I’m not. I’m definitely not suicidal. I’m just regretful. And my life sucks. Anyways, the page is finished now. Hope you had fun reading this Mr. Flenderson, you liar. Go fuck yourself.

 

Sincerely,

 

            Zalia Blackwood- Newly admitted orphan with violent tendencies.

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

            It had been two days since the incident. Or rather my ‘mental breakdown’ as the doctors referred to it here. I wondered if they told everyone who was seen crying that they were crazy; anyone who showed emotion. It was ridiculous the type of people I’d seen get admitted to the institution.

 

            Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you. I’d been sent to a psych ward.

 

            And I bloody hated it.

 

            Every day it was always:

 

            “How do you feel?”

 

            “Why do you feel that way?”

 

            “When did you start to feel that way?”

 

            “Do you still feel that way?”

 

            : And I couldn’t tell them to bugger off. I had to be cooperative if I was going to get out anytime soon. But if I wasn’t crazy when they’d brought me in, I was convinced I would be by the end of the week.

 

            The walls of the institution were yellowing and plain. With smudges of Godric-only-knows-what, lining every inch of every surface. The food was disgusting. But I had to eat it because if they saw me refusing meals they would keep me in there longer.

 

            Most of all, I hated Mr. Flenderson. I refused to think of him as a ‘doctor’, because I was sure he had no idea what he was doing. The first time I met him was the morning after my parents’ had died which was a little over a day ago. I’d been distraught and exhausted both emotionally and physically. I’d looked like a train wreck with gashes and bruises all over, sallow skin, red eyes, and trembling limbs. I couldn’t even breathe properly until they’d let me take a shower:

 

           

 

“Hello Miss Blackwood. I assume they’ve told you I am going to be you helper here.”

 

            I stared him up and down, unimpressed with his appearance. He looked rather like an oversized bat with long, dark, unkempt hair and a billowing black cloak. I was at once reminded of Severus Snape, the Slytherin boy whom Lily had befriended. I’d had the urge to laugh and just as easily forgot it when the bat-like man mentioned my parents.

 

            “You have my deepest condolences. But I am here to help you get better.”

 

            I don’t want your help, I thought bitterly. But the man merely nodded to himself.

 

            He smiled, “Now I understand you wanted to go and freshen up before we started the examination process….”

 

            I nodded vigorously. I was in desperate need of a hot shower.

 

            “….But I feel we should proceed with the process as quickly as possible so as to get the paperwork flowing.” He’d motioned for me to sit.

 

            I tried not to glare as I obeyed, but it was difficult. Despite being heart-broken over the deaths of my family, I knew that this man held my future in his hands. I would get out at his say so. I would stay in at his say so. And I could also be committed for life at his say so.

 

            “Yes, of course.” I responded politely.

 

            He smiled. It was ghastly. His teeth were yellowing and misshapen and the glint in his eye made me want to cringe.

 

            “Right then, shall we start off with a few basic questions?”

 

            I nodded as he brought out a pair of spectacles and put them on to read the file in front of him.

 

            “How old are you?”

 

            “Seventeen.”

 

            “What year were you born?”

 

            “1960.”

 

            “And what day?”

 

            “May 15th.”

 

            “I believe I said day. Not month.”

 

            I raised an eyebrow in irritated confusion. Was he serious?

 

            “Sorry,” I muttered.

 

            He sneered, “That’s quite all right. That is why I am the doctor, and you are the patient.”

 

            I wanted to punch him so bad.

 

            “Of course.”

 

            He nodded curtly and cleared his throat, “What were your parents’ names?”

 

            I swallowed thickly, “Their names are Susan and Roland Blackwood.”

 

            “Were.” He muttered.

 

            I frowned, “Excuse me?”

 

            “Well, they’re dead aren’t they? And must now be referred to in the past tense.”

 

            I stared at him in disbelief. At a loss of words at how he could have the nerve to say something like that. He simply went on with the questions and I let it go….with difficulty. I kept repeating to myself that his good word was what I needed. That was all I needed to get out.

 

 

 

            : His distasteful personality and appearance hadn’t grown on me at all. I dragged my feet as I headed to my next session of what he called “Talky Time”, which in my opinion sounded like a badly written muggle television show.

 

            I was followed by simpering old witch who mumbled to herself about this and that as we walked. She kept a short distance away as if to try and hide the fact that she was my escort. As I reached the large oak door and prepared to walk through into the office of Mr. Flendrson, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

 

            “Ah, there you are, I was beginning to worry,” He sneered at me as I came through the doorway, “You’re late you know.”

 

            I sat down in the chair across from him and avoided his gaze, “I apologize.”

 

            “Doctor….” He muttered.

 

            “I apologize, Doctor.”

 

            He looked up to scrutinize my face and I stared out the window hard.

 

            “Yes, well no harm done I suppose. Shall we get on with things then?”

 

I nodded.

 

“How are you feeling today, Miss Blackwood? Any changes?”

 

“I feel much better if that’s what you’re asking.”

 

“How so? Do you feel calm? At peace with your parent’s deaths?”

 

At peace with my—? No. No I do not feel at peace with their deaths. They were murdered in cold blood.

 

“Yes, I feel very peaceful. I’ve come to understand that my immediate reaction was one made in poor judgment.”

 

“Good, good….” He muttered whilst scribbling in one of the many notebooks that littered his desk. His greasy hair flopped about and stuck to his forehead when he looked up again.

 

“And you’ve had no….urges?”

 

I raised an eyebrow, “Urges?”

 

“Violent urges. Thoughts of hurting others, maybe even thoughts of hurting yourself?”

 

I shook my head quickly, “Absolutely none. As I said before, my reaction at Hogwarts was a mistake.”

 

He looked at me skeptically, “Yes You did say that, but I’m not entirely convinced you’re being honest with me.”

 

I wanted to scream in frustration. I’d put up with this sniveling man for enough time.

 

“Of course I’m being honest with you. Why would I lie?” I attempted to keep my voice light and innocent.

 

He smiled at me knowingly and I desperately hoped he was as stupid as he was unattractive. “So if you had Mr. Lucius Malfoy here and now and he was sitting next to you,” He leaned forward on the desk and licked his cracked lips, “what would you do to him?”

 

I would take the sharpest object I could find and carve the word ‘murderer’ into his pasty, yellow skin.

 

“I would talk with him as an indifferent person.”

 

Mr. Flenderson looked skeptical, but if he wanted me to tell him exactly what I was thinking, he would be waiting an awful long time.

 

“I see.”

 

I was silent. I pursed my lips and watched as the oily man scribbled more notes down.

 

“Do you want to get out of here, Miss Blackwood?”

 

My breathing hitched. “If you believe that’s what is best for me.”

 

His mouth twitched, “What do you think?”

 

Oh no. I was on dangerous ground. One wrong step and I would be metaphorically blown to bits.

 

“I…. think that,” I studied his face quickly, hoping to figure out what sort of answer he wanted. “….this place has helped me immensely. But I am ready to be released.”

 

He chuckled. The sound was both crackling and nasally. I was tempted to wrinkle my nose in disgust.

 

“Released? You make it sound like you’re in Azkaban.”

 

I answered bitterly, “That was not my intent.”

 

“Wasn’t it?” Before I could answer he went on. “You shall be released. I’ll sign your papers, as I am a generous man.” He smiled at me somewhat evilly and I had a hard time seeing the generosity in the look.

 

But I really didn’t care what sort of person he was. He was letting me out, and even if I was disgusted with him, I was (on some level) grateful.

 

“Thank you.”

 

I would really have loved to have been the type of person who was happy with the present situation and could live in the moment. But I just wasn’t. And as soon as the small spark of relief left my mind from the news of my release, I immediately frowned.

 

I was going back.

 

I was going back to Hogwarts. A place I’d left as a mad woman, in no uncertain terms. My parents’ deaths numbed my thoughts somewhat, but I still felt dread at the prospect of facing my peers; the whispers, stares, and malicious statements. And even worse than that, was facing it alone. For I was certain that no friendship awaited me at the school. None of them would stand by me. And I couldn’t blame them. I could survive of course, but it would be exhausting. I knew that my temper wouldn’t allow any of the things they would say to be overlooked. I would challenge every single person who dared to talk to me or about me. I wouldn’t be able to help it.

 

I sighed. I might even scare them all into silence. But I rather doubt it.

 

You will report to Madame Fauna in the morning.” Mr. Flenderson interrupted my thoughts. And my head snapped towards him.

 

“And don’t be late,” He snarled as I nodded and he handed me a sealed envelope with his signature.

 

Without a word I left the office. My pace quickened as I walked down the dank hallway and the witch, my escort, had to practically gallop to keep up with me.

 

I went straight to the dining hall and sat at the first table available, ignoring the witch behind me who huffed as she tried to sit by me and I gave her a dirty look. She backed away and stood by the wall.

 

“Hey, Joe.” I nodded to the man next to me.

 

Joe, a balding, thin man, gave me a chin-up nod and continued to spell words with his alphabet soup. I sighed and grabbed the apple on his tray.

 

About half the people in the facility were what I would classify as insane. The other half were simply unstable and emotional, or like me, got caught at a bad time and were shipped to the mad house.

 

Joe was a crazy, but I liked him. Talking to Joe was like talking to little kid on drugs. An amusing and refreshing change from self-righteous adults.

 

“Mine,” Joe said, pointing to the apple in my hand.

 

I grinned, “Mine now,” And took a bite of it.

 

He shrugged and went back to his spelling, muttering about some goblin who liked stealing fruits. I was slightly suspicious he was talking about me.

 

“Hello, Crow.”

 

I looked up frowning and rolled my eyes when I saw who it was.

 

“Hello, Annie.”

 

Annie was also a crazy, but not as delightful as Joe. She insisted on calling me “Crow” because she believed my hair was made of crows’ feathers.

 

She sat down on my left side, facing Joe, and began scratching a spot on her left arm vigorously. When she noticed me watching she smiled toothily and whipped back her dirty blonde hair behind her shoulder.

 

“Damn bees, they’re everywhere.” She scratched more spots, “You’ve got some in your eyes. Sting something awful, don’t they?”

 

I nodded non-commitally and huffed when Annie’s bunk mate, Yellow, came over. No one knew what Yellow’s real name was, or they didn’t care. But it suited her well enough. She was a tall, willowy, pasty thing. With big, blue, bug-eyes and extreme anxiety.

 

I hadn’t made my mind up about Yellow. She was so disturbed in the mind that she probably was crazy, but she didn’t seem to see/hear or imagine things like the rest of them. She just wandered around as a nervous wreck all day.

 

“Hello,” Yellow said quietly as she sat by Joe.

 

He nodded politely, “Hello Yellow. I’m Purple.”

 

I rolled my eyes, “No, you’re Joe.”

 

He laughed and pointed at me, “You’re Joe.”

 

I shrugged, “Okay, whatever. I’m Joe. Sure.”

 

“Bees, bees, bees….” Annie muttered, swatting all around.

 

I didn’t really mind until she swatted the apple out of my mouth.

 

“Watch what you’re doing, Annie!” I hissed.

 

She frowned at me, “If you’d rather be swarmed by bugs then fine. I’m just trying to help.”

 

“There are no bugs.” I grumbled, but she didn’t seem to hear me.

 

I turned to Joe again and reached for the unopened water bottle on his tray. Annie grabbed it before I did and wagged a finger at me.

 

“Don’t be rude, Crow. You didn’t ask.”

 

“Neither did you,” I made another grab for the bottle but Annie tossed it to Yellow who squeaked and dropped it like it was on fire.

 

Joe reached down to pick it up as Yellow started rubbing her whole body down with a napkin.

 

“Germs…. germs, germs, germs. They kill you. They can.”

 

Poor Yellow, I thought. To be so afraid of everything was worse than the oblivion that Joe and Annie were surely living in.

 

“Now look what you’ve done!” Annie hissed at me.

 

I ignored her. There was no point arguing with a crazy. Instead I leaned forward and tapped Joe on the shoulder. He looked up and smiled warmly: so sincere and innocent that I couldn’t help but feel a certain level of compassion for him.

 

“Hey, Joe”

 

“Hey, Joe” He answered.

 

“I might be leaving soon,” I told him. I couldn’t just vanish without a goodbye. Though he might not have noticed anyway.

 

He rubbed the bald patch on his head and frowned, “But what about the food?”

 

I raised an eyebrow, “The food?”

 

He nodded, “Who’s gonna eat the food?”

 

He pointed to his tray and the ones around us. I patted his arm, pretending to follow his line of thought.

 

“Don’t worry,” I said, “Annie and Yellow can help you with that.”

 

Joe beamed, but Yellow shot me a look of panic and I corrected myself, “Well, maybe just Annie.”

 

Joe patted my cheek and went back to entertaining himself with his alphabet soup. I watched as he made word after word, delighted by each one, clapping his hands every five seconds.


Sometimes I’d wish I was crazy. I would have loved to have been in Joe’s world. I would bet a million galleons that it was better than everyone else’s reality.


Chapter 16: Chapter XVI: The Thick Of Things
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I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and good holiday season! This chapter is back at Hogwarts where a few interesting things come to light. There's also some James and Lily stuff.

Song of the day:

               Read All About It- Emeli Sande




 




Lily’s POV:





Red and gold. Red and gold. Red and gold they went.

 

I followed the lines of colors that were woven onto Mary’s fleece blanket as I stared at the fabric from where I laid on my bed. Red and gold stripes raced across the cloth and my eyes went back and forth as I attempted to ignore the salty tears that were beginning to blur my vision.

 

It was less than useless to try and sleep with the way my heart and mind were pounding. Tonight had been dreadful in the worst sense of the word. I’d stood rooted to the spot as one my friends, indeed one of my closest friends, had had her life turned around and inside out. The last glimpse I’d had of her was of her body falling to the floor as the doors to the Great Hall had closed behind her. Creating a barrier between her reality and ours.

 

I’d turned to find the rest of my friends as soon as Zalia had gone. I’d seen Rose, Mary, and Remus side by side, with mouths hanging agape, and eyes trained on the oak doors ahead of them. I’d found Peter cowering beside a bench, clutching the edge of Gryffindor table and shaking like a leaf. The poor fellow had been petrified with an expression of terror slapped on his face. James had been beside me the whole time and though I tried not to think of it, I was nervous about the way our hands had touched during the chaos. He was silent as I’d rallied us together near the teacher’s table, away from the rest of the clamoring students. Sirius had been nowhere to be seen and James had run off to find him leaving the other five of our group to stand around in an awkward, shocked, and numbing silence. After a few calming words to Peter who’d been quivering next to me, I’d told the girls that I would meet them in our room. I’d fled down the halls and up the stairs, trying not to get caught underfoot by the surging crowds around me who were buzzing with excitement at the evenings events. I’d made it to the room and flung myself in bed after kicking off my shoes. I hadn’t cared about changing clothes. I’d been shaking with thoughts and feelings and all sorts of unhappy things and I’d grabbed the nearest pillow to scream into it.

 

I’d stopped trying to scream everything out of me a while ago. But I was still tempted to try again. I felt impossibly bursting with adrenaline and fear for my friend. She was Godric only knows where and feeling Godric only knows what. My heart ached with compassion and empathy for her. The shock of losing family paired with the way she had received the news was an awful thing. A terrible thing.

 

I turned my face upwards and sighed, staring at the wooden frame of my four poster bed instead of Mary’s blanket. The tears I’d been trying to suppress trailed down either cheek and I angrily wiped them away before flipping onto my stomach and punching my mattress weakly. And then again harder, with a scowl on my face.

 

Before I could do any more damage to my bedding the door to the room opened and I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing to a calm, steady pace. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone so it was better to feign sleeping.

 

"Is she….?" I heard Mary’s whisper.

 

"I think so," Rose’s voice replied softly.

 

"Well…. all the better. I don’t think any of us feel like talking about it anyway."

 

Rose replied, "I suppose. But we will tomorrow. There can be no avoiding it."

 

I heard a sigh. "Maybe, but for now I’m going to sleep. And I’m going to try and ignore any nightmares that show up tonight."

 

"You and me both." Rose answered as I heard two pairs of feet shuffle to their respective beds.

 

I listened silently to the sounds of rustling sheets and creaking bed frames until I heard the gentle rhythm of Mary’s snoring and the fidgeting on Rose’s side stop. I was envious at how quickly both of my friends could fall asleep and forget everything that was wrong. Despite feeling drained I was not sleepy. I closed my eyes and counted sheep, but to no avail. I was hopeless in the case of shut-eye.

 

As I was perusing my own thoughts and trying to set them in order I sat upright with a start. Why hadn’t I thought of it before? Of course. There was something that I could do to help Zalia.

 

I tiptoed out of bed and walked slowly to the dormitory door before creaking it open and walking down the stairs, towards the common room. Instead of feeling helpless and useless I could be doing something. Zalia wasn’t just gone. She had to have been taken to the infirmary. That was the only place where she could be. And even if she was in a state the least I could do was sit there and just be with her. There was no way that I was going to lay in bed all night while she was sitting alone in a hospital bed probably crying her eyes out knowing her parents were dead.

 

I stepped onto the cold floor of the common room from the last stair and looked down to realize that I’d neglected to put on shoes. Oh well, I was already on my way. And I really didn’t care about foot-wear just then.

 

"And what do you think you’re doing?"

 

I stopped in mid-step and reeled around to face the voice that had appeared out of nowhere.

 

James Potter was sitting in a velvet armchair with his arms crossed and raising an eyebrow. The dark golden shadows from the flames in the fireplace danced across his face darkening his frown and brightening his eyes so that they appeared an unnatural gold.

 

And for the first time in my life I realized that James Potter was handsome.

 

Not in the way that I’d known it before. Not the way that all the girls saw him; roguish and grinning with wind-swept-quidditch hair. But handsome. With kind, deep eyes and a sculpted face, whose features were entrancing.

 

But that was hardly the time for such thoughts.

 

"Going somewhere?" He asked as the raised brow climbed higher toward his hairline.

 

I cleared my throat and was about to give him the usual sneer and condescending reply. But I remembered that I was trying to change that. James had made a valid argument about the way I treated him when he’d confronted me on the Quidditch pitch. An extremely valid argument that had irked me more than I’d cared to admit. I’d felt…… almost embarrassed at how unreasonable I’d been. Not to say he wasn’t immature sometimes and that he had been right with the way he’d teased and tormented some people, like Severus Snape. But….. I was not right either. I was unfair to him. And though that was the pattern I’d followed for the past six years of our knowing each other I was determined to change that part of me for the better. Or at least try to.

 

"I was going to see her."

 

We both knew who I was talking about.

 

"Lily, you can’t g--"

 

I raised a hand up to stop him, "Don’t try and talk me out of this James. I’m not going to leave her alone up there."

 

He stood up, the orange light from the fire creating new shadows and highlights on his face. "She’s not there," He shook his head.

 

I frowned, "What do you mean?"

 

"The infirmary. She’s not there, we looked."

 

I raised my eyebrows.

 

"Sirius and I checked everywhere and she’s not in the castle…." James said, chewing on his lip.

 

I narrowed my eyes slightly at him, "But you know where she is don’t you."

 

He looked at me in surprise and I sighed, "You’re an awful liar, James. You always chew on your lip when you’re fibbing."

 

"I didn’t lie!" He hastily stopped chewing the lip. "She isn’t here."

 

"So where is she?" I asked. Maybe she’d been taken away by distant relatives.

 

James reached up to rub the back of his neck, a tell-tale sign he was uncomfortable. "She uh…. She’s been committed."

 

"What? Committed to what?"

 

"To the insane asylum."

 

My hands dropped heavily to my sides and I asked, "What?" In a dead voice.

 

James sighed, "I don’t know, Lily, but that’s where she is."

 

My first reaction…. was pissed off.

 

"What sort of monster would send her into a mad house after she lost her family?!"

 

James plopped back into the arm chair he’d been sitting in.

 

I huffed, "I’m going to have a word with Dumbledore!"

 

I grit my teeth and headed for the portrait hole. I was going to give that white-bearded headmaster a piece of my mind. I wasn’t going to let someone send Zalia to sit with a bunch of insane people while she sobbed through the night because of her parents’ deaths.

 

"Lily--"

 

"No, James! I’m going--"

 

"Lily!"

 

I felt a rough hand grab my elbow and spin me around. I scowled at James but he kept a firm grip on my arm.

 

"You can’t go," he said quietly, "Sirius and I already talked to him. Dumbledore didn’t want her to go either. It was the board of minor security and social aid to young witches and wizards that sent her there. Some of the students sent owls to their parents about tonight who contacted the department and felt that Zalia was too unstable to stay at the school."

 

A weight dropped in my stomach. For the second time that night I felt completely useless. I couldn’t even complain about the situation because James had already done it.

 

"Oh."

 

James let go of my arm and I stepped back, very aware of the close distance between us. He seemed to notice and went back over to the chair to sit down.

 

Now I was faced with a dilemma. I couldn’t exactly sit down and strike up a conversation with James. But I refused to go back to bed. I turned slowly towards the portrait hole. Maybe I could go for a walk by—

 

"You can sit you know. I won’t bite."

 

I stared at James abruptly, to see him leaning back in the chair with his hands behind his head and both eyes closed.

 

I hesitated. I should not sit with James Potter. Alone. At night. This late.

 

"Well, I…."

 

He sighed, "I’m not trying to prank you."

 

"No, I—I know that, but it’s just--"

 

"I promise."

 

I frowned, "I know you won’t. But I--"

 

"Cross my heart, and hope to die." He held up a hand, keeping his eyes closed.

 

"But…."

 

"Lily," He opened one eye and looked at me from the corner of it.

 

"What?"

 

"Sit."

 

I bit my lip, "Ok."

 

I moved towards the couch slowly and sat in the seat farthest away from James. He kept his opened eye on me and smiled slightly as I sat, before closing it.

 

"How very brave of you."

 

I glared at him even though he couldn’t see it, "It’s not a big deal."

 

Even as I said it I felt a small weight lift. It really wasn’t a big deal. I was just sitting. And why shouldn’t I sit? It’s not like he owned the common room. I had just as much right to be there as he did.

 

We sat awkwardly for a few minutes as I twiddled my thumbs. I yawned loudly and watched James face, but he sat still and quiet. I frowned and got up slowly to see if he was sleeping. As soon as I took the first step towards him he smiled.

 

"I’m awake."

 

I jumped and hastily sat back down, "I know that."

 

He snorted and opened his eyes, "Did you want to talk?"

 

I shrugged casually. Talk? With him? Definitely new territory.

 

"I mean…if you wanted to talk that’s fine."

 

He grinned slyly at my careful phrasing and leaned forward to rest his elbows on his thighs, "Sure. What should we talk about?"

 

Oh, boy.

 

"Well, there’s so many topics to choose from I don’t know how we’ll ever narrow it down." The sarcasm popped out of my mouth of its own accord.

 

James let out a breathy laugh as he stretched, and I caught a glimpse of a line of skin above his belt where his shirt lifted. Feeling my cheeks warm, I looked away pointedly.

 

"No suggestions?" He asked.

 

I kept my eyes away from him as he stretched his arms, and shook my head, "Anything but Quidditch."

 

"How about graduation?"

 

I stared at him, "You want to talk about graduation?"

 

"Why not? It’s coming up isn’t it?"

 

I nodded slowly. "Yeah…."

 

"Do you have any plans? Any jobs lined up? A career path?"

 


 

Hold the phone. James Potter wants to talk about careers with me?

 



"Umm, I guess so. I mean I’ve always wanted to be a healer but…."

 

"But what?"

 

I was surprised by the look of genuine interested on his face and relaxed a little.

 

"But being a healer is sort behind the scenes work I suppose. And I also want to do something a little more hands on."

 

"Being a healer isn’t ‘hands on’?"

 

"I just mean that it isn’t in the thick of things."

 

He nodded and sat back, "‘In the thick of things’…." He repeated.

 

I scratched a spot on the inside of my wrist and looked down. I felt slightly self-conscious about revealing my ambitions to him.

 

"What about you?"

 

"Me?" He smiled and leant forward as if to tell me a secret, "I’m going to be an Auror."

 

I blinked. It was so obviously perfect for him that I don’t know why it surprised me. For all his faults, I had no doubt that James was brave and well-equipped at magic when he wanted to be.

 

"That’s brilliant." I said honestly, letting a small smile creep onto my face.

 

He looked pleasantly surprised, "Really?"

 

I nodded, "It suits you. You’d do well as an Auror."

 

"I hope so. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Sirius and I have been planning it since we were young. Back when we were boys, plotting and scheming our future." A glint flashed in his eyes and he grinned widely. "We fancied ourselves catching bad guys together. Like some sort of superheroes that muggles write those stories about."

 

He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at me sideways, "Stupid, huh?"

 

I didn’t answer. I noticed the tone of affection that James took on as he spoke about Sirius. I’d never heard it before. Perhaps because I had not listened, but it was clear how close the two were. Brothers, friends, comrades, marauders. The name they’d given themselves fit on the boys like a glove. And for the first time since I’d heard the nickname, it didn’t make me cringe.

 

"Of course we’re very aware of the danger of the job," James continued, "I know all about how I’ll be putting my life on the line. But its worth it isn’t it? I’ll be helping people? Contributing to a greater cause?"

 

I turned my eyes to James and realized that he actually wanted my opinion.

 

I bit my lip, "I think that being an Auror is more than most could handle. It is probably one of the most intense careers someone can choose. And it’s certainly the most direct and effective way of fighting the dark arts, though maybe not the only one."

 

James considered my answer, "That’s why I want to do it. I don’t want to sit around complaining about what I see or hear in the newspapers. I want to do something about it and actually make a difference."

 

The passion he put behind the words startled me.

 

"What about Sirius?" I asked curiously after a brief pause.

 

He frowned, "What about him?"

 

"Well, why does he want to be an Auror? Same reasons?"

 

James hesitated, "Yes…. And no. I think that’s part of it. But for Sirius it’s different."

 

His face darkened for a moment, "For Sirius its personal."

 

I knew little about Sirius’ family. Only that he wasn’t fond of them, and that many of his cousins and his brother dabbled in the dark arts.

 

We stayed quiet for a minute before I cleared my throat and rubbed the palms of my hands together absentmindedly.

 

"Are you cold?"

 

I looked up to see James staring at my hands in concern. I stopped rubbing them and chuckled lightly.

 

"No, the fire is keeping me warm enough. I was just thinking."

 

"About what?"

 

"How strange this is."

 

The answer had flown out of my mouth so quickly that I couldn’t catch it to drag it back in. But after a moment I didn’t care. The night was already a jumble of unexpected turns. I might as well voice my incredulity at the weird situation.

 

James snorted, "I know. Can you imagine what people would say? If they saw you and me having a rational conversation?"

 

I tensed and shot a suspicious look at James who immediately reassured me, with a bitter tone.

 

"Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone."

 

I shrugged, pretending not to care. But I was grateful that he would be discrete. The last thing I needed was people clamoring all over me trying to get me to go out with James, or give me other dating advice.

 

A particularly loud yawn came upon me and I stared around the room until I found a clock on a desk to my right. I squinted to read the time and my mouth fell open when I saw:

 

2:00 a.m.

 

: "Good Godric!" I yelped.

 

"What?"

 

"It’s flipping Two O’clock!"

 

James looked past me to see the time and nodded, "So it is."

 

I stood up quickly, "I’ve got to get to bed."

 

Without another word I raced towards the stairs to the girls’ dormitories and was halfway up before I stopped and turned around. A twinge of guilt spilt over me and something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. A while ago I might not have had a care in the world to leave James Potter standing in the common room alone. But not tonight. I walked down a few steps until I could see him, standing by the arm chair and frowning at the glowing embers of the fireplace.

 

"Good night, James." I whispered. A sudden awkwardness or shyness crept up on me and I turned tail before he looked up.

 

For a moment I thought he hadn’t heard me until a faint whisper of, "Good night, Lily." Reached my ears. And I smiled in spite of myself.

 



 


 


 

*

 


 







 

"I told you not to touch it."

 

Mary rolled her eyes and reach across the desk to grab her wand.

 

"How was I supposed to know it would do that?!"

 

"Because I told you!" Mary replied to Peter as she cleaned up the mess on his robes and hands with a wave of her wand and a mutter of ‘scourgify’.

 

I’d watched dully as he had grabbed one of the suspicious looking blue pods on the desk and squeezed it, ignoring Mary’s warning. The unknown ingredient had spurted a grey slime all over him.

 

We were in potions class, the last class of the day. Things were going along as they usually went. At least one of the maraurders had made a mess. The Slytherins around us had managed to lose Gryffindor at least ten points in the House Cup. And Severus was trying to catch my eye.

 

I tugged on the end of my sleeve and tapped my foot against the leg of the desk. Classes. What was the point? Today had been normal. Normal. But how could anything be normal after yesterday? After what had happened to her?

 

I frowned as I looked around the room and watched for the umpteenth time that day as students laughed, and teased, and scribbled notes. Girls twirled their hair, and boys chewed on the ends of their quills.

 

It was bewildering. I was shocked at how quickly people could snap to and from a situation like the tip of a hat. Did they forget? No. That wasn’t the case. Because it was still gossip. Everyone was either talking about ‘the deranged witch’ (according to the girls), or ‘the crazy hot girl’ (according to the boys). But they spoke about it in such a detached way. Like it was just a story they’d heard.

 

She was my friend.

 

I looked up when something wet touched my hand and found that some of Rose’s potion was spilling over her cauldron and onto the desk. She yelped and I grabbed my wand to clean it up.

 

"Thanks," She smiled gratefully at me after the desk was clear. I nodded, but couldn’t get myself to return the smile.

 

Her eyes met mine for a second before I turned away and drummed my fingers on my desk. Sometimes I felt like Rose could tell more about me than I would like. Not that I was a particularly private person, but there are some things, like the inner workings of your mind, that are meant stay hidden.

 

"Are you all right?" Rose asked quietly. Quiet enough so that Mary and Peter couldn’t hear from across the aisle between our desks.

 

I pursed my lips. I was angry.

 

"Everyone is just acting so…. normal."

 

I told my petite friend. She nodded in genuine understanding and even that small acknowledgement made me feel better.

 

Rose leaned closer to me and placed her palms on the desk as if to steady them. "It’s hard for everyone to feel like it’s real."

 

I shook my head, "They don’t care. Look at them…."

 

My eyes trailed to Mary of their own accord. She was laughing and Peter turned pink at something that a Slytherin had yelled to him. I wrinkled my nose.

 

"Not even them." I gestured to our friends.

 

Rose sighed, "Everyone deals with things in their own way. Maybe it hasn’t sunk in yet. Or maybe Mary just isn’t one to wear her emotions on her sleeve."

 

I jerked my head as I heard the underlined insinuation, "I don’t do that."

 

She raised an eyebrow, "I can always tell what you’re thinking, Lily."

 

I cringed. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want people to be able to read me like a book. My thoughts and feelings were my own, private. Without them belonging only to myself I felt like Rose had ripped away a layer of skin and exposed me.

 

"It’s not a bad thing," She said hastily, "It’s just that you run heavily on empathy. Your compassion let’s everyone see whether you’re angry or sad or happy. And…. It’s easier for you to understand things like, well…. Zalia, than it is for the others."

 

I bit my lip. Rose was trying to reassure me, but I wasn’t convinced. I did feel slightly more lenient towards my peers though. Maybe she was right. Maybe it was easier for me to feel things than it was for others. Whatever that meant.

 

I also felt guilty. Last night I’d almost discarded the news of Zalia’s addmition to the insane asylum and just sat down for a chat with James Potter. It felt like a betrayal. I shouldn’t be able to do simple things or laugh or smile with her being where she was.

 

Class ended quickly and I put my books into my bag in a slow, monotone fashion. I was in no hurry to go anywhere. Rose left with Mary and Remus and Peter, but I avoided their eyes as I closed the lid on my inkwell.

 

A hand appeared on my shoulder and squeezed it lightly. I turned around warily to see James standing with a frown on his face.

 

"I’m fine," I said, before he could even ask it.

 

He looked unconvinced.

 

"I’m just tired. And considering that Zalia’s in a mad house you can’t really expect me to be sweet and dandy."

 

He raised an eyebrow and I sighed.

 

"Look, you don’t have to worry about me. Okay?"

 

His other eyebrow shot upwards to join the first.

 

"Oh," I continued, "I meant to ask you this last night. When you spoke with Dumbledore did he say anything about how long she’ll be in the institution? Did he give you details about what sort of place it is?"

 

James looked ruffled, "Well, maybe I could give you some answers if you’d let me get a word in edgewise. I haven’t even said anything."

 

I clamped my mouth shut hard when I realized he was right.

 

He smiled and started walking backwards out of the classroom. I hesitated when he gestured for me to follow him and then shrugged, gathering up my book bag, and following him into the passage of the dungeons.

 

We walked in silence for a long time. James whistled a low tune and I noticed a small skip or hop in the way he walked. His hands were in his pockets and he looked around at the castle walls as if searching for something.

 

Eventually I got impatient.

 

"Err, what are we doing?"

 

He looked at me for the first time since we’d started walking. He winked but didn’t answer and I frowned at him, annoyed.

 

After a couple more minutes of silence I just stopped and watched him stare around the walls, tapping my foot in frustration.

 

"James," I started again, "What are we--"

 

"Ah! Found it." He cut me off and reached behind one of the torches mounted on the dungeon wall. He tapped the stone slab behind it several times until it sounded like a rhythm. I was beginning to think he was off his rocker until the stone moved.

 

I stared at it and felt my mouth drop open as James looked around to see that we were alone. The stones underneath the torch had begun to move away and rearrange themselves much akin to the way the wall entrance to Diagon Alley did.

 

The stones stopped when they formed an opening as big as a doorway and James tugged me inside before I had a chance to say anything. Once we were inside the entrance I looked around and had just enough time to see that we were standing on the landing to a spiral staircase before the stones closed in behind us and it was dark.

 

Pitch black, dark.

 

"James," I tried to keep my voice calm in front of him, but I was sort of freaked out by the turn of events.

 

"Lumos," I heard him say in a low voice before a white light came from the end of his wand and I saw some of our surroundings appear again.

 

"What are we doing here?" I asked him in a slightly annoyed tone. It wasn’t often that I liked getting thrown into a secret passage way by a boy I used to hate who gave me absolutely no explanation.

 

"It’s a shortcut."

 

"A shortcut to where?"

 

He sped past me and up the stairs before calling over his shoulder;

 

"To Dumbledore’s!"

 



 

*

 



 


 


 

Sirius POV:

 




 

Eyebrows are pointless.

 

There’s absolutely no need for them. They don’t keep our eyes warm; they don’t keep our foreheads warm. They’re just patches of hair that somehow ended up in the middle of our faces and nobody questions it.

 



I moved the muscles in my face as I thought about other useless body parts like fingernails, and toenails, and wondered why it was only men, not women, that had the ability to grow facial hair. Did their faces not get cold or something?

 

Moving away from the mirror, I picked up my comb and brought it halfway up to my hair before frowning and setting it back down. I wasn’t in the mood for styling my hair. And that was not good news.

 

Dropping the comb onto the ledge just below the mirror I stared into the reflection in front of me. My reflection. I was good looking, but that mostly attained to youth, I was afraid. There wasn’t much color to me, what with grey eyes and black hair, I was more of a mess of shades and shadows. As soon as my chiseled jaw and tan skin abandoned me and I formed wrinkles along the edges of my mouth, the creases of my eyes, and my forehead, some of my attractive charm would be diminished. I could picture myself as a gaunt looking older man. Tall and broad with dark hair and still that look of something, probably mischief, in my eyes.

 

For a moment I thought I saw it in the mirror. The older me. More worn and tattered. But then it’s gone, and I knew it was just my imagination.

 

I left the bathroom quietly, so as not to wake Remus who was still asleep. He’d slept through all of his classes that day, but Dumbledore offered him leniency sometimes. What with his condition and all. Besides, I remembered as I glanced out the window, it was almost the full moon.

 

I hadn’t gone to many classes that day either, actually. I was feeling cramped and stretched and after the first few periods I’d decided to skip school. Being around the happy go lucky students surrounding me was almost painful for some reason. I hadn’t slept at all last night. I’d tossed and turned and growled and punched things, but I was restless.

 

I had left the Great first last night, after Zalia and McGonagall and Slughorn. I’d ran up to the dormitory instead of following them and dashed to James’ trunk before throwing it open to find the maraurders’ map.

 

I’d been thinking in a weird sort of haze as I remembered it. Almost like my reactions were detached and robotic. I was not on friendly terms with Zalia Blackwood. But of two things I was certain. That she had just lost the only family (and the only people) she loved, and that the Malfoys were at least partially responsible for it. Though I didn’t care for her at all, I wasn’t some heartless person. She had been hit with a proverbial wrecking ball. And no matter who it had been, even if the parents that had been killed hadn’t belonged to someone I knew, I could never be unfeeling in the way of cold blooded murder.

 

James had found me just as I’d been watching Zalia’s dot move on the map into the infirmary. And then….. there had been nothing. She’d just vanished. James and I had run up to the Infirmary and then Dumbledore’s office in confusion and He’d told us about what had happened. It was disgusting. I couldn’t believe they’d sent her there because she’d been upset about her parents’ deaths. Maybe she’d had a stronger and more public reaction than most, but if you’d put all the pieces together including Lucius Malfoy and her history with her parents, it wasn’t crazy.

 

I’d left James in the common room afterwards so he could ‘think about life and crap’ as he’d put it, and climbed up to bed were I’d gotten no sleep and somehow still had several nightmares.

 

 

 

"What’s the time?"

 

I turned around at the groggy voice and grunted, "I don’t know. Probably close to dinner or something."

 

The effect was instantanious. Remus went from yawning and half-conscious to throwing back his bed covers and nearly attacking me.

 

"What?!" He yelped with wide, blood-shot eyes, "Why didn’t you wake me?!"

 

I shrugged, "You needed your rest. Especially around this time."

 

He lowered his eyes. His condition was a touchy subject, even now that all four of us marauders knew about it. He was ashamed of himself no matter what sort pep talks we gave him.

 

"I can’t miss school, Sirius. Next time don’t let me sleep."

 

"Whatever you say," I answered, having no intention of following through with the promise.

 

"The teachers didn’t ask after me?" Remus asked as he sat down on his bed again and ruffled up his sandy colored hair.

 

I shook my head, "No clue. I wasn’t in the classes either."

 

I ignored his look of disapproval.

 

"I’m not your excuse to skip class."

 

I shot him a look, "You weren’t." I tugged on my ear and looked away, "I just couldn’t stand being around them. Everyone, just acting like nothing happened. Or worse, that it was some exciting story."

 

"Oh Godric…. Zalia." Remus rubbed a hand down his face and sighed, "I totally forgot."

 

"You just woke up." I reminded him.

 

"Still…."

 

I didn’t answer. My stomach ached as I bent down to retrieve a box of Bertie Bots every flavor beans, which had fallen off of my bed. I hadn’t eaten for at least four hours. And that was a long time for me.

 

"I’ll go down to eat with you," Remus said, "Just give me a second."

 

A weird thing about us marauders. We were like mind readers. Or maybe stomach readers. We could always tell when one of us was hungry. But I guess that didn’t count for much seeing as we were always hungry.

 

Remus threw on a tattered pair of jeans and a sweat shirt and jogged down the stairs with me. While we walked I filled him in on Zalia’s situation. He was as appalled as I was and probably more so. He had wanted to date her after all.

 

"Can they even do that?!"

 

I shrugged, "Dumbledore would’ve stopped them if it hadn’t been legal."

 

"I guess," He muttered, "But they can’t keep her in there forever."

 

No, they couldn’t. Especially considering the fact that she wasn’t crazy, whatever else she might be. I hesitated at the end of the corridor.

 

"Mind if we make a detour?" I asked.

 

He frowned, "Where?"

 

"I have a few things I’d like to ask Dumbledore."

 

His expression brightened somewhat before turning sour again, "Me too. We’ll grab dinner later."

 

He stalked back the way we came and made a sharp left towards the Headmaster’s office. I followed. The food would have to wait. My stomach grumbled. I consoled myself with the fact that Dumbledore always had sweets around. I’d been sent to his office enough times to know.

 

We reached the Gargoyle at the entrance to his office and Remus paused.

 

"Gazzuntite," I told the stone gargoyle. I remembered the password I’d been given by Madame Pomfrey last night when James’ and I had looked around for Zalia.

 

The statue leapt aside for us to enter and we walked onto the short steps which led to the office. A solid set of double doors stood in front of us and we exchanged a quick, anxious glance before I reached out to rap my knuckles on the door to the right.

 

Before I could touch the surface the door opened and I heard a voice call from inside:

 

"Enter!"

 

I raised my eyebrows, but walked in nonetheless. It was Dumbledore after all. Nothing surprised him unless he wanted it too. Certainly not Remus’ and Mine’s appearance at his doorstep.

 

The office was just as I’d seen it last. Not a sneak-o-scope or tattered book out of place. The headmaster sat behind his large, crafted wood desk with his half-moon spectacles set upon the end of his nose, and his white beard trailing down his front. In two chairs across from him sat James and Lily wearing surprised looks, and in Lily’s case, flushed cheeks.

 

"What are you two doing here?" Remus asked curiously as Dumbledore conjured two more chairs with a whip of his wand.

 

"We could ask you the same thing," James answered with a grin.

 

I sat down in the chair on the end and put my arms behind my head, leaning back. "Yes, yes we’re all curious to know what’s going on, so shut up please and maybe we can get some answers."

 

My growling stomach was getting the better of me.

 

Dumbledore smiled at us and offered me a tin of sweets, which a grabbed a handful of eagerly. They tasted slightly sour and citrusy. Lemon Drops.

 

"I must say. This is quite an excellent turn out. I wasn’t sure who I’d be seeing today."

 

I frowned, "You knew we were coming?"

 

"I knew at least one of you would show up sooner or later. It was just a question of who."

 

"How did you know that?" Lily asked.

 

The old man’s eyes twinkled, "Miss Blackwood had her share of friends here, despite it being her first year. There was bound to be at least a few questions and demands thrown my way. Especially after Mr. Black and Mr. Potter made her whereabouts known to the rest of you."

 

I didn’t consider myself Zalia’s friend. For many reasons. But then why had I come here? Curiosity? Pity? Both? Ugh. I was confusing myself.

 

So where did that put me? What was the proper course of action when one’s acquaintance-slash-enemy became an orphan? I would be cruel if I continued treating her with insults and glares, but I would be fake if I became her loyal friend because of the tragedy.

 

Was there even a middle-ground to be found here?

 

"Now, I’m sure you all have questions for me." Dumbledore folded his nimble hands and set them in his lap.

 

"How long is she going to be there?" James asked.

 

"And what is that place like?" Lily added with an air of suspicion.

 

"And why was she sent there in the first place? I know that the board of so-and-so came to get her, but surely you could have refused?" Remus asked gruffly.

 

I’d never heard him be so rude to a teacher before. It was impressive.

 

The old man sighed, "Despite what you may think, I am not all-powerful when it comes to my students. I protested the idea of taking her away to the asylum, but I was overruled immediately. They gave me no option."

 

"Fortunately I do have enough influence to have access to her files and status within the asylum. I was able to get in contact with one of the nurses inside the compound who told me about what was going on."

 

I glanced at Lily who was on the edge of her seat, and James who was glaring at the ground. Remus was the only calm face between them.

 

"Miss Blackwood has been assigned a phsyciatrist. Along with a strict schedule and sessions of therapy. How long she will be kept there is dependent upon her desire to leave, and her cooperation." He continued, looking at the four of us. "I trust that you can predict her reactions to the situation."

 



 


 


 

*

 


 





Lily’s POV:

 

Tap. Tap. Tap.



I ignored James foot as it tapped against the floor. I was too focused on what Dumbledore was saying to care about such a small annoyance.

 

"I trust that you can predict her reactions to the situation."

 

Oh, yes. It would be a battle between her rage, her grief, and her cleverness.

 

"How long can they keep her in there?" Sirius asked.

 

I looked towards him. It was odd that he cared about any of this at all.

 

"It depends upon the assesment of her phsyciatrist. But I do believe that I can have her released soon. As soon as possible." Dumbledore replied warily.

 

I asked, "Yes, but when will that be? How soon is soon?"

 

"Within the next few days, If luck is on our side Miss Evans."

 

I felt releieved. Only a few days. I didn't know about luck, but Dumbledore was on our side. And I'd bet on him over luck any day.

 

"Now," The headmaster continued.He looked down at us through his half-moon spectacles and I squirmed under his gaze. "I have a request to make of you."

 

"All of us?" James frowned next to me.

 

"All of you."

 

The four of us glanced at each other curiously before returning our attention to the old man at hand who was drumming his fingers along the edge of the desk.

 

"I attempt not to meddle in the lives of my students as much as posssible. But there are times, few, when meddling will do more good than if I were to keep silent. This is indeed one of those rare occasions, and I find myself in a position where I need your assistance on a rather serious matter."

 

James tapped his foot faster, I chewed on my lip, and Remus and Sirius wore identical looks of questioning.

 

"Zalia Blackwood is more than she may appear." He continued, "I had no inkling of how extraordinary she was until yesterday evening during, what shall I call it? The unveiling of her parents' deaths."

 

My brow furrowed. What on earth was he talking about?

 

"I say this to you because I trust each of you and know," He gave a pointed look, "That you are four of the brightest and most virtuous of my students. I do believe that when I ask for your discretion that I will recieve it."

 

We each nodded in turn.

 

"Good. Now, you are all aware that a witch or wizard has the skill of magic when they are born correct? That it does not suddenly appear when you recieve a Hogwarts acceptance letter, or your first wand?"

 

Yes, I knew. I was muggleborn. I had been able to do things other children couldn't. I had been able to bring flowers to their fullest beauty after being crushed in my hand, I had been able to do strange tricks with a snap of my fingers. Severus had told me all about being a witch. I'd met him before I'd even gotten my Hogwarts letter.

 

The memories were sad now. I hadn't spoken to Severus in a long time. Long enough to where I was certain we would have no reconciliation. Tears pricked at the back of my eyes, but after a few hard blinks the feeling vanished.

 

"Then you realize, that magic can be performed in the strangest of ways. Most children born with magic prove their ability without meaning too. Perhaps you made a toy vanish, or moved an object, or even turned yourself blue." He glanced at us,"I'm sure some of you can relate to what I'm saying."

 

I nodded, but frowned. What did this have to do with Zalia?

 

The headmaster sighed, "This type of magic is almost nonexistant after the child becomes fully aware of his or her abilities. The magic manifests itself in the wand the witch or wizard chooses, and it is that and that alone through which magic can be performed. At least, ninety-nine percent of the time this is the case."

 

An irksome feeling rose upinto my throat as he spoke.

 

"Zalia Blackwood is the other one-percent it seems. There is no explanation for the anomoly. It is not scientific, nor is it repairable. But it is there. I am certain of it. Miss Blackwood has the ability to manifest her magic through means other than her wand. Moreover, she is not aware of this fact."

 

I swayed slightly in my seat. Magic without a wand? It seemed ridiculous. You had to use your wand. That's what it was there for.

 

"That's impossible," Sirius said flatly.

 

"It is quite possible," Dumbledore replied, "You may have noticed an odd thing that night where I nor anyone else could reach her to save her or the Malfoy boy from their own destruction. I was stopped by a force. At the time it had been such a confounded experience that I'd been too shocked by the fact that my own magical abilities, which -forgive me- are hardly reudimentary, could not penetrate the barrier. Later I realized what must have happened."

 

"She did that?" James asked incredulously.

 

The professor nodded,"Indeed. Though she was not aware at the time. Her magic used itself of its own accord and she subconciously forced it to do her bidding without her wand. She had wanted desperately to be able to hurt Mr.Malfoy without me getting in the way. So she made a barrier."

 

I stared at him in awe. What sort of power did someone have to have to be able to create an impentrable sheild spell without realizing it?

 

"But it stopped working," Sirius reminded him, "It vanished. If she had put it up why would it suddenly be gone?"

 

"You make an excellent point Mr. Black. I believe that Zalia's power to control that side of herself is very weak. She does not know it even exists. Once she'd turned around and stopped fighting Lucius Malfoy she calmed down slightly and her ultimate desire was no longer to hurt the boy. So the barrier came down."

 

We sat still for a moment, all four of us, trying to take in what he was saying.

 

"So what does this mean?" I asked quietly.

 

The headmastered frowned slightly,"I'm afraid this the part where come in, my dears. You are her closest aquaintences. Her dearest friends." He paused at the awkward look on Sirius' face,"Do not make the mistake of thinking that I believe you all to love her," He looked directly at Sirius,"But you know her."

 

Sirius stared at his hands.

 

"How can we help her?" I asked almost eagerly. Dumbledore obviously needed our help, and I was more than willing to give it.

 

He clapped his hands, "How adept you are Miss Evans! Yes, I do need your assistance. Miss Blackwood will return to Hogwarts. She has few family members left in this world, and those that are are distant and strangers to her. When she returns, I will make her aware of her rare abilities and help her to understand them. You then, will be expected to help as well. She will need direction and you will be there to give it."

 

James frowned, "Err, what exactly are we going to do?"

 

"Zalia's ability is linked to however much control she has on her emotions and desires. That is why this is the first time it's truly manifested itself outside of her usual spells. She is, as you know, guarded, and tempted by her rage often. This is merely a part of who she is, but it is unfortunate that it is the link to her condition. You will need to help through exercices with controling herself. Restraining against most urges and learning to supress her strongest emotions."

 

I gripped the edges of my chair. I would help. There was no question. But I doubted the marauders would, and I was daunted by the task at hand.

 

"I will explain in fuller detail more of what is to happen when Miss Blackwood returns, but for now I ask only that you keep silent. It would not due to have news of her abilities spread."

 

James nodded sharply,"We don't gossip."

 

The headmaster raised an eyebrow, "I am not talking about merely school gossip. There are other, far more dangerous ears that should not hear of this. It could endanger MIss Blackwood in more ways than one."

 

A shiver went down my spine. The death eaters. Voldemort. They would love to get their hands on such an ability like her's.

 

I looked up as Sirius' stomach growled loudly. Dumbledore's face softened.

 

"You may go. I hope you do not dwell too much on what i've told you. Worry is an awful habit, and one that's nearly impossible to break."

 

I stood up numbly with the boys and filed out alongside Remus who looked pale in the dim lighting. We walked alongside each other towards the Great hall. Silent. None of us had anything to say. We were all thinking, wondering. Enclosed in our own minds.

 

I noticed for the first time as we walked down the last few steps, that the few stained glass windows outside the Great Hall were completely empty. As if someone had taken out the panes. I strayed at the back of our quiet group and bent down to pick up an object i'd seen glinting in the sunest lighting.

 

I stood up with the thing in my hand and opened my fist to inspect it. A long triangular shard of deep blue glass sat in my palm. It's jagged edge tickled my hand and I frowned at it before sticking it in my book bag and running after the boys.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 17: Chapter XVII: Laughter Is The Best Medicine
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

We're back to Zalia in this one! Here is the return to Hogwarts you've been waiting for! I'm nearly finished with the next chapter so don't worry, I'll update again soon :)

 

Song of the day:

               Team- by Lorde


 


 



 

Zalia's POV:

 


 



"Ohhhhh, boy. I really don't want to do this...."

 

I paced back and forth on the first of the courtyard steps leading up to the great oak doors of the front entrance to Hogwarts. My light blue sneakers were worn and dirty from walking the dirt path through the Hogwarts grounds. It was magically impossible to apparate directly into Hogwarts.

 

"I do have a schedule to keep to, ya know."

 

I glared at the man behind me, "Then go keep to it. I'll go in eventually.... I just need to prepare myself." I sighed.

 

My 'escort' was sitting on top of a boulder a few paces away with a cigar in his mouth, frowning at the pocket watch in his hand. He scratched his nearly-bald head with one of his gnarled hands.

 

"No can do, Miss. My job here is to make sure you get in the school."

 

I rolled my eyes,"Fine!" And wrenched the doors open.

 

It was still early. There were a few students milling about, but it was a saturday. Most students were probably sleeping in. I kept my head down as I walked between them. I would deal with the jeers eventually, but I was exhausted in all the ways a person could be and all I wanted was to make it to my meeting with Dumbledore without being noticed.

 

I did, luckily. And as I approached the stone gargoyle that guarded the entrance I muttered, "Gazzuntite," and passed through as it lept aside.

 

I tiptoed up the steps and rapped my knuckles on the office door just as it opened and Proffeser Slughorn came out looking flustered.

 

"I say! Old chap doesn't--"

 

He noticed I was there and moved aside awkwardly. The last time i'd seen Slughorn I'd been trying to wriggle out of his iron grip and had succeeded in throwing myself to the ground, screaming and crying. I cleared my throat.

 

"Morning, Professor."

 

He dipped his head and scuttled off as I walked into the headmaster's office.

 

"Ah, Zalia! There you are my dear."

 

Dumbledore. Just about the only person I hadn't been dreading to see. He turned his old face to me and smiled warmly. I returned the sentiment slightly, but it had been hard to smile lately.

 

"Do sit."

 

I collapsed into an old leather armchair on the side of his desk and glanced around. The place was pretty much the same as it was the last time I visited. Books, shelves, collections of inanimate objects, and few odd things that moved about on their own.

 

I bit the nail of my thumb as I waited for him to finish reading whatever it was he was reading. It looked like an old letter, but I couldn't be sure.

 

"How are you?"He asked, setting the paper aside.

 

"Can we not talk about me for once? Or how i'm feeling?" I grumbled, "I've been emotionally poked and prodded so much in the past seventy-two hours that you shouldn't be too surprised if I spontaniously combust."

 

The old man chuckled, "Forgive me, my dear. I'm an old man and sometimes forget things."

 

I looked at him sekptically. "If there's one thing I'm sure of it's that you aren't an old fool."

 

He laughed and a twinkle came into his eye, "No indeed! Not a fool perhaps, but forgetful I can be."

 

I shrugged, "I'm all right anyways."

 

He looked at me carefully, "Though this may fall underneath the category of talking about how you feel, I still have to ask, did they treat you all right?"

 

I was surprised by the caring tone in his voice. I knew Dumbledore was a good man, but he was still my proffesor. I wasn't expecting him to truly care about his students so much.

 

"Fine. Just like any other invalid," I jested dryly."No, the only blow i recieved was to my pride."

 

He looked a bit sad for a moment, "Yes, I am sorry you had to go to that place at all. I tried to get you out as quickly as possible."

 

I nodded, "I didn't think you had anything to do with it. I'm just glad Mr.Flenderson let me out after a few days."

 

Dumbledore smiled slightly, "Ah, yes. He was a tough one, but in the end my skillful art of persuasion paid off. I think he was quite happy to let you go in return for a holiday in Barbados."

 

My eyes widened, "You mean you were the one who made him let me go?! Oh, for all the--" I kicked the leg of his desk hard and frowned.

 

He didn't say anything, and I didn't apologoze for attacking his furniture.

 

"Yes, I pulled a few strings. But as i'm not that good of a puppeteer i must also bestow some of the credit upon you, Zalia."

 

I tilted my head in agreement. I had put up with the insults and offenses of that place for a while. I was not going to play the hero and bow out of the credit for it.

 

"Now that I'm back...." I nudged a fallen sneak-o-scope with my shoe. "Can I go back to the way it was? Or do I have to be seperated from the rest of the students like some kind of dangerous predator?"

 

I was half joking, but a feeling of nervousness sat in the back of my mind.

 

The headmaster shook his head, "No, you can go back to the way you were. You are just as sane as any other pupil I have ever taught, and I daresay quite cleverer than most."

 

A small smile tugged at the corners of my mouth.

 

"Thank you."

 

He gestured to the door, "Go on. You have my permission to visit Hogsmeade today as well, but be cautious. I'm sure you'll agree you've had your fill of catastrophies lately."

 

I nodded curtly as I stood up and ducked out of the office. I'd forgotton it was a Hogsmeade trip day. We'd been given one at the end of this month (october) instead of the beginning of the next. Probably because of all the complaining done about not having enough time to buy costumes for the halloween party and blah, blah, blah.

 

I traipsed up the stairs, only recognized by a couple of first years who squeaked and ran when they saw me. I made it to Gryffindor tower and ran past the common room without being discovered, and ran to the dormitory. Praying the girls had all gone to Hogsmeade, I opened the door slowly. The room was empty.

 

I walked in and grabbed a new outfit out of my trunk by my bed. They hadn't brought any of my things to the institution and I'd been wearing plain black T-shirts with grey sweat pants for the last three days. The only thing on me that was my own were my shoes and the spare hairband on my right arm.

 

I took a quick, scalding hot shower and brushed back my long wet hair before changing into a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved flannel shirt. I grabbed a clean pair of socks and slid on my ankle boots. After taking along a black hoodie I left the dormitory, and Gryffindor tower, for Hogsmeade.

 

There I might run into more familiar faces, but it was better than sitting at the school, dreading the return of former friends.

 

I put on my black hoodie as I went down the moving staircases towards the front doors of the castle. As I walked outside I whipped up the hood kept my hair down and around my face. It was windy, but I didn't really care as long as the hood and hair hid my face. Sure if someone took a good long look at me they could tell who it was, but just a cursory glance and they would go on their way without a hitch.

 

I walked alone on the trail to Hogsmeade Village, sticking my hands in the pockets of my hoodie as the cold air worked it's way through my skin. I could see my breath hang in the air and watched some of the frost as it lined the scattered trees on the path, making thier bark glisten. I passed a few students on my way the Village, but no one spoke to me or even acknowledged my presence. I didn't complain.

 

After a nice walk down in the cold I made it the hustle and bustle of Hogsmeade, immediately heading into Honeydukes sweet shop.

 

"Whoa!" I ducked as a first or second year came zooming past me with more stacks of sweets than he could handle, nearly dropping one on my head.

 

I straightened up and tugged my hood further over my head. Not wanting to be noticed. The shop was warm, but not from a heater. The heat was radiating off the packed-too-close human bodies that littered the shop. Students clamoured over one another, buying their weight in chocolate, and then coming back for more. I kept close to the walls and maneuvered through the crowd towards the back of the store where I saw one of the younger shopkeepers standing.

 

He looked up as I approached, "Whatever you want go find it yourself. I'm not a bloody guide to everything we've got here. I'm just supposed to stack things."

 

"Well, that was rather rude. But i'm not here to ask where the nearest chocolate frog collection is kept."

 

He frowned, "What do you want then?"

 

"Can I go out the back entrance?" I asked in an innocent voice. I'd only gone in the shop to keep warm for a moment, but I hated crowds, and I was already feeling overwhelmed.

 

His face cleared, "Aw, sure."

 

I followed him past a heavy curtain and around crates and boxes until we got to a door with a green handle. He opened it for me and bowed theatrically as I left. I gave him a wink and rubbed my arms as I ventured out into the cold again.

 

As I walked around the edges of the village, I strayed from window to window, contemplating what to do.

 

Zonko's? No, the marauders are likely to be there.... Helga Hoon's Dress Imporium? Maybe, but that place smells.



Eventually I found myself just sitting on a boulder by the shreiking shack. How pathetic.

 

The shack didn't look that intimidating for being called the 'most haunted building in Britain'. It just looked like an abandoned house with rips in its surface. It was dull, and dank, and utterly colorless.

 

I sighed and placed my chin in my hand, leaning my elbow on my thigh. How had I come to this? How had my life become.... well, just like the shack (i realized with grim irony) ; abandoned and scarred.

 

There were many version of my life, but whatever way you sliced it it wasn't good. Depending on who you asked, you'd get different answers about who I was.

 

I was an outcast.

 

I was insane.

 

I was alone.

 

I was an orphan.

 

I sat still and blinked hard before letting out a strangled laugh. Godric, i used to be so much more. Angry tears pricked at my eyes but I held them back. I was ashamed of myself. Here I was hiding under a dark hood and wallowing in my own pathetic misery.

 

I got up immediately and walked quickly towards the hub of the village again. I was still partially my old self. No matter what had happened. And I wasn't one to hide.

 

I made a beeline for the Three Broomsticks pub, (still attempting to keep my head down despite my supposed bravery). I pushed open the door and took off my hood. Smoothing down my hair, I strode towards the bar and leaned against the counter.

 

"Hey, Rosmerta."

 

The pretty barmaid did a double-take and put down the checkered rag in her hand, "Say, aren't you supposed to be locked up somewhere's?" She asked.

 

I shrugged, "Naw, it was a mistake. They let me out this morning."

 

She tilted her head left and right before nodding and without another word about it took my order. If only everyone else would be as easy to convince.

 

"One Butterbeer, Please," I told her.

 

I drummed my fingers along the counter top and looked around for anyone I knew. Amos Diggory was sitting in a booth with some fellow Hufflepuffs, but after a moment of brief eye contact he ducked his head. I rolled my eyes and looked over the rest of the room. Well, he certainly wasn't interested in being associated with me.

 

I was relieved that I didn't know anyone else in the bar, although a few of them seemed to know me. I frowned as a group of third year ravenclaws put their heads together and looked up at me frequently, giggling about something I couldn't hear.

 

"There you are dear."

 

I took the Butterbeer from the blonde gratefully. I hadn't eaten breakfast that morning since I had already been signed to leave the institution and I wasn't required to eat their nasty groul. I'd opted to go hungry instead.

 

I heard the door open behind me from where I sat at the bar counter and hugged the jacket closer to my body as a draft wooshed in.

 

"You are such an idiot."

 

"Am not! He's the one who wanted to be at the bottom."

 

"Psh, right. Like you honestly didn't make him."

 

I slopped a little of my drink down my front as I recognized the voices entering the pub. Remus and James.



I slouched forward, hoping they wouldn't notice me, but the two sidled up to the bar, a few places down from my seat. I closed my eyes briefly and prayed they wouldn't look my way. James was leaning back against the counter with his elbows resting on either side while Remus stood next to him rolling his eyes.

 

Rosmerta appeared in a minute to take thier orders and I tried to position myself sideways on my stool; my back slightly to them.

 

"What'll it be this time boys?"

 

"Aww Rosie, love, why don't you get our usual?" James flirted shamelessly.

 

The blonde waitress placed her hands on her hips, "You lot order something different everytime you come here."

 

James put a hand to his heart dramatically, "Rosie! Be still my beating heart! I trust you to get us a--"

 

Remus cut him off, "We'll have two firewhiskeys."

 

She nodded and left.

 

"Ugh, you're such an old man, Remus."

 

"Get over yourself," He hit James on the back of his head and grinned.

 

"I happen to know I'm great with women."

 

Remus looked amused, "Is that way you've been unseuccesful with Lily for seven years?"

 

"That's not fair."

 

"Is too."

 

James shook his head, "I'm a babe magnet, you just watch my friend."

 

To my horror James turned in my direction, and despite my back being almost completely turned to them, and me peeking through my long hair, he adressed me.

 

"Hey there, do you--"

 

His eyes widened and I sighed in defeat as he realized who I was.

 

"Blackwood?!"

 

I had the urge to smack him.

 

"What's up?" I asked weakly.

 

"Why didn't you tell us you were back?!" James thumped me on the back and I almost spit out my butterbeer again.

 

"I, uh, just got here." I looked at the two boys awkwardly.

 

Remus approached me with a concerned expression, "Are you okay?"

 

I felt like my head would split if I was asked that question one more time.

 

"I am absolutely fine. You, however, I'm not so sure of. Do you really want to be seen with a raving lunatic like me?" I asked sharply.

 

They exchanged a look.

 

"You're not crazy."

 

"Really?" I smacked my forehead with the palm of my hand, feigning stupidity, "Thanks for clearing that up for me!"

 

James grinned, "You certainly haven't changed."

 

I had, but that wasn't what I was concerned with at that moment. I was more surprised with the way that these guys were treating me. Like I was normal. I was normal, but they had no way of knowing that. The last time they'd seen me I'd been screaming and wailing louder than a banshee.

 

I slid off of my stool stealthily and looked sadly at the half finished Butterbeer in my hand before setting it down.

 

"Well, I've go to--"

 

"Oh, no you don't" Remus blocked my way with his arm and grinned.

 

James grabbed my hand, dragging me over to a booth before I could protest. He practically shoved me into the seat and I huffed. I crossed my arms and stared at the two boys who looked quite pleased with themselves.

 

"Well?" I asked, "What about my drink?" If they were going to make me sit, I wanted my Butterbeer.

 

James bounded back to the bar to get it while Remus scooted into the booth beside me.

 

"How was life on the other side?" He asked, wriggling is eyebrows.

 

"Oh, you know, same as here just a bit more colorful."

 

He frowned, "Seriously though, you just got shipped off to an insane asylum. I'm surprised you aren't a wreck."

 

I almost laughed, "This is me being a wreck."

 

James sat down on the other side of Remus holding a tray with all three of our drinks. "Then you my friend are waaaay too uptight."

 

I snorted, "Oh, really?"

 

He nodded, "If it were me, I would use the oppurtunity to my advantage. If people wanted to call me crazy, boy would I put on a show." He grinned, "I'd get to prank all the teachers, I'd pants McGonagall, kill off Severus and Tammy, and probably streak naked through the forbidden forest."

 

I raised my glass to him, "I've no doubt you would, James."

 

"And no one could say anything about it because I'd be 'crazy'" He made his eyes big and waved his arms.

 

"No James, we already humour you because we already know you're off your nut." Remus smirked.

 

I smiled. This was exactly what I'd needed. Not someone fawning all over me, or drowning me in empathy and pity. I'd already grieved and cried. Now I needed to move on. Perhaps laughter really was the best medicine.

 

"Did you get to meet any really crazy people?" James asked.

 

Remus gave him a look. I shrugged, "A few. But they are different than you might imagine. More.... kind. At least a few of them were."

 

"Sounds boring," James muttered. I rolled my eyes at him.

 

"Well, I for one am glad you're back." Remus smiled and clinked my glass with his.

 

I smiled warmly, "So am I. I didn't think I would be, but I am."

 

"What?" James asked incredulously, "Did you think we'd start hexing you in the halls, screaming,'Nutter' at you?!"

 

I shifted in my seat, "Maybe."

 

Remus smacked a hand to his face and James groaned, "Godric, you're dense."

 

"Hey! How was I supposed to know I had a support group run by the marauders back here?"

 

They shrugged.

 

"Either way, I know you aren't going to be doing that now." I paused. "And.... I appreciate it." I said stiffly.

 

They beamed.

 

"A compliment or thanks from you is as rare as a daimond and worth twice as much."

 

I stared at James and Remus matched my look. After several seconds he raised his hands.

 

"What? I told you I'm great with women."

 

Remus cracked up and I snorted.

 

"Yeah, you're great with women James. That's why you had to force me to come and sit in a booth with you."

 

He smiled, "But now that you're here you don't want to leave do you?"

 

I sighed dramatically,"I suppose not."

 

"I consider that a success!"

 

"Although...." I wagged my finger at him, "You are technically a third wheel seeing as this was the day I was supposed to have a date with Remus."

 

James shrugged, "A technicality I shall overlook. Besides, I seem to remember you cancelling that date."

 

I saw Remus blushing out of the corner of my eye and quirked my mouth."I suppose If you stand by me and my new and un-improved reputation, I will forget the Black Lake incident."

 

"You better take it, Moony," James said, "I doubt you'll get a better offer."

 

He nodded and opened his mouth to say something, but James interrupted him.

 

"Over here!"

 

I twisted to look where he was waving at and felt the skin around my eyes tighten. Lily, Sirius, and Rose were standing by the entrance of the pub, looking chilled from the outdoors. I whipped back around and slumped in my seat. It was a futile attempt since the three of them were walking over here, but I couldn't help it.

 

"Hey guys," I heard Lily's voice nearby as I placed my head in my hands and peeked through my fingers.

 

"Who's--?"

 

"ZALIA!!"

 


 

Oh, Godric.

 



"Umm, hi."

 

Lily dived over Remus and James and tackled me down in my seat.

 

"What are you doing here?!"

 

"Can you get off of my hair please, Lily?"

 

"Oh, yes." She straightened up and squeezed in between Remus and I, staring at me eagerly.

 

I looked from Lily to Sirius. He was wearing his crooked smile. My crooked smile. And folding his arms across his chest. Beside him stood Rose, looking at me like I was a bomb about to go off. Lily was still siting next to me with an uncertain smile.

 

"I got back just this morning."

 

"I missed you!"

 

"I was only gone for three days."

 

"Well, yeah, but still."

 

She stared at me with these huge, bright green, innocent eyes until I groaned and sat back in my seat.

 

"Godric Lily, you just have to look like a lost puppy don't you? Well, i'll tell you now I missed you too."

 

She smiled a huge grin and gave me a hug.

 

"I know you won't like it if I ask you questions. So I won't. You don't have to tell me anything. All I need to know is that you're back now." She whispered it in my ear so no one else could hear.

 

I blinked.

 

These were the times I truly appreciated her. My best friend. I couldn't believe that I'd been convinced she would abandon me at the institution. I hugged her back.

 

"Well, I'm over here tearing up and all, but can we please sit down? Rose and I are standing around like two flipping flamingos."

 

I rolled my eyes,"I missed you too, Black."

 

He gave me a chin up nod, "Cheers."

 

We all moved over and sat around the booth while the three new comers ordered their drinks from Rosmerta.

 

I noticed a difference in the energy of the room from the last time I'd been with these people. It was less tense. There was a bigger sense of comradery, not just with the marauders, but with all of us. Lily and James were getting along great, and Rose seemed less shy around everyone. I wondered what had happened during my absense. Whatever it was, things had changed for the better. At one point in the conversation I met Sirius' gaze across the booth. I was about to smirk, or do something equally snide, when he gave me a small, polite nod. I looked away, not sure what to make of it.

 

No one asked me questions. I was grateful. Rose was probably too scared of me to ask, Sirius most likely didn't care, and I already knew Lily's reasons. They just let me be, and forget.

 

Eventually though, I had to leave my bubble of comfort and walk back into the world where I was supposedly insane. The marauders were already popular enough to draw attention, so walking out of the pub and around the village with them was like wearing a neon sign saying, "I'm back bitches!".

 

"Is that her?"

 

"I heard she killed a bunch of people."

 

"No, that was her parents. They tried to kill her."

 

"She even looks crazy."

 

"They let anyone out on the streets these days."

 

There were worse comments, but I tried to ignore them. This was only the beginning of what I would have to deal with. Remus and Lily whispered words of encouragement while James trash talked the trash-talkers.

 

"Stupid buggers. Why don't you shut up?!"

 

I laughed and Rose put a hand on James arm to try and calm him down.

 

"Thanks James," I said quietly.

 

We wandered around and wound up at Honeydukes. The boys wanted chocolate, but I opted to stay outside. I wasn't eager to delve back into that stifling crowd.

 

"I'll stay with you," Lily said quickly.

 

Rose promised to be out quickly and ran inside with the marauders. I didn't talk much, but Lily chattered on about classes and caught me up on everything going on at school.

 

"It's strange to go back to normal life now." I sighed.

 

"I can only imagine."

 

"Don't." I muttered, "It isn't pleasant."

 

She bit her lip, like always.

 

"Godric," I rubbed my neck,"I feel like I just got woken up out of a coma or something." I laughed, "I forgot all the little things going on. I didn't even know it was a Hogsmeade day until Dumbledore told me."

 

Lily sat up straighter, "You talked to Dumbledore?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"About what?"

 

"He just wanted to make sure I was okay to go back to my regular schedule for school and stuff," I narrowed my eyes at her halted tone. "Why?"

 

"Oh, nothing."

 

She knew something. But since Lily had had the genorosity to not batter me with questions, I let it go.

 

"Is there anywhere else you were planning to go today?"

 

She shrugged, "I wanted to go to Monsieur Balaruse's warehouse, but we can skip it if you want."

 

I frowned, "No, we can go. But I thought that was some sort of fancy, party place?"

 

She shrugged, "They sell a wide variety of things. I wanted to go see the dresses and costumes. You know, for the Halloween ball?"

 

I'd forgotten about that.

 

"When is it?" I winced.

 

"Next thursday, on Halloween."

 

"Oh, right."

 

I didn't know what sounded so dreadful about it. I used to love social gatherings. The sooner I got back to my old self, the better. I smiled at Lily anyways.

 

"I have an idea for our costumes."

 


 


 



 

*

 


 







 

"You're kidding me right?"

 

"No, I'm not."

 

"You want me to wear that?"

 

"Uh huh."

 

"I take back what I said earlier. You are crazy."

 

I gave Lily a dirty look. "Just try it on. For goodness sake, I'm not asking you to wear a bikini to the dance!"

 

She rolled her eyes and snatched the clothes out of my hand. As she stomped her way to the dressing room, I smirked.

 

Rose peeked her head around a rack of costumes, "I can't find a gold one."

 

"Keep looking!" I called as I walked past a few boxes of tiaras.

 

Monsieur Balaruse's warehouse was a huge, giant tin can filled with everything and anything one might want for decorations and costumes. The ceiling was at least twenty feet up, and there weren't many windows. We were the only customers inside.

 

I saw Remus up ahead warily inspecting a feathered mask.

 

"It's not going to eat you." I teased.

 

He set it down, "Found what you were looking for yet?"

 

I shook my head, "I suspect that this is the day you learn what shopping with women is really like."

 

"We're leaving at 3:30 p.m. with or without you," Sirius announced, coming over to us.

 

"Then help me find th--"

 

I stopped short as Lily walked out from behind the dressing room curtain.

 

"Holy Hippogriff!"

 

She gave a forced smile and turned in a slow circle, giving the full effect of the costume.

 

"Hot mama!" Sirius grinned, making Lily's cheeks go almost as red as her hair.
 

 

Remus raised his eyebrows and smiled appreciatively.


 

"Am I good or what?" I smirked at them all.

 

"Are you sure it's not too much?"

 

I scoffed at Lily, "Don't be such a worry wart. You look brilliant."

 

She looked sceptacle as she watched herself in the mirror.

 

"I guess...."

 

"You have to go out on a limb once in your Hogwarts days. This is that time."

 

She flashed me an uncertain smile, "This is a bit much for me, but.... I can become a

different Lily Evans for one night."

 

"At'a girl," Sirius nodded.

 

I rolled my eyes at him and addressed my red haired friend, "Tiger Lily, you'll be the belle of the ball."

 

Lily had just stepped back behind the curtain to change again when James showed up.

 

"You missed it,"I punched his arm lightly.

 

"Missed what?"

 

"Your Lilykins was trying on some sexy stuff."

 

His ears turned pink, "What?" He yelped with wide eyes.

 

Remus clapped him on the back, "I think it was probably best that you weren't here. We might've had to do CPR on you."

 

I laughed with the rest of them and then left to go help Rose and keep an eye out for my own costume. It was only when I found her and asked how much money we'd need to buy all three, that I remember Mary.

 

"Where is she?"

 

Rose snorted as she gazed over a pile of silk gloves, "Detention. Slughorn banned her from the trip because she was late three days in a row and forgot her homework."

 

"We should get her a costume." I tapped my foot, thinking.

 

"She was planning on the Peter Pan one she has."

 

I sighed, "That's exactly why we need to get her one. I can't allow her to show up as Peter Pan. It's not gonna happen."

 

Rose shrugged, "What did you have in mind?"

 

"Same theme as ours. And.... Oh! I've got it. Perfect."

 

I left Rose to go in search of a costume for Mary, humming to myself. It was amazing that just this morning i'd been in an insane asylum. My, how quick things change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
 
 


Chapter 18: Chapter XVIII: By The Light, By The Light
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 


A/N Thank you guys for the reviews and really honestly, please keep giving me feedback, I really appreciate it. Anyways, this chapter is a bit of a cliff hanger if you catch my hints at the very end. ;)

Song of the day:

               Purgatorium of Sounds- Traitors Everywhere (Michael Riske)


 

 

 

Zalia's POV:

 

 


 



"And another thing! Stay OUT of our ROOM!"

 

I kicked the door shut as hard as could, resulting in a satisfying crack and a vibration around the walls. I turned around, sweeping back my long hair.

 

"Oooookay, what did you want again?"

 

 

 

It was the second day of my return, Sunday. I had stayed pretty much in the dorm room after Hogsmeade, only saying hi to Mary after her detention from Slughorn. I'd succesfully avoided everyone else, but the next morning I was forced to go into the Great Hall for Breakfast, holding my head high and refusing to acknolwegde any and all comments made towards me or about me. Lily and Mary had slept in (a shocker to us all) and I'd only been flanked by Rose for support.

 

Tammy had welcomed me back with open arms.... and I had run the other way. The arms of course, had been figuratively spiked with poisonous barbs. As soon as I'd arrived in the halls Malibu Barbie had come running over wailing about how she was so sorry for my loss and blah blah blah. I hadn't bought it for a moment. She was just acting for the cameras, or rather, for Sirius, I believed. Because despite my dislike of both persons, he wouldn't have liked it if she had called me bitch just after losing my parents.

 

I'd told Tammy to shove it when she'd attempted to give me a hug, and she'd pretended to pout. After skipping lunch, just to avoid her, I'd tried to find solace in the Library. Tammy had followed me there and Rose had ditched me when she'd showed up. I'd run around the whole freaking castle with her on my tail:

 

"Can't we be friends darling?"

 

"You poor thing!"

 

"Come along and have tea with me."

 

"I do wish you'd stop yelling, I've just had my botox done and you're making my face crinkle from the awful noise."

 

I had to refrain from screaming any particularly violent profanities at her in the corridors for not wanting to reinforce the idea that I was a dangerous pshycopath. I finally just ducked into a secret passageway Remus had shown me, and lost the blonde.

 

I'd run into Mary on the other side of the passageway and she'd stopped me with a smile and wave. Luckily Mary was acting just as normal as my other friends when I'd greeted her back at the castle after Hogsmeade. In fact she'd joined James in the pass-time of yelling at the gossipers in my defense. After groaning to her about Tammy, Mary had told me Lily neeeded me up in the dorms and, since fate had something against me apparently, Tammy was sitting in the Gryffindor common room when I'd arrived.

 

I slammed the door in her face after running upstairs with her right behind me, and turned to see Lily trying not to laugh as I breathed out a tense breath.

 

"Sobby, I dibn't bean do bake 'oo go all da bay up 'ere bor be."

 

"Sheesh, who hit you with a good case of the sniffles?"

 

She blew loudly into a tissue as I sat down on the edge of her bed, where she was sitting with a book in her lap and several used kleenexes littering the floor.

 

"I doe." She sniffed, "I just deeded doo ask 'oo if 'oo could get be sob soup?"

 

"You want 'sob soup'?" I teased.

 

She rolled her eyes, "Shut it."

 

"I'll run to the kitchens for you." I smiled, "Do you want chicken noodle or split pea?"

 

"Chicken doodle." She croaked.

 

I tried not to smile and left the room calling, "Chicken doodle, coming right up!" over my shoulder. I assumed she threw a pillow towards me when I heard something soft hit the door behind me.

 

I took a deep breath and sprinted down the stairs and through the portrait hole, desperate to avoid Tammy and her simpering fakeness. Unfortunately I hadn't anticipated on anyone being outside the common room, and I smacked my forehead against an exceptionaly strong chin as I ran out.

 

"Oww!"

 

"Ugh, Godric...." I groaned on the floor as I rubbed my head.

 

I opened my eyes and squinted in pain at the person who stood in front of me.

 

"You mind watching where you're going, Blackwood?"

 

I glared at Sirius Black and ignored his outstretched hand, pulling myself up.

 

"Maybe you should watch where you keep your painfully solid chin."

 

I regretted the weak comeback as I saw Sirius fold his arms and observe me with an amused expression.

 

"Right," I frowned, dusting myself off, "Well, I'm off to the kitchens to get Lily some soup."

 


 

Why was I telling him this?

 



"She sick or something?"

 

"Actually, yes." I replied stiffly.

 

He looked concerned.

 

"Anyways, If you would be so kind as to get out of my way...." I shifted my stance.

 

"Does she need anything else?"

 

My eyebrows shot up,"Why would you care?"

 

He scowled at me, "You may find it hard to believe, but I like Lily. She's nice, and James sort of loves her so that requires me to approve of her."

 

I shrugged uncomfortably. It was hard to act like I hated him when he was saying nice things about my best friend. "No. She just wants some soup."

 

"I'll get it for her if you want to keep her company."

 

"Umm...." What was he playing at?



"I won't poison it," He teased.

 

I avoided his gaze, "Err, fine then. She wants chicken noodle. I'll uhh.... be upstairs."

 

I turned away ubruptly and went back to my room. Completely confused by this civil side of Sirius. This helpful side. I didn't like it. Not at all.

 

"Back already?"

 

I shook my head as I closed the door to the dormitory and grabbed Lily an extra box of tissues from my nightstand.

 

"No, Si-- Black is getting the soup."

 

Lily frowned, "Why?"

 

I shrugged, genuinely confused, "Apparently he 'approves' of you.... whatever the hell that means."

 

She took the tissues from me, her brow furrowed. "He what?"

 

"I don't know. He's just wierd."

 

She sniffled and rubbed her red, puffy eyes with the back of her fists.

 

"Don't do that," I scolded, "You'll irritate them."

 

She stopped and looked at me.

 

"Well," I shrugged, "You will."

 

"Who would have dought you were da baternal type?"She smiled.

 

I picked up a book from the floor, "I'm not maternal. Just concerned for your health."

 

She rolled her eyes at me.

 

"This isn't a part of the Potions curriculum." I muttered, turning over 'Fifty-five Concoctions to Save Your Skin' in my hand.

 

Lily blushed and grabbed the book from me, "It's sobeding I read in by spare tibe."

 

"Right," I nodded sarcastically, "Sounds fun."

 

She glared at me.

 

"Usually people don't read about educational facts for fun."

 

She huffed and grabbed another tissue.

 

I raise my hands in defense, "I'm just saying."

 

We both jumped as a large bang sounded on our dormitory door.

 

"What cou--"

 

I sighed, "Black is back with your chicken doodle soup."

 

I heard her mutter something under her breath as I walked towards the door and opened it.

 

"Are you coming up?" I yelled down as I walked out and saw Sirius standing with a bowl of soup at the base of the stairs.

 

"Hello!" He called in an irritated voice, "I can't get up there without the stairs turning into a slide!"

 

"But isn't there something about you coming up when we want you too?" I frowned. Hogwarts magic worked in exceptional ways. It formed to fit the needs and wishes of the students. Boys could come up the stairs if girls wanted them too.

 

"Yes!" He called back with a scowl,"But when I put my foot on the stairs, they changed!"

 

"Oh. Umm, hold on."

 

Apparently I didn't want Sirius up here yet. I closed my eyes and thought.

 

Stairs, could you please, uhh, let the very tall and annoying boy up? I don't like him very much, but he has Lily's soup. And she sort of needs it.



"Okay!" I shouted down, "try it now."

 

He took a step up and when the staircase stayed the same, he bounded up the rest of the way, leaving behind the small crowd of watchers who had gathered behind him as we'd yelled back and forth.

 

"Thanks alot," He muttered as he passed me and walked into the room. I refrained from shoving him only because he was holding Lily's soup bowl.

 

"Here you go."

 

Lily smiled at him gratefully as she took the steaming bowl form his hands.

 

"You wanted chicken noodle right?" He asked softly.

 

She nodded and took a sip from the spoon, "Danks, Sirius."

 

He grinned lopsided and I folded my arms in annoyance as he patted her shoulder, "No problem, Evans."

 

She smiled up at him, "Call be Lily."

 

He smiled wider, "All right, Lily."

 

I looked between them, glaring. Oh, no. These two were not going to get buddy-buddy on me.

 

"Ooookay! Thanks for the soup, Black. I think you can go now."

 

Both of them looked at me.

 

"Are you kicking me out?" Sirius looked amused.

 

I ignored Lily's dissaproving frown and pointed at the door, "Yep, out you go."

 

He shook his head, "Naw, I think I'll stay a bit."

 

"Oh, no, no, no, no." I walked forward as he jumped on my bed, laying back on it.

 

"Get off."

 

He smirked, "Make me."

 

"Is that a challenge?"

 

He stroked his chin with his thumb and forefinger, "I suppose it is."

 

I raised an eyebrow at him before taking out my wand, "Really?"

 

He looked at my wand and then my face before putting his hands behind his head.

 

"Give it your best shot, Blackwood."

 

"Petrficus Totallus!"

 

He was frozen before his smile had even left his face.

 

"What did 'oo do!" Lily shrieked before going into a coughing fit.

 

I sighed before going over to pat her back, "Calm down, Tiger Lily. He's only frozen."

 

I smiled at the black haired boy mischeviously, knowing he could still see, hear, and feel everything around him, even though he couldn't move.

 

"And I know just what to do with him."

 



 



 


 


 

*

 


 






 


 

James POV:

 


 





 

 

I was still laughing when we walked down to dinner.

 

"So," Peter grinned, "You didn't even defend yourself?"

 

I cracked up as Padfoot scowled, "It wasn't like that."

 

"Oh, come on," Remus smirked, "She got you good and you know it."

 

Sirius just clenched his fists as the rest of us guffawed our way into the great hall.

 

"There's no shame, Pads," I smiled as I scooped a large helping of potatoes onto my plate when we sat down, "You did look lovely in the dress."

 

He shot me a death glare as Remus choked on his gillywater.

 

"Yeah, I think purple is your color!"

 

 

 

An hour ago, Remus and I had walked into the common room to find Sirius tumbling down the stairs of the girls' dormitory wearing a purple dress and full makeup. It had been such a sight that Moony and I had taken almost twenty minutes to carry him up to our room because we were laughing so much. After we'd found the proper spell to release him from the paralysing curse, Sirius had been close to murderous. Apparently Zalia had petrefied him and dressed him up before tossing him out of the room and down the staircase. It had been hard to keep a straight face when he'd told us of the horrors of getting his make up done. It had taken him ten minutes of vigourous scrubbing to get it off, and he still had traces of red lipstick around the corners of his mouth.

 

I had to take Padfoot's side on principle, but Zalia had gone up a few points in my book personally. She damn well knew how to take advantage of a situation.

 

"You are all traitors."

 

I clicked my tongue at Sirius,"Come now, Pads."

 

"We're marauders. We can't help but love things like this." Moony stated.

 

Sirius picked at his food grumpily, muttering things under his breath that none of us could hear.

 

I'd just started to descreetly pour gravy into Peter's juice while Remus distracted him, when the girls burst into the great hall. By girls I meant the four counter-marauders, as they had become. Lily was absent though. According to Padfoot she was sick.

 

I frowned, promising myself to look in on her later.

 

"Sirius, darling, why did you change?" Zalia came sauntering up and sat herself down beside Remus as Mary and Rose came over to Peter and I. She had switched her voice to sound like Tammy.

 

"Shut up." Sirius grumbled.

 

Zalia took on a fake concerned look, "Did you not like the dress? Should I have gone with pink instead? I knew purple was the wrong choice."

 

Sirius glared at her, pointing the tip of his fork in her direction from across the table. "I have a very strong urge to curse you into oblivian."

 

Remus brushed her shoulder with his, "I wouldn't push it," He said quietly.

 

She rolled her eyes but left Sirius alone, to my surprise. Remus seemed to be the only person she listened to. I looked between them as they fell into a comfortable conversation and snapped back to the present when Rose tapped my shoulder.

 

"Lily is fine, by the way."

 

I gave her a strange look as I tried to swallow a particularly large bite of cabbage and potatoes. "What?"

 

"She's sleeping now, so you don't need to worry about her."

 

I frowned, "I'll check on her later anyways."

 

Rose shrugged, skewering a piece of lettuce with her fork, "Whatever you want to do."

 

"Have you seen Vice around?" A voice to my left asked.

 

I turned to Mary who was staring around the Great Hall, craning her neck in search. I shrugged, "Not since Friday's Quidditch practice."

 

"Me neither...." She furrowed her brow.

 

"Why?" I asked.

 

She blushed and stared at her plate, "No reason."

 

I sighed. Girls were strange sometimes. "Whatever."

 

"Do you think he's avoiding me?" Mary asked abruptly.

 

I shook my head, "Why would he be avioding you?"

 

She frowned, "No reason...."

 

I turned back to my food again, only to choke on it when Mary blurted out, "But, what if he is avoiding me?"

 

I looked at her confused, "Why the hell would he be avoiding you?"

 

She groaned, "No reason."

 

I started to take another bite of steak when she hit my arm, "But maybe he doesn't like me. Or maybe he thinks I don't like him. Or maybe he just hates me? And I talk too much. I always talk too bloody much."

 

I turned away in exasperation, "For a girl with no reasons, you sure have a lot of reasons."

 

She tugged at the ends of her hair and I turned around to find Remus giving me an amused look before glancing at Mary.

 

"He isn't avoiding you. In fact, he was looking for you the other day."

 

Mary's entire countenance relaxed, "Really? Thanks Remus." She stared at her plate for a minute before getting up, "I think I'll just grab something from the kitchens and go up to eat with Lily."

 

I gave Remus a questioning glance as she left,"How do you do that?"

 

He quirked his mouth, "She likes Vice. She's a girl. It isn't hard to figure out."

 

I shrugged in defeat, "Whatever you say, Captain."

 

He smiled and turned back to Zalia, casually draping an arm around her shoulders. I didn't think much of it, but Sirius sent him a glare from across the table. Remus ignored it.

 

After dinner I ditched the guys and headed up to see Lily. It was a shame to pass up throwing stink bombs in Professor Vector's classroom, but I had to leave my comrades to handle it on their own.

 

"What are 'oo doing 'ere?" Lily croaked once Mary had wished me up the stairs so they wouldn't turn to a slide when I tried to get up.

 

"Came to check on the Head Girl," I said in mock seriousness, "Can't have you missing duties, now."

 

She frowned in a cute way, "I won't, I probise."

 

I rolled my eyes at her as Mary cleared her throat and stated that she had to take a shower, leaving us alone.

 

"It was a joke, Evans."

 

"You cad call be Lily, 'oo doe."

 

"I know," I smiled as I kicked away a used kleenex with my shoe, "But I like calling you Evans. Reminds me of the good old days when you used to smash pots over my head in Herbology."

 

She tried not to smile and failed,"Sobby."

 

I bit my tongue, attempting to keep a straight face through her stuffy-nose accent.

 

"Don't worry about it."

 

"I hate being sick."

 

I grunted, "I think everyone does."

 

"I was bine yesterday. Dow I feel like I 'ave bebonia."

 

I raised an eyebrow, "You feel like you have what?"

 

"Bebonia."

 

I chuckled, "Are you trying to say neumonia?"

 

She nodded and sniffled. I looked away to keep from laughing at her.

 

"You'll be right as rain tomorrow."

 

She rolled her eyes and swatted away my hand as I went to feel her forehead.

 

"I'm trying to tell if you have a temperature."

 

She made a frog-like croak and I smiled widely.

 

"Are you attempting to communicate with me?"

 

She glared and I stuck out my tongue at her before placing my hand on her forehead despite her protests. Her skin was cool to the touch and I felt relieved that she just had a case of the sniffles and wasn't seriously sick.

 

"I think you'll be all right. You don't feel too hot."

 

She gave a grunt and turned on her side, closing her eyes.

 

"Do you want to sleep?"

 

She huffed.

 

"Do you want me to stop talking?"

 

Another huff.

 

I stayed silent and brought the blankets farther up around her shoulders to keep her warm. A soft smile graced her face as she sniffled and crinkled her nose. I turned away quietly, to let her sleep.

 

Mary was still in the shower, and I was about to tiptoe out of the room when something caught my eye. A piece of parchment, lying amongst the used tissues from Lily. I reached down to pick it up and place it on her night stand when I glanced at the top of it and saw that it was not adressed to Lily. It was a letter, to Zalia.

 

I wasn't the snooping type. Honestly. But as I walked across the room to set the letter on her bed.... I read a little of it. And then a little bit more. By the time I was halfway through, I realized the letter was definately not meant for my eyes. Or anyone's, except the person to whom it was adressed:

 


 

 

 

Dear Zalia,

 

I'm not sure whether you will open this letter, much less read it, but I had to send it anyway. When you fled our home, your mother and I were devestated, guilty, and very angry. I'm sure you can imagine. Our only daughter had shown up to tell us we were wrong. To tell us we were terrible people who had made terrible decisions. For a while we stayed angry. We couldn't bear to even begin to imagine you were right. But though what you said was disrespectful and extremely hot headed.... it was worth listening to. I realize how over the years you mother and I have been distant. Even somewhat detatched from your own life. But you are still our daughter. And that means more than buisness, more than finance, and more than our own safety. We cannot turn back time to relive the past and revise it, but we can give you our lives now.

 

Your mother and I have made a decision to accept what you told us. We would rather be the parents that you have wanted us to be than have you shamed by us. We have cut off any and all contact with the Malfoys and other undesireable clients; pertaining to buisness or otherwise. I made sure that we were clear on our stance. We openly revealed our disgust towards the dark arts and their rising cause. Whether we are targets for their growing regime, I do not know. Nor do I care.

 

Your mother and I have been your greatest dissapointment. I understand that now. And I hope one day you can find it in your heart to forgive the parents who so desperately tried to protect you and made all the wrong choices out of fear and misjudgement. I do not expect a reply from you. I do not expect anything. You owe us nothing, and are legally free as an adult now. One day I hope you will come to see us again.

 

I want you to know that we will always love you and always have. We are only human, but we made more mistakes than most. This letter marks the beginning of our redemption. We will continue to ratify our mistakes. We will continue to try to make you proud.

 

I love you, Zalia Grace. Do not forget us.

 

Love,

 

You Father.

 

 

 



: I stared at the last words and traced my finger tips over the signature at the bottom of the page. A chill swept down my spine and I shivered as I touched the parchment. I held such a private and powerful thing. Zalia's parents' last words to their daughter. Their proclamation of redemption. It was daunting, and I walked quickly to her night stand to set down the letter.

 

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

 

Several curse words raced through my head and I stopped dead.

 

"I...." I turned around extremely slowly, feeling cornered.

 

Zalia stood by the door, fuming, and glaring at the letter in my hands. My hands shook at the look on her face.

 

"Why," She said through gritted teeth, "Did you think you could go through my private things?"

 

I gulped and dropped the paper.

 

Her face darted up to mine and I could have sworn I saw flames dancing in her eyes.

 

"Who the fuck told you you could read my LETTERS?!"

 

I backed up as she started yelling at me. I'd never been so scared in my life.

 

"GET OUT!"

 

I put up my hands, "But, I--"

 

"OUT!" She pinched her eyes closed and pointed a shaking finger towards the open door.

 

I fled without a backwards glance, cursing curiosity and my own lack of judgement.

 



 



 


 


 

*

 


 






 


 

Zalia's POV:

 


 







 

"Go back to bed, Lily. I said it's nothing."

 

"But, I heard--"

 

"Go to sleep." I snapped at the red head. She was too sick and tired to respond.

 

I crumpled up the letter I'd picked up from the floor and then flattened it out again. I folded it in half with shaking hands before sitting cross-legged on the floor and leaning back against my bed.

 


 

Damn James Potter. Damn him to the lowest, deepest, darkest circle of hell.

 



I closed my eyes and took a deep breath to calm myself down. I felt violated and robbed. That letter had been mine, and mine alone. My parents were dead. At least i'd had one last thing from them. Proof that they loved me. That they were good in the end. But apparently my bad luck had allowed Potter to come along and pick through my belongings at his fancy.

 

I scowled at the letter in my hands. Where did he get off thinking he had any right to read that? Any right at all?

 

He had none.

 

I sniffed and cursed his name again as I felt angry tears begin to prick the edges of my eyes. I took a deep breath and cleared my throat when the bathroom door opened and Mary came out, wringing her wet hair.

 

"Is everything all right out here?" She looked from me to Lily, who was out cold.

 

I nodded stiffly, "We're fine."

 

"I thought I heard shouting," She mumbled whilst tying up her hair.

 

I stood up and rubbed my hands together before walking towards the door; letter in hand.

 

"Nope. No shouting. I'll be back later."

 

Without waiting for Mary's reply I ran down the stairs and stuffed the letter into the back pocket of my jeans as I left the common room and wound through the corridors. I didn't know where I was going. There were a number of places that fitted my ideal.

 

I walked purposely outside the castle and onto the grounds, not caring about the oncoming sunset. I didn't give a rat's ass that I might be caught out after curfew. I couldn't breathe. I needed space to think and get some air.

 

I ignored any cat-calls from students who had nothing better to do than to jeer at the "crazy girl". I just kept moving until I reached the edge of the woods. The walk into the forbidden forest was risky, but I went in anyways. It was a good place to do what I wanted to.

 

A good place to hide my letter.

 

James had read it. I couldn't take that back. But I could prevent anyone else from reading it without actually destroying it. I needed to keep it. I needed to be able to reach it, but I also needed it to be my secret.

 

There were some things that belonged to you. That weren't meant to be known to other people. This was mine. This letter.

 

My parents had died because of what was in this letter. Because of me. And I didn't know if it made me a bad person, but I didn't feel guilt. I felt liberation. I was proud that my parents had died for doing the right thing. Sad yes. Devestated yes. But proud.

 

In the end they had chosen good.

 

I felt a small tear leak onto my cheek as I knelt down beside a heart shaped rock at the base of a tree. I had been so stubborn, that when I'd read the letter from my dad, I hadn't replied. I was still angry. They'd died because of their decisions, and I would never be able to tell them that I forgave them for the bad things. I would never hug them or kiss them or tell them I love them. They were gone. Erased. And there was nothing I could do about it.

 

I sniffed and wiped away the tear with the back of my hand before moving the rock to the side and digging a shallow hole in the ground with my hands. I reached up and pulled out the hairband that was in my hair before wrapping it around the folded letter I had taken out of my pocket. Without hesitation I placed the letter in the ground where I had dug, filled the hole over with dirt, and placed the heart shaped rock back over it.

 

I stood up and brushed off my hands before I left to go back towards the castle, counting my steps until I reach the edge of the forest. I would remember where it was. I knew that I would be able to find the letter again if ever I wanted to.

 

Surprisingly, I was calm as I wandered about the edge of the forest, ducking behind trees every now and then whenever I saw a teacher looking out. It was past curfew now, and completely dark outside. The cold air refreshed me and left my limbs vigorated. I felt repurposed.

 

It was one of those moments where you don't care about anything and just choose to enjoy the things around you. Without deciding how long to stay out or even if I should ever go back inside that night, I settled myself beneath a tree and nestled in between two sides of the protruding roots. Hugging my knees, I stared out across the Black lake. The water glistened and rippled. I wondered if their really was a giant squid living in it's depths. As I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, I watched the reflection of the stars in the lake's surface. Tiny lights that bobbed and swirled. I smiled and leaned back against the tree, turning my face to the sky.

 

I began to hear creatures of the night stirring in the darkness around me. Owls hooted, wings flapped, and a howl resonated somewhere in the forest. I sighed, letting my fingers glide across the wood of the tree where I sat.

 

A tune popped into my head as my mind drifted; "By the light, by the light, of the silvery moon...."

 

Whether it was a nursery rhyme or an old lullaby, I couldn't remember. I squinted upwards and smiled as I saw a full moon splayed out in the sky. Another howl echoed in the distance and I hummed the tune again; lost in my own thoughts.

 

 

 


 


Chapter 19: Chapter XIX: A Furry Little Problem
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 

A/N: This chapter is pretty important, with revelations and situations popping up ;) Hope you like it, sorry if it's a little drawn out.

 

Song of the day:

                 Monster- by Eminem/ ft. Rihanna


 

 


 

Zalia's POV:

 


 





I hadn't brought my watch with me.

 

It was late. I knew that. Somewhere around midnight I would guess. It was cold and getting even colder as time wore on, but I couldn't bring myself to go back inside the school. I felt so much freedom out in the open and alone. As much as I loved laughing with my friends and forgetting my problems, I still needed to dock in some time to just wallow by myself.

 

I'd left the comfort of the tree a few minutes ago to sit along the edge of the lake; undaunted by it's unwelcoming, black surface. I sat up from where I had been laying on my back and breathed deeply. I picked up a smooth, grey pebble from the Lake's shore and tried skipping it on the glassy surface. It didn't work. I'd never been any good at skipping rocks. Just for the heck of it I stood up with a few more pebbles in hand and tried my luck with the different ones. None worked so I brushed off my hands and started walking along the edge of the Lake instead.

 

I smiled as breeze hit me, whipping my long, dark hair around. I was freezing, but it felt good at the same time. Sniffling, I rubbed my hands together to warm them a little. I smiled slightly as I looked around in the dark. Because of the full moon, I was able to make out quite alot that was hidden in the shadows. I hooted at a nest of owls close by and walked past them and avoided what looked to be bowtruckle scuttling up a branch.

 

I was enjoying my evening on the outskirts of the forest when I heard a growl. I stopped in my tracks and spun around. A large, black, bear-like dog was crouching by a tree trunk not fifty paces away. I stared at it with wide eyes, rooted to the spot as it glowered at me and bared it's teeth.

 

Any normal person would have done one of two things: Either play dead, or high-tail it out of there. But me, being fascinated with animals and magical creatures, found myself moving towards the dog instead. My mind was screaming at me to flee, but I was too curious. The dog was beautiful, with silky, ebony fur and stormy grey eyes.

 

Luckily for me, it seemed that the closer I got to the animal, the tamer it became. Eventually I was standing right next to it, extending my hand which was either going to be licked or chomped off. My love and unfounded trust for creatures stilled my fear, and I felt my heart beating fast as the dog nuzzled me affectionately. After a moment I laughed breathily and petted the dog's head.

 

"What are you doing out here?" I asked it, smiling.

 

The dog pulled away and growled again. I frowned, "Don't start. You don't scare me."

 

The animal huffed and shifted it's weight before giving a bark and trotting off towards the castle. Completely caught of guard I followed it.

 

"Where are we--" I stopped walking when I saw the dog standing on the steps of the school's entrance, looking from me to the door and barking.

 

I folded my arms, "If you think I'm going to let you in there, you're crazy."

 

The dog whined before coming back over and biting at my sleeve. I sighed.

 

"Then again, I'm the one talking to a dog. Maybe I'm crazy."

 

The dog nipped my left thumb sharply and I yelped, snatching it away. "What was that for?!"

 

Before I knew what was happening, the dog had knocked me off of my feet and was dragging me across the lawn towards the castle by my pant leg.

 

"Hey!" I kicked at the animal lightly, not wanting to hurt it, but bewildered by the turn of events. What is this thing doing?



The dog let go when my foot hit its jaw and ran around to meet me face to face. I stopped moving when the it's nose hit mine and I was staring straight into the dog's eyes. My breathing hitched as I looked forward. The left side of the animal's mouth curled up to show me it's teeth, but instead of being scared, I just stared at it.

 

Our contact was broken when a loud, long howl swept over the treetops nearby.

 

I turned sideways and pushed myself upright to get a better look. No matter how much I loved animals, that howl sounded ominous and too close for comfort. The dog seemed to think so too, because it positioned itself in front of me and growled into the darkness.

 

I was starting to think that maybe going inside the castle was a good plan after all when I saw it. The wolf.

 

A huge, grey mass emerged from the trees and bushes and stopped by the lake. It reared it's head, sniffing the air and standing on it's hind legs. I may have been an animal lover, but I wasn't an idiot. One did not just go up to a man-eating beast and hope for the best. The dog was one thing. This giant wolf was a completely different story.

 

I didn't realize that I had been back peddling until my heel hit a tree stump and I fell backwards. I made the mistake of crying out as I fell and the wolf trained it's eyes on me. It's next target. I landed on my back and tried to scramble onto my feet as fast as I could.

 

I looked up to find the black dog stalking towards the wolf, growling and snarling. The grey creature lifted it's head and howled loudly up at the moon. I stood completely still, staring with wide eyes at the two animals until the dog turned and barked at me suddenly. I jumped and remembered the precarious situation I was in.

 


 

Okay, think think think think think.

 



I was an expert on magical creatures. I'd studied all about different kinds of animals and there properties and weaknesses. This was just another question, from another book. Just like a test in Care of Magical Creatures class. I started breathing heavily and clenched my fists.

 


 

Yeah, the question being: If you are alone at night and come in contact with a giant grey wolf, what's the best way of staying alive?

 



Apparently my answer right now was having a dog to protect you.

 

The wolf had turned it's attention on the black dog and advanced towards it, snarling and swiping the air with it's claws. The dog jumped up when the wolf was close enough, and pounced onto it's chest, biting and tearing. The wolf howled in pain and knocked off the dog with one hit to it's back. My hands inadvertantly flew to cover my mouth as the dog skidded on the grass and yelped.

 

And this is the part where I got really, really stupid.

 

I charged the freaking thing.

 

Now, being a witch I suppose I could've used a spell or something on the creature and that would have been fine. But I'd left my wand in my room up in Gryffindor Tower. So I was running at a huge grey wolf, pretty much defensless.

 

As I sped forward a rush of adrenaline pumped through me. I swiped a rock off the ground as I ran and hurled it at the wolf. The rock hit it's hind leg with a nasty thud. It turned it's attention away from the dog and roared at me, teeth gleaming in the moonlight. I paused as a realization hit me.

 


 

The moonlight.

 

Oh God.

 



This was a werewolf.

 

I knew it as soon as the name came into my head. It was a full moon, and a huge wolf with bright yellow eyes had magically appeared at Hogwarts. There were no wolves in the forbidden forest. Not like this.

 

I stopped stalk still as the creature barrelled towards me, and covered my head with my arms as I prepared to be mauled to death. I peeked through my arms when the contact didn't come. I heard a growl and a yelp. The dog had jumped the wolf. I watched as they wrestled each other, teeth, claws, paws. Everything was a flash and blur knotted along with growls and howls and roars.

 

And finally, finally, fear made an appearance in my mind. I forced my feet to move from where I stood and I raced towards the school's entrance, not daring to look back at the animal fight happening just over my shoulder. I silently thanked the dog for saving my life as I banged my fist on the large, oak doors. I hoped that the wolf wouldn't kill the animal.

 

After several moments of pounding on the doors of the castle, they creaked open. I jumped inside, pushing away whoever had opened the doors, and looked back once before I slammed them shut. The dog and wolf had moved farther back into the darkness, but I could still hear the noise of their struggle.

 

A sharp breath escaped my lips as the doors clicked shut and I turned around.

 



 

*

 



 

"I got lost."

 

"Oh, you got lost did you? Well by all means, just waltz back up to your dormitory young lady. No harm done!"

 

I'd thought McGonogall was above using sarcasm. Apparently not.

 

"Sorry." I grumbled as she marched me up to her office, dragging me by my elbow.

 

I hadn't even tried to explain to her what had happened. It was such an unlikely occurance, that I just lied about the entire ordeal with the dog and wolf. Not that that would have gotten me in any less trouble. I was out of bed and out of the castle after hours. I was in trouble. Period.

 

"I'll have to inform the headmaster about this Miss Blackwood."

 

I nodded, "Of course."

 

She gave me a dirty look like it was annoying her how non-chalant I was being. But to be honest, facing Dumbledore seemed like a walk in the park compared to nearly being ripped to shreds by a werewolf.

 

As we walked quickly through the castles corridors I ignored the comments from the portaits that we woke up. McGonagall snapped at a few of them as she brandished her illuminated wand ahead of her.

 

We made it to her office shortly and I sat down in a chair before her desk. I hardly even registered her lecture as she paced the room and waved her hands around, yelling at me. The night's activities had me on way too much of an edge to care about detentions or curfews. There was a werewolf running around on school grounds. A werewolf. Someone had to tell Dumbledore.

 

I clenched my hands into fists when I noticed they were shaking.

 

"Are you even listening to me?!"

 

I stood up to face McGonagall.

 

"Like I said. I got lost. And I'm very tired, so if you don't mind, just give me whatever punishment you want and let me go to bed."

 

She glared at me and sat down behind her desk, tapping her nails on the edge and looking at me in a dissaproving manner.

 

"You should learn to speak to your superiors in a more respectful tone."

 

I let out a sigh, which turned into a yawn. "I apologize, Professor."

 

She raised an eyebrow, "I know you've had a difficult time of it lately, Miss Blackwood, but--"

 

I cut her off, "I don't need special treatment. I'll take my consequences as you give them."

 

The skin around her eyes seemed to soften. "As you wish. You'll serve one weeks detention with Madame Pince, after the first of the month. Also, I'm docking fifty points from Gryffindor."

 

I grimaced. Fifty points was alot. And I was already getting enough trouble from my peers without having them pissed at me for losing points.

 

"Now, go straight up to your dormitory and stay there." She pointed towards the door and I nodded before leaving.

 

As soon as I left the office I regretted not asking for a lamp. The halls were pitch black. But being as stubborn as I was I refused to go back and ask for one. Instead I felt my way through the darkness and tried to remember where all the twists and turns were in my head. It took me a long time, but I made up to Gryffindor Tower where the fireplace was still crackling with glowing embers.

 

I was so tired by that point that I just collapsed on the couch and fell asleep within five minutes. I was too tired to even dream.

 



 

*

 



 

 

 

I got woken up the next morning by a very loud yell followed by a series of crashes and grunts.

 

"Wazza goin on?" I sat up groggilly and rubbed my eyes.

 

"Ugh...."

 

"Mary?" I looked over the side of the couch i'd been sleeping on to see Mary splayed out at the bottom of the stairs leading to the girls' dormitories.

 

"Fell," She croaked out in explanation.

 

I yawned and stretched. The common room had only a few people in it and the sun was barely up. Much too early for me to be awake. I groaned. Sleeping in the common room had ruined my back for the day. Or maybe it had been falling onto that tree stump last night.

 

"You okay?" I asked Mary.

 

She got up slowly and stumbled over to where I was folding up the blanket i'd slept with.

 

"I'm perfectly fine. I just have terrible coordination."

 

I couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic or not so I just nodded.

 

"Hey, where were you last night?"

 


 

Here come the questions.

 



Mary frowned at my hands as I set the blanket on the side of the sofa. "Did you sleep out here?"

 

I shrugged, "Yeah, got caught out after hours and I was too tired to go up the stairs to bed by the time I got back."

 

She raised an eyebrow, "What were you doing?"

 

I lied casually. There would be too much explaning and questioning if I told anyone about the dog and wolf. I much prefered to keep that to myself.

 

"Trying to sneak some food from the kitchens. I just got really hungry for some reason."

 

She snorted as she rubbed her arm, bruised from the fall, "Next time let me know. I'll go with you. I was starving last night. Lily ate nearly all the food I brought up with me."

 

I smiled, "Sure."

 

Mary left to go down to breakfast, still limping from tumbling down the stairs, and I ran up to our room. Lily was still asleep and Rose was in the shower. Falling backwards onto my matress I let out a breath. I needed to take a shower as well. I'd done some heavy sweating last night and didn't smell the best. I ducked into the bathroom with a fresh pair of clothes in hand after Rose got out and ignored her questioning glance.

 

The shower was nice, I melted into the hot water and washed my hair with some of Lily's products since I'd ran out of mine. After soaping up and rinsing off I dried my body, plaited back my wet hair, and changed into the clean clothes. I felt a million times better, though my back still hurt.

 

"Where were you?"

 

I glanced over at Lily while walking out of the bathroom, to see her going through her trunk.

 

Rose wriggled her eyebrows, "Spend the night with a boy?"

 

I shot her a glare and Lily smirked.

 

"No. I got caught in the kitchens after curfew."

 

Lily raised an eyebrow, "You snuck into the kitchens? Who caught you?"

 

"McGonagall," I answered casually, "Got some points docked, and detentions next week with Pince."

 

Lily groaned, "Harsh much?"

 

I shrugged, "I guess she was in a bad mood or something."

 

"You weren't the only one who had fun last night." Rose murmered.

 

I frowned, "I don't know if i'd constitute getting caught trying to sneak food as 'fun', but what do you mean?"

 

"The marauders didn't come back last night either."

 

I widened my eyes as Lily shot me a suspicious look.

 

I raised my hands, "Don't look at me, I slept in the common room. I saw neither hair nor hide of them last night."

 

"How do you know?" Lily asked Rose.

 

The brunette finished folding up her towel and set it on her bed, walked towards the door, "Beck told me!" She called as she left.

 

Lily and I exchanged a look.

 

"Wonder what they did...."

 

She sighed and stood up, "I have no idea. I don't even remember all of yesterday very well."

 

"Sounds like you're over being sick." I observed.

 

She rubbed her temples as we walked out the door and downstairs together after putting on our shoes. "Yeah, it cleared up while I was sleeping I guess. But I had some weird dreams."

 

"Like what?"

 

She chuckled, "Sirius was in a dress, you threw James out the window after yelling at him, and Peter got eaten by the giant squid."

 

I laughed as we walked down to the Great Hall, "Sirius was in a dress yesterday, and I did scream at James. But I didn't throw him out the window. The whole thing about Peter was definately a dream."

 

She looked surprised, "Of all of those I would have thought the one with Sirius being in a dress would be the dream."

 

I shrugged, "He had it coming."

 

 

 

The marauders weren't at breakfast, and I had to deal with Tammy asking about Sirius while I ate. She ignored my insults and even Lily's. Finally giving up, she decided to walk around the school and look for him. I wasn't too worried. The boys were always up to something.

 

When they didn't show up to Transfiguration I was slightly concerned. Mostly for Remus. He wouldn't miss a class on purpose unless it was for a good reason.

 

Lily mouthed, "What's going on?" To me from across the room and I shrugged.

 

Mcgonagall didn't seem to care about it, in fact she didn't say anything about them all class. Not even to complain about their lack of gusto when it came to school work. There was no: "Those boys," or "Missing again," or even, "Potter and Black will be in trouble when I get my hands on them". It was strange.

 

After class I walked up to History of Magic with Rose, but when I asked she told me the only thing Beck had mentioned was that the boys were missing. I frowned as we started to walk up one of the staircases, heading towards the fourth floor.

 

"But, he must know something I mean--"

 

I was stopped short when my foot went straight through a stair and I fell forward smacking face first into the ground. I'd forgotton about the trick stair. Rose screeched and reached down to help me up. Passing students gave us a wide berth and shot glances, muttering about how I was suicidal.

 

Black spots danced in my vision as I turned over and groaned, placing my hands over my face. My nose was throbbing, and my hands were skinned.

 

"Oh Godric! Zalia! Are you okay? Talk to me!"

 

I pushed her off when she starting trying to help me up, "I'm fine," I said thickly. But as soon as I tried to stand, the room started to spin and I nearly fell again.

 

"Oh, Merlin this isn't good."

 

"You're telling me," I blinked rapidly and held onto the railing of the stairs to keep my balance. Rose began talking frantically and making sympathetic sounds when I felt something warm and wet gushing down my face.

 

"Rose," I frowned, "I think I'm bleeding."

 

She stopped and looked at me, her eyes getting as big as saucers.

 

"We need to get you to the Hospital Wing."

 

I didn't protest as she wrapped her arm around my waist and helped me walk. I did my best to walk alone, but I kept blacking out for a few seconds and having to remember where I was. Rose did pretty well at carrying my weight for such a tiny thing. After a long walk up the stairs we made to Madame Pomfry who shrieked as we stumbled inside.

 

"Merciful Heavens!"

 

I sat myself down on a hospital bed and tried to focus on Pomfry's face,"Yes. I fell down."

 

It would have been rather humourous if I hadn't been in so much pain.

 

She grabbed a few things that I couldn't see from across the room and streaked over to where I was swaying back and forth on the bed. I was so out of it that the only thing I registered her doing was placing a cloth with some sort of liquid on the side of my nose. That I did notice. It hurt like hell.

 

"Ah," I winced. The pain was alot, but my senses were so dulled that I couldn't even yell out properly.

 

"As I suspected. Broken."

 

I was tempted to laugh. I was broken? I only fell down the stairs.

 

"I'm going to have to reset it."

 

Oh. Not me. Just my nose.

 

I didn't even have enough time to refuse or brace myself before I saw (through blurry vision) the tip of a wand pointed at my face. Behind it I noticed Rose, looking white as a sheet and gripping the hospital bed curtain.

 

"Episkey."

 

Crack. Pain.

 

"Ow!" I grabbed in front of me to blindly shove away the wand as I felt my nose slide into place and a couple of bones cracking along with the cartilage.

 

"Are you trying to kill me?" I groaned as I felt hands pushing me gently back so that my head rested on a pillow. I kept my eyes shut and a dreamy sense came over me. One by one my senses slipped away. I forgot to see, forgot to hear, forgot to touch. I drifted away until my consciousness was completely deaf to my surroundings.

 

 

 


 


 

*

 


 







 

Voices. That's what I was aware of when my mind came up out of the gloom.

 

They were quiet at first. Murmers. Then slowly turned themselves into whispers and words; continuing on until I could make out the talking going on around me.

 

"I said no."

 

"But--"

 

"Absolutely not. There are already far too many of you in here as it is." That was definately Pomfry.

 

I heard a huff from somewhere to my left, "I've only just got here."

 

"I'm sorry Miss McDonald, but rules are rules. Now, my patient has had quite a fall and she needs her rest. I won't have you waking her."

 

A shuffling of several pairs of shoes commensed and I heard the opening and closing of a door.

 

I waited until I heard Madame Pomfry grumble off back to her office before I opened my eyes. I winced and squinted as light came flooding in. My head hurt alot. Like it was plugged up or something. My ears and nose felt stuffy, my throat was scratchy, and my eyes were achy. I almost wondered if I had caught Lily's cold.

 

I sat up, cringing when the springs on the hospital bed creaked and groaned. I didn't want Madame Pomfry to come running over. As much as she loved attending her patients and their health, her nagging was not welcome to me at the moment.

 

Moving aside the half of the curtain that was closed around my bed, I peeked out into the rest of the infirmary. The Hospital Wing was nearly empty. Sun reys streamed through the large glass panes around the room and flooded the white walls and floors around me. The rest of the hospital beds were empty with neatly folded linens on top of each mattress. It seemed the only other person here besides me was Madame Pomfry.

 

A cough echoed around the room and I swiveled my head, regretting it a second later. Ouch. Massaging my skull I looked around to find two beds in the corner that I hadn't noticed, with the curtain drawn around them. I frowned. Why were they closed off from the room? It was probably a couple of students who'd been hit with embarasing spells that turned their face all warty or something of the like.

 

I turned away, making sure to not move my head too quickly, and looked longingly at the door leading out of the Wing. Just moments ago my friends had been here waiting for me. I wanted to talk with them to find out what exactly had happened after my ridiculous spill on the way to class. It's not every day someone was sent to the infirmary just for falling.

 

Another cough and Madame Pomfrey came out to check on whoever was sitting in the bed behind the curtain. My head was still fuzzy so I hadn't had time to pretend to sleep before she saw me.

 

"Lay down, Blackwood," She barked as she dissapeared behind the curtain of the other patient, "I'll see you in a moment."

 

I sighed and slowly lowered myself back on the bed, smiling slightly when I saw one of Lily's books on a little chair by my mattress. I was reaching out for it from where i'd lain down when my arm abruptly dropped to the side and I heard a familiar voice from the other side of the room.

 

"Don't bother. It isn't worth it."

 

My whole body stiffened and I ignored my aching head as I sat up quickly. It had been low and weak, but I was almost sure....

 

"Now, now, don't talk like that Mr. Lupin. You know I always take care of you after your.... monthly excursions."

 

I was right. Remus was on one of the other beds. A whole hoard of thoughts and conclusion came coursing into my head and I flashed through each one with concern. Why was he in here? Why was he hidden? Where were the other marauders? Who was in the other bed? What had happened to Remus?



I was staring hard-core at the curtain around the bed when Madame Pomfrey emerged from behind it and gave me a somewhat dissaproving look.

 

"I thought I told you to lie down."

 

"You did." My eyes widened as I heard the sound of my own voice. It was croaky and alien.

 

"How are you feeling? Any pain? Numbness?"

 

I shook my head as Pomfrey sat down by my blanket-covered legs and took out a vile of something gross looking from her pocket.

 

"What happened?" I asked frowning.

 

"You had quite a fall yesterday."

 

I was tempted to roll my eyes, "I know that."

 

She spilt some of the liquid from the vile into a measuring spoon and held it up to the light. "You hit your head pretty hard on that fall. The blow to your skull resulted in a broken nose and semi-comatose state."

 

I froze. I had been in a coma?!



Madame Pomfrey must've seen the look on my face because her own expression softened a little. "Not to worry. It was only semi- comatose. I injected a certain medicinal potion into one of your main arteries to go in and fix whatever damage had been done to your cerebral area. And just to make sure there was no futher damage or internal bleeding, such as a hemorrhage, I did a full examination afterwards. Luckily it was as I'd suspected. No lasting head trauma."

 

I furrowed my brow trying to keep up with what she was saying. The only thing I got (the only thing that I really cared about) was that I was going to be fine.

 

"Now," She handed me the measuring spoon with the liquid, "You may feel some fuzziness or tiredness. That's normal. This potion will counter those after-effects of your fall."

 

I drank it imediately, more than ready to get rid of my blurry mind.

 

She raised an eyebrow as she stood up to leave, "I should warn you. It isn't pleasant for the first few seconds."

 

That was an understatement. The liquid burned like hot metal down my throat. I groaned and doubled over. It was as though I could actually feel each of my viens in my body, pulsing. One by one the medicine ran through, burning and torching them. When that feeling stopped after a minute, the head pain started. I had to squeeze my eyes shut because they felt so sore and sensative. My ears popped over and over again until they were probably clear enough so I had the hearing of a bat. I felt a woosh of icy coldness go through my nose and mouth.

 

A moment later and i was perfectly fine. I opened my eyes one at a time and breathed out a relieved sigh when I felt completely awake and invigorated. If anything, I felt better than I usually did. The potion had cleared up everything in my body. It was worth the pain for what I felt afterwards.

 

As soon as I recovered and felt completely healthy, I stood up. Tiptoeing over by Pomfrey's office I peeked in to see her mumbling and going through files of paperwork. She didn't look like she'd be leaving her desk anytime soon. Good. I had visit to make across the room.

 

Remus was in the bed on the right. I had no idea who was in the left one, but that wasn't really what I was concerned with at the moment.

 

I reached forward and slowly pulled back the blue fabric and slipped inside the small area where the bed was before looking over my shoulder to make sure Madame Pomfrey wasn't coming over.

 

"What are you doing here?"

 

I turned and opened my mouth to answer but the words got lost in my throat.

 

Remus looked like a particularly messy train wreck. His whole body appeared as though it had been beaten to the verge of death. He was sitting up in bed and covered from the waist down. I couldn't see whatever damage there was to his legs, but I didn't want too. His bare chest was covered with at least five large bandages, and the areas that were particularly bad had squares of gauze taped over them. I could see black, yellow and purpled bruises peeking out around each of the areas. His arms looked beaten and torn. His right one was ecspecially bad. There was a large cut going from the top of his shoulder down to the inside of his elbow that had been sewn up. As my eyes wandered up to his face I felt a rush of air go out of me. Both eyes were bruised and the right one was so swollen and hurt that he couldn't even open it. His jaw looked yellow and blotchy and there were three sharp cuts reaching from his hairline to his eyebrow on his left side. One ear had a peice missing off the tip.

 

I opened and closed my mouth several times before I finally just sat down by his feet and stared at him in shock.

 

"It isn't that bad...." His voice cracked and he winced, refusing to meet my eyes with his one that actually had visibilty.

 

The ridiculous remark snapped me out of my daze.

 

"Not that bad? Not that bad?!"

 

"Zalia--" He raised a hand and I noticed that each of his fingers were scabbed over and bruised.

 

"What the fuck happened?! Who the fuck did this to you?!"

 

Remus frowned, "No one did this to me I--"

 

"Don't you dare tell me it's not that bad!" I glared at him threateningly.

 

"If you would just--"

 

"You look like you were run over by a tractor and then chewed up by a fucking polar bear." I crossed my arms and stated flatly.

 

Without answering Remus gave a low sigh and picked up the wand sitting next to him. He looked passed me and pointed it in the direction of Madame Pomfrey's office.

 

"Muffliato."

 

I chewed my lip.

 

Remus glanced back at me. "It's a spell we saw Severus Snape using. It means you can yell at me without Madame Pomfrey hearing now."

 

I didn't respond. Why was it always my reaction to just scream at someone when anything bad happened? I tried to tone down my anger and confusion.

 

"Are you going to tell me what happened? You didn't come back to you room last night, all four of you marauders went missing, and now you show up looking half-dead in a secluded hospital bed?"

 

"How did you know we didn't come back last night?" He furrowed his brow.

 

"Seriously? That's what you have to say to me?" I asked dryly.

 

"I--"

 

"Did someone beat you up? Was it Slytherins?"

 

"Merlin, no!"

 

He looked offened that I would suggest that, but what other conclusion could I come too?

 

"Then what happened?"

 

He gave groan and readjusted himself, waving me off when I tried to help.

 

"No. I can move around by myself, thanks."

 

"Remus."

 

"All right, fine. If you want to know what happened, I'll tell you."

 

He was stalling. I could tell.

 

"I, err, got attacked by the Whomping Willow."

 

I raised an eyebrow, "What you just walked into it?"

 

"Not really. I was trying to get this Hufflepuff girl's cat out of the tree and got caught up in it's branches."

 

I snorted, "So the cat is fine, but you barely got away with all of your limbs intact. Yeah right. If you had done something heroic for a hufflepuff and her cat, it would be common knowledge through the shcool right now."

 

He glared at his lap.

 

"You're an awful liar, Remus."

 

"I know."

 

My eyes widened slightly.

 

"What are you not telling me?"

 

"I just.... can't."

 

"You can't." I repeated dryly.

 

"Uhh, yeah."

 

I smoothed out his sheets a little. "Do you not trust me....?"

 

He groaned and reached his arms up, rubbing his hands along his face lightly. "It's not that I don't want to tell you, it's that I'm afraid to tell you."

 

I recoiled from him slightly. Even though I knew he hadn't meant it the way it sounded, his answer still stung.

 

He reached towards me, "No! That's not what I meant."

 

"It's okay," I swallowed, "You don't owe me an explanation."

 

"Zalia--"

 

I stood up, "You obviously don't feel like you can be honest with me so--"

 

"Zalia!" He had both eyes squeezed shut and shouted at me through gritted teeth.

 

I stopped, surprised he had raised his voice at me. When he stayed with his eyes shut, breathing shallowly, I sat back down. There was something going on that I didn't understand. Something serious.

 

"You don't get it. If I tell you, you won't understand."

 

I frowned as he opened his eyes and stared at me with a pleading gaze. It was almost disturbing.

 

"What in Merlin's name is going on?" I asked bewilderdly, grabbing one of his bruised hands by instinct. He winced slightly, but then held on to me tighter.

 

"Promise me. Promise me you won't hate me."

 

A series of feelings splashed across my face. "Hate you? What--"

 

He took a deep breath, "Last night. In the forest. It was the moon. Not me. The moon. You have to know...."

 

He trailed off like his voice had given out on him. It wasn't neccessary to continue anyways. I knew. I knew.

 

Forest.

 

Moon.

 

I stared without seeing, trying to look back in my memory. Because it couldn't be true. Not Remus. Not him. Where had he been on the last full moon? I tried to think but.... I couldn't remember. And last night. He hadn't been there. But a werewolf had.

 

I let go of his hand without realizing it and stood upright. How had I not seen it before?

 

"You...." I said in a barely audible tone, staring at Remus with wide eyes.

 

I was going to say something probably not very helpful. I was going to walk away. I was going to tell Dumbledore.

 

But then Remus gave me a look. This look that just about broke my heart. And my heart wasn't easily touched.

 

"I'm sorry," He croaked, "I didn't want to be a monster."

 

"You're not."

 

The response had been automatic, and it was true. As much as Remus' revelation shocked me, I was not disgusted by him.

 

"Please," He said with a dark look, "You can't tell anyone else. It's bad enough that you know and James and--"

 

They knew? Of course the marauders knew.

 

"Remus," I actually was able to smile at him, "I don't hate you. How could you even think that? You aren't some raving murderer running around or--" He flinched. Okay, bad choice of words.

 

I sat down next to him, "It's not something you can control. I know all about werewolves. You know I study magical creatures more than anyone else around. There is nothing you can do about it."

 

He stared at his lap silently.

 

"Listen to me," I pointed at him, "You are not a bloody monster. Okay? And anyone who thinks that can come talk to me. I'll give them a good dose of perspecive."

 

He grimaced, "I don't like people knowing. I feel like I have this ugly disease that I can't ever be rid of. The wolf isn't me. I don't even remember what happens on nights when I turn. But.... it's still a part of me."

 

I frowned, "We all have parts of ourselves that we cannot change." I smiled, "Take me for example. I have an awful temper."

 

He looked at me skeptically, "I doubt your temper makes you want to eat people."

 

We stared at each other for a minute before bursting out laughing. Remus doubled over in pain, but kept smiling.

 

"Thanks for not looking at me like that."

 

My laughter pittered off, "Like what?"

 

"Like you're scared of me."

 

"Well, I'm not."

 

He tipped his head in my direction before I asked, "So.... it's just me and the boys?"

 

"Yeah. No one else knows."

 

"Remus," I frowned, "Where are they?"

 

He grew pale, "James is in the bed over there, and.... I don't know where Sirius and Peter are."

 

The boys knew about his condition, but what did that mean? Did they helpe him? And how?

 

Remus reached over and picked up a folded note that was sitting on the table by his bed. "I know I didn't kill them, becausePadfoot left me this note."

 

It was scary. Not Remus, no he wasn't frightening at all. It was scary knowing that once a month he would wake up not knowing what he had done the night before. Not knowing if he had killed.

 

"Wait." I realized something, "Do they go with you? When it happens?"

 

He hesitated before nodding.

 

"How?" I was surprised that all three weren't dead by now, or werewolves themselves.

 

"They're animagi."

 

It sounded familiar, "What?"

 

He rubbed the back of his neck wincing, "They can transform intoa certain animal at will. It's permanent magic."

 

I tried to wrap my head around that and was about to ask when I remembered the dog. The dog who had saved me. Was that James? Or Sirius? Or Peter? I opened my mouth once again before my eyes widened and it registered that James was sitting just to my left.

 

I whipped back Remus' bed curtain and then the one on the James', quicker than Remus could object.

 

"In the name of--"

 

I stared at the bed in front of me as Remus slowly leaned forward to see for himself.

 

James was out cold. From what I could see he was relatively unharmed, except for a large bandaged wrapped around his head. A groan came from behind me and I looked back.

 

"This is why I hate what I am." Remus growled, "This is why I don't want them going with me."

 

I didn't answer. I was about to close the curtain to James' bed when he yawned and stretched. Remus and I watched as he slowly woke up. He placed a hand on his head and frowned before opening his eyes.

 

"What--"

 

He noticed me. "Wha--"

 

He noticed Remus. "Wh--"

 

I folded my arms. I hadn't forgotton about James and the letter. "Yes, we are here. You seem to be injured, Remus is a werewolf, and supposedly you Peter and Sirius can turn into animals whenever the hell you want."

 

I glanced at Remus, "Is that about it or am I missing something?"

 

He shook his head.

 

"Right." I frowned at James, "What happened last night and where is the second half of your band of marauders?"

 

He looked back and forth between Remus and I before answering.

 

"So you found out about Remus' furry little problem." He grinned, showing us that one of his front teeth were missing.

 

"Oh yes. Last night was pretty wild."

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 


Chapter 20: Chapter XX: Sundaes And A Dance
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A/N: Hey Guys! Thank you to everyone who is sticking with this story :) Let me know what you think of this chapter. I'm already working on the next one. Also, I really hope you are looking up the "Songs of the day", they are prettttttty great!

 

Song of the day:

                Shot at the night- by The Killers


 


 

Zalia's POV:

 


 



Sometimes I really hate people.

 

Usually I try and ignore those feelings of hatred. But when the person you detest is literally throwing things at you, it's sort of hard.

 

This particular day, I was hating a certain blonde by the name of Tamara Goldberg. Hate being the mildest term I could use.

 

"But, why?"

 

I scowled, slamming closed a book I had been about to start reading. "Because we are not friends. Not even remotely close to being friends. You are to me as Gryffindor is to Slytherin. Get it?"

 

She pouted, setting her perfectly sculpted lips in a purse. "I'm only trying to--"

 

I stood up, slinging my book bag over my shoulder, "Only trying to what? To pretend that you are nice or something? You're a bitch, Tammy. And no matter how much you follow me around, whining in my ear, no one is going to think any differently."

 

I left without looking back and walked out into the corridor, heading for the entrance hall. It was a nice day. Not nice enough to make me like Tammy. But nice enough to let me try and pretend she didn't exist.

 

I walked out the double doors and into the sun reys streaming through the cold air. October was a good month. Cool, but not arctic. Breezy, but not windy. I stalked to my favorite tree and sat down underneath it, tearing up leaves that had fallen on the ground.

 

"Oi! Blackwood!"

 

I looked up. Remus and Beck were walking over with identical smiles. It was weird to see them getting along so well. Sure they were both charming, but still.

 

"Rough day?" Beck noticed the pile of shredded leaves around me.

 

"Not at all. Just been putting up with my nemesis."

 

"Sirius being a jerk?" Remus sat down next to me.

 

It had been days since we'd both left the Hospital Wing. I'd had no scars or bruises, but he had still been pretty roughed up by the time we were out. His chest was covered by his shirt, but his arms and face showed their good share of scars and bruises. By now some had faded. Pomfry had fixed up his eye and most of the rips down his arm. He still had one scar on his arm, one sitting vertical on his lower lip, and the very tip of his ear was missing.

 

I dropped the leaf I was holding. "Actually I meant Tammy."

 

"Oh," He shrugged, "One in the same really. But Padfoot isn't all that bad once you get to know him."

 

I ignored Remus' attempts to get me to become 'pals' with Sirius. He'd been dropping hints like that lately.

 

"She's intollerable. Today she started throwing quills at me when I wouldn't pay attention to her."

 

Both boys laughed.

 

"Tell her to shove it." Beck suggested, nudging a stick with his shoe.

 

"I did. But it's like she refuses to stop pretending. I thought it would last a day and then she would find it acceptable to be mean to me again."

 

Beck frowned, "When did she start acting like she was your biggest fan?"

 

"When I came back," I said quietly.

 

Beck shifted uncomfortably and Remus reached a hand towards me before thinking better of it and setting it in his lap instead.

 

"Anyways," I said, wanting to change the subject, "Who are you lot taking to the Halloween ball?"

 

The dance was tomorow night. The idea of it had grown on me and I was actually looking forward to going with my friends.

 

Beck grinned sheepishly, "I was going to ask Lily."

 

I ignored Remus' scowl. As always, a loyal marauder.



"Good idea," I smiled. Lily liked him anyways and I was still pissed at James.

 

"Thanks. I'll probably have to hurry up before Potter does though."

 

Remus frowned, "No. He's going stag with Peter and Frank Longbottom."

 

That surprised me, but maybe James was going to let his relationship with Lily marinate for a while. It was a good idea.

 

"What about you?" I nudged Remus with my elbow.

 

He cleared his throat and looked at the grass.

 

"Well?"

 

"I, err," His adams apple bobbed, "I was actually wondering if you'd go with me?"

 

I blinked. Oh. That was unexpected. But I really shouldn't have been surprised. Remus and I had gotten much closer over the past few weeks, and he was one of my best friends. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth.

 

"'Course I will!" I gave him a wink and he laughed.

 

Beck snorted, "You two are weird. Remus, you're a braver man than most to ask out 'the Queen'."

 

I stared at him, "The what?"

 

He chuckled nervously, "You didn't know they called you that?"

 

My eyes narrowed, "Who called me that?"

 

"It's not a bad name. Just sort of a title you go by in school." Remus put in.

 

I hesitated. True, it wasn't insulting. But I wasn't that thrilled about the idea of people calling me by a title.

 

"What does that mean?" I asked slowly.

 

"It's like.... you're sort of regal I guess."

 

I raised my eyebrows. Regal? I could live with that. I didn't mind being regal.

 

Beck leaned back against the tree trunk. "You sort of have this scary, noble, graceful aura about you."

 

"Scary?"

 

"And graceful." He said quickly.

 

I grunted, "I guess it could be worse."

 

Remus smiled before getting up. He had to check out a book from Madame Pince before lunch. Beck and I ended up walking back to Gryffindor tower together. Both of us had something to grab from our rooms.

 

I hadn't talked to Beck very much since his transfer to Hogwarts. I was surprised to find out how similar we were. We got to talking about traveling and different places around the world. It was an engrossing conversation. I'd never met someone who had been to as many places as I had, or had the same passion for seeing the world.

 

We were just comparing our experiences in Iceland when Lily came around a corner, her red hair tangled and flowing.

 

I smirked and told Beck I'd see him later. Throwing him a knowing look I left the two of them alone and ran upstairs; book bag in hand.

 

I passed a few people on my way up. Some of them muttered about me being insane. A few smiled shyly. But most just refused to meet my eyes. I glared at all of them, and ignored the smiles thrown my way. They were given out of pity anyway, and I didn't need that.

 

It felt like a breath of fresh air when I reached my room. I threw open the window and sat on its ledge, watching the students milling about on the grounds. People shouting, running, laughing, sitting, talking. Not caring. I envied them. I was far too much of a worrier. The habit was worse now than before. Probably because I had a lot more to worry about. But I was in an exeptionally mottled mood today.

 

I was anxious in anticipation for this weekend. My parents funeral.

 

If you could even call it that. It was more of a ceremony. They had both been cremated according to their wills, and now I had to go bury their ashes in the dirt. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.

 

I'd honestly forgotton about pretty much everything after their deaths. Who forgets things like that? Of course there would be some sort of funeral, of course I would have to go through all thier paperwork, of course I would inherit everything. And the only person who would be there to help me at all was my cousin Heidi. Someone I'd not seen in a few years, but my only distant relative that I'd ever actually spoken too.

 

Dumbledore had made most of the arrangements. He'd asked if I wanted to take care of it and plan the funeral, but I'd said no. Besides, my parents had dictated most of the details in their will. The only thing I wanted to do with the burial ceremony was be there. That would be difficult enough.

 

The one person who knew about the funeral was Rose. It had caught me completely off guard when I'd walked back from my talk with Dumbledore and she'd been sitting on my bed, waiting. She'd asked when the funeral was and I'd told her, hesitantly. Rose and I had a somewhat awkward friendship. She was kind of an oddball. Not talking much, and when she did it was usually something deep or wise. She was the best person to go to for advice.

 

After a lot, a lot of thinking, I'd gone with Rose's suggestion of having the funeral ceremony in a church for everyone who wanted to come, and then just going by myself or with cousin Heidi to bury the ashes. Being a private person, it was the most appealing option.

 

"--so exciting! I can't believe he asked me!"

 

I dropped off the window ledge as Mary and Lily burst into the room. Gathering up my book bag I moved to walk past them, out the door, after snatching up an inkwell from my trunk.

 

"Zalia! Guess who asked me to the dance?!"

 

I knew Lily was bursting to tell me so I pretended not to know, "Who?"

 

"Beck!" She grinned and punched me in the shoulder for no apparent reason.

 

"And Mary!" Lily shrieked.

 

I frowned, "Beck asked you and Mary?"

 

She rolled her eyes and flapped her hands while Mary's face went red. "No, silly. Vice asked her!"

 

"Oh! Congrats!" I smiled at them before getting ready to go down stairs again.

 

"Wait," Lily grabbed my arm, "Don't worry," She looked at me genuinely, "I'm sure you'll get asked. It's just that you're so freakin pretty guys are probably intimidated."

 

I raised an eyebrow, "For your information, I've already been asked."

 

Mary and Lily's eyes widened, "What?! who?"

 

I bit my tongue, slightly hesitant to tell them it was Remus. For some reason I felt like they would blow the thing out of proportion and act like we were getting engaged or something.

 

"Remus."

 

They both screamed, causing me to wince.

 

"That's fantastic!" Mary said earnestly.

 

"You guys are so cute together."

 

I frowned at Lily's remark, "We aren't a couple. We're just going as friends."

 

The two girls exchanged a look. "Does he know that?"

 

"Of course he--" I paused. Did he know this was just as friends? Were we going on a date? It was a dance, not a "let's get coffee", or an "i'd like to take you out to dinner" thing.

 

Frowning, I shook it off, "I'm sure he meant to ask me as a friend." But I wasn't really that sure anymore.

 

Lily and Mary seemed too excited to care. I left them to agonize over how to do their hair for the dance, and went downstairs towards the kitchens. I wasn't in the mood for anymore of Tammy's crap today, and eating in the great hall with James and Sirius didn't sound appealing at all.

 

I'd been civil to James while Remus and I had questioned him about the night of the full moon. Civil, and that was all. He'd invaded my privacy and taken something precious away from me. Neither crimes which I would be quick to forgive.

 

According to the man in question, he and the marauders went through a tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow every full moon. The tunnel led to a shack. The Shrieking shack to be precise, and there the three animagi would turn and keep the werewolf from wreaking havoc. Or try to. James had said there had been a problem on that particular night. Something had happened, someone had made the wrong move but he didn't know what, and Remus had lunged. He'd hit James in just the right spot and sent him flying towards on of the shack's walls. He'd been knocked unconcsious. Sirius had tried to help James, and Peter had scampered. Then that was it. Remus had bounded down the tunnel, past the Whomping Willow tree, and into the forest.

 

Sirius had filled in the story after the part where James' was knocked out. He'd left James in the shack to follow Remus, and had been tracking him through the forest when he'd found me instead. It was Sirius who had been the dog. He was the one who'd protected me and tried to get me to go back inside the castle. I didn't know if I was surprised or confused, but it was an unnerving feeling to think that he'd risked his life to save mine. I'd been there. I'd seen how brutal the wolf could be. Sirius had taken it on to save me, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

 

Peter and Sirius had shown up in the Hospital wing while I'd been interrogating James. Peter hadn't had a scratch on him, but Sirius was bruised and slightly torn with a limp in his left leg. Apparently after I'd gone inside, he'd wrestled Remus back into the tunnel, down to where James was, and kept guard over both of them until the morning when Remus had turned back to his human form. He'd then diposited both Remus and James to the infirmary (both of whom had been out cold), and went scowering the school grounds to look for Peter. He'd found him in his rat form by the pumpkin patch. It had been hard for me not to glare at the boy after figuring out he'd abandonded his friends and run off like a coward, but the marauders didn't seem that surprised.

 

James hadn't tried to apologize to me for reading my letter. He hadn't acted any differently than usual other than refusing to look at me properly. I guessed that James' idea of dealing with something was the old "ignore it and it'll go away" philosophy. I got even more pissed off when he wouldn't acknowledge what he'd done. I wasn't about to bring it up, but it was dissapointing that he wouldn't even try and talk to me about it. I'd been giving him the evil eye ever since then and avioded his presence when I could. I'd also been avoiding Sirius. I hadn't thanked him for helping me the other night, and I didn't want to. But it was awkward to be around him and not know how to act. He seemed to be thinking along the same lines as me. He'd been avoiding me since the Hospital Wing.

 

I reached the passage way to the kitchens and tickled the painting of the pear. The frame swung open and I climbed inside, walking down the stairs, lost in my own head. I'd been so distracted by my thoughts that I hadn't realized there were voices coming from the kitchen. Once I registered there were people down there I tried backing up, but it was too late.

 

"Hey! Come on over, Z!"

 

My eyebrows shot up as I approached Beck slowly. He grinned and patted the seat next to him along a wood table with a handful of people lounging around it. I chose to ignore the fact that he'd called me "Z".

 

"Are the kitchens whereabouts common knowledge now?" I asked, taking a seat.

 

Glancing around, I'd only spoken to a few of the people here. There was Marlene Mckinnon, glaring at me from where she was leaning back in her chair. Vice Jordon gave me a wink. A girl with short, spiky brown hair was frowning as she inspected her nails. A boy with light brown hair I recognized as Frank Longbottom was tapping the table with his fingers to the rythm of "Manic Mondays". And a short, tiny girl with large brown eyes was huddled at the end. Altogether not a very obvious group of friends.

 

"How's your face?"

 

I looked towards Marlene Mckinnon who had asked the question with an indifferent tone.

 

"Fine," I answered, not at all surprised she'd heard about my fall. "No damage done that Pomfry couldn't fix."

 

"Lucky you," Marlene's tone could have been sarcastic, but she sounded tired.

 

"I heard you got a concusion." Vice looked amused.

 

I grimaced, "Well, yeah, but it was only a slight one."

 

"Who get's a concussion from falling down on one stair?" The girl with short spikey hair asked. Her voice was light.

 

I laughed slightly, "No one."

 

Beck nudged me with his shoulder, "Did Lily tell you I asked her to go with me to the dance?"

 

"Yeah, she's pretty ecstatic," I smiled.

 

"So's Mary," I nodded towards Vice who blushed.

 

"You asked McDonald?" Marlene sounded surprised.

 

He shrugged, "Eh, no one else to go with."

 

I shot him a glare, "You're lucky she said yes."

 

"Hey, no I didn't mean that. It's just Mary tends to talk a million miles a minute."

 

I didn't answer, unfortunately he sort of had a point.

 

"All right you lot, I'm here. let's get this party started!"

 

I turned to see a tall girl with short blonde hair hopping down the stairs out of the kitchens passageway. She clapped her hands together and smacked Vice on the back of his head as she sat down next to him.

 

"Who are y--Oh. Whatsup Queen?"

 

My eyes widened at the reference to my "school title". I recognized the girl as Fedora Jones, another member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Beck seemed to be giving her some sort of warning motion but I just smiled.

 

"Not much, blondie."

 

She grinned toothily, "You don't look too crazy for a nut job." She looked me over as if searching for some sort of label that marked me as insane.

 

"Right back at you," I inclined my head.

 

She snorted, "I like her," She said loudly to Marlene who just rolled her eyes. She seemed to be holding a grudge against me from when I'd snapped at her in herbology. I had been having a bad day, what can I say?

 

"What are you guys doing down here?"

 

"Hanging out. We're waiting for our sundaes to arrive." Beck answered me.

 

I looked over my shoulder to see a dozen house-elves frantically preparing a trey of ice cream.

 

"Add a hot fudge to the mix!" I yelled over at them.

 

"Hey...."

 

I looked towards the girl with the spikey brown hair. She seemed to be deciding whether or not to tell me something. "I just wanted to say.... I'm sorry for your loss."

 

I wished she hadn't. The table went quiet and I saw Marlene scowling into her glass of water. She was probably thinking about her dad. He'd been murdered by the same people who'd taken my parents out.

 

I shrugged, "It's over now. Nothing to be done except move on."

 

I got a few odd looks, and even an appreciative glance from Mckinnon. The tiny girl with large eyes adressed me.

 

"Do you have any other family?" Her voice was scratchy, like she was getting over a cold.

 

I shrugged again, "I have a cousin that I talk to. That's it."

 

To my surprise and relief, no one gave me pitying stares. It was almost more comfortable to talk about this stuff with these strangers rather than my close friends. They didn't feel the need to try and make me happy, or sympathize. They were just curious.

 

"No siblings?" Frank Longbottom asked.

 

I shook my head. Beck patted my back, but I itched away from the contact.

 

"Anyways," I sighed, "Does everyone have a date for the dance tomorrow?"

 

I saw some awkward glances fly around the table and wondered if there had been a few asks and rejections in the group. The houselves arrived with our ellaborate trey of icecream sundaes and passed them around. Beck reached across me to grab his.

 

"I'm going stag with Potter and Pettigrew." Frank muttered. He didn't seem very excited about it.

 

"I got asked, but not by anyone I liked." Marlene smirked and then shot the tiniest glance at Beck before looking away. I smiled a little and then frowned when I realized that she had a crush on him. He was Lily's date.

 

"I was supposed to go with Griffin Bones, but he ditched me for some slutty hufflepuff." The girl with spikey hair grumbled.

 

"I got asked by a slytherin, but I think it was a prank. I said no anyways." The small girl with mousy hair said quietly from the end. We all stayed silent for a few moments after that.

 

"I'm still surprised you got Lupin." Beck grinned at me.

 

I narrowed my eyes, "We're just friends."

 

"Says the girl who went to the insane asylum."

 

I glanced to Marlene and shot her a glare. "Low blow, Mckinnon."

 

She shrugged, "If you mess him about, I'll personally destroy you."

 

I smiled slightly, "Remus is too good to be messed with."

 

She gave a sharp nod before settling back into her position with her feet up on the table and her hands behind her head.

 

"I'm going with Amos Diggory." The blonde (Fedora Jones) said.

 

I didn't tell Fedora that I thought he was a jerk. The spikey-haired girl fist bumped her.

 

"Does he have a friend?" She asked, wriggling her eyebrows.

 

Fedora snorted, "If you wanted me to set you up, you should've asked earlier, Alice. Now you'll just look desperate."

 

The girl, Alice, pursed her lips, "Fine. I won't go."

 

"Go with our group," I suggested casually. Alice seemed nice enough, if a little ecentric with her appearance. "We have dates, but we're still going as group."

 

I gave Beck and Vice glances before they started nodding along with what I was saying. "Besides, Rose doesn't have a date either."

 

She considered it for a moment before giving me a skeptical look, "You're the marauder girls group right?"

 

My eyes narrowed. Excuse me? The marauder's girls?



"No." I snapped, "We just happen to hang out with them.... sometimes....alot."

 

I ignored Marlene's smirk.

 

"Are you coming or not?"

 

Alice sighed, "Nothing to lose I suppose."

 

"Excellent," Beck scooped up a glob of icecream and ate it while I tried not to laugh at the small girl at the end of the table. She'd dropped a spoonfull of her sundae in her lap.

 

"Wood, you got fudge on my shoe." Frank said softly from beside her.

 

"Sorry!" She squeaked, jumping out of her chair to wipe up the mess.

 

"Are you a witch or not?" Fedora asked her exhasperatedly, gesturing to the girl's wand.

 

Marlene shot her a glare, "Leave her be."

 

I finally recognized the tiny girl as her head popped back up from under the table, with a napkin soaked in hot fudge and icecream in her hands. It was the Gryffindor Seeker. Twisha Wood. She couldn't have been older than a fourth year.

 

"Here, Twish." Mckinnon waved her wand lazily and the napkin dissapeered with a pop. the small girl gave her a sheepish smile before returning to her dessert.

 

I looked at my sundae for a minute before eating a few bites and then pushing it away. My appetite wasn't feeling the icecream apparently. And I remembered something important as my spoon clattered on the table.

 

"Ugh,Godric." I groaned, getting up from my chair and marching towards the exit.

 

"What's wrong?"

 

"Where are you going?"

 

"Got an appointment with your shrink?'

 

I sent a glare to Marlene over my shoulder, calling, "I've got an appointment with Dumbledore!" As I left.

 



 

*

 



 

"So what you're saying is I'm actually dangerous."

 

"No. I'm saying you're magic can be dangerous when you don't know how to keep it under control."

 

"What does that even mean? Do I have to walk around with a stress ball and constantly repeat the mantra 'stay calm' to myself?"

 

Dumbledore sighed from behind his desk.

 

"I don't believe any of this anyway."

 

He gave me a skeptical look. "I don't believe that you don't believe it."

 

I glared at him, "Yeah? Well, I don't believe that you don't believe that I d--" I stopped. "Nevermind. It isn't worth it."

 

"Miss Blackwood. Why on earth would I make this up? Everything I told you was true."

 

I slumped in my seat. "So what do I do? Am I going to be locked up for ever? For the greater good?"

 

He seemed amused. "Good heavens, no! Locking you up would certainly not be what I would call an act for the greater good. I propose that with a small group of trust worthy individuals we work with you to keep your magic from getting out of your control."

 

I mulled over the offer. If it was true. If. Then it was a good plan. I didn't want to walk around scared that a beam of lightening might shoot out of my hand at any moment.

 

"Fine. Who are these trust worthy individuals you speak of? Did you have anyone particular in mind?"

 

The headmaster smiled at me from over his silver, half-moon spectacles.

 

"Indeed I do. In fact, they've already agreed to work with you."

 

I snorted, "Okay. So these people. Our group. What are you lot going to do with me?"

 

His mouth twitched, "We'll need to do some uncomfortable tests, but it's neccassary."

 

An image of myself being strapped to a metal chair in a laboratory room flashed through my head, but I ignored it. Dumbledore was speaking phsycological and magical. Not scientific.

 

I nodded slowly, "Okay. Like what?"

 

He folded his hands and leaned towards me. "How do you feel about getting angry?"

 



 

*

 



 

I stalked up to Gryffindor tower, with a scowl on my face the whole time. Once again I had been the last to know about something. Something about me. My meeting with Dumbldore was shocking to say the least. What he'd told me.... I didn't even know was possible. But I guess if you looked at it from a logical perspective it was believable.

 

My scowl darkened when I reached the portrait of the fat lady; the entrance to the common room.

 

"Fizzy Wiz!" I spat the password at her.

 

She gave me a glare. Her friend Violet (a portrait in another part of the castle) was visiting, sitting beside her. She 'humphed' and folded her arms.

 

"Attitude! That's what I get for years of service! Attitude and brats!"

 

I rolled my eyes, "Let me in. I told you the password."

 

She was still going on about what a saint she was and how awful we all were to her when the portrait hole opened and I walked inside.

 

".... And then I told him about the bezoars. He was so fascinated that he--"

 

"Evans!" I barked her last name and marched over to where Lily was standing.

 

She paled at the look on my face. When he saw me coming, James started backing away from where he'd been standing, talking to her. I grabbed both their arms before they could bolt.

 

Ignoring their protests, I gripped them tighter and craned my neck, looking for the two other people I needed. Lucky enough they both walked into the common, laughing, as I turned.

 

"You!" I snapped, walking over to them with Lily and James.

 

They stopped laughing when they saw me. Remus looked confused.

 

"Hey, Zalia I--"

 

"Save it," I spat. "Follow me."

 

Without waiting for an answer I marched out of the common room, dragging James and Lily. They kept asking me questions but I just ignored them and concentrated on where I was going. I looked back once to make sure Sirius and Remus were following.

 

When I turned the last corner I let go of my two friends and paced along the side of a particular wall, repeating the phrase in my head that I'd thought of earlier.

 

"Hey, that's--"

 

The door appeared before Sirius finished his sentence. I shoved them inside and walked in behind them, satisfied with my accomplishment.

 

"What's going on?" James asked nervously.

 

The four of them sat themselves cautiously on the couches that had appeared in the room of requirement. I'd wished for something just like the common room, only private. We could speak without fear of being overheard in here.

 

"I can't believe that NO ONE told me!" I started, throwing up my arms, "You all knew and not one of you told me!"

 

Lily looked uncomfortable, like she knew what I was talking about, but the boys frowned.

 

"What are you--"

 

"The four of you got told about it and I come back and it's, 'Oh, Zalia, we missed you', and 'Oh, Zalia are you okay?'" I was breathing heavily now.

 

"And all the time you lot knew about my magic problem!"

 

"Oh."

 

Realization crossed their faces and all of them shifted uncomfortably. James, Lily and Remus looked guilty. Sirius shrugged.

 

"Dumbledore told us not to say anything."

 

I rolled my eyes, "So?"

 

"So we didn't." James answered.

 

"Okay, I get you want to honor Dumbledore's wishes and whatever, but you can't keep something like that from me."

 

"But--"

 

"Not like this. Not when it's about me."

 

Remus stared at his shoes.

 

"Look," Lily said, "We couldn't explain it to you, because we didn't know how. I didn't want to try and tell you about the problem with your magic and have you freak out on me."

 

I bit my tongue and considered her. "Okay, fine. But next time just tell me." I looked towards Sirius involuntarily. "I have a pinched nerve when it comes to being kept in the dark about things."

 

He met my eyes knowingly for a moment.

 

"Now that you know, did Dumbledore tell you what we have to do about it?"

 

I hesitated, "He mentioned some things."

 

Lily frowned, "Like what?"

 

"Tests."

 

"Tests?"

 

I shifted uncomfortably. "I have to be egged on. He wants to get my ire up and see what happens."

 

They looked at eachother.

 

"I guess that makes sense." James shrugged.

 

I nodded, "He wants to start next Monday morning. We're supposed to go down to Slughorns office, in the dungeons."

 

I recieved sharp nods from all four of them and turned towards Lily.

 

"Do you know an Alice?"

 

She looked curious, "Yes, why?"

 

"Does she have short, brown hair that's all spikey?" I gestured with my hands.

 

"Uh, yeah but wh--"

 

"I invited her to come with our group to the dance."

 

Lily looked surprised, "Okay, but I thought Griffin was going with her?"

 

I shook my head and repeated what Alice had said earlier, "He ditched her for some slutty Hufflepuff."

 

Sirius smirked and Lily nodded in understanding. I glanced at Remus for a minute.

 

"That's okay with you right?"

 

He snapped out of a daze and stared at me, "What?"

 

"It's okay if Alice goes with us right?"

 

He looked really uncomfortable and I watched his eyes dart towards Sirius and James. Oh. I folded my arms across my chest. They didn't know we were going together.

 

"You're going with the girls?" Sirius frowned slightly at him.

 

My eyes were trained on Remus and he looked from me to Sirius before nodding.

 

"I asked Zalia to go with me."

 

James just sort of shrugged and gave a long look to Lily, who didn't see. Sirius huffed and glared at Remus and I before standing up. I rolled my eyes at him.

 

"What is you're problem?"

 

He sneered at me, "You're my problem."

 

I threw up my hands, oblivious to the three people who were still sitting on the couch as our audience.

 

"I don't understand you!"

 

"Read my lips!" He shouted at me, "I don't like you!"

 

He was starting to walk away when I balled up my fists and yelled at his back, "Well, then why the hell did you save my life?!"

 

He stopped with his hand on the doorhandle and froze. I did too. My eyes grew big and I swiveled around immediately, panicking. My eyes met Remus' and I tried to silently apologize with them.

 

Lily looked between us all, "What?"

 

She didn't know. Remus. I promised not to tell. And she didn't know. I looked at her and kept my face impassive. I could still try and play this off.

 

"We--"

 

To my surprise Remus interrupted me.

 

"She found out." He was looking at Lily.

 

The red head's eyes went big and she turned to me, "How?"

 

By now I was utterly confused. I looked between the two of them and then at James and Sirius, neither of who seemed to be freaking out about Lily.

 

"What is--" I got interrupted again.

 

"You know?" She looked from me to Remus. "She knows?"

 

"I know?" I raised my eyebrows.

 

"She found out fifth year." Remus turned towards me and gestured to Lily. I looked at my best friend and sighed, relieved.

 

"Thank Godric!" I let out a breath, "I thought I nearly spilled the beans."

 

Lily crossed her arms, "What's this about Sirius saving your life?"

 

I bit my tongue, "Ah....'bout that...."

 

"She was wandering around the forest last full moon." Black walked over to us, growling. "Godric knows why."

 

My eyes locked onto James' and he stiffened. He knew why I was out there. It was his fault. He'd messed with my head by reading my letter. I stared at him coldly.

 

"Godric knows why." I repeated flatly. James swallowed; his adams apple bobbing.

 

"What?!" Lily stood staring at me, "Are you okay?"

 

I waved her off. "I'm fine." I turned my attention to Sirius, who wasn't looking at me. "He helped me."

 

I didn't want to say, 'he saved me'. It sounded much too dramatic in that 'damsel in distress' sort of way. If there was one thing I knew, it was that Sirius Black was not my knight in shining armor.

 

"I don't know why." I added quietly, glaring at the ground.

 

Sirius made some sort of exhasperated noise and marched back to the door leading out of the room of requirement.

 

"Just because you're not my favorite person, doesn't mean I want you dead."

 

I stared at his back, extremely frusterated with my current predicament. As much as I desperately wanted to hate him, I owed him. I owed him big.

 

Lily was opening and closing her mouth silently when I looked back.

 

"Hold up," She raised her hands, "What has been going on lately? People running around the forest? Remus getting out of the shack?"

 

"Sorry, I would've told you but...." James winced, "we didn't want to worry you."

 

"Well, what happened?!" Lily was looking at Remus.

 

I slumped down next to the couch and rested my elbow on my knee, setting my chin in my hand. "Shit went down." I muttered. They ignored me.

 

"Look, there was an accident. The important thing is that no one died." His gaze flickered to me. "Or got bitten."

 

Lily was frowning. "That can't happen again, Remus. You told me back when I found out, that it was really safe. You said no one could get hurt."

 

"Lily...." James said quietly.

 

"You need to be more careful."

 

Something flashed in Remus' eyes that I hadn't seen before. Anger. "You think I don't know that?" He snapped at Lily, making her jump.

 

She placed her hands on her hips. "Zalia could have been--"

 

I looked up. I didn't like Lily bringning me into this and making Remus feel guilty. Nothing had even happened.

 

"I'm fine." I gave her a reproachful gaze, "We're all fine. And it's not going to happen again. I'll make sure of it."

 

All three of them looked at me curiously.

 

"What do you mean?" James asked.

 

I sighed. It was something I'd been thinking about for a while. It made sense, but it was dangerous. I ignored the lick of fear that went up my spine and smiled at my friends.

 

"Next time, I'm coming with you."

 


 


 

*

 


 






 


 

Sirius POV:

 


 





I ran my fingers through my hair again. My other hand gripped the edge of the railing tightly until I could feel my heartbeat in my hand.

 


 

Stupid. So stupid.

 



Why was it that everytime I came here now it was like putting my mind through a torture rack? This place used to be where I'd just come to sit and wonder. Wonder about happy things, like the future. Or what way I could hack into the Slytherin common room. Now it was all dull.

 

This time I'd come to brood about a certain, raven-haired girl. A girl I'd saved. A girl who was acting like I'd surrendered her to the giant squid.

 

It was so frusterating. But I couldn't deny a part of me was angry at myself. Not for trying to keep her from getting eaten by a werewolf. For pretending to hate her. Yeah. I'd gone through it again and again and it was clear that despising her wasn't how I really felt. I'd been used to blaming her for things. For acting like she was a thorn in my side. Not to say she wasn't difficult.... but I couldn't think of a single instance where she'd done something unforgiveable. There was nothing. It was almost like we'd both subconciously agreed to go 'round screaming at eachother for no good reason.

 


 

Although....

 



I skimmed my hands along the bars lining the edge of the astronomy tower.

 

She was still stubborn and sarcastic. And utterly impossible to deal with. But I didn't hate her. I didn't like her, but I didn't hate her.

 

With this nervous news under my belt I squinted up at the sky, frowning at the mass of grey clouds overhead. Lately the weather had been nice, but there was a storm brewing. I could feel mist and fog moving through the air.

 

Leaving my thinking place behind me, I walked through the castle's stairs and corridors until I got back to the Gryffindor common room. By now everyone else was already there. There were more students mulling about than usual. Probably because the weather had kept everyone inside. I stuck my hands in my pockets once I reached the fireplace and shooed away a couple first years with a wave of my hand. I sat down, tucked my knees up under my chin and stared at the flames.

 

I was just beginning to relax when a slender arm wrapped around me.

 

"Here you are, darling. I was beginning to worry."

 

I tried to keep the grimace off of my face as I turned towards Tammy. Her bright blue eyes look green in the firelight.

 

"I was just hanging about. I'm actually kind of tired...."

 

She grabbed my hand and pouted as I stood up. "Oh no you don't! I've hardly seen you lately. Have you been avoiding me?"

 

"Avoiding--?" I paused. She was right about us hardly seeing eachother lately. She'd been missing meals and some of her classes.

 

"Isn't it the other way around?"

 

Her expression tightened, "What? Of course not."

 

My eyes narrowed suspiciously, "What have you been up to?"

 

She looked away and then patted my arm, "Nothing, darling! Of course."

 

I bit my tongue, "Right, well like I said. I'm tired. Good night."

 

She gave me a sloppy kiss before sending me up to my dorm. I didn't look back. Tammy used to be something fun to play with. Now, she just got on my nerves. Maybe it was time to send her off to the arms of some other womanizer.

 

The dorm was empty when I got there. I collapsed back onto my bed and sat there for ten mintues. Trying to decide whether or not to just call it a night and go to bed early.

 

The door slammed open as I was undressing out of my school clothes. Moony and Prongs hurried inside, both talking in raised voices.

 

"--No!"

 

"But if you--"

 

"No. I won't even think about it."

 

"But you heard--"

 

I sat up straight, "What's going on?"

 

Remus looked over at me with a pinched expression. Instead of answering he walked into the bathroom and slammed the door shut. With raised eyebrows I looked towards James who was rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"Zalia."

 


 

Of course.

 



I grimaced, "What did she do now?"

 

"Nothing," James muttered, sitting down on his bed. "At least, not yet."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

He sighed and took off his shoes. "She wants to go with us on the next full moon."

 

My eyes widened, "Is she insane?! She can't!" My face tightened when I saw Prong's conflicted expression.

 

I stood up slowly, "James.... you aren't actually.... considering this?"

 

He laid back on his bed and groaned. "I don't want her to go! But it's just.... what if it does happen again? I mean in our animagus form we can't have our wands with us. If Zalia went she could cast some sort of spell on him. I know that usually spells don't really work on werewolves, but she could still slow him down. It would give us a better chance at keeping him contained, and--"

 

I stopped Prongs with a wave of my hand. "Let me get this straight. You think putting Zalia Blackwood in the shreiking shack with a werewolf is a good idea."

 

He gave me a look. "Don't say it like that. We'll be there with her. It gives us an advantige. Besides, if one of us get's hurt she can help and--"

 

I cut him off again, "Come on, Mate. Don't be daft."

 

"It's a good idea." He glared at me.

 

"She'll be in the way!"

 

"She can help!"

 

A loud bang from the other side of the room made both of us jump. Remus was glowering at us from the bathroom doorway.

 

"It doesn't matter what you think. It's my choice, and I say she stays here."

 

I crossed my arms and flashed a pointed look towards Prongs.

 

James sighed. "Moony, just look at it this way. If Zalia comes with us, she can help make sure we don't put anyone else in danger."

 

A pained expression rippled through his face. "No."

 

Prongs threw his hands up in defeat, "Fine." He muttered, stalking towards the door to the stairway, "But you know she won't listen anyway." He left; shutting the door quietly behind him.

 

I exchanged a look with Remus.

 

"He's right, you know." I said through gritted teeth, "She'll probably show up anyways."

 

Moony gave a groan and ran his hands through his disheveled hair. "I'll talk to her. She's so stubborn but I have to make her listen." He glared at the floor. "Sirius, if she got hurt, or...."

 

I patted him on the back, "If she'll listen to anyone, it'll be you."

 

He didn't answer. I slowly made my way back over to my own bed. It would be a hard task getting to sleep now, but I wasn't about to go downstairs and talk to Zalia or Tammy or James. When did my friendships and relationships become so complicated? I flipped onto my stomach and burried my face in the white, cotton pillow. Ready to get lost in my dreams.

 



 

*

 

Zalia's POV:

 

"I've told you you look lovely a thousand times!"

It was a whole day since I'd breached the subject of tagging along to the shrieking shack with Remus. Neither of us had brought it up again after he shut me down, but I sure as hell wasn't giving up.

 
A groan came from the bathroom. "I know, but I still don't know if this is the right costume for me."

 

I rolled my eyes, "Mary McDonald! Get your arse out here or so help me I will transfigure your hair into a nest of nettles!"

 

I heard a squeak and smiled in satisfaction as the tall brunette high-tailed it to where I was standing besides the full-length mirror. My smile widened at her costume.

 

"Excellent. I knew it would be perfect."

 

She looked worried, "You don't think it's too weird?"

 

I waved my hand at her, "Nonesense. You look stunning. Doesn't she look stunning Lily?"

 

The red head looked up from where she was doing Rose's hair. "Perfect! That dress was a good decision Zalia."

 

I smirked, "'Course it was."

 

I went to work on Mary's hair, pulling and wrapping and tightening until it was just right. I brushed back a few stray hairs and crimped the strands that were framing her face.

 

"Brilliant." I stepped back, letting Mary get a full view of herself.

 

"Merlin...." She looked at her reflection and pulled at her cheeks to see if it was really her.

 

I grabbed her shoes and shoved them at her. "Now, put these on. I have to get myself ready."

 

"Thank you!" She squealed, giving me a hug. I patted her back awkwardly and walked into the bathroom where my own costume was hanging up.

 

I bit my lip as I looked it over. Hoping that it still looked as good on me as it had the day I'd bought it. I took it off the rack and slipped both peices on before turning in the bathroom mirror.

 

I smiled. It looked exactly like I'd remembered. The bottom half was a pair of turqoiuse-blue silk, gypsey pants with a gold band at the hips that connected at a 'V' below my belly button. And another pair of gold bands tightened at my ankles. The top was another gypsey-style peice which had puffy sleeves that hung off-shoulder and a sweetheart neckline. It was the same color as the pants and stopped just above my belly button. It felt weird showing so much skin, but it was only for one night. Besides; a costume is a costume. I wore chunky, gold arabian style earings and a gold necklace that had a saphire in the middle (keeping with the blue-ish theme). I grabbed the pair of gold ballet flats by the door and slipped them on. Satisfied I walked back into the dorm room to grab my makeup.

 

"Sweet Cercie! You look freaking gorgeous!"

 

I smiled at Alice who had arrived to get ready for the Halloween dance with us. Next to her, Rose wore a dumbfounded expression.

 

"Thanks."

 

"Damn!" Mary said appreciatively of my get-up.

 

Lily looked me over, "Remus won't know what hit him."

 

I hesitated before smiling back at her, "Thanks, Tiger Lily."

 

"No problem." She chuckled as she rearranged the sea-shell necklace that sat low on her neck. Lily's costume was just as good as mine. If not better. As soon as I'd come up with our theme for the party her red hair had told me exactly what to get her.

 

It was a two-peice one, like mine. But instead of flowy pants she had on a tight, body-hugging skirt. It was a velvet emerald green and flowed out just below the knee. A mermaid style. Her top showed about the same amount of skin as mine. It was lilac purple with a tight, fish-bone corset material that was solid and form fitting; stopping above the belly button. It had a sweet heart neckline which wrapped around to tie at the back of her neck instead of sleeves. Her shoes were high heeled- gold. Besides the sea shell necklace she didn't wear any jewelry, and her thick red hair was down and styled so it had a movie-star wave to it. The whole costume together with her make up (gold/green eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and pink, glossy lips), she was a knock-out.

 

I bent down to grab my makeup and hair kit before rushing back into the bathroom. We were running out of time. The boys said they'd meet us outside the portrait hole at 8 o'clock. It was a quarter to eight now.

 

I stopped myself before going past the doorway and looked back at Rose. Her costume fit her well. In personality and look. I tilted my head frowning. She fidgeted.

 

"What?"

 

I tapped my chin for a moment, "Tiger Lily, make her hair come to the side instead of straight back."

 

Lily glanced over to Rose and nodded in thought. I walked into the bathroom with my products before she got to work.

 

My hair was probably the most complicated of all the looks. Rivaled only by Mary's. It was lucky my hair was so long and thick to begin with. I blew a strand away from my face and pulled out my wand and potions; ready to work. I spelled my hair straight and applied an anti-friz potion to the whole thing, before adding in a No-Worry-Witch cream to keep it in place. Like a hairspray that didn't make your hair hard or slick. Next I brushed it out, satisfied with the length. Without the curls keeping it up somewhat, my hair was still bouncy, but reached almost to the end of my waist. I applied product to the ends to keep them healthy looking and then scooped up the mass of hair. I grabbed one of the two gold hair ties that were sitting on the bathroom counter. I pulled it back in a messy, loose pony tail so that the hair around the top of my head looked like it had a lot of body. Next I made another ponytail, farther down from the first one, and teased the hair neatly until it was like a poof in the middle. Now I was left with three sections of hair separated by the gold bands. I curled the very end to give it a bit of a wave.

 

I turned in the mirror, smiling at the reflection. My hair was huge and arabian looking. Just what I needed. I added in a few aquamarine and saphire jewels around the top before starting the make up. I used a liquid eyeliner to swipe on cat-eyes and added golden bronze eyeshadow. I went with bright red lips, pink blush, and colored in my eyebrows a little; making them more formed.

 

Satisfied with the finished product I grinned and went back out into the room, waving off any and all compliments. I looked Rose over and nodded. Yes the hair looked better on the side. Mary had finished putting her shoes on and it seemed they had all been waiting for me.

 

Rose stepped forward and before we started leaving Lily cried out, grabbing a gold tiara and placing it on Rose's head. The small brunette blushed. She looked adorable. She was wearing a long, golden yellow evening gown with tiny embroidered stitching detail that went all the way to the bottom, where the skirt stopped at the floor. She had on cream-colored silk gloves which went up to her elbow and the top of the dress was a corset style with a embellished neck and capped sleeves. One red rose bud was attatched to the center of the neck line. Her hair was pulled back into asweeping side ponytail (curled at the ends) with curled layers framing her face in the front. Her makeup was minimal. Mascara, brown eyeshadow, and pale lips. Her white high heeled shoes gave her three inches in height.

 

Next to her, Mary didn't seem so tall now. We'd been smart to go with a flat shoe for her. Her costume was a little risky, but I liked it. She wore a tan dress with brown detail that ended mid-thigh with fringe on the ends. The top was one sleeve on one side and sleevless on the other. Her right arm had a dark brown temporary tattoo that looked like a spiked arm band on her upper-arm. She had a belt of jade beads that hung on her hips and wore a pair of embroidered macossins. Her hair had been difficult. I'd had to spell it to grow a few more inches until it ended mid-back and then braided it into a side braid with crimped layers around her face. Her make-up was similar to mine, although the eyeliner was more egyptian than cat-eye. Her lips were pale and glossy and she had bronzer on to create a more defined look.

 

Alice was the only one of us who looked slightly out of place in a wizarding punk-rocker get-up. Her spiky hair was jelled up and she had on leather pants, go-go boots, a neon, tie-dye shirt, leather jacket, and dark/dark makeup. All along her arms were spiked metal bracelets and armbands, with one metal choker sitting on her neck. It was scary and endearing at the same time.

 

I snapped out of my daze when Lily clapped her hands, grinning around.

 

"Let's go!" Rose giggled. Alice linked arms with her and Mary and before I knew it all five of us were barrelling down the stairs to meet the boys.

 

"You can be my date." I heard Alice calling to Rose.

 

"That's right. A rocker and a princess. What a pair." She laughed.

 

We reached the landing of the common room and found almost no one there. Everyone else it seemed had already gone down to the Great Hall for the party. I was anxious to see what the hall had been transformed into. Lily and James had kept silent about it. Wanting to surprise everyone.

 

The Portrait hole opened for us and we stepped through one by one; me last.

 

".... they are--"

 

I smirked as the boys on the other side gaped at us. I was slightly surprised to find that besides our dates; Frank Longbottom, Peter, James, and Sirius were there too. I ignored the other marauders excpet for Remus.

 

He gave me a dashing smile and bowed dramatically, kissing my hand. I rolled my eyes at him while grinning.

 

"You look lovely." He said, taking my arm.

 

"You aren't too shabby yourself." I answered, giving him a once over. It seemed none of the boys had decided to dress up in costume. Remus was wearing a pair of new, black wizards robes with a dark purple collar. His hair was combed neatly to the side, but still stuck up a bit in the back. His polished black shoes clicked along the stone floor as we walked, taking the lead for our group.

 

I glanced back and almost burst out laughing. Beck and Lily were behind us. He was staring at her eagerly as she chattered and nervously played with her hair. Just behind them James was moping along, dragging his feet. I didn't feel any pity for him. The letter incident sat at the back of my mind.

 

Mary and Vice followed behind James and I winced slightly as I saw Vice looking uncomfortable with Mary's non stop talking. I'd have to council her about that later. Sirius, Peter, Rose, Alice and Frank took up the rear. I wondered why Sirius wasn't with Tammy. Maybe they were over? No. I doubted it. Neither of them would likely give up dating their popular booty calls. I turned back to face front.

 

Remus was chatting about something and I tried to tune back in. He crinkled his nose when he smiled. I mirrored his expression, falling into an easy pace beside him.

 

 

 

 

 



 A/N:  What'd ya think?  ;)  Did you guess what the girls' costumes were? Leave a review!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 


Chapter 21: Chapter XXI: The Lady Is a Tramp
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 


 

 Wow!! I know, its been forever and a day since I updated. Sorry! Anyways, the important thing is it's here now. Enjoy! Hope you love it ;)


 

 


 

Song of the day:


 

                Wildest Moments- by Jessie Ware


 

 


 

 


 

 


 




 

 


 

Sirius' POV:


 

 


 

 


 

            I could feel the alcohol burning my throat deliciously as I took another swig from the "pumpkin juice". We'd spiked it of course. James and I. I’d told him I'd take the blame if Lily found out.


 

            I squinted around the room, training my eyes away from the flashing bright lights. It was loud. Not as loud as a marauders' party maybe, but certainly louder than I expected the staff to allow. Maybe Dumbledore just didn't give a crap. I wouldn't be surprised if he had been a partier himself back in the day.


 

            Leaning back with my elbows resting on the snack table, I once again found myself admiring the layout of the party. It was hard not to; being a party-planner myself. The Great Hall was decked out in a full array of Halloween decorations. There were paper origami bats, pumpkins, and spiders flying about the hall in between the floating black candles with their orange flames flickering. The stained glass windows (since repaired from Zalia’s magic mishap) had been transfigured into picturing ugly witches over a brew, muggle-style ghosts, and other Halloween themes instead of their normal renaissance scenes.


 

            I inched away from a group of giggling third years who went tumbling past me.


 

            “You’ve certainly got enough ‘happy juice’ to keep you going.” I muttered, grinning as they fell over like a line of dominoes.


 

            “Mmm…. And I wonder how that happened.”


 

            I winced and turned my head to see Lily standing with her hands on her hips and her foot tapping.


 

            “Evans….” I winked at her, “What’s a party without some trouble?”


 

            “You are trouble personified, Sirius.”


 

            At my wary look she rolled her eyes and walked over to stand by me. “Oh calm down, I’ll let it fly. Godric knows we could use some distraction here….”


 

            I raised my eyebrows in surprise. “Don’t tell me you’re not having fun at your own party?”


 

            She pursed her lips, “Of course I am.”


 

            “What? Disappointed in your date?” I jested.


 

            She gave me a look. “No.” Her gaze flickered to a corner of the hall. “But don’t tell me you’ve forgotten who is the co-host of this thing.”


 

            I followed her eyes to see Prongs silently mouthing and flapping his hand mockingly behind Beck’s back as the latter chatted with Rose and Alice.


 

            Attempting not to laugh, I twisted my mouth. “Aw, James is harmless.”


 

            She pursed her lips, “Maybe, but he’s also bloody annoying sometimes.”


 

            “Whatever you say, Red.” I gave her a wink and started to leave.


 

            “What is it with everyone wanting to give me nick names?!” I heard her frustrated yell as I walked away.


 

            I wandered past the first and second years (seperated into spaced out girls and boys groups), past the third years (making eyes at their dates but not daring to talk to them), past the fourth and fifth years (stepping awkwardly on eachothers’ toes as they tried to dance), and past the sixth years (making out with each other sloppily with the occasional cat fight breaking out). Until I reached the area where some of my fellow seventh years had congregated.


 

            “Can you believe that used to be us?” I wondered aloud to Remus, gesturing at the younger students.


 

            He shook his head, smiling. “To be honest…. I kind of miss it.”


 

            I knocked the back of his head, “You’re so mushy.”


 

            He hit my hand away and reached up to fix his hair.


 

            I smiled crookedly and shrugged, “But I miss it too.”


 

            “Not ready for the big bad world are you?” A voice called from beside me.


 

            I looked over as Zalia ducked around me to give one of the two drinks in her hand to Remus.


 

            “The world isn’t ready for me.” I laughed.


 

            “I think Hogwarts will miss us.” Remus smiled.


 

 “Course they will!” Mary, Rose, and James scampered up. “Sirius here is going down in history as Hogwarts’ most infamous playboy.”


 

            Zalia smirked with Remus, but I felt myself glance around; instinctively searching for my girlfriend. Tammy and I hadn’t spoken one word about the dance. As I’d noticed she’d been off the charts lately and I’d hardly seen her. Not that I wanted a relationship where we were attatched at the hip, but still. I was dating her to get some action. And that was sort of hard when she was never around.


 

            “How is the she-devil?” I heard Zalia ask bitterly.


 

            Giving her a slight glare I shrugged, “Doing whatever she likes.”


 

            I didn’t notice the confused glances that flew around our group.


 

            “Right….” James clapped his hands together, “Well….Pads, Moony….” He gave Remus and I meaningful looks, “Buisness?”


 

            I cleared my throat and made a beeline for the doors to the great hall with James as Remus strode close behind us. The girls called out, wondering where we were going, but none of us answered. A grin tugged at my mouth as the doors closed behind us and Peter came bounding down the stars on the left.


 

            “I did it! I’ve left the dung-bomb in Minnie’s office” He squeaked; his chest puffed with pride.


 

            “Excellent,” James clapped his shoulder. A mischievous glint appeared in his eye.


 

            Remus and I exchanged a look.


 

            “Let’s do this.”


 

 


 

 


 

*


 

 


 

 


 

Lily’s POV:


 

 


 

            For Merlin’s sake, did no one understand my costume? Zalia had promised it would be obvious but so far all I’d got was:


 

            “Are you supposed to be some sort of half fairy-half ogre?”


 

            “A disabled siren?”


 

            “A new species of fish?”


 

            : Nope. Nope, nope, nope. None of the above.


 

            I fidgeted with the edge of my top, skimming the skin just above my belly button.


 

            “You look lovely this evening.”


 

            I turned and blinked. My throat closed up when I saw who it was.


 

            “Sev’,” I inclined my head to him in the same awkwardly polite manner he’d spoken in.


 

            “A mermaid I presume?”


 

            I bit my lip and nodded; lightly bewildered that he of all people would have guessed correctly.


 

            “‘The little mermaid’, actually. It’s a princess from a muggle fairy tale.”


 

            I ignored the slight flash in his eyes as I said ‘muggle’.


 

            “And what are you?” I gestured to his all black costume with a tied mask, boots, and gloves.


 

            Beneath the fabric covering his face I could see his pale complextion flush a little.


 

            “A ninja,” He muttered, “It was Avery’s idea.”


 

            My face automatically tightened at the mention of his Slytherin friend.


 

            “Ah…..”


 

            He shuffled his feet, “Do you know where the drinks are?”


 

            I turned and pointed to a long table, partially hidden by a large group of Ravenclaws. “Just there.”


 

            “Thanks….” He sped off quickly, leaving me reeling.


 

            I ripped my eyes away from his back when sharp bang cracked beside me.


 

            “Where the bloody hell have they gone?!”


 

            I stared as Zalia took her hand away from where she’d slapped the side of the wall and craned her neck to look around.


 

            “Who?”


 

            “The boys!” She waved her hand at me impatiently. “They literally ran away from me, Mary and Alice just now. What’s that all about?”


 

            I shrugged. “Can’t help you, sorry Love.”


 

            She ‘tutted’ and folded her arms as she leant back against the wall to face me. “You’ve been having a time of it I can see.”


 

            “What do you mean?” I frowned.


 

            “You’re all flushed and jumpy.” She gestured.


 

            I looked away as my hand flew back to the hem of the short top.


 

            “Stop fidgeting!” Zalia hit my hand away softly, “Calm down Tiger Lily. The party’s a great success, no one has gotten into trouble yet, and you’re here with Beck!”


 

            I raised an eyebrow, “Yes, I suppose.”


 

            She rolled her eyes at me, “Don’t be such a drag. Go have some fun!”


 

            Before I could respond she skipped away, throwing a teasing wink behind her.


 

            Scowling my way across the room, I caught up with my date and dragged the American away from a group of gaggling sixth year girls who were practically hanging off of him.


 

            “Sorry! But he promised me a dance!” I called back to them over my shoulder. Their furious expressions only grew uglier.


 

            “I never promised you a dance.” Beck said, amused, as we walked out into the center of the room where the dancing area was.


 

            I smiled and placed my arms lightly around his neck to sway in time with the slow music. “No, but you should have.”


 

            He went slightly pink as his hands found their away around my waist. “Sorry. I guess I’ve been a rotten date.”


 

            I shrugged, “The night’s still young.”


 

The music picked up and my smile widened. “Let’s see what you can do.”


 

            He winked at me and the next thing I knew we were flying around, moving fast in time to the music. I knew how to do two things in dancing: swaying to slow songs, and jumping to fast ones. A laugh escaped my lips as Beck raced around making us look like proffesionals. He did some sort of fancy foot work, spun me out and back in, and twirled me around. I gasped when he grabbed my waist, lifted me up, and spun me in the air. He set me down grinning and we paused for a moment. Our faces were so close that I could count the freckles that dotted his left cheek. We were breathing heavy, our chests heaving from the momentum the dance had given us. Beck’s eyes flickered from my eyes to my mouth and my heart beat even faster. Making a split second decision I grabbed his hand and pulled him through the crowd of dancers towards the tables and chairs lining the back of the Great Hall.


 

            “I need a drink.” I told him over the roaring music. I pretended not to see his half amused/half disappointed look as I ducked away.


 

 


 

 


 

*


 

 


 

 


 

Zalia’s POV:


 

 


 

            I huffed angrily as I noticed the chipped nail on my right hand. It was split straight down the middle. Cautiously I reached over with my other hand and fidgeted with it. I sucked in a sharp breath and set it back down. As I’d suspected it hurt like hell when I put any pressure on it.


 

            Determined to ignore the small imperfection I looked up from my seat and panned the room. Lily was talking to Beck at the other end of the Hall. Mary and Alice had found Marlene and her friends, and were dancing around like chickens with their heads cut off; hilarious to watch, if a little strange. I tapped my foot impatiently as there was still no sign of the marauders. Some date this was turning out to be. Remus was going to get an earful from me when he turned up again.


 

            “Enjoying yourself?”


 

            I jerked my head around, startled by the voice that had come out of nowhere. My eyes latched onto a tall, young man who was leaning against the back of a chair casually.


 

            I frowned slightly. “Who are you?”


 

            He smirked making his features stretch handsomely. My eyes narrowed as I evaluated him up and down. He was lean and clearly toned, wearing what looked like an old fashioned suit and bow-tie. Dressed up in some kind of classic theme. He had dark brown hair that was slicked back to show his strong face. His eyes were strikingly gold. And while the rest of his features were nice in their own right, they also looked familiar.


 

            “I’d tell you my name but then I’d have to kill you.”


 

            I repositioned my legs so that I was slightly farther from him. He was standing too close for comfort.


 

            “Fair enough.” I tilted my head towards him. I watched as he knocked back a black flask, making a sour face as the liquid went down.


 

            Glancing back to me he raised his eyebrows and held out the drink.


 

            “Want some?”


 

            I hesitated before grabbing the flask and taking a swig. Usually drinking from something a total stranger off