She could feel the bubble welling her chest as if it was yesterday. She sensed the cloudy headedness and the weak knees…the feeling in the pit of her stomach twisting around at the thought of Sirius. She told herself, as a young Slytherin, that it was the fear that her friends might find out; but secretly she knew that she had been shoved off from a cliff she was unprepared to be flung from.
Her fingernails dug into the sides of her head. She was changed from the second she agreed to allow Sirius the chance to woo her. She was so deeply swept from her feet that her outlook had changed that very night. There was nothing gradual or graceful about the way it overcame her.
“Damnit,” She smacked the bottle off from her desk. It clamored to the ground without breaking yet still making a horrible racket. She didn’t need a head full of liquor in addition to the multitude of other things she was feeling. She took in a huge breath, letting it sooth her hazy mind.
The note was still crumpled in her hand. She glanced at it through two bleary eyes and smiled. “I love to hate you Sirius. I always have. But I hate to love you too.”
Again she was the first to arrive; he was always late…she was tired, had early morning potions, and was cold; combined these things equaled a very unhappy girl.
“How does a rule abiding queen of perfection managed to slip past the guards of Hogwarts whenever she wishes?”
She smiled at hearing him. She turned, “I have my ways.”
“Yes you do,” Sirius confirmed.
“Why did you call me here?” She asked meeting him under the tree.
“Do I need a reason?” He asked reaching out to her.
She didn’t answer as his arms circled her. The moments lasted an eternity as he held her close, comfortably. She could not explain why she let him touch her, why she wanted to be near him, but she didn’t need to…it felt right. “You’re always late,” she hummed absentmindedly.
“Keeps you on your toes,” he corrected.
There it was again, the thing that she appreciated in him; the thing she thought she never would have wanted – obstinance. He leaned over her small body wrapped in his arms and pressed his lips to hers. It warmed her chilled skin as the nervousness was converted to electricity that ran heavily through both of them. When they separated Sirius took Lilah’s hand and led her to the base of the tree where he sat first and pulled her down close to him.
“Can this go on Sirius?” Lilah asked. “Can we do this in secret forever?”
“Maybe,” he whispered, “is it not worth it?”
“Not forever, never forever. Lilah, nothing is forever…nothing is ever in absolutes. Remember that.”
She wedged her body snuggly under his arm, sitting on the cool earthy ground. The bark of the tree caught on her cloak and she was fairly certain the dirt was seeping into her clothes. She hadn’t sat on the ground since she was a tiny child; though it bothered her she didn’t complain.
“Next month I’m going to come to Christmas dinner.”
Lilah drew back, this is what he brought her here for; to drop a bomb on her. For generations the Blacks had come to Malfoy Mansion to partake in Christmas dinner – sometimes a little present swapping and often proper courting. Nearly a hundred family members combined laced the castle sized residence of the Malfoys. It confirmed the pureblood bond between the two families, a sort of yearly reminder that they were allied. She had always liked throwing the party; it was what she was bred to do. However, in all the years she had helped pick out decorations, taste test orderves and choose music she had never seen Sirius Black attend the festivities.
“My mother will be delighted,” he chuckled half heartedly.
“Sirius don’t. Don’t do this.” She stated, trying not to sound pleading.
“Do what?” He asked looking at her objectively.
“You’re going to come to cause trouble.”
“Mostly,” he nodded, brushing a hair from her eyes. “But above that you’ll be there; and that makes the banality of it worth it.”
“But there it will be worse than here at school. I can’t even fathom how mean we’ll have to be to one another. And…well, you’re not well liked among my family – I’m sure you know that’s no secret. The awful things your mother says, well, I can’t even believe she’d say them.”
His coy half smirk was telling, “What does she say?”
“Sirius,” Lilah whispered quietly as she shook her head.
“Tell me, what does she say? That I never should have been born and Regulus will make her proud one day? That I disgrace the name of Black? If she’d known what I’d become she’d have drown me as a child?”
“Sirius!” Lilah slapped her hand over his smiling mouth. She pressed her head against his chest and listened to the soft tapping of his heart with her hand still covering his lips. “Please don’t, don’t say that.”
“Lilah,” he pulled her back and forced her to look him dead on, “I know what she says. You’re right - it’s no secret how she feels.”
“No mother should talk like that.” Lilah raised an eyebrow, but he could see pain in her eyes despite her attempt at fighting it.
“Don’t feel guilty.” He let her go when she tried to pull away. The seriousness in his voice was sobering and Lilah knew that he understood what she was feeling. All those years she had laughed at what old Mrs. Black had said, she had nodded at her words about his shameful behavior, she had believed every statement about Sirius that fell from the woman’s lips. Her prejudice of him had been founded in Mrs. Black’s words, in Mr. Black’s frowning upon the mention of his son and the obvious absence of the person who was the topic of conversation. Naturally when she went to Hogwarts and discovered the often spoke of boy, not even in Slytherin house, she assumed he had to be all the terrible things they said. It was easy to hate him from a distance, to poke at him nastily before he was a person, when he was still an idea and name that meant little to her. They were all wrong about Sirius, just like she had been. He was a reason, he was now her reason. Lilah conceited that night that she could yield to the thing that didn’t exist; she could fall hopelessly in love and she already had. It had no point, it was inexplicable, it was without purpose, it could be painful, it made the world a little brighter and gave her a terrible aching in her soul (a soul that was meant to be part of a whole now); she loved unequivocally and well before she was ready for it.
“I would love to say that I don’t feel guilty,” Lilah said finally. “I’m not sure it’ll wash off that easily. Guilt stains.”
“Then at least let me come to defend myself.” His mischievous gaze was dangerous and she wished she could wipe the charismatic smile from his face.
“That’s not fair,” she shot back; knowing this would spawn one of their exhausting, but rewarding, bickering wars. She said it on purpose, to get a response from him, so he would rise to her. She could have yielded and she really did want him to come, despite her reservations.
As predicted he responded in kind and they went back and forth for nearly an hour teasing the other. Lilah finally shook her head, “You’re coming then.”
“I know! I’ve been telling you that for an hour and half.” He was sort of red in the face and puffed up haughtily.
She leaned in and brushed her lips against his, “I want you to come. You give me direction. Even if it’s not north, it’s still direction.”
He made a low growl behind his grin and squeezed her tightly, “You’re infuriating!”
“It’s why you like me.”
“No,” he shook his head and went on honestly, “It’s why I love you.”
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