[A/N] *clears throat* Attention, please. If you haven’t read the edited version of chapter 1, I would strongly recommend you do so, as it has some very important background knowledge, as well as me wanting to know exactly how much better it is than my original. Haha. Now, that’s enough of that. Here’s chapter 8!
Egotism is the anaesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity – Frank Leahy
“Hit the bloody bludger properly, would you, Black?!”
“I don’t see you doing it, Avery!”
James Potter, quidditch captain Nazi of the hippy era, had decided to start training his team up early this year. Too early, would be the words of the remaining six players on his team. It seemed that his love for the sport had taken new heights since their last practice, forcing the Gryffindor team’s training before the earth had been given the chance to cool itself down from the summer heat.
Now, barely two weeks of term gone, seven scarlet-clad figures could be seen zooming up and down the quidditch pitch, hoping against hope that their valiant efforts to out-run the still air around them would summon a non-existent breeze that would somehow cool them down. Tempers were indeed running high, none of them quite comprehending how their captain could be so – energetic in the sweltering heat.
Amelie, having retreated to ignoring Black as much as possible after the should-be-embarrassing (but oddly-upsetting) events of a few nights back, felt even angrier than the rest. Though she adored quidditch and the sense of freedom that nothing else but a broom-ride could give her, the fact of the matter was that it did, indeed, mean working side by side with the other Gryffindor beater, who, cruelly enough, was none other than Sirius Black.
To top it all off, Black was off form, allowing a stray bludger to slip past his bat and barely skim Amelie’s left ear.
“Bit hard, seeing as I was looking the other way for the other bludger,” Amelie spat back, voice teetering as it fought to remain calm.
Amelie thanked the stars above as she saw Sirius flying off in a huff: she didn’t think that she could contend with yet another confrontation.
‘There’s a good boy,’ she thought, snickering in her mind as she thought of Sirius as a dog. ‘He’d make a ruddy scary one, he would.’
“Right now, Travers, you get over here with Hedges. Us three are going to practice that formation I told you about. Croft - see if you can block us. Sirius, you get up there, stop being a twat and help Avery keep these bludgers away from us. Callum – keep looking for that snitch.”
Sirius looked up at his friend in indignation, mouth hanging open in disbelief. Amelie chuckled, relishing the fact that Sirius’ pride was suffering huge blows – and by none other than James Potter – his best friend and partner in crime. However, she was silenced by a cold look from Callum, who had, together with Kyle, finally gotten round to giving Amelie a good talking to about a week beforehand.
As she had known it would be, the experience was far from pleasant. Kyle and Callum do not shout, scream or cause a scene. Nor do they throw tantrums or run off in a hissy fit. When the two boys are angry, they show nothing but pure, unadulterated disappointment.
And that was exactly what happened. Amelie was sat down on the sofa opposite the fire in the Gryffindor common room, forced to sit through and listen to an entire lecture on how they never expected her to sink to the level that she had, and how upset they were that she hadn’t listened to them beforehand. How they felt betrayed and hurt that she thought so little of their advice, and though they hated to say it, they hoped that the months worth of detentions that she got would at least knock some sense into her, because they hadn’t seemed to have been able to.
Though the three were still on talking terms, Amelie was painfully conscious of her demeanour around them, trying hard not to make them even more frustrated with her. They had an odd way of making a person feel bad, those two did, but there were no doubts in regards to the method’s efficiency: Amelie was living proof that the technique was anything but flawed.
Sighting a speeding bludger that was making its’ destructive way towards the well-coordinated chasers, Amelie flew at full tilt. She swung her bat, throwing all her weight forward with it, glad to hear the dull thunk, and watch as said debauched ball was hurled to the other side of the quidditch pitch.
She allowed herself a slight smirk of satisfaction. She was good.
And she knew it.
And she knew it.
“Thanks, Amy!” called a relieved chaser from a few metres back.
“No probs, Liv!”
The Gryffindor quidditch team had been particularly unlucky the past few years. It was common knowledge that they had the best team in the school, though timely scrapes from the other houses had managed to snatch the cup out of their hands for three years in a row. Currently, Ravenclaw were defending the title.
Being renowned for their wit and high grades, and now, supposedly, their prowess on the quidditch pitch, the Ravenclaws had become almost unbearable this year. Walking around the school with a new-found swagger in their steps, the Gryffindors were hard-put to hate them less than the Slytherins, which was, indeed, saying something.
“Come on, Sirius! Beaumont’ll whoop our arses with the bludger like that if you don’t watch it!”
A stray bludger from the other side of the pitch had somehow managed to worm its way towards Callum, who was forced into an odd, pirouette-like movement at the last moment to avoid the shame of having a mutilated arm so early in the season.
“Sorry,” Sirius muttered, shaking his head like a dog ridding itself of water, shaggy black hair flopping from side to side out of his misty grey eyes.
Amelie allowed a small smile to creep up on her face at the sight, only for it to be swept away as Sirius’ eyes looked up and met hers. She felt a jolt somewhere in the pit of her stomach, but the embarrassment accompanying it was too strong. She turned her face away, continuing to pursue the bludgers.
‘That git. That fucking git. Why does he have to be so bloody confusing all the time? Why can’t he just go fuck some random whore and leave me alone? Bastard.’
Viciously she flew, hammering each bludger with such ferocity that the muscles in her arms ached, but she didn’t care. All her frustration, anger at being shown up, at being snubbed after finally coming to grips with her emotions, anger at each and every one of the degrading vulnerabilities that had come to surface far too often recently were slowly escaping through the outlet that she had come to call quidditch.
The best sport on Earth.
Each time the bat met the bludger, the effort she put into the swing, the deliberation with which she hit the malevolent little bugger of a ball, vented off a little bit more of her anger and replaced it with sadistic satisfaction. Amelie had been through way too many ordeals, too many put-downs and taunts to let something as trivial as Sirius Black to get her down.
The sodding git.
“Amy! Tone it down a bit, would you? You’re going to do your hand in if you carry on hitting the bludger like that,” called James, eyeing the feral girl with wary apprehension after a particularly brutal shot.
Amelie, anger still way beyond the point of taming by humane reasoning, showed her appreciation of her captain’s sentiments by hammering the bludger with terrific force only inches from James’ leg.
All in all, it was safe to say that Amelie wasn’t feeling her mental best that day.
James, in shock, stared at the defiant girl whose dark eyes threatened to consume him.
“I do not need you looking after me, James!”
James stared in disbelief.
“You know what, Amy? I’m going to talk to you after practice… there’s just too much to discuss with you, and it’s not going to cut into our practice time. Now, you either listen to what I tell you as your captain, or you can go do your charms homework if that’s what you’d rather be doing.”
The captain swooped off, leaving Amelie to feel angry and bashful. Of course she didn’t prefer charms to quidditch – what a stupid presumption. But no, she shouldn’t have snapped at the boy. Technically, it was his duty to look after his players – however much it irked her to have someone breathing down her neck, scrutinizing her every move. For that’s exactly how it had felt. She had been so submerged in her own personal thoughts when she had hit the bludger, his shout had caught her off-guard, making her feel vulnerable, as if she had laid her secrets bare in front of him.
Oh, how she hated feeling so bloody exposed! Sod the lot of them.
After that, training passed in a mundane haze of angry bludgers, fluttering snitches and inert quaffles. Amelie continued, tirelessly pressing on, forcing her broom forwards until she had no energy left. Somehow, she had lodged it in her brain that the more she worked, the less there would be to worry about… the less to think about… the freer she would be.
If only freedom was so easy to come by. But it wasn’t – Amelie had a whole lifetime of proof for that one. She was well aware that she could try all she wanted, and yet she would never really free. Her past would always haunt her. Oh how she envied her friends who could do what they wanted without a care in the world, who would go out and have a laugh over the summer, who couldn’t wait for it to be Christmas just so they could run back to their mummy’s and daddy’s and little baby brother’s. How she envied the lucky bastards who thought that being grounded for overspending meant that their family needed counselling.
If only they could swap places for just one day, just one, tiny, little day – but no-one would. And, however upset Amelie was in regards to her home life, she would never wish the same upon anyone else. It was more than enough that one person had experienced the trauma.
The team showered, enjoying the sensation of the scorching hot water scrubbing the grime and sweat off of their grubby bodies.
“Oi! Amy! Is this one yours?” Olivia Hedges, the fourth year chaser asked, indicating to the hair band in her palm. The sweet, brown-eyed quidditch player had an unfortunate streak of losing her accessories frequently.
Amelie flicked back her wet hair, examining the hair-band. “Nope, take it if you want.”
“Okay then,” said the young girl, quickly using tying up her dirty blonde hair into a messy ponytail.
The intense training session, together with the heat had rendered them all exhausted. The team soon after, trod up to the Gryffindor tower. James, however sat, leaning back on a bench, anxiety written all over his face as he watched the girl in front of him.
“What’s up, Amy?”
Amelie determinedly avoided the hazel eyes that probed for answers as she replied. “What do you mean, James? Nothing’s up. I just don’t like people watching my back all the time, that’s all.”
James snorted. “Don’t give me that tosh. I’ve been your captain for how many years now and you’ve never come out with something like that. You know it’s my job to make sure you don’t injure yourself – if something happened to do you, or anyone else for that matter, McGonagall’ll have my head.”
“Yeah, I do. But it’s nothing James.”
“You’re hiding something.”
“Since when have you been the legilimens, then?” Amelie asked mockingly, eyes blazing with irritation, lips curling into a sneer. “Yes, I’m hiding something. When people do that, James they generally mean that they don’t want people to know what they’re thinking. So, I’ll thank you to stop asking me questions when you know I won’t answer you.”
James sighed, holding his hands up. “Okay, okay, I’ll leave the quidditch questions – but I still have to talk to you. This is actually a bit, er, tricky, so to speak.” The boy looked oddly uncomfortable, scratching the back of his neck with a finely toned arm that Amelie duly noted as something that many a girl would drool over as she raised an eyebrow for him to continue with his monologue.
“Er, well, er, you see-”
Amelie, who, up until now was standing patiently, felt a sharp pang of annoyance at the boys’ sudden incapability of human speech.
“Oh just spit it out, will you?”
“It’s about Sirius.”
Amelie’s features darkened as she scowled. It was times like these that reminded everyone that she was an Avery. James gulped as he heard Amelie’s voice reduced to a whisper.
“What about him?”
“Er, um, well, I – he – he’s a bit out of it at the moment,” he muttered, wincing at how feeble he sounded. Surely he, as Gryffindor quidditch captain should show more grit when confronting a girl?
But this wasn’t just any girl. This was Amelie Avery – the sadistic beast. This was the girl who made Lily Evans look like a docile kitten by comparison.
She was not one to be messed with.
“And I care because?” she replied, voice somehow carrying so clear that James heard it as if he was right next to her.
“B-because I think it’s because of you,” James replied, slowly and cautiously looking up into Amelie’s black eyes, trying to discern her feelings on the matter without being beaten into pulp.
Amelie raised a brow in incredulity. “Why the fuck would it be because of me?” she said, pitch rising. “Your beater has problems with his co-ordination, leave me out of it!”
James scowled. A tense silence ensued, tempers dangerously high. Amy’s eyes had narrowed dangerously. She and James always got along perfectly – one word on Sirius they had been into mortal enemies, rapiers drawn and all. James looked frustrated, presumably over the fact that he couldn’t get his point across.
“This isn’t just about quidditch, Amy! Would you just listen? He’s been like this for two weeks now – acting like a sodding martyr or something. We’ve tried to talk him out of whatever it is. Technically, he hasn’t told us, but seeing as what happened two weeks ago…”
Amelie understood where the conversation was going, and then became indignant. That git! The nerve of him! His friend had the bloody cheek to leave her embarrassed and hurt, and now he had come to lay the blame on her!
“Oh, no, James! No, don’t you go putting this one on me. I was the victim this time, James and you know it! I was the one who was used – just so that sod could prove that I could lie. I mean how stupid could he be?! Everyone knew I could lie anyway!”
Noticing that her pitch was steadily rising, James decided to cut in.
“Theoretically, Amy, you did ask him to prove it to you,” he began. Amelie’s mouth was about to open in protest but he ploughed on, not giving her time to rant. “But it’s not about that. It’s just – well, you’ve been ignoring him, obviously, and I think he’s realised he was a bit harsh back there. I really think he’s regretting it.”
Amelie looked like she was fighting thousands of emotions off at once. She wanted to laugh at the possibility that Sirius might be the tiniest bit upset about her ignoring him and shocked that his best friend of all people thought that could actually happen. Did he honestly have no clue?
“Listen, James. I appreciate that you’re doing this out of concern for your friend, but I can’t possibly think why he’d be upset over me. We have fights every two days – we ignore each other for over half the school year! I mean, okay, we don’t really hate each other as much as we show we do, but – look, have you thought that maybe something else happened?”
“See!” James practically yelled in frustration. “You don’t hate each other as much as you let on… and I probably know Sirius more than his own mum. Well, that’s not saying much, but I know him a lot. The only thing he isn’t always really clear about when he’s talking to me is you two. Just for the record, I know about the summers and stuff, though he goes hazy on loads of the particulars. See, I don’t ask him about them stuff, but there’re only two reasons why Sirius wouldn’t tell me something.”
Amelie, intrigued (albeit reluctantly), allowed herself to look politely puzzled as she asked, “What reasons?”
“Well,” said James tentatively, staring into Amelie’s eyes, presumably for a reaction or something else of the sort, knowing very well that it was useless. Amelie’s face would only show emotions when she wanted it to. “Either it’s something that doesn’t have anything to do with him, or it’s because he’s not sure of it himself.”
Amelie felt a weird sensation in the pit of her stomach as she remembered her conversation with Kyle just a few weeks back.
‘I don’t exactly know…’
Oh, if only things had stayed that way. If only she still didn’t exactly know what was wrong with her. If only she was still woefully ignorant of how Black’s misty grey eyes made her-
“And?” Amelie asked, pushing herself out of her reverie.
James looked frozen for a while. Amelie’s eyes had glazed over – even if it was for two seconds. He was sure of it! This was a miracle!
He looked around, trying to make sure that nothing else had happened: no angels descending from the skies, the lake not parting for any congregation to pass through, no celestial voices serenading them from the heavens. The boy slowly exhaled in relief. One at a time was more than enough.
“Well… both of them prove that you two are far closer than you let on. I mean, I don’t think I’d be surprised if you knew a few things about him that Ididn’t know,” James said earnestly.
Amelie stood and walked away from James, trying to reign in the emotions that were fighting to explode out of her. She wanted to cry, scream, shout – anything. It was strange how a simple confrontation from a friend could affect her more than the constant beatings from the brute who had wedged his place into her family. Strange how a friend could beat something home to you without even realising that they were. How, sometimes, they thought that they were doing good, and were slowly killing you on the inside.
She knew Sirius all right – the mischievous look in his eyes when he thought of a particularly entertaining way to tease the greasy Slytherin by the name of Snape, the way his eyebrows furrowed and he twisted his mouth when he was pondering something, the way he threw back his head and let his elegant black locks fall over his grey eyes when he let out that bark-like laugh of his. But that side everybody knew. Amelie was different. She wasn’t everybody. She knew the way his body would stiffen when he was angry, the way his eyes went hollow and lifeless when he was upset and brooding.
Sirius was a thing unto himself. He was adamant on somehow gaining his freedom. Sixteen years of Black-family-torture had not quenched his thirst – no, need to be free. The boy was not one for being held down, and Amelie knew it. The worst thing anyone could do when they saw a frustrated, angry Sirius would be to mollycoddle him and tell him everything would be okay, or to harass him for questions on what happened. All Sirius needed was someone to be there physically. If he wanted to talk, he would. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t: simple as that. When you were with a moody Sirius, he dictates the rules.
And Amelie, ever the leader, somehow didn’t mind giving up the throne for Sirius every once in a while. Had it been anyone else, she would have put them back down in their place at once, but Sirius was – different. By handing over the title of leader, she allowed herself to sit in the back seat for a while, enjoying the view.
She couldn’t help it: she trusted Sirius with the throne.
So why did she treat him like she did at school? Why did she so carelessly push him away at every chance without any regard over how he’d feel over it? Why, when they were so close?
It hurt her to think of why it hurt him. Sirius. He had been hurting, too. There was no other explanation for it. Why else would he be so distant from James – his partner in crime, his brother? Why was she doing this to him when he went through more than enough pain at home?
Oh, sod this! Why does everything have to be so confusing?
James’ soft call brought Amelie back down to Earth. She felt an unfamiliar constricting feeling in her throat, and knew she had to get out of there at once. She pushed past her confused but extremely anxious quidditch captain, running full pelt up to the Room of Requirement on the seventh floor. It was early evening on a weekend, and she didn’t fancy the hustle and bustle of the Gryffindor tower.
Dorcas was sitting on a desk in the common room, legs swinging as she yelled the names of her two friends who had just made it back from practice annoyingly. Alice held her hands over her ears, trying, and failing, to rid her eardrums of the pain of that supernatural pitch.
“Oh, hush up, Dory, you’re doing our heads in.” snapped Lily, who was extremely flustered after only having written four feet for her essay on the correct composition of a Befuddlement Draught. “How was practice, Callum?”
“Same old, really. James being the obsessive nut he is, driving us all to insanity. Honestly, which sane captain would make their team play in this weather?”
“Mate, James is not sane. Remember the time when he admitted to buying all the house-elves little “Thank-you” cards for their ‘services to the Marauders’?”
Callum snorted. “Course! Oh – but you got to admit that the Potter rendition of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall was a classic.”
Lily put her face down and bit on to her lip to hide the smile that was creeping up her face as she fought not to envisage the scene. Potter singing Pink Floyd?! She didn’t even know he knew that Pink Floyd existed, let alone to know him well enough to actually do a make-shift performance on him. So bloody fitting for him to have chosen that particular song… To her horror, her reaction didn’t go past Dorcas, who could, on occasion, be very perceptive – damn her.
“Lily! You’re smirking!”
Any hint of amusement was wiped off the girls’ face within a millisecond. “No, I was not! How could you-you imply that! That was totally uncalled for, Dorcas!”
Looking at the four shocked faces around her, Lily’s facial expressions once again went through a rapid change, but this time, from anger to horror. She moaned. “I totally over-exaggerated, didn’t I?”
Her three friends nodded, still with blank faces.
“Right. Great. Never mind me. I’m going upstairs to finish this – too much noise.” With that, she picked up her scrolls of parchment, swung her bag around her shoulder and swooped up the stairs towards the girls dormitories.
“Random,” muttered Kyle.
“Yup,” replied Callum succinctly, both still with glazed eyes.
“Not really,” said Alice, looking up from over a novel that she was reading.
“Eh?” asked Callum, looking extremely confused.
Alice sighed, placing her bookmark on the page she was on and closing her book.
Turning around, she faced the two boys, and ushered them to sit on the seats opposite her so that she could elaborate.
“Now, you two, what I’m going to tell you is sacred information. Why I’m telling you to it, I have no idea – I guess it might be ‘cos however stupid you can be sometimes, you’re our idiots and we know you can be trusted. So please, for your own lives’ sake, keep this information low. If Lily finds out I told you – well, let’s just say I’ll have the house-elves to test our food for the rest of our lives.”
The two boys nodded, looking slightly confused, wanting to know what was wrong with their red-headed friend. Dorcas continued the story.
“Well, you see last year? Yeah, well Lily came up one day to the dorm and she was like how she really needed to tell us something. And we were all confused and stuff, because, I mean, Lily looked really weird – like she’d been running away from summat. Any-hoo, so we sit down and she says she thinks she might like Potter.”
At this, the two boys’ jaws dropped. Simultaneously, they thrust their right index finger into their ears to try and rid it of wax.
“Keep it down!” reprimanded Alice. “You’re telling me you lot didn’t see it coming? Me and Amy had a bet down since beginning of fourth year. She won, damn her. I put ten galleons down for her confessing this year.”
Callum looked indignant. “You had a bet on and you didn’t tell us!”
Dorcas moped. “They didn’t tell me, either!”
“Well,” said Callum, looking hesitantly at the overly-emotional Dorcas. “Er – its okay, Dor. I’m sure they didn’t mean to exclude you.” At this, he gave Alice a meaningful stare, as if daring her to say any different. Dorcas wasn’t renowned for keeping secrets to herself – especially if she knew the person the secret was about. Her hyperactivity seemed to cut her off the track of rational thinking, eliminating any thoughts of possible morality that may have once existed in her crazy head.
“Anyway,” said Kyle, flapping his arms impatiently, wanting to know more. “So, what happened? That was last year. Why hasn’t she gone out with him, then?”
Alice looked down sadly. “Because of what happened afterwards. Practically a day later was our Defence writing exam.”
The two boys winced. Neither asked what happened that day. Neither asked what had made her change her decision as soon as she made it. That day last year was practically part of Hogwarts legend: far too much had been on display that day, quite figuratively. “Ouch.”
“Exactly. And since then, she’s gone back into denial.”
Dorcas giggled. “Says neither her body nor soul is capable of liking someone with such a huge head.”
Callum let out a low whistle. This had to be the biggest secret ever to be kept inside the walls of Hogwarts. If anyone found out about this, the place would surely explode with a flurry of excitement, shock and – in the case of several infatuated girls – tears. However tempting it sounded to wreak havoc on the Hogwarts social scene, out of compassion for Lily, the boys decided to keep their mouths shut - that and the fact that Lily would chop off certain parts of their anatomy without a seconds’ hesitation if she knew it was them who had betrayed her secret.
Just as Alice began to open her mouth, a down-trodden James entered the common room.
“Hi, you lot,” he mumbled, slumping down into the soft armchair by the fire. “You seen Sirius, Remus or Peter anywhere?”
“Hey,” said Alice. “I think Remus and Peter went to the kitchens – haven’t seen Sirius since before training. What kept you?”
“Ah, I was just chatting to Amy.”
“Eh?” asked Callum. “How come?”
James shook his head. “It’s nothing big. But…” the boy sighed, looking dejected. “Well, I thought it wasn’t. Sirius – well, I guess you’ve seen he’s been a bit odd lately.”
The four nodded their heads.
“Yeah…” Alice started, thinking about the past few weeks. “Since that day they’ve both been a tad touchy, haven’t they? I mean, it’s not exactly unexpected, though, is it?”
“No…” they all muttered, deep in thought.
Kyle felt uneasy. He was the only one who really knew about Amelie and Sirius. As he had suspected, James looked like he knew a few things too, though perhaps not as much. Kyle hadn’t forgotten the look on Amelie’s face as she recounted the conversations and banters she and Sirius shared over the summers, and the way she constantly defended Sirius when she knew he was no-where near. Before, Kyle had thought it was just because she wanted to rid herself of the guilt of getting involved with him, but now he knew better. It went so much deeper.
Many people would probably find it weird to know that Amelie could care for someone. After all, she was generally so feisty. Kyle admired how the girl had still managed to open a place in her heart, cram a whole bunch of people in and be able to call them her friends, despite all that had happened to her. After all of the trauma in her life, she could have easily hid behind everyone and let the world take over, but Amelie just wasn’t one to sit back and let the other’s have hog the spotlight. She’d be sure to make her presence was known, whatever the situation. That was just the person she was.
And here was this girl, who was so determined to show her position in the world, caring about Sirius Black – the very person who she had not yet a year ago had in a very painful-looking front quarter-nelson. Because that was just it.
Sirius Black was pacing along the many corridors of Hogwarts, not really paying heed to where he was heading, or, if indeed he was heading anywhere. His thoughts were confused, his brain jumbled, and it reflected in his performance: it was lacking - both on the Quidditch pitch and in life, and he was well aware of it.
Life at home that summer had become almost unbearable, with him mainly spending his time trying to keep out of shooting-range of his parents’ wands, who had recently taken up the hobby of randomly hexing him from behind for the fun of it. Regulus, now a Slytherin, had become determined to look down on the boy he had once held in so much awe. The thought of his brothers’ betrayal cut deeply into Sirius’ heart. Anytime he and Sirius passed in the corridors now, the younger Slytherin would ignore his brother completely, acting as if he hadn’t a clue in the world that a blood relative of his had just passed within a metre of him.
If only Regulus could have been a bit stronger. If only he could have helped him to think differently.
But his parents had been careful enough to keep their eldest son away from Regulus, not wanting him to influence their youngest son and only hope for redemption in the pureblood society they prided themselves as being a part of. Upon hearing that Regulus had in fact turned out a Slytherin, they patted themselves on the back as a job well done. They had successfully singled out their eldest child.
What did they care if he didn’t have anywhere to turn to?
Sirius kicked the foot of a nearby staircase, trying to vent off his confusion and frustration. Would it have been easier if he had been alone? Would it all have been simpler if he hadn’t ever been introduced to Amelie?
He just couldn’t understand how he’d come to be at this point where he was now – how he’d become so arrogant towards her that he’d practically obliterated any remnants of the friendship that he clung to over the summers.
Though wasn’t that what happened every year? Wasn’t that what they always did – act like complete gits to one another (and most of the other kids in school) all year, only to practically cling to each other, each using the other as shelter from their relatives during the holidays?
But why? Why did he feel the need to act like she was a conquest when she was always so much more? They were each others’ sanctuary; a haven from the evils that surrounded them both. When they were being hunted down like meagre mice by a flock of sharp-eyed vultures, they would help each other scurry to a place of safety, neither leaving without the other – because, really, what would they be otherwise? How would they survive?
He wanted to kick himself, punch himself – do whatever he could to relieve the anger coursing inside him. How could he have been so stupid for hurting her like that? He knew her. He knew how she hated to be put down – hated to be reminded that she was a failure like her dad always told her she was.
Well, her step-dad, really.
Sirius’ shoes echoed as they tapped rhythmically on the cold marble floor as they headed towards the seventh floor corridor. The sun had finally gone down, leaving the building and grounds to cool in its absence. He desperately needed somewhere where he could be alone, just to think… just to rid himself of all the thoughts and feelings… those feelings that had swept into his stomach as soon as Amelie’s piercing black eyes caught his on the quidditch pitch…
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