Coralie walked outside linking arms with Pip and giggling with Adin. Max was trapped inside with the Head of Ravenclaw and Charms Professor O’Neil to discuss career options. But for the rest it was an afternoon of delight.
The ground was covered in a thick layer of crunchy snow and crusted with a layer of rippled ice. The girls puffed out their breath just to watch it fog in front of them, and the lake was frozen over completely. Several students were having a contest to see who could go the farthest out onto the large, glassy expanse, looking about nervously but then stepping boldly. It was a Friday and snowball fights waged around them, leaving the girls ducking to avoid becoming victims and giggling as the cold bit at their exposed skin. Noses turned rather red rather quickly, so soon they were all pointing and giving each other small smirks and teasing about “Rudolph”.
It was simply one of those days were you feel giddy and energized and cherished and happy and your eyes shine with it all. One of the days when you just love life. One of those days that are described as blissful but are never really remembered.
The three made their way down to where a tree was standing, looking lonely and barren without the shelter of its leafy canopy. Slipping and grasping onto one another to prevent broken wrists and death by falling they made their way down a small but treacherous slope.
A compacted ball of snow and ice hissed right past Coralie’s ear and she shrieked a little, ducking and by connection jerking Pip then Adin down with her.
“Alie!” Adin was holding onto Pip wildly, her legs slipping from beneath her.
Alie and Pip only laughed however, as their friend found herself sprawled over the icy ground. Adin scowled up at them, and then yanked on Pip’s arm, causing the girl to lose her balance and grab onto Alie’s scarf, choking her.
“Pip!” she gasped, massaging her neck, but there was mirth echoing about in her voice- as abundant as the gleeful shouts that swirled around them.
Pip grinned sheepishly at Alie, then bent to help Adin up.
Suddenly something was whistling right in front Alie’s nose.
“Cor!” Now why did that sound familiar?
And then everything went black.
Coralie woke up to find herself staring at a very white ceiling, and then a form loomed over her, its face half-concerned, half-amused.
Déjà vu… Alie thought groggily. Until she realized that it was Sirius Black standing over her, then she blinked rather rapidly. He was standing a bit awkwardly looking chastised but as though he wanted to burst out laughing. His black fair fell in front of his face as he looked down at her, his grey eyes shining with something very like mirth and relief, his mouth forced into a serious expression. His lips immediately twitched when he saw her eyes open; bright blue and unfocused.
“Sirius,” she said bewildered, pushing herself up too quickly then holding her head and wincing. “What are you doing here?”
What am I doing here? She wondered at the same time.
“Well I felt kind of guilty…”
Coralie pushed herself fully up, more slowly this time, and sat back on her pillows. She gathered she was in the Hospital Wing.
“About what?” she asked curiously.
“Well, it was my snowball that… you know… ”
“What?” Coralie demanded impatiently.
“Knocked you out,” Sirius finally admitted.
There was still that look on his face; the one that was a cross between sympathy, humor, and guilt.
Coralie started, and then it clicked.
She glared at Sirius for a second, but then started laughing. He looked immensely relieved and promptly joined in, laughing maniacally.
Coralie rubbed her forehead.
“Merlin, what time is it? How long have I been out?”
Sirius’ grin vanished.
“It’s fifteen after six,” he said nervously.
Coralie gaped at him. She had been walking outside with Pip and Adin around three-thirty.
“On the bright side,” Sirius continued hastily. “You didn’t miss dinner, and look.”
He pointed discreetly at a bed in the corner. Cole Zergin lay there whimpering. Coralie squinted, trying to improve her still-foggy vision. Then she giggled a bit, her lips curling up in a delighted smile. He was covering his face with the sheet, but you could see smoke curling lazily out of his ears and red blemishes on the top of his forehead. She gave a small little moan and felt a bit guilty, covering her face with her hands. But she couldn’t stop her grin from growing wider and wider.
Suddenly a door opened and closed gently.
“Oh, good, decided to come back around Miss Stancer?” Madame Bern said, clucking sympathetically, then she handed her a small bottle containing only a sip of some potion. “Here, take this with dinner tonight,” she instructed. “You’re free to go as soon as you wish.”
Coralie nodded as the admittedly wide Madam Bern bustled away, and then swung her legs over the edge of the bed, wobbling a little as she stood. Sirius grasped her elbow to steady her. Coralie felt something flutter ever so slightly in her stomach and heat begin to rise up her neck. She found herself wishing desperately he couldn’t feel the hair on her arms standing on end.
“I really am sorry,” he said, sounding it but grinning down at her. “If it makes you feel any better, I was aiming for Peter.”
Cor laughed and shook back her hair- she hated wearing it down, it was so unmanageable.
“Do you have a death wish for Peter then?” she asked innocently.
Sirius looked bemused, and grinning, letting go of her.
“You going to the Great Hall?” he asked her.
She shrugged then nodded, and was inordinately fond of her hands all the way to dinner, studying them as though she had never seen them before. She was all too conscious of every breath she took, every step she walked. Sirius on the other hand, seemed perfectly at ease, striding along and smiling down at her in amusement every once in a while.
When they reached the Great Hall he waved and then went over to slide into a bench with his friends, while Coralie just smiled, fluttering her fingers but not raising her hand, and then hurrying off to Ravenclaw table to join her friends. Who, she now realized, had uncharacteristically not been there when she woke up.
“Alie!” Pip jumped up and hugged her, her tiny, toned arms squeezing Alie harder than she’d have like to be squeezed.
“Are you okay?” Adin began anxiously just as Max began bombarding her with questions.
“I’m fine,” she said grinning and slipping into the spot they had saved her.
“Well you were when Sirius was there waiting for you to wake-up,” Pip whispered in her ear, the light in her light almond eyes dancing.
Coralie opened her mouth to protest but Pip only hissed back, “Later…”
It really was impossible to keep things from Pip. Alie wasn’t sure if she loved that or not, but Pip was so genuinely good and light and funny she decided she definitely loved it.
Pip’s probably good for me, she mused. It was known that Alie could become to a tad too serious and Pip was always good at lightening things up and brightening the atmosphere. Really she’s the quintessence of positive energy, Alie thought… Her thoughts roamed for the rest of dinner, from Pip to Ancient Ruins to Sirius- at which point she colored a bit with embarrassment and then immediately immersed herself in whatever her friends were talking about.
Pip wasn’t going to let her get away with not spilling every single detail on what happened though, and as soon as Adin and Max had drawn the curtains on their four-posters, and just as Alie was about to pull hers shut, she pounced on her friend quite literally. She jumped onto the bed and pulled the blue hangings closed behind her, then turned to Alie, biting her lip and raising her eyebrows in a hopeful fort of way. Alie pursed her lips, but they both knew she would end up telling her diminutive friend everything she had felt.
“You really should be informing me what happened though, I was the one who was unconscious!” Alie whispered after finishing. “I mean, nothing really happened once I woke up at all. All I remember from before that was something hurling towards my nose.”
Pip shook her head a little, but then began.
“Well the snowball hit you obviously, and then you fell and you must’ve hit your head on the ice pretty hard. Your eyes fluttered a little then closed. You scared us!” Her friend sounded reproachful. “Then Sirius Black came running over and saw you and swore under his breath and volunteered to take you to the Hospital Wing. He really did look worried. And we helped him of course, but then I had to go because of that talk about career options with Professor O’Neil. I’m so sorry, but I couldn’t miss it!” Here she seemed to be truly distressed. “But then I didn’t want to go back, because it would be awkward if you weren’t there. Or if you and Sirius were talking or something. I don’t know… At that point it was kind of getting late so I figured the best thing I could do was save you a seat at the table and then go find you if you didn’t show.”
Pip looked upon her imploringly, and Alie laughed.
“Just tell me I didn’t drool,” she asked, realizing the possibility as soon as she said it and immediately becoming horrified.
“No worries, you didn’t drool,” Pip confirmed soothingly.
A/N: That chapter was a bit short but please leave a review and tell me what you thought. I absolutely love all the feedback I've been getting and it's really been helping me.
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