Coralie rolled over and groped blindly in the bright light.
“Today’s Hogsmead, remember?” Pip scolded.
“No…” Alie muttered back, but Pip had already bounced away.
She leaned back against the headboard, and reflected. Last night Sirius Black had… kissed her. It seemed weird. It sounded wrong. She gave a small sigh. She couldn’t have dreamed it, could she? Suddenly she wasn’t so sure. Maybe it had just been a realistic dream… but no, it had happened. She was sure. She swung her legs over the edge of her bed and stood, delicately placing a lock of dark wavy hair securely behind her ear. Alie then floated to the bathroom. A cold splash of water on her face woke her up, and she began to doubt all over again. But no, she was sure it had happened. The question now was, what did it mean?
Coralie leaned against the sink and groaned. Her life had been so simple when Sirius hadn’t been in it. It was definitely more fun now though… and well, she was a smart girl, she would figure it out. She grinned at her reflection, then scurried frantically about to get dressed. One of Pip’ flaws was her impatience, she seemed to expect everyone to move at her Energizer bunny pace, and could get grumpy when they didn’t.
The four girls left the dorm together not much later, joking at Adin’s expense when she ran into the door leaving- she had been looking back and chatting amiably.
“Don’t follow my footsteps, I walk into walls,” she quipped, grinning.
On that note they set off to breakfast, and then to the village.
“Where are we going first?” Max asked, looking down Hogsmead’s main road and carefully treading around a half-frozen puddle.
Everyone drank in their surroundings and thought. Hogsmead looked as though it was slowly beginning to thaw from its first big snowstorm. Icicles dripped from the gutters of every house and store, and the snow burdening the rooftops had visibly thinned. The snow on the ground was slushy and became increasingly more so as the sun began to beat down.
There was a long minute of silence, which was only broken by Adin’s quiet gasp as her jaw dropped open. She gestured slightly with her hands, looking devastated. In the alleyway across from them, Derek stood, with his hands around a girl’s waist, his lips glued to hers.
“Alie, I am so sorry!”
Coralie blinked for a second, but then she shrugged, almost to herself. They hadn’t ever really been together, and she told her friends that. What she didn’t tell them was that she had done pretty much the same thing.
“But it has got to hurt,” Max said, she really was no good at comforting. It was a good thing Alie actually didn’t need it.
“I’m fine, seriously, I never liked him that much, and this probably saves a lot of awkwardness,” Alie said earnestly.
“Well, it doesn’t save that much,” Pip muttered in her ear, pointing very discreetly, her amber eyes catching Alie’s every movement and scrutinizing them.
Derek appeared to have surfaced and noticed them looking right at him. He stood frozen, motionless; unsure of what to do. The girl coiled herself around him, oblivious to the fact that his eyes were elsewhere. Alie just watched him for a minute, his hair blowing a bit, but then she smiled, gave a small, careless shrug, and fluttered her fingers at him. A look of relief washed over his face, but before he could respond in any way, Alie turned abruptly and plunged into the crowd outside the Three Broomsticks. Pip, Max, and Adin sent rather bewildered glances at each other, and narrow-eyed glares at Derrick, before jostling through the throng of people outside of the pub to find Alie.
She heard her friends calling, and hesitated, then waited for them to join up. The four entered together, and quickly ordered a round of butterbeer.
Sirius slumped into a booth, James sliding in next to him, while Peter and Remus positioned themselves in the booth opposite them. A small, grainy, wood table stood between them, and soon it was laden with four foaming butterbeers. Sirius leaned against the back of the seat and zoned out slightly. He found he had no idea what his friends were talking about, and that he didn’t care.
“Max, drop it! I’m fine!” he suddenly heard a voice snap testily from behind his head. Cor.
“Alie, calm down, she’s just trying to help…” he heard another voice say. Alie was what she had suggested James call her.
“I don’t need help! We weren’t even dating!” Where was this going?
“But still-” a voice protested.
“Max, I swear I’m fine.” Her voice suddenly became deadly quiet, and she continued in a more even tone. “Look, we went on one date, about a month ago, I think you can credit me with thinking that we both moved on. He can see whoever he wants, and so can I.”
“This is ridiculous! But fine, don’t believe me, I’m leaving.”
There was a scraping of chairs, and he saw Cor stand abruptly and leave, pushing her way out. A small, wirey blonde rushed past the Marauder’s table as well, shooting a death glare behind her as she went. Someone slumped against the back of the booth that Sirius was also currently leaning back on.
“Do you think she’s really okay?” he heard asked in a quiet, resigned, and tentative voice.
“It was a month ago,” the same voice that had told Alie to clam down reasoned. “And have you ever heard her mention Derek? So I don’t reckon she liked him as anything more than a friend. I think she’s fine, besides, I’m sure she would tell us if she wasn’t.”
He heard sighs and stopped listening. He turned his attention instead to his butterbeer, bits of what had been said drifting through his head. Alie had a boyfriend. Well, she had used to. It had been a month ago though. He let out a slow breath.
It was Pip, so she slowed her brisk pace and turned to face her. They walked together in silence for a while.
Finally, Pip led them to a gap between two brick stores with colorful holiday windows.
They sat without speaking and faced each other. Pip’s eyes bore into Alie’s.
“Who is it?” She asked, her voice small. “You have to tell me- we tell each other everything.”
Coralie hesitated and Pip’s eyes clouded over.
“I-I don’t like anyone…” Alie muttered, refusing to meet her friend’s gaze and rubbing the back of her neck uncomfortably.
Pip raised an eyebrow.
“Oh come on Alie. I know you way better than that. He can see whoever he wants, and so can I. Who?”
Coralie finally looked up at Pip and laughed, then she switched over so she was sitting next to her friend, pulling her into a side-hug. She leaned in and whispered conspiratorially in her Pip’s ear.
Pip squeaked and Alie knew she as forgiven.
“I uh… didn’t tell you because… well here: yesterday I left a book at the library…”
“I remembered just as I was about to go to sleep, so I ran down there… And Sirius was there, he said he had remembered I had forgotten it. And well… hekissedme.”
She let it all out in a rush, but Pip’s round eyes told her that she had gotten the point across.
“Alie!” she shrieked. “I can’t believe you kept that from me! I thought we promised to tell each other everything.”
“I did tell you,” Alie protested.
Pip’s eyes narrowed.
“We’ve been drifting ever since Sirius came into the picture,” she muttered bitterly.
Alie was shocked by her friend’s jealous tone, then she bit her lip- Pip had a point. She nodded a little.
“No more though,” she said decisively.
Pip twisted her neck to look at her friend, then she grinned.
Pip stood quickly, brushing off her clothes, then stuck out her hand to help Alie up.
“Let’s go to Honeydukes,” she said suddenly. “We need chocolate!”
Alie laughed, but she wasn’t scoffing at Pip. Chocolate was exactly what they needed.
She had thought it had been awkward when Derek had caught her (and Pip, and Max, and Adin) staring at him with that other girl. But that was nothing compared to what she was now experiencing. She really didn’t deserve this, the way he was looking at her. The way he had been looking at her for the past, what- five hours? It seemed that long.
Light poured in from dusty window panes on their left. Dust particles wafted down lazily, with slow-moving, undefined paths. They bathed in glorious, golden pools. It was ridiculous, sure, but she envied them. His black hair was messy as always, sweeping into his eyes. Those eyes were dark gray and impossible to read, but she could sense a flurry of emotions behind them. She had no hopes that her own emotions were as hard to read. Every line of her body etched out humiliation and horror. Her back was rod-straight, her legs tense as though preparing to bolt, her eyes wide and frantic, her palms growing sweaty. Coralie’s breath came in a little shakily, and she sucked in her cheeks and ordered herself to get a grip. The fact that her body didn’t listen to her mind terrified her.
“Cor?” Sirius asked. It was funny, he almost sounded nervous.
She immediately composed herself. Shoulders were relaxed, and legs drawn together. She raised her chin a little and let out her breath, smiling inquisitively, her eyebrows rising up in question.
“I’m… I’m sorry… I really didn’t mean. Well I hope you’re not hurt.”
Something deflated inside Coralie, but she refused to let it show. She just smiled a little wider.
“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I’m a big girl Sirius, and I’m a smart girl.”
That was what she had told herself that morning wasn’t it? Relief like Derek’s showed in his posture.
“Do you think we’re all right?”
As in, can we still be friends? No we can’t.
“Of course,” she said, mustering a don’t-be-silly tone.
He gave her a boyish smile that, she couldn’t help but notice, didn’t reach his eyes.
“Well, I gotta run, Cor. See you later?”
Cor smiled brightly at him and nodded.
He brushed passed her, and her nerves tingled. She watched as he turned around the corner, then quickly turned away, tears welling in her eyes. He had said he was sorry. Her breath began to come in and out shakily again. Her palms began to feel clammy. She brushed them across her robes, and rolled her eyes up so that the tears wouldn’t flow. She focused on deep breaths, then started out to the library. She should have stuck with books, and from now on she probably would.
He pulled out the Marauder’s Map as soon as he turned the bend, walking briskly. After several long paces he found a tiny dot labeled SIRIUS BLACK. Less than a couple centimeters away was another one marked CORALIE STANCER. He studied her mark as his legs carried him farther and farther away. She wasn’t moving. Why wasn’t she moving? Sirius stopped, ready to turn back and go after her. But then it moved; the small black dot representing Cor started moving farther and farther away in the opposite direction. Was it just him, or was it beginning also to move faster and faster? It took a couple of seconds to tell, but then he was positive. Sirius began to feel just how complicated he had made things. His mind became a jumbled disarray. His stomach was twisting and his throat restricting.
He glanced again at the map, then dashed off to intercept Cor on her path. This time he would say something he meant.
He was right in front of her. Sirius Black was standing within a couple meters of her. Again. Far more important then the how, though, was the why.
“Cor, I’m sorry-” he began.
“Really, Sirius, it’s fine-”
Did he seriously have to say it again?
“No, I’m … well, sorry for telling you I was sorry.”
She looked at him. Her blue eyes were confused but there was something very like hope lingering in them. There was a very pregnant pause.
“Well then, I’m glad,” she finally whispered, her blue eyes locking with his gray ones.
A/N: So I had a lot of trouble with this chappie, any revisions/ edits/ comments would make my day. Please leave a review!
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