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“ALEX! Alex, wake up! You’ll be late for potions!” Lily yelled into her ear.

“So what…” came the muffled and barely audible response. She turned back onto her side, rolling up into her covers. But Lily was faster. In a swift motion, she had grabbed them and gave a quick tug, causing Alex to fall over on to the floor with a loud thump. “Hey!”

“Good, you’re up. You better be down in five minutes or so help me…” her voice trailed off as she left the girls dormitory.

“Yes, mother,” Alex said, loud enough for Lily to hear, but laughed wryly right after she had said it. Her mother had never taken that tone with her, nor had she even came to wake her up…not once. If anybody ever came to wake her up, it was either Darcy or one of the maids. In fact, if her mother had been anything like Lily had, Alex doubted whether she would have turned out like she did. Truthfully, she had often wondered if there would have been a difference in who she grew up to be if her mother had had more of an influence on her.

Shrugging her thoughts off, she got up and walked to the lavatory, and almost screamed when she saw her reflection in the mirror. Her hair was a complete mess, tangled and frizzy. Her eyes slightly puffy and red, and her nose pink. What little make up she had worn the day before was smudged around her eyes. Not daring to look at herself any longer than necessary in such a state, she quickly started to make herself look presentable. More than presentable, if I’m gonna make Sirius pay… 

Meanwhile, Lily had been stopped by James and Sirius by the portrait whole, both of whom already had had their breakfast and were waiting for Alex (like they had the past couple of days) to leave for class…but this time Remus had already left.

“Where’s Alex?” Sirius inquired.

“Still upstairs. She had a bit of a rough night,” Lily replied. Though she hadn’t spoken with Alex about it (yet), she had heard her come in late and then toss and turn in bed almost all night. “I doubt she got any sleep.”

“Oh?” James said, lifting an eyebrow.

“What happened?” Sirius added.

Lily shrugged. “I don’t really know, except she came in last night really late. I don’t think she was able to fall asleep or something, because after a bit of tossing and turning she lit her wand and decided to read.”

“What?”

“Wuthering Heights, I think. Though I thought she had already finished it, but I guess-“

“No, Evans,” Sirius interrupted. “I mean, what? As in shock, surprise… Why?”

“Well in that case, I don’t know again. Actually, I thought you guys might know since the three of you have been getting along rather well lately,” Lily said, a little disdainfully. She didn’t like this sudden friendship between her new best friend and the Marauders.

“Though that is true, I have no idea,” James said, “Although, Remus came in pretty late last night too…at least, I think he did.”

Lily shook her head, “He was patrolling. Honestly, when I saw her this morning it looked like she had stayed out in the storm last night.”

“I did,” Alex interrupted, as she walked towards them, looking indeed more than presentable, and with no hint of the night before’s activities.

Lily blushed a furious red, quickly mumbled something about being late, and practically leapt out the door. But the other two seemed to be too preoccupied with her appearance to notice Lily’s quick departure.

Sirius cleared his throat. “I brought you some breakfast,” he said, offering her her usual muffin.

“Aw thank you!” she said, raising her voice a bit, and accepting the muffin. “Well then, are we off to Potions or not?”

“Right away, ma’am,” Sirius replied, this time offering her his arm, like he had the past couple of days. Alex glanced at it, and burying her deep and overwhelming desire to chop it off and feed it to a monster from the forbidden forest, accepted it, putting on her best smile. Luckily for her, Sirius and James were much too absorbed in her and their own little plans to notice the gleam of hate in her eyes. Linking arms with James on the other side of her, they were out of the common room and on their way to Potions, chatting away about the upcoming quidditch match between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, as if nothing had changed.

They made it to potions a bit late, but were soon forgiven after a quick smile and wink from Alex. As they each made their way to their own tables, Alex passed by Remus’ desk, and made sure to give him an even brighter smile and a more obvious wink, glad to find him responding with a smile of his own.

She sat down at her usual seat next to Severus, and cheerfully exclaimed, “Morning!”

“What are you so happy about?” Severus asked in his usual sullen voice, his keen dark eyes not omitting the fact that today she looked particularly gorgeous, and that there was a somewhat different air about her.

She stared up at him and batted her eyelashes, “Because it’s potions, silly! I love potions! Want to know why?”

“Indulge me then,” Snape replied, noticing that behind them, Sirius was already at the edge of his seat.

“One, because we’re partners, and it’s so much fun working together. And two…” Alex broke off, and slowly leaned in towards him, a diabolical smirk on her lips, and whispered into his ear, “…because we get to piss Sirius off. Care to join me?”

Snape was startled that for the first time she openly admitted to getting back at Sirius. Sure he had known he had been a weapon of revenge, but now she was asking for his help in the matter, and she had never done that. Which, he assumed, meant Sirius had done something beyond comprehensible. And if he had hurt her, there was no way he wouldn’t fight with her. Besides, he thought, he has it coming anyways… 


Alex hadn’t moved away, and this time Severus leaned in, an almost identical smirk playing on his lips. “It would be my pleasure,” he whispered, just loud enough so Sirius could hear him, his voice sounding deep and quite unlike his usual self.

“Oh, I know it would,” Alex replied laughing. Risking a glance at the evil creature behind her, she saw James practically holding him back.

“AHEM!” Slughorn coughed. “As I was saying…This is another partner project, as it is especially difficult. You have one and a half hours to complete it, and believe me you need every minute of it, so GO!”

As always, Snape was out of his seat and gathering up the ingredients before the rest of the class. Alex didn’t even budge this time. Instead, she read the instructions on the board.

Amate Me. Hmm, sounds interesting, doesn’t it, Sev?”

“Yes, I daresay it does,” arranging the ingredients around them, ‘accidentally’ brushing across her hand, much to Sirius’ chagrin.

Alex giggled, and continued, “I say, we brew it perfectly, as always, and then test it out?”

“Even more interesting…”

By the end of the class, Sirius was pissed off beyond repair, especially as they had brewn the perfect potion, again, and had been awarded top marks again—Alex’s creative intuition with respect to potion making once again playing a major role. Oh how he’d love to murder Snape right then and there, as Alex and him walked out of class together, chatting away in hushed tones, hints of sexual innuendo scattered throughout their conversation, both now and during class. But, Sirius thought, if I’m to be 15 galleons richer, I can’t let them get to me…After all, today’s the deadline and me beating Snivellus to a pulp would not be to my advantage. And it’s not just a question of money, after all, my reputation and honour are at stake here too. So he grit his teeth, clenched his fist, and decided to bear it.

And it amused Alex all the more as she saw Sirius force himself to stay calm, especially knowing that were it any other day, he’d love to yell at her, and have his turn to make her mad. So, deciding to use that to her advantage (as any vengeful girl would), she quickly said goodbye to Severus, and returned to Sirius, acting more flirty than ever before.

“Hey Siri! Did you have fun in potions, love? Too bad we didn’t get to keep them, I could definitely think of more than a few uses for it,” she said, giving him a wink. Not paying attention to the passing by guys eyeing her greedily, she linked arms with Sirius, and shouted, “To Charms!”

She started to skip down the corridor, Sirius was forced to put on a happy face and follow. Thankfully for him, they were reviewing cheering and tickling charms. He was paired with Alex, as usual. However, her cheering charms were particularly potent today, and her tickling hexes were thrown at him with a bit of a ferocity, so that by the end of the Charms, he was completely cheerful as he walked Alex to her next class, and said with a huge, unnatural smile, “Cheerio! Till lunch, my dear!”

By lunch though, the effects had worn off, and he was in full consciousness aware of the task at hand. He needed to get Alex to say yes, before lunch was over or else he’d lose the bet. So after they had all satisfied their hunger, Sirius deemed it the opportune moment to make his move, not to mention the fact that he had about three minutes left and Alex had suddenly stood up and headed out of the Great Hall.

“Oi, Edwards! Wait!” he called, following her. She stopped, and turned around to face him, slowly and dramatically, for the first time using her previous modeling experience in real life. Sirius halted mid-step, not being able to stop himself from admiring her. In so doing, however, he had lost almost another minute, and it wasn’t until James gave him a nudge forward that he realized time was running short.

“Well?” Alex asked.

“You know Hogsmeade’s this weekend right?” Sirius started, and taking her subtle nod as a response, continued, “Well, would you like to go with me?”

“Go? With you? Why, I’m absolutely shocked. You, Sirius Black, want to go with me? I can’t believe this…” Alex said acting flustered.

“So you’ll go?”

“Go? Of course not.”

“Great! So I guess I’ll…wait. Wait,” he said, just catching on to what she said. And why was she smiling like that? “You said… no?”

“Yeah,” Alex said as if it was the most obvious thing, very much aware of the scene they were making and quite pleased that so many people were there to witness the rejection of the almighty Sirius Black.

“No?” Sirius repeated dumbly.

“No. Nien, nada, niet, non, nie … NO.” 

“But…why?” Sirius asked, crushed, embarrassed and confused.

“Why not? Or is it you thought I would say yes, because you, Sirius Black, the most eligible bachelor of Hogwarts, never gets turned down? Well think again, Black,” Alex snickered, turning on her heel and walking away with as much grace, gusto and charisma as she could muster. Sirius just stood there with his mouth open.

“Sirius? Sirius!” James shouted. “Are you alright?”

“I don’t believe this. She’s not serious. She can’t be… can she?” he asked looking at James.

James took in a breath, and refraining from saying that she couldn’t possibly be serious because he was, said, “I dunno mate, it looked like she was dead serious to me. But on the bright side, you now owe me 15 galleons!”

“What?” Remus interrupted. “Please tell me this was not all because of some stupid bet.”

“Er…” James said, scratching the back of his neck.

“You two are impossible. Did it ever cross your mind that you could have, did, hurt her along the way?”

“What are you babbling about, Remus?” James asked.

“She’s not stupid, you know. She had it figured out,” Remus said, recalling last night.

But Sirius apparently was not listening. “I’m going to go talk to her.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Remus called out, but Sirius was already out the doors of the great hall.

“OI! Sirius! I want my money!” James yelled after him.

“Come on,” Remus said, standing up. “We should probably follow him and make sure she doesn’t kill him.”

Sirius kept running, trying to remember what class Alex had at this time, and finally decided to head towards the Ancient Runes corridor. He slowed down as he noticed her sitting next to an empty classroom, reading her textbook. He was about to go right up to her and demand an explanation for her downright refusal, when he noticed an unnatural smirk on her lips…but one he had seen many times before on the faces of his fellow Marauders, and he knew exactly what it meant. She had planned that? And she enjoyed it? The cogs started to turn inside his head. She had tormented me all morning, especially with Snivellus…all on purpose. He ignored the other voice in his head which was asking why he cared so much about the thought of Alex and Snivellus together in the first place, as well as the third voice which was logically asking how she knew he was going to ask her anyways. Well, we’ll just see who has the last laugh. And as if on cue, Severus Snape came into sight, and within a second, Sirius had him hanging upside down, silenced and immobilized. Not another second later, Alex was up and beside Sirius.

“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?” she yelled, and Sirius was actually shocked at the intensity in her voice. “Stop it right now!”

“Or what, Edwards?” he taunted.

She took out her wand, “Or I’ll hex you to oblivion and back again.”

“Ooooh, I’m trembling with fear.”

“What has he done to you to deserve this?” she asked.

Sirius shrugged, “He’s breathing my air.”

“Oh, you own the air now too?” Alex replied, putting her hands on her hips. “You should have told me sooner, and I’d have stopped breathing also.”

Sirius was shocked. This had gone past their everyday quarrels…she had never been so adamant. And never had she taken Snape’s side over his. “You can’t possibly, actually be defending him, can you?” he sputtered.

“I’m not defending him, Black, I’m just totally against you. Let him go,” she commanded, her voice strong and angry.

“Why?”

“Because it’s not right!” she yelled, exasperated.

“Who cares, its fun,” Sirius replied arrogantly.

“I don’t believe you! You’re a filthy hypocrite, did you know that?” Alex shouted, loosing her temper. “You’re so against all the Slytherins but you’re no better than they are! Picking on people just for the heck of it, because you can. You’re just as bad as your cousin and her friends whom you despise so much!”

James and Remus arrived at the scene right when Sirius paled at Alex’s comment, and released Snape as a result of his loss of focus. Remus quickly placed all the necessary counter-courses on Snape, and as soon as he got up, he walked away as fast as possible. Snape had seen Sirius’ face go pale before angry red patches began to appear on his cheeks, and he was no fool to stick around to see the end of it.

“Take that back!” Sirius yelled at Alex, rather childishly he would later admit, but nothing else had come to mind in those couple of seconds.

“NO! It’s true, and you know it is! You walk around this place with your over-inflated head held high thinking you own the place. Well guess what, Sirius Black, you disgust me!” Alex shouted. Now that she had started, she couldn’t stop herself from saying everything she ever thought about him. “You think you’re all that, but you’re not! Let me tell you something, Black. One day this is all gonna come back and kick you hard in the arse for a number of reasons, but especially because girls don’t like being treated like property, picked up one day and thrown away the next, like an old shoe.”

Sirius laughed, “I beg to differ, Edwards. You see, girls throw themselves at me, and they’d give anything for just one night with me.”

“HA! That’s what you think. And don’t you dare, any of you, ever treat me like an inanimate object, and decide ahead of time what I will or won’t do, because-”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Sirius interrupted, “I forgot her majesty can do whatever she pleases. I better watch myself of she’ll get me hanged! Oh no, I’m making her life soooo difficult. What ever shall I do?”

“Watch it, Black,” Alex warned, feeling her anger rising another notch.

“Of course, princess. Here, let me get out of your way…”

“Shut up!”

“Tut, tut. Your royal highness better watch her royal mouth.”

Alex sighed. “Forget it. You’re not worth my time, idiot.”

“Oh, is that it?” Sirius shouted, abandoning his previous tactic. “I’m not worth your time? Is that why you turned me down? Oh, but of course, I forgot you have to be a prince to date a princess.”

“JERK! I turned you down because you’re an insufferable git with an oversized ego. How dare you make a bet like that!?”

“You knew about the bet?” Sirius asked incredulously after his initial shock subsided. “But…how?”

“It doesn’t matter how!” Alex bellowed. “I’m insulted you thought of me on such low terms, and if you thought I’d go out with you, than you don’t know anything about me!”

Sirius shrugged once again, taking up his previous strategy. “What’s there to know? You’re rich, royalty, gorgeous, shallow and a complete stuck up snob. Seems to me you’ve got the whole princess thing down pat.”

“Don’t push your luck, Black.”

“You’re right. I’m not being very understanding, am I?” his words dripping with heavy sarcasm. “I mean, you had just come to Hogwarts, so you don’t get to just snap your fingers and have everything done for you anymore. And I bet you miss all your extravagant parties and fancy clothes, not to mention the formal appearances. And going so long without making a headline…” adding a whistle at the end.

“Is that really what you think my life is like? Merlin, you’re thicker than I thought. If you think it’s so easy to be me, I’d like to see you try. Try to have somebody telling you how to act, what to say, do, wear, eat. Where to go, who to go with, be friends with, even how to bloody walk! All that, since you’re old enough to understand English.” She couldn’t stop herself even though she kept telling herself to, because for the first time, she was expressing all of her deep, hidden feelings in words. And it felt good…

“And on top of that,” she continued, “dealing with being a witch, yet all the while fighting to keep up a good appearance—to not be photographed everywhere you go and have every little mistake or occurrence splashed in the news like it’s entertainment. Once you’ve done all that for 18 years, then tell me if its easy!”

Sirius, Remus and James only stared at her. Sirius seemed to have lost some of his previous momentum, and for a moment was so lost for words and overcome by a strange feeling of mixed guilt and compassion that he considered backing down. But then he remembered his previous anger at her, and cleared his throat, “Here’s some advice for you: don’t wallow in self pity—you’re not the only person in the world with problems, princess, which shouldn’t even be considered problems at all. And you’re here now, aren’t you? So that just proves it can’t be that hard. And though I may be a hypocrite, at least I’m not at walking talking cliché.”

“Excuse me?” Alex asked, raising her eyebrow in shock.

“Yeah, you heard me: walking talking cliché. As in…oh, I’m a princess, but oh I hate it and I want more than what I have and oh its so hard and I just want to be normal,” he said in a high voice, waving his hands around in (apparently) girly motions. "Besides, I can do anything, and I’d bet I’d be better at it than you too. In fact, I bet you’re parents would love me more than you too.”

That seemed to have struck a nerve that was not meant to be struck, and Sirius regretted it the moment he saw her eyes darken, and take on a twisted gleam of hatred.

“I hate you, Sirius Black!” she yelled. “You and you’re overgrown head! I thought you were a decent guy, but you turn out to be an egotistical prick!”

“Well, princess, hate to break it to you, but you’re not all that great yourself. I thought you’d be like they said you were. You know…fun? But you turned out to be a god-awful bitch who can’t deal with her problems and decides to take them out on other people.” 

Alex laughed dryly, “Hark who’s talking! Why don’t you just go and join your cousin Bellatrix and Lucius and their little circle of Death Eaters. Then you’ll all be one happy, evil, terrorizing family.”

“Stop saying that!”

“Aww, is ickle Sirius afraid of the truth?” Alex mocked, turning his own tactic against him.

His face flushed with anger, “This means war, Edwards.”

“Bring it on. I’m not afraid of you, Black.”

“Git.”

“Jerk.”

“Idiot!”

“SADIST!”

“SLUT!”

“BASTARD!!”

I HATE YOU!” they both yelled at the same time, and turned and headed in opposite directions, leaving Remus and James standing in shock.

James shook his head. Turning to Remus, he asked, “The quidditch game is tomorrow. Think they’ll be over this by then?”

Remus sighed, "Not a chance."

James rand a hand through his hair, and sighing said, “Somehow, I don’t think this will end up being worth 15 galleons.” 

His friend gave him a look that made James cringe, before they both ran after Sirius.

 



Author’s Note: Hi! Sorry for the long wait...What with final exams, and the long validation queue…but hopefully it was worth the wait. Oh, and unfortunetly this hasn’t been beta-d yet, so please review with any comments or suggestions, or just to say what you thought of it! Thanks so much for more than 6000 reads! I was never expecting that. 

*overused cliché: THE fight. 

ps- Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte. Really great book. And not really the sappy romance its always made out to be. 

pps- Amate me = love me, in latin =)

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