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I’ll be true, I’ll be useful
I’ll be cavalier, I’ll be yours my dear
And I’ll belong to you, if you’ll just let me, though
This is easy as lovers go
As Lover Go, Dashboard Confessional

***




Loren had a case of butterflies in her stomach. Actually, Loren had a case of the hippogriffs in her stomach. She was becoming increasingly more and more nervous. She had barely slept the night before, and caffeine wasn’t proving to fuel her energy. That and running around the Potter’s property no less than five times was probably not doing much. In fact, Loren was sure it had zapped the very little bit of energy she did have.

Having grown tired of tossing and turning, fluffing her pillow and then kicking off her blanket for the millionth time, Loren had gotten up at half past five in the morning on Christmas Eve. Mind racing and body very much alive, Loren had brewed a pot of coffee, downed a cup without any sugar or creamer and then bounded out of the house. Still in her pajamas but now clad in her running shoes, Loren was kicking up snow, heading out toward the drive that encircled the Potter Manor, deciding it was the best approach since the snow had been melted and packed down quite a bit.

After having sprinted, jogged and even walked so many times around the property that her chest felt tight and her breath was coming out in uneven little puffs of winter smoke, Loren made her way into the house, waffles smothered in syrup calling her name.

Loren’s mind was buzzing and busying herself with breakfast preparations and drinking her third cup of coffee was not doing much to quiet what seemed like the hive of bees that had made a home in her brain.

Loren mixed the batter, tossing in flour and eggs, some vanilla and sugar. She carefully chopped the strawberries, adding them in one by one. She heated the waffle maker and set out her plate. Loren had never in all her life paid so much attention to the detail that went into her breakfast.

A soft thud made her stop whisking the batter, tilting her head up to the ceiling, wishing now more than ever that she had been born with x-ray vision instead of the power to manipulate water, Loren wondered if it was Sirius waking. What would he be doing as his body slowly rose from its slumber? Would he shuffle to the bathroom and empty his bladder, then scrub the sleep from his teeth? Would he then turn the shower on, pulling off his white t-shirt and boxers as he waited for the water to heat up?

Then with the steam billowing in clouds as it hit the cold air, he would step in, the hot water waking his muscles and relaxing them, the beads of water splashing over his body, dripping down his stomach. He would stretch his body, all of his muscles rippling in the light from the early morning.

Loren sighed, her mind somewhere she never thought it would be. Her libido springing to life and the very smallest part of her praying that nobody in the house was a legillimens and was awake for the movie that was playing deep inside Loren.

It was almost Christmas and the only gift that Loren wanted this year was Sirius. Sirius dressed and holding her hand, Sirius dressed and kissing her face, Sirius undressed and watching the shower water pooling around them both, the steam making them one, Loren just wanted the ultimate Christmas gift but she had the vaguest idea that Father Christmas didn’t have room in his sack for a gift wrapped Sirius.

A web of goose flesh littered Loren’s skin and she closed her eyes, watching in her mind’s eye as Sirius rinsed the soap from his body and his hands travelled all over his body. Loren leaned into the counter, her body slackening and as Loren decided to add herself as a character to her fantasy the bowl of batter slipped from her hands and clattered to the tile floor.

Snapping out of her fantasy, Loren starred down to the batter that had splattered, well, everywhere. “Shit” she muttered, not daring to be loud for she assumed quite a bit of time has passed since she first heard the person waking and her mind had gone rampant.

Bending down, Loren took to cleaning up the mess without magic, scrubbing the batter from the crevices of the tile and taking care to clear away the red coloring the strawberries had left behind. Today, Loren knew, was going to be a long day and she still had a little over twelve hours until the ball began. She was going to have to keep herself extremely busy if she were going to make it through the day without any more accidents.

Loren grabbed the whisk and now shattered pieces of bowl and made to stand and as she did, she noticed she wasn’t alone in the kitchen anymore because standing five feet away, in nothing but a beige towel was Sirius, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“Oh, Loren, I didn’t know you were down here.” Sirius said to himself more than he did to Loren. “Well, Happy Christmas Eve.” He exclaimed as he grabbed his mug of coffee and turned, leaving the room and as he went all Loren could concentrate on was his fine toned back and all of the possibilities that lay under the towel.

Oh, today was most definitely going to take a lot of busy work, Loren thought as she muttered a halfhearted “Happy Christmas Eve to you, too.”

***




Hundreds of miles away, Sebastian, too, was up with the dawn. He couldn’t actually remember the last time that he had slept in his house, let alone the last time he had slept for more than a few hours in the castle.

His body was sore and rest deprived and to add insult to injury, literally, his nose was definitely broken and jutted out of his face at a very unnatural and odd angle now. He was quite positive that if he hadn’t clumsily and pathetically injured himself, the argument he had with his father would have turned into a brawl. Not that he was thankful in the least for his newly shaped nose.

As he sat in his bed, listening for the sounds of human movement, all he could wonder was how he ended here. Would things be the same had his mother never left the four men? Sebastian didn’t have to look deep in his soul or think too hard on it to know that it wouldn’t be like this.

Yes, his father was an angry man, which was clear to anybody who had a working brain but when his mother was in their life, his father was different. Happier and livelier, his father had an almost gentle disposition and Sebastian knew now that his mother earned the credit for that. She had made him an exceedingly better man.

From what Sebastian could remember, his mother was warm, gentle and an amazingly caring woman, wife and mother. She was beautiful, too and although Sebastian had received his appearance from his father and grandfather, his personality was so like his mother’s. His father used to remind him of that often after she left.

Natalie Parker was a skilled witch, too and when Sebastian started showing his grace of magic, he was saddled often with the remark of “That you got from your mum, Seb.” At the time he had enjoyed the comments he received so much more than anything else, they were like his own personal present and he prided himself on acting more and more like his mum.

Now, though, Sebastian didn’t hold that pride too often. He knew things would be different had his mother made the decision to stay. He knew his father wouldn’t be the gruff, uncaring man he is now and he knew better than anything else that they would never have been mixed up with dark magic and evil. Instead, they would have Sunday dinners and they would have spent all of their schooling at Hogwarts, the boys would look forward to school breaks and spending time with their parents.

Most importantly Sebastian would have loved Loren more than he did right now. He would have loved her and not hurt her and of course, never attempted to set her up. They would be school sweethearts and then maybe one day they would have gotten married and blessed Sebastian’s parents with a handful of grandchildren that they would have spoiled to no end.

If his mother never walked out and left their father to his own devices then his life would have been the complete opposite of what it is now and so at the early morning hours, the only conclusion that Sebastian could come up with was that this was his mother’s entire fault. Not his, not his father’s and maybe not even the dark Lord’s. The blame was solely on his mother and her decision to leave her four men.

***




Loren was running late. All of her busy work lasted longer than she needed it to and now, she was an hour late in her attempts of getting ready and the ball started in less than two hours. She was just getting into her room to get ready and she was met by Remus and James sprawled over her bed, sleeping so soundly it almost pained her to wake them… Almost.

“Remmy! Jamsie! Not to break up this slumber party but you do know that we have less than two hours to get ready and such?” Loren said as she jostled them both awake. “What are you doing in here anyways?” She questioned as she walked to the wardrobe and pulled out her gown.

“I’m hiding from Lily.” James evened.

“I’m hiding from Sirius and his obsessive talk about you.” Remus replied
Loren laughed at her two friends and scooted onto the bed between them, the bag protecting her dress crinkling with each movement. “Don’t you two have to get ready?”

“Didn’t you say we have like two hours? It only takes me four minutes to dress myself in that damned tux and that’s timed. So I’m thinking I’ll get ready in about an hour and a half.” James said, yawning obnoxiously.

Remus nodded at his friend and smiled. Loren rolled her eyes at the teen boys, knowing she should have assumed that much from them. She also knew they were opting out of getting ready with Sirius since he would probably be perfecting his hair right now and shaving away the stubble that he never let come in from his chin and cheeks.

“Alright well then you get to help me!” Loren squealed, a knock at the door making her stand and cross the room. Loren opened the door and was met with a slight woman, platinum blonde hair sitting atop her head and a bag resting over her shoulder.

“Hi, my name is Millie; I’ve come to do your hair and makeup. Mrs. Potter said you would up here. Erm, she also wanted me to tell you two that she wants you getting ready soon because although it may only take four minutes, she wants you greeting guests at the door.” She starred over at James and Remus, a hint of embarrassment and amusement painting her features.

“Oh yes! Thank you for coming up here. Would you like to go in the bathroom? There’s a vanity in there that you can set everything out that you’ll need. I don’t really have any idea how I want my hair, I’m think I’m going to leave that to you since you are the artist here.” Loren smiled and directed Millie to the bathroom, pointing out the vanity and outlet that sat beside the mirror.

“No, dear, I won’t need that plug. Being a witch saves quite a bit on the electricity bill.” She winked at Loren and started setting everything out.

Compacts filled with blush, eye shadow, bronzers, tubes of mascara and lipsticks started to fill the front of the vanity, then hair products came next, tamers, pins and hair ties, detanglers, gels and mousses. Loren could see no actual appliances to style the hair and that’s where she knew the magic came in.

An hour was easily soaked up by the stylist and the careful attention she paid to Loren. First she prepped her hair, untangling the knot that sat on Loren’s head, her curls cascading down her back in tight and loose ringlets, jutting out here and there, lacking the look of sophistication that Loren craved at the moment.

Millie gently separated the curls with her fingers, combing through and working a balm through the tendrils to relax them but keep the body that usually infuriated Loren. From time to time, Millie would pin up layers of Loren’s hair and brush out what was left hanging down her back.

Pulling out her wand, Millie began to twirl pieces of dark hair around it, muttering a spell so quietly Loren couldn’t make it out but as she did, the hair grew warm. Sliding her wand out from the hair, Loren expected a tight curl to bounce back but instead, the hair stayed raveled and seemed to pin itself to her head without any pins actually being pushed into her hair.

Strand by strand the same process was taken and Loren’s eyes grew heavy and her mind wandered to thoughts of what would happen tonight, who she might meet, what everybody would be wearing and the food she would be eating.

Two feet over, Remus and James sat in the bath tub, leaning against the porcelain and looking thoroughly bored. Loren didn’t have to glance over to know that throughout the last half an hour, they had changed their position from standing, to sitting on the edge of the tub, to now full out laying in it, legs thrown over the edge, shoulder to shoulder.

Millie had to suppress a laugh at the young men who couldn’t seem to sit still.

Turning Loren away from the mirror, Millie started styling the girl’s hair. Piece after piece was taken and pulled back, pinned up or pulled into what felt like an intricate design and finally the young boys’ attention was finally captured. They both watched intently as Millie, who was in her own little world, weaved and braided, pinned and clipped.

“Millie, do you think you could smooth out my hair?” James piped up from nowhere, wonderment in his eyes.

A twinkling laugh filled the woman and she shook her own hair. “I don’t think so, honey. Your mum asked me to smooth out your father’s. Neither product I own nor spell I know could tame his hair. I have a feeling yours would be no different.”

James nodded, looking slightly crestfallen, his gaze going back to Loren’s almost finished hair. A few more pins and twists and Millie was done, spraying in some hair spray and uttering another almost soundless spell to make sure her style would look flawless the entire night.

Millie was good at her job; any witch that went to her could tell you that in a heartbeat. For years now she had styled the hair of the women who took the front page of Witch Weekly and she was mentioned in all of the finest weddings and formal parties. Although Loren couldn’t see what her hair looked like, she was sure that she was going to be nothing less than pleased.

As Loren tried to imagine the way she would look once she was dressed and all done up, Millie began applying her makeup.

A sheer foundation was pressed into her skin, powders were brushed along her cheekbones and mascara was wisped into each individual lash. The makeup process took 1/3 of the time that her hair did and before she knew it, Millie was placing a kiss carefully to her head, packing up her equipment and wishing the kids fun at the party, though, she would be there as well. “I’ll probably be seeing you all there looking quite lovely but you see, Champagne likes to both lower my inhibitions and make a mess of my memory, so I do apologize in advance if I can’t recall any of the night.” She giggled gaily and bounded from the room.

Loren turned to glance at herself in the mirror, taken aback by the foggy appearance the reflective surface had taken on. Wiping her hand along the length of it, she was confused when it stayed foggy. Standing, she walked back into her room, meeting the same issue at the floor length mirror that sat by her wardrobe.

“James, there’s something wrong with the mirrors.”

“No, there isn’t Loren but Millie didn’t want you to peak at yourself until you were all done up. Once you’re dressed, Remus can take the spell off of the mirrors and then and only then can you see yourself. Millie’s too clever for her own good.” James smiled and handed Loren her dress, ushering her back into the bathroom and telling her they would be back in five minutes once they were dressed.

Loren slipped off her clothes and swapped out her bra for one that was strapless, as well as changing her knickers to nude boy shorts, knowing that her dress was too sheer for anything colored underneath.


Slipping into the dress, she pulled it over her hips, and slid her arms into the straps, settling the fabric gently over her skin. She twisted to pull the zipper up; unable to do so without fear of ripping the dress or snagging the fabric, she exited the bathroom, meeting the back of the now dressed up boys.

“James, can you zip this thing for me. I don’t want to mess it up!”

The boys turned eyes wide and mouths dropping open, they stared in awe at Lor, her beauty having taken on a new elegance that they had never seen before. Loren’s hand slipped over her nervously and although she had blush already applied to her cheeks, her face still burned brighter than the makeup could hide.

“You…. You… you look… “James could barely hold his shock at how grown up his best friend and wannabe little sister looked.

“You look absolutely breath taking, Lor.” Remus finished James’ thought, bustling over to Loren and helping her zip up the dress.
Both placing a kiss to her forehead, James and Remus left, reminding Loren that they had to greet guests but they would see her soon when she made her entrance at the ball.

“Remember not to trip, little sister!” James teased while Remus took the spell off of the mirrors and then they were gone.

Loren stepped in front of the mirror, opening her eyes wide. Even she couldn't deny it, she looked breathtaking.


Her hair was pushed back into a low bun at the nape of her neck. Braids were woven in and out of her bun while on the right side of her head; a French braid twisted itself around her head. Short tendrils of hair framed her face in tight curls.


Although she barely let Mellie spend much time concentrated on her makeup, it had come out flawlessly. A sheer gold color highlighted her emerald eyes and coral pink tinged her cheeks and lips, nothing too much, just a little something to bring out her natural beauty.

She wore no jewelry, except for a pair of gold pearls, nestled in her earlobes. Loren's eyes started to stray, she left the best part of her appearance to take in last.

Her dress was the pure white of fresh snow. The bodice of the dress came up high, touching the base of her neck where it came into a halter with gold accents weaving their way over her shoulders. Next her eyes glanced over her chest, completely covered, except for the keyhole detail right between her breasts. It was so dramatic, yet perfectly elegant. Her eyes pushed further down, meeting the empire waist, gathered in a crisscross pattern, the gathered chiffon was embroidered with gold pearls. Accents that if were left out would have made the dress like any other, lacking a certain grace of beauty.

At Loren's hips, the dress started to flow outward, leaving a soft and feminine look but the best bit was when she turned around. With her back to the mirror, Loren craned her neck to see her reflection. The halter straps to the dress crossed, leaving an "X" shape over her shoulder blades and wrapping around to the front. Just below that, Loren could see the smooth, ivory color of her skin. From the top of her shoulders to the start of her bum was all skin. Except for the thin straps, the fabric plunged dangerously, showing the curves of her back.

The dress was the most beautiful thing that Loren had ever seen and she knew that if her mother were there, her heart surely would stop in her chest at the site of Loren. While it was a dress that held grace and sophistication, Loren knew that she looked older. She looked sexy. Loren smiled and bit back a laugh, she never imagined herself looking so... perfect.

Stepping into a pair of gold stiletto heels, Loren left the guest room, walking toward the staircase to make her entrance.

***




Sirius’ POV

So the ball had just officially started and already my hand was sore from the amount of people that I had greeted and I was sure that tomorrow I would wake with no voice because as it was I had already used up every word in my vocabulary, twice.

I had already made my way down the entrance staircase, grabbed a glass of something that surely was not pumpkin juice and found my name amongst the tags that sat on the tables. Looking to my left and right I was pleased to see that James and Remus would be sitting right beside me, which was something I didn’t plan on since Mrs. Potter knew how we were together but we had already promised to be on our best behavior, so maybe she was throwing us a bone.

Glancing around the rest of the table, I noticed that Lily sat to James’ right and Ava to Remus’s left and right across from me was the seat that was reserved for Loren. My stomach flipped wondering just how uncomfortable she would be with Lily next to her, not only that but would it worse that I was sitting right in her eyesight?

Standing to grab another flute from a server, I watched as James and Lily made their entrance, all eyes flashing to the couple of the night but what I assume nobody noticed was the tension that separated them.
Loren would be coming out soon and I had told myself over and over already in the last ten minutes was that I shouldn’t stare. I shouldn’t give the guys anymore reason to bag on me and I shouldn’t give Lily any more reason to be a right git but I knew the second she came down those stairs, my eyes weren’t going to be able to see anything but her and that’s the way it had been since our third year. My eyes just weren’t able to see anything as beautiful or as mind blowingly distracting as Loren.

The music played quietly in the back and the people mingled happily in dresses and dress robes that looked extremely uncomfortable and I knew somewhere that Mrs. Potter was having a fit that the ice sculpture wasn’t magicked to not melt and the appetizers weren’t yet being sent out.

That woman was truly going to give herself a coronary one day.

James plopped down beside me and Lily beside him and although James looked extremely carefree, Lily looked like she had been sucking on the lemon that sat in her water glass. The conversation that James had with her, well actually, forced on her earlier was probably still playing clearly in her head and normally I’m not a fan for people being upset, but she deserved it this time around and I was secretly, or not to secretly since I had let him know numerous times today, very proud of Prongs for standing up to her and putting her in her place.

This was going to end up being a long night, not that I wasn’t excited for the night. I’m good at parties; I’m good at being social. I might not be good at much; I’m not good at feelings, or being a part of my family and I’m certainly not good at relationships but parties I’m good at. That and being an animagus. James tells me way too often that I should just make my transformation permanent but I really do enjoy being a human most of the time.

The buzz from whatever the hell I had two cups of was warming my stomach and making me way too happy at a party that had just started 15 minutes ago.

General POV

“Sirius, slow down, my man. Mum won’t be too pleased if you get wasted.” James warned, a teasing smiling playing on his lips.

Sirius chuckled and cheekily downed his drink, the warmth now flooding his chest. James shook his head, waving over a server and grabbing five flutes for the table. “To a good night, good friends, no fights and lots of champagne!” The whole table cheered, all except Lily who nodded and daintily sipped her drink.

“Here, here, Jamsie boy! To all of that and a damn good… holy hippogriff shit.” Sirius stopped short, exclaiming loudly, his eyes bulging from his head. Not paying attention, Sirius tipped his drink a little too far and champagne spilt down his robes, leaving a trail.

The whole room of people turned to look in the direction that Sirius was staring, his eyes seeming to almost pop out of their sockets. Standing at the top of the stairs, grasping the banister was Loren; her ivory skin glowing in the light and the gold accents in her dress was casting a warm glow around her.

Sirius stood, his whole body on fire, his heart thumping loudly in his chest. He had never seen anything so beautiful, so delicate and so damn heart breaking. Sirius could barely breathe; it felt like every cell of his being was coming to life and for a split second, he was worried more than just his cells were bursting because of the beautiful girl at the top of the stairs.

Loren started, realizing now that everybody seemed to be staring at her. Her eyes glanced from one intrigued face to another; face after face, Loren blushed a little more, her face growing warm.

She gripped the banister a little harder and met person after person, recognizing friends, classmates, teachers and important people. Finally her eyes fell on the only person who was standing, his grey eyes warm and needy of something, his body arched towards hers from across the room, it was Sirius. He looked charming in his robes, a gold bow tie sat underneath his chin and his hair fell endearingly around his face.

Loren took deep breaths, trying hard to not hyperventilate, wanting to run to Sirius, wanting to kiss him. Her self-control minimal at this point but running in heels wouldn’t be the smartest move right now, also running across a room of spectators to kiss the boy she hasn’t spoken to in months while she had a boyfriend also wasn’t smart.

Her legs shook as she got half way down the staircase, the hem of her dress in one hand, she suddenly felt so beautiful.

No matter why she was being stared at, the look in Sirius’s eyes told her that she was the only thing he could see, at least, that’s what she thought and it pushed her to keep walking. For the night she was going to be confident and elegant. For the night, Loren was going to the person she really was when her doubts and worries didn’t get in the way and although she couldn’t be sure how he felt while looking at her, she thanked Sirius for that silently.

Sirius stared into Loren’s eyes, the deep green mesmerizing and so captivating it made his skin burn. He wanted to scream that she looked beautiful. Her hair was out of her face and resting against her neck, curls here and there nestled against her collar bones. Sirius cursed himself silently as the champagne in him urged him to keep looking, to let his eyes fall down her ivory colored skin. She looked so sexy, the dress she wore by no means was wasted on Sirius, instead he admired every single thing that it did for her, from the way it hugged her chest and flowed smoothly over her hips and stomach, to the bits of skin he could see in the design.

Without another word or thought, Sirius bounded forward, skirting around tables and weaving through the maze of servers. For a second, Sirius could swear he heard Remus and James give a whisper of a cheer but there was no way for him to be sure. He made his way to the staircase, his body moving at its own accord and Loren almost glided down the stairs. Five stairs away, three stairs away, one stair away and a mixture of shock and happiness played on Lor’s face. Her smile almost knocked Sirius over and it took all the strength he had in him to gently thrust out an arm for Loren to take.

Loren had a feeling that it didn’t take a Seer to know the surprise that was going on in her mind. Sirius had come to lead her to their table and the way he came over, it was as if he was magnetized to her. Truth be told, she felt pulled to him right now, too, and so she took his arm, letting him lead her through the throng of tables to theirs, where she could see that everybody at the table, even Lily included was smiling wider than she had seen in a while. She smiled back as Sirius pulled out her chair, then pushing it in and taking his own set across from her.

Remus and James both gave her an encouraging thumbs up and James had to add in a wink. Ava commented on her dress and hair. Loren thanked her happily, glancing quickly over at her cousin.

Lily was in a soft pink dress, an overlay of sheer pink fabric added a beautiful flow to the gown. Lor noticed at the shoulder laid a crystal lily flower. She also noticed the French braid that trailed down Lily’s back and the messy tendrils that slipped out here and there. The redhead looked gorgeous.

Lily looked up, meeting Loren’s eyes. A warm smile changed the features that Loren had come to see as cold in the last few weeks. She couldn’t help but smile back but she smiled even brighter when her cousin mouthed the words “I’m sorry.”

Loren nodded took a large gulp of the drink that James had set in front of her, choking on the contents. “Ugh! James, what is this stuff?”

“It’s Champagne, Lor bug!”

“Champagne tastes nasty, James! What were you thinking?”

“I know it’s nasty, we all know it’s nasty.” He motioned around the table. “What I was thinking, though, is that tonight is going to be a night like no other and so we drink to the occasion.” And for the second time that night, James proposed a toast. This time earning a clink of five other people’s glass against his.

***




The night was going amazingly so far. They heard speeches made by Mr. and Mrs. Potter and ate food so heavenly that it’s only competition was Hogwarts and all of the friends were feeling a little bit warm from the flutes of champagne they had drank. James was meticulous about always keeping a full glass in front of them and so often he would find another server and grab enough to restock the table.

James felt extremely rebel- like as he so easily could obtain the alcohol right under his mum’s nose but little did he know that she was keeping a watchful eye on all six teenagers and for once, letting them get a little rowdy. She was just enjoying herself and her friends and family, tonight was not going to be spoilt by any anger or yelling.

They danced and ate some more, then danced and drank some more and two hours into the ball, Loren’s feet were aching and she was a drink past tipsy. So as she walked to bathroom to freshen up and powder her nose, she barely noticed the eyes that were watching her from the dark corridor.

As Loren opened the door, she was greeted with a squeal from her new friend Alice. “Oh Loren, you look absolutely lovely and not to get right to the gossip before a proper hello but Sirius looked like he was ready to devour you right then and there!” Alice shuffled over to Loren in a midnight blue gown, enclosing her in a tight hug.

“I’ll tell you all about it, Alice but first I have to pee, too much champagne in too little time and I think my bladder may explode.” Loren giggled and went into a stall, amazed that the Potter’s even thought to magic the bathroom to hold more people.

“Pee and tell, Loren dear!”

“I really don’t know what to say. All of it happened quickly and I had no idea that it would. One second I was making my way in, hoping that nobody noticed since I was terrified to fall and then everybody was staring and Sirius had stood and made his way over.” Loren smiled to herself and flushed the toilet, straightening her dress. “But I will tell you this, Alice, the look in Sirius’s eyes was enough to make me weak in the knees. The way he was looking at me was so, so alluring. It took me so much effort to not just shag him right then and there.”

Loren knew the champagne was making her talk and speak her mind but for tonight she was fine with feeling carefree.

“And did you by any chance notice that Lily apologized to me?” Alice glanced up in the mirror to catch Loren’s eyes. “Probably not because she mouthed it but she did, right at the table.”

Alice did a small, rather girlish hop and leaned on to the sink. “Well tonight seems to be going fabulously for you then, aye? See, like I told you, this break was nothing to be nervous about.”

Loren nodded happily and looked into the mirror, wiping a bit of mascara from under her eyes and applying a little bit of power to her nose to hide the slight sheen that had appeared. Her hair still looked flawless and her dress still beautiful as ever.

“So how is your night, Alice? I’m going to bet my arse that it is going pretty well since one, Frank Longbottom, can’t seem to take his eyes off of you.”

A blush crawled up Alice’s cheeks and a flirtatious smiled appeared on her lips. “You noticed then, did you?” Loren nodded again. “He asked me to marry him, Loren!” Alice exclaimed exuberantly.
Loren blanched for a second, remembering to compose herself quickly. She didn’t want to appear too shocked or mystified. “Alice, you both are so young, though!”

“Oh, I know, Loren. I only agreed as long as he will wait until I am out of Hogwarts and I choose a career but I said yes!” The look of sheer excitement was on Alice’s face and there was no way that Loren could be anything but happy for her friend.

Tonight was a great night for everybody it seemed and the true feel of Christmas was almost overwhelming.

The two girls linked arms and left the loo, walking back into the ball, joining the festivities that were going on but as Loren promised to talk to Alice in a little bit, something caught the corner of her eyes and she whipped her head back.

“I’ll see you later, Al!” Loren cried and walked back out in the foyer, glancing around the corner to catch the back of a person not at all dressed for the night heading out into the yard.

Loren raced after them as quickly as she could in her heels and made her way outside into the cold weather. She seen the person slip into the snow dusted garden and took a quick turn, taking a path to cut them off at Christmas light covered bushes.

“Sebastian? Sebastian, is that you?” Loren stopped short of knocking into Sebastian and crossed her arms, trying to suppress the goose flesh that had bitten at her arms in the cold air.

Sebastian looked up; looking like a young boy caught doing something naughty. “Sebastian, what are you doing here?” Loren’s boyfriend opened his mouth but no words came out.

“Sebastian… were you… were you watching me? I thought I seen somebody when I went into the bathroom but I wasn’t sure. Was it you?” Loren was in disbelief that her boyfriend would crash the Potter’s ball just to spy on her.

Then and only then did she realize that he must have been watching her to make sure she behaved herself. He was keeping a close eye on her and he had gone to the most extreme measure.

“Sebastian, did you really come all the way out here to check up on me and watch me from dark corridors?”

Loren looked at his face for the first time which up until then had been shadowed by the dark of night. “Sebastian, what on earth happened to your face?”

“My face?” Sebastian replied, attempting a hint of nonchalance.

“Yes, Sebastian, your face. Seeing as your nose normally doesn’t bend to the right the way it is and I think I would have noticed a large black and blue birthmark four months ago, what happened to your face?”

“I fell… and hit it on my father’s writing desk.”

“You fell on a desk and broke your nose?” Loren knew that her skepticism was very vibrant in her words but she hardly cared.

Sebastian rubbed the back of his neck, tilting his face away from his girlfriend. “Well no, I was more like dropped on a desk with a mixture of fell on a desk.”

“You were dropped on a desk? What the fuck, Seb?” Loren shivered in the cold wind and placed a hand to his bruised face, felling the bumps that had bloomed underneath his olive skin.

“It’s a lot to explain but I’m sure you’ll know soon enough. Now, can we just drop it, that isn’t why I came here.” Sebastian placed a warm hand over her cold one and squeezed her fingertips.

“Fine, but I expect to know sooner or later. So I’ll ask once more, did you come here to check up on me?”

“No, Loren! That wasn’t it. I just came to say…” Sebastian stopped unsure of the words he was planning on speaking.

“To say what, Sebastian?” Impatience colored her words and she tried not to tap her foot.

“I just wanted to say sorry, Loren. I needed to apologize.”

“For what, Sebastian?” Loren asked.

“Right now, it’s not important. I’ve done a lot of shitty things, Loren. I truly have but believe me I am going to make up for it. I’m going to change things.

Loren raised a brow questioningly and knew that now was a better time than ever. Now was the moment that she took things into her own hands. “Sebastian, this isn’t working.” Loren muttered.

“I know it isn’t.” He nodded and took one of Loren’s hands. “I know it isn’t and that’s my fault as well.

Loren shook her head, tears springing to her eyes though Loren wasn’t sure she was even upset. “No, Sebastian, it isn’t just your fault. It was both of us. You and I together made this relationship and you and I together tore it apart. I know that and you need to know it, too.” Loren squeezed the hand he had placed in hers.

“Listen to me, I’m so sorry that I didn’t say it earlier but this has changed, I’ve certainly changed and maybe you have, too. There’s nothing we can do to change that and for four months now we have been working at making our relationship something more than it ever was. Don’t get me wrong, Seb, please. I cared for you so much, I think I truly did love you but for some reason it didn’t stay that way. I kept going because sometimes I needed you more than I needed air to breathe and that was wrong of me. Truly so wrong.” The tears had started splashing down Loren’s face and she didn’t even attempt to wipe them away.

“Sometimes I could barely stand your presence and then others, well others it was as if you were the only thing keeping me going. The moment you told me that you loved me; it changed me and made me beautiful. You helped me grow and taught me to share my heart and to trust in my decisions, no matter the consequence but now things are different and if we kept this going, we would just keep hurting the other.” Loren looked up and noticed the tears that had started to crawl done his cheeks as well.

“I have never left caution to the wind or just let things happen but with you, I had no choice. I let everything go to care and love you. It felt so right at the time but now, it feels differently and I think you know that, too.”

Sebastian nodded and wiped Loren’s tears, placing his hands on her waist. “Lor, I have loved you so much and so intensely, sometimes it scared me so much but I never wished it to stop. It hasn’t stopped even now that I know how you feel and I have a feeling that it never will stop. I know things have changed and I don’t blame you for this. I don’t blame you for feeling differently. I just need you to know that I will love you every moment of my life until the day that I die, no matter what happens because you made me better. You showed me the real meaning of good.” Loren nodded, slightly confused.

“I know you don’t understand what I mean now and I’m not sure you ever will but I’m hoping that you will know. I’m hoping that you will understand what I mean soon and all I ask when you find out is that you not hate me. Please, Loren, please never hate me. And please” Sebastian pressed, “Please forgive me for the stupid and careless things I have done. I have loved you so much in such a short period of time. You make me better, Loren Evans and even now you will continue to make me better.” Sebastian leaned down and placed a kiss to Loren’s lips, hugging her tightly, taking a last deep breath to remember her scent and kissed her cheek one last time to remember the feel of her skin.

Sebastian turned to leave, letting go of the only thing that had been able to light his life since his mother left. “Loren?” Loren made a small noise for him to continue on. “Please, be happy” Loren nodded, starting to speak but he cut her off. “No, Loren, be happy. Be happy with Sirius.”

And with that, Sebastian turned, snow crunching under his feet. Suddenly Loren felt so alone, she felt like she letting go of a security blanket. “I’ll be seeing you, Seb!” She called, almost pleading for a little more time to make things right.

“I don’t think you will, Loren.” Sebastian muttered and with that the dark consumed him, leaving nothing behind but an icy wind and a heart that was not broken but chipped for Loren to figure out.

Tears poured down Lor’s cheeks, leaving cold trails. She knew she was probably ruining her makeup all to hell but she didn’t care because for some reason, this hurt more than she ever believed it would. For the past few weeks, she had been so ready to give Sebastian the boot that she didn’t realize how much it would really hurt to no longer call him her boyfriend anymore.

She had spent the day thinking about Sirius, hell, she had spent so much of her time and life thinking about Sirius but that didn’t stop the love that she knew she had felt, if only for a short period of time, for Sebastian. He was like a floatation device that had been thrown to her and the best time but she grew greedy and took advantage of that protection and she ended up here. Standing outside in the cold winter air, in a ball gown, crying her eyes out because she hadn’t loved her first love properly and that, too, was heartbreaking.

After composing herself the best that she could, Loren ventured back into the ball, heading straight for the bathroom to check her makeup and wash her hands in warm water to possibly head off the frost bite that she was almost positive had found her fingers in the time she spent outside.

Loren looked into the mirror, shocked that her makeup had barely moved but extremely pleased with Millie for being a miracle worker. Sticking her hands in the sink of water that normally would burn her skin, Loren let a sigh out. Tonight had been, if not anything else, crazy.

Behind her a stall opened and a redheaded girl popped out, realizing who she was sharing the bathroom with. “Loren, what’s wrong?” Lily asked, alarmed at the scene she just met.

Loren mentally cursed herself, angry for not checking to make sure she was alone before coming into the loo. Shaking her head, Loren made to dry her hands and leave but her cousin gripped her elbow, turning to face one another.

“Loren, please. I know it will take you some time to forgive me but I really am sorry and don’t tell me nothing is wrong, I know you far better than that.” Lily bite her lip, pleading with Loren to know that she truly was so sorry for the way she had acted over the past few weeks.

Loren wasn’t sure what to say to her cousin. It wasn’t that she didn’t forgive Lily or that she was still angry, the problem was that what was paining her now was what started the fight with Lily to begin with and Loren didn’t want to fuel the fire. “Loren, you can tell me anything.”
Loren decided that if she truly was going to forgive Lily then now was the best time to test the waters. “I broke up with Sebastian” Lor blurted out, waiting for the anger to start.

“Well, why are you upset if you broke up with him?” Lily asked complete confusion on her face but not a sign of anger anywhere to be found on her sharp features.

“It isn’t that we aren’t together anymore. It’s just… I feel like he was saying goodbye.” Loren hadn’t dared even think it to herself, afraid that what she assumed was the truth.

“Well wouldn’t he be saying goodbye?” Lily was trying her hardest to understand but even when they were closer, Loren was like a book she had never read and as there were few books that Lily hadn’t read, it was all very new to her.

Loren fidgeted her hands, trying to explain what she meant. She wanted Lily to understand the conflict that was playing in her own mind. “It was like he knew he would never see me again.” Loren finished.

Lily nodded, finally getting to the chapter that Loren was on. “Well I’m sure that isn’t true, Loren. I doubt he meant that. I’m sure he is just hurt and confused, he didn’t know what else to say.” Lily leaned in, hugging her cousin tightly. Remembering how much shorter the girl was and how small she always felt in her arms. “Now let’s get back to the ball, there isn’t much time left and I think you need some happiness in you.” Lily poked Loren’s side and ushered her from the bathroom.

As the two girls made their way into the room, Mrs. Potter announced that it was going to be the last dance of the night. Clapping her hands together, she pulled Mr. Potter closer to her. “Now if you haven’t already danced tonight, I urge you to greatly because if you didn’t know, dancing does indeed make the soul lighter!” and with that the orchestra started a beautiful melody and person after person pulled a partner to the large dance floor and began a slow waltz, their energy now lacking from the long night they had endured.

James came towards the girls, swaying a little bit from the glasses of champagne that he had lost count of. Smiling widely, he grasped Lily’s hands and pulled her to the floor, twirling her around, earning a hearty laugh from Lily.

Well so much for the night ending well, Loren thought. Now she was going to watch couples, filled with happiness dancing in each other’s arm. Swigging down a glass of champagne that had been left at her table, Loren felt hopeless.

She watched Mr. and Mrs. Potter twirl, Ava and Remus sway, Lily and James dip and Alice and Frank spin, happy with the night and the love they shared evident on their faces.

“This calls for another flute of champagne.” Loren announced to nobody and stood to find a server. As she turned to check the room, she smacked right into another person.

“No, I think this calls for a dance.” Sirius replied, taking Loren’s hand and guiding her to the dance floor. No more words were exchanged but it was a comfortable silence that Loren welcomed.

Sirius placed his hand on her waist, the other tangled with her fingers and as the music played they danced. Their bodies touching and their hearts beating together, this was a moment that Loren never would want to miss.

Although sadness seemed to flow in Loren’s heart another feeling was mingling with it, the feeling of peace that she rarely ever had. She was at peace with her life, maybe not with the fear that she had for Sebastian but her life seemed okay in this moment.

Laying her head down on Sirius’s chest and wrapping her arms tightly around his neck, she listened to the steady beat of his heart.

***




After the ball ended and everybody said their goodbyes, Loren had fell into bed, hair still pinned up and dress still on. A deep slumber met Loren and dreams filled with Sebastian walking into the darkness and Sirius taking his place, reaching for her hand woke her on Christmas morning.

After a breakfast that surely was made for a small army was finished, coffee was poured into their cups. Well, so far James had finished a cup and was on his second after complaining about a “sodding hangover”.

Everybody was sore, full and lacking the energy for present opening but since it was Christmas, they dished out their last ounce of whatever was keeping them going and tore into the brightly wrapped gifts, piles of presents becoming larger and larger as the stack under the tree become smaller and smaller.

Loren received books and boxes of candies, coloring changing quills from Remus and a snitch that opened for notes that could only be opened by her and James. From Mr. Potter she got a new gold cauldron and from Mrs. Potter a beautiful silk scarf from France.

As she looked around, she realized she was the last one to have presents left to open and so hurriedly, she tore into red paper, revealing a book from her parents on water manipulators and how to better control the power. Smiling to herself, more to the fact that her parents were obviously safe than the actual book itself, Loren tore into the next gift.

A small velvet box met her hands and Loren opened it in wonderment. Inside sat a beautiful gold band ring with a cluster of milky, pure pearls. Loren knew at once who it was from and her heart gave a small pitter patter. She glanced over at Sirius who winked at her and quickly looked back to James who was trading him Chocolate Frogs for Acid Pops.

The ring matched Loren’s ball gown so well it was shocking. She wondered how on earth he had gotten her the ring when he had just seen her dress last night and Loren realized that Sirius was good at making things happen, he was very good at making her smile, too.

Slipping the ring on her finger, a small nudge met her side and she glanced over at Lily who was looking from Loren, to the ring, to Sirius, questioningly. Loren nodded once and pulled Lily from her spot to go renew their mug of coffee, wrap up in layers and have a long chat outside. They needed to catch up very much.

***




Within the blink of an eye, the friends’ break passed faster than any of them could believe and the last event they had before many days of catching up on sleep, homework and packing their trunks was the New Year’s Eve party. Although they were more than excited about the non-chaperoned event and the chance to just be teenagers with a bunch of other teenagers, they were all excited to be returning to school because for once, things finally seemed to be returning to normal for all of them, especially Loren.

Laying across her bed, eyes heavy and body yearning for sleep, Loren glanced at the clock. It was barely two in the afternoon and she was already ready for bed. Tomorrow was the second party in a week and Loren grew exhausted at the thought.

As she fingered the pearl ring that sat on her finger, Loren wondered how things had changed so much in such a small amount of time. She had owled Sebastian at least ten times since the party but she had yet to speak to him and although her and Sirius had barely shared more than a few words since last week, the smiles and winks she kept receiving and the faith she had in Sebastian kept her happy for the time being and that was all she could ask.

A small tapping made Loren jump and sit up quickly. At the window was a gold fleck, flitting back and forth, tapping every few seconds. Loren stood, confused as to why there was a snitch at the window but realized quickly that it was the snitch that James had gotten her for Christmas. Crossing the room to open the window, Loren let the snitch in and grabbed it from the air. Placing a finger to the opening, she waited for the clasp to pop open.

Pulling a small note from the inside crevice, she unraveled the now very wrinkled note and read the few words on the page.

“Come to my room please.
-Jamie”


Loren sighed, lobbing the note into the trash bin and slipping the snitch into her bedside drawer she left her room, slowly walking down the halls, wishing very much that she was still nestled into her bed.

As she made her way to James door, she could hear the voices of more than one boy in the room and wondered what on earth she was needed for and what she was going to meet when she opened the door.

Knocking once on the thick wood door, she turned the handle and slipped into the room. Sitting on the bed was James and Remus and lying across the floor was Sirius.

Noticing Loren standing in the room, Sirius smiled and winked at her, his new daily, well almost hourly, routine. Realizing now that there was no room for her to plop down on the bed, she instead plopped to the floor, leaning back on her hands.

Sirius shook his head at the young girl and slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her over to sit by his side.

Loren’s heart flipped and she scooted into Sirius’s arms a little bit more. “Alright” she announced, “Why did you call be down here?” Patience really wasn’t a strong suit of Loren’s.

Each of the boys looked from one another and wondered who was going to speak first and what exactly they would stay. A nervous feeling filled the room and Loren’s anxiety crept high in her chest, making her want to cling to Sirius. So deciding now that it was a better time than any to say screw it to her self-control, Loren stretched her body out and cuddled into Sirius’s side, laying her head down on his chest and listening to the welcoming sound of his heart.

An almost instant calm met her and put her anxiety at bay as the rhythmic thump, thump helped her brain to not flit from terrifying thought to terrifying though. “Well?” She pressed, deciding it was best to just get whatever had to be said out of the way instead of sitting in a room where a tense feel was slowly starting to flood the room. Loren was scared that if they all just kept sitting there in silence that they would all be drowned.

Remus sighed, rubbing his face. “I think you’re up, Prongs, mate.” Sirius nodded from underneath Lor and James rolled his eyes, annoyed that he was being elected for the position of spokesperson but being that it was his decision to tell her, he knew that this probably was his job more than anybody else’s.

So gaining a courage that he didn’t have moments before, James opened his mouth waiting for the words to come out. As the seconds ticked by and James’ mouth remained open but nothing seemed to come out, the words had seemed to get caught in his throat.

“James?” Loren asked, sitting up quickly, afraid that the tension had already gotten to him and started suffocating him. James raised a hand, silencing her, as well as letting her know he was fine.

“Mate, just spit it out. It won’t be any easier in five minutes.” Sirius pulled Loren back down to his side as he spoke to his best friend, giving him a look to reassure him.

James rolled his eyes at Sirius but appreciated his attempt more than he could understand and he internally reminded himself to give Sirius a pat on the back and a go on his new broom later that night as a thank you for being such a great best mate.

“Alright, alright, I’m going. You all are too sodding impatient. I was merely collecting my thoughts.” Classis James Potter, make them laugh and everything will be okay.

“James!” They all yelled at the raven haired boy as their patience was wearing thin quicker than ever.

James really was going to give each of them a good thump on the head if they didn’t just shut it and give the poor guy a break. Chucking a pillow at Remus and then one at Sirius, effectively hitting both him and Loren at the same time, James continued on.

“Loren” James pressed, this time the words slipping out easily. “Have you ever heard of the Order of The Phoenix?”

________________________

A/N- Well there you are, my loves! This is my longest chapter to date, 10,000 words! I hope everybody enjoyed this and with that being said, drop me a review. I’d love to know who’s sticking with me and also if anybody has been there since the birth of this story!

Let me know your favorite parts and the parts that you wished hadn’t happened!
-Alex

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