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A/N: Hey Guys! Thank you to everyone who is sticking with this story :) Let me know what you think of this chapter. I'm already working on the next one. Also, I really hope you are looking up the "Songs of the day", they are prettttttty great!

 

Song of the day:

                Shot at the night- by The Killers


 


 

Zalia's POV:

 


 



Sometimes I really hate people.

 

Usually I try and ignore those feelings of hatred. But when the person you detest is literally throwing things at you, it's sort of hard.

 

This particular day, I was hating a certain blonde by the name of Tamara Goldberg. Hate being the mildest term I could use.

 

"But, why?"

 

I scowled, slamming closed a book I had been about to start reading. "Because we are not friends. Not even remotely close to being friends. You are to me as Gryffindor is to Slytherin. Get it?"

 

She pouted, setting her perfectly sculpted lips in a purse. "I'm only trying to--"

 

I stood up, slinging my book bag over my shoulder, "Only trying to what? To pretend that you are nice or something? You're a bitch, Tammy. And no matter how much you follow me around, whining in my ear, no one is going to think any differently."

 

I left without looking back and walked out into the corridor, heading for the entrance hall. It was a nice day. Not nice enough to make me like Tammy. But nice enough to let me try and pretend she didn't exist.

 

I walked out the double doors and into the sun reys streaming through the cold air. October was a good month. Cool, but not arctic. Breezy, but not windy. I stalked to my favorite tree and sat down underneath it, tearing up leaves that had fallen on the ground.

 

"Oi! Blackwood!"

 

I looked up. Remus and Beck were walking over with identical smiles. It was weird to see them getting along so well. Sure they were both charming, but still.

 

"Rough day?" Beck noticed the pile of shredded leaves around me.

 

"Not at all. Just been putting up with my nemesis."

 

"Sirius being a jerk?" Remus sat down next to me.

 

It had been days since we'd both left the Hospital Wing. I'd had no scars or bruises, but he had still been pretty roughed up by the time we were out. His chest was covered by his shirt, but his arms and face showed their good share of scars and bruises. By now some had faded. Pomfry had fixed up his eye and most of the rips down his arm. He still had one scar on his arm, one sitting vertical on his lower lip, and the very tip of his ear was missing.

 

I dropped the leaf I was holding. "Actually I meant Tammy."

 

"Oh," He shrugged, "One in the same really. But Padfoot isn't all that bad once you get to know him."

 

I ignored Remus' attempts to get me to become 'pals' with Sirius. He'd been dropping hints like that lately.

 

"She's intollerable. Today she started throwing quills at me when I wouldn't pay attention to her."

 

Both boys laughed.

 

"Tell her to shove it." Beck suggested, nudging a stick with his shoe.

 

"I did. But it's like she refuses to stop pretending. I thought it would last a day and then she would find it acceptable to be mean to me again."

 

Beck frowned, "When did she start acting like she was your biggest fan?"

 

"When I came back," I said quietly.

 

Beck shifted uncomfortably and Remus reached a hand towards me before thinking better of it and setting it in his lap instead.

 

"Anyways," I said, wanting to change the subject, "Who are you lot taking to the Halloween ball?"

 

The dance was tomorow night. The idea of it had grown on me and I was actually looking forward to going with my friends.

 

Beck grinned sheepishly, "I was going to ask Lily."

 

I ignored Remus' scowl. As always, a loyal marauder.



"Good idea," I smiled. Lily liked him anyways and I was still pissed at James.

 

"Thanks. I'll probably have to hurry up before Potter does though."

 

Remus frowned, "No. He's going stag with Peter and Frank Longbottom."

 

That surprised me, but maybe James was going to let his relationship with Lily marinate for a while. It was a good idea.

 

"What about you?" I nudged Remus with my elbow.

 

He cleared his throat and looked at the grass.

 

"Well?"

 

"I, err," His adams apple bobbed, "I was actually wondering if you'd go with me?"

 

I blinked. Oh. That was unexpected. But I really shouldn't have been surprised. Remus and I had gotten much closer over the past few weeks, and he was one of my best friends. A smile tugged at the corners of my mouth.

 

"'Course I will!" I gave him a wink and he laughed.

 

Beck snorted, "You two are weird. Remus, you're a braver man than most to ask out 'the Queen'."

 

I stared at him, "The what?"

 

He chuckled nervously, "You didn't know they called you that?"

 

My eyes narrowed, "Who called me that?"

 

"It's not a bad name. Just sort of a title you go by in school." Remus put in.

 

I hesitated. True, it wasn't insulting. But I wasn't that thrilled about the idea of people calling me by a title.

 

"What does that mean?" I asked slowly.

 

"It's like.... you're sort of regal I guess."

 

I raised my eyebrows. Regal? I could live with that. I didn't mind being regal.

 

Beck leaned back against the tree trunk. "You sort of have this scary, noble, graceful aura about you."

 

"Scary?"

 

"And graceful." He said quickly.

 

I grunted, "I guess it could be worse."

 

Remus smiled before getting up. He had to check out a book from Madame Pince before lunch. Beck and I ended up walking back to Gryffindor tower together. Both of us had something to grab from our rooms.

 

I hadn't talked to Beck very much since his transfer to Hogwarts. I was surprised to find out how similar we were. We got to talking about traveling and different places around the world. It was an engrossing conversation. I'd never met someone who had been to as many places as I had, or had the same passion for seeing the world.

 

We were just comparing our experiences in Iceland when Lily came around a corner, her red hair tangled and flowing.

 

I smirked and told Beck I'd see him later. Throwing him a knowing look I left the two of them alone and ran upstairs; book bag in hand.

 

I passed a few people on my way up. Some of them muttered about me being insane. A few smiled shyly. But most just refused to meet my eyes. I glared at all of them, and ignored the smiles thrown my way. They were given out of pity anyway, and I didn't need that.

 

It felt like a breath of fresh air when I reached my room. I threw open the window and sat on its ledge, watching the students milling about on the grounds. People shouting, running, laughing, sitting, talking. Not caring. I envied them. I was far too much of a worrier. The habit was worse now than before. Probably because I had a lot more to worry about. But I was in an exeptionally mottled mood today.

 

I was anxious in anticipation for this weekend. My parents funeral.

 

If you could even call it that. It was more of a ceremony. They had both been cremated according to their wills, and now I had to go bury their ashes in the dirt. I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.

 

I'd honestly forgotton about pretty much everything after their deaths. Who forgets things like that? Of course there would be some sort of funeral, of course I would have to go through all thier paperwork, of course I would inherit everything. And the only person who would be there to help me at all was my cousin Heidi. Someone I'd not seen in a few years, but my only distant relative that I'd ever actually spoken too.

 

Dumbledore had made most of the arrangements. He'd asked if I wanted to take care of it and plan the funeral, but I'd said no. Besides, my parents had dictated most of the details in their will. The only thing I wanted to do with the burial ceremony was be there. That would be difficult enough.

 

The one person who knew about the funeral was Rose. It had caught me completely off guard when I'd walked back from my talk with Dumbledore and she'd been sitting on my bed, waiting. She'd asked when the funeral was and I'd told her, hesitantly. Rose and I had a somewhat awkward friendship. She was kind of an oddball. Not talking much, and when she did it was usually something deep or wise. She was the best person to go to for advice.

 

After a lot, a lot of thinking, I'd gone with Rose's suggestion of having the funeral ceremony in a church for everyone who wanted to come, and then just going by myself or with cousin Heidi to bury the ashes. Being a private person, it was the most appealing option.

 

"--so exciting! I can't believe he asked me!"

 

I dropped off the window ledge as Mary and Lily burst into the room. Gathering up my book bag I moved to walk past them, out the door, after snatching up an inkwell from my trunk.

 

"Zalia! Guess who asked me to the dance?!"

 

I knew Lily was bursting to tell me so I pretended not to know, "Who?"

 

"Beck!" She grinned and punched me in the shoulder for no apparent reason.

 

"And Mary!" Lily shrieked.

 

I frowned, "Beck asked you and Mary?"

 

She rolled her eyes and flapped her hands while Mary's face went red. "No, silly. Vice asked her!"

 

"Oh! Congrats!" I smiled at them before getting ready to go down stairs again.

 

"Wait," Lily grabbed my arm, "Don't worry," She looked at me genuinely, "I'm sure you'll get asked. It's just that you're so freakin pretty guys are probably intimidated."

 

I raised an eyebrow, "For your information, I've already been asked."

 

Mary and Lily's eyes widened, "What?! who?"

 

I bit my tongue, slightly hesitant to tell them it was Remus. For some reason I felt like they would blow the thing out of proportion and act like we were getting engaged or something.

 

"Remus."

 

They both screamed, causing me to wince.

 

"That's fantastic!" Mary said earnestly.

 

"You guys are so cute together."

 

I frowned at Lily's remark, "We aren't a couple. We're just going as friends."

 

The two girls exchanged a look. "Does he know that?"

 

"Of course he--" I paused. Did he know this was just as friends? Were we going on a date? It was a dance, not a "let's get coffee", or an "i'd like to take you out to dinner" thing.

 

Frowning, I shook it off, "I'm sure he meant to ask me as a friend." But I wasn't really that sure anymore.

 

Lily and Mary seemed too excited to care. I left them to agonize over how to do their hair for the dance, and went downstairs towards the kitchens. I wasn't in the mood for anymore of Tammy's crap today, and eating in the great hall with James and Sirius didn't sound appealing at all.

 

I'd been civil to James while Remus and I had questioned him about the night of the full moon. Civil, and that was all. He'd invaded my privacy and taken something precious away from me. Neither crimes which I would be quick to forgive.

 

According to the man in question, he and the marauders went through a tunnel beneath the Whomping Willow every full moon. The tunnel led to a shack. The Shrieking shack to be precise, and there the three animagi would turn and keep the werewolf from wreaking havoc. Or try to. James had said there had been a problem on that particular night. Something had happened, someone had made the wrong move but he didn't know what, and Remus had lunged. He'd hit James in just the right spot and sent him flying towards on of the shack's walls. He'd been knocked unconcsious. Sirius had tried to help James, and Peter had scampered. Then that was it. Remus had bounded down the tunnel, past the Whomping Willow tree, and into the forest.

 

Sirius had filled in the story after the part where James' was knocked out. He'd left James in the shack to follow Remus, and had been tracking him through the forest when he'd found me instead. It was Sirius who had been the dog. He was the one who'd protected me and tried to get me to go back inside the castle. I didn't know if I was surprised or confused, but it was an unnerving feeling to think that he'd risked his life to save mine. I'd been there. I'd seen how brutal the wolf could be. Sirius had taken it on to save me, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that.

 

Peter and Sirius had shown up in the Hospital wing while I'd been interrogating James. Peter hadn't had a scratch on him, but Sirius was bruised and slightly torn with a limp in his left leg. Apparently after I'd gone inside, he'd wrestled Remus back into the tunnel, down to where James was, and kept guard over both of them until the morning when Remus had turned back to his human form. He'd then diposited both Remus and James to the infirmary (both of whom had been out cold), and went scowering the school grounds to look for Peter. He'd found him in his rat form by the pumpkin patch. It had been hard for me not to glare at the boy after figuring out he'd abandonded his friends and run off like a coward, but the marauders didn't seem that surprised.

 

James hadn't tried to apologize to me for reading my letter. He hadn't acted any differently than usual other than refusing to look at me properly. I guessed that James' idea of dealing with something was the old "ignore it and it'll go away" philosophy. I got even more pissed off when he wouldn't acknowledge what he'd done. I wasn't about to bring it up, but it was dissapointing that he wouldn't even try and talk to me about it. I'd been giving him the evil eye ever since then and avioded his presence when I could. I'd also been avoiding Sirius. I hadn't thanked him for helping me the other night, and I didn't want to. But it was awkward to be around him and not know how to act. He seemed to be thinking along the same lines as me. He'd been avoiding me since the Hospital Wing.

 

I reached the passage way to the kitchens and tickled the painting of the pear. The frame swung open and I climbed inside, walking down the stairs, lost in my own head. I'd been so distracted by my thoughts that I hadn't realized there were voices coming from the kitchen. Once I registered there were people down there I tried backing up, but it was too late.

 

"Hey! Come on over, Z!"

 

My eyebrows shot up as I approached Beck slowly. He grinned and patted the seat next to him along a wood table with a handful of people lounging around it. I chose to ignore the fact that he'd called me "Z".

 

"Are the kitchens whereabouts common knowledge now?" I asked, taking a seat.

 

Glancing around, I'd only spoken to a few of the people here. There was Marlene Mckinnon, glaring at me from where she was leaning back in her chair. Vice Jordon gave me a wink. A girl with short, spiky brown hair was frowning as she inspected her nails. A boy with light brown hair I recognized as Frank Longbottom was tapping the table with his fingers to the rythm of "Manic Mondays". And a short, tiny girl with large brown eyes was huddled at the end. Altogether not a very obvious group of friends.

 

"How's your face?"

 

I looked towards Marlene Mckinnon who had asked the question with an indifferent tone.

 

"Fine," I answered, not at all surprised she'd heard about my fall. "No damage done that Pomfry couldn't fix."

 

"Lucky you," Marlene's tone could have been sarcastic, but she sounded tired.

 

"I heard you got a concusion." Vice looked amused.

 

I grimaced, "Well, yeah, but it was only a slight one."

 

"Who get's a concussion from falling down on one stair?" The girl with short spikey hair asked. Her voice was light.

 

I laughed slightly, "No one."

 

Beck nudged me with his shoulder, "Did Lily tell you I asked her to go with me to the dance?"

 

"Yeah, she's pretty ecstatic," I smiled.

 

"So's Mary," I nodded towards Vice who blushed.

 

"You asked McDonald?" Marlene sounded surprised.

 

He shrugged, "Eh, no one else to go with."

 

I shot him a glare, "You're lucky she said yes."

 

"Hey, no I didn't mean that. It's just Mary tends to talk a million miles a minute."

 

I didn't answer, unfortunately he sort of had a point.

 

"All right you lot, I'm here. let's get this party started!"

 

I turned to see a tall girl with short blonde hair hopping down the stairs out of the kitchens passageway. She clapped her hands together and smacked Vice on the back of his head as she sat down next to him.

 

"Who are y--Oh. Whatsup Queen?"

 

My eyes widened at the reference to my "school title". I recognized the girl as Fedora Jones, another member of the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Beck seemed to be giving her some sort of warning motion but I just smiled.

 

"Not much, blondie."

 

She grinned toothily, "You don't look too crazy for a nut job." She looked me over as if searching for some sort of label that marked me as insane.

 

"Right back at you," I inclined my head.

 

She snorted, "I like her," She said loudly to Marlene who just rolled her eyes. She seemed to be holding a grudge against me from when I'd snapped at her in herbology. I had been having a bad day, what can I say?

 

"What are you guys doing down here?"

 

"Hanging out. We're waiting for our sundaes to arrive." Beck answered me.

 

I looked over my shoulder to see a dozen house-elves frantically preparing a trey of ice cream.

 

"Add a hot fudge to the mix!" I yelled over at them.

 

"Hey...."

 

I looked towards the girl with the spikey brown hair. She seemed to be deciding whether or not to tell me something. "I just wanted to say.... I'm sorry for your loss."

 

I wished she hadn't. The table went quiet and I saw Marlene scowling into her glass of water. She was probably thinking about her dad. He'd been murdered by the same people who'd taken my parents out.

 

I shrugged, "It's over now. Nothing to be done except move on."

 

I got a few odd looks, and even an appreciative glance from Mckinnon. The tiny girl with large eyes adressed me.

 

"Do you have any other family?" Her voice was scratchy, like she was getting over a cold.

 

I shrugged again, "I have a cousin that I talk to. That's it."

 

To my surprise and relief, no one gave me pitying stares. It was almost more comfortable to talk about this stuff with these strangers rather than my close friends. They didn't feel the need to try and make me happy, or sympathize. They were just curious.

 

"No siblings?" Frank Longbottom asked.

 

I shook my head. Beck patted my back, but I itched away from the contact.

 

"Anyways," I sighed, "Does everyone have a date for the dance tomorrow?"

 

I saw some awkward glances fly around the table and wondered if there had been a few asks and rejections in the group. The houselves arrived with our ellaborate trey of icecream sundaes and passed them around. Beck reached across me to grab his.

 

"I'm going stag with Potter and Pettigrew." Frank muttered. He didn't seem very excited about it.

 

"I got asked, but not by anyone I liked." Marlene smirked and then shot the tiniest glance at Beck before looking away. I smiled a little and then frowned when I realized that she had a crush on him. He was Lily's date.

 

"I was supposed to go with Griffin Bones, but he ditched me for some slutty hufflepuff." The girl with spikey hair grumbled.

 

"I got asked by a slytherin, but I think it was a prank. I said no anyways." The small girl with mousy hair said quietly from the end. We all stayed silent for a few moments after that.

 

"I'm still surprised you got Lupin." Beck grinned at me.

 

I narrowed my eyes, "We're just friends."

 

"Says the girl who went to the insane asylum."

 

I glanced to Marlene and shot her a glare. "Low blow, Mckinnon."

 

She shrugged, "If you mess him about, I'll personally destroy you."

 

I smiled slightly, "Remus is too good to be messed with."

 

She gave a sharp nod before settling back into her position with her feet up on the table and her hands behind her head.

 

"I'm going with Amos Diggory." The blonde (Fedora Jones) said.

 

I didn't tell Fedora that I thought he was a jerk. The spikey-haired girl fist bumped her.

 

"Does he have a friend?" She asked, wriggling her eyebrows.

 

Fedora snorted, "If you wanted me to set you up, you should've asked earlier, Alice. Now you'll just look desperate."

 

The girl, Alice, pursed her lips, "Fine. I won't go."

 

"Go with our group," I suggested casually. Alice seemed nice enough, if a little ecentric with her appearance. "We have dates, but we're still going as group."

 

I gave Beck and Vice glances before they started nodding along with what I was saying. "Besides, Rose doesn't have a date either."

 

She considered it for a moment before giving me a skeptical look, "You're the marauder girls group right?"

 

My eyes narrowed. Excuse me? The marauder's girls?



"No." I snapped, "We just happen to hang out with them.... sometimes....alot."

 

I ignored Marlene's smirk.

 

"Are you coming or not?"

 

Alice sighed, "Nothing to lose I suppose."

 

"Excellent," Beck scooped up a glob of icecream and ate it while I tried not to laugh at the small girl at the end of the table. She'd dropped a spoonfull of her sundae in her lap.

 

"Wood, you got fudge on my shoe." Frank said softly from beside her.

 

"Sorry!" She squeaked, jumping out of her chair to wipe up the mess.

 

"Are you a witch or not?" Fedora asked her exhasperatedly, gesturing to the girl's wand.

 

Marlene shot her a glare, "Leave her be."

 

I finally recognized the tiny girl as her head popped back up from under the table, with a napkin soaked in hot fudge and icecream in her hands. It was the Gryffindor Seeker. Twisha Wood. She couldn't have been older than a fourth year.

 

"Here, Twish." Mckinnon waved her wand lazily and the napkin dissapeered with a pop. the small girl gave her a sheepish smile before returning to her dessert.

 

I looked at my sundae for a minute before eating a few bites and then pushing it away. My appetite wasn't feeling the icecream apparently. And I remembered something important as my spoon clattered on the table.

 

"Ugh,Godric." I groaned, getting up from my chair and marching towards the exit.

 

"What's wrong?"

 

"Where are you going?"

 

"Got an appointment with your shrink?'

 

I sent a glare to Marlene over my shoulder, calling, "I've got an appointment with Dumbledore!" As I left.

 



 

*

 



 

"So what you're saying is I'm actually dangerous."

 

"No. I'm saying you're magic can be dangerous when you don't know how to keep it under control."

 

"What does that even mean? Do I have to walk around with a stress ball and constantly repeat the mantra 'stay calm' to myself?"

 

Dumbledore sighed from behind his desk.

 

"I don't believe any of this anyway."

 

He gave me a skeptical look. "I don't believe that you don't believe it."

 

I glared at him, "Yeah? Well, I don't believe that you don't believe that I d--" I stopped. "Nevermind. It isn't worth it."

 

"Miss Blackwood. Why on earth would I make this up? Everything I told you was true."

 

I slumped in my seat. "So what do I do? Am I going to be locked up for ever? For the greater good?"

 

He seemed amused. "Good heavens, no! Locking you up would certainly not be what I would call an act for the greater good. I propose that with a small group of trust worthy individuals we work with you to keep your magic from getting out of your control."

 

I mulled over the offer. If it was true. If. Then it was a good plan. I didn't want to walk around scared that a beam of lightening might shoot out of my hand at any moment.

 

"Fine. Who are these trust worthy individuals you speak of? Did you have anyone particular in mind?"

 

The headmaster smiled at me from over his silver, half-moon spectacles.

 

"Indeed I do. In fact, they've already agreed to work with you."

 

I snorted, "Okay. So these people. Our group. What are you lot going to do with me?"

 

His mouth twitched, "We'll need to do some uncomfortable tests, but it's neccassary."

 

An image of myself being strapped to a metal chair in a laboratory room flashed through my head, but I ignored it. Dumbledore was speaking phsycological and magical. Not scientific.

 

I nodded slowly, "Okay. Like what?"

 

He folded his hands and leaned towards me. "How do you feel about getting angry?"

 



 

*

 



 

I stalked up to Gryffindor tower, with a scowl on my face the whole time. Once again I had been the last to know about something. Something about me. My meeting with Dumbldore was shocking to say the least. What he'd told me.... I didn't even know was possible. But I guess if you looked at it from a logical perspective it was believable.

 

My scowl darkened when I reached the portrait of the fat lady; the entrance to the common room.

 

"Fizzy Wiz!" I spat the password at her.

 

She gave me a glare. Her friend Violet (a portrait in another part of the castle) was visiting, sitting beside her. She 'humphed' and folded her arms.

 

"Attitude! That's what I get for years of service! Attitude and brats!"

 

I rolled my eyes, "Let me in. I told you the password."

 

She was still going on about what a saint she was and how awful we all were to her when the portrait hole opened and I walked inside.

 

".... And then I told him about the bezoars. He was so fascinated that he--"

 

"Evans!" I barked her last name and marched over to where Lily was standing.

 

She paled at the look on my face. When he saw me coming, James started backing away from where he'd been standing, talking to her. I grabbed both their arms before they could bolt.

 

Ignoring their protests, I gripped them tighter and craned my neck, looking for the two other people I needed. Lucky enough they both walked into the common, laughing, as I turned.

 

"You!" I snapped, walking over to them with Lily and James.

 

They stopped laughing when they saw me. Remus looked confused.

 

"Hey, Zalia I--"

 

"Save it," I spat. "Follow me."

 

Without waiting for an answer I marched out of the common room, dragging James and Lily. They kept asking me questions but I just ignored them and concentrated on where I was going. I looked back once to make sure Sirius and Remus were following.

 

When I turned the last corner I let go of my two friends and paced along the side of a particular wall, repeating the phrase in my head that I'd thought of earlier.

 

"Hey, that's--"

 

The door appeared before Sirius finished his sentence. I shoved them inside and walked in behind them, satisfied with my accomplishment.

 

"What's going on?" James asked nervously.

 

The four of them sat themselves cautiously on the couches that had appeared in the room of requirement. I'd wished for something just like the common room, only private. We could speak without fear of being overheard in here.

 

"I can't believe that NO ONE told me!" I started, throwing up my arms, "You all knew and not one of you told me!"

 

Lily looked uncomfortable, like she knew what I was talking about, but the boys frowned.

 

"What are you--"

 

"The four of you got told about it and I come back and it's, 'Oh, Zalia, we missed you', and 'Oh, Zalia are you okay?'" I was breathing heavily now.

 

"And all the time you lot knew about my magic problem!"

 

"Oh."

 

Realization crossed their faces and all of them shifted uncomfortably. James, Lily and Remus looked guilty. Sirius shrugged.

 

"Dumbledore told us not to say anything."

 

I rolled my eyes, "So?"

 

"So we didn't." James answered.

 

"Okay, I get you want to honor Dumbledore's wishes and whatever, but you can't keep something like that from me."

 

"But--"

 

"Not like this. Not when it's about me."

 

Remus stared at his shoes.

 

"Look," Lily said, "We couldn't explain it to you, because we didn't know how. I didn't want to try and tell you about the problem with your magic and have you freak out on me."

 

I bit my tongue and considered her. "Okay, fine. But next time just tell me." I looked towards Sirius involuntarily. "I have a pinched nerve when it comes to being kept in the dark about things."

 

He met my eyes knowingly for a moment.

 

"Now that you know, did Dumbledore tell you what we have to do about it?"

 

I hesitated, "He mentioned some things."

 

Lily frowned, "Like what?"

 

"Tests."

 

"Tests?"

 

I shifted uncomfortably. "I have to be egged on. He wants to get my ire up and see what happens."

 

They looked at eachother.

 

"I guess that makes sense." James shrugged.

 

I nodded, "He wants to start next Monday morning. We're supposed to go down to Slughorns office, in the dungeons."

 

I recieved sharp nods from all four of them and turned towards Lily.

 

"Do you know an Alice?"

 

She looked curious, "Yes, why?"

 

"Does she have short, brown hair that's all spikey?" I gestured with my hands.

 

"Uh, yeah but wh--"

 

"I invited her to come with our group to the dance."

 

Lily looked surprised, "Okay, but I thought Griffin was going with her?"

 

I shook my head and repeated what Alice had said earlier, "He ditched her for some slutty Hufflepuff."

 

Sirius smirked and Lily nodded in understanding. I glanced at Remus for a minute.

 

"That's okay with you right?"

 

He snapped out of a daze and stared at me, "What?"

 

"It's okay if Alice goes with us right?"

 

He looked really uncomfortable and I watched his eyes dart towards Sirius and James. Oh. I folded my arms across my chest. They didn't know we were going together.

 

"You're going with the girls?" Sirius frowned slightly at him.

 

My eyes were trained on Remus and he looked from me to Sirius before nodding.

 

"I asked Zalia to go with me."

 

James just sort of shrugged and gave a long look to Lily, who didn't see. Sirius huffed and glared at Remus and I before standing up. I rolled my eyes at him.

 

"What is you're problem?"

 

He sneered at me, "You're my problem."

 

I threw up my hands, oblivious to the three people who were still sitting on the couch as our audience.

 

"I don't understand you!"

 

"Read my lips!" He shouted at me, "I don't like you!"

 

He was starting to walk away when I balled up my fists and yelled at his back, "Well, then why the hell did you save my life?!"

 

He stopped with his hand on the doorhandle and froze. I did too. My eyes grew big and I swiveled around immediately, panicking. My eyes met Remus' and I tried to silently apologize with them.

 

Lily looked between us all, "What?"

 

She didn't know. Remus. I promised not to tell. And she didn't know. I looked at her and kept my face impassive. I could still try and play this off.

 

"We--"

 

To my surprise Remus interrupted me.

 

"She found out." He was looking at Lily.

 

The red head's eyes went big and she turned to me, "How?"

 

By now I was utterly confused. I looked between the two of them and then at James and Sirius, neither of who seemed to be freaking out about Lily.

 

"What is--" I got interrupted again.

 

"You know?" She looked from me to Remus. "She knows?"

 

"I know?" I raised my eyebrows.

 

"She found out fifth year." Remus turned towards me and gestured to Lily. I looked at my best friend and sighed, relieved.

 

"Thank Godric!" I let out a breath, "I thought I nearly spilled the beans."

 

Lily crossed her arms, "What's this about Sirius saving your life?"

 

I bit my tongue, "Ah....'bout that...."

 

"She was wandering around the forest last full moon." Black walked over to us, growling. "Godric knows why."

 

My eyes locked onto James' and he stiffened. He knew why I was out there. It was his fault. He'd messed with my head by reading my letter. I stared at him coldly.

 

"Godric knows why." I repeated flatly. James swallowed; his adams apple bobbing.

 

"What?!" Lily stood staring at me, "Are you okay?"

 

I waved her off. "I'm fine." I turned my attention to Sirius, who wasn't looking at me. "He helped me."

 

I didn't want to say, 'he saved me'. It sounded much too dramatic in that 'damsel in distress' sort of way. If there was one thing I knew, it was that Sirius Black was not my knight in shining armor.

 

"I don't know why." I added quietly, glaring at the ground.

 

Sirius made some sort of exhasperated noise and marched back to the door leading out of the room of requirement.

 

"Just because you're not my favorite person, doesn't mean I want you dead."

 

I stared at his back, extremely frusterated with my current predicament. As much as I desperately wanted to hate him, I owed him. I owed him big.

 

Lily was opening and closing her mouth silently when I looked back.

 

"Hold up," She raised her hands, "What has been going on lately? People running around the forest? Remus getting out of the shack?"

 

"Sorry, I would've told you but...." James winced, "we didn't want to worry you."

 

"Well, what happened?!" Lily was looking at Remus.

 

I slumped down next to the couch and rested my elbow on my knee, setting my chin in my hand. "Shit went down." I muttered. They ignored me.

 

"Look, there was an accident. The important thing is that no one died." His gaze flickered to me. "Or got bitten."

 

Lily was frowning. "That can't happen again, Remus. You told me back when I found out, that it was really safe. You said no one could get hurt."

 

"Lily...." James said quietly.

 

"You need to be more careful."

 

Something flashed in Remus' eyes that I hadn't seen before. Anger. "You think I don't know that?" He snapped at Lily, making her jump.

 

She placed her hands on her hips. "Zalia could have been--"

 

I looked up. I didn't like Lily bringning me into this and making Remus feel guilty. Nothing had even happened.

 

"I'm fine." I gave her a reproachful gaze, "We're all fine. And it's not going to happen again. I'll make sure of it."

 

All three of them looked at me curiously.

 

"What do you mean?" James asked.

 

I sighed. It was something I'd been thinking about for a while. It made sense, but it was dangerous. I ignored the lick of fear that went up my spine and smiled at my friends.

 

"Next time, I'm coming with you."

 


 


 

*

 


 






 


 

Sirius POV:

 


 





I ran my fingers through my hair again. My other hand gripped the edge of the railing tightly until I could feel my heartbeat in my hand.

 


 

Stupid. So stupid.

 



Why was it that everytime I came here now it was like putting my mind through a torture rack? This place used to be where I'd just come to sit and wonder. Wonder about happy things, like the future. Or what way I could hack into the Slytherin common room. Now it was all dull.

 

This time I'd come to brood about a certain, raven-haired girl. A girl I'd saved. A girl who was acting like I'd surrendered her to the giant squid.

 

It was so frusterating. But I couldn't deny a part of me was angry at myself. Not for trying to keep her from getting eaten by a werewolf. For pretending to hate her. Yeah. I'd gone through it again and again and it was clear that despising her wasn't how I really felt. I'd been used to blaming her for things. For acting like she was a thorn in my side. Not to say she wasn't difficult.... but I couldn't think of a single instance where she'd done something unforgiveable. There was nothing. It was almost like we'd both subconciously agreed to go 'round screaming at eachother for no good reason.

 


 

Although....

 



I skimmed my hands along the bars lining the edge of the astronomy tower.

 

She was still stubborn and sarcastic. And utterly impossible to deal with. But I didn't hate her. I didn't like her, but I didn't hate her.

 

With this nervous news under my belt I squinted up at the sky, frowning at the mass of grey clouds overhead. Lately the weather had been nice, but there was a storm brewing. I could feel mist and fog moving through the air.

 

Leaving my thinking place behind me, I walked through the castle's stairs and corridors until I got back to the Gryffindor common room. By now everyone else was already there. There were more students mulling about than usual. Probably because the weather had kept everyone inside. I stuck my hands in my pockets once I reached the fireplace and shooed away a couple first years with a wave of my hand. I sat down, tucked my knees up under my chin and stared at the flames.

 

I was just beginning to relax when a slender arm wrapped around me.

 

"Here you are, darling. I was beginning to worry."

 

I tried to keep the grimace off of my face as I turned towards Tammy. Her bright blue eyes look green in the firelight.

 

"I was just hanging about. I'm actually kind of tired...."

 

She grabbed my hand and pouted as I stood up. "Oh no you don't! I've hardly seen you lately. Have you been avoiding me?"

 

"Avoiding--?" I paused. She was right about us hardly seeing eachother lately. She'd been missing meals and some of her classes.

 

"Isn't it the other way around?"

 

Her expression tightened, "What? Of course not."

 

My eyes narrowed suspiciously, "What have you been up to?"

 

She looked away and then patted my arm, "Nothing, darling! Of course."

 

I bit my tongue, "Right, well like I said. I'm tired. Good night."

 

She gave me a sloppy kiss before sending me up to my dorm. I didn't look back. Tammy used to be something fun to play with. Now, she just got on my nerves. Maybe it was time to send her off to the arms of some other womanizer.

 

The dorm was empty when I got there. I collapsed back onto my bed and sat there for ten mintues. Trying to decide whether or not to just call it a night and go to bed early.

 

The door slammed open as I was undressing out of my school clothes. Moony and Prongs hurried inside, both talking in raised voices.

 

"--No!"

 

"But if you--"

 

"No. I won't even think about it."

 

"But you heard--"

 

I sat up straight, "What's going on?"

 

Remus looked over at me with a pinched expression. Instead of answering he walked into the bathroom and slammed the door shut. With raised eyebrows I looked towards James who was rubbing the back of his neck.

 

"Zalia."

 


 

Of course.

 



I grimaced, "What did she do now?"

 

"Nothing," James muttered, sitting down on his bed. "At least, not yet."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

He sighed and took off his shoes. "She wants to go with us on the next full moon."

 

My eyes widened, "Is she insane?! She can't!" My face tightened when I saw Prong's conflicted expression.

 

I stood up slowly, "James.... you aren't actually.... considering this?"

 

He laid back on his bed and groaned. "I don't want her to go! But it's just.... what if it does happen again? I mean in our animagus form we can't have our wands with us. If Zalia went she could cast some sort of spell on him. I know that usually spells don't really work on werewolves, but she could still slow him down. It would give us a better chance at keeping him contained, and--"

 

I stopped Prongs with a wave of my hand. "Let me get this straight. You think putting Zalia Blackwood in the shreiking shack with a werewolf is a good idea."

 

He gave me a look. "Don't say it like that. We'll be there with her. It gives us an advantige. Besides, if one of us get's hurt she can help and--"

 

I cut him off again, "Come on, Mate. Don't be daft."

 

"It's a good idea." He glared at me.

 

"She'll be in the way!"

 

"She can help!"

 

A loud bang from the other side of the room made both of us jump. Remus was glowering at us from the bathroom doorway.

 

"It doesn't matter what you think. It's my choice, and I say she stays here."

 

I crossed my arms and flashed a pointed look towards Prongs.

 

James sighed. "Moony, just look at it this way. If Zalia comes with us, she can help make sure we don't put anyone else in danger."

 

A pained expression rippled through his face. "No."

 

Prongs threw his hands up in defeat, "Fine." He muttered, stalking towards the door to the stairway, "But you know she won't listen anyway." He left; shutting the door quietly behind him.

 

I exchanged a look with Remus.

 

"He's right, you know." I said through gritted teeth, "She'll probably show up anyways."

 

Moony gave a groan and ran his hands through his disheveled hair. "I'll talk to her. She's so stubborn but I have to make her listen." He glared at the floor. "Sirius, if she got hurt, or...."

 

I patted him on the back, "If she'll listen to anyone, it'll be you."

 

He didn't answer. I slowly made my way back over to my own bed. It would be a hard task getting to sleep now, but I wasn't about to go downstairs and talk to Zalia or Tammy or James. When did my friendships and relationships become so complicated? I flipped onto my stomach and burried my face in the white, cotton pillow. Ready to get lost in my dreams.

 



 

*

 

Zalia's POV:

 

"I've told you you look lovely a thousand times!"

It was a whole day since I'd breached the subject of tagging along to the shrieking shack with Remus. Neither of us had brought it up again after he shut me down, but I sure as hell wasn't giving up.

 
A groan came from the bathroom. "I know, but I still don't know if this is the right costume for me."

 

I rolled my eyes, "Mary McDonald! Get your arse out here or so help me I will transfigure your hair into a nest of nettles!"

 

I heard a squeak and smiled in satisfaction as the tall brunette high-tailed it to where I was standing besides the full-length mirror. My smile widened at her costume.

 

"Excellent. I knew it would be perfect."

 

She looked worried, "You don't think it's too weird?"

 

I waved my hand at her, "Nonesense. You look stunning. Doesn't she look stunning Lily?"

 

The red head looked up from where she was doing Rose's hair. "Perfect! That dress was a good decision Zalia."

 

I smirked, "'Course it was."

 

I went to work on Mary's hair, pulling and wrapping and tightening until it was just right. I brushed back a few stray hairs and crimped the strands that were framing her face.

 

"Brilliant." I stepped back, letting Mary get a full view of herself.

 

"Merlin...." She looked at her reflection and pulled at her cheeks to see if it was really her.

 

I grabbed her shoes and shoved them at her. "Now, put these on. I have to get myself ready."

 

"Thank you!" She squealed, giving me a hug. I patted her back awkwardly and walked into the bathroom where my own costume was hanging up.

 

I bit my lip as I looked it over. Hoping that it still looked as good on me as it had the day I'd bought it. I took it off the rack and slipped both peices on before turning in the bathroom mirror.

 

I smiled. It looked exactly like I'd remembered. The bottom half was a pair of turqoiuse-blue silk, gypsey pants with a gold band at the hips that connected at a 'V' below my belly button. And another pair of gold bands tightened at my ankles. The top was another gypsey-style peice which had puffy sleeves that hung off-shoulder and a sweetheart neckline. It was the same color as the pants and stopped just above my belly button. It felt weird showing so much skin, but it was only for one night. Besides; a costume is a costume. I wore chunky, gold arabian style earings and a gold necklace that had a saphire in the middle (keeping with the blue-ish theme). I grabbed the pair of gold ballet flats by the door and slipped them on. Satisfied I walked back into the dorm room to grab my makeup.

 

"Sweet Cercie! You look freaking gorgeous!"

 

I smiled at Alice who had arrived to get ready for the Halloween dance with us. Next to her, Rose wore a dumbfounded expression.

 

"Thanks."

 

"Damn!" Mary said appreciatively of my get-up.

 

Lily looked me over, "Remus won't know what hit him."

 

I hesitated before smiling back at her, "Thanks, Tiger Lily."

 

"No problem." She chuckled as she rearranged the sea-shell necklace that sat low on her neck. Lily's costume was just as good as mine. If not better. As soon as I'd come up with our theme for the party her red hair had told me exactly what to get her.

 

It was a two-peice one, like mine. But instead of flowy pants she had on a tight, body-hugging skirt. It was a velvet emerald green and flowed out just below the knee. A mermaid style. Her top showed about the same amount of skin as mine. It was lilac purple with a tight, fish-bone corset material that was solid and form fitting; stopping above the belly button. It had a sweet heart neckline which wrapped around to tie at the back of her neck instead of sleeves. Her shoes were high heeled- gold. Besides the sea shell necklace she didn't wear any jewelry, and her thick red hair was down and styled so it had a movie-star wave to it. The whole costume together with her make up (gold/green eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and pink, glossy lips), she was a knock-out.

 

I bent down to grab my makeup and hair kit before rushing back into the bathroom. We were running out of time. The boys said they'd meet us outside the portrait hole at 8 o'clock. It was a quarter to eight now.

 

I stopped myself before going past the doorway and looked back at Rose. Her costume fit her well. In personality and look. I tilted my head frowning. She fidgeted.

 

"What?"

 

I tapped my chin for a moment, "Tiger Lily, make her hair come to the side instead of straight back."

 

Lily glanced over to Rose and nodded in thought. I walked into the bathroom with my products before she got to work.

 

My hair was probably the most complicated of all the looks. Rivaled only by Mary's. It was lucky my hair was so long and thick to begin with. I blew a strand away from my face and pulled out my wand and potions; ready to work. I spelled my hair straight and applied an anti-friz potion to the whole thing, before adding in a No-Worry-Witch cream to keep it in place. Like a hairspray that didn't make your hair hard or slick. Next I brushed it out, satisfied with the length. Without the curls keeping it up somewhat, my hair was still bouncy, but reached almost to the end of my waist. I applied product to the ends to keep them healthy looking and then scooped up the mass of hair. I grabbed one of the two gold hair ties that were sitting on the bathroom counter. I pulled it back in a messy, loose pony tail so that the hair around the top of my head looked like it had a lot of body. Next I made another ponytail, farther down from the first one, and teased the hair neatly until it was like a poof in the middle. Now I was left with three sections of hair separated by the gold bands. I curled the very end to give it a bit of a wave.

 

I turned in the mirror, smiling at the reflection. My hair was huge and arabian looking. Just what I needed. I added in a few aquamarine and saphire jewels around the top before starting the make up. I used a liquid eyeliner to swipe on cat-eyes and added golden bronze eyeshadow. I went with bright red lips, pink blush, and colored in my eyebrows a little; making them more formed.

 

Satisfied with the finished product I grinned and went back out into the room, waving off any and all compliments. I looked Rose over and nodded. Yes the hair looked better on the side. Mary had finished putting her shoes on and it seemed they had all been waiting for me.

 

Rose stepped forward and before we started leaving Lily cried out, grabbing a gold tiara and placing it on Rose's head. The small brunette blushed. She looked adorable. She was wearing a long, golden yellow evening gown with tiny embroidered stitching detail that went all the way to the bottom, where the skirt stopped at the floor. She had on cream-colored silk gloves which went up to her elbow and the top of the dress was a corset style with a embellished neck and capped sleeves. One red rose bud was attatched to the center of the neck line. Her hair was pulled back into asweeping side ponytail (curled at the ends) with curled layers framing her face in the front. Her makeup was minimal. Mascara, brown eyeshadow, and pale lips. Her white high heeled shoes gave her three inches in height.

 

Next to her, Mary didn't seem so tall now. We'd been smart to go with a flat shoe for her. Her costume was a little risky, but I liked it. She wore a tan dress with brown detail that ended mid-thigh with fringe on the ends. The top was one sleeve on one side and sleevless on the other. Her right arm had a dark brown temporary tattoo that looked like a spiked arm band on her upper-arm. She had a belt of jade beads that hung on her hips and wore a pair of embroidered macossins. Her hair had been difficult. I'd had to spell it to grow a few more inches until it ended mid-back and then braided it into a side braid with crimped layers around her face. Her make-up was similar to mine, although the eyeliner was more egyptian than cat-eye. Her lips were pale and glossy and she had bronzer on to create a more defined look.

 

Alice was the only one of us who looked slightly out of place in a wizarding punk-rocker get-up. Her spiky hair was jelled up and she had on leather pants, go-go boots, a neon, tie-dye shirt, leather jacket, and dark/dark makeup. All along her arms were spiked metal bracelets and armbands, with one metal choker sitting on her neck. It was scary and endearing at the same time.

 

I snapped out of my daze when Lily clapped her hands, grinning around.

 

"Let's go!" Rose giggled. Alice linked arms with her and Mary and before I knew it all five of us were barrelling down the stairs to meet the boys.

 

"You can be my date." I heard Alice calling to Rose.

 

"That's right. A rocker and a princess. What a pair." She laughed.

 

We reached the landing of the common room and found almost no one there. Everyone else it seemed had already gone down to the Great Hall for the party. I was anxious to see what the hall had been transformed into. Lily and James had kept silent about it. Wanting to surprise everyone.

 

The Portrait hole opened for us and we stepped through one by one; me last.

 

".... they are--"

 

I smirked as the boys on the other side gaped at us. I was slightly surprised to find that besides our dates; Frank Longbottom, Peter, James, and Sirius were there too. I ignored the other marauders excpet for Remus.

 

He gave me a dashing smile and bowed dramatically, kissing my hand. I rolled my eyes at him while grinning.

 

"You look lovely." He said, taking my arm.

 

"You aren't too shabby yourself." I answered, giving him a once over. It seemed none of the boys had decided to dress up in costume. Remus was wearing a pair of new, black wizards robes with a dark purple collar. His hair was combed neatly to the side, but still stuck up a bit in the back. His polished black shoes clicked along the stone floor as we walked, taking the lead for our group.

 

I glanced back and almost burst out laughing. Beck and Lily were behind us. He was staring at her eagerly as she chattered and nervously played with her hair. Just behind them James was moping along, dragging his feet. I didn't feel any pity for him. The letter incident sat at the back of my mind.

 

Mary and Vice followed behind James and I winced slightly as I saw Vice looking uncomfortable with Mary's non stop talking. I'd have to council her about that later. Sirius, Peter, Rose, Alice and Frank took up the rear. I wondered why Sirius wasn't with Tammy. Maybe they were over? No. I doubted it. Neither of them would likely give up dating their popular booty calls. I turned back to face front.

 

Remus was chatting about something and I tried to tune back in. He crinkled his nose when he smiled. I mirrored his expression, falling into an easy pace beside him.

 

 

 

 

 



 A/N:  What'd ya think?  ;)  Did you guess what the girls' costumes were? Leave a review!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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