A/N: Thanks to all my reviewers...I always appreciate your responses!
The sun crept slowly thrown the window as Talia shifted slightly to better position herself for sleep. She was still asleep when the thought had occurred to her that her bed had never felt this hard before; and why didn't her bed hangings keep out the light that was now infringing on her sleep. It was then that she realized where she truly was; she was not in her bed but on the Astronomy tower. She jolted away with a snap as a sharp pain jabbed at her back and neck. Righting herself for a moment, she looked down at the sleeping form of Sirius. He had taken the brunt of uncomfortable floor, as she had used his body for a pillow.
She wondered how he could have slept thru the night like that as she gently shook him awake. He groaned as she lightly shook his arm, grabbing her by the arm and dragging her back down into the nook between his arm and torso. She was so tempted to stay there and, even on the uncomfortable floor, sleep the day away. With all the willpower she could muster she picked herself back up and shook him a bit harder.
"Sirius, wake up."
He opened his eyes slowly and she watched as the realization of where he was crept across his face. Then, and she was totally unprepared for this, he smiled. "Good morning Talia."
Talia shifted slightly under his stare. She knew she must have been an awful sight.
"How do you do it?" he asked her.
"Do what?" she answered as she stood slowly, bringing her hand to her neck, trying to work out the kinks.
"Look so beautiful in the morning."
Talia blushed as she grabbed his hand, helping him up from the floor. He groaned slightly revealing his own pain from sleeping on the hard stone floor. "We better get back before we're missed."
He looked as though that was the last thing he wanted to do but he relented, "We'll use the cloak. If we meet anyone along the way they won't even know we're there." Talia nodded thinking how much she longed to be near him, but she couldn't let that happen again. In the light of day she was fully aware of the repercussions of this relationship. Sirius never stayed with one girl too long and besides she had way too much going on to involve herself in a relationship. It had taken her eighteen years to decide to start the search for her birth-parents; she couldn't let anyone get in the way of that, even if that person was Sirius Black.
Chapter 4- The Dog Star
Talia dragged herself through her third day of classes; only now fully appreciating the meaning of the word tired. She felt as if she couldn't keep her eyes open a moment longer as she lugged her weakened body to her room. When she saw what was waiting there for her any fatigue she felt was washed away. She silently thanked Father Fitzpatrick as she opened the waiting package. It was the best birthday present he could have ever given her.
The sky deepened into a dark blue as she sat on her bed surrounded by birth records. She search every single birth of a baby girl recorded for Falmouth and the surrounding provinces, within the correct time frame. Talia had always wondered exactly what day she was born on. Her birthday was always celebrated on the day she turned up at Cromwell. Something as simple as knowing your birthday, which so many people took for granted, had always eluded Talia. With every record that she searched, her hopes were built up only to be shattered. As she picked up the last record she felt it, this was it; she was positive.
Baby girl born to Eliza Bennett on the 24th of June in the year 1960.
This is it!
A gasp escaped Talia's lips as she scanned down the record, only to be left in despair. No, the child died two days later. Talia fell back on her bed as her stomach rumbled loudly. She knew she was missing dinner but she didn't care. She lay amidst the evidence of her despair and fell into a troubled sleep.
"So none of you know where Talia is?"
"Sirius, for the 500th time, no we don't." Lily was starting to get aggravated at Sirius as he questioned them incessantly. Sirius just looked back down at his pie and mash with a defeated sigh.
"Could your concern have anything to do with the fact that you didn't sleep in your bed last night?" James grinned evilly at his friend as Sirius gave him a very McGonagall-like look, that said shut your mouth.
"McGonagall was in a right state when you didn't show up to detention last night." Peter chimed in as he stuffed a fork full of carrots in his mouth. Sirius just shrugged at this comment while using his fork to push around the food that was left on his plate. "You'd better come up with a good excuse." Remus warned as he noticed the teacher in question walking towards them in his peripheral line of vision. "She's on her way over here."
McGonagall marched directly over to where Sirius was sitting and tapped him on the shoulder. "Mr. Black you better have a very good--" She stopped mid-sentence upon seeing the state of her student. "Mr. Black, what is wrong?" She snapped at him.
"Nothing," he stated as he shrugged and looked back down at his half-eaten meal. "I want you to have Madame Pomfrey check you out. You can make up your missed detention with me next week. Barring any natural disasters I will see you for detention tonight; and you will be there Mr. Black, if I have to wheel you in on your hospital bed."
Sirius nodded as his professor turned and made a hasty exit from the Great Hall. His friends sat there in shock staring at him. "Bloody hell Sirius, how on earth did you manage that? McGonagall was almost...nice" James stared at Sirius and then at the doors of the Great Hall. Sirius heaved a sigh, normally he would have been congratulating himself over escaping her wrath, but tonight all he felt was heartache. He didn't even know why, everything was fine; so why did he feel this way?
He followed the rest of the Marauders into Professor McGonagall's office after dinner, without even going to see Madame Pomfrey. They each sulked walking in to the classroom; as much as they loved pulling their pranks they hated being punished for them. McGonagall's detentions were nothing to sniff at, as she had them cleaning out the animal cages.
"I'll take those wands, you'll get them back when I am sure those cages are cleaned."
The problem was not so much cleaning the cages as keeping the animals from destroying the classroom while they cleaned. It had taken them about half an hour to get a good system working. Sirius and Remus kept the animals wrangled in one corner of the room, while James and Peter scrubbed out cage after cage. "Time to switch! If I have to clean up one more ferret dropping I am going to scream." James walked over to where Remus was failing to keep six frogs from hopping away in different directions.
"Oi, Marauders...you have to stop and appreciate this! Remus you look like you have a bar of soap slipping out of your hands." Sirius and Peter gave a hearty laugh as Remus struggled with his captives, "I'm glad you three think this is funny. A hand please!" James leaned over to help him, casually throwing an unexpected question at Sirius. "So Padfoot, when's the wedding?"
"Huh?" Sirius asked absentmindedly. This caused the Marauders to go into a fit of laughter. A sincerely confused Sirius realized that whatever was said, it was at his expense. "Prongs, you are the world's biggest--"
"If you gentlemen cannot contain yourselves I will have to separate you." McGonagall appeared in the doorway of her office looking irate. With a slam of her office door they resumed their merriment, in hushed whispers of course.
"The world's biggest what, Padfoot?"
"Wanker!" Sirius said, forcing his voice into a whisper. James smiled at Sirius as he turned to help Remus, who was now running around the room trying to keep to frogs wrangled.
Tired and feeling as though they were sufficiently punished, the Marauders made their way back to the common room. Plopping down into their favourite seats in front of the common room fire, Peter expressed everyone's feelings, "I feel like I've been hit with five bludgers." Everyone sighed in agreement when Lily and Alice walked in the room. Alice, who hadn't forgotten their row the day before, promptly ignored Sirius. "You four look exhausted," Lily said as she sat down next to James, rubbing his back slightly.
James groaned in relief, "You keep doing that and I may have to marry you."
"Ha, fat chance Potter!" Lily retorted as she shifted her body weight to better reach his back.
Just then the portrait door opened and Marlene McKinnon walked in looking very perturbed. "Hey all," she stated as she flopped on an armchair across from Lily and James. "How was patrolling?" Lily asked. "Dreadful, I caught a couple of fourth years trying to jinx Mrs. Norris and I had to give them detention, otherwise completely boring and uneventful. Luckily Bella Black relieved me on time; last week she was half an hour late."
"Who is Mrs. Norris?" Peter asked as he warmed his feet by the fire.
"Mr. Filch's cat." Marlene answered with a yawn.
"He named his cat Mrs. Norris?!" James shouted with a laugh, "Now that is too much!"
Marlene just shrugged as she announced that she was headed up to bed. "Did you hear that Padfoot...Mrs. Norris, ha that man is mad!" Sirius laughed heartily as did the rest of the group; getting up and looking out the windows he noticed that the sky was particularly clear. Then a thought hit him as he claimed he was turning in and ran upstairs to grab James' cloak.
Creeping up the stairs to the Astronomy tower he saw Talia looking through a telescope out at the stars. He couldn't help but think that she looked absolutely amazing, the way the moonlight almost made her hair glow. "Are you going to make this a habit Mr. Black?" He was dumbstruck; without taking the cloak off he asked, "How did you know I was here?"
"I may not be able to see you but there is nothing wrong with my hearing. Take that infernal cloak off and come here." He stripped off the cloak and walked over to where she was still peering into the telescope. She moved aside gesturing for him to look; as he brought his eyes down to the lens he became aware that he wasn't sure what he was meant to see.
"Do you see that star? The brightest one in the constellation...that's Vega. It's one of the brightest stars in the sky and it's part of the constellation Lyra." Sirius took his eye away from the scope and looked at her beautiful face. "You really love Astronomy don't you?"
She just shrugged as she began to dismantle her telescope. "It's amazing, the heavens I mean; the sky is always changing yet it's always the same...you know what I mean? It could take millions of years for a star to burn out. I don't know it's just a stupid hobby anyway." She claimed as she shoved her telescope back into it's carrier. "No, it's not." Sirius claimed, trying to make her feel better. Talia smiled at him lightly, "Well maybe I could show you your namesake."
Sirius turned to her as a look of mild shock crossed his face. "My namesake?"
She looked at him as if he was mad and asked, "You don't know about the star called Sirius?"
"No," he answered as she just shrugged. "I guess I just figured since it was your name you would...Well anyway. Your star Sirius, it's located within the constellation Canis Major. It's often called the Dog Star."
Sirius was quite taken aback by this and must have obviously showed it because she questioned him about it. "Oh no...nothing." Talia shrugged and Sirius was extremely grateful that she dropped it that way. Quick to move on with their conversation he shouted a little too enthusiastically. "Can you show me?" Talia laughed, you're emphatic aren’t you. Sorry, can't show you until December, although it would probably be easier to see in January."
Sirius smiled as he motioned towards the sky, "Is this your escape?" It was her turned to be surprised; Sirius could tell that he had guessed correctly. "I'm not like the rest of you. I have no clue where I'm from or what my parents are like. I was left on the doorstep of Cromwell Orphanage in Falmouth when I was about a year old. I don't even know my real birthday." Sirius could see Talia blush for a moment and he wondered why. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing, I just...well I didn't mean to waffle on, it's weird usually I don't talk about my life with other people. With you it's different, I feel--"
"Comfortable?" Sirius interrupted.
"Yes," she replied, smiling hesitantly. He noticed how her lip curled slightly to the right when she smile; it was beautiful. She must have noticed him looking because she stopped smiling and said, "We'd better get back; this is the third night in a row we've been up here. People will start to talk." Sirius laughed, "So what?"
Sirius knew immediately this was the wrong answer as she looked a little annoyed. "Listen Sirius, I like you I do, but I'm not that kind of girl and I don't want anyone thinking that way about me."
"No, no...I know you aren’t like that, but come on...who cares what people think. It only matters what you think."
Talia grabbed her satchel and turned around to meet his eyes, "Sirius, I know your intentions are noble, but I learned a long time ago that it's all about what other people think. Maybe if my mother had loved me more, she wouldn't have given me up." With that Talia walked downstairs and left Sirius there totally dumbstruck. He wanted to run after her and tell her that she was wrong. He couldn't believe that this was what she thought about herself. Instead he threw the cloak over his shoulders and made his way toward his common room.
She felt guilty as she walked towards the fat lady's portrait; she really shouldn't have snapped at Sirius like that. It wasn't his fault that she was orphaned. Talia even considered going back and apologizing but figured she could do that later. She was so preoccupied that she didn't see Bellatrix Black coming toward her from the end of the corridor. "Well, well if it isn't the mudblood. Are you scared?"
Talia looked at Bellatrix, obviously surprised that she was even there. She tried to brush past her but Bella moved so she was directly in Talia's way. "Move!" Talia spat out emphatically. Bellatrix just laughed, "You really shouldn't speak that way to a school Prefect. I shall have to give you a detention for that. Another detention for being out after curfew and another for--"
But she wasn't able to finish her sentence as the back of her robes flew up over her head. Talia laughed as Bella started to scream, flailing around so much that she immediately fell on the floor. She kept trying to pull her robes down but magically it wouldn't come down. Talia kept laughing as Bella struggled with her robes; she watched Sirius' head as it popped out of nowhere. He mouthed for her to go, so she ran towards the portrait and gave the fat lady the password, "Jobberknoll feathers." She held the door open for Sirius and after feeling him brush by, closed the door in a fit of giggles.
"I can't believe you did that! Oh boy am I going to get it when she tells McGonagall." Sirius laughed heartily, "Well I couldn't very well let her give you all those detentions. Besides it's you word against hers, and you really didn't have anything to do with it." Talia laughed and thanked him; she really was truly grateful. "Does this mean I'm forgiven?"
"As long as I am."
"Deal." And they shook hands as they parted ways up to their separate dormitories.
Chapter 4- The Dog Star
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