Heather noticed all of the people staring at them, waiting to see what Sirius’ response to the letter was.
“Sirius,” Heather said softly, laying a hand on his arm. “Do you want to go outside?”
“Uh...what? Yeah...thanks,” he said softly. She grabbed his hand and led him outside. They quickly found a secluded bench and sat down. Sirius ripped open the letter.
“Do you want me to leave?” she asked uncertainly, her brown hair blowing in the cold wind. He shook his head vigorously, pulling her down beside him and wrapping her in his jacket.
“Please just....” he stopped, swallowing. “Stay with me.” She nodded, feeling her heart break for him. She knew exactly what he was going through. Sirius quickly read over the letter, his face growing paler and paler.
“Sirius...are you alright?” she asked worriedly seeing his complexion. He thrust the letter into her hands, closing his eyes in fury. She looked at the jagged, old fashioned handwriting and read:
Your brother is dead. The incident happened a few weeks ago, though we were unable to contact you through our grief, as you can imagine. I am glad to say he suffered only the Avada Kedavra, meaning he felt no pain. Also, I am quite proud to inform you that your brother died a hero’s death. He was a Death Eater. He will always stand out in our hearts as a real son. He knows his place. I hope this death sways you from your life of cowardice, though it will get you nowhere in our family. I’m afraid that it is too late for repenting. Your place in our life, our household, and our family is no longer filled with your presence. It is the necessary decision of your father and I that you be disowned. You may find residence of your own over Christmas, and we have enclosed some money that will help pay for premises.
Heather had tears running down her face when she finished. As she looked up, she saw Sirius pull five galleons out of the envelope. She scowled in disgust. So much for the money for premises. Her heart sank. How could she possibly help him? She wanted so bad to show him that everything would be alright. She sat there, not knowing what to do. Wiping tears away from her face, she looked up at him shaking her head in rage.
“What a horrid woman,” she whispered, trembling with emotion. Sirius’ face was a hard stone.
“They didn’t even have the damned decency to tell me! HE DIED A FEW WEEKS AGO AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN WRITE ME!!!” Sirius yelled, standing up. He kicked the side of the bench. “DAMNIT!” he screamed. Heather saw that he was crying. “I hated that bastard!” he said, collapsing finally on the bench. Heather highly doubted that, but didn’t say anything. She didn’t know what to do. She put her arms around him, trying to take some of his pain. She hugged him tightly. Sirius put his face in his hands, letting the unwanted tears wet his fingers.
“Shhh...” Heather soothed, guiding his head to her shoulder. He put his arms around her, letting her support his weight. No mean feat, mind you. “It’s alright...” she said, closing her eyes in pain. “Sirius, he died proudly, just like your parents said...” she said in attempt to ease the sting. Sirius shot up immediately, bumping his head roughly on her chin. He didn’t seem to care however, as he grabbed her shoulders roughly.
“You don’t understand! My brother was a Death Eater!” Sirius yelled in her face. Heather winced.
“I’m sure he only did it to make his family proud Sirius. He was looking for acceptance. You can understand that...” she started again.
“I don’t need acceptance. He was a dirty, back-stabbing, idiot!” Sirius roared, shaking her. Heather knew exactly what he was doing, she had done it with her father, and she wouldn’t allow it.
“Sirius, do not turn your brother into a bad guy to help you deal with the pain!” she yelled back at him “It’s selfish. Sure, he joined the Death Eaters, but I think there is more to it than that. I think he wasn’t like you. He wasn’t as good at blocking his parents out. He couldn’t deal with the stress. If he didn’t have a heart, then why would he try and please his parents? If he didn’t care, Sirius, he would have done what he wanted. You turned away from him then,” she said, almost as if she had lived his life and not him. Sirius looked at her ferociously, but didn’t argue. She nodded, knowing she was right.
“You’re sorry you treated him like a Death Eater and not a brother. I can see it in your face. Don’t make the mistakes I did. My father was a Death Eater. I hated him after his death. And did until just recently. Don’t do that to you or your brother’s memory. It’s wrong to both of you. Regulus was a good man, but with a weak heart, and you know that,” she whispered. Sirius looked away in shame.
“I treated him like the worst kind of enemy,” he choked out. “Right up to his death...”
“No...Sirius. I’m sure he knew that you didn’t mean it. I’m sure of it. He knew, Sirius. He knew because you’re brothers. Family members know those things. You can’t live with a person your whole life and not be able to see into their real emotions,” Heather explained softly. “He knew it, Sirius. You must realize that.” Sirius stared at her in amazement. Never before had he met a girl like Heather. She had just explained his entire life out as if he was a tragic book she was reading. Nobody could do that. Nobody could see the true Sirius Black...except Heather.
“You are the most amazing girl I have ever met,” he whispered softly. She smiled sadly.
“I’m trying to repay you for what you have done for me,” she said, holding his hand.
“And what might that be?” he asked.
“You’ve showed me what it’s like to love somebody,” she said.
“I don’t know what I would do without you...”
“Oh, wonderful. The two Muggle-Lovers are at it again,” a sly voice said right beside them. They both jumped, and Heather looked up to see her worst nightmare. Lucius Malfoy. Her throat clogged in fear. Sirius noticed the terror in Heather’s eyes and stood up quickly, ready for a fight. Heather stood up slowly beside him, cautiously. Sirius grabbed her hand to comfort her, and felt that it was icy cold. His hatred for Lucius was multiplied by hundreds to see that he intimidated Heather so badly.
“Go to Hell,” Heather said roughly.
“Tell me, Black, is she as good a kisser as Snape says she is?” Lucius said icily. There was a moment of dead silence as the memory of Snape came back to both Heather and Sirius. Heather clenched her jaw, but Sirius snapped completely. He let out a dog-like roar and slammed his fist into Lucius’ face. Heather stared in shock.
“You will pay for that you-“ but Sirius was cut off by a well aimed blow to the jaw. He retaliated in anger by punching Lucius in the stomach. Lucius doubled over. Heather saw in his eyes that he was done fighting fair. She saw a glint in his eyes that she definitely didn’t like.
“Expelliarmus!” she yelled, and Lucius flew back into the air. He landed on his backside, wincing. He threw a curse at Heather and grabbed his wand before hurrying away. Heather turned immediately to Sirius. “Are you alright?” she asked frantically.
“I won’t be if he doesn’t LEAVE YOU ALONE!” he said, yelling the last words after Lucius. She stared nervously away, seeing the deadly look he gave Sirius. “He didn’t touch you did he?” he asked. She shook her head, and he gave an audible sigh of relief. He put his arms around her softly but she suddenly felt a sharp pain on the palm of her hand.
“Ouch!” she said in surprise.
“He did hurt you didn’t he!” he said, in outrage. Heather saw her hand and her heart fell to the ground. Sliced into it was a message that she read quickly:
Binns’s room. Midnight. Alone. Or Black pays.
As soon as she read it, her hand healed. Sirius examined her hand while she looked around. She saw Lucius leaning against a far-away tree, watching her. He gave her a meaningful nod, before turning away. Heather shivered. What did he want from her now?
“I don’t see anything. What happened?” Sirius said, concerned, still looking at her hand.
“It’s nothing. Just a muscle cramp,” she said coldly. She looked around, and noticed something very odd. “Is that...is that Peter and Alex?!” she said in surprise. Sirius looked over Heather’s head to see as well. He couldn’t believe his eyes. Peter and Alex were sitting outside an ice-cream shop, talking and joking together. Heather looked away from them quickly, remembering the vision she had had of Alex’s parents.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked, noticing the change in Heather. She sat back down on the bench.
“I never told you, but I had another vision,” Heather admitted. “It was about Alex’s parents...”
“What happened?” Sirius said softly, realizing that whatever had happened was obviously troubling her a great deal.
“I...saw them die,” she said, looking down. “Alex thinks I told Voldemort about them being Aurors, and their plans and stuff,” she said. Sirius stared in shock.
“What did she do?” he asked, anger in his voice.
“She yelled at me,” Heather said shortly. Sirius gave a her look that told her he knew she wasn’t telling him everything. “And she slapped me across the face,” Heather admitted softly. Sirius bristled protectively, but then seemed to realize something.
“Wait...was that the day you were out on the lake? Is that why you were out there in the first place?” he asked, putting the puzzle pieces together. She nodded. Sirius pulled her into a tender, comforting kiss. “I think we’ve had enough for one day, don’t you? Ready to head back?” he said, and together they walked back to Hogwarts.
“Do you think they are done reading that letter?! It’s been like, forever!” James said in frustration.
“James, don’t be so insensitive! It was from his parents, it might have been upsetting!” Lily said calmly.
“Then we should be out there comforting him!”
“Heather is with him, and trust me, he would much rather Heather comfort him than you,” Lily said.
“And what is that supposed to mean?!” James said indignantly.
“It means that she is his girlfriend, not you!” she said exasperated.
“Oh...yeah...” James said. He tapped his foot impatiently. “Alright, long enough. He can mourn all he wants, but I’m going out there,” James said and stood up. Lily stood in front of him.
“James, please...” she said, rolling her eyes.
“I’m worried about him Lils. You don’t know his family. They’re terrible! I just want to make sure they haven’t done anything really foul,” and he tried to walk around her. She blocked his way again.
“But James, if he is really upset, he might not want another guy to see him. What if he’s crying?” Lily said, almost as an afterthought. James gave a laugh and tried to pass her again.
“Sirius Black doesn’t cry! Just the thought is ridiculous!” and he tried once again to move around her. “Lily! Will you please move!” he said.
“No way,” she said, giving a slight smile.
“Don’t make me move you,” he said grinning also.
“James, don’t you dare,” she said. He moved towards her.
“One...” he said tauntingly.
“Three!” James said, and he swept her off her feet, into his arms.
“Put me down!” she whispered in embarrassment as people stared and sniggered.
“I warned you...” James said, opening the door and walking out with Lily in his arms. He quickly scanned the street. “I can’t believe it! They ditched us!” he said indignantly. He gave a large huff, causing Lily to grimace in fear of being dropped. James caught this look and smiled. “Scared?”
“Not really,” she said, leaning her head on his shoulder.
“Good, because I would never drop you,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
Heather and Sirius spent the rest of the day talking and walking around the school grounds. Heather found that she was often extremely preoccupied, and she kept looking anxiously at her watch. What did Lucius want from her? After awhile, it began to get chilly. Sirius noticed before Heather did that she was shivering, and decided that they needed to go inside. She scoffed at his protectiveness.
“Am I not capable of telling when I’m cold enough to go outside?” she asked indignantly.
“Of course not, you’re just a woman,” he said. Heather stopped, glaring in anger. Then she saw his mouth twitch, before he burst into laughter. She realized he had been joking.
“I thought you were serious!” she said, shaking her head.
“I am Sirius!” he said.
“Haha,” Heather said sarcastically. “I’ll bet that joke just gets funnier and funnier.”
“Yep,” he said proudly, as they walked into the Great Hall.
The rest of the evening passed quickly. James and Lily returned. Remus did as well, though he hadn’t told them where he had been. He later explained to Lily, Heather, and the Marauders he had been taking his Werewolf Potion, to get over the effects of the last one. Heather shook her head in sorrow. Why was it that such a great guy was forced to have this life? Before long, Heather was saying goodnight to all of her friends.
“Aren’t you going to bed?” Sirius asked, staying behind with her.
“Of course. Goodnight!” she said a little too enthusiastically. How she wanted to tell Sirius about her meeting with Lucius. She knew he would readily go with her. But she didn’t want to risk his safety. She went up a few of the steps, and waited until she heard Sirius was all the way up. Then she slowly sneaked back down, and out the portrait hole.
The walk to Binns’s empty classroom was extremely stressful, and her nerves were on edge by the time she reached the door. She pushed it open, and saw Lucius standing alone in the corner.
“Evening,” he said.
“Morning,” she corrected venomously. Lucius grinned.
“Indeed,” he said, walking forward. He went to close the door behind her with a loud click. “You’re brave, to come alone,” he commented.
“What do you want?” Heather snapped.
“Oh, right to the point then? Very well. It is actually quite simple. I want you to stay away from Black.”
“No,” Heather said simply, and began to leave. Immediately the door-handle turned into the head of a cobra. It hissed at her, showing it’s long fangs. She glared at him.
“I’m afraid no isn’t an option. You will not associate with him,” he said firmly.
“You can’t make me,” she said coldly.
“Ahhh...” he said softly. “That is where you are wrong, my dear.”
“The Imperius Curse doesn’t work on me,” she warned. He grinned.
“No...no, that’s not my intentions at all. This will be your doing. You see, if I see so much as a friendly word between you two... I will kill Black.” There was an eternity of silence.
“You’re lying,” she whispered.
“All it takes is a little bit of poison in his pumpkin juice...a quick curse while he is alone in the hallways. Nobody would know. And nobody would believe your word against the rest of the Malfoy family. You can save him, but you must leave him,” Lucius said.
“I...” Heather began hotly.
“Tell nobody of this meeting, and decide quickly. It’s your choice...” he said, before tapping the snake’s head and walking out the door that opened for him.
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