Chapter 9 - The Full Moon
The week went by in a blinding blur; the formal niceties between Talia and Sirius were beginning to wear on her, she never meant to hurt him and she was sure that he knew that. It seemed that more than ever he was giving every girl except Talia his attention. One afternoon after an especially interesting Potions class Talia was strolling with Alice toward the Great Hall for lunch.
"So when did he ask you?" Alice was shooting questions at Talia as if she had transfigured herself into a cannon, who's only goal was to make Talia divulge every detail of how George asked her to Hogsmeade.
"He caught me on my way to…er well I was just coming from speaking with Professor Dumbledore and he saw me in the hall."
Alice looked sideways at Talia, but Talia fervently ignored her stare. She almost told her that she was on her way to the Forbidden Forest, and that would have led to questions that she couldn't answer. Talia knew that she was being careless, in fact Sirius had come close to finding out what happened. Talia had dropped the pouch that she now wore around her neck, only mere feet from Sirius; the fact that he had seen her coming from the forest was bad enough.
Luck struck twice for Talia; Sirius hadn't questioned her about the forest and now Alice ignored her slip up and continued talking about George. "So what are you planning to wear? Where do you think he'll take you?"
Talia started to panic at these questions. She never even thought about these things, oh why did she say yes? She didn't even know what she would wear or what they would even talk about! Alice must have noticed the panic in her eyes because she began to comfort her friend. "Don't worry, we'll find you something stunning to wear!" Talia sheepishly smiled, not even wanting to tell Alice that clothing wasn't her main concern.
"What's this about stunning?" Sirius walked up next to them flashing a toothy grin at Alice. (Ever since he asked Talia to Hogsmeade Alice and Sirius seemed to be on better terms and were getting along quite well.) "Oh," Alice waved her hand in dismissal, "nothing, just what she'll wear to Hogsmeade on Halloween."
Sirius rolled his eyes, which Talia caught, and gave a muffled grunt, "It doesn't matter what you wear, like it matters to him." Talia was beginning to get a little fed up with Sirius' nasty attitude towards George. At every turn he managed to make a snide remark about Ravenclaw or George. Only two days ago he was making a comment on how George's essay for Care of Magical Creatures was outlandish. Sirius knew how to be just "nice" enough to make the remark seem as though it was not a rip on George, which is exactly what it was.
"You know what Sirius, you're right! George will like me no matter what I wear, unlike some people, he isn't caught up in appearances. Thank you for making that clear to me."
Sirius narrowed his eyes and stopped mid-step to face Talia, who was now standing with her bag at her side facing him. "What's that supposed to mean?!" A small group of students were watching, in hushed whispers, while Alice stood between the two, apprehensively. The tension had been building up between them for a week and now it looked as if it would explode.
"Take it as you will, Sirius…" Talia walked off leaving Alice and Sirius in her wake. Sirius looked as though he would hit the first thing that crossed his path so Alice stood there saying nothing as Talia disappeared around the bend.
What did I ever see in him anyway?! Talia was livid as she stomped into the Great Hall throwing her things down on the table. Lily looked up with a face of mild surprise; she had been sitting with her nose buried in a book, undoubtedly reading about Divination. Professor Barrow had warned the students that he was going to be holding a mock N.E.W.T. exam to better prepare the students for their end of year exams. All this did was create a panic, making it impossible for anyone to check a book out of the library without having to fight over it.
Talia looked at her friend and muttered, "Sirius Ruddy Black!" It was all Lily could do to keep from laughing, "You sound like me last year, except all I kept saying was James Bloody Potter!" Talia smiled, she was glad that she had a friend who understood her and could make her feel better, if only for a little while. She felt the compulsive need to tell Lily everything; everything about her mother and Sirius, but while this feeling was so strong there was another feeling that was stronger. She gave her word to Dumbledore that she wouldn't tell anyone and she knew that she had to keep her word. Now Sirius and George were another thing; just as she was about to unleash her frustrations she saw Alice and Sirius enter the Great hall and her mouth snapped shut.
Lily knew why she did this and gave her a sympathetic glance, "We'll talk later," she whispered as the rest of their friends came in and sat down. Lunch was a pleasant affair for the table, mostly because Sirius and Talia kept their mouths shut. Just as Talia was beginning to think she would get by without another blowup she saw Alice's eyes widen in horror. Talia snapped her head around to see what horrified Alice so much and there it was. George was making his way from the Ravenclaw table over to where the 7th year Gryffindors were sitting. Talia wasn't sure of exactly what she should so; what she wanted to do was to tell George to go back to his table. She felt her muscles tense as he strolled over and sat down next to her.
"Hey everyone!" James and Remus managed weak smiles as Sirius and Peter blatantly ignored him, but this didn't seem to phase George. At least Lily and Alice made the effort to be nice and Talia rewarded them with a grateful smile. "Hi George!" Lily answered brightly, "What brings you to our table?" He smiled and gestured toward Talia, "None other than…"
He wasn't able to finish his sentence because Sirius stood with his oh so pompous air and removed himself from the table. "The Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff match is only six weeks away, you might want to prepare for that instead of hitting on our girls." Everyone, even Peter, was floored by Sirius' remark. As Sirius turned on his heel and marched out of the Great Hall, everyone except George looked thoroughly nonplussed. Talia's heart was pounding so fast, she felt as though it would leap out of her chest and into her Yorkshire pudding.
"George, I am so sorry…"
But George just put his hand in the air, "Talia, it's okay. I figured he wouldn't be happy about our date." Talia was a little baffled at his response, but he answered her unspoken question without flinching. "It's obvious that he fancies you." Talia knew that there was something between her and Sirius but she wasn't comfortable at all now that she knew other people saw it as well. She looked nervously towards the doors of the Great Hall and excused herself quickly, grabbing her books and darting out into the corridor. She hoped that she would be able to catch up with Sirius and luckily she saw him turn quickly down the next corridor. Talia ran as quickly as her book laden bag would allow and turned the corridor to see nothing. It wasn't possible that he made it across so quickly; she peered through the doors of classrooms to find no one inside. She couldn't quite understand how he could have disappeared like that. The main question puzzling her was, where did he go?
Talia doubled back and decided to look in the Gryffindor common room; it was as good a place as any to start and she knew it would be empty, which is probably what Sirius wanted right then. Talia knew Sirius better than either one of them could of imagined, because that is exactly where he went, he just had other ways of getting there than the common paths. There was only fifteen minutes to go before lunch ended as Talia told the Fat Lady the password. "Ashwinder eggs." The Fat Lady swung open, allowing Talia to enter and when Sirius saw her he let out a groan.
"What do want? An apology?" Talia felt her blood begin to boil, no one knew how to get to her quite like Sirius did.
"No Sirius, I want a truce."
He was a bit taken back by her response and remained silent.
"I never meant to hurt you, but—"
"Hurt me!?" Sirius asked incredulously. "You did nothing of the sort!" Sirius stood up from the couch and began to stare at Talia confrontationally. Talia winced at his reaction, the last thing she wanted was for him to blow up again, but she couldn't hold her anger in a moment longer.
"SIRIUS BLACK! SIT DOWN AND SHUT YOUR BLOODY PIE HOLE!" Talia shoved him down by the shoulders, showing enormous strength. She sighed as she plopped down next to him and lowered her voice. "Sirius, I know that my going to Hogsmeade with George bothers you," she held up her hand to silence him as he opened his mouth in protest, "so don't even pretend like it doesn't. I want you to listen to what I have to say, after that you can ignore me, keep being nasty to me, whatever you want, but just listen." Sirius didn't say a word and Talia took that as an agreement and continued on, "Before this year, I had never had any real friends. When you and the rest of the group took me in and befriended me it was more than I could have possibly wished for. I never expected you to actually like me…I mean more than just a friend. I have always liked you and I thought that the amazing Sirius Black would never notice me in a million years, but you did."
Talia paused, taking a deep breath; she couldn't actually believe that she was sitting there bearing her soul to him. "I would have never said yes to George if I thought you were going to ask me to go to Hogsmeade, but I did say yes and I am going with him. George is an amazing person and he is my friend. If you would just get to know him I know you would see how great he is." Sirius winced as Talia sat there complimenting the stupid prat but he didn't say a word.
"I cannot keep going like this, having a row every two minutes and walking around on egg shells." Sirius looked a little confused at her muggle cliché but she chose to ignore it. "Please Sirius can we just call a truce?"
Sirius wasn't sure what came over him but as he sat there listening to Talia pour out her feelings he felt an overwhelming urge to be closer to her. She had barely finished her sentence when he pulled her towards him and kissed her roughly. She was perfect; she was straight with him and didn't play games. Every other totty in school always bent to his will and flirted mercilessly. They would constantly agree with him and giggle all the time, he found it thoroughly irritating. Talia, on the other hand, was different. She never played those games and was, more often than not, one of the few people to stand up to him. He loved that and he loved her for it.
He felt her relax into his arms as the kiss grew softer, and less forceful. This was perfect until they were interrupted by a chorus of gasps. They turned their heads to see the Marauders, Lily and Alice staring incredulously at them. Sirius looked at Talia to see the crimson run up her face, he laughed at how she blushed and got up from the couch. "What, haven't you ever seen two people snog before?"
It was quite a sight and Sirius knew it, in fact he reveled in the attention; he almost always seemed to be in the center of everything. Talia, who was much more used to the sidelines withdrew and walked away. Sirius went running after her as she tried to run out the door towards class. "Hey Tal, I'm sorry listen don't let them bother you." Sirius smiled as he fell in step with her. She shook her head and didn't say anything as they rushed to Professor Sprout's Herbology class.
The rest of their friends came in only moments after Talia and Sirius found their places. Talia took out her potting materials and busied herself with anything she could get her hands on. Sirius noticed that she was desperately trying to ignore his questioning glances. She liked him, there was no doubt about that, and it wasn't his over inflated ego that told him that; she had kissed him back…both times. She made it clear that she had a crush on him so why was she pulling away.
You know what blast it all…I'm wasting my time thinking about girls, especially this one!
James leaned forward, almost crushing the Flutterby Bush he was supposed to be pruning. "Oi Padfoot, tonight's the full moon. Don't go filling your head with silly nonsense." Sirius knew what he meant; he could not be distracted by anything on these nights. The last full moon had been a close call, even by Sirius' standards and they couldn't have Remus escaping again.
"Oh my dears, you must make sure that your Flutterby Bushes do not shiver too much, the more energy they use the more maintenance they will require." Professor Sprout was walking around the greenhouse assisting the students on this boring lesson. Sirius was deeply wishing that they were taking care of something like Devil's Sprout. At least that might liven things up a tear. Talia still avoided his gaze and he watched as Alice and Lily hovered next to her speaking in whispers. He shook his head softly, girls…sheesh!
"So how was it?" James asked nonchalantly.
Sirius knew he meant the kiss but of course he had to be difficult. "How was what, Prongs?"
"You are a piece of work." James laughed as he turned back to Remus. "That one'll never settle down."
Remus gave a hearty chuckle at his two friends. Sirius could tell that Remus' laugh seemed forced. Sirius loved the nights of the full moon. He and his friends got to gallivant around town, doing whatever they pleased. Remus was another story, he was always pensive and peekish when the full moon came around; but then again, who could blame him.
The Marauders sat in their dorm room; luckily Amos Diggory was not back from his classes yet. Sirius and Peter had already ventured down to the kitchens to nick some food for the night. It was an elaborate ritual that was repeated every month and the Marauders knew their parts. The invisibility cloak would never cover all of them, which is why they created the Marauders Map; it had taken quite a few late nights in the library but they would sacrifice anything in the name of Marauderism.
"You know, I never thought about it but what are we going to do with the map after we graduate?" James asked thoughtfully as Sirius packed the food into a satchel. Peter looked at James as if he had four heads, "What do you mean, what are we going to do with it?"
James stood, with the map in his hands, "Well it's not of much use outside Hogwarts, is it? Should we give it to someone? I've seen some promising first years, they could have the potential--" But Sirius cut his friend off, "No, this is only for true adventurers and troublemakers." He said as he took the map from James' hand, "It is only meant for someone truly special." Remus sighed as he sat gazing at the common room fire, "Maybe we should destroy it." His three friends looked at him completely abashed but before the situation could escalate James had the presence of mind to cut them off. "We can talk about the map later, we need to go." They looked out the window into the dusky light of the setting sun.
They were getting quite good at predicting the sunset, and it was only a matter of half an hour or so before it was completely down. Gathering their things they took one last look at the map, the coast was clear and they set off for the Whomping Willow. The map was cleared and they hadn't taken into account that Argus Filch would be sniffing around for any troublemakers. He spotted them walking toward the front doors and asked in his usual sneer, "You four…what are you doing out here? Mmm up to something bad aren't they?" He posed the question, not to them, but to his cat Mrs. Norris, who was now winding her body through his legs.
Sirius haughtily stepped up to the front of the group, "We're not doing anything wrong. We're allowed to be out here." But Filch was supremely skeptical and clicked his tongue at them, "We'll have to see about that won't we?" He walked away but left the Marauders with an uneasy feeling, Sirius was the only one who scoffed at his hidden threat. "Let's go shall we, we haven't got all night."
Peter changed into the rat when they were sure no one was looking and ran to the willow to push the knot, pausing its attacking branches. In a matter of moments the four friends disappeared underneath its still branches and into the trap door hidden beneath.
The full moon was definitely going to make it difficult to see the stars but it was rare that Professor Sinistra gave her permission to spend the night in the Astronomy tower. Talia knew that her professor had always liked her for her interest in the heavens but she secretly thought that her newfound favoritism of Talia had something to do with the night she was attacked. The reason didn't really matter to Talia, all she knew was that she wouldn't get into any trouble being up there.
Talia looked up at the sky with her naked eye, feeling completely overwhelmed by its vast beauty. She often spoke aloud (for no one's benefit except her own). "This is truly spectacular. It makes me feel special and insignificant at the same time."
"Oh really, how's that?" Talia swung her head around so quickly she got a crick in her neck. Sure, she had made a statement but she didn't expect it to be returned. Severus Snape stood with his arms folded, blocking the doorway from view. Talia relaxed, knowing that although he was nasty he would never hurt her. "I just meant that it is so huge that it makes me feel small. Yet, in the same token I feel as though it were made especially for me."
Severus snorted at her honesty, "That's ridiculous!" Talia just shrugged his comment off, knowing that he was never truly happy unless he was making someone or himself for that matter, miserable. "Just a thought…" she murmured as she brought her eye to the lens. Talia looked through the lens trying to find Cepheus so she could label it on her chart. She began mumbling to herself again, as was her habit, "There it is, right below Ursa Minor."
She heard Severus shift his position slightly. Why was he just standing there? "Do you mean Cepheus?" The question that came out of Severus' mouth shocked her completely. "How did you know that?" He just scoffed at her question and answered her with a nasty tone, "I took Astronomy too you know." Talia just shrugged once more and returned to her work. What was he doing there? Probably just out to annoy her, stupid prat. He never even thanked her for saving his hide. "If it makes it any easier, you might want to locate Vega first. Cepheus is only a few stars away." Talia hummed and nodded in agreement, Vega was one of the brightest stars in the sky, it would make sense to locate that first. "Thanks Severus."
He walked closer to her star chart and looked down at it as she used her quill to jot down Vega's location. "Hmmm, impressive…" he mumbled, "this chart is very accurate." Talia just raised her eyebrows and went back to her telescope, "I did take Astronomy too you know."
"Touche." He answered to her obvious quip. Curiosity boiled up inside Talia until she finally decided to be done with it, "What are you doing up here Severus?" He seemed to stiffen at her question as she played with the focus on her telescope. "Nothing, what are you doing here?" Talia sighed, completely worn out and not looking for a row just then, "Why don't we both say we are here to stargaze and leave it at that?" He nodded curtly and continued to look out towards the sky. Minutes passed in relative silence and Talia was beginning to find Severus' company relaxing, even bordering on pleasant. All this was dashed in a matter of seconds. "You're looking for trouble spending time with them you know."
Talia's grip on the focus tightened and her jaw began to clench. So this is why he came up there, to berate her friends. "Whom I choose to spend my time with is none of your business Severus. Some people would say the same thing about you and yet, here I am." Severus' eyes narrowed at her retort. He seemed to develop a silent rage within him as he reached for the star chart. "You're better off with your stars than with him. Talia knew exactly who that him was meant for and she began to grow even more agitated. "Like I said Severus, it is none—"
But he cut her off, "That Black is no good Talia. He's nothing but a—"
It was Talia's turn to prevent Severus from going any further and making a huge mistake. She drew out her wand and held it inches from his hooked nose. "Go on and finish that sentence. I dare you." Severus just laughed at her, which made Talia even more angry. He pushed her wand to the side and moved in so closely so that she could feel his breath on her skin. "Don't say that you haven't been warned." With a swish of his robes, Severus disappeared down the winding staircase leaving Talia in his wake. She stood silhouetted against the moonlight. If a picture had been taken at that moment, one would have thought it serene and lovely but no photograph could capture the turmoil inside its subject. Talia's rage inhibited her from making anymore progress on her charts. After a few futile attempts she packed away her things and marched back to her common room, all the while wondering what Severus was up to.
Sirius was completely breathless before he made it back to Hogwarts. The rays from the rising sun were blinding as he ran past the motionless branches of the Whomping Willow. He burst through the open front doors of Hogwarts castle and searched the halls panic stricken. Mr. Filch was limping his way through the doors of the Great Hall and turned to sneer at the student. "Where is Professor Dumbledore?!" Sirius asked between his deep gulps of air. His sides were cutting like knives but it didn't matter, he had to find Dumbledore. Filch just sneered at him, "Been getting into trouble eh."
Sirius didn't have time for this as he pushed past Filch, running full speed toward the Headmasters office. He heard Filch's yells after him, "I'LL SEE YOU STRUNG UP BY YOUR TOES!"
Sirius turned the corner to Dumbledore's office colliding with none other than Professor McGonagall. "Black! What are you doing?" Her severe eyebrows were knit closely together and she was staring down at Sirius disapprovingly. "No time—James—hurt—hospital wing." Sirius answered in between his rapid breathing; he knew that the other Marauders must have been there by then. McGonagall's face turned to one of shock and horror. She grabbed Sirius and told him to go directly to the hospital wing to wait for her as she ran to Dumbledore's office. There was one thing invading Minerva McGonagall's thoughts and that was the full moon.
A/N: Thanks to my reviewers I appreciate you taking the time to let me know what you think!
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