Two Of A Kind

Isabelle crawled out of bed, pulling her short nightdress down over herself, and walked over to the dressing table and sat before the mirror. She looked at her dishevelled reflection and thought, I look absolutely dreadful. She examined the dark circles under her eyes as she attempted to straighten her long wavy hair with her fingers. She finally gave up in frustration, opened the drawer, removed a pair of sheers, and began cutting. What began with the intentions of a minor trim took her hair, which had been down to her backside, to just above her shoulders; and much to Isabelle’s dismay, the shorter it got, the curlier it got.

She looked at herself once more and thought, Well at least I don’t look ten years old anymore.

She heard Regulus shift in his chair and turned just as he shifted position in his sleep and fall to the floor with a pronounced thud. She laughed and went over to him, as he groaned and looked up at her from the floor.

“Sure laugh at the poor half-drunken sap on the ground,” said Regulus grinning mischievously as he looked up at her standing over him. “Just remember, I have and excellent view from here.”

Isabelle blushed furiously and made sure her legs were closed and her nightdress held down by her hands as it was now Regulus’ turn to laugh and he said, “Sure, ruin the view. Typical girl.”

“You’re terrible,” she told him as she sat on the edge of the bed.

“What happened to your hair?” he asked in shock as he sat next to her and touched what was left of her hair.

She pointed to the pile of hair on the ground by the dressing table and said, “I needed a trim.”

“A trim?” he asked. “How many times did it take you to get it right?”

“A fair few,” she told him smiling in embarrassment.

He looked at her for a few seconds, then said, “I like it.”

“My life can continue now,” she said jokingly, “Mr. Black approves.”

“And what would you have done if I didn’t approve?” he asked curiously.

“Probably knocked you to the ground and beat the hell out of you,” she said grinning up at him.

“I’d like to see you try,” he said daring her. “I’ve got almost eighty pounds on you.”

“But you would never hurt me,” she said grinning, “which gives me the advantage; you see, I, on the other hand am a nasty little thing and I will never fight fair.”

“Figures,” he told her. “So did you have fun last night?”

Isabelle smiled and said, “I needed to have a blow off some pent up frustration and you, Mr. Black, were the perfect companion.”

“I could have thought of a better way for us to blow off some pent up frustration that didn’t involve us leaving this room,” he told her grinning.

“Nice to see you have a one track mind,” she told him. “ One question though.”

“What’s that?” he asked.

“How did we get back here?” she asked.

Regulus laughed and said, “Well, after you passed out drunk in the club, I carried your sorry corpse from the club and we came back here. Naturally you proceeded to be sick all over me, hence my wearing either Gareth’s or are they Sirius’ pajamas, and you being changed into your nightdress.”

“You changed me into my nightdress?” she said in embarrassed shock.

Regulus smiled at her seductively for a few moments, then asked, “Do you have a problem with that?”

“W…well…” she stammered nervously. “It’s just that I’m not wearing anything underneath them.”

Regulus laughed and asked, “Would you like all the sordid, embarrassing details of our night together?”

Isabelle’s jaw dropped open and she muttered anxiously, “We didn’t? Please tell me we didn’t?”

“Would it have been so bad?” he asked slightly hurt by her reaction. “Besides, after the way you kissed me last night, well, you know.”

“No I don’t know,” she snapped, “I don’t remember. I was too drunk.”

“You were quite uninhibited,” he whispered seductively bringing his face closer to hers. “You didn‘t complain at all as I vividly recall.”

“If this is a joke Regulus,” she stammered anxiously, “just end it now.”

Regulus laughed and said, “For the record, when I hauled your inebriated self back to this fine residence, Yally was sitting in here waiting for us. She had brought a note from Dumbledore for us, it is in the kitchen. It was Yally who changed you into your nightdress as she pushed me out the door to the bedroom; and told me to sleep in the chair next to you after she had changed your clothes. Then she took my response to the head masters note back to him. And lastly, yes you did kiss me multiple times in your drunken stupor, but I was a gentleman, which wasn’t hard because you kept calling me by my idiot brothers’ name.”

Isabelle looked up at him, surprised by the bitterness in his voice at the end. He could see she was sorry she snapped at him as she said, “Oh Reg, I’m so sorry.”

“You need to get over my brother,” he told her earnestly. “You know as well as I do, he had to believe those awful things he said to you on some level for whatever was given to him to have that effect. It’s better you found out now even though it hurts, than finding out later.”

She looked down at her hands nervously and quietly muttered, “I know.”

“You can’t control what people believe about you Isa,” he told her. “You just have to keep doing what you truly believe is right; and sometimes you have to do it regardless of whether those who claim to love you agree or not.”

“I thought Sirius really loved me,” she whispered emotionally.

“Just because he may believe what he said on some level, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you,” he told her. “All it means is that he can what he perceives as the good and bad in you, and loves you regardless.”

“I know,” she told him weakly. “It’s just his opinion means everything to me, so it hurts.”

“Running away isn’t the answer,” he told her. “Neither is drinking yourself into oblivion and dancing until you can’t stand up. Not that I didn‘t have fun last night, but it would have been more fun if … well … if the circumstances had been different between us.”

Isabelle looked at him, unsure how to respond and after a moment said, “I’m sorry Regulus.”

“Are you really?” he asked sincerely.

“Behind Gareth, you are the best friend I ever had,” she told him. “Hell, Gareth was like my older brother more than anything. I love you Regulus, you have to know that.”

“I know,” he told her sadly. “And I love you, but I can’t compete with my brother.”

“The big question is do you want me because of me, or do you want me because of Sirius?” she asked staring into his eyes.

He stared into her dark eyes for what seemed like forever, and finally replied, “This has absolutely nothing to do with Sirius. What I love about you is your mixture of strength and vulnerability; your innocence and naughty side, but most of all I love your ability to always do the right thing, even though sometimes its hard to do the right thing, you always take the high road.”

She stared silently at him, shock evident on her face as he continued. “Before I met you I was in limbo, allowing my parents to push me into things that were awful and I never had the backbone to rock the boat as Sirius did and tell them to go to hell; but now, I have found the person I am meant to be and as much as it pains me to say this, it makes me respect Sirius more, because he found his way out of the hell in the House of Black on his own.”

“You would have found your way on your own Regulus,” she told him quietly. “You were already half way there after last summer. I had nothing to do with it.”

“On that we’ll have to agree to disagree,” he told her. “Now lets talk about going back to school.”

“I can’t go back to school,” she told him firmly.

“You want people to treat you like a grown up, then act like one,” he told her firmly. “I know you need to find yourself and figure out your life, but hell you’re only sixteen years old; it’s not like you have to figure it all out tomorrow.”

“You’re wrong on that count,” she whispered nervously. “I have to have it figured out by the first day of spring.”

“Why spring?” he asked suddenly feeling anxious.

“It marks my day of judgment,” she told him quietly.

“How do you know?” he asked staring at her nervously.

“I don’t know for sure, but it’s all I’ve been dreaming about lately,” she said quietly as he moved her hair from her face.

“Is that why you ran?” he asked quietly.

“Yes,” she replied. “I need to put my affairs in order and make arrangements for Pradam’s continued financial security before it happens.”

“You say that as if you expect to die,” he said nervously.

She looked up into his grey eyes and said, “I do.” She paused for a moment, then continued, “I have things I need to do and I want you to return to school where you belong.”

“I’m not leaving you Isa,” he told her gently running his fingers through her hair. “I can’t leave you; I love you.”

“You can’t love me Regulus,” she told him firmly. “I’m a wretched person and I don’t deserve someone like you; or Sirius for that matter.”

She watched as he cringed slightly at hearing his brothers name, but after a split second recovered and said, “Look into my mind and you will see that unlike my brother, I do not blame you for what happened to Gareth; or believe that you are a hazard to anyone but yourself. And I say that because I have watched you sacrifice your own happiness for others; maybe it‘s time you let yourself be happy.”

She looked into his eyes and she could see his feelings for her were pure but she could not help but say, “When I look into your eyes I see the same thing I saw when I looked into Sirius’. I’m not going to lie to you, if it wasn’t for Sirius, I’d be with you, but right now it’s unfair if I’m with either of you.”

He gently cupped her face in his hands and brought his face to hers and quietly said, “We belong together Isa, even Sirius sees it; that is why he gets so jealous when we are together. To hell with all of this, we can leave and go clear around the globe and never look back; no school, no Sirius, no Voldemort, no Stonehenge.”

She looked up into his grey eyes and knew he meant it. She was not sure how to react, although she had to admit, the offer was extremely tempting, being able to start over anonymously and she whispered, “It’s a great fantasy Regulus, but some things just can’t be escaped and my destiny is one of them.”

“You never know until you try,” he told her, and she got his double meaning just as he moved his lips the last few inches to her and kissed her gently. This time she did not stiffen at his touch and he kissed her with more passion. When he pulled his lips from hers, he looked into her eyes and saw confusion; which pleased him as the last time he kissed her he saw nervousness, and what he thought was fear. He finally felt like he was making his way into her heart and he could not help but smile.

“What are you smiling about?” she asked uncertainly.

“I actually got to kiss you and this time you didn’t stiffen up like rigamortis had set in,” he told her happily.

“You surprised me, that’s all,” she told him firmly, “but if you do it again, I’ll have to hex you.”

“Somehow I don’t think you would,” he told her.

“Then you’d be wrong,” she told him. “And if Sirius tried it, he would get the same at this point.”

“I would pay good money to see that,” he told her.

Isabelle glared at him and said, “Maybe I’ll knock the heck out of both of you; as you two are so much alike.”

“Low blow,” he told her slightly annoyed at her words.

“Look at you two, you look alike, you are both dense, you both have hearts of gold,” she told him, “yet you bicker and fight like you hate each other, but I know better; you love each other and Sirius is worried about you being a Slytherin; and you are angry at him over how he left home and left you behind. Both of you need to get over it because the House of Black is going to fall and the only ones left will be you two, and you need to build a new legacy away from darkness.”

“And where will you fit in with the House of Black?” he asked.

“I’ll be in an urn on the mantle,” she said jokingly.

“Isa,” he snapped at her, “that’s awful.” The thought of her being dead and her ashes sitting on the mantle made him queasy and it was the last thing he wanted to think about.

Isabelle laughed at the look on his face as she got up from the bed and said, “At least one of us is accepting the truth. Besides Reg, death is the next great adventure” and she left the room.

Professor Obsidian sat at the large worktable in the corner of her private office, working on the contents of a slow simmering cauldron. The desk was covered in glass beakers, each half-filled with clear pale pink liquids. She took a large dropper and removed a small amount of liquid from the simmering cauldron and carefully placed a few drops of it in the first glass beaker and watched the two liquids react; no sooner than the hot, thick red liquid was dropped into the beaker it appeared to break up into what appeared to be different liquid strands of fire in varying shades of blue, red and purple.

The professor sat back in her chair and rubbed her large, ever growing stomach gently with her hand as she thought about the chemical reaction she had just witnessed. After a moment she got up and walked out of her office and headed towards the library. Much to her dismay, when she arrived the library was packed with students, and sitting near her destination of the restricted section sat the Marauders, Lily, and Cassie engrossed in quiet conversation.

She took a deep breath and headed towards the restricted section doing her best to pretend to ignore the students. As she got closer, Remus’ eyes met hers and she nodded at him and quickly disappeared into the bookcases.

Professor Obsidian slowly looked at the books in the potions section as she ran her slightly swollen fingers over the bindings as she read the titles; Aquious Antipathy: Rid Yourself of Loved Ones with Five Little Ingredients; Malice in a Chalice: Unholy Potions; Distilling Discord for Fun or Spite; Bi-Polar Potions; and finally, Viscous Viciousness: When Death Isn’t Good Enough.

The professor smiled at the last title and removed the old, dusty book from the shelf and quickly began scanning the index. Her finger stopped on a potion called “Contorted Eh-Cysp” and she smiled to herself. She opened to the potion and began reading as she walked from between the shelves; when she read the words reacts violently with most neural clarifying potions she slammed the book closed and ran from the restricted section.

“Lookout,” she heard someone yell but she couldn’t stop in time and ran stomach first into Remus Lupin, who had moved from the table with his friends to the entrance to the Restricted Section to await the pregnant professor. He tried to catch the falling professor , who was clutching her engorged stomach protectively, but couldn’t and she landed on her back breathing heavily with the book she had been holding on the ground nearby.

James, Lily, Cassie and Peter quickly ran over to help Remus lift the pregnant witch from the floor and help her sit in a chair.

“Are you alright?” asked an extremely concerned Lily.

“I’m not sure,” replied the professor anxiously, as she continued to clutch her stomach as she cried out in pain.

“This isn’t good,” muttered a nervous Peter. “She’s not going to give birth here in the library, is she?”

“Quit talking about me like I’m not here Peter,” snapped the professor who was breathing heavily.

They watched as the professor took a few deep breaths and after a minute her discomfort seemed to have faded, but she remained pallid. She noticed they were looking at her with concern and the professor said, “I’ll be fine” as she tried to get up but James and Remus each put a hand on one of her shoulder and forced her to sit back down.

“Humour us Professor,” said James with concern. “You hit the ground quite hard and we believe it would be best if you get checked by Madam Pomphrey.”

“As I recall Mr. Potter, I am the teacher and you are the student,” Professor Obsidian told him as Stella entered the library and Cassie waved her over. “I need to return to my research.”

Stella quickly came over to them, picking the book up from the floor after having tripped on it and as she looked at the pale professor asked, “Is something wrong?”

“Absolutely nothing,” replied Professor Obsidian.

“The professor collided stomach first with Remus when she rushed from the Restricted Section,” said Cassie. “She hit the floor quite hard and refuses to go to the hospital wing.”

Stella looked at the professor reproachfully and said, “Peter, please go tell Madam Pomphrey that I will be b ringing the professor to be checked shortly.”

Peter smiled apologetically at the professor and left the library as Stella placed the book under her arm; then turned to the pregnant witch and firmly said, “You can either allow us to escort you to the hospital wing or I’m sure Madam Pomphrey will gladly hover around your quarters until you allow her to examine you. All she talks about is the impending birth of your twins and how concerned she is because you do not get enough rest as it is.”

“That’s blackmail,” snapped the professor indignantly.

Stella laughed and said, “You sounded just like my sister when you said that. You even got the tone of voice right. She must be rubbing off on you.”

The professor glared at Stella as the other watched trying not to laugh as Stella put her arm under the professors and helped her to her wobbly feet and said, “Since technically I work in the hospital wing, granted it’s as an intern, I hereby order you there to be checked.”

“You’re enjoying yourself a little too much right now Miss Cuevas,” said the Professor grumpily as she held her swollen stomach.

“That I am professor,” said Stella smirking. “My sister never listens to me, even when she is at school, so you will have to be her substitute.”

“Like Isabelle, I too had an older sister and she was just as bossy and an overbearing pain in the …” snapped the professor before Stella interrupted gasping “Professor” in shock.

“Sorry, call it hormones,” said the short witch apologetically.

“Somehow I don’t buy it,” said Stella handing James the book, as she led her from the library with the others following in case she needed help. She turned to Remus and said, “Would you take Professor Thickhead’s other arm just in case?”

“Professor thickhead?” snapped Professor Obsidian.

“Relax Professor, today you are Isabelle, so I can insult you,” Stella told her jokingly.

The professor glared at Stella and said, “You’re just getting even Miss Cuevas because I caught you with a certain Slytherin doing a great deal more than practicing resuscitation charms.”

“As I told you then,” said Stella smiling mischievously, “I was practicing giving Severus a physical examination, nothing more.”

The professor laughed as did the others and Stella blushed and replied, “At least I know how to brew and use obstructus potion professor.”

Sirius paced the hospital wing, his face revealing his anger and frustration as he looked at the Daily Prophet in his hands. He stared at the photographs of Isabelle and Regulus and his anger overflowed. He threw the paper to the ground and headed towards the hospital wing door.

Before he could reach the door, Madam Pomphrey blocked his exit and sternly said, “And where do you think you are going?”

Sirius glared at her as he replied, “I’m getting the heck out of here.”

“I’m afraid not Mr. Black,” she told him as she grabbed his arm and dragged him back to the private room as he muttered angrily under his breath.

The hospital wing doors swung open and Peter entered breathlessly, as if he had run from across the school to get there and said, “Madam Pomphrey, Stella is bringing Professor Obsidian to be examined. She ran into someone stomach first and hit the ground roughly.”

Both Sirius and Madam Pomphrey turned to him and the nurse asked, “How did she look after the fall?”

“Pale and she had some stomach pain,” said Peter nervously.

“Mr. Pettigrew, please get Mr. Black settled in his room and make sure he doesn’t run off, while I advise the head master,” said the nurse as she quickly headed into her office.

Peter looked from Sirius’ angry face to the newspaper on the ground and he asked, “How are you feeling Sirius?”

“Get me the hell out of here Pete,” snapped Sirius with frustration evident in his voice. “I’m going insane in here thinking about how awful I’ve been and I need to set things right.”

“You’ll have a hard time setting it right Padfoot,” he told his friend cautiously. “Isabelle and Regulus are gone.”

“I know they are gone,” he snapped at Peter.

“You need to stay put,” Peter told him. “Let Dumbledore figure out what happened to you. For once be patient.”

Sirius was about to snap at him when he saw the hospital wing doors open from his room and he watched as Stella and Remus helped Professor Obsidian, who was extremely pale, lay down on one of the beds.

“I’m fine,” insisted the professor.

“You are not,” said Stella insistently. “If you were then you would have been able to walk here on your own rather than needing our help half way.”

Sirius couldn’t help but be drawn to the main ward, his haunted grey eyes glued to the pregnant professor; who kept trying to get up. He looked at her and understanding struck him.

“Sit down now,” he snapped harshly at her, causing everyone, including Professor Dumbledore who had just entered the hospital wing to stare at him in shock.

“Who do you think you are telling me to sit down?” asked Professor Obsidian angrily.

Sirius looked at her, his grey eyes wild with anger as he said, “I know exactly who you are and for once you will stop being obstinate and do as you are told.”

They all watched in shock as the professor paled even further, immediately complying with his demand and laid down in the bed as her anger with Sirius festered.

“Are you happy now?!” she snapped.

“Exceedingly,” snapped Sirius who couldn’t take his confused eyes off her. “It’s nice to see someone as deceitful as you have been in your life finally get your due. I have no idea how you‘ve managed to pull this off but it‘s a new low, even for the likes of you.”

“Sirius,” said Dumbledore in quiet amusement as he glanced at a speechless Professor Obsidian briefly, “I believe you need to return to your room and rest.”

Sirius looked at the head master and said, “You knew about her?”

“Yes, but I believe this is something you and I need to discuss in private,” said Dumbledore firmly as he took Sirius’ arm and led him to his room and closed the door behind them.

Madam Pomphrey came from her office and shooed the students, except Stella from the hospital wing and then began examining the professor. When the examination was complete, the nurse handed her a cup of potion, and then both Stella and Madam Pomphrey went into the nurses office to discuss their findings privately.

After a moment, the head master came out of the Sirius’ room and sat next to Professor Obsidian who was still rubbing her enlarged stomach protectively with one hand, and holding a cup of potion in the other, and he asked, “How are the three of you feeling?”

“We’re fine,” she told him. “Everyone is overreacting.”

“By the looks of you, it appears that they didn’t overreact,” said Dumbledore quietly.

He looked into her tired grey-green eyes for a few moments, then said, “I believe it’s time for you to return to your quiet retirement.”

“I can’t,” she said emotionally. “I’m this close,” she added motioning with her fingers, “to finding out what happened to Sirius. Where’s the book I had in the library?”

“I believe Remus had a book under his arm when he left,” said Dumbledore. “Is that the one you are seeking?”

“Yes,” she said quietly rubbing her stomach.

“Alberforth is bringing Ron back to take you home,” he told her.

“I’m not leaving,” she snapped at him.

“In the words of one Sirius Black, stop being obstinate my dear,” said Dumbledore smiling serenely at her. “Nice to see someone who can control you at last.”

Professor Obsidian looked up at the head master and said, “You’re just upset because I repeatedly disobeyed you over the years.”

“Thus far you definitely have been the more challenging of my children to raise,” he told her smiling, “but the most interesting to watch.”

Professor Obsidian smiled nervously and asked, “You aren’t really going to send me back now, are you?”

“I believe it is in your best interest to return to where you truly belong,” he told her. “I do not want to risk your health or the health of your unborn children. I can send you away and in four weeks have the real Professor Obsidian make her appearance.”

“Sure but Liane is going to get tired of people asking about her newborn children,” she told him smiling. “I still find it humorous that her last name was Obsidian; phenomenal coincidence when I look at it in retrospect.”

“You know me, I could never pass up a good joke,” said the head master grinning. “And as you know, Liane only taught for two years before she dedicated herself full-time away from potions and moved onto bigger and better things.”

“I really think I should stay,” she told him as she sipped the potion given to her by the nurse earlier.

“And why is that?” he asked watching as she covered her mouth and yawned, struggling to remain awake.

She thought for a moment, blinking her eyes to remain awake and emotionally said, “I want to spend more time with them.”

Dumbledore looked at her sadly and said, “The longer you remain here, the more difficult it will be to leave and the more tempted you will be to try to change what is destined to happen. And you know that if you change anything, who knows what you will return to at home.”

“I promise you I will not change what has happens,” she told him sadly. “I wish I could but I know better. It‘s just been so nice to see them all.”

“This is more stress than you need given your delicate condition,” he told her gently, seeing one of the few hints of vulnerability in her since her arrival months ago. “If Alberforth and I had known of your pregnancy we would never have allowed you to journey here.”

“What did Sirius say in there?” she asked with her eyes half-closed as she motioned to the private room.

“He was angry and confused, nothing a light memory charm didn’t cure given his condition,” he told her softly. “Sleep now and we’ll discuss everything when Ron arrives.”

Professor Obsidian nodded and Dumbledore added, “I think I like you better the other way. Grey-green eyes don’t suit you; your brown eyes always sparkled when you were up to no good. You were definitely more easier to read.” But she didn’t hear him as she had fallen asleep, her hands still on her protruding stomach.

The library in Viedo was lit only by a few candles, as Isabelle sat at the large desk with a book in her hands. The sun had set a few hours ago, and Isabelle had locked herself away to read, while Regulus had journeyed to Diagon Alley to purchase some clothes, as he had left all of his things behind at school. She laughed as he tried to wear some of Gareth’s old clothes but he was muscular and Gareth had been fairly gangly with strong arms.

Her mind drifted back to Regulus’ words from the morning. In many ways he was right, Sirius was extremely jealous of the close bond she shared with his younger brother and she wondered what attracted her to Sirius over Regulus. Was she attracted to Sirius because of the intensity of their first solo meeting at Los Moros? Was it because he allowed her to be vulnerable and was protective of her and she needed that type of security? And then there was Regulus and she knew there was something about him that drew her to him; but she couldn’t put her finger on it. She couldn’t help but feel that he was as lost as she felt and it was their mutual vulnerability that forged the bond between them. She knew that if she had to, she would sacrifice anything for her friendship with Regulus, even Sirius; and that realization made her begin to wonder if she had chosen the right Black.

She ran her fingers through her shoulder-length hair in frustration and her mind continued it’s confused, self-contained internal self-analyzing rant. Her mind raced through thoughts, Sirius blamed her for Gareth’s death; Regulus didn’t. Sirius has always been a gentleman with her, never pushing her for move the physical end of their relationship further until she was ready; Regulus on the other hand pushed a bit, but never pushed too far and she knew his actions were due to the fact that he believed he loved her.

She thought back to the brothers, and blushed as she admitted to herself that both were incredible with their lips and quickly felt guilty over not having stopped Regulus when he kissed her this morning.

The confusion she felt earlier when Regulus had kissed her had now changed to anger, and it was all aimed inwardly. She knew Sirius didn’t mean to hurt her or push her away; of that she was certain. The potion or whatever was given to Sirius made him reveal his subconscious beliefs and feelings, then exaggerated them; feelings that could have been buried so far in his subconscious that he didn’t realize he had them at all.

She leaned back in the large cushioned chair and propped her feet up on the desk as she wrapped her arms around herself protectively. She rocked slightly and muttered to herself, “Gareth was right, I should have avoided entanglements with the brothers Black.”

She rocked slightly in her chair, pushing herself back with her feet which rested on the corner of her desk as she knew she was going to have to decide which brother she wanted, or if she wanted either of them. The prospect of hurting their feelings made her sigh. She couldn’t help but wonder why Sirius would want her if he truly felt that she was responsible for the death of Gareth. Who would want someone they believed was a murderer.

And then there was dear, sweet Regulus, who didn’t believe that she was responsible for Gareth’s death; even though there was a part of her that would always believe it was her fault. Maybe he was delusional and was in denial that she was an irresponsible lout; responsible for the person who meant the most to her in life. I should be dead, not Gareth. I’m so sorry Gareth, she thought sadly as her eyes became moist.

She rocked herself harder now, pumping the chair back and forth with her bare feet, which were still propped on the edge of the desk. She was deep in thought when the library door swung open, startling her as Regulus entered carrying a tray with two cups of tea on it; causing her to push herself a bit too hard and the chair fell backwards and Isabelle tumbled onto the Persian rug.

Regulus laughed as he went over and placed the tray on the desk, and helped her to her feet. He pulled her gently into his arms and he looked into her tearful eyes as he quietly asked, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” she said wiping the tears from her eyes.

“This is me Isa,” he told her gently, not taking his eyes from hers, “Spill it.”

“My mind is on Gareth,” she told him quietly as she averted her eyes. “He was right you know.”

“Right about what,” he asked quietly.

“About not getting involved with the House of Black,” she whispered as she felt him stiffen slightly at her words.

“Isa, you know as well as I do that Gareth had issues with my family that do not involve me,” he told her quietly as she stepped from his embrace and picked up a cup of tea from the desk.

“That one’s mine,” he told her. “It’s the one without sugar.”

“How can you tell?” she asked handing him the cup and picking up the other and taking a sip.

“I carried yours in my left hand and I knew where I placed it on the desk after your graceful dismount from the chair,” he told her sipping his tea.

“You of all people should know I’m anything but graceful,” she told him without being the least bit embarrassed by her clumsiness.

“So now that you have successfully managed to take the conversation from yourself and Gareth and onto the tea cup in your hand,” he said smiling at her over the rim of his cup, “what do you have planned for tonight for us?”

“Nothing,” she told him sitting down on the corner of the desk as she took another sip of her tea. “I need some time alone to figure things out.”

He watched intently as she drank from her cup of tea, as she twisted a loose strand of hair nervously around her finger. “This is the most nervous I’ve ever seen you” he told her smiling at her.

She finished her tea in silence, then placed the cup on the desk next to her and swayed slightly as she said, “I’ll admit to being a bit edgy, but it’s your fault.”

He watched as her eyes slowly began losing alertness and he knew the tea was beginning to have the desired effect on her; she wouldn’t be edgy for long.

“And how is it my fault?” he asked as he sat on the opposite corner of the desk.

“Because,” she said yawning slightly, then shook her head in an attempt to wake up, then almost angrily finished, “you kissed me.”

“You say that as if it were a replusive crime to kiss you,” he told her moving closer as she swayed more prevalently. “So tell me, what was so bad about it; as I rather enjoyed it.”

She turned to look at him, holding onto the desk for support as she moved towards him, and with all the anger she could muster in her fading condition said, “Because the one thing I was sure of before yesterday was that I loved Sirius and there could be no one else; and now I’m confused.”

As she said the last word he saw her eyes close and he caught her as she fell to towards him. He picked her up and gently laid her on the couch, smiling down at her the entire time.

“Well Isa, you’ve made me quite happy,” he told her as she lay there unconscious. “I just hope in the end you don’t see my action tonight as a betrayal, but it‘s for your own good.”

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