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For almost thirteen years she had waited for this moment...
“Sirius ruined that Summer Holiday,” she sighed, brushing the hair away from her face. “He ruins everything.”
“So bloody long in Azkaban, he’s forgotten who I truly am,” she murmured, looking at the large, ripe strawberry held by her fingers.
Eschar ripped from the flesh, to expose old wounds, was the only accomplishment of the evening.
Sirius swallowed a large bite of cake. “What do you know about what’s in my head?”
“Some things are better left unsaid.”
“I wasn’t fooled by your hardened exterior at fifteen and I’m not fooled now—”
The most innocuous phrase or innuendo could provoke him into a rage or depression.
They taunted her—celebrating in all of Althea’s fears coming to fulfillment.
“Don’t you even think of biting me,” Remus warned, “or I will bite you, and I sincerely doubt you’d want that.”
It was a thought that periodically surfaced, and no matter how much she fought to suppress it, it licked at her insides—Sirius’s choice killed Lily and James. It reminded her that his pride mattered most.
“I’d enjoy you like I’d enjoy a Doxy infestation...”
Althea caught her breath as Sirius clasped her hand. “I would never subject you to porridge,” he pledged, his thumb stroking the back of her hand. “Never.”
“You will change in his mind forever...”
Nothing else mattered at that moment—the room seemed exceptionally still...
Sirius shivered. “I’d rather kiss a dementor.”
“‘Lonely Potions Master seeks equally sniveling Mistress in hopes to brew romance. Must enjoy the smell of pickled Erkling, drafty dungeons, and lack of bathing. All requests—’” she read and paused. She looked up from the newspaper and wrinkled her nose. “Sirius, this is awful.”
“James never let me forget the time I wagged my tail at McGonagall.”
“Go on,” Sirius said—his voice neither taunting nor condescending, “curse me.”
“Blow out your candles, Althea Rosemary, before the cake catches fire.”
She listened intently and without judgment as Sirius, with great hesitation, gave an unprovoked telling of his time in Azkaban.
“Dogged,” Afina chimed, “very dogged.”
Sirius started to laugh. It was not his normal bark-like, jovial laughter, but a sinister laughter—a knowing laughter—that Althea thought, might’ve been heard on that street almost thirteen years ago.
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