|The Rabbit Hole
Author: Acciosnuffles PM
One-shot companion piece to EMETEO, Chapter 13. Laura's version of the day she met Sirius for the first time, told from her POV. Rated M for language.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Sirius B. & OC - Words: 3,191 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-03-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5637955
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: This is ... well, not really fluff, IMO, but it's just a companion piece to Ever Mine ... Chapter 13 (Glimpses, Part II), the day Laura sees Sirius for the first time (and promptly forgets him). I don't know where I'm going with this train of thought, if anywhere, but it was fun to write! I'll try to continue with chapter 47 in between another project I'm working on.
The Rabbit Hole
Where the hell have I landed? I think. This place wasn't here just a minute ago. It came suddenly, out of nowhere, a crack in bricks that gradually pulled apart, and apart, until a passageway was exposed. I peek inside, and then glance around. Groups of people are passing by; none of them notice me, nor the gigantic hole in the wall that I swear wasn't my fault. I was just pushed against it by a gang of rowdy teenagers. Inside appears to be the entrance to an ordinary pub; I look overhead for the first time, and see a sign swinging in the breeze. The Leaky Cauldron. I don't feel a breeze, though.
What the hell … I'll step in and get something to drink. Interesting gimmick, though. Not remotely effective, at least for most people. For some reason, I'm drawn in.
I have to duck through the crumbled brick, which seems to be waiting on me to make up my mind. Soon as I'm through, the blocks all clink back into place. I'm freaked out for a moment, but then I hear the noisy clamoring of a crowd. Shopping rules out over a drink for the moment, and I walk through a narrow passage past said Leaky Cauldron, with its quaint little image of a witch brewing up something. I look through grimy window panes out of curiosity, but I can't see anything. On to shop.
I step out of the passageway, and the first thing I see is … everything. People in strange costumes, wearing robes, old-fashioned hats, carrying sticks that seem to serve no purpose. I look down at my late-seventies ensemble, thinking that up until a few minutes ago I blended in just fine. But they're staring at me as if I'm the anachronism. I try not to stare back, and it's easy at first. I'm distracted by other signs. A cauldron shop. Eeylops Owl Emporium? I wait for some people to pass, and walk to the window. Owls in cages are looking at me, wide-eyed. Well, owls always have wide eyes, but I get the creepy feeling that these are wondering why I'm dressed the way I am. All shapes and sizes are perched in cages. I pause in front of the cauldron shop, but cauldrons are boring, even if they are unusual. Chalk it up to another quirky difference between England and America, I suppose.
Quality Quidditch Supplies, another sign reads. I wander over to it and peer in its window. I can't seem to find anything that explains quidditch to me based on the window display, so I walk inside.
"May I help you?" a twenty-something guy with spots asks. He's wearing a jersey that says Chudley Cannons, and he tosses a heavy ball up in the air repeatedly. This must be like football or something. I learned pretty quickly not to call it soccer here.
"Just looking," I tell him. Then, knowing he'll think I'm a dumbass, I ask anyway. "What's Quidditch?" I'm not sure whether to pronounce the "kw" sound.
He grins. "Never heard of it? Well, it hasn't caught on quite as well across the pond. But it's been gaining in popularity over the last few hundred years or so."
He launches into an impassioned lecture on a game I wasn't very interested in to begin with. But then I notice something odd, just to add to my little collection of oddities I've already noticed. He starts to talk about flying. People on brooms, chasing snitches through the air. Avoiding bludgers. "Are you with me so far?" he asks. Well, no. You lost me with the flying.
"Did you say brooms?"
"Well, of course! You can't play it on the ground! If you're here any length of time, you'll have to see a match."
"Where do you get these brooms?" I ask, looking around.
"The place across the alley there. Loads of racing brooms, the highest quality. And more serviceable broomsticks, y'know, for household stuff and travel. They have everything."
Another customer comes in, one who seems interested in actually purchasing something. Shopboy goes to help him, and I hear them discussing galleons. I start to wonder about pirates. Who else carries galleons? Must be a quidditch term.
I step outside, wondering what else I'll find. The magical instruments place Quidditch guy told me about is just across the street, but I decide to stroll down the alley and see what else is there. It occurs to me what this place reminds me of. Main Street in Disneyworld. This must be one of London's little known theme parks; only instead of a giant mouse, their shtick is magic. Which means witches, I presume. And these people certainly fit that stereotype. Not everyone has a pointy hat, but there are plenty of those poking up out of the crowd. No green faces nor warts … yet.
I come to a building that juts above all the others. It's huge, with snow white columns and oversized doors. Men and women come and go through them. I'm staring, but nobody notices. Then I look up to another shingle, just above me. Ollivander's Wand Shop. Yup, this place is all about magic, all right. Where are the rides, though? I decide they're in another part of the park. But how is there a theme park in the middle of London? It's not in the guidebook; I've already read it cover to cover. I stop in the middle of the thoroughfare, trying to work that one out.
Someone brushes against me. I barely notice, for trying to figure out a shop that sells wands. So you just go in and buy a decorative stick? Sounds pretty cheesy, since they can't exactly do anything. Then I hear a noisy sigh. I turn, wondering who I've managed to piss off. A man is glaring at me.
"Next time, come to a full stop, why don't you?" he says. "I almost ran into you!"
I nod, not really caring. He'll get over it. I go back to studying all the reasons people would pay money for useless pieces of wood.
He's still staring, and I get a better look at him. Well, he's a bit more modern, at least, though in a funny way, he looks different. As if he'd be at home in the early twentieth century just as easily as 1979. He's actually wearing a waistcoat over a collared shirt, and a long coat over all that. Well, longer than is fashionable now. I can't help but look him up and down. He's handsome. Hair just past his shoulders, a lock of which hangs precariously, almost over an eye. Mustache and beard, but not unkempt. Pretty damn kempt, actually. Aristocratic. In the second it takes me to form an opinion, I decide he looks very nice, indeed. Except for his surly manner.
Then he speaks again. "Something wrong?" He must get the once-over a lot. Jerk.
"No," I retort. I walk toward the place called Gringotts. Guess I could've asked him what this place is, but I figure he'll just bite my head off.
I stop short when I see the trolls. They look as though someone just yanked them out from under their bridge to come guard this Gringotts place. It's a bank, it says. A woman walks through the doors, her bustle jouncing along against her butt. Bustle? What exactly is the point of all the costumes? It occurs to me, there are no tourist-y types around. Everyone else seems to be employees. Who are they performing for? They're certainly not trying to entertain me. But then, I didn't pay to get in. They don't know that, though. I wonder where the main entrance is, with turnstiles and a ticket counter.
I realize I'm still staring at the trolls. One, with little buggy eyes, narrows them to slits as if warning me to avert my gaze. He (I guess it's a he) turns to his buddy and mutters something I can't understand. They both laugh, and it's nails on a chalkboard. I finally look away, and I think someone has gone to an awful lot of trouble for this, but it's just not working as entertainment.
Another little street, much shadier from the overhanging buildings, branches off this one. An off-kilter sign says, "Knockturn Alley." I decide it looks more interesting to explore. I head off in that direction, having already forgotten the snobby good-looking guy.
A storefront captures my attention, unsurprisingly. There's a whole window full of large spiders; freakish creatures that can't be real. But they notice me right back, and take turns banging against the glass. I think they're trying to scare me, but then I come to the unpleasant realization that they would love to take a chunk out of me. I see razor-sharp teeth and back away.
Next place of business is every bit as bad. There are shrunken heads in the window, some dangling from strings, some perched on little stands. They spy me, the only person out of uniform, and start hurling insults. I can hear them clearly through, though I don't have a clue what half the slang means, other than it's derogatory. What's a muggle? Or mudblood? Not a very effective slur, though I get stupid and cunt quickly enough. Rude little shits. Okay, this ain't Disneyworld after all.
I hear a voice from behind. "You'll need to be getting out of here." It's the arrogant berk, and now he's holding one of those sticks. Or wand, I suppose. Like a magic wand?
I look at it, trying to rationalize its appearance. "Don't worry about me," I inform him. Well, he was rude first. Then I notice several pointy hats headed my way, atop people have the same look about them as the spiders did. The man turns, too, and faces them. I get the impression he really wants them to see the wand he's holding. I look up at him, but he isn't fearful. He steps in front of me, as if for protection.
"Ah, but I am worried about you, my dear. You are not in the nicest part of town, you know."
He grabs me by the elbow, and I figure it's best to go with him, rather than see what the rough-looking crowd wants. I turn to look back at them, and they're laughing at me.
We walk in silence for a few minutes. I notice (a) he's tall and slender. Well, I noticed it before, but I re-notice it with him as my new hero, and (b) he has a sexy accent to match the aristocratic features. Well, chicks dig the accent, and I guess I'm no different. Then he blows it.
"All right, love, I will buy you an ice cream and we'll talk."
"Buy me an ice cream? No, thank you." What am I, three?
"You're not from around here, are you?" The dulcet tones are disappearing, replaced with exasperation.
"Obviously not." It's time to get out of here. Back to civilization. I begin to walk back the way I came.
He sighs. "How did you get here?"
"Airplane." I should've said broomstick. I think he would have believed me, funny enough.
He wasn't amused. "I mean, here!"
I drop the sarcasm. "I dunno. What is this, some kind of trendy theme park?" A guy in an exceptionally high pointy hat and blue velvet robes goes by, and I nod in his direction.
"What on earth do you mean? Are you a witch, or what?" he snaps.
Jesus, these people really do think they're witches. But there's only one name I know for them. "What, like a Wiccan? Of course not!"
The man stares at me. "Are you for real?! I meant, can you do magic?"
I prod the tip of his wand. "No. I take it you can?" I'm mightily amused, though the dark eyes are rather disconcerting- in a good way. Even if he's mad as hell. A few passersby snicker at me, as I'm touching the handsome guy's wand. Maybe you don't make that motion in public here, even if it's just a stick.
"Never mind. You clearly don't belong here, and I'll show you up to Charing Cross," he says.
With a penetrating look that's practically evil, he doesn't make me let go of the wand tip. Before I can tell him to shove off, I feel this vibration. One I haven't felt in a while, in all the right places. He looks triumphant, and I am ready to do anything he wants.
I think all I can manage is a blank stare, but underneath, I am feeling whatever he wants me to feel. We have this odd connection now, some master/helpless slave thing that's not sexual, though it would easily be if he wanted it. I detect a bit of curiosity from him in that direction, and I let him know right back, without speaking, that he could do whatever he wanted to me, and that would be just fine. He's wondering what I would be like, though he wouldn't want it this way. He's into willing participants, not someone willing because he says so. For my part, I don't care either way.
He walks up the street, and I walk with him. We go into the Leaky Cauldron and over to a table. There's a lovely aroma to the place, not at all like the usual bars with their stale beer smell. This is very caramel-ly and warm, but with an edge of whiskey. It's not any kind I've ever had, though. He points his wand, and I understand right away to sit down. Especially as the chair pulls out from under the table on its own. I can tell he made it do that.
"All right. I'm going to ask you some things, and I want you to answer truthfully."
I nod, wondering how I never noticed how lovely his eyes are before. They meet mine, and I can't stop staring.
"What's your name?"
"Laura Ketron. Yours?" I study his face, noticing a few streaks of lighter hair mixed in with the lovely chestnut. He notices, and does the same thing to me.
"I'm asking the questions here, Miss Ketron... but my name is Sirius Black..like the star." He's amused at the power he has over me, and I can tell it's a struggle not to take it further, the way we're looking at each other. He likes me staring. "Where are you from?"
Sirius nods. That one was pretty obvious. "Why are you here in England?"
I hear a muffled voice, from far away, but I've no idea who it is. I don't care, either. "What would you like now, Mr. Black? For the lady?"
"Two butterbeers," His gaze is averted for the moment, but then he looks back at me, and likes that I'm watching him back. He really likes it, in fact, in a very obvious way. I look down. I want to see that, too.
"Alright, why are you in England?" he repeats, leaning closer to me. I feel the curiosity in him, stronger now, mixed with a bit of desire. He's imagining us somewhere else, where I can touch him. But he knows that can't happen.
"To get away."
"From whom?" Sirius is surprised.
"Everyone." If he asks, I'll have to tell him. He can see I don't want to, though.
"How long will you be here?"
"I don't know."
"Are you a witch?"
I have no idea how to answer this. "No." I'm just weird, I think.
"You're a muggle, then?"
"Never mind. How did you get in here?"
"Here?" You told me to come here. I had no choice.
"The Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley ..." he prompts.
"I was walking down Charing Cross Road. It was crowded, and I was accidentally pushed against the wall by a crowd of kids going by. Then I noticed it was there."
"Why were you so confused?"
"I'd never seen a wand shop before, or a bank like that. Or people dressed that way. Thought it was make believe." I'm hoping he'll explain it to me.
He's silent for a while, sipping his drink while letting me watch him. I can tell, even though I can't see certain parts of him, that it's still a turn on. He looks back at me; he likes what he sees. I could do this all day.
Finally, Sirius sighs and places a few coins on the table. He motions me to get up, and I almost knock over the chair in an effort to do what he wants. Taking my hand, he leads me out of the bar and into the passageway where I had begun. Someone walks by, and he pulls me close to him. He's still aroused about the whole power-over-me thing, even if it goes against the grain for him.
"Alright, m'dear, here is where we part. You won't remember any of this, or me." He looks around, then his gaze settles on mine yet again. I enjoy watching him. "You'll forget about the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. You'll forget everything you saw there. You were just out shopping. Understand?"
And just like that, I begin to feel normal again. The handsome man, whose name reminds me of a star, is holding me close. He kisses me. I have no idea how we got this way. I'm still coming out of whatever coma I was in, and he motions for me to walk off. I do, feeling the last remnants of obedience to him. I walk home. It's a long walk, but I don't notice. Once I've arrived, though, my memory of the handsome guy kissing me is fading to oblivion.