A/N: It's been… amazingly long. I know. I can't really say why I haven't updated… well, actually, I can. My life's been messy in the last year to say the least. There were new relationships, first loves, first real heartbreak, changing colleges and whatnot. If you're interested, I have a blog on Blogspot called allyvanilly. I'll be starting a new college in a new country soon, and I'm updating now because I'm pretty free. I'll write a summary of the last chapter so it won't be too hard to catch up on what's been going on.
Summary: Andrea reveals to Sirius what her family circumstances are like, and he tells her the truth about his own family. In the Forbidden Forest, we finally find out why Lily hated James since First year -his Marauder Initiation Prank- and after arguing, she accepts him as an acquaintance.
In the magical school of Hogwarts, there were many people doing many different things. Frantic students were bullying their stubborn brains into studying, several search parties were combing the Forbidden Forest and the village of Hogsmeade for the missing pupils, and a handful of couples were snogging in broom cupboards. We shall focus on the latter, that would be one couple in particular.
The roomy passage behind the mirror on the fourth floor was currently occupied by two teenagers with raging hormones. The Marauders, knowing that the passage was likely to be used for things other than simply passing through, had sneaked many large cushions and throw pillows in. The aforementioned couple were making full use of said soft surfaces.
"We… should be… mmm… search party," murmured Taylor blearily as Remus kissed her on the neck.
"What?" mumbled Remus, claiming her lips again.
She gave up her quest for sensible thought and abandoned herself to Remus's embrace. However, moments later -or was it hours?-, she struggled to pull herself together and said groggily, "We need to join the search party."
It was through sheer willpower and loyalty to James that Remus pulled himself off her and sighed. "Right," he muttered, looking slightly sour. "Lily. James. No snogging."
"It's not necessarily no snogging," chided Taylor, kicking aside several of the cushions.
"So you're saying that if I can find a conveniently hidden spot in the Forest, we may deviate a little and snog to our hearts' content?" said Remus hopefully.
For a moment, Taylor looked sorely tempted. "No," she said at last. Then she grinned. "What I am saying is that if we find Lily and James, and you happen to find a conveniently located spot in the castle, then we shall snog to our hearts' content."
"Seriously?" said Remus, offering her his arm as they headed towards the mirror. "For hours?"
"Hours and hours," promised Taylor, taking the proffered arm.
"You won't suddenly push me away and yell, 'I've got Quidditch practice!'?"
"We'd continue under the Quidditch stands if that was the matter."
"Well in that case," said Remus with undisguised enthusiasm, "let's get cracking."
"You won't regret this Sirius," said Remus excitedly to a big black dog. He held one of James's school robes towards him. Tentatively, Sirius sniffed it before recoiling sharply. Snarling, Sirius clearly indicated that he already did regret it.
Slowly, feeling as though he was undergoing great humiliation, he started sniffing the ground, trying to pick up James's scent. There were faint traces, but those were more than a week old. He continued to snuffle along, all the while glaring at Remus for putting him up to this.
Abruptly, there were footsteps approaching. He raised his head and gave a warning bark to Remus as Taylor and Andrea rounded the corner. His heart gave a slight jump when he spotted the latter. It was odd, he decided, that the two of them had so many similarities. For the first time, he had been able to truly share something… some sort of understanding, with a member of the opposite sex. He remembered her reaction when he told her he was…
He waited apprehensively and saw a mass of emotions flick across her face. But the most prominent one was understanding. And sympathy. There wasn't pity. She was too alike him to pity and him, and she, above anyone else, knew how abhorrent pity was. At the same time, she was scrutinizing him. Though he kept his facial expressions still, he knew his eyes were betraying him, revealing the hurt and bitterness he felt that bellied his flippant tone.
"Oh my God, Sirius," said Andrea, the shared pain causing her eyes to well up again. Hesitantly, as though she wasn't used to the motion, she raised her arms to hug him. A moment later, they were hugging each other tightly as Sirius continued his story.
It was only later that a horrible thought struck both of them - what would happen when Andrea's mother found out? It was not even a questions of 'if', for they knew that she would do everything in her vast abilities to dig up all she could about Sirius Black with maniacal fervour. And when she discovered the truth…
At last, it was decided that it didn't matter. Because no matter what she threw at Andrea, Sirius would stand with her.
Sirius shook himself out of his thoughts as Taylor called out to them, "Remus, who's your friend?"
Remus grinned and went to kiss her lightly. "Trying out a new method to find Lily and James," he said, gesturing to Sirius. "So, you just remember to make good of your promise."
Sirius ran up to Andrea and started sniffing her like a normal dog. He caught faint wafts of warm vanilla and knew he would be no good to Remus. That smell would be stuck in his head for the rest of the day.
"H-hello," said Andrea nervously. She reached down to pet him tentatively. To her pleasant surprise, Sirius licked her cheek joyfully. The next second, she was scratching his belly an laughing as he writhed beneath her fingers.
"I thought you didn't like dogs, Andy," said Taylor in surprise.
"I don't," she said, looking rather confused. She bent to give the dog a peck on the nose. Not noticing Sirius's idiotically happy grin, she continued. "But… this one seems special somehow." She turned to Remus. "Is he a pedigree?"
"Nah," said Remus with a knowing smile. "Just a stray mutt I picked up somewhere."
Before he could blink, Sirius had tackled him and was sitting on his stomach, growling.
It's going to be a good day today, thought Lily positively. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the feud between her and Potter -no, James was finally over. And they were near Hogwarts. She could feel it.
Lily smiled as James stomped out the embers of the fire and helped her up, causing him to blush. He always knew she had a pretty smile, but never before had he been on the receiving end of it.
After a mere half an hour of travel filled with light banter, James finally stumbled upon what he'd been searching for.
"Aha!" he exclaimed triumphantly, pointing to a bush with blueberries. "Breakfast! We're on one of Hagrid's paths! Hogwarts is only an hour or two away."
"Thank Lord," said Lily, sinking down and picking a berry, "I cannot wait to bathe! I feel so sticky."
"You look fine, Lily," said James, meaning it. He stood up to clear the path of the foliage that could hinder them.
"You don't have to be nice, James," said Lily, leaning back. "What I really need is a good, long, soak in the prefect's bathroom. Hours and hours in hot water with every kind of bubble bath available…"
James flushed as he shoved aside a creeping bush. The image of Lily wet and naked wasn't one he thought she'd appreciate him pondering on.
"…and maybe a nice drink while I'm soaking," continued Lily, oblivious to James's consternation. "And some of Andrea's deep conditioning- Aaaah!"
James whirled and sprinted towards Lily's screams. He felt horror and dread as he saw her fighting off a Venemous Tentacula… or upon closer inspection, part of the creeping bush he'd pushed away minutes ago.
Lily was yelling and hitting the carnivorous plant with her crutch, her wounded ankle preventing her from making an escape.
Seeing her in danger, James did something both very stupid and very brave.
He threw himself onto the Venomous Tentacula's stalk and tried to use his weight to bring it down. At this, the plant writhed and thrashed, trying to throw him off. Lily crawled away as James battled the plant, then threw her crutch at him.
With his natural Seeker skills, James caught it while riding the bucking vegetation. The crutch -which was actually a rather large, pointy branch that split into two at one end- was a dangerous tool if you knew how to use it.
James thrust it at the softest part of the plant, where the stalk and the flower -could its poisonous, toothy head actually be called a flower?- met. It took several stabs and a very good grip, but James finally managed to pierce the stick clean through.
His hands gave out and he was flung off the writhing plant. He rolled on the ground before getting to his feet. Without pausing for a breath, he swept Lily up in his arms and ran away from it. Dying or not, he didn't trust it.
It was only when he felt a warm liquid seeping into his robes that he stopped. Setting Lily down gently, he realised that the blood was hers.
"You're hurt!" he said frantically, searching for the source.
"I noticed, James," said Lily weakly, with only a trace of her usual sarcasm. "It's just a scratch."
"A scratch?" he spluttered, shoving the large stain on his sleeve in front of her face. "This much blood came from a scratch?"
Finally, he noticed the large tear in her school robes at her stomach. It was then he hesitated.
"James, it's nothing," muttered Lily, slurring her words as she batted his hands away weakly. Already, her eyes had taken upon a glazed look as the venom worked its way into her system.
"I know you don't take Herbology, Lily, but a wound from a wound from a Venomous Tentacula is not nothing!" shouted James, his worry for Lily making him near hysteria. "Where d'you think it got half its name from? If that cut is deep, it could kill you within a day. If we don't clean it and get you treatment soon-"
He stopped speaking abruptly when he noticed that Lily was peeling off -albeit reluctantly- her robes. There was, of course, a button-up blouse and skirt beneath it, but the sight of the proper Head Girl stripping off any item of clothing was enough to silence most males.
Any sexual thoughts that might've dared enter his head, however, were shortly driven out when he saw the steadily blooming patch of blood on her stomach. The material of her uniform had barely helped when the fangs of the plant had pierced her. James took out the small flask he carried with him -handy tip from his dad's friend, Mad Eye Moody- and ripped off a fairly clean part of Lily's discarded robe.
Even with the poison steadily working through her body, Lily managed a faint blush as she tugged out her blouse and unbuttoned it halfway to expose her gash.
"I… trust you, James," she mumbled, allowing the blouse to bunch up just beneath her chest. Sweating profusely and shivering at the same time, she fell unconscious.
James stared at the flat plane of her stomach, long legs stretched out beneath her hitched-up skirt and breasts heaving as she took shallow breaths. He knew what she meant, of course. Any one with a testicle of testosterone would. But he wasn't that type of person, to take advantage of a girl no matter how attracted he was to her.
Especially not when she's dyi- hurt, he thought with a wince.
Carefully, he wiped away the blood and tried to clean the wound. Even with his limited Healing skills, he could tell that it was bad. In Lily's weakened physical state, the venom was having an easy time as it spread. If he didn't get her to the Hospital Wing soon… Well, he didn't want to think about it.
Even if he carried her back to Hogwarts, it was unlikely he would make it back in time. Besides, two days of travel in the Forest and a diet of berries and water had done him no good. With his energy sapped from his battles with Dark Wolves and evil plants, he doubted he could lift Lily for very long.
James paused only for a moment, understanding what he was risking by doing what he was about to do, but going to do it all the same. With a faint pop, he changed into a stag. Laying Lily on his back as best he could, he took off in a full gallop, slowing only when he was afraid Lily would fall off.
It had become a race of time. Him against the poison that was already raging through Lily in that short interval. The forest around him became a blur of browns and greens, the fatigue in his limbs made itself heard as the strain of such prolonged speed began taking its toll. But resolutely, he pushed it back and carried on.
Lily needs me, he thought, determination surging through him. Behind him, he heard her move slightly and go, "Wha-?" before fainting again.
Her brief consciousness egged him on and he surged forward until suddenly, just as it felt as though his legs were about to drop off, he heard voices.
"Oh come on, Padfoot! This is the last time I'm asking you to do this, I swear!"
There was a disgruntled bark.
"I've helped you loads of times when you were snogging girls. Like that time with the Prefect's Bathroom and McGonagall-"
A snarl indicated that he wasn't supposed to continue.
"The fact is that-"
Remus and Sirius looked up from their argument as a white stag burst in on them, fairly collapsing on the ground in exhaustion and relief. The girl on its back rolled off gently onto the grass.
"Prongs?" said Remus disbelievingly, moving towards him. Nearby, Sirius appeared with a pop. "Lily?" A grin flitted across his face as he pumped his fist up and down. "Yes! Quidditch benches here I come!"
James knelt on the ground, panting heavily. Sirius moved towards them and eyed Lily's state of clothes. "Don't tell me you've both been in the Forest having a randy time while I've been playing bloodhound!" He paused. "Actually, yes, tell me that."
James gave him a weak glare and pointed to the blood on Lily's blouse. "Venomous Tentacula. Hospital Wing. Now."
Realising the seriousness of the situation. Remus and Sirius snapped into action. Well-fed and rested, the latter lifted Lily easily while Remus helped James along. In a few minutes, they came upon the search party farther back.
Listening to the cries of happiness and arms coming round to envelope them, James closed his eyes and gave into his exhaustion. Knowing that at last, they were safe. They were home.
A wan figure lay in the Hospital Wing. Her pale face blended in with the stark whiteness of their surroundings. The brief thud of the door opening and closing echoed, the only thing that dared disturb the heavy silence that lay upon the room.
The people gathered around the bed turned to the newcomer and cleared a path for him. He bent over to inspect the still figure. Immediately, relief crept in and shoved the fear aside. That was what the person brought with him wherever he went. Security, confidence, and assurance.
"Will she be all right?" asked Andrea frantically, the first voice that piped up. She was hushed, for no reason other than it seemed that here should be a quiet atmosphere.
The second youth however, was not going to be shushed.
"Well? Is she alright?" James demanded. "Is she?"
"Mr. Potter!" said Ms. Pomfrey, seeing him for the first time. "I thought I put you to bed!"
"I got up," he said simply. He turned his weary but unflinching stare towards the other man. "How is she?"
Albus Dumbledore straightened and said, "She will be fine."
At those words, the tension seeped out of the room. Impatience and irritation of the visitors caused by waiting for hours outside the Hospital Wing while the Healer inside bustled around tending to her patients gave way to sheer joy.
Taylor hugged Remus impulsively, breaking into a huge smile. Beside her, James gave a grin and collapsed on to the bed behind him. It had been over twelve hours since he'd brought Lily to safety. Instead of resting and he should have, he'd stayed up, watching her intensely, praying, hoping against hope that the antidote administered would work. And now that his concerns were finally put to rest, exhaustion swept over him.
That was the first thought that came to Lily's mind as she cracked open her sore eyes. They felt like they'd been encrusted over, as though she'd slept for a year, like some medieval Sleeping Beauty rather than the more… well, however long she'd really been asleep.
Lily pushed herself up on her elbow, but the sharp pain in her abdomen caused her to fall back onto her pillows with a soft moan.
A messy-haired figure appeared by her bed in dishevelled pyjamas. She opened her mouth, questions and queries fleeing through her mind. How did we get here? How long have I been unconscious? Are you all right? Are we in trouble? Is-
"Water," were the two strained syllables that croaked out of he mouth.
James brought a mug gently to her lips and helped her drink. Then, he set it down before perching on the side of her bed. For a few silent moments, the two teens gazed at the empty, dark Hospital Wing. The gloom was pierced by only a few faint moonbeams. They sat… simply grateful to be alive.
"James?" Lily broke the silence.
"I always wondered if you managed to find away to keep Remus company in the full moon."
James froze, but Lily's face was impassive.
"That's twice you've saved my life then."
After a long moment's pause, James nodded.
They sat again, in companionable silence. An understanding had been reached. She knew, but she wouldn't ask, nor would she tell.
"You had me worried in the Forest, Lily," whispered James, brushing her hair carefully from her face.
Lily's eyes widened at such a gesture of familiarity, but oddly enough, she didn't mind it. Her throat was still sore and tender, but she managed to say, "Why?"
"Because… I thought you wouldn't make it," he said slowly, stating the obvious.
"Would it have mattered a lot to you if I hadn't?" she asked, not sure where she was going with this train of thought. Truth be told, her mind was rather fuzzy.
"Lily," said James, cupping her face with a hand. "Of course it would."
James looked at her, confused. "Because you matter," he replied simply. Lily looked at him with wide eyes. "I care about you, Lily."
Lily gazed at his face. His eyes were fixed intently on hers, but his features were still haggard and drawn. Something told her that had the situation they'd been in not so dire, had he not been quite so tired, he wouldn't have been that open or honest.
She smiled softly, and rested her head on her pillows. "I care about you too, James."
Lily felt sleep begin to steal over her again, and her eyelids drooped. But before the darkness could claim her once again, she said, "James?"
"Now we're friends."
The next few weeks passed without many alarming occurrences. The most surprising being that there no longer seemed to be any more pranks or animosity between the two renowned groups. Of course, the relationship between Taylor and Remus sent shockwaves through the student body, as this had been completely unpredicted amidst various speculations (the top one being Madam Pince and Filch). This, however, was nothing compared to the tsunami created when people realised that Andrea, Sirius, Lily and James were actually walking and talking companionably.
Possibly the ordeal in the Forbidden Forest had drawn the Head Boy and Girl together. There were rumours, after all, that Lily had rescued James from a pack of Dark Wolves -much to James's indignation-, or that James had single-handedly driven back a herd of centaurs that tried to use Lily as a sacrifice. That could well have created a bond, the students decided.
But Sirius and Andrea?
While they were not bosom friends, they could now be seen talking together once in a while, or even walking to classes together. They ate meals with their own friends, occasionally in a group, but there was no denying that they seemed a lot closer than they were. Naturally, there was the inevitable idea that they had a scandalous little thing going on between them, and Andrea soon found herself the target of many -or at least, even more- glares.
Still, peace was nice. And after two weeks, the speculators got rather bored and began speculating about Anna Fawcett's rumoured pregnancy.
"Anyone seen Andy?" asked Taylor, plopping herself down on the couch next to Remus. It was a typical weekday evening, with homework spread out on all available surfaces, and the people who were supposed to be doing the homework procrastinating in every way possible.
"Haven't seen her all day," said Lily, frowning and her Potions essay.
"Think I saw her at breakfast," said James, making a card house with his Exploding Snap deck.
"Why're you looking for her?" asked Sirius, balancing one of the cards on his nose.
"It's just… odd, that's all," replied Taylor, twirling her quill in her fingers. "We always see each other. She's not in the dorm, or grounds, this was where I thought I'd find her."
"Maybe she has a date," said Remus absently, with one hand stroking Taylor's hair and the other spinning his Transfiguration text.
The card on Sirius's nose exploded.
"Ow!" yelped Sirius, sitting up properly. "What?"
"Makes sense," said Remus, still spinning his book.
"Nah," said Lily. "She'd have told us."
"Maybe it's got something to do with that package she got today," mumbled Peter, who'd been vaguely listening in while trying to complete a very nasty Charms essay.
"What package?" asked Taylor, putting down her quill.
"You know. The one from home."
James's Exploding Snap castle exploded.
When the dust cleared, and everyone was done coughing their lungs out, they realised that Sirius was missing.
Sirius scrabbled frantically through James's trunk. It couldn't be, he thought desperately. She'd have told me…
Would she? he wondered. They were closer, certainly, but she didn't strike him as the type who'd come running to him if there was a problem. No, she seemed more the sort who'd mope by herself before deciding to fix it herself and inevitably do something foolish.
He withdrew the Marauder's Map triumphantly and started combing through it, looking for the little dot labelled 'Andrea Rose'. She wasn't anywhere in the Gryffindor tower, definitely not outside the school, and… there. Sirius squinted and the spot that seemed to be wavering a bit in one of the empty classrooms.
Tucking the map firmly into his robes, he dashed out of the dorm. He didn't bother with the Invisibility Cloak, nor did he care about the fact that it was nearly past curfew. All he wanted to know was why Andrea felt the inexplicable need to hang around an empty room all by herself…
Ducking through a few passageways and narrowly avoiding Mrs. Norris, he paused outside the door of the room Andrea was in. Slowly, cautiously, he opened the door.
The sight that met him was not a particularly pleasant one. It was Andrea, in the middle of a sea of desks that had been joined together. She sat placidly on the large surface, waving her wand aimlessly in one hand and with a bottle of Firewhisky in the other.
On the floor were two other bottles.
''Lo, Sirius!" she called out to him cheerfully, one hand beckoned him, causing the Firewhisky to slosh out. "How're you doing?"
Sirius edged over, noting the strong smell of alcohol. Andrea was definitely well past tipsy and just reaching utterly sloshed and on her way to being Unconscious From Too Much Alcohol. Her eyes were unnaturally bright but glazed, her hair was mussed and tumbled freely, her school robes -soaked in whisky- were rumpled. He also noted the dried tear tracks on her cheeks and the open parcel next to her.
"What're you doing, Andrea?" hissed Sirius. "You'll be expelled if anyone catches you like that."
"Firewhisky!" she cried, giggling. She tried to pull herself off the desks, but ended up stumbling into Sirius's arms.
"Where'd you get it from?" he asked angrily, holding her upright. "I'd heard you had a low tolerance for alcohol!"
"Got it from…" Andrea's eyes crossed briefly as she thought, "from Hagrid's. But I left some mon… money (hic)." She nodded to herself. "I do have a low toler… t-toleran… thingy… for alcohol. But (hic) that's okay!"
She giggled again, and before Sirius could stop her, took another mouthful of the amber liquid.
"Andrea!" he snapped. He pried he bottle from her fingers and set her on a chair. Then with his wand, he cleared the mess she'd made of the classroom. "C'mon, we're getting you out of here."
"Where're (hic) we going?"
"To the Gryffindor Tower," said Sirius grimly. "Lily and Taylor will know what to do with you."
"No!" said Andrea. The silly smile had faded, and though she was still obviously drunk, there was fear in her eyes. "I (hic) don't want… to be around p-people. Not (hic) now."
Sirius looked at her quietly and nodded. "Alright," he said. "But we still need to get out of here. I think I know where we can go."
He took her hand in his and began to pull her away, but she turned and tugged him towards one of the tables. She picked up the rather mangled looking package and clutched it to herself, not letting Sirius see what was inside. Then, with rather wobbly steps, she followed him.
Their walk was a silent one, punctuated only by Andrea's occasional 'hics' and stumbling, but with Sirius's arm firmly around her, they made it without being caught. Andrea was probably too drunk to notice when a door that wasn't there popped up suddenly, and if she had noticed, she certainly didn't care.
She tottered into the room, which was small and cosy, with a jug of water and a neatly made bed. Next to the bed was an empty bucket.
Sirius set her down on the bed and pulled off her sodden school robes. Silently, he poured her a glass of water. "Drink," he said, passing it to her. "Or you'll have a raging hangover in the morning. But by the amount you drank, don't think we can avoid that."
Andrea drank silently, her mind still rather foggy. Things were sliding in and out of focus. She really did have a low tolerance for alcohol, and it had an awful effect on her.
"What were you doing, Andrea?" he said softly, sitting down next to her. "What happened?"
"I…" she whispered, trying to remember. The hiccups had stopped at least.
Sirius bent to pick up the open parcel. He glanced over at Andrea who was staring at him blankly. Fearing the worst, he forced himself to look at it. Inside was…
A tea towel.
Sirius frowned at it and picked up the gay piece of cloth. "What the…?"
And with absolutely no warning, Andrea burst into tears.
"Bugger!" exclaimed Sirius. "Don't cry! What- what…" He was at loss for words. He'd always preferred not to be around when there were tears. Instinctively, he wrapped the sobbing girl in his arms and let her weep on his shoulder.
"Andrea…" he said. "She sent it?"
She nodded into his neck, still crying.
"What is it?"
Andrea raised her head and looked at him with her watery blue eyes. She took the tea towel from him and clutched it to her chest before uttering one word.
Sirius stared at her uncomprehendingly as she cried even harder into the fuzzy material. Then, an awful realisation dawned in his mind.
"Your house elf?" he exclaimed. "She… she sacked your…"
The maliciousness of Priscilla Rose's actions struck him. To fire her daughter's only friend… only companion at her home. The only living being who'd shown her kindness in that house…
That was just evil.
"Where's Mimmy?" cried Andrea heart-wrenchingly, sounding like a lost little girl. "Where's Mimmy? Where d-did she send her?"
"C'mon, Andrea," he said, trying to be soothing. "I'm sure she's still alive-"
The sobs got even louder. Clearly that was not a scenario Andrea had envisioned.
"I mean," backtracked Sirius hastily. "She'll be fine. She's a house elf, everybody wants a house elf. She'll have no trouble getting work."
"Mi-mimmy," whimpered Andrea. "She was… she c-cared about m-me… And now she's p-punished for something I did…" Sirius held her tightly again, trying to calm her down. "That bitch p-probably made her hurt he-herself before dismissing her…"
"'Drea…" said Sirius. "It wasn't your fault…"
"Yes, it was!" she screamed. "Don't try to pretend it w-wasn't! If I didn't g-go and lie about you and everything, she wouldn't have fired M-mimmy! Fuck knows where she is now!"
Sirius hugged her tighter, his own heart aching for her. "I'll find her, 'Drea," he said suddenly. "I'll find Mimmy for you."
"I… don't know," admitted Sirius. "But I will. Trust me."
Andrea didn't move for a moment, then she nodded before breaking down into quiet sobs again. Sirius held her silently, not knowing what to do, simply waiting for her to give him a hint.
After what seemed like a long time, she straightened. A box of tissues appeared conveniently next to her, and she blew her nose noisily. Sirius handed her another glass of water before dabbing her face with a damp cloth.
"What did you call me, Sirius?" she asked softly. "Just now?"
"What?" he said, concentrating on her face. He cupped her cheek gently with one hand, and the other was wiping away the tears and whisky. "I called you… 'Drea."
"It…" Why had he called her that? Everyone called her 'Andrea' or 'Andy'. Definitely not 'Drea. He looked into her intense cobalt eyes and said, "It sounded right. It felt right."
"I liked it," she whispered.
It was then Sirius noticed how very close they were. Their faces were barely half an inch apart. He could count her long eyelashes, and feel her warm -whisky-smelling- breath on his cheek. Abruptly, he wasn't sure who moved. It could've been him, it could easily have been her, but soft lips met his and they kissed.
The cloth fell from his hand and he dragged her closer. Losing balance, they both fell backwards onto the bed, him on top of her. She was kissing him hungrily, her tongue teasing. He moaned as he nibbled on her full lips. He understood now why so many bathroom stalls in Hogwarts had been devoted to Andrea's name.
Her hands worked free the clasps of his school robes, and she tossed them aside. He trailed his lips down to her neck and hit a sensitive spot, causing her to groan softly. As he sucked, he felt her long legs wrap themselves around his hips, and her hands caress his back. Then he captured her lips again, and almost without realising it, began to unbutton her school blouse.
It could have gone on, there was nothing to stop them. But suddenly, the smell of Firewhisky gave Sirius's brain a good kick, and he paused as he undid the final button.
"Wha-?" mumbled Andrea huskily, looking painfully sexily dishevelled.
"You're drunk," said Sirius, forcing himself to avert his eyes and trying to calm down his body. "You don't know what you're doing."
"Are you… saying I don't know how to snog?" she said, looking at him oddly and pushing herself up on one elbow. Her blouse hung open tantalizingly, giving Sirius a good view of her black lace bra. "Because that's definitely not what your body's saying." She eyed his pants.
"No! No, you snog very, very well," he said, feeling extremely flustered and frustrated. "And I want to… to… you know… but you're drunk."
"What do you want to do?" asked Andrea, innocently shrugging off her blouse. She leaned towards him, and suddenly, breathing became a lot harder.
She straddled him and twined her arms around his neck. "C'mon, Sirius. Don't be the good guy," she whispered into his ear, licking the lobe slowly. "You want this too…"
"I…" Why was he protesting again?
"Just one night… to f-forget… and let go completely…" her words slurred even as she traced his neck with her lips.
It was the slur that jolted Sirius again.
"'Drea, no," he said, putting his hands on her shoulders and tearing his eyes away from her chest. "You're drunk. This isn't something you'd want if you were sober. It probably isn't even something you'd remember tomorrow morning."
"Probably not, Sirius," she said quietly, looking unbearably delicious, sitting on his lap with no blouse, her skirt hiked up and her arms around him. "But I don't see why you'd care. This isn't the first time it happened."
"What?" he said, grabbing her blouse and trying to cover her.
"You know my reputation," she answered. "You know. Wild girl. Gryffindor slut. Amazing one night stands. Doesn't even care the next morning…" Sirius paused his efforts. "It's… a good way to forget how things are. Even for one night."
"How often does this happen?" he demanded, feeling for some inexplicable reason, angry.
"Not often," she said, now looking rather vague. "It's odd, I guess. A girl who doesn't want a relationship. I could never afford to have a relationship, because she'd never approve… but when this happens. When she happens… I just need… affection. From anyone."
"Are you using me then, 'Drea?" he asked quietly. "Using me like you used those other guys? How many were there? Double digits?"
Andrea pulled on her blouse by herself, fumbling with the buttons.
"There was only one," she said coldly. "Amos Diggory. I was sad, he had alcohol, it was my first time drinking." she shrugged. "But rumours magnify, I suppose."
"What about all those other blokes I hear about?"
"If you're asking if I snog them, I do," she snapped. "I'm not Virgin Mary. But I didn't have sex with them, if that's what you were implying."
"We could be having sex right now if I hadn't stopped you."
"Then what's the difference between me and them?" he asked, feeling hurt and angry.
"The difference is, Sirius…" she paused thoughtfully. "You're the only one that made the loneliness go away."
And without warning, her eyes slid out of focus and she fell backwards, asleep before she even hit the pillows.
Sirius stared at her wordlessly. He'd just understood one of the school's mysteries - why Andrea Rose refused to have a boyfriend. And why she seemed to snog random boys sporadically.
He stood up and stumbled to an armchair that appeared next to her bed. As he sat down, he realised he needed a very long and very cold shower.
There was a Hippogriff - no, a herd of Hippogriffs in Andrea's head, and they were dancing the cha-cha. Very carefully and very slowly, she eased open her right eye. Her efforts were in vain, however, because the shard of light that pierced through was like a sword jabbing into her brain.
A groan escaped her mouth, which felt like a tear in her throat. Her breathing became shallow and she could feel sweat beading on her forehead as she exerted herself by just existing.
She forced her eyes open and tried to swallow against the dryness in her mouth. Immediately, pain exploded in her head, but she pushed on grimly, deciding it was best if she got it over with. The room began to spin mercilessly and she could feel the nausea welling inside her. Suddenly, there was an arm around her shoulders, holding her upright and a bucket in front of her mouth.
Gratefully, she heaved into it.
Sirius sighed as he held Andrea's long black hair back while she emptied her stomach. He dimmed the room's lights so it'd be easier for her and summoned a stack of towels over. The Room had thoughtfully provided a fresh set of uniform for her, and a basin of water to wash up.
When the sound of Andrea's retching stopped, Sirius magicked the sick away and handed her some water, and a bottle of Hangover Drought.
Then, he waited.
He had no idea what was going to happen. He'd spent half the night staring into the darkness, wondering. Things would be awkward between him and 'Drea now, that was for sure. He felt a pang of regret as he thought that. He'd miss their easy companionship. But all he could do now was wait for her to make the first move.
He had done what was right, and in a rather twisted way, was proud of himself. He wanted her, make no mistake. He was attracted to her -and had been for some time-, and he rather hoped she was attracted to him, instead of just picking him because he was the closest male specimen she could find.
There could be a rather nice ending, he had decided. They could give a relationship a go. It made sense after all. They liked each other's company, the whole attractive thing -banking on his earlier hopes, that is-, and it conveniently fit with her promise to her mother. But he'd experienced too much of life to believe that things could happen so easily. He had never had had a serious girlfriend, and he was sure that if anything were to happen between him and Andrea, it would be serious.
Basically, it all came down to the fact that he liked her.
This was a stunning revelation in itself. But being unable to fall asleep due to his raging erection, he had had a long time to think.
Sirius Black did not have crushes.
Sirius Black liked girls, certainly. He was attracted to girls. He was intrigued by girls. But he'd never had a crush on a girl.
Which would explain why he was even contemplating a serious relationship with a deeply troubled girl who had just finished throwing up in a bucket.
"What happened?" croaked Andrea, splashing water onto her face.
"What do you mean what happened?" asked Sirius carefully.
"What happened yesterday?"
"What do you mean what happened yesterday?" Sirius echoed.
"I… I can't remember anything," said Andrea, a crease appearing on her forehead.
Sirius felt very wrong-footed. This was not a scenario he had imagined. In his imagined scenarios, Andrea remembered exactly what had happened and either ran away from him in embarrassment, or decided that they were meant to be together and kissed him.
"I remember getting the parcel." She glanced at the tea towel lying on the table. Scrunching up her face. "Then I remember sneaking to Hagrid's cottage and nicking a bit of Firewhisky-"
"Alright, a lot!" snapped Andrea, filling her glass with more water. "Then I got completely plastered in one of the classrooms, and I can't remember what else happened."
"You… don't remember anything after that?" said Sirius in disbelief. Was he extremely lucky or unlucky?
"'S all a bit… hazy," she said, squinting into the distance. As though that helped. "Did you call me… 'Drea, last night?"
"Umm. Yes. Why?" asked Sirius nervously. Would she remember?
"I… don't know. I just remember hearing your voice saying 'Drea," she hesitated, then added shyly. "I kinda like it."
"I know you do," he mumbled, remember what had happened the last time.
There was a long silence. Andrea started brushing her hair methodically, using a brush that appeared on the table. Then she stopped. "Where did this brush come from?"
Sirius took it from her and started combing her hair for her instead. "This is the Room of Requirement. It's just what it's name says, basically," he said, running one hand through her thick locks, trying to push away the memory of him doing the same thing last night. "I brought you here to sleep off the alcohol after you got yourself drunk."
"Oh," she looked puzzled. Sirius continued combing her hair. He'd always had a fondness for girls with long hair, he reflected hazily.
"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm sorry you had to see me like that."
"When she does something… something like that, I just lose control. I just want something, anything that'll-"
"Make the loneliness go away?"
"Yeah," she said, turning to him in surprise. "How'd you know?"
"Are you alright?"
Sirius stopped brushing her hair. "Of course. Why?"
"You look rather… angry. Like…" A mirror popped up in front of them, and Sirius could see his expression clearly.
She was right, he did look angry. And a bit cheated. Because this wasn't how he expected it to happen. Not in any of the dozen scenarios he'd pictured. And she didn't even seem to sense the tension that was running through his body. But maybe it was for the best, he thought, not without a bit of sadness. If it turned out she had no feelings whatsoever for him… that'd be difficult for them both.
"Just angry for you," he said, "for what your mother did."
"Oh," Andrea looked at the floor. With all the tact of a rampaging hippopotamus, she tried to change the subject. "What time is it?"
"So we've missed the whole morning's classes?"
"I guess… we should go."
Andrea stood, and straightened her shirt, not noticing that her buttons weren't done properly -Sirius's cheeks stained red when he saw that-. He quickly handed her the fresh set of robes and shooed her to the side of the room where there was a sort of Chinese screen to change behind.
"I'm sure James gave the Professors a good excuse for our absence," he said quickly, hoping to keep her occupied while she undressed so she wouldn't realise that her shirt wasn't properly buttoned and wonder why. "So we shouldn't be in trouble. We'll just head over to the dorm and see what excuse they gave-"
Sirius's mouth worked on autopilot. Through the Chinese screen, he could see the shadow of Andrea's figure, pulling off her skirt and blouse. He tried again to assure himself that he'd been doing the right thing, despite the fact that he felt like kicking himself. He really, really needed that cold shower when he got back.
"Alright, Sirius," said Andrea, interrupting whatever it was he was saying. She stepped out. "I'm not that fussed about getting detention anyway, so don't worry." She preened in front of the mirror, then suddenly, she froze.
"What's this?" She asked, pulling her collar down a bit.
"What?" said Sirius, his voice slightly higher than normal.
"This," she frowned at the red mark at the nape of her neck. The love bite Sirius remembered leaving very well.
"That… uh… that," stuttered Sirius. Just tell her! he yelled inwardly. But he couldn't. He didn't dare to risk seeing her say, "Well, that's very nice, Sirius. But it was a mistake and I'm afraid I don't feel that way about you. I'm sure we can still be friends. Though I think it's best if we stay away for a while."
He really didn't want to hear that.
"Last night… I had a bit of trouble… getting you to follow me. So I…" said Sirius thinking fast. "Jabbed you with my… wand."
"On my neck? It looks like a hickey!"
"You were… struggling!"
"Oh… Sorry," said Andrea shame-facedly. "I have a low alcohol tolerance."
"Don't I know it."
"What'd you say?"
"It just… happens," she added. "I mean, this isn't the first time I've woken up after drinking and not been able to remember. But it always comes back eventually." She looked thoughtful. "Well, it does most of the time, at any rate."
"Really?" Sirius's voice became even higher.
"Yeah, in bits and pieces." Andrea turned towards the door. Then, she stopped.
Slowly, she faced Sirius, one hand touching the love bite. "Sirius, I just remembered…" her eyes widened and she stepped forward.
"W-what did you remember?" he choked.
"You… you…" she looked at him with an unreadable expression. "You said you'd help me find Mimmy!"
Sirius was surprised his entire body didn't deflate. With relief or disappointment, he wasn't sure which.
"Yeah, I did," he said. "I will, 'Drea. I promise."
"Sirius…" she shook her head. Then she looked at him, her entire face lit up with a brilliant smile. "Thank you."
Very quickly, almost before he realised what was happening, she kissed him softly on the cheek and walked out of the room.
Sirius closed his eyes, sat on the floor and groaned.
When he opened them, he was in a large bathroom with a shower running next to him. He stuck out his hand to feel the water.
It was ice-cold.
"Very funny," he called out.
Prankers Will Be Punished
The Ministry of Magic has decided to take serious action against prankers, due to an occurrence in one of the departments late yesterday.
One of the junior assistants, Amos Diggory, received an anonymous Howler that screamed obscenities. Rather than explode, the Howler then rounded and destroyed his cubicle before leaving messages -concerning Mr. Diggory's manhood- scribbled on the walls all over the building. As yet, the maintenance employees are unable to remove them.
"This is a highly embarrassing matter," snapped Mr. Diggory. "Of course it's not true, and I don't know who did it. Don't you have anything else to report? News can't be that slow."
A/N: I know this isn't as long as my normal chapters. But I wanted to get it out of my system, and just kinda breathe life into the story. I'm not even sure what I want to happen in the next chapter, so hopefully, inspiration will strike. Anyway, whatever events I do have planned can't be squeezed into this one, it just… doesn't feel right.
I'm babbling. I know. I've been typing the whole day, and I'm actually doing an attachment in a law firm right now. They don't actually give me a lot to do, so hopefully I'll be able to cough up some more chapters before I get really busy. The formatting and everything might be a bit odd, because I'm using a new programme, so excuse any mistakes you may find.
Review, give comments, give ideas. That always helps. It'll get the juices flowing. And believe me, I feel completely dried out right now.
Again, I'm sorry for the long wait!