Chapter 9 ~ Forgiveness and a Return to Normalcy

Sirius had searched the library and the grounds. He tried not to feel disappointed, since he had no idea what he'd planned to say if he found her. He'd already decided not to apologize. Blacks were never wrong. They just made mistakes sometimes.

Muriel swore softly to herself. Here, behind the greenhouses, was the only place where she could come out of the trees and not be seen from the castle. So of course, Sirius Black had to be sitting with his back against the greenhouse, staring into the wood.

She dismounted her broom and carried it warily out of the trees, carefully affecting disinterest as he scrambled up and pulled out his wand. She didn't have anything to say to him, so she just walked on by. She knew better than to turn her back on him when he had his wand out, but hoped that their unspoken cease fire would hold long enough for her to get back to the castle.

"Deesia!" he called, when he realized that she wasn't going to hex him.

She turned, disbelief written on her face. Was he really stupid enough to taunt her after what she'd done to Remus? She sneered at him but waited. He didn't move.

Finally she asked, "What do you want, Black? I have a test left to study for." Her voice was cold, but she didn't go for her wand. If he'd wanted to hex her he would have done it already. He didn't answer, so she turned around and headed back to the castle. Strangely enough, she didn't feel quite so angry anymore. She could tell plainly that he'd been looking for her, and there could only be one reason why. She wondered if he'd tell on her for being in the forest, but decided he probably wouldn't. Potter might have, but not Black.

Sirius followed her back to the castle. When she realized he was there, she threw him a sarcastic smile and jumped on her broom to fly the rest of the way. He smirked, feeling like everything was back to normal. He'd talk James into leaving her and Severus alone for the last few days of term, and next year, things could go back to the way they were. And he hadn't even had to apologize. Thank Merlin. If word ever got back to his mother that he'd apologized for something, he was sure to learn a new dark arts curse the hard way. Blacks didn't apologize to anyone.

Severus noticed a difference in Muriel as he worked beside her during their potions test on Monday. Her hands were steady, and she was able to concentrate for the first time in ages. She finished her potion not long after he did, corked a beaker full and took it up front. She graced him with a real smile when she got back to her seat to find that he'd cleaned up her cauldron. He always did in class, too, but she hadn't smiled at him for it in nearly two months.

He gave her a questioning look, but she only winked at him and put her things back into her cauldron to wait for Professor Warrington to tell them they could go.

They sat quietly out by the lake after their test, but instead of brooding, Muriel was writing a letter to her Aunt Rosa. Severus could only shake his head. Since he didn't know what had happened in the first place, he couldn't form the right questions to find out what had fixed it. In the end, he just accepted it gratefully. When Muriel spent the train ride home talking about the hexes she hoped to use on the marauders next year, Severus knew for sure that she was all right.

FIN

A/N: Year 3 for Severus and Muriel has already been written and will be posted as a new fic shortly! Look for it under my user ID: 468209. Along with all my other fics! Each one is numbered in the title, so if you picked up in the middle, you should be able to go back and catch the beginning.