We Play Our Games

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. Mrs. Rowling does. All the characters are hers... Except for Farren. She is my own creation. And, God, how I do love her :D (Is that an arrogant thing to say? Ah, well. I almost feel as though Farren isn't even my creation. She came to me fully developed, and I had no further input on her character... She wouldn't let me.)

Author's Note: I'd been working on this for a while before I published it here. This is pre Deathly Hallows release, but I think you'll find some similarities to the Snape/Lily and Snape/Farren. This is for those of you who found (as I did) that Lily was a bit too perfect and not twisted enough for their taste (and James is just simply not as attractive or dark as Sirius).

We Play Our Games

It is a night for ordinary things to happen. No, Farren thinks hazily, ordinary isn't even the word: lazy, tired, sleep-deprived things. Because that is exactly how she is feeling that night.

How could she have left all this homework for the last minute? She hates herself and her procrastination more than ever. This is why Farren Graham will always be an average student: because she simply cannot care enough.

No, that isn't true either. She cares deeply for things that hold any sort of meaning to her. Her books on becoming an Animagus, for instance. And her green journal. The view outside the common room window depicting the full moon. And truthfully, she probably could be an exemplary student if she wanted to be. But Potions ingredients do not satisfactorily interest her. Some call it laziness, Farren calls it priorities.

She will always be an average student because, at heart, she's a romantic (though many who know her would scoff at the idea). Schoolwork, so riddled with facts and dull certainties, leaves in Farren a feeling of dispassion— which could ultimately mean the death of her. She'll never be the one to set aside a reading book, or stop an interesting conversation to say, "Alright girly. Let's start with Arithmancy!"

She laughs quietly at the scenario. Never, ever would that happen.

Farren is reminded suddenly of her grandmother, with the lightly wrinkled but still provocative smile, saying, "Never say never."

Exactly a year ago Farren saw her grandmother die on surgically white sheets. She remembers thinking how wrong the color white had been. It was so plain, so silent. Her grandmother had worn only shocking colors: whether that meant bright pink or morose purple depended upon the woman's mood that day.

Farren's train of thought quickly leaves the paper filled with directions for her Potions essay, to the place of her grandmother's grave. She'd been seventy-five and yet still so beautiful. But the beauty seemed to have mocked Farren that day and she wondered whether she was the only one who could still see it.

At that moment - there in the candle lit room with mountains of homework to be done - she wishes more than ever for someone to be beside her. Not her grandmother; not now that Farren has seen her dead and gone. What she wants is someone to understand that her grandmother had been a lovely woman, despite what some people might say. That she herself is a lovely woman. But no one will ever sit beside her. And that isn't because Farren doesn't have friends. Plenty of people flock to her, are fascinated by her. But, when it gets too late, they all leave, almost as though they are frightened of being left alone with her. And thus it will always be.

Farren puts her work down with a sigh. It is useless. She knows it will not get done, so what is the point in pretending? She will fabricate an excuse to her professors. She will smile sweetly yet provocatively, like her grandmother would, and say that she'd forgotten. Her extremely curly blonde hair will bounce as she shares a laugh with said Professor. No matter what, she will be excused— a fact that is both a gift and a curse.

She looks round the Gryffindor common room. It gives Farren a sense of failure to be alone; especially whilst in a room such as this: meant to be full to the brim with people. But also because her imagination often knows no limits, and tends to create its own demons.

Farren is a seventh year at Hogwarts and by now understands this is a magical world where things that go bump in the night have explanations. But she still remembers the ghost stories her muggle family used to tell. And when sometimes her Uncle would frighten her to such ends that she'd cry, begging him to stop.

But at least the common room is brightly lit. At least it isn't dark.

These thoughts and memories make Farren's hands grow slightly more frantic as she stuffs papers strewn about into her schoolbag. Stories replay in her mind's eye: the girl who was murdered by the avenging ghost of a man she had denied; or the little girl eaten by a wolfish monster in the woods; the woman who had been pushed by an embodied force down the stairs. Her uncle had thumped across the room while telling that story. Thump, thump, thump, had gone his shoes. Thump, thump

What was that? A distant but distinct noise had sounded... Or had there been any noise at all? Her mind always is quite over exuberant. No! There it is again, only closer this time.

She grabs her bag and winces at the sound of breaking glass. An ink bottle has fallen to the ground and is now seeping into the carpet. Perfect.

Just as Farren decides her fear is greater than her etiquette, a loud bang sounds and a scream erupts from her mouth.

"What in the hell?" says a startled male voice, followed by several interjections from others: "Who screamed?" "What's the hold up, Prongs?" "Bugger, is it McGonagall?"

James Potter is standing, bewildered, at the common room door. A boy with long, stylishly unkempt hair strides past him to see the commotion.

"Did you scream?" Sirius Black asks.

Farren nods dumbly, still panting.

"What are you on about, making all that noise?"

"M-me?" She stammers, then takes a breath to quickly regain her cool. "I'm not the one who came barging in here at 3 o'clock in the morning. What were you doing out so late anyway?"

Sirius grins like the child whose been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "Well, sorry to have startled you." His friends slip past him, talking in voices about God-knows-what they've been up to. "Want help?"

Farren peers down at the boy's indication. She sees that, in her surprise, she'd dropped her bag and papers now littered the floor. "Fuck," she says with feeling.

Sirius takes this as confirmation, and crouches down to the foot of the desk. She follows him.

"There you go," he says after a few silent moments.

"Thanks... What were you doing? I'd hate to be a recipient of the latest Marauders prank." It is true. Farren has seen some of the things the boys deemed humorous, and remains quite eager to avoid them.

He chuckles. "You don't have to worry. We weren't pranking tonight. Just thought a bit of fresh air would be nice."

"I'm sure," she says, voice dripping in sarcasm.

Farren—unlike the rest of the female population—has never been quite so smitten with Sirius Black. Yes, she knows he is extraordinarily attractive. But so are a countless number of others. Not that she has a particular hatred for the boy. They've spoken on occasion, and he passively flirts with her from time to time. But Farren thinks him a little too arrogant for her taste. But maybe he's changed since last year. Perhaps a little hope remains for the male sex. Yeah, and if you clap hard enough, Tinkerbell will live. The male gender, she has learned, is a thoroughly boring one. The female type isn't all that much better either. Both leave a bit more to be desired for Farren.

Whatever happened to the subtlety, the sophistication and sexiness of a teasingly chaste press of lips against lips? These idiots have no idea what pleasure means, so bent are they on instant satisfaction.

Farren suddenly realizes it's been several minutes since someone has spoken. "I think I'll go up to bed now. Goodnight, Sirius."

His gray eyes lock onto hers with a suggestive smirk, but there is no real interest in them. He wants her to sigh, or melt, or go weak at the knees for him. It is merely a game he plays to get through the day. It is a lust for power, the desire to be irresistible (though she doubts Sirius has brains enough to realize this).

Farren only stares back, making the stare seem unimpressed. She has her games as well.

And, looking thoroughly confused by this reaction, Sirius says, "Yeah, sure. 'Night."

When Farren finally climbs into bed she feels a pressure lifted, as though ropes are being untied at her chest and stomach. This is what she loves. To be able to sleep, dream and be nothing. Or to perhaps even enter a strange and beautiful world that she alone can dictate. Dreams are wonderful things.

She reaches over to a small night light, sighing tiredly. Dreams are wonderful, but there will always be the part where you must wake up. And there will be the part where you must prepare yourself for sleep. You must brush your teeth; wash the day's dirtiness from your face; put on proper clothing. You must turn on a night light because you are too frightened to sleep in the dark. And still yet is this promise of waking. Farren wishes, often more than anything else, that it were different...

That night she dreams of an oddly familiar and enclosed space. Something cold, metallic, grazes her thigh. She gasps in surprise at the cold and asks whatever it is to stop.

"But why?" a mocking voice responds. Then it cackles crudely.

"Please," she begs.

Then the space is gone and Farren is somewhere she cannot identify. Are those trees or shadows? Is that the moon? How beautiful. Then a presence slinks in beside her and she forgets all about the moon.

"Hello?" In this misty silence her single word seems too loud, an intrusion. This place is not meant for spoken words.


This voice is different...seductive.

"Where are you?"

"I'm right here."

A dark figure rests beside her on the grass.

"Remove your cloak. I can't see your face properly."

"No," he says, and his lip curls into a distorted smile. "But I see yours."