Disclaimer: I do not own anything in the Harry Potter world, that all belongs to JK Rowling, I can only take credit for the few OC's that make appearances in this fiction :)
It was a warm summer's night, the moon shone brightly from outside the window, casting an almost unearthly glow into her bedroom. From outside, the humming of crickets and the occasional hooting of an owl echoed into the house, like a lullaby, calming her as she closed her eyes. A creak. One creak detected from the depths of the house and her eyes flew open. The calm of her personal lullaby no longer soothed her but acted as a crescendo for the appending terror. Her heart began to race, her mouth was bone dry and her body shook completely…uncontrollably. Footsteps, soft, quiet footsteps along the oak flooring, each step hammering a nail into her chest. She scrambled up, hugging her pillow tightly to her, hoping; praying that tonight it would be different. A small click, the sound of her door being carefully opened…gently so that hardly a sound would be made. She could hear his breathing, his coarse, heavy breathing; bile rose in her throat. She closed her eyes tightly as she felt him climb onto her bed, she bit her trembling lip as she could feel his weight on top of her, crushing her chest…she couldn't breathe; surely this would suffocate her? His hands were sweaty and rough as they pulled up her nightgown. She took a deep shuddering breath, she allowed limb by limb, organ by organ, nerve by nerve to let go…and she went to a different place, a place where it wouldn't hurt. Where nothing could hurt. She went completely, and overwhelmingly numb.
Alina Blake sat up bolt right in bed, her heart thumping erratically in her chest, and her entire body drenched in a coat of sweat. She glanced around the room, her eyes focusing on the doorway like a hawk.
She was alone.
She let out an almost inaudible sigh of relief, and jumped violently as the silence was broken by an almost indignant sounding hoot from the corner of her bedroom.
Perhaps not alone, she contended with a small smile, if you counted her Barred Owl, Mohani; who once again was displaying an uncanny ability to seemingly read her thoughts.
With a shuddering breath, and silently counting to three, she untangled herself from her now soaking wet bed sheets, and crossed the room, opening her window and gazing out into the dusk morning, taking a moment to savour the fresh air.
The September, morning air she corrected herself.
And a wide grin spread across her face at the realisation.
She glanced up at the calendar on her wall, despite knowing the date, and felt the grin broaden.
September the 1st.
Her favourite day of the year.
Fighting the overwhelming urge to let out a 'whoop' or some kind of cheer, she rushed to the bathroom, catching a small glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror which caused her to pause, double-take, and grimace slightly.
She had lost weight. Again.
Polly will kill me.
The healthy glow that had scattered a few light freckles across her nose before the summer had evaporated, and her skin appeared an almost ghostly white in the dim, morning light; making her already high cheek bones, even more prominent.
'Wow' she groaned to herself, realising how far her appearance had deteriorated over the summer.
They're bound to notice she groaned inwardly they always do.
She chewed on the thought for a moment, a flicker of nerves forming in her stomach, before she forced it from her mind.
It was September the 1st, and that meant one thing; Hogwarts.
When it was time to leave, Alina stuck her head around her mother's bedroom door and called a half-hearted farewell, before rushing down the rather impressive staircase, stumbling over the last few steps, and finding herself face to face with four or five men, dressed impeccably in sharp business suits.
'Where's my father' she interrupted the overweight man who had made to address her, causing his mouth to hang open awkwardly, and slightly unattractively 'i-in his study, we're just waiting to go In for our meeting –'
'Thanks' she smiled stiffly, abandoning her trunk and sweeping past them, directly into her father's study.
Five minutes later, after having her wand finally returned to her and secured in her back pocket, Alina had made her way into the car and with a rush of excitement she instructed her driver to take her to Kings Cross Station.
A cry, so loud that it drew a variety of disapproving glares from many parents, sounded across platform 9 ¾ and Alina span around to see a blonde headed girl jumping madly on the spot, waving her arms furiously.
'Alli!' another cry, and she was bombarded by a rush of red hair, causing a wave of warmth spread through her entire body.
'Lily!' she grinned in recognition, embracing her friend and calling out to the blonde girl 'ALICE! Where's Polly!?'
'Here!' a quiet voice announced from behind her, and she span round to find a petite, bespeckelled brunette, as quiet as ever, with a familiar kind smile and sparkle in her intelligent eyes.
'You were a nightmare to get in contact with this summer!' Lily scolded her, with sounds of agreement from Alice and Polly.
'Sorry' Alina grinned, shrugging apologetically as they made their way onto the Hogwart's express and searched for an empty compartment.
Excited chatter ran through the entirety of the train, and once closed in their own private compartment, the four girls were no different.
Tales of their summers were being exchanged, details of holidays and news of who they had been owling.
'Me and Frank have been owling at least twice a day, maybe even more' Alice had blushed, her green eyes sparkling with excitement.
But Alina found herself sitting quietly back throughout the first part of the journey; something that she had become accustomed to over the years, as she simply enjoyed the sound of laughter around her.
She often felt Lily's eyes resting upon her, the girl was too smart for her own good sometimes, and she had accepted that her friend knew, or at least suspected, that she didn't have a happy home life. However, Lily did not pry, it was not in her nature, and it was one of the reasons why she was her best friend.
Just friendship. No questions asked.
'And look what i've got!' Alice's sing-song voice rang out, her eyes narrowing wickedly at Alina as she pulled what seemed to be a Muggle magazine out from her bag.
A magazine that Alina recognized immediately, and with a yelp she dived across the compartment in an attempt to snatch it; failing miserably.
'And among the guests at the Huntingdon Charity Ball, was of course Lady Alina Blake, 17, daughter of Lord Richard Blake, looking dazzling in an Alexander McQueen gown.' Alice began, grinning triumphantly 'Lady Alina was spotted dancing all night with a mystery man, hinting that she has wishes to and is perhaps ready to take a step into the British Socialite Elite…'
'Al!' Alina groaned, covering her face 'how did you find that?'
'Never mind that!' Alice blushed 'why don't you tell us who this is?' she turned the magazine to prove her point and indicated the photo of Alina dancing with a blonde haired boy.
'It's no one' Alina snapped.
'Doesn't look like no one' Polly teased lightly, raising her eyebrows.
'It's just a family friend, there was nothing going on, they just wanted to make a ridiculous story! Now will you just leave it!'
She ignored the exchange of looks between her friends, and bit down the apology that came to her lips for snapping at them in the way she had.
'All right Alli' Lily replied in her usual steady tone, before adding; 'no need to get your knickers in a twist'
'Are they Alexander McQueen too?' Alice asked with a deadpan face, and even Alina's lips twitched at the unladylike snort that Polly let out.
An hour later, as their chatter had quietened, their carriage door swung open and a familiar face peered in.
'Are we interrupting?'
'Yes' Lily replied immediately, refusing to look at the new arrival and suddenly becoming very vested in finding something in her bag.
'Oh don't be like that Evans, I only came to say hello!' the voice announced cheerily, and Alina bit her lip at the sight of Lily's clenched jaw.
James Potter was probably the only person, in the world, perhaps even in the universe, who could get under Lily's skin. And although she truly did sympathise with her friend, she couldn't help feeling a perverse trickle of amusement at the sight of Lily's normally pale cheeks reddening and her calm demeanour crumbling.
'All right, girls?' James grinned, and Alina found herself grinning back.
'Potter' she greeted.
'Where's the other three members of your little –'
Before Alice had finished her sentence the sound of running footsteps could be heard, and James let out a yell of surprise as three bodies bundled him into the compartment.
The Calvary had arrived.
The Marauders Alina cringed at the name they had given themselves.
'What are y –' Lily began angrily.
'- we got Pucey' a tall, dark haired boy grinned 'warts all over his face, and even Wormtail got a shot in, gave him a streak of purple in his hair' he belted out a loud laugh and clamped his hand appreciatively on a shorter, rather stout boy's shoulder.
'Ahem' a sandy haired boy cleared his throat, indicating to his two other friends that they were in company 'hello girls'
'Hello Remus' they all chorused, earning a grin.
'Oh how did we know you'd snuck off to see Evans' the dark haired boy smirked again, raising an eyebrow at James and glancing at Lily.
Alina's blood had run cold the moment he had entered the compartment. She had barely heard a word he was saying, the blood was pumping far too loudly in her ears at the sight of him.
It was the one meeting she was dreading, the one person who she did not wish to see.
And has he got even better looking over summer?
Surely that wasn't possible? With his longish, black hair, that fell effortlessly just above his shoulders. His piercing grey eyes that oozed a mixture of intelligence and arrogance, and tall muscly frame, how could he possibly have improved?
But he had.
And Alina cursed herself for thinking it.
Unlike the rest of the girls in her year, and other years at that, Alina prided herself on being immune to the charms of Sirius Black. But if she was honest, and she would only be honest to herself, it was a façade.
And this fact infuriated her.
His arrogance infuriated her.
And it had resulted into an argument at the end of last year, so heated that it had ended with a particularly vicious duel and injuries on both parts.
Until then they had always gotten on well. Disregarding the bickering that they had grown accustomed to over the years, they had in fact held a rather steady friendship; until that one day.
Alina flinched at the memory, and felt the cautious gaze of Polly resting on her; telling her to behave herself.
'Hello Peter' she greeted the smaller boy, and received a slightly surprised smile from him.
'Hello Alina, good summer?'
'Not bad' she smiled.
'All right Blake?'
His voice sent a chill down her spine, and she turned to meet his gaze.
'All right Black?' she replied calmly, refusing to revert her eyes first.
'Not bad, you?'
The exchange was perfectly civil, but the atmosphere in the compartment was powerfully charged, and the crackling of the tension almost seemed tangible.
'Not bad' he responded, his grey eyes still not wavering from hers.
'Well…erm….I just came to say hi…' James interrupted awkwardly 'So we'll see you later girls…see you later Evans' he added with a grin, grabbing Sirius' arm and leading him from the compartment.
As he reached the door, about to turn into the carriage, Sirius paused for a moment and looked back at her.
She almost drew her wand there and then.
A taunting smirk was curved onto his lips, arrogance seeping from every fibre in his body.
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