Disclaimer - I don't own anything from Harry Potter, nor do I make a profit from this. Any Original Characters are of my own creation.
AN: This is a long one-shot that I've split up into four parts, sort of. I'd love to hear feedback. I hope you enjoy...
A True Masquerade
"Get out of my way." The sweet voice was laced with so much malice and annoyance that I just had to turn around and see who owned it. My eyes caught sight of the most dazzling narrowed blue eyes I'd ever had the pleasure of seeing. They were placed on the face of an angel, who was glaring daggers at me. Not even the soft brown hair delicately framing her face diminished the anger in those sparkling orbs. Her pretty pink lips pulled back into a sneer as her eyes narrowed further, if that was even possible. "Are you deaf as well as immobile? I will say it slower so you can read my lips." Oh and did I read those full lips. "Get…out…of…my…way." I didn't move. Hell, I couldn't move. I was frozen, staring at the most gorgeous creature in the wizard world. With a roll of those pretty eyes she pushed passed me. Only then did I notice her true disdain, when she wiped the hand that had touched me on her outer robes.
It was the first time I had met her and the first time I'd thought that such a beautiful girl was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. It was also the first time I ever felt a tightening in my chest that was almost unbearable. It wasn't until she walked to the opposite side of the Great Hall that it hit me, right under my ribs where I thought my heart inhabited. My beautiful angel was really a hideous Slytherin.
Even now at nineteen I still get caught up in her beauty. That is until she opens that pretty little mouth of hers.
"Why are they here?" Her thin arms crossed over her plump chest and I thought how easy it would be to pin her down and have my wicked way with her. I suppose it was Dumbledore's presence in the room that stopped me from doing the unthinkable. James was standing protectively in front of his new wife, his wand ready to fire a dangerous curse at the elegant intruder. Yet I couldn't even manage to point my own wand at her. Thinking back now, even in school I could never properly bully her. It was as if every time I saw her she silently sent a mysterious curse at me. My throat would dry out and my mind would manage to convince me that she was the only way to quench my thirst. I never did find out what that hex was but she still had it down to a tee, even after all the years that had passed.
"I think it's time we explain to them" Dumbledore said with a smile, though I always found his smiles slightly unnerving. "Don't you think Eryss?"
Her eye twitched and she took a step back as if we were the ones who had blatantly strolled into her safe house. I was shocked by the hesitation in her normally cool and confident eyes. It was gone in an instant and if I hadn't seen it myself I never would have believed it was possible. All it took was a simple sentence from my good old buddy James and her calm mask was spackled back onto her face.
"What is a disgusting Death Eater doing here?" he hissed, Lily gripping the back of his shirt. I couldn't even argue with him. It seemed ridiculous that she was even allowing herself to be visible to us, let alone standing in the living room of one of our many guarded headquarters.
Though the slight lift of her lips had me almost returning the smirk she now sported. "You are right Mr. Potter." Then as if all of my dirtiest fantasies had been granted she began unbuttoning her shirt. With such grace and dignity, she pulled her blouse open and I was disappointed to see she had an undershirt covering her ample assets. "I have already been labeled as what you would call a Death Eater." The black mark on her arm stood out like the sun on the horizon but no where near as beautiful. I thing even James cringed at the thought of her pale flawless skin being marred so horribly.
"I knew it! What's the meaning of this Dumbledore?" James' nearly yelled. I could already see a curse forming on his lips. But Eryss didn't even give him a chance; she was always quick on the uptake and today seemed no different.
"Would you like to know how I received it, Mr. Potter? The mark, I mean of course." Even the formal calling of her supposed enemy did nothing to hide the repulsion she held for herself. Her blue eyes flickered to Lily, who James still stood defensively in front of. "You might want to step out Mrs. Potter…" Her eyes quickly snapped from the other woman's tired eyes to her husband's furious ones. "I'm not sure if it's a suitable bedtime story." When none of us spoke up, I could see her annoyance growing. "I wonder if this will cause the same reaction" she said calmly as she pulled up the bottom of her undershirt. I was appalled at what was slowly coming into view. Scars. Hundreds of them littered her soft skin. "I think I was graced with these at the same time. I suppose negative answers aren't really acceptable in Dark societies. It's terribly painful, you know, to be held down by three men who are each three times the size of yourself.
"Though that's not even scratching the surface of the searing heat that shoots through your veins when you're gifted with his mark. Have you ever had the sensation of your flesh being boiled from your bones? It's much like that with the added effect of having a chisel etching his design into the bone of your forearm." The entire time she spoke her cool façade was in place. Never once did her cold, calm demeanor crack and I had the unusual urge to embrace her. Though I quickly reasoned that a snake didn't need to be comforted, no matter what lies it was spewing.
"Should I continue onto what happened after, Mr. Potter? Would you like to know what happens after such a disgusting Death Eater got her mark? I'm sure it's exactly like you Order heroes imagine it. A grand party of tormenting and torturing muggles and half-bloods, right. Think on it for a moment, what do you think would happen to the witch who, unable to even lift her head might I add…much less her wand, is left in a room with three twisted wizards and their psychotic lord?" Righting her undershirt, she picked up her blouse and placed it back in its proper place around her body. "You're right. I am branded by that bastard. And I assure you if you were there that day, I'd think you'd be sporting the very same mark.
"Think before you speak Mr. Potter. I thought even Light parents taught their children the common knowledge called manners. What was that other saying that muggles are so fond of throwing about?" Even under the circumstances my eyes lingered on her lips, where her finger tapped in mock thought. "Oh yes, everything is not always as it appears." Straightening her blouse and pulling her outer robes back on, she turned her cold eyes back to Dumbledore. "If I had known this was going to be a school reunion with the Gryffindors, I would have dressed for the occasion. Or merely sent my message by owl instead of showing up in person. Though since technically you have not upheld your side of the bargain I don't know if I should supply you with the information I promised."
"Bargain? What bargain?" It was the first time I'd spoken since she'd arrived and it possibly brought my existence to her reality. Dumbledore sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose tiredly. I couldn't tell if it was because he was tried of dealing with the inane questions or because Eryss was thinking of leaving.
"I was clear that I wanted no one to know of my involvement with you, Professor" she spat the title as if the mere word burned her tongue. "Not even your little tag-a-longs." Her sneer was shot at the three of us as we stood off to the side. "He's planning to attack just north of here in three days." Turning her back, in a daring move of trust or pure idiocy, she pulled a white piece of parchment from her pocket and set it on a nearby table. "Save whom you can." Her whisper was so soft yet heard by all of us in the small room. With one quick glance her eyes caught mine, then she turned and with her hair trailing behind her my rotten angel disappeared from our sights.
Immediately, James turned to Dumbledore with fury engraved in his eyes. "What the bloody hell was that?" Lily tried to calm him by laying her small hand on his arm. But it only served to remind him that his beloved wife was just in the room with a proclaimed Death Eater. "What bargain did you make with her?"
Dumbledore let out an exhausted sigh and fell into the chair that he'd provided when Eryss had first arrived. I had to admit I was less angry and more confused, impossibly curious, as to what had taken place. "She simply came to me one night…" The old wizard stopped and I could almost see the scene of that night replaying in his own mind. I didn't want to think about the horrible state she might have been in. I already knew I would have nightmares about the story she'd told of her marking. "In short, she said she would provide me with insider information of the Dark side."
The confusion was almost pliable in the room, though the tension from James' shoulders was still firm. "What did you give in return?" he asked, his voice much calmer than moments ago, though we both knew that we trusted the female Death Eater just as much as we did Voldemort himself. Yet I had an undying urge to want to trust her.
"Nothing," Dumbledore said after a moment. "All she asked was that I tell none of the fighters of Light about her help." It was silent then and I could hear the ringing in my ears from the lack of noise.
"That doesn't make any sense," Lily finally spoke up and her voice was surprisingly strong. "Was she trying to set us up?"
Dumbledore shook his head and even as he spoke my mind was racing. "All of her facts have checked out. We have stopped numerous attacks thanks to her informing me ahead of time."
Silence again and I replayed her departure in my mind. Those eyes locked on mine for a mere second but it struck something in my chest that had been dormant for years. "She wanted to be unknown," I said suddenly, causing all eyes to focus on me. The look James shot me spoke of his thoughts on my lack of intelligence, but I didn't let it get to me. "Don't you understand? If we don't know she's our ally…what happens when we go into battle and come face to face with her?"
Realization erupted in the room and even Dumbledore seemed stumped by my brilliance. And though I was sure everyone had understood the implications of my statement my mouth kept moving. "She wants us to attack her. She wants us to kill her like we would any other enemy." I understood…but I didn't. Why did my dark angel want to die?
That night, tucked into my bed, my mind wandered and I felt a coldness tickle up into my chest. What was she doing now? Who was she with? Were they hurting her? It was absurd that I thought about her at all, though it wasn't unusual. I'd never admit it aloud but I often laid awake nights on end at Hogwarts thinking only of her. That's not even counting the naughty things she'd do with me in my dreams. The smirk that grew on my lips quickly flattered. Why in all that is good did she have to be sorted into that house? I know she could never have been a Gryffindor, not with her background, but couldn't she have been a Ravenclaw or a Hufflepuff. I even snorted at that, the thought of Eryss Valenti as a docile Hufflepuff was laughable. But maybe if she was placed anywhere besides Slytherin she would have had a chance at escaping her pureblooded fate.
Even as my eyes became heavy and my mind was shutting down she was filling my thoughts. Like that time in the library when she stumbled upon me and my date. I remembered it like it was yesterday and I still couldn't recall what the dates name was. I remembered she smelt like oranges, that she was a horrible kisser and that it was the first time I'd ever been embarrassed at being caught snogging.
Shit what is her name? What was it? She was with those Ravenclaw fifth years, right? What was her bloody name? I have to remember her name before I stop kissing her but what was her name!
"Couldn't find classier place to snog, could you Black?" It was that voice. That wonderful voice that sent shivers up my spine and fired a ball of heat to my groin. I had wished it had been anyone but her, yet as I turned away from the girl I'd been locking lips with I found cool blue eyes laughing at me. "Or is it that the girl fits the location, so there is no need?"
It occurred to me then, that I knew Eryss' name but I still didn't know how to refer to the girl within my arms. I felt her tremble in either fury or humiliation but I really didn't care. With my best smile, I released the nameless girl and turned to the enchanting snake. "Jealous? Or is it just a turn on for you to watch?" It irked me that she didn't even bat an eye and that the girl behind me was still clinging to me like a leech.
Eryss was always smooth, both in her movements and her words. She neatly glided around the table between us and was before me in seconds. I could feel those cold eyes looking me up and down as she stood there appraising me. "I'm not sure what you mean for me to be jealous of Black. Would it be your supposed prowess to suck someone's tongue? Or the little hussy who will spread her lips and her legs for the great Sirius Black?" Her thin finger ran down the buttons of my shirt and I could feel the heat in my lower regions rising. "And I'd only watch if I knew the participants would give me a good show."
The concealed insult and smug look on her face did nothing to lower my burning desire to seize her. If anything it fanned the flames, daring me to prove her wrong. Just as I was about to say screw you to the Ravenclaw still clutching my robes and attack the delectable female who stood before me, another voice tore me from my desire.
"What are you doing back here Eryss?" said a deep tenor I knew by heart and brought a sneer to my lips.
"And with such sickening company," followed another, which sounded just as horrid to my ears as the first.
"Why if it isn't Snivellus and Rosier. Did you two just get back from the broom closet, did we disrupt you?" I couldn't keep my eyes off of her for long, so without delay they flickered back to her face. "I can see why you'd be looking for others to watch to get your kicks with two greasy gits keeping your company."
Snape was about to pounce on the bait I'd set and Rosier wasn't far behind. Eryss on the other hand began laughing, a cruel, cold sound that wasn't fit to come from her body. "Oh please," she said breathlessly, and my mind immediately brought up another reason I'd want her breathless. "If any man…or boy in your case…tried to take me to a dusty, dirty hole in the library wall to do anything remotely sexual, he'd find himself missing some very valuable body parts." Shaking her head, she gently wiped under her eye as if she'd been laughing so hard she nearly cried. "You see Black, that's the difference between us. I have standards…" Her eyes flickered to the girl still hiding and groping behind me. "You obviously do not."
A flick of her hair and she turned back to her two housemates. Before I could even think of something to throw back they were gone and I was left frustrated in more ways than one.
I woke up annoyed. It wasn't the first time she plagued my nighttime self, nor would it be the last. And even though I was often left either miffed or unsatisfied upon awakening, I never once asked for the dreams to stop. I never realized how much I truly desired her and silently missed her snide, snaky comments until last night. Even though I told him everything, I felt James would never understand the intensity of how much I wanted to believe in her. I could never mention how badly I wanted her to be on our side or how my own body craved to have her.
It was sickening the way I waited for the attack to take place two days later. Just for the minute chance of catching a glimpse of her. I was restless and anxious. Three days of waking up just to fall asleep. Where there was normally a rush of adrenaline days before battle was now replaced with eagerness to get near her. The days met me with little to no drive to do anything. My thoughts filled with memories of her. Even if most of them weren't overly personal nor were many even involving interactions between us. There was always that one moment I kept locked away for times I felt lonely.
It was always a pleasure watching her, watching her in class or at lunch. At times I even felt obsessed the way my eyes followed her. Then I would see her simply walking from class to class and my eyes would linger on her body. Her hips as they swayed seemingly effortlessly and with no concerns as to who caught sight of their beautiful curves. It was always a treat when I caught sight of her in Hogsmeade. Street clothes did her so much more justice than the school robes ever could.
"I told you Rosier! I'm not here with you on a date! Honestly does everything I say go in your ear and out the other? Where is Severus? At least he can have an intelligent conversation without trying to grope me."
Her yells came down to a mumble, but I still heard it and like always a smirk filtered onto my face. It only took me a second to find her. I was quickly reminded that her angry expression was just a sexy as all of her others. Rosier's hand gripped her forearm and the compulsion to rip it free was almost overwhelming. Yet it seemed that Eryss never let me down. She yanked her arm free and the glare she sent Rosier would have frozen any full grown wizard in his tracks.
"Do not ever lay your hands on me without permission again." Every step she took toward Rosier, the boy took one backward. "If you do, I will not be responsible for my actions. Is that understood, Evan Rosier?" The boy nodded and Eryss quickly turned on heel.
I watched her stalked away, mumbling about her day out ruined as she walked back in the direction of the school. Making a quick excuse, I left the group of Marauders and followed her steps.
"That was a lovely scene you had there." My normal charm seemed to fail me but everything about me seemed to crumble when it came to her. She whirled around and I wasn't sure how comfortable I was to have that fierce glare pointed at me. Her glare was full of one question that I felt it better to answer quickly. "I just thought it was time for me to get back to the school, happened to see your argument and that's it." She didn't believe me, hell I wouldn't have believed me if I had fed myself that lie. Yet she didn't call me out on it, her glare even softened a little.
"So you want to walk the female snake home?" Her arms crossed and she turned to continue her walk, though I noticed she wasn't heading directly for the school. She didn't tell me to leave nor did she shun me, so I figured I'd follow.
"As long as she promises not to bite," I said slyly coming up beside her. "I admire your decision though, Rosier is a horrible catch." We made our way to the lake and still had a bit of distance to get near the school, when she stopped and turned toward me.
"You don't act much like your relatives." She looked thoughtful and not as if she was trying to insult me, so I didn't reply. "They talk about you a lot in the common room and such. Blood traitor and all that nonsense, though I think Regulus is faking some of it." I didn't answer, talking about my family was the last thing I really wanted to do, especially with a Slytherin.
The silence was killing me and it didn't seem like she was going to start the chatter again. "So…" Damnit, why couldn't I be the normal smooth talker that could make any chick swoon? What was it about her that made me a complete moron? "There's a test coming up in Charms."
The smile that broke out on her face was unlike any that I'd seen her wear. It was nearly blinding and it was the first expression I'd seen on her that made me think 'that really suits her'. I couldn't control it anymore. The passion for her touch exploded in my chest and without warning I grabbed her arms, pulling her to my body. It was marvelous to feel her curves pressed up against my firm chest, without hesitation my lips planted themselves on hers and for a few minutes I was in pure heaven. It was softness twined with such deliciously delicate sweetness. Surprisingly she parted her lips on her own and I took the invite, my tongue gently caressing hers. I realized that I never truly kissed a girl until that moment. It was amazingly sensual, yet innocent and she fit so perfectly in my arms.
I didn't want to let go, I didn't want to stop feeling the incredible sensations that she created in me. In my mind I kept telling myself that I knew I had to let her go but I still didn't want to. Slowly pulling back, I could feel her frantic breath on my lips and it took all my strength to not dive back in to taste her again. I never realized how small her hands were until I felt them gripping the front of my shirt. I wondered if she had felt the same electricity I did, but one look at her flushed face gave me the answer.
Her forehead fell to rest on my shoulder as my fingers gently brushed the back of her neck. I'd never felt so right with a girl, never felt like I had found my place except with the Marauders but even that was different.
"You will never do that again." The dream world we'd entered crashed down and I almost broke at the pleading in her voice.
Neither of us would have survived if word had gotten out. "But I want too." I couldn't let this go but I had too. It was a cruel fate that we both ended up on the opposite sides of the Great Hall, opposite sides of the war.
Allowing her to pry her body out of my grasp was the hardest thing I'd ever done. She looked up at me and she had the softest smile on her face, her normal cold blue eyes sparkled with a warmth I didn't know the color could conjure. Her hand finally left my shirt and gently brushed down my cheek. "If you come within ten feet of me again, Black, I'll hex you into next week."
I stood there, detached from everything as I watched her sprint away. I never knew it but it was the only time I ever saw her true face and it was the one I fell hard for.
"Padfoot what's wrong with you?" I blinked once, twice, and then the concerned faces of James and Lily Potter come into focus. Had I really zoned out long enough for the two of them to come into my house unnoticed? When I didn't answer James took the liberty of flicking my forehead. "You alright?"
I nodded but even I didn't believe it. I caught the silent glance James sent to his wife and she stood. "Well I'm famished; I'll be in the kitchen cooking something up for us."
There was one thing Lily Potter always lacked in school and that was tack, things were no different now. The minute she was out of the room James turned accusing eyes to me. "So?"
Sighing, I ran my hand through my hair. I wanted to tell him, to admit how I longed for one of our enemies but I couldn't. Not when he might not understand.
"Is it about Eryss?" Ding, ding, ding. Give the man a prize! James looked puzzled and I couldn't blame him. "You always acted odd when it came to her in school. I always thought there was something going on between you." I hadn't thought my buddy Prongs was that observant but I'd been wrong about numerous other things before. At my silence his curiosity grew. "Were you?"
I held back the 'I wish' that I wanted to say and simply shook my head no. "But you wanted to be." I narrowed my eyes, he knew me too well and I wasn't sure if I liked that trait of his anymore.
"I want to believe her," I blurted out. James looked less than surprised, which only served to annoy me more. "I want…I want to save her." Even I had to laughed at how corny I sounded. If Lily heard me now she'd never believe I was the same Sirius she met at school. "You think Dumbles will be able to protect her when the Dark Lord is gone. I don't want her to go to Azkaban. I'd offer to take her place if she does." James didn't know what to say, the two of us never really knew how to deal with emotional times. Remus was always better at that and now more than ever I wished he was around. He was the only one that knew about my slight obsession with Eryss, at least I thought he was the only one.
My eyes found her again and I had to restrain myself from rushing over to her and wrapping her in my arms. One kiss, it was only one bloody kiss. How could I be so entangled in her existence after one kiss? Though, I reminded myself, I had been wrapped around her years before my lips ever touched hers. I thought I was being inconspicuous but Remus' jab to my stomach with his elbow told me otherwise. Tearing my gaze from her lovely form I tried to focus on the dinner I was eating. It'd been a difficult half of year after I'd tasted Eryss Valenti's sweet lips. I had kept my distance even though it felt as if I was starving inside. She tried to make it easier for me, I think, by never being alone. But the constant male companions around her only poured hot oil on my raging passion. Never did I want any of those slimy, pure blooded lunatics relishing in her lips. It was maddening but summer vacation was closing in, then I wouldn't be tormented with her every day. It was a bitter sweet revelation.
My eyes fell on her again and I could hear Remus sigh beside me. "You're hopeless."
I knew it already. He didn't have to remind me. My eyes flickered to her one last time before I resolved to only looking at my plate or my friends. If it was eating at her just as it was me, she was more adapted at hiding it. Her aloof mask was always in place. She was the epitome of composed snotty Slytherin and it was driving me up the wall.
"Lay off Severus." All it took was the sound of her voice and my vow was broken. My head snapped up and I locked my eyes on her retreating form. Snivellus was trailing beside her, his mouth moving in low whispers that she shrugged off. I never liked the sniveling bastard but he just jumped up to the top numbers on my git list. As I lost my cool, I was seconds away from jumping out of my seat, running after her and stealing her away when Remus' hand gripped my shoulder. He held me firmly in my seat and wasn't even deterred by the nasty signature Black glare I sent his way. With a dejected sigh, I turned back to the Great Hall doorway but she was already gone. One week later I was on my way home to the loving embrace of my caring mother.
It took forever for the two days to pass, like time itself was telling me it was a bad idea to be so excited. I sat waiting, waiting for the battle to start. Waiting for Dumbledore to call and announce the time to go. It would only be a few hours and I'd be in the war zone…and she'd be on the other side of the firing line.
"Are you going to be like this tonight? Because if you are, I think you'd best stay here." James plopped onto the couch beside me and I didn't dignify him with an answer. "You could keep Lily company, she's being kept back for this battle." That only earned him a shove on the shoulder.
"I'll be fine," I managed to say but even I knew James was feeling the dread of the upcoming battle in the room surrounding us as it filled with members of the Order.
It was only moments after the last person arrived in the room that Dumbledore stood from his seat. "Everyone have their destinations known?" In answer a group of nods and yes' spread throughout the room. "Then I wish you all good luck, stay safe."
Like a fire had been lit under their bottoms, members quickly began disappearing from the room. James turned to his best friend and gave me a firm pat on the shoulder. "See you when it's over." Nodding, I watched him disappear too and followed soon after.
To be continued...