Warm and cozy and…Huh, do I feel blankets? A pillow and a bed… I'm sleeping?
Oh thank god, it was all a bad dream. Yeah, I went up from the Great Hall on the first night and just went to sleep. Daybreak, huh? Guess I should get up and get my class schedule. Man, I ache all over. I probably slept in some weird position and strained my back. Hope no one saw me because that'd be bloody embarrassing.
I slowly open my eyes and mumble incoherently, “It's all white.”
“Uh, that's what it looks like, yeah.” I hear a voice close to me. A boy's voice.
My eyes snap open. “What the—!” I see Remus sitting next to my bed, head propped on his elbow. “What are you doing in the girls’ dormitories?” I demand, pointing an accusing finger at him.
“Um…” Remus raises an eyebrow.
“Wait a minute,” I mutter and take a proper look around the room. “Wait, where am I?”
Remus’ confused face turns into a grin as he leans back in his chair and gestures towards the extremely white scenery behind him. “Welcome to the Hospital Wing,” he says grandly. “Sirius left like a minute ago. You just missed him.”
“Oh, okay,” I reply absently, still perusing the room.
Hospital Wing, eh? Figures. I can’t believe I actually thought a guy was in the girls’ dormitories. Silly me. But what am I doing in the Hospital Wing?
Wait… did I get knocked out? Wait. Then all that actually happened? Nooooo!
As I wallow in my self-centered misery, I almost miss Remus’ casual comment. “Fiancé, eh? Interesting.”
My face turns a bright red. “I didn't plan this!” I retort a bit too fast.
“Uh huh…” Remus replies skeptically. “Hmm, well…” He leans back on the back legs of his chair with his hands behind his head. “The Blacks and the Vances are practically pureblood royalty, so it makes sense that they would want to keep the bloodline pure through arranged marriages.”
“Ugh!” I throw my hands into the air in frustration. “What century are we in that arranged marriages still happen?”
Remus raises an eyebrow. “Your parents didn’t give you an indication that this was going to happen? At all?”
“Well, when I was a kid, they would mention it every so often, but one, I was too young to really understand, and two, by the time I got older I thought it was just a joke!” I ruffle my own hair and flop back down on my pillow. “Plus, I can’t marry a guy I don’t even like! Much less a guy I practically hate right now. Man, my love life is getting off to a great start…” I let out an over-exaggerated sigh.
Out of the corner of my eye, I catch the amused expression on Remus’ face.
“Which… I probably shouldn’t be ranting about to you, sorry…” I mumble, sinking down beneath my blankets so as to hide my pink cheeks. Yeeeah, perfect, Cecilia. Just ramble on about your entire life story, will ya?
But Remus’ grin widens as if my embarrassment just entertained him. “Oh, I don’t mind,” he says with a shrug. “So, you don’t like Sirius then?”
I immediately fling the blankets off myself in protest. “Of course, I don’t! You think I’d ever fall in love with a right idiot like that? Snogging his girlfriend in public and then flirting with girls left and right… And he’s not even good looking!” I finish, panting from my anger. Okay, maybe he is aesthetically pleasing and possibly handsome in some way, but like hell I’m going to admit it!
“Hm, interesting,” is all Remus says in reply, the grin on his face unwavering. “I think you might actually be the first girl in the school that doesn’t think he’s at all attractive.”
“I mean, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Sirius Black is pretty hot,” says Remus thoughtfully, “I mean, like, to the point that even guys are mildly attracted to him. And you can resist that? You are some anomaly, Cecilia Vance.”
I just stare at him deadpan. “Thank you for revealing your disturbing trait of undeniable honesty, Remus.”
“Oh, you are so welcome.”
We burst out in laughter.
“Ah, I forgot to tell you before,” Remus suddenly says, his eyes still watering, “Professor Whittle really liked the duel between you and Sirius. Said he was impressed with your knowledge of jinxes. Mental, eh?”
I raise my eyebrows in amazement. “And I thought we were going to get in trouble for trying to kill each other!” Definitely mental. I swear, this guy was most definitely an ex-Auror or something.
“Well… that’s why Professor Whittle is bloody awesome!” Remus replies, grinning like a child.
I laugh and some obscure part of my mind can’t help but think how adorable he looks right now. But then I heave another sigh and look up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Wow, I hope we do more dueling in the future.” More chances to kick Sirius' playboy butt.
“I most certainly do NOT!”
I turn my head to see the school nurse, Madam Pomfrey, striding towards my bed. “Dueling in school! Jinxes flying everywhere! An unconscious boy and girl! What has Hogwarts come to? I will be speaking to the headmaster about this!” She pulls out my wrist from the too-long sleeve of my cloak (Not my fault Mum bought it two sizes too big.) and checks my pulse.
“Thank heavens you didn’t die!” exclaims Madam Pomfrey, disapprovingly. Since when do people die from fainting? Paranoid much?
“I probably just have a minor concussion,” I point out, “I’m fine.”
“Minor concussion, indeed! Thank heavens you didn't die!” Okay. Chill out, lady! “Mr. Black just barely came back into the light with a nasty bruise on his arm. He already left a couple minutes ago, but you're lucky you had Mr. Lupin beside your bed all these hours.” She gives him an admiring smile. “What a gentleman!”
Madam Pomfrey hands me a rather large piece of chocolate and walks back into her office, but not before we hear her sigh wistfully, “Oh, young love!”
What… a weird lady.
I shove the chocolate into my mouth and gulp it down. “I guess this means we can go?” I say, glancing at Remus questionably.
Remus gets up from his chair and shrugs. “I guess so.” He reaches out his hand to help me off the bed. The moment our hands make contact I wonder to myself, what warm hands.
Once we're out the door, I glance at him curiously. “You really stayed by my bed for hours?”
He grins at me. “What else could I do? New girl fainting, not to mention a new friend. I mean, gotta keep her company right?”
“Thanks, Remus.” I grin at him and then whistle in amazement. “Blimey, hours huh? I need to pay you back sometime for that.”
“You can pay me back now,” Remus replies almost nonchalantly.
Our brisk walk slows to an sudden halt.
He turns around to face me and repeats it again, “You can pay me back now.”
And before I can say anything in reply, Remus takes a step closer to me so subtly that I only notice the steadily decreasing number of inches between his face and mine. What is he doing? What… wait…
“Hey, look!” I point behind him abruptly. “We're at the portrait hole! W-wow, we sure walk fast. Ha ha…” I laugh nervously.
Remus glances over his shoulder. “Yeah. We do, huh? Blabbermouth,” he calls out to the Fat Lady.
“Well said!” she declares in a dignified tone and swings open immediately.
But instead of climbing through the portrait hole, an awkward silence sits between us.
I look at Remus’ back uneasily and open my mouth, “Um…”
But Remus suddenly spins around grinning. “I’m just teasing!” he laughs and smacks me on the shoulder, “What did you think I was going to do, kiss you? Please.”
I yelp from the slap, but look at him confused. “Er… well, I didn’t—”
Remus just laughs again and grabs my arm, yanking my arm towards the portrait hole. “What’re you standing there for, mate? Get inside!”
The moment I stumble into the Common Room, I hear an eruption of cheers, accompanied by an equal number of wails. What in the world? Almost instantaneously, literally dozens of girls come running up to me with the most terrifying variety of emotions on their faces.
“Oh my God, Cecilia! I can't believe you're engaged to Sirius Black!” a pair of girls say gleefully.
I jump back in alarm. “Uh, I can't either?”
“You two look so cute together!” someone squeals in the crowd.
“Um, thanks?” I stutter in confusion, “But—”
A pair of girls sob at my feet. “How could you be with, Sirius Black? You're not even pretty!”
“Er, sorry? I'm just—”
A tall girl with dreadlocks grabs my collar. “Who do ya think ya are, eh? So weak and short!” And with that, she drops me on the ground unceremoniously and stalks off.
“Ow, forgive me for being vertically challenged…”
“Oh, I hope you get married soon!” More girls.
“Er, thanks, I—”
“Why does this new girl get Sirius? It's not fair!” Another girl.
“Yeah, well, life isn't fai—”
“Eek, you two are going to be the Couple of the Year!” More girls.
“But we're not—what is that even—”
“Don't worry, he's really good in bed!” More girls.
“I hope you live happily ever after!” MORE GIRLS.
“But I'm not planning to—”
“Sirius is mine!” ARGH, I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE.
I drop down and dive behind a sofa, leaving the girls to gossip amongst themselves.
So scary… Are all girls like this? Sonata gossips a bit herself, but she's nothing compared to this! On the bright side, at least most of the girls approve of our engagement. Wait. No, this sucks! If they didn't approve, I could get out of this more easily! Now, all the girls are going to be pushing me and Sirius together. Well, at least now most of them won’t try to beat me up. Blimey, they look vicious.
“What are you doing?” I hear as the shadow of a face peers at me over the sofa,
“AGH!” I yell, putting my arms up in defense against the horrifying… monster? Wait. I squint at the face. “Oh, it's just you, Lily. How's it goin'?”
“Well, watching you earlier was pretty amusing.” She grins at me.
Amusing? I jump up exasperated. “Then why didn't you help—oh crap!” Upon seeing the hoard of girls still crowded around the Common Room, I duck back down behind the sofa once again and demand in a more hushed tone, “Why didn't you help?”
Lily points at the ludicrous crowd of girls behind her. “D'you think I want to get involved with that lot? No, let me rephrase that. D'you think I want to die?”
I laugh and sink back down to the floor. “Guess not.”
Warily, I take another look over at the crowd again and shiver. Hard to think they would get that crazy over me and Sirius. Wait, speaking of which… “Oh, Lily! Where's Sirius?”
Lily looks over her shoulder around the Common Room and then leans over the couch again. “He's over there in the seat in the corner,” she whispers, gesturing with a thumb towards a seat by the fire, “sulking. He's already had his share of crazy girls a couple of minutes before you came in. And not to mention…” Lily pauses and flashes me a wicked grin. “…a huge scene with his girlfriend.”
I just gape at the redhead, wide-eyed. “You're joking. You mean he had a row with Ellie?” Didn’t think the golden couple would ever have any problems.
Lily swings over the couch to sit next to me and heaves a mockingly dramatic sigh. “Yeah, Ellie confronted Sirius about the engagement thing because she overheard him saying he can’t settle down with a girl and then…” She mimicks an explosion with her hands. “Well, you can just about imagine how that went.” She giggles again to herself at the thought.
“Whooo,” I whistle to myself, utterly impressed by the entire scene Lily was playing before me. “Got fooled by Sirius' sweet talk, eh?” I bet he says he'll be with every girl forever. What a disgustingly sweet heartbreaker.
“Yup,” Lily replies, nodding multiple times in emphasis, “They had this huge screaming match. Okay, well it wasn't really a match, per se. Ellie kind of did most of the screaming while Sirius just sat there silently, which was kind of weird since he's almost never without words. Huh. Maybe he was sleeping with his eyes open… But anyway, she burst out crying and starting hitting him and stuff, and we all know Sirius can't stand girls who cry over dumb things, so he yelled for her to shut up.”
She takes one look at my shocked face and then adds quickly, “Er, well, I mean, half an hour of shouting and half a dozen slaps later, how’d you expect him to act? But anyway, she dumped him on the spot,” she finishes simply.
“Wow, so I guess even Sirius will raise his voice to a girl sometimes,” I mutter to myself in amazement.
Is he seriously still sulking there over that stupid fight though? I flip myself over and peek around the couch, watching the playboy as James runs over and punches him in the shoulder playfully.
“So, what are you gonna do about Ellie? I thought you liked her a lot,” I hear James say to Sirius over the ear-splitting crowd of girls.
I can just imagine Sirius shrugging as I hear him reply nonchalantly, “Big deal. There’re other girls.” What, rude! Girls aren’t replaceable parts!
James snorts at his friend’s response. “I don't think so, mate. The ladies think you're Cecilia's now. You two are like the perfect couple in their eyes. They won't be snoggin' you anymore.”
Well, serves that idiot right! I risk peeking out a little farther from behind the couch to see Sirius' reaction.
And it was totally worth the risk because right then, Sirius shoots up from his chair like a bloody bullet. “What?”
“Yup.” James nods sadly. Well, not sadly, since he was kind of still laughing.
Sirius slumps down into his chair again, a defeated look on his face. “Thanks, Mum and Dad. There goes my love life.”
James shrugs. “Yeah, if you put it that way, but…” He pauses for a moment before continuing tentatively, “Well, I mean if you’re desperate, y'know, there's still those girls. You know, that one girl, Mi—”
“No,” Sirius cuts in flatly, “I would literally rather eat my pants than date that bit—”
I nudge Lily in the ribs, “Oi, let's get up to the Girl's Dormitories and get outta here. I've kind of had enough.”
Lily nods in agreement and after making sure the coast was clear, we crawl across the floor discreetly towards the stairs. Although, I don’t know how crawling could ever be inconspicuous.