How could he?
That thought was running through Mary’s head over and over again as she ran through the dark and empty corridors of the castle. The sound of her heels banging on the marble floor was echoing on the walls of the hallway. She was all alone and would not want it any other way.
Mary was absolutely furious with Sirius. They had been so happy together, she just couldn’t understand why he would kiss someone else. And not just any other girl, but Cassidy Donaldson of all people.
Tears were streaming down her face, blurring her vision. Mary wiped them away angrily as she continued to run without ever once looking back.
With every step she took, she became more and more angry. She wasn’t even sure where her feet were taking her. All she knew that stamping like this felt good. It seemed like the further she was getting away from the party, the more she was leaving her problems behind.
A little while later Mary realized she was entering the corridor leading to their Common Room. She slowed down as she approached the portrait of the Fat Lady. The Lady seemed vast asleep. Her head was leaning against the frame of her portrait and she was snoring loudly.
“Pssst!” Mary hissed, trying to wake her up, but to no avail.
After another few attempts, she switched tactics and her hands together. This worked, because the Fat Lady’s eyes shot open at once. “Wha-Whaat?” The lady yawned before muttering sleepily: “Password?”
“Hornbeam,” Mary muttered as she shot an anxious look over her shoulder to see if Sirius had come after her. He was literally the last person on earth she wanted to see and she wanted to go straight to bed the minute she got up to the dormitory.
Mary stepped forward without paying attention to what was happening and, instead of walking into the Common Room, she bumped straight into the portrait. When her nose was hitting the canvas, the Fat Lady said indignantly: “Careful there!”
“Ugh,” Mary said, rubbing her nose as she took one step backward. “I told you the password, didn’t I? Why aren’t you letting me in? Hornbeam!” she repeated impatiently.
“I’m afraid that password is incorrect.”
“What? That has been the password for months!”
“Indeed. However, your house’s password changed at midnight. The Headboy- and girl are aware of this, as are the prefects.”
Mary stared at the Fat Lady. “But,” she spluttered. “You know who I am.”
“Of course I do,” the Fat Lady said.
“So can you please let me in?”
“Sorry dear, I can’t do that.”
Mary swore and stamped her foot on the floor in frustration, but the Fat Lady remained closed. She sighed and slid down the wall next to the portrait. There was nothing she could do; she was going to have to wait for someone who did know the new password. She just crossed her fingers and wished this person would not be Sirius Black.
She pulled her legs up and rested her head on her knees. Once again tears were welling up in her eyes and she no longer attempted to choke them back. Mary never knew her heart could experience real physical pain, but the current aches in her chest were making perfectly clear that a broken heart did exist.
Mary had not heard the footsteps who had been approaching, so she literally jumped when she felt a cool hand on her shoulder. She half-expected it to be Sirius and felt incredible relief when she realized it was Lily. “Oh Lil,” she said, her voice wobbly with emotion.
“Shhh,” her friend said soothingly while putting a comforting arm around her shoulders.
When Mary started to calm down slightly, she wiped her tears away and sat up a little straighter. “How did you know I was here?”
“Lucky guess, I suppose. You ran straight past us, crying, and when I spotted Sirius walking into the Entrance Hall next, also looking upset, I figured something must have happened and you were probably heading straight back to the Common Room.”
“Do you know what…?” Mary asked before her voice broke again.
“Sirius told me,” Lily replied.
“The whole story?”
“Err…” Lily started hesitantly. “Well, he said you caught him and Cassidy together-”
“-Yes, she kissed him. But did you consider the possibility that things might… not be what they seem?”
Mary narrowed her eyes at her friend. “Do you think I’m blind? I know what I saw, Lil.”
“But it’s just… He’s so crazy about you. I… Oh Mare,” Lily stopped talking when she noticed these words were making Mary cry again. “Perhaps now is not the time to talk about this. Just go to bed and get some sleep, okay?”
“You’re not coming with me?”
Lily shook her head. “There are still things that need to be taken care of downstairs. And then there’s the debacle with the fireball…” She sighed. “I should get back to James.”
“Where’s Sirius?” Mary asked Lily as she was pulled back to her feet.
“I told him he should leave you alone for now.” Lily gave her a tight hug and after she had told her it was going to be alright, she whispered: “Our new password is Fanged Frisbee.”
“Thanks.” Mary turned to the Fat Lady and told her the correct password, so she was granted access after all. She immediately spotted Coco, who was soundly asleep on an armchair in front of the fire.
Mary could really use the company. Coco purred sleepily and mewed softly while Mary carefully carried her upstairs to the dormitory, ignoring the curious looks from a couple of younger students in the room.
Mary put Coco down on her bed and walked into the bathroom to brush her teeth. When she was brushing her hair, she dared to look at her reflection in the mirror. “Typical,” she muttered darkly as she was staring at her mad hair, albino red puffy eyes and mascara that had gotten smeared all over her face and made her look like a drowned panda.
Didn’t Sirius tell her she looked like a goddess earlier that night? That happy feeling already seemed lightyears away. Mary snorted while cleaning her face with a wad of cotton wool. If only he could see her now… Her sad smile froze on her face at the thought of him. That jerk didn’t deserve to be in her thoughts any longer.
She poked her tongue at her depressing reflection, chucked the wad against the mirror and buried herself under the blankets of her four poster bed. Coco crawled up near her feet and purred softly. Mary tried to fall asleep, but the hollowness in her heart was making this impossible.
Lily and Brice come back a couple of hours later and Mary pretended to be fast asleep, because she didn’t feel like talking. However, she stayed awake long after her friends had fallen asleep and only managed to doze off when the first rays of daylight were already peeking through the window.
Despite the lack of sleep, Mary knew perfectly well how she was going to handle the situation. She did not want to see or listen to Sirius. In fact, she did not even want to look at him, talk about him or even hear about him.
So in the remaining days of the Christmas holiday, she became a true master in avoiding him. Whenever she spotted Sirius walking down the corridors, she took a detour. When he was studying in the Common Room, Mary either went to the library or her dormitory.
This tactic was fairly successful, because Sirius was following Lily’s advice in leaving her alone. Or perhaps he simply had no idea where to find her. Both Lily and Brice told her repeatedly that she could not keep avoiding him forever, but Mary refused to listen and they decided to not press the matter further. For now, at least.
Of course there were occasions when it was simply impossible to hide from her ex-boyfriend. At dinner for example, but Mary still made sure she was sitting at the other end of the Gryffindor table and always brought something along to read.
However, studying a boring book on Extraordinary Potions did not prevent her from listening in on the conversation, so she did hear Remus mention something about a couple of Death Eaters who had robbed Flourish and Botts.
“I wonder why,” James wondered aloud. “What could be in there besides books?”
“I don’t know,” Remus said, loading his plate with roast potatoes. “The Daily Prophet didn’t say why.”
“Perhaps Voldemort wanted to catch up on his idiom of spells,” Sirius shrugged.
Mary was shocked to hear the listless sound of his voice. She continued to stare at the page on Felix Felicis and pretended to look impassive, but was unable to actually absorb the words on the page. Mary made sure he did not see, but she sometimes shot a look at Sirius at least once a day and had been under the impression he was acting cool as ever.
“Anyway,” Sirius continued, standing up from the bench. “I’d better go.”
“Detention again?” Peter asked, swallowing a big bite of roast beef.
“Still the same one,” he replied.
Lily pursed her lips. “I still think McGonagall got it all wrong. You had no choice but to leave that dragon behind and bring Cassidy to safety.”
“Yeah well,” Sirius said, looking over at Mary who still pretended he did not exist. “I guess I should have let her rot instead.”
James, Remus and Peter laughed, but Sirius did not join in. “See ya,” he said instead and walked off to McGonagall’s office.
Even though Mary now realized that Sirius was also affected by their ugly breakup, she still refused to talk to him. Instead, she continued to try and avoid him as much as possible.
This worked out rather well, until that one Wednesday when she was writing an Transfiguration essay in the library. She was trying to decipher a rather difficult graphic table, when her nose caught a familiar musky scent. “That should be twelve equals X,” an all too familiar voice whispered in her ear.
Mary sighed, ignored the tingling sensation that was running down her spine, put her quill down and looked up at Sirius. “I would have figured that out on my own, thank you very much,” she whispered back coolly.
Sirius sat down across the table. For a moment he just sat there, staring at her. But then he said: “How long are you going to do this, Mary?”
“Freeze me out like this. It’s driving me insane.”
“Well, you’ve only got yourself to blame for that. Now please leave, I want to finish this thing before the start of our Defense class,” she whispered shortly and reached for her quill.
She stiffened when Sirius suddenly put his hand right on hers. She had missed the touch of his hands more than anything, let alone his lips. In an attempt to suppress these inconvenient thoughts, Mary jerked her hand away.
“Mary…” Sirius whispered pleadingly. “Why won’t you let me explain?”
“What’s there to explain? I’ve seen it happening, haven’t I?”
“But you’re wrong!” He had given up on whispering and was now speaking in a normal voice. “Seriously Mare, you have to listen to me. You’re going to regret it if you don’t-”
They were interrupted by a furious looking Madam Pince. “Having a chat in my library? The nerve! Out, the both of you. Out, out, OUT!” she snapped while pulling Sirius and Mary from their chairs.
Mary only had a few seconds to magically collect her books and parchment before Madam Pince threatened to hit her with a heavy book. When they walked out of the library, Mary was about to head outside when Sirius held her back. “Are you going to listen to me or not?”
She bit on her lip in an attempt to ignore the tingling feeling in her arms where he had placed his hands before looking him straight into the eye. “Did I, or did I not, witness you and Cassidy locking lips at New Year’s Eve?”
“Er… Well, technically yes, but-”
“-Then we are done talking,” she cut him off by jerking her arm away.
“Oh bloody hell. Come on, Mary!” Sirius yelled in frustration.
Mary wheeled around to shot him a dirty look. “Didn’t you tell me before how you were going to screw up what we had?”
Sirius blinked as if he could not believe his own ears. “That's… That was about something entirely different and you know that.”
She scowled, ignoring his last comment completely. “Well, guess what? At New Years Eve, you just did!” she snapped before walking off to Defense.
Sirius did not interrupt her again and when he finally arrived at the Defense-classroom a few minutes later, he didn’t look at Mary, but sat down next to Remus, absent-mindedly unpacking his bag before staring at the blackboard.
After Professor Zabini had ‘amused’ them with another one of this heroic and autobiographical stories on dueling a dangerous dark wizard, he decided that in these times, you could not practice dueling often enough.
“Right,” the Professor said after moving a few tables and seats aside. “Miss Evans, if you could step forward and let’s see… Ah, Mr. Black, you too, if you please.”
Lily and Sirius – reluctantly – walked to the front of the classroom and took their positions. “Only non-verbal spells and let’s keep it as friendly as possible,” Zabini reminded them.
Sirius – being the better dualist – normally would have won from Lily with his eyes closed, but today he wasn’t paying attention and she beat him over and over again. When he was zooming backwards through the air and against the wall for the fourth time in a row, Zabini decided to put an end to this embarrassing display.
“Alright, that’s quite enough. Miss Evans, you have done well today, ten points to Gryffindor. Mr. Black,” the Professor said, “Not your usual form, I’m afraid. It seems that your head is in a entirely different place.”
Sirius looked straight at Mary for a moment, who instantly lowered her gaze to the table. “You can say that again.”
Zabini didn’t notice and gave Sirius a comforting pat on the shoulder. “We all have off days, Mr. Black, but remember that something like this happening in a duel with a dark wizard could very well mean the end of you.”
Whether it was his intention or not, ever since their last encounter, Sirius ignored Mary completely. He no longer approached her in distant corridors to try and talk to her. It seemed he had accepted that their relationship was over.
Mary wasn’t sure how to feel about this. The fact that he gave up on trying to win her back made their breakup more definite, or so it seemed.
Mary talked about this to Lily and Brice a few weeks later while they were crossing the courtyard. “I just don’t know how I feel anymore and it’s so frustrating,” she said miserably.
“I still believe you should let him tell his side of the story,” Lily shrugged.
“Well, I don’t want that. Seeing him kissing that shrew was bad enough. I’d rather not go through it all over again.”
“Well, at least you would have his attention if you decided to finally talk things through. Isn’t that what you really want?” Brice asked, hitting the nail on the head.
Mary groaned. “I don’t know! It’s all so confusing and I… Oh no…”
Cassidy and her friends were walking straight towards them.
“What does she want now?” Lily asked suspiciously.
“Hey there Mary,” Cassidy said loudly as soon as she had gotten within earshot. “I am so sorry to hear about you and Sirius.”
Mary grinded her teeth, her hands itching to reach for her wand, but she managed to stay calm. “What do you want, Cassidy?”
“Oh, just to give you my sympathies concurring the end of your short-lived relationship with him. I did warn you about this, you know.”
“No, you didn’t,” Mary replied. “All you did was telling me to enjoy my time as his flavor of the month.”
“Oh yeah, how could I forget! I said that if I wasn’t going to have him, no one would, right?”
“So it would seem.”
“You know, I never would have guessed things were going to be that easy. Girl, you have some serious trust issues.”
“I mean that all I had to do to make you break up with him was to fake one little kiss.”
“U-huh,” Cassidy nodded. “And now it’s too late,” she added with a vile grin on her face. “See you girls later!” she waved before she headed outside with her sniggering friends in tow.
Mary didn’t know how long she had been staring at Cassidy’s back with her mouth hanging open as the words were slowly becoming clear in her head.
She shot a look at Lily and Brice – who were looking just as stunned – before asking: “Did she just… Does this mean… What does this mean?”
It was Lily who managed to get her voice back first. She laughed and gave her a pat on the back. “Well, looks like you owe someone one hell of an apology.”
~*~ End of Chapter ~*~
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