If Only I Had Stayed In The Shadows - Chapter Eleven
James Potter x OC
Prologue Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten
It was a peaceful Saturday, sunny with a light breeze rushing over the Hogwarts grounds. I was sitting against the trunk of a tree close to the lake, enjoying the rays of sunshine on my skin as I lazily skimmed the pages of my Potions book with tired eyes. The end of the year exam for Potions was coming up in two weeks and there was rarely a Sixth Year seen without this book in hand, either studying during breakfast, lunch and dinner or in the library inbetween free periods and after classes.
Usually I would be among them, ripping the last few good strands of my hair in stress but today I felt unbelievably lazy, feeling too heavy and tired to do anything. 'Stupid period,' I thought grumpily, tilting my head up to the sky as if the sun could help me feel better. Which it did, until-
"Oi, Cec!" Sirius called out, jogging up towards where I was sat, interrupting the peaceful silence. I briefly thought back on the last time he had interrupted something several days ago and felt myself go red once again.
"Hey Sirius, what's up?" I greeted him, closing my book. He glanced down at it, grimacing. "Potions, eh? What a waste of time."
"Don't you need it to become an Auror?" I asked him amused and he simply waved me off. "Yeah, whatever. You got some time? I wanted to show you something."
I raised an eyebrow. "And what is that exactly?"
"Just come and see?" he nudged my leg with his foot, impatiently.
"The last time you wanted me to see something, a mass of dungbombs exploded on me," I recalled, scrunching my nose. The smell wouldn't get off for a week.
Sirius burst out in laughter, "Merlin, I completely forgot about that! What a brilliant idea!"
"Sure, you call it brilliant," I muttered to myself.
"Oh come on. It was a little fun, admit it," he grinned cheekily and I simply rolled my eyes at him. "You are not really doing yourself a favour right now if you still wanted to show me something."
"Yes, right!" he snapped back to attention, clearing his throat, "I wanna show you something. In fact, it's something really cool that could be useful for you as well."
"And why would you want to show it to me?" I asked, still suspicious.
"Because you're my friend and I wanna share my joy with you?!" As much as the thought of Sirius Black calling me his friend warmed my heart, who - despite his open and social character - rarely considered anyone a friend besides his tight inner circle, I couldn't help but think what a good strategy it would be to trick me.
Sirius sighed, giving in at my silence, "And maybe I want to know your opinion on something, too."
"There is the truth," I said, grinning widely as he gave me an annoyed look. Kneeling down, he tried to widen his eyes in a puppy look, "Are you going to come now?"
I cringed, "Alright, but don't try that look on me again." I got up swiftly, brushing a few strands of grass off my skirt as Sirius sprang up as well with a fist pump in the air. "It siriusly weirded me out."
"Really? Usually it works on the ladies," he pondered before giving me devilish smile, "Don't try to deny it. It did get you to come with me."
"Sure, it did, Sirius," I said, patting his head like a dog, "Sure it did."
We headed into the castle and I prodded him with questions of where we were going the entire way up to the seventh floor but the black-haired boy wouldn't budge until we reached a deserted hallway. I could safely I had never been in this hallway before, seeing as there was nothing but a weird tapestry of a man trying to teach trolls ballet and a vase in a way too big size to be considered normal across from it. And a window.
"So...it's a hallway," I concluded slowly, watching as Sirius traipsed around back and forth, his face set deep in concentration, "You wanted to show me a hallway."
Sirius snorted, stopping his movements as the wall behind was starting to ripple. My eyes widened in astonishment as a door materialised itself where stone had previously been. "No, I wanted to show you this," Sirius replied, smirking at my comically shocked expression. He went to the door, opening it. "My lady." He bowed formally, his smirk giving space for an uptight look and I snorted but eagerly walked over and through the door, curious on what would be behind it. And my jaw promptly dropped down once more.
Inside was a small, cozy room. The walls were completely covered in shelves filled to the brim with books and the floor adorned a thick carpet in a rich burgundy colour with intricate, golden-coloured details woven in. A large fireplace was carved inbetween the shelves in the wall across the door, an inviting fire crackling in it with two, dark green armchairs and a silver side table in front of it.
"Wow," was all I could say, letting Sirius push me inside and staring open-mouthed up at the walls, "This must be heaven for all the bookworms out there."
"Yeah? I thought it would be," Sirius said, a nervous edge on his tone. It broke me out of my stupor and I immediately bombarded him with questions, "How the hell did you find this place? Is this a mini library for nerds? In that case, how come you of all people have found it? And why didn't you show me this earlier, this was a way better place to hide from all the gossiping people than the actual library," I whined at the end. Sirius held up his hands in a placating manner, "Calm down, woman. Take a seat and we shall talk about my awesomeness that made me find this place."
I took the right armchair, relishing in how I sunk a bit into the leather and briefly thought about taking a nap right then and there.
"Chocolate?" Sirius offered, having taken out a bar from his bag. I nodded, catching the half he threw my way and munching on a piece.
"So first of, this place is super duper secret," Sirius started, holding up a finger, "No one that I know of knows about this place besides you now."
"What an honor," I said and it wasn't even sarcasm.
The boy grinned, making himself more comfortable. "As to how I found this place; It was a few years ago where my mates and I had a...a little dispute and weren't on talking terms."
"You guys not talking to each other?" I rose an eyebrow, "That sounds nearly impossible."
"Right?" Sirius grinned, but I could see an underlined pain in his eyes, "However, we did have a fight but got over it." He brushed it off, taking a bite of his chocolate. I cringed, "Can't you break off the pieces like every other sane person?" He looked down at his half of the bar before toothily taking another bite. "Why? Does it bother you?"
"Ugh, go on."
"Yeah, so anyway. During my dispute with the mates I was very much on my own in setting up pranks and stuff. One night, when I was out after curfew, Filch's blasted cat found me. I didn't have the Invisibility Cloak with me so I had to make a run for it, because wherever the cat is, our dear caretaker is close by as well. I got into this hallway, which was obviously a dead end and whilst I was pacing around thinking about where to hide, this mysterious door suddenly appeared on the blank wall just like it had right now."
"And it brought you to this library?"
"No, it was just a bathroom since I also had to pee very badly." I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion, looking around the room. "How-"
"How is that possible, you ask? Well dear, I was wondering that, too because as soon as I got back out, the door disappeard and I couldn't get back in. So the next day, after I successfully escaped Filch and his cat, I went to this hallway and stood in front of this particular blank wall once more, trying to get back into the bathroom. Only, it wouldn't work. I tried everything, recalling every step I made that made the door appear, thinking I need to find this secret place and boom! The door appeared again!" he threw his arms up in emphasis and I would have laughed at his dramatic antics if I hadn't been so intrigued. No one could say Sirius wasn't a good storyteller. "But, it wasn't the bathroom I had seen last time. It was a much bigger room with millions of things scattered and piled up everywhere."
"What?" I asked, flabbergasted, "The room changed?!"
"The room changed!" he exclaimed, pointing a finger at me with a proud look, "It's a wish room! A room that can transfigure itself in whatever you need it to be." I dropped back against the chair in shock. "That...is...bloody brilliant!" I breathed out, staring once more around the room in amazment.
"It bloody is, right?" Sirius agreed giddily.
"So, if I wanted a place to hide-"
"You get your personal hiding place."
"And if I want a Quidditch field to practice on whilst the other teams are occupying the field outside-"
"You get your personal Quidditch field."
"And if I wanted my own sleeping space to get away from my snoring roommates-"
"You get your own sleeping space to get away from your snoring roomates, when you tell me who it is!"
"This is bloody awesome, Sirius! And no, I won't tell you!"
"Fine, but yes! It bloody is!" I laughed in excitement, thinking about all the great things that this room could be used for. "How come no one knows about this place? James would use it everyday for practicing Quidditch if he knew about it!" My face fell in thought, "Perhaps we shouldn't tell him then. He would train us dead."
Sirius' face also morphed into a somber look. "Yeah, I don't really want him to know or anyone else." I looked him over in surprise, "How come you haven't told him or the others about it? I thought you told each other everything?"
The boy sighed heavily, running a hand through his lucious black hair as he stared into the fire, "I told you, we had a dispute when I discovered the place. I always came here when I needed a bit time for myself to reflect on everything...it was kind of my safe space and also a good sleeping place when the dorm got too suffocating." I bit my lip, seeing the sad expression on his face and wondered just what had been so bad to cause such a bad fight between them. "I always planned to tell them if we were to ever become close again and when we did, it kind of slipped my mind with all the other things that came up. It happened around Fifth Year." I nodded, musing that he probably meant the time he ran away from home. Sirius sighed heavily, "So far, I haven't told them yet because I still sometimes use it as my safe space."
"That's good. You don't need to tell them everything because you are best friends," I said when he almost looked guilty at the prospect of hiding this from his mates.
He looked at me with an almost desperate expression, "Will you not tell anyone about this, please? I don't know how many can occupy this place at the same time since I couldn't test it out yet. And if the mates find out they will know to always look here. And sometimes, I just wanna be alone. You know, when I have to think about stuff they wouldn't understand..."
"It's okay, Sirius," I cut him off with a light laugh and he stared at me with an almost pout, "I won't tell anyone. Of course, I won't if you don't want me to."
He deflated with a relieved sigh before his toothy grin came back up, "I knew I could trust you!" I felt myself go red a bit at this, feeling warmth that he would trust me enough with something he wouldn't even tell his best friends. Come to think of it...
"But why would you tell me about this place anyways?" I wondered, "If you haven't even told James about it...?"
Sirius nodded. "I know, it's confusing. It's just that they - especially James - don't really understand the concept of personal space." I coughed to cover up a laugh, knowing full well what he meant. "I mean, Remus and Peter would actually leave me to myself if I were to ask them but James? Oof, James would immediately cling onto you and ask you what's wrong until you give in."
"I can imagine that all too well," I agreed.
"Right. And don't get me wrong, I love that and I myself am like that, too sometimes."
"Probably all the time."
"Shut it. So, that's why I'm still a bit reluctant to tell them. You, however, know when to drop a topic I don't wanna talk about. You give me the space that I sometimes need from a friend," he stated, growing more serious, "...and you know a lot more about me and a certain brother of mine than the others do." It dawned on me where this conversation was going and my eyes flickered over all the books once more. "I can't really tell the others about Regulus anymore. Ever since I've run away, the others think that the chapter with my family is forever closed and done with. That I'm done with my family. James especially holds quite a grudge against Reggie ever since I told them he said I wasn't his brother anymore. He is determined to fill up that space," Sirius chuckled to himself, "I love that guy." I resisted the urge to scream 'Me, too!'. His smile faded. "I can't give up on Reggie though. Never Reggie. I could never leave him behind, even if I kind of did...," he trailed off, his eyes glassed over as if he were somewhere else with his mind.
"You are trying to rekindle your relationship with him," I decided to speak up when his expression got too pained, assuming he was reliving a bad memory. He broke out of it, shaking his head slightly.
"I am, yes. And this is why we are here." Sirius gestured around the room, "This is my 104th attempt at becoming close to my little brother again. What do you think?"
"You gonna show him this place?"
"Yeah. I figured if we were to spend some time here, undisturbed and away from all the eyes that are preventing Reg from talking to me, we would eventually become close again. And maybe - just maybe - I can finally get him out of our blasted childhood place."
"Well..., I believe this is the perfect place for a bookworm for sure."
Sirius smiled widely, "Then Reggie is going to love it!"
I smiled back at him, "I think, he would love it even if this room turned into that bathroom that you had seen during your first time here." Sirius barked a laugh, "He would be so confused!"
"You might wanna add some snacks though when you meet up with him here. And some tea," I mused, "To make sure you don't get too hungry and have to cut it short."
"Ah, yeah I will have to get that from the kitchen. The room can't produce food." I pouted, "That's too bad." Sirius grinned before it softened into an uncertain smile, "And you really think he is going to like it?"
"With the amount of times we have stalked him in the library compared to any other place, we can safely assume that he feels very comfortable around books at least."
"We weren't stalking! Stop calling it like that!" Sirius complained, cringing. I snickered into my piece of chocolate. The boy relaxed into his seat, shooting me another smile, "Thanks for your help, Cec. I really appreciate it."
I gulped down the chocolate, leaning back against the armchair as well, "You are very welcome, Sirius. When are you going to show him this place?"
Sirius shrugged, trying and failing to appear nonchalant. "Maybe tonight."
I gave him a sympathetic smile. "Good luck. I'm sure it will go well."
"Has anybody seen Padfoot anywhere?" James asked later that night as we lounged around the fireplace in our common room. I smiled a little when everyone declined.
It was the next Friday when the last Quidditch game of the year rolled up: Slythering vs. Hufflepuff. Nearly everyone was there, the last game being the most popular of all since it would determine, who would become first place (either Slytherin or Gryffindor) and who would win third place (Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw). I watched the teams come out of the locker rooms, James booing loudly whilst the members in green were announced by the commentator. I noticed he was especially loud during the announcement of 'Regulus Black' and I nudged him a little. "BOOOO-uff!" Alright, maybe a little hard.
"Sorry, love," I said, rubbing his side soothingly as he complained noisily, "Someone bumped into me."
"S'alright," he mumbled with a pout, pulling me closer and glaring over my shoulder at the non-existent culprit. I shot a wink at Sirius, who was stood next to James, and he smiled gratefully.
"And the game begins! Mulciber has the Quaffle and immediately shoots towards to opponent's goals-!" The game continued with Quaffles and Bludgers being thrown/beaten back and forth between the teams. I watched with rampant attention as the goal difference never seemed to get too high, occasionally glancing at the Seekers to see if they had caught sight of the Snitch. Catching it seemed to be the only way to determine the winner.
"It's to 280 to 270 for Slytherin, ladies and gentlemen, and neither side is showing any sign of fatigue. It's a game of win and lose, of life and death- AND BLACK HAS SPOTTED THE SNITCH!" All eyes snapped towards the small seeker zooming towards the ground near the Hufflepuff's goals, a mere blurred image of green and brown as he flew down in a breakneck speed. I noticed everyone lean forward over the railing to see the exact moment he caught the Snitch, the Hufflepuff seeker being one second too late. "AND BLACK HAS CAUGHT THE SNITCH! SLYTHERIN WINS THE GAME AND THE CUP! OH MY MERLIN!"
The Slytherin stand broke out in an uproar, shooting green and silver lights into the sky as the teams touched down, the green-cladded members jumping on Regulus, who was holding up the Snitch clenched in his fist with a blinding smile. I noticed Sirius biting his lip hard to prevent a wide grin as his grey eyes twinkled with pride whilst James groaned in disappointment but proceeded to clap along with everyone else, knowing they had won fair and square. "Gonna bloody win against them next year," I heard him grumble under his breath and I squeezed his arm with mine as I clapped along, "Definitely." He smiled at me before his eyes flickered towards something over my head. I looked back forwards, sneaking a glance to my side to see Lily and Alice next to Marlene, who was next to me, a pair of green eyes looking in our direction.
My chest constricted once more.
"I'm going to have to schedule more practices," James spoke as we walked back up to the castle after the game, neither of us wanting to stay and see the Slytherins celebrate, no matter how well deserved it was. "Maybe I can even get everyone to train on their own during the summer holidays."
"That's a bit excessive, don't you think?" I remarked, arm hooked around his. All I wanted to do during the holidays was laze around before the N.E.W.T.s came up next year.
"What, you think the Slytherin captain doesn't force his team to?" James pointed out, "And it obviously worked. This way we don't need to get back into the routine after the holidays and can improve our teamwork faster rather than having to train our individual skills back into shape."
"But James, this is our last summer holiday ever. Next year will be our last year in Hogwarts," I pointed out.
"Next year will also be our last chance to impress any recruits that will be there during the last games," James replied and I thought back on the few foreign adults that had occupied some seats in the teacher's stands during this game. The messy-haired grabbed me by the waist, twirling me around as I squealed in surprise. "Think about it, getting recruited by the Chudley Cannons-"
"-and becoming the best Chaser and Seeker the Chudley Cannons-"
"-ever had in history." He led me down with grin, still holding onto my waist, "We would be the dreamteam." I gazed into his brown eyes that almost had a mahogany hue to it in the current light of the sunset. "Yeah, we probably would..."
"Definitely would!" he exclaimed and I wrapped my arms around his, burying my face in his chest as an uncontrollable smile almost made my cheeks hurt.
I was definitely whipped for this boy. Irrevocably.
A/N: It’s going down next chapter. Be warned.
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