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Introduction:

harry potter fanfiction
As she stood over the bodies of her dead parents, Alessandra couldn’t bother herself to look up as she heard the sound of more people apparating into the area that had been her front lawn. She felt a familiar hand fall upon her shoulder and she fought back the tears as she stood and turned into the many folds of her Grandfather’s robes. She found comfort in the smell of sherbet lemons, a favorite candy of his; that somehow managed to cling to him, no matter what he had been doing.

“They’re really dead. He killed them,” Alessandra said, still in shock.

Albus Dumbledore looked down upon the body of his deceased daughter and the man he had raised as his own. His anguish shone in his normally sparkling blue eyes, but he masked it for when he was alone. He had a granddaughter to take care of, and she had to come first.
“Yes, they are. Now come, Alessandra. We have to get you to Hogwarts. You’ll be safe there. Pack what you wish…” Alessandra walked up to her mother and bent down and removed the ring she had been wearing and slid it onto her own finger: the ring of the Deathly Hallows.

Grief predominant in her eyes, she looked to her grandfather and said,
“All of the rest of my things are at Durmstrang, and there’s nothing left here for me. He burnt the house to the ground, just to rob me further of their memory.”

“I’ll have Minerva go and see to it that all of your belongings are packed up and brought to Hogwarts. Now, come with me, dear. We can’t stay here any longer.” She took one last look at the lifeless bodies of her parents, then took her grandfather’s hand in hers and they disapparated.

That was the start of her long and lonely summer at Hogwarts. The teachers were there so she worked on spells, charms, and potions to pass her time, also spending a great deal of time in the restricted section of the library. She read up on the dark arts, determined to never be caught unawares as her parents were. She spent long hours practicing in front of the dueling mirrors, which bounced the hexes and curses back at her to defend until she had to lay on the ground, breathing heavily and sweating from the effort she put forth.

She took to strolling down by the lake and spent a lot of time helping Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest at night. She did anything, and everything she could to distract herself from the pain of her loss.

By the time that classes did roll around she felt ready to face the students, the pain of her parent’s sudden death being put in the back of her mind as she started preparing for school. All that summer she had been trying to forget how she had found out of their deaths.

It had been a shock to her, when she had been pulled out of classes by someone from the Ministry of Magic. She couldn’t even think of his name or face now, so great was her shock at what he was saying. She had screamed at him that he was wrong, that her parents were at home and well, and he had mistaken who had been murdered. The ministry official side apparated her to her house, where she could no longer pretend that the deaths were anyone but her parents. As she fell to the grass near them, she looked up into the sky and saw a giant skull, with a serpent coming out of its mouth.
“Who did this?” she demanded as tears streamed down her cheeks.
“He’s taken to calling himself Lord Voldemort. Apparently he had been actively trying to recruit your parents to his cause for some time now.”
“And what cause would that be?” she demanded bitterly, wanting to know what could have been so important as to kill for it.
“He’s the leader of the movement for Pure Blood supremacy. He’s been leading attacks against muggles and muggle borns. This is his first attack on a pure blooded family. I’m so sorry for your…” But Alessa hadn’t heard the rest of what he was trying to say. She was too busy trying to will her mother to open her eyes for just one last time.

In an attempt to take her mind even further off of the grief that she had been trying to deal with, she decided to move into the dorms, instead of her mother’s old chambers in the astronomy tower. She wanted more than anything to make friends here, to try and fill a bit of the hole that had been left in her heart at her parent’s demise.

She had already arranged her things in the seventh year dorm room that she was to share with Lily Evans, Lacey Peters, Margaret Malby, and Angela Seethers. She took the bed that was closest to the door, assuming that it would be the least desired one, then went down to her favorite place to read; in the upper branches of the giant oak by the lake.

As the students arrived, Lily quickly sorted them out and looked around for James Potter, who was supposed to be helping her. After all, he was Head Boy. She sighed and realized that three others were missing with him and gave up the hope of getting any help from him.

James Potter, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black had all had their trunks sent to their rooms by some third year students who adored the Marauders, and then headed to a place to work on the first prank of the year. They went down to the giant oak near the lake and began planning in excited voices.


“It’s been a whole summer since I’ve gotten to hex Snivelus, but I think tonight calls for bigger things, seeing how it is the first day of our last year here.” James started.

Sirius jumped in and said, “How about we place a disappearing charm on Slytherin’s food, so that just as they’re about to eat, it’s gone?” The other three laughed at this idea.
“And we’ll change all the banners to Gryffindor…” started James, when he was suddenly interrupted by a voice.
“I expected so much more from the trouble-makers of Gryffindor.”

All the boys looked up and saw a girl, sitting tucked in the branches, a book in her hand.

“And what would you suggest?” demanded Peter, in a rather uppity voice.

She swung her legs back and forth and said, “Well, if you really want to mess with them; jinx their schedules. That way, as they get them, the classes mix around and tomorrow morning they all show up at the wrong places. Also, that way it can’t be traced back to Gryffindor: more specifically, you four.”


“That’s bloody brilliant!” Remus exclaimed.
Sirius looked up at her curiously and asked, “And who have we to thank for this ever so clever prank?” The girl swung down from the branches and landed in front of him and held out her hand.


“Alessandra Grindelwald.” Sirius looked at her, a bit awestruck. She was beautiful, but in a strange way. She had long waves of black hair that tumbled wildly about her face. She was tall and athletic, and from the feel of her calloused hand, he could tell that she didn’t mind getting outside and getting her hands dirty. But it was her eyes that held him: they were violet. The color was strange enough, but it was something else, the things that her eyes didn’t reveal, that drew attention to them.


“Normally, when I give someone my hand and name, one would return my hand after giving me their name in exchange. It may just be the way things were done in Durmstrang though.”
“Sirius Black. It’s nice to meet a girl who’s as devious as the boys.” She smiled at him in a mischievous way, the side of her mouth curved up and an eyebrow raised.
“Now whoever said that you were anywhere near as devious as me?” Then she turned away from him and Peter, James, and Lupin introduced themselves

. She held onto Lupin’s hand a moment longer than the others, searching his eyes for something, then smiled and let go and said,
“Well, it’s nice to meet the famous Marauders that my grandfather spoke so highly of.”

“Grandfather?” Peter questioned before James could roll his eyes and he said,
“Dumbledore’s her grandfather.”
“But I thought that Gellert Grindelwald…”


Alessa rolled her eyes, “Other side of the family, bloke. Remember, one usually requires a mother and a father in order to be born, which means two sets of grandparents usually come with that deal. Anyways, I was going to head up to the castle now. I’m starving and…”
“We’d love to escort you there,” Sirius said, proffering his arm for her to take. She laughed and slid hers through it, with James taking her other arm.


“Now, tell us. What other good pranks can you come up with? We might have to make you an honorary member of the Marauders if you’re as sly as you’ve started to show.” Alessa laughed and headed into the castle with the boys, surprised to have been taken in so easily; without discrimination for her name. Maybe, at last, she had found a place where she belonged.




________________________________________
Enemies and Allies



As Lily, Margaret, Lacey, and Angela made their way down from their dormitory to dinner they chattered amongst themselves, quite curious as to the identity of the new girl. Lily had been told she was a transfer from Durmstrang, but didn’t know anything beyond that.

“We all know that Durmstrang specializes in Dark Arts. Best we keep an eye on this one. I really wish that Katlyn hadn’t dropped out so we wouldn’t have to room with a new girl.” Angela complained.

“Who cares about the new girl? I’m more curious as to what Lily is going to say to James, after she gets through yelling at him, of course.” Lacey added on and all the girls giggled.

Over the last year, Potter had been wearing her down to go out with him, and now Lily thought she might actually like him. They were all still laughing about it when they entered the Great Hall and froze on the spot as they saw the boys they had just been giggling about, gathered around a girl.

She was beautiful; making even Angela, who was considered to be quite the catch, feel dull in her presence.

“That must be her.” Lily said, bracing herself as she saw that James’ eyes hadn’t left the girl yet. Normally he had an almost uncanny way of knowing when she was in a room, and his eyes would find her. But today it seemed he had eyes only for this new girl.

James, Remus, and Peter all looked excited at whatever the girl was drawing, while Sirius sat there quietly, watching her with a strange look in his eye.

Angela, who had dated Sirius last year for a whole month (quite a long relationship in Sirius time), immediately flamed up at the looks he was casting at this transfer student. She marched up to the table and grabbed onto the paper.

“And what is so amuzing that you can’t even say hi to old friends?” she demanded, looking at it. The parchment suddenly burst into flame and Angela screeched in surprise, dropping it. Alessandra picked it up and the flames disappeared, the paper no worse for the wear.

“Brilliant Alessa! A fire that doesn’t burn. You just keep getting better and better!” James stated excitedly. Lily grimaced at that remark.

Remus smiled and added on, “You’re about to meet the girls, be strong!”

“And what exactly is that supposed to mean, Remus Lupin? You seemed to have found Lacey’s company quite pleasant last year!” Angela snapped at him. Remus blushed and looked at the paper, folding it up and adding, “Told you.”

Alessandra smiled and said, “You must be Angela. They warned me that you were the hot headed one, quick to anger who never admits she’s wrong. You do realize it’s considered rude to take what isn’t yours, don’t you? Especially when not on a first name basis with the party you are doing the taking from. I’ll start, just in case you’re not familiar with how cordialities work. I’m Alessandra.”

Margaret jumped in at her friend’s defense and said, “Listen, new girl, you obviously don’t know how things work around here…”
Alessa cut her off. “The one with the superiority complex: Margaret. You were right Sirius, when combined she and Angela are an unpleasant mixture.”

“Well, she’s right about that,” Lacey laughed.

Alessa smiled at her and said, “You’re the nice one with a quick tongue, Lacey. Which leaves you to be Lily Evans. I've pegged them all! If I were a muggle I do believe I’d have been a detective. It’s nice to meet all of you, even if the introduction was a little awkward.” She held out her hand to the girls and only Lily and Lacey shook it.

“While I thoroughly enjoyed your demeaning guessing game, just who in the seven hells are you?” demanded Angela.
“I already told you, my name is Alessandra. And maybe it’s just me thinking this, but why seven hells? Do would we really need the extra six hells? It just seems like overkill. You really do have quite the flare for the dramatic, it would seem.”

As the boys laughed, Angela showed her vexation by taking a glass of pumpkin juice and throwing it onto Alessa. “Dramatic enough for you?” Angela purred.

James, Sirius, and Remus shouted in protest and brought out their wands, but before they could take action, a voice of clear authority was heard.
“What is the meaning of this?!?” All heads turned and saw Professor McGonagall there, looking more severe than usual; which was saying something.

“Nothing, Professor. My new dorm mates wished to welcome me properly and were giving a toast when Angela accidently spilled her pumpkin juice onto me. A small accident, I assure you. Already forgotten and I’m sure we’ll be laughing about it later in our dormitory.”

“Like hell…” Sirius growled his eyes full of threats as he glared at Angela.

“Well, if that’s what you say has happened, Miss Grindelwald then I will leave you with your friends.” And at that McGonagall cast one last look of warning at them and walked off.

“Come on girls,” Margaret said coldly. “Let’s get out of here. There’s no need to be in the presence of such filth. Besides, who knows how long till her black blood shows true and she decides to hex the lot of us.”

Sirius, normally the joke maker of the group and last to anger leapt to his feet, “We don’t get to choose who our relatives are Margaret, only make our own decisions on what kind of person we will become.”

Angela looked at him furiously and shot back, “Is that so, Sirius? So her having a Grandfather who is the most reknowned dark wizard of all times counts for nothing?! The fact that murdering innocents runs in her blood...”

Before she realized what she was doing, Alessa threw a hex at Angela that was so strong she was thrown through the air and pinned to the Slytherin wall, turning green and silver in the process. Lily brandished her wand and turned it on Peter shouting, “Expelliarmus!”

James and Remus disarmed Lacey at the same time, her wand falling to the ground between them. Two curses hit Margaret. She sprouted the feathers of a chicken and her hair turned into snakes.

The Professors descended upon the table and Dumbledore shouted above the ruckus, “Enough! Everyone with me. The hospital wing can wait, Miss Malby. And someone get Miss Seethers off the wall and back to her normal complexion.” Then he turned and walked without bothering to turn to check if he was followed. He knew he was.

They walked into the Headmaster’s office and he turned to Alessandra,
“Miss Grindelwald, what hex did you use on Miss Seethers? It appears to be quite a complex one.”

Everyone watched in shock and silence as the two stared at one another, surprised at how long she waited to answer him.
“You won’t get it by searching through my thoughts, Head Master. My father taught me Occlumency before I could do wand magic. However, I believe it was a combination of curses that hit her and I would be more than willing to tell Madam Pomfrey the counter spells in privacy after punishment is decided.”

Everyone looked doubly shocked at her boldness.

Suddenly Angela saw her opening and screeched, pointing,
“She attacked me! She attacked all of us! We were talking and then she hexed us.”
“She must not have been enjoying the topic being discussed,” Dumbledore noted sagely, eyeing Angela.
But Alessa interceded, saying “It’s true. I threw the hexes. Everyone else was drawing their wands in self defense. I alone stand responsible for this and will take the full punishment for it.”
“NO!” Remus, James, and Sirius protested at the same time, but Alessa was determined in her path.
“If you will check their wands, James and Remus only disarmed Lacey, while Lily disarmed Peter. I threw the hexes at the other two girls. I will take the punishment.” Sirius stepped forward and offered the Head Master his wand, “Half of that curse was mine, sir. I threw it too, and not out of self defense but out of anger. I take responsibility for the attack as well.”

Dumbledore sighed and said, “Very well. Fifty points from Gryffindor and one week of detention for both Miss Grindelwald and Mr. Black. Now, if you’re all done creating mischief for the evening I’d like to enjoy my dinner and the Sorting. Black and Grindelwald, report to Hagrid immediately. The rest of you: dinner and then to the dormitories, besides you Miss Seethers. You can go to see Madam Pomfrey. Having settled this, I don’t want any more trouble tonight. Understood?”


“Yes Professor.” Everyone chimed in then they walked out of the office.

Alessa scowled at Sirius and said, “You didn’t need to do that. I had it under control. There was no need for two of us to suffer!”

“Who said I didn’t hex her just to get some time alone with you? Besides, if I don’t then how are we going to come up with the spell to change Slytherin’s schedules on them for tomorrow?”

Alessa laughed at this. “At least it’s with Hagrid. I enjoy spending time with him.”

“And what about me?” Sirius asked, scowling at her.

“I think I prefer the blast-ended screwts to you, Black!” she said and punched him in the arm.

They walked up to Hagrid, who looked down at Alessa with concern,
“Now Alessa, how are you already in trouble?”

“You should know better than that Hagrid. I want to see how our gorgeous little secret is doing. And what better way to get to come visit you than get detention so I have permission to help you feed her?”

Hagrid beamed and said, “You’ve got a right good touch with 'er. She gets all wound up with me when I try and feed 'er, but with you she just curls up and falls asleep. You could learn a lot from this one, Sirius.” And with that Hagrid turned and led them out of the castle.






________________________________________
As they walked through the dark towards Hagrid’s cabin, Hagrid got a bit antsy.
“Now Sirius, I have a new pet, as it were, and it’s not exactly … the legal sort. I’d really appreciate if this remained our little secret. Course I trust you. Why, you, James, and Remus are all my friends, and what’s a secret between friends?”

Alessa smiled at Sirius mysteriously, before following Hagrid inside. Sirius just shook his head and wondered what he was about to get himself into.

Whatever he had expected he couldn’t have guessed at what awaited his eyes. When he came into the room there was a scaly, winged creature on Alessa’s shoulder staring at him curiously.

“Sirius, meet Cerian. She’s a Hebredian Black. Hagrid found her in Knockturn Alley, for sale at Borgin and Burkes. She just hatched a few days ago, but she’s getting bigger already.” Alessa said proudly, smiling brilliantly as she looked at the dragon.

Sirius couldn’t help but wish that she would give him the same look she bestowed upon the dragonling. He shook his head and Hagrid said, “Well, you didn’t get much dinner. Let’s see what I can rustle up for the likes of you two.”

Sirius laughed. “Well, Alessa got more than me. How was that pumpkin juice?” Alessa smiled back, answering, “Almost as satisfactory as blasting green and silver into that nasty girl’s complexion.” They sat around the table and ate with Hagrid, passing their detention quite pleasantly, and not at all in the way that detention was meant to be served. They choked down Hagrid’s well intentioned(but barely edible) cooking, drank a glass of butterbeer, and Cerian even let Sirius rub some oil into her scales, which Alessa had read about in the library’s restricted section. The book said that it helped them grow at a more rapid rate in the colder weather.

As they went to leave at midnight, Cerian trilled angrily in protest. Alessa kissed the dragonling on the forehead and said,
“We’ll come visit you soon, my love. Be good for Hagrid now, and stop searing his beard. It’s rude.”

To Sirius’ amusement, the dragon actually looked ashamed of herself, as if she understood she had been chided, she tucked her head under wing. As they walked back up to the castle he asked her,
“Does everyone always do as you say?”
“Pretty much, or they end up with snakes for their hair.”

“That was a nice piece of spell work, and it was a nice improvement on what she looked like before.”

“I’m just not looking forward to spending the night in the dragon’s den.” Suddenly, James’ loud remark cut her off. “Hurry up, you gits. We’ve got to finish that spell for tomorrow, and I need my beauty sleep.”

Margaret was coming in late from the hospital ward when she heard voices in the common room.
“I swear--- I may be falling in love with you Alessandra!” She recognized James Potter’s voice and gasped. She tried to listen for other things being said, but realized that she had come at the end of their conversation.

“Well, I’m exhausted and as James has pointed out, he needs his beauty sleep. I’m off to bed.” Alessa announced and stood up, stretching near the fire.

Sirius watched her, unable to take his eyes off of her. What was it about her that drew him to her? He would swear she was part veela if he didn’t know better. Or maybe it was because she was the one girl in the school that wasn’t trying to date him. He thought on that and had to admit, her confidence in herself and the fact that she didn’t let him get away with things was nice and refreshing. The rest of the girls at Hogwarts were so busy trying to trap him in a relationship that they never acted like themselves, always trying to be what they thought he wanted them to be. He almost laughed at that thought, because if any of them knew what he was really like, they wouldn’t want him so badly.

Alessa smiled at him, raising an eyebrow as she caught him staring at her for a long period of time, but didn’t send him a snarky comment for once. He chuckled to himself, well, maybe she did let him get away with things every once in a while.
“Good night gentlemen, and see you in the morning. Potter, make sure you look extra pretty for me. If you’re going to be falling in love with me, I want you to look a spot more handsome than you do right now.” And with that she turned and walked up the stairs.
“More handsome than this? If I were any more handsome you’d weep from the beauty of it. Wouldn’t be able to keep your hands off me!” James shouted after her, eliciting a chortle from her as she rounded the top of the stairs.

Alessa crashed into her bed, exhausted and fell asleep, just as she heard Margaret walking in towards her own bed. Even though she had hexed the girl hours before, she was too tired to care what Margaret thought of her right now and cast a protection charm around her bed and fell deep asleep.

The next morning, Alessa awoke and showered early, wanting to get down to the great hall in time to assure that their prank went off without a hitch. As she walked into the common room, she noticed Sirius sitting on the couch, reading a book. She snuck up on him and leapt over the couch, landing next to him. He jumped then smiled when he realized who it was. “Someone’s an early riser.”
“I don’t need much sleep. And from the looks of it, you don’t either. Want to head down for some coffee?”
“Sounds like a date.”

As they walked down towards the Great Hall, Sirius looked her over and decided he wanted to take a chance with her and trust her. Normally he hid himself well behind his wall of sarcasm. Really, James and Remus were the only two that knew that there was any depth of character to him at all. Just because he wanted to trust her didn’t mean he was going to leap into anything though. He decided to start off light, and paid her a compliment.
“I can’t believe you came up with such a good prank. I’m impressed.”
“Yes, well, I had a lot of practice getting creative at Durmstrang. When your Grandfather was the one responsible for the deaths of quite a few of the student’s relatives you tend to stay on your toes.” He watched as a shadow of sadness passed over her face.

“What were your parents like?” He asked suddenly, wondering if she, being from two prestigious pure blood families, was prejudice against muggle born and half bloods as most pure bloods were.

Her face lit up at the thought of them. “My parents were wonderful. The only reason they moved back North and sent me to Durmstrang is that they didn’t want the family to forever be remembered how Gellert Grindelwald left the name. But it’s the little things that I remember about them and I treasure the most when I feel my grief start to overwhelm me. My father had me on a broom before I could walk; he was always looking for a new way to create mayhem. And my mother… her magic was something to behold. She was always surprising me with the smallest bits of magic, conjuring flowers that sang to me and running her patronus around the yard for me to chase on broomstick. Both of them were…” she sighed, “Both of them were wonderful, and now they’re dead because they stood against a wizard who believed that pure bloods should reign supreme.”

Sirius took her hand in his and she gave him a half-hearted smile. As she looked into his grey eyes, she saw that there was a sadness in them that could only come from knowing great loss. Though he normally masked it, it was there, if you looked hard enough.

“What about your family. What are they like?” She noticed that his expression darkened immediately.
“They’re exactly like the dark wizard you described. They are why I ran away from home this last year and the Potters took me in. I’m no longer a true Black.” He laughed so coldly at this that her skin prickled up. “But my Uncle, wanting to further infuriate the family, left me his fortune upon his death. I’ve gotten a house and James and I plan to live in it while we train to be Aurors after we graduate. That will give them something more to be disgusted at, their eldest son, fighting against the beliefs they hold so holy. And funding it all with pure blood Black money.”

“So you don’t talk to any of them? Not even your mother?” Sirius looked fit to murder. “She was the worst of them all.”

They arrived at the hall and Sirius poured her coffee for her, watching as she added one spoon of sugar and a dash of cream. She pulled out the spell they had worked up. Remus was the next to join them.
“Morning Moony.”
“Padfoot. How long have you two been up?”
“For a while; someone has to make sure this thing runs smoothly!” Sirius exclaimed, then Alessa added, “I suppose that’s my job, so what’s yours Sirius?”

Remus snorted at this. “I think you’ve met your match, Padfoot. I just hope that you leave one another alive long enough for us to get some more good spells out of Alessa here. She seems to have quite the arsenal.”
“Moony, is it? Why the strange nicknames with you boys? Prongs, Padfoot, Wormtail, and Moony?” Remus and Sirius both blanched a bit at this, but were saved from speaking when Professor McGonagall came up to hand them their schedules. James and Peter joined them.
“Thank you, Professor. I’m quite looking forward to Double Transfiguration first thing tomorrow morning.” James said.

“Good to hear, Potter. I just hope you can somehow find it in you to be on time for at least one of the classes this semester.”

“And rob you of the joy of giving me all those detentions? I wouldn’t take one of the few things that you derive joy from away from you, Professor.” McGonagall eyed him warily before walking towards the Hufflepuff table.

“Alright, everyone’s wand on the parchment and repeat the words that I gave you last night. We repeat them five times and it should be done.” Alessa said. They all looked around to make sure they weren’t being observed then sent Peter as to set up a distraction by crashing into the Slytherin table, knocking food onto Bellatrix Black. If that couldn’t cause a distraction then nothing would.

The remaining four starting repeating the spell that Alessa had written them as soon as they heard Bellatrix’s screech. They finished and James asked her, “Now what?”
“Now we wait once we get to our classes and see who shows up.” She smiled at them and went back to eating her eggs.

“Ancient Runes first thing this morning,” she sighed. Remus brightened up and said, “We have that together. James and Sirius, don’t you two have Muggle Studies during that period?”
“Yes, then Double Potions, lunch, and Defense Against the Dark Arts,” James answered.
“Same as me,” Remus said.

“Me as well. I guess we’ll see you guys in a while then. You ready, Remus?” He nodded and walked away from the table with Alessa.

As Lily, Margaret, Angela, and Lacey walked down to get breakfast they saw James throw a wad of paper at Alessa that hit her in the back of the head. She turned around and mouthed something, her wand never appearing, and his hair turned pink. She smiled, satisfied, and walked on with Remus.

“See Lily, I told you. Just like I heard them say last night. James is falling for her!” Margaret hissed into quietly.
“I still think you’re seeing this all wrong, Margaret. I don’t think she could be that bad. And I don’t think that it’s James she’s interested in, or vice-versa.” Lacey said, noticing Alessa’s last glance at Sirius.
“Says the girl who’s watching her boyfriend from last year walk off into the halls with Alessa,” Angela shot off.

They sat down with the boys and Lily said quietly,
“Good morning James.”
“Morning, Evans. You all take it easy on Alessa last night? She’s new here and could use something besides boorish comments from you lot.” Lily turned crimson, thinking how unfair it was that she had finally discovered she liked James, only to have him taken away by some girl who hadn’t even been there two days.

“Why would she need the likes of us when she has all of you groveling at her feet!?!” then she stormed off.

“What in the blazes is wrong with her?” James asked, turning to Sirius.
“Women, mate. Who can ever know what they’re really thinking?” He was watching where Alessa had just walked away.

James had been watching Sirius and his reactions around Alessa, noticing that his friend had been acting differently towards her than he did with most people. As they headed to Muggle Studies he brought up what he’d been thinking.
“So, Alessa’s pretty nice,” then he waited for Sirius to reply.
“She’s more than nice. Bloody brilliant with that prank she came up with!”
“Yep,” James said, watching his best friend carefully.

“She’s different from any other girls… I mean she’s like one of the guys or something… I don’t know.” Sirius tugged at his shaggy hair, annoyed.
“Oh bloody hell, you like her!” James exclaimed, laughing as Sirius blushed, then added quietly, “I think I do. She’s… I don’t know yet, I’ll have to think on it. I just know that I’ve barely known her for 24 hours and yet I’m more interested in her than I have been in any girl I’ve met in the six previous years here. She’s the first real girl that I’ve ever met.” James smiled for his friend and slapped him on the back.
“I’m happy for you, mate.” James said as they headed into class.


________________________________________

***

Alessa had her arm strung through Remus’ as they walked to class and she eyed him over carefully.

“You’re looking less than cheery this morning. Was there something wrong with the prank? Does that put you in an awkward spot, as a Prefect?”

Remus smiled, but it stopped at his lips, his eyes reflecting sadness. “No, that was an excellent prank. James and Sirius will have quite the time topping it. I’m fine though.” She looked him over, suspiciously and as his eyes hit hers she could tell that he was lying.

“Okay,” she said, seeing that there was something he wasn’t telling her, but decided that when he wanted to tell her, he would, and let it rest as they entered their classroom.

The two of them snickered quietly as several confused Slytherins showed up to the class, only to be sent away after the Professor told them they didn’t have Runes until Wednesday.

As they went over their assignment Remus was surprised at how bright she was.
“I didn’t realize that Durmstrang pushed Runes as one of their studies.”

“They don’t. But my parents were educated at Hogwarts, so they did. My mum always said there’d be a day when I’d have something that needed reading and would regret not being able to read it. My mum was always prepared for anything. I suppose that’s what you do when you’re the daughter of Albus Dumbledore: you exceed expectations. Well, I guess she wasn’t prepared for everything.” Then she went quiet and looked away for a little while, staring at the ring on her right hand.

After class they headed towards the dungeons for Double Potions. She and Remus were greeted by James and Sirius, the latter of whom swung her up in his arms. More than a few girls glared at her enviously for being the center of Sirius Black’s attention.

“You are a genius! You should have seen Snivellus’ face when he showed up to Muggle studies. I thought he was going to spit fire!” Sirius exclaimed. He set her back down, all the guys laughing but she warned,

“Well, enjoy it while it lasts, you know McGonagall is already all over it.”

“Alas, all good things must come to an end. Off to the next prank! Speaking of which, here comes Snivellus now.” Severus Snape glowered at them and Alessa asked, “Woh! Who was that?”

“Severus Snape. A right nasty piece of work,” Sirius said. “And James doesn’t like him because he fancies Lily. Though Lily no longer fancies Snivellus that still doesn’t stop James here from getting his knickers in a twist over his presence.”

Alessa laughed and walked into the classroom with them. She sat with Sirius at a table where both were immediately assailed by the Slughorn, always on the lookout for new recruits to the Slug Club.

“Mr. Black, I see you’ve made friends with Miss Grindelwald. Most excellent! Perhaps you can escort her to the next party. I wouldn’t want either of you missing it. There will be some quite exceptional people there! Past students of mine, who just want to catch up with their favorite old teacher.”

“I would be happy to escort Miss Grindelwald anywhere she wishes to go,” Sirius said, smiling flirtatiously at her.

“Do you want pink hair too?” She muttered under her breath as the Professor walked away to start the lesson.

Slughorn, properly placated that his party would have two of his most desired students attending it went to commence with class.

“Alright, alright. Everyone settle down… Bellatrix, what are you doing here? You don’t have Potions until tomorrow.”

Bellatrix flushed, looking at her schedule and glared at everyone before she turned and angrily stormed away. James howled in laughter and patted Alessa on the shoulder.

“Thanks for that one, Alessa. That should get me through Double Potions.

“Yes, well…” started Professor Slughorn, “Today, we will be brewing Everlasting Elixirs as a refresher from last year and to dust of our brewing skills. Well, you have your partners, go ahead and start. I expect your results by the end of class and for your homework, two feet on the side effects of everlasting elixir and why it cannot be used to prolong human life.”

Alessa groaned and Sirius leaned close to whisper into her ear,

“You do realize that means that we’ll have to stay up late together researching this? I don’t want to jeopardize my career as an Auror by getting a bad grade in Potions.” Alessa met his gaze, amusement in her eyes.

“You’re so full of it Black! You know you’re brilliant at everything you try. Remus already updated me on how you and James are going to take over the world with you looks and your brains. So tell me, which of those attributes are you trying to use on me right now?”

“Both?”

“Well, sadly, they’re both failing you.” She smirked as she saw his smile fade. But not one to be discouraged, it reappeared a moment later,

“Did I mention I’m rich?” At this she actually laughed and said, “Okay, okay, I’ll work on the paper with you. Now I see why you have so many admirers going after you.”

“What, my good looks?” He cast his most charming smile.

“No. Your money,” She shot back at him, enjoying as his brow furrowed and he sulkily muttered, “3 eggs of newts, stir three times clock-wise.”

They decided to have lunch out under the oak, and were enjoying the sunshine when a book fell out of Peter’s bag. Alessa picked it up to hand it back to him and noticed the title,
“Animagi? That’s a bit above and beyond the normal call of study, Pettigrew. As far as I know only Dumbledore and McGonagall are able to transfigure themselves in this school.”



"Yes, well, Peter’s always had a bit of a crush on McGonagall. Probably just wants to know everything he can about her,” James laughed nervously.

“To each their own,” Alessa supposed and handed him back the book. As she leaned back against the tree she wondered out loud,

“How hard would it be to become an animagi? Sirius, you’re the best at transfiguration, or so I’m told. How hard would it be?” Her eyes gleamed with mischief. As Sirius stared at her he couldn’t help but think that she was even more beautiful when she was scheming.

“Well, if only two of our Professors can do it, it must be quite a feat.” Remus chimed in.

“I’d be a panther.” She decided as she looked up at the sky. “It would be amazing to be that free and strong and fast…” she drifted off into her thoughts. The guys all looked at one another nervously, then her eyes came back into focus,

“Although I suppose I should start smaller and it would be easier just to transfigure one of you into a toad. Maybe I’ll just work on that instead. I have no doubt it would give me immense pleasure.”

“As long as it’s not me: my beautiful face has been shaped by many generations of carefully planned weddings!” Sirius insisted with mock vanity.

Alessa was about to make a snide remark when she really looked him over and thought to herself about what a good job planning they had done. She blushed at her own thoughts and quickly replied,

“And just when I thought your narcissism had reached its highest level, you say something like that, and surprise me all over again.”

But when he looked back down at his lunch, she ran her eyes over him again, scrutinizing him. Sirius was taller and more muscular than the other boys, with hair as black as her own, a smile that obviously drove many a girl crazy, and grey eyes that were slightly haunted but also sparkling with other emotions. Yes, he was good-looking, and he knew it. Better that she not let him know her own thoughts on him. He already had enough attention from female admirers; she didn’t need to add herself to the ranks.

“Due to your vanity; I’d turn to a mirror and put you in Patsy Perville’s room.” She added for good measure, making sure he didn’t notice that she had been eyeing him suggestively. The guys groaned at the thought of the dreadful looking Slytherin girl.

“I’ll take the toad any day.” Sirius quipped quickly before she got any other evil ideas.

Lily and Angela were walking by the lake when they spotted the group near the oak tree. Lily grew red in the face and Angela said,
“I have an idea that should get her off of James for a while.” Lily looked at her friend nervously, but with curiosity as well.

“Why don’t we tell Rowan Upperton that Sirius is dating Alessa?”

Lily laughed at the thought, knowing how much Rowan worshipped Sirius, and how mad she would be at the thought of any other girl making a move on him. She would rally her friends to her cause to try and chase the new threat away. Rowan had thought that Sirius would be hers the second that he and Angela broke up last year.

“I don’t know, isn’t that a little harsh? I mean, we haven’t actually seen that James likes her…” Lily started then saw James throw his arm around Alessa’s shoulder as they got up for their next class.

“Do it.” She said, without another thought, her jealousy over-running her reason.

***



Alessa, Remus, Peter, James and Sirius entered Defense Against the Dark Arts, where Professor Moriarti awaited, standing at the front of the classroom.

“I know I am new here, so I don’t know how things normally work in this class. But before I begin teaching, I like to see what my students already know. I’m going to pair you up and we’ll have a contest of sorts. Last man standing with fifty points awarded to the House of the student who wins.”

Obviously oblivious to the rivalries among certain students in his class, he paired Margaret with Alessa, the former of the two smiling maliciously.

“A chance to get revenge and not get in trouble: this should be sweet.” Angela whispered to Lily.

Moriarti shouted, “Begin!”, but before Margaret could even get the words out of her mouth, Alessa had stunned her.

“Very good, Miss Grindelwald! Now, next we’ll have you face Miss Peters.”

Lacey stepped forward nervously and Alessa smiled encouragingly at her.

“Begin!”

“Stupify!” Lacey cried, but Alessa knocked it aside, then calmly incanted,

“Expelliarmus.” And Lacey’s wand flew from her hands.

“Wonderful, wonderful! Next… Miss Perville.” The Slytherin girl smiled maliciously at her, and James, Sirius, and Remus looked nervously at one another.

However, as Patsy threw her hex at Alessa, Alessa blocked it and counter with her own, “Levicorpus!” Patsy was hanging upside down and shouting to be put down.

“Very good. Hmm, perhaps one more before we give you a break. Miss Seethers should do nicely.” Angela had a dark look on her face that Sirius knew meant she wouldn’t play nicely.

Alessa decided that she would go easy on her, seeing as she’d already hexed her and she did have to share a room with the girl. But before the Professor could tell them to begin, Angela threw a hex at her. Alessa blocked it just in time as Angela threw another.

Incensed at the low blows Angela had decided to throw her way, all thoughts of playing nicely left her mind.
Alessa murmured something quietly and a bubble went up around Angela.

Angela began to float off the ground. Alessa smiled as Angela tried, to no avail, to cast hexes at her; but they just bounced off the barrier and everything she threw hit her instead of Alessa. By the time Professor Moriarti had the bubble back on the ground, Angela had bat wings for ears, boils erupting all over her skin, and a monkey tail. She was sent with Lacey to escort her to the hospital wing.

“Right then, let’s get some fresh blood in here and give Miss Grindelwald a rest: Mister Snape and Mister Potter.” Everyone drew in a breath and stepped further back to avoid getting accidently hexed.

As the two threw curses it was immediately noted that there was an air of violence about them the Professor had not anticipated.

After testing one another’s defenses for several spells, Severus threw a cutting curse at James; which he narrowly dodged, cutting his cheek, then James threw a total body bind on him.

“That was… quite informative. I didn’t realize you all had gotten so advanced in your studies under your last professor. Potter and Gobbin are next.” The rest of the duels went uneventfully, Remus disarming Lily only to have to face the wrath of James after. Then it was time for Sirius and James to face one another.

Alessa watched in awe at the speed of the curses, hexes, barriers, and counter-spells being thrown. She had never known that they could duel like this. Finally, Sirius disarmed James by throwing a powerful stunning curse through his shield.

“That was quite the sight to behold. Ladies and Gentlemen, you have all just witnessed two masters of dueling. And that leaves Miss Grindelwald and Mr. Black; unless you wish to forfeit, Miss Grindelwald. No one would think you foolish. Even I don’t think I’d fancy a duel with Mr. Black.” She smiled sweetly at Sirius as she walked up onto the platform.

“Thank you Professor, but I think I’ve finally found what I’m looking for in a man, and I’m not about to let him get away.”

“Don’t worry, Alessa, I’ll take it easy on you…”

“Funny, I was just about to promise the same to you.” She said, and both readied themselves.

Alessa found herself fighting harder than she ever had. Damn him for being handsome, clever, and quick. Couldn’t the man have a single flaw? She was sweating from the effort of keeping up with Black as he kept finding ways to push her harder.

Sirius was surprised himself. He had to actually fight like when he fought James. He had intended on just disarming her easily and soon found that their dueling had reached the point he and James had worked up to. He swore under his breath and ducked as she threw a body binding spell at him. She was powerful: more powerful than he’d ever have guessed from looking at her. Last time I judge a girl by how beautiful she is. He was momentarily distracted, thinking back to the beautiful the smile had been that she had cast at Cerian the other night. It was a special smile that she saved for the dragonling. He wondered if she’d have a special smile for him… “Bloody hell, are we dueling to the death?” he swore again as he blocked a curse just feet from his face, the curse exploding in an almost liquid flash of blue light.

Two of their spells hit unwary students, disarming them. Professor Moriarti quickly put up a shield to protect the other students from spells the duelists knocked sideways.

Alessa was breathing heavily, drained but damned if she was going to let him know it, much less win, when she felt an invisible force hit her and pin her against the wall. Sirius smiled that cocky smile of his and took a bow but as he did she shot one last jinx at him. Ropes wound around his legs and he fell over. When he released her she did the same for him. Sirius laughed and walked over to her, throwing an arm about her waist. She leaned against him and heaved accusatorily,

“You almost took my head off a couple times there.”

“It does have your mouth attached to it, and I imagined you’d be much more pleasant if you couldn’t talk as much.” She punched him in the kidney and he gasped, exclaiming; “Hey! Duel’s over!”

“I know. That’s for your mouth, and lack of ability to control what comes out of it.”

“You’re one to speak…” he started, but was cut off by the Professor’s loud appraise.

“BRAVO!” shouted Professor Moriarti. “Why, in all my years, I’ve never seen the talent that we have in this room! 100 points to Gryffindor: for opening my eyes to so many wonderful new duel strategies.”

The Slytherin members of the class groaned, but James ran up and kissed Alessa on the forehead, then jumped onto Sirius’ back, “Looks like we have someone else who could be joining us for Auror training this summer, Padfoot.”

Across the room, Lily darkened at the kiss that James had given Alessa and she began thinking up new ways to try and get that girl away from James.

Alessa eyes almost crackled fire at James’ suggestion. “I’d love nothing more than to spend my days cursing the hell out of some dark wizards.” Sirius saw the flash of anger in her eyes and knew she was thinking of her parents. He wondered what other secrets her eyes were hiding from him, for they had many layers to them, and made a note to try and get her alone and talking soon.

“I’m not sure her Grandfather will be too wild about her running around after dangerous wizards.” Remus added as he stepped in with them as they headed for the great hall.

“If he doesn’t like it then let him try and stop me. Besides, it’s not my grandfather’s style to discourage anyone from doing what they desire: even if it is dangerous. If he didn’t believe in taking dangerous chances, he never would have dueled Grindelwald and I wouldn’t even be here. So he’s not one to lecture.”

They continued talking as they walked towards the Great Hall for dinner. As they sat down at the table, Alessa felt a curse hit her and her scalp burn for a second. As she put her hand to her head she realized that her hair had been hexed off, leaving her bald. James, Remus and Peter looked at her horrified, while Sirius leapt to his feet, looking for the perpetrator.

Alessa closed her eyes and ran her hands over her head, as if she was running her fingers through her hair. As she did it, her hair grew back instantaneously. She shook her head and as it bounced she laughed and put her hand on Sirius’ arm.

“Come on. Sit down already, would you? It’s not like they hit your hair, which we all know would have been unforgiveable.” The glare he cast as he put his arm over her shoulder was a hostile one, and several people who had been laughing quickly stopped and got to looking busy.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m starved after all that dueling. I’ve never seen anything like you two! Do you spend your nights hexing one another or something?”

“Who wouldn’t want to hex James?” Sirius muttered in only a slightly lighter tone as they started eating.

Lily had been watching excitedly with Angela as Rowan threw the hair removing hex at Alessandra. Both were disappointed when it appeared that she wasn’t even shaken by the hex and even more so when she immediately grew her hair back. As if to spite them, her hair actually looked more luxurious than it had before being hexed from her head.

“That girl is severely annoying,” Angela muttered and dug into her food, “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to be called Bubble Girl? It’s like the whole damned school is in love with her. Not just James.”

Lacey sighed, “Angela, I hate to be the one to remind you, but you were the one who threw all the curses that hit you. She never actually touched you with one.”
“Are you siding with her?!?” Angela screeched. “Why don’t you just go sit with her then?”

Lacey had finally had it with all of the petty bickering being done by her friends and she grabbed her bag and stood up, furious, “Fine! Anything is better than sitting here and listening to you complain just because Sirius is showing attention to a girl other than you. And trying to manipulate Lily into hating her by placing insecurities in her head about James--- that’s low, even for you!”

As Lacey stalked off Angela turned purple and shouted, “Traitor!”

Lacey walked up to the part of the table that Alessa was sitting at and asked, “Hey guys, do you mind if I sit with you? My group is still a little worked up over the results of the duels today.”

“Certainly, take a seat!” Alessa excitedly moved over, almost shoving Sirius off the bench in the process. As Lacey surveyed her closely for the first time she noticed that the smile on her face was genuine and the look in her eyes was one of hope and what looked like loneliness. Lacey couldn’t believe that this was the girl that her friends were throwing so much anger and hatred towards. She felt ashamed of herself for taking part in some of the original gossiping that had been done about her.

“So, Alessa, you were amazing during the duels today! I’ve never seen anyone besides James give Sirius a run for his money.”

“I think James was far more impressive. I’m still convinced that Sirius took it a bit easy on me. I can always sneak into their room at night and hex him while he sleeps if he messes with me too much, so I think that held him back a bit.”

Sirius gasped in mock indignation, “That would not be very lady like, to be going into the boy’s dormitories at night. But I forgive you, since it is to see me. I can see that every time we part it pains you until we are reunited.”

Alessa rolled her eyes and continued talking to Lacey, “And you had a good amount of power behind your spell as well. I think that you just have to get the feel of it more and then you’ll be hexing the guys alongside of me.”

Lacey blushed and said, “No. I’ve never been good at Defense.”

“There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be. I’ve dueled quite a bit and feeling your power today, I was surprised that you were so easily disarmed. I think you just need to believe in yourself a little more and you’ll be there. Would you like to work with me on one of the weekends? I mean, not that you need my help, of course. I just really like to practice and thought, as long as I’m practicing, why wouldn’t you…? I think Sirius and James would be willing to help too if you’d like them to. Remus has a good hand for it as well. Maybe we should all go to the dueling room one day this weekend? It would be good to brush up on some skills.”

Alessa realized that she had been shooting out sentences as fast as she could to cover up how awkward she felt. This was one of the popular girls who had friends galore. She didn’t need help from Alessa, and was probably just too nice to tell her to sod off for being so nosy.

Lacey gave Alessa her first honest smile and before she realized what she was saying said, “You’re much nicer than I thought you’d be,” she blushed and continued with, “It’s just that, you’re really pretty and talented and funny… so I thought you’d be a lot more of a… well, you know.”

Alessa’s smile was a slightly melancholy one. “I hope that’s not what most people think. I am really enjoying the friends I’ve made so far and was looking forward to having some girlfriends here as well. It just hasn’t seemed like that was in the cards…”

“You can count me in.” Lacey said and took her hand in hers.

Alessa couldn’t believe how nice this girl was. She wondered what could have possessed Remus to ever break up with her. She suddenly felt lightened by the thought that this girl was one of her roommates. She would have a friend. A girl friend that she could talk to, and confide in… she’d never had one before. She barely contained her excitement and she absolutely glowed when Lacey took her hand.

Sirius caught himself staring at her again. Did she realize how beautiful she was when she wasn’t even trying? Did she realize the pull she had on him? He was afraid to look away from her at times, thinking he might miss her giving him a look that he so longed to see.

He shook his head and tried to clear his thoughts. He was Sirius Black; he didn’t care for girls, they just fell for him. What was he thinking with Alessa? Then as he watched her more he realized that, in his heart, he knew she was different from other girls. He started to understand why James was always thinking about Lily. Hell, he was starting to do it himself and he hadn’t known Alessa for six years, like James with Lily.

Alessa’s smile at Lacey made her like her even more, then Alessa added, “Thank you. And I will hold you to that. Now, Sirius and I have to be off now: detention for hexing our other roommates. See you all later in the common room.” Sirius rose with her and they walked from the Great Hall, making their way out of the castle and down to Hagrid’s cabin.

There was a trilling noise and scratches and as Hagrid opened the door, Cerian darted out and landed on Alessa, head butting her chin.
“Alessandra, you have no idea what a handful she’s become. She throws a tantrum every time I try and feed her and only stops pacing when you get here.”

“Well then, we’ll just have to feed her now. I wouldn’t want to risk her scorching off any more of your magnificent beard.”

“Aye, you have that right. She does have a habit of setting it a’fire. Now after we’ve fed her, you’d best get your cloaks on. We’re heading into the Forbidden Forest tonight.” Cerian hissed at that, as if understanding she had just gotten Alessa to herself, only to have her taken away again. Alessa looked at Hagrid and said,
“Maybe it’s time for our little one to stretch her wings outside.” Cerian trilled and wrapped her tail around Alessa’s throat softly, like a dragon sort of hug.

Sirius couldn’t help himself and belted out a laugh,
“You are the only girl I know that could enchant a dragon into being your friend.”

“Too bad it’s not as easy to do with girls.” Alessa growled, and Sirius nodded in agreement and silently starting brainstorming ways he could get the girls off of Alessandra’s back. He hated seeing her upset, and though she hid it well, he could tell that the other girl’s growing hatred of her really bothered her. It was strange, he thought, because they could have been friends with one of the sweetest, most intelligent witches in Hogwarts, and yet they were so distracted by her beauty, and so jealous, that they lost their chance at having a true and loyal friend.

Though he hadn’t known her long, he already had seen the qualities in her that convinced him that she was a loyal and good person. It was unfortunate that most girls would never know that, due to their own insecurities.

Cerian hopped around, excited at the thought of leaving the cabin. Alessa looked her in the eyes and the dragonling froze. They seemed to be communicating silently. Sirius wondered if that was even possible, and made a mental note of it to ask Remus later, if a human could communicate with a dragon. After all, if Parseltongues could speak to snakes was it so ridiculous to think one couldn't talk to a dragon.

Cerian trilled again and Alessa said, “Okay, let’s give this a go.”


________________________________________
Alessa and Sirius were walking back up from Hagrid’s cabin. Alessa was still smiling brilliantly at having taken Cerian out for her first flight. Sirius stopped her near the oak tree. He pulled her down to sit with him.

“What’re you doing?” she asked, resisting him.

“Relax. I’m not going to attack you or anything. Now sit down and shut up for a while and enjoy the beautiful night.” Alessa leaned back against the oak next to Sirius.

She confessed, as she relaxed into the grooves of his body, “This is nice. I had my parents, but Durmstrang was lonely for me. Friends were hard to come by there. And none were as amuzing as you all have turned out to be. I can actually breathe again without every breath hurting,” She looked into his eyes and said, “Thank you, Sirius.”

Sirius put his arm around her and pulled her closer to him, wrapping her in his cloak with him. She sounded like she was about to say something, then stopped and just snuggled closer to him, allowing her body to slide up against him. Sirius felt an overwhelming urge to kiss her, but didn’t want to rush her and scare her away just when she was starting to trust him.

So he contented himself with taking her hand in his. Much to his surprise, with her head against his chest and her hand in his, he felt totally sated. He’d always thought the only benefit of dealing with the hassle that came with girls was snogging, and here he was, holding a girl’s hand and smiling like an idiot.

He felt he had to talk to her, to make her understand that he wasn’t the kind of guy who trusted people, and that she was an exception to his rule about keeping up his walls. He thought back to the summer when he’d shown up at James’ house, covered in blood and bruises. At that moment he had promised himself he’d never let himself get hurt again, and since then had been regulating which people he allowed in his life.

“I’m taking a chance on you, Alessa. I’m going to trust you. Don’t screw me over,” Sirius said as he looked into her beautiful violet eyes.

She smiled up at him and asked, “Would you think it strange if I told you I was just thinking the same thing?” Then she curled back up against him and they sat together in a comfortable silence.

He was looking at her cascading black hair and before he knew it was running his fingers through it. It smelled wonderful and he was trying to place the scent when he realized she was staring at him for touching her in such an affectionate way.

He cleared his throat and said, “I was just wondering how you get your hair so soft? I mean, I’ve got to keep my locks in top condition so I don’t let the ladies down.”

Alessa chuckled and returned, “I hardly doubt any of them would turn you down just because of an off hair day. You’re practically being stalked by the majority of the female population. It’s kind of creepy, really. If any of them actually knew you I don’t think they’d want you do bad.”

Sirius drew his face back to look her in the eyes and she realized how offensive she had just sounded,

“I just mean that they seem to have a very different idea in their heads of who you are compared to who you actually are. And wipe that offended look of your face because that’s a compliment. I like who you are. I wouldn’t be friends with the guy that they think you are.”

“Please do explain who they think I am as opposed to how you see me.”

“Well… they see you as some rich, handsome, pure blood who will take them to the upper echelons of wizardling society. I see you as a smart ass git, who goes out of his way to make sure people see that side of him. I think deep down in there is a heart of gold. There’s pain in you that you try and hide from others with arrogance. I think that someone with eyes such as yours has seen and felt a lot of anguish: the kind that scars the heart. You have the ability to fiercely love and be loyal to those you trust with your heart… and destroy all those who hurt those you love. I like the man that you hide away from the world, Sirius Black. And I’m glad that you let me see that side of you, and not just the side that you show to the rest of Hogwarts.” As she put her head back against his chest, she felt that his heart rate had gone up a lot during her talk.

“Thank you, Alessandra. Thank you for letting me be myself. It’s new to me, to be able to be myself around anyone but James and Remus. Mostly James, actually. And I’m sorry for the circumstances that brought you here, but I am glad that you did. Now that I’ve had you in my life, I can’t imagine you not in it.”

She froze at those words, not daring to breathe after such a heart-felt admission. He must have meant as a friend… he was grateful to have her as a friend. He had to. He couldn’t possibly be attracted to her. He had dated Angela, easily one of the prettiest girls in school: though her personality left much to be desired… Could he have meant he was attracted to her?

The silence turned awkward so she punched him in the arm to break the silence and said,

“I’m bloody exhausted with all this feeling sharing and lack of sleep and having to be on constant guard from all the women of Hogwarts due to them thinking you’re snogging me. Can we head back up now? Maybe sneak into the kitchens…” Sirius smiled and nodded, rising with her and following her in.

They walked up to the Fat Lady and Sirius said, “Wimperwallows,” and the door swung open to find James and Remus sitting up, waiting for them.

“That was a long detention. You sure you two weren’t hiding around near the lake and snogging?” James asked; a giant grin plastered to his face as he tapped a piece of old parchment. Sirius flushed a deep scarlet as his eyes caught the paper.

Alessa laughed at this, trying to hide that she had been wishing Sirius would kiss her while she was wrapped in his cloak.

“I’d have to turn him into that toad first to make it bearable. What are you guys still doing up?”

Remus tapped his Potions book, “We’re working on that Potions paper that Slughorn assigned us. We have Potions tomorrow after lunch, remember?”

Alessa sighed, having let that paper slip her mind, “Ugh! I’m just going to grab my bag, mind if I join you guys?”

“Sure. Sirius, you going to work on it with us as well?” Remus asked, smirking, knowing well what the answer would be if Alessa was going to be present.

“Yeah, I’ll just grab my book and some parchment and I’ll be back.”

Within ten minutes of working on the paper, James was bored of waiting for the others to finish and sighed. He looked Alessa over and decided to trust her with a Marauder sacred secret.

“Alessa, how good are you at keeping secrets?”

“I haven’t told anyone that you’re secretly in love with Mulciber yet, so I suppose I’m decently good at keeping secrets.” The other two sniggered at the comment and James gave a mock exhale of exasperation.

“My darling Alessandra; we’ll get a civil tongue in that mouth of yours yet.”

“As long as the tongue you intend to place in my mouth doesn’t belong to you then that’s fine.” At this last comment they all broke out into laughter.

“Alright, I vote we trust her; ready for a little after midnight snack at the kitchens?”

“I’m bloody starving!” Sirius exclaimed, “All that manual labor in the Forbidden Forest. My aristocratic genes didn’t prepare me for such trials in life.”

Alessa just rolled her eyes then said, “Okay, let’s go. Shall I lead, or would you like to? I’m not sure if you’re up to avoiding Filch after all that heavy thinking you just did on your Potions homework, James.”

James looked at her shocked, “How do you know…?”

“Seriously Potter, for as brilliant as you are, you can be such a dullard sometimes. My grandfather is Head Master and I stayed here all summer. Try and piece that one together on your own.”

“Right then, well, why don’t Remus and I go for the provisions while you two attempt to get your assignment done before dawn?” And with that, the two boys headed off out the doorway, leaving the Fat Lady to grumble about how the youth these days were turning to rubbish.

It was Sirius’ turn to sigh and Alessa droned, “I’m starting to wonder if Angela and Margaret are worth this lack of sleep. Next time I hex someone, remind me not to do it with the entire staff watching.”

“Only if you promise to do the same for me. I’ll have you know, I was very well mannered before you showed up.”

“Not bloody likely, Mister Black. Unless, of course, there is a different Sirius Black that attends this school that my grandfather talked of so fondly of; while warning me not to get in on his pranks because they’re never ending.”

Sirius glanced at her from under his eyelids to see if she was being serious before he asked, “Dumbledore--- talks about me… and actually likes me?”

“Of course he does. You do realize that any other Head Master would have expelled you long ago, don’t you? The Marauders have brought my grandfather more amusement and joy than anyone else I can think of.” She said, reflecting on it silently. She saw that he still had an incredulous look on his face, so she added, “He really does care for you, Sirius. I have no reason to lie to you about this.”

“I’m just not used to having someone care for me.”

“Well, get used to it, because I care about you too; even though you make me want to hex you into next week more oft than not.”

“Admitting that you’re starting to get sweet on me, Miss Grindelwald?”

The look she shot him made his next comment freeze at his lips.

“I think you’ve got more than enough admirers, Mister Black. I’m not into the groupie thing.”

“Well then there’s always Snape…”

Looking thoughtful and she tapped her finger on her chin and stated, “Between the two of you? At this point I’d choose him. Now shut up so I can finish this.” Sirius looked indignant as he got back to working on his own paper, stealing glances at her.

“You do realize that I can see you watching me?” she inquired as she turned the pages of her book casually.

“Of course I do. I’m doing it to make you uncomfortable,” he replied, hoping she didn’t notice the crimson creeping into his cheeks. He thanked Merlin that James and Remus had just gotten back. They came with hot cider and donuts.

“Remus Lupin, I would offer you my hand in marriage for that tray of donuts,” Alessa proclaimed and he quickly passed the tray to her.

“If I’d had known it was that easy to get women, I’d have been stuffing Lily full of donuts for years now.” James said while he took a drink of cider.

“What is the deal with the two of you anyway? You seem like you’re chasing after her, she plays at detesting you yet secretly likes you. What’s the problem, why not just date already and put everyone else out of their misery?”

“Amen,” Remus agreed.

James coughed on his cider and asked earnestly, “She likes me?”

“Don’t be a dolt, James. Of course she does. Why do you think she’s been so rude to me since I arrived?”

She saw the confused look on his face and sighed, reminding herself she was dealing with boys so she better explain it slowly, “Because you took me under wing and she thinks that I’m trying to get with you.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because if she didn’t feel that way then I wouldn’t be facing a room full of hostile girls every night: none of the others like you so that leaves me to be the threat and therefore the hated one. And while we’re on the subject of guys dating my roommates, I have to say Remus; I can’t for the soul of me fathom why you would ever dump someone as sweet as Lacey.”

“It’s complicated.” Remus said, looking down at his donut, suddenly quite interested in it.

“I’ll leave that one be for now, but I can tell you still care about her from the way you look at her. If you ever want to talk about it just let me know. Things are usually less complicated than you think they are.”

“I’d like to talk about Lily some more!” James piped in eagerly and Alessa laughed at him,

“Why don’t you just ask her out?”

“In case you’re not up to date on our history, I’ve been doing that for six years… I’m still single. I would have thought that obvious.”

“Well, I doubt she’d say no this time around. Unless I’m totally blind and she just hates me for no reason then I think she’s angry at you because of me.”

Sirius grumbled, “When did we all start harping on our bloody feelings?” as he scratched away at his parchment.

“I’m a female. I would have thought you would appreciate the insight. Obviously not you, Sirius Black: Stealer and Breaker of All Women’s Hearts of Hogwarts. I’ll leave your wooing of the gentler sex to you, since you have mastered it so. Why, you could have any girl in this school at the drop of a hat. I declare thee, King of the Ladies of Hogwarts’ Hearts! Rule them wisely my King, they are at a delicate age and tend to break their hearts easily.” She fake knighted him with her donut then took another bite and went back to work on her paper.

Sirius scowled at this and mumbled something that Remus’ above average hearing caught. “Everyone but the one I want.”

Remus’ eyes ran from the moody Sirius to the unaware Alessandra and he smiled to himself.

James started to ask her something else about Lily but she pointed her wand at his mouth. A “CLOSED” sign went over his lips so he couldn’t talk and his eyes got large as he looked at her.

“Anybody else feeling chatty while I’m attempting to finish my paper? No? Good.” She removed the sign and Remus and James, getting the idea, stood to leave.

“Well, we’re done. You two have a lovely night and we’ll see you in the morning.”

“Night gentlemen,” James and Remus both hugged her and Alessa hugged them back hard, enjoying; for the first time in a long time, the feeling of being truly cared for (besides her grandfather and he was required to love her, and consequently didn’t count).

She sat back down and Sirius scooted closer to her, but didn’t started talking or bothering her, just continued working on the paper alongside her. He watched a smile creep across her lips and knew he hadn’t pushed her too much.

He liked her but he wanted to let her make her own choice about him. He didn’t want to risk losing her, which surprised him. All the other girls he’d dated he couldn’t wait to be rid of. They were always demanding more of his time and wanting him to stay in with them, instead of hang out with his friends. Worst of all were their constant needs they expected him to fufill: they wanted to go for romantic dates in Hogsmeade that he always felt dragged along on(he shuddered involuntarily at the memory of Madam Puddifoots), they wanted flowers, compliments, candy. All in all they weren’t worth the work he put in, he’d decided.

They never once considered what would make him happy. And they always were getting upset because he was forgetting their one week anniversary, or three week anniversary. Honestly, how many bloody times did they expect him to buy them gifts just for asking them out and not dumping them?

He found himself wondering what would happen if he brought Alessa roses; for no other reason than to give her roses.

“Staring,” she said again, but with a slight smirk on her face.

He blushed and went back to his assignment. He finished his paper a little bit sooner than her and leaned against the chair near the fire. The clock chimed, alerting them that it was midnight. Alessa walked over to him when she finished and sank down exhausted against him.

Without thinking about it, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her closer to him, so her head leaned against his chest and she was cradled against his body.

She loved the smell of him. He smelled of the deep forest and something like the wetness of rain, a familiar smell that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. The feel of his strong body against hers, holding her, was comforting. She felt safe in these arms. She felt safe with him. She gone on dates with guys before, but she had never felt this at home with a guy. Sirius was a man to hold onto, she told herself.

He never required her to be anything other than herself. For this, she was grateful to Sirius. She felt his heart beating against the side of her face and as her hand went to his chest she felt it pick up in pace. She smiled slightly; at least he was attracted to her, if nothing else. That was a start. It was the beat of his heart and his comforting scent that lulled her to the brink of sleep.

“This certainly has been an eventful couple of days. Is it always this exciting?” she asked him while trying to stifle a yawn.

“Things have definitely picked up a bit since you’ve started here, but we Marauders promise to keep you on your toes in anticipation.”

“I just hope I’m in on most of the pranks. You guys are quite original and I will be personally offended if left in the dark!”

Sirius liked her even more for that. She was stunning and smart, yet she was also able to just be one of the guys and pull pranks with them.

He thought of proposing to her at that moment, for he was certain there had never been another girl made as perfect as she. They just fell silent then, staring at the flames, each absorbed in their own thoughts, unaware that they were both thinking of each other.

Soon, Sirius heard her breathing rhythmically and knew she had fallen asleep. She stirred a little, her face turning in so he could feel her warm breath on his neck. He ran his finger lightly along her cheek bone, then closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, enjoying the warmth of her body against his.

He awoke to her thrashing and his immediate reaction was to control her before she could hurt herself, and pinned her arms and legs. One arm got free and she hit him in the mouth, giving him a bloody fat lip.

“No… no please, I’ll come with you, just don’t… mum no! No please, dad…!” and then she shrieked out a sound so inhuman he imagined that was what a soul sounded like when it ripped apart. He felt a wave of magic pass from her through him and the far window shattered to pieces. She was so deep and terrified in this dream that she wasn’t controlling her magic!

He cast the Muffliato charm and shook her, “Alessa! Alessandra! Wake up!” She shot up so fast that she head butted him. But he didn’t let her go. Her eyes were wild, tears streaming down her face.

“He wants me. That’s what he wants. He killed them to get to me. I watched him kill them!” she sobbed, collapsing into his arms.

“Shh, shh, Alessa, it was only a dream…”

“It wasn’t a dream… it was more… I want to see my grandfather. I need to see him! His pensieve… he will want this. It will help him…”

“Maybe if you just try and sleep…” But she was beyond being reasoned with. She clawed at him frantically, trying to get away from him and he realized, even though he could physically restrain her, she wasn’t about to fall back asleep.

He helped her to her feet and led her to Dumbledore’s office. She was white as a ghost and trembled so violently that he didn’t dare let her walk on her own.

“Pumpkin Pasties,” Sirius called out, and the door opened up.

Dumbledore was pacing his office quietly talking to himself when he looked over to see Alessa on the point of collapsing. He rushed over to her and put his hands to her face, then gathered her into a hug and she began weeping uncontrollably.

“He breached my mind: Voldemort. He showed me how he killed mum and dad. He told me it was their fault. They could have lived if they had given me to him. Is that true?!” she demanded.

She was hysterical at this point and Sirius didn’t trust that she was in enough control of her emotions not to strike out with whatever means she had about her. He quietly and softly slipped her wand from her pocket.

“Let me see what you have seen.” She nodded and Dumbledore put his wand to her and said, “Legilimens!” Alessa let him enter her mind without fighting back and Dumbledore saw her entire dream that wasn’t a dream. He felt Tom Riddle there, laughing at him. When the vision ended he took a step back to look at her.

Her eyes rolled up in her head and she fainted, but Sirius had been ready for this and quickly caught her up in his arms.

“Take her to Madam Pomfrey for a calming draught please, Sirius. And thank you for bringing her to me.” Dumbledore turned towards his pensieve.

“That’s it, a draught? She just watched her parents get murdered and you’re sending her away; even though you’re her last living relative? How can you be so cold…”

He had never seen Dumbledore angry until that moment.

“I just relived my own daughter’s death! And killed by a student that I personally brought to this school and helped to teach, allowing him to turn into the monster that he is. Do you think that it was an easy thing for me to see? And Ian Grindelwald, Alessandra’s father; whom I took into my own house and raised as my own since he was four. Both children I loved have been taken from before my eyes, and I’ve had to grieve in silence so that I don’t disturb my granddaughter: put her through even more than she’s been through. Don’t think that I don’t care what she’s going through. Don’t think that for a minute. But I need to be strong for her, and right now I can’t. So please, I am asking you with all my heart, take her to the hospital wing.”

Sirius nodded in shock and walked out of the office, hearing Dumbledore’s uneven breathing as he left. He paused, looking at the unconscious Alessa and said quietly, “It wasn’t a dream, was it?”

“No, Voldemort violated her mind. He forced his memories on her. It’s an experience a thousand fold more horrible than any nightmare, for it was real.” With that Sirius nodded and walked from the room, holding Alessa so tightly to him that he left finger imprints on her: as if he could shield the Dark Lord from her thoughts with his own body.

Madam Pomfrey awakened Alessa and gave her a calming draught.

“There you go, my dear. Now, I’m going to recommend you stay here…”

“No thank you, Madam Pomfrey. Sirius can see me back to my dormitory. I’ll be fine. Classes will start in several hours…”

“There’s no need. I’ll excuse you…”

“No!” she shot angrily, then caught herself and added, “No thank you. If I need more medicine I promise, I will come to you. Thank you again, Madam Pomfrey.”

The woman still looked doubtful, so Sirius added, “I promise, I’ll drag her here myself if I see that she needs any more medical attention.”

The Madam nodded, “I’ll trust her to you, Mr. Black, but only because I know how well you take care of Mister Lupin after his bouts.”

Sirius’ eyes shot to Alessa to see if she had caught that, but she hadn’t seemed to have been listening. Madam Pomfrey allowed them to leave. Sirius offered her his arm and she climbed from the bed and walked alongside him down the corridors and up the stairs.

The hollowness in her eyes scared him. In the short time he’d known her they’d always burned with passion. Now they were as lifeless as if she had been struck with the Imperius curse.

They reached the common room and she attempted to walk to her staircase, but as if the effort of doing that had drained her of her very last bit of strength, she just sank to the floor and stared off at nothing.

Sirius took initiative at her indecisiveness and swung her up in his arms again and carried her up his own stairway, to the Seventh Year Boy’s floor.

He opened the door and heard Remus mutter, “Sirius, are you just getting in?”

“Yes. Alessa is with me, so cover up what you don’t want seen. She… she can’t be left alone right now.” Remus heard the quaver in his friend’s voice and quickly got up and walked over to Sirius’ bed. He tilted her head up to look into her eyes and Remus shuddered and looked at Sirius for explanation, but the look Sirius gave him told him he’d fill him in later.

Remus hugged Alessa up to him and whispered into her ear, “No matter how alone you feel, you know we are here for you.”

A single tear slid down her cheek and she muttered something that sounded like, “I as good as killed them myself.” Remus just kissed her cheek, his heart aching for the pain that was etched across her beautiful face then walked back to his own bed.

Sirius felt like he was handling a newborn with how careful he was being and how complacent she was acting. He slid her robes over her head, that were still dirty from detention, and he gave her a thick jumper of his along with a pair of pajama bottoms. He turned his back so she could take off her own dirty clothes and he changed and climbed into bed next to her.

He thought for a second, how strange it was that he hadn’t even tried to turn and peek at what she looked like with her clothes off. He had certainly been wondering it before her nightmare.

He shook his head, I must really be losing my touch with the ladies. Then it hit him hard; or I actually like her. He saw that she had climbed into his bed and he stopped thinking about his attraction to her and he climbed in after her, wanting nothing more than to make sure she felt safe after what she’d been through.

She immediately clung onto him like he was the only thing keeping her ground to this earth. He felt her hot tears spilling onto his chest and his ran his hand over her forehead, knowing that not saying anything was the right thing to say right now. Soon her sobs died off and her breathing evened out and he knew she was asleep. He stayed awake to make sure that her vision didn’t return.

***

At 8, Alessa awoke and slid out of the bed silently. She walked down the staircase and into the commons room, which lit up with gossip when they saw where she’d come from and what she was wearing. She didn’t even notice it, her mind too numb to perceive anything around her as she gathered her and Sirius’ school work and headed up to get her school bag.

By 9, Sirius had deduced she wasn’t in her room and he headed to Transfiguration, which started at 9:30. When he entered the classroom he saw her sitting there, still looking hollow. She had no makeup on and her hair was in a knot of a pony tail. People began to whisper more as he came and sat next to her: Remus on her other side and James at the seat behind her with Peter.

Lacey leaned over to James and asked him, “Is she okay?” The concern on her face was sincere, so James didn’t tell her to bugger off.

“I don’t know.” He said, honestly.

Even McGonagall, who normally kept the same, chilly look upon her face, looked worried as her eyes rested upon Alessa.

Alessa handed Sirius his Potions book and said, “You forgot this on the table. The homework is folded up inside of it.”

He nodded his thanks and brushed some of the hair out of her face. She had dark circles under her eyes and he noticed that she had just thrown her robes on over his pajamas he had given her. She jerked her head away, as if his touch burned her, and began taking notes on what McGonagall was saying.

After Double Transfiguration they had Potions with Slughorn.

As she walked into the room she heard people snickering at her expense, but she couldn’t summon the will to care. They handed in their assignments and then were assigned Mandrake Draught Potion to make.

As Slughorn passed by her he leaned over and whispered something into her ear, but she shook her head and said, “No, I’ve already seen Madam Pomfrey. I’m fine to continue with class today.” Slughorn nodded with a sad look in his eye and he continued stalking the classroom, observing other students progress.

As soon as class was over, James put her arm through his and led her towards the dining hall, using his glare to shield her from the nasty rumors that were flying around about her.

When they entered, Lacey pulled Sirius and Remus to the side.

“Word spread that she stayed with one of you guys last night. And she looks like hell right now, so the rumor mill is going to town. You might want to eat lunch by the lake today.”

“Thanks Lace.” Sirius said, squeezing her arm.

“I don’t know what happened, but I know that someone doesn’t look that traumatized for no reason. Please, just get her out of here before…”

“Slut!” someone coughed while walking by the table. Sirius turned purple with Remus just behind him was a lighter shade of his purple complexion.

James was fingering his wand and eyeing the room to figure out who had spoken when Angela asked loudly,

“So, which one of them did you shag last night? Was it James? You two seem pretty cozy right now…”

Sirius was at her throat instantly and James and Remus had their wands pointed at Margaret, while Lacey had hers trained on Lily.

“You don’t get to speak about her. You’re not even one tenth of the woman she is…”

“Obviously! She must be amazing in the sack if she’s got you putting me at wand point.” Angela sneered, ignoring Sirius’ wand.

Margaret glared at Lacey and spat, “Why, you little traitor! You think Remus will take you back if you side with his new friend? You don’t care at all about our friendships?”

Lacey, normally the nice one spat poisonously, “Right now, no. You’re being petty and cruel. Alessandra has never done anything to deserve your scorn. You gave it to her from the moment you met her. I won’t be a part of your blind hatred anymore.”

Alessa stood and put her hand on James and Sirius’ arms and lowered their wands,

“She doesn’t know true pain yet. She’s just an ignorant, silly child, playing grown up. Leave her be. I’m sure she’ll know soon enough. We all will.” She said ominously.

Then she turned from them and walked over to Lacey and asked,

“Would you care to have lunch with me today?”

“Of course, thank you.” And Lacey looped her arm through Alessa’s protectively, her wand still out and her eyes daring someone to say something.

As the boys turned to leave Margaret and Angela threw a hex at Alessa that hit her at the same time. She was knocked to the ground and Lacey with her, catching some of the hex too.

All three boys turned and shot spells back at the two girls. Both were body bound, gagged, and hanging upside down in the air. Lily looked as if her heart was breaking when James cast a look at her that was pure loathing then turned back towards Alessa.

Alessa had stood up and was helping Lacey to her feet. Lacey cried out as she had a painful rash erupting all over her face, but Alessa began singing an incantation and running her hands over Lacey’s skin, and to everyone’s surprise, the rash disappeared. Then she tended to her own boiling skin.

After she had healed both of them she continued to walk out the door with Lacey as Professor Flitwick and McGonagall descended upon the three boys. The three stood their ground, not looking the least bit remorseful for what they’d done.

***

Lacey watched as Alessa easily scaled the tall oak, then leaned down and offered her a hand, helping pull her up to the branch.

“Thank you, for sticking up for me. Those were your friends and you didn’t have to.” Alessa said quietly.

“Yes I did. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t? I already didn’t like the conclusions they were jumping to about you. Today was too far. Anyone can see that… well, you’re not feeling well has nothing to do with where you slept last night.”

Alessa nodded and said, “You’re the first girl who’s ever been kind to me.”

“That can’t be true. You’re wonderful! Why surely at Durmstrang…?”

“No,” Alessa laughed bitterly “The Professors and a few of the guys were friendly towards me, but mostly I was alone there too. This is the first time I’ve had true friends in my life, at least friends my age.” Alessa said, smiling sadly.

Lacey looked at her uneasily before asking,

“Feel free to tell me if I’m out of line… but what exactly did happen to have you exchange here? I’ve heard you were expelled; that your parents couldn’t control your wild streak anymore; that Dumbledore decided you were getting too into the Dark Arts; that you were cursing non-pure bloods…”

Alessa laughed at the irony of that last statement, “My parents were murdered for protecting non-pure bloods and muggles. My grandfather is the only family I have left.”

“Alessa, I’m so sorry. I had no idea. Everything about you has been kept so quiet…”

“I know. I wanted it that way. I already have enough of a legacy with Grindelwald for one grandfather and Dumbledore for the other. I didn’t need anything else about my life getting out.”

Lacey felt really guilty now for having ever felt any animosity towards this girl, who was obviously just hurting and trying to fit in. It wasn’t her fault that the other girls were jealous of her, and if they had bothered to get the chance to know her, they would have realized how wrong they were.

Alessa found that she liked Lacey and was curious to know more about her. Any girl that was brave enough to stand up to her friends when they were acting in the wrong was someone to be valued.

“Lacey, will you tell me about your family? If we’re to be friends I feel I should know more about you.” Alessa said, leaning against the tree again.

Lacey nodded and obliged, “I’m a half-blood. My mum’s a witch and my dad a muggle. My older brother, Henry, graduated from here three years ago and works in the Ministry of Magic in France now. My mum works at St. Mungos as a Healer for Spell Damages. That’s why I was so impressed that you healed the rash without wand or potion. My mum will want to hear about that. And thank you for that, it burnt like hell fire!”

Alessa smiled and the two just sat there in silence, Lacey eating while Alessa picked at her food. She was grateful to have someone who would just sit with her and let her be.

They both headed to Herbology after lunch was over and saw that James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter had sat on the far side of the room from Lily, Margaret, and Angela.

Alessa and Lacey joined the guys, taking the seats they’d saved for them.

“You shouldn’t have done that! What was the sentence?” Alessa scolded Sirius.

“A light one; two more detentions, while our friends at the other table have two weeks of McGonagall and Professor Sprout for throwing spells at you two with your wands away and backs turned.” The girls glared over at them and Lacey sighed angrily.

Alessa gave her a slight smile and said, “Don’t let them get to you. If they’re really your friends they will be begging for your forgiveness before the day is out.”

“You clearly don’t know Angela and Margaret.” Lacey mumbled under her breath. All the boys grunted in assent.

Herbology passed uneventfully, learning about proper extraction of gillyweed and where it is best to harvest it. Their homework assigned, class was dismissed and Alessa and Lacey headed up with the boys to the dormitories to change for dinner.

Sirius took her hand in his and said,

“I’ll be waiting for you when you’re done with your shower. We’ll go to dinner then head off to our detention together.”

“Okay, thanks Sirius. And James and Remus, I am really sorry again for your detentions.”

“Are you kidding? I’m going to enjoy it. I’m cleaning the third floor. Never know what you’re going to find up there!” James joked, then took her in his arms in one of his comforting hugs and said, “Hang in there Alessa.” Remus kissed her forehead. She realized that in the few days she’d known them, she’d become better friends with these people now surrounding her then anyone in all of her years at Durmstrang.

Luckily, none of the other girls had arrived at their room yet, so Alessa showered while Lacey changed into her street clothes. When Alessa came out the girls were all in the room and had cornered Lacey.

“Back off of her!” She snarled in a very threatening voice.

The three whirled to look at her and Margaret shot, “It’s none of your business. She’s our friend…”

“That’s a strange idea of friendship you have. If you mess with her I will stop being so kind with my hexes towards you. You do realize that my grandfather was Gellert Grindelwald? Do you really think that all of his brilliance wouldn’t be passed down to his bloodline? Cruel brilliance is my legacy and my specialty. So feel free to mess with her again, but I warn you that even Madam Pomfrey won’t be able to patch you up when I’m done with you, if you do.”

She opened her trunk and pulled out a pair of jeans and a warm sweater with a hood and changed and Lacey walked over to sit on her bed, clearly uncomfortable with the glares of her other roommates. Then she picked up her wand and went to leave. The other girls had been shocked and scared into silence momentarily.

“Just stay away from James!” Lily shot at her.

At this point, Alessa was fed up and she whirled back to face her accuser,

“Half the school already thinks I’ve slept with him! The other half are betting on Sirius or Remus… so maybe I should just go for it, since you’re accusing me of it behind my back. I’ll let you know how he is!” And with that she grabbed Lacey and stormed out of the room, slamming the door.

Alessa barely touched her dinner and Sirius watched her with concern then noticed her slipping a steak into a bag and his eyebrow shot up. She scowled at him and he saw a glimmer of her old self in her eye that made his heart leap with happiness.

As they headed out of the castle towards Hagrid’s Alessa set a rigorous pace. She burst through the door and Cerian leapt onto her. Alessa laughed for the first time since her vision. She sat on the floor near the fire and Cerian perched in front of her and snatched the steak from her hands, then curled up on her like an oversized lapdog and began tearing at the meat.

Hagrid welcomed them and handed them each a butterbeer, “I’m sorry but I have to go into the Forest tonight on secret work and cannot be havin’ the likes of you two along to worry m’self over.”

“What are you up to this time, Hagrid? Going to see an old spidery friend? Or round up a Hippogriff, perhaps a unicorn has been born…?” Alessa questioned curiously, her eyes still sad, but her attempt to coax secret information from Hagrid made Sirius feel better.

“Now, Alessa, what kind of friend would I be to Dumbledore if I told others whenever he asked me for a personal favor?” both their eyebrows raised as they looked at Hagrid, who gulped nervously and said,

“You look tired, why don’t you both get some rest while I’m out…? I’ll be back before you know it. Just stay in here.” Then Hagrid shut the door and tromped off into the woods.

“Well that was quite mysterious. Remind me to search his thoughts when he comes back to see what my grandfather’s up to.”

“You can read thoughts?”

“I am a Legilimens, albeit nowhere near as brilliant as my grandfather, but he thinks if I keep working on it then I’ll be able to use it more accurately. My father was excellent at anything to do with reading thoughts and was teaching me. But it doesn’t work on someone who’s as skilled in Occlumency as my grandfather so it would be easier to do on Hagrid if we want to know what Albus is up to.”

Cerian nipped at Sirius’ hand as it made its way around Alessa’s waist. He withdrew it, yelping in pain and glaring at the dragonling. Cerian raised herself on her haunches and glared right on back.

“Well Sirius, would you look at that! A female who is immune to your charms,” Alessa burst out laughing.

“It would appear there are two of those in the room.” She continued to laugh, but took the sting out of her words by leaning up against him, adding,

“Oh shut up on it already. You know you’re gorgeous and can have your pick of girls. Now, as interesting as your love life is, I wouldn’t mind sleeping through this detention. So if you have no further comments to add…”

“Just keep that little beast’s teeth away from me and I’d be happy to stay quiet.” Alessa snickered again, and made eye contact with Cerian, who let out a tiny stream of steam in agitation, but curled up on Alessa and fell asleep.

Alessa soon joined the dragonling in sleep, but Sirius was too nervous after last night to fall asleep. He watched over her for any sign that she was having that nightmare again, hoping he could wake her before she was too far into it. But by the time Hagrid was back, she was still asleep and hadn’t shown signs of her thoughts being invaded. She was out so heavily, that Sirius bid Hagrid good night and swung her up in his arms, not wanting to wake her.

They reached the common room and only James, Remus, Peter, and Lacey were still awake, awaiting them. Alessa whimpered in her sleep and pulled tighter onto him. He moved towards the couch and sat down on it, laying her so she was stretched out. He conjured up a blanket and draped it over her.

“I don’t think we need any more rumors of her coming from our room.” He said as James walked over to him.

Lacey walked up as well and gently touched her new found friend’s hand and smiled at Sirius.

“Sirius Black, who would have guessed that you were capable of caring?”

“Just don’t let it get out. I’ve got the reputation of a cold hearted bastard to maintain.”

Lacey laughed lightly, and touched Alessa’s hand softly to say good night then turned and walked up the stairs, waving good night to the boys.

Remus and James both looked Alessa over, concerned, but nodded to Sirius and headed up to their room, not wanting to chance waking her. He saw Peter’s eyes running over her in a way that made Sirius’ eyes blaze. Peter met Sirius’ gaze and quickly scampered up the stairs.

There was something severely off with that kid. He couldn’t place his finger on it, but every so often he got a really bad feeling about him. Peter had always been quiet and slightly strange, but this year it felt as if he was up to something. He made a note to himself to keep a better eye on him.

***

Alessa awoke and looked around her, momentarily dazed: how had she made her way to the common room? She looked up and saw Sirius was sitting with her; asleep. He looked so much less guarded in his sleep.

She knew of his family from Dumbledore, who had told her that though the Black family was renowned for their cruelty, Sirius wasn’t anything like them. She didn’t know all of the details of how he came to be estranged from his family, but saw several scars on his handsome face, and wondered what had made him into a man with such a tough exterior.

He wasn’t as malicious as he liked people to think he was. She saw that he put on a good show, and obviously people believed him from the amount of respect and fear she saw in other student’s eyes when they looked at him, but she also saw that a lot of this was a façade.

Not that he was someone to be trifled with. She shivered as she thought of the power she felt emanating from him as they dueled, wondering who could survive him if he lost his temper.

He had a striking, almost beautiful face that was very capable of being cold and intimidating. But in sleep, it was vulnerable.

Without even thinking about what she was doing, she leaned up and kissed him softly on the lips. His lips were so soft and welcoming. A warmth spread through her as she sealed her mouth to his and she found that she couldn’t pull away.

Sirius awoke as if in a dream. Alessa was before him, gently kissing him. He couldn’t believe it and wondered if he was still dreaming. Realizing he was awake, she pulled away, blushing. But before she could make up an excuse, he pulled her back to him and kissed her with a passion he had been holding back since he first saw her.

To his surprise, her lips met his as eagerly as his own, as if hungry for this kiss. She ran her fingers through his hair and he pulled her onto his lap, tightening his grip on her. She gently slid her tongue against his lips, coaxing his mouth open, so she could kiss him deeper. Her kiss was intense, it almost felt as if she was claiming him as hers, with just her lips.

As his blood ran hot he realized that he was being seduced. He had had many girls try to seduce him before, and had laughed off their attempts. But here he was, with a girl he’d never dreamed he’d be able to kiss, and she was seducing him. She pulled back for a moment and they just stared at one another. His eyes showed his shock, and Alessa thought she’d made a mistake. Maybe he hadn’t really wanted to kiss her, but felt bad and so returned her kiss…

Then the look in his eyes changed as they travelled to her lips. His own mouth curled up at one side in a very sexy smile then he leaned her back into the couch, kissing her voraciously. His hands travelled to her hips, where the bone slightly protruded and he roughly ran his thumbs in circles over them. She gasped lightly against his lips and Sirius smiled, enjoying the feeling of making her gasp in pleasure. Her hands grabbed at him with more zeal, pulling his neck and shoulder to bring him closer to her.

That was when they heard a girl gasp, and both looked up from their spot on the couch to see Lily Evans coming in from her nightly rounds.

Sirius refused to let Alessa pull back out of his reach and held her in an iron tight grip.

“Evans, I think it’s about time for a friendly chat,” he said in his most casual voice and nodded towards the chair across from them. He let Alessa slide up to a sitting position, but did not relinquish his hold on her. He’d just gotten to kiss the girl of his dreams, he wasn’t about to let her slip away, as dreams had a tendency of doing. She scowled darkly at him, but he wouldn’t let her run away from this confrontation.

“What do you want, Black?” Lily asked warily as she sat down, her wand at the ready.

“Just to introduce you to my girlfriend; and seeing as how Alessa is the faithful sort of girl, I would assume that James will not be dating her as well, which means he is free for you to date. Now that we’ve cleared the air of who Alessa is dating, would you mind laying off my girlfriend?”

“What…? I…?” Lily blushed and started, but Sirius, clearly used to being in control said,

“You’ve treated her terribly and you know it. I understand that you were jealous because you thought she was trying to get James from you. But now that you know that to be false, I think that you owe her an apology.”

Alessa stepped in and said, “She doesn’t owe me an apology. I would defend the man I love as well. But she does owe an apology to Lacey, who has done nothing besides not go along with something she didn’t agree with.”

Lily felt a wave of shame wash over her and looked Alessa straight in the eye,

“No, I owe both of you girls an apology. It was stupid and childish of me to be upset over James being friends with you. So Alessa, I’m hoping we can start fresh and you can find it in your heart to forgive me for being so immature and cruel. And I will apologize to Lacey as soon as we wake up.”

Alessa walked across the room and Lily braced herself for whatever was coming, wondering if she dare cast a shielding charm between them.

But nothing prepared her for what Alessa did.

Alessa bent down and hugged her and whispering, “Thank you. I knew any girl that James loved could not be anything but wonderful. Now would you hurry up and ask him out so we don’t have to deal with all of these jealousy issues anymore?”

Lily laughed and said, “I suppose I could give it a try. I’m going to bed. I’ll see you in a while?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at Sirius.

“Yes, you will.” Alessa reassured her, and then went to sit back with Sirius.

She tackled him to the couch and pinned him, “If you ever try and speak for me again, I’ll seal your mouth shut. I am perfectly capable of…” but Sirius silenced her by kissing her.

She sighed against his lips and then saw the smirk on his face and saw he had kissed her to shut her up. She got up and walked towards her stairs and he caught her wrist.

She spun around and pinned him with a speed and strength he hadn’t guessed her capable of. Her kiss was ravenous and fiery. It left him breathless. As she pulled away it was her turn to smirk,

“You look like you’ve just had the wind knocked out of you, Black.” She leaned up and kissed him more lightly on the lips this time and said, “Good night, Sirius. Dream of me tonight,” then walked up her stairs.

Sirius stood in a state of shock, watching her go. He almost followed her up then caught himself, remembering about the stairs. He stumbled up his own stairs and made his way to his room.

James saw the look on his face and shouted, “Oi! Remus, someone just snogged his dream girl. Wake up! Look at his face.”

Remus quickly sat up, rubbing his eyes then laughed as Sirius sat down on his bed, still not really hearing them. Suddenly he looked up at his friends and the goofiest grin broke out across his face.

“She kissed me!”


“That’s bloody obvious.” James scoffed and threw his pillow at Sirius. The pillow hit him in the face and Remus added, “Must have been a brilliant kiss. He looks like he’s been stunned!” Sirius just nodded then scowled at the two.

“I’m going to bed. I have better things to do than listen to you two twits go on about a kiss.”

“Like what? Dream of Alessandra?” James teased, but as Sirius closed his curtains, his lips still tasting of her, he knew that was exactly what he’d be doing tonight.





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