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Introduction:

harry potter fanfiction
Sirius tossed and turned for a few minutes, trying to let sleep come to him; but knew that it wouldn’t. Finally he gave up on it and an idea came to him. He took out the map and pointed his wand at it, “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” Then he grabbed his cloak and headed down to the tunnel that would lead him to Hogsmeade and thanks to his newly acquired ability to apparate, to London. He was on a mission.

***

Alessa got out of the shower the next morning and found that Lily was sitting with Lacey, talking quietly to her. She saw the two girls hug and smiled to herself. She got dressed for the day and Lily approached her cautiously and asked,

“Hey Alessa, I was just wondering if I could join you and Lacey for breakfast?”

“We’d love that.” Alessa said, a heart-felt smile alighting on her face to reassure the obviously nervous Lily. And with that the three girls headed down the stairs to the common room.

Margaret and Angela glared icicles at their retreating backsides, and turned to one another, brainstorming more ways to get rid of the new girl.

Alessa frowned when she noticed Sirius wasn’t with the guys, but started talking over her own translation of the Runes assignment with Remus. When they got to the table and sat down Alessa found she was famished and started digging into her breakfast, still curious as to where Sirius was. Had he thought that last night was a mistake? Had he only kissed her to get Lily to quit being cruel to her?

The owls came in with the post and a package dropped in front of Alessa. She looked at it curiously because she didn’t have any family besides Dumbledore, who had no reason to send her a package when he could just hand it to her.

She opened the letter attached to it and saw the crisp, clean writing that she recognized as Sirius’.

“Dearest Alessandra,

I didn’t want you to think that last night was a heat of the moment decision, and I refuse to let it be a one-time event. I also realized, once I awoke this morning, that I never asked you properly to be my girlfriend. So I ask you, would you care to accompany me on a true date to Hogsmeade this weekend, and would you do me the honor of being my girlfriend?

---Sirius”

Alessa laughed and looked around for him, then opened the small package. Inside was a beautiful bracelet. It was almost molten looking black gold, with what appeared to be fire for eyes mounted on a dragon’s head, its tail winding around her wrist as the cuff. It was Cerian, she realized, shocked that he knew how much she cared for dragonling. As she slid the cuff onto her wrist it readjusted itself to her size.

“Do you like it?” she heard the deep voice that could only belong to one man. She leapt up and threw her arms around his neck and kissed him before he could say another word.

People instantly broke out, gossiping about what was happening before their eyes, and more than a few girls were sending death glares at Alessa.

As she pulled away, her eyes were glittering with such happiness that Sirius chuckled, “If I had known that jewelry could get you to look at me like that I would have been throwing it at you since the moment we met.”

“I love the bracelet. But my eyes are dancing for another reason.” She said sincerely then kissed him again. She looked at it again and then a guilty look swept over her features and she took the bracelet off.

“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked her as she handed it to him.

“Sirius, I can’t accept this. This is really expensive and special and…”

“Not worthy of being on your wrist because you’re far too wonderful for it. But give me some more time and I’ll come up with something more worthy of you.”

She laughed then stopped when she saw the serious expression in his eyes.

“The only reason I’ll accept you not wearing it is if you don’t want to be my girlfriend. Even then I won’t take it back. I gave it to you because I wanted you to have it; not to try and buy your affection.”

She could see that this was a sensitive subject with him. He was growing uneasy at the mention of trying to buy her love and wondered what the girls he had dated in the past had done to him.

She leaned up and kissed him softly and said, “I’ll only wear it if you really want to be my boyfriend.” And she slid it back onto her wrist. She laughed as he crushed her against him, lifting her off the ground.

As he set her back down she threw a fierce look at James and said,

“Just because I’m dating a Marauder now doesn’t mean you get to keep me in the dark on any upcoming pranks. I expect to be even more well-informed, if anything.”

“Oh, you will. We’d get rid of Sirius before we let a gem like you go!” James tossed back.

“I’m right bloody here and not afraid to hex the hell out of you, Potter.” Sirius announced in a tone that was far from menacing, as the smile on his face from being Alessandra’s boyfriend far outweighed anything being said to him.

She felt a hex hit her in the back as she went to sit down and looked down to see her skin growing fur on it.

Sirius jumped to his feet and looked in the direction of the Ravenclaw table, his eyes murderous. He started to march towards them, wand out.

“Which one of you did this? I demand to know! I’m free to date whomever I please, and you will not be pestering Alessandra as you did the girls I dated in the past. Alessa is my girlfriend and I will not stand for…”

Alessa went and stood between him and the table and in a sickeningly girly voice asked,

“Sirius, would you still love me if I were covered from head to toe in fur?”

Then she kissed him. As she did the fur disappeared and a bright light shot from her wand; back to the Ravenclaw table and hit a 6th year sitting there, who instantly began growing fur at a shocking rate.

Sirius opened his eyes and barked a laugh and allowed her to lead him back to the table.

“Remind me only to fight with words with you. Sometimes you terrify me.”

“Good,” she said satisfactorily as she bit into a piece of bacon, smiling at him.

James’ eyes opened wide as Alessa turned to Lily and asked her,

“So Lil; Lacey and I were going to go into Hogsmeade this weekend with the boys, and I was wondering if you’d like to come with us?”

“I’d love to!” Lily said; brightening up at the fact that Alessa had so easily forgiven her.

“Good… Ow!” Alessa exclaimed and glowered pointedly at Sirius, who had just bounced a roll off her head. There goes the romance, she thought, rubbing off the jam that was plastered to her face.

“Honey, you’re overlooking that I planned a romantic date for us: our first date, this weekend. Already forgetting about me? I guess I will have to start throwing more illustrious jewelry at you.” He said in a mock serious tone.

“Well, you are rather easy to forget. I’ll have to find a better looking bloke for my next date so I remember to show up for it. Hey Remus… what are you doing this weekend… HEY!!!” And with that Sirius threw her over his shoulder and picked up her bag along with his,

“Well, it has been a lovely time chatting, but we’ve really got to get going to class. See you guys there.” Lily and Lacey laughed as they heard Alessa swearing furiously, her face bright red with embarrassment,

“You just wait until Defense today. I’m going to throw such a plethora of spells at you that you’ll never… Lily, don’t forget! Hogsmeade, you’re coming! Sirius… put me down!”

James howled with laughter and the table of friends got up to head towards their classes. He approached Lily with caution and casually brought it up,

“So… you will be going to Hogsmeade? I mean, not with Margaret and Angela, but with us?--- I mean Alessa and Lacey… Because I was thinking that if you’d like a butterbeer or some lunch… it’s just, Sirius already told me that he was going to kidnap Alessa… We could do a kind of double date thing with Remus and Lacey…” he just went silent and stared at his feet as he walked forwards.

“I’d really like that, James.” Lily answered.

His head swung up to look at her, incredulous. Was Lily Evans, the girl he had loved since the moment he saw her, actually saying yes to a date with him?

“You would?”

“I really would. Thank you for the invite. Even thought, technically, I guess I should be thanking Alessa…”

“I’ll be thanking her too,” James said, his face bright and lit up with excitement.

***

Alessa tried to slow her heart rate back to normal as Sirius leaned down and kissed her cheek outside of the Runes class. Merlin! That boy’s lips should be illegal they were so perilous to women. She was starting to see why Angela was so furious over getting dumped. Alessa didn’t even want to think what would happen if she couldn’t have those kisses after having tasted them.

She had kissed boys before, but this was a whole different kind of kiss. This kiss drained her and yet invigorated her at the same time. And his hands always knew just where to move to get her breathless. She fought to get control of herself and barely won. She had demanded that he take her to Runes unless he intended on ravaging her for an entire period. The look in his eye told her which of those he’d prefer if given the choice, so she shoved him off and took his hand in hers and dragged him towards her classroom.

As he turned to leave her to head for Muggle Studies she stopped him,

“Hey, Sirius. When did you get this for me and how did you find something so perfect? There’s no way that Hogsmeade has anything even close to this kind of quality.”

“I’ll never tell,” he swore to her, drawing her against him then looked into her eyes and asked again, “Are you still sure you like it?”

The look she gave him made his heart skip a beat. It was that kind of look that she gave Cerian, of total trust and happiness: the look he had been wishing she would give him.

“This is the best gift I’ve ever been given. Thank you so much Sirius; for more than the bracelet.” Then she hugged him tightly to her, burying her face into his neck. He hugged her back just as tightly and felt the desperation in her hug; the need to be loved. He knew it because he hugged her with the same desperation. At that moment he promised himself that he would always be there for her.

She let go and he kissed her on the forehead, then shoved her playfully towards the class and ordered her,

“Pay attention in class today, dear.”

“Enjoy learning about tape players and the hippie culture, muffin.” Her eyes dancing with amusement as she walked into her class.

He chuckled to himself and wondered how he had gotten so lucky, not only having her as a friend, but in getting her as a girlfriend. Then he remembered the circumstances that brought her here and also thought of the other night where he had been so terrified for her. Instead of heading to Muggle Studies he made his way to Dumbledore’s office.

***

“Remus, are you going to tell me where he got this from or not?” Alessa whispered in an annoyed voice. “There’s no way he got it before last night. That was our first kiss. So that gives him between one and eight in the morning to come up with it. Spit it out, I know you know. There’s no way a guy wouldn’t brag about this to his best friends.”

“Why can’t you be like any other girl and draw on and on about how beautiful and expensive it is and how special you must be to get such a gift; and from one so highly prized as Sirius Black!”

“In case you didn’t pick up on this tiny detail yet, I’m not Angela. Speaking of which…” she smiled sweetly at Remus. “If you’re not going to cough up the details on how he got out of Hogwarts and into London you may as well tell me why he and Angela broke up.”

“She was attractive… he was single… she asked him out. It lasted a month, though after the first two days he wanted to be rid of her. He tried to find a nice way to do it, realizing that he was dating a nightmare, and finally just outright dumped her when she didn’t get the hint. We all breathed a little easier after they broke up. She was always wondering where he was and who he was with… Quite annoying. If you turn into her, I’m hexing you.”

Alessa shuddered, “If I turn into her there will be no need. I will have sent myself to St Mungos to be forever locked away. But while we’re on the subject of relationships, what happened with Lacey? She told me that she thought everything was going wonderful, besides your mom always being so ill and you having to go home and take care of her once a month and how much it taxed you… She thinks it’s her fault, which I said was absolutely ridiculous: and it is! So what happened?”

Remus sighed and tried to change the subject by pointing out a Rune and asking its meaning.

“I think it means ‘stop avoiding my bloody question’!”

“I’ll tell you when I’m ready Alessa. I just can’t talk about it yet.” She nodded and then said in a more kindly voice,

“It means sudden death.” Then they both went back to their translations.

***

“Pumpkin Pasties,” Sirius said to the statue that led into Dumbledore’s office. He walked up the stairs and saw that the Headmaster wasn’t around. His eyes ran to the pensieve and wandered over to it. He saw it was still swirling dark: the face of a woman that had Alessa’s hair and lips looking back out at him. He also saw the face of a man with violet eyes. Without thinking about it, he leaned forward and allowed himself to fall into the memory.

A cloaked figure walked towards the front door of a house that was perched on a cliff above a stormy lake. The door flew off the hinges and suddenly more figures were there, shooting spells at the couple who quickly saw they were under attack and began throwing curses back. Soon they were outnumbered though and the menacing dark figure walked forward.

He threw his hood back and his face matched his voice, which was a hiss.

“Where is the girl? Where is your dear Alessandra?” The man that Sirius knew to be Alessa’s father threw a curse at the figure.

It hissed and shouted, “Crucio!” and the man hit the ground began screaming.

Turning to the woman he spoke, “You know you can make this all stop. Just tell me where the girl is. Even better call her here to me. I will let you all live under my protection. You will find Lord Voldemort is a lenient and great Lord.”

The woman laughed and it was so cold that it chilled one’s blood and she spat at the figure, with a belittling tone,

“My father warned me about you, Tom Riddle. What you were doing and how you fancied yourself the greatest dark wizard of all times. Yet you fear Dumbledore. He will defeat you, and you will never have my daughter!”

“I am called Lord Voldemort now and we shall see about that! Imperio!” Voldemort hissed. The woman fought it with all her might, but she started walking towards the fireplace with floo powder. She threw it in: horror etched across her every feature as she called out, “Alessan…”

“Avada Kedavra!” A man’s voice shouted and Sirius turned to see that Ian Grindelwald had thrown the curse at his wife, killing her rather than letting her betray her own daughter. The look on the woman’s face as she met her husband’s eyes was filled with relief, forgiveness, and undying love.

Voldemort screamed in fury and increased his hold on the man, slamming him into walls. Suddenly the curse was broken and the man threw a burning curse back at Voldemort.

“You dare threaten me… my family? I am son of Gellert Grindelwald! I have just as much darkness in my soul as you. I just choose not to use that power!” he threw another curse at Voldemort that the dark lord had to dodge, and Sirius saw the fear manifest in the dark wizard’s eyes.

“Get him!” Voldemort shouted, and the other wizards with the masks of silver demons hiding their identities jumped in. Ian was dueling six wizards when one managed to bind him with a Stunning curse. Voldemort walked up to him and said,

“One last chance to live: Call her here!”

“She’s more powerful than you could ever imagine. If Dumbledore doesn’t kill you--- She will. You have no idea what you have done by taking us from her. She will come for you, and I feel sorry for you.” Ian laughed an icy laugh, then a green light flashed…

Suddenly Sirius was back in Dumbledore’s office, covered in sweat.

“Now you see why I needed to be alone the other night,” said the soft voice of his Head Master. Sirius jumped at the sound of it and turned to face him then nodded and stated,

“She can’t go after him. He’s powerful. I heard my family talking about him and his Death Eaters…”

Dumbledore let out the sigh of a man who had lived too long and replied,

“She will go after him though. She is set on it, now more than ever.”

“I won’t let her: if I have to kill him and his followers myself. I will never allow her to be in that kind of danger…”

Dumbledore’s eyes lit up, “So, you are in the beginning stages of love? Don’t deny it: I can see it in your eyes. I have watched you carefully over the years, Sirius, and all I can say is I am glad that you have finally found someone to trust your heart to. And I am even more delighted to find that it is my granddaughter. She deserves some happiness in her life. And you are capable, more than anyone else I have met, of doing that for her.”

Sirius blushed and stuttered, “Love, sir? I just met her… I mean, I really like her and I will respect her and treat her as she deserves, but love? We have our first date this…”

“Look into your heart, Sirius. I think you will find feelings there that you have never felt for a woman before. Feelings similar to the ones you carry for James and Remus, because you love them with all your heart. I think you will find that Alessandra is in there as well. It is never too soon to fall in love. Life is too short to waste doubting love, once found. Treasure it, Sirius.” And at that Dumbledore chuckled and turned towards his desk. “Was there something else you wished to talk about?”

“I’m worried about her safety. If her own father was willing to kill his wife to keep her safe, it is obvious the dark lord wants her badly.”

“Tom is more than welcome to try and get her from me. I think he will find that I will be less of an easy target.”

Sirius took a step back, having never seen such a dangerous look in Dumbledore’s eye, or any eye for that matter.

“I have a favor to ask of you, sir.”

“And what favor is that, Sirius?”

“I want you to tutor me in defense and attack. Our curriculum, though amazing for school, is too basic. I want to be able to protect her. And I don’t want the classroom style dueling. I want the real life or death situation dueling: No counting to three, no taking it easy. I need to know this, sir.”

Dumbledore crossed his fingers and rested his chin on his hands, “Normally I would refuse such a request. I have never encouraged the teaching of the true Dark Arts to students. But we are coming to a time where darkness threatens to take over and I would not send you out unprepared. I will teach you, along with James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Alessandra.”

“Not Alessa!” Sirius protested, but Dumbledore’s sad eyes met his and he said,

“There may come a time when you are not there to protect her. I would not have her left defenseless.”

“As you wish, sir,” Though Sirius swore to himself that a time such as that would never come so long as he drew breath.

“Good. We shall use the Room of Requirements this Sunday. Tell the others: five o’clock. Oh, and Sirius, you are dating my granddaughter. When we aren’t in school, call me Albus.”

“Thank you… Albus.” Sirius said--- he stumbled over the name awkwardly then rushed down the stairs towards Potions.

He met Alessa in the hall where she was talking with Remus. He took her hand in his, kissing it. Sirius felt much lighter in heart knowing that he was going to have a way to better protect her once they left the safety of Hogwarts.

***

It hit him like a ton of bricks and he stopped in his tracks. He had, without thinking about it, assumed that they were going to stay together and he would need a means of defending her once they graduated. He had never thought so far as the next day, let alone the next year with any of the other girls he dated. Now here he was, thinking months down the road.

Alessa tugged at his arm, a quizzical look on her face, and he came back from his own thoughts and followed her into the classroom.

They were making a particularly difficult potion that day, but Sirius’ mind was everywhere but in the classroom.

He went to throw in powder of horned-frog and heard Alessa shout,

“Sirius, no…!” and the cauldron exploded. She had thrown herself around him and a shield went up, protecting him and those behind them from the explosion of liquid and shards of iron from the cauldron.

“Are you alright?” She asked him, then let go of him as she saw the anger in his eyes.

“What were you thinking? You could have been hurt!” he grabbed her arm in his; pulling her away from what remained of their cauldron. She tried to jerk her arm free from him, but he wouldn’t release her.

Damn him for being so much stronger than her! She thought, wincing as his grip tightened and his eyes grew angrier.

“Well, I wouldn’t have had the chance to get hurt if you had been paying the least bit of attention! And besides, I threw up the shield in plenty of time…”

“I know you’re thinking of going after him!” Sirius shouted furiously, gripping her other arm and shaking her. She went white as James and Remus tried to pull Sirius off of her. “Do you want to die?! Because that’s what will happen if you go after him! I saw your memory. I saw the last thought you had before the memory ended. You promised him death!”

Remus, who had been trying to pull his friend off, watched as Alessa went paler than he thought possible.

Slughorn was too astonished to intervene and it fell quiet when Alessa whispered in horror, “You viewed my memory?”

“Yes, I was talking to Dumbledore and…”

But she cut him off before he could continue.

“You violated my memory--- invaded my thoughts, just like HE did!” She went to shove him off, but his grip was too strong.

Who the hell did he think he was? Invading the privacy of her mind and now standing here, shaking her in a vice like grip like she was a rag doll--- telling her what she could and could not do. This was too much! She refused to let him treat her this way a moment longer.

An explosion of white light came out of her and sent all of the boys flying; along with several other students, cauldrons, supplies, and bags.

“I can bloody well take care of myself. I don’t need you to watch over me!” She bellowed then swung her bag over her shoulder and marched from the room.

Severus Snape watched Alessa leave, the curiosity practically bubbling over in his eyes. He followed her out while Slughorn attempted to regain control of the classroom and James and Remus followed Sirius. Severus found her in the restricted section of the library, which he had access to thanks to Dumbledore.

Her wand rose as an automatic response before her eyes registered who was there and he had to admire her instincts.

“What do you want?” Alessa demanded.

He shrugged nonchalantly and said, “I was coming here for a book since class was obviously cancelled early. And don’t worry; I’m not the caring type, so I won’t ask you if you’re okay.” She chuckled darkly at this and motioned for him to get his book.

“What was that spell though? It wasn’t wand magic and I’ve never seen it before. Or felt it, for that matter, and I’m used to getting all kinds of spells thrown at me from the Marauders.”

“Severus Snape, correct?” she asked him, remembering him from his sullen glare at her and the boys on the first day of classes.

“Alessandra Grindelwald, though your name’s a bit easier to recall; as everyone knows you. You’re not exactly subtle when you dislike someone.”

“They practically begged me to hex them,” She shrugged and turned the page of her book. Severus decided that it was best to go along with his lie, and he moved down a little further and grabbed a book, Ancient Spells of Merlin’s Time, and he sat across from her.

They sat in silence for a while then she looked at him carefully and asked,

“So they really hate you just because you have a crush on Lily Evans?”

Snape turned purple in anger and snapped, “I don’t have a crush on Evans. I just think that she can do a lot better than James bleeding Potter!”

Alessa’s eyes never left him and he felt himself becoming uncomfortable under her gaze. Suddenly he realized what was happening and threw her out of his mind.

“It’s rude to push your mind into someone else’s.” he stated calmly and went back to reading his book. She smiled brightly at him and he was surprised to find himself thinking how beautiful she was when she smiled. It was impossible to hate her when she looked at you in such a way.

“You’re a Legilimens too!” She was practically bouncing with excitement.

“How do you figure that?” he drawled sarcastically.

“Oh don’t be an arse. I don’t have anyone to practice with at this school. At Durmstrang there was only a Professor and one girl who thought she was, but she was a joke! Do it again. Throw me out again!” she demanded and before he could say yes or no she had pushed herself into his mind.

Snape gasped as she searched harder and she saw an image of him watching Lily walk away from him towards James, and felt his heart… NO! He thought, and threw her out.

Snape blushed and was about to snap at her and when she said, “Fair’s fair: your turn!” Alessa leaned forward and stared straight into his eyes, her own violet eyes daring him to do better than her.

Abruptly she found herself reliving a moment from Durmstrang, where three boys and two girls had ganged up on her.

“Hey Grindelwald, I have something for you from my mother. She’d give it to you herself, but she was a half-blood and therefore dead, thanks to your grandfather!” And then the boy had punched her. She could taste the coppery flavor of blood in her mouth…

Alessa gasped and threw Snape out with such force that he fell backwards into the shelf. She grabbed her head, feeling the headache coming on and said,

“Bloody hell! We really need to try and find some happy, fuzzy memories. That was a bit intense for a get-to-know-you session.”

“Yeah, I don’t fancy you hitting me with whatever you hit Black with today if I happen to stumble upon a bad memory.” Snape agreed, rubbing his own head. Then they both laughed as they looked the other over, assessing their opponent.

As they walked out of the library, Snape offered Alessa a piece of chocolate to revive her after their mental duel.

She heard a girl’s voice calling her name and turned to see Lacey there.

“Alessa, we’ve been looking for you everywhere. Sirius went to his room saying he knew how to find you…” then she heard Sirius’ voice, and perceived the dangerous tone in it.

“Snape, what are you doing with my girlfriend?”

Severus, not wanting to lose this chance to befriend Alessandra just shrugged a response.

Alessa snapped, “He’s walking with me, as if that’s not obvious. What do you want Sirius? To add a few more bruise marks to my arm? Are you going to drag me off for talking to someone who you don’t approve of?”

“I wouldn’t allow him that chance,” Severus snarled, daring Sirius to try.

“Are you trying to tell me what I can and can’t do with my girlfriend, Snivellus?”

“I’d be surprised if she was still your girlfriend after the way you treated her. I mean, she saves you from your own stupidity and you...”

“Shut up!” Sirius’ grey eyes had darkened dangerously.

“Both of you shut up!” Alessa shouted, then grabbed Lacey’s arm and stormed off with her.

They went to the Great Hall and Alessa made sure that she sat between Lacey and Remus, with James and Lily on the other side.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you guys with that spell. Are you alright?” she asked worriedly to James and Remus.

“Yeah, but what the hell was that? I’ve never felt a spell like that. It just passed right through me and knocked me back.” Remus said.

“Honestly, I don’t know. It’s happened a few other times when I couldn’t physically get away from someone. I don’t mean for it to happen: I just feel trapped and then that happens. I still haven’t figured out what it is.”

“More effective than an uppercut is what it is! I demand that you teach me the second that you figure it out,” James threw in, laughing and trying to lighten the mood. “Don’t feel guilty Alessa. We still like you, even if you have some freakish power to summon a hurricane force of magic and throw it at your friends.”

She laughed lightly until she saw Sirius coming into the hall, his cheek bleeding and his robes cut open. She saw Severus limping his way to the Slytherin table.

Sirius sat down at the table as if he wasn’t battered and bleeding and started in on Alessandra,

“Alessa, you can’t just run off like that. Slughorn is fit to be tied. He’s issuing detentions to everyone who left,” he lectured.

“It’s detention with Slughorn. Who cares? The worst that will happen is that I’ll learn some more potions for my N.E.W.T.S.” Alessa retorted, her eyes still blazing.

“And what about those of us that you just left in there: worrying about whether you were okay?” Sirius demanded.

“You didn’t seem too concerned for my well-being when you were ripping my arm off.”

“Enough!” Lacey shouted. “Alessa, Lily, come on. We’ll take our lunch outside today. I can’t stand any more of this arguing. It’s right manky, the way you two are arguing like an old married couple.” She hauled Alessa to her feet and popped her wand at a few trays of food and then she and Lily pulled Alessa out towards the doors outside.

***

As they sat by the lake, Alessa took a deep drink of her pumpkin juice and sighed happily, “Are you always this good at knowing what a person needs?”

“Most the time,” Lacey replied, leering happily to herself.

Alessa laughed then remembered her thoughts earlier in the day,

“Oh, Lily, I forgot to ask; since I didn’t accidently incinerate James today, when are you going to ask him out?”

Lily blushed prettily, “I was going to prod him into doing that himself this weekend at Hogsmeade.”

“Bollocks! I forgot I made a date with Sirius…”

“You will have forgiven him by the time dinner rolls around. I’ll be surprised if you haven’t made up by the time D.A.D.A. is over.” Lacey chimed in.

***

Lacey found herself swallowing her own words, because as Sirius and Alessa dueled in class, it became more apparent that neither was willing to take the blame for their argument.

Alessa sent a wall of water flying at him that he managed to evaporate with a heat spell. He threw a petrifying curse at her that she knocked to the side, narrowly missing Peter, who squealed and moved behind James.

James was shouting his mate on, “Don’t let a girl beat you, you stupid git! Stop playing so nice just because you’re snogging her!” Sirius turned a glare on James, which almost cost him, as a curse narrowly missed him, having broken through his shield. He turned back on Alessa and threw a curse so strong that it knocked her own protective shield into her and sent her sliding across the floor into the wall, unconscious.

He paled and ran to her side, Moriarti with him.

“What did you throw at her, Mister Black?” the Professor asked, quite worried.

Sirius had already been frantically searching his thoughts, unable to remember which combo he had thrown at her that last time. It wasn’t as if they had been dueling nicely; both had been throwing nasty combos of spells... Merlin, what had he done? She wasn’t breathing and her lips were tinted blue.

Snape tried to push his way towards them, but James threw him into a wall. Severus still managed to shout, “Crushing spell!” as James prodded him in the neck with his wand.

Sirius remembered and quickly chanted the counter-curse. As her chest rose and she gasped for air he let himself breath again. He pulled her up against him and kissed her forehead.

“I will be demanding a rematch,” she protested weakly, but let him cover her in kisses all the same.

“I think that will be quite enough hands on work for today, let us return to our books!” the Professor said in a tone higher than normal and everyone went towards their desks.

“You are a real pain sometimes; I just want you to know that.” He said to her, pulling her to her feet after she’d caught her breath.

“You’re no joyride either, Mister Black.” But Alessa leaned up and kissed his lips softly. As their lips touched they both silently forgave one another.

Sirius took the chair that Lacey had been sitting in next to Alessa and laced his hand through hers under the table. Severus had been watching this and his brow furrowed, but he went back to taking notes, thinking that he would have other chances to get close to her. Now that they both knew that they were one another’s only options for practicing Legilimency and Occlumency Snape knew he would be seeing quite a bit of her.

After they finished Defense they headed towards Transfiguration.

Sirius noticed that McGonagall seemed to be smiling for once, and it happened when she looked from Alessa to Sirius. Well, that had to be a first, he thought. McGonagall never approved of students dating and here she was, beaming (in McGonagall terms), over him dating Alessa.

“Today, we will start our work on hypothetical transfiguration: from human to Animagus. Now I don’t expect any of you to actually transform. People who become Animagi do so through a very arduous course taught at the Ministry and those who accomplish it are very few and far between. I do however; expect you to treat this as you would a transfiguration you would perform. Now, turn to page 934 and begin reading along. The ability to transform one’s self into the form of an animal while maintaining one’s faculties was first discovered in the age of Merlin…”

Alessa speculated, as she stared at the book, how hard could it really be? She was already well versed at Transfiguration, and she had watched Dumbledore countless times, when he used to transform for her when she was younger, as a way to get her to laugh when she was angry.

She turned to Sirius and saw a confident smirk plastered on his face that was identical to the ones on James and Peter’s faces. She looked at Remus and saw he was a little more wan than usual, his eyes darting to his friends. Remus caught her eyes and quickly looked away.

Alessa looked back to Sirius, narrowing her eyes. She wouldn’t invade his mind, no matter how tempting it was. She remembered how angry she had felt when he had looked at her memories, but she caught a glimpse of a stag running alongside a black dog on a well lit night. It was bright because the moon was full… She jerked back to class and looked up at McGonagall.

Hogwarts really did have more mysteries than her old school.

When McGonagall turned her back, Sirius leaned over and kissed Alessa’s cheek, then went back to taking notes. She just smiled to herself and continued mulling over what she had been thinking.

***

That night Sirius and Alessandra decided to serve their detention with Slughorn instead of Hagrid, seeing as they could get it out of the way then go back to their fun detentions with the half-giant and not have to share Hagrid with other people having detention that night.

When they showed up at the Potions Dungeon, Slughorn was awaiting them.

“I want you both to know that this brings me no pleasure assigning you detentions. Why, you’re both two of my brightest students and… my, but what is that on your wrist, my dear? You surely didn’t wear that this summer. I would have noticed such finery…” Slughorn snatched her wrist up and looked at her bracelet more closely.

“Goblin made, forged in dragon fire. Its eyes are actual dragonfire: an eternal flame. Where did you get this?”

“Sirius got it for me, Professor.” She replied quietly. She had known it was valuable, but never guessed that it was anything to this extent.

“Why, Mister Black! Have you asked our dearest Alessandra out?”

“I have, sir.” He said, blushing furiously.

“Well, many hearts will be broken school-wide. I don’t know if you have realized this Alessandra, but Mister Black here is quite the elusive bachelor. I don’t know how many love potions I’ve had to snatch off of the girls of this school because of him. And the one time that they did manage to poison him with it… well, lucky he has Misters Potter and Lupin as friends, that’s for certain. This calls for a celebration. And I wouldn’t want to waste minds such as yours on menial physical labor. Let’s get some mead and talk over some of the potions that we will be brewing for the NEWTS. Oh, and Alessandra, I’ve been meaning to ask you; what spell did you cast today in class? Not the shield charm, the one after, when you and Mister Black…”

“I don’t know, Professor. I didn’t incant it or anything. It just happened.”

“Very interesting…” Slughorn seemed to have momentarily forgotten them, mulling this over, “Well, let’s get those drinks and start reviewing for the NEWTS.”

They left the dungeons and were on their way up to their own tower when they ran into Snape.

“Oh, hello Severus, I didn’t even see you there.” Alessa said as she almost ran him over.

“That’s not unusual…” Sirius started, but the look Alessa shot silenced him.

“What’s the matter, Black? Girlfriend put a tongue bind on you?” Alessa turned red and snapped,

“If you’re just going to be immature and nasty then don’t bother talking to me!” And she shoved him aside, leaving Sirius to walk on his own.

“I’d wipe that nasty smirk off my face if I were you, Black!” Severus threatened.

“I’m just thinking of the irony of it all. You wanted Lily, and never got her; losing her to James. Then you wanted Alessandra, and I got her before you as well. You have the worst luck with the ladies, Snivellus.” And with that Sirius sauntered off after Alessa, but not before shouting over his shoulder, “And you’d be willing to hold your tongue too if the reward was kissing a girl like her!”, then turned the corner before Snape could hex him.

He found Alessa in the common room, working on her Transfiguration assignment with James and Lily.

“I just don’t understand why we have to learn this if we’re never going to actually use it!” Lily whined. Clearly, Lily did not appreciate assignments in which she didn’t excel.

Sirius perceived the way that Alessa’s eyes darted to and locked on James for his response. This girl was hazardously bright. He’d have to remind James and Peter to try and play dumb around her when it came to Animagi. He decided to disrupt her thoughts as James was bragging about how complex the transfiguration was and how only a truly powerful wizard could pull it off.

Sirius snuck up behind Alessa and used magic to sweep her hair to the side, then kissed her neck and sat behind her, drawing her into his arms.

She sighed and said, “Oh my hot headed darling, I forgive you your faults, but only because you know how to properly hold a girl.”

He laughed softly into her ear and added, “That’s not all I would like to do to this girl. Can I steal you away for a bit?”

“I suppose. But only so I can properly thank you for my dragon forged bracelet. I’m also curious if you got me this before our first date, what did you get the other girls you dated?”

“I only dated them. You’re my girlfriend. There’s a difference. Now go and get your cloak on, we’re going for a walk.” She looked at him curiously, but did as he asked and went for her cloak.

When she came back down, she bid the others good night and allowed Sirius to lead her from the common room. She was going to ask him where he was taking her, but from the gleam in his eye she decided to let him keep his secret for now.

They reached a statue where he said something she couldn’t quite catch and tapped it with a wand. It opened up to reveal a tunnel.

“Lumos.” He said as he led her into the tunnel, the wall sealing behind them.

She followed him in wonder through the tunnel. She had never known of its existence. Then as they reached the end of it, he lifted a floor board that led into a cellar of sorts. She looked around and saw there were bottles of firewhiskey and kegs all around her.

“Welcome to the Three Broomsticks. Can I offer you a drink?” Sirius offered as he took her arm and hoisted her from the tunnel into the basement.

“I would love one.” And with that she followed him up the steps.

“Good evening, Madam Rosmerta. This is my girlfriend, Alessandra. We would love two glasses of your tasty butterbeer, thank you.” Sirius took the butterbeers and paid for them, then escorted Alessa over to a private booth in the corner.

“Well, now I know how you snuck out of Hogwarts to London to get my beautiful gift. Now the only question is why did you get it for me? We’ve been dating less than a day, and you barely know me. Why did you buy me something so extravagant? It’s obviously not to get into my knickers, or you would have ordered firewhiskey.”

“My darling, I am shocked that such vulgar thoughts of me ever crossed your mind. And to quell your doubts, I bought it because anything else would be cheapened in your presence of your beauty.”

She snorted and said, “That’s the Sirius Black that I’d heard rumor of. Obscenely flattering to get what he wants. That leaves me to wonder--- what will you be wanting from me, Mister Black?”

“Is it too late to take you up on the offer to get into your pants?” he asked with a faux-sincerity spread across his face.

“May I ask something of you?” she returned, ignoring his inane question and becoming more somber, “I ask that you never lie to me. About anything, no matter how trivial it may seem. I don’t mind fighting with you; it proves that you care enough about me to confront me. Just don’t hide things from me.”

“If you’re going to ask that of me, I’m going to have to ask you to do the same in return; especially concerning avenging your parents’ death. I know that you want revenge, Alessandra, but you’ve made friends for a reason. We care about you and you’re not in this fight alone any more. Don’t lie to us or leave us in the dark: especially me. I’ve had enough lies to last a lifetime with my family. I want to start a relationship with you and I want to be able to trust you completely.” She smiled a sad but grateful smile at him and leaned over and kissed him.

When they separated she asked, “So does this count as our first date, since we’re in Hogsmeade?”

“Not a chance, love. You’re getting spoiled tomorrow, so prepare yourself.”

She just laughed at this and after they finished their butterbeers followed him back to the castle.

As Sirius kissed her good night, he held her face gently between his hands. He had told her of Sunday and the Room of Requirements and her face lit up with a dark eagerness. It worried him; to see her that keen on learning spells to seriously maim her opponents and put her own life at risk in doing so.

He kissed her as if it was the last time he would ever kiss her again, and knew that was how he would always kiss her. He would do as Dumbledore had told him--- treasure every moment with her.

As he watched her walk up the stairs, she cast one last look at Sirius, smiling. That's when it hit him: he'd loved her from the moment he'd first gazed into those violet orbs. It was love at first sight--- though it took hindsight to realize this.





________________________________________
That next morning when Alessa awoke, she found orchids growing up the sides of her bedposts. Hanging from one delicate flower was a note which she gingerly plucked from the vibrant flower, not wanting to disrupt the spell and lose the flowers.

“Good morning my dearest;

By the time you get this note I will have spent the night dreaming of you, awaiting our next kiss with an eagerness that borders on impatience. But take your time: I know you girls will want to spend the morning getting made up for the likes of us ever-so-unworthy men. I just wanted you to wake up feeling as wonderful as I did after spending my dreams with you.

---Sirius”

Lily and Lacey leapt onto her bed while Margaret and Angela sat across the room, glaring.

“Another note? And look at these flowers! Alessa, I think that it’s official: Sirius Black has fallen in love with you,” Lacey squealed, looking to Lily for affirmation.

“He definitely has never gone to these lengths for any other girl, and this is only day two of your relationship…” Lily thought over aloud.

“Get over it already. We all know he just wants to woo her because she’s the only one with blood pure enough for his family!” Angela shot out.

“That just shows how little you know him,” Alessa retorted, refusing to let her jovial mood be ruined and plucked an orchid, smelling it. He was already, by far, the best man she’d dated.

She was surprised to find herself thinking of him as a man, and her past boyfriends as boys. But there really was an edge to Sirius Black: something had pushed him from being a boy, into manhood some time ago. Alessa had the awful suspicion that it had to do with his family.

Breaking from her thoughts, she smiled down at the red orchid, then shouted, “Dibs on shower!” and dove for the bathroom before Lily or Lacey could get to it.

The three took a long time getting ready, almost cackling over it. They knew the boys were downstairs waiting for them as they tried different styles of makeup and outfits.

Finally, an hour and a half later, they made their way down the stairs; Alessa with the orchid weaved into her black locks. Sirius’ breath caught as his eyes found her. She was just in jeans and a warm grey jacket, but she seemed even more beautiful then when he had last left her.

She smiled a full, beautiful smile: the one that he knew now, was just for him.

“Thank you, for being you.” And she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, running her fingers up and down the back of his neck, causing him to shiver from her touch.

“Note to self: flowers every morning,” Sirius croaked. He took her arm in his and noticed that she was still wearing the bracelet he had given her. He beamed as he stated, “So, you do like the bracelet!”

“Don’t make statements out of things that should be questions. And if you’re looking for verification that your gift is well liked--- yes, I love it. It’s still, as I said yesterday, my favorite gift I’ve ever received. Now stop fishing for compliments and lead me to lunch. I’m rather hungry and you wouldn’t like me when I’m running on an empty stomach!” With that Sirius looped his arm through hers and propelled her forward at a jog. As a group, they made their way out of the castle and down to Hogsmeade.

Upon reaching the town Sirius smiled at Alessa, as if he had the greatest surprise for her and pulled her away from the other girls, leading her towards Madam Puddifoots. A look of sheer horror plastered itself across her face when she realized where he was leading her. She dug her heels in and pulled with all her might,

“Uh uh… no! I refuse to go into the lace covered, disgusting, pastel painted tea shop! Anywhere but there!” she demanded.

Sirius looked at her shocked, then a wave of relief rushed over his face and he swept her up into his arms and mock threatened,

“You keep acting this perfect and I’ll be forced to ask you to marry me.”

“As long as you don’t intend on proposing in there, I’ll let it slide. I’d say yes just to never have to enter that establishment! Now, can we please go somewhere fun? And I’d kill for something to eat right now.”

“Then the lady must be fed!” he insisted.

Sirius ordered some sandwiches and mulled meads to go and paid for them before she could pull out her money. He slid them into a bag and led her out the door of the Three Broomsticks, acting dreadfully mysterious as he led her through the town, away from all the shops.

Sirius took her hand in his as they reached the Shrieking Shack and cast Alessa a gorgeously sly smile while leading her into the woods. After ten minutes of walking in a comfortable silence, listening to the sounds of the creatures in the woods around them, they reached their destination.

Before them was a beautiful little grove with a stream running through it.

Sirius pointed his wand at the ground and a picnic blanket appeared and spread itself out. He set up their food and as he sat down he threw an arm around her waist pulled her down beside him. She let out an uncharacteristically girlish squeal as he did this, and he raised an eyebrow at her.

“You tell anyone I made that noise and I’ll slip a Sirius Black love potion into every female Hufflepuff’s pumpkin juice tomorrow morning.” As a green tint of disgust flushed his face she kissed his nose and snatched up her lunch.

Alessa devoured her sandwich. Only after finishing it and washing it down with the mead did she finally take notice of Sirius’ wide eyes.

“What? I said I was hungry! Lily took so much time getting ready for her date I didn’t get a chance to eat, now did I?”

Sirius just laughed, “Relax. I like a woman who can put her food away,” then bit back into his sandwich.

She sighed in content and said,

“This feels like we’ve been like this forever. I mean, it’s comfortable. I like that about you.” She kissed him, crumbs and all. Then she leaned back against him again and let him finish his lunch in silence--- Almost.

“So are you going to teach me how to transform into an Animagus?” Alessa asked; so suddenly that he choked on his sandwich and had to wash it down with mead.

“What makes you think I know…”

“Oh come off it, Black. You and James know for certain. It would make sense then that Peter does as well, but if he does that means Remus should be able to as well and I don’t get that feeling from him…”

“I don’t know what you’re thinking. Animagi is a complex trans…”

“If you don’t tell me I’ll just figure it out for myself. And what happens when I mess it up? You’ll be stuck with a deformed girlfriend.” Alessa teased.

“No I won’t. I’d dump you. I’m only into you for your looks.”

“Hey!” Alessa shouted and spun around on him, knocking him back and pinning him to the ground.

“So you date me because I’m the only girl pretty enough for you? While that does wonders for my confidence and vanity, I did think I had more to offer than my face…”

“Haven’t you heard the rumors? I’m Sirius Black. I’m shallow. I go for looks every time. Do you even have a personality? I haven’t noticed yet, and probably never will…” She silenced him with a kiss, forcing his arms back hard into the ground with her own.

Her strength surprised him, along with the ferocity of her kiss. It heated up to the point where Sirius felt himself start to lose control. He wrapped an arm about her waist and pulled her off his lap, sliding her underneath him and taking over the kiss. He felt himself starting to get turned on and had to pull away.

Both were breathing heavily, Alessa’s fingers digging into his arms hard enough to leave marks. She relaxed her grip and fell back against the blanket, frowning slightly. Sirius sat up and ran his fingers through his hair, looking at the stream silently, his brow drawn.

“Did I do something wrong?” she asked, too mortified to meet his eyes. She hadn’t dated too many guys in her time at Durmstrang and this was Sirius Black she was kissing. She was terrified that he was thinking how horrible her kisses were--- maybe even wishing he was kissing someone else. That thought made her stomach flip.

His words silenced her doubts,

“Actually, you were doing everything too right. I had to stop kissing you, or risk losing control of myself and not being held liable for my actions. You were--- are, perfect.” He leaned down and kissed her softly. She pulled him down against her, hugging him. He was leaning on his elbows so he didn’t crush her, but she pulled him all the way against her, rolling to her side so he could hold her, and he buried his face in her hair.

“I take it that you’re not going to teach me?” she asked again.

Would this woman never forget a thing? For the first time he wished she was a little more like his last girlfriends: simple-minded.

“There’s nothing to teach you my dear. You’re already an amazing kisser.”

“Don’t be an arse. You know I mean about Animagi.”

“Alessa, I would tell you if I could, but in the process I would reveal a secret; one that it not mine to tell. I’m sorry.”

To his surprise she smiled at him,

“Thank you for not lying to me. I don’t mind you telling me no, but I do appreciate you not lying to me.” She kissed him again, and soon their snogging picked up where they had left off.

***

As the sun started to set they had emerged from the forest to meet up with the others at the Three Broomsticks for a final drink before heading back to the school. James and Lily sat on one side, James’ arm around her, while Remus and Lacey sat on the other, looking more than slightly uncomfortable.

Alessa squeezed herself between the latter couple and both parties cast her a grateful look.

“And what will you be drinking, my dear?” Sirius asked, leaning over her and kissing her head.

“A firewhiskey sounds delightful.”

“One firewhiskey coming up for the closet-drunkard, anyone else need a refill?”

“I’ll have the same!” Lacey piped in and Alessa smiled supportively at her friend and wrapped and arm around her waist.

Sirius handed the girls their drinks and noticed that Alessa was staring at Remus harder than usual. He wondered how much longer they could keep Remus’ furry little secret from her. She was too perceptive for her own good. He quickly put the firewhiskey to her lips and said,

“Bottoms up, my darling.”

Alessa shot him a nasty look as she choked on the smoldering liquid that had been poured down her throat.

Just then Snape walked into the Broomsticks and Alessa saw him and waved. Both James and Sirius darkened while Remus sighed and readied his wand. Severus walked over to them, glaring at the boys, smiling at Alessa and casting a sad look at Lily.

“Good evening, Alessandra.”

“Hey Severus, I never got the chance to ask you the other day. Do you want to get together again soon and practice? I don’t know anyone else…”

“Why would you possibly want to hang out with Snivellus here?” James demanded. Alessa turned on him and said,

“His name is Severus, James. And since he is a skilled Legilimens and Occlumens I was going to practice with him. That is, unless he’s so offended by my friend’s rudeness that he has decided to decline my request.” James at least had the decency to look chastised.

Lily though, did not. She said in a barbed voice,

“I wouldn’t trust him with your thoughts,” Alessa looked at the girl, incredulous, but Lily continued, “Although I suppose since you’re a pureblood, you can trust Snivellus. We lowly mudbloods certainly have to watch our step around him.”

Lily’s glare was so venomous that it shocked everyone at the table into silence.

“Lily, I never meant to… I was upset and it just slipped out… I don’t think you’re a mudblood. I think you’re wonderful…” Severus stuttered.

“It just slipped out?!?” Lily slammed her cup down and got to her feet, screaming at him, “Things like that should never slip out, Severus, because they should never be thought in the first place. Although I suppose with your magically blessed bloodline you can call people whatever you like. I do apologize for my filthy mudblood tongue having gotten so out of control, my Half-Blood Prince!”

Snape flushed crimson, knowing that Lily was the only one who knew he called himself that.

“Half-Blood Prince?” James spat, laughing, “Why if he’s a Half-Blood Prince--- I’m a Pure Blood King, and by Merlin Sirius, you must be Pure Blood Emperor!” The table broke out in laughter, minus Alessa, who looked from Snape to Lily. A sadness had come over her features as she had been privy to his memories of what had happened the day that he had called Lily that. She felt his love that lingered for Lily as well.

Snape drew his wand, pointed it at James and shouted, “Sectumsempra!” James flew into the wall from the force of it. Sirius immediately threw a hex back at Severus: Lily, Remus, and Lacey joining in. Alessa’s eyes had gone to James and saw him lying in a pool of rapidly expanding blood.

Several Slytherins from a near-by table joined in at Snape’s side, always eager to hex a Gryffindor. Snape was dueling Sirius while the others took on Lacey, Remus, and Lily. Alessa ignored the spells flying around the room and ran between Sirius and Snape throwing up a shield between them.

“What in the bloody hell do you think you’re doing, Alessa?!?” Sirius bellowed, clearly irate, but she ignored him.

“Severus, what did you cast on him? Please, for Lily, heal him.” Snape looked over to the now ashen James Potter. She dragged him over to James, but seeing his hesitation she snapped at him,

“If you’re not going to reverse this curse then at least tell me how and I’ll bloody well do it myself!” Severus looked into her eyes. Seeing that this was a deal-breaker on her friendship, he began incanting over James. The blood that had been pooling around Potter began going back into the cuts all over his body. James let out a cough and muttered,

“Thanks ‘Lessa, owe you…”

“Damn right you do, Potter!” then she turned to Severus and said,

“Thank you, Severus. I think it would be wise for you and your friends to go now.” Severus looked at the four he and his fellow Slytherins had been dueling and nodded, getting up to walk away.

He turned back to her and murmured quietly,

“Thank you for not judging me, Alessandra,” then he turned and left.

Remus had to hold Sirius back as he tried to charge after Snape. Lily rushed over to James. Lacey joined her at Potter’s side, then the normally calm girl turned and berated Sirius,

“Stop being an idiot and come and help us with your best friend. He’d be in a heap of trouble right now if you’d kept on with your fighting and had actually hurt Snape! Luckily your girlfriend is a lot brighter than you!” Sirius came quickly to help with James as Remus dealt with Madam Rosmerta.

In the end, Sirius paid her an undisclosed sum of galleons to not leak this incident to Dumbledore then poured his firewhiskey onto James’ clothing so he just appeared drunk while Sirius and Remus supported him between them.

Alessa and Lacey fell back to walk with Lily. Alessa was saddened for her friend’s pain, knowing the term ‘mudblood’ wasn’t what had upset her, but having it come from someone she counted as her close friend.

“Lily, I’m not agreeing with Severus for what he said to you. I think that it’s an appalling word and can’t believe anyone in Hogwarts would use it.”

“What do you mean at Hogwarts? Durmstrang encouraged such prejudice?” Lily asked, tears in her eyes.

“Actually: yes. There were family histories done before a student was allowed to enter the school. They still allowed some muggle born in, but it wasn’t the friendliest of environments for them. You’re a brilliant witch, smarter than most of the witches and wizards in our school who can boast a long magical bloodline, so it’s stupid to judge you based on your birth. But it’s even more ridiculous to keep fighting with Severus over a word. If you do, you’re lowering yourself to the same level as the wizards who would consider you a mudblood. And if you had kept battling tonight… I don’t know what would have happened to James… I’ve never seen that spell before.”

“I know. I shouldn’t have hexed Severus…”

Alessa’s eyes glittered with mischief as she said,

“I didn’t say you shouldn’t have attacked him. You have every right to defend yourself. But you should attack him, not have James, Remus, and Sirius do it. You’re an incredibly talented witch. If someone insults you or hurts you; defend yourself. Don’t allow others to do it for you.” Lily smiled at Alessa and wrapped an arm around her waist,

“I can’t believe I ever disliked you. You’re a bit more devious than any of my other friends but for once I’m hoping it rubs off on me.”

Alessa laughed, “The perfectly innocent Lily Evans, wanting to add some scandal to her life? I love that idea. Lacey, you want to get your hands a little dirty? I have an idea that we can use against the boys, to introduce you ladies to the world of proper pranks.”

“I’m always game.” Lacey said, her smile as wicked as the other two girls.

***

Sirius waited till they were out of the girls’ hearing range when he said,

“Listen guys, Alessa’s going to catch on about Remus’ furry little problem if you don’t start guarding your thoughts a little better. She doesn’t walk around searching people’s thoughts, but she is a rather skilled Legilimens. Let’s just try and keep our minds off of it when in her presence.”

“Anything you say, Padfoot.” James agreed, grimacing with each step.

“Snape really did you in this time, Prongs. I’ve never seen that spell before. It’s definitely not been covered in D.A.D.A.” Remus mentioned as his friend winced in pain.

“Well, we’ll just have to come up with a little retaliation prank for our Half-Blood Prince, now won’t we?” James asked, laughing menacingly and immediately regretting it as pain flooded through his body.

“As long as Alessa’s not around, I’m in. I don’t want to get on the wrong side of her wand,” Sirius muttered.

“That’s priceless! Padfoot’s been put on a short leash,” James taunted his best friend.

“Like you’re not? Evans’ butterbeer starts to look half empty and you’re sprinting to Rosmerta for a refill, practically knocking everyone out of the way just so Lily doesn’t go thirsty for a single second,” Sirius threw back.

“Bloody hell! Face it; both of you two have been whipped. I knew James was, but I have to admit, this is amazing to witness with you, Sirius. And that bracelet? Bleeding hell! Just warn me before you propose to her next week, deal mate?”

Sirius shot both his friends a glare but continued helping the weakened James towards Hogwarts.

When they reached the castle, Filch accosted them, ready to search his least favorite students for contraband. But the girls started in before he could get to them, cursing the boys for their drunkenness, right in front of Filch.

“James Potter, I am thoroughly disgusted with your drunken state. As soon as we’re inside, I’m writing you up for a week’s detention!” Lily shouted at him and Filch took a step back from the boys, smirking at their punishment.

“Make it two weeks and throw Sirius in with him. You useless sot! Don’t even bother trying to talk to us tonight. We’re thoroughly disgusted with the lot of you!” Alessa finished off and with that the three girls stormed inside.

Filch gave the boys a pleased look and waved them all through, thinking James and Sirius were thoroughly pissed and about to receive proper punishment for it.

“Well that was easy,” Lacey said as they made their way into the castle, “We should curse at them more often and maybe they’d spend less of their lives in detention.”

“That was kind of hot. You should yell at me more often, Evans.” James said from behind the girls.

Lily turned around and said,

“You’re lucky you’re not in the hospital wing, and owe us for not being in the Head Master’s office. But I don’t feel like lecturing tonight. Tonight I feel like hanging out with my girlfriends. Ladies, shall we do a girl’s night?”

Alessa jumped in excitement and said, “I’ll go raid the kitchens! I’ll be back in a few with the snacks! This is going to be so much fun…” She looked around and saw the guys staring at her, surprised by her very uncharacteristic, very female, outburst.

“What? I’ve never had a girl’s night… and if I see that smug look on any of your faces for a second longer Snape’s hex will look like child’s play.” Her tone turned dark as she threatened them.

All three quickly wiped the grins off their faces and tried to look neutral.

“Okay, we’ll meet you upstairs in ten,” Lily said and Lacey squeaked with excitement and squeezed Alessa’s hand before chasing Lily up the stairs.

“Wait for me here. I’m going to take James up to his room and I’ll go to the kitchens with you. It wouldn’t do to have you getting caught after getting us off of detention.”

“It’s okay Padfoot. Moony’s got me. I’m feeling stronger already. Escort your love on her quest for hot cocoa. Night Alessa,” James leaned in and kissed her forehead then added, “Thank you again. I owe you for Evans and for my life now.” She just smiled at him as Remus leaned in and hugged her good night as well. She decided that she could get used to this having best friends thing.

Sirius wrapped an arm around her waist and they headed towards the kitchens.

“You are extremely lucky that I’m this tall. It must have been so uncomfortable for you to date shorter girls.” She commented as she entwined her fingers through his hand that was around her waist.

“I do have to admit, I like dating a tall girl. Can’t wait till skirt season again; those legs…” She shoved him playfully and he just laughed at her but added, “Thanks for helping James today while I lost my head.”

“That’s what girlfriends are for: making sure their boyfriend’s best friend doesn’t bleed out while he hexes said best friend’s enemy.”

Sirius swung her around so she was facing him forcing her to walk backwards as he started kissing her. She lightly bit his lip, then slid her finger up between their mouths and said,

“Sorry Sirius: Girl’s night.” Then turned towards the portrait on the wall, tickled the pear, and walked into the kitchen.

“Miss Alessandra, Mister Black! It is so good to have you here, what can we do for you?” the head hour elf asked.

“Hello Bria. How are you today?”

“Oh, Miss Alessandra is a good Mistress to ask. Bria is doing very well, thank you. Bria would be happy to get Miss Alessandra anything she desires.”

“Do you think you could find us a carafe of hot cocoa and whatever desserts you have on hand?” And before Alessa could stop her Bria was summoning plates of delicious desserts. Sirius laughed and attempted to stop the house elf,

“Thank you so much Bria, I think that will be enough for us. We really appreciate it.”

“Bria is always happy to help Miss Alessandra or Mister Black.”

“Thank you Bria. Have a good night.” Alessa said and Sirius helped her balance the plates of sweets and mugs to go with the hot cocoa.

They made it back to the dorms and Alessa leaned up to Sirius and kissed him on the lips lightly.

“Good night, Sirius Black. Thank you. For an almost perfect first date...”

“Oh bloody hell! That was our first real date…” he started in, realizing he had spent a good portion of it hexing Snape.

“That’s okay; you can make it up to me. I haven’t thought of how yet, but I will. Oh, and promise me that you won’t take it easy on me tomorrow in the Room of Requirements.”

“As if I could! I let my guard down for a second with you and I’m bound to lose a limb.”

“If I remember correctly, you came out on top during our last duel.” She teased, but Sirius blanched at the memory of her lying on the floor, unable to draw a breath.

He set down the desserts and drew her to him, enfolding her in a hug. She allowed him to wrap her in his arms, and she let out a deep breath, knowing she was safe in these arms. Then she tilted her head up, standing slightly on her tip toes and kissed him again, willing him to feel the same about her as she felt about him, pouring her feelings into her kiss.

Sirius fell back against the wall as Alessa kissed him. This kiss felt different: it overwhelmed him. He wanted to tell her at that moment that he loved her, but her kiss left him speechless.

Alessa pulled away from him slowly, her fingers running lightly over his cheeks.

“Sleep well, Sirius,” she whispered then pointed her wand at the desserts and they floated up the stairs behind her.

How in the bleeding hell did she expect him to sleep after a kiss like that? Pure evil, that girl.

***

When she reached the room she heard Lily and Lacey laughing and walked in to find Lily had already put some muggle contraptions in Lacey’s hair and they had constructed a pillow fort on the floor with sheets over it. When she entered with the sweets they cheered.

“Shut it, you poxy cows!” Angela shouted, throwing her pillow at them.

Alessa just snickered along with her friends and climbed into the fort.

Lily pointed her wand at her and there was a pop and Alessa found herself in penguin pajamas.

“Muffliato,” Lily added for good measure so their bunkmates couldn’t hear them.

“Now, it’s time for your curlers!” Lacey was overly excited about this part and started wrapping Alessa’s hair up in strange little rollers and pinning them to her head. The other two were giggling, so Alessa didn’t really want to bring up the Room of Requirements, but knew she had to.

“There’s something I want to talk to you two about,” she said, hating to ruin the only girl’s night she’d ever had, but knowing she had to tell them.

“Anything,” Lily said, still rolling Alessa’s hair in curlers but noting the serious tone her friend’s voice had taken.

“Tomorrow, Dumbledore is holding a special class: teaching true dark arts to a select few students. Only James, Remus, Sirius, and I are being taught. But I don’t think that’s fair to you two. A war is coming soon; my parents’ deaths were just the start of it. You will need to know how to truly defend yourselves when there are Death Eaters throwing curses meant to kill at you. It’s going to be dangerous, but I think it’s the only way to ensure that you’re properly trained. Will you two come tomorrow?”

Lily and Lacey looked at one another, then as one, nodded. Lily’s eyes burned and she said,

“I’m muggle born. I’m one of the ones Voldemort wishes to eradicate. I’m going to need this training, whether I wish it or not. Thank you, Alessa. You’re ensuring my safety in a way no one else has offered to me.”

Alessa nodded and Lacey squeezed her hand, silently adding her agreement.

Alessa smiled, relieved, “Okay, now that we’ve discussed that, can we please start gossiping and eating junk food? I’ve never had a girl’s night before and want to enjoy it as much as possible.”

***

The next morning Alessa awoke, sandwiched between her two friends. All of their hands were intertwined and she smiled when she remembered that they had all promised last night to always have one another’s back, no matter what happened. It was strange to her, how she could have connected with so many friends so quickly, after being alone so long at Durmstrang. But she trusted her new found friends with all of her heart. They were honest and good, and she didn’t have to be a Legilimens to know that about them.

She also found she loved having girlfriends. They had talked about everything last night, in a way one couldn’t talk to guys: from boys, to their dreams after school, to their darkest secrets. Alessa was normally secretive about her life, but she trusted these girls with everything, and knew they felt the same way about her.

Alessa was extra careful not to wake Lily or Lacey as she snuck out of the fort and over to her chest of clothes. She saw the sun coming up, and decided that it was going to be a warm fall day and changed into her jeans, a green tank top, and some sneakers. Pocketing her wand she silently slunk out of the room and down the stairs.

She made her way to the library, past the librarian who was so deep in her own book she didn’t notice that a student had entered.

Holding up her wand for clearance, she was allowed into the restricted section. As she made her way to the ‘A’ section she found several books on what she was looking for. Animagus: An Art and Transfiguring the Body, not the Mind: Animagi were the two books she took with her. I can use mom’s old room to practice, no one will bother me there, she thought as she hid the books from view and left the library.

Alessa then made her way to the Astronomy Tower, and walked up to a statue of a Phoenix.

“Ian Grindelwald” she said quietly and a door opened behind the statue, with a staircase that led up to her mother’s old room. She had stayed here over the summer, so it didn’t hurt her as deeply as it had when she had first come up here; to this place where her mother had been so young, happy, in love… and alive.

Alessandra sat at the vanity mirror and picked up the hairbrush that had been her mother’s. She began brushing the curls from her hair with it and talking to the photograph of her mother. It was a picture of her in her final year at Hogwarts that had been left on the desk all these years.

“Mum, you found the love of your life here. I think I may have found my own love. His name’s Sirius and you would love him. Of course he’s handsome--- almost too handsome. He’s tall, with black hair and these piercing grey eyes that seem to understand me, and his smile… and his lips… but it’s more than that. He makes me happy, mum. The happiest I’ve ever been with a guy and the happiest I’ve been since you and dad were taken from me…”

She paused and looked at the brush, running her fingers over it as if it were made of glass and could break if handled too roughly. A tear slid down her cheek, “I miss you both so much. I won’t let Voldemort get away with this. You were standing against him and died for it. I’m going to do the same with my life. I love my friends here, and I won’t let them be hurt just because of their blood status.” She sighed, wishing more than anything she could just talk to her mother one more time.

“Now mum, let’s hope that all of your and dad’s brilliance passed onto me,” she said as she opened the first book and started reading.

***

Alessa showed up at the Room of Requirements just before five. She entered and Sirius walked over to her, a stern look on his face.

“Where have you been all day? Lily and Lacey said they woke up and you were gone. And you didn’t come to breakfast or lunch…” She leaned up and kissed him to stop his questioning. He noticed her scent had changed. He involuntarily let out a low growl and she took a step back, her eyes widening.

“Sorry…” Sirius looked her over, wondering what that scent was that had caused his reaction. He tried to recover by reeling her in for a kiss and said,

“You know kissing you gets me all riled up…” All riled up? That was about the worst recovery ever. The scent on her wasn’t strong, but for some reason, it called out to the Animagus in him. He almost wanted to bark.

Sirius was saved from having to answer any awkward questions by Dumbledore walking into the room.

“Miss Evans and Miss Peters, I wasn’t expecting you, but seeing as how you’ve become close to Alessandra and we are coming into dark times, I welcome you with open arms. Shall we begin?”

Three hours later the exhausted students thanked their Head Master. Dumbledore hugged his granddaughter, “Your parents would be so proud of you. I am.” Alessa’s smile stopped at her lips, her eyes a mixture of rage and sadness. “Thanks Grandpa,” she said, hugging him back. He was the only relative she had left, she thought sadly. Then she turned and walked off to join her friends on their way back to the Gryffindor tower.

As the common room had students in it, they all made their way up to the boy’s room. Alessa was still rubbing her shoulder, which was turning a nice shade of black and purple from being hexed into a wall.

“That was fucking brutal!” James whined, rubbing his own head where Lily had hexed him.

“I’m starved, but too exhausted to try and make it to the hall!” Lacey complained in agreement.

Alessa cast a mysterious smile at them and called out in a soft, sweet voice, “Bria!”

There was a pop, and the house elf was in the room with them,

“Hello Miss Alessandra. What can Bria do for you and the Masters and Mistresses?”

“Bria, do you think you could arrange for whatever you have made for dinner to make its way up here. We’re a bit worn out and can’t make it to the hall in time to get fed.”

“Whatever Miss Alessandra wishes, Bria shall do!” the house elf snapped her fingers and trays of food and carafes of drinks appeared before them.

“Thank you, so much Bria. All of us greatly appreciate you doing this for us, and we will not forget your kindness.” Alessa smiled at the elf.

Bria looked embarrassed and said, “Miss Alessandra is too kind to Bria! Can she do anything else for the Masters and Mistresses?”

“Bria, you’ve made us all so happy! We couldn’t possibly want anything else. Thank you!” Lily said, while loading her plate with food.

Bria scuffed her feet uncomfortably then with a ‘pop’ disappeared again.

“I may actually be in love with you, Alessa!” Exclaimed James as he tore into a turkey leg.

“Oi, Potter, Rule #4!” Sirius snapped at his friend. Alessa’s eyebrow went up. These boys had so many secrets it was ridiculous.

“So James, can you tell me once again, the final steps of transforming to an Animagus? I want to have that paper finished by tomorrow and I keep getting confused on the part where you maintain your own mind while your body transforms around it.” Alessa watched him carefully as he asked this.

James beamed at his chance to show off to Lily,

“It’s really not that hard, Alessa. All you really have to do…” Remus cut him off and said, “Enough with the bragging, James. Lily’s not going to fall in love with you for your book knowledge of Animagi!”

Alessa turned her eyes to Remus and saw him staring back into hers, aware of what she had been up to in getting James bragging. She huffed and gulped down a mouthful of pumpkin juice. Remus just smiled and went back to his food.

“Those were some insanely hard spells today!” Lacey brought up, noticing the tension in the room. “I have no idea how we’ll ever manage them in a real battle situation. I mean, after that first protection charm I felt drained… and to keep going on throwing spell after spell…”

“You get stronger the more you practice and more comfortable you are wielding the magic,” Sirius told her.

“You seemed comfortable enough with it, Black.” Alessa muttered, remembering when Sirius had hit her with a stunning curse that went right through her shield, travelled through her own wand, and threw her hard into a wall, which she may have left a crack in from her impact.

“Well, love, you weren’t exactly a kitten either,” he replied, lifting his shirt to show where the giant bruise was forming across his abs. Sirius paused at his choice of words and looked her over again, more carefully this time.

There was something almost feline about her grace tonight while she fought. Something he hadn’t noticed before. To top it off his extra sensitive sense of smell still picked up on something that nagged at him, trying to force him to place the scent.

Sirius saw that her eyes clouded over, as if she was veiling her thoughts as he stared into them and he knew he had to get her alone to talk to her soon. As if sensing his intention Alessa quickly reentered the conversation that the rest of the group was having.

“Are we really going to need spells like this?” Lacey brought up, “I mean I know that things are getting bad out there, but…”

“Lacey, that was the beginner’s lesson to the real dark arts.” Lily said darkly, “What’s going on outside of Hogwarts is real. We have a war coming to the wizarding world, and we’re all going to have to face it the moment we leave these walls at the end of this year.” James put his arm around Lily, as if by pulling her closer to him he could protect her from everything.

Alessa smiled sadly at James’ intent, but knew that it was better for Lily to be learning to defend herself as well. Lily wasn’t one to back down from a fight, so it was best to have her prepared for it.

“Well girls, I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. You all want to head back to our room?”

“Was that an invitation?” Sirius asked playfully and wrapped his arm about her waist and pulled her into his lap.

“Lecher!” she accused.

“Tease!”

“Lascivious git!”

James cut in and sighed, “Alessa, you should know better than to use such big words on Sirius. He is a bit slow, you know.”

Alessa adopted his stern expression and quipped, “I know James, but he’s just so fit… It makes up for his mental ineptitude.”

“Oi Prongs! And you call yourself my best mate. And you… you treacherous woman, you’re supposed to be on my side, being my girlfriend and all!”

Alessa laughed as he swung her up in his arms and turned to Lily and Lacey,

“Ladies, I think I shall escort my loving, doting, reverent girlfriend to her staircase. Have a lovely night. And go bugger yourself, Prongs.” Sirius threw in for good measure as he dodged out the door to avoid whatever James was about to throw at him.

“NIGHT!” Alessa shouted back at Remus and James, but heard only laughter coming from the room.

***

“This may come as a shock to you, so I’ll break it slow. Sirius--- I can walk.” Alessa pointed out. Sirius had left the Gryffindor common room and was heading to the Astronomy Tower, deciding that he needed to talk to her rather than let her go to her room and escape his questions.

“I gathered as much. I think it was around the second day you were here that I first noticed it,” sarcasm dripped from his lips, “But if I let you out of my grasp there is a good chance that you’ll run for it and make it up your staircase before I can talk to you.”

“So you’re kidnapping me just to talk? When did you become so prim and proper? I was hoping you were stealing me away for a good snog,” she crossed her arms over her chest and looked away from him.

Truth be told, Alessa didn’t want to be alone with Sirius right now. She didn’t want to lie to him, but she knew if he got her alone he would corner her about where she’d been all day. There was no way she was going to admit to him what she’d been up to in her mum’s room all day.

It had taken her several hours just to decide what animal would be most useful to slip in to. She thought at first that a small, every day creature, such as an owl would be useful. But then she couldn’t really defend herself if it came down to it.

Finally, after staring at the picture of her mother for the better portion of the afternoon, she decided just to try the spell, clearing her mind of every thought and letting her body take what shape it would.

The change was so painful the first time, that half way through her transformation, it shocked her and she felt herself almost hurled back into her human form. Alessa took a deep breath and calmed herself again, staring at her mother’s smiling face. I have to be brave like my mother, she thought. She pushed the pain from her mind and gave herself a few more minutes to calm herself, then whispered the spell again and this time the pain wasn’t as intense as her body shifted around her.

Though she heard her bones cracking, she removed herself to her mind, ignoring the physical. Then it was over. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes.

The first thing she noticed was the faint smell in the room. She had never noticed it before, it smelled like her mother. And her eyes seemed to pick up on details she had never noticed, the texture of the blanket on the bed, the feel of the tiny imperfections in the floor underneath her pads… wait… her pads?

She held up what had once been her hand and saw a long, black paw extended. She slunk over to the mirror and looked in it.

Yellow eyes stared back at her, and her long black tail whipped back in forth in extreme pleasure. She was a panther: a large, lithe, powerful panther. She bared her teeth: no, her fangs, running her tongue over them in pleasure. They were deathly sharp.

After stalking around the room for several minutes she decided it would be stupid to push herself too hard before her lessons with her Grandfather. She said the spell in her head, once again pulling everything inside her mind.

Alessa flexed her fingers first, testing them out. She slowly opened her eyes and saw that she was back to her human form. A new benefit to being Animagus, she discovered, was that her senses were more heightened, almost as they were when she was in her animal form.

She could get used to this, Alessa decided, as she walked down the staircase from her mother’s room, and made her way towards the Room of Requirements.

She snapped back from her memories to her present predicament: Sirius Black.




________________________________________
Sirius set her down once they reached the Astronomy tower and had every intention of questioning her until he found out what she had been up to all day. But he was distracted by the way the moon was hitting her face: her violet eyes, her full, plush lips... Before he could ask her what she was trying to hide from him, Alessa launched her own attack. She grabbed his shirt and pulled him towards her with a ferocity that surprised him. Her lips met his and he completely forgot why he had brought her up here in the first place.

Alessa smiled slightly against his lips, realizing she had attained her objective and distracted him. But as his hands slid down over her hips, to her legs and picked her up against him, she realized she had forgotten what she had been distracting him from in the first place.

Alessa wrapped her legs around Sirius’ waist as he leaned her against the wall. It was Sirius’ turn to smile as Alessa moaned softly against his lips. He loved that he could make Alessa want him as much as he wanted her. Then he forgot everything he had been thinking as she began kissing his neck.

***

Sirius had his arm around Alessa’s waist as he walked her to her staircase.

“Good night, love,” he said, and leaned in to kiss her good night. She bumped his abs on accident and he let out a light hiss of pain.

“Oh Merlin! Sirius, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to hit your bruise…” he just laughed and leaned down to kiss her before she could apologize anymore. “Get upstairs and into bed. You’ve got to be exhausted from all of the exertion from today--- not to mention the dueling. OW!” she slapped his bruise, smirking at him, and kissed his cheek before sprinting up towards her room.

When she reached it, she found Lily and Lacey had already passed out and were softly snoring. Alessa changed into pajamas and climbed into her bed. Well, today certainly had been eventful. Now that she thought about it, every day had been since she’d met her new friends. She pulled the orchid she’d saved from a glass of water on her nightstand and smelled it. By all Morgana’s powers! That man was intoxicating and highly addictive. She fell asleep holding onto the orchid.

Alessa heard voices around her and awoke with a start. She was never the last person to wake up. Transforming yesterday must have taken more out of her than she’d thought.

She rubbed her eyes and Lily and Lacey just nodded to her as she started to get ready. She grabbed her towel and trudged towards the shower. As Lily came in to put on her makeup she gasped causing Alessa to quickly rub the soap from her face to look at her friend.

“What, what is it?” Alessa asked, looking around for something that could have caused that sort of reaction from her friend.

“Merlin’s Beard! Look at your shoulder! That bruise is going down your chest and ribs! What curse did he hit you with?”

“I don’t even remember,” Alessa confessed, grimacing. Between Sirius, James, and Remus she had a collected a fine assortment of bruises. She knew she had earned each and every one of them though, having delivered some rather nasty spells back at them.

Lily nodded and began putting her makeup on,

“You were really something to see yesterday. I’ve seen Sirius and James duel before, and they never cease to amaze me, but you… you’re something special Alessa. Is part of it, do you think, from coming from such a powerful wizarding lineage? I mean Sirius and James are both pure-bloods and they’re brilliant…”

“You’re just as good, Lily. You just haven’t spent as much time defending and attacking people as I have. And nowhere near as much time as Sirius and James. Those two have ‘hex me’ stamped onto their foreheads.”

She thought back to her days at Durmstrang to a particularly painful hex that had removed the bones from her leg. They’d had to grow them back. She spent all of the two weeks in the hospital with her nose buried in a book of defensive spells and offensive curses for when she got out.

“Get out of that shower, Alessandra Grindelwald! I am famished and would like to get to breakfast before the Marauders eat it all!” shouted Lacey crankily as she stuffed her bag for the day.

Alessa sighed and allowed herself another minute of the hot water, then got out and quickly dressed for the day, grabbing her bag and joining Lily and Lacey. Thankfully, Margaret and Angela were already gone.

Sirius and James were awaiting them at the bottom of the stairs. While Sirius bent down and passionately kissed Alessa, James tentatively leaned over and kissed Lily’s cheek.

Lily beamed up at James and took his hand in hers before they headed down the stairs.

Sirius laughed with Alessa; he doubted he had ever seen James so happy. He was practically floating down the stairs.

“Does this mean that they’re going out?” Sirius asked Alessa.

“I would interpret it that way. I’m not sure if they’d made anything official yet,” She smiled at Sirius as he swung her bag up for her, “I mean, James hasn’t sent her an owl with a beautiful bracelet in it and she hasn’t been hexed in public for dating him. So can it really be considered official?”

“I’d have to say no if she hasn’t sprouted fur yet for kissing a very good looking guy,” Sirius smirked down at her.

“You just keep reminding me of how wonderful it is to be your girlfriend: So many perks.”

Sirius just brought her tighter to his body, muttering something about the bloody wenches of Hogwarts.

The next few weeks went by uneventfully. Now that James was dating Lily, he was a tamed man: at least as tamed as James Potter could get. Not that Severus made it through this time without being pranked by the Marauders, but overall things were quiet around the school. They found themselves looking forward to their Sundays with their Headmaster though; they learned magic from him they’d never dreamed existed.

Alessa and Sirius had gone all out that day, Sunday, in their defense session with Dumbledore. Lily and Lacey had also noticed that James and Remus seemed to be pushing both of them harder when they were dueling, and as a result were in a rather nasty mood as they left that night from the Room of Requirements.

Lily took the other two girls up with her to the Prefect’s bathroom, which had a giant hot pool, swirling with bubbles of all different colors.

“You two look pissed,” Alessa announced as she slid into the hot water, her body creaking in protest.

“You’d be bloody pissed too if you’d just dealt with James Potter hexing you to the brink of going to the hospital wing!” Lily moaned, joining her friends in the water.

“Why, Lily dearest, you sound almost upset with your darling James,” Lacey said with a mock surprise tone.

“You’d be too if your boyfriend bruised you from head to toe!”

“I caused mine to stop breathing today and pinned him ten feet off the ground to a wall!” Alessa said proudly, thinking back to her double curse she’d thrown through Sirius’ barrier while deflecting his own crushing curse. “Not that I’m not bruised too, so wipe that nasty look off of your face, Lily Evans. I’ve got four cracked ribs thanks to my boyfriend.”

“I don’t even get to snog Remus and I’ve got a black eye, so I really don’t know what you two are going on about!” snapped Lacey.

Alessa burst out laughing and the other two girls looked at her like she was crazy.

“What in the blazes is so funny, Alessa?” Lacey demanded.

“I think it’s about time for that prank that we were talking about a while back. Now let’s start planning it while there’s no one else around to overhear us.”

***

The next night at supper Lacey, Lily, and Alessa were all sitting on one side of the table, talking over some Potions homework while James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter sat on the other side, heatedly discussing the upcoming Quidditch match against Hufflepuff.

Suddenly the hall burst out in laughter and the boys looked up to see what the cause of it was. They saw that there were boxers that had been enchanted and were floating through the main hall. Sirius barked a laugh, until he recognized his own Snitch covered boxers. As each boy turned red with embarrassment, it got worse. Above each pair of boxers, written in fire was: Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and James Potter. The names switched themselves back and forth until they found the correct boxers for their name. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the boxers suddenly exploded into midnight black and canary yellow colors, the Hufflepuff colors!

Each boy looked horrified and more than a few girls looked saddened that they couldn’t get a hold of the boxers of such trophy men.

“When I get my hands on Snape!” James snarled, until Lily cackled and asked him innocently,

“How can you be so sure it was him, darling?” James looked like he’d been hit in the gut, he was so shocked. Then all three girls burst out laughing and Alessa teased,

“Sirius, I never pictured you as the Snitch-knicker type. That’s bleeding precious! Though it may have ruined your sex appeal; at least for me. Though, it would appear that it didn’t diminish your masculinity in the eyes of quite a few ladies in this hall.”

“You all did this?!” Remus asked, incredulous.

Lacey answered him, “Us? Why would we do such a thing? Really Remus, sometimes you draw the strangest conclusions. And by the way, I didn’t peg you as someone who liked the Chudley Cannons.” With that the girls stood and made their way up to their dorms, still laughing.

“I never thought I’d live to see the day that Lily Evans would prank me, or anyone for that matter,” James said, shocked.

“You and I both, mate,” Sirius said, smiling at his friend and clapping him on the back.

***

Later that night, Alessa had made it all the way to the Whomping Willow without being caught, when she suddenly felt an arm wrap around her waist and a hand clamp over her mouth.

She threw an elbow into her attacker and heard a grunt, then recognized the voice that issued from her attacker’s mouth.

“Merlin, ‘Lessa! That hurt like hell! Is that any way to treat you beloved boyfriend, who you just publicly shamed?”

“Sirius? Are you mental!?! Who just grabs someone in the dark, outside, near the Forbidden Forest?”

Sirius wheezed, “Obviously someone who’s not the brightest of blokes. Probably wears Snitch boxers too. Must be a complete wanker!”

Alessa laughed and forgave him, leaning up to kiss him. Sirius took his hand in hers and asked,
“Going to see Cerian?”

“Guilty. I haven’t seen her since Saturday, and now that she’s getting bigger Hagrid’s been having a hard time keeping her in his hut. And I miss that lump of scales.” Alessa admitted.

“Well, let’s go visit your lump of scales then.”

“I never knew that publicly humiliating you could make you so pliable and affectionate.” Alessa joked.

“Well, I’ve never been pranked by a girl before, so I’m rewarding you with positive reinforcement so you keep it up with the devious behavior. I could use some company in detention.”

“I am constantly displaying devious behavior. I’m just better than you at not getting caught while performing it.” Sirius pulled her against him for a deeper kiss.

They’d been together for almost a month now and still these kisses never got old. She wondered if they ever would, yet somehow she doubted that. She sighed happily as he pulled his lips from hers and pressed them to her forehead.

“Almost a full moon; it’s so beautiful out here at night,” Alessa said, unaware that the very celestial orb that gave her such joy caused a dark look to spread across Sirius’ face.

“Two more nights. Come on, let’s get you to Cerian.”

Alessa heard a thud and a bellow as Cerian tried to throw down the door at her approach. She laughed and called out,

“Cerian, when I get in there I’d better find you curled up by the fire, behaving Hagrid.” It went silent and Hagrid opened the door for them, a scorch across his shirt.

“Why ‘ello Sirius and Alessa. Weren’t expecting you for a few more nights.”

“I missed my little jewel!” Alessa smiled over at Cerian, who was pretending to be asleep near the fire. The dragonling’s eye opened the tiniest bit to see where Alessa was. Cerian suddenly stretched slowly and rose to her feet and walked over to Alessa lazily.

“Have you been sleeping, my little love?” Alessa asked her, almost laughing at the dragon’s attempt at deception. The dragonling nodded and Alessa returned, “Then how did Hagrid get that burn mark on his clothing?” Alessa had an image pop into her head of Hagrid burning himself in the fireplace making stew.

Alessa laughed heartily at this lie and scooped the dragonling’s head into her arms, burying her face against it. Alessa understood now how to communicate with Cerian. She used her combination of Animagus abilities and Legilimens to communicate with the dragonling, which made things easier now that she was a little larger than a threstral and could easily hurt someone.

Cerian looked Sirius over and let out a small belch of flame.

“Now Cerian, if you want to fly tonight then you had better be on your best manners!” Alessa admonished. The dragonling reminded her of James, prancing the same way he pranced excitedly for a Quidditch match.

They led Cerian out the back and before Hagrid or Sirius could protest, Alessa swung herself onto the molten black dragonling’s back and Cerian sprang into the air.

Alessa had never tried riding her before, and Cerian had been telling her for a week now that she could carry her weight. Tonight just seemed like the perfect night. The image that Cerian cast into Alessa’s head was more of a feeling: freeness, happiness, feeling whole.

She held on tight as Cerian dove down at the lake, then with a snap of her wings turned in an arc and shot straight up towards the almost full moon.

They flew for an hour before Alessa could convince the dragonling that she had to land and rest. Cerian deposited her on the ground then sprang back up, in search of dinner.

“I would lecture you, but it’s too late and I know you’ll just do it again when I’m not looking,” Sirius sighed wearily, “Dating you is emotionally taxing with all of the worrying I have to do over you.”

“There are quite a few Hufflepuff or Ravenclaws who would be more than happy to take my place if you find dating me not worth the expenditure.”

“Ugh, why do you think I was single for so long before you were here?” They wished Hagrid good night and walked back up towards the castle.

Sirius had been kissing her in the common room, near the fireplace. He paused, with a scandalous look on his face and said,

“You know, you could stay with me tonight.”

“Not very likely, Mister Black. I remember what happened the last time I stayed in your room. There were rumors circulating for weeks about what a tart I was,”

“Those rumors were circulated by a girl I used to date and only girls who wanted to date me believed it.”

“You have quite the following then, because it felt like the whole school was talking about me.”

“More likely they were talking about how lucky I was to have tricked you into being my girlfriend.”

“How true that rings.”

“Is that a no on staying with me? Even if I promise to keep my hands to myself?”

“Alas my darling, I doubt I could promise the same. I’d inevitably lose control of myself, being so close to you in your bed, and I’d ravage you. And I wouldn’t want to take advantage of you like that.” She kissed him sweetly as he just stared at her, the shock and longing clear in his eyes.

“Night Sirius,” and with that Alessa walked up her staircase.

“I’m going to need a frigid shower after that tease!” he shouted after her, then trudged up his own stairway.

That next morning, as the girls walked down to breakfast, Alessa got her copy of The Daily Prophet and saw that the Dark Mark was on the front page, over a small muggle/wizarding village in Northern London, “Lord Voldemort Attacks Muggles and Wizards!”

Lily saw the article and tears began to form in her eyes. “That’s close to my home,” she whispered in horror. Alessa took Lily’s hand in her own and squeezed it to comfort her.

James and Sirius had just come down the stairs and were arguing loudly over the upcoming Quidditch World Cup Trials and what teams were most likely to beat one another.

James was so deep in the argument that he didn’t even notice the dangerous look that had come across Lily’s face. Alessa and Lacey did though and Remus picked up on it and tried to stop James, but James took Remus pulling on his arm as a sign to jump up onto the bench and proclaim his love for the Hungarian Seeker.

“Just shut up, Potter, shut up! I can’t listen to your stupid blathering anymore!”

“Lily, what the…?”

“Who gives a bleeding shite about Quidditch…?”

“Who cares about Quidditch?! Who cares about QUIDDITCH!?!” James shot back at her.

Unfortunately, this was the one subject that James took very seriously and didn’t notice the newspaper that was crumpled in her shaking hand.

“It’s just a stupid game!”

“A stupid game?! Have you lost your bloody mind, Evans?”

Lily’s face lit up at that and she grabbed a glass full of pumpkin juice and hurled it into his face, then turned on her heel and marched off at a pace that most would have to run to match.

Alessa threw the paper at Sirius, then she and Lacey chased after their friend.

“Lil, he didn’t know. And you know how James is about Quidditch…” Lacey started.

“No! I’m not going to listen to Potter get defended. How can he not see all of the other things going on around him? Why can’t he just open his stupid eyes and see what’s happening in the real world?”

“Lily, you know that’s not fair. His parents are both Aurors. He knows more than most people at the school what’s going outside of Hogwarts,” Alessa said calmly, “Both of you overreacted. I understand why you’re upset. You have every right to be terrified for your parents. We see the way that you comb the newspapers when you haven’t received an owl from them in a few days. But James didn’t know that you were upset, and he was just being James--- the same James that you always love; just with worse timing than usual.”

But Lily’s dark look stayed with her and when they arrived at Potions. They saw that James was sitting with Remus across the room, muttering darkly. He was obviously still upset, Alessa thought as she took her seat next to Lily and cast Sirius an apologetic look as Lacey took her seat next to him.

“Okay, now stir in the eye of newt… sweet Circe, Lily! Watch it: that burns!” Alessa snapped at Lily who had been busy glaring at James while violently stirring the potion.

Lily’s eyes turned back to Alessa and saw the burn marks in her robe,

“I’m sorry, Alessa. I really am. You said stir which way again?”

Alessa shook her head at the normally genius potion master and repeated, “Counter three times, then clockwise four.”

Upon arriving at their next class, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Lily sat at her desk awaiting Alessa to take a seat. Alessa shoved Sirius down with Lily and Lacey and then sat herself with Remus and James.

The first thing she noticed was how horrible Remus looked. His face was sunken in and there was something not quite right about him.

“Remus, are you feeling okay today?”

“I’m fine, just got an owl from my mum. She’s really sick again. I’m going to go visit her tomorrow night,” he muttered under his breath. Alessa knew that he was lying and put her hand to his forehead to feel for a fever. He practically knocked her out of her chair batting her away and he stalked from his seat to go and sit with Peter.

“What the hell was that?” Alessa asked, so shocked she had forgotten what a rotten mood James was in.

“Maybe he just doesn’t want you meddling in his life, Grindelwald.”

Alessa turned on him, her eyes blazing with fury, “Don’t think you’re going to get any pity from me, James Potter. And you’re sure as hell not going to sit here and be an arse to me because you’re mad at your girlfriend, who happens to be my best friend. I was your friend first, which is why I’m sitting with you. If you think you can climb off your high horse and treat me with some normalcy then I would be more than thrilled to talk to you. But chew me out again and I’ll singe that mussed hair you so love right off your scalp.”

James looked her full in the eyes, not realizing how much he had hurt her feelings. He let out a heave and said,

“I’m sorry, Alessa. You didn’t deserve that. I do feel awful about Lily. But I honestly didn’t know about the attack, and I have no idea why she expects me to know every time there’s an attack. Should I just be somber all of the time? Let all of the good in life go ignored because there is bad out there too? I can’t do that Alessa. For Merlin’s sake, I worry every night that the next time that mark appears it will be over my parents’ house. They risk their lives every day to get rid of Death Eaters and Voldemort and to protect muggles and half-bloods. I also know that they wouldn’t want me living my days filled with hatred and fear. They still want me to enjoy what good there is in these times.”

Alessa hugged James in a tight embrace, “You know, James, if you ever say that around other people, word is going to get out that you’re not a shallow git.”

James wrapped her in his arms, his hug conveying all of his fears and need to be reassured that he hid so well. Alessa felt it and pushed her feelings into his head, much like she did with Cerian. It was to calm and reassure him and let him feel her love towards him. James let out a sigh and she knew he felt it as his muscles relaxed around her. When he pulled away he smiled gratefully at her, “How did I ever get so lucky to get you as a friend?”

“It wasn’t luck, it was location. And your prank idea was rather lame…” James punched her in the arm and she punched him back then took out her book.

Professor Moriarti walked into the classroom and announced,
“No books today. Today we duel. Come, let’s put those spells to use that we’ve been practicing so hard.”

Lily paired up with Lacey, Sirius with Remus, and James with Alessa and they walked over to start dueling, but Moriarti had another surprise for them,

“Today I will be choosing your partners. Evans with Parville; Mister Black with Avery; Potter with Mulciber; Lupin with Peters; Grindelwald with Miss Black…” at that everyone froze.

Bellatrix had a menacing grin across her face as she walked towards Alessa. She held her hand out and said,

“Finally, we meet one on one. It’s an honor to meet one with such a blood line- if only Dumbledore hadn’t tarnished it, but still a remarkable pedigree.”

“The only things remarkable about the Black family are Sirius and the Tonks family. The rest of you are filthier than the ‘mudbloods’ you think yourself better than.”

Bellatrix turned purple and before the Professor could tell them to begin, Bellatrix shot a curse at Alessa.

Alessandra was ready and eager to fight this demon of a witch, who had participated in hurting not only innocent muggles, but also her Sirius.

Sirius went to intervene but Bellatrix threw up a barrier between Alessa and herself and the class.

Alessa threw a hex back at Bellatrix, which was blocked. The two were battling at a speed that astonished all around them, including the Professor, when Bellatrix shouted,

“Crucio!” Alessa screamed and fell to the ground.

Now the Professor was furiously working, along with the James, Remus, Sirius, Lily, Lacey, and even Snape, to get through the shield. Moriarti started swearing, saying he’d never seen this type of barrier cast before.

“You silly silly girl. Don’t you know how much he wants you? He will have you. There’s no reason to fight it.” Alessa let out another scream as Bellatrix twitched her wand. “He would give you anything you wished. Even be lenient to those you asked him to. He wished for me to deliver his message for him. Go to him before he kills all those dear to you, then takes you anyways!”

Alessa spat out through her grinding teeth, “Then tell him to deliver that message to me in person and we shall see how that goes. He’s a coward!” And then Alessa screamed again as Bellatrix smashed her into a wall and a red light hit her square in the chest.

“You’re not stronger than him. I’m controlling you with the Cruciatus curse and I’m a student…”

“Are you so certain of that Bellatrix?” As Bellatrix increased the pain, that white wave of magic shot out of Alessa’s body and knocked Bellatrix over. But she didn’t relinquish her hold on Alessa. Alessa struggled against the curse and stood. She fell to a knee, crying out in pain.

“Damn you to hell, Bellatrix. FIGHT ME!” Sirius bellowed, throwing full curses at the barrier now.

“Soon enough cousin, soon enough. I’m having girl time right now, though.”

Tears streamed down Sirius’ face as Alessa struggled to her feet again, and he watched her raise her wand, fighting the Cruciatus curse. Bellatrix showed traces of fear and uncertainty on her face.

Sirius closed his eyes and didn’t even say a curse, just pointed his wand and let his urgency flow through it. The barrier blew at the same time that Alessa managed to conjure two desks and throw them at Bellatrix, who was knocked out by them.

Sirius rushed over to Alessa as she went to her knees and he fell protectively over the top of her.

He pulled into his arms to look her over and make sure she was really okay.

“Alessa, are you alright? Where are you hurt?” he heard a groan from the desks and he was about to rush over to Bellatrix but James and Moriarti beat him to it.

“Expelliarmus!” James shouted and the witch’s wand went flying into his own hand.

“Enough! Class dismissed. Black; take Alessandra to the hospital wing. Potter! Help me with Miss Black. She’s going to Dumbledore for this and I don’t want her trying to sneak away.”

Sirius swung Alessa up in his arms and took off running towards the hospital wing with her.

“POPPY! POPPY! POMFREY!” he shouted, in a sheer panic. Alessa had passed out from pain a few minutes before hand.

“Mister Black, what is it… Alessandra?” Madam Pomfrey went pale as she rushed over to his side.

“My cousin… Cruciatus…” Sirius stuttered between his sobs as he held her cold hand to his face.

“An Unforgiveable, surely you must be mistaken…”

“Does she look like I’m mistaken?!” Sirius screamed, frantic for Pomfrey to get the message and help Alessa; stop wasting time on all these pointless questions.

“Right, I’ll get her a pain tonic. She needs to remain conscious, so I’ll have to awaken her. If not the curse will continue to inflict pain on her unconscious mind… but I’ve never dealt with an Unforgiveable… I’ll call St. Mungos!”

Within minutes a Head Healer of Mungos was there and administering all different kinds of treatments.

Alessa had broken all the bones in her wand hand in fighting the curse’s powers. She had torn tendons from her shoulder all the way to her hand. She had also dislocated both knees and her other shoulder in fighting her way to her feet through the curse.

“She… she actually fought through the curse and was able to cast a spell while under it?” Healer Bagden asked in awe as he stared at the pale young woman.

“Yes. I’ve heard that it was possible, but I’ve never heard of it actually being done besides when Dumbledore fought Grindelwald, or when Merlin battled Morgana,” Sirius added, still in shock.

“Okay, hold her shoulders down. Madam Pomfrey, hold her legs. I’m going to wake her now. She’s going to be confused and in a lot of pain, but don’t let her go.”

Healer Bagden gave her the awakening potion and suddenly Alessa was conscious; screaming and thrashing with all of her might. Bagden forced her mouth open and gave her a pain potion first, then a calming drought, along with a bone mender and tendon healer. She continued to cry out in pain, almost unaware of her surroundings, so Bagden gave her more pain potion.

It still didn’t work. Sirius forced her head to look at him and shouted, “Alessandra! Alessandra! Come back to me, don’t leave me. I love you, don’t you leave me!” He shook her violently and that seemed to reach her, because, with tears streaming down her face she whimpered,

“Sirius?” and she stopped thrashing. Sirius fell down over her, cradling her in his arms against the bed, crying into her hair. “Is she…?” Alessa asked, wondering if Bellatrix was in custody.

“She’s not going anywhere, besides Azkaban,” Sirius promised, “She’ll never hurt you again. Do you have any idea how much you scared me? I can’t live without you Alessandra, I love you.”

Alessa’s eyes shot open wide at his words, “You… you love me?” He had never told her that before and had she been hit with the Cruciatus curse again she doubted she could have found herself more shocked.

“I love you Alessandra Grindelwald, with all my heart. And you know I don’t give out my love to many. Gods, I thought I had lost you! I couldn’t get to you…”

“But you did. I felt you shatter her shield. I couldn’t do it, couldn’t get away. But you did. You got to me, Sirius. Shhhh….”

The healer looked from the couple to Madam Pomfrey as if to ask if the girl who had just maintained her sanity after surviving the Cruciatus curse was really comforting this big, strong, uninjured man.

Lily and James came charging into the hospital wing and knocked over the two 7th year Ravenclaw prefects who had been guarding the door.

“Alessa? Oh thank goodness!” Lily fell onto her bed and hugged her. Alessa grimaced in pain but pushed it aside to run her fingers comfortingly over her friend’s fiery red hair.

“I’m alright. Is Bellatrix with my grandfather?”

“Yes. He’s awaiting the Minister of Magic and the Black family to arrive…”

“I’m going!” Alessa proclaimed and shoved herself from the bed. She cried out in pain as her legs gave out on her.

“Miss Grindelwald, your tendons are still regenerating. It will take at least twelve more hours until those are generated and a good night’s sleep before the bones mend. By tomorrow, your physical ailments will be back to as they were before…” the healer trailed off.

“Get me a wheelchair then, I’m going.”

“No, you’re not!” Sirius lifted her back in the bed and his tone brokered no option.

“The Minister of Magic is more than capable, with his team of Aurors, of escorting that evil witch to her cell to rot. She’s not going to disappear. If you want, I’ll take you myself to visit her in Azkaban, but you’re not getting out of this bed till you’re healed.” Lily and James nodded their agreement and pulled up chairs.

Remus burst into the room, having plowed through the two Ravenclaws as well.

“Dumbledore has put her in a spell proofed room and is refusing to allow her parents to see her until the Minister of Magic gets here. And after he deals with the Minister he said he’d come and see you. He’ll be here as soon as he can.”

Remus took another seat next to her and Madam Pomfrey was about to protest when there were shouts and a blast of noise and light and Lacey ran through the door, having blasted the Ravenclaws out of the way. Madam Pomfrey threw her hands in the air and walked away to talk further with Healer Bagden.

Remus handed Alessa a piece of Honeyduke’s finest chocolate and smiled softly, “It helps with most types of healing after spells. It’s worth a shot.” Alessa nodded gratefully to him, remembering just before all this they had been fighting over something so stupid. She promised herself to not fight over such trivial things in the future: you never knew which words would be the last you would speak to someone.

A few moments later there was another bang and the Ravenclaws shouted in exasperation and stalked away, giving up on guarding the door.

Severus Snape entered.

Wands were immediately drawn from all parties and Madam Pomfrey and Healer Bagden had to get in between, shouting for the wands to be put away, brandishing their own, just in case..

“I just came to see how Alessandra is doing,” Snape informed Madam Pomfrey.

“I’d be a lot bloody better if my friends would relax and take their seats. I highly doubt you came here to finish me off. You seem like the kind of guy who’d want to fight me in my prime. This would be a low blow for you.”

Severus smiled at her snide sense of humor, even after what she’d been through.

“I’m going to have to agree with Alessa on this one. I’m not here to attack her. I would derive no joy from it,” Severus walked over to her bedside, ignoring the death glares he was receiving and he leaned down so only she could hear him, “I am so sorry, Alessa. I had no idea that Bellatrix would…”

“It’s not your fault, Severus. You’re not like her,” Snape’s eyes darted away from her own, but Alessa turned his face back so she could lock eyes with him, “You are not like her. I want you to remember that.” Snape nodded and his eyes relaxed.

“I’m… so glad you’re okay. And get better soon so we can work on our special little secret together.” Snape enjoyed watching Sirius turn purple with rage.

“Thank you Severus. I’ll see you tomorrow when I’m out of here.”

Snape turned one last glare at the men and once again cast a doleful glance at Lily, then turned and left the room.

Sirius moved up next to Alessa’s head and took her hand in his.

A little later, Alessa had been given a sleeping draught after Sirius had force fed her dinner. Madam Pomfrey came back into the room and tried to push everyone out so Alessa could get her rest.

“Sirius Black, that means you too,”

“I’m not going anywhere,” his voice daring her to try and make him.

An older man’s voice reached them,

“It’s alright Poppy. Let him stay the night. He’s been through enough today and he won’t sleep anyways if you separate them. Besides, I think it would take a full team of Aurors to remove him from Alessandra’s side. And I’m glad of that.” Dumbledore approached him and Poppy walked off towards her quarters.

“How is my granddaughter?” Dumbledore asked; eyes filled with grief as he looked over her pale, uncharacteristically frail looking form.

“She’s doing as well as can be expected. The healer said he was surprised she’s not suffered more mental damage. He said most people who survive the Cruciatus are mentally confused for long periods of time. If the curse is strong enough and lasts long enough the mental deficits can last forever,” Sirius glanced up at the Headmaster he was so fond of and knew he had to ask, “Albus, what happened to you? When Grindelwald used the Cruciatus curse on you? What was it like?”

“It was the most physical pain you can possibly imagine, multiplied times a thousand. And it mentally breaks most people. It mentally broke me, for a brief period. But if you have a strong enough reason to come back, to live, and you believe that you can overcome it, then your mind starts to fight the curse. It ignores the fact that physically, every part of you that resists the curse is being torn or broken. She will be affected by this, Sirius. But she will still be Alessandra, the same one you know and love.”

Sirius felt his cheeks burning as he looked at her beautiful face and whispered quietly,

“I told her I loved her today. I didn’t even mean to… I didn’t even think about it. It just slipped out and I knew it was right.”

Dumbledore put his hand on the young man’s shoulder and said,

“I am glad she has you by her side, and that you love her. She will need that more than ever now.”

“Bellatrix said something to her…”

“I know. I took the liberty of extracting the details from Bellatrix’s mind while I isolated her. Love Alessandra, Sirius, teach her to love. And protect her, for if anyone can, it’s you.”

Dumbledore leaned down and kissed his granddaughter on the forehead, his tears dropping into her hair then he turned and left.

Alessa awoke and it was dark. She shot up to leap from the bed, but felt strong arms hold her down,

“Shh, shh, love. It’s okay. You’re safe. I’m not going anywhere.” Alessa was panting in terror from her nightmares, but she managed to slow her breaths as Sirius sat on the side of the bed and drew her into his arms.

She looked up at him and asked, “Please, hold me. Stay with me tonight. I don’t want to let go of you, even for a moment.”

Sirius gently climbed under the covers after removing his shoes and felt terrible for enjoying the feel of her against him. She was only in here because he had failed to protect her. And from his own dark and twisted cousin, none the less. He would kill his entire family if he had to; they were not going to hurt her again.

“Why is it I only get to sleep in your arms whenever I’ve had a very traumatizing incident befall me?” She asked suddenly then both started laughing, though really, there was nothing funny about it.




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