Chapter 28

Once the train came to a stop they grabbed their belongings, made their way from the train, passing Hagrid calling for the first years and into the carriages. They trundled toward a pair of magnificent wrought iron gates, flanked with stone columns and topped with winged boars. Once inside they sat at the Gryffindor table and sat through the usual proceedings. The sorting seemed to fly by, and before long Dumbledore was stood at the head of the hall, rising to greet them all before the start-of-term feast. "To our newcomers," said Dumbledore in a ringing voice, his arms stretched wide and a beaming smile on his lips, "welcome! To our old hands, welcome back! There is a time for speech-making, but this is not it. Tuck in!".

There was an appreciative laugh and an outbreak of applause as Dumbledore sat down neatly and threw his long beard over his shoulder so as to keep it out of the way of his plate, for the food had appeared out of nowhere, so that the five long tables were groaning under joints and pies and dishes of vegetables, bread, sauces, and flagons of pumpkin juice. Just as Ines was about to dig in she noticed a glint out of the corner of her eye, Sirius' fork was held in front of her face. Honoring his usual tradition of hitting forks with James before they ate he turned to Ines to do the same. After a moment's hesitation, she put hers to his, gave him a sly smile and began her meal.

James was stood in front of the fireplace pacing back and forth, seated watching were Ines, Sirius, Remus, Lily, and Mary. He had been pacing for quite a while now, ever since a second-year boy came up to him asking when Quidditch trials would be. "Yeah, well, oh Merlin," He mumbled to himself "We need a new Keeper now that Gudgeon has left. Tryouts are on, uhm, Friday at five o'clock and I want the whole team there, all right? Then we can see how the new person'll fit in.". He turned to his audience, namely Sirius and Ines to see if they agreed. They were seated next to each other with their legs intertwined, and both nodded in agreement. This was the third plan he had come up with and at this point wanted him to just make a decision. James had asked, quite desperately, for Lily to write up a note declaring it as her handwriting was 'oh so perfect', to which she obliged.

Before they knew it Friday had arrived and Ines and Sirius found themselves sat in the stands watching James command the prospective Keepers to do various things. The rest of the team sat in the stands as well but mostly kept to themselves in different areas. Leaving Ines and Sirius to sit together and speak about whatever they wanted. They spoke as Sirius polished his broom with Fleetwood's High-Finish Handle Polish, ever since Ines had gotten him one for Christmas in their second year he used it religiously. Just as Sirius was about to ask if she wanted another of his Sugar Quills, a question he need not ask because she would most definitely say yes she leaned out of his grasp towards the entrance to the pitch.

"Merlin's beard," she muttered, "I can't believe what I'm seeing.". Sirius then also leaned forward and spotted the red-haired girl entering the pitch timidly. Ines shouted her name, and her head snapped up instantly. She smiled and waved, not expecting anyone to have seen her and cautiously turned back to the pitch. Sirius leaned back, laughing, Ines falling into the crook of his arm only moments after. "Unbelievable, after all the hours I spent listening to her complain about James for her to be on the pitch no doubt to watch him. Ridiculous, I know she'll deny it as well, say she was looking for some creature for Herbology. She loves him and she hates it … unbelievable"

Sirius' eyes flicker, out to the trees. But he's not looking at the leaves. His gaze is in the past, to something more painful "It's not something you can control, Ines," he replies, "We can't choose who we love. I wish, more than anything, that we could." Her skin still runs hot from his embrace, remembering the feel of him only moments ago. But in the deepest part of her, in spite of every fiber of her being, she thinks beyond the clearing, to starry eyes, and a kiss in an empty hallway. There were no boundaries holding James and Lily from being together, besides Lily's illogical resistance that Ines hoped would one day fade. She wished the same held true for her and Sirius.

Darren O'Hare walked past, having walked down the stands to greet his Ravenclaw friend to take him back up to his seat. He nodded at the two of them "Sirius, Ines," before sending a wink at Ines. She smiled and sent one back. Sirius knew it was friendly, but it didn't stop it from stinging. So much it hurt to look at her and because she was young, and so damn clever and amusing and wonderful, wherever she made her home, there would be some man who would fall in love with her and who would make her his wife, and that would be the worst truth of all. It had snuck up on him, this pain and terror and rage at the thought of anyone else with her. Every look, every word from her, he didn't even know when it had started because it had always been there. He knew that no matter where their lives led, she would be in his forever, whether in person or only in his mind. He thought of the night on the roof on New Years quite often. The night she said she wished she had another name, not one meant to fit the mold her parents wanted her to fill. The thought of her being that girl haunted him just as much as it did her, just the image haunted his dreams throughout the night: a lovely girl gazing at the stars, and the stars who gazed back. It haunted him because at that moment it was just the three of them, nobody was watching but the stars and there was nobody who could bother them. They existed alone at that moment. The kiss obliterated him. It was like coming home or being born or suddenly finding an entire half of himself. that had been missing

James called from the bottom of the stands up to them, pausing the trials for only a moment, "Oi, lovebirds! Get down here.". They untangled themselves from each other and walked down the steps to the pitch ignoring the laughs and giggles from their teammates and students trying out. Once they reached the middle of the pitch the group of kids had thinned from seventeen to only four. There was a; short yet stocky 6th year boy, a gangly 3nd year girl that made Ines question James' judgement, a blonde girl that Ines had seen Emmeline talk to a few times named Caelena, and a 7th year boy with hands so large they could probably fit around Ines' neck two times over. They were lined up in a row awaiting further instruction gripping their brooms tightly.

Once Ines and Sirius reached him he turned from the group and became very serious. "I've had Catriona and Darren shoot on them, and as wonderful as they are, and .. ehm… not to boast or anything, but I want to see how their fare with me shooting on them. So I'd like you to be my impartial judges, just fly around and don't interfere.". The two of them nodded and hopped on their brooms as James went to explain the proceedings to the group. The 6th year wasn't terrible but also wasn't fantastic, missing 3 of the 9 shots taken on him. The 3rd year's best quality was her exceptionally fast broom, but once she made it to the goal post James shot on she always fumbled, missing 5 of the 9 shots. Celaena and the 7th year boy had both done incredibly, who's name Ines learned to be Dorian, missing only one shot each. It came down to how they would fare with all three chasers shooting on them, and by a slim margin of two goals, Celaena ranked supreme and was their new Seeker.

Walking back up to the castle Ines thought about what Sirius had said, wishing that he could choose who he loved. She understood how he had meant for her to interpret it, and was saddened to know she felt the same way. Wishing they could turn off their feelings for each other, to still be with their families - regardless of how much they hated them-, and to be able to be with someone who they didn't have to hide their feelings for.