Chapter 30

Walking up the stairs in complete silence underneath the invisibility cloak wasn't very effective as Ines was fairly sure their legs were visible. Not that it mattered too much considering they could use the map. Nobody was nearby for a while, the closest person was a 7th year Hufflepuff prefect patrolling near the trophy room. She was exhausted from yesterday, staying up all night during the full moon. But, for the first time since Ines found out Remus' lycanthropy, she wasn't turning down a date the night of the full moon. A few months ago, the thought would have been upsetting and made her worried about her reputation. But it didn't bother her anymore, not that her reputation mattered a great deal to her anyway. She was always very conscious of the public perception of her, and while she never took action to change or alter it, she wanted to be liked. The feeling of being appreciated for who she truly was, while living with a family that wouldn't, was a breath of fresh air.

She liked to believe that being very promiscuous was a conscious and just choice that she made with no driving forces, but it just wasn't the truth. There was nothing wrong with being as sexually adventurous as was, she just wished she had done it with better intentions. She knew she could use it to get what she wanted, while also enjoying it. In losing her virginity, she unlocked a new advantage against people. It was at the end of her third year, with a 4th year Hufflepuff boy named William Glencoe in his dorm room during dinner. He had been very kind to her throughout, and it wasn't something she particularly regretted. What she did regret was what she did afterward, she then got with four William's housemates, and a Ravenclaw. From then on, students knew who she was and what she would be willing to do with them. She perceived it as being liked, something she was so desperate to achieve when it really wasn't.

But she hadn't been that girl in a long time, not since she kissed Gavin solely for Sirius to see. Now she was up against him, back to front. They had gone down to the kitchens and eaten a few slices of cake that they had had during dinner. Walking up, she looked down at the map in Sirius' hands, she spotted Filch. He was making his way past the fourth-floor corridor at a snail's pace, with Miss. Norris trotting along a few feet ahead of him. Ines paused, stopping Sirius pace and bringing him closer to her. She pointed to the closer moving spot and he let out a sigh. It was more of an exhausted sigh than anything, a small interference such as this was nothing to them anymore. Sneaking in and out of places was a skill that Ines had mastered at a young age. All her life, people had been trying to keep her inside places she didn't want to be, or out of places she needed to get into.

They slipped onto the landing in front of the door to the fourth-floor corridor. They sunk to the ground in the corner of the landing to hide their feet and watched as Filch got closer and closer. First Miss. Norris slunk out of the door and began trotting down the steps. The second Ines saw Filch's feet, an idea popped into her head. She began patting around her person for her wand, mistakenly touching Sirius as well. Once she found it she pointed it to the staircase and muttered an incantation that she had read just the other night. Although it wasn't blatantly obvious, it was there. The step that Filch was about to trod on was only visibly there, and the mirage-like glow over it indicated that it actually wasn't. "A trick step," Sirius murmured, barely audible to those who weren't pressed right up against him as Ines was "you bloody maniac, I love it". She smiled softly, as they watched Filch's right foot plummet downwards, the only thing stopping him from falling all the way down to the lower, now moving, staircase being his other leg still on the step behind him. He yelled in anger, screaming about 'blasted children' and 'bloody Peeves' until he was able to hoist himself out from the hole and walked onwards.

The second the door to the 3rd-floor corridor shut with him and Miss. Norris behind it Ines and Sirius burst out in laughter. They toppled onto each other, the invisibility cloak falling off of them. Once their laughter died down they found themselves in a very compromising situation. Ines was sat on Sirius' chest, leaning over his face, while his hands were gripping her waist. "Are you planning to kiss me?' Sirius asked, trying to sound suave but the quiver in his voice countered it. "No," Ines said, wrinkling her nose, but not moving away. "Then why are you so close?' Sirius' tone was perfect innocence.". They paused for only a moment before Ines got off of him and began walking down the steps to inspect her work. Leaning against the railing to keep her stable, she dipped her foot in and out of the 'step', in awe of her magic.

Sirius joined her after a few seconds, "Quite a good spell, what's the counter?". Ines paused, "I haven't the slightest idea," she muttered, the realization only now hitting her. They burst into laughter again, Sirius gripping the railing now. "It'd be quite fun don't you think, a landmark trick step, keep it for future generations," Sirius said through laughter. Ines nodded, liking the idea very much. She looked up at him, his face very close to hers again. He lifted one of his hands and brushed her cheek. She almost gave in, she almost lifted her face to his, and she really wanted to. But she pulled back, staring ahead of her. "We are nothing more than distractions for each other, and distractions get you killed. All you can tell me is that if anything happens, we'll go to hell or whatever there is" But her hands close over his, their fingers lacing until their bones were woven together. It was a consistent theme with them now, saying what they feel like they should but doing something else. He shifted his arm so he could brush her hair back. His fingers lingered along her jaw. He cupped her cheek, and took a steadying breath, as if he'd thought about every word these past sixteen years of his life, over and over again. "We're not going to hell, Ines," he said. "But wherever we go, we'll go together."