Chapter 9

Remus had taken his time healing in the hospital wing, and everyone was glad to have him back and in high spirits. The chatter of the great hall surrounded them. Saturday lunches were always fun as students milled in and out as they pleased. Ines, Lily, and Emmeline were debating on the new robe shop that opened in Diagon Alley when their conversation was cut short by Gavin. He had healed just fine since the trials, and let Sirius on the team as well. The spoke often in the common room and during breaks, much about Quidditch and some about themselves. She learned he had an older brother who was training to become a healer at St. Mungo's, following in the footsteps of his mother. He proudly supported Puddlemere United, despite them being a longtime enemy of Ines' favorite team, the Holyhead Harpies. He was in his last year of school and was quite stressed for his N.E.W.T.'s, he was especially bad at Herbology but fairly proficient in the rest.

"Hey Ines", he said with a bright smile. The girls beside her scooted down the bench, leaving the two of them to talk alone and for Gavin to sit beside her. "I was wondering, with the upcoming Ravenclaw match if you would like to practice together." She smiled as well, causing him to blush a bit "I know I won't be too much help being a Keeper and all but maybe we could ju-". His words were cut off by someone sitting on Ines' other side. Sirius. He looked ruffled up, yet so put together. It's almost as if he was raised by wolves, but wolves who knew the value of a decent education and high-quality hair products. "Wouldn't it be better if Ines and I did it, Gudgeon? Me being her partner and all.". Ines couldn't make out Sirius' expression, he seemed to be trying very hard to keep it impassive. Gavin, on the other hand, didn't hide his emotion, he seemed in shock, as well as a bit angry. "I mean, whatever Ines thinks is best." He said, challenging Sirius. The girls were now staring at Ines, taken aback by the entire encounter. Ines glared at them as if to say 'what the bloody hell am I supposed to do?' but they could only shrug.

Ines avoided eye contact with either of them and stared ahead of her. "I mean, I think me and Sirius need to work on our skills, don't need Gavin getting hit in the face again.". It was silent for only a second, as the boys took in her answer and the surrounding people asked others closer what her answer had been. "Wonderful," Sirius replied, beaming "I'll meet you in the common room in a half an hour.". He got up from his seat, not yet finished with his meal, and strided out the door. Ines didn't make eye contact with Gavin as the whispered 'i'll see you later then' as he got up and walked away. Emmeline and Dorcas tried their best to bring the conversation back and rid the group of their awkwardness but to no avail. Once Ines finished her meal she excused herself and went to her dormitory to change. She changed into her Quidditch robes sans the cape and pads, with solely her house shirt and exercise pants and grabbed her broom and bat. Down in the common room she spotted Sirius sitting by the fire, talking to a 1st-year boy who seemed to be having trouble with 'wingardium leviosa', he tried his best to help him but all was well when Ines leaned over from behind the boy and guided his hand in the correct fashion. 'Swish and flick' she muttered, the boy now lifting the book from the table with ease. He giggled in excitement and turned around to thank Ines before running up the boy's staircase, most likely to show his friends. Sirius smiled softly at her, and she gazed back at him with the faintest traces of a smile for only a second before they both turned away. "Well, off we go," he said, grabbing his broom and beaters bat to head out the door, to which Ines did the same.

Walking through the halls, they passed a few people they recognized, only being stopped once by a girl asking where Sirius was going so fast and if he wanted to make a quick detour. Ines took that opportunity to give the girl her worst glare which scared her off. All was good - they spoke of James' new inclination towards throwing back his head and laughing every time Lily passed as if someone had just told him the funniest joke of his life - until they passed their brothers. Oberon and Regulus were not flanked with their usual goons and looked quite nice. Regulus was smiling brightly and speaking with his hands and Oberon smiled back at him, hanging on to every word. The two of them slowed down slightly at the sight of their siblings. Regulus brought his hands down and Oberon looked at anything but Regulus and Ines. They passed each other silently. Sirius and Ines didn't speak of the encounter and continued their previous conversation, but much less lively as before.

Once on the pitch, they shot into the afternoon's sky. Completely alone in the sky, it was as though they had been plunged into a fabulous dream, past swirls, and turrets of snowy clouds. Sirius flew beside her, challenging her which she took without question. He swooped down to the right in a big semicircle, ending facing her. Slowly they climbed upward, until they were almost vertical, flying straight up to the sun as if the speed was an aphrodisiac. They giggled as the wind started whipping their hair in every which direction until they reached an unspoken agreement to slow down and stop and look down on the view. The towers of the castle, patched unevenly with black ivy, arose like a mutilated finger from among the fists of knuckled masonry and pointed blasphemously at heaven. At night the owls made of it an echoing throat; by day it stood voiceless and cast its long shadow.

It had become Ines' second home, and she knew Sirius felt the same. All of it, the towering walls and turrets, beams as great as trees, arched doorways wide enough for processions to pass through, ceilings so cavernous that owls nested in them. The wings and ramparts and thin windows from which to shoot arrows, internal courtyards, banquet rooms, hidden doors, secret passages. It housed sculptures and paintings, tapestries and cushions, carpets and carvings, its fortressed heart had been clad in gilt, silver, glass, gold, damask, ivory, ermine.

Ines looked up from the view of the castle to find that Sirius was already looking at her. She gazed back at him and decided he looked like a deity – the perfect balance of danger and charm, he was at the same time fascinating and inaccessible, distant because of his demonstrated flawlessness, and possessing such strength of character that he was dismaying and at the same time utterly attractive in an enticing and forbidden way. Before anything could happen, he cleared his throat "I'll go and release a Bluder. Or do you think two would work as well?". Ines cleared all her thoughts and filled them with Quidditch "Two would be fun, the more the merrier.". He smiled and flew down, and she followed suit. What could have been hours passed, they had had a blast hitting the Bludgers every which way. At one point it turned to a playfully violent game, hitting the Bludgers directly at each other and claiming it was to practice their 'reflexes'. At one point, Sirius put away the Bludgers in their case and called to Ines asking if she wanted to fly over towards the black lake, to which she obliged. They passed Hagrid's hut, the smoke from his fireplace billowing out the top. They spotted the giant squid, its tentacles breaking the surface every once in a while.

They flew around the field, soaking in the thrill until the sky turned dark and the lights from the caste are the only things that illuminated the night. They had not initially planned for their practice if you could even call it that, to take them that long as it was no doubt pass curfew. They had missed dinner at this point too. But the view of the sky above them made it worth it. She had always liked the night. Without the dark, they would never see the stars, and the constellations they lived in. They were now hovering above the shore of the lack, gazing upwards at the skies. "Sometimes" Ines muttered, turning to Sirius who had already been looking at her. "I imagine stars looking down making wishes on the brightest of us.". He pondered it for a moment, before smiling softly "I wonder how many stars have wished on us?". Ines gazed back at him, briefly thinking of how grateful she was that she had found someone who appreciated the strange things she said. She smiled, pulling herself and her broom upwards, "hopefully, many.". He did the same, following her back to the pitch.

They met the ground and each took a handle of the Bludger case to bring it back to the shed. Once they had finished, they stowed their brooms and beaters bats in the locker room, and walked up to the castle, seeing with only the dim light of Ines wand as to not draw any attention to their rule-breaking stroll. Once Ines had gotten into Gryffindor and learned to accept the new life that she was bound to live she decided that sometimes it's very good to break the rules and do what you want and supposed not to do. It gives a new mold to life. New places, music, new weather and on a very right time, it feels awesome with your favorite songs, and by knowing that, someone is caring about you in somewhere else, in the castle, in her home,that gives a feeling that will fill your heart with the joy of happiness and the proud of having a good life which is full with surprises and sometimes adventures too.

They were able to slip through the open front door with ease and had to resort to solely sheer dumb luck to get them back to Gryffindor Tower without getting caught. They passed the great hall, scurrying past house elves as they cleaned and swept underneath the tables. Before Sirius could turn out of the entrance hall Ines grabbed his arm. "Do you want to grab something to eat? I'm starving" He nodded and whispered, "of course". They took a left before the staircase and turned in to the hall in which Peeves often frequented, which the Ines and the boys had coined as 'Poltergeist Passage'. Once they reached their destination She stretched out her forefinger and tickled the huge green pear. It began to squirm, chuckling, and suddenly turned into a large green door handle. Sirius grabbed it,

pulled the door open to reveal the room. The Hogwarts kitchens is an enormous, high-ceilinged room, as large as the Great Hall above it. Mounds of glittering brass pots and pans are heaped around the stone walls, with a great brick fireplace at one end of the room. Next second all the wind had been knocked out of them as a horde of squealing elves hit them hard in the midriff, hugging them so tightly they thought their ribs would break. Bloomey, Topky, Koddy, Zispy, looked up at them in delight. "Mister Black! And Missus Avery! How can we be of service?" Zispy asked. Ines couldn't help but chuckle every time she was with them, they were always over the moon to see them. "We haven't had any dinner and were wondering if there were leftovers.". The house elves bellowed at this, scoffing as if it were an unreasonable question. "Well, of course, there is! Over here, mister and missus!" Koddy exclaimed. They grabbed their hands and pulled them further into the kitchen.

They made it to the portion in which the identical tables to that of those upstairs to find 2 set up places at the ends, as the house elves further in had heard their request and scurried to comply. At least a hundred little elves were standing around the kitchen, beaming, bowing, and curtsying as Sirius and Ines were led past them. They were all wearing the same uniform: a tea towel stamped with the Hogwarts crest and tied like a toga. Once they reached the end of the table Sirius spoke: "Thank you all but we were hoping to eat it up in our common room." Ines turned to Sirius in confusion as they had not agreed on that but it was no harm, so she went along with it. "Of course Mister Black and Missus Avery! We will pack it up for you!" Bloomey yelled, pointing to various things as to delegate tasks to the surrounding elves.

They struggled to keep quiet as they walked considering the excess food they held but managed just fine until they reached the corridor past the Owlery. They heard the sound of heels clicking, coming closer to them. Sirius heard it before Ines and grabbed her by the waist and pulled her underneath a staircase, and into the gap before the stairs met the wall. They stood side by side, Ines' back to Sirius' front, breathing heavily yet trying to stay silent. They waited in anticipation to see the back of McGonagall stride past them. Standing silently, Ines became aware of her close proximity to Sirius. She found that she loved the heat of his stomach against her back, of his arms around her, of her hands clinging on to his. In that moment, she understood how unbelievably easy it was with him. She wasn't aware how long they stood like that, it could have been minutes, hours or days. But eventually it came to an end, she walked out from their hiding spot and checked the corridor before beckoning him out.

"We have got to figure out how to avoid that" he muttered, as they scurried down the hall and whispered 'Dilligrout' to the portrait. The fat lady groaned, "Much too late for you both to be out and about.". Ines rolled her eyes "Merlin's beard. Please just let us in!". She humphed in annoyance but complied and the two of them climbed through the hole to find James, Remus, and Peter sitting in the common room. They were shocked by anyone being there at all but eased up when they saw the boys' playful smiles. "Did you guys lose a Bludger? What took so long?" They all laughed, now able to speak at a normal volume since they were in the confines of the common room. "Time just seemed to get away from us," Sirius said, plopping down in an open armchair across from James. "We missed you at dinner, thought to bring some food but assumed you would get it on your own." Peter piped up, now across from Ines who had seated herself in front of the fire facing the couch. "You assumed correct, although they gave us plenty more than we need so eat up." She said, placing her tray beside Sirius' who had done so moments previous.

They ate jovially, speaking of the upcoming Hogsmeade trip. Peter had lost all his quills and needed to go to Scrivenshaft's and they planned to go to The Three Broomsticks as they usually did. Sirius, who was a big fan of the newly instated owner and barkeep Madame Rosmerta. She was quite fond of him as well but was just as kind to James and Ines. She called the boys "quite the double act" with Ines as their "valiant ringleader". Once the conversation had died down and the food had dwindled to mere crumbs they bid each other goodbye. Ines hugged them all goodnight and walked up the stairs to the girl's dormitory, behind her she could head James teasing Sirius about something but she didn't know what. Once in the dorm, she found herself faced with the task of yet again getting into bed after an adventure with Sirius. Following suit, Lily looked up at her from her bed, smiling knowingly. "Fun night?" she asked, smirking. Ines rolled her eyes "go to sleep" she muttered, pulling her pajamas on. "Whatever you say, Mrs. Black.". Lily had fallen back onto her pillow before she could catch Ines reaction which wasn't much of anything. She froze, not knowing why the prospect shook her so much. She decided to ignore it, as much as she subconsciously didn't want to.