The Sugar Quill
Author: SweetSirius  Story: Anchoring...  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.


Authorís Note: Just a short reflective piece, shortly after Siriusí death.† It is not, in any sense, a romantic pairing.† That is, feel free to see in it what you will, but it was written with the intention of comfort and friendship.† With any luck, some of this got through. :)† Muchos, muchos thanks to my Beta-girl Jo, for reading this.† Thanks also (of course) to the incredible J.K. Rowling, who gave us all such wonderful characters.† All of which (regrettably) are hers.





Itís been quiet up here for so long that the footsteps on the stairs are deafening.† I roll over on my side and face the window, where the rain trickles down in irregular patterns that distort what little light is getting through, making it dance over the walls and the things on my dresser.† Maybe if I stare at this long enough Iíll fall asleep.† Maybe this time I wonít dream.


The footsteps are getting closer, and I wish like hell that theyíd stop, falter, or disappear altogether.† They donít sound like Ron, which means I stand a pretty good chance of being ignored, left in peace...† For once.† Iím so sick of the spotlight I could vomit.


The footsteps reach the door, and stop, which is strange.† We donít stand on ceremony in Gryffindor tower.† Anyone who lives here just sort of barges in.† But thereís a hesitation before the door is pushed gently open.† And now I know itís not a Gryffindor boy, because the door just doesnít sound like that.† Iím getting good at predicting individual door openings.† Ron has a purpose on entering every room, and so opening the door for him is a necessary action toward something else.† Wood, when he was around, burst through it with all the enthusiasm that keeps him out on the Quidditch pitch thirty minutes longer than everyone else.† No polite knocks for him; it was all about getting me out of bed as quickly as possible.


And this?† Itís tentative, as though they know better, as though they can sense that theyíre unwelcome.† Which means that itís a girl.† And I have a pretty fair idea which oneÖ Which isnít to say Iím all that inclined to turn around.


I squeeze my eyes shut as the footsteps cross the room, but I can still see the rain in the blackness.† She stops at the other side of the bed.




Itís a whisper, and while Iím definitely not turning around, thereís a faint tug inside.† She knows Iím awake.† She always knows.


Thereís a shift behind me that means sheís sitting on my bed.† I squeeze my eyes shut tighter, hoping sheíll take the hint.† But I know she wonít.† Hermione doesnít deal in hints, just facts.† And the fact of the matter is that Iím curled up in a ball of anxiety and anger, pretending that Iíve just forgotten to take my glasses off.† Damn.


ďI know youíre awake.Ē


Iím still not saying anything, because I am that stubborn.† Sirius would have said that I got that from himÖ


Maybe I did.


But she sounds strange.† Strangled, as ifÖ


Sheís been crying.


I canít help it, my eyes flicker open.† I open my mouth to ask her whatís wrong, but then I remember that Iím asleep.† And that I already know whatís making her cry.† Itís me, of course, but I canít fix it and she wonít believe me if I try.† So I bite my lip and pretend that I canít hear it, and that we both donít know Iím lying.


ďIím here.Ē


I know she means it, but whoís to say that itís true?† How can any of us make that promise to each other?† And whoís to say that I deserve it?† I know I donít, and I know that itís not going to stop her promising.† I want to believe her, I really do, butÖ


Thereís a hand on my arm, and I freeze without thinking.† The violent tug of war begins, as I pull myself in every direction; longing and accepting, ashamed and frightened.† Iíve identified these feelings without growing any closer to a conclusion to the struggle.† And I donít want to think about it.† Which is why most of the time I just freeze up.† And most of the time they pull away and I donít have to make a decision.


She doesnít.


Before I can stop it, before I can get control, a tear slips out.† I donít mean it to, and I never even saw it coming, but itís there, rain-coloured and warm.† The fear mounts Ė I donít want to let this go.† I canít.† Not now.† So my arm stiffens, and she pulls away.† And now Iím scared, because losing control in front of people is bad enough Ė losing it alone is a thousand times more frightening.† Thereís no one to anchor youÖno one to catch you.


The weight leaves my bed and I clench at the sheets.† A sweat breaks out on my forehead, a cold sweat, and sudden.† Safe from her gaze now, I sit up, gasping for breath, and lean on my knees, my head in my hands, trying to stop the spinning.† I drag my hands through my hair and try like mad to breathe.† Itís not as easy as it sounds.† The sweats get worse, and now thereís an element of panic.† What is happening to me?


All of a sudden thereís a hand on my arm, and I jerk up without thinking.† Itís her.† If the touch of her hand wasnít enough to know sheís not imagined, then the look on her face would be, and for a moment I forget to try for breath.† Sheís crying.† But itís not pity.† Itís not sympathy.


Suddenly Iím scared Ė more scared than ever, because now itís real.† The instinct is to run Ė in any direction Ė but her hand is still on my arm, and her face is still in front of me.† She reaches for me, touches my face and itís only now that I realiseÖIím crying too.† Thereís a split second where I might have run.† What actually happens surprises me more than it does her.† Because all of a sudden Iíve grabbed her, hugged her to me, and buried my face in her robes; and the tears have no barriers now.† She kisses my head, and I can feel my face crumple.† With every ragged breath I think that itís finally too much, but then she anchors me back somehow, and itís ok until I breathe again.


And now I thinkÖI might just believe her when she whispers that sheís here.


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