When Transfiguration ended, Snape was the first to leave, the classroom doors slamming behind him as the students stuffed parchment, textbooks and quills into their bags.
“Remember, your assignments will be due Thursday. Any late work will earn you a failing grade, which I will assure you; I will be stricter upon this school year.” McGonagall announced over her noisy students.
The Marauders, Thor and Steve exited the classroom, eager to walk and finally talk after an hour of having to keep quiet.
“Well, it wasn’t that bad.” Thor began. “I must say, the class seems rather interesting. Confusing, yes, but none-the-less, it seems interesting.”
“Usually class is a bit livelier though.” James said shrugging. “It isn’t always that quiet. But it’s good to know that you enjoyed the lesson.”
“So where are we headed to?” Steve asked, looking up at James who was a step ahead of them all.
“We’re heading to Herbology, to the greenhouse building.” James said, marching proudly. “Oh, and Herbology is a mixed class. We might end up with Bruce, Clint and Tony.”
Upon entering the greenhouse building, the six found themselves the first students there, aside from another Gryffindor who had also arrived before them.
“Doing all right there, Frank?” James asked, walking over to the stocky built boy. He wasn’t tall, nor was he short, but he was sturdy and looked up at them with a wide grin. He was watering some plants, wearing ear-muffs and a dirt stained apron. As James clapped Frank on the back, Frank took off the ear-muffs, still smiling rather brightly.
“Hullo James!” He greeted jubilantly and nodded in recognition to the other five. “I’m just tending to the mandrakes for the second years next period.”
“Blimey, is that so why you’re excited, or is it something else?” James teased, appalled by Frank’s giddiness. Frank beamed happily.
“Well, you see—it’s Alice! I finally asked her to go out with me. Its official, our first date will be on this coming Hogsmeade trip!” Frank belted out. At the news of this, Sirius’ face brightened as he too approached Frank and thumped him on the back. The rest of the crew also followed, bidding their congratulations.
“That’s excellent news mate!” Sirius said. “After two years of you tolerating the ‘just friends’ label, we were all wondering when you were going to step it up!” Frank shrugged, partially laughing.
“Well, I figured it was now or never. If I was going to wait, somebody could’ve gotten her first, and I would never forgive myself for that.”
James nodded in understanding and they could all perfectly tell what was running through his mind. Lily was James’ only love interest. She was the only girl that he would go to the ends of the earth to prove himself worthy. She was the only girl that could make him go crazy just by twirling a lock of red hair. She was the only girl that can leave him breathless when she ranted about his arrogance. This year was now or never, and if Frank could do it, then so could he. James was going to win his Lily, before anyone would pluck her from the field of daisies and call her theirs.
The classroom door opened and in flooded a mass amount of students, Tony and Bruce within the crowd.
“Oi, Tony, Bruce. We’re over here mates!” Sirius called, motioning the two Ravenclaws over. Tony, pleased to be with a larger crowd of people he was comfortable with, practically ran over with his cloak billowing behind him.
“I touched a hippogriff! I actually touched one, without being mauled.” Tony burst out loudly, slamming his school bag on the table. He was grinning ear to ear, his proud Stark features gleaming, ignoring the fact that Thor and Steve were staring blankly at him. Bruce chuckled as he stood by Tony, adjusting his glasses that were slightly lopsided to the left.
The classroom doors opened once more and the remaining students filed in. Amongst them was a small clan of girls, all in Gryffindor uniform, standing behind Lily Evans. The girl to Lily's left was a slightly smirking McKay, and the girl to Lily's right was a dark haired girl, her blue eyes shining like sapphires. Behind them was a tall blonde, her golden hair tucked behind her ears, and a plump faced girl stood by, clutching McKay's arm. A dreamy Ravenclaw seemed to have spotted them, and she too flounced to the group of girls. She was a Ravenclaw with dirty blonde locks, a dandelion pinning her overlong bangs to the side.
“Hey, Lily, why don’t you and your friends sit with us?” James called out, addressing Lily by her first name for the first time. Lily paused in her tracks, greatly bemused by James’ address.
“C’mon, we have plenty of room at this table. Cassandra can invite Xenophilius as well.” Sirius piped up eagerly, willing to help his friend. His eyes darted to the girl with black hair, hoping to catch her eye.
“And Marlene, and Dorkas…”James nodded knowingly, spotting Sirius’ vain attempt to eye Dorkas. The tall blonde, Marlene, and the dark haired girl, Dorkas eyes raised their eyebrows. Sirius flushed a bright red, sending James a scornful look of embarrassment.
They all watched as Lily nibbled her lip, casting a swift look at McKay who looked at her with a cocked eyebrow.
“Oh can we, Lily?” the plump-faced girl whispered to her friend with longing eyes. She was still clinging to McKay's arm, and dragged her forward with anticipation. Lily bit her lip harder. She didn’t like being around Potter, but Alice did just admit that she and Frank was now a thing. It would be selfish to say no because of her dislike for the Potter boy. Besides, perhaps she could get to know the new students as well. “Can we?” Alice repeated.
“Yes Lily, can we?” McKay bounced on her toes, jutting out her lip. Alice giggled at McKay’s mocking immaturity and Lily swatted the brunette’s arm. McKay grinned like a Cheshire cat, sniggering at Lily’s disappointed frown. Dorkas joined the simpering, leaving Lily quite hopeless. Turning to Marlene, she flashed a look of exasperation. Marlene only looked down at her, partially amused, partially sympathetic. Sighing, she turned back to McKay, finding the brunette smugly smirking at her loss of words.
What has gotten into her? Lily thought. McKay isn’t ever this bad. She acts like Sirius nowadays. Merlin, the boy rubbed off on her!
“Oh, fine—bloody hell, McKay!” Lily groaned tiredly and Alice beamed, McKay dancing a little jig in her spot. Lily swatted McKay’s arm once more, but Dorkas and Marlene only snorted.
“Swatting her arm isn’t going to stop her, you know.” Dorkas pointed out mockingly, and Lily hissed for her to shut up.
“But I’m doing this for you, Alice, because you and Frank are together and I’m not going to let my disliking for Potter get in the way of that.”
“Right,” McKay and Dorkas whispered in synch, smirking slightly. Lily raised a skeptical eyebrow, but none-the-less, ignored her friends. Walking over, they were greeted by a chorus of "Good morning ladies," which they largely ignored.
“Glad to see you again Patterson.” Sirius grinned at the pretty brunette who stood in between Lily and Steve. McKay pursed her lips in a sour manner and managed to force a smile for her ex-boyfriend who stood across from her. It was clear that her mood dropped after having to stand near her ex. Dorkas, who had found a spot to Tony's right was pursing her lips in distaste, while shooting looks of sympathy towards McKay. Dorkas never liked Sirius, perhaps because they were too much alike. Marlene on the other hand, was sitting to Sirius' left, looking at him hopefully, but was nowhere near noticed to her disappointment.
“And you too, Black.” McKay said, almost bitterly. Looking away, she tried to force her focus onto something different to distract herself, which ended up into finally properly introducing herself to Tony and Bruce and then to Thor and Steve.
“I still have your quill, actually.” Steve said, making a grab for his bag under the table, but McKay shook her head.
“Oh no, don’t worry about it Steve. Honestly, I have too many supplies for my own good. You keep it. It’ll save you the trouble of having to ask for one again later.” McKay offered. Steve, who had already pulled the quill out, was holding it in front of her. His eyebrows furrowed doubtfully.
“Are you sure? I mean, it is your quill to begin with.” He urged, slightly blushing, but McKay only rolled her eyes. There goes the common act of being a gentleman. Why were men so universal? Everything they did was the same. Then again, she supposed it was better than him not saying a thing at all.
“Good Godric, Steve! It’s only a quill. Take it, I promise, I’ll be fine.” McKay protested. Sirius watched the two, half amused, half in interest.
“If you say so,” Steve shrugged. “But thank you.”
As for the others, Lily seemed to be holding a conversation with Remus while Sirius and James were poking holes into the dirt, soft cries from the mandrakes coming from below. Dorkas, Tony and Bruce were having a three way conversation about physics while Peter was taking notes from the board, something none of the students seemed to notice. Frank and Alice were discussing their careers after their schooling, and Marlene was smiling gently at the exchange of words between McKay and Steve.
While conversing with her peers, Lily found out that Tony was a bit arrogant like Potter and was rather snide and proud, yet witty and comical. As for Thor, he was a tad rash and pompous and even a bit Victorian-like, a true Gryffindor. None-the-less, he had a charming demeanor about him which suited his character and appearance.
Bruce was shy and quiet, yet he too was clever like Tony, but soft spoken in words. And as for Steve, he rubbed off as kind, gentleman like, simple, and yet firm with his words.
“So, Stark, do tell us about this fascinating creature you tell us you have touched.” Thor finally said, turning to Tony with an eager face. Everyone who stood around the table broke off their conversations and looked over at Tony, compelled by Thor’s rich, loud, deep voice.
“Well,” Tony said, sliding into dramatic mode. “There’s this animal you see, that Hagrid was introducing to us. He said they’re called hippogriffs—”
“Oh, how many stories my mum has told me about them!” came a dreamy voice. All the attention that was once focused upon Tony switched to a girl with long, golden, blonde hair. They recognized her as the dreamy girl that flounced to join Lily’s clan, but drifted off after a minute or so. She had magnificent blue eyes that seemed to be looking out onto somewhere they could not see. She was holding hands with a boy who had white-blond hair. He had misty, foggy eyes, and he too shared that same lost look.
“Hullo, Cassandra, Xenophilius!” Sirius greeted, smiling hugely at the dreamy couple. The young couple smiled back and languorously slid themselves in between McKay and Steve, who in turn, tried their hardest to mask their disappointment of being separated. Lily managed to release a laugh-cough to McKay’s expense, and turned her face, sniggering, when McKay glared. Very Potter-Black like, if she could admit it to herself.
“Anyway, you were saying?” Cassandra asked, laying her blue eyes at the impatient looking Tony. Tony perked up at the addressing and cleared his throat.
“Oh, yes. Well, Hagrid was introducing us to Hippogriffs, and he was telling us how hippogriffs were creatures of pride and how we should properly address to them. Anyway, he asked if anyone would like to volunteer to touch Roundhoof. Nobody wanted to go, so I thought, oh what the hell?” And Tony began to tell his short tale of encountering the winged creature. When he finished, Thor clapped loudly.
“That is a magnificent story, son of Stark! Such an accomplishment can be looked on as honor in Asgard. I cannot wait until I see the beast for myself. Say, has anybody ridden a hippogriff before?” Thor asked, but there were a number of shrugs.
“I heard back when Hagrid taught hippogriffs to the third years, there was an accident. It’s said while a student tried to fly one, he accidentally fell into the Black Lake.” Remus said scratching his head, cocking it to the side. Sirius let out a bark of laughter and all the girls at the table glared at him.
“Was the kid stupid? Did he just let go of the bird and expect that there was no possibility that he would fall?”
“I actually heard that the kid was Lockhart...” Remus added with a small smile on his lips. The boys snickered, while the girls’ gasped, clearly scandalized.
Lockhart… Tony snorted. What a gay name! He sounds pathetic already!
“Gilderoy Lockhart? Do you mean the 5th year, self-exploited, Ravenclaw bloke?” Sirius asked while his eyes grew wide in pleasure. When Remus nodded, Sirius laughed louder. “Oh, that’s too grand! Did you hear what Barty Crouch Jr. did last year? He snuck a tailless whip scorpion in the bloke’s knickers because he wouldn’t shut up about his 200 admirers! Bless Barty’s heart. The kid has a talent with those suckers!” James threw his head back, laughing, and Remus shook his head, grinning.
Good ol’ Barty. He was a smart fellow with a passion for spiders and scorpions. Though he was highly intelligent and charming, it was a wonder why his cunning and ambitious profile didn’t land him in Slytherin.
“It isn’t funny, Black!” McKay finally snapped. “The poor boy could’ve drowned! And that was cruel for Barty to do. Absolutely cruel! Crouch was utterly cold-hearted to do what he did! If that scorpion bit him—”
“Dear Merlin, he would have a ruddy, nasty blister down there then! Just imagine it, McKay. Oh Gilderoy, this manly scar you have down here, however did you get it? Is it—no, it can’t be! It’s from a scorpion! Oh Gilderoy, you poor soul, you must be horrified to see it every day!” Sirius blurted out cheekily while trying to imitate a feminine, crooning voice. All the boys that occupied that back table cackled and even Lily, Alice, Marlene, Cassandra, and Dorkas couldn’t help but allow their lips to formulate a grin. McKay however, looked furious.
“Shut up Black! You and your bloody, sarcastic, cruel insolence! Knowing you, you’d celebrate if Lockhart got hurt! I’m surprised Barty isn’t part of your crew, causing mayhem and unkindness!”
“Barty was not cruel. He just wanted to play with the kid. Heavens, it deflated Lockhart’s ego thank Godric! And we don’t hurt people. We just cause mayhem.”
“In your terms, anything you find idiotic is automatically claimed as funny, no matter what the situation!” McKay countered, narrowing her eyes. “And your name contradicts your personality, as always. When will you ever grow up?” Their peers began to goggle at the disagreeing exes. It was clear the subject was no longer going to be about the Gilderoy. Sirius’ eyes slightly widened at this.
“Whoa there McKay, slow down, I’m not that cold blooded.”
“I didn’t say that you were!” McKay rolled her eyes impatiently. “Why can’t you get that into your skull? I say something, and you take it a few notches further than what I meant.”
“And why can’t you just loosen up a bit? All the time it’s always you that has to be right! Miss Prefect should learn to let her hair down and wear comfortable knickers, not a size too tight!” Sirius countered, eyes narrowing, crossing his arms.
“Oh, it’s me that needs to be corrected, huh?” McKay spat bitterly, her tone thick with sarcasm, clearly not phased. “Oh yes, because I dangle people by their ankles. Like I’m the one that needs to grow up!”
“I have grown up!” Sirius lashed out. There was an angry flash in his gray irises. McKay stepped back, taking in a sharp breath. She sensed that Sirius was not done and his temper was rising dramatically. It seemed that the whole class was watching now—but to the rivaling couple, they were oblivious to their audience.
“James and I don’t dangle people for fun anymore. We don’t hex people for amusement like we used to. Yes, we’re still the annoying jerk-offs like we’ve always been, but we don’t exercise control over people like we done before. And I’m definitely not that arrogant prat you dated back in the beginning of 6th year!” Sirius said, slamming his fist on the table. Everyone at that table could see that his knuckles were hard and white.
“Oh, as if you’ve changed dramatically, Black!” McKay snapped impatiently. “I was having a good time without you on my mind, but for some reason I had to come marching back this year.”
“No one asked you to sit with us!” Sirius hissed. “And for your damn bloody information, I have changed!” but McKay threw her head back and laughed coldly.
“I recall it was you who asked Lily to bring her friends and sit down, and you haven’t changed one bit. If you did, it’s hardly recognizable.”
“And whose choice was it to listen to Padfoot?” Sirius asked, exasperatedly.
“Oh, you and your stupid little nicknames, just grow up already!” McKay shrieked.
“Hey! I know it’s none of my business, but our nicknames are not stupid!” James blurted, looking clearly miffed. But his input did not distract the quarrelling exes, which left him just as ticked.
There was an icy silence in the room and everyone’s eyes flickered from one ex to the other. The gray eyes clashed with the brown ones, but it was Sirius’ face that softened first.
“I don’t regret it.” He whispered looking down.
“What do you mean, Black?” McKay asked, her eyebrows rising, feeling slightly confused.
“Dating you; I don’t regret a day of it, not a single day of that month did I regret.”
“Stop kidding yourself, Black. We fought with each other since day one of our relationship. It wasn’t beautiful.”
“But it wasn’t ugly either.” Sirius said. “It may not have been ideal to you and your fantasies of a perfect, traditional relationship, but it sure as hell wasn’t an ugly one. I tried, I really damn did try to make you smile and laugh, but it wasn’t good enough for Miss Perfect.” Sirius sounded cold and when McKay didn’t speak, Sirius continued.
“I—we were only damn sixteen. What did you expect? You were my first damn date and my last. I kissed girls before you, yes, but I never dated them because I never felt the same with them as I did with you. I always felt the need to protect and always wanted to make you smile. Was that so bad? How’s a bloke supposed to handle their first? Well, Kay, I can tell you. Its hell to the bloke who’s first was a pride-ridden ice princess in red and gold knee-high stockings.” With that, he slung his bag over his shoulders. McKay’s face dropped from bemused and skeptical to a look of slight guilt and loss for words.
“Look, Sirius—” McKay began; her tone was now softer and gentler—apologetic. But Sirius didn’t seem to be paying any attention, because he was blankly staring at the heavy, wooden door.
“Right, I’m leaving. Meet you guys next period.” He mumbled to himself and strode over to the door, swinging it open and letting it shut behind him by itself. The many eyes that watched Sirius leave turned their focus to Sirius’ table, in which James stood up on his toes and shouted,
“Oi, mind your own businesses. I’m rather sure we all had a complicated love life at some point. Now turn around or I will hex you all!” At that, everyone turned back to their own conversations, minding their own businesses. No one crossed James Potter when he was being serious.
McKay bit her bottom lip and Lily placed her hand consolingly on McKay’s.
“He never said anything like that when we were together. If he did, I wouldn’t have acted so mean.” McKay whispered, and slapped her forehead, feeling disgusted with herself. Did she really ask that much?
“Yes McKay, but do remember, this is Sirius we’re talking about.” James added in, and when McKay looked over to the bespectacled boy, she noticed he was watching her with big concern. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You both asked too much from each other and it was both your first time dating. Of course it wasn’t bound to be perfect.” McKay sniffled, and gave James a small smile.
Lily on the other hand, watched Potter completely stunned. James was trying to understand people’s deeper emotions? Well, that was new! As she thought this, James chuckled.
“It’s no hard feelings McKay, as long as you take back what you said about our nicknames, everything’s pretty much chill, that is, until we get Padfoot to smile again.”
“Then it’s a deal, James.” McKay grinned, and the two shook on it, laughing. Lily was now standing there perplexed. Her best friend and enemy were standing there shaking hands under friendly circumstances!
“I do hope young Sirius is alright though. He has had a rather disappointing day.” Thor said, looking sadly at the door as if expecting his new friend to come bouncing back in. James only shook his head.
“I hope so too, Thor. He’s my best friend, like a brother my parent’s forgot to bore me. Since last Christmas, things haven’t been alright.”
“What do you mean, since last Christmas?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow. “What happened last Christmas?” James looked at her, sadness in his eyes.
“Well, you see, Sirius’ family isn’t exactly the most loving, supporting family one could have. He was going home for the holidays and was going to lock himself in his room like usual, when his father began to talk about the torturing of Muggle-borns and how they apparently ‘stole magic’. Sirius got pretty ticked and he told his father off like usual.
“Later that night, it was one of those holiday Black traditional diners, and everyone, particularly Bellatrix, were talking about how the Dark Lord was starting a huge uprising, and discussing about Death Eater motives. Sirius decided to speak out his own mind and both he and Bellatrix began quarrelling like crazy to the point they began dueling in the dining room.
“His father was pissed and flushed with embarrassment so he went ahead and preformed the Cruciatus curse on Sirius so he would ‘settle down’. Sirius, fed up, scrambled to his room, packed his belongings and was about to make a run for the front door. Regulus, however, barged into the bedroom, pleading for him to stay.
“Sirius was absolutely livid and disgusted when Regulus said there was still time to apologize and turn around. I don’t blame him. Regulus used to follow him around and looked up to Sirius—but that night, they parted their ways and chose their own paths. Ever since, they became distant and cold to one another. After Sirius ran off and they saw each other after the holidays, Regulus tried to get Sirius to talk to him, but Sirius avoided him at all costs. Regulus eventually gave up, and next thing you know, they were dueling in the corridors. Reggie kept screaming that Sirius was a disgraceful blood traitor, and Sirius kept saying that Regulus was nothing but a weak pawn.” When James finished, he awkwardly scratched the back of his neck.
“I always wondered what happened between them.” Lily murmured softly, and for a brief second, she and James locked eye contact before looking away. “They always seemed so close.”
The heavy wooden door opened, and while everyone expected Sirius to come barging right in, it was really Professor Sprout.
“Sorry about that class. I had a minor issue with some of my students. Now, if you haven’t already, go ahead and briefly jot down these notes while I go ahead and explain this lesson—” Her eyes paused at James’ table, her eyebrows furrowing.
“Mr. Potter, where is Mr. Black?”
Before James could open his mouth however, it was McKay who spoke first.
“He’s not feeling well Professor. I think he went to take a lie down.” She said, ignoring the many surprised looks from her classmates. The teacher nodded and continued to explain the lesson. It was clear however, that no one in the back table was paying close attention, except perhaps for Bruce and Peter, who were trying to soak in as much information as they could on advanced herbal remedies.
Thor and James were thinking upon the same page, whether Sirius was okay or not. James, sharing a bond with Sirius that no one else could compete with, was feeling sick to his stomach with worry for his best friend. Thor, who had felt closest to Sirius than with any of the other Marauders also shared the concern, only not as strong.
Tony on the other hand, was drawing a crude picture of a hippogriff on his notebook, still not letting go of his experience. A gloating smile still hovered on his face.
Remus was in a world hovering between worry for Sirius, the full moon next two weeks, and his lesson. Every other note he would drift off in his thoughts, only to continue jotting down another note and repeating the process again.
Cassandra and Xenophilius were daydreaming like the usual, asking a thought provoking question every now and then, before staring off into space. Their fingers were interlaced, Xenophilius occasionally giving Cassandra’s hand a soft squeeze.
Lily’s mind buzzed however. This was the first civil union she had ever had with Potter and his gang. It really wasn’t that bad, being around the boys. It was actually rather refreshing, knowing that she could civilly be with Potter within a few feet worth of distance. She didn’t have to yell or lose her head this time.
As for McKay, as hard as she would try and concentrate on her lesson, her mind kept drifting off to Sirius. She thought about their younger days, back when she thought he was an admirable youth despite his rashness. Of course, finally giving in at 16, she expected more out of the teenager, expecting that he had matured, or possibly slowed down and grown up. How wrong she was! But now she felt sorry for him. It wasn’t that she fancied him, but perhaps it would be okay to just be friends? To make up for her downright bitchiness can’t be that bad. And Sirius was right, she did expect too much.
And as for Steve, he stood there, twirling McKay’s quill with his fingers. He knew it was too fast to like the girl, but after seeing the quarrelling couple, he couldn’t help but feel a tad bit jealous. The way Sirius spoke, it was as if he never truly fully gotten over McKay. Taking a deep breath, Steve wiped the thought clear from his mind and took out a sheet of parchment. But instead of copying down notes, he found himself sketching out the Quidditch pitch he could clearly see out the window.
Author’s Notes: I have a feeling this is probably the only chapter in this story where the characters are totally a bit OOC without a doubt, but I wanted to toy around with characters a little bit, even though they belong to Marvel and Rowling (except for McKay and Cassandra). The next chapter up is dedicated to Natasha and Clint, and for those who want a sneak peak to chapter ten, we'll be fast forwarding to the present with Agent Hill and Nick Fury. Any constructive criticism will be gladly taken.
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