Chapter 3 : Tumbling Dice
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This story starts in 1977 and the Marauders will finally graduate in 1978. I wasn’t alive during those years but I’ve heard a lot of stories and read Eric Clapton’s autobiography. This story was originally going to be much darker to reflect the extremes of the 1970s but I decided to tone it down – for instance, I was originally going to quote lyrics from Eric Clapton’s song “Cocaine” for this chapter. I will only mention alcohol and gillyweed (magical weed, I’ve seen this in other fanfics before so I decided to use it as well) but if you want to let your mind wander outside my writing, assume the worst. Also, people smoked a lot of cigarettes back then (and still do) so that’s why Gemma is a chimney.
However, I am not encouraging you to smoke or drink, I’m just trying to be historically accurate.
In addition, I am American. I’m trying to inject some British slang into the story but please tell me if I’m getting anything wrong here. It’s really a shot in the dark for me! I also made the chapter image!
“Baby, I can't stay, you got to roll me and call me the tumblin' dice.” – The Rolling Stones, 1972
“You’re sure they’re coming, right?”
“Yes, Moony,” Sirius Black groaned as he threw his hands in the air, “for the last time, Gio said he’d be here.”
His friend shrunk in response to his sudden outburst and various other party guests tittered as they tried to eavesdrop on their conversation. Sirius grimaced and then drained the shot of firewhiskey in front of him; the alcohol blistered his taste buds but he reached out for another.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to snap.”
He slammed the second shot onto the table, gasped as he wiped the sides of his mouth and tried to reach for a third before his friend stopped him.
“I better take that one,” Remus said raising his brow, “before you hurt yourself.” Sirius watched as he tipped his head back and poured the whiskey down his throat; the werewolf showed no emotion as he consumed the fiery liquid. He then slammed the empty shot glass down on the table and nodded to him slowly before leaving his side. Sirius sighed heavily and rubbed his temples.
The night was not going as planned.
Although he'd told James he was planning the party to cheer him up, he actually had an ulterior motive for getting everyone together. Maybe it was because he’d been stuck in a gillyweed smoke filled compartment with her, but Sirius couldn’t get Gio's attractive friend off his mind. He desperately needed to see Gemma again. In an attempt to quell his desire, he’d found Miranda Fletcher the night before but her skills couldn’t distract him. When passing out the invitations, he’d dallied with Rose Smythe in a broom cupboard but even his old flame’s lips couldn’t sidetrack his new obsession.
He needed to have Gemma Rawnsley.
Sirius eyed the bottle of firewhiskey next to him as he felt a familiar warmth rush through his veins. He was impatient. As he reached out to fill his glass, there was a small rustling under the door and Sirius’ grimace turned into a grin as a Jack skipped across the stone floor and landed in front of him.
“Sorry for the delay, folks!” Gio boomed as the rest of his band poured into the room with their equipment. “We had to outrun some Prefects. But never fear, Tarantellegra is here!”
As Peter rushed to close the door, the rest of the students cheered for the night’s entertainment as they climbed up onto the makeshift stage. Gio was wearing black and yellow, wide striped bell bottoms with a black leather vest without shirt and his female back up singer, Kaia, wore something similar. She had teased out her hair into an afro, matching her brother’s hairstyle; he donned deep purple velvet trousers and a destroyed black t-shirt over them. Kieran passed a cigarette to Gregory, who ripped his denim jeans when climbing down to check the speaker levels. He vaulted up back onto the platform and almost ran into Ethan, who scowled at him as he unbuttoned his flowery long sleeve shirt. Sirius pushed past several people and jumped up onto the stage.
“What took you so long?” he growled in Gio’s ear as the Hufflepuff wrapped his painted guitar strap around his body. Sirius could smell the alcohol and gillyweed on his breath.
“We had to prepare Sirius. You of all people should understand,” he winked as he began to warm up, his fingers flying over the frets. He nodded his head in the direction of the door. “You can put the sound barriers up now. I’ve had success with the Oculto Mihi concealment charm.” Sirius glanced over towards the only entrance in and out of the room and saw Remus, James, and Peter began to mutter several spells as they held out their wands.
“I’m sure they’ve got it covered,” he barked as he slapped his friend’s back. "You just make these people dance.”
Gio saluted him with a large grin and turned back to his band as they finished setting up. The Gryffindor then hopped off the stage and scanned the room. To his right, James was talking to Frank Longbottom as he not so secretly pinched the arse of his girlfriend, Alice Cooper, who was trying not to react. Next to them, Timothy McLaughlin was trying to chat up Miranda, who looked extremely bored. She glanced over at Sirius and licked her lips sensually. He quickly looked behind her to avoid her gaze and spied Marlene McKinnon and Dorcas Meadows taking shots of firewhiskey as Lizzie Richardson cheered them on. He watched as Remus took the bottle from the group of girls and poured a shot for Marianne, who sipped it very slowly.
Sirius thought he saw the mass of blonde hair he was looking for, but it turned out to be Persephone Davies, the first Gryffindor he’d ever shagged. He grimaced, noticing that she had become increasingly thin and sickly looking. She wiped under her nose, sniffled, and then caught his glance. Her smile brightened and as she began to make her way through the throng, Sirius quickly turned around to find a hiding place.
“And where do you think you’re going, Mister?” Rose purred as she put a hand on his shoulder. Her flowing green dress dipped generously in the front and she threw her dark hair over her left shoulder as she thrust out her chest. He moved his lips to formulate a reply when he glanced over her shoulder to see Gemma casually leaning against the wall next to the stage. Her periwinkle, bell-bottomed halter jumpsuit accentuated her curvy form and as she tipped her head back and exhaled cigarette smoke, her wavy hair cascaded down her open back.
“I have to make sure the band’s set up,” Sirius responded, not looking Rose in the eye as he brushed past her towards the stage. His mouth turned upwards into a seductive smirk as he weaved his way to Gemma’s side. When she noticed his presence, she looked up at him through her blunt cut fringe and took another drag from her cigarette.
“So what instrument do you play? Gio never really explained that one to me.”
“I’m not in the band,” she said coolly as she exhaled her smoke. “By the way, you blokes don’t have a filtration system set up. It’s going to get hazy in here soon.” Sirius glanced around and noticed that most of the ashtrays on the tables were full and the air already felt heavy.
“So what do you propose we do, love?” he grinned as he put an arm up against the wall and leaned towards her. “Tell people they can’t enjoy a smoke?”
“That would cause a riot,” she snorted as she graciously blew her next exhale away from his face. “I always use a simple Erasure Spell to clear the air.” She flicked some ash from the end of her dwindling cigarette and then put it back between her luscious, pink lips.
“Well yeah, but you’d have to do that periodically throughout the night,” Sirius mused as some of his long black hair fell into his face. “It would be easier to cast a repeating Transfiguration Spell to turn the smoke into fresh air.”
“I guess I’ll have to finish my Sixth Year after all,” she laughed and then coughed to clear her throat as she flicked the butt of her cigarette towards the door. “I have no fucking clue how to make a spell repeat itself. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to have to get a drink. I’m parched.” She eyed him up and down appreciatively and in the background, Sirius could hear Gio fussing with his amplifier. He cringed when the feedback jolted with a screech.
“Sorry! Sorry! Alrighty, here we go. Ahem. One, two, three, four - ”
As Gio’s raspy voice echoed throughout the room and people began to pour towards the stage to dance, Sirius watched Gemma slide past him and head towards the drinks table as she swished her hips; when she turned his back to him, he noticed a large trellis of red roses that was tattooed onto the skin of her upper right shoulder down the right section of her lower back. As the notes pulsed through the air, the flowers magically moved to the beat.
Sirius felt his jaw drop. Although she had mentioned her year to be younger than his, he had never seen a more enticing woman at Hogwarts. She was beautiful, confident, and seemed to walk on the wild side without a care in the world; in fact, she didn't even seem to notice she was a wild child at all. It was just her natural state.
He narrowed his eyes angrily as he watched Peter look her up and down and pour her a drink. She thanked him, took her shot, and as Gio stepped back from the microphone and started his guitar solo, disappeared into the crowd.
“Fuck,” he breathed. “I need some bloody whiskey.”
As the party raged on, Sirius couldn’t keep his eyes off Gemma, even when the other Marauders had come over to socialize with him. Students began to couple off on the dance floor and the Hufflepuff kept her distance, dancing by herself right next to the stage. She sashayed and swayed her hips back and forth to the sound of Gio’s guitar and Kaia’s harmonies and when a male approached her, shooed him away. She wasn’t interested in anything but her friends and they often shouted out to her and even brought her onstage to dance. She laughed, smiled vibrantly, and closed her eyes to feel the music as Gio leaned against her, their backs touching. He finished his ending note and took several breaths before turning back to his band mates with an appreciative shout.
“We’re going to take a twenty minute break but when we come back, we’ll take Muggle requests!” The students cheered and immediately, several conversations broke out about how impressive the band was. During all the commotion, Sirius’ eyes zeroed in on Gemma as Gregory helped her off the stage. She let out an ecstatic laugh and as he left her alone to make his way to the drinks table, she lit up a cigarette. She was clearly drunk as she sluggishly sucked the smoke from her mouth up into her nose.
“So if you’re not in the band,” Sirius asked as he slyly appeared next to her, “how do you know Gio?” She snorted softly, inhaled, and blew the smoke upwards; Sirius could see the small beads of sweat forming on her cheeks and she gathered her long blonde hair into a messy bun to cool herself down. He felt his pulse race and the alcohol burned through his veins.
“They started Tarantellegra at my parents’ joint,” she replied and transferred her cigarette to her other hand in order to take another shot of firewhiskey. Eager to join her, Sirius grabbed an empty glass, poured a generous amount of liquid out of the bottle, and consumed it quickly. She smiled at him lazily and continued. “We own a small, magical music hall in Islington and those vagabonds ran away from their families and joined ours.” She laughed to herself and flicked some of her cigarette off to the side. “And since I’m an only child, I never complained. They used to come by every day and we would go by the Underground station, see the famous graffiti, and smoke gillyweed. They’re all older than me but they don’t give a flying fuck because I’m such a cool cat.”
She snickered at her own joke but Sirius felt memorized and couldn’t keep his eyes off her as she started to fan herself. He couldn’t believe she was opening up to him so casually and calmly and he quickly poured the both of them another shot. He wanted her to keep sharing. Her carefree and slightly crazy energy was stronger than firewhiskey and he was already addicted. The liquid sloshed out of the glasses as he over poured them.
“Careful there, Black,” she teased as she slightly swayed back and forth, “you’re showing signs of drunkenness and haberdashery.”
Sirius felt the effects of the firewhiskey he had consumed and blinked several times in attempt to stop his blurry vision. She brushed several stray hairs out of her face and then drunkenly grinned at him after putting her cigarette between her lips. She took a drag and Sirius internally groaned as she put a hand on her curvaceous hips and blew smoke into his face on purpose.
He wanted to capture her pretty lips with his own and shag her senseless. Normally he loved the pursuit more than the actual sexual act itself but this time, he felt jittery and anxious. He wanted to fast forward to the part when he had her alone in a broom closet.
“Lets go somewhere else,” he blurted out as he placed a hand on hers. She smiled, threw her cigarette to the side, and intertwined their fingers together.
“Lead the way.”
They drunkenly snuck out of the party without anyone seeing them and roamed the halls, looking for a private spot. At one point, Gemma started dancing down the corridor and he had to stop himself from picking her up and twirling her around. Her laugh was infectious and soon, he felt a grin permanently plastered across his face. He whooped, not caring if a Prefect heard him, and began to join her as she made the carpet her own dance floor.
They fell into a fit of laughter and continued to dance, flailing their limbs about. Every time she brushed past him or touched him, his skin prickled in anticipation. As he spun around in place, Sirius thought he saw a light at the end of the hallway and stopped abruptly. His eyes did not betray him. As he tried to catch his balance, he spotted the light again.
“Fuck, we’ve been found!” Gemma shouted and quickly darted to the left towards a secret door under an ancient tapestry. Sirius grinned and looked at the approaching light before following the Hufflepuff into the dark abyss. He followed her as she raced down the long, curvy passageway and almost ran into her as she suddenly stopped. Her proximity was electric and his arms snaked around her waist as she turned towards him. Unable to contain himself, Sirius let go of his inhibitions and hoisted her up against the wall.
Their affair was brief. Both of their chests touched as they heaved several times in unison to catch their breaths. Sirius felt his brain turn to complete mush as he nuzzled his face against the hot skin of her neck. Time slowed down and he inhaled in her scent, closing his eyes; she smelled like cinnamon with a touch of cigarette smoke. He hoped to Merlin that he remembered her natural perfume in the morning. It was exhilarating. Gemma laughed softly and took his face in her silver ring clad hands. She smiled, closed the gap between their lips, and moaned appreciatively when he began to kiss her back. Sirius felt like he was flying. His blood coursed through his veins and he slipped into a warm lull as he continued to kiss her tenderly.
“Alright, Black,” she whispered after pulling away from him, “time to put me down.” He gently placed her on the floor and she retrieved her clothes as he drank in her natural pear shape. She turned her back to him and as she tied the halter of her jumpsuit, his fingers traced her tattoo. He could feel the goose bumps on her flesh as she shivered in delight.
“Merlin, that feels good,” she said breathlessly as he stood behind her, half clothed in his denim jeans, and began to gently massage her shoulders.
“Where did you get that piece of art on your back?” he murmured in her ear.
“Friend of my Dad’s,” she replied as she straightened out the periwinkle fabric that now covered most of her glistening white skin. “He charmed it to mirror my mood.” Sirius looked down at her open back and noticed that the roses were now a brighter shade of red than before. He grinned as he let his hands wander down her spine, following the outside lines of the trellis. He reached towards her as she moved away to throw her hair back into a messy bun and craved the feel of her skin.
She smiled softly at him and then gave him a peck on the lips.
“I’ll see you around, Black.”
“Wait, Gemma!” he desperately called out as she moved away from him even further. He had never felt this way about a female before but he couldn’t bear the thought of being without her. She was too intoxicating, too enticing - too crazy. “Y-you don’t want to stay here for a bit?”
“Shit, the only reason I left the party with you was because I thought you weren’t a ‘talker’,” she laughed, throwing her head back. “I’ve got to get back to my bed, my head is going to kill me in the morning.”
“It’s late, I could walk you there. I’m an expert in avoiding authority,” he smirked as he tried to convince her by wrapping his arms around her waist.
“I think McGonagall would beg to differ,” Gemma snorted as she brushed his hands away. Sirius felt her euphoric warmth leave his body and he longed for it to return. He still felt enraptured by her bubbly laugh and as she turned to leave, he whipped her around and snogged her hungrily. She responded eagerly and then patted his chest playfully as she bit his lip to finish the kiss.
“Look darling, I’m a rolling stone – I don’t stay in one place very long. I’ll see you around Sirius.” He watched her swish her hips back and forth down the secret tunnel and when the darkness enveloped her, he felt his heartstrings snap.
Sirius Black was starting to fall in love and it scared the shit out of him.
Author’s Note: So this pairing was the catalyst for the story. I adore them. To me, Sirius is totally Ben Barnes when he has long hair. Mmmmm.
As for Gemma … I was reading a magazine when I was getting my hair done and saw these gorgeous pictures of Taylor Swift with bangs. It’s called “Taylor Swift wears the pants” or something along those lines if you want to look them up. The funny thing is that I really don’t like her and Gemma is the complete opposite of Taylor Swift but I’d say they physically look the same. You'll see what I mean when her chapter image goes up!
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