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Pretty Boy by Ink Laden Quill

Format: Novella
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 8,401
Status: WIP

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Mild Language

Genres: Fluff, Humor, Romance
Characters: Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, OC, OtherCanon
Pairings: Sirius/OC

First Published: 03/13/2009
Last Chapter: 01/13/2011
Last Updated: 01/29/2011

Summary:
Banner by .showmetheLOVE @ TDA



    Sirius Black had dated almost everyone. There was one catch: he never asked out a girl, nor broke up with one. Somehow, he never had to. Even more startling, he never stayed single for long.
  Leah refused to break up with him—just to see what would happen. It was just an experiment to see if she could make the school's most indifferent man care enough to end his own relationship. Right..


Chapter 1: Prologue: Mockingbird
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A/N: This is a very tentative WIP. A friend of mine and I started it a couple years ago and I just regained some interest. I'll see if it goes anywhere.
Very short chapter, I know. But I had to get this introductory stuff out of the way. Later chapters are longer, I promise.
Also, my Sirius in this story is pretty out of character.

Disclaimer: Not mine. Well, plot is. Setting/Sirius/Everything else isn't.





Image by .bewithyou @ TDA



"Sometimes we put up walls. Not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to knock them down."


Prologue: Mockingbird

He sipped at the red wine in his crystal goblet and allowed his eyes to drift from his father, who was addressing him, along with a crowd of other guests about the importance of Proposition something or other. There, a short distance away, stood his mother conversing with Madam Windsora—the head of the treasury department in the French Ministry of Magic. They kept laughing with one another—their trills high like a mockingbird—and much like the bird, nothing about their laughter seemed genuine. The sound flitted around in the air for a moment before vanishing, leaving no trace it ever existed. None at all.

Behind them stood his Great Uncle talking with his younger brother. The elderly man patted the boy on the shoulder and gave him an encouraging grin that did not quite reach his sinister eyes.

Quiet classical music played in the background as the chandelier above swayed gently back and forth as the cascade of voices rocked it in its place.

And despite the fact they all appeared normal, the same, standard—he was a wolf among a pack of dogs. It was strange, really, to be in a family, to share blood with a group of people, who did not accept who he was. Even as the boy scanned the crowd around where he was standing, he saw many children fidgeting in their fancy clothes and squirming on silk covered chairs. When they met his eye they immediately looked away, having heard of his deceit from their parents. No, no one defies Salazar Slytherin without paying the price.

All the looks he received said the same thing: You do not belong here. And maybe he didn’t, but what was there he could do about it? He caught his mother looking over at him. The edges of her mouth turned downward slightly and she looked back to her companion without any sort of acknowledgement.

It hurt to be left out dry, it really did. As he grew up, he loved his parents. And to have them disregard him, ignore him, disapprove of him, burned and throbbed beneath his skin like a searing fire. He could not help that the way he thought was so contrastingly different from his family.

They would come to terms with each other eventually. He was sure. You can’t hate someone your whole life. He would just have to ride this out and wait for that time to come.



That was one year ago. Now he was sure the barrier between himself and his family was permanently cemented. There was no chance they would ever come to reconcile again. His lighthearted idealism was something of the past.

He had run away from home. He left behind the life he led and vowed to never let it happen again. Never get so close to someone that he became vulnerable and wounded once he felt their disapproval.

He built a wall between himself and the outside world—a wall that none seemed able to penetrate. A wall in which he could observe the people around him. He wanted to forget his past and never become so susceptible to his own emotions again.

Thus, he came to be known among his peers as Pretty Boy, for many believed that his attractive appearance came to be from hours of practice. Or maybe it was because his good looks were the only thing people were able to see. It was possible, of course, that they had never looked hard enough. Or he hadn’t let them.

Either way, his name was Sirius Black, but everyone knew his as Pretty Boy.






A/N: SO corny, I know. I swear that the rest of this story is not so down in the dumps. Ha, as far as I know, at least. It's supposed to be light-hearted, I promise. The rest is actually not from Sirius's point of view, but I had to do it for the prologue.

All criticism is welcomed. Thanks for reading.


Chapter 2: Curious
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A/N: This is very different from what you read last chapter, which I thank you for reading. It may be a bit confusing, but I plan on ironing a few things out next chapter.





Chapter One: Curious


“I dare you to ask out Sirius Black.” The words slipped off of her tongue before she really got the chance to think about them.

They were sitting in the dormitory together, each with an open textbook in their laps, both trying to catch up on forgotten homework. They had a few moments alone before having to go down for breakfast.

Leah thought about how to respond to such a challenge. “Ask out Pretty Boy? That’s not a dare, that’s an assignment.”

Her friend laughed quietly, already knowing the answer to what she was about to ask. “Why do you say that?”

“Because,” she started, “haven’t you noticed he has the tendency to go out with anyone who’ll offer? Besides, he has a girlfriend at the moment.”

Gina scrunched up her nose. “You really think that they’re going to make it past this week? Have you seen the looks she’s been throwing him?”

“True.”

“So this shouldn’t be a problem for you.”

Leah shook her head. “It shouldn’t be, but it is. I’m not going to ask a guy out because of a dare. That’s incredibly shallow, even for Pretty Boy.”

“Well I want to see how long you can stand him. He’s an arse. Everyone knows that. I mean… you know what he’s famous for…”

Leah dipped her quill delicately in the pot of black ink and twirled it around her fingers. “Sirius Black,” she said slowly, weighing the words, “…is famous because he has dated more girls than any one person at this school. Yet has never once asked out a girl… nor been the one to break things off.”

“You would think,” started Gina, “that people would have gotten the hint by now.”

“You say that…and yet you just dared me to ask him out.”

“Oh, I was just joking. But think about it: Sirius is constantly being asked out because each girl is hopeful that he’ll treat her with respect—that she’s “the one.” But they are always wrong. Once they figure that out they publicly dump him. And since he’s so good-looking, he gets asked out again.”

“And around the circle goes,” Leah finished.





Gina’s theory was proven to be correct at breakfast that morning. The view was not as good from the Ravenclaw table, but that hardly mattered. Anyone within twenty feet of the Great Hall saw and heard Amber Clements break up with Pretty Boy.

“Nice call,” Leah muttered to Gina as she loaded eggs onto her plate.

“Thanks,” the white blonde girl whispered back. “Why are the break-ups always so public?”

Leah shrugged. “I think girls just want to make sure everyone knows they’re over.”

Gina grinned. “I wonder what he did to set her off.”

A boy sitting beside them overheard this and turned around. “Someone said he walked away to his mates in the middle of her trying to tell him something.”

Leah laughed to herself. “Oh come on. That’s not that bad.”

“It probably all built up and that did it,” remarked the boy.

“Well...he’s certainly done worse...”

She glanced over at the couple standing in the middle of the hall. Amber was ranting and raving, pink-faced, her golden locks flying.

“–never able to support me. You care more about your bloody self than any other being in this universe. It’s disgusting. You’re disgusting. Why can’t you be like a normal boyfriend who actually cares for the girl he dates? I’ll tell you why: because you’re afraid of a little commitment… afraid that a girl will mess up your oh-so-perfect life with your perfectly sculpted hair and bloody damn perfect clothes. Well you know what? You make me sick! We’re over, Sirius. So go and enjoy that perfect life of yours. It obviously would do far better without me in it.” She stormed out of the hall, leaving Sirius standing there, quite alone.

“That,” breathed Gina. “…was bad.”

Leah was still looking at Sirius when she answered. “Nah, he didn’t get slapped this time.”

But, sure observed, he sure looked as if he had. His best friend, James Potter, was now standing there with him.

For some reason, Leah could not stop herself from looking at the boy. The rest of the Great Hall had resumed eating their breakfast now that the excitement was over. They were used to the public displays of Sirius’s break-ups and once the fireworks went off, they only had to tend to their own business for a few weeks before the next show.

But the curly blonde kept staring. Was she the only one who noticed that Sirius appeared different? There was something else there, but she could not put her finger on exactly what it was. His arms were crossed and his eyes were cast downwards. It was different – she knew that. Different from his normal blasé expression, at least. Finally another emotion was almost showing itself. And for a moment—only a moment—Sirius was personified. He was almost human. It was like she was finally seeing Sirius Black as a real teenage boy, not an expressionless robot. But what that meant, she had not idea. And when she tried to look harder – tried to read the expression further… it was gone. He was back to his normal self, if that was even considered normal.

Leah watched as James spoke with Sirius, a slight grin playing around his features. James had always been the first to reach the scene when a break up took place. True, honest friendship.

And as they spoke, Leah felt something. She thought back to the brief moment when Sirius’ face showed a foreign emotion. She had to admit, she was curious. She felt like there may be something there in that empty shell – and she really wanted to know what it was; where it could lead to. Why it even existed in the first place.

No, she had only told Gina that morning she would never meddle in that business. Never try to understand Pretty Boy. It was unexplored territory, and once one put her foot upon that path, there was no turning back around.

Still, though, this was interesting. She could make an exception. She need not worry about rejection, for he never turned anyone down. Anyone and everyone who wanted a good snog could get him. He was almost like a rent-a-boyfriend.

Could she subject her pride to that? But wait. Leah grinned, for something had just occurred to her. Something that could be either very good or very bad. Either way it ended, something engrossing was sure to happen. And Leah definitely liked engrossing.

Without realizing it, she was standing up, ignoring Gina’s questions.

Aware that several pairs of eyes were following her, she walked straight-backed up to Sirius Black.

Leah was not sure what possessed her to do this. She had never been that brave. But whenever she thought of backing down or turning back she remembered that look on his face.

Ignoring James, who was taking a sip from his goblet of pumpkin juice, she faced Sirius, unnerved by her own intrepidity. His eyes were back to normal now – like steel: cold and lifeless.

Taking a breath, she said, “Do you want to go with me to Hogsmeade next weekend?”

There were now many more pairs of eyes on her, all looking stunned. James choked on his beverage and his own eyes widened at her bluntness (for most girls liked to act witty in the hopes of charming Pretty Boy.) It was only Sirius who had not moved as the whispers broke out around them. “Uh… if you want to.”

Leah nodded. “I’ll see you in the Entrance Hall.”

She turned on her heel and walked back to her own table.

Back at the Ravenclaw table, Gina was staring at Leah incredulously. “What the hell did you just do?”

Leah was thinking the exact same thing.




A/N You're probably confused. More will be explained about what exactly is going on and what Leah's big idea is next chapter. I don't know how well I portrayed Sirius' "dating history." Let me know how I did. All comments are appreciated. I'm looking to improve my style and my ability to convey a good story. Thank you!


Chapter 3: Human?
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A/N: Ah, this is a filler chapter, and I'm not happy with it.





“Are you mad?!” Gina bellowed to Leah as soon as they exited the Great Hall after breakfast.
 
“Hey, Leah,” a Hufflepuff girl in their year called to her. “You really asked Black out right after Amber dumped him?” Leah let out a nervous laugh and shrugged slightly. “Wow! Good luck. Hope you guys actually last.” And she was gone.
 
“You don’t just ask him out right after he’s been dumped!” Gina continued, throwing her arms into the air. "There's a certain etiquette around this kind of stuff."
 
“Oi! Leah!” another classmate started. “You’re on the ball, aren’t ya! Hope you and Sirius have a good time in Hogsmeade!” Leah could not help but detect a slight note of sarcasm.
 
Leah raised her eyebrows as Gina started up again. “And I thought you weren’t going to go through with the dare? You are now?”
 
“Leah! Can’t wait to see what happens with you and Pretty Boy!” called out another kid in their year on his way to class.
 
“Is the whole Earth centered around the Marauders, or is it just this school?” asked Leah, the corners of her mouth twitching.
 
“Leah! Focus,” Gina commanded.
 
She turned to her and thought of how to answer. “I am mad; I did ask him out right after he was dumped; and I’m not going through with the dare. I’m looking at it as more of an experiment.”
 
“An experiment?” Gina lifted one of her eyebrows just as a couple other people wished Leah luck on her supposed new bound relationship.

After they left Gina continued on with her rant. “What kind of experiment could you possibly be planning?”

Leah shrugged. “He interests me.”

“How can he interest you?”

“The same way he interests everyone at this school. Why else would he recieve so many offers for dates?”

Gina paused, having difficulty finding an appropriate retort. “Leah,” she finally said, “Don’t you remember all the years we’ve spent laughing at the girls who ask out Pretty Boy? All of our dorm has had their fifteen minutes in his arms. Do you really want to be yet another girl who does the same thing?”

Leah sighed and turned to face her friend, thinking then would be a good time to explain what was up her sleeve. “Okay look, I’m trying something here. I want to see—” She stopped as a young Hufflepuff girl ran up and offered her congratulations and sympathies at the same time.

“What?” Gina asked as soon as the girl had left. “What are you trying to see?”

“I—,”

She was cut off again as two Slytherin boys swaggered by waggling their tongues at her and voicing a few choice comments about her preferences in men.

Apparently fed up with this behaviour, Gina pulled Leah into the nearest empty classroom, which, it turned out, was empty except for a very startled first year boy making up a Charms exam.

Ignoring this, Gina spat, “Okay, what is this all about? It had better be good.”

Leah swallowed. “I-I want to see if I can make him break up with me. I’m going to try and not become phased by his indifference and see how long he can take me.”

Her friend stared at her blankly for not one, but two moments before bellowing, “That is the worst idea I have ever heard!” Her voice resonated so loudly that the nervous first year upended his ink bottle all over his half completed test.

Scourgify,” Leah sighed, pointing her wand at the ruined test, restoring it to its original form. She turned to Gina and raised one eyebrow. “You really have a knack for beating around the bush there, hun.”

“I’m sorry. Look, it’s just...I don’t...want to see what happens to all these girls happen to you.”

“It’s not,” Leah reassured her. “That’s the point. I’m going to try and drive him crazy, rather than the other way around.”

“I’m not sure the world works like that. The girls he date get driven crazy for a reason. It's not just shit and giggles for them. They don't choose their own mental status.”

“Well,” Leah rolled back on the balls of her feet several times. “I think something very remarkable may happen. I just want to see what takes place. You know, end the year with a bang and whatnot.”

Gina shook her head. “What in Merlin’s name has gotten into you? Since when did you even think like this?”

Leah laughed through her nose. “It’s not a state of mind. I’m just...curious.”

“Curiosity killed the cat.”

“Satisfaction brought him back, blah blah blah.”

There was a moment’s interlude as both girls stared at each other.

“I can’t talk you out of this, can I?”

“Nope.” Leah paused. “Listen, don’t worry about me.” She giggled, “and for all I know, I’m ‘the one.’”

“Oh God, don’t talk like that. Your brain’s gone to fluff if you’re really starting to believe that.” She hastily retracted her steps. "Not that I don't think you could be. It's that boy I doubt."

“Don’t worry. I’m perfectly fine. I don’t have any sort of physical attraction toward Pretty Boy. Just an urge to see what he’s really made of.”

Gina scoffed. “No physical attraction? Please, you’d have to be comatose to not have an attraction toward him. He’s the best looking male any of us have ever laid out eyes upon. Don’t bother trying to fool yourself.”

“True, but you know what I mean. There's no...spark. Yet, at least.”

“So what’s this your reckon him being made of?”

“Well,” Leah halted. “He’s human, isn’t he? That means he can’t possibly be as callous as he acts. I think he’s got a bit more to him.”

“Or he’s just a weird kid who doesn’t like people.”

“He’s got friends, though,” Leah insisted. “He and those other boys are really close, and he acts perfectly normal with them.”

Gina shrugged. “Define normal.”

“Normal for teenage boys with raging hormones.”

Gina slung her school bag across her shoulders. “I’m going to be late for Potions. Do yourself some good and really think about what you’re doing before meeting Pretty Boy on Saturday.”

“Nah. That’d take the fun out of everything.”

“Your funeral.”





A/N: I'm sorry for the wait, you guys. I had quite a difficult school year and I really didn't have time to keep up with my Fan Fiction, or any of my writing, for that matter. i just finished up with this year and I'm trying to get back on track and become a bit more productive. Task one: Getting some updates onto HPFF. My author page is covered in cobwebs right now, but that'll soon change.
Anyway, as I said earlier, this is just a filler chapter that was necessary. I tried and failed to make it any bit interesting. I'm sorry. Next chapter is much more interesting, in my opinion. It's on its way to being done and I'll probably put it up once I get a start on the fourth. (I'm trying this new thing where I actually have a bit of a buffer between chapters.) Please leave a review. I really appreciate all the support I've gotten even though this story is still quite young. Thank you very much for taking the time to read the chapter. =]


Chapter 4: Silence
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Silence


Leah woke up Saturday morning to find all four girls in her dormitory staring wide-eyed at her. If that was not enough, they were also gathered around where she had been laying asleep. If she didn’t know better, Leah would have assumed a gut-wrenching event had just occured.

She yawned. “Did Hestia’s cat finally put an end to that old hag in Hogsmeade?” No one found her joke particularly amusing and it took several moments before anyone uttered a word at all.

“This is it,” said a nervous Gina eventually from where she stood leaning against the bedframe.

Hestia Jones, a youg lady with black hair and rosy cheeks gazed at a spot a foot above Leah’s head mournfully. “The day of truth is here.”

Leah threw back her blankets. “For God’s sake, this isn’t my funeral. It’s just a date—no commitment—no borders...nothing.” She did not feel that it was necessary to mention the “experiment” she had planned. She didn’t want to start an outright frenzy. “Just two people getting to know each other.”

There was a snort from the other side of the room. It was Allison Reeds, a transfer student from Poland during their second year with waist length blonde hair and a wide array of freckles. She wrinkled her nose skeptically. “Sirius Black doesn’t ‘get to know.’ He’ll let you talk about whatever you want but then only say a few words in response. He’ll do whatever you want. If you kiss him he’ll kiss back, there there’s nothing there for him. It’s like dating a corpse. The only reason he still gets girlfriends is because everyone thinks they’re the one. Are you going to do that too, Leah?”

Leah climbed out of bed. “Well not exactly. I just want to...see.”

Allison nodded. “We’ve all seen.”


It was then that it struck Leah that every girl in the room, except Gina and herself had dated Sirius at least once. All had ended horribly. Allison’s attempt had been the previous year and had concluded with her crying herself to sleep every night for a month and a week. Hestia had two attempts under her belt, one breakup sending Pretty Boy to the hospital wing with half of his rib bones missing and the other with his face contorted to resemble that of a large wasp.

Seeing that Leah had made up her mind, there was another timid voice from the bed two down. There stood Summer Lysons, one who had dated Black for mere hours before quietly dumping a goblet of pumpkin juice on his head before retiring to bed. “Stay away from personal topics with him.”

She walked to her wardrobe as the others behind her picked up on this topic.

“Definitely,” remarked Hestia. “Don’t ask him about himself. He won’t respond. Or his frends. He doesn’t like to talk about what his friends are like.”

“Oh yeah!” said Allison. “ I tried to ask him about James...not pretty.”

“But don’t talk about yourself all the time either,” said Gina, pulling a top out of the wardrobe and holding it up against Leah. “It’ll look like you’re full of yourself.”

“Above all,” Summer piped up again before Leah could open her mouth. “Don’t ask about him. No background—no asking where he’s from—no family.” She shook her head. “Bad stuff.”

“But why?” asked Leah, suddenly curious with this new onslaught of information. “What does he say?”

“Well, after he sends you a death glare, he says that they’re fine. It’s just the way he says it, like he wants to ensure I don’t ask any more questions. I mean, everyone knows he and Regulus Black are brothers, but it’s like we’re not supposed to mention it or anything.”

Leah shrugged, vaguely remembering a slight boy in Slytherin with similar features to the Pretty Boy, though having nothing of his ambience. “It’s not a big deal. I’m just going to test the water today. I’ll talk about plants if I have to. They’re perfectly boring, and from the sound of it, so is he!”

“Still,” said Allison. “Don’t go personal with him. It’s safer that way.”



Thirty minutes later Leah descended the staircase from the girls’ dormitory. The rest of her roommates followed several steps behind her, somehow believing this made them look inconspicuous and as if they had not been offering Leah advice the entire time.

“So what’re you going to do while I’m gone?” Leah asked Gina, trying to divert the topic from her upcoming meeting.

Her friend shrugged. “Dunno. Probably meet up with Xeno or something.”

Leah gave her a cheeky grin. “Ah, so you two have hit if off?”

“Maybe. We’ll see today.”

They climbed out of the portrait hole and down towards the Great Hall.

“Do you want to stop for breakfast?” Gina asked.

“Nah. I don’t have much of an appetite.”

“Ha! I knew you were nervous.”

“Yeah...well...you would be, too.”

They both stopped in their track.

“You know,” said Gina after a second’s silence. “For someone who is supposed to be the worst boyfriend on the planet, he sure is punctual.”

Leah followed her gaze and saw that Sirius Black was leaning against the wall of the Entrance Hall looking more like a Roman god to anything else. It was quite understandable that so many girls had fallen for him. It was hard not to notice the way his hair curled around his ears or the slight cleft in his chin that somehow accentuated every other dip and turn along his body.

Leah narrowed her eyes. “He’s not punctual! He’s early.”

“Or maybe you’re just late,” her friend suggested slyly.

“That’s not possible. I never even specified a time.”

Gina gave her a dry stare. “We cannot seriously be arguing about this. Go with him.” She gave Leah a small push. “...and tell me everything later.”

The girl walked hesitantly toward Sirius, who had just noticed her, and tried quite hard not to stare at the way his button up shirt fit him. That is for lower girls than me, she told herself.

There was a pregnant pause as they both stared at each other.

“Well,” Leah said at last, dreading the words as they left her lips. “Let’s go.”




They were in the Three Broomsticks, each with a set of eggs and bacon on their plate.

“It’s so cliché to get butterbeer here,” Leah observed as she took a bite of her food and then a sip of orange juice. “There’s so much other good food and drink...and yet everyone insists on getting butterbeer. It’s like how Willy Wonka has all this amazing candy, but everyone has to get chocolate because it’s a ‘chocolate factory.’” That was grasping straws, she knew it, but the last ten minutes had been like having a conversation with a tree stump. Pretty Boy’s responses were usually one or two words, if he gave one at all.

Then he spoke and Leah was suddenly grateful that her chocolate factory analogy had not gone to waste. “Who is Willy Wonka?”

Four words! And a question.

“You’ve never heard of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?”

He shook his head once in each direction.

“It’s a muggle story about a poor boy who won a golden ticket to visit the famous Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Willy Wonka hadn’t been seen in years and his candy was famous. Then the kid and a few others visit and there’s a chocolate waterfall—”

“That’s absolutely bonkers.”

“It’s a muggle story. They’re all bonkers, yet still a little fun when you take the time to read them!”

So far Leah had done as the girls in her dormitory advised her. No personal topics or family. But it was still hard to come up with safe matters of conversation.

“So,” she started again. “Have you ever been to Madam Puddifoot’s?”

Sirius’ handsome face immediately darkened and he looked as if he had swallowed several gallons of sour milk. “Unfortunately.”

“It’s quite horrid, isn’t it?”

He briefly looked relieved when he realized Leah wasn’t going to drag him there. “Definitely. Too many frills.”

Leah peered past his head, trying to think of a new conversation topic and saw James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew all sitting in a booth by the window and watching them.

When they caught her gaze they all lifted menus to obscure their faces.

Leah could not help but smile slightly. “Your friends are spying,” she pointed out.

Her companion raised one eyebrow. “That’s not unusual. Flip ‘em the bird and they’ll stop.”

She did the math in her head. Ten words! Twelve if you counted the contractions.

Trying to contain her excitement, she said, “Nah. Not my style. From me it’ll come as more of a laugh than an insult.”

Pretty Boy stared at her and then waggled his own middle finger towards his friends. “They’re gits.”

“Why do they insist on following you?” Leah immediately bit her tongue, knowing she was not supposed to talk about his friends, but it had slipped out.

But Sirius seemed unphased by this. “It’s a hobby of their’s.”

She laughed nervously. “You’d think they’d get tired after a while. Especially seeing as nearly every girl at school has taken you here. Don’t they get tired of the same show over and over?”

“Every performance is different.”

Leah thought for a moment. “Well, what’s been the best one? For them, at least?”

But Sirius didn’t answer, merely shrugging his shoulders and taking a sudden interest in a pair of doves outside. He shook his leg steadily to a rhythm unheard by either of them and tapped his fingers carelessly on his left knee. Leah did not know how he could stand the silence. To her, it was so loud. Each moment punctuated with nothing but their breathing brought to light the babbles that took place around them. Suddenly the girl at the next table chatting about her boring boyfriend back home became ever the more present in her head. An elderly man’s order of butterbeer to Madam Rosmerta echoed from every wall in the room. To Sirius, though...to Sirius it was nothing. He wasn’t fazed at all.

The young girl swallowed uneasily, hearing the gulp glide down her throat. “So...this hobby of theirs? Something like Poker or Go Fish?”

Again, Sirius didn’t answer—only stared at her. And to her utmost amazement, Leah did the same thing right back at him. If her goal was to get him to show some sort of emotion, the key way to do it would be to play his game.

So with that, Leah did not speak, merely stared. The buzzing of neighbouring conversations pressed upon her ears, but she did not let them in. She didn’t let her mind wander off or her eyes become unfocused. She concentrated on even breathing and not fidgeting. Sirius gazed back at her, his eyes perhaps a bit narrower, but otherwise unchanged. Maybe it was shock? Or just his muscles relaxing?

With each instant, the urge to speak bubbled up inside Leah’s throat, but she resisted. Part of her knew that as long as she kept quiet, the more awkward it would be once they resumed their conversation. But, though Leah, then why isn’t he saying anything? It can’t just be awkward for me. This sentence fueled her silence and gave her a reason to keep her lips pressed firmly together. This wasn’t a one way pause, so it couldn’t be just her who was feeling the pressure to speak.

Finally, after what seemed like an entire Ice Age and then a month, Sirius gave a small inclanation of his head and spoke, looking as if he had just recalled something—not as if he and his date had just had a very long stare off. “Are you muggle born?”

Leah sucked in her breath, thinking for a moment she had forgotten the ability of human language. She had won! Forcing herself not to linger on this point for too long, Leah stuttered out an answer, “N-No, just a fan of their stuff.” When he didn’t say anything she continued, “Most wizards condone muggle appliances and ideas because there’s no magic. But when you really look at it, muggles are fascinating. The very fact they don’t have magic seems to put them a step ahead of us, doesn—” She broke off, suddenly extraordinarily aware that the boy sitting across from her was not only a pure blood, but one of a very anti-muggle family. If there was any chance at getting him to continue speaking, this certainly was not it.

She needn’t have worried however, for Sirius merely crinkled his eyebrows a little bit before responding, “I suppose so. Never really gotten a chance to know much about them. I’m sure there’s a little more to them than meets the eye.”

Trying to make the situation less awkward (if that was even possible,) Leah grinned at him. “Well now’s a perfect chance. Here, grab your mates. I’ll teach you guys how to play Go Fish.”

He stared at her. “What?”

Leah stood up and faced the three other Marauders who were all of a sudden trying to busy themselves with braiding Remus’s hair. Very incospicuous. “Hey, you guys,” she called. “Come on over here.”

James timidly glanced at her and immediately adverted eye contact, furociously attempting to
look as if he was very intersting in getting the french braid just right. It may have come to a shock to him, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

Leah shrugged. “Alright then. We’ll just have to join them over there.” She stood up and walked over to the other side of the table where Sirius was sitting. She grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet. “C’mon, it’ll be loads of fun.” She seemed to have been compensating for her silence by speaking even more so than usual.

The two of them lumbered over to where the other Marauders were sitting and joined the table. “Do you mind?” Leah asked the other boys. “I was going to teach Sirius here how to play Go Fish and while you can play with just two people, it’s funner not to. We can leave though, if you’d like.” She eyed Remus. “I know braiding hair can be awfully fun.”

The boys began to stammer, gesturing wildly and stumbled their words while trying to get out that they were, in fact, much more manly than they had otherwise appeared. While none of them could form coherent sentences, Peter managed to shove over their empty butterbeer bottles, signaling the boys’s willingness to take part in the game.

Leah grinned. “Alright. Game on.”

After a quick explanation and an assurance that they would pick it up as the game progressed, Leah extracted a pack of muggle playing cards from her purse and divied up the deck amongst the five of them playing, and then scattering the remaining cards on the table in front of them.

“Don’t look!” she snapped at James, who was craning his neck in an attempt to look over Sirius’s shoulder.

“He has threes!” James cried triumphantly. “I’m going to remember that for when I need threes!”

“Brilliant,” Leah muttered. “Real sportsmanship right here, boys.”

And on the game went.





A/N Hi! Firstly, I'd like to apologize ahead of time for any embarrassing spelling mistakes I may or may not have made. My spell check is all messed up so it's possible I missed something in my proof reading.
Secondly, I'd like to thank you all profusely for all the wonderful reviews you left last chapter. They have been extraordinarily encouraging and I really, really appreciate them. I haven't gotten a chance to answer all of them, but I will do so as quickly as I can.

I hope you liked this chapter. It was originally going to be longer, but I decided to cut it short and include what WAS going to be in it, in the next chapter.
Anyway, I would really appreciate if you left a quick review. Just take a minute and let me know what you think of the story so far. Is Leah boring? Is the plot at a standstill? I welcome all criticism.

Chapter 5: Finches
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Chapter Four: Finches






“So does he talk?”

Leah jumped, an inky dot smearing over the length of her Charms assignment. Gina stood before her, grinning in eager anticipation of the conversation she was sure awaited her.

A laugh escaped Leah’s lips as she corked her ink bottle and stowed away her supplies. She worked to form her answer as he two girls made their way out of the library and down an adjacent hallway. “You know... I’ve been asked that question by two other girls. It’s funny because we all know the answer, right?”

“Well we can never really know, I guess." The girl faltered. "I mean, what? Is his heart made of steel? Is he impervious to all emotion?”

Before Leah could offer an answer, however, she felt an arm around her shoulder and another voice cut in. “Obviously.”

It was Gina’s turn to jump. Her footsteps became shuffled for a moment before she managed to compose herself and play it off like it was a misstep rather than an attempt to divert direction down a nearby corridor.

It was not too often they found themselves in the presence of James Potter.

James, like the other “he” they had been speaking of, carried himself in a confident manner: straight back, pointed toes, level chin. The difference was that while Sirius moved as if he might shatter if he relaxed a muscle, James was as loose as an elastic band. He bounced when he walked (a little more so now that he was dating Lily Evans). He was quick to smile and even quicker to add a word into conversations around him.

Leah grinned, ignoring her friend. “Good to see you’re recooperating well after that nasty Go Fish tournament. I’m sorry about the money you lost.”

James squeezed her shoulder. “Not a problem. I’ve already got it back.” He rumpled the pocket of his robes and she could hear the distinct sound of coins slipping around.

They both paused, as neither had planned the conversation past that point and it was hard to draw up a subject without making it obvious that they were changing the subject.

“So...Leah,” James began, removing his arm only to brush the hair out of his face. “About once every two weeks or so I am obliged to introduce myself to a different girl as the ‘designated best friend’ of Sirius Black. So, this here, um…” He stopped and held out his hand. “Hello. I am the designated best friend of Sirius Black. I am here to offer limited advice, but I will not be held responsible for potential results of said advice. Nor am I here as a shoulder to cry on. Good day.” He stood awkwardly, a cheesy half-smile imprinted on his face.

Leah thought for a moment. “I guess there’s no comfortable way to present that information…”

“Nope.” Another pause. “But at least it’s out in the open.”

She began to laugh. The entire situation was far past ridiculous - and it had only been several days. “Why do you have to do that? Why can’t everything just be normal?”

Still laughing, she continued to walk away, Gina in tow, but James caught up with them. “Years of experience has taught me to get it out early instead of being trapped in the middle about seven days down the road.”

“Seven days isn’t very long,” Gina piped up.

“The midpoint of each relationship is normally seven days. It takes about seven days for the girlfriend to realize she is in no way special.” James paused to give Leah a pointed look, which didn’t work well with his glasses getting in the way. “There are normally three days after that in which said girlfriend tries to flaunt herself some more in order to salvage the situation. And then it takes four days for her to get over her pride and end the relationship.” He gave a toothy smile. “And here we are.”

“You don’t speak very highly of your friend.”

“He’s the best man I know.”

A slight smile tugged at Leah’s lips. “Then we agree. You think he’s decent. I think he’s decent. Therefore, our business is done here.” She hurried away before he could get a word in and they quickly lost sight of him as the crowds became more dense.

“This isn’t very realistic,” said Gina as they moved amongst the other students. “This isn’t something that happens in real life. You don’t date people who you hate.”

“Who said anything about hating him?”

“Fine. You don’t date people who can’t stand you.”

“He has done nothing to suggest he can’t stand me.”

Gina smirked. “If nothing means not bothering to make eye contact, ignoring you, and walking away when you’re in the vicinity...then yeah, looks like you two will be the best of mates.”

Leah halted. “He walks away when I’m coming?”

“You haven’t noticed?”

“How could I if he was already gone?”

“Oh, well then, yes, I suppose so. When we were set to meet in the Great Hall this morning I saw him and Remus talking together, but when he saw you coming down the staircase he bolted.”

“Bolted?”

“Just turned on his heal and fled.”

“Are you sure he just wasn’t running late for something?”

“Sure had good timing if he was.” Gina was surprised to see that her friend was grinning from ear to ear. “Surely this is bad news?”

“Of course not! It means he didn’t want to have an awkward encounter with me, meaning he felt awkward before, meaning he actually felt awkward, meaning I’m finally getting under his skin!”

“Right..”

Leah was beside herself. “No, don’t you see? It’s working. This is what I needed to see.”

“So you’re going to break up with him now?”

“Ye-what?”

Now it was Gina who was grinning. “Weren’t you just going to see some emotion or something and then get it over with?”

Leah faltered. “I guess that’s part of it, but I mainly want him to dump me first.”

Realizing the absurdity of the statement, Gina threw back her head and laughed. “You’re nuts.”








“So what have your old girlfriends been like?”

She had obviously startled him. Upon the end of her conversation with Gina, Leah had made it her mission to seek out the subject of their discussion, finally succeeding in finding him sitting alone in the nearly empty Great Hall.

Leah didn’t know what was between them, if anything. In fact, she was sure there was nothing. That being said, however, she wasn’t going to tread lightly. What was he going to do if she offended him? There was nothing he could do.

Sirius looked up long enough to register who it was who sat in front of him and then turned back to the last minute Transfiguration work he was scribbling. “You’ve met them.”

“Yes, but not in the same context.”

“No?”

“No.”

He didn’t respond, intent on writing. Leah thought about what Gina said. This wasn’t realistic. No one really acted like this.

“You know,” she began, mustering the courage to forget about what he must think of her, “I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries about our outing on Saturday.”

Silence. 


She exhaled and continued, “I think there’s a misconception about you floating around this castle.”

Sirius began tapping his foot as he wrote. He didn’t look up. There was no indication that he was hearing anything she said, but she pressed on, “They think you don’t talk, but I know this isn’t right.”

She was, of course, referring to the game she had witnessed between he and his mates. Though there were many interhouse friendships at Hogwarts, she rarely crossed paths with the four boys who called themselves Marauders. She heard of their exploits and occasionally shared a class with the Gryffindors, but she had never been close with any of them. Therefore, she had never been in a position to watch how the four friends operated exclusively, and Saturday’s event had proven to be quite insightful. Sirius did talk. He even laughed - throwing his head back and positively howling at something James had said about Professor Flitwick. He stamped his feet and threw his cards at his mates when he lost.

He never, however, included Leah in his merrymaking. His friends were nice to her, including her in conversation and she was quite taken to them, but things between her and Sirius remained the same.

It had been odd because her knowledge of the Pretty Boy had been limited to this quiet, brooding young soul who everyone was in love with - not a friend who could clown around and try to cheat at a child’s card game.

Sirius’s quill halted and he glanced up. He almost appeared amused. “How observant of you. You must be feeling special.”

His quip stung, but she was pleased to hear him responding. “Just as special as any other girl who has sat here.”

He turned back to his work, as if ignoring her would make her go away. His interest, it appeared, was short lived.

“Why are you so rude?”

He finished the length of one scroll and moved onto the next.

“Why don’t you like girls?”

His writing became more hasty, droplets of ink landing on the table.

“Doesn’t it bother you that everyone is afraid of you?”

Upon finishing the last sentence, Sirius quickly rolled up the parchment and stowed his school supplies away.

She sighed and tried once more. “I’m sitting by you at the Quidditch match on Saturday. Get excited.”

Sirius swung his school bag onto one shoulder and stood up. He looked down at her. “Is this some kind of game for you?”

His eyes were so narrow she could hardly see the color beneath. His mouth pointed downwards and he looked weary. She hadn’t noticed the sallow tint to his skin, the excessive gray in the skin beneath his eyes, nor his general unkemptness until that moment he chose to look at her. For one ephemeral moment she allowed herself to believe she was the cause for all his distress, but it was thoughts like that which ensured the destruction of all of Sirius’s past girlfriends. She couldn’t let herself enter that chasm.

Leah smiled widely. “Yes, but isn’t it for you, too?”






Author's Note:
Well, um, this is awkward. I left the site because I was too busy and just didn't have any direction with what I wanted.
Basically what happened was it was late at night and I needed a distraction from my homework - so I came on here to check things out. And...man, there were just some nice reviews. I mean, GOD you guys are nice - even though I don't deserve it. So then I felt guilty. So I thought, okay, I'll just open up the file and see if anything comes to me. And it did.

For the chapter, I'm not too proud of it. I feel like it's awkward and in desperate need of work. It's been over a year since the last part of this..and, well, I haven't really kept up with Fan Fiction or fluffy stories. So, I write differently now but I tried to do what I used to do on this site for this chapter, but it just doesn't feel right. I'm really into characterization now - and if you know what I'm talking about then you know this story really has none. So I feel bad but I'm too lazy to go back and correct. So, I think what I'm trying to say is: If you liked the story before then I think you'll like it in the future. If you're looking for something deeper, don't get your hopes up. Maybe check back to see if I publish anything in ten years, which isn't likely because I'm a science major. Yeah, I know...what?

I don't expect my old fans to have kept with me. If you have, I thank you kindly.

I'm looking for major criticism and ideas. If you find typos, PLEASE tell me because my spell check is broken.

As for updates - I don't want to say anything because, just so you know, I'm in for a killer semester starting next week.

Wow, does this make any sense? I'm sorry it's all jumbled. I wanted to get in all this info without looking like some self indulgent has-been who writes outrageously long author's notes. I guess it's too late for that, huh?


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