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Duck and Cover by iluv2eatcarbs

Format: Novel
Chapters: 34
Word Count: 129,395
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Humor, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, McGonagall, Sirius, Lily, James, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, James/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 08/17/2009
Last Chapter: 07/23/2011
Last Updated: 07/23/2011

Summary:
(Banner by Afterglow!i)









I am completely and unapologetically awkward.  My cat Flint is the only living creature that I have interactions with and my only enemy is gravitiy.  That is until I take a dangerous trip downstairs to the common rooms and wind up becoming James Potter's girlfriend.  While I'm faking one romance I've stumbled across a real one.  Ugh-I wish I had never left my room.


Chapter 1: Not the Same After That
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My name is Avery Muze and I am completely and unapologetically awkward. While my housemates learned about social cues and standards, I was off smearing mud on my body and making tribal noises. As girls began using makeup and styling their hair, I'd just come out of my tribal phase and began to wear real clothes. Not that I wear anything special that people would pay attention to or want to borrow, but I am quite proud of my progress into jeans and t-shirts. As for boys, oi, don't get me started. Actually, there's nothing to 'get started' about. My interaction with boys is somewhere along the lines of 'duck and cover.' I think the quoted line indicates how pathetically unaware and uninformed I am when it comes to the opposite sex.

The only boy I've ever interacted with is Rex Mulvaney who has been forced to be my potions partner for the past seven years. And I mean forced. Slughorn paired us as potions partners out first year at Hogwarts. And me, having an extreme fear of change, have bribed Slughorn every year to keep me paired with Rex. Rex probably thinks I fancy him at this point.

I don't.

He wears an eye patch.

I don't date pirates.

Or any person that carries sharp objects with them.

Saying I've ever come close to dating. Which is never.

Hypothetically, if I were to date, I would be sure to stay away from men with pointy and blunt objects that could possibly kill me. On top of being incredibly awkward I'm also incredibly clumsy. I fell so much as a kid my parents made me wear a helmet because they feared I would get brain damage. Fortunately, I have no reported brain damage, just a paralyzing fear of attaching myself to people. This is why my parents bought me a cat two years ago. I think they realized that the only person I talked to was inside of my head and worried that I would start talking to inanimate objects or create imaginary friends so they bought me a cat to keep me out of an asylum.

My cats name is Flint; he's named after the lead singer of my favourite band The Screaming Banshees. He's really pretty with black as his main colour but also has brown and white spots mixed in. Flint is a lot like me. Both of us keep to ourselves and don't really interact with anyone else.

Of course, right as I'm thinking this Lily comes into the girls’ dormitory talking to Heather Spence.

"The first day of school is always so hectic. Being Head Girl along with taking all Advance courses is going to do me in this year."

"At least Ian Wood is Head Boy along with you, he's so fit." Heather said in that dreamy voice girls use when talking about boys they think are good looking. I myself have never used that voice.

"He's alright I suppose. I've never really chatted with him before but whenever I'm near him all I hear him talk about are girls and tea."

"He can dump tea in my harbour any day."

This is awkward. I should probably leave now. I don't really know how to handle gossiping girls, or girls in general, or even people in general for that matter.

I grab a book with the intention of going to the library. Once I reach the common room I look at the clock and see it's past curfew. I now have a difficult and scary choice to make; go back to my room and deal with gossiping girls while I lie awkwardly in bed, or stay in the common room filled with people. Both involve me being in a room with people. I don't like my options. Most people in the common room are busy with their friends though and are less likely to notice my presence.

I sit in a corner and start reading my book. The noise level is loud but I've always been able to block out the sounds around me while I read. Quite the gift I have. However, there is always one noise, one particular sound that I can't ever block out because of the sheer loudness of the voice. This voice, this voice that breaks the sound barrier, belongs to Lily Evans whilst she yells at James Potter.

"Why are some of my knickers missing Potter?" Lily yelled gathering the attention of everyone in the common room.

I really think Lily is an attention whore. She could always take James out into the hallway to talk to him, but no, she always insists on destroying his manhood in front of a crowd. Poor James, it's so obvious that he truly likes Lily. People think he just makes fun of her and asks her to marry him as a joke but every time that she rejects him, you can see true hurt flicker in James's eyes

"I didn't know I played part in where and what you do with your knickers." James said with his exaggerated arrogance as he fluffed his hair and quirked an eyebrow.

Cor, he looks sexy when he does that. I don't know how Lily can resist him, he looks irresistible. And yes, yes I can see a fit guy if one crosses my path. Just because I don't talk to boys or know anything about them doesn't mean I can’t tell if they're good-looking or not.

Some boys have quirks that make them fit, like Peter Pettigrew. The quirk that makes Peter so cute and adorable is that he treats his girlfriend Tina so well. I once found Tina crying, and Peter ran over to her side and conjured her favourite cookies. He put the cookies in front of her and put his arm around her shoulders as she buried her face into his chest and cried. He didn't say anything he just rubbed her shoulders until she had calmed down. Something about his actions was so sincere that even though he isn't conventionally good-looking there's something about him that I find attractive.

Then there are boys like Sirius Black who are in your face obvious. Sirius is undeniably handsome. There is nothing wrong with him and it's quite frustrating that someone so beautiful can exist. It does make for some excellent gawking when I hide creepily in the corner and have nothing better to do but stare at him.

"Listen Potter, you need to stop this obsession with me it’s annoying and creepy."

"Why Lily, haven't you heard?"

"Heard what?"

"That I have procured a girlfriend."

Lily let out a low laugh and examined him, not quite sure if she believed him or not. "Oh yeah, Potter? Who?"

"It's," James's eyes scanned the girls in the common room. The girls were pushing past each other and pulling each other's hair in order to get in James's eyesight. James's eyes then stopped, and he was looking right at me.

No. No. No no no no no no.

Stop looking at me. Oh Merlin, if you have any sympathy for me you will redirect James's eyes to the posse of girls vying for his attention and love.

"Her," James said pointing right at me. Twenty girls immediately looked at me; all of them looked like I had just slapped them in the face and punted their pet.

Screw you Merlin.

I want to die. Where is a black hole when you need one? Maybe I should tell him I'm a lesbian. Sure, I would be throwing James under the bus but it's not like he's ever done anything for where I feel I owe him his dignity.

"Avery? Really, you’re dating Avery Muze?"

"I am indeed Ms. Evans."

"I don't believe you."

"If she wasn't my girlfriend would she be alright with me doing this?" Without warning, James swooped to my side. He bent down so he was eye level with me and his mouth came crashing onto mine.

I've never kissed a boy before. I have no idea what to do. I once made out with my shower wall but I had a high fever and was delusional. So aside from the time I had a fever I have no experience. I lean into him in hopes that more added pressure will make the kiss somewhat decent on my half. Right as I start to lean into the kiss James pulls away. Without a force keeping my balance my upper half outweighs my lower half and I fall off of my chair and land face first on the ground.

"See," James said as he helped me off the ground. "She's falling for me already."

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A/N: A new story, I can't believe it :) I'm not gone for good! I know, I know, another Sirius/OC story. I'm horribly predictable, aren't I :/ Tell me what you think! I'll try and update soon. I have many events planned out for this story already :) R & R! By the way the chapter title is due to Ben Fold's song Not the Same. Download the song, it's good :)  And a special thanks to my Beta Scorpiusandrose :)


Chapter 2: The Sound of Settling
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Chapter 2: The Sound of Settling

Is this really happening to me?  How can I go from almost unknown to James Potter’s fake girlfriend in a split second?  What did I do to deserve this?  I’m trying to think of why karma decided to point its finger of doom at me.  I’m not a bad person.  I don’t cause harm to other people aside from the time I had left my backpack out in the Great Hall during lunch and a second year Hufflepuff tripped and fell.  Admittedly I did laugh when the kid fell and skidded across the floor, but I felt bad immediately after!

“Avery, are you listening?”  James said as he snapped his fingers in front of my face.

“What?”  I guess my answer and the confused look on my face was enough to show James that I had not been listening.

In fact, I haven’t heard a single word he’s said the past five minutes.  After he kissed me in the common rooms he gloated as he strode by a shell-shocked Lily dragging me along with him.  In my post-kiss shock I didn’t realize that he was taking me to the boys dormitory. 

Boys’ dormitory.

More specifically the Marauders’ dorm room.

Most specifically I’m in it, with boys. 

I know this wont end well.  There’s no point in me trying to convince myself I’ll end this gracefully with witty comebacks and flirty eye batting.  I just have to keep this situation from turning catastrophic.  That’s not too much to ask, right?  Besides, what truly defines a catastrophic event?  I think a bridge or building collapsing would classify under the definition catastrophic.  So as long as I can keep either of these things from happening I will not be placed under this definition.

Right.

“I asked if you were you listening to me.”  James repeated.  No need to get so ornery. 

I could see the Marauders were already getting frustrated with me and my attention span, or lack thereof.  “Um-yes.”

“James,” Sirius said as he stepped forward to include himself in the conversation.  “I do believe she is lying to us.”

Us?  Can’t I just talk to one person individually?  When I talk to one Marauder does that mean I’m really speaking to all four of them?  I wonder if I punched one of the Marauders if all of them would feel it.

Ugh-curiosity is getting the best of me, my arm wont stop twitching with the possibility upon uncovering this secret.  I must test the theory.

“Oi!  What was that for?”  Sirius asked as he rubbed his arm.  Judging from the fact that Sirius was the only one to respond to the punch my theory is debunked.  Poo.  On the upside I did get to touch him and I noted that his arms were hard.

“It was an experiment. Honestly, no one got mad at Aristotle when he tested out all of his theories on animals.  Because I’m a girl I’m not allowed to test theories, this is egregious!  You sexist pigs.”

“You always choose the mental ones James.”  Sirius declared as he looked at me.  Even though he was putting down me as a person there was a playful glint in his eyes that made me think that even though he completely thought I was mental, he was amused. 

“Lily’s not mental, she’s just passionate.”

Thanks for defending Lily and not me, boyfriend.

“Listen,” I said standing up.  “Thanks for the erm-kiss.  I really ought to be leaving now.  My cat, he needs me.  If someone doesn’t pet him every hour he goes mental and shreds the room to pieces.  It was lovely chatting and seeing all your pretty faces but I need to go.”

“What event occurred that made you think you were leaving?”

Oh god.  They’re going to ask me to be part of their orgy.  That’s why they’ve taken me up here.  Oh no.  I can’t do this.  I’m not ready.  Both mentally and physically. I can’t even eat sausages at breakfast without laughing and thinking of their sexual connotation.  I don’t know what goes where or where things fit.  This is why I suck at puzzles. 

“I don’t like sausage!”  I exclaimed covering my face with my hands, as if this is going to do or accomplish anything.  Oh great, now I sound like a lesbian.  On top of them thinking I’m completely mental now they think I don’t like men.  I’m just a prude!  Since when did being a prude make you a lesbian?  This world is so unjust.

“Sausage?”

“I’m not a lesbian.  Just because I don’t want to participate in an orgy doesn’t mean I like girls.  I’m sorry that I’m not ‘experienced’ and an ‘open door’ or ‘coordinated’.  Since when does being prude make you anything other than a prude?  If I were a tomato would I be anything else but a tomato?  Well, aside from tomato juice, tomato soup and tomato sauce.  Those are all the same thing right?  I mean, technically I’m still a tomato.”

I realize I have trailed off and gotten completely off topic judging by confused expression on James Potter’s face.  Right as I think I’m now going to be labeled as ‘that girl’ the one with the word quarantine on her forehead that everyone stays away from, the Marauders laugh.

“Oh Muze,” James said as he wiped a tear away and the laughter died down.  “This is going to be fun.”

“What’s going to be fun?”  I asked genuinely confused.  I’m always the last one to know things, even when it involves my own life. 

James sighed and looked at me like I was one of those kids.  You know, the ones that eat glue and use twigs to create nests to live in.  Now, I may have gone through a small glue stage, but in my defense it tasted like chunky milk.

“The fact that you’re now my girlfriend, at least to the public that is.”

“And uh-when was this decided?”  I was a little mad that he just expected me to go along with him and that I had no say in the matter.

“While you weren’t paying attention.”

“Dating me wont help you get Lily.”

“I know that, she’s incapable of jealously.  But if I don’t date you I look like a huge arse.”

“Right.  I seem to have missed the part where my opinion mattered and the fact that I do have a life of my own, one that doesn’t revolve around your schedule.”

“Well, that’s why this works out well.  You don’t have any friends.”

Ouch.   That one stung.  I mean obviously it’s no surprise to me that I don’t have any friends but when other people say it and how James said it really got to me.   He made it sound like I was incapable of having friends, which may or may not be true, but who is he to decide this for me.  I could feel my eyes burning and the tears forming and I knew I had to leave.

“Right, well I’m going now.”  And without another word I left the room.  I didn’t even bother to close the door; I just ran downstairs and back to my room as fast as I could.

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The next day I holed myself up in the library.  I didn’t want to deal with people asking me about the kiss and I especially didn’t to see any of the Marauders.  This is why I don’t involve myself with people.  Drama just ensues.  I’ll just stay in the library where it’s quiet and people keep to themselves. 

Of course right as I’m thinking this a shadow is cast over my book and I hear a voice ask, “Can I sit here?” 

I look up and see Sirius Black standing in front of me.  At first I am taken aback by how gorgeous he is, especially up close.  After a moment of gawking I look back down at my book.  “It’s not like I would be saving it for anyone, right?”

Sirius sighs as he pulls out the chair and sits down across from me.  “James crossed the line yesterday.  He feels really bad about what he said.”

“If he feels so bad then why isn’t he the one apologizing, why is he sending his whipping boy to do the job?”

“He didn’t send me,” Sirius said, his voice notably tightened.  “I came here because I felt bad, you looked so…sad.”

“Great,” I said closing my book harshly and throwing it into my bag.  “Not only do I not have friends but I’m sad.”  I swung my bag over my shoulders, unfortunately I swung it with a little too much gusto and the weight pulled me back and threw me off balance.  I reached into thin air as I fell backwards, not being able to find anything to hold onto, I landed on my back with a dull thud.

“Are you ok?” Sirius asked as he rushed over to me.

I crossed my arms over my chest and let out a frustrated sigh.  “No I am not ok.  I’m humiliated and frustrated.  This morning I woke up late for class and as I was getting ready I realized I had run out of toothpaste.  I ran to the Great Hall to get food but the food was gone.  Then because I was late for Transfiguration today McGonagall made me stay after class so she could scold me.  When I went down to lunch it was over.  After Potions I came here where I thought I could get some peace and quiet but no, you come and show up.  Now I’m hungry, humiliated and I’m pretty sure I bruised my tailbone.”

A few seconds of silence passed and I looked over and saw Sirius.  The corners of his mouth were twitching and his face began turning red.  He couldn’t hold it any longer and broke out in a fit of laughter.  At first I was angry but then I realized the ridiculousness of the situation and laughed along with him until I felt like I was going to vomit.

Sirius’s laughter started to die down to chuckling as he grabbed me by my arm, “come on.”  He said helping me up.  I couldn’t help but get embarrassed at his touch.  His hands on my arm sent a shockwave of heat throughout my body.  “I don’t know what I can do about your bruised tailbone, but I think I can help you out with your food situation.”

“Oh yeah, have you got some chicken in your backpack?”

“No, but I do have some buns in my back pocket.”

“Really?”  I said as I glanced around and stared at his butt.

Oh.  I get it now.

Sirius let out a bark-like laughter and ruffled my hair with his hand.  “You are something else.”

I slapped his hand away and crossed my arms over my chest in an act of defiance.  “Shut your mouth egg-head and show me the food.”

“Egg-head?”

“You heard me.  There’s more name calling in store for you if you don’t show me the food.”

Sirius let out another bark of laughter and started walking ahead of me.   I guess I’m supposed to follow.  I’ll just walk behind him a little bit to erm-inspect the buns.

I followed behind Sirius for a few minutes in relative silence, he didn’t seem bothered by the fact I wasn’t saying anything.  After a few minutes we stopped in front of a large painting of fruit. 

Is Sirius stupid?  I said I wanted to eat food, not look at it.

Wait-did he just molest that pear?

Did the pear just giggle?

Before I could question Sirius on why he molested fruit the door opened revealing a kitchen with house elves running around.  Once they realized we were standing in the doorway they all stopped and rushed forward to us.

“Ah, Mister Black you are back and with a lady friend.  What can Floppy get for you?” 

“I think chicken and potatoes will do.”

“And kidney pie.”

“Ok, chicken, potatoes and kidney pie.”

“Floppy will only be a minute.”

“Why don’t we sit down,” Sirius offered as he gestured towards a small table with chairs circled around it. 

We sat down and Sirius leaned forward on the table to get closer to me.  “Listen, I know what James said has probably turned you off of him but I really think you should give him a second chance.”

I can’t believe this.  I thought we were done talking about this.  Is this why Sirius was being nice to me?  Just so he can get me to reconsider James.  I’m slightly offended and feel a little used to be honest.  “I don’t think you understand the term; not going to happen.”

Sirius sighed and leaned back against his chair, lazily dropping one arm over the back.  “Can you just hear me out for a second?”  I stared at him for a few seconds before deciding nothing he could say would really be that bad so I shrugged and he continued talking.  “What James said to you was cruel, I will not deny this but,” Sirius licked his lips and furrowed his eyebrows as he searched for the right words to say.  “But what he said wasn’t exactly off base-was it?  Pointing it out and how he said it was cruel but what he said wasn’t a lie.  It’s like-let’s say someone has a huge mole on their face and someone pointed it out.  You could be mad that they pointed it out but you couldn’t consider them a liar or falsely accusing you of anything.”

“I don’t see where you’re taking this.”  I was a little confused as to how we went from James pointing out I had no life to a kid with a mole.

“Right,” Sirius started but was interrupted by Floppy placing the food between us.  Neither of us reached for the food.  I wasn’t in the mood anymore.  “James doesn’t mean to be cruel, except to Snape, but he didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.  Sometimes James just says stuff without thinking.”

“Ah well that’s a great excuse.  I’ll just start vomiting on people and when they get mad I’ll just tell them I wasn’t thinking when I did it.  I’m sure they’ll understand.”

Sirius chuckled as he ran a hand through his hair.  “Listen, I can’t promise James wont say anything stupid but I’ll try hard to keep him in line saying you agree to pretend to be his girlfriend.”

“Why do you care so much?”

Sirius looked down and shuffled awkwardly for a few seconds.  When he looked back up at me there was warmth in his eyes and affection, “he’s my brother.”

I sighed and weighed the pros and cons.  The cons; I could embarrass myself.  There would be attention drawn to me.  I would have to be with James Potter for extended periods of time.  People may try and talk to me.  No more privacy.

The pros.  I would learn other Marauder secrets such as the kitchens.   I would get to be able to stare at Sirius as much as I liked.  This could be an educational experience.

Ok, scratch that last one.

Clearly the cons out-weighed the pros but once I glanced up and saw Sirius gazing at me intensely with his smoldering grey eyes my hormones kicked in and before I could control myself I said, “ok, I’ll do it.  I’ll be James’s girlfriend.”

Bollocks.
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A/N: So I'm not entirely pleased with how this chapter turned out but I really needed to set the foundation for what was going to happen and to build Sirius/Avery's relationship and how they start..ect...soooo it could've been better.  I know it's a bit dull, but hilarity will ensue next chapter!  Thanks to all of you who reviewed.  You're AMAZING!  R&R!!  OH another note.  I'm heading off to college tomorrow (yay sophomore year!) and so updates will be delayed.  Law school will do that to you...so I don't know if I'm going to get a chapter out before the que closes.  But never say never!  Also-the chapter title is Death Cab for Cutie's song sound of settling, check it out :)


Chapter 3: Fell Down the Stairs
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Chapter 3: Fell Down the Stairs

Saturday October 2nd, 1978, 11:39 a.m.

The bed sheets are off of my body and my eyes are alert and awake, yet I cannot bring myself to get out of bed and start my day.  For the past hour I have been laying in bed wondering how and why I got myself in this situation.  If there was any contest to how my day would start I’m pretty sure Lily’s death glare this morning was a sure sign of things to come.

I began to grow restless lying in bed and knew I would have to face the people of Hogwarts someday.  I sighed heavily as I swung my legs to the edge of the bed and placed my feet on the cool hard wood floors, shuffling my feet as I made my way to the bathroom.  Right as I turned on the shower there was a knock on the door.  Before I could reach the door to let the person in the door opened.  In walked Lelani Michaels.  I was confused as she entered my room, thinking that she had gotten lost.  Lelani Michaels was a seventh year Ravenclaw, the seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, and had the highest marks in her class.  On top of this she was disgustingly beautiful and had dated Sirius Black her fifth year and half of sixth year. 

Which is why I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she was in my room looking at me with a knowing smile.

“Sirius sent me,” Lelani said breezily.  “I’m Lelani Michaels,” she said smiling at me warmly and extending her hand.

I stared at her hand in shock for a few moments before hesitantly taking it in my own, “Avery Muze.”

Lelani dropped my hand after a few seconds and scanned the dorm room.  “Is that your side?”  She asked pointing to my messy closet.  Before I could say yes she started rummaging through my closet. 

I could only watch her in silence as she went through my things, tossing them aside after a brief assessment.  I couldn’t understand how she could just easily walk into my room with such casualness and confidence.  Her attitude was so laid back and breezy that I couldn’t help but envy her.  There was no arrogance to her demeanor, just a lifetime of success and beauty to back up her up.

“The showers still running,” she pointed out.

“What are you doing here, in my room?”  I finally managed to choke out.

“Like I said, Sirius sent me.”

“Why?”

Lelani stood up and flatted out her skirt.  “He implied that you could use a bit of a makeover.”

“Of course he did,” I said sourly.  I was a bit offended that he would enlist someone to style me.  I know I’m not beautiful and that I don’t make an effort but I’m fine with it and didn’t ask to be made over.

“He didn’t mean it like that.  You are quite pretty but you don’t make much of an effort.”

I scoffed when she said you’re quite pretty.  Obviously she was just trying to butter me up so I would go along with what she wanted and what Sirius asked her to do.

“I’m sorry to waste your time but I don’t want to be made over, I’m fine with how I am.”  I sound like a campaign for ‘love you for who you are.’ 

“I’m glad you’re pleased with yourself but everyone could use a little sprucing up.  Don’t worry I’m not going to put you in ten inch heals and cake on makeup.  Trust me on this one.  Now hop in the shower.”

Lelani turned her back to me and continued rummaging through my things.  I decided to not fight her and hoped in the shower, I needed one anyway.  While I was in the shower I was thinking about what Lelani said, how Sirius said I needed a makeover.  It still stung a little that he thought I needed one. I’m not horrible looking, but I’m not anything special.  My nose is slightly crooked which my mom says gives me character.  She also said that the wart on my aunt’s finger gave her character, so she’s not really a credible source.

I turn the shower off and step out.  I wrap a towel around my body and walk back into the dorm room where Lelani is sitting on my bed, her legs crossed with a look of boredom on her perfect face.

“Good you’re done,” she said springing up from my bed and hurrying over to me.  “I’m just going to do a quick drying spell,” she said before brandishing her wand and waving it over me.  Within seconds the water stopped cascading down my back and my hair hung softly over my shoulders.  “I laid an outfit for you on the bed, I’ll wait outside while you change.”

Lelani left my dorm room and I moved towards the bed.  The outfit wasn’t so bad.  No mini skirts or leather.  Instead there was a red v-neck shirt and a pair of jeans.  Simple, just the way I like it.  I put the clothes on and became self-conscious with the way they hugged my body.  I was used to baggy clothes, nothing that would draw attention.  The shirt clung to me and the jeans hugged my legs. 

There was a light knock on the door and Lelani peeked her head in.  Once she saw I was dressed she opened the door fully and smiled.  “That looks great.” 

“Where did you get the clothes?”  I asked realizing that none of these items belonged to me.

Lelani shrugged, “a little shop called Lily’s Closet.”

“Oh no, I can’t wear this,” I said tugging at the shirt.  “Lily will kill me.  She already hates me.  Ever since I mistook her hair for a fire and poured a bucket of water on her head.”

Lelani chuckled, “Lily has so many clothes she won’t notice.  And if she does I will take the blame.  Now, one last thing before we leave; makeup.”

“No,” I said sternly.  I had been pretty lenient with Lelani’s requests thus far, but makeup was where I drew the line.  Whenever I see girls putting on makeup it reminds me of some form of torture. 

One day Lily wore this bright red lipstick that reminded me of a clown.

I don’t like clowns.

In fact, I’m terrified of them.

The fear started at a young age, I was a mere child at the tender age of six when my mum took me to the circus.  I was happily walking around, cotton candy in my hand, when a clown came up to us.  It bent down so it was eye level with me and asked me if I wanted to smell his flower.  Me being the naïve child I was played along.  I went to sniff the flower when he sprayed water in my face.  I was six!  How is spraying water in some unsuspecting child’s face funny?  In response to being attacked by water I shoved my cotton candy in the clowns face.  He then kicked me with his oversized shoe and I fell backwards and into a pile of horse poop. 

Needless to say I have a totally rational fear of clowns, flowers, and pelting water.

Lelani rolled her eyes and sighed, “a little lip-gloss never killed anyone.”

“What about people who are allergic to whale blubber.  I bet they’re none too pleased that you just discarded lip-gloss as a source of death.”

“Well if I ever come across a family whose suffered loss due to lip-gloss I’ll be sure to apologize. 

“You have two options.  Option number one; you can let me apply the –for the most part- harmless lip-gloss.  Or you can choose option number two; I hold your face between me legs and forcefully put the lip-gloss on and charm it so you can’t rub it off.  Now,” Lelani said with a smirk on her face as she slowly uncapped the lip-gloss.  “Which will it be?”

Five minutes later I was rubbing my lips together in hopes of thinning the thick layer of lip-gloss that clung to my lips.   I licked, I used the back of my hand, I did everything but the lip-gloss wouldn’t let up.

“Oh, did I forget to mention it’s rejuvenating lip-gloss?  It reapplies a layer, when needed, for the next twelve hours.  Did I forget to mention that?”  Lelani looked at me with forced forgetfulness in her eyes as she shrugged and innocently said, “oops.”

“Oops is a word you use when you make a spelling mistake on homework.  You do not use oops when the bottle clearly says ‘reapplies for twelve hours.’.”

“Ah well, what’s done is done.  Speaking of done, I do believe my job here is complete.  I’ve got to say I’ve done a good job.  Why don’t you look in the mirror and see for yourself before we head downstairs.” 

Lelani guided my shoulders as she angled my body so it was facing the mirror.  I looked in the mirror and stared at my reflection.  Nothing really seemed new to me.  Sure I had clothes that fit me, and my hair wasn’t the messy ponytail it’s always in and I had on lip-gloss.   Other than that the same plain, boring face stared back at me.  A face that wasn’t beautiful or ugly but was just average. 

I saw Lelani beaming from behind me, she was clearly proud of herself.  And despite the fact that she had basically forced me into this she had been nice to me.  Not wanting to hurt her feelings I forced a smile on my face. 

This seemed like a good enough response for her and she stepped away from me.  “We better go downstairs, they’re waiting for you.”

I followed slowly behind her.  I took my time as I headed down the stairs.  I realized that this could be the last time for, Merlin only knows how long, that I will not be seen as James Potter’s girlfriend.  From here on out my quiet life would become a mix of pranks and jealous girls.   I was no longer ‘what’s her name’ but now ‘James Potter’s girlfriend’.  Hopefully I wouldn’t draw too much attention so that once this charade ends I can go back to being the quiet and clumsy girl I’ve always been.

As I neared the end of the stairs my heart started beating quickly and I couldn’t quite place why I was so nervous.  I paused for a brief moment and closed my eyes and sucked in a deep breath.  I opened my eyes and looked down only to notice that my shoe laces were untied, I realized a moment too late that I had stepped on the end of the shoelace and had now lost my balance and fell down the remainder of the stairs only to land on my back at the feet of the Marauders.

The Marauders and Lelani looked down at me in a mixture of confusion, amusement, shock, and a subtle flicker of dread.

“Note to self, invest in Velcro shoes.”  My comment earned a hesitant chuckle from the group as Lelani held out her hand for me to grab.   I straightened myself out and pulled down my shirt, which had decided to ride halfway up my stomach. 

“C’mon,” James said turning away from me and walking towards the exit.  “We’ve got to hurry or we’ll miss lunch.” 

James and Sirius walked fast, leaving me behind as I tried to quickly tie my shoes.  Remus stayed back with me while Lelani and Peter trailed behind James and Sirius.

“Are you alright?”  Remus asked once I’d finished tying my shoes.

“I’m fine, I’ve fallen so much in my life that I’ve learned how to fall and not hurt myself.”  Truth be told I was lying, my elbow was pulsating and I would probably have a monster of a bruise tomorrow but I wasn’t going to let Remus Lupin know that.
 
“Sorry about James being so short with you.  He knows what he said yesterday was wrong and he’s never been one for apologies, so now he’s awkward around you and doesn’t know what to do.”

“Almost everyone but James has apologized for what James said yesterday, I’m curious to see if I will have to send messages through you and Sirius in order to talk to him from now on.”

“Yeah,” Remus said awkwardly as he scratched the back of his head.  “I can’t really explain it but all four of us have each others backs and when one person has done something wrong we all take the blame for it.   It’s hard to understand, I know.”

What he really meant was it was hard for someone like me to understand.  Someone who’s never had friends so I couldn’t possibly understand the bond that they share. 

“Well, for in the future could you let everyone know that I will no longer be accepting makeover intrusions.” 

Remus chuckled and stayed silent for a few moments.  We rounded a corner and saw everyone waiting for us outside of the Great Hall. 

“For what it’s worth, Lelani did an excellent job.”

I could feel my face turn red and stared intently at the ground.  No boy had ever complimented me before and I know the natural reaction would be to giggle and flirt back but considering I don’t have much experience I opted to remain silent.  Luckily the awkwardness didn’t last once we’d reached everyone else.

“Ready?”  James asked. 

I didn’t exactly know what I should be ready for but I nodded my head and James placed an arm around my waist and drew me close to him.   My heart was beating as fast as a hummingbird.   I wasn’t prepared, nor expecting, such close contact right away.  Whatever happened to chivalry and easing into things? 

“Whatever you do, don’t listen to their whispers.”

I looked up at James and he gave me what I think was a reassuring smile before stepping forward and guiding me with his arm into the Great Hall.  Almost immediately upon our entrance people’s attention was focused on us.  At first there was confusion and then as James continued to lead me down the Great Hall with his arm around my waste, there was shock followed by whispering.  And despite James’s warnings I couldn’t help but listen to what they were saying.

‘So it’s really true, he’s going out with her.’

‘I heard that he found Lily making out with another bloke and he’s only using her as revenge.’

‘I thought I stood a chance!’

The last comment was quickly followed by a girl fleeing from the Great Hall with tears streaming down her face.  A little too melodramatic in my opinion.

James then steered me towards the Gryffindor table and we all sat down.  There was an awkward silence as we all helped ourselves to food.

Oh god.

I do not do well with awkward silences.  I always say something stupid.

“Did you know that hippogriff poop is not only an excellent manure but also doubles as some of the main ingredients in facial masks.”

Sod it.

As expected everyone gives me weird looks with raised eyebrows and an expression that clearly reads, ‘is she on medication, and if not, someone prescribe her some now.’ 

“I think I remember hearing about that once in Care of Magical Creatures,” Sirius says in an attempt to diffuse the awkward situation I have just landed myself in.  “Oh another note, Avery, please tell us your opinion on Quidditch.”

I immediately perked up once the topic of Quidditch came up.  I love Quidditch; I’ve never missed a game since I’ve gone to Hogwarts.  I know everything about the sport, the ins and outs.  What I love most about the games is that it doesn’t matter that I am who I am.  When I’m at the games I actually feel apart of the school.  No one cares that I’m Avery Muze, social reject.  All they see is another fan cheering for their team. 

Despite my enthusiasm for the sport and the excitement I get while talking about it,
the only thing I can manage to say is, “stick and balls.”


To say the rest of lunch went horribly wrong would be an understatement.  After my stick and balls comment the Marauders chose to leave me out of the conversation, a decision I do not blame them for.  I thought if I ate quietly and kept to myself, I could possibly redeem myself. 

No such luck.

The Marauders were talking about pranks and I was eating a biscuit.  I guess I bit off more than I could chew and wound up choking.  I went into a coughing fit and sprayed biscuit crumbs all over Sirius’s face.  He didn’t say anything but noticeably scooted farther away from me.  I pushed my plate away from me, stating I was finished, and booked it the hell out of there.  I went to the only place I could think of; the library.

I quickly moved to the back of the library and found a dark spot, a place where people wouldn’t be able to find me.  I pressed my back against the wall and sank down to the floor, bringing my knees up to my chest and resting my forehead on them. 

I give up.  I can’t do this.  I haven’t even gone a day and I’ve suffered more humiliation than one person should be put through in their life.  If this is a foreshadowing of things to come I’m out.  I’m just going to tell James I can’t do this and he can find someone else who will be willing.  There are plenty of girls that would kill to be James Potter’s girlfriend so why did it have to be me?

The sound of a floorboard creaking broke my thoughts and my head snapped up and I immediately withdrew my wand and said lumos.  The light was bright and it momentarily blinded me.  When my eyes adjusted I saw Sirius Black standing in front of me, once again, in the library.

“I’m not in the mood for you to try and convince me to go back to James,” I said sourly.

“I know,” Sirius said in a soft voice as he neared me.  “I just wanted to give you this.”  He reached inside of his jacket and brought out a book and handed it to me.  I scoffed when I read the cover; Quidditch 101.  “I thought that maybe you’d be interested in reading it.” 

I halfheartedly skimmed through the pages and out of the corner of my eye I could see Sirius sit down next to me.  “Thanks,” I said unenthusiastically before closing the book and setting it down. 

“Wait,” Sirius said picking up the book and flipping to the last page.  “I don’t want you to miss the best part.” 

He handed me the book and I directed my light towards it.  On a blank page there was a hand drawn Quidditch play that Sirius had clearly come up with.  I looked up at him and his smile was so proud and endearing that I couldn’t help but smile myself. 

“Obviously this doesn’t make sense to you now, but if you read the book then it will.”

I looked back down at the book and looked at the play he had drawn out.  “This would never work.”  I said after looking at it for a few moments.

Sirius chuckled, “oh yeah, you already a pro after skimming the pages?  Alright then, let’s hear it.”

I looked at him hesitantly; I didn’t want to offend him by correcting his play.

“Go ahead, tell me what’s wrong with it.”

I licked my lips and took a breath, “well the placement of your beaters is all wrong, to start with.  It’s a good idea to place a beater by the keeper, but not by the post.  One; that’s distracting to the keeper, and two the beater is in plain site.  I think if you moved him over here,” I used my wand to show the direction of the beater, “by the stands, exactly across from the keeper that will be more efficient.  Keeping the second beater in the middle is good placement though.

“As for the chasers, the general concept you have is good.  But instead of having the center chaser fly over the beater you should have them fly under, then the beater would have more freedom and range of motion and not have to worry about someone soaring above their head.”  I paused and looked at Sirius.  His brow was furrowed and he looked slightly agitated as he stared at the play.

“Could I get that back for a second,” Sirius said as he grabbed the book from my hands and took a quill from his pocket.  He scribbled in the book quickly for a few moments, his face almost touching the parchment.  When he finished he moved the book away from his face and stared at it once more.

“That’s bloody brilliant,” he breathed under his breath.  I couldn’t help but let a huge grin consume my face as he looked at me excitedly.  “Here I thought you knew nothing about Quidditch.  Why didn’t you tell us at lunch?  You clearly know more than stick and balls.”

I smiled and shrugged, “I was nervous and when I’m nervous nothing comes out right.”  I can’t believe I just said that to him.  I never open up like that to people, or admit why I do the things I do. 

“There’s no reason to be nervous around us,” Sirius said gently.  “We’re not as scary as we seem.  If you think about it we are essentially the same.  We’re in the same grade; we have the same classes, share the same teachers, same classmates.  Aside from a few differences here and there…”

Yeah, like the fact that everyone loves you and up until yesterday people didn’t know of my existence.

“C’mon,” Sirius said nudging me with his arm and standing up.  “We’ve got to show James this new play.  And I’m going to insist we name is stick and balls.”
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A/N: Chapter title was by Tilly and the Wall: Fell down the stairs.
I'm SO sorry about the wait!  College started up and junior stress is kicking in!  I'd like to think I made up for the wait by the ridiculously long chapter -at least long for me-.  I realize that it's not as funny as it usually is, which some people may not like.  But I've been reading a lot of stories here and while the crazy girls are funny they're not very real.  You can't do much with them because once they're crazy how would they ever settle down into a relationship?  I want to make Avery relatable, and very real.  I'm not saying there wont be humor, trust me there will :)  But it's not going to be all out CRAZY haha.  Tell me what you think, I know this chapter was a little..blah.  But I'm really working at developing Avery and creating a really strong foundation for Sirius/Avery.  R & R and thanks to everyone who already has!!!  Also-I realize a makeover is WAY over done but I think I stuck true to Avery's character and don't worry Lelani and her aren't going to become best friends all of a sudden.  Lelani is a minor character who will only be in this story about 2 or 3 more unimportant times.  Tell me what you think :)



Chapter 4: Uprising
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Chapter 4: Uprising

Sunday October 3rd, 1978, 4:34 p.m.

For once I was sitting in the library by choice and not driven here by my latest embarrassment caused by my interaction with the Marauders. I had gotten so caught up in the whirlwind that is known as the Marauders that I had neglected my homework and was now frantically trying to finish a ten-inch Potions paper due tomorrow.

I set down my quill for a moment and stretched my hand out so that it would stop cramping. Immediately I could sense someone nearing me and looked over my shoulder to see James approaching me. He smiled hesitantly at me before taking a seat at my table.

“Sirius told me you would be here,” he said hardly able to meet my eyes as he opted to scan the library.

“Ah yes, well just because I’m now with you guys doesn’t mean my homework has disappeared.” I tried to make my comment sound light hearted but it came out flat and make the situation even more awkward.

“So that play that you helped Sirius make is going to be used in the next game.”

“Brilliant. Will it be called stick and balls as promised?”

James smiled and nodded his head, “course, wouldn’t have it any other way.”

A silence passed between us and James looked uncomfortable as he readjusted himself in his chair and leaned towards me. “Listen, I know I haven’t been the most agreeable person these past few days. It’s just this wasn’t exactly what I planned for myself and it was one of those moments where I acted without thinking again. And it’s nothing against you I just didn’t see this happening to me. So what I’m trying to say is I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” I say relieved to finally hear an apology from James and not his friends. “I may be the most awkward person alive so I doubt I’ve helped the situation.”

“You do tend to fall a lot. I was telling the guys we need to get you armor.”

I laughed and was surprised that after the awkwardness had lifted how easy it had become to talk to James. My first real interaction with a boy that hasn’t involved me saying anything completely embarrassing.

Avery, don’t mess this up.

“Well you know what the tin man always says, if I only had a heart.”

James gave me a blank stare as my muggle reference was lost on him. “Right,” he said standing up and giving me an awkward look. “Well dinner is starting now, are you in?”

I sighed and looked at my potions paper, which was less than half done. “I doubt I will be able to, this paper is taking me ages to write and I’m not even close to being done.”

“Avery,” James said in a sly voice that implied he had an idea stirring in his head. “You have a lot to learn.” James placed his hand on my paper and slid it towards him. “Once you associate with the Marauders and enter our circle, petty things such as homework no longer matters. Let me take care of it, don’t you worry your accident prone head.” And with one last patronizing pat on the head James headed towards the exit leaving me to follow him.

Once we reached the Great Hall James grabbed my hand as we made our way towards the rest of the Marauders. Whispers still passed throughout the big room as James and I entered, but the novelty of our new ‘romance’ has died down and there have been no more girls crying.

“Peter, I have very important business. Take this to Moonstone. Tell her I need it back by tomorrow morning.” James handed over my paper to Peter and he took it with just a nod of his head before putting it into his backpack.

“Who is Moonstone?” I asked not liking the fact that there was another nickname in the group that I’d never heard.

“That, my dear, is something we will forever know and you will not.” James said with a light finger pat on my nose.

I slapped James’s hand away and realized with a shock that I had just swatted away James Potter’s finger. I had interacted with a boy and joked around with him. I hadn’t said anything weird or out of place.

“Oi Prongs, I think you’ve sparked something in Muze. She’s got a hidden fighter in her.” Sirius said with a devilish smile as he looked at me with amusement flickering in his eyes.

In all my maturity I stuck my tongue out at Sirius and crossed my arms over my chest. Being ornery can be fun, especially with people that find amusement in it.

Dinner continued and went without a hitch. I managed to eat all my food and not spit it out at anyone, and I hardly said anything embarrassing. Either I was having a lucky day or I was starting to get used to and comfortable being surrounded by company. Having friends isn’t as bad or scary as I thought it was going to be. I know this wont last so I’m not going to get attached but maybe later on I should start talking to people and being more open, because despite the fact I’m socially awkward I can still somewhat interact with other people.

“Avery, are you coming to the game Thursday?” Sirius asked me as we left the Great Hall.

“Of course,” I said thinking of my spot behind the bleachers.

“We better see you first row. As my girlfriend you must wear my jersey and cheer me on. Then, of course, there is the celebratory party.”

“Assuming you win.”

“Avery,” James said stopping in his tracks and staring at me in the eyes intently. “We won’t lose and you better change your attitude because we don’t want any downers messing with our good vibes. So, as I was saying, you must come to the party in the room of requirements. The dress is semi formal.”

As the Marauders walked ahead I thought to myself; what the hell does semi formal mean?

~*~

The next morning I slept through my alarm and had to rush to get ready. I was pulling on my shoes as I went down the stairs. I had pulled on my right shoe when I lost my balance and fell down the flight of stairs. At the bottom of the stairs I was met with the becoming all too familiar sight of the Marauders. They smiled at me in unsurprised amusement as I lay on my back and could see up their noses.

“Have a nice trip?” James chimed in as I stood up.

“See you next fall,” Sirius quipped.

“Har har, hilarious. I actually find that falling down the stairs is a better time management skill than simply walking down the stairs.”

“You are cutting time quite short, my love.” James said as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a piece of parchment. “Here is your paper, finished and eleven inches. A guaranteed O.”

“Thanks Snicker Doodle.” I said in a baby voice before snatching my paper out of James’s hands and bolting out of the door to Potions.

I made it to class just as the bell rang; I took my usual seat but noticed that Rex was absent. I pray to Merlin he’s only late and that any minute he’ll come strolling through this classroom door and sit down next to me so that I’m not a loser sitting alone without a potions partner.

“Settle down settle down, class is starting. Please come up to the front and place your papers on my desk and on the board you will see the instructions for the next potion you are to make. The potion is an Elixir to induce euphoria. If you drink this you will have an irrational sense of happiness. Be careful, the potion is difficult to make.”

People hurried to the front and dropped off their papers. As I made my way to the front I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if Rex had appeared.

He hasn’t.

I swear he better have gotten lost in a troll’s nostril or been eaten alive by a hippogriff as an excuse.

“Ah Miss. Muze I have some news for you. Your partner Mr. Mulvaney has unfortunately come down with a case of Dragon Pox and will not be returning for the remainder of the year. Poor lad. In any case you will be reassigned a partner. Nial Melbe’s partner dropped the class earlier this year and so you are assigned to him.”

Please earth just open up and swallow me whole. There’s no way I can do this. Why must my life change so much in only one week? What is the world trying to tell me? Am I going to die soon? Is the world trying to send signals like ‘live your life now’? I don’t want to die! I don’t want to die with people thinking I’m a socially inept lesbian whose known for shouting random things such as ‘I once chocked on a piece of gum and when I spit it out it was in the shape of a turnip.’

“Hi,” Nial said as I neared him and sat down.

I looked at him and in my mind I tried to say hi but instead it came out sounding more like, glurgh. To save me from humiliation Nial let out a laugh.

“You’re dating James Potter right?” I nodded, afraid if I opened my mouth something embarrassing would come out. “I’ve seen you two around the common room. I’m in Gryffindor as well; I’m only a sixth year though. An over achieving sixth year, can’t expect James Potter’s girlfriend to know me.”

He flashed me a smile. He was a little cute. Not the type of guy you would go gaga for. But he had a nice smile and lovely hands I noticed as he began chopping up the ingredients.

“Well you don’t seem like you talk, let’s just hope you don’t bite.”

“I’m a piranha,” I said as I chomped my teeth together.

Oh Merlin what the hell did I just do? Did I really just pretend I was a piranha?

“You’re an odd bird,” Nial commented. But instead of him saying it like he was judging me or making fun of me it was lighthearted and joking.

“I’m Avery,” I finally managed to blurt out. Good start even though I’m pretty sure he already knows my name. But simple introductions are the way to go.

Nial smiled at me in an unassuming way that didn’t really hold anything behind his smile other than acknowledgement to who I am. “So Avery, in your spare time when you’re not holding the glorious title of being James Potter’s girlfriend what do you do?”

I figured being a complete and total loner without any real friends besides my cat and books wasn’t a good answer and decided to try and make a joke, “well in my spare time I really enjoy making potions that I’ll probably never use in my future career.”

Nial let out a low chuckle. “And what do you plan on doing when you graduate this year?”

“I want to write for the Daily Prophet. I want to create a music section for the paper and write about bands.”

Nial was interested in what I planned on doing with life after Hogwarts and asked me questions about the field and what music I’m into and how I plan on starting this new section of the Daily Prophet. Before I even realized it the bell rang signaling the end of class. I was surprised by how our interaction went off without a hitch. We were able to talk and successfully brew a potion. I didn’t completely embarrass myself and I’m pretty sure I didn’t give off any lesbian vibes like I usually do.

I am pleasantly surprised by Nial.

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A/N: I know I know it's taken FOREVER to update! And I'm so sorry, college started and I got super busy. And this chapter was boring, I know but it's really a foundation for what's to come. There's a lot of important things in this chapter that will be reoccuring roles in future chapters, such as Moonstone (keep watch for this character). And I know that it wasn't as funny but I have a lot of ideas for the next few chapters and I believe in the next few days I will have another chapter out that will be more funny and moving the story line along. Please stick with me and thank you to all you reviewers! Also the chapter title is Muse Uprising, awesome song!


Chapter 5: Alter the Ending
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Chapter 5: Alter the Ending

Thursday October 7th, 1978 11:34 am

The common room was quiet as I sat near the fire reading my book.  Today was the first Quidditch match of the year and the excitement of the first game Gryffindor  vs. Ravenclaw had people running around school in a mad frenzy.  The last few days had been busy, filled with Marauder pranks and secret hideaways.  Tuesday night they showed me the secret passageway to Honeydukes, and as amazing as this discovery was I didn’t realize the trip would take almost four hours to accomplish and my homework was neglected.  James, once again, said the mysterious Moonstone person would do it and like last time the homework was done on time with an O.  As much as I badgered the Marauders, no one would tell me who Moonstone was.

 

Today was one of the rare moments of solitude and I was taking full advantage of it by reading my book and petting my also neglected cat Flint.  Around noon my solitude was disrupted by the always loud and curious, Sirius.

 

“Shouldn’t you be preparing yourself for the Quidditch match?”  I asked as Sirius took a seat next to me on the couch.

 

“I try not to think too much about it, otherwise I’ll psych myself out and get panicked.”  Sirius said with a slight shrug as he began petting Flint.  The idea of Sirius ever loosing his cool was almost unimaginable.  “This your cat?”  He asked as he picked up Flint and placed him on his lap.

 

“Yes, better be kind to him or he’ll scratch off your face.”

 

Sirius smirked and scratched Flint under the chin, “what’s his name?”

 

“Flint, after the singer of my favorite band.”

 

“You like the Screaming Banshees?”  Sirius declared, as he looked me in the eyes with intensity.  “If you tell me you do I will be your best friend for life.”

 

“And if I don’t?”

 

“Then I will banish you into a world filled with troll boogies.”

 

“Ah well I wouldn’t want that so yes, yes I do like the Screaming Banshees.”

 

“If James wouldn’t have kissed you that day I never would’ve met a fellow Banshees fan.”

 

“I’m still bitter about that kiss.”

 

“Why is that?”

 

Oh shoot, running my mouth without thinking. 

 

I could feel myself turning red with the slight acknowledgment towards the fact that I’d never been kissed before.  Although, it probably wouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone that I’d never been kissed.  I’d once been propositioned by a Goblin because I’d once made a bank deposit and he said he’d never seen such beautiful galleon before.  I was freaked out and flicked the Goblin’s nose before bolting out of Gringotts.

 

“It was just intrusive…and…wet.”

 

“Ah c’mon Muze, tell me the real reason that kiss got your knickers in a twist.  Is it because you wish I had kissed you,” Sirius grinned in a mischievous way as he quirked an eyebrow.

 

“No!”  I said a little too loudly.  “I mean, no.  The truth is I’ve never been kissed before.  I always expected it to be, well, more amazing.”

 

“Its just a kiss, what were you expecting?”

 

“I always expected it to be really good.  The type of kiss that would mean something.  I want the person I kiss to be a person I can’t forget, a person I can’t get out of my head.  I want to be surprised; I want to be swept off my feet.  I want the kiss to mean so much so that when it does happen I won’t want it to stop, I wont want to come up for air.  When our lips first touch I want my breath to be taken away.”

 

“It sounds like you’re living in a fairytale.”

 

I scoffed slightly at that, “for me, it feels like I’m in a fairytale.  My dad is a wizard but my mum is a muggle.  My dad gave up doing magic for her so that they could live a normal life, so I never knew about magic growing up.  All I knew is what I read in stories filled with princesses and princes and castles.  And now look at me, I’m surrounded by magic and I live in a castle.  Only in fairytales everyone lives happily ever after and all we seem to live for is happy right now.  And if I can have a castle and be able to do magic then that means I can still experience fairytale moments, that my first kiss could be a fairytale.”

 

“Sorry kid but life is not a fairytale.  You may have a castle and powers but that doesn’t make you a princess.  Like you said we just concentrate on being happy right now.  To expect so much out of a simple kiss will only cause you to be disappointed.  That’s why you shouldn’t expect so much, not to be ironic, magic out of life.”

 

“And who turned your heart so cold?”

 

“Avery, no offense but I don’t have a vagina and I’m not going to talk about my feelings.”

 

                                                                        ~*~

 

Gryffindor won. 

 

Not only did Gryffindor win but they scored eight goals with my play, MY PLAY.  I haven’t been this happy or excited since the rash on my thigh cleared up.  I felt like a proud mom watching the team win knowing I contributed something. 

 

The Gryffindor common room was filled with people all talking about the game and shaking the hands of the Quidditch players.  Like usual there was a crowd surrounding James, Sirius, and Peter.  Those three were unquestionably the best players on the team.  James was lightning fast with quick reflexes, making him one of the best chasers Hogwarts has ever seen.  Sirius was fearless and made some of the most dangerous saves as a goalie, saves that have led him to almost falling off his broom.  And Peter was small but powerful once a bat was placed in his hand.  Remus was the only one of the group who didn’t play Quidditch so he sat with me in the bleachers as we cheered on our team.

 

“We can’t take all the credit,” James said loudly, causing the loud room to quiet down as he gained everyone’s attention.  “Our new play was created by my love, Avery.  Avery, come over here!”

 

Oh god no, not a crowd.  I could feel everyone’s questioning eyes follow me as I made my way over to James and stood up on the table he had positioned himself to better make an announcement. 

 

“Everyone give it up for Avery, the best thing that’s happened to the Quidditch team!” 

 

A loud burst of applause exploded and I could feel my face turning red with all the attention.  I moved to get down from the table and hide in my room until the party later tonight but James stopped me by grabbing my arm and pulling me back up.  A chorus of ‘kiss, kiss, kiss,’ started being chanted in the room and before I knew it my lips were violated once again by James Potter.

 

When the kiss was broken James turned to the cheering crowd and announced, “party in the room of requirements in an hour, sixth and seventh years only!”

 

James hoped down from the table and I followed after him.  The common room started emptying as excited sixth and seventh years went upstairs to get ready for the victory party.

 

“We need to set up for the party but Sirius will come back and get you in about an hour, see you later Pumpkin.”  James winked at me mischievously before leaving the common room.

 

I sighed and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, trying to get the lingering taste of James off of my lips.  When I got up to my room Lily and Heather were getting ready for the party, Lily looked annoyed as she attacked her hair with a brush.  Neither of them acknowledged my entrance and I continued to my bed.  As I searched my closet I still had no idea what to wear for a semi-formal party.  I looked at Lily and Heather to see what they were wearing and both had on skirts, considering the only skirt I own was the schools uniform one I still didn’t know what to put on.

 

Eventually I settled on a v-neck black t-shirt and jean shorts.  I picked up the 12-hour lasting lip-gloss and slicked some on my lips.  If my outfit isn’t formal enough then at least my lips will make up for the follies of my attire.  At least I hope that’s how it works.

 

I still had a few minutes before Sirius was picking me up so I sat on my bed and read a book.  I’d noticed that Lily was acting particularly cold towards me since I’d entered the room.  I’d caught her glaring at me a few times and when I went into the bathroom as she passed me she hit her shoulder against mine.  At least that’s what I think her intention was.  I’m a few inches taller than her and rather than her hitting my shoulder she hit my boob which was quite painful, she has really bony shoulders.

 

Once it was time to meet Sirius I headed down to the common rooms where he was already waiting.  He smiled once he saw me and looked me up and down, which made me blush.  Then I realized he was probably only looking me up and down to make sure my shoelaces weren’t untied.

 

“Ready?”  Sirius asked once I reached him.

 

I nodded my head, “hopefully.  Do I have to talk to people?”

 

Sirius laughed and hooked his arm through mine and he guided me out of the common room.  “Do you drink?”

 

“Of course I do, pumpkin juice is my favorite.”

 

Sirius laughed once again and his loud laughter echoed down the empty hallway.  “No, I meant drink alcohol.”

 

“Oh,” I said embarrassed as I hung my head and tried to hide the fact that my face had turned a violent shade of red.  “I’ve had a few sips of my mum’s wine, if that counts.”

 

“I’ll let it count, just for you.  I only ask because there’s going to be drinking at this party and I’m wondering if I’ll have to keep an eye on you.”

 

“Drinking or not you’d probably have to keep an eye on me anyway.  If you haven’t noticed I’m slightly accident prone.”

 

“It’s been brought to my attention.”  Sirius then stopped and stood in front of a blank wall but within seconds a door formed on the wall.  Sirius grinned as he opened the door and led me inside.

 

I gasped slightly as I entered the room.  There were already at least fifty people in the room.  The room itself was amazing.  The walls were red and gold with snitches and quaffles soaring around the ceiling.  The roof was like the Great Hall where you could see the sky and candles floated majestically in the air, just out of reach to avoid any mishaps.   Music was playing in the background but it was hardly noticeable over the rumble of voices.

 

A floating tray stopped in front of Sirius and me.  Little glass cups were filled with a bright red drink.

 

“Brilliant,” Sirius said as he grabbed a glass and drained it in one gulp.  He winced slightly as the drink slid down his throat.  “Don’t let me have too many of these,” Sirius said waving the glass cup in front of my face.  “Fire whiskey goes right to my head and I make poor choices.  You see that girl over there?” 

 

Sirius pointed and directed me towards a girl in the corner.  She had tangled hair and lipstick on that was more on her teeth than her actual lips.   She noticed Sirius looking at her and waved hopefully.  Sirius immediately dropped his hand and turned towards me.

 

“That’s what happens when I drink too much fire whiskey.  Since you’re new to drinking I’ll make sure you stay away from that stuff, it’s for professionals only.”  Sirius winked at me as he guided me towards another tray filled with drinks.  “Here, drink this, it’s Red Currant Rum.”

 

I took a sip of the drink and at first it was sweet but had a bitter taste at the end.  It wasn’t too bad though and I took another sip.  “Tastes good but drink too much and you’ll wind up with your head in a toilet.”

 

“What are you, my drinking guru?”

 

Sirius laughed and placed his hand on my lower back and guided me towards the rest of the Marauders.  It was probably the drop of alcohol in me but when Sirius had his hand on my back a chill ran up my spine. 

 

“Muze!”  James said in an overzealous voice as I approached them.  He put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me towards him.  “So glad you could join us.”

 

“James has had a lot of victory drinks already,” Sirius whispered in my ear.

 

“Ah and look whose arrived,” James said looking at the entrance.  “Miss. Stick-Up-Her-Bum-Evans.”

 

“Take it easy Prongs,” Remus said in a warning voice.  “Remember what happened last time?  You woke up with a black eye and no pants.”

 

“You’re welcome for the memories.”  James said with a dramatic bow, spilling his drink on his shoes in the process.  I snuck out of his arms grasp once he bowed and edged towards Sirius.

 

“You may want to put a leash on Potter tonight,” Lily Evans said disdainfully as she passed us.  “Wouldn’t want precious Potter to wind up with a black eye again.”  A small smirk formed on her lips as if she was the one to give him the black eye.  Actually, that would make a lot of sense. 

 

As Lily walked away I saw her grab two things of fire whiskey off the tray and down them both.

 

Tonight was going to be interesting.

 

Two hours and many shots of fire whiskey and Red Currant Rums later the atmosphere changed.  The music became louder and people had started dancing.  Many were noticeably drunk and people had become much friendlier.  I was what Sirius called ‘tipsy’ after four more Red Currant Rums. 

 

I was standing by James and had a large group surrounding us as he wildly reenacted some of the highlights from today’s game. 

 

Remus, Sirius, and Peter were laughing wildly at something a few feet away, doing shots of fire whiskey. 

 

I glanced around the room laughing at people in amusement and upon looking I noticed that Lily was staring, no, glaring at me with pure hatred.  She downed another fire whiskey and marched up to me.

 

This was not going to end well.

 

“Hello Lily,” I said as she reached me. 

 

“I’ve got to say something to you,” Lily’s voice was angry but she sounded slurred and not completely coherent.  “I never thought you would turn out like this.”

 

“Like what?”

 

“A tramp.”

 

I was immediately taken aback by her comment and couldn’t understand where this was coming from.  Aside from two kisses in front of a crowd I’d never done anything with a guy, nor had I alluded to anything more.

 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Lily, you’re drunk you should probably go away.”

 

Lily placed her hands on her hips and shook her hair over her shoulders in a defiant way, stating that she was not going to leave or be told what to do.  “You are obviously putting out because lord knows your personality isn’t what’s keeping Potter around.”

 

I could feel an intense heat building up inside of me.  I rarely got angry; I’d never had a reason to get angry.  I didn’t feel like crying or shouting, I felt like punching Lily.  This was the first time I’d ever felt like physically harming someone.  I could feel my fist clenching but before anything else could happen Sirius and James stepped in.

 

“Apologize to Avery,” Sirius said in a voice I didn’t recognize.  It was dark, almost emotionless as he gritted his teeth.  His eyes had become hardened and his body tense.

 

“I don’t see anything wrong with what I’ve said,” Lily crossed her arms over her chest and gave Sirius a look that said ‘make me’.

 

“Oh yeah? How about I call you a whore and we see what your reaction is.” 

 

“Sirius stop,” James interjected.  “Lily you should go back to Heather.”

 

“Like I’d ever listen to you, Potter.  You make me sick, you being with her.”

 

Lily then stormed out of the room in a fiery rage.  James shot me a sympathetic look before he went after her.

 

“Sorry about that,” Sirius said in a soft voice.  His tenseness had faded.  “Lily’s a mad drunk.  She always picks fights with people when she’s drunk, don’t take it personally.”

 

“Right,” I said softly, it was hard not to take what she said personally.  It made me wonder if other people felt that way too. If I were them I would think that.  I’ve never been social and as far as people know I have no personality so what other reason would James be doing with me.

 

“I think we need to get you drunk.  And I think I need to get drunk, Lily was a bit of a buzz kill.  Let’s forget about her and finish off the rest of the night the right way.”

 

I fully agreed with Sirius and quickly finished the rest of my drink and got a new one. 

 

Five Red Currant Rums later and all I wanted to do was dance.  I could feel the music pulsating through my body and couldn’t stop it from moving.  Every part of me wanted to dance and as I drained my drink there was nothing that was going to stop me.  I dragged Sirius and Remus where people were dancing and threw my arms in the air and moved my hips to the beat of the music.  I looked over and saw Peter dancing with his girlfriend; well dancing was an operative word, more like dry humping.

 

I laughed as Remus and Sirius awkwardly moved, trying to figure out the beat of the music and how to move their body.  I felt like my body was flowing and that the music was taking it over, almost like I had no control, I felt completely uninhibited.

 

Remus got tired and left the dance floor leaving Sirius and me.  The next song started up and I squealed in excitement when I realized it was a Screaming Banshees song.  Sirius laughed at my excitement and I danced with everything I had. 

 

All of a sudden I felt a pair of hands grab me by the waist.  I looked behind me and saw Sirius.  We began dancing, our hot bodies moving together.  I shifted my hair to one side and could feel Sirius’s breath on my bare neck.  Our movements flowed together and I felt a weird sensation come over me.  I couldn’t quite place it and I didn’t really care or concentrate on it.  I liked the feeling of not being embarrassed and like I had to be quiet or questioning my every movement.  I felt free and I wasn’t going to question anything.

 

When the song ended Sirius and I broke apart and I fanned my face.  Both Sirius and I were hot and sweating and decided to drink more and sit next to Remus. 

 

“I think it’s time,” Sirius said in a slurred voice as he leaned towards me with a smirk on his face.  “I think its time that you have your first shot of fire whiskey.”

 

I was too drunk to care or realize that this could be a poor choice and shouted, “yes!”

 

Someone should have told me that five shots of fire whiskey would mean not remembering what happens next.
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A/N: I am trying to get updates out quickly for my lapse in time!  I hope you guys like this chapter, please tell me what you think :)  I've lost a lot of readers but like the new ones I've gained :)  Please review adn tell me your favorite part, what you didn't like, what I can change.  If you like Avery/Sirius, what I should change if not.  Also the song Alter the Ending is Dashboard Confessional :D  Oh and don't worry, Avery/Sirius didn't share a drunken kiss, let me just clear that up now because I don't want to lose readers because they think i have an obvious plot line going.  I can't create their sexual tension THIS early in the fic, it's got to develop :)  Besides, Avery is 'dating' Sirius's best mate. 

Oh and I just came across another fic today that took a line from one of my stories (Marauder Commandments) and at first I was flattered that someone thought me funny enough to use one of my lines but then I got mad.  IT takes a lot of work and energy to write stories and for someone else to take credit for MY words is upsetting.  I'm flattered but annoyed that someone is taking credit for something I did.  So the moral of this note is; don't plagarize!!  Thanks :)  I don't mean to sound mean or anything because I'm not a mean person, just a little hurt.



Chapter 6: Until the Morning
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Chapter 6: Until the Morning

 

Saturday October 9th, 1978 7:34 am

 

To say I liked him wouldn't be correct, but to say I didn't like him would be a completely fabricated lie. The fact was my interest has now peaked to slightly above indifference. The morning after the nights celebration I woke up with a bitter taste in my mouth and a blinding headache. I sat up and took in my surroundings. To my left Remus was sleeping and then to my right Sirius was sleeping. Did I mention he was sleeping without a shirt? At first I thought I had been lured into some orgy during my inebriation but then realized that Sirius had given me his shirt and bundled it up so I could use it as a pillow. The gesture, though simple, was nice and caused a small smile to appear on my face. Remus shifted and caused me to realize that I was still at a party, probably looking like a train wreck, and in desperate need of mouthwash.

 

As quietly as I could I gathered my things and tiptoed my way out of the room of requirements, leaving last nights remains behind me. On my walk back to the dorm rooms I started reflecting on last night and felt a slight sting as Lily's words resonated in my mind, but then quickly realized that shortly after that I had no recollection of what happened after.

 

This could not be good.

 

As I entered the common room I saw a pair of feet hanging off the end of the couch. As I neared the couch I noticed a mop of unruly hair and realized it was James. I gently nudged his side with my foot but he didn't budge. I then remembered how he ditched me and chased Lily and took a throw pillow from the chair next to me and hit him on the head as hard as I could. He stirred slightly and his eyes opened halfway.

 

“Mum? Can I get some toast and jam?” He mumbled as his eyes shut again.

 

“Get up you prat,” I said in a voice I hardly recognized. I couldn't believe I was telling James to get up, and that I called him a prat. Anger really fuels me to do things I wouldn't normally do. Not so sure if I like it.

 

“Mum, why are you calling me a prat? I'm you're little Jamesy-Poo.”

 

“James, I don't care what name your mum calls you at night to make you feel better. It's Avery.”

 

Suddenly James's eyes opened and he squinted as he tried to focus on my face. “Ah Muze, wonderful to see you.” James stretched as he slowly sat up, shaking his head and fluffing his hair. Usually I found this act of his cute but right now I was just irritated. “Just getting in from last night?” James said with a quirked eyebrow and an amused smile on his face.

 

His smile quickly fell though once he noticed my aggravated face. “Just spiffy, especially when my boyfriendran out on me with the girl who had just embarrassed me publicly.”

 

“Oh, yeah,” James said awkwardly.

 

“Listen, I didn't want this, any of this. I didn't want to be part of your group, I didn't want to become your girlfriend, but I agreed to it. What I didn't agree to is getting humiliated and then you running off with Lily every chance you get. It's embarrassing and people are going to ask questions, and I've already been dealing with that enough. James in order for this plan of yours to work we actually need to seem like a couple.” I held my breath once the words left my mouth. I had never spoken to someone like this but I had been pushed too far.

 

“You're right,” James said after a few silent moments. “I'm sorry, I brought you into this, the least I could do was treat you with respect.”

 

“Oh,” I said not expecting James to apologize that quickly. “Well, good. Make sure it doesn't happen again.”

 

The tension in the room seemed to lighten up as James laid back against the couch and ruffled his hair. “I like this side of you Muze, I knew there was a firecracker in you waiting to get out.”

 

“Oh shut up,” I said gently kicking James in the shin. I was amazed in that moment how easily I became comfortable with James. His charm was always evident but there's a certain warmth to him I'd never seen before. I always assumed he was the arrogant prat that hexed Snape at any chance he could get and didn't care about anyone else. What I'd learned in the past few days is that he and the Marauders were closer than any group I'd ever seen before. And while he can be a bit insensitive, example being last night, he is apologetic and realizes when he makes a mistake. Whether he learns from his mistakes or not is still in question.

 

“You look like hell,” James said as he looked me up and down. “I take it last night's party was a success, minus the red headed blip.”

 

I inwardly cringed as I was reminded of the fact that I had no recollection of last night's events. “Well I was hoping someone could answer that for me. I cannot recall a single moment after you and Lily left,” I said embarrassed. I don't like being out of control, and the past few days with the Marauders I've been everything but in control. I don't like being out of my element, which usually involves seclusion.

 

“Ah, I see you tampered with firewhiskey,” James said with a sly smile on his face.

 

“It's not funny, I'm embarrassed, I just hope I didn't do anything too humiliating last night.”

 

“Wish I could help you out with that one love, but I'm afraid I missed drunken Muze festivities.”

 

I smiled lightly at James and the room was silent for a few moments. I was surprised at how comfortable it was with him so easily, his effervescent attitude I'd never experienced first hand until now. Just as I was settling into the peace and quiet the portrait door opened revealing three disheveled men.

 

“Ah Muze, we were wondering where you had wondered off to.” Sirius declared loudly as he sat on the arm rest of my chair and draped his arm around me casually. I twitched under his touch and scooted away from him, a movement that he only smirked at. “Prongsy, your little Muze here has an inner party animal that has been caged and can only be released under the influence of fire whiskey.”

 

Sirius looked down at me with a devilish smirk on his face. I couldn't help but wonder in horror what had happened last night. “What happened last night?”

 

Sirius let out a bark of laughter and clapped me on the shoulder, “and she doesn't remember. Even more brilliant.”

 

“Tell me what happened.”

 

“I'll let you suffer a little bit. But let's just say you have a lovely birth mark in the shape of a heart.”

 

Oh holy crap.

 

My birthmark is on my bum.

 

Which means...

 

Merlin, no.

 

I looked up at Sirius whose face was nothing short of pure enjoyment as he saw the terror cross my face. However, as I was debating on whether I should jump off the astronomy tower or get trampled by a heard of Hippogriffs the Gryffindor common room door opened once again, this time revealing Professor McGonagall. Suddenly the room shifted from lighthearted to tense.

 

“Dumbledore wishes to speak to you,” McGonagall said sternly.

 

Sod. We were busted. We're going to get expelled for having a party. I knew I should've avoided the Marauders. Why oh why did I agree to this stupid bloody idea in the first place? I've been a good student, unseen by most. And now, within twenty four hours, I've exposed my bum -and who knows what else-, and am now going to possibly get expelled.

 

“Not you Ms. Muze,” McGonagall said sternly as I rose from my seat. I stood in my place and gave a inquisitive glance towards McGonagall before she ushered the Marauders out of the common room leaving me confused and nervous.

 

I paced the common room for what felt like hours. People had started filing in from the party and I heard their snickering and whispering as they saw me. I was so nervous though that I didn't even care about the things they were saying about me. After what seemed like an eternity the Marauders came back into the common room but this time with Lily.

 

Their faces were almost expressionless except for the slightest pang of fear that flickered in their eyes when they looked up at me. Lily immediately went up to her room but James nodded his head signaling for me to follow them up to their dorm room. I asked no questions as we walked up the stairs and the silence stretched for what seemed like forever. As we entered their room we each found a place to sit and I stared at james and sirius intently as they shared a bed, waiting for someone to say something.

 

“This isn't about the party,” James said slowly as if still trying to figure out what he was going to say next.

 

Panic was starting to build up in me. I couldn't figure out what they were going to tell me. If it wasn't about the party then what else could it be about? “You're starting to freak me out James,” I said, cursing myself for my voice cracking.

 

“As you know a war has been brewing as Voldemort rises to power,” James said quietly. “Since we're in school our knowledge of the war is limited. Apparently, things are getting really bad out there.”

 

“What does this have to do with you?”

 

James sucked in a breath and looked nervous and scared like a little child whose afraid of the dark. “Dumbledore has asked us and Lily that once we graduate from Hogwarts next term that we join a group to fight Voldemort.”

 

I sat in shock as I looked at the young faces in front of me. They were hardly considered men and in a few short months they were expected to go and fight one of the most powerful wizards of all time? This couldn't be right, they were lucky to go to class on time, how could Dumbledore ask such a thing from them. “Why you?” Was the only question I could manage.

 

“We're all studying to become aurors, minus Remus that is. But Dumbledore feels because of, er-special circumstances he could be a big asset to the group.”

 

“What special circumstances?” I asked looking at Remus. Remus avoided my gaze and instead focused on James.

 

“That's irrelevant right now.”

 

“What group is this?”

 

“We can't tell you more than we already have. I figured we'd have to tell you because this is now going to take up a lot of our time and we knew you would ask questions so we figured it was best to tell you what was going on, as much as we can.”

 

“So, you're basically putting yourself in a position where you'll die.”

 

James let out a forced laughed, “well that's not the idea of it all, love. But it is a possibility.”

 

My breathing became forced as my heartbeat quickened. I gripped the end of the bed as I tried to steady myself and sort through all the thoughts and emotions. How could they do this to me? I felt selfish saying that but just a few weeks ago I could care less about the Marauders, sure they provided a little amusement here and there but aside from that I didn't really care. But now, now they've made me care. I've seen the good in them and I've formed some sort of bond with them, although I'm not sure if I can call it a friendship. And now they're going to put themselves at risk.

 

“I can't do this anymore,” I said before getting up from the bed and quickly leaving their room. 

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A/N: Alright so...I have no excuses for how long this has taken AND the chapter is not very exciting.  I needed this chapter to set up what's going to happen in later chapters and it's a little darker, as you've seen.  I hope you guys like the direction I took with this because I've found with many Marauder stories they completely neglect the war.  Anyway, expect more frequent updates.  I have a lot of ideas now for the story, taking it a totally different direction than before, which may or may not be good but I think it is :) So hold tight kiddies and leave a lovely review :)




 


Chapter 7: Little Lion Man
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Chapter 7: Little Lion Man

 

Monday October 11th, 1978 11:02 pm

 

My quill scratched fiercely against the parchment resting on my lap. I was immersed in my work, hardly pausing aside from looking up at the vast universe above my head. I sighed as I finished the last sentence to my Astronomy paper, detailing orion's belt and it's shape and the mythology behind it. I set my parchment and quill to my side and looked up at the sky. Astronomy had always been my favorite subject because whenever I looked up at the black sky for some reason I could clear my head, no matter what. Except for tonight.

 

For the past two days I had been trying to come to terms with what the Marauder's had told me, what their plan was after they leave Hogwarts. I tried to justify their choice, tried to make sense of it, and convince myself it wasn't all that dangerous. But I knew better. The obituary had grown in numbers the past few months and many kids had gone home from a death in the family. Death seemed to be all around us and I had ignored it for the most part until now.

 

For the past two days I had been avoiding the Marauders, and for once they were respecting my space and letting me have some time to myself to think. I'd gone sixteen years without them and had done fine, albeit been a little lonely. Had I heard only a few weeks ago that the Marauders were going to fight against Voldemort I wouldn't have cared, I would've shrugged and continued on with my day. It's amazing how things can change so quickly.

 

From behind me I could hear voices traveling up the stairwell. Fearing that it was a teacher and I would get a detention for being out of my room past curfew, I quickly gathered my things and hid behind a curtain, keeping my hand over my mouth to muffle any sounds.

 

The voices got closer and I realized there were two men coming towards me.

 

“Moony, calm down you always get a little crazy around this time of the month.” I immediately recognized the voice as Sirius. He was talking to Remus obviously, by the use of his nickname, but what did they mean by time of the month? Does Remus menstruate? I have noticed in the past him acting weird once in a while and looking a little run down and eating an insane amount of chocolate.

 

Oh my Merlin.

 

Is this what Dumbledore was referring to with Remus's 'special circumstances'? Is Remus secretly a woman? It would explain a lot. Although, I'm not entirely sure how that would have anything to do in order to fight Voldemort. Maybe Voldemort likes sexually confused men?

 

“Sirius, this has nothing to do with my problem. I think Avery might be right, I think that we're basically going on a suicide mission. Our job is to fight until we die, isn't it?”

 

“So you think we should just let Voldemort take control, is that what you're saying?” Sirius's voice had dramatically changed. His breathing became more labored and his voice had become harsh.

 

“No, that's not what I'm saying.” I could hear the desperation in Remus's voice. Through the curtains I could make out his silhouette, see him running his hand agitatedly through his hair.

 

“Remus, I get it, you're scared. So am I. But Dumbledore chose us to help him, to fight in this battle. Obviously Dumbledore sees something in us that he finds of value, so if he thinks that then I'm sure as hell going to do what he asks.”

 

There was a moment of silence as Sirius's words sunk into Remus, with one last sigh Remus said, “you're right.” Sirius let out a low chuckle and clapped Remus on the back. “What are we going to do about Avery?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, it's just,” Remus paused. I could tell he was trying to chose his words carefully before he spoke. “She seems a little unstable, is all.”

 

A little unstable?

 

Who are you to judge Remus Lupin.

 

You go from almost unknown and then thrust into the spotlight without any warning. No one bothered to tell me, 'oh hey Avery, today expect your life to changed drastically.' I had nothing. But I accepted it and all Remus Lupin can say is I'm unstable?

 

“This is a lot for her.” Sirius said immediately coming to my defense. I smiled to myself, grateful for Sirius to have my back. “If you haven't noticed up until us she hardly had any attention drawn to her, other than the fact that she was a loner, and an occasional ridiculing from the Slytherins. Since us she's had more attention than she's probably had in her entire life. And now we've accepted her and she’s started to form bonds with us and then we just drop a bomb on her like this. I probably would've run away too if I were her.”

 

“You really like this girl,” Remus said in an inquisitive voice. For some reason at his comment my breath hitched in my throat and my heart started to beat rapidly. Why was his comment causing such an effect on me?

 

“No,” Sirius said quickly. “I mean, no. I mean, I do. It's just, I know what it feels like to be an outsider.” Sirius's voice was soft and I wondered what he meant. Surely he couldn't be referring to Hogwarts. He was revered here, women loved him and men wanted to be him. People talked about him because they found him interesting. Whenever in his life was he an outcast?

 

“Right,” Remus said in an unsure voice. However, before the conversation could continue my nose twitched.

 

Oh crap.

 

I had to sneeze.

 

Before I could control what was going to happen a loud 'achoo' erupted from my mouth, my attempts to stifle the sound with my hand were fruitless. Remus and Sirius became rigid as they looked in my direction. I could see their silhouettes near the curtain I was currently cowering behind. I could see their wands drawn and poised in front of them. I held my breath for what was going to happen next.

 

The curtain was pulled aside revealing me cowering against the wall as best as I could with my eyes shut firmly closed in hopes that they couldn't see me if I couldn't see them.

 

“Bloody hell Avery,” Sirius said in a relieved voice as he lowered his wand and ran a hand through his hair. “I thought you were some Slytherin about to attack us.”

 

“Ah nope, just little ole me.” I said in a weak voice, still cowering against the wall, my heart not yet returning to its normal pace.

 

“Come here,” Sirius said taking my hand and pulling me away from the wall. “I was going to look for you. I have a question; do you like to fly?”

 

The three of us had left the Astronomy Tower and made our way back to the common room. Remus stayed in the common room while Sirius ran upstairs to his dormitory, fetching something quickly. He returned with a small cloak draped over his arms and a piece of parchment in his back pocket. I looked at him quizzically but didn't ask him any questions as he guided me out of the common room.

 

“It's after curfew,” I couldn't help but point out, completely aware of the fact that Sirius knew what time it was.

 

Sirius merely smiled at me deviously before he took the cloak and threw it over himself, he then disappeared. I gasped in shock as I stared at the nothing that I knew was Sirius. “How did you get an invisibility cloak?”

 

“Never mind the questions, get under here.” Sirius's arm appeared from under the cloak as he grabbed my arm and pulled me under the cloak with him. The space was tight and our bodies were rubbing against each other as we walked down the corridor.

 

As we started down the staircase Sirius pulled the piece of parchment form his pocket and placed his wand on top of the parchment. He opened his mouth to say something but seemed to stop himself and looked at me first. “I trust that you'll keep anything you see tonight a secret, right?”

 

I nodded my head in affirmation and this was all Sirius seemed to need before he waved his wand over the parchment and said, “I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”

 

The once blank piece of parchment transformed before my eyes. He unfolded it to reveal little dots moving around. I quickly realized these little dots were people and they were showing where they were. I gazed at the map in amazement as my eyes scanned it slowly, trying to take in every detail that had gone into it. Soon I saw our names on the parchment and the corridor we were currently walking down. Luckily there was no one near us. Sirius seemed content and said, “mischief managed.” All the dots vanished and the parchment was blank once again. He stuffed the parchment back into his pocket and placed his hand on my upper arm to keep me near him as we continued walking down the empty corridor.

 

His hand was warm but goosebumps appeared around the area he was holding. I shuddered slightly at our close proximity but he seemed unfazed by it as we hurried our way towards the Quidditch pitch. A few minutes later we reached our destination. Sirius took the cloak off of us and hurried to the locker rooms while I followed behind him. He shoved the cloak into one of the lockers and the went to the broom closet.

 

“The closet has to be locked,” I chimed.

 

Sirius looked at me and smiled once more before producing a set of keys from his pocket and dangling them in front of me. “Courtesy of James.”

 

Of course, James was the captain for Gryffindor.

 

Sirius opened the cupboard and grabbed two brooms. I hesitated as Sirius handed me one. “I can't fly,” I admitted to him, I expected him to laugh, flying was one of the first things we learned as wizards. I was never able to master the art of flying.

 

“It's alright, I'll help you.” Sirius said lightly as he moved the broom closer to me. I took it hesitantly before following him out of the lockers and onto the pitch.

 

It was completely black as we stepped outside. Aside from the stars and half moon that gave us a little source of light I could hardly make out the quidditch goals in the distance from where I stood.

 

“Alright, well first I'm sure you know how to mount your broom.” Sirius said from behind me. I nodded before flinging one of my legs on the opposite side of the broom and sitting on it. “Try and find your balance as best as you can.” Sirius directed as he watched me sit on the broom. “Now, gently kick off from the ground and try to hover for a few seconds off the ground as you get the feel for it.”

 

I did as he said and gently pushed away from the ground feeling my feet leave the earth as I suspended two feet above the ground. My grip was tight on the broom as I tried to steady myself. Right as I thought I had gotten my balance on the broom I started moving sideways and fell right off of it.

 

Sirius rushed to my side and helped me up as I dusted the grass and dirt off my body. “Told you I was no good.”

 

“It's alright no need to get aggravated. Try again.”

 

I looked at Sirius in a disbelieving way. There was no way I was ever going to master a broom. I could hardly walk on ground, let alone conquer the air. Despite the fact that I knew I was never going to stay in the air for more than a few seconds I once again mounted the broom. Without warning I felt Sirius's hands on my waist.

 

“Try leaning back more,” Sirius said as he took my waist and pulled me back. I stiffened under his embrace, not used to so much contact with a boy in all my life. “Alright, I think you'll be more balanced this time with your weight more centered. Let's try this again.”

 

I looked at Sirius in a way that said 'there's no way in hell this is ever going to work,' but he only flashed me an encouraging smile. I looked away from him and once again pushed off from the ground, the now familiar sensation of leaving the ground flooding my body. For a few unsteady seconds I felt my body moving in different directions but then I finally stabilized and was sitting on my broom without the fear of falling. I beamed broadly at Sirius who returned the smile just as eagerly. He then quickly mounted his broom and leveled with me.

 

“Alright, now to propel yourself forward lean forward on your broom.”

 

“Before I send myself to an early death I have to ask, why are we doing this?” The question had been plaguing my mind but I hadn't had the opportunity to ask him yet.

 

Sirius shrugged before saying, “once you're flying you'll understand why you need this.”

 

I gave him a questioning stare but he only smiled at me before leaning forward on his broom and shooting across the pitch. I stared at his retreating form in the distance before taking a deep breath and leaning forward.

 

The wind immediately started whipping in my face as my hair blew in every direction. My breath was hitched in my throat but I felt a contradicting sense of relief as I cut through the air. I saw Sirius jerk his broom up and go higher into the air and without thinking I quickly followed him. I felt my body sliding back slightly as my broom moved at an angle. I tightened my grip on my broom and secured my feet on the pegs. Once I had reached the quidditch goals I straightened out my broom and hovered in the air as I searched for Sirius. I found him hovering on his broom in the middle of the pitch looking at me with an amused smile on his face.

 

I smiled and leaned forward in an attempt to get next to Sirius. He seemed to take this as a challenge and right before I had caught up with him he took off and looked at me in a challenging way. Without thinking I smirked and willed my broom to go faster as Sirius flew in front of me.

 

We flew in circles around the pitch with me on his heels but never quite catching up to him. The feeling I had while flying was something I'd never experienced before. The only other flying experience I'd had previous to this was first year when I was petrified and resolved to never fly again. But this feeling I had was nothing I had ever expected. I felt totally wild and free as the wind surrounded and enveloped me. The air was cold against my face but it felt refreshing. My mind seemed to be clear of any thoughts that had been bothering me as I flew and thought of nothing else.

 

After what felt like hours my muscles had started cramping and my body was growing tired. I slowly descended back to the ground and dismounted my broom. Once my feet hit the ground the free feeling I had had only moments before seemed to vanish as I was brought down to reality. Within seconds Sirius appeared by my side and let out a bark of laughter.

 

“I've never seen you enjoy yourself so much,” he said with a large smile on is face.

 

Before I could even think or know what I was doing I wrapped my arms around Sirius and hugged him. He seemed shocked for a split second before wrapping his arms around me and tightening the embrace. We stood like that for a few seconds before I pulled back and looked at him with a genuine smile on my face, it's felt like years since I think I'd smiled last.

 

“Thank you,” I whispered to him. He only smiled back at me in response. I stood smiling at him for a few seconds, probably looking like a complete loon, before realizing that our arms were still wrapped around each other and our faces were only inches away. Embarrassed, I released my arms from around his neck and stepped away, picking up my broom.

 

I looked back at Sirius and he seemed a little flustered as he strode past me and back to the lockers.

“Whenever I feel overwhelmed I always fly. It always seems to clear my mind.” Sirius said as he locked up the brooms. He gave me a small smile as he turned back towards me, “I know you've had a lot to deal with and I was hoping this would help.”

 

I nodded my head and smiled at him encouragingly. It was then I remembered that I wasn't the only one who was going through a lot and that maybe Sirius needed this as much as I did. “I just want you to know I didn't mean what I said the other day when I said I can't do this anymore.”

 

“I know,” Sirius said casually. “That's why we gave you your space. I'm glad that you're back,” Sirius said with a smile. “Especially since I got two tickets for the Screaming Banshees concert on halloween and if you had decided that you didn't want to be friends anymore I would have had no one to go with.”

 

I felt my jaw drop as I stared at Sirius in disbelief. I couldn't believe that he had remembered I love the Screaming Banshees. I didn't even know they were touring. For the second time that night I didn't know what took over me but I ran up to Sirius and threw my arms around him. “Thank you thank you thank you,” I practically screamed into his ear.

 

Sirius let out a low laugh and I could feel his body tremble against mine. My face was planted in his shoulder and without knowing it I was breathing in his scent. He smelled of sweat and grass with his natural musk mixed in. The scent was intoxicating and for a moment I felt myself lost in it. Once Sirius's laughter had died down I came to my senses and pulled away from him, once again embarrassed from the close contact I'd had with him.

 

Sirius seemed unfazed by our contact as he pulled the map out of his pocket again. “The coast looks clear for now, we better head back.” He said before stuffing the map into his pocket. “Let's go,” he said pulling the cloak over us and exiting the lockers.

 

We moved quickly down the corridors but I couldn't help but be slightly distracted by how close our bodies were and how they moved against each other. Neither of us said anything as we made our silent way back to the common rooms. Right as we were about to round a corner Sirius quickly stopped and put out his arm to keep me from moving. I looked at him and was about to ask what was wrong but he placed a hand over my mouth before I could say anything. It was then I heard a low meow and saw Mrs. Norris creep out from around the corner.

 

She stopped and stared directly at us. At first I thought I was hallucinating because we were invisible but then Mrs. Norris came up to us and started pawing at the cloak, meowing even louder. Sirius pulled the map from his back pocket and swore. I looked at the map and saw Filch was about to round the corner and be right where we were. Sirius muttered 'mischief managed' and grabbed my arm before dragging me towards a door and into a broom closet.

 

Our bodies were pushed together in the small space and I was about to ask him why we were hiding when we had an invisibility cloak but Sirius once again clamped a hand over my mouth and moved his body so that I was pinned between him and the wall.

 

From outside the door I could hear Filch's footsteps nearing us as he coo'd at his cat. “What have you found Mrs. Norris?” The footsteps stopped directly outside of the door and I could feel my heart racing as I tried not to breathe. “What is this?” A look of horror crosses Sirius' eyes and he used his free hand to search his body, although I wasn't entirely sure what he was searching for. “A piece of parchment? Well who left this here?”

 

Oh no, the map.

 

“I'll just take this to Dumbledore in the morning and see if it's of any use. Let's go Mrs. Norris.” The cat meowed one last time before following Filch as his footsteps became distant and then disappeared.

 

Sirius sighed heavily and dropped his hand from my mouth but didn't position his body away from mine. “James is going to bloody kill me.”

 

“Why did we hide? We were under a cloak, Filch couldn't catch us.”

 

“No, but Mrs. Norris would've followed us everywhere and we would have no where to go. Eventually Filch would summon a teacher and we would've been caught.” Sirius let out an aggravated groan as he slammed his fist on the wall to the right of my head. “Shit, I can't believe I lost the map. It took us ages to make it.”

 

“You made the map?” I asked in slight disbelief.

 

For a brief second a smile fell on Sirius's lips, “yep, the Marauder's Map.” He stated proudly but his smile quickly fell. “Which I've now lost.”

 

“Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get it back somehow.”

 

Sirius shook his head, “no, even if we were able to get it I'm sure Dumbledore will know who it belongs to. Once it goes missing they'll search us and there are somethings in our room that I wouldn't want to be found,” he finished with a devious smile.

 

“Well, I'm sorry you lost the map. I'm sure you can make another one,” I said reassuringly, placing my hand on his arm. It seemed that my gesture suddenly caused us to realize the position we were currently in.

 

Our eyes locked and I could feel his hot breath on my face from his slightly parted lips. The air in the room had changed and my chest suddenly felt tight as my heartbeat quickened for about the hundredth time that night. I suddenly felt Sirius's hand move as he reached out and placed one hand on my waist. Out of shock from Sirius touching me I jumped slightly and accidentally kicked a bucket behind me. The sudden movement pulled Sirius and I out of the moment and I dropped my hand from his arm as he dropped his hand from my waist.

 

Sirius took a half a step back and shook his head. “Right,” he muttered. “We should be heading back.”

 

I nodded my head and moved the cloak so it was covering me once again. Sirius pressed his ear against the door listening for any noises before opening the door and walking out. As we walked back to the common room every time Sirius and I touched that part of my body jolted and I was trying desperately to shake the feeling.

 

We were near the common rooms when Sirius and I heard familiar voices coming from a classroom.

 

A/N: Alright so I realize that this story is becoming less funny and more plot driven. I hope you guys like the slight change :/ I'm trying to incorporate everything we found out about the Marauder's (such as how Filch gets the map) and I hope you guys approve of this. Overall I'd say this is probably my favorite chapter so far. I like the interaction between Avery/Sirius. Although I could be wrong and it is complete poop, tell me what you guys think :) And I realize I've been stingy with updates but I've made an outline up until chapter 14 with other ideas after that, just trying to figure out when I want it all to happen.

 

I also know what's going to happen in the sequel, yes there will be a sequel. Although I'm not sure if I just want to do a one-shot or another novella. But just letting you know I'm back full force with this story and have soooooo many ideas for it and can't wait for you guys to see what happens because I'm excited! :) Also the chapter title is the song Little Lion man by Mumford & Sons :)   


Chapter 8: Sound the alarm
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 Chapter 8: Sound the Alarm

 

Tuesday October 12th, 2:05 am

 

From outside Sirius and I could hear voices coming from the potions room. Sirius put a finger to his lips to make sure I stayed silent as he edged towards the door and pressed his ear against it, trying to listen better. I could hardly make out their voices, all I could tell was that there were three to four people in the room and they were talking in harsh whispers. What they were actually saying though I had no clue.

 

I watched Sirius's face for a clue as to what they were saying. At first his eyebrows were furrowed together in confusion and then suddenly something flashed in his eyes as if he understood and his eyes immediately became black and his face hardened. I was about to ask what was going on when suddenly Sirius whipped the invisibility cloak off of him and pushed me away.

 

“Go and run, get James and send him down but don't come back.” Sirius said urgently before retrieving his wand from his pocket and flinging open the door.

 

I stood in the middle of the hallway in shock with the cloak still over me. I looked beyond Sirius and saw the surprised faces of Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape, Bellatrix Black, and Regulus Black. At first they stood surprised but once they recognized Sirius they immediately withdrew their wands, sinister grins on their faces.

 

“Well well well, look what we have here.” Lucius Malfoy hissed as he took in Sirius's appearance.

 

“Are you all by yourself? Being rather bold, aren't we Black?”

 

“Stay away from my brother,” Sirius said through gritted teeth.

 

I stood paralyzed in my spot. I didn't know what to do. I feared that if I made any movements that Sirius would become distracted and that the Slytherin's would attack him.

 

“Stay out of this Sirius, this has nothing to do with you. If you can't recall you were blasted from the family tree, making you no longer a part of my family.” Regulus looked at Sirius with pure loathing but I noticed behind the loathing there was a slight pang of fear for his brother. As if telling Sirius to leave before he got himself injured.

 

“Reg, what are you doing with these people? Hey Snivellus, why don't you go find someone else to rub your nose on.”

 

Bellatrix let out a loud screech of laughter. Her laughter sent a shiver down my spine. She sounded positively maniacal. “Oh little cousin, always ridiculing Snape here. I'll have you know he's going to come into great power soon and you'll be terrified of the boy who you once hung upside down and revealed his underpants.”

 

“Snivellus will never amount to anything more than a grease mark.” Sirius said through clenched teeth as his grip on his wand tightened. Bellatrix quick to see his new movement quickly reacted and yelled “crucio.”

 

I watched as Sirius fell to his knees as he screamed in pain. His whole body seemed to be writhing as his face contorted. Without thinking I screamed his name and threw the cloak off of me. Bellatrix was caught off guard by my sudden appearance and in her distraction the spell lifted from Sirius.

Sirius immediately got to his feet and retrieved his wand before pointing it at Bellatrix and yelling, “expelliarmus.”

 

Sirius was outnumbered however and Snape quickly retaliated and yelled, “petrificus totalus.” Sirius became as stiff as a board and toppled over in the entranceway to the potions room. With Sirius now unable to do anything everyone stared at me. I quickly raised my wand and tried to send out a curse but Lucius Malfoy was quicker than me and screamed expelliarmus. The spell sent my wand flying ten feet away from me. I realized what situation I was in and how serious it had become. I was alone in the middle of the night at Hogwarts with no one to help me. Sirius was unable to do anything and his eyes were focused on me, fear flickering fiercely in them.

 

“What shall we do with you?” Lucius said as he rounded in on me, the rest of the pack following behind him.

 

“How about the cruciatus curse,” Bellatrix suggested with a maniacal look in her eye.

 

“Too predictable,” Lucius dismissed quickly. “Snape,” he said turning his attention to the greasy haired boy. “I believe it's time you prove yourself. I'm leaving it up to you to decide what to do with her.”

 

Snape stepped up in front of Lucius as he looked me over. He was less assured than the others and while he kept a firm grip on his wand and a strong stance there was uncertainty in his eyes. “I say we introduce her to Aragog,” he concluded with a smirk.

 

Everyone looked pleased with his answer as they agreed with his choice. “Well then go ahead Severus.” Lucius commanded, leaving the responsibility to Snape.

 

“Muffliato,” Snape said. My throat felt like it had bindings around it and I knew that if I tried to open my mouth nothing would leave it. I looked around my surrounding in horror realizing that this was it, I had no one and I couldn’t yell for help. I don't know why I didn't think to yell for help before. I looked to Sirius and he was still unable to move, pure horror coursing through his eyes. I looked at him and mouthed 'I'm sorry,' before Snape raised his wand again and declared, “levicorpus.”

 

My body lifted from the ground and I was no longer in control of my movements. I was paralyzed and mute. I had no idea what or who Aragog was but from the looks on the Slytherin's faces I knew it wouldn't be good. Panic started to rise in my body as we left the castle and started heading for the forbidden forest. I realized that whatever was waiting for me out there would probably be the last thing I see. I felt like crying but I felt so numb that the tears wouldn't come. From behind me I could barely make out the conversation between them, there was just a lot of snickering and victorious cheers.

 

We made our way deeper into the forest and with every step they made panic rose even more. I never had a chance to say goodbye to anyone, never had a chance to experience anything. I'd suddenly regretted the life I'd chosen for myself and wished that I had been more social and made more friends and that the last month with the Marauders had been the most fun I'd ever had in my life, even though being their friends was why I was now in this situation.

 

Even though the odds of me getting out of this situation are almost none I swear that if I make it out alive I'll change. I'll be more social, I'll make more efforts with my parents whom I've never gotten along with, hell, maybe I'll even try and get a boyfriend. A real boyfriend though, not what James and I are.

 

Without meaning to Sirius immediately flashed in my head when I thought of boyfriends. I shook the thought from my head, there's no way I was interested in Sirius that way, right? I mean, he'd become a good friend, someone I could confide in, someone who made me laugh. But there was no way that he'd ever be into me. Although I couldn't shake the memory from when he'd held onto my waist in the broom closet and how he smelled and his dark grey eyes-

 

“How much longer,” Bellatrix's piercing voice broke through my thoughts and I was brought back to reality. Somehow it seemed to have gotten darker, I probably wouldn’t be able to see my hand in front of my face.

 

“Don't be so impatient Bella, we're almost there,” Snape snapped.

 

Silence passed as they walked for the next few minutes with me hanging in the air in front of them. I felt like they were using me as shield, as if they were afraid of what the forbidden forest held and that if something were to attack I would be the one that was sacrificed.

 

Suddenly I stopped moving and could no longer hear anyone's footsteps. I swallowed once I'd realized we'd reached our destination. “This is as far as we can go.” Snape informed everyone. Slowly I felt myself being lowered to the ground and I thought that the spell had been lifted and I tried to run but realized I had no control over my body.

 

My body suddenly jerked and my legs started moving forward without my consent. I realized that whatever was waiting for me was too dangerous for them to face. I felt my heartbeat quicken as my eyes took in my surroundings. From my peripheral I could see things moving quickly but couldn't figure out what it was. I felt a liquid fall onto my shoulder but I couldn't turn my head to see what it was.

 

To my right I heard the ground giveaway to something as it walked towards me. I looked to my right and stopped breathing as I saw a gigantic spider walking slowly towards me. So this is how I'm going to die, I'm going to be killed by a giant spider.

 

I closed my eyes and braced myself for death. There was nothing I could do. I heard the spider nearing me and I held my breath and squeezed my eyes shut. I was waiting for death to come, I could feel one of the spiders leg brush against me. And then suddenly I heard a loud booming voice, “what the bloody hell is going on here!”

 

My eyes flew open and the spider that I had felt against my arm had vanished and I felt the curse lift off of me and I turned around quickly to see Hagrid standing between me and the Slytherin's, a look of furry on his face. The Slytherin's didn't wait any longer before turning away from Hagrid and running quickly out of the forest.

 

“Don't think I didn't see yer face Malfoy! Dumbledore will be hearing about this,” Hagrid shouted at them before turning to me. The furry left his face as concern replaced it. “Are you alright?” He asked me as he came lumbering towards me.

 

I could only nod as relief flooded me. I wasn't going to die I realized and fell to my knees. Hagrid rushed over to me, under his weight the ground shook as he neared me. In one swift motion he picked me up and held me close to his chest. I borrowed my face into his chest and realized that I was shaking. “What's yer name?”

 

“Avery Muze,” I managed to croak out. My voice was weak as if I had been shouting for hours straight.

 

“Are you injured?” I tried to say no but my voice was lost and I shook my head. “Well I'll take you to Poppy just to be safe. When yer feeling better we'll go to Dumbledore.”

 

I nodded my head against Hagrid. I felt drained of all my energy and only wanted to sleep. I was drifting off, the slight sway from Hagrid's step was oddly soothing and I was fighting against my eyelids. Right as I was about to drift off the sleep Hagrid yelled, “bloody hell.”

 

My head jerked up and I looked ahead of me. Right outside of the edge of the forest I saw colors going back and forth. James and Sirius had made it down to the forest and were currently fighting the Slytherins. Snape was on the ground and motionless while Lucius, Bellatrix, and Regulus continued fighting James and Sirius. I could see James and Sirius growing tired from being outnumbered and having to block more curses than they could send.

 

“Stay here,” Hagrid said as he set me down on the ground before running over to the fight. “That's it, I've had enough.” Hagrid then grabbed an umbrella from the inside of his large jacket and waved it. A force field was put up and any spell that was sent to the barrier immediately disintegrated. “You lot,” he said pointing a forceful finger at Slytherin. “Undo Snape's curse and go up to your rooms. I'll make sure Dumbledore hears about this tomorrow.” The Slytherin's cursed at Hagrid but they levitated Snape and headed towards the castle. “And you two,” Hagrid said rounding in on James and Sirius. “Why is it whenever there's trouble you two are always found at the scene?”

 

James stuffed his wand in his back pocket and shrugged at Hagrid, “trouble seems to find us.”

 

Hagrid looked unamused at James's response, “don't think I wont be telling Dumbledore what happened tonight.”

 

“Where's Avery? Is she alright?” Sirius asked Hagrid in a concerned voice.

 

“Yeah, she's right over there.” Hagrid said pointing in my direction. Sirius's eyes found me and relief seemed to wash over his face as he ran towards me.

 

“Avery,” he breathed as he knelt down besides me and put a hand on my shoulder. “I was so worried. Why didn't you run away you stupid girl,” he smiled at me and I gave him a half hearted smile in return. “I was so worried that we wouldn't get to you in time. And when the Slytherins came running out of the forest and you weren't there I thought, well,” Sirius stopped and swallowed hard as the reality of the situation came pounding down on him.

 

I tried to smile to assure him I was alright but instead I broke down crying and leaned my face against Sirius's shoulder, sobbing heavily. Sirius wrapped his arms around me and put one hand on the back of my head and rubbed my back as he tried to sooth me. “Let's get you inside,” he said in a soft voice. He put his arms under my legs and picked me up, holding me against his warm chest.

 

“Take her to the infirmary,” Hagrid instructed Sirius.

 

“Do you need help carrying her mate?” James asked Sirius as he followed behind Sirius towards the castle.

 

“No,” Sirius said in finality.

 

I must've passed out as Sirius carried me to the hospital wing because next thing I knew Madame Pomphrey was hovering with curlers in her hair and a robe wrapped around her body. “What happened?” She demanded looking at Sirius and James.

 

“Slytherin,” Sirius said darkly.

 

“What is with the rivalry. Every week it's something different with you two.” Madame Pomphrey continued scolding the boys before she turned back to me. “Dear are you alright? What happened?”

 

“I'm fine,” I managed to croak out. “I'm just tired.”

 

Madame Pomphrey nodded at me before edging closer, “do you mind if I inspect you for any cuts or bruising?”

 

I nodded my head yes and Madame Pomphrey put an arm behind me to help me sit up as she examined me. After a few minutes she laid me back down and said, “just a few scratches which I can easily fix but aside from that she's fine. I'll have her stay here for the night just to rest. Let me just go get some ointment and a sleeping potion dear,” she patted me lightly on the arm before scurrying off into another room.

 

“I'm so sorry,” Sirius said immediately coming to my side and holding my hand. “You're freezing,” he said in a worried voice. It was then I realized I was shaking slightly and my body was cold but I was almost too tired to care. “Take my sweater,” Sirius offered as he removed the sweater from his body.

 

He tenderly helped me sit up as he helped me put the sweater on. Once the sweater was on he laid me back down carefully.

 

The sweater was large and came to about mid thigh on me. It hung off of one shoulder and smelled of Sirius. I gave him a grateful smile before I heard Madame Pomphrey come back.

 

“You two leave now and go back to your rooms. It's almost four in the morning and you'll be tired for classes.” Madame Pomphrey said, shooing the boys out of the room.

 

“But-” Sirius argued.

 

“No buts Mr. Black, leave now or you'll be receiving detentions.”

 

Sirius looked like he was going to fight her on the issue but gave a reluctant shrug and walked out of the room with James.

 

“Alright,” Madame Pomphrey said turning back to me. “Drink this, it will help you sleep.”

 

I took the bottle from her hands and drank the liquid. It tasted bitter and I winced slightly as the potion went down my throat. I set the bottle on my bedside table and immediately started feeling the effects. I blinked once and saw Pomphrey putting ointment on my cuts before my eyes closed and I fell asleep.

 

I awoke with a start and my eyes adjusted to the dark room. At first I was panicked because I didn't know where I was but then last nights memories came flooding back to me. I settled into my bed and looked around the room. From the window I could see the sun slowly rising. It was then I felt a heavy weight near my feet and looked down to see a large black dog resting by my legs. I let out a little shriek of fear. The sound awoke the dog and it stared back at me. I tried to remain calm, afraid the dog was going to attack me. As I continued to stare into its eyes I felt oddly comfortable, and the eyes looked so familiar...

 

I shook my head, I was starting to imagine things. Still, I had no idea where this dog came from. “Hi,” I said to the dog in a hoarse voice. The dog lifted his head and his tongue fell out of his mouth as he gave me a goofy look. I couldn't help but giggle lightly. The dog then started crawling towards me and nudged my arm. I placed my arm over the dogs body and petted it gently. The dog seemed content and rested it's head on my stomach while looking at me. I smiled at the dog once more before tiredness came over me again and felt myself drift off to sleep.

 

~*~

 

I could feel the hot sun on my face and voices around me, although they sounded distant. I slowly opened my eyes and faces swirled in front of me.

 

“She's awake,” I heard Sirius declare. “Avery, Avery, are you ok?”

 

“Give her space Mr. Black,” Pomphrey scolded.

 

My eyes opened completely and adjusted to the light. Around me Pomphrey, Sirius and James were hovering looking at me with wide eyes.

 

“I want water and biscuits,” I said in a raspy voice. All three of them let out little chuckles. I felt beside me and realized that the dog was no longer there. “Where's the-” I stopped from asking where the dog was, maybe I'd imagined it. I looked over at Sirius who looked like he was concealing a smile.

 

“Where's the what dear?”

 

“Nothing,” I said quickly.

 

“Here's some water,” James said shoving a glass of water into my hands. I gratefully took the cup and drank half of the water in one gulp. I wiped the back of my mouth with Sirius's sweater and sighed contently.

 

“How are you feeling dear?” Pomphrey asked in a soft voice as she looked at me.

 

“Fine, a bit hungry.”

 

“Lucky for you Miss Muze lunch will be ready in a few short minutes.” I looked behind James and Sirius and saw Dumbledore walking into the room. He stopped short at the end of my bed and looked at me over his half moon glasses. “Glad to see you're doing well, you gave Mr. Black and Mr. Potter quite the scare. From what I have heard you had quite the night. After lunch I was hoping we could meet and I can hear from you what happened if you're feeling up to it. And of course you'll be excused from any class you have missed. Do these terms seem acceptable Miss Muze?”

 

I nodded my head, “yes professor.”

 

“Good,” Dumbledore said with a small smile. “I'll see you in my office after lunch. The password is exploding bonbons.” And with a flick of his robes he turned and left the room.

 

“You're free to go,” Pomphrey said to me. “I'm sure Mr. Black and Mr. Potter will help you. If you feel unwell at all don't hesitate to come back.”

 

I thanked Madame Pomphrey and pushed the blankets off of my body as I sat up in bed and put my shoes on. Sirius was at my side as if he was afraid I would collapse at any moment. I stood up and made my way out of the hospital.

 

“I retrieved this for you,” Sirius said handing over my wand. I took it from him and put it in the waist band of my pants. I thanked him and we walked in silence to the Great Hall. Once in the Great Hall I suddenly felt self conscience. Everyone was in their uniforms and I stuck out in Sirius's sweater and pants. I didn't look over at the Slytherin table but I could feel the death glares boring into the back of my head as I sat down at the Gryffindor table and started piling my plate with food.

 

“What happened?” Sirius asked in a strained voice. I took a bite of my biscuit and looked at his plate which remained empty. When I'd finished chewing I paused for a few moments before gathering the strength to tell him what happened.

 

“They were taking me to Aragog.” I managed to force out.

 

“What's Aragog?” Remus asked me. Obviously Sirius and James had told him about what happened last night.

 

“From what I remember it was a giant spider. They brought me to it so it would ki-” The word stopped short on my lips as I trembled at the thought, remembering how close to death I was. I looked up and all the Marauders looked pale as the realization of how close to death I was hit them.

 

“Why weren't you able to fight them?” Peter asked.

 

“I had lost my wand in the castle and they charmed me so that I had no control over my body.”

 

“Who was the one controlling you?” Sirius asked.

 

“Snape,” I whispered his name and felt hate radiating through my body. Never in my life could I say I honestly hated someone but in that moment I hated Snape. I hated for what he intended to do to me.

 

Sirius slammed his fists against the table, causing the plates to bounce. People who heard the noise stared at us in confusion but quickly lost interest and returned to their food. “I'll kill him, I'll bloody kill him.”

 

“Sirius,” I said placing a hand on his arm. My action caused him to stiffen slightly before his body seemed to relax. “I'm alive and lucky. There's no point dwelling on it. Dumbledore will punish them and they'll get what they deserve.”

 

“They deserve to be sent to Azkaban,” Sirius said roughly.

 

“Padfoot,” Remus said in a warning tone.

 

Sirius seemed to tune out his friend as he helped himself to potatoes. He dug into them furiously and shoved a large spoonful into his mouth.

 

“I know a lot has happened Pads but you can't forget that we have Quidditch practice tonight. Saturday we play against Hufflepuff.”

 

Sirius grunted as his response and the rest of the meal passed without anything else said. I tried to eat fast to avoid the awkwardness and grabbed a biscuit as I left the table. Sirius offered to come with me to Dumbledore's but I assured him that I could make it on my own. Along the way I noticed a lot of people staring at me and whispering, no doubt news had already broke on what happened. As I neared Dumbledore's office I saw that Lily Evans was waiting by the entrance. I wondered why she was standing there and looked at her quizzically once I'd approached her.

 

“Do you need Dumbledore's password?” I asked her.

 

“Oh no,” she seemed shocked. “I was just er-making sure that you got here fine and all, I heard what happened.”

 

Ah, she just wanted to know what happened. “Thanks for the concern but I'm fine and you can go back to lunch.”

 

Lily looked nervous and her eyes darted between me and Dumbledore's gargoyle. “I just wanted to say that I thought you were really er-brave last night from what I heard. Anyone in your situation would've run away but you stayed.”

 

“Thanks Lily,” I said awkwardly.

 

There was a few moments of silence as Lily looked at the ground and shuffled nervously on her feet. “I also wanted to say I'm sorry for the other night at the party. I said some things that weren't very nice.”

 

“It's alright,” I said wanting this conversation to end. It was becoming more and more awkward.

 

“Right well, I'm glad that that's cleared up.” Lily said clapping her hands together. “I think I'll head to lunch now, I'll see you around Avery.”

 

I waved goodbye to Lily before saying, “exploding bonbons” and entered Dumbledore's office.

 

A/N: Alright I know this is a weird ending but it was going to be longer but then it would've been over 9,000 words so I decided to break it up into 2 chapters. So tell me what you guys think! Do you like the direction of the story? Do you think Sirius is too affectionate too soon? Do you like Avery/Sirius together? If you don't like anything let me know, and if you like anything let me know :) The chapter title song is by Thievery Corporation. Also visit my blog! It's posted in my about me section or whatever. And visit my author's page :)

 


Chapter 9: These Things Move in Threes
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 Chapter 9: These Things Move In Threes

 

Tuesday October 12th, 1:03 pm

 

The meeting with Dumbledore went quickly. I told him exactly what happened and even though he was trying to remain calm while I told him the story I could see furry coursing through his eyes. I received one night of detention for being out past curfew. Once Dumbledore assigned me my punishment he told me to leave and send James and Sirius to his office next. While James and Sirius were in the meeting Remus and I waited for them outside of Dumbledore's office.

 

“I'm sorry about last night, losing the invisibility cloak and the Marauder's map.”

 

Remus shrugged and looked unbothered. “That's alright, it will probably keep Sirius and James from getting themselves into more trouble.”

 

I laughed and shook my head knowing that that wouldn't prevent them from getting into trouble still. I then remembered last night how Sirius had mentioned Remus's special circumstances and curiosity got the best of me. “Remus I was wondering about when Dumbledore mentioned your special circumstances what he meant by it.”

 

Remus looked nervous and opened his mouth to reply but was then interrupted by James and Sirius exiting Dumbledore's room.

 

“Only a months worth of detention, not too bad.” Sirius declared proudly.

 

“And we even got him to postpone the detentions until after Saturdays game so we can properly train,” James said puffing out his chest. “Good old Dumbledore,” he said before saluting Dumbledore's office and walking to the Gryffindor common rooms. “I believe that from all that has gone on we have earned the right to skive class for the rest of the day.”

 

“Count me out,” Remus said. “I actually care about my grades.”

 

“Fine, Moony's out, how about you Avery?”

 

“No can do, I am going to the library and catching up on missed work from today.” Despite the fact that I had swore to myself if I lived past last night I would change things about myself I couldn't neglect homework.

 

“Fine but we're catching up later and discussing some new quidditch strategies.”

 

I laughed and reassured James I would be available to help him later before making my way to the library. Most people were at classes so the library was virtually empty. I set down my things on an empty table and retrieved my Transfiguration book before reading the chapter lesson I had missed from today. I was so engrossed in my book, trying to commit it to memory, that I didn't hear someone walk up to my table.

 

I heard someone clear their throat and looked up to see Amos Diggory looking at me. I couldn't figure out why he was at my table looking like he wanted to talk to me. I didn't even know he knew I existed as we'd never talked before. The only reason I knew who he was was because of quidditch. He was the captain for Hufflepuff and the star chaser who gave James a run for his money.

 

“If you're curious about last night I'm not going to tell you anything.” I said before returning to my book thinking that that would be the end of it.

 

Amos mildly laughed before pulling out a chair and sitting next to me. I looked up from my book and quirked an inquisitive eyebrow. “I think I've heard enough about last night to figure out what happened. I was just making sure you're alright.”

 

“Still breathing.”

 

Amos let out another laugh and leaned forward in his seat. “I'm surprised James is letting you sit here alone.”

 

“Why would James-” I stopped myself from asking the question. Amos thought James and I were dating and it would be only natural for my boyfriend to be by my side. “Well luckily for me my boyfriend knows that I can handle myself and doesn't need to suffocate me at all times.”

 

“If you were my girlfriend I wouldn't let you out of my site.”

 

“Well thank Merlin for the fact that James is my boyfriend and not you.”

 

I expected my comment to detour Amos from whatever he was doing and leave but it only seemed to provoke him more. “Pity that Potter got to you before the rest of us could.”

 

I looked at Amos and closed my book. The old Avery would've just ignored his comment and gone back to work. The old Avery never would've continued this conversation in the first place. Good thing I'm not old Avery anymore. “Funny, I'm pretty sure I've had six years free of James and no one bothered to 'get me' then.” I paused and leaned towards Amos. “What is it you want Diggory? Up until five minutes ago we'd never even talked and now you're asking how I'm doing and accusing my boyfriend of not fulfilling his duties.”

 

“Wow, you sure are a hard woman to compliment. I was merely trying to talk to you because I find you interesting.”

 

I leaned back in my seat and stared at Amos. I wasn't quite sure what he wanted and I wasn't sure that I fully believed his excuse that he wanted to get to 'know me'. “Well I'm afraid I'm a bit of a disappointment as the only interesting thing I'm doing is reading my Transfiguration book.”

 

“A girl who keeps up on her studies, I like that.” He gave me a flirtatious smile and before I could respond James and Sirius came up behind him.

 

“What are you doing here Diggory? Are you bothering Avery?” Sirius asked heatedly. I saw that his fists were clenched and his jaw was flexing as if he was restraining himself from beating Amos to a bloody pulp.

 

“No, just talking to her. Unless there's a problem with that, is there James?” He asked as he turned to James who looked indifferent compared to Sirius's tense demeanor.

 

“Go bother someone else's girlfriend,” James said breezily as if he didn't really care. Which, I realized, he probably didn't.

 

“Alright,” Amos said standing up from the table. “I can see when I'm not wanted.” He sent me a wink which earned him an eye roll before leaving the library.

 

“Git,” Sirius mumbled as he left.

 

“Alright Avery,” James said removing papers from his bag and setting them out in front of her, unfazed by the previous situation. “Let's go over these plays, I want your input.”

 

I focused on James and the plays but couldn't help but notice that Sirius was unnaturally quiet and he just sat still in his chair hardly saying anything as James and I went over the plays.

 

After two hours James and I had come up with three new strategies to use during the Hufflepuff game. Since their chasers were the strongest part of their team James and I created plays where the beaters would be able to follow the chasers easily and keep them in eye site so they could easily detour them with a bludger. James then gathered the papers and put them back into his backpack. We all stood up and went to dinner. After a fast dinner I made my way to detention with Slughorn while James and Sirius went to quidditch practice.

 

As I neared the potions room I started getting nervous as last nights events came flooding back. I reminded myself that I was alive and there was nothing to get worked up about anymore.

 

I entered Slughorn's classroom and was shocked to see Nial sitting at a table scrubbing at a cauldron.

 

“Ah Miss Muze,” Slughorn said once I'd walked in. “Mr. Melbe just got here moments ago. Before you start getting to work at cleaning out the cauldrons I was hoping I could talk to you inside of my office.” Slughorn stood up from behind his desk and gestured for me to follow him into his office which was up a staircase right behind his desk. Once inside the office I sat down awkwardly in a chair.

 

With Slughorn being the Slytherin head I was worried that he was going to be mad at me and punish me more severely for what had happened.

 

“I just want to apologize for what happened last night. I am ashamed for my house and of myself for letting this happen and I just want you to know that I am not taking what happened lightly and there will be severe consequences for those involved.” Slughorn looked truly apologetic and his chins giggled as he looked at me.

 

“Thank you professor,” was the only thing I could think of saying.

 

“I was hoping that as part of my apology you would accept an invitation to a Slug Club get together before Christmas Break.”

 

“Um, sure professor.”

 

“Good, feel free to invite a friend.” Slughorn said slapping his hands idly against his table. “Well, now that that's out of the way I'll have you get to your detention. As you can see you'll be joining Mr. Melbe and be cleaning out the cauldrons by hand. If you're too tired from last night to finish this task let me know and we can reschedule a different time.”

 

I smiled at Slughorn as I rose in my seat, “that wont be necessary professor. I'm fully capable of completing my detention tonight.”

 

“Very well, if you need me I'll be here in my office.”

 

I gave him a nod before leaving his office and joining Nial at the table.

 

“Hi,” I said greeting Nial while I grabbed a cauldron and a rag and joined him in cleaning.

 

“Hey,” he responded, not looking up from his cauldron.

 

“So what did you do to land yourself in detention tonight?”

 

“Oh,” Nial mumbled, I could see his cheeks turn a light shade of red. “I was late for potions. I was er-waiting for you to make sure you were alright before class and ten minutes after class had started I figured you weren't coming so I was late.”

 

I was shocked at Nial's reason for being late to class. I was oddly touched at his small gesture and found myself smiling wildly. “Thanks for waiting and sorry I didn't show up I was in Dumbledore's office.”

 

“I figured as much. I'm just wondering, are you alright? You don't have to tell me what happened I just want to make sure you're ok,” Nial finished quickly.

 

“I'm fine, a little shaken up but alright.”

 

“Good, and make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. I don't want to get a bad attendance record because you can't keep yourself out of trouble.”

 

I laughed lightly and assured him that I would keep out of trouble so he could keep a good record. Nial and I fell into an easy conversation after that. He clued me into what I had missed during class and told me he would give me notes. Once we'd finished our detention we walked slowly back to the common room, content with our easy conversation.

 

“Are you going to the game Saturday?” Nial asked.

 

“Course,” I responded.

 

“Ah right, you've got to cheer on James.”

 

“Its the easiest task I've been assigned since becoming his girlfriend.”

 

“Right,” Nial said in a slightly offhanded way. His demeanor seemed to have shifted as he gazed at his feet intently, as if he was plagued by some horrible thought. Before I could question him on it he returned his gaze to me and spoke. “Avery, I know about everything.”

 

I tried to not let my shock show, how on earth could he know anything? “What do you mean?”

 

He gave me a look that implied 'don't be so daft.' But quickly dropped his gaze once again before speaking. “The party a few nights ago, I don't know if you remember, you had had quite a bit to drink,” he said with a small smirk as if recalling a hilarious memory. “We were talking, well, more like you were talking and I just listened in amusement. In the duration of our conversation you sort of let it slip to me that you were only pretending to be James' girlfriend.”

 

“I-I, I was joking,” I stuttered horribly. My attempts at covering my lie were futile.

 

Nial just shook his head and smirked. “No, you weren't. But don't worry, I won't tell anyone.” He gave me a reassuring smile as he said the password to the fat lady and stepped through the portrait. “Well I'm going to bed,” he said while turning towards the boys staircase. “I'll see you Saturday then for the game?” when I nodded in assurance he smiled at me and started up towards the staircase, calling, “save me a seat,” before he disappeared.

 

“Well wasn't that a cozy moment.” I heard a voice call to me from the other side of the common room. I turned and found James staring at me from the couch with an amused expression on his face. I hadn't even noticed him when I had walked in.

 

“Shove it Potter,” I said jokingly as I sat down next to him on the couch, throwing my feet up on the table in front of me.

 

“Does ickle Avery have a cutsie date with Melbe?” James said in an annoying baby voice.

 

I rolled my eyes and threw a pillow at him. Unfortunately I missed his head and it landed behind the couch instead. “He's going with me to help me support my boyfriend. I don't know if you know who he is. Unruly hair, spectacles, feminine hands.”

 

“I do not have feminine hands.”

 

“You sort of do Prongs, thin eyebrows as well.” I turned to my left and saw Sirius coming down from the boys stairs. He gave me a light smile before joining us on the couch. I noticed that as he sat down it looked forced as he slowly lowered himself on the couch, a slight wince on his face.

 

“You alright there Sirius?”

 

“Yeah, James just was running us to death at practice today, I think I've dislocated my shoulder.”

 

“Don't be such a baby Padfoot.”

 

“I'm not a baby, you're just a tyrant!”

 

“Alright you two don't get your knickers in such a twist,” I chided trying to calm the boys mock-anger attitude. Sirius and James chuckled and Sirius nudged me with his elbow causing me to giggle. Our laughter was interrupted by the portrait door swinging open, revealing an always stern looking McGonagall.

 

This never ends well.

 

“Ah good for you three to be there, this applies to all of you.” McGonagall said swiftly, avoiding any small talk and making a beeline right for us. “Miss Muze, we have discussed what would be proper punishment and have made our decision. I'll let you know none of us took this lightly and there have been severe consequences for those involved. As for Mr. Malfoy and the other Mr. Black they are hereby banded from quidditch indefinitely.”

 

“What!” James roared, interrupting McGonagall.

 

“Mr. Potter, please, keep your voice down. I thought that you would find this bit of knowledge particularity pleasing.”

 

“It's not good because winning doesn't mean anything if we're not playing the best.”

 

“I'm sorry Mr. Potter that these punishments aren't in accordance with your quidditch standards but after the incident we feel that this is the most suitable punishment. And as for Miss Black and Mr Snape they will be serving detention until Christmas break and are banded from Hogsmeade trips. If your safety comes into question again do not hesitate to notify me or Dumbledore.” She looked between the three of us, her lips pursed and her hands clasped in front of her. “I bid you all goodnight.” With a swish of her robes she turned her back to us and left the common room.

 

I looked over at James who was sitting in silence, his face in a unreadable expression, as if he were trying to contain his emotions. I reached out to touch his arm and said, “James.” But he only got up from the couch and went to his dorm room wordlessly.

 

His action stung. I felt like it was my fault, I knew that he was blaming me for no longer playing the star players on the Slytherin team.

 

As if reading my mind Sirius put his arm around me and pulled me close, “hey, don't worry about it. Prongs will be over it soon and realize it's not your fault. Which it's not.”

 

I smiled and looked up at Sirius. He seemed to know how to comfort me every time I was distressed. Without knowing it Sirius had crept into my life and changed me. He had become a friend slowly, without trying to force the relationship upon me. He seemed to know my boundaries as if he had experienced similar experiences himself. I couldn't help but be grateful to have him as my friend.

 

Sirius rested his cheek on the top of my head as I settled myself against him. For once I wasn't awkward by a boy's touch. This seemed natural to me as I burrowed under his heavy arm.

 

“Sirius,” I said quietly, as if I was afraid if I spoke too loudly I would ruin the comfort of our situation.

 

“Hmmm,” He mumbled. I could feel his cheek shake against the top of my head.

 

“What were they saying, Lucius and them, before you walked in?”

 

I could feel Sirius stiffen and his breath hitch in his throat. I thought he was going to leave and braced myself for his descent. But then I felt him slightly relax back into me. “They were trying to get Regulus to join him.”

 

“Join who?” I asked in a voice barely above a whisper. Before Sirius answered I knew what his response was going to be and even though I knew this a shiver still went down my spine once he uttered the name, “Voldemort.”

 

Little did I know from that moment on the name Voldemort would be spoken more commonly and become a bigger part of my life than I could have ever imagined.

 

 

Outside it was cold but not bitter. The sun was shining through clouds offering a little bit of warmth in the cold October weather. I was wearing Sirius's sweatshirt and hugged it close to my body. As the bleachers filled up I could feel my body temperature rising with the heat surrounding me. I saw Remus and Peter at the bottom of the stands looking for a place to sit. I started waving at them and Remus quickly found me, smiling before he and Peter came next to me. As Remus started nearing me I saw he was looking worn down. There were bags under his eyes and his face was unusually pale.

 

The time of the month.

 

I couldn't help but let that float flow through my head. I decided that I was going to start keeping track, writing down the days Remus starts acting weird and start putting the pieces together. If no one was going to tell me what was wrong with Remus I would have to find out on my own.

 

“Hello,” I said once Remus and Peter reached me. I received a warm hello in response as they sat next to me.

 

“I think that bloke is trying to get your attention,” Peter said directing me towards the middle of the bleachers. I looked around and saw Nial looking intently at me. I waved him over and he smiled and made his way towards us.

 

“Hello,” he responded cheerfully to the three of us. “I got some hot chocolate,” he said gesturing with the two cups in his hands. “I didn't realize there would be more than just the two of us otherwise I would've brought more.”

 

“Thanks,” I said taking a cup from his hand as he settled beside me. “Want a sip?” I offered to Remus and Peter. Peter said no but Remus happily took a long sip, a slightly blush reaching his cheeks.

 

“Looks like the game is about to start,” Nial commented as the players came onto the field. I immediately spotted James and Sirius. James looked intent as he shook Amos's hand. Sirius glared at Amos before his eyes started scanning the bleachers as if he was looking for someone.

 

I heard Madame Hooch blow her whistle and everyone rose into the air. Once in the air James saw us and nudged Sirius. They both waved at us and I sighed in relief. James seemed to be in better spirits and seems to have gotten over Lucius and Regulus's disbandment.

 

Madame Hooch released the bludgers and snitch and threw the quaffle into the air and the game started. Vic Jordan's booming voice was heard as he followed the quidditch match.

 

“And Hufflepuff is in possession with Amos at the front. Oh, and he has been thrown off course and fumbled the ball with a particularly good bludger placement by Sirius Black. And now Gryffindor is in possession. James Potter is nearing the goals and he shoots. Bollocks! The ball is blocked by Hufflepuff keeper Tina Pinchy. Diggory is again in possession of the quaffle but is once again derailed by another shot from Black. The bludger just nicked the back of his broom and almost threw him off of his broom. It seems as if Black has a particular vendetta against Diggory today. Diggory, mate, you better watch your back.”

 

I looked at Sirius and noticed a new intensity in his eyes that I'd never seen before. Any shot he made would be directed towards Diggory, whether he was in possession or not. Sirius seemed intent on only throwing Diggory off of his game and Diggory seemed to get more and more pissed as the game continued.

 

“And Diggory scores! Hufflepuff-70, Gryffindor-60.”

 

Sirius looked even more angry as he looked heatedly at Diggory. The game continued on and possession went back and forth, it seemed Sirius was even more intent on getting Diggory than before. The game continued for another hour. My face had begun to froze as it remained immobile. Then after there was a long lull in the game when no one had scored Gryffindor's seeker Trent Hayes went into a spectacular dive.

 

“And it looks as if Hayes has spotted the snitch. Hufflepuff's own seeker Brianna Benson hot on his tail.”

 

Everyone in the stands stood up to get a better look at what was going on as Trent and Brianna neared the ground. I held my breath in anticipation before Trent leveled out and Jordan announced, “and Hayes has caught the snitch. Gryffindor wins!”

 

All of Gryffindor cheered and we started making our way down to the fields to congratulate the players. I had reached the fields and was making my way over to James and Sirius when I felt someone catch my arm and yank me back against the crowd. I turned around to see Amos staring down at me with almost an amused expression on his face.

 

“What is it that you want Diggory,” I said, yanking my arm out of his grasp.

 

“It's a little odd,” he said with a smirk as he looked down at me.

 

“What is?”

 

“When I was making a play for you the other day your boyfriend Potter barely flinched and yet,” Amos paused as his eyes glanced over to James and Sirius. “And yet,” he repeated, “Black was the one that was trying to murder me today.”

 

I stared intently at Amos as something boiled up inside of me. I did find it odd that Sirius had been so aggressive towards Diggory today but surely that wasn't because of me. Amos was the best chaser on the team, strategically it would make sense for him to target Amos. “So what you're saying Diggory is that you were only hitting on me to rile up my boyfriend, is that it?” I said detouring him from his previous comment.

 

“Course love, what other reason would there be?” He gave me one last condescending smirk before hurrying off the field.

 

I tried to not let Amos's words get to me. I know he was only trying to piss me off after my house had just beaten his. I forced a smile on my face as I ran towards James and Sirius. Once I reached them James threw his arms around me and held me close.

 

“You're bloody brilliant Avery, your plays worked again.” James pushed back and held me at arms length as he smiled broadly at me. “You're the best girlfriend a quidditch starved boy could ask for.” He quickly swooped down and gave me a peck on the cheek. “Hey Sirius,” James called, draping an arm over my shoulder. Sirius padded over to us a large smile on his face as well. “I think todays win calls for a celebration of sorts!”

 

“Ugh, no more fire whiskey,” I said in protest.

 

“Maybe tonight we'll keep it simple, how about just the five of us, yeah? Let the other's run themselves ragged with contraband items.” Sirius said obliging my statement. “Besides, I'm sure Avery wants to keep her other birth marks a secret.”

 

I smacked Sirius in the chest with the back of my hand and Sirius laughed, slinging his arm around my shoulder along with James.

 

“Can I get a picture?” Wayne Creevy asked hesitantly.

 

“Of course, but only if Avery is in it too.”

 

“Oh sure alright,” Creevy muttered as he brought up his camera. “All right, everyone say quaffle.”

 

The three of us yelled quaffle before being blinded by Creevy's camera.

 

A/N: Alright tell me what you guys think. How do you like Avery/Sirius. Anything I can change??? Tell me all :)  And I realize this was a bit of  a filler but the next few chapters are more action packed :)


Chapter 10: My Unusual Friend
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 Chapter 10: My Unusual Friend

Thursday October 21st, 4:06 pm

Observations:

Tired

Pale

Heavy bags

Large consumption of chocolate

Something happens once a month

 

Theories:

Secretly a woman

Belongs to a secret cult that uses all of his energy. A cult devoted to chocolate.

 

Day(s) of symptoms:

Started Saturday, it is now Thursday and instead of looking better he looks much worse.

 

“What have you got there?” James asked as he plopped down next to me on the couch. I quickly snapped my journal shut and threw it into my backpack.

 

“Just working on homework,” I said casually, trying to disguise the fact that I was lying through my teeth.

 

“Alright,” James said without a second thought. “Two things. One, tonight we have a meeting with Dumbledore so I don't think we'll get back until late. Two, this Saturday is a Hogsmeade weekend and I was wondering if you wanted to go on a date with me.”

 

I put a hand to my heart and feign swooned, making sure to make a scene out of what was happening so people could see that James and I were going on a date. “I'd love to go on a date with you James,” I said quickly placing a kiss on his cheek.

 

James seemed slightly dazed by my kiss. I had never been the one to initiate kisses so my little act had thrown him off. I giggled lightly as he stared at me in a confused way before clearing his throat. “Well then, must be off. Sirius and I have detentions to complete.”

 

I stayed on the couch and retrieved my homework. I worked steadily without further interruptions. I was almost done with my Potions essay when I heard someone coming down from the boy's staircase. I looked up and saw Remus coming towards me. Merlin he looked awful. He looked even more pale than before, if that were possible. His walk was lethargic and his shoulders were hunched.

 

“Remus are you alright?” I asked in a concerned voice.

 

“Feeling a bit peakish,” Remus said in a hoarse voice. “I think I'm going to have a lie down in the infirmary.”

 

“Do you need help?” I asked, moving to stand.

 

“No,” Remus shook his head firmly. “There's no need I can make it on my own, thanks.”

 

Before giving me a chance to respond Remus seemed to gather all his remaining strength before quickly walking out of the common room. I resumed working on my homework without glancing up at the clock. After what felt like hours I stretched my arms above my head and looked at the clock seeing that it was quarter to midnight. I glanced around the room and realized I was the only one in there. My mouth fell into a frown when I realized that James and them hadn't returned from Dumbledore's office, surely the meeting would be over by now.

 

I sighed and gathered all of my things and went up to my dorm room. The lights were off and the sounds of light snores filled the room. I stumbled over to my bed, tripping over various scattered items. I looked over to Lily's bed and was shocked to see Lily there. If the Marauders were in a meeting with Dumbledore shouldn't Lily be there as well?

 

I shrugged off my backpack and went over to my closet to retrieve pajamas. I picked up Sirius's sweatshirt and slipped it onto my body. The material barely grazed mid thigh on me but I loved how the sweater seemed to hug me and the scent of Sirius still clung to it.

 

I stretched my arms above my head and looked out of the window in our room. Our room faced the lake and the dark forest. The moon was full tonight and it shed some light on the otherwise dark ground. I was about to turn and go to bed when I saw two figures running in the distance towards the castle. I moved and pressed my face near the glass window trying to get a better view. I could only make out the silhouettes of the two bodies. They were moving slow, one of the bodies seemed to be supporting the other person. Once they neared the castle I stopped breathing.

 

The torches on the walls of the castles illuminated the figures. Peter was supporting Sirius. Sirius's head was hanging on his chest like he was a rag doll and it didn't appear like he was moving on his own. They quickly vanished inside of the castle and without a second thought I sprinted out of the the dormitory and the common rooms and into the hallways.

 

I could hear my bare feet slapping against the cobblestone floors. My legs were cold as the chill night hit them but I didn't care. My heart was hammering so loudly I could feel it in my ears. After what felt like hours I finally reached the infirmary. I threw the doors open and saw Peter standing by Madame Pomphrey as she was rushing around the room gathering potions. Sirius was lying on the bed, motionless. His shirt was off and I could see large gashed all over his torso and arms. There was one on his arm that was particularly deep and an even flow of blood came from it.

 

I walked slowly over to his bed, my presence so far going unnoticed. I stood next to Peter and he looked at me shocked, his eyes wide. “Avery, what are you doing here?” His voice was harsh and alarmed.

 

“Sirius,” was all I could manage to say.

 

“You shouldn't be here,” Peter said taking my arm and trying to pull me back. I retched my arm from Peter's grasp.

 

“I'm not leaving.”

 

“What is she doing here,” Madame Pomphrey's shrill voice rang once she'd reached the bed and aligned the potions on the bedside table. “Oh never mind we don't have time for arguments.” She retrieved her wand and started waving it over Sirius's wounds. The blood flow slowed down a considerable amount but didn't stop completely. She then took out a wad of tissue and poured a potion on it and started dabbing at Sirius's wounds. The wounds started healing but not fully closing, especially the one on his arm.

 

“Mr. Black,” Madame Pomphrey said softly. “Mr. Black could you please wake up.” Madame Pomphrey sighed, “we need to give him this potion to fully heal and he needs to be awake in order to take it.”

 

Sirius shifted but didn't respond.

 

I moved closer to him and took his hand in my own. With my free hand I pushed his hair from from his eyes and said in a soft voice, “Sirius, please wake up, we need to give you a potion.” Sirius shifted again and his eyelids twitched but he didn't wake up. “Sirius,” I said in a more stern voice but he still didn't wake up. “Oh sod it,” I said before slapping him across the face.

 

Sirius's eyes shot open, “ouch, that hurt Muze.”

 

I let out a sigh of relief before smiling at him, “well maybe if you weren't such a lazy arse I wouldn't have to resort to violence.”

 

“Alright Mr. Black,” Madame Pomphrey said loudly as she moved be aside to get closer to him. “I need you to drink some of this potion. You'll need to consume this potion every four hours so I'm afraid I can't give you a sleeping potion for tonight as I'll need you waking up at odd hours of the night.”

 

“I can do that.” I offered stepping by Sirius.

 

“No Miss Muze, you are to go back off to your dorm room.”

 

“No it's fine, I don't mind. I already took a nap earlier today and I'm not tired,” I said lying. “Besides I'm sure you hardly get good sleep with students always coming here.” I could tell what I said was true. Madame Pomphrey had heavy bags under her eyes and her eyes were bloodshot.

 

She seemed to contemplate what I said for a moment before sighing in defeat, “fine, but only you Miss Muze. Mr Pettigrew you are to return to your dorm room.”

 

Peter didn't argue and left the infirmary. “Right Miss Muze, you are to have Mr. Black take one sip every four hours. If after the eighth hour there haven't been any changes to his wounds please wake me up.”

 

I nodded and took the vile from Madame Pomphrey. She turned and walked to her room without another word. I turned back to Sirius who was looking at me with his usual amused expression on his face. “My sweatshirt looks good on you, especially the no pants part.”

 

I rolled my eyes and tried to laugh it off but suddenly felt embarrassed for my appearance. “What the hell happened tonight, Sirius?”

 

Sirius's amused expression fell from his face as his look hardened. “I fell out of a tree.”

 

I didn't buy it for one second. There was no way that falling out of a tree would cause those deep cuts. Maybe a bit of bruising and a broken bone, but not deep gashes. “Don't lie to me Sirius.”

 

“I'm not. I er-thought I saw a unicorn and I was with Pete and so we climbed a tree to get a better look and then I fell.”

 

“I'm not an idiot.” I said growing furious that he didn’t feel like he could tell me the truth.

 

Sirius sighed dejectedly and looked over my shoulder, avoiding my eyes as his eyebrows furrowed. “Alright, I'm a horrible liar but I can't tell you what happened.”

 

“Why can't you tell me?”

 

“It's not my secret to tell. Please, maybe you'll find out, maybe you wont but it's not my decision.”

 

“Does this have something to do with Remus?” Something was clicking for me. Judging by the scared look on Sirius's face my guess was correct. I felt like I was so close to figuring out what the thing was with Remus. It was like the answer was right in my face but I couldn't figure it out. Like I've said before, I've always sucked at puzzles.

 

I gave up trying to get the answer out of Sirius, if it had something to do with one of his friends I knew he would never tell me. He was loyal to them and even though he and I were friends he wouldn't betray one of them for me. It was annoying but one of Sirius's better qualities. I sighed and sat down in the chair next to him. He realized I was done probing him and smiled at me warmly, relaxing now that there was no longer the strain of the lie.

 

“Well you better not get yourself killed before Halloween. I would hate to miss the concert.”

 

Sirius let out his bark-like laugh. “Wouldn't dream of it, love.”

 

I smiled but couldn't help but let a yawn escape my mouth. Now that the adrenaline had calmed down my tiredness had kicked in. I looked at my watch and it was almost one. I moved my chair closer to Sirius's bed and laid my arms on his bed and rested my head on them.

 

“What are you doing?” Sirius inquired.

 

“I'm going to go to sleep,” I said as I tried to make myself comfortable.

 

Sirius laughed, “love, you don't have to be so self-sacrificing. Come here,” Sirius shifted in his bed so that he was pushed all the way to one side. He patted the empty spot next to him. I looked at it wearily. “I wont bite, promise.”

 

I rolled my eyes. I was tired and there was no way I was ever going to get comfortable in the position I was currently in. I stood up and laid down on the bed. Sirius moved his arm so that it was supporting my head as he held me close. I rested my head in the crook of his arm careful not to touch his bare body because it was still covered in the potion.

 

“Better set an alarm for the potion,” Sirius said into the top of my head.

 

“Oh right!” I said as I set an alarm on the clock next to me.

 

Sirius chuckled into my head. His voice sounded distant as he slipped into sleep, “if I die its on your head.” His arm tightened around my back as he pulled me closer. I couldn't help but let a small smile fall on my lips before I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

 

SIRIUS

 

The sun was hot on my face as it shone through the large windows in the infirmary. I opened my eyes halfway as they adjusted to the new light. Once they'd adjusted I looked around the empty room. It was silent, not even the chirps from birds could be heard. I looked down and saw Avery sleeping contently as she stayed in the crook of my arm.

 

I couldn't help but notice how innocent she looked as she slept. Her face was completely slack as she slept, no trace of emotion read on it. Her hand was tightened in a fist on my chest except for her thumb which laid by her mouth as if she were going to suck on it. I went to push the hair back from her face but immediately jerked my hand back.

 

What am I doing?

 

That kind of gesture would've been so intimate, a level Avery and I weren't at, nor a level we would ever be at. And yet in that moment all I wanted to do was push back her hair from her face and let the sun warm it.

 

My hand seemed to be moving on it's own accord as I let go of my hesitancy and pushed the hair back. My hand lightly grazed her cheek as I moved it down. She stirred slightly but didn't wake up. Her balled up hand loosened and spread over my chest. I looked down and noticed how small her hands were, they were probably the size of my palm. As if I were testing this theory I placed my hand on top of hers, easily covering it with my own.

 

“Should I come back later?”

 

My head jerked up at the sudden interruption. James was standing at the foot of my bed with his arms crossed over his chest and an amused expression on his face. I quickly removed my hand from Avery's and sat up rigidly. My sudden movement caused Avery to wake up. She yawned as she stretched her hands over her head.

 

“Morning,” she said to me and James as she took in the scene around her. I was surprised by how relaxed she seemed. If this had been a few weeks ago she would be panicking, probably running out of the infirmary and locking herself in the library. I'd noticed that ever since the incident with Slytherin she'd changed, been more open with us, less timid. “I'll go get Madame Pomphrey,” she said before leaving the bed and disappearing into a room.

 

“You two looked comfortable,” James said once Avery was out of earshot.

 

I shrugged and tried to remain calm, “I couldn't let her sleep on the chair.”

 

“Right,” James said in a disbelieving voice but he knew better than to push me and dropped the subject.

 

“I think we may have to worry about her figuring out about Remus.” James's playful look vanished. “She's noticing all the odd things going on, shes' smart she's going to figure it out soon.”

 

“We'll deal with it when the time comes,” James said in a hushed voice as Avery and Madame Pomphrey emerged from the room.

 

“Right then, let's have a look at the wounds.” Madame Pomphrey has Sirius sit up as she wiped away the potion on his chest. She inspected the cuts which looked better but weren't completely healed. “Well I think that once you finish the rest of this potion your wounds will heal, unfortunately I think the wound on your arm is going to leave a scar due to the severity of the cut. Drink the rest of this potion and I can send you off Mr. Black.”

 

I sprang up from my bed and chugged the rest of the vile potion. The fact that it tasted like one of Hagrid's dirty socks didn't bother me one bit. James and I made our way down to the Great Hall for breakfast and Avery mumbled something about skipping breakfast to shower and get dressed.

 

Women. I'll never understand them. Them and their...hygiene. If I haven't showered I just stick my head under a sink and it takes about two minutes. I've never missed a breakfast.

 

Once in the Great Hall James and I spot Remus and sat by him. He looked dead tired and there's a fresh cut on his face. He looked at me and I immediately sensed that he's feeling guilty about last night. To reassure him I clapped him on the back and said, “don’t worry about it mate.”

 

Remus's shoulders drop and I know the subject wont come up again but I also know that inside Remus will be beating himself up for attacking one of his friends. We all know the dangers that come with Remus turning into a werewolf but we don't care. We can't let Remus do this alone, we're his brothers and we will not abandon him.

 

“Where's Pete?” James asked as he dug into his scrambled eggs.

 

“He's skipping breakfast, Tina broke up with him this morning.” Remus answered.

 

“Blimey,” I muttered. Poor Pete. This was his first real relationship and I know he really cared for Tina. “What happened?”

 

“She asked him why he doesn't come back until late hours of the night and when he couldn't provide an answer she broke up with him for not being honest. It's my fault.” Remus hung his head and I couldn't help but feel bad, he just looked so damn dejected. No matter how many times we tried to drill into his head 'it's not his fault we want to do this' it doesn’t matter. He bottles up every incident and blames himself.

 

What I like best about being a guy is that one moment there can be a problem with us and then next we're having a contest seeing how many pieces of toast can fit into James' mouth. And just for the record, it's six pieces of toast and half an egg.

 

After breakfast we headed up to the common room to get our school supplies. Once we entered I saw Avery and Peter sitting on the couch. Avery had her arm around Peter and looked like she was consoling him with a serious expression on her face. Peter looked miserable and I instantly felt bad for the little guy.

 

Avery looked up and saw us walking over to her. She gave a small smile and stood up with Peter hugging him.

 

I couldn't help but be grateful for Avery. We're guys, which means we don't deal with feelings and though any of us would deny it if asked, we do want to talk about our feelings here and there, especially when bad things happen. Since none of us would ever admit to that though we never talk bout it, so it's nice having a girl around.

 

I noticed that Avery was still wearing my sweatshirt as she went up to her dorm room. I then looked over to Peter and saw a dazed look on his face as he watched Avery go up the stairs. He sighed once she'd disappeared and ran a hand through his short hair.

 

“You alright mate?” I asked half-heartedly, clapping a friendly hand on Peter's back.

 

“Yeah,” Peter squeaked. “Avery's quite something, isn't she?”

 

“Yeah,” I couldn't help but let myself agree. “She is.”

 

A/N: What do you think? Did you like that I switched it to Sirius's POV? Switching POV's won't happen a lot. Next chapter half of it will be in James' POV but aside from that I -so far- have no other plans for POV switching. What did you think of Sirius in the hospital wing when he woke up?? Too much? Let me know! The song is by Fruit Bats and I want to thank ElizabethSmith for leaving a lovely review on every single one of my chapters, you rock!  


Chapter 11: Snape the Squawking Canary
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 Chapter 11: Snape the Squawking Canary

Saturday October 23rd, 9:04 am

The girl's dormitory was a flurry of clothes as my roommates ripped apart their closets. The last twenty minutes had been a haze of lace tops and bell bottom jeans as they were thrown haphazardly around the room.

 

“I swear to Merlin I never have anything good to wear,” Heather Spence declared dramatically as she kneeled in her pile of clothes, looking at them as if she were about to cry and use her top as a tissue.

 

“You have nothing to wear? Everything I try on makes me look like a washed up whale.” Lily sighed dramatically.

 

I tried to wrap my head around their dramatics while picking out an outfit as I casually slipped on a black v-neck sweater. It my opinion getting dressed was the easiest bit of the day. As long as it didn't smell like a diaper filled with rotten indian food and shrimp I was content.

 

I put on a dab of the reapplying lip-gloss, I figured I may as well make some effort as this was a 'date'. I reached for the door handle about to leave the dormitory when Heather stopped me.

 

“Isn't this your first date with James Potter?” Heather asked.

 

“Yes,” I responded hesitantly trying to ignore Lily's icy glare. Despite the fact that Lily and I were on amicable terms since she'd apologized anytime James was brought up in reference to our relationship she would glare.

 

“No offense, but you're going with that?”

 

“What's wrong with it?” I said looking down at my sweater and corduroys.

 

“Well I mean the sweater is fine and all but who wears gray corduroys anymore?”

 

“Me,” I said as if I were stating the most obvious answer in the world.

 

“Here,” Heather said throwing a light yellow skirt at me. “Put this on, at least make it look like you're making some sort of effort.”

 

“Heather this isn't necessary.”

 

“If you don't think I wont force you into that skirt then you obviously haven't been paying enough attention the past seven years.” She said with a quirked eyebrow and defiant look on her face. “If I can't figure out what to wear I may as well help out someone else.”

 

I sighed in defeat, accepting my loss against Heather Spence. She was small but could scare the piss out of anyone. I slipped off my pants and kicked them by my bed before slipping on the yellow skirt. I gave Heather an obligatory spin and headed out the door.

 

The skirt came about mid thigh and I was praying it wasn't windy outside, I didn't want anyone seeing my knickers.

 

As I walked down the stairs I swayed my hips side to side, liking the feeling of the thin material moving lightly against my legs. During my swishing moments I think I over swished and my right foot crossed in front of my left. Before I could steady myself I started falling over my feet and tumbled down the stairs where the Marauders were, of course, waiting for me at the bottom.

 

So much for not flashing my knickers.

 

James had taken me to the Three Broomsticks for our 'date'. Despite the fact that it was crowded and people were talking around us the stale air that hung between James and I seemed to cancel out the noise.

 

Oh god.

 

Silence.

 

I can't handle this.

 

“One time I was shaving my legs and I realized one leg was shorter than the other.”

 

Sod it, I thought I was over the awkward comment faze.

 

“Fascinating,” James said noncommittally.

 

“Yeah, my Aunt Prudence said that that was a bad sign and that I would never get married because as I grow older my leg will only continue to shrink and then I'll have to get a peg leg and no one wants to marry a girl with a peg leg. But on the upside for halloween every year I can now go as a pirate. I've already been practicing my pirate talk, 'argh matey, shiver me timbers and swash me buckle'. And my Aunt Prudence has a pet parrot who is allergic to the sun and if he can find love with a pineapple then so can I. Find love, that is, not necessarily a pineapple.”

 

“Did you hit your head when you fell down the stairs today?”

 

“No, why?”

 

“No reason,” James quickly added. He drummed his hands idly on his butterbeer bottle as he glanced around the room. “Shall we go see what everyone else is up to?”

 

“Sure,” I said downing the rest of my butterbeer.

 

Poor choice.

 

In my rash decision to finish my butterbeer I wound up choking and spitting the liquid all over James. Once my coughing fit died down and I was able to breathe again I looked up at James. His eyes were closed as the remains of my butterbeer dripped down his face. His shirt was stained , the only dry part of him were his pants.

 

“Oh Merlin,” I said retrieving my wand. I was racking my brains to figure out what the drying spell was and the first thing that came into my head was 'scorgify'. Before I could figure out what that spell was a stream of water came from the tip of my wand and began dousing the front of James' pants.

 

JAMES

 

This is great, just fan-bloody-tastic. I thought Avery had gotten over that whole 'I'm awkward and talk about sausages and choke on my food' faze but apparently it's back with full force. The full force now being directed to my pants as they are doused with water.

 

“Bloody hell Avery,” I finally managed to yell.

 

She looked up at me with scared eyes as her mouth hung open and the water finally stopped coming from her wand. “I'm so sorry James, I tried to make it better but...oh sod, I'm sorry.”

 

“It's fine,” I said looking at Avery's petrified face. It was hard to yell at her or be mad she could look so apologetic and sad that I couldn’t' say no. It would be like kicking a puppy.

 

I grabbed her forearm and dragged her out of the Three Broomsticks in hopes of finding the rest of my mates. I was hoping they could detour Avery from her awkwardness at the moment, Sirius seemed to be able to calm her. I wonder if there was something going on between them. He never really hung around girls all that much unless he was dating them. Then again, Avery is not his type at all. He likes the outgoing type that doesn’t' take much to pursue so he doesn't have to do a lot of work. And while Avery may not be many things, she is a lot of work.

 

The first place I was going to look was Zonko's. I hope that's where they are. The water is making me unbelievably cold and I need to get somewhere warm now. I could see Zonko's coming into view and once we'd reached it I looked into the window and smiled when I saw Sirius looking at products. I love how dependable and consistent my friends are.

 

I walked over to Sirius who was holding a teacup in his hand and looking at it with a devilish smile on his face. “What's that you've got there mate.”

 

Sirius looked at me and did a double take before laughing loudly. “Aw Jamsie, do we need to get you back in diapers again?”

 

I looked over at Avery who was looking at the floor and blushing madly. “Just a bit of a spell mixup administered by our lovely Muze here.”

 

“I was just trying to help,” she muttered in embarrassment.

 

“It's alright Muze,” Sirius said placing an arm around her shoulders. “James needs a bit of humiliation here and there to keep his ego in check.”

 

Avery looked up at Sirius and relief flooded her face. I could instantly sense her awkwardness and embarrassment vanish.

 

That was an odd exchange. Usually Sirius jumps at the chance to further humiliate someone. He seems awfully protective of Avery. I've noticed that ever since Diggory started hitting on her and then Sirius tried murdering him at the Quidditch match.

 

What am I doing? I sound like an overanalyzing woman. They're just friends, if there was anything more Sirius would tell me, I'm his best mate after all.

 

“Anyway back to the important stuff.” Sirius said as he removed his arm from Avery and held out the teacup. “Part two to the Halloween Feast Madness.”

 

“It's just a teacup.”

 

“It's not just any teacup dearest Prongs, oh no, this is a nose-bitting teacup. People will be innocently sipping from their teacup not expecting anything and then, what's that? Whose got your nose? A teacup has got your nose, that's what!”

 

“What's part one to the Halloween Feast Madness?” Avery asked as she held the teacup in her hands examining it.

 

“That, my dear you shall find out with the rest of Hogwarts.” I said flicking Avery's nose. “What about people who are going to use goblets? And how are we going to synchronize it so everyone's reacts at the same time?”

 

“I figure after examining the teacup we can replicate the curse to goblets and somehow control the 'biting' of the cups until we want it to be released.”

 

“And this is why you're my best mate,” I said slinging my arm around Sirius. “Let's by out the stock, yeah? And then charm whatever else we can't afford.” I pulled Sirius along to the checkout counter while Avery wondered around Zonko's.

 

“Should I even ask how your 'date' went?” Sirius asked me as our order was being rung up.

 

“She was in full Muze mode. Making no sense comments and then spazzing out.”

 

Sirius smiled and looked like he was trying to hide it as he turned away from me. “Yes well that's Avery. I think those qualities are rather, you know, cute.”

 

“Cute?” I spluttered. I'd never heard Sirius refer to a girl as cute before. Ever.

 

“You know what I mean.” Sirius said quickly.

 

“No Padfoot, I don't believe I do.”

 

“She's like a little kid, only you know, not.”

 

“Right,” I said. Sirius was acting very odd. He was becoming flustered and not really being able to form coherent sentences. Not at all like the Sirius Orion Black that I know and run in the forests with. Ah well, he's probably just hungry. He's always a bit off when he's hungry. “Well where should we head next?” I asked Sirius as I picked up our purchase and walked over by Avery.

 

“I'm hungry,” Aha! I was correct! Nothing gets by James Potter. “I could go for some ice cream.”

 

“Sounds good. Hey Muze,” I shouted across the room. “We're grabbing some ice cream want to come with?”

 

“Meet up with you in a bit, I think I'm going to have a longer look if you don't mind.” Avery responded as she held a mysterious wrapper in her hands.

 

Sirius and I walked out of Zonkos's with our purchases bouncing happily by our sides. “Where's Remus and Peter?”

 

“Ah, they went back to the castle.” Sirius responded absentmindedly. “What do you think Avery is doing in there?”

 

“Considering she's in a joke shop she's surely trying to solve world hunger.” I looked over at Sirius whose face was stern. “Is there something going on between you and Avery that I should know about?”

 

“No,” Sirius rushed to answer. “She's just, you know, accident prone and I don't know if it's best if she's left alone in a joke shop.”

 

I let out a chuckle as I clapped him on the back, “let's hope she makes it back in one piece.”

 

 

All throughout dinner Avery had been acting weird. Her eyes were fixated on something behind me but every time I turned around to see what it was I couldn't place who or what she was looking at. Once dessert rolled around however she stood up and placed her napkin on her plate.

 

“I think I'm going to have a chat with Snape,” she said flatly as she shoved her hand into one of her pockets and came out with her fist balled up. “Be right back.”

 

I watched her as she walked over the Slytherin table, no one really noticing her sudden movements as they were immersed in their dessert. I watched as she neared Snape and taped him on the shoulder. Avery gave him a beaming smile and leaned over to talk to him. Snape's face was a mixture of confusion and disgust as Avery leaned down and placed one of her hands on the table and kept one of her hands behind her back. Everyone around Snape seemed focus on his and Avery's conversation. Snape was finally talking and Avery shrugged. I noticed her move her hand over to Snape's plate but I couldn't see what she was doing. She quickly adjusted her posture so she was standing upright and left the Slytherin table.

 

Avery came back to our table and sat down with a satisfied smile on her face.

 

“What was that about?” I asked as I looked at her and the Slytherin table.

 

“Oh nothing,” Avery responded nonchalantly as she flattened her napkin out on her lap and helped herself to a cauldron cake. She chewed it slowly as her eyes kept fixated on the Slytherin table. Her face then suddenly shifted and she looked ecstatic. I looked behind me at Snape and saw he had a custard cream in his mouth. I don't see what's so exciting about this...

 

Suddenly where Snape had been was now replaced by a large yellow canary squawking madly and flapping it's wings. The Great Hall roared with laughter as everyone pointed and laughed at Snape the Squawking Canary. The effect was short lived as after a few seconds the feathers started falling off of Snape, but the mental image would remain permanently engraved in my head.

 

“Avery, that was bloody amazing,” I said my mouth hanging open in admiration. “I'm proud to call you my girlfriend.”

 

Avery shrugged and tried to play it off as if it were no big deal as she finished off the last bite of her cauldron cake. I was honestly proud to say Avery was my girlfriend, even though she technically wasn't my girlfriend. Aside from the fact that she was an excellent Quidditch playmaker I hadn't really found anything else I could relate to with Avery. The fact that she could now play a prank as well as the best of us just put her as second greatest girl to ever exist, following behind Lily, of course.

 

Speaking of which, I haven't spied on Lily lately, it's about time I do it.

 

I glanced over at Lily and saw her looking down at her plate, the corners of her mouths twitching as if she were trying to conceal her laughter. For some odd reason Lily never found the pranks we pulled on Snape amusing. Well, it's not like she found any of our pranks amusing but especially when it concerned Snape. She would always stick up for him, more so than with others. That is up until fifth year when we had him dangling by his ankles upside down and she'd tried to help him but he called her a mud-blood. Ever since then she's never stuck up for him publicly, but I could see that when we pranked Snape it hit her especially hard. I still have yet to find out why.

 

Oh well, I'm sure it's just out of pity. Now onto more important issues; the large bowl of chocolate pudding in front of me.

 

A/N: Alright so I'm not entirely pleased with this chapter, kind of a filler and kind of badly written but eh...what can you do. Tell me what you think, thanks to everyone who has been reviewing you guys are amazing :D  


Chapter 12: Halloween
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Chapter 12: Halloween

 

Sunday October 31st, 5:06 pm

 

God I look like such a tosser.

 

When I'd told my mom to get me a Halloween costume for the concert I didn't mean send me a fairy costume that made me look like a hooker. The costume itself was simple, the top was only a white tank top with wings fashioned on the back. For the skirt it was green and looked like large leaves but was so short I swear if I bent over people would be getting a show.

 

I sighed knowing it was too late to do anything about it and took off the costume and shoved it into my bag to put on for later. I pulled on a t-shirt and jeans and grabbed my bag before heading downstairs for dinner. Sirius and James had Remus corned on the couch. They were gesturing wildly with their hands while Remus sat shaking his head.

 

“You guys are arseholes,” Remus said.

 

“Why are James and Sirius arseholes?” I asked as I neared them and joined in on their conversation.

 

“In Remus's eyes when aren't we arseholes?” Sirius asked cheekily.

 

“Fair enough,” I concluded. “Should we go to dinner? Where's Peter?”

 

“Peter's currently detained at the moment,” James said casting Sirius a suspicious look.

 

“Right, should I be doing more than avoiding drinking out of the cups tonight?”

 

James shrugged casually as he strode past me and out of the common room. I looked at him sceptically before receiving another shrug from Sirius and following the rest of them out of the portrait hole and down to the Great Hall.

 

Despite the fact that this was my seventh Halloween feast at Hogwarts I was still shell shocked when I entered. They always seemed to outdo themselves every year. Black and orange streamers hung all across the room with jack-o-lanterns hanging feet above our heads. The lighting was more dim and slightly eerie, with a clouded night sky above our heads.

 

“I'm starving,” James said as he sat down at the Gryffindor table. “I could really go for some seafood.”

 

“Me too mate, I'm in the mood for clams, maybe.” Sirius paused and looked around pensively. “No, not clams.”

 

“Yes, definitely not clams. But definitely something seafood-y.”

 

I looked at the two strangely. What on earth were they talking about? Since when did they have an obsession with seafood? As far as I know I've never seen them lay a hand on anything that wasn't steak . Before I could question them on their odd conversation Peter sat down next to me panting slightly.

 

“Everything alright mate?” James asked conspiratorially.

 

“Yep,” Peter answered shortly as he struggled to regain his breath.

 

“What are you up to?”

 

“Why nothing dearest Avery. Why must you be so paranoid all the time? You should really seek out some professional help for this problem of yours.”

 

“Prat,” I muttered under my breath. I dropped the conversation though as soon as the food appeared in front of me. The feast was like the light at the end of a dark tunnel. I happily loaded food onto my plate. I dug into the roast beef first, always my favorite part of the meal. I shoved the food into my mouth and started chewing contentedly until I noticed something was off.

 

The food circled around in my mouth slowly as I chewed on it. I looked up from my plate and saw that people had similar reactions on their faces. The taste was so familiar. It wasn't roast beef that's for sure. Weird, something must be wrong with the roast beef.

 

I decided to ditch the roast beef and went for the potatoes.

 

What the hell.

 

The potatoes even tasted strange!

 

They tasted like...they tasted like, fish!

 

“Oh bloody hell,” I said as I looked at James and Sirius who looked like they were about to burst as they held in their laughter.

 

“Now Sirius now,” James said under his breath.

 

I saw Sirius dig his wand out of his pocket and wave it under the table, muttering something under his breath. The next moment screams filled the Great Hall as people broke out into hysteria as their goblets and teacups attacked their noses.

 

I'd never seen such chaos in my life before. People were running around with teacups and goblets dangling from their noses. I saw at least three kids break out into hives declaring, “I'm allergic to fish!” James and Sirius looked like they were about to piss themselves from laughter.

 

McGonagall was yelling hysterically, trying to get everyone to calm down with no success. I found myself laughing as McGonagall's face turned an unprecedented shade of purple when I felt someone grab my arm and pull me up.

 

“Let's go,” Sirius said as he steered me out of the Great Hall.

 

“What? And miss all of the festivities?” I said looking over my shoulder as we exited the Great Hall.

 

“Well, if you'd prefer to miss the concert than fine by me, go back to the Great Hall.”

 

I stuck my tongue out at Sirius, “don't be such a sarcastic tosser all the time.”

 

Sirius laughed and threw his arm around me as he steered me through the castle. I had no idea where we were going or how we were going to get to Hogsmeade but I didn't doubt for a second that Sirius knew how to accomplish all of this.

 

After a few minutes of walking we stopped in front of the statue of the One Eyed Witch. Sirius withdrew his wand and said, 'dissendium'. To my amazement the statue opened up. I looked inside and saw a tunnel.

 

“What else have you got up your sleeve Mr. Black?”

 

“That is for me to know and for you to slowly find out.” Sirius said as he poked my nose and walked into the tunnel. He turned around and faced me, extending his hand to me to take. He helped me into the tunnel and the statue closed behind me.

 

Inside the tunnel it was pitch black, I couldn't see a thing. I suddenly became nervous as memories from the forest made themselves present. The same dark feeling came over me as I shuddered at the memory.

 

“Lumos,” Sirius said creating illumination. “C'mon, it's a long walk we better get started or we'll miss the concert.”

 

Sirius grabbed my hand as we started walking. I could feel a blush creeping onto my cheeks and was grateful it was dark. There had been so much physical contact between Sirius and I the past few weeks that I feel like I should be used to it by now but every time he touches me I feel a warmth flash in the spot he touched and a blush creep to my cheeks.

 

We walked in silence and after what felt like hours we finally reached a small cellar with boxes filling it.

 

“Where are we?” I asked Sirius as my eyes took in our surroundings. The cellar smelled of sugar and dust.

 

“Honkeydukes storage,” Sirius responded as he climbed up a staircase. “Stay down there,” he whispered to me. He lifted up a board a few inches and light came swarming in. He sighed before setting the board down and looking back at me. “This is a lot harder without the invisibility cloak. We're going to have to wait until the owner of the shop leaves his post by the cash register in order to sneak out.”

 

Sirius remained perched on the stairs with the board lifted just enough for him to look out of it. Luckily, after only ten minutes Sirius waved me up and told me to hurry as he swung open the board and we exited. Sirius guided me through the throng of people in the store, all of whom were dressed up for Halloween and most likely going to the same concert as us.

 

Sirius took me by my hand and steered me through the mass of bodies. Once outside he dropped my hand and ran a hand through his hair before looking at his watch. “Right, well made good time we have around an hour until the concert starts. What should we do?”

 

“Well I have my costume to change into,” I said holding up the bag to him. “And I'm bleeding hungry, thanks to you twat waffles I never got to eat.”

 

“Twat waffles?” Sirius asked with a confused smirk on his face. “What the hell is a twat waffle?”

 

“Shove it,” I said moving past him and towards the Three Broomsticks.

 

“I've heard a lot of insults in my life, horse-face, and just plain old twat, but never twat waffle.

 

“Well since this is the start of a new insult I believe that the use of twat waffle is only correct when the person is an arrogant arse, see reference for example one Sirius Black.”

 

“I'm hurt,” Sirius said placing a hand on his heart as we entered the Three Broomsticks. “how can you be so cruel, you know what, I'm going to give my ticket away to someone more deserving.”

 

I rolled my eyes and turned towards him noticing he was dangerously close and my personal bubble felt violated. “Are you going to follow me into the loo?”

 

“Actually I've always wanted o see what they look like. I imagine frilly bits hanging from the wall.”

 

I put my hand to Sirius's chest as he moved towards the bathroom and pushed him back. “You're such a tosser. Get me a burger while I change.”

 

I had hoped that when I put on the costume for a second time the effect would be different. No such luck. Hooker was my alter ego for tonight. And as if to add salt to the wound when I moved my wings left a trail of glitter. I just hope Sirius has something equally awful on.

 

I sighed and realized that no matter how long I stared in the mirror it wasn't going to get any better. I walked out of the bathroom and saw Sirius sitting at a table with two burgers in front of him.

 

That bleeding twat waffle.

 

He only had an eye patch on! He was the one who told me to make sure to dress up for the concert and here he sits in his being a twat waffle like manor and looks at me and is about to burst from laughter.

 

“Raid your little sister's wardrobe?” He asked once I sat down.

 

“Shut your hooker mouth.” I bit back as I picked up my burger and happily bit into it. Ah, the taste of meat. Not fish. “What are you supposed to be,” I said gesturing to his eyepatch with my available pinky. “A guy who injured his right eye?”

 

“No, I'm a pirate. Argh!” He declared as he curled his index finger into a hook and spluttered Pirate-isms.

 

“I liked guy with injured eye better. In fact,” I said as I leaned over the table and poked him in the eye.

 

“What the Merlin's fudging beard was that for?” Sirius exclaimed as he clapped his hands over his injured eye.

 

“Thought I'd make it more believable,” I said as he switched his eyepatch from his right eye to his left all the while scowling at me.

 

“You're the devil,” Sirius mumbled as he tore into his burger.

 

“No, I'm a fairy.” I said sending him an innocent smile.

 

Once we finished eating we quickly left and headed towards the concert area. I didn't know where it was but Sirius seemed like he'd done this before and easily maneuvered us through Hogsmeade and past the Shrieking Shack.

 

“Where the bloody hell is this concert Sirius? I feel like you're taking me to your secret liar where you'll capture me and make me your wife.”

 

Sirius laughed as his eyes remained fixed in front of us. “It's on top of the hill behind the Shrieking Shack.”

 

“Lies!” I said as Sirius grabbed my hand and forcefully pulled me up the hill. “You just want to lock me away and have me making you your pants for the rest of eternity! Little do you know I have a secret ploy to get rid of your legs. You'll never capture me Sirius Black!”

 

Sirius laughed loudly before turning around abruptly. Me, not being coordinated nor given any warning as to his sudden moment slammed into his chest. I coughed upon the impact, the breath in me gone. Sirius looked down at me mysteriously as our faces were a few inches apart, the separation due to my difficulty with height.

 

Sirius smiled down at me his eyes flashing dangerously in the night. “We're here,” he said in a voice barely above a whisper.

 

“We're in a liar?” I asked. Sirius chuckled and turned around, placing his hand on my lower back. A hundred feet ahead of me I could see a stage and people plowing towards it. With a heavy heart and a perverted mind Sirius and I quickly made our way to the stage.

 

Sirius held my hand tightly as the crowd thickened. I was being pulled and tugged in every direction. My feet were being stepped on every two seconds. But none of this really mattered because only a few feet ahead of me I could see a stage where, in my opinion, the best band of all time would be playing.

 

Sirius managed to pull us up so that we were only a few rows from the stage. Once we'd found our place I took the opportunity to look around. The stage was half an oval with lights coming from every direction. Bodies were tightly pressed against me but I hardly noticed because excitement was flooding through me. I felt like I was being electrocuted from the sheer power of my excitement. I looked at Sirius who was staring at the scene equally in awe. He must have sensed me looking at him and he flashed me a dangerous smile. I felt my heart beat quicken from his smile.

 

“Fancy a nip from this?” He asked as he produced a flask from his back pocket and waved it in my face.

 

“Um no not right now,” I said smelling the liquid and wrinkling my nose as memories from the last time I'd drunk firewhiskey flashed in my head.

 

Sirius shrugged and took a long swig before depositing the flask back into his pocket. Right as he did this the lights flashed off and the crowd roared to life. I found myself yelling and throwing my arms in the air. A man then came onto stage and stepped up to the center microphone.

 

“Are you all ready for The Screaming Banshees?” The crowed erupted into cheers, I could barely hear them though over the sound of my own voice. “Then give it up for the band you've been waiting for!” The man quickly left the stage and we looked around waiting for our band. Then overhead I spotted something above us. I watched as the figures slowly lowered towards the stage and screamed into excitement when Flint, the lead singer, dismounted his broom and stood in front of the stage, only feet away from me.

 

“Are you guys ready to rock?” A scream followed his words. “You all look wonderful tonight in all your costumes. Now let's get things started!”

 

I screamed as the opening chords to their song 'Love without a potion' started playing. Everyone started moving along with the song, their bodies moving to the beat. I threw my hands above my head and swayed my body to the beat of music, relishing in the moment. I threw my head back and closed my eyes, loosing myself completely in the song.

 

I could feel the heavy bass in my chest as the music played. I moved to the beat, absorbed myself in it. Everything about this moment was perfect. I looked at Sirius who was rocking back and forth and smiling with one fist in the air and singing along to the song. He looked at me and smiled before picking me up by my waist and throwing me onto his shoulders. I squealed, afraid I was going to fall, but Sirius kept his hands on my waist. From this view I could see the stage perfectly. I could even see the sweat falling from Flint's face as he put everything into his songs.

 

All too soon the final song came, they finished with their smash hit 'my patronus is your face'. People were moving madly, as if to exert their last amounts of energy and put it into that last song. I had gotten off of Sirius's shoulders and was dancing madly. Sweat was dripping down my back but I didn't care. All that mattered was that I felt this last song and sang along with the Screaming Banshees as loud as I possibly could.

 

When the song ended people were screaming madly as the Screaming Banshees said their thanks and left the stage. Sirius swung his arm around my shoulder as we turned around and started making our way down the hill.

 

“That was bloody amazing, thank you Sirius,” I exclaimed as I threw my arms around him and hugged him as hard as I could.

 

Sirius laughed and hugged me back, “there was no one else I would have taken.”

 

As we continued down the hill the crowd dispersed and the cool October wind finally hit me. The sweat on my body turned cold and was causing me to shiver. I looked over at Sirius who had is flask in his hand and grabbed it, taking a sip to numb the cold.

 

The liquid burned down my throat but I immediately felt a small buzzing coursing through my body. I took one more sip and could finally feel my finger tips. I handed the flask back to Sirius not wanting to drink anymore. The warmth was enough to sustain me as we neared the village of Hogsmeade. I sighed contentedly as Honkeydukes came into view. The adrenaline from the concert was dying down and I was growing tired, looking forward to the comfort of my bed. However, as soon as we reached Honkeydukes my face fell and there was a pit in the bottom of my stomach.

 

“It's closed,” I exclaimed as the sign flashed before our eyes.

 

“Sod,” Sirius said as he ran a hand through his hair. “I didn't even think about if this would happen.”

 

“What are we going to do?” I exclaimed exasperatedly as I threw my hands up in the air and began pacing in front of the store.

 

“Let me think,” sirius said as he leaned against a wall with a strained expression on his face.

 

I shivered as the still cold settled on me. I stopped pacing and remained tucked into a corner wall with my arms wrapped around my torso.

 

“How much money do you have?” Sirius asked suddenly. I dove into my back pack and pulled out three galleons, handing them towards him. “Brilliant,” he declared. “I have four. It's five galleons in order to rent a room at The Three Broomsticks. We can stay there until Honeydukes opens and go back to the castle in the morning.”

 

“Wait,” I said as Sirius started off towards the Three Broomsticks. “We just have enough for one room.”

 

“Right,” Sirius stated not eve looking at me.

 

“As in we would have to share a room.” Fear was taking over my entire body. Laying with Sirius in the hospital thing was one subject, but spending the night in a hotel room was an entirely different story. For one I didn't have pajamas and two, I would share a bed with Sirius. Alone. By ourselves. No teachers in site. Sod. Maybe I should go back to my idea of being a lesbian. Discourse him from any ideas. Right. If he thinks I like tacos there's no way anything would happen. Then again why would anything happen. It's not like I expect it to. Sirius and I have been friends and there has been nothing to happen between us to think otherwise.

 

“Correct,” Sirius stated again. He looked over at me and could see the horror plaguing my face. “Avery, we don't really have any other option,” he said with a sign.

 

We arrived at the Three Broomsticks and Sirius faced me before entering the place. “I promise not to sleep in the nude,” he said with a cheeky smile.

 

“You're such a tosser,” I said as I pushed him back playfully. “fine,” I said. “We will stay here but if you so much as show me a nipple I'm making you sleep in the hallway.”

 

Sirius let out a loud laugh as we entered the Three Broomsticks. Madame Rosmerta looked at Sirius and I curiously, clearly recognizing us from Hogwarts.

 

“Rosie,” Sirius said as he laid one arm on the bar and gave her a winning smile. I could instantly see Sirius's charm work on Rosmerta as she tried to hide her smile. “My friend Avery and I have found ourselves in quite the predicament and have no place to sleep. Is there any chance you have a free room available?”

 

“She's just a friend?” Rosmerta said eyeing me warily.

 

“I like tacos,” I shouted before realizing what I was saying.

 

“Right,” Rosmerta said as she continued to eye me with suspicion. “Well, you two are just in luck. We've got a room free. You're lucky with this concert most rooms are taken.”

 

“Brilliant,” Sirius said throwing down five galleons and taking the key from Rosmerta's hands. “Thanks Rosie,” Sirius said before putting his hand on the small of my back and guiding my towards the stairs. Our room was on the second floor. Sirius pushed open the door and I took in the dark room. There was only a bed and dresser. It was very simple but it wasn't like we needed much.

 

I hovered in the room awkwardly as Sirius easily made his way towards the bed and threw his bag on the bed. “I'm going to take a quick shower, that alright?” He declared rather than asked as he walked towards the bathroom. I said nothing and he closed the bathroom door behind him. I could hear the shower turn on and Sirius hum a Screaming Banshees song.

 

I glanced around the room, hardly able to see anything. I walked towards the bed and picked up one of the candles on the nightstand and lit it. The candle created a little illuminated for the room. I dug through my backpack and pulled out my t-shirt and jeans. I took off my fairy costume and stuffed it into the bag, replacing it with my other clothes. I set the bag under the bed and climbed under the sheets. I tried to make myself comfortable but with the weight and stiffness of my jeans it was making it hard. I decided to take off my pants, figuring Sirius wouldn't get close enough to realize I wasn't wearing them, and threw them under the bed with my backpack.

 

I settled back onto bed and felt it was easier to get comfortable. I could hear the shower turn off and within a few moments Sirius was coming out of the bathroom with only a t-shirt and boxers on. He was drying his head with a towel and then shook it out like a dog, sending drops of water in my direction.

 

“Sirius you sodhead, don't get me wet.”

 

“Sorry, thought you were asleep,” Sirius said before throwing the towel on the ground and walking towards the bed. I scooted as far as I could to the left side of the bed, making sure Sirius had more than enough room to lay down in. Unfortunately the bed was only twin size and despite the fact that half my butt was off the edge Sirius and I would still be laying shoulder to shoulder on the bed.

 

If Sirius were at all nervous about the fact we were sharing the bed he didn't let on. He easily lifted up the covers and lowered himself into the bed as if it were no big deal, which I figured, it probably wasn't to him. He laid on his back and his shoulder was grazing mine. We were laying there for a few minutes, my eyes wide awake with the fear that I would never fall asleep. After what felt like years exhaustion took over and I went to sleep.

 

My eyes slowly fluttered open, the weight of tiredness still hanging on them. Once my eyes adjusted to their new setting I realized it was still nighttime as the room was still dark with the only light coming from the candle. My focus soon was detoured from the night to the fact that Sirius's arm was under me and our bodies were pressed against each other. My face was pressed against his chest and his other arm was draped around my side as he held me close. I could feel my heart start beating madly and I was afraid it was going to wake him up. I lifted my head to look up at Sirius and felt my breath hitch in my throat when I saw that he was staring down at me.

 

My chin was resting on his chest as I tried to remind myself to breath but couldn't remember how to do so. Sirius looked at me for a few moments before I felt the arm that had been draped on my side rise.

 

He put his hand on the side of my face and I felt like I was paralyzed under his touch. He gently rubbed his thumb along my cheek before moving down and tracing my lips. I felt a shock run through my body at his touch. I felt overwhelmed and consumed by an emotion I had never felt before. Without realizing I was doing it I licked my lips and leaned towards Sirius. He moved his hand to the back of my neck and pulled me in so that his forehead was resting on mine.

 

Terror started taking over me once I realized what was happening. As a reflex I jerked back. Sirius looked confused and shocked at my sudden movement and immediately dropped his hand from the back of me neck. “Um, we should get to sleep.” I managed to whisper.

 

Sirius looked at me for a few moments before he blinked and muttered, 'right', before turning his back to me and going to sleep.

 

What the hell just happened.

 

A/N: 2 margaritas and 1 glass of wine later and I present to you chapter 12!!! What do you think? I've literally re-written this chapter around 5 times and I'm still not pleased with it but this was the best draft I've come up with. What did you think of the last scene? Thank you soooo much to everyone who has R & R'd you guys are amazing :) Check out my meet the author page :) 


Chapter 13: The New Heavy
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 Chapter 13: The New Heavy

 

Wednesday November 10th, 9:05 am

 

To use the word awkward to describe the past week and a half would be the biggest understatement of the century. When I was at my most awkward faze, avoiding people and anything with a pulse at all times, even that was less awkward than it is now.

 

After Sirius and I had our almost kiss, or whatever the bloody hell it was, we had been avoiding each other like people avoid dragon pox. If we are ever put into the same room one of us will come up with an excuse to leave the room. My latest excuse being, “I put my shoes on backwards, I have to go back to my dorm room and fix them.”

 

Even James noticed something was wrong, and usually that boy is about as dim as a beater bat. When he asked me what was going on I told him that I was allergic to Sirius's scent and until I found the cure I had to avoid him. James, being the utterly daft and clueless person he is, believed it. Well, I can't give all the credit to him being daft. The match against Slytherin was this Saturday and even though they'd lost two of their key players that didn't make James any less nervous or intense. Remus told me that the past week James had been muttering 'quaffle,' in his sleep.

 

The boy was obsessed.

 

Luckily I had Care of Magical Creatures for my first class which involved none of the Marauders. I made my way down towards the outskirts of the forest where classes were held. The class size had thinned out over the years as the people of Hogwarts decided what classes and career they wanted, leaving only five people aside from myself in Care of Magical Creatures year seven.

 

The class consisted mainly of Hufflepuff girls who liked to look at cute animals, despite the fact that we rarely had cute animals as an example for the class. I swear, if they could have any job it would be to sit and cuddle with furry animals all day. Hufflepuff really lacks ambition sometimes.

 

My favorite part of Care of Magical Creatures was that Professor Kettleburn charmed a tree so that its branches would lay low and position themselves so they laid like bleachers. Because the class was so small it was easy for us to all sit on top of the branches and use those as our seats for class.

 

Professor Kettleburn stood at the front of the class and cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. “Welcome class, thank you for braving this chilly weather today. Today we will be looking at a very rare creature. Its name is Venislew and it is a very important creature. A Venislew is very much like a phoenix in two ways. The first feature is it can be reborn.

 

“The second feature is that when a Venislew dies it becomes a puddle and the puddle of water is equivalent to a phoenix's tears. Now,” Kettleborn said in a quieter voice as he backed up near a covered cage. “You need to be very quiet and your movements slow because Venislews are easily spooked. We cannot cause it any damage as it is a dying race.”

 

We all nodded our heads to signal we understood as we sat forward on our tree branch while Professor Kettleburn slowly took off the cage covering. Once it was released I found myself gasping at the beauty of the creature. It couldn't be more than a foot tall, slightly resembling a bird in it's form and feathers, which were a lovely deep shade of blue. The Venislew had big green eyes and a small beak. It's feathers were tucked next to its sides. I noticed that his feet resembled flippers rather than claws and on the sides of it's neck it had gills.

 

“Professor, is the Venislew a sea creature?” I asked upon examination of the creature.

 

“Why yes Ms Muze, good observation. Five points to Gryffindor.” I beamed at Kettleburn's prize. I hardly ever got points for our house as I was the quiet one in the class and rarely spoke up. “This brings me to the next point of the animal. Venislews can fly but prefer to stay in the water. Usually they are located in large bodies of water, such as oceans. Rarely are they found in rivers or lakes. Venislews are very useful creatures.

 

Their water is a main ingredient in many healing potions and their most useful feature is that they can willingly kill themselves to save another. Unfortunately the animal is a dying breed as many capture them for personal gain, not allowing them to repopulate. Your assignment for the next few weeks is to figure out an idea to repopulate this species. Whoever has the best idea will be able to propose it to the VRS, the Venislew Restoration Society. If you are chosen you will also be exempt from your N.E.W.T exam and get an automatic O. You have until we get back from Christmas break to turn in this assignment. That is all for the day, you may leave early.” Kettleburn dismissed us.

 

I didn't pack my things like the rest of the group, I could only stare at the creature. It was so beautiful, it almost didn't seem real. I was afraid that if I looked away I would never see it again.

 

“Can I help you Ms Muze?” Kettleburn asked once he'd noticed everyone had left and I was still there.

 

“I was just wondering what other ideas have been proposed in the restoration of venislew's.”

 

“Ah yes, there is an article in the library about the VRS and their contributions. I'm sure that will be an excellent source for you. You've taken interest in this creature, have you?”

 

“It's so beautiful, I'd hate to see it die out.”

 

“Well then, let's hope you come up with an brilliant idea. Let me know if you need anymore help on the subject, I'd be more than glad to point you towards more information.”

 

I smiled at Kettleburn before taking one last look at the beautiful creature. I picked up my backpack and swung it over my shoulder, saying goodbye to Kettleburn before heading back towards Hogwarts.

 

On my way back to the castle I came to the decision that I would find a way to help the Venislews and dedicate all my energy towards helping them. Not only would I be saving a dying species but it would also give me an excellent excuse to avoid Sirius.

 

 

The morning of the Quidditch match was it's usual awkward high tension filled atmosphere. James kept playing with his pancakes and referred to them as his, 'little quaffle friends.' Remus eventually feared too much for his friend's sanity and took away the plate of pancakes.

 

After breakfast James and Sirius left to prepare for the Quidditch match while Remus, Peter and I stayed in the Great Hall, relaxing and drinking hot chocolate until the match began. As I looked over Remus I noticed he was starting to look tired and sick again. He was starting to pale and the bags under his eyes were appearing. I'd have to make a note of this again and see if I can connect more dots to the mystery that is Remus Lupin.

 

“I suppose you're going to Slughorn's Christmas party,” Peter chimed in.

 

“Oh, yeah I guess,” I shrugged before taking a sip from my hot chocolate. “I was invited by Slughorn but I suppose James would've asked me anyway.”

 

“Oh, right,” Peter muttered as he cast his eyes downward.

 

“Who are you going with?”

 

“I don't know yet. I had someone in mind but I don't think it will work out. I'll find someone else.”

 

“Aw Pete don't get down. If you want to ask the girl just ask, the worse she can say is no.” I gave him a reassuring smile and patted him on the hand. Peter's hand flinched slightly under my touch and he wore a pained expression on his face. I tried to analyze his change in mood but couldn't figure out what had caused this sudden shift.

 

“Well, the game should be starting soon we should head over.” Remus said as he examined his watch.

 

I drained the remainder of my hot chocolate and followed Remus and Peter out of the Great Hall and to the Quidditch pitch. The buzz of a Quidditch match hitting me as we neared the pitch.

 

When we arrived at the pitch people were already crammed in the bleachers. Many thought that something bad was going to happen to James and Sirius in this game because they were part of the reason why Lucius and Regulus were expelled from the game. I looked around the stadium and tried to find Lucius and Regulus to make sure they didn't look like they were up to anything but I couldn't seem to find them. I figured they probably hadn't arrived yet.

 

The players soon came onto the field, all with stoney expressions on their faces. Soon we overheard on the sound system, “and the replacements for Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black are Trevor Forbes and Gerrat Parisher.” The two new players rose into the air and waved once their name was announced. The whistle sounded and the game began. Gryffindor was quickly in possession but once they had neared the goals their shot was blocked.

 

For the first twenty minutes possession was traded between the two teams with no goals made. Unfortunately the first person to make a goal was Slytherin after twenty three minutes. Despite their victory I could see the Slytherin team growing edgy and intense. They seemed even more determined to win and end this game. I could hear from the bleachers them yelling at their seeker to find the snitch already and end the game. I found this exchange odd and didn’t know why they seemed so keen on ending the game before they had scored many goals.

 

Another ten minutes passed with nothing having happened but then Gryffindor was back in possession and after a great fake from James we caught up and scored, tying the game. The game continued and the Slytherin's seeker was looking frantically for the snitch. It seemed I wasn't the only one noticing something odd as everyone around me was looking at the game with a confused gaze. Suddenly the two new players Forbes and Parshier flew to the ground and dismounted their brooms, running into the locker room as fast as they could. Everyone started whispering amongst themselves and Madame Hooch quickly followed them into the locker room.

 

For a few minutes nothing happened. The Gryffindor quidditch players stopped playing and sat suspended in the air as they gazed around trying to figure out what was going on. Slytherin looked extremely nervous as they huddled together, whispering amongst themselves. After only a few minutes Madame Hooch dragged out two boys from the locker rooms. The quidditch pitch fell silent as Lucius Malfoy and Regulus Black were dragged out with their brooms and quidditch robes on. Madame Hooch blew her whistle and held her wand to her throat so that her voice began booming.

 

“Slytherin will forfeit from this game. Mr. Black and Mr Malfoy used a polyjuice potion to play in today's game. By default, Gryffindor wins.”

 

The declaration wasn't met by a victorious roar. Instead people whispered amongst each other, hardly able to believe what had just happened. I looked over and saw James landing on the ground throwing off his gloves on the pitch and storming inside the locker room.

 

This wasn't going to end well.

 

The common room was silent that night. There was no victory party thrown for Gryffindor's win, no cheers of joy. It felt like we'd lost. The common room was filled with people but few talked, and if people talked it wasn't about the game.

 

James had remained in the locker rooms. Me, Remus, Sirius and Peter sat quietly in the common room. Remus and Peter were playing a game of chess while Sirius and I sat opposite of each other and quietly watched the game.

 

I tried not to look up at Sirius. I could feel him staring at me and I tried to hide the fact that a blush wouldn't leave my cheeks. I didn't know why I couldn't talk to him. I think it was because I din't know how I feel about the situation. Sirius was going to kiss me, I was one hundred percent sure on that. But what was bothering me is I couldn't figure out why. Why Sirius would kiss me?

 

I obviously don’t deny the fact that I'm awkward and slightly immature and without meaning to be, I'm a complete handful. I'm unintentionally high maintenance. On top of that I'm not his type. He goes for the beautiful, smart and funny girls. The trifecta of women. Basically the female version of him.

 

Then there's me. Up until a few months ago I was virtually unknown. Now I'm James Potter's girlfriend. I don't even get my own identity. I'm just that girl dating James. I'm not interesting enough to get my own title. I don't do anything of interest, don't say anything funny or deep. The only thing I contribute is a scapegoat.

 

“Can we talk?” I jumped in my seat as I turned around and saw Sirius standing above me. I'd been so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn't noticed him come by me.

 

“Um, sure,” I managed to squeak out as I got up and followed him up the boys staircase and to his dormitory.

 

I remained by the door as Sirius went over and leaned against a dresser by his bed. He put his right foot over his left and crossed his arms over his chest. His head was titled down as he looked up at me through his bangs. I stood awkwardly by the open door, not really sure where to put myself.

 

“Things have been a little...tense between us,” Sirius said slowly, carefully choosing his words.

 

I just stared at him. I didn't really know what to say, if I should say anything. I shuffled awkwardly on my feet and crossed my hands in front of me as I stared down at them and twirled my thumbs, using them as some sort of distraction.

 

“I'm sorry about what happened, I didn't mean to offend you or anything.”

 

I looked at Sirius quizzically. I didn’t' fully understand why he was apologizing. Was he embarrassed by the fact that he had tried to kiss me? Many thoughts were flowing through my head but all I could manage to ask was, “why?”

 

“Why what?”

 

I thought for a moment as I tried to explain how I felt about the situation. “I mean, why me? Was it out of pity or something? Boredom?”

 

Sirius looked shocked, “is that what you think I think of you?”

 

I shrugged, “I mean, I wouldn't blame you. I know how I am. Awkward Avery Muze. I'm a complete handful and loser.”

 

“Avery,” Sirius said quietly as he shook his head. “I don't get how you don't see it.”

 

“See what?”

 

“See that you're far from being a loser. Avery, you're amazing.”

 

“I'm what?” I spluttered. I must've heard him wrong. There was no way that Sirius Black had just said I was amazing.

 

Sirius smiled and straightened himself. He slowly started walking towards me and I found myself paralyzed. He held my eyes as he neared me, his walk filled with a confidence I could only dream to have. He stopped only an inch or two away from me. I craned my neck to look up at him, my heart hammering in my chest. I tried to remind myself to breathe but the motions of the task seemed to have slipped my mind.

 

“I said, you're amazing.” His hot breath danced on my face. He moved his hand to cup my cheek and without knowing I was leaning into his palm, relishing the feel of his warm hand against my skin. A sigh almost escaped my lips from the wonderful thrill. The touch was frightening and unfamiliar, yet it was completely wonderful and I just wanted to feel more of him.

 

I looked up at Sirius and there was an intensity in his eyes I had never seen before. His hand tensed against my cheek as he slowly leaned down. I stayed paralyzed as his face neared mine, the gap closing with each passing second. Finally I felt his lips meet mine in a gentle kiss. My heart was beating so fast I didn't think it would ever stop. It felt like every part of my body had awakened and I'd found a new way to breathe.

 

When he pulled away I gasped for air as if not used to my old form of breathing. He kept his hand on my cheek as he looked at me with a smile. I tried hard to smile back but fear and doubt immediately started creeping in. I stepped away from Sirius and shook my head, “um, I left the bathtub running, I have to go.”

 

And with that I turned and ran down the stairs.

 

A/N: Alright so this chapter went in a totally different direction then I planned on it going but here it is! I had SUCH a difficult time writing the ending. It's hard writing a first kiss between two people! I mean, sure, I've had that but it's hard to describe it. So I hope you guys think I did it justice :/ If not I'll go back and re-write it. But don't think this story is going to end. Oh no, it's far from over.

 

And I realize that in the fan fiction world I've had them kiss pretty early on but I was thinking about real life and -for me- when I've liked someone it doesn't take a year or two for those feelings to come out, you don't love them before you ask them out, so I figured I'd make this more realistic :) But believe me, it's not going to be this easy :P  And of course thanks to everyone who has reviewed!  You guys are amazing and I wouldn't have written this much if it weren't for you guys :)


Chapter 14: You Tried to Turn Away
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 Chapter 14: You Tried to Turn Away

 

Saturday November 20th, 4:34 am

 

I stretched my arms above my head and let a yawn escape my lips. I stood up, my tense joints cracking with my sudden movement. I walked over to the large window in the common room and rested my head against the cool glass.

 

The Marauders were out on another 'meeting' with Dumbledore. I knew they were lying to me because once again Lily was up in our room safe and sound while the idiotic boys were running rampant somewhere else.

 

I sighed and tiredness clung to my eyes but I knew I would not be able to sleep. After Sirius had kissed me and I ran out on him, sleep no longer came easy to me. Every night I laid in bed thinking about what happened and the damage I have caused. Before, Sirius and I had just awkwardly avoided each other but now anytime I would walk into the room Sirius would glare at me. The glares he sent to me would cause me to shiver as I laid awake at night thinking of them. He hated me. I had messed everything up. Any idea I had had of us ever getting together were quickly diminished after I thoroughly ruined everything.

 

I sighed and looked outside at the lake, the full moon reflecting on the surface.

 

I furrowed my eyebrows and stared out the window wondering why all of this looked familiar to me.

 

I racked my brain for memories of when this last happened. The last time the Marauders had said they were seeing Dumbledore was a little over or a little under a month ago. I remember sitting in my bedroom late at night, realizing Lily was in her bed sound asleep.

 

Sirius wound up in the hospital. My heart squeezed uncomfortably at the memory. The thought of Sirius lying in that bed, broken and bleeding left me with uncomfortable memories that no matter how hard I tried to forget seemed to be ingrained in my head. I remembered him lying to me, covering for something or someone that night. I know it has to do with Remus. I feel so close to the answer that the words were waiting to fall from my lips.

 

I looked back outside, the full moon was so bright I felt as if I stared hard enough at it that it would provide me with an answer.

 

Last time I sat in this position, staring outside, the Marauders absent, there had been a full moon. I remember seeing the moon reflecting on the surface of the lake.

 

Oh my Merlin.

 

It all makes sense. A once a month occurrence. Remus's sickly disposition every few days out of the month. The late night disappearances, the full moon. Remus is a werewolf.

 

I sat on the ground and put my head between my hands as I tried to absorb the new information. I was trying to figure out how I felt, what this meant, what this changed. How was innocent, gentle Remus a werewolf. How had this happened? How long had he been a werewolf for? And what did James, Sirius and Peter have to do with it? Why did it seem like they were always out with him? If he's a werewolf there was no way that they could safely be around him.

 

And then as if a reenactment was playing I saw figures walking across the grounds. There were four this time, all supporting one person. The lights dashed across their faces and I wasn't surprised to see that they were the Marauders. My heart lurched when I recognized the unconscious boy.

 

Remus.

 

The all too familiar sensation of fear gripping my body tore through me as I ran outside the portrait and to the hospital wing. My breathing seemed to echo off the walls and bounce back and hit me. The sound of my own breath hit my ears, the sound seemed to be the only thing that reminded me to keep breathing.

 

I finally reached the hospital wing and threw open the doors. Everyone was huddled around a bed while Madame Pomphrey mended Remus. James turned around and saw me. He looked at me with wide eyes. “Avery, you shouldn't be in here.”

 

“I know,” I whispered as I neared Remus. His frail body laid limp on the bed. A large gash across his cheek and his torso. “I figured it out,” I said softly as I took Remus's hand in mine and stroked back his hair from his eyes.

 

“Figured what out?” James asked hesitantly. I could tell he wasn't positive if I meant that I knew he was a werewolf and he was treading lightly, making sure not to give anything away.

 

“I know what Remus is, what he becomes.” I looked behind me and smiled at James warmly. “It doesn't change a thing. He's still Remus. I'm not scared.” The situation seemed to hit me at that point. Going into the hospital wing I wasn't sure how I felt about my newfound information on Remus. But as soon as I saw him laying in the bed I realized that him being a werewolf didn't change a thing. He was still the same quiet Remus, the introverted observer, and kind friend. The fact that he was a werewolf didn't define him as a person, it only contributed to part of who he was.

 

“Will he be alright?” I asked Madame Pomphrey as she placed the last of a potion on his wounds.

 

“Oh yes, he's been in worse shape. He should be fine in the morning.” She said with her hands poised on her hips and a sympathetic smile directed towards him.

 

“Is it ok if I stay until he wakes up?”

 

Madame Pomphrey tutted and looked between me and Remus before sighing and throwing her arms in the air. “I guess it's alright, you're past curfew anyway. If there's any problems don't hesitate to get me.”

 

I nodded as Madame Pomphrey went back to her room.

 

“Well, I'm pretty tired,” James said as he stretched his arms above his heads and yawned. “I'm going to head off to bed.” James left the hospital wing with Peter on his tail. This left me, a passed out Remus, and Sirius.

 

I tried to remained fixated on Remus as Sirius remained silent behind me. The silence was awkward and I was afraid to breath too loudly in the event that would piss off Sirius. It seemed everything these days pissed him off. Just yesterday I was walking down the staircase when Sirius was coming up them. I tried to figure out a way to get off the staircase but the only solution would be jumping off of them and dying. Since I wouldn’t' consider this an option I had to pass him on the stairs.

 

“Stay out of my way.” Sirius snarled as I passed him.

 

“Oh I'm sorry, I missed the meeting where we set aside times for us to walk the stairs. Let me jot it down in my journal next time to avoid this situation.”

 

Aside from that one interaction on the stairs Sirius and I hadn't spoken since I'd left him high and dry after the kiss. Now the tension was so palpable it sent shivers down my spine and made it feel like little bugs were crawling across my skin, waiting to jump at the slightest hint of movement from behind me.

 

“You're a good friend to Remus, for accepting him.” Sirius's voice broke through the silence. I jumped in my spot and earned a small chuckle from Sirius.

 

“Yes well, him being a werewolf doesn't change who he is. Unless he tries to gnaw off my arm at some point I doubt it should interfere too much.”

 

Sirius laughed and the sound filled the room. I hadn't realized until them how much I missed his laugh. It was warm and sincere, never failing to make me smile. A short silence passed but Sirius quickly broke it. “I'm sorry,” he said quickly. Had the room not been completely silent I wouldn't have understood what he had said. “I've been an ass the past few days and you didn't deserve it. Guys don't typically admit it but we do get hurt. We're just not girls, we don't cry about it in a crowd so it's not as obvious when we're hurt.”

 

I turned around and looked at Sirius. “I hurt you?” I asked not completely sure that I had heard correctly. Never had the thought crossed that I had hurt him. I just thought I had humiliated him, and he being the self righteous cocky guy he is was mad that a girl had humiliated him.

 

Sirius nodded and scratched the back of his head, a sheepish expression on his face. “Yeah, try not to admit it to anyone. I've got to keep up appearances and all.” He sent me a crooked grin and dropped his hand. “I understand that you didn't want it and it's fine. I can't be mad at you for something you didn't want.”

 

Wait, what? He thinks I didn't want it? Well I guess I don't blame him for thinking that. I did kind of run out of the room after he kissed me. But it wasn't because I didn't want him. Truth be told I wasn't sure what I wanted. Just a few months ago the only thing I had to worry about was feeding my cat. Now I had friends and a fake boyfriend to juggle. Then Sirius came and things started changing and there was sexual tension and a broom closet and...flobberworms. Things just got too complicated too fast and I still don't know what to think of the situation. I don't know what I want.

 

Before I could explain myself to Sirius I felt the hand I was holding tighten and looked to Remus. His eyes were slowly fluttering open.

 

“Avery,” he said in a hoarse voice. “What are you doing here?”

 

“Remus,” I said smiling. “I know everything,” he sat up in bed quickly, looking at me with horror. “Don't worry, I'm fine with it. It doesn't change what I already think of you.” The words fell from my mouth so easily. The concerned look in Remus's eyes made me feel sorry for him that he was so ashamed of who he was.

 

Remus looked at me skeptically but I just gave him a reassuring smile. After a few moments he settled back into his bed. He wasn’t' completely relaxed but seemed better. “So you know about James, Sirius and Peter then?”

 

“Ah, we hadn't gotten around to telling her about that yet, mate.” Sirius said in a low voice as he neared the bed and stood beside me.

 

“Tell me what?”

 

“You see,” Sirius said quietly. “For the longest time we tried to figure out how we could help Remus. We saw him struggle every month and as his best mates it was hard to see him do it alone. We obviously couldn't be with him in our human form so we figured out a new way. Our fifth year we managed to become animagi.”

 

“What?” I asked in shock. “But how did the ministry allow that?”

 

“Funny thing, we're unregistered. Which is why you cannot tell a soul.”

 

“Of course I wont tell but...how? That's really advanced magic. I'm sure even some of the professors at Hogwarts would have difficulty.”

 

Sirius shrugged but the blow off jester was muted by his accomplished smile. “There's a reason why Dumbledore chose us for the Order.” Sirius gave me a confident grin, he was obviously proud of his accomplishment. I couldn't believe they'd managed to get past Dumbledore the fact that they were animagis.

 

“I appreciate you two sticking around but I'm knackered.” Remus said from the bed.

 

“Oh right,” I said turning away from Sirius and back to Remus. “Well I'll see you tomorrow, I'll pop by in the morning.”

 

“Avery its truly amazing how you accepted him so easily.” Sirius said as we left the hospital wing.

 

“Yeah, you've told me quite often I'm amazing,” I meant to say this lightly but it caused a sudden tension and Sirius stopped and looked at me intently. “Sorry, too soon?”

 

I thought for a moment Sirius was going to yell at me from the stern look on his face but then he broke out into a grin and started laughing. “You never say the right thing, ever.”

 

“I've been told that a few times,” I shrugged nonchalantly as Sirius and I neared the portrait.

 

“Wait,” I said thinking over the things Sirius had told me in the hospital wing, the questions I had had earlier now begging to be asked. “What animal do you turn into?”

 

Sirius looked sheepish for a moment as we came to stop in front of the portrait. “A dog.”

 

“You sneaky bastard,” I said a small smile on my face. “It was you in the hospital that night.”

 

Sirius shrugged and gave me a small smile before he said, “Veritaserum.” The portrait swung open. Sirius and I stopped at the end of the dormitory stairs. He stuck out his hand to me, “friends?” He said.

 

I looked at his hand and hesitated. Was this what I wanted? Would I be alright with just friends or would I later regret agreeing to this.

 

Sirius was looking at me impatiently, it seemed as if he was worried I wasn't even agreeing to just being friends. Not wanting to tell him I didn't know what I wanted I sighed and took his hand in mine, “friends.”

 

 

“Great news minions,” James declared loudly at breakfast as he seated himself next to Sirius.

 

“What's that Prongs?” Sirius asked.

 

“I have set a re-match against Slytherin.”

 

“I can't imagine McGonagall being alright with that.” Remus said diplomatically from behind his copy of the Daily Prophet.

 

“That's because our dearest Minnie doesn't know. The game is being held tonight at midnight. We have arranged so that we have two referees, one from each side so that it's fair. Well, as fair as it can be.”

 

“I'm just letting you know now I will not be taking part of this,” Remus said he folded his newspaper and put in his backpack. “Unlike you two tossers I try and avoid trouble at all costs. Speaking of which, I need to nip off to the library before class to double check a part of my potions essay.”

 

“It wasn't as if I were going to ask him anyway,” James mumbled as Remus left the Great Hall.

 

“So why the rematch? It's not as if it's going to count in the tournament anyway.”

 

“Ah well that's where the bet comes into play. If we lose we have to forfeit the game against Ravenclaw.”

 

“What!” Sirius exclaimed, throwing his fists down on the table. “That's our last match of the year! If we lose that game we lose the entire tournament.”

 

“And that's why it's good that we wont lose.”

 

“You've lost your bleeding mind.”

 

“Maybe so Padfoot, but then again, it's not like it would be the first time.”

 

I looked over at James and saw him staring off at the end of the table. I followed the direction of his eyesight and saw he was staring at Lily.

 

Creepy.

 

 

Why the bloody hell did I agree to this. They must've drugged me because there was no way I willingly agreed to this.

 

And yet, here I am standing between James and Sirius as the rest of the Gryffindor and Slytherin team make their way onto the Quidditch pitch.

 

I can barely contain the fact that I'm shaking, whether it's from the cool weather or my nerves I have yet to decide. Next to me James and Sirius are the epitome of cool and calm with their faces set like stone, hardly moving an inch as they stare intently at Lucius Malfoy.

 

“Didn't think you'd actually show Malfoy,” James said once everyone had shown up on the pitch.

 

“And miss the chance to wipe that cocky grin off your face Potter?” Malfoy responded sinisterly.

 

I heard James snicker next to me before clearing his throat and speaking loudly. “Now that everyone is here we can start. To keep things fair we will each have someone from our own House to be a referee. For our team we have Avery.”

 

Everyone turned to look at me and I could feel my stomach drop to my feet with Slytherin's intense glares. Malfoy was looking slightly amused by the situation. “What, you've recruited your little girlfriend? Does she even know the difference between a quaffle and a bludger?”

 

“I'll have you know Malfoy that I've helped in creating half the plays that defeated the other teams. I have more talent in my pinky than you contain in your entire being, you little toe-rag.” My voice and response surprised me. As I looked around I could see everyone else equally as shocked as I was. Malfoy's smirk went from amused to a scowl.

 

“Sure, you've won against the cotton ball for brain teams. You have yet to use your plays against a real team.”

 

“Alright, alright,” James said stepping forward and taking control of the situation. “Let's get started, we all know Malfoy needs his beauty rest. Who do you have as referee?”

 

“Severus of course,” Malfoy said stepping aside and revealing Snape.

 

“Oh, well that's cheating. As soon as Snivellus starts flying the grease will fall from his his hair and hit everyone.” Sirius's comment caused a chorus of laughter on the Gryffindor side.

 

“Mess with me again Black and I'll hex you,” Snape said menacingly, grabbing his wand from his pocket. Sirius was quick to react and drew out his wand and aimed it at Snape.

 

“Stop,” James said putting his arms up between Sirius and Snape. “We can duel another time. But now we will play Quidditch. Pads, put your wand away.” Sirius looked at James for a moment of hesitation before resigning and slipping his wand back into his pocket. “Good, now I think everyone knows the rules. Avery, when we're up in the air released the bludgers, alright?”

 

I nodded my head in understanding as I walked towards the trunk. Everyone mounted their brooms and shot into the air. James waved at me and I released the latch on the trunk and the bludgers and snitch came flying out. I threw the quaffle into the air and the game quickly started with Slytherin in possession. I mounted my broom and pushed off from the ground and hovered on the opposite end of the playing field of Snape.

 

Slytherin had attempted to score a goal but it was deflected and Gryffindor came into possession. Gryffindor was nearing the goal when I heard a whistle. Everyone stopped and Snape declared loudly “Sirius Black, foul for bumphing.”

 

“What!” Sirius yelled loudly. “The bloody bludger was no where near your goal keeper!”

 

“I call it as I see it Black,” Snape snarled. “Gryffindor must return possession to Slytherin.”

 

“Bollocks!” Sirius yelled before soaring back to his end of the pitch. Snape had a satisfied smirk on his face as he happily took the quaffle from James and threw it to Lucius.

 

Slytherin quickly went from defensive to offensive form and charged towards the Gryffindor goals. I held my breath as Lucius rounded closer to the goals. He faked right but luckily our goal keeper was quick enough to catch his bluff and deflected the ball. James was back in possession and darting towards the goal. The chasers were performing an intricate move by circling around and under each other and in the darkness it was even harder to keep up. I saw James wind up and screamed with excitement when the quaffle went through the hoop.

 

“Gryffindor 10, Slytherin 0.” I yelled loudly as I shot my wand into the air and a golden tally mark appeared above my head.

 

I heard Lucius curse loudly and gave him a satisfied smirk. He fixed his eyes forward and he and Regulus tossed the ball between each other as they made their way towards the goal. My heart sunk once a heard a victorious cry from Slytherin and Snape shot his wand into the air signaling a goal for Slytherin.

 

The game continued for twenty more minutes as possession kept on switching. My hands were growing numb and my face was frozen as I continued to sit outside on the broomstick. I braved a glance over at Sirius whose eyes were fixed on the game. I smiled as I took in his intense face, how the dim lighting only magnified his dark features rather than hindering them. His black hair clung to his face from sweat and his bat was poised and ready to swing at anything that came his way. His beauty was a little haunting, as if that kind of handsome shouldn't exist. He was like a character out of a book; tall, dark, handsome, troubled with a bit of a bad boy streak, but deep down was one of the most caring and loyal people I had ever met.

 

He must've sensed me looking at him because he glanced at me and once he met my eyes he gave me a small smile. I felt myself blush and went to return the smile but all of a sudden I felt a heavy weight hit me from behind. The force hit me so hard that the wind was knocked out of me and I lunged forward on my broom, my body sliding off of it as I lost balance. I tried to scream but I couldn't find the air to do it as my body fell from the broom. At the last second I was able to grab onto the broom with my right hand. I looked up and saw Lucius giving me a victorious grin.

 

“Looks like we've won,” he said to me. To my horror I looked over and the Slytherin seeker was waving the snitch victoriously in his hands. I swore under my breath and tried to use all my strength to swing my body up on the broom. I got one leg over but my strength quickly left and I hung again. Right as I was beginning to panic I felt hands on my waist. I looked down and saw Sirius hovering under me.

 

“Let go,” he instructed. “You can get onto my broom.”

 

I hesitated for a moment before letting go. Sirius positioned my body so that I landed on his broom and was sitting in front of him. He kept one hand on my waist and used the other to slowly steer the broomstick down. Within a few seconds we hit the ground and I immediately saw that James and Lucius were arguing.

 

“You bloody cheated Malfoy!” James declared heatedly as he rounded in on Lucius, his wand held threatening to Malfoy's throat.

 

“I can't help it that your referee has no balance and fell off her broom and distracted your team.”

 

“Don't give me that Malfoy, you pushed Avery off her broom.”

 

Lucius shrugged and raised a hand, pushing James' wand away. “Your team should learn to not be so easily distracted. We won.”

 

Malfoy pushed me off on purpose to distract the team? We lost because he used me as a distraction?

 

The realization caused a surge of anger to course through my body as I stared at Malfoy.

 

That's it. I'm tired of being pushed around, literally and figuratively.

 

My whole body tensed and my hands turned into fists as I marched up to Malfoy. No one noticed me as James continued to yell at him, and so when I stood right in front of Malfoy and punched him right

in the nose, a satisfying crunch sounded upon impact, everyone looked at me in shock.

 

“You ever mess with me again Malfoy and it will be more than your face that's broken.”

 

Despite the fact that a trail of blood was falling from his nose he smirked at me. “Please you got lucky with that shot.”

 

“Oh yeah?” I said and then wound up my foot and kicked him right in the groin, making him fall to his knees. “Looks like a I got lucky again.”

 

A/N: Alright so I don't really like this chapter, it's taken me forever to write and I've re-written it a few times but I'm just not pleased with it. Ah well...stick with me because I swear the next chapter is going to be GOOD. Crap is going to hit the fan! In the best way possible :) And thank you to all my reviewers!!! I wish I could say something else besides thank you but I don't know how else to express my appreciation for all of you :)


Chapter 15: Slug Club Party
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Chapter 15: Slug Club Party

 

Friday December 10th, 7:43 pm

 

JAMES

 

Merlin I look like a monkey. Who the hell invented a bow tie? I'm going to hunt down the person that invented a bow tie and strangle them with their own invention. Let's see if they like their invention after they're dead.

 

“It doesn't matter how long you stare into a mirror mate, you'll still look like a monkey in a suit.” My supposed best friend Sirius said to me as he laughed and pushed me away from the mirror so he could straighten his tie.

 

What is this!

 

I've never seen Sirius with a fully done tie. He usually leaves his tie loose during school so that he never has to redo it in the morning, instead he can just slip it over his head and be done getting ready for school two minutes before the rest of us. He uses this time management skill so that he can get to breakfast before us and eat more. Remus calculated that with the amount of food and sugary snacks that Sirius and I eat, we will die by the age of twenty. Sirius will die two minutes before me because, as I mentioned earlier, he eats first, therefore getting more desert.

 

Sirius finishes his tie and looks at me triumphantly. Damn that man can pull off a suit. Now, I'm a completely straight, in love with Lily mans-man but Sirius can pull off a suit. While the rest of us look like we're drowning in the heavy material Sirius looks older. And as if to add insult to injury Sirius has his hair slicked back neatly while mine just looks greasy after putting half a tub of gel in my hair in order to tame the beast that sits on top of my head.

 

Maybe if I stuffed my arms with socks I would look more manly...

 

“So Pads who are you bringing as your date to Slug's party tonight?” I asked as I buttoned up my jacket.

 

“Heather Spence,” Sirius responded as he put his wand and some frog spawn into his pocket.

 

Frog spawn, brilliant why didn't I think of bringing some? This is why Sirius is my best friend, aside from being devilishly handsome (said in mans-man voice) he also remembered that frog spawn is needed on your person twenty four seven.

 

“That's brilliant!” I declared causing a startled and concerned look to form on Sirius's face. “That's Lily's best mate, you can keep talking me up to her tonight so that she tells Lily how mature I've become.”

 

“I think that's the sort of thing Lily has to find out for herself.”

 

“Shove it,” I said throwing a shoe at Sirius. “I didn't know you were interested in Heather.”

 

Sirius shrugged as he adjusted the sleeves of his shirt. “She's alright I guess.”

 

“Padfoot is just too embarrassed to admit he's still hung up on Avery,” Remus chided from his side of the room.

 

“Shut it Moony,” Sirius said stiffly.

 

“You like Avery?” Peter asked in an unsure voice.

 

“Jesus Peter, what block of cheese have you been living under?”

 

“Not everyone keeps up with school girl gossip like you do Prongs.” Remus added.

 

“It's not gossip, it's my best mate!” I said slinging an arm around Sirius to prove our camaraderie. “Anyway, who are you taking Moony?”

 

“A girl from Ravenclaw, Ferrah Spinnet. Speaking of which,” Remus said as he checked the clock. “I better head over to Ravenclaw common rooms and pick her up. See you ladies at the party.”

 

“Ladies,” I scoffed. “We're men I tell you!” I shook my fist at Remus, as I did this the socks I had stuffed in my arms fell out.

 

“I better be going too,” Peter said quietly as he stepped over the pile of the socks.

 

“Who are you taking Wormtail?”

 

“That girl Jane from Hufflepuff, she's a sixth year.”

 

“Good luck with her, I heard she eats her hair.”

 

“It's just rumors,” Peter mumbled under his breath as he left the dormitory.

 

I looked one last time at the mirror and gave up on trying to flatten my hair. Besides, I'm only going with Avery and she usually winds up tripping over her own feet and messing up her outfit and hair. So if anything, I will look clean and put together next to Avery. Besides, I don't think Lily will be there, no man in their right mind would ask out Lily Evans on a date, so it doesn't really matter what I look like.

 

“Well we better head off and get our dates,” Sirius said as he opened the door and I followed him down the stairs.

 

I stuffed my hands in my pockets and walked down the stairs. I wasn't exactly looking forward to tonight. None of Slughorn's parties were particularly fun but if you showed up he would grade you well in class so I couldn't complain, and it's the night before Christmas Break, it's not like I have anything better to do. Not that I would be doing homework, but quidditch is over until we get back from break. I just hope this time Avery wont douse me with water again.

 

When we reached the common room Avery and Heather weren't there yet so Sirius and I sat on the couch. Sirius and I were discussing the ways we could use the frog spawn tonight when Sirius stopped talking and looked over my shoulder. I turned around and saw Heather and Avery walking down the stairs. I had to admit, Avery cleaned up nicely. She had on a purple dress and her hair wasn't in the usual messy ponytail, making it look like a beaver had attacked her head. I saw she was wearing heals and immediately started fearing for her safety. Luckily, Heather seemed as equally concerned about Avery's safety while in heals going down the stairs and kept a sturdy arm around Avery's waist.

 

When they reached the landing Avery let out a sigh of relief. She looked at me and Sirius and gave us a small smile. I could tell she was nervous. Her shoulders were hunched up almost to her ears and her fingers were twitching.

 

Please Merlin, say she left her wand in her room.

 

AVERY

 

Oh god why did I agree to wearing heals? Not only are my feet already killing me but I feel as if I could topple over at any moment. Thank Merlin James doesn't want to dance at this party and instead has taken to standing by the refreshments and talking to Remus.

 

Remus's date Ferrah seems nice enough but she hasn't really said much. She's got this dazed look on her face as if she were in a dream state rather than truly present. I tried striking up a conversation with her but the only thing I really know about is quidditch and she seems to have no interest in it so we've now settled for sipping slowly at our butterbeer and trying to avoid awkward glances.

 

James suddenly grabs my hand and I jumped slightly at the gesture. He'd hardly acknowledge me the whole night aside from saying I look lovely but I better keep his pants dry.

 

I see him gazing intently at something on the other side of the room and follow his gaze. Over on the other side I see Lily chatting with Amos Diggory. He's got his hand on the small of her back and she's laughing at something he said.

 

James's hand tightens around mine and I yank my hand from his. “Ouch you wanker that hurt. Try not to break any bones next time, yeah?”

 

“Sorry,” James said halfheartedly as he turned around and grabbed a red currant rum. Oh boy, I better monitor his alcohol intake. Seriously, why did Slughorn distribute alcohol at this party? I guess he's always trying to be the 'cool' teacher and alcohol is the way to any teenagers heart.

 

James quickly downs the drink and grabs my hand again, “come on, let's dance.”

 

“No James,” I groan in protest as he literally drags me onto the dance floor. He grabs me firmly and pulls my body against his, placing his hand on my waist while I place my hand on his shoulder.

 

James moves quickly and I'm desperately trying to not trip over my feet or step on his. I keep telling him to slow down but he's ignoring me as his eyes are fixed on Lily and Amos. Once I started to learn James' jerky dancing pattern I forced my eyes up from the ground and looked around. There were three other couples aside from us on the dance floor and the rest were standing around and drinking.

 

I looked over at the refreshment table and saw Sirius with Heather standing and talking to Peter. I felt a hint of annoyance as Heather flipped her hair and kept touching Sirius after everything he said. Honestly, with all this hair flipping she's going to give herself whiplash. And he's not that funny, there's no need to be laughing like a banshee.

 

“I'll be right back,” James said pulling away from me and leaving me alone on the dance floor. I watched as he made a beeline for Lily who was alone by the wall waiting while Amos got drinks.

 

I stood alone on the dance floor for a few seconds debating on whether I should yell at James for improper treatment of fake girlfriend or use this opportunity to sneak away and take off my shoes and hide in a corner for a bit as I nurse my feet back to health.

 

It seemed as if the decision were made for me once I heard a voice from behind me. “Do you want to dance?”

 

I turned around and was shocked to see Peter standing in front of me with his hand extended towards me. I smiled and put my hand in his, “of course Peter.”

 

Peter turned a bright shade of red as he put his hand on my waist and awkwardly led me in a slow dance. “You look nice tonight,” Peter muttered quietly.

 

“Oh, um thanks Pete, you too.” I said not quite sure what response was the correct etiquette in this situation. Peter's face turned an even brighter shade of red.

 

Boy this is awkward.

 

I looked around the room again in hopes of a distraction. At the refreshment table I saw Sirius and Heather again. I could feel my face turning a shade of red when I realized Sirius was looking at me, completely ignoring Heather who was talking to him. He smirked when he locked eyes with me. He flicked his head to a corner of the room, signaling for me to follow after him.

 

“Oh Peter, I've got to go check on the er-pumpkin juice. I'll see you around later.” I said stepping away from Peter and untangling my hand from his.

 

“Oh well I was hoping we could talk, I have something to say.”

 

“We can talk later,” I said calling over my shoulder as I walked towards Sirius who was leaning against a wall with his arms crossed over his chest.

 

Corr he looks sexy. He usually looks good in regular clothes and robes but in his suit with his hair slicked back takes him to a whole new level of Sex God. With his hair out of his eyes it takes away from the boyishness and makes him look older. I can feel my cheeks reddening from his unnerving stare as I approach him.

 

“How'd you manage to break free of Heather?”

 

Sirius shrugs and pushes himself away from the wall, moving his body so that he's standing directly in front of me, blocking my vision of the party. “Told her I had some Marauder business to take care of.” I formed my mouth into an O but no sound came out. Sirius was standing uncomfortably close to me. I could smell his aftershave and almost feel the heat radiating from his body. “Besides, I couldn’t let Peter hog you, now could I?” Sirius's lips tugged into a small smile as he took a step towards me.

 

“Sirius,” I whispered. I could hardly meet his eyes. They were filled with an intensity I'd never seen before. I could feel my legs buckling from underneath me and prayed they didn't give out.

 

“You look beautiful tonight Avery,” he said slowly as he ran the back of his hand up and down my arm. I shivered under his touch, his hand leaving a hot trail on my arm. I felt like I was going to explode. I could hardly stand his soft touch, the way he was looking at me, standing so close to me that his knees were knocking against mine.

 

He slowly moved his body so that it pressed against mine. It felt like slow motion as his torso came in contact with mine, I could feel every part of his body and smell every scent that came off of him. I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but nothing would come out. Sirius moved his hand and pushed back my hair, I sighed comfortably into the palm of his hand and closed my eyes. I could feel Sirius leaning towards me and braced myself for what was going to happen.

 

“Avery,” Sirius and I jumped apart so fast it was like we had been struck by lighting. I looked up and saw Lily staring at us with her arms crossed over her chest, tapping her foot impatiently. She was looking between me and Sirius with an annoyed look on her face. “I need to talk to you.”

 

I gave Sirius an apologetic look before Lily took my arm and dragged me away to a secluded corner.

 

“I need you to be honest with me,” she said sternly.

 

“About what?” I asked unnerved by the tone in her voice and the look in her eyes.

 

“Are you and James actually dating?”

 

“W-why wouldn't we be?” I stuttered. I had hoped that Lily hadn't caught onto my hesitant answer but no such luck. Her eyebrows furrowed and she stepped closer to me. I could now smell the alcohol on her breath and see her pupils were dilated. Oh no, last time Lily was drunk and talked to me this didn't end well.

 

“You two don't act like you're a couple. Half of the time he's talking to me, telling off Amos and then you're off doing Merlin knows what with Sirius. It's beginning to make me wonder if you are together at all.”

 

I crossed my arms over my chest and raised my head, trying to gain some control over the situation. “I don't think it's any of your business what goes on in our relationship. Besides, why do you care?”

 

Lily continued to narrow her eyes and surveyed me for a minute. I was expecting another interrogation but was surprised when she dropped her arms and sighed, her face now looking agitated rather than angry and inquisitive. “I don't want to care, believe me, I don't.”

 

Hold on. Did Lily just admit what I think she just admitted? “What?” Was all I managed to get out. Is Lily about to declare her undying love for James to me? I don't know if I'm mentally or physically prepared for this. I don't know what the implications upon this discovery will be. Should I tell James? Do I wait for her to tell him? Oh sod, I should first listen and see if she's actually declaring her love for him.

 

“James is one of the most frustrating people ever. To be completely honest I've liked him since fourth year and I keep beating myself up for it. How annoying would it be that the boy you fancy wont grow up and keeps hexing people? I can't very well admit I like him when he acts like a first year half the time. And then I had to go and make out with him sixth year.”

 

“What! You and James made out? How didn't anyone hear of this? I'm pretty sure James would stand up in the middle of the Great Hall and announce it for the world to hear.”

 

“You see, that's half of my problem. Dating James wouldn't give me any privacy. So I made him swear not to tell anyone and in return I would do some homework assignments for him.”

 

“You're Moonstone,” I declared wildly as I tried to process all the new information Lily was telling me.

 

Lily nodded and looked embarrassed as she stared at her hands. “Then this year things sort of changed. He was more mature, I think being named Captain of the Quidditch team instilled some responsibility. Sure, he still pranks here and there but nothing compared to before. Then again, James wouldn't be James Potter if he didn't pull pranks,” Lily smiled fondly as if the one thing that had annoyed her about James all this time was suddenly the thing that was most endearing about him. “I can't believe I'm telling you all of this,” Lily said her eyes wide in horror as if she were suddenly realizing that she was telling me that she likes James, me whose his fake girlfriend.

 

“Don't worry about it,” I said shaking my head. “I've known all along that he's liked you.”

 

“So have you two been dating or not?”

 

I debated on whether or not I should tell her. I figure if I tell her the truth she may get mad at James for lying to her and everyone about the situation and consider him even more immature so instead I said, “yes we have been. But to be completely honest I think I've just been a filler until you came around.” I placed a reassuring hand on Lily's shoulder. “James would give up anything to be with you, you know that, right?”

 

Lily bit her bottom lip and looked down as she shook her head. “Well then,” I said dropping my hand from Lily's shoulder. “I've got something I need to do.”

 

“What are you doing?”

 

I looked at Lily and gave her a reassuring smile, “I'm sure you'll be the first one to hear about it.”

 

I turned around and started looking for James. I spotted him next to Sirius and immediately made a beeline for him. James was sitting slumped in a chair with an agitated look on his face as he looked around the room haughtily. Sirius was sitting next to him with his legs stretched out in front of him. His right arm was resting on the table and he laid his head in his hand. Why is everything he does look sexy?

 

No, Avery, nows not the time to fantasize about him. I have a task at hand.

 

“James can I talk to you?” I said stopping in front of him. He looked up at me and shrugged before standing up and following me to a quieter part of the party.

 

“What's up?” He asked as I lead us behind a tapestry.

 

“I'm breaking up with you.”

 

“What! Why?” James asked, running a hand through his messy hair.

 

“Lily likes you.”

 

James stared at me as if he didn't register what I had just said. After a few moments I cleared my throat and nudged his shoulder. “Care to repeat what you just said?”

 

“James, Lily Evans likes you.”

 

James lit up like a Christmas tree. The biggest smile formed on his face, I thought that his cheeks were going to rip. “Are you sure?”

 

“Yes, she just told me.”

 

“She told you?” James asked now his smile faltering and doubt creeping in.

 

“Yes, she's had a bit to drink so her tongues a little loose. Believe me when I tell you that she likes you.”

 

James surprised me by stepping towards me and hugging me. “Thank you, you were the best fake girlfriend any boy could ask for.”

 

I laughed and gave James a reassuring smile as he practically ran towards Lily. I sighed and leaned against the wall as I took a minute to relax. After the excitement died down I was reminded of my aching feet and sighed in relief as I removed my feet from my shoes. I closed my eyes and listened to the noise surrounding me, the buzz of voices, the slight hum of music. The world was passing by me and I couldn't see any of it, and for once I didn't feel caught up in it. I was completely relaxed and free of obligations.

 

I felt a hand lace through mine and opened my eyes to see Sirius. I smiled as he rubbed his thumb on the top of my hand. “Follow me,” he said pulling me off the wall and out of Slughorn's room.

 

I followed wordlessly behind him as he marched me down the hallway. We came around a corner and he pulled me into a nook that held a Knight. He pulled me behind the Knight and held me against him.

 

“I broke up with James,” the words fell from my mouth before I even realized that I was going to say them.

 

Sirius smiled and pulled me closer to him. “And why is that?”

 

“Lily declared her love for James.”

 

“What?” Sirius said laughing as if he didn't quite believe me. “She's a crazy bird.”

 

“Believe me, I know. I've dealt with the ups and downs of drunk Lily enough for one lifetime.”

 

Sirius laughed against me and pushed my hair behind me ear. “So what you're saying is that you're now available?”

 

I shrugged and tried to be casual. “I guess but I just got out of a serious relationship. The next guy I see is only going to be a rebound.”

 

Sirius smiled and looked up as if he were debating on what I'd said. “Rebound guy, huh? Well, I'll take what I can get.”

 

Sirius then leaned down and kissed me. I felt like the runner who was reaching the finish line and tripped and was caught off guard. Instead of over thinking the situation this time I cleared my mind and let myself enjoy the kiss. I wrapped my arms around Sirius's neck to pull him closer to me. As his lips moved against mine I never wanted to stop, I never wanted to come up for air.

 

Reluctantly I pulled away from Sirius and took a few moments for my breath to return to normal. “As comfortable as this is being wedged behind a Knight maybe we should go somewhere else?”

 

Sirius smiled and grabbed my hand, pulling me out from behind the Knight. “My dorm room should be clear.”

 

I blushed and could feel my heart racing. Making out with Sirius in an abandoned hallway was one thing. Being completely alone with him in a bedroom was an entirely different thing. What did Sirius expect us to do? How far has he gone with a girl? How far was he planning on going with me? I'm not ready to have sex! I still laugh when Trelawney says Uranus during Divination.

 

Sirius sensed my hesitation and nervousness and squeezed my hand reassuringly. “You alright? You look a little panicked.”

 

“Just a lot has happened tonight,” I said trying to put on a brave smile to mask my hesitations.

 

Sirius looked at me and smiled to reassure me before he turned around. I was staring at the dimples that formed on his cheeks when he smiled and so when he stopped in his place I was caught off guard. I looked ahead of us and saw Lucius, Snape and Regulus standing in front of us. Sirius quickly dropped my hand and retrieved his wand. He then took me roughly by the arm and opened a door before shoving me in and closing it.

 

I banged against the door, yelling at him to let me out. I tried jiggling the handle and pushing against the door but he had cursed it shut and I didn't have my wand on me. I rested my forehead against the wooden door with my hands curled into fists resting on my sides. I tried to calm my breathing so I could listen to what was going on. Their voices were muffled and I could tell they were talking but I couldn't make out what they were saying.

 

I heard someone yell petreficus totalus but I couldn't figure out who sent the spell. I listened closely for the sound of Sirius's voice, my heart about to beat out of my chest. I feel so useless standing here in the broom closet unable to do anything. Spells were being cast back and forth, it sounded like more people had joined and I hoped to Merlin that someone was helping Sirius. The colors from the curses showed through the slit of the door, casting purple, yellow and green shadows.

 

I helped my breath waiting for a sign that Sirius was all right but there was so much noise that I couldn't decipher who anyone was. Suddenly the shouting and curses stopped, through the door I could hear one singular voice speaking. I strained to listen but once again couldn't make out who it was. I lowered to my knees and tried to listen through the crack under the door. The voices were becoming clearer and I swore I heard Sirius's voice. I then saw a shadow appear in front of the door and the handle jiggled before the door opened. I looked up and saw Sirius standing above me.

 

“Don't tell me you fell.” He said laughing as he helped me up. I looked at him and was relieved to see he wasn't harmed. His cheeks were red and sweat was sliding down his face but other than that he was fine. I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him. I quickly withdrew my arms however when I saw McGonagall peering over at us.

 

“Miss Muze, if you would be so kind as to remove yourself from Mr. Black I would appreciate it if you would come with me to Dumbledore's office.”

 

 

The scenery surrounding the train became more noticeable as buildings came into my view. I knew that within a matter of minutes we would soon come to Kings Cross train station and go our separate ways for Winter Vacation. I would be spending the next three weeks in Italy with my parents while Sirius stayed at James' house.

 

I stared at Sirius who was talking animatedly with James about Quidditch, both of the boys gesturing wildly with their arms as they reenacted a Quidditch play. Sirius must have sensed my staring and looked over at me, offering me a small smile that I awkwardly returned. The interaction lasted only a brief second but my cheeks were burning red as I stared down at my hands.

 

After last nights battle against Slytherin things had been awkward between Sirius and I. After I had kissed him the fight broke up and reality seemed to crash down on us once McGonagall gave us a knowing smile. The fact that our feelings for each other were now known to the public was a little daunting and we didn't know how to handle each other anymore.

 

While McGonagall escorted us and the Slytherins to Dumbledore's office to talk about the repercussions for fight Sirius and I walked next to each other uncomfortably, apologizing if our shoulders brushed against the persons. Imagine if you've liked someone for ages and the feelings finally come out, wouldn't you feel a little awkward as well? Our conversation fell flat and was something along the lines of, “lovely weather we've been having, isn't it?” I nodded my head and replied with, “splendid.”

 

The meeting in Dumbledore's office had only taken a few minutes. The fight the Slytherin's had picked with Sirius and I was just another fight for them, no real reasoning to back up their actions other than wanting Sirius to suffer for being a blood traitor. Sirius and James had received one night of detention for fighting back, while the Slytherin's involved got a month's worth of detention and a three foot essay for each to write on the standard rules and regulations of proper dueling.

 

I couldn't help but wonder if this is what life is going to be like now that I'm with Sirius, if I'm going to feel like we're constantly going to be attacked. Voldemort is rising to more power, and he's gaining more supporters, those who believe in blood purification. Maybe this small fight against Slytherin was just a small clue as to what life is going to be like once we leave the safety of Hogwarts. Once we graduate improper wand use wont be treated with a simple slap on the wrist and a detention, once we've graduated things like this can end up in death.

 

I involuntarily shuddered and my attention was soon taken away from the oncoming war as the whistle blew, signaling we were pulling into Kings Cross. Everyone in the compartment stood up and stretched their limbs while reaching for their trunks. Sirius immediately reached for mine and set it down in front of me, I gave him a smile. The train then lurched to a stop and I lost my footing and fell into Sirius. He caught me with his arm and pulled me to his side. I smiled fondly at Sirius and the awkwardness that had been between us seemed to vanish in our unexpected embrace.

 

Once we stood in front of the train, people searching for their parents I was suddenly aware that for the next three weeks I wouldn't be seeing Sirius. I dropped my trunk and wrapped my arms around his body, hungrily pulling him towards me. I could feel his body shake as he chuckled and kissed me on top of my head.

 

“You'll write, won't you?” I asked, desperately trying to not sound needy but wanting the reassurance that I would hear from him over the next three weeks.

 

“Of course,” Sirius said pulling away from me and kissing me on the lips. “But only if you promise to send pictures of you in your little bikini on the beaches in Italy.”

 

“Perv,” I mumbled.

 

Sirius threw back his head and let out a loud barking laugh. I would miss that laugh. He leaned down and kissed me again. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him towards me, deepening the kiss. After a few moments we received a few wolf whistles and embarrassed, I pulled away from Sirius. Sirius, used to all sorts of attention, merely shook his hair out of his eyes and smiled at the crowd watching us.

 

I sighed and pulled myself away from Sirius, “I better go, my parents will throw a fit if I keep them waiting.” I said as I picked up my trunk.

 

Sirius's smiled dropped and he leaned in and kissed me again, “do you have to go to Italy?” He asked.

 

I smiled into his lips, “afraid so. My parents would murder me if I skived on this trip, they've been planning it for ages.” Sirius sighed and gave me one last kiss before swatting me on my butt. I turned around and glared at him playfully.

 

Sirius shrugged and gave me a blank stare, “what? As your boyfriend I'm allowed to smack your bum as much as I please.”

 

“You are incorrigible,” I said smiling as I planted one last kiss on his lips, turning away quickly to avoid anymore distractions, a large smile on my face. Once I'd turned around my smile quickly faded as I saw my mum standing only a few yards by me with a sour expression on her face.

 

 

A//N: Alright so what did you think? Avery and Sirius are together but you don't think it will be THAT easy do you? :P Also I realize that in the writing world this seems pretty soon to put two people together but at the same time I was thinking of when I got into relationships and it really didn't take a year to get into them. If you're interested in someone you go for it, you don't have to get to the point of loving them before you ask them out so that's why I put them together for now :) Leave a review :) You know you want to!! This chapter was edited November 15th.

 

 

 

 




Chapter 16: The Secret's in the Telling
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 Chapter 16: The Secret's in the Telling

 

Tuesday December 23rd, 4:05 pm

 

SIRIUS

 

It's been three days. Three bloody days since I've owled Avery and she hasn't responded. What if she's dead? What if she's found another lover? What if she's discovered she likes girls?

 

Well, the last option wouldn't be that bad.

 

What if she's already grown bored of me? I'm charismatic! I don’t need to have a multi-dimensional personality, I've got my charms to get by. And if Avery isn't satisfied with that then she can leave.

 

“Padfoot, get away from the window Avery will write mate.”

 

“I'm not waiting for Avery to write me back,” I scoffed moving away from the window. “I'm trying to look wishful and brooding.”

 

“Right,” James said not believing me and rolling his eyes. “I know you're head over heals for this girl mate but how much do you really know about her? Better yet, how much does she know about you? You've had a pretty turbulent past and I just want you to make sure that Avery is able to handle it.”

 

“Whoa mate, when did you become the relationship guru?”

 

James shrugged, “once you're in a committed relationship like I am you realize that you have to tell her the ups and downs of your life.”

 

“James, what down have you had in your life? The worst thing that's ever happened to you is you didn't get a puppy for Christmas last year.”

 

“I am deeply offended. I'll have you know that growing up I had to face many obstacles. I'd like to think that these obstacles have turned me into the amazing, Quidditch prodigy, that I am.”

 

“Oh yeah?” I asked in disbelief, “what challenges have you faced?” I asked challenging James with my question. Well I guess this could technically be considered a challenge James has faced, as I am challenging him.

 

“I'll have you know that when I was seven my parents grounded me from my broomstick for a whole week after putting worms in my dad's shoes. Worst week of my life.”

 

“Clearly that's caused you years of anguish.” I responded sarcastically as I got a butterbeer from the refrigerator. I looked at our tower of butterbeers that stood proudly in the center of the kitchen. Since Christmas Break had started James and I had drank ninety-four butterbeers between the two of us and had made a butterbeer pyramid. With a little help from magic, and steady hands, our butterbeer pyramid almost touched the ceiling. Remus had visited over the break, and after taking one look at the butterbeer pyramid he subtracted a year from our already short lives.

 

Our Christmas Break had been filled with sugar, butterbeer and quidditch but on the days James had Lily over to the house I made myself busy by traveling to London and looking for flats to rent. I didn't really know what to look for or what was a good street to live on. I asked Mrs. Potter for wizarding communities and she directed me towards some. I hated looking at one bedroom flats, they were so depressing. If I bought a one bedroom house that means I'm not open to visitors or possibly living with another person.

 

Not saying I'm ready to move in with Avery. We've only been dating for two weeks, and out of those two weeks we've only been together as a couple for one of the days. I'm getting a little ahead of myself, talking about our future when it's only just begun.

 

I do really miss her though, I think about her more than I would care to admit. It sounds dumb but I don't have enough awkwardness in my life! I kind of like feeling like her caretaker, holding her up while she attempts to walk without falling, keeping her nerves at bay so she doesn't shout out some random comment that makes everyone uncomfortable. And let's not forget her body. I'd never noticed before but she has one of the nicest set of legs I'd ever seen. And of course can't ever forget boobs. It's not like there's anything special about them, but they're boobs, enough said. Boobs and that muggle movie Lily introduced to James and I called Star Wars are on the same level of awesome.

 

“So what are you getting Avery for Christmas?” James asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.

 

“What?” I asked caught off guard. I hadn't even thought of getting Avery anything. Our relationship was so new that presents, anniversaries and holidays didn't cross my mind. “Haven't decided on that yet. What did you get Lily?”

 

“I got a first edition of Lily's favorite book, Hogwarts, A History.”

 

“That's a brilliant gift, sod, I need to think of something as good. I need to learn more about-” I stopped talking as James gave me a self satisfied smile.

 

“What was that Padfoot? Were you saying something around the lines of not knowing Avery well enough?” James said with an annoying self-satisfied smirk.

 

“Just because I didn't stalk Avery like you stalked Evans to the point where I would know her favorite brand of socks, does not mean I don't know Avery well enough to get her the perfect present.”

 

“Knowing Lily's favorite brand of socks is perfectly healthy and normal information to have in a relationship.”

 

“Whatever you say Prongs.” I said with a dismissive wave of my hand. “Well I should head off and find Avery a present want to come with?”

 

“No can do, I'm going over to Lily's for a little bit before we have dinner at Pete's house.”

 

“Oh right, the dinner. Well I'll meet you there.”

 

James nodded his head as I walked towards the fireplace and scooped up a handful of floo powder and threw it at my feet yelling, 'diagon alley.'

 

 

As I stepped out of the fireplace and into Peter's house I tapped my pocket happily, proud of the Christmas present I had purchased for Avery. I looked around the room and saw James chatting with who I assumed to be Peter's father in the corner of the room. Pete looked at me and quickly walked over.

 

“Sirius, just in time.” Peter said anxiously as he glanced around the room. He looked nervous and skittish which in turn made me nervous.

 

“Yeah sorry just a bit of last minute Christmas shopping.”

 

“Don't worry about it, come meet my parents.” Peter said guiding me away from the fireplace and towards the living room where I stopped in front of two people who I assumed to be Peter's mum and dad. “This is my mum Paula and my dad Greg.”

 

I shook the hands of Peter's parents and laughed inwardly. Peter's mums initials were PP.

 

“We're so glad you boys could make it over for dinner. So sorry to hear Remus was ill and couldn't make it, maybe another time.” PP said.

 

I couldn't help but notice how much Peter looked like his mum. She was short with blonde hair, a little on the heavier side but by no means fat. Peter's dad on the other hand was tall with dark hair, the only resemblance Peter shared with his dad was his watery blue eyes. “Dinner should be ready shortly, I hope you boys like roast beef.”

 

“As long as it doesn't taste like fish,” James said catching me and Peter's eyes, causing us to laugh.

 

Paula gave us a weird look, unaware of our inside prank, “now why on earth would roast beef taste like fish? I swear, you boys and your table mannerisms these days. Now let's get seated around the table, I've poured some tea and it's getting cold.”

 

All of us filed quickly filed into the dining room. The dining room was small and barely big enough to hold a table large enough to seat six people. I had to squeeze myself between a chair and the wall in order to get to my seat.

 

“So, Peter tells me you boys play Quidditch.” Greg spoke up from the end of the table.

 

“Yes sir, I'm a chaser and captain,” James said puffing his chest out proudly. “Sirius here is our best beater.”

 

“That's quite the accomplishment for the both of you. I always tried to push Quidditch on Peter but he never took to it. He's a little heavy set so he's always had difficulties getting off the ground.” Greg laughed loudly as if it were some sort of joke, even if it were at his son's expense.

 

I looked at Peter who was blushing madly with his eyes fixated on the bowl of fruit in front of him. I felt bad for him. No one ridiculed one of the Marauders, people quickly caught on in school that you don't mess with any of us. I felt this situation was no different and immediately jumped to Peter's defense. “Well he's quite good at wizards chess. Takes a lot of brains to win at that game. He's beaten everyone at our school, including Lily Evans, who is considered one of the brightest to ever attend Hogwarts.”

 

“Yes, but you can't make a career out of wizards chess, unlike Quidditch.”

 

“To be fair, it's very difficult to play quidditch professionally. I myself don't even plan on pursuing it once I leave Hogwarts.” James said joining in my rank and coming to Peter's defense as well.

 

“Still, it's a much more practical skill to posses than wizards chess.” He said wizards chess as if it were the fungus under rocks while taking a large swig of whiskey.

 

I looked at Pete who was looking at the table as if willing it to swallow him up. I slapped him on the back reassuringly and he looked up and gave me a weak smile. I couldn't stand to see Pete getting beat up like this, especially by his father. After having lived in my house for the majority of my life I know what it feels like to feel like you haven't met up to the expectations of your parents.

 

Paula came bustling into the room and started distributing the roast beef and potatoes. The rest of dinner went by without Greg insulting Peter but I could tell Peter was embarrassed by the event and hardly spoke all night. After I had had my third helping of dessert I threw my napkin on the table and was quickly followed by James.

 

“Well, James and I better head off. I've got a present to mail to my girlfriend.”

 

“You and Avery are dating?” Peter asked as he followed James and I out of the dinning room and to the fireplace.

 

“Yes,” I couldn't help but beam. “Thanks for dinner Mrs. Pettigrew.”

 

James and I stepped into the fireplace and threw down floo powder and within seconds we were back in the Potter living room.

 

“I should mail this off or Avery is going to think I didn't get her a gift.”

 

“Wait,” James said loudly. “Don't send it.”

 

“Why not?” I asked quirking my eyebrow and glancing at him quizzically.

 

“Well because,” he seemed to be searching for his words. “I mean you haven't heard from her in three days, maybe she's in an area where she can't receive mail. You wouldn't want to lose your gift would you?”

 

I looked over James, he was acting odd but I couldn't figure out what it was. I gave up trying to figure him out, guessing it wasn't a big deal. “Good point mate. Well I'm going to nip off to bed then.”

 

I went up to my room and was half expecting a note from Avery to be on my bed but no such luck. I sighed and took her present out of my pocket and placed it in the drawer of the nightstand. I took one last look at the window for any sign of an owl before sighing and going to bed.

 

 

I was awakened the next morning to the sound of my door opening. The loud creaking tore me out of my sleep and I groaned unhappily.

 

“Sod off James, I'm trying to sleep.” I groaned as I threw my blankets over my head. I distantly heard a giggle, the giggle was pretty feminine. “James you sound like you've got a sore throat, you should go back to bed.” Instead of the footsteps retreating I heard them nearing my bed. “I swear to Merlin James that if you come one step closer I'm going to hex you so bad that Lily won't be able to recognize you.”

 

Suddenly a voice that was not James spoke up. “No need to be so rude.”

 

I threw the blanket off my head and sat up in my bed. In front of me I saw Avery looking at me with an amused smile on her face. I stared at her for a moment, not sure if I was still dreaming or not. I quickly pinched myself to ensure that I could feel pain and once the pain shot up my arm I jumped up from the bed and wrapped my arms around Avery.

 

“What are you doing here?”

 

“That wasn't the reaction I was expecting. If you don’t want me here I can leave.”

 

I laughed and pulled back from Avery before kissing her. I'd been wanting to kiss her again ever since she'd left me at the train station and went to her parents. I could feel her smile into my lips and I couldn't help but smile back. I reluctantly broke away but only so I could look at her better. Her skin was slightly tanned and a small amount of freckles had appeared on her nose. I kissed the place where the freckles had appeared and she giggled softly.

 

“How long have you been planning on visiting? And why didn't you tell me?”

 

“I've had this set up for about four days now. James said he was tired of you moping around the place and he said he couldn't think of a better Christmas present that he could give you then inviting me over.”

 

“Remind me to thank him later,” I said as I kissed Avery again. “Wait, is this why you didn't write back?”

 

Avery shrugged innocently and looked up at me with her big brown eyes. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

 

“You're lucky it didn't grow fonder of someone else.”

 

Avery stepped away and slapped me with the back of her hand. “If you're going to treat me like that I'll just leave.”

 

I laughed and pulled her to me. “No, stay, this is exactly what I wanted. How long are you staying for?”

 

“Just until tomorrow morning. My parents only let me stay until then, they want me spending Christmas with the family.”

 

“Well then, we better make the best of the time we have.” I said before kissing her again. Avery wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me towards her. My hands traveled towards her lower back as I pushed her into me. I felt every part of her body melt into me as she gave into the kiss. My hand moved to the front of her hip as my finger lifted up the end of her shirt and I traced my fingers lightly across her bare skin. I felt Avery jerk back and break the kiss as she gave me an uncertain look.

 

“Sorry,” she said embarrassed as her cheeks turned a light shade of red.

 

“Don't be,” I said taking her hand. “We can take this slow.”

 

Avery looked up at me, her eyes wide making her look so innocent. “I'm sorry, I'm not very good at this and I'm not sure how far I want to go quite yet. We've just started, I don't want to rush into it and give up too much too soon so that you grow bored and then dump me.”

 

“Stop apologizing,” I said as I pushed her hair from her face and she rested the side of her face into my palm. I loved the way she would do that. How she would lay into my palm and close her eyes for a few seconds while sighing contently. She always looked so at peace and I knew this was how I could calm her down and make her stop panicking. “Don't feel like you have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

 

Avery sighed and I could feel her discomfort vanish. “You seem so perfect, what dark secrets are you hiding Mr. Black.” She laughed and I knew that what she had said was a joke but as she kissed me I couldn't help but have James' nagging voice in the back of my head saying 'she doesn't know about your family.'

 

“Sirius,” Mrs. Potter's voice came from downstairs. Avery and I broke apart and I could hear Mrs. Potter's footsteps as they neared my room. “James tells me you've got a visitor coming over today. Oh!” She declared once she saw Avery standing in my room. “You must be Sirius's girlfriend.”

 

It felt weird hearing Avery called my girlfriend, it was the first time I'd heard someone say it. “Uh yes, Avery this is Mrs. Potter.”

 

“Please, call me Jane,” Mrs. Potter said as she walked over to Avery and hugged her. “Sirius has spoken very highly of you the past few days.

 

“Has he now?” Avery said as she looked over at me and gave me a side smirk.

 

“Come down for breakfast. I've made pancakes and bacon, I hope you're hungry.”

 

“Famished,” Avery said as she took my hand and walked downstairs.

 

In the kitchen James was sitting at the table with a quidditch magazine in front of him as he chewed on bacon and his father was next to him with the Daily Prophet open and sipping on coffee. I laughed at the scene. James and his father looked so much a like and their breakfast habits were identical.

 

“Kurt, this is Sirius's girlfriend Avery.” Mrs. Potter said as she introduced Avery. Mr. Potter folded his newspaper and stood up from his chair.

 

“Very nice to meet you Avery,” he said as he shook Avery's hand.

 

“You too Mr. Potter,” Avery said flashing him a big smile.

 

“Help yourself to anything,” he said gesturing towards the food.

 

“If you want something else made don't be afraid to ask. It's not often Sirius brings around a friend.” Mrs. Potter said kindly to Avery.

 

“This looks wonderful,” Avery said as we sat down at the table. I put my hand on her leg and she squeezed it gently. “So James,” Avery said through a mouthful of bacon. “How are you and Lily getting along?”

 

James looked up and beamed. “She's actually coming around later today to exchange gifts.”

 

“Speaking of gifts I got a present from the oddest person, Peter. He sent me a book on successful quidditch plays throughout the years. It was a lovely gift but I was a little surprised. I didn't know that all of us were exchanging gifts.”

 

“We hadn't talked about it,” I said warily. I didn't understand why Peter had gotten Avery a present. He hadn't mentioned it to any of us and as far I as I knew Remus and James had no intention on giving Avery a present.

 

“Well it was a sweet gesture, I just feel horrid because I hadn't gotten anything for him.”

 

“When you're done reading the book would you mind if I got a look at it?” James asked.

 

Avery laughed, “of course, I brought it with me.”

 

“Sirius, Avery takes place as second best girlfriend to exist.”

 

“Thanks James, my dream was to always take second place. Oh my gosh,” Avery declared suddenly as she shot up from her chair and stood staring at the window. “There's snow on the ground!”

 

“Oh yeah,” James said distractedly, “it was the first snowfall last night.”

 

“What are we doing sitting inside? Let's go now!”

 

Before anyone could respond Avery went running outside, clad in only a sweatshirt and jeans. I followed her outside, grabbing two jackets from the coat hanger and running out to meet her. Avery was laying on her back making a snow angel, a look of pure joy on her face as she rolled around, not caring about the cold. I couldn't help but smile as I looked at her. She looked so youthful and happy. I slipped my jacket on and walked over by her.

 

Avery shot up from the ground and started running around with her hands down her pants looking like a loon while shouting, “there's snow in my trousers! Sirius make it stop, it's so cold and wet.”

 

“What do you want me to do love?” I said barely able to hide my laughter as Avery's face contorted into all sorts of discomfort as her hands remained down her pants. “Shall I remove your pants to let the snow out?”

 

“No,” Avery said briskly. “Give me that jacket,” she quickly removed her hands from her pants and snatched the jacket from my hand before throwing it on and running over to James' old play set, hiding behind a slide.

 

“Avery, what are you doing over there? If you're taking off your pants no need to hide, love.”

 

“Do you really want to see what I'm doing?” Avery's voice called from behind the slide.

 

“Course,” I said but immediately regretted my words. A snowball hit me right in the face. I shook my head trying to rid myself of the snow.

 

I quickly retaliated and dug my hands into the snow and started crafting a snow ball. Right as I was about to throw it I looked up and saw Avery standing next to the slide with a snowball in one hand and a wand in the other.

 

She was throwing the snowball up a few inches before catching it. Her right eyebrow was poised in a teasing way. Before I could throw my snowball she threw hers up and waved her wand, sending the snowball right in my direction and hitting my chest. The snowball came at me hard and I was taken off my feet and landed on the ground. Avery came over and sat on top of my stomach with a victorious look on her face.

 

“Say uncle,” Avery said giggling as she held my arms behind my head.

 

“Never! I will never admit defeat. I am a Marauder, we never lose.”

 

“Say uncle or you'll get another snowball to the face.”

 

“Never!” I declared gathering all my strength as I lifted one leg and turned my body so that Avery was now on the bottom and I was sitting on her chest.

 

“Oi, you hippogriff get off of me!”

 

“Not until you say uncle.”

 

“Hey, you think of your own jokes to pull. Stop stealing mine, you unoriginal monkey-butt.”

 

I laughed loudly at Avery which only caused her to get more mad. I couldn't help but smile as I looked down at her. She wasn't looking at me, she was wiggling her body, trying to get out of my grasp without success. Her eyes were closed as her body rocked side to side, her face contorted in concentration as she tried to escape my hold. Everything that I liked about Avery I felt could be summed up in this moment. Her childlike innocence, her not so cunning name calling, the slightly awkward way that she looks at you as if she's not entirely sure she's supposed to be saying the things coming out of her mouth.

 

After a few minutes Avery stopped her wiggling and looked at me in defeat. Her large brown eyes were shinning as her lips were pulled down in a frown. “Tie?” She suggested innocently, making her eyes larger as if they were pleading.

 

“I guess,” I sighed. Avery's face lit up with a smile and I couldn't help but smile in return. I released my hands from her wrists and moved her damp hair off her face. I leaned down to kiss her but instead of meeting her lips my face was met by a handful of snow. I shook my head and looked at Avery whose face was nothing short of elation as she looked at me. She squealed as she pushed me off of her and ran towards the house.

 

I got myself off of the ground and walked quickly back to the house, I couldn't help but smile. I'd never seen Avery so playful before. I could sense her comfort around me, it was something I'd never seen from her before. She was always so timid and reserved but today she seemed completely at ease with who she was around me.

 

When I entered the house I could see the piles of water that Avery had left when she'd tracked inside. I quickly took off my boots and shook off my jacket following the trail of wet footprints. I followed them until I ended up in the living where Avery, James and Lily were sitting.

 

“Oi Padfoot, what's this I hear about you getting beat up by a girl?” James called from the couch.

 

Avery turned around and gave me a devious smile as she sipped her tea. I walked over to Avery and sat down next to her, putting my arm around shoulders. She moved towards me and lightly rested her head on my shoulder. I felt her relax into my body as she let out a contented sigh. I laced my hands through her hair and found I was completely content just sitting there talking with my mates and girlfriend. As cheesy as it sounds I was really happy in that moment, everything seemed perfect.

 

 

“Oh, they're lovely,” Avery said upon opening my present. Her voice sounded forced and the smile on her face was fake. She held the pearl earrings in her hand and examined them as if not quite sure what to do with them.

 

“You don't like them,” I said defeated as I shrank down in my bed.

 

“It's not that, they are beautiful it's just,” Avery paused and chewed on her bottom lip as she looked at the earrings and debated on what she was going to say. “They're just not really me is all.”

 

I pressed the palms of my hands against my eyes as I leaned back on my bed. “I knew it, I'm a horrible boyfriend.”

 

Avery laid down next to me on the bed and rested her head on my stomach. “No you're not. It's alright, if we stay together we'll have plenty more Christmas's and birthdays.”

 

“If we stay together?” I said removing my hands from my eyes and looking at her.

 

She shrugged, “I can't predict the future Sirius. So I'm sticking with if.” I frowned slightly, it was as if she didn't expect us to last and that made me nervous. She laughed softly and kissed me on the cheek. “Don't worry Sirius, let's not think of the future. Oh, and I have your present to give to you still.”

 

Avery sat up in bed and rummaged in her trunk as she retrieved a square package. She handed it to me and looked a little nervous as I slowly unwrapped the present.

 

“Now before you roll your eyes because it's a book I just want to explain it. This book details Animagi and their functions. I skimmed through it and they have some really useful information. As you continue with your transformations you get stronger and stronger, some have even managed to perform magic while in their animal form. I figured with Remus's transformations and how often one of you wind up injured I thought this would be useful.”

 

I stared at the book in my hands and then looked up at Avery who looked nervous. “It's perfect,” I managed to get out. It really was. Avery clearly put a lot of thought into this present and all I could come up with were pearl earrings? “Now I feel like such a prick for getting you pearl earrings.”

 

Avery laughed and leaned towards me kissing me on the lips. “Don't worry about it, like I said we've got many more holidays together if all goes well. One of these days you'll get it right, if not I'll have to break up with you.” Avery then stretched her arms above her head and a large yawn escaped her mouth. “I think I'm going to head off to bed it's getting late and I have to get up in the morning.”

 

I grabbed Avery around the waist and she turned around to get up from the bed. “Mmm,” I mumbled as I laid my head in the crook of her shoulder and neck. “Just stay here.”

 

“I can't Sirius I don't want to upset Mrs. Potter.”

 

“Fine,” I huffed childishly. Avery giggled and stood up.

 

“I'll see you in the morning,” she said taking her present and walking across the hallway to her bedroom.

 

I sighed and laid in my bed not feeling the same tiredness that had taken over Avery. I felt like a complete fool for thinking that pearl earrings were a sentimental gift. I'd never really had to put a lot of thought into presents before. When I had dated Lelani she was easy to shop for. She wanted red roses on most holidays and a new charm for her charm bracelet. With Avery this felt completely new to me and I knew that roses wouldn't be enough and as far as I knew she didn't have a charm bracelet. I couldn't help but let James' words affect me again as I started to believe that Avery and I didn't know enough about each other to jump into this relationship.

 

With a start I sat up and realized the perfect gift I could give Avery. Quietly I climbed out of bed and tiptoed out of my room and across the hallway. I listened at my doorway to hear for any signs of life, when it seemed like the coast was clear I crossed over to Avery's room and opened her door. I saw Avery curled up in the bed already passed out. She didn't stir as I slowly made my way to her bed. I sat on the edge of her bed, careful not to make large movements. I slipped under the covers and wrapped my arm around her waist.

 

Avery stirred and a soft moan escaped her lips. “Sirius, what are you doing here?”

 

I took a deep breath and tried to steady my voice as I opened my mouth to talk. “The reason why I live with James and not my family is because I ran away last summer and I was blasted off my family tree. In the pureblood community this is as good as disownment.” I paused as I let Avery go over the words I was telling her. She slowly turned towards me and in the darkness I could see her eyes shinning. She looked at me and said nothing, taking this as a sign I continued talking.

 

“I've known since I was young that I was different than my family. While they were off learning about Voldemort and throwing pureblood gatherings I liked to observe, muggles mainly. My parents never talked about muggles, said they were beneath us. As a young kid my curiosity kicked in and I would observe them, write about their habits, see how they lived their lives without the use of magic. One day I was learning how to play this muggle game called dodgeball with a few kids from around the block. My mum came out and saw me, she took me by the arm and dragged me inside yelling at me and telling me if I'm ever caught associating with muggles again I was going to be locked in my room until I was old enough to leave for Hogwarts, I was nine at the time.

 

“Unable to go outside and play with the muggles anymore I observed from the window. One day my Uncle Alphard was over and he caught me staring at the muggles. At first I was embarrassed and tried to deny it but then he told me about how he too associated with muggles. In fact, he lived in a muggle community and was friends with his neighbors who had no knowledge of magic. From him I learned about muggles, about kids born into families who have no magical background. If it weren't for my uncle I don't know where I would be.

 

“When I was of age to attend Hogwarts I was sorted into Gryffindor. You can't even imagine my parents dismay when they found out. When I came home they would lock me in my room, saying they couldn't stand to see my face. I was no longer invited to family gatherings or anything of the sort, they were too embarrassed of me.”

 

“What happened to your Uncle?” Avery asked quietly.

 

“He died last summer,” the words constricted in my throat as I fought back the wave of sadness that was hitting me. I thought that I was over it at this point but as I recalled all he had done for me before the longing for someone I've lost hit me as if I were experiencing it all over again. “He left me all of his inheritance in his will which is why I was finally able to run away from home. James and his family were kind enough to open their door to me. I don't plan on living here forever though, once I graduate I'm going to rent a place of my own.”

 

“What about your brother Regulus? What's happened with him?”

 

I felt my body stiffen and my eyes narrowed into slits. “He's always been the apple of my parents eye. The perfect pureblood son. Even though my parents aren't Death Eaters they may as well be, they certainly believe all that Voldemort is and does and his need for 'blood purification', and my brother is no exception. When he comes of age I know he's going to join Voldemort.”

 

Avery put her hand on my cheek as she looked at me. She finally spoke and her voice was so soft I could barely hear her. “It's not your fault.”

 

She moved her head and kissed me on the lips. Her lips were soft as they pressed against mine. I wrapped my arms tighter around her body and held her close to me, even after the kiss hard broken.

 

We laid in her bed for a long time, both of us awake but not saying anything. My arm was wrapped around Avery's stomach as my free hand idly played with her hair. I don't know how long it took but exhaustion eventually took over me and I fell asleep.

 

A/N: There were some heavy revisions made to chapter 15. A lot of people were confused so I tried to straighten out things. I added over 1,000 words so go back and read the last scene to make more sense of things :)

 

Alright so weird place to end it, I know but I wasn't sure how to end it so I decided with this. I really struggled writing this chapter, I'm not used to writing fluff and I felt awkward while writing it. I tried to incorporate personal experiences to make it more real but I'm not so sure about the end result. I just wanted to show a good day for Avery and Sirius, one not filled with drama or awkward moments. This is how the beginning stages of a relationship are, filled with sweet moments and time spent getting to know each other so I hope I portrayed that well :) This is also my longest chapter yet! Tell me what you think :)


Chapter 17: The New Year
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Chapter 17: The New Year

 

Friday December 31st, 8:34 pm

 

I held a picture in my hand, turning it over between my fingers and smiling at the captured memory. It was the picture Creevy had taken of me, Sirius and James after the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. Sirius and James both had their arms wrapped around my shoulders and we were all smiling and laughing. Ever since I had gotten that picture I'd carried it almost everywhere with me. I figure I should frame it, keep it intact. But there's something I like about carrying it in my back pocket and having it at my disposal for whenever I want.

 

“Avery, come downstairs we're already going to be late.” My mom's voice traveled to my bedroom..

 

I sighed and folded the picture in half, carefully putting it in the pocket of my purse. I sighed and pushed off from the bed, allowing myself one last look in the mirror before going downstairs and meeting my parents.

 

“We mustn't keep everyone waiting, its rude.” My mum insisted as soon as I reached her. She was digging into her purse and didn't look me in the eyes. After a few moments of searching she came out with lipstick and turned to a mirror, applying a thick layer on her lips. She then fluffed her hair and smiled into the mirror before turning to me.

 

“Mum, it's a large party for New Years, I doubt people are going crazy over the fact we're five minutes late.”

 

My mom's smile dropped from her face as she gave me a disapproving look. “Those boys you've been hanging around with have sure made you more vocalized. That boy I saw you kissing at the train station, who was it again?”

 

I rolled my eyes and tapped my foot against the floor impatiently, “Mum we've gone over this a hundred times already. Sirius is my boyfriend, just because he's a Black doesn't mean that he's a bad person through association.”

 

“I just know of the Black's, never had the displeasure of meeting them myself, but from what I've heard they are not the friendliest family.” Despite the fact that my mom is a muggle she immediately threw herself into the gossip concerning the magic world. Few wizards are willing to share information with her because she is a muggle, but she has a few close magic friends that love to gossip over tea and crumpets as much as she does.

 

“Sylvia dear, let's not get into this again. Avery has assured us time and time again that Sirius should not be compared to his family.”

 

I smiled gratefully at my father as he grabbed onto my mom and I while my dad disapparated us to the party. I felt the tugging on my navel and the familiar feeling of being compressed and then released within in a matter of seconds. I always hated apparating, I always feel nauseous and dizzy.

 

I took a moment to regain my footing before I followed my parents through a large set of oak doors. I gasped when we stepped inside the large banquet hall. It kind of reminded me of Hogwarts, over the top and beautiful. In true Italian fashion everything was bright and gaudy. There were gold statues littering corners of the room, a fountain in the middle of the room, and black curtains that set off all the gold in the room.

 

A man dressed in a tuxedo greeted us at the door and escorted us to our table. We were seated with six other people. There was a young couple there and a family with two kids. I noticed one of the boys was around my age, he looked bored as he played with his napkin and made it into a origami crane. My parents were talking to the young couple next to us as I slowly sipped on champagne. I looked around the room and wished I was anywhere but here. James and Sirius were having a small party at James' house and I wish I was there to celebrate the New Year with my boyfriend and friends.

 

I glanced around the room trying to find something to hold my interest. Without anything to do my mind automatically drifted to Sirius. When he told me about his family I had felt so close to him in that moment. At first I was scared, he had such a history and I was just wondering how that's going to affect his relationships later on in life. But then I remembered how vulnerable he was, how completely open he was to me. I could hear his unsure voice waver as he told the story, and something about it made me believe that only James and I knew the full extent of his family history.

 

As the days passed I could feel myself falling for him. I don't love him, I wouldn't say that, we had so much more to experience as a couple before I could say I loved him. But I felt this longing for him that I had never felt for anyone else. When I was away from him my heart literally hurt, and when I would close my eyes and think of him I would reach out for him only for him not the be there. And when I was with him my heart would speed up and never seemed to slow down. It was like being with Sirius taught me to breathe differently.

 

At the same time I felt frustrated that I was so dependent on Sirius to make me happy. I had always considered myself a very independent person, lonely, but independent. I would have never thought four months ago I would be sitting here missing my boyfriend, missing Sirius Black.

 

I shook my head and put a forced smile on my face, trying to enjoy the night. Truth be told most of the holiday hadn't been that enjoyable. My parents, being the social climbers that they are, have made me attend parties almost every night. I shook hands with people I would not remember once I've left Italy, and I drunk so much champagne that as soon as I leave here I'm never touching the stuff again. To pass the time I had been working on my assignment for Care of Magical Creatures. I was pretty proud of my suggestion to help the Venislew and hoped that even if I didn't get chosen to promote the idea to the VRS that I would at least get an O.

 

“Avery, care to dance?” I looked up and saw my father standing in front of me with his hand extended out towards me. I smiled and gratefully took it as my father led me onto the dance floor. “You're not having much fun, are you?”

 

I sighed and shook my head, “I don't mean to come off as sour but these kind of events are more of mum's thing.”

 

“It's the only world your mum knows. She was raised by her parents where they had someone over to dinner almost every night and she had to dress up and always reman poised. You're so unlike her and I just don't think she understands that this isn't what you want.”

 

“I know,” I whispered, still unhappy with the circumstances.

 

“So, when are we going to meet this boy Sirius?”

 

“We haven't been dating long at all, I don't want to introduce him to the family yet and scare him off.”

 

My father chuckled and his smile caused a crinkle around his eyes. I'd never noticed the lines before, I wonder how long he's had them for. “You must really care about him, seeing as he's been the only thing you've talked about all of holiday.”

 

“Sorry,” I said embarrassed. “I don't mean to.”

 

“No need, I remember how it is to be young and in love.”

 

“I'm not in love with him, dad.”

 

“You're not?”

 

“No,” I shook my head. “Love grows in time. Love is when you've experienced not only the good in the person but the bad and learn to accept it. Love doesn't come that easily.”

 

My dad threw back his head and laughed. “You're so much like your mother sometimes. You can't calculate love, you can't decide when it's time to fall in love with the person. Love happens, it sort of springs up on you without warning or reason.”

 

“When did you become such a wealth of knowledge?”

 

“When love happens to you Avery you'll know. You can't explain it and you shouldn't try. Just let it happen.”

 

“Thanks dad,” I said smiling at him. This was one of the first times my dad had ever opened up to me. My dad and I have always gotten along but usually it was in terms of sports or food, never about love and relationships. I felt a closeness to him that I had never felt before and I was infinitely grateful for having him in my life.

 

“Speaking of which, I should find your mother.”

 

“Right,” I said pulling away from him.

 

He looked at me up and down curiously before sighing and running a hand through his greying hair. “I think that you've paid your dues here, I think I can hold off your mother so you can join your friends.”

 

“Really?” I practically shouted as I threw my arms around my dad's neck and hugged him. “Thank you dad, I love you.”

 

“Love you too, I'll hold off your mum for you.”

 

I smiled gratefully and ran out to the balcony before apparating back to the cottage we had been staying in for break. I pushed through the dizziness and nausea as a result of apparating as I threw my things into my trunk. I then took my trunk and threw it into the fireplace before stepping in after it and throwing the floo powder down and shouting, 'Potter manor'.

 

Within seconds I was coughing from fireplace residue. I stepped out of the fireplace and found myself faced with a large group of adults all staring at me as I tried to dust myself off.

 

“Avery,” came Mrs. Potters voice as she stepped through the large crowd to meet me. “I didn't know we were expecting you, James never mentioned it.”

 

“I'm sorry this was sort of last minute, I hope you don't mind.”

 

“Of course not, you are welcome anytime. Should I call down the boys?”

 

“No, no that's fine I'll find them. Where are they?”

 

“They've camped out in James' room. Apparently this scene is damaging their reputation.” Mrs. Potter rolled her eyes as she tutted. “When you go upstairs tell James that I saw him sneaking two bottles of firewhiskey up to his room and that if there is any damage upstairs it's coming out of his pocket.”

 

I laughed as I started towards the stairs, dragging my trunk behind me. “I'll keep them in line Mrs. Potter, you don't have to worry.”

 

Mrs. Potter gave me one last smile before disappearing in the throng of people. As I neared the top of the stairs I could hear many voices coming from James' room. I smiled as I recognized Sirius's loud laughter and I quickened my speed as I walked upstairs. I threw my trunk inside of the room I had stayed in last time, noticing there was already another trunk in there. My heart beat quickened as I neared James' door. I took an excited breath as I swung open his door. The site in front of me however, made me stop in my spot as everyone's head turned towards me.

 

“Sirius Black, what the hell are you doing?” I exclaimed as I took in my boyfriend.

 

“Avery, love!” Sirius declared as he stumbled over towards me, clad in a bright red bra and a bottle of firewhiskey in his hand. He finally reached me and threw his arms around me. “I really hope I'm not more drunk than I think I am and you're a hallucination.”

 

“No, I'm real,” I said looking over Sirius's shoulder and at everyone in the room who were bursting from laughter. “What have you done to my boyfriend?” I said pointing an accusing finger at James.

 

“Me? I don't control the things he does.”

 

“Lily leant me her bra, isn't she a sweetheart?” Sirius said looking over at Lily and blowing her a kiss.

 

“Why did you lend him your bra Lily?”

 

Lily shrugged as she giggled. Her cheeks were a shade of red and she swayed slightly in place. Oh Merlin, drunk Lily and I never mix well. “He said he wanted to feel more feminine and wondered what it would be like to have boobs so I gave him the next best thing; a bra.”

 

“See,” Sirius said as he nuzzled into my shoulder. “Lily was just helping me out. She's so lovely, but not as lovely as you.” Sirius said planting a sloppy kiss on my lips.

 

“Can we get some water in him?” I asked as I peeled Sirius away from me and helped him towards everyone and sat him on the ground.

 

“I've been trying,” Remus said as we looked at Sirius who was blowing bubbles with his mouth. “But for every sip of water he takes he takes two shots of firewhiskey.”

 

“It's only ten o'clock, this is just sad.” I said laughing as Sirius laid on his back and started rolling around while making bird noises. I leaned over Sirius and took the firewhiskey out of his hand and replaced it with a bottle of water Remus had given me. Sirius was so busy rolling around on his back that he didn’t notice the exchange. “Let's hope he's sober enough to remember the rest of the night by midnight.”

 

I looked around the room and took everyone in. Everyone's eyes were glazed over and they all had dopy looks on their faces. I realized that everyone else was completely sloshed, although not as bad as Sirius. Remus was probably the only one aside from me who was sober for the most part. I had had about four flutes of champagne which had gotten me mildly buzzed, but the sensation was slowly ebbing away. James and Lily were leaning against each other as James watched Sirius in amusement. Peter was looking between me and Sirius while swaying lightly.

 

“So what are you doing here Avery? I'm pretty sure that if Sirius knew you were coming there would be a parade thrown in your honor,” James said before hiccuping.

 

“Decided to surprise you guys, should've come earlier, might have prevented Sirius from making bird noises.”

 

“He's just having a bit of fun,” James said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I declare you get to our level rather then us reaching your level of sobriety.”

 

I took one look at James and then at Sirius and shrugged, basically saying to hell with it before taking a shot of firewhiskey.

 

An hour, five shots of firewhiskey, and a choreographed dance later all of us are downstairs and socializing with the adults who are equally, if not more, sloshed than us. James had an arm around his father and together they were signing 99 bottles of butterbeer on the wall. Around 97 butterbeers people tuned them out. Sirius had sobered up a bit in the past hour. We were both on the same level of being drunk without losing control. For him this meant he was no longer wearing a bra or making bird noises.

 

“I think I'm sober enough to determine you aren't a mirage,” Sirius said to me as we hung back from the loud party.

 

“Aside from the fact we aren't in a desert yes, I do believe it's a practical assumption to say I'm not a mirage.” I giggled as I kissed him.

 

“Mmm, the taste of firewhiskey, lovely.”

 

“Shove it,” I said pushing him away.

 

“Oi, you two lovebirds come out of your corner and join the rest of us,” Remus called. I looked over and laughed at the site of Remus dancing with one of Mrs. Potter's friends Mrs. Partington who was flushed and looked like she was enjoying herself while her husband stood off to the side looking thoroughly pissed.

 

“I bet five galleons that Remus is going to fight Mrs. Partington's husband,” James said to Sirius as we neared him.

 

“What? It's Remus we're talking about. He's the most passive person I've ever met.” I said coming to Remus's defense as he twirled Mrs. Partington who was giggling in delight.

 

“That's because you've never heard the story of Winter Bash of '76.”

 

“The Winter Bash of '76?” I asked looking between Sirius and James.

 

“It was the first time Remus had ever tried firewhiskey.” James said. “Let's just say the next morning we found him tangled in my Christmas Tree with a sign around his neck that said 'Feed the Wizard,' with a gerbil running around him. In one hand he held a plunger and in the other he held a bar of chocolate with lipstick kisses trailing his face.”

 

“Well under those circumstances shouldn't someone stop him?”

 

All of us looked at Remus who had a line of middle aged women waiting to dance with him. James and Sirius looked at each other and shrugged before saying, “nah.”

 

At two in the morning people finally called it a night and Mr. Potter helped his stumbling wife into bed. Mrs. Partington had tried to take Remus home with her but her husband quickly put a stop to that, leaving Remus sleeping alone on the couch with a new years hat dangling around his neck. Lily and I were sharing the bedroom and I felt awkward as I stripped down to an oversized t-shirt and underwear to sleep in. I was laying on the ground debating on sneaking over to Sirius's room when Lily spoke up.

 

“I wanted to thank you,” she said quietly as the darkness made her invisible to my eyes.

 

“For what?”

 

“For basically getting James and I together.”

 

I shrugged despite the fact she couldn't see my gesture, “it was long overdue.”

 

“Well thank you for giving up your relationship with him in order for us to be together.”

 

“Well, I knew I was only a temporary fix until you came around. It was better I ended it first before he made a fool of me, right?”

 

“Right. Besides, things seem to be working out well for you now anyway. You and Sirius are getting along rather well.”

 

“Yeah, we are,” I couldn't help but smile. “I never would've thought going into my seventh year I would wind up here.”

 

“Funny how life works out,” Lily said as loud yawn escaped her mouth. “Well, I'm knackered I'll see you in the morning Avery.”

 

“Night.” I whispered as I turned on my side and tried to sleep but found it impossible to do so. After twenty minutes I heard Lily's breathing even out and whispered her name to see if she was asleep. After no response from her I slowly got out from the bed and tiptoed to the door, opening it slowly and slipping out. I was shutting the door and turned around only to slam into a chest. I stifled a scream as I looked up and saw James looking down at me.

 

“James, what are you doing?” I asked panicked.

 

“I could ask you the same question,” he said smiling and quirking an eyebrow. “Sneaking off to Sirius's room are we? Scantily clad in only a t-shirt and knickers.”

 

“Look whose talking James, I can only wonder where you were going.”

 

James' eyes darted before he looked at me and said in a low whisper, “I won't tell if you wont tell.”

 

“Deal,” I concluded before I slipped by him and walked into Sirius's room.

 

I was surprised when I walked into the room that the light was still on and Sirius was wide awake reading the book I had given him for Christmas. I noticed that he was just down to his boxers and I suddenly felt self conscious in my t-shirt and knickers.

 

Sirius looked at me and quirked an eyebrow, “nice polar bear knickers,” he remarked. I turned red as I pulled my t-shirt down and walked over to his bed, sliding in and cuddling up to his bare chest. “Did Lily scare you off?” He asked as he kissed the top of my head and closed the book, setting it on his dresser.

 

“Actually no, she thanked me for essentially bringing her and James together. If they get married I better be maid of honor or I'm going to be seriously pissed.”

 

Sirius laughed and I could feel his chest move under my head. “Well, I'm going to be best man so at least I now know that I'll have a hot date for the wedding.”

 

“You're so sure that you're going to be his best man?”

 

Sirius laughed and flicked my head, “the only way I wouldn't be his best men was if I were dead.”

 

“Well let's hope someone doesn't want that title more than you and strikes you dead.”

 

Sirius laughed and ran a hand through my hair. “Tomorrow I was thinking of looking for flats to rent after I leave Hogwarts, do you want to come with me?”

 

I froze and stared at the wall ahead of me. I could feel my heart beat pick up and my breathing became shallow. He was asking me to look at places for him to live? What did he mean by this? Does this mean he's thinking of us living together after Hogwarts? That's looking really far into the future, I don't think I'm ready for that. I'm still worried about going to school Monday and everyone finding out that Sirius and I are dating and James and Lily are together. I was only hoping that James and Lily's relationship would overshadow ours. But now he throws this at me, a place for him to live where I could possibly be living. I'm not ready for this, I'm only seventeen, I still laugh at sausages and the word uranus. I couldn't possibly make the adult decision to move in with someone.

 

“Avery, love, are you still with me?” Sirius asked as he shook me slightly.

 

“Oh um, yeah,” I responded weakly.

 

“Are you alright ? You seem weird right now.”

 

“It's just, you want to go house shopping...with me.”

 

“What?” Sirius asked honestly confused. He looked at me for a moment before realization seemed to dawn on his face and his mouth formed into and O. “Avery don't think too much about it. I'm not asking you to move in with me. Although judging from your reaction I should never ask you to live with me.”

 

“No, I mean, yes I mean...sod, yes I'll look at houses with you tomorrow.”

 

Sirius laughed and kissed me. “I'm glad that's settled now.”

 

“I'm sorry I didn't mean to freak out, it's just a lot to take in, you know? I'm not saying I wouldn't ever not to live with you, I just think you know it's too soon and that we could be rushing things. I don't want rush anything because I mean then if we rush then we'll be left with nothing left to look forward to. And then we'll twenty five and having already hit our prime and we'll hate it each other for it and-”

 

“Avery,” Sirius said silencing me with a kiss. I sighed and rolled my eyes. I was doing that thing I do when I get nervous and tend to ramble. “We'll talk about it when the time comes, yeah?”

 

“Right,” I said sighing. “I got a little carried away.”

 

“I know,” Sirius said kissing me again.

 

“And I tend to ramble.”

 

“I know,” Sirius repeated as he began kissing down my neck.

 

“A-a-and then things don't make sense.” I said in a gasp as Sirius's sucked on my earlobe and continued the trail of kissed down my neck.

 

“I know,” Sirius whispered as he came back up from my neck and kissed me on the lips.

 

Sirius positioned his body so that it was hovering over mine as the kiss deepened. I could feel every part of my body heat up as Sirius continued to deepen the kiss. Every part of my body felt like it was exploding as his hand traveled under my back and pulled me towards him. I arched my back to get closer to him and he responded by pushing back into me. I moaned softly against his lips which only pushed him more as he opened his mouth and pried mine open with his tongue. His tongue grazed my top lip before the tips of our tongues met, creating an electrifying sensation.

 

His hand danced along my bare thigh and continued to travel up. His fingers toyed with the hem of my shirt before moving up to my bare waist. Suddenly reality seemed to grip me and I pushed away from him.

 

“I'm sorry, I'm not ready I can't yet,” I said fumbling over my words. Sirius looks up at me and is blushing as if it were his fault somehow. “Are you mad?”

 

“No, just, pull your shirt down.” Sirius says through clenched teeth.

 

“What?” I said reaching out to touch his face but he pulled back as if my hand were covered in warts.

 

“Just don't touch me right now,” he said. His cheeks turned an even brighter shade of red as he looked down and I looked down at his-oh my...

 

“I'm sorry I didn't mean for it to be so big! I mean, it's really hard-sod.”

 

“It's ok Avery, I just...I need to go to the bathroom.” Sirius awkwardly stood up and kept his back to me as he darted to the bathroom. I heard the shower running and felt awkward. I didn't know what to do or where to go. Deciding it would be awkward to stay I left Sirius's room and opened the door to my room. I looked inside and saw James and Lily sleeping on the bed together.

 

Sod.

 

The next room I came to was the hallway bathroom. Well, it is empty. I gathered all of the towels and fashioned them into a makeshift bed as I laid down in there and curled up trying to fall asleep.

 

~*~

 

The next morning I was awakened with a start when the words, 'what the hell' were screeched.

 

“What? Hippogriff poop!” I declared as I bolted awake and twisted my body trying to wake up.

 

“Avery, what the hell are you doing in the bathtub?” I rubbed my eyes with the back of my palms and let my eyes adjust to the light. Once my vision cleared up I looked at the entrance of the door and saw Lily standing there with her arms crossed over her chest.

 

“Oh um, bathtubs remind me of a womb.”

 

“Are you trying to tell me you're pregnant?”

 

“What? No!” I said my cheeks turning a bright shade of red.

 

“Right,” Lily said still curious about the situation but not pushing it any farther. “Well, I've got to use the loo so would you mind getting out please?”

 

“Right, of course,” I said quickly stepping out of the bathtub. I walked back to the room I shared with Lily and opened the door. I squealed a little when I saw Sirius sitting at the edge of my bed looking at me expectantly.

 

“Where did you run off to last night?” He asked in a stony voice.

 

“Oh, er the bathtub was calling my name.”

 

“You slept in the bathtub?” The corners of Sirius's lips were twitching as if he wanted to smile but he quickly dismissed any feelings of laughter and went back to his stony stature. “Why did you leave?”

 

I looked down at my feet and felt like a child. I was trying to avoid the situation and I felt like I was being scolded for eating a cookie before breakfast. “I was embarrassed.”

 

“So instead of talking about the subject you ran away?” I nodded my head and Sirius sighed as he walked over to me. “You can't run away anymore, alright? When you were fake dating James it was alright for you to run away because it didn't really matter, but now it matters, now it counts. So please, don't run away anymore.”

 

I looked up and Sirius was now standing less than a foot away from me. His stony expression was gone and he now looked gentle and more inviting. “I'll try.”

 

“Okay,” he smiled and kissed me on the forehead. “Hurry up and get ready. I have set a few appointments today to look at flats.”

 

“Oh right,” I said completely forgetting that we were house hunting today. And by we, I meant him with me accompanying him. Not a we as in we're looking for a place together. Right. Stop rambling.

 

Twenty minutes later I bounded downstairs where Sirius was sitting with Mr. Potter sipping coffee and talking about an article Mr. Potter was reading in the newspaper. I poured myself a cup of coffee and took a long sip, savoring it's taste. I twisted my neck and sighed. I had about a hundred knots in my neck as a result from sleeping in a bathtub all night.

 

“Ready to go?” Sirius asked as I drained the last bit of my coffee. I set down my cup and nodded my head. Sirius reached out and took my hand and withdrew his wand. I felt a tug at my navel and within seconds we were standing in the middle of an unfamiliar living room. I leaned against the nearest wall as I tried to get rid of the dizziness.

 

“You alright?” Sirius asked placing a hand on my lower back.

 

“Yeah, I'm fine, I just don't like apparating.” I told him as I pushed away from the wall and took a deep breath. “So, is this the first place?” I asked looking around the room.

 

“Yep, looks like the realtor isn't here yet.” Sirius said as he looked around searching for other signs of life. “Well we may as well get started.

 

The living room was small, could probably only hold a couch and a chair. There was one hallway that led to a small bathroom. The bedroom was slightly bigger than the living room but not by much. The only redeeming part about the flat was that large windows filtered in a lot of sunlight, creating a bright atmosphere in the room.

 

We had just finished looking at the flat when we heard a pop from in the living room. We walked inside and saw a woman dressed in a red business suit.

 

“Ah, Sirius so good to see you again.” She smiled broadly as Sirius and I walked into the living room. “And who do you have with you?”

 

“This is my girlfriend Avery, Avery this is my realtor Gretchen.”

 

Gretchen stepped forward and shook my hand. “Very nice to meet you Avery, are you two looking for a house together?”

 

“No,” Sirius quickly said. “She's just here to help me look for a place.”

 

“Alright, well what do you think of this flat?”

 

“It's a little small and I was looking for a place surrounding, if not in London.”

 

“Alright well then grab onto my hand and I'll take you to the next flat.”

 

I groaned as I laced my hand with Sirius's and felt the tug at my navel. The apartment we landed in was very dark. The wood was a dark mahogany and had a completely opposite feel to the other flat. It was bigger and had more space. It had a dinning room along with a living room and the kitchen was newly remodeled with a large bedroom and closet space.

 

“What do you think?” Gretchen asked after giving us a tour.

 

“It's very...dark.” Sirius responded as he glanced around.

 

“People often mistake dark for comfortable and homey. And it's in London right by Oxford street which has the best shopping. It's muggle and wizard friendly, an interesting mix of both.”

 

“I don't think this is what I'm looking for.”

 

“That's alright, onto the next one. It's only a block from here, would you be alright with walking?”

 

“Yes,” I said quickly, the thought of apparating one more time had my stomach churning.

 

We walked outside and the city was buzzing with life. I felt a rush of livelihood as people passed by us. I looked at all the little shops and the people that were shopping in them. We turned a corner and the scene changed. It became a market full of fresh fruits and clothing from all over the world. People were rushing around in all the shops and I found myself staring in awe in all that was going on. I wanted to run to all the shops and look at them.

 

As we passed the market we came upon some more little clothing shops and coffee shops. The smell of coffee hit my nose and I happily breathed in the scent. Right next to the coffee shop we came to a stop in front of a apartment complex that was all stone in lovely shades of blues and browns. The building was old and had ivy crawling up the sides.

 

Gretchen led us towards the stone building and stopped in front of a light blue door. She retrieved keys from her pocket and swung open the door. We walked up to the top of the staircase which was only on the third floor before she opened the door again and revealed the flat to us.

 

It took all my strength to not gasp as I looked inside the flat. The floors were a grey white with a high rafted ceiling. The walls were a white brick with a large arched window facing the city. The kitchen was filled with white worn down looking cupboards. Despite the fact that it looked worn down I thought it fit the place perfectly. The bedroom was of the same design with white brick walls and white grey flooring. A large fireplace was at the end of the room across from where the bed would be. There were three large windows placed around the bedroom. I looked out of one of the windows that faced the backyard and there was a small garden.

 

We were then led to the bathroom which was white as well with a large claw-foot bathtub as it's center piece. The sink was sitting underneath a window and a mirror hung off the walls to the right of the sink.

 

I was in love with the flat. I could see myself living here. Decorating the apartment, making it my own. If Sirius didn’t buy this place I would. I don't care how many organs I would have to sell in order to buy this flat.

 

As I turned around to meet Sirius's eyes I tried to hide my excitement incase he didn't feel the same way. “What do you think?” I asked trying to keep my voice contained.

 

“It's alright,” Sirius shrugged as he looked at the high ceilings.

 

“Just alright? Are you daft! It's perfect.” I shut my mouth once I'd realized my gushing. Sirius smiled at me and looked at me in a teasing way and I crossed my arms over my chest once I realized he had been messing with me.

 

“How much is it?” Sirius asked Gretchen.

 

Gretchen hesitated as she looked at the papers on the house. “It's a little over your budget.”

 

I could feel my heart drop after she'd said it was over budget. Although I couldn't figure out why I felt so invested in this flat. It wasn't as if I were going to be living here, unless Sirius said no to buying the flat and then I sold my organs and possibly some skin grafts.

 

“How much?”

 

“1,200£, so that would make it 200£ over your budget.”

 

Sirius looked around the apartment once again and was silent for what felt like the longest minute of my life. He looked at me once before and back to Gretchen before finally say, “I'll take it.”

 

A/N: Alright so I know a lot didn't really happen in this chapter but it was mainly kind of a light hearted chapter filled with drunk Remus :P And just developing Avery and Sirius's relationship. And so much fluffy fluff fluff I puked a little while writing this, I'm sorry. Only a few more chapters of this... I hope you all don't hate me... 


Chapter 18: Sneak Attack
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Chapter 18: Sneak Attack

 

Sunday January 2nd 1978 7:55 pm

 

When Sirius and I walked into the Great Hall I had anticipated the initial reaction from everyone, with their whispering and stares. I had hoped that James and Lily's new relationship would take away from the spotlight of my relationship but no such luck. When people saw James and Lily together their whispers were 'I saw this coming from a hundred miles away.' When people whispered about me and Sirius it was, 'wasn't she just dating James Potter? I heard that she used James to get Sirius. I heard that her parents manufacture hippogriff manure.'

 

It seemed me dating Sirius was much more gossip worthy than when I had dated James. I don't know why this was so surprising. Sirius was the relationship type, he had dated Lelani for a year and a half. Him settling down wasn't exactly a shock, well maybe it was because he was settling down with me. Me, the quiet introspective girl who could often be found in a corner tripping over various objects and mumbling to herself.

 

I didn't let their whispers get to me though, after 'dating' James I had learned to tune them out. Nothing seemed to bother me anymore with Sirius, as corny as it sounded. I felt totally content and sure of who I was when I was with him, aside from our heavy snogging which Sirius wanted to take further but I wasn't ready. I didn't feel pressured by him to go further but I wondered how long he would wait. It was no secret that he wasn't a virgin, but up until a few months ago I hadn't even had my first kiss. Sirius and I were still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship and I didn't want to take things too far too soon.

 

I guess I was worried about him growing bored of me. The girls he usually went for were spunky, witty and outgoing, not to mention the best looking girls in the entire school. Girls who seemed perfect and like they had everything going for them, but Sirius would constantly assure me that they were all insanely insecure and their insecurities ultimately ruined the relationship. I started to worry because I had so many insecurities about our relationship and I was trying to hide them but every now and then my insecurities would come out.

 

Tonight I was sitting on a couch in the common rooms reading a poetry book my mum had given me for Christmas, the writer was Pablo Neruda. After the Slytherins had attacked Sirius and I the night of Slughorn's party I got off without any detentions, as I was shoved into a closet and not part of the fight, but Sirius and James got a weeks worth of detention and each Slytherin got another month of detention.

 

I lifted my head and looked around the common room. It was crowded, everyone was catching up from Winter Break and the room was buzzing with life. Remus was sitting next to me on the couch reading a book, his eyebrows furrowed as he concentrated. I had my feet resting under Remus's legs to keep them warm. When it got cold it didn't seem to matter how many layers of clothing I had on, my feet and hands would always remain freezing. My mum says I have poor blood circulation. I looked up information on poor blood circulation and found that that can often lead to heart complications later in life. Whenever I noticed my hands or feet becoming particularity cold I would lay my hand on my heart to make sure it was beating properly. I don't know if this technique was accurate but it would calm me until the next time I panicked.

 

“I would avoid our dormitory for the rest of the year,” Lily said as she sat on the table across from me and Remus.

 

“Who me or Remus?” I asked smirking at my remark which only earned an eye roll from Lily.

 

“Heather is positively livid with you.”

 

“What, me, why?”

 

“She says you stole Sirius from her.”

 

“Were they even dating? And besides, Sirius came to me that night.”

 

Lily shrugged and folded her hands in her lap. “She's going crazy right now, I've never seen her like this. She's also blaming me for not putting a stop to it. Honestly, I'm a girl but even I don't understand our gender at times.”

 

“Try being a man and dealing with that everyday,” Remus said from behind his book.

 

“We're not that bad,” I scoffed.

 

Remus looked at me from behind his bangs and closed his book on his finger, straightening himself on the couch before talking. “Not that bad you say? How would you like it if we flirted with other girls in order to get your attention? Of course, there's a flaw in that plan seeing as how if we see you flirting with other guys then we will assume that you like them and not us. It's honestly the worst tactic ever invented by females, here's an idea; if you like us then flirt with us not another bloke!” Remus was breathing slightly heavily as he finished his speech. His eyes were narrowed into slits and his cheeks were flushed.

 

“Er, Remus, having some girl troubles are you?”

 

“No,” Remus said quickly. He then sighed and ran a hand through his hair, “maybe a little. Ferrah and I hit it off so well at Slughorn's party and we owled a few times over break but then today I tried talking to her and she acted uninterested. I just don't understand women.”

 

“Typical hard to get move,” Lily concluded. “All you have to do is ignore her and she'll come crawling back to you.”

 

“That's an awful way to get a guy's attention.”

 

Lily shrugged, “this may be true, but it's how girls have dealt with crushes since the dawn of time so you just have to learn to deal with it.”

 

“A guy should just be able to walk up to a girl and be like; hey I fancy you, you're mildly interesting. Care to go on a date with me?”

 

“Hitting on my girlfriend are you Moony?” Sirius said as he came up from behind Remus and clapped him on the shoulder. “I can share her if you want, you can have her on Sundays.”

 

I laughed as Sirius came and sat behind me on the armrest wrapping his arms around my shoulders. I could feel by heart beat quicken and my cheeks redden, I wonder if his effect on me will ever fade.

 

“Remus is having a few girl troubles.” I explained to Sirius and James.

 

“Aw Moony, girls are easy. Just tell them they're beautiful and they'll melt like puddy in your hands.” James added.

 

“Oh yeah, because that worked out so well for you Prongs,” Remus said with an eye roll. “How long did it take you to get Lily? Six years, was it?”

 

“If you are going to talk to me that way I'm just going to leave,” James said standing up and marching up to the boy's dormitory. Lily rolled her eyes and followed behind him.

 

“What are you reading?” Sirius asked as he picked up the book from my lap. “Pablo Neruda? I didn't know you spoke Spanish,” Sirius said laughing at his own joke.

 

I took my book back and held it close to me. “It's actually translated from Spanish to English, and I'll have you know his poetry is beautiful.”

 

“Oh yeah?” Sirius said as he slid down on the couch so he was sitting next to me. “Read me one of his poems.”

 

“You guys are disgusting, I'm leaving before I vomit.” Remus said as he got up from the couch and went upstairs.

 

“Well go ahead,” Sirius said nudging my book and looking at me earnestly.

 

I sighed and licked my lips, “oh alright. I'll read you my favorite one then.” I thumbed through the pages until I found my favorite poem, taking a deep breath before reading.



I love you simply, Without problems or pride.

I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving you, but in this, in which there is no I or you.

 

I closed the book and looked up at Sirius whose expression was unreadable. He stared at me with no trace of emotion reading on his face. He then broke out into a smile and put his arm around my shoulder, “you can be such a girl sometimes, you know that?”

 

 

I was looking curiously at Sirius during lunch the next day. He hadn't said anything all throughout lunch. Instead he was staring at the Slytherin table with a pensive look on his face. I could see something working behind his eyes, as if he were calculating an arithmacy problem. “Snivellus is rather interested in the Shrieking Shack, isn't he?” Sirius said tearing his eyes away from the Slytherin table and looking at James.

 

“Why do you ask Padfoot?” James asked warily as he questioned his friend's intentions.

 

Sirius shrugged and twirled his fork on his plate. “I heard him talking about it with Bellatrix the other day. He seemed really curious about it.”

 

“Well it is the most haunted building in all of England,” Remus said with a knowing smirk as he looked at his friends.

 

Sirius laughed and dropped his fork, “right.” He chuckled and seemed to drop the subject all together, leaving me unsure of where the conversation had been going.

 

“Looks like its time for Potions,” I said heavily as I packed up my things. This was the one class I had with all the Marauders. As we walked to class Sirius was unusually quiet and kept his head towards the ground, lost in his thoughts. I didn't have time to ask him what was going on however once we'd reached Slughorn's class. He gave me a quick kiss on the cheek as I went and joined Nial.

 

“You rebound quickly.” Nial said once I'd approached the table. I sighed heavily and was about to tell him to get off my case because everyone seemed to be giving me crap for dating Sirius but once I met Nial's eyes I saw he was being playful.

 

I smiled and shrugged, “well you know me, I like my men fast and rotating.”

 

Nial laughed, “it's about time you and Sirius got together.”

 

I looked at Nial strangely, “what are you talking about? It was a surprise to me when it happened.”

 

Nial smirked and gave me a side glance as if he knew something that I didn't. “Should you be so surprised Avery?” He said in a condescending voice as he got the ingredients that were posted on the black board. Unable to hide my interest I followed him to the cupboard.

 

“What are you talking about Nial?”

 

Nial turned around, his arms full of ingredients, and shrugged as he passed by me. “Oh, nothing.” He said dismissively.

 

“Nial, if you don't want an arse for a face I suggest you tell me.”

 

Nial laughed loudly as he added the first ingredients to the cauldron. “Well, the night of the party, when you were sufficiently sloshed, you divulged another detail about your life that I hadn't mentioned.”

 

“Oh, and what was that?”

 

“That you fancied Sirius.”

 

“What!” I exclaimed. The news Nial had just told me coming as a shock. I had only known him for a few weeks by then, I was still recovering from the fact that I was talking to men.

 

“Well, you were in the process of fancying. You said you weren't so sure yet.”

 

“Why didn't you tell me before?”

 

Nial shrugged as I crushed up a beetle and threw it into the cauldron. “What's the fun in telling people of their secret crush when discovery is the best part? Besides, it looks like things worked out for you anyway.”

 

I couldn't help but smile. Anytime I was reminded, or thought about the fact that Sirius and I were together I felt consumed with happiness. I looked back at Sirius and saw he was looking in my direction, although not at me. He was glaring at Nial and I rolled my eyes. Boys and their testosterone issues. He must've sensed me looking at home however and switched his glance over to me. He broke out into a large smile but his attention was diverted when his potion's partner, a girl from Ravenclaw, nudged him to pay attention.

 

At the end of the lesson our potion came out a light green instead of the dark green it was supposed to be. Nial and I shrugged not really caring as we bottled up the final result. After I packed my things I walked over to Sirius who was bottling up his potion which was a perfect shade of dark green.

 

“Want me to wait for you?” I asked Sirius.

 

“Oh no, I have to talk to Slughorn about something, you go ahead I'll see you in the common room.” Sirius kissed my forehead before gathering his potion and going up to Slughorn. I looked at him curiously but shrugged and went to the common room.

 

“What's this,” I said as I walked into the boy's dormitory later that night. “Are you actually reading a book?”

 

Sirius looked shocked as I walked into the room. He quickly closed the book and set it on the ground, putting his hands behind his head as he leaned against his pillow, trying to look casual. “It's nothing, just an extra assignment for potions.”

 

“Extra assignment,” I said with a quirked eyebrow as I walked over to his bed, leaning against one of the posts and crossing my arms over my chest. “Since when do you even do the bare minimum in class?”

 

Sirius shrugged as he scratched his chin. “Ever since joining the Order Dumbledore has been stressing on us the importance of keeping up with our studies now. I guess I'm just finally listening.”

 

“What is this? Sirius Black are you grasping onto the subject of maturity?” I said in mock shock, putting a hand to my heart and fake fainting onto his bed.

 

“It's bound to happen at some point,” Sirius said poking my side.

 

“So when is your game against Ravenclaw?” I asked as Sirius laced his hand through mine.

 

“Two weeks away, James is going ballistics. We're unable to practice this week because of our detentions but next week,” Sirius winced at the thought. “You probably wont see a lot of me and when you do I'll be bruised and broken. I expect you to nurse me back to health,” Sirius said with a suggestive eyebrow motion.

 

I hit him with the back of my hand and rolled my eyes. “Well, are you going to actually throw the game?”

 

Sirius's grip on my hand tightened and his eyes hardened as he stared straight ahead. “I don't know yet. A deal is a deal, right?”

 

“But Lucius used me as a distraction, it wasn't fair!” I said in protest.

 

“I know but we still lost.”

 

“It's partially my fault,” I said heavily.

 

“No it's not, and if James gives you shit for it just ignore him, he's probably just mad.” Sirius said kissing me on the top of my head and pulling me towards him.

 

Despite Sirius's reassurance I still couldn't help but shake the feeling that it was my fault. Ever since the event had occurred I had blamed myself tirelessly. I tried to shake off the feeling and instead opted to distract myself. I picked up the book Sirius had been reading off the floor and looked through it, finding a bookmarked page. Sirius made to grab the book from me but I turned my back to him and read the page he was looking at. “Polyjuice potion?” I asked him skeptically. “Why is this bookmarked to polyjuice potion?”

 

“Slughorn asked for the extra assignment to be written on polyjuice potion.” Sirius said as I relinquished the book back to him and he happily took it back. I gave him a curious look but decided to drop it. Even if he wasn't telling the truth it was probably just a prank that he and James were going to pull. “When are you going to stop being so nosey.” Sirius said as he sat on top of me and started ruffling up my hair and tickling my sides.

 

I was writhing back and forth uncomfortably. I was one of the few people in this world who wasn't ticklish, whenever someone administered the tickle attack it just bloody hurt. “Sirius you git stop, I'm not your punching bag.”

 

Sirius laughed loudly as he continued to painfully tickle me. “But I love my punching bag.”

 

Did he just say he loved me?

 

A/N: alright so this chapter is crap. Let me just say, fluff is the hardest thing to write. I'm trying to base it off my past relationships but it's really hard to describe how you're feeling. But I needed this chapter as kind of a foreshadowing for the next few chapters. And the last scene where Sirius inadvertently told Avery he loved her was actually based off of something that happened to me :) A little personal life for you right there :P And the poem is my favorite poem of all time and I wanted to put it in this chapter but I couldn't put the whole thing so I highly recommend looking it up Pablo Neruda Love Sonnet XVII , what did you think of the poem? Love?

 

 


Chapter 19: Blame It On the Changes
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 Chapter 19: Blame It On the Changes

 

Saturday January 15th, 9:57 am

 

Remus, Peter and I sat in the stands all of us anxious for the result of the game. Nial was sitting next to me and he kept looking at me oddly as I kept flinching from the uncertainty of the game. Today it was finally the last game of the year, Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw. All of Gryffindor was in the stands waving flags and cheering happily, but the three of us sat rooted in our seats wondering what was going to happen if James threw the game. Would everyone be able to tell?

 

James had been practicing like normal, training them for this game, not letting up. Sirius had come back from Quidditch practice every night complaining, bruised and sore. I could tell he was slightly relieved that the Quidditch year was ending. James was a tyrant as a coach and as much as Sirius loved James he despised him as captain and his need for perfection on the field.

 

The players came onto the field and the look on James' face showed that he was more nervous than confident today. Sirius however looked his usual casual self as he strode onto the field, his walk demanding attention. The game quickly started and I watched in silence, my eyes darting around the field, moving so fast I felt like I hardly blinked at all.

 

With a loud roar Gryffindor scored it's first goal of the game. I pulled myself up and cheered. I saw Sirius look over at me and he gave me a proud smile and winked before returning his attention back to the game.

 

Thirty minutes later Gryffindor was still in the lead with us having 60 points and Ravenclaw having 20. I grew more anxious as the time passed and the snitch hadn't been seen. Ravenclaw was in possession when I heard a voice from behind me.

 

“Your house is really dragging on this match,” came Snape's lengthy drawl.

 

I turned my head around and met the gaze of Lucius, Regulus and Snape. They hadn't been there at the start of the game and I only wondered when they had gotten there. “It's a good match and Ravenclaw is playing better than I've ever seen them.” I replied cooly as Nial looked at me oddly and back at Snape, curious of the odd exchange.

 

“If this game doesn't end soon I'm going to be forced to create a distraction,” Snape snarled. He then leaned down and hissed in my ear, “your boyfriend Black seems like the perfect distraction. I could just flip him off his broom with a simple curse. Distractions seem to work against your team.”

 

I turned around os fast that I felt a sharp pain in my neck. “You wouldn't dare, Snivellus.” I said vehemently.

 

Snape gave me a cruel smirk as he looked down at me. “Don't think I wouldn't.”

 

I felt my blood boil as a pressure built up inside of me. Before I realized what I was doing I turned around and threw my body on Snape, pining him between the bleachers as I punched him in the face as hard as I could.

 

“If you lay one hand on Sirius I'll make sure you never walk again,” I said as laid one punch to his face after the other.

 

Snape then reached up his hands and threw me off of him. I stumbled over the bleachers and fell, hitting my head on the end of it. I could feel blood running down my face but I didn't care. I just knew I had to get Snape out of the pitch before he hurt Sirius. I stood up and marched towards Snape with my wand drawn, I could see Remus running towards me but ignored him as he yelled at me and Snape to stop. I raised my wand and started yelling 'confundo' right as Snape sent a spell of his own. Our two spells collided and during their impact they burst sending me flying backwards. My back was thrown against a wall and I heard something crack right before I blacked out.

 

I felt like I was waking up from a nightmare. My chest felt heavy and my eyelids struggled to open. I heard distant voices around me as I struggled to awaken from my stupor. I battled against my heavy eyelids and slowly they opened. The voices became more clear and I heard someone yell, “she's waking up.”

 

I then felt a pressure on my hand and realized someone was holding it. Slowly I opened my eyes and images swirled in front of me like I was looking through a heavy fog. I blinked a few times and the images became more clear. I looked to my right and saw Sirius hovering over me, holding my hand, with a relieved but still fearful expression on his face.

 

“Avery,” Sirius whispered as he brushed back my hair and rested his hand on my cheek. I leaned into his hand like I always did and he smiled. “James can you get Pomphrey,” Sirius said as he looked up. I heard James' feet walk in the distance but didn’t turn my head from Sirius.

 

“What happened?” I asked in a hoarse voice.

 

Sirius's eyes clouded over before he spoke, “you and Snape got into a fight. There was an explosion and you were lifted from the ground. You looked like a rag doll as you soared in the air.” Sirius grimaced and shook his head from the memory. “There was so much blood, Merlin Avery, I've never been so scared in all my life.”

 

“Blood?” I asked confused.

 

“You cracked the back of your head open really bad. I've always heard head wounds bleed a lot but once you actually see it,” Sirius drifted off as his face paled. “Why the hell did you start with Snape, Avery?” Sirius's voice raised and he looked angry now.

 

“He said he was going to hurt you,” I explained. “He said he was going to throw you off your broom as a distraction. I couldn't let him hurt you, Sirius.”

 

Sirius looked like he wanted to smile but his face remained stony. Pomphrey came bustling into the room then and shoo'd Sirius away. I didn’t' realize until now that there was gauze wrapped around my head and as she unraveled it my stomach lurched at the site of my own blood.

 

“It looks like your head is almost healed,” Pomphrey said as she examined my cut. “I think you'll be fine. Try and get some food in you, you’ll be a little faint from losing blood. If a headache is persistent please don't be afraid to come back.” I nodded my head as I sat up in bed and swung my feet off the edge. “Oh, and Miss Muze, please try to stay out of trouble.”

 

I laughed and nodded again, feeling slightly dizzy from all the movements but pushed through it and stood up. Sirius was immediately at my side as he grabbed onto my hip and helped me move. Peter moved to help me but Sirius pushed him away saying that he could do it by himself.

 

We slowly made our way to the common room, Sirius keeping me up and balanced and the rest of the Marauders were trailing behind us. Once we reached the common rooms Sirius set me down on the couch and sent James and Peter down to the kitchens to get me food.

 

“Sirius, you don't have to baby me, I'm fine.” I said tired of how he was treating me.

 

Sirius gave me a stoney expression as he looked at me. “Avery you don't realize how it was seeing you like that. You weren't moving, surrounded by a puddle of blood, your blood. Your face was so pale and you wouldn't respond, how do you think it was for me, seeing you like that.” Sirius ran a hand through his hair and stormed around the common room, people started casting him curious glances. His face grew frustrated and I thought he was going to yell at me. “I thought you were going,” he swallowed loudly. “I started imagining what my life would be like without you, and I hated that the fact that thought crossed my mind. I never want to think about what my life would be like without you.”

 

I stood up and walked over to Sirius, wrapping my arms around his neck. I felt him melt into me and breath as if he had been holding it in since the accident. “I'm sorry,” I whispered.

 

“Don't start fights anymore, okay?”

 

I nodded into his shoulder, “promise.” Sirius drew back from me smiling finally and kissed my forehead. I then remembered where I had been when the fight had happened. I looked around the room and no one was celebrating. “Did we lose?”

 

Sirius shook his head and smiled, “nope, we won.”

 

“Then why isn't anyone celebrating?”

 

“The captain and second in command were in the hospital, wouldn't be much of a party without us, would it?”

 

“I'm sorry to have ruined the celebration,” I said feeling like I'd ruined a lot in terms of Quidditch lately.

 

Sirius smiled and kissed me, “don't worry about it love.”

 

I jerked slightly at the fact he said love. I know he wasn't saying I love you, but it seemed like anytime someone said the word 'love' I would react. I didn't bring up the fact that Sirius had inadvertently said he loved me and he didn't even seem to realize that he had said it himself.

 

There has been no other slip ups since then and the event was never mentioned so I left it go just thinking he accidentally said it. Although every time I thought about the fact he had told me he loved me, accident or not, I felt my heart lurch and was waiting for him to say it again. There was a chance that Sirius Black loved me, that he could love me, it was a hard concept for me to grasp.

 

“So what's going to happen now that you won the match?” I asked remembering the deal James had made with Snape.

 

Sirius shrugged, “don't know yet. Haven't run into Snape or any of them, but James and I are going to be on the prowl. Make sure you're with someone all the time, okay? I'm afraid they're going to do what they did last time,” Sirius paled at the memory of the incident at the forbidden forest.

 

“Maybe I should hire a body guard.” I responded cheekily.

 

“Or maybe you should stop being so accident prone.”

 

“Well if that's the case I better stop hanging around you guys, you seem to cause trouble wherever you go.”

 

Sirius laughed and kissed me again. We were interrupted however by James storming into the common room a look of pure fury on his face.

 

“Prongs, what's wrong?” Sirius asked immediately going over to his friend and pulling him towards the couch to sit down. James shrugged Sirius off and remained pacing in front of the fireplace.

 

“I'm going to kill Snape, I swear to Merlin, I'm going to take that greasy gits scrawny neck and wring it with my bare hands.”

 

“James it's not a big deal, I'm fine.” I said thinking the problem was my fight with him earlier.

 

“It's not about that,” James spat at me. “He went and told McGonagall about our midnight rematch.”

 

“What!” Sirius exclaimed.

 

“Yes, he told McGonagall and now we've been forced to forfeit the game and Quidditch Cup.”

 

“Snape is going to bloody pay,” Sirius said curling his hand into a fist, a murderous look on his face.

 

I reached out and grabbed Sirius arm hoping to lesson the rage coursing through him. It seemed like he didn't even notice my touch. I felt his entire body stiffen as he breathing became shallow. “I have to go do something,” he said before storming out of the common room.

 

“Should I go after him?” I asked James, fearful for what Sirius was going to do to Snape.

 

“No, Snape deserves whatever he's going to get.” James said before going up to his bedroom. I looked nervously to the portrait door, waiting for it to open and reveal Sirius but nothing happened. Feeling useless I walked up to the dorm room. Inside Lily and Heather were sitting on the floor painting their toe nails and reading Witch Weekly. Heather gave me an icy glare once she saw me but said nothing. I couldn't believe she still wasn't over the fact that Sirius and I were dating. She had gone to Slughorn's party with Sirius, it's not like they dated or anything.

 

Lily looked up at me and jumped to her feet. “Avery are you okay? I saw what happened, your head, is it okay?” Lily asked in a rushed voice.

 

“Yeah, I'm fine.” I said in a tight voice.

 

“What's the matter?” Lily asked in a confused voice.

 

I explained to her about how we had a midnight match against Slytherin, to which she muttered that James should know better than to play quidditch after hours and unsupervised. Then I told her how Snape had ratted them out and her face became hard.

 

“Where's James?” Lily asked me.

 

“He's in his room, although I probably wouldn't go see him right now, he's in a foul mood.”

 

“I don't care, I have to make sure that he doesn't do anything irrational and hurt Severus.”

 

“What!” I exclaimed. “You're concerned for Snape, why?”

 

Lily hesitated as her hand reached the doorknob, and when she spoke her voice was barely above a whisper. “Severus was a childhood friend of mine, I can't just forget him and let bad things happen to him.” Without a second glance back she threw open the door and walked downstairs.

 

I stared after her and debated on stopping her, no doubt her going to go defend Snape was not going to make James' mood any better. Realizing this wasn't a matter for me to get involved in I threw off my uniform and changed into my pajamas, exhausted from all the events of today. I crawled into bed and opened up my book of poetry.

 

“So why aren't you with Sirius?” Heather asked breaking the silence. I looked up from my book at her and but she wasn't staring at me, she was flipping through her copy of Witch Weekly. Talk about passive aggressive.

 

“He needed his space,” I responded dismissively, hoping she would drop the subject. Of course she wouldn't.

 

“You'd think he would want his girlfriend there.”

 

“Yes, well as his girlfriend I know when he needs his space, so I'm respecting it. Maybe if you had learned to do that you would be his girlfriend instead of me.”

 

“You're so cocky now,” Heather sneered. “Think your special because you're dating Sirius Black?”

 

“No,” I said casually as I tried not to let her spiteful words hurt me. “But I must be better than you if he couldn't even stand to be around you for more than twenty minutes at the party.”

 

Heather scoffed and looked like she was going to say something in return but decided against it. She then got up from the ground and walked into the bathroom, immediately hearing the shower turn on. I sighed closed the drapes around my bed. I laid back and thought of how much longer I would have to deal with Heather for. This was the first time she'd talked to me, and I had thought the glares she was sending me were bad, apparently I was wrong and it could get worse.

 

I had closed my eyes with intentions of going to sleep when I heard a scratching at the door. I got up slowly out of bed as the scratching persisted. I opened the door and didn't see anyone, I looked curiously down the stairs and was confused until I felt a nudge at my legs. I looked down and saw a dog with grey eyes looking up at me.

 

“Sirius!” I whispered as I looked to the bathroom and made sure that the shower was still running. “Get out,” Sirius titled his head and looked at me with his tongue hanging out. He then walked past me and hopped into my bed. He settled in it and curled up into a ball, his tail wagging happily.

 

I walked to my bed quickly and drew the curtains around us. I grabbed my wand and performed a silencio charm. Sirius started to slowly transform from a dog into his human form. “What are you doing here?” I demanded.

 

“I missed you,” Sirius said giving me puppy dog eyes, making it hard to differentiate between his human form and animal form.

 

“You stormed out of the room only an hour ago. Speaking of which, what did you do to Snape?” I asked inspecting him for any visible signs of a fight.

 

“Nothing,” Sirius said lounging back in my bed. “I just walked around, I needed to blow off some steam.”

 

“Nothing,” I said in a disbelieving voice. The way Sirius had acted right before he left the common room was just barely short of murder. “You said you had to do something and then you stormed out of the common room looking like you wanted blood.”

 

Sirius shrugged casually, “I decided against it.” I raised an eye brow unsure if I believed him or not. “Stop looking at me like that. Just come here,” Sirius said tugging on my arm. I sighed and gave up questioning him, if he had done anything it would come out tomorrow.

 

I crawled towards Sirius and rested my head on his chest.

 

“So Valentines Day is coming up,” Sirius said after a moment of silence.

 

I laughed against his chest, “it's three weeks away Sirius, a little early to be talking about it.”

 

“I just need to figure out what to get you for Valentines Day. If you give me a suggestion now you may forget your suggestion and think the present I give you I thought of myself.”

 

“How about you just get me a pearl necklace to match the earrings.”

 

“I liked you better when you were quiet.” Sirius said jokingly. I pushed him away from me giggling and he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him and kissed me. “I'm just kidding,” Sirius said as he picked up my hand and kissed me finger tips one by one. “You know how much I care about you, right?”

 

I looked up at Sirius and I stopped breathing. I felt the weight of his words fall on me as they left his lips. I found myself wondering if he was going to say the word love again. The thought of it alone sent my head spinning and my heart beating so fast I thought it was going to come out of my chest. If he said it does that mean I had to say it in return? Did I feel the same way? How do I know if I'm in love?

 

Sirius smiled and pushed my hair behind my ear. “I remember the first time I really saw you, not just as a girl passing me in the hallways or someone who was in a few of my classes. It was when James first deemed you his girlfriend. He had kissed you and you immediately fell from your chair. I remember laughing in spite of myself and then I looked at your face. It was a mixture of confusion, humiliation, ignorance, and loneliness. I don't know why but at that moment I felt an immediate sensation flood me like I needed to help you, not just help you but become a part of your life.

 

“Then I realized as I grew to know you that I also needed you. Your quietness, the way you observed people, it was a trait I'd never acquired personally. My life has always been loud, with one thing after the other, never slowing down. You taught me to slow down, appreciate things, appreciate people. I watched you with the rest of the Marauders, how you reacted to them. You cherished your friendship with them, not because of who we were and how people would talk about you if you hung out with my group, but because you cared for them, for me. With you I see a future, I see something to look forward to. No matter what happens, or what changes I know I need you in my life.”

 

I waited as the last words left his mouth. I was expecting three small words to follow after them but none came. I found myself disappointed, like it was a broken promise. I pushed past my disappointment and looked up at Sirius. His grey eyes met mine and I couldn't believe for a second that I was complaining about the fact he hadn't said I love you. Here I was laying in the arms of Sirius Black and I was complaining about him not saying words he might not even mean yet, words I've deluded myself into thinking he felt.

 

I'm really concerned that I may have hit my head too hard growing up as a child.

 

A/N: Ooooh my gggooooddd sooooo much fluff! I can't even handle it myself, I'm sorry if some of you vomit. But I felt like I wanted to explain how much Avery means to Sirius. I tried to end it with a bit of humor to diffuse all the fluffiness suffocating my story, but I think it may be more awkward than funny. Ah well. I can only try. Hope you guys liked it, although I'd understand if you puked :P So I know these chapters have been super mushy and blah blah blah and the next one will be as well but after that it will be less mushy so please bear with me :)

 

And a big thanks to solitaireclay07 who listened to me gripe about writing fluff and giving her input, she was a huge help. Thanks :) And if you haven't already checked out her story Nobody Sees Me Wishing you should right NOW because it's amazing! But first review my story and then check out hers :)  Now, I'm going to basic January 18th for 2 1/2 months for the air force so I'll be gone but Im having someone else post my chapters for me :)  Your reviews won't be answered until March but they WILL be once I'm back!


Chapter 20: Valentine's Day
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 Chapter 20: Valentine's Day

Friday February 13th, 8:40 am

The weeks following the Quidditch match Sirius had remained true to his word and Snape remained unscathed. I remained skeptical and new better than to trust the Marauders when it came to seeking revenge and figured it was only a matter of time before Snape was pranked.

I looked over at Sirius who was slumped forward on the table, his head resting on his arms, trying to catch a few more minutes of sleep. Last night Sirius and I had stayed up well into the early hours of the morning. He had made a habit of sneaking into my dorm room late at night and sneaking out before anyone would be awake. These stolen moments between us were the best part of my day (and night) but left us both tired the next morning.

I should've been overwrought with tiredness but I could hardly contain my excitement as I bounced impatiently in my seat. Today we were finding out who gets to present their idea to the Venislew Restoration Society. I was nervous because I had worked so hard on that paper and if I didn't win I knew I would be crushed. I didn't tell anyone about how it was a competition, I didn't want people to build my hopes up only to get crushed, so I kept to myself. This was the first time I'd found myself drawn to something, something I could work towards in terms of life after Hogwarts. I had never really thought of my future, I was never really good at anything where I felt like I could commit my time and energy towards that one subject. For the past six years I've been floating through classes, keeping decent grades, nothing that would stand out, and hoping that one day what I wanted to do with my life would fall into my lap.

When I had entered my sixth year my parents started getting on my case, telling me I needed to think of the future and that I can't keep coasting through life or I'll wind up without a job or money and have to resort to prostitution, or worse a shoe polisher (that was my mum's worst fear). However, once we started the research on the Venislew I found myself drawn to the project and was for the first time happy and eager to continue with my school work.

Unable to wait any longer I got up from the table to go to class early. Slinging my backpack over my shoulder I tried to hide my anxiety as I kissed Sirius on the head and walked out of the Great Hall.

The harsh February weather hit me the second I left the warmth of the castle. The cold cut through me and made it almost impossible to breath. The bright winter light bounced off the white snow and momentarily blinded me and caused my eyes to water. Combined with my anxiousness and the cold weather, the walk down to Hagrid's hut felt like an eternity. Once I reached the warm refuge of the hut I was grateful that Hagrid lent out his hut to our class when the weather was too bitter to remain outside.

Inside the hut it was dark and small but warm, a much appreciated quality after walking outside. I set my things down at the dining room table and walked around. Hagrid's walls were littered with odd trinkets, sign of travels that clung to the house. The furniture was large and I worried that if I sat in the couch it would swallow me whole.

After a few minutes the door swung open and the rest of the class filed in. I seemed to be the only antsy one as everyone sat down on Hagrid's oversized chairs. I didn't know why I felt so impassioned by this creature, but I seemed to be the only one. After a few minutes Professor Kettleburn strolled into Hagrid's hut, laying down his briefcase on the kitchen table and retrieving papers from it.

"Shall we begin class?" Kettleburn said as he folded the paper and clapped them against the table to get them aligned. "So I have back your reports on the Venislew and I'm proud to announce that the person that will present their idea to the VRS is Avery Muze."

"Yes!" I shouted without thinking, pumping my fist in the air as I jumped up from my seat. I looked around and everyone was staring at me oddly. I dropped my arm and pushed my hair behind my shoulders before clearing my throat and sitting down smoothing out my skirt. "I mean, wicked." I said in a more calm voice.

I looked at Kettleburn who was giving me an amused look before he cleared his throat. "Glad to see such enthusiasm Ms Muze, I'm sure the VRS will appreciate it. Would you mind if I shared with the class your idea?" I shook my head no and Kettleburn retrieved my paper from his briefcase. He cleared his throat before relaying to the class my idea. "Ms Muze proposed that we put the Venislews on a separate island completely surrounded by water. This island is charmed so that if a Venislew is taken from the island it can be traced back to the person who took the Venislew and they could face getting their wands broken or Azkaban, depending on if the Venislew is returned in proper condition or not. The only people that are allowed to use the Venislew are Healers for medical purposes only."

I beamed proudly once Kettleburn finished my idea for the Venislew restoration. The class seemed unimpressed as they stared at Kettleburn with a blank stare, as if they had been ignoring him the whole time, which I'm guessing they had.

Class was soon dismissed, Kettleburn hadn't presented us with a new creature we instead talked about my paper and was open to other people's suggestions. Kettleburn asked me to stay after class to discuss what would happen now that I've been allowed to present my idea to the VRS.

"Ms Muze we'll need to discuss when you will appear at the VRS. How about we meet in my office Monday?" he said with a soft smile.

"Sounds great Professor, I'll see you then," I said to Kettleburn.

"See you then, have a good Valentine's Day Ms Muze."

"You too professor," I replied nodding to Kettleburn before leaving Hagrid's cabin. I wondered if that was an awkward or appropriate thing to say to a professor. Does he even have a wife? Did I just offend him and remind him that he lives a sad and lonely life, not receiving chocolate or heart shaped candy on this particular day.

It was then I realized that I had completely forgotten that tomorrow as Valentine's Day. I guess the pink decorations and extra giddy girls weren't enough of a sign for me.

Sometimes I wonder how I've gotten through life being this unobservant.

Once I entered the castle all the decorations took on a whole new meaning to me. I wonder if I have to get Sirius anything. Do girls get guys presents on Valentine's day? I can't recall any of the girls in my dormitory talking about getting their boyfriends presents.

"Avery," I turn around once I hear my name being called. I look behind me and saw Nial running towards me, one hand on the strap of his backpack while the other is pointing towards me. He stopped a foot short of me and paused as he caught his breath before looking up at me and smiling wildly. "Can we have a chat?"

"Course," I said as Nial fell into step with me as we walked to the common room.

"You know Lelani Michaels right?" He said with slight hesitation as he tried to sound indifferent but failed miserably.

"Not really," I said slowly wondering where this conversation was going.

"Well you've spoken with her." Nial quickly put in.

"I guess you could say that." I said looking at Nial from the corner of my eye.

"Well," he said slowly as he scratched the back of his head and slowed his steps. "I was wondering if you could ask her about me, you know, put in a good word and all that."

"Do you fancy her?" Nial looked down and his face turned red as he mumbled into the ground. I couldn't help but smile at his embarrassment. I wonder if this is how I was with Sirius. I was probably ten times worse, come to think of it. Just six months ago I was hardly able to talk to guys, I can only imagine how I was to outsiders. "I'll take that as a yes. Do you even know the girl? Have you chatted with her ever?"

"I'm not a pervert or anything Avery. It's not like I stalk her in the hallways and try to smell her hair when she isn't looking...all that much." I gave Nial a curious glance with the arch of my eyebrow and he was quick to add, "we've also talked a few times over the past weeks."

"Well you've talked to her more than I have, and probably know her scent better than I do."

"I know but it's always good when a girl can put in a good word for a bloke, makes them look good," he said puffing out his chest.

"I'll see what I can do," I said laughing as we stepped inside the common room.

"Thanks Avery, you're an ace mate." He said hugging me quickly before heading towards the dormitory.

"What was that about?" I looked to my right and saw Sirius nearing me. His voice sounded dangerous and his eyes were hardened.

"What, you mean Nial?" I asked not really understanding why Sirius was reacting so strongly.

"He was groping you in front of everyone."

I looked at Sirius after the words left his mouth and then before I could help it or control it I burst out laughing. I looked at Sirius whose face was turning red with anger. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, closing me off to him but I couldn't help but continue laughing.

"What's so bloody funny?" He demanded.

I stifled my laughter which resulted in short snorts. "Honestly, blokes are so bloody sensitive. Sirius, he's my mate, just like James is. He actually was asking me to set him up with Lelani." Sirius continued to look at me with a furrowed brow as if he didn't believe me. "Fine, me and Nial are caught up in a whirlwind romance and are one day hoping to sail away on a pirate ship and steal money from rich people for a living."

Sirius laughed and his mood considerably lightened. He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me towards him. "You're insane, you know that, right?"

I shrugged and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Insanity is just like poverty, if you're not paying attention to it, it's not happening."

Sirius laughed once again and pulled me towards him. "I'm not certain that's how it works, but anyway I was looking to talk to you. Tomorrow you better not make any plans."

"What, are we going to Hogsmeade?"

"Nope," he said mysteriously.

"What are we doing then?"

"That's for me to know and for you to spend the rest of the night thinking about."

"You're cruel," I said as I pouted my lower lip and tried to give him my best puppy dog eyes. Sirius burst out laughing and released his hold on me.

"Bloody hell Avery you look like a bleeding fish when you make that face. Promise me you'll never do that again."

"Can I scare you into telling me what's going on tomorrow?" I said as I made my puppy dog-fish face even more intense and Sirius backed away from me, shielding his eyes.

"You're more gruesome than a troll, get back! Back I say!" He said as he swatted me away. "You'll never get the secret out of me, no matter how demented you make your face look." He said before lowering his hand from his eyes and kissing me on the lips. "In order to avoid further fish faces I'm going to nip off to bed, I'm exhausted, I'll see you tomorrow love."

I watched Sirius walk up to his dorm room and smiled to myself. It was sometimes still hard for me to believe that he was my boyfriend, and as I looked around the common room at all the girls faces who had just witnessed the exchange between Sirius and I they looked a mix between my disbelief and jealously. This realization put an even wider smile on my face as I made my way to my bedroom.

The next morning I was awoken to the girl's in my dormitory running around in a panicked frenzy as they pulled every pink and red article out of their closet and tried it on, only to take it off and throw in into an ever-growing pile of other pink and red clothes.

"I look like a Matador," Lily said in a strained voice as she pulled off a red shirt.

"What's a Matador?" Heather asked, the muggle reference lost on her.

"It's a person who taunts bulls," Lily answered as she pulled on a pink sweater that made her look like cotton candy.

"Who ever would want to taunt bulls?" Heather asked as she dug through her closet, clad in only jeans and a red bra with two strategically placed hearts.

"It's not much different than James and Sirius taunting the Slytherins." Lily said as she looked at herself in a long sleeved red shirt, sighing in resignation as she moved from trying on clothes to doing her makeup. "I can't believe I just compared my boyfriend to a Matador," she mumbled under her breath as she struggled with the cap of her mascara.

"I'm going to be late," Heather declared theatrically as she pulled on one last pink shirt and, like Lily, sighed in resignation before she grabbed her purse and made her way to the door, flinging it open dramatically.

"Whose she going to Hogsmeade with?" I asked Lily, finally making my awakened state known now that Heather had left.

"Ian Wood," Lily said distractedly as she fumbled for her blush.

"Didn't know she was even interested in him." I said lazily as I kicked the clothing away from my bed as I made my way towards the bathroom.

"Who knows with that girl. Anyway, I better be off, James hates waiting. I swear, that boy has the patience level of a hungry one year old." Lily rolled her eyes but her annoyed gesture was muted by the appreciative smile that formed on her face. "Will we be seeing you at Hogsmeade?" She asked as she threw her lipgloss into her purse.

"No, Sirius has other plans for me today."

"Well have fun, I'll see you later today. You know how James and Sirius can't be separated for more than a few hours or they'd both combust from deprivation." Lily smiled at me before heading downstairs, leaving the previously frantic state of the room now calm and silent.

I smiled contently to myself, enjoying the silence of the usually loud room. I stepped inside the shower, hoping some hot water had been spared for me. Once inside the shower I let the hot water warm my cold feet and cause my skin to break out in hot red blotches. I looked around the shower and noticed that Heather had left her shampoo and conditioner in the shower. I reached for the shampoo and breathed in the heavenly lavender scent. Figuring she wouldn't notice a little bit of the shampoo and conditioner missing I happily lathered my hair with Heather's borrowed hair products.

Once I'd finished I stepped outside of the shower and wrapped a warm blanket around my dripping body. The steam folded out behind me as I opened the bathroom door. I cast a quick drying spell on my hair and body and slipped into my bra and underwear as I searched my closet for something appropriate to wear.

I put on a pair of jeans and looked for anything pink or red in my closet but came up short. I looked behind me and saw the pile of pink and red and figured that I could temporarily borrow something from the discarded pile of clothing. After sorting through the pile I came out with a red tank top that dipped low in the front and flowed freely around my body. I ventured over to the stand that held Lily's makeup and hesitantly picked up the mascara from her stand before carefully applying it to my eyelashes. I finished my efforts with a dab of the lipgloss Lelani had given me and did one check in the mirror before heading downstairs.

The common room was deserted, save for a few first and second years. I laughed as the girls tried to remain indifferent to the boys on this holiday. Their extra attempts towards their appearances lost on the young boys who had better things to do at that age than think of girls.

I was about to make my way to the boy's dormitory to find Sirius but was stopped when he conveniently came striding through the common room entrance.

"Avery," Sirius said sweeping me up into a hug and kissing me on the forehead. "You look beautiful," he said as his eyes swept over my body causing a blush to form on my cheeks. "You're here just in time, I just finished the last touches."

"Last touches on what?" I asked as I took him in. Today he was dressed in jeans and a fitted gray sweater that made his eyes so intense I felt like I couldn't breath when I stared at them.

"Ah no questions, we're so close to the surprise, it would be awful to spoil it now when I've done such a spiffing job of keeping it a secret."

"You're awful, you know that, right?"

"Indeed I do, Avery. You're probably going to hate me more after I tell you that you're going to be blind folded now."

"Blind folded, really Sirius?" I said as he grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around. I felt fabric cover my eyes and soon my vision was gone. "This is so corny," I said as he grabbed my arm and steered me out of the common room.

"That may be so, but I want you to get the full effect of the surprise by placing you in the center of it." He said quietly as he grabbed my elbow and steered me right.

"If you're taking me to a Hippogriff den or anything of the sort I will never forgive you Sirius Black."

Sirius laughed loudly and I could hear his laughter bounce off the stone walls. "I'm not taking you to a Hippogriff den or anything that would displease you, at least I hope so. Stop asking questions, we're almost there."

I remained silent as Sirius guided me through Hogwarts. My body pricked with anticipation as my surprise came closer to my reach. My imagination ran wild with the possibilities of Sirius's surprise. "Almost there," he said making my anticipation reach an all new high.

We stopped for a moment before Sirius guided me again, telling me to step up. Our speed slowed down and Sirius grabbed the top of my shoulders, making me stop. "Ready?"

I nodded my head eagerly and Sirius laughed at my enthusiasm. He then took off the tie that had blinded me. I blinked a few times as my eyes adjusted to the light. The first thing I saw was Sirius beaming at me proudly before I took in the room. The place looked oddly familiar with white gray floor boards and white brick walls.

It was then I realized where I was standing. This was the living room in the house Sirius had purchased just a few months ago. The room was as beautiful as I remembered, but I started taking in the furniture decorating it and I couldn't help but laugh, Sirius had clearly decorated it himself. He had positioned two bright red chairs by the fire with a bear rug. And to top it all off he had lava lamps on any surface that could hold a lamp. I looked at Sirius whose face was full of pride and I looked back at the room and couldn't help but laugh.

"I know, I'm not much of a designer," Sirius said once he realized where my laughter derived from. "That's why I need you," he said taking a step towards me. "I'm not asking you to move in, not yet anyway," he said flashing me a warm smile that caused my heartbeat to quicken. "But I want you to have a say in this apartment, I want to build and decorate the apartment with you."

"Sirius, it's your apartment not mine." I said in what I thought was a reasonable statement.

Sirius shook his head and looked a little defeated. "I want this apartment to be as much yours as it is mine. Dumbledore keeps talking about the war and how it's going to effect us and there's people dying and I don't want to waste time anymore. I know what I want, and I'm letting you know what I want. I want you in my life, Avery. I know it hasn't been that long but I can't imagine what it would be like without you. Like I said, I'm not asking you to move in with me, I'm just asking for you to help me start building a future for us."

Sirius looked at me, his face full of apprehension and fear. I looked around the room, taking everything in. Without consciously meaning to the room started to shift. The red couches were replaced with large light gray couches. The coffee table, which had been decorated with lava lamps, slowly turned into a dark wooden table with books piled up on top. Above the fireplace a vinyl record of the Screaming Banshees hung. I looked up at Sirius realizing that the answer had already been made up for me, my subconscious seemed to ignore all the fear that came with moving in with someone and instead chose to go with what I really wanted, and that was a future with Sirius.

I nodded my head before the words left me mouth, "yes."

Sirius's whole body seemed to radiate as he swept down and kissed me. I could feel his energy surge and his happiness hit me just as hard. I smiled into his kiss and wrapped my arms around his neck. He pulled me up so my feet were lifted off the ground and I gave a happy squeal.

"I have one more gift," he said before setting me down and retrieving a square package from the corner of the room. He hands me the gift and I hold it in my hands for a moment before tearing through the wrapping. Once the last shred of wrapping paper fell from the present I held in my hands a framed poem. The poem was Pablo Nuerada's, the poem I had read to him after Christmas Break, Sirius had handwritten the poem and framed it. I looked up at Sirius and felt a surge of emotion hit me. I had never felt so strongly for him, or anything, in all my life as I did in this moment.

"There's something written on the back of the paper," Sirius said.

I immediately set to moving the pins so I could remove the backing and see what was written on the backside of the paper. Once I successfully removed all the pins I went to take off the backing but Sirius stopped me by placing his hand on mine.

"Before you read what I wrote I want to tell you first." I looked up at Sirius. He had a smile on his face that was full of happiness and fear. I stared at him, unsure where the emotions were coming from or what was driving them. He then cautiously opened his mouth and the words, "I love you," came tumbling from his mouth as if they were simplest words in the world.

My heart was beating at a speed I didn't know it could reach. His words hit me hard, as if I had run into a brick wall and had lost the ability to breath. My breath hitched in my throat and I tried to remind myself to breathe but nothing came out. I stared at his for a few moments, his smile never faltering as he stared down at me. I then opened my mouth and the words, "I love you too," flowed from my lips as if they had been there all along.

We stared at each other for a few minutes, smiles on both of our faces as our true emotions hung between us. "You can now look at the backside of the paper," Sirius said breaking the comfortable silence.

I was broken from my hazy trance and fumbled with the poem as I slowly removed the backing. Once again in Sirius's handwriting I felt a swell of emotions when I read the words Sirius wrote.

No matter what, I will always love you.

-Sirius

A/N: Alright so I know I skipped quite a bit, almost a month. This was going to be the day after the Quidditch match but it held me up for almost 2 weeks and I couldn't get the story line to flow and I couldn't think of enough ideas for the chapter so I decided that I shouldn't have to force it that much and now I'm starting chapter 20 February 13th, sorry if it's a cop-out, please don't think I'm a horrible writer!

And once again we have a lot of fluff! So much fluffy fluff I feel like I should be covered in cotton balls. Ah well, it was needed. Now savor your Avery/Sirius love because dark times are just around the corner. Oh poo, I hope I haven't given too much away. And as always Read and Review! For those of you who do, you're amazing!


Chapter 21: In the Backseat
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Chapter 21: In the Backseat

 

Wednesday February 18th, 5:06 pm




REMUS




Merlin, I can't even believe how much Sirius has changed. Meals in the Great Hall have turned into a race to see who can eat the fastest to avoid the love-y stares that Sirius and Avery exchange. I think they think they're being subtle, with under the table hand holding and Sirius carefully whispering 'I love you' into Avery's ear now and then, but the actions don't go unnoticed by any of us, especially Peter. I feel bad for Pete, I'm the only one that seemed to pick up on the fact that he fancies Avery.




After Valentine's Day Avery and Sirius's bond seemed to have grown and they hardly spent any time away from each other. Not saying he's been neglecting the rest of his friends, because he still makes a point to hang out with us, but more often than not when he's with us Avery is beside him. It's not that I don't like Avery, quite the contrary, I think she's perfect for Sirius and he has calmed down a considerable amount since she's been in his life, but I would like to see Sirius without Avery.




Even James has grown tiresome of Sirius and Avery's affection, despite the fact that he is now with Lily. James and Lily were more subtle in their relationship, only taking stolen moments for each other, not wanting the world to see. I guess James no longer feels the need to broadcast their relationship after he spent the better part of six years fawning over her, and now that he finally has her it's nobody's business but his and Lily's. Avery and Sirius should consider taking a note from their book. My hope is that it's just puppy love and eventually the novelty will fade and some normality will be restored, although I doubt that Sirius will ever be the same, he's talked about moving in with Avery.




Apparently for Valentine's Day Sirius asked Avery to help him decorate his home, which he divulged to us, and is hoping that she'll move in with him sooner rather than later. Sirius's Valentine's present was so corny I gagged a little when he told us what he had done.




I never thought I'd witness the day that Sirius thought about settling down with a girl for good. It's not that Sirius is a playboy, or gets around. He's always been the relationship kind of guy, but I'd never seen the relationships lasting for all too long. Lelani so far has been his longest relationship, but if he and Avery keep up on the path they're on I'm sure they'll surpass the year and a half stint with Lelani.




Maybe I'm just irritable because the full moon is two days away.




Later that night the four of us sat in our dorm room, no girlfriends in site. James and Sirius were itching to pull a prank. Our last year is more than halfway done and James and Sirius want to make sure that they make the most of it. While I had no intention in participating in the pranking it was nice to have everyone together sans girlfriend.




“What about Snivellus,” Peter suggested. “He's been twitching long enough waiting for us to get our revenge, I'd say it's about time the greasy git gets what he deserves.”




James let out an audible sigh as he looked over a journal he and Sirius had written containing all the pranks they had ever done and ones that they had yet to accomplish. “I promised Lily I wouldn't lay a hand on him. As much as I would love to prank Snivellus, and as much as he deserves it, I can't.” James sighed mournfully as a wave of nostalgia crossed his face as he reflected on all past run ins with Snape.




“It's been a while since we've pranked Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw,” Sirius said idly as he laid on his back and tossed a stolen quaffle over his head, only to catch it centimeters away from his face.




“They're a little boring to prank, there's never a retaliation and last time we pranked them a few girls cried, I hate when girls cry.” James said shivering at the memory.




“So, we can't prank Slytherin, or Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw, brilliant,” Peter mumbled sarcastically. “So that leaves the teachers.”




Suddenly Sirius sat up in his bed, a mischievous glint flared in his eyes and a small smile creeped onto his face. “I think it's time Minnie let's loose,” Sirius said mysteriously.




“What are you going on about Pads?” James asked excitedly.




“I was thinking of pairing this prank,” Sirius said flipping through the pranking journal and pointing in the middle of the page. “And instead of using it for Slytherin I think we can convert it over for the teachers.”




“Brilliant,” James muttered at his friend. “Good one Pads,” James said to Sirius.




This can't be good. “What are you two doing now?”




“Moony, you're a Prefect. We would be jeopardizing your position in this school by letting you in on this secret. As one of your best friends I couldn’t possibly live with the fact that we have sucked you into our webs of pranks and you've lost the prestigious position of Prefect.” Sirius looked at me so sincerely that if I hadn't know him for the past six years I would've thought he was sincere. He should seriously consider acting for a career.




“How thoughtful,” I muttered dryly.




“Well since we've got that sorted, I think I'm going to spend some time with Avery, later.” Sirius said before leaving the our dormitory.




“And then there were three,” I muttered under my breath for no one in particular.




“He spends a fair amount of time with her, doesn't he?” Peter thought out loud, not searching for an answer, the question rhetorical.




“Once you're in love Peter, you'll understand,” James said with a dazed expression on his face. I think sometimes he hardly believes that he is finally with Lily. In the beginning of their relationship every time Lily would reach over to hold his hand or kiss him goodbye James would flinch, as if he was afraid she was going to hex him like she so often did in the past.




“Just looks tedious to me,” I commented dryly.




“That's where you're mistaken, Remus. Your furry little problem is tedious, a girlfriend is time consuming.”




“I can't believe you just compared the fact that I'm a werewolf to dating.”




James opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by our dorm room door opening. In the entrance of our room Lily stood hesitantly with her hand resting on the doorknob. “James,” she said in a soft voice as she tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. “Er-you promised earlier that you'd help me study potions, remember?”




I looked at James who looked confused for a moment but something seemed to click for him and his face lit up as he sprang up from his bed. “Oh right, Transfiguration!”




“Potions, James.”




“Potions, right right. Well they're basically the same thing, yeah? Anyway, I'll see you lads later.” Without a second glance back James left the room, bouncing happily after Lily.




“If they want to snog they should just come out and say it.”




“I thought they were going to study?”




I looked at Peter and had to bite my tongue from saying anything cruel, that was more Sirius's job. Peter wasn't dumb by any standards, but sometimes I feel like a little censorship from him would bode well.




“What do you think Sirius and Avery are doing?” Peter asked after a few moments of silence. He tried to sound indifferent when speaking but his voice cracked and his hands were twitching.




I tried to search for an answer that would calm Peter's nerves but I couldn't think of a reasonable or blow cushioning response so I settled with, “who knows.”




“They've gotten pretty serious, haven't they?” Peter mumbled out loud, whether the statement was intended for me to hear or not was debatable so I changed the topic.




“Full moon in a couple of days,” I said cringing, wondering why I chose to use this as a conversation detour.




Peter nodded, “I feel like I've started my own moon of sorts. Whenever it nears the full moon I crave cheese more than usual. Today I wanted to put cheese in my cereal.”




“I feel like that's unhealthy Wormtail.”




Peter shrugged casually, “I wonder if I could make a cheese blanket. Then when I sleep and have my late night hungers I don't have to get up from my bed.”




I laughed heartily, always amazed at Peter's ability to go from sad to happy in a split second. “It already smells like rotting food in here, I doubt adding a cheese blanket to the equation would cause any damage.”




Our conversation about the many usages of cheese was cut short by a knock on our bedroom dorm. Without waiting for a response to be invited in the door opened and Avery stood in the doorway glancing around the room. “Oh, I thought Sirius was in here.”




“I thought he was with you.” I said skeptically.




Avery shook her head, “no I haven't seen him since dinner.”




I exchanged a look with Peter who returned it with an equally confused expression. Avery looked between us and sensed something was wrong. Her eyebrows furrowed and the line that she got above her nose when she was concentrating appeared.




Merlin, I've been spending too much time with Avery, I know the wrinkles on her face.




“I think I heard him say something about going down to the kitchens,” I said quickly, trying to cover the fact that none of us knew where Sirius was.




“Oh, alright,” Avery said not entirely convinced. “When you see him next can you tell him I've been looking for him?”




“Course,” I answered. Avery said thanks and closed the door behind her.




“You don't think Sirius could be with another girl, do you?” Peter suggested the second Avery left.




“Highly unlikely,” I said but I wasn't a hundred percent certain. Now that I think of it I had noticed him sneaking off at random times of the day for the past month or so. I always just assumed he was with Avery but I remember running into him randomly by the area where room of requirements is. He was by himself and he said that Avery had gone to the library, but I'm starting to wonder if that was the case. However, I can't remember a girl being closely followed by Sirius. Right now I wish we still had the Marauder's Map, it would be really useful in a situation like this.




“Should we go look for him?” Peter offered.




I sighed and shut my book. “Might as well.”




Peter and I made our way downstairs. I noticed Avery sitting on a chair reading a book and was careful to avoid her eyesight incase she decided to follow us to find Sirius. Once outside of the common room we had only walked about a hundred feet before we ran into Sirius who was headed towards the common room.




“Sirius,” I declared as we stopped in front of him.




“What are you guys up to?” Sirius asked.




“We should ask you the same thing.” I said quirking an eyebrow at Sirius noticing that he had become slightly nervous. I couldn't help but notice that the closer I got to Sirius the more he smelled like spices and burnt hair.




What the hell has this boy been up to.




“I thought you were meeting up with Avery.”




Sirius shrugged, trying to look casual as he plunged his hands into the pockets of his pants. “She was busy so I went down to the kitchens.”




“Where's the food?”




“Bloody hell Moony, was is this, an interrogation?”




“Are you sneaking around with another girl?” I asked not beating around the bush.




Sirius looked shocked at my comment. He froze and his eyes widened as he quickly shook his head. “Of course not! I would never do that to Avery, you must be mad to think that.”




“Then what were you doing?”




“I told you, I went to the kitchens and had more pumpkin pie, I didn't quite get enough at dinner. You should probably take another six months off of my short life.” Sirius said in a forced laugh as he clapped me on the back and started walking towards the common room signaling the end of the conversation.




I looked at Peter and shrugged figuring that whatever Sirius had been doing we would not find out until he was ready to tell us.




AVERY




“Have you talked to her?” Nial asked me eagerly as he picked up my Transfiguration book and tossed it to the side, deciding that his questions were more important than me passing my classes.




“Briefly,” I responded vaguely, slightly annoyed with his approach towards the conversation.




“And what happened?” He asked, his anticipation rising with each passing second that I didn't give him the answers he was seeking. I looked at his face and did my best not to laugh at his over eager look. His eyes were wide like a child who just learned to walk and was trying not to fall.




“We exchanged words,” I said not ready to let him receive the answer he was waiting for.




“What words were exchanged?” Nial was trying to qualm his excitement as to not draw attention to us in the common room.




“Oh, you know, make up, hair styling tips. All the things I'm interested in.” I said dryly.




“Oh bloody hell Avery, stop being vague or I'm going to toss your cat into the fire.”




“Honestly Nial, I don't know how you expect to get anything or anywhere in life with a mouth like that and an attitude comparable to a blast-ended skrewt.”




“And I don't know how you've managed to snag a real boyfriend with your eyebrows.”




“What's wrong with my eyebrows?” I asked absentmindedly placing my hand over the victimized eyebrows.




“Well, have you ever seen a Woolly Mammoth?”




I stared at him intently as he smiled at me like, well, like the eyebrow hating person he is.




“Now you're never going to know what Lelani said about you.”




“No Avery!” Nial wailed dramatically. “I'm sorry, I didn't mean it.”




“Grovel.”




“What?”




“Get on your knees and grovel and I'll tell you what she said.”




Nial looked at me to see if I was joking and when no hint of a smile appeared on my face he sighed in resignation as he looked around the room to make sure no one was looking. He then dropped to his knees and laced his fingers as he held them up to me.




“Oh Avery, please forgive me.” He said in a quiet voice so he wouldn't draw attention.




“Louder, I can't hear you.”




Nial glared at me intently before taking in a deep breath. “Dearest, loveliest Avery, the Queen of the world. I was only jesting when I compared your eyebrows to the extinct animal. I am merely jealous of your eyebrows as they look like they were sculpted by the hands of Merlin himself. Will you please forgive me?”




I paused and looked contemplative as Nial waited impatiently at my feet, his knees visibly shaking under the pressure. I pretended to be mauling over the words he said before I replied, “all is forgive, you may rise.” I finished my statement with a dramatic sweep of my hand, directing him back into his chair.




Nial grunted as he rose from the ground, his knees clicking. “Now will you tell me?” He said, his patience clearly waining.




“She said she thinks you're nice and she likes your hair.”




“And...”




“And that's it.”




“That's it? She thinks I'm nice and she likes my hair?”




I nodded my head, “it's a start.”




Nial sighed and leaned back in his chair, running one hand over his face. “I'm screwed.”




“How are you screwed?”




“She's clearly put me in the friend zone.”




“I didn't get that impression from her.”




“No? Then how come the only things she could think of when asked about me is that she likes my hair and I'm nice?”




“Because you've only been talking to her for a few weeks now.”




“Oh right, I forgot. Not all of us can hang in the common rooms and expect to be swept off our feet by the likes of James Potter.”




I nudged Nial in the ribs with my elbow. “Don't be such a brat. Get to know her better and I'm sure things will develop from there.”




“Avery,” Nial said taking my hands in his as he looked at me intently in the eyes. “If you make this happen you will not only be invited to our wedding, but you will be in it.”




I threw back my head and laughed, “I'm going to hold you to that if you wind up marrying her.”




“I'm glad to have you as a friend,” Nial said sincerely.




I laughed lightly but paused. I'd never really thought of Nial and I as friends, I guess I just saw him as my Potions partner who I occasionally hung out with outside of class. The realization that I had made a friend on my own and not through the implications of the Marauders almost seemed like a foreign concept to me.




“Sirius has been good for you,” he continued. “You've broken out of your shell. That's not saying that I didn't enjoy awkward Avery who said she was a piranha the first day I met her. But this new, outspoken is you is enjoyable as well, much easier to talk to.”




“Oh don't tell Sirius that, otherwise his head will be so big he wont be able to walk through doorways.”




“Does my lady slander my name while I'm not around?” I didn't even have to turn around to know whose voice that was. A smile appeared instantly on my face before Sirius even came into my eye line.




“Play nice,” I whispered to Sirius as he sat down next to me and Nial. I'd learned early on Sirius was incredibly territorial like the canine he becomes. For some reason he saw Nial as a threat, no matter how hard I'd tried to coax him. This personality trait Sirius had was becoming an increasing problem in our relationship, it was in fact the only problem so far, so I hoped that eventually this would fade. It's not like I didn't have a similar problem with him. I tried to pretend I didn't notice the fan club that followed him but it would become bothersome when I watched other girls flirt with my boyfriend. I just wasn't as expressive as he was.




“So what were you two talking about?” Sirius asked as he draped his arm around my shoulders and pulled me towards him protectively.




I rolled my eyes and mouthed 'sorry' to Nial who only shrugged it off. “We were talking about how Avery is trying to set me up with Lelani.”




“Michaels?” Nial nodded, “ah yeah I dated her. Nice girl.”




“Oh I forgot you'd dated her,” Nial said paling slightly.




“This is perfect,” I declared trying to diffuse the awkward situation. “Sirius, you can help Nial and coach him. Tell him what Lelani likes and dislikes. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier. You boys have fun,” I said standing up.




“Where are you going?” Both Nial and Sirius said at the same time.




“I'm not needed for this conversation. Besides, I don't want to hear about your past relationship Sirius. I'll leave you two at it,” I said bending down to kiss Sirius before leaving.




NIAL




This is incredibly awkward. Here I am, sitting with Sirius Black, one of the most infamous people to ever go to Hogwarts and he's giving me relationship advice. Now I know how girls feel when he gives you his undivided attention. He's a little intimidating, he stares at you like your his prey.




I'd tried to act cool and aloof when I was left alone with Sirius but he started talking about sex and I immediately started choking on my own spit, sending bits of the aforementioned spit in Sirius's direction.




“Try not to do that when you're around Lelani,” Sirius said as he used the sleeve of his sweater to wipe off the spit.




“Oh of course not. In the event I ever would I should just leave her a balaclava to cover her face. Although, then you wouldn't be able to see her face and she would look like a robber. Then here I am thinking my girlfriend is now a robber. Not that she's my girlfriend or anything but,” oh bollocks. Sirius is now giving me an even odder look.




“You ramble just live Avery when you're nervous,” Sirius commented offhandedly. A small smile creeping onto his face at the mere mention of Avery. “Listen, about Lelani, don't worry about it. She's a great girl, I'm sure if you get to know her and within a month or so ask her out she'd say yes.”




“If she's such a great girl then why didn't you two stay together?”




Sirius shrugged and ran a hand through his hair. “She just wasn't the one for me. It's hard to make things work with someone if you're not meant to be with them.” Sirius mauled over his words for a few moments as he stared into the fire, his fingers absentmindedly drumming on the arms of his chair. His eyes then flicked over to me and he leaned forward in his seat a glint now in his eyes. “Nial, how are you with charms, jinxes, and the sort?”




“Fairly decent,” I said with a shrug as I wondered what Sirius was getting at.




“Wasn't your brother Alex Melbe? Four years ahead of us?”




“Yes, that was him. Why?”




“From what I remember he had created a few jinxes in his time here at Hogwarts. I was just mildly curious if he passed any of these down to you.”




“He has,” I said wondering if sirius was ever going to get to his point.




“Well then Nial,” Sirius said standing up and clapping his hand on my leg. “I do believe I have some business to discuss with you.”







Oh bloody hell shit wanker bum hole.




How are they so calm? How the bloody hell have they retained their nerves. Why was I roped into this? I guess they wouldn't be able to pull off half of their pranks if they let their nerves get to them.




Never would I have thought that I would be sitting in the Great Hall with the Marauders helping them with their latest prank. I sort of know what Avery felt like when she started hanging around them for the first time. It's sort of intimidating, they're all so powerful in their own ways and so confident that it can make anyone feel weak and insignificant in comparison.




Merlin I sound like such a woman.




“Are you ready?” Sirius asked nudging my side as he glanced up at the teachers table in the Great Hall.




My mouth felt dry as I nodded my head.




I wont get expelled, I can't get expelled. The Marauders have been pulling pranks their whole lives and they have yet to get expelled, at most they get a months worth of detention. What if there's a secret lair that Filch has where he stows away the new pranksters and holds them captive until they swear they'll never pull a prank again.




“Alright we just have to wait for Peter's signal and then it's our time to go.” James said as he glanced around the Great Hall expectantly. Within moments a spark ignited from above our heads. I looked up and saw Peter hovering above the floating candles on a broomstick, one hand on the broom and the other with his wand in his hand. The spark gained many people's attention and they started looking around the Great Hall expectantly, many looking in our direction. Peter started waving his hand and saying something.




Music started blasting in the Great Hall, a fast paced song.




“Now,” Sirius shouted. Without thinking the three of us raised our wands and declared “salatatus”. The teachers then stood up abruptly, a look of shock on their faces as their legs moved without their permission. The teachers moved to the front of the Great Hall and began pairing off. Once they had settled with their partners all of them began dancing in sporadic movements. Their legs moving at a speed I wasn't sure was humanly possible.




Everyone in the Great Hall was bursting from laughter as McGonagall's face tightened and became frigid. To me she resembled a great white shark from the look on her face. The funniest moment of the scene was how Hagrid and Flitwick got paired off. Hagrid stood on his knees as he danced with Flitwick.




Right as Mcgonagall looked like she was about to burst from anger the music ended and Sirius released the jinx. McGonagall turned around and looked in our direction pointedly, her eyes narrowing into tiny slits to the point where it looked like they weren't even open. Dumbledore rested a hand on her shoulder, holding her back from hexing us to oblivion.




“Well, wasn't that a treat. I daresay I can't remember the last time I've hiked up my robes and did a little jig. Unfortunately, I don't believe everyone here shares in my delight, I believe we know the source of the jinx and that the people responsible will be addressed by the head of their house later in the evening.” Dumbledore made a point of looking at us, although I'm not entirely sure I'm included in the accusing stare.




“Three weeks detention, child’s play!” James declared as he flopped onto the couch later that night after McGonagall had accosted James and Sirius.




“Nothing said about me?” I asked hesitantly.




“They have no clue you were even part of it.”




“And you didn't mention that I was?”




“Course not,” Sirius said looking slightly put off. “We wouldn't throw you under the carriage like that. Besides, it'll be good having you around for other pranks. If you got scared off you may never come back to share your wisdom with us.”




“Wait, what?” I asked not quite believing the fact that Sirius wanted me around more. As far as my observations went no one else had ever been included in any of their antics. And only a few days ago Sirius seemed to hate me for being friends with Avery. Maybe he's just doing this to keep an eye on me.




“Nial, Merlin only knows the knowledge your brother has left you. We're not going to let a gem like this go,” James explained.




Oh sod, what have I gotten myself into?

 

A/N: alright so that last line was kind of a shout out to previous chapters when Avery officially agrees to be James Potter's fake girlfriend. I feel like Nial and Avery had similar reactions once the Marauders came into their lives so I thought it would be funny :) What did you think of nial? Now, this is the last chapter I'll be posting myself but my friend Danica (Hermione Potter452) will be posting the chapters for me while I'm at basic for the air force. Please still review and once I'm back I will be responding to each and every one. I've left author's notes in all the chapters ahead of time explaining future plans so you know I won't abandon you. I love you all! Wish me luck for the air force!




Chapter 22: Science of Fear
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Chapter 22: Science of Fear

 

Friday February 20th, 8:38 pm

 

SIRIUS

 

My body feels like it's boiling, a searing pain cutting through me. I fall to my knees in response to the pain coursing throughout my body. I want to throw up but my stomach feels like someone is wringing it's hands around it, not allowing me to. After a few more painful moments the pain slowly let's up and I struggle to my knees, my entire body shaking in the process. The pain continues to lesson and I eventually make it back up to my feet, my breaths coming out short and ragged.

 

I walk over to a mirror and look at my reflection. The face staring back at me is so similar but with a few differences. My gray eyes have been replaced by green ones. And my nose is slightly more crooked and wide. But the same hair and face structure is generally the same.

 

I look to my right at the lifeless body draped across the couch. Regulus looks peaceful as he sleeps, a peace that never graces his face on any other day. I look to his right arm and see his sleeve falling back, hesitantly I walk over to him and grab his arm, slowly pushing back the sleeve. I sigh in relief when I see that there is no dark mark on his arm. I quickly set his arm down across his stomach and look at my watch. I have exactly forty-two minutes to complete this task, I can't waste anymore time.

 

I take Regulus's robe and throw it over my shoulders, quickly leaving the Room of Requirements. As I make my way to the Slytherin common rooms I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to get into the room. I looked at my watch and notice it's almost curfew and that I would have to hurry to the Slytherin common room in hopes of catching a Slytherin before they entered.

 

Luckily for me right as I neared the common room a few first years were entering. When we reached a large wooden door, which I assumed lead to the common room, instead of saying a password one of the first years dug into their shirt. They withdrew their hand and produced a golden charm in the shape of a snake. They held the charm out to the door and I saw a carving in the wood door in the shape of the snake. They placed their charm into the carving and a light emitted from it. The boy withdrew the pendant and the door swung open.

 

I couldn't help but think how clever that was and how I wished we had something like that for our common room. All we have is a sodding password, a lot less wicked.

 

I followed behind the first years and into the common room. The room was all black stone with dark green chairs covering the space. An unlit fire sat in the middle of the room and green and blue flicks of light scattered across the room. I looked around and saw a large window which reveled water. I realized that the Slytherin common room must be under the lake.

 

I looked at my watch and saw I only had thirty five minutes left. I had to find Snivellus.

 

I quickly scanned the common room and found no trace of him. I then made my way to the boys dormitory and walked up the steps, looking at the signs on the door until I reached seventh year boy dormitory. I sucked in a deep breath and calmed myself. I couldn't be cruel to Snivellus, in fact, I couldn't call him Snivellus. I had to act like he was a friend.

 

I swung open the door and was surprisingly relieved to see Snape sitting on what I assumed to be his bed. I'd never been glad to see Snape before so this emotion took me by surprise. His face was buried in a Dark Arts book, he was so immersed in it that he didn't even look up when I entered the room. In fact, I'm not even sure he noticed someone had entered the room.

 

“Severus,” I said loudly to gain his attention. The voice that exited my mouth sounded familiar but foreign on my tongue.

 

Snape looked up and drew his lips into a sneer which I assumed was his way of acknowledging me. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company, Regulus?”

 

“I've stumbled upon some information I think you'll find interesting,” I said conspiratorially, instantly gaining his interest. I neared Snape and realized this is the closet I had ever been to him without hexing him.

 

“And what is that?”

 

I smirked and could tell from his enthusiasm that I already had his interest and anything I told him from this point out he would take to, it was like dangling a worm in front of a fish. “I heard of a tunnel that will take you to the Shrieking Shack.”

 

“Is that so?” Snape said trying to hide the joy in his voice but failing while what I assumed to be a smile crossed his lips. “How did you hear of it?”

 

“Ja-” I coughed into my hand and tried to hide the fact that I had almost said James. “Potter and Black were talking about it today, they didn't know I was behind them.”

 

Snape scoffed and rolled his eyes before sitting back in his bed. “Potter and Black? What kind of moron do you take me for Regulus? Potter and Black wouldn't know how to find their way out of a paper bag.”

 

I took a deep breath to try and calm my nerves, the loathing for Snape that I held wanting to surface. “On any other occasion I would agree with you, but they do seem to know more secrets about this castle than anyone else.”

 

Snape paused and looked pensive as he mauled over everything. “I've always said that not only would the Shrieking Shack be an excellent exploratory area, but it would be a place to practice my spells.”

 

I smiled despite myself, I had him exactly where I wanted him. “I think for once we can thank Black and Potter. Come on, grab Potter's invisibility cloak and we can sneak down.”

 

“What, you want to go now?” Snape asked being slightly caught off guard.

 

“Of course, how can you not want to go?”

 

Snape eyed me for a few moments before he got up from his chair and said, “fair enough.” Before rummaging in his trunk and retrieving James' cloak.

 

JAMES

 

What is taking Sirius so bloody long? Remus is going to transform at any moment and he's still not here. We depend on him to keep Remus at bay, I can only do so much. Sirius is much stronger than I am in our animagi form. He's a large dog so it's easy for him to rival against Remus and fight him if the situation calls for it.

 

I look over at Remus who is huddled in the corner of the room. His arms are clutching his knees, bringing them up to his chest as he shudders, his transformation starting already. He's trying to keep his moans at bay, to detract from the pain that he's feeling. It seems no matter how many times hes transformed he feels guilty for who he becomes.

 

I'm already in my stag form, sometimes Remus transforms within seconds and when there's so much pressure to transform into my animagi form it's hard for the task to be accomplished quickly. Remus isn't looking around the room, but I know he can sense Sirius's missing presence and it's making the transformation more difficult. I want to swear out loud but can't in my animagi form, instead I angrily stomp on the wooden floorboards, pacing the Shack, the sound of my hooves echoing in the small space. I can feel the time slipping away and the moments to Remus's transformation continue to mount.

 

A sound echoes from the hallway and my ears perk at the slight movement. There are two sets of feet walking towards the Shrieking Shack. I wait in the room quietly, wondering who the other person could be. The footsteps come closer and the doorknob starts to rattle. I stand protectively in front of Remus, careful to block him from view. The door swings open and I can hear footsteps but cannot see anyone. Suddenly a head emerges from thin air and two people are standing in the previously vacant space. I'm frozen in my spot when Snape and Regulus are revealed. From behind me Remus lets out a loud cry and I know that he's going to transform at any moment.

 

Snape is looking around the room in confusion and hesitancy, he can sense that something is wrong and he's becoming defensive. “What's going on Regulus?”

 

Regulus smirks and the expression on his face is so familiar, but I'm sure I've never seen it on his face before. “What's going on Snivellus is that you're finally getting what you deserve.”

 

Snape stares at Regulus in horror, not understanding what's going on. All of a sudden Regulus starts changing, his skin is morphing as if wanting to jump off of his body. A small groan leaves Regulus's lips and Sirius is standing where Regulus had only moments ago.

 

“Black,” Snape whispers in horror and pure hatred. He's so preoccupied by the fact he'd been tricked that he doesn't notice Sirius take my invisibility cloak back and put it in his backpack.

 

I hear a loud cry and the sound of clothes tearing could be heard. I look at Sirius and all the color has drained from his face as the consequence of his actions finally dawns on him. Remus's cries continue to grow as he transforms.

 

I move towards Snape and he draws back against the wall, his eyes flicking from the transforming Remus to me, the stag, standing in front of him. Snape is fumbling for his wand and I know I have to get him out of here. I quickly change back into my human form knowing that's the only way I can persuade him to leave.

 

“Potter,” Snape declares once he takes in my human form. “How the bloody hell-”

 

“We have no time to talk. I need you to get on my back when I'm back in my stag form, we need to get you out of here now, do you understand?” I say firmly. Snape's eyes divert back to Remus who was standing up and fur was spreading throughout his body. Snape nods and I waste no time in transforming back to my stag form. Snape quickly hops onto my back and I run down the narrow hallway. I can hear howling from behind me and a dog growling.

 

I can see the end of the tunnel and exert my last bits of energy as I burst through the exit and out into the night air. I come to a stop and Snape quickly gets off of me. I transform back into my human form and waste no time in retrieving my wand while Snape already has his drawn.

 

“You lot are bloody insane,” Snape declares as he raises a shaking hand at me. “Remus is a werewolf, and you're an animagi? I cannot wait to tell Dumbledore about this, you'll finally get expelled and get the punishment you deserve. And you can thank your mate Black for this.”

 

“I wouldn't get so ahead of yourself Snivellus, in case you just missed the last five minutes, I don't know if you happened to notice the fact that I just saved your life.”

 

“You saved my life after your friend put me in the situation, something I'm sure you took part in.”

 

I shook my head vigorously and kept my wand pointed at him. “I had no idea Sirius was going to do this. You might have noticed the past month or so I haven't laid one hand on you.”

 

“That's only because you were planning this stint, the prank of all pranks.”

 

“Then why the bloody hell did I just save your life!” I shouted, my voice shaking from anger, not only anger towards Snape but anger towards Sirius. Snape didn't say anything as he stared at me but I could tell he was finally realizing I took no part in the events that occurred tonight. “Before you do anything rash let's talk to Dumbledore.”

 

Snape looked at me for a long time before he dropped his hand containing his wand, “fine,” he resigned.

 

AVERY

 

Stupid bloody Peeves. I don't know why Dumbledore hasn't gotten rid of him, he's nothing but a nuisance.

 

My wet feet hit the stone floors creating a sloshing sound as I walked. My soaked clothes leave a wet trail behind me. Who the bloody hell dumps water on people nowadays?

 

I eventually make it back to the common room, grateful I hadn't run into anyone on my way back, not only was I after curfew but I was a bit sour from getting a bucket of water dumped on me. And this was all for Sirius. I was making sure he was okay after a full moon but no one was in the hospital wing.

 

Once in the common room I heard controlled yelling and was surprised to find people still awake at this hour. I looked around and in the corner I saw James yelling at Sirius. Sirius was backed into a corner, all color drained from his face as he ran a hand through his hair and kept opening his mouth to say something but James would quickly be cut off by James before any words had the chance to leave his mouth.

 

Remus was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet muttering something under his breath. Peter was standing nearby Sirius and James looking nervous and not quite sure what to do with himself. No one seemed to realize I had entered the room and as I neared James and Sirius I started making out what James was saying.

 

“What the hell were you thinking Padfoot! Do you know how many people you put in danger, what could've happened, the secrets that could've come out. We could've been expelled, worse, Moony would've been banned from our world altogether if people knew!”

 

James was waving his arms around in the air looking like a lunatic but I could sense his anger and his gestures fit his current demeanor. Sirius kept his eyes casted towards the ground but he seemed to have sensed me and he looked over James' shoulder and locked eyes with me.

 

“Avery,” he said in a whisper.

 

James whirled around and stared at me. At first he looked mad that I was there but eventually his face softened. “What's going on?” I asked looking at everyone whose expression were a mix of anger and fear.

 

“Do you want to tell her, or should I?” James said as he looked at Sirius.

 

Sirius looked at James for a few moments, refusing to meet my eyes. He eventually sighed and said, “I will.” He pushed away from the wall and walked towards me. He stopped in front of me and took my hands in his. “Avery,” he said slowly.

 

Sirius was hardly able to meet my eyes and the guilt was radiating from him. I could feel my heartbeat quicken and the blood rush to my face as I panicked. He cheated on me, this is it, he's going to break up with me. “Sirius, you're scaring me,” I admitted, unable to deal with his silence.

 

Sirius didn't respond and he looked around the room as if the space would provide an answer. “I messed up Avery,” he finally spit out.

 

“Who is it?” I asked, dread coursing through my body.

 

“Snape,” he responded.

 

“What, you cheated on me with Snape?” I asked thoroughly confused.

 

Sirius looked at me oddly and the corner of his lip twitched as if he wanted to smile but his frown quickly took place. “No,” he shook his head. “I didn't cheat on you, I never would, I love you.”

 

“Then what did you do?” I asked trying to not react when he said I love you.

 

Sirius breathed deeply and was finally able to meet my eyes. “I tricked Snape, I used a Polyjuice Potion and pretended to be my brother. I then went to Snape and told him how to get into the Shrieking Shack. When we got there Remus started transforming,” Sirius swallowed loudly and shook his head as he collected his thoughts. “Snape saw Remus transform. James saved him, Snape got onto James's back in his stag form and I held off Remus so that they could escape.” Sirius hung his head in shame not able to meet my eyes. After a few moments he raised his eyes and looked at me through his bangs.

 

His grey eyes had no effect on me as I stared into them and felt numb. Suddenly his touch seemed to be burning me and I ripped my hands from his, ignoring the hurt look on his face.

 

“Avery,” Sirius said stepping towards me. I put my hands on his chest and pushed him away. I didn't want to be anywhere near him. When he was next to me I felt like I was suffocating, I grabbed at my chest as I looked at him.

 

“How could you,” I finally managed to whisper. “How could you jeopardize your friends futures? How could you put them in a position where they could get expelled?” I looked at him and I could feel tears forming, whether they were from sadness or pure anger I couldn't decide. “Snape could've died,” I finally managed to choke out. The impact of my words seemed to hit all the Marauders, as if the idea of Snape dying hadn't really crossed their minds until I said it out loud.

 

“I know, I was so stupid Avery.”

 

“I thought you were different than the boy I always saw galavanting around the hallway acting like he owned the place, but you're worse than what I originally thought. You're selfish and immature. You put your ego above everyone else. You can't stand loosing, always wanting to have the last say. Well congratulations Sirius, you won.”

 

“Avery I realize how dumb I was, believe me. My intention wasn't to hurt him, just to scare him.” Sirius said reaching out and touching my arm.

 

I quickly pulled my arm away from his grasp, “don't touch me!” I yelled, surprising everyone with my outburst.

 

Sirius froze in midair after I yelled, the only sound that could be heard was my ragged breathing. I looked at everyone who looked just as caught off guard as Sirius. “We're over,” I managed to squeak out.

 

“What,” Sirius said in a voice barely above a whisper. His eyes were panicked as they looked into mine.

 

I couldn't hold his eyes in fear that I would break down and forgive him. My cheeks burned red from anger and my vision was swimming. I tried to swallow the sadness but found it useless as tears trailed down my cheeks, spilling onto my blouse and staining it. “I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore, we're over.”

 

“Avery, you don't mean that,” Sirius pleaded.

 

“I do,” I said firmly. “You think of no one but yourself and you're reckless, this is not someone I want in my life. Who knows if the next prank you pull will be at my expense.”

 

“Avery, I love you,” Sirius's voice was cracking and he sounded so desperate that the longer I stood there the harder it became to stick to what I was saying.

 

“I don't care,” I said with finality. I stepped to side of Sirius and brushed past him as I headed towards the dormitory. I felt his reach out and grab me but I quickened my speed and didn't look back as I tried in vein to stop the tears falling from my eyes.

 

A/N: Alright so love it, hate it? Was it what you expected to happen? I know a lot of you thought Sirius was cheating on Avery but he clearly loves her and I feel that's a cliché thing to add in a story so I thought that I don't read enough about when Sirius gets Snape to the shrieking Shack. Sad Avery and Sirius are over? But this isn't the end of the story! There are 33 chapters and an epilogue total for Duck and Cover and I've already started on the sequel which will be called Thin Ice. Review :)



Chapter 23: You Tried to Turn Away
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 Chapter 23: You Tried to Turn Away

 

Thursday February 26th, 7:02 am

 

By Sunday everyone had heard of my breakup with Sirius, they were so consumed by the fact that Sirius and I had broken up that few had noticed his separation with James, Peter and Remus. Meals in the Great Hall had gone from loud boisterous affairs, to quiet moments at the Gryffindor table, reserved for only eating and no banter or laughter. Sirius's usually loud laughter no longer filled the giant space and the missing of his presence didn't go unnoticed by anyone. Sirius had taken to avoiding social gatherings of any sort altogether, opting to eat at other times where he wouldn't have to face people.

 

In order to distract myself I had taken to studying classes, realizing that having the Marauders in my life had kept me from my studies and my grades had started slipping. Any spare moment I had was spent in the library, keeping my head in the books, not looking around or listening to other people's conversations. It seemed anywhere I went people were talking about me and Sirius, they didn't even try to hide the fact they were talking to me when I passed them.

 

As for James, Remus and Peter they tried to go unnoticed as well. When I looked at them it was like looking at a jewel that had been thrown in the dirt, something that was once beautiful and shined but had been reduced to a dull sparkle. I had hardly talked to them since that night, it was like we were trying to avoid the thing that had torn everyone apart.

 

At breakfast Remus sat down next to me for the first time in a few days. He looked at me, his eyes dull. “Have you talked to him?” He asked, trying to sound casual as he smeared marmalade on his toast.

 

I shook my head as I took a sip of my pumpkin juice, hoping the liquid would prevent my voice from cracking. “No, he's tried to talk to me. Whenever I turn a corner I'm afraid I'm going to run into him and have to face him.” The weekend had been easy enough to avoid Sirius, I was either in the library or in my dorm room, neither or which would contain him. Now that I had class it had become increasingly more difficult to avoid him. “What's happened with Snape, as far as I know he hasn't let word slip on what happened the other night.”

 

“James was smart and took Snape to Dumbledore right away. Luckily, Snape was so hung up on exposing me for being a werewolf that he completely forgot about the fact we were animagi.”

 

“How did Dumbledore manage to get Snape to not tell anyone?”

 

Remus smirked, “well he said it was either not tell anyone or he would have to rather unfortunately erase his memory from that night.”

 

I was grateful for the constant support he showed for Remus's condition. I looked at Remus who seemed to feel the same. For a moment things felt resolved as we smiled at each other, but then Sirius came into my thoughts. “How is he doing?”

 

Remus's smirk fell from his face and he glanced down the Gryffindor table. I was shocked to see Sirius sitting at the end of the table by himself. I hadn't noticed him walk in. He was hardly recognizable at the moment, he looked like he hadn't brushed his hair in days or shaved and his robes were wrinkled and looked like he hadn't changed his clothing.

 

Sirius reached up and brushed his bangs away from his face, his eyes were cast down and he picked at his food, none of it actually reaching his mouth. Despite his disheveled appearance he was still incredibly handsome and for a moment I let myself miss him and longed to have his arms wrapped around me again. I shook my head and quickly let the thoughts fall from my mind.

 

“How have you been?” Remus asked as he placed a gentle hand on my shoulder.

 

I looked at him briefly but was unable to meet his eyes as sadness overcame me. “I miss him but I'm still incredibly mad at what he did. I thought I knew him, I thought he was more mature and careful, but clearly he's not. How could I ever trust his judgement after he did that?”

 

“I know what you mean,” Remus said with a heavy sigh as he dropped his hand from my shoulder and raked the hand through his hair. “I can't figure out what he was thinking when he pulled that stint, he was incredibly stupid. I know he realizes what he did was reckless and I'm sure he'll never do something like it again after this-”

 

“You sound like you're forgiving him,” I said sharply.

 

“In time I will.”

 

“How could you ever forgive him?” I said in shock, I couldn't quite believe what Remus was saying to me.

 

“Sirius made a mistake, a huge mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. He's realized what he's done and he's learned from it, I'm not ready to forgive him, but when the time comes I'll be happy to have him back. He's like my brother, no matter what family does to you you can never abandon them. Well, not the family we've created anyway,” Remus said in reference to Sirius's actual family who had abandoned him. Remus cast a sideways glance at me, “are you saying you're never going to forgive him?”

 

“No,” I said firmly as I stood up from the table and threw my backpack over my shoulders. “And I don't know how you could either.”

 

I ignored everyone's stares as I excited the Great Hall. I managed to sneak a glance at Sirius whose eyes were locked onto me. I almost stopped walking when I saw that his eyes held nothing in them, they were blank as if no life existed behind them. He stood up from his chair and I turned away from him, hurrying my pace to class, realizing with dread that I had Transfiguration next and that contained Sirius.

 

“Avery,” I heard my name call from behind me. I didn't turn around, knowing it was Sirius calling for me.

 

I started walking faster, my backpack bouncing noisily behind me. I had almost reached the classroom when I ran into something hard. I fell backwards and my books spilled out behind me. I looked up and there was nothing that explained the sudden impact. I reached out and my hand came into touch with an invisible barrier. I looked behind me and caught Sirius stuffing his wand back into his pocket. I angrily shook off my backpack and started piling my books back into it.

 

“Remove the shield,” I demanded as Sirius came to a stop in front of me.

 

“I need to talk to you,” Sirius said quietly.

 

I shoved the last book in my backpack and stood up, looking up at him. “I don't want to talk Sirius. There's nothing to talk about.”

 

“Please, Avery,” Sirius begged as he stared at me.

 

“Don't do this,” I said, hardly able to contain my emotions with Sirius standing so close to me. “Leave me alone.”

 

“I'm so sorry,” Sirius whispered. Without having time to react he reached out his hand and placed it on my cheek. Without thinking I let myself rest in the palm of his hands and a sigh almost escaped my lips before I realized what I was doing. I looked at Sirius who looked hopeful and jerked away from his touch.

 

“I don't care,” I hissed. “I want you to leave me alone.”

 

“Avery don't do this, I love you.”

 

My heart seemed to stop beating as the words left his lips. I was frozen in my spot and couldn't shake off his words. I felt sadness sweep through me as I realized that I had lost the person I loved.

 

I stood staring at him in the hallway, not quite sure what to do. My initial reaction was to immediately respond with 'I love you too' after having said it so many times before. The full realization of what had happened the other night hit me like a ton of bricks. In that moment I realized I'd never say I love you to Sirius Black again.

 

People started filing out from the Great Hall and their presence broke my train of thought. I turned away from Sirius and stepped inside of the Transfiguration room, taking a seat near the back corner to avoid being seen. Slowly the class started filling up and I kept my eyes cast towards my desk in order to avoid seeing Sirius. I sensed someone approach my table and they hovered awkwardly by the empty seat.

 

“Is it alright if I sit here?”

 

I looked up and saw a girl from Hufflepuff that I recognized but didn't know her name. She was short with blonde hair and brown eyes, a small hesitant smile on her lips. “Sure,” I responded dully as I retrieved my parchment and quill from my backpack.

 

“Thanks,” she said as she sat in the seat next to me and took out her things as well. “I'm Cassi Ames by the way, we've never been properly introduced before.”

 

“I'm Avery Muze,” I said in a half-hearted introduction.

 

“I think everyone knows who you are at this point,” Cassi said in a conversational manor.

 

I looked at her for a moment, not quite understanding the point of her comment. I hope she didn't sit next to me in order to get information out of me. Before I could question the reasoning behind Cassi's seating choice the girl in front of me spun around abruptly and pointedly looked at me.

 

“Is it true that Sirius threw you in front of a heard of Thestrals while you two were having a row?” The girl asked me point blank.

 

I opened my mouth to respond but was instantly cut off by Cassi. “Oi, Diedra, what business is it of yours? Bugger off.”

 

“What are you, Avery's body guard?” Diedra huffed angrily.

 

“Maybe I am,” Cassi said retrieving her wand from her pocket and pointing it at Diedra. “Want to test me?”

 

Diedra looked at Cassi through narrowed eyes and scoffed before saying, “whatever,” and turning around in her seat.

 

I looked at Cassi gratefully, “where have you been the last four months of my life?”

 

Cassi smiled as she put her wand in her pocket. “Even I'm getting sick of how often people are talking about you, I couldn't even imagine being on the receiving end of it.”

 

“Thank you,” I said before McGonagall came out of her office and stood in the front of the class, tapping her wand on the front board and gaining everyone's attention.

 

McGonagall explained our lesson for the day and we were told to transform a hat into a rock and then back to its original form. McGonagall demonstrated the task we were assigned and left the steps on the board. She stalked the isles as we began to do our assigned task.

 

“When would it ever be useful to transform something into a rock during battle?” Cassi muttered under her breath, “what are we going to do, stone them to death?”

 

I laughed for what felt like the first time in months. “If you transformed enough objects into rocks I'm sure you could create a rock barricade of sorts, I'm sure that would prevent Voldemort from attacking us.”

 

Cassi laughed loudly at my comment which gained McGonagall's attention. Her lips tightened as she swooped over to us. “What are you finding so amusing about this lesson?”

 

“Nothing Professor, I was merely choking,” Cassi said instantly, keeping her calm.

 

McGonagall raised a strict eyebrow at Cassi and I, “is that so Ms. Ames? Well I'm sorry about your current health condition, but assuming you are back to health would you and Ms. Muze care to demonstrate the lesson for the day to me?”

 

“We would be delighted,” Cassi said pointing her wand at her hat and instantly changing it to a rock and then back to the hat.

 

“Very well,” McGonagall said before rounding in on me. “Now you, Ms Muze.”

 

I took a steading breath as I pointed my wand at my hat. Unfortunately I didn't have the same result as Cassi and my hat just turned grey.

 

“You could use a bit more practice Ms Muze, why don't you try paying closer attention.” McGonagall stalked away as I slumped in my seat and looked at my hat dejectedly.

 

“It is not my week,” I said dejectedly as I placed my wand on the table and rubbed my eyes.

 

“If you want I could help you with Transfiguration later,” Cassi offered.

 

“Thanks,” I said offering Cassi a weak smile as I picked up my wand and tried to complete to assignment.

 

 

I was on my way back to the common room after lunch when I heard a loud commotion coming from down the hallway. I listened intently and could hear a couple of voices, but I was too far to recognize any of them. As I got closer I heard a low drawl and immediately recognized it as Snape's voice. I moved to turn around but the next words that came out of Snape's mouth stopped me.

 

“Not so tough without your friends, are you Black?”

 

I hurried over to the voices and peaked around the corner of the wall. I saw Snape with his wand drawn and pointed at Sirius who remained hunched over without a wand. Sirius didn't even look like he was going to fight back, he looked helplessly at Snape as if he wasn't sure what to do. Surrounding Snape was Bellatrix and Regulus who both had their wands drawn and were looking at Sirius victoriously.

 

“Did your friends finally come to their senses and realize how pathetic you truly are Black?” Snape said menacingly.

 

“Don't do this,” Sirius said halfheartedly, sounding almost pleading to Snape.

 

Everyone but Sirius burst out into laughter. “What is this, is Sirius Black asking to be released. Why aren't you fighting back, Black?” Bellatrix added as she neared Sirius, prodding his back with her wand. Sirius stiffened but did nothing as they continued to taunt him. “Poor pathetic Sirius, not even his own family wanted him.” Bellatrix kept her wand on Sirius's body as she moved around him. “First your family, then your friends, and now your girlfriend. Merlin Sirius, how many people are you going to scare off until you realize you're better off alone.” She stopped once her wand was pointed at his chest, looking at him menacingly. “No one is going to miss you if you're gone. Levicorpus.” Bellatrix said as Sirius was lifted off the ground and hung upside down.

 

His arms dangled pathetically above his head as he closed his eyes and breathed heavily. I could see his wand jutting out from his pocket, it was at his disposal so I couldn't figure out why he hadn't used it to fight back yet.

 

“What should we do with him,” Bellatrix mauled over as she stared at Sirius. “Severus, you have some useful curses at your disposal. Why don't we try some of them out.”

 

Snape happily stepped forward, his wand drawn and a determined look on his face. “Sectum sempra,” Snape declared. The curse was sent to Sirius but another spell was casted from behind me and detoured Snape's curse, sending it so that it hit the top of Sirius's arm, creating a gash.

 

I looked behind me and saw Lily rushing forward, her wand held up in front of her as she looked at the scene. “What is going on here,” she demanded. “Let Sirius down now,” she said sternly.

 

Snape looked at Lily and was about to fight back but his face softened the smallest amount and he flicked his wand, letting Sirius fall to the ground. Sirius picked himself up from the ground and placed his hand over his wound as blood stained his shirt.

 

“Thirty points from Slytherin,” Lily chastised. “Don't think I wont be reporting this to Dumbledore, I expect all of you to follow me to his office now. Avery,” she said whirling around and turning to me. The rest of the group turned towards me and looked shocked, not having noticed me before. “Take Sirius to the hospital wing to get his wound healed.”

 

“But-” I started to argue.

 

“Avery, I can't deal with this right now. I have to take this lot to Dumbledore, I”m afraid you're going to have to escort Sirius to the hospital wing to make sure he's okay. Can you do that?”

 

I looked at Sirius who was staring at the ground and numbly nodded at Lily. She turned around and had her wand drawn as she marched Slytherin's forward, standing behind them with her wand drawn. Sirius said nothing as he walked past me, not even acknowledging me.

 

I moved to follow Sirius, obeying Lily's orders but Sirius quickly turned around and stared down at me, a sudden anger radiating from him. “You don't have to look after me, I can make it to the hospital wing on my own, thanks.”

 

“Are you sure? Lily told me to help you-”

 

Sirius scoffed and rolled his eyes, “help me? I could've used that back there when they were hexing me.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“I saw you standing there,” Sirius said, his voice rising with every syllable. “You saw them hex me and you did nothing.”

 

“Sirius I-”

 

“Forget it,” Sirius said cutting me off abruptly. “You hate me, I get it. I just never thought you'd get satisfaction in seeing me get injured.”

 

“It wasn't like that,” I tried to reason.

 

“Oh really, then what was it like? From where I was standing it appeared to me that you stood by and watched as they tortured me.” I stood in my place not knowing what to say as Sirius looked down at me, his grey eyes intimidating me, his height and size working in his intimidation factor. Sirius scoffed when I said nothing and turned around, walking away from me.

 

“Why didn't you fight back,” I called down the hallway.

 

Sirius stopped in his spot but didn't turn around. “That's what got us here in the first place,” he looked at me over his shoulder and pain radiated in his eyes. He shook his head before he turned around and walked away from me.

 

A/N: Alright so this chapter was a bit shorter than the other chapters but I'm pretty satisfied with it. What do you think of Cassi? I'm actually quite fond of her myself and can't wait to develop her character :) I hate writing Avery and Sirius fighting. What did you think of their dispute at the end? Does sirius have grounds to stand on to be mad? Let me know :)


Chapter 24: Spit on a Stranger...
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 Chapter 24: Spit on a Stranger

 

Friday February 27th, 7:32 am

 

The date on my calender was circled, reminding me that it was my cousin Kayla's birthday. I stared at the date and tried to replace the day with my cousin's birthday but the only thought that was coming to mind was the fact that today marked the first week since Sirius and I had broken up. I felt like doing nothing today except crawling into bed like I wanted to do everyday and trying to forget what had happened. Since Sirius and I had broken up I had lost the motivation to do anything. At times it was literally painful not having him around. Every time I would look at him my chest would ache and breathing became a motion that I would have to remind myself to do.

 

I finally laid back down in bed, figuring it was alright to skip classes just for this one day and I could suffer through detention. No sooner had my head hit the pillow when I was interrupted from going back to sleep by a bedraggled looking Lily.

 

“You have to talk to Sirius,” she demanded. “I don't know what happened but you have to fix things, not just between you two but with the other Marauders as well.”

 

“I can't fix it,” I responded hoping that would be the end of the conversation.

 

“Bullocks you can't fix it,” Lily practically yelled. “I don't think you understand, this doesn't just affect you it affects me as well. I hardly see James anymore and if I do his mind is always somewhere else. He's not the same without Sirius, he's still going through the same motions in life but without any heart in it. I can't even remember the last time he made a lewd comment towards me. He's not the same James, and you're acting exactly how he is. You've got to fix this, Avery.”

 

“I told you, I can't fix it. I'm sure James and Sirius will restore things soon enough.”

 

“Not soon enough for me, Avery please,” Lily begged.

 

“Haven't I done enough for you, Lily? I break up with James for you and now you want me to fix something that can't be fixed? Even if I wanted to he wouldn't have be back,” the last words stung me, realizing they were true. Even if I wanted Sirius back at this point I couldn't, I'd hurt him by not helping him and there was no way either of us could forgive each other.

 

“Oh please,” Lily said with an eye roll. “James told me you two were faking the romance.”

 

“He did?” I asked in surprise.

 

“Of course,” Lily said matter-of-factly. “There are no secrets between us, he tells me everything.”`

 

“Well good for you guys,” I said sounding more bitter than I meant it to be. “But I can't help you, you're just going to have to figure this one out on your own.”

 

Lily stood up from my bed, her face sour. “You know, you can't feel sorry for yourself when you're doing nothing to fix it. At some point you're going to have to rejoin society and face the world.”

 

“I went unnoticed for six years at this school, I think I can do it again for another four months.”

 

Lily gave me one last agitated look but decided to give up badgering me and picked up her schoolbag before noisily leaving the room and slamming the door firmly behind her. I flipped onto my back and stared up at the top of my four poster bed. Silence enveloped me and I was left with nothing but my thoughts, thoughts I had been desperately trying to avoid for the past week but now they seemed to haunt and take over me. It was if they came out from the corner most of my mind and slowly made themselves present in that moment.

 

All I could think about was Sirius. His name replayed in my head like a broken record set on repeat. There was no coherent thought behind the name, just his general presence and memories of him. Memories of us caused my chest to seize and I thought it was going to explode. I sucked in a breath in hopes of steadying myself but my efforts seemed futile. Tears streaked out of the corner of my eye, some hitting the pillow without a sound, while others trailed down my neck.

 

I allowed myself in that moment to miss him, miss us. Sirius had meant more to be me than anyone ever had, I never thought I could love someone that strongly and purely. I never thought I would have a need for someone, both physically and emotionally. It was like Sirius brought out everything good in me, everything that I locked away when I chose a life of seclusion. A simple smile from him would make my day, I never thought I would have such a strong reaction to something as simple as a smile.

 

I wish I had told him more how much he meant to me when we were together. He never failed to tell me everyday how beautiful he thought I was, and how he thought I was perfect. I wish I had told him more often how much I cared for him, how much he changed me. I don't know why I didn't tell him everyday, I should have. I know his insecurities and the part they play a big part in his life. Sometimes in the most silent of moments I can almost hear his thoughts when it's about his family, it goes to his rejection. You would never think Sirius Black, one of the most sought after boys in the school, would fear rejection but it's a constant fear that plagues him and I failed to express how much I needed him.

 

I can't do this, I can't stay alone forever. I thought that staying alone and to myself was easy, and at times it was, but there is so much to gain from being with people. Surrounding yourself with people who you love and love you back. Friendship, a foreign concept to me only six months ago, now is one of the most important things to me and I'm messing it all up.

 

Right. It's about time I make changes.

 

I sit up from my bed and swing my legs over the edge, pushing myself off of the mattress and walking into the bathroom. I splashed some cold water on my face to get rid of the red blotching that has covered it. I then get into my school uniform and write a quick birthday letter to my cousin Kayla. I stuffed it in my backpack to send to her later and head downstairs. The common room is deserted and I realize everyone is in class. I sigh and realize my brilliant plan of making amends with people is put to a minor halt. I figure I can use this time now to send the letter to Kayla.

 

When I exited the doors and reached the outside I realize it's started to warm up slightly and raise up my face up to the sun, letting it warm it. The weather improved my mood dramatically and a small smile fell on my lips. Once I entered the owlery the smell of poop hit my nose and I grimaced.

 

I've always hated going to the owlery. The owls are never very friendly and more often than not I find poop in my hair. This occasion is no different as one owl swoops from it's pedestal and skims the top of my head.

 

“Damn owls,” I curse under my breath. I search around looking for a calm tentative owl and eventually find an unassuming one curled in the corner of the room. I hold out my arm for it to climb onto and it inspects my arm curiously. “It's okay owl, I'm not going to make you into my dinner. I'm sure you're infested with a lot of diseases and if I were to eat you I would probably die or throw up. Either way it's a lose lose situation for the both of us. So why don't you crawl onto my arm and make things easy.”

 

I realize I sound like a complete nutter but my coaxing seemed to work and the owl stepped onto my arm, firmly planting it's claws into my skin. It then obediently stuck out one leg and I tied my note to it. “Take this to Kayla Muze.” The owl gives a small hoot and flew away, leaving scratch marks on my arm. I watch it fly off and turn around.

 

In the doorway Regulus Black is standing with an amused smile on my face as he looks at me. I am so shocked that I trip over my own feet and land face first on the ground, my body now covered in owl poop, feathers, and other substances that I would rather not know the origin of. As I stand up I don't bother brushing myself off and quickly grab my wand from my pocket.

 

“What do you want Regulus,” I spit, trying to sound threatening.

 

A ghost of a smile appears on his face as he holds up his hands, “I come in peace.” I look at him trying to figure him out. He fishes in his pocket and produces his wand. I immediately tighten my grip and point my wand at him. He bends down and sets his wand on the ground, rolling it away from him. “I'm unarmed.”

 

I lower my wand slightly but don't release it's hold. “I'll keep my wand on me, if you don't mind.”

 

Regulus shakes his head, “acceptable, as long as you don't use it on me.”

 

“What is it you want Regulus?” I ask wondering why he's here. I see no letter in his hands and he doesn't look like he's going to use an owl.

 

The mirth in his eyes vanishes and his face becomes stony. “It's about my brother.”

 

“What about him?” I ask trying to make my voice sound indifferent but failing.

 

“I'm worried about him.”

 

“You're what?” I asked shocked at what Regulus was saying. From what Sirius had told me he and Regulus had never been on good terms. The only time they ever interacted was if there was a fight going on.

 

“I hardly see him anymore, and if I do he looks...well he almost looks dead, like a zombie. He just walks around, doesn't talk, doesn't try to pick fights with us anymore. In fact, the other day Snape was hexing Sirius and he just stood there and did nothing.”

 

I outwardly cringed from the memory. “Why do you care?”

 

“I don't,” Regulus said quickly. He paused for a moment and collected himself. “He can run away, ignore our family, get blasted from our family tree and be hated by every pureblood family but he's still my brother.” For the first time I see a hint of civility in the otherwise cold and cruel Regulus Black. He reminds me so much of Sirius in this moment. Vulnerable and caring for those other than himself. For the first time I see a resemblance in the two, besides the obvious physical appearance. Which, I notice with a hint of sadness, they look strongly alike and for a moment I let myself think I'm talking to Sirius again.

 

“You more than anyone should understand what has happened and why he's become alienated,” I said not letting my guard down in front of Regulus.

 

Regulus nodded in understanding, “I get it, he was a complete tosser. I don't know what exactly happened that night, Severus hasn't been allowed to say anything. I'm sure whatever he did was bad but can't you see he realizes how big of a mistake he's made? You should know better than anyone that he can get a bit carried away sometimes.”

 

“Why are you defending him?” I asked, not entirely convinced this wasn't some sort of joke or setup.

 

“I still care for him,” Regulus said in a quiet voice. “I would never admit this to him, and if you ever repeat this to him or anyone I'll hex you until the sun goes down, but I've always admired him. How he stood up for himself and left when he knew he couldn't live at home anymore. It wasn't easy for him, he's always been protective of me, not anymore though.” He said almost regretfully. “You wouldn't know it but he looked out for me as a kid and for that I feel like I owe him. That's why I'm here telling you to forgive him. Don't think I didn't see how he was when he was with you. I've never seen him so happy before. Even when you weren't talking to him he would look at you, watch how you interact with other people and just smile. I've never seen anyone so happy in my life. He loved you, he still loves you.”

 

“I don't know if I could ever trust him again,” I said not knowing why I was opening up to Regulus.

 

Regulus nodded and remained silent for a few moments before sucking in a breath and speaking again. “Like I said, I do not know the full extent of what he did and I know he can be reckless but I think that you should give him another chance.”

 

Regulus looked at me intensely and for a few minutes we just stood in the owlery, staring at each other with a new understanding. The moment faded and his eyes became hardened and without another word he stalked out of the owlery and left me by myself as if nothing had happened.

 

“Have you read the Daily Prophet today?” Cassi asked me during dinner.

 

I had made a new habit of eating meals with Cassi. After the first Transfiguration class we had together we quickly became friends. I was surprised I had never met her before. She was bold and loud, honest but not cruel. She stuck by me when she hardly knew me. I couldn't understand why or how she had come into my life but I was glad she did. She had other friends aside from me however, and I envied them when I watched them interact. They all had a history together that I would never have nor share with them.

 

“No,” I said through a mouthful of potatoes.

 

Cassi rolled her eyes as she flipped open the newspaper. “You should really try and keep up on current events,” she chided.

 

“Why, what's going on now?”

 

“They're saying Voldemort has gained control of all the Dementors from Azkaban. He's sending them into towns and having them attack people.” Cassi's eyes further scanned the paper and she outwardly cringed. “They're saying seven people have received the Dementor's Kiss already.”

 

“How awful,” I said as I read over Cassi's shoulder. My eyes flicked over to James, Remus and Peter who were eating dinner and chatting amongst themselves. I then looked at Sirius who was sitting at the end of the table by himself playing with his food. I felt a sharp pain in my chest when I realized these were the sorts of things they would be fighting against. The fear of their safety gripped me like it did everyday and I shuddered.

 

“I wanted to become a writer you know,” Cassi said absentmindedly as she folded up her newspaper and set it aside. “But there's more important things for me to do now. It's a scary world we're growing up in but I want to fight.”

 

“You plan on fighting Voldemort as well?” I asked with a sinking feeling in my stomach. It seemed everyone around me was determined to go and fight for our world and here I am doing nothing to contribute.

 

“Whatever I can do,” Cassi nodded enthusiastically. “Don't you want to help? Don't you want to defeat him for our future, for our possible kid's future?”

 

“I do but I wouldn't know how to help. I feel useless.”

 

“Don't say that,” Cassi said quickly. “You exceed in almost all of your classes, and you're particularly good at doing shield's, almost no one is able to break through yours.”

 

I shrugged and absentmindedly ran my finger on the rim of my cup. “It's just hard finding my place in the war. I feel like everyone,” everyone meaning the Marauders, “know's what they want to do. They are determined to fight and I don't feel good enough to fight, or maybe I'm just afraid of what will happen if I do fight.”

 

Cassi opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by Peter who showed up at our table and sat down in front of us, looking slightly nervous. “Sorry to interrupt,” he said directing the question at me. “I was just wondering when exactly your making your speech about that bird. I know you invited all of us and I would like to go, if you wanted me to.”

 

I couldn't help but smile, Peter and I weren't the best of friends but he could be sweet sometimes without expecting it. “It's Saturday March 5th, and of course the offer still stands.”

 

“What is your speech?” Cassi asked, I forgot I had never told her about the Venislew project. I looked over at Cassi to respond and noticed that her cheeks were slightly flushed now and she was fidgeting nervously with her hair while her eyes switched between Peter and I.

 

“It's a project I did for class, I'll tell you about it later. I don't think I've introduced you two before. Peter Pettigrew this is Cassi Ames, my unpaid bodyguard.”

 

Cassi let out a high pitched laugh and swatted me with the back of her hand. Her gesture was odd and I couldn't understand why she seemed so giggly.

 

“Nice to meet you,” Peter said courteously. “Anyway, Remus and I are probably going to come, I don't know about James though and Sirius...”

 

“I understand,” I said cutting him off immediately. I hated when people talked about Sirius and tried to avoid the topic altogether. The run in with his brother today was enough Sirius talk for a lifetime as far as I was concerned.

 

“Alright well I've got to go. Good seeing you Avery, and nice meeting you Cassi.” Peter gave one last curt nod before he left the table.

 

As soon as Peter was out of hearing distance I turned to Cassi and declared, “what the bloody hell was that about?”

 

“What do you mean?” Cassi asked casually as she popped a grape into her mouth.

 

“That whole giggling swatting me thing.”

 

Cassi took her time chewing the grape. After she took her five minutes to chew that one grape she turned towards me, her cheeks a light shade of pink. “Alright, don't give me cheek about this but I've always sort of fancied Peter.”

 

“What,” I couldn't help but splutter. This was a surprise to me. It's not that Peter isn't a nice bloke and he's got his fair share of good looks but compared to the other Marauders he's always paled in comparison.

 

“I know I know, he isn't exactly the most obvious choice but he's sweet and unassuming. He's not as loud or arrogant as the other Marauders. No offense,” she quickly added. “Do you know if he's available?”

 

“As far as I know he hasn't shown interest in any other women, I can talk to Remus about it for you if you want me to.”

 

Cassi blushed even more and shook her blonde hair so that it fell over her shoulders and shielded her face. “That's so embarrassing,” she said.

 

“It's not a big deal, and Remus can keep a secret better than anyone I know.”

 

Cassi paused for a few moments as she thought it over, “oh alright. But if this get's back to Peter that I was asking around for him I'll never forgive you.”

 

“I'll take my chances,”I responded with a smile.

 

Cassi and I finished the rest of our dinner and were packing up to leave when a boy stopped in front of us, looking at me and Cassi nervously.

 

“Can we help you?” Cassi demanded.

 

“Oh, right,” the boy said in a daze as if he forgot why he was there in the first place. “I was actually hoping I could talk to Avery alone, if that's alright.”

 

I looked at Cassi oddly, not quite sure what this boy wanted from me. I had never seen him before in my life and I was surprised to find he wanted to talk to me. “Sure,” I responded.

 

Cassi cast a warning glance at the boy and he stood shuffling awkwardly on his feet for a few moments before speaking up. “I don't think you know me, I'm Patrick Taylor, sixth year Ravenclaw. I was just wondering if er-you would fancy going with me to the next Hogsmeade trip.”

 

To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I felt like I had been knocked on my ass and a boulder had been placed on my chest. I stood awkwardly in my spot for a moment a tense silence passed between us and Patrick's nerves rising with each passing moment. Before I could control what I was going to say I blurted out, “I'm a lesbian,” and promptly made my exit.

 

The implications of my actions hit me once I left the Great Hall. News of my split with Sirius had just started dying down and now I'm sure by tomorrow there will be hundreds of rumors going on about my affairs with women.

 

I walked quickly to the dorm room, cursing under my breath keeping my head down in case the rumor had already started spreading. I made it to the portrait in record time and quickly blurted out the password, climbing inside. I was so busy keeping my head down that I almost collided into someone who was trying to exit the common room. I looked up and stopped breathing for a moment as Sirius stood only a foot in front of me. It was the closet he had been to me in a long time, he was so close that if I wanted to I could reach out and touch him.

 

We stood staring at each other for a few moments and I found that the anger and resentment I had held for him was slowly ebbing away. After the crazy day I'd had all I wanted to do was have him hold me and kiss me on the top of my head, or let me rest the side of my face in the palm of his hand. Unfortunately none of this was possible and once again reality came crushing down on me.

 

I forced my lips into a smile, wanting to see him smile once more. If I couldn't hold him or touch him then maybe his once comforting smile could be a temporary buffer. I was disappointed when he didn't return the gesture and instead brushed past me as if he hadn't seen me.

 

A/N: So here you go! I don't really like this chapter, it's kind of a filler but there's a lot that's going to happen in the next few chapters so hold tight!  


Chapter 25: There Goes the Fear Again
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Chapter 25: There Goes the Fear Again

Saturday March 5th, 6:55 pm

It seemed no matter how many times I rubbed my hands against my pants they remained wet. I had to set my parchment on a table because I was afraid my sweat would soak through the parchment and the words would wash away. Maybe I was being dramatic but my body was shaking as if I was having an internal earthquake.

I peaked out of the curtain and saw over fifty people seated in front of the stage I would soon be standing on. I looked and saw Cassi, Peter and Remus. Peter was talking and Cassi was looking at him with admiration, a look that Peter rarely ever received. Remus was looking around the room, having been left out of the conversation. He looked at the stage and locked eyes with me. He gave me a reassuring smile and for a moment my breath steadied. My calm exterior quickly diminished when my name was called from behind me and I was informed I would be going on stage in a minute.

I frantically looked around for a trash bin, I was almost positive I was about to throw up. I wasn't given the opportunity to dispose of the contents in my stomach, someone had taken me by the shoulders and pushed me towards the stage. They opened up the curtain slightly and gave the thumbs up to a person across the stage.

"Ready to go kid?" The woman asked me. My mouth felt dry as I nodded my head. "Alright, the president of the VRS, Sarah Grayson, is going to introduce you and then its your turn to go."

I stood by the side of the stage and watched Sarah announce me. Her demeanor was relaxed as she stood in front of the witches and wizards. "Tonight we are proud to present one of Hogwarts brightest. She has devised an excellent strategy for Venislew restoration and I can't wait for her to share it with all of you. Please gather a warm round of applause for Avery Muze."

Fear gripped me like an iron vice. Every part of me trembled and I feared that if I took a step forward I would crumble. Panic settled in, what I thought was fear before was only the eye of the storm. Somehow I managed to move my feet in front of each other until I stood at the front of the stage. I laid my parchment on the pedestal and looked at the crowd. A bright light was shinning in my eyes and all I could see were silhouettes at first until my eyes adjusted. I looked to my friends and Cassi gave me the thumbs up.

I sucked in a deep breath and was about to talk but a person in the corner caught my eye. From the large stance I knew the person was a man. I squinted in the distance and my heart leaped into my throat when I recognized the shaggy black hair and casual elegant stance. For a few short moments I was sure that if I leaned closer to the microphone the crowd would be able to hear my heart beating. Then it felt as if a cool bucket of water fell on top of my head and the sensation was alarming at first but then I felt calm.

I took a calming breath and started talking. "Thank you Sarah for the introduction, I'm honored to be here today. When we were first assigned the project I was immediately drawn to the animal and my passion for this creature is what drove me to succeed in this restoration idea." I paused and looked around the room, surprised that everyone was leaning towards me paying attention. I could hardly believe that people were wanting to hear what I had to say. For so long I was used to standing in the background and never voicing my opinion. For once I was in the spotlight and I've got to say, I didn't mind it.

At the end of my speech I was greeted by a large round of applause and a few people even stood up, admittedly more than half of the people contained Cassi, Remus and Peter, but I was still chuffed nonetheless. After I made my speech there was a social gathering afterwards. It was an opportunity for me to meet the members of the VRS and get their feedback on my idea.

Cassi was the first to greet me after I stepped off the stage and towards the mass of people. She quickly enveloped me in a hug. "You did great," she squealed into my ear. "At first I thought I was going to have to run up on the stage and catch you, you looked seconds away from passing out. Then all of a sudden you pulled it together. I must say I was relieved."

"You and me both," I laughed. "I know this is an odd question but is Sirius here?"

"No," Remus answered looking at me oddly.

"Oh," I said. I swear I had seen him, maybe it was just my imagination getting the best of me.

"I didn't realize that nerves made you hallucinate," Peter scoffed. Cassi laughed loudly at Peter's joke and placed a hand on his shoulder as she threw back her head. The gesture was over the top but Peter looked chuffed at Cassi's attention and he smiled at her.

I noticed how Peter and Cassi's bodies were facing towards each other and they kept smiling at one another as if there was a secret they shared. I didn't seem to be the only one noticing and when Peter and Cassi went to get punch Remus was quick to bring up the subject.

"They're getting cozy," Remus chimed.

I nodded my head, "Cassi has fancied him for ages, I'm glad she's finally getting results."

"Really," Remus said in shock as he stared at them. My initial reaction had been the same as Remus's, usually Peter wasn't the Marauder to get noticed and he was the one pursuing girls, not the other way around. "Well good for him, I'm glad he's finally gotten over you-"

"What?" I declared loudly. Remus looked embarrassed as he looked around the crowd, refusing to meet my eyes.

"Ah, yeah," he said scratching the back of his head awkwardly. "He's sort of fancied you for quite some time now."

"Did Sirius know?"

"Merlin no," Remus said quickly. "I'm pretty sure Peter wouldn't have eyes if Sirius knew. It's a good thing that boy can be as unobservant as a flobberworm."

Remus and I laughed and we went to meet up with Cassi and Peter. Peter was retelling a prank they had pulled a few years ago and Cassi had his undivided attention.

The rest of the night went smoothly, the worst of my fears vanished after I had made my speech. The president of the VRS was impressed with my idea and said that once I graduate from Hogwarts I should contact her. The idea that I possibly had a job prospect sent my head spinning, it also made the future that much more real for me. After all that had been going on the fact that NEWT's were only months away hadn't really been a major concern for me, but now it was all I could think about.

You would think that after the busy day I'd had today I would want to go lay down in bed and sleep well into late Sunday. Instead, once I got to Hogwarts I went up to my room and grabbed my school books and headed down to the library, firmly deciding that I would start studying for the NEWT's that night. It was going to be a short study session, I only had an hour until curfew but I figured it was better to get some work done than none at all.

I wasn't surprised to find that there was no one aside from myself in the library. It was a Saturday night and close to curfew, any other normal person was probably in their common room enjoying having off from class and being able to sleep in the next day.

Every noise I made in the library was exemplified in the silent room. My chair dragging against the ground as I pulled it out from the table sounded like a loud screeching, echoing in the deserted space. I sat down and pulled out my Potions book, the sound of my own breathing the only noise that could be heard. I vaguely noticed Madame Pince checking up on me, probably ensuring I wasn't up to anything devious.

Ever since I had become affiliated with the Marauders teachers had a tendency of watching me closer, as if through their association I would in turn would start pranking. Aside from turning Snape into a canary during dinner I had no other pranks under my belt, nor did I have any intentions of pulling more pranks. Unless Snape decided to be a right git again.

I was thirty minutes into my studying when I heard someone walk up to me. I looked up and saw a flushed Nial looking at me.

"Avery, thank Merlin," he panted, sounding as if he had been running. Judging from his flushed face and sweat trickling down his face, I figure he had been.

"Nial, how did you know I was here?"

"I asked Remus, anyway, I need your help."

"What is it now with Lelani?" I asked, the only reason Nial ever urgently needed my help was when it concerned Lelani Michaels.

"I asked her out."

"That's brilliant Nial!" I said truly happy. Nial had been pursuing her for a couple of months now and I had seen their friendship develop. Nial was kind but also a little bit of a nervous wreck around her. He reminded me of a slightly less frantic version of myself. Although, I doubt I was endearing as he was.

"Not brilliant," he said.

"Oh no, did she say no?"

"No, she said yes."

"Then what's the problem?"

"As soon as she said yes I was so shocked that I ran away from her and came to find you!" Much to the dismay of Nial I burst out laughing. This was just too bloody funny. He reminded me so much of myself it's no wonder that we became friends. "Stop laughing, it isn't funny! She probably hates me now and I've buggered any chance of dating her."

"Oh get off of it, I'm sure she'll find the situation amusing. Go find her and explain what happened, if anything she'll find it cute."

"Are you sure?" Nial asked looking at me doubtfully.

"Positive," I wasn't entirely positive but Lelani seemed like nice enough of a person where she wouldn't completely rule out Nial after this incident.

"If she says no I blame you for giving me false hopes."

I put a hand to my heart, "I have the utmost faith in you. But in the event that this all goes up in flames you cannot hold me responsible, it wouldn't be fair to our friendship."

Nial laughed, "alright, thanks Avery, I'll let you know what happens." Nial waved goodbye and left the library, I looked at the clock and sighed. Only ten minutes til curfew. I figured there was no point in studying any longer and packed up all my things, saying goodbye to Madame Pince, she returned the gesture with an icy glare.

The hallway was deserted and it was slightly eerie. I hadn't ever been by myself in the castle this late at night before. My footsteps echoed off the walls and ahead of me I could hear voices. I thought nothing of it, figuring it was people on patrolling duty. However, once I turned the corner I came face to face with Bellatrix and Lucius.

I fished in my pocket, desperately searching for my wand and panicked when I realized I had left it in my dormitory. Bellatrix gave me a leering smile when she noticed me standing there searching for my wand and coming up empty handed.

"Well look what we have here," she said, her voice ringing with victory. "Where's your pack of morons to defend you?"

I said nothing to Bellatrix and matched her victorious stare with a glare of my own, knowing this was the only thing I could do in this situation.

"I think with us always running into you has become some sort of ritual, wouldn't you agree?" Lucius chided as he withdrew his wand. "It is actually quite convenient that you are here, Muze. Bellatrix and I were just talking about how Dumbledore has been holding secretive meetings with your friends for quite some time now. It all seems very quiet and we wonder what these meetings could be about." He rounded in on me, his voice becoming softer. "You wouldn't have any idea what these meetings are about, would you?"

I stared up at Malfoy, straitening myself to full height to show I wasn't going to back down. He noticed my efforts and a small smirk formed on his face. "Even if I did Malfoy, you know there's no way I would ever tell you."

"You're pretty confident for someone who is all alone," Bellatrix sneered. "Lucius, was kindly asking you a question."

"Bellatrix is quite right, I was using every polite nature I possess in trying to extract some information from you. If you do not relinquish this information gracefully I'm afraid we'll have to resort to other techniques."

"You'd have to kill me before I betrayed any of my friends." I said strongly, not backing down despite their threats. Outside I tried to remain powerful and in control, but inside I was shaking more than I had earlier today while making my presentation. This situation seemed all too familiar only this time I didn't have Sirius near me.

Lucius smiled and stepped back, aligning himself with Bellatrix. "Don't make such requests, they may be fulfilled someday. Crucio," he cried.

Pain gripped me and I immediately fell to my knees. I clenched my fists and kept my mouth closed, trying to not scream. I would not let them see me in pain. I remained strong. My nails were digging into the palms of my hands and tears fell out of the corners of my eyes as I squeezed them shut, trying to ignore the pain.

"She does not scream," Bellatrix said is astonishment. "It must not be strong enough, let me help you Lucius. Crucio!" A second wave of pain hit me, more intense then the last. My whole body shook and I fell to the ground, my hands hitting the floor as I laid on all fours. Small murmurs of pain escaped my lips and I knew I would not be able to hold out much longer.

"This can all be over in a matter of seconds if you would just tell us what Dumbledore is planning." Lucius said.

I shook my head in defiance, I was afraid if I opened my mouth I would start screaming and give them the satisfaction. I pushed myself off the ground and stood up. My entire body screamed and my head had grown fuzzy but I tried to fight through it. If I passed out I would surely be killed.

I could hear them talking but their voices became little buzzed whispers, their words not reaching my ears. It felt like my body was on fire, I wondered when this pain would go away, if it ever would. I heard someone scream but didn't have enough time to register what they were saying. I felt my feet leave the floor as I flew backwards down the hall. My head hit the ground first, a sickening crunch falling on my otherwise deaf ears. The burning faded and I could no longer feel anything. In the distance I heard another voice but couldn't make it out. Blackness enveloped me and the world faded away.

JAMES

Oh sodding bloody hell shit wanker.

Avery was laying motionless on the ground, a pool of blood surrounding her head. "Avery wake up!" I yelled as I shook her shoulders in an attempt to wake her. No response came from her. Her face was deathly white and her skin was cold to the touch.

I looked behind me as Lucius and Bellatrix slithered away, a look of satisfaction on their faces. I wanted to murder them but I knew I couldn't just yet, I had to get Avery to the hospital wing. I conjured a stretcher and bound her to it, knowing that I would have to run to the hospital wing and couldn't afford to be cautious and slow. Avery was loosing blood fast.

I turned the corner and saw Lily. She looked at me smiling but once she saw Avery on the stretcher and the trail of blood following behind her her face paled. "What happened!"

"No time to talk, go get Dumbledore." I said running past her, "and Sirius," I added as an afterthought. I don't know why I told her to get Sirius but I knew that Sirius still loved Avery and if she was in trouble he would want to be there.

It seemed like years before I reached the hospital wing. Luckily Madame Pomphrey was still in the infirmity, putting away potions. She took one look at Avery and ran over to us, helping me set her down on a bed.

"Wait outside Mr Potter," she said turning her back on me.

I did not protest against her request. I walked outside of the infirmary and sank against the wall, putting my face in my hands, trying to steady my breathing. My whole body was trembling, I had never been so scared in my life. It wasn't until that moment did I realize how much Avery had come to mean to me. She started off as just a person I could basically play around with and use her as a pawn. Without realizing it Avery had slowly wormed her way into my life, she had been the person to get me and Lily together. She put her friends before herself and I'm sure that for whatever reason Lucius and Bellatrix had hexed her had something to do with us.

My fists tightened when I thought of Lucius and Bellatrix. They had done this to Avery, they had left her on the ground, bleeding and in pain. Who knows what they did to her before that. Never had I had a stronger need for revenge than in this moment.

I was about to get up and hunt down Bellatrix and Lucius but Dumbledore, Lily and Sirius were rushing towards me. Without a word Dumbledore went inside the infirmary, telling Lily and Sirius to wait outside.

"What happened, is Avery okay?" Lily asked, her face worried. She sank down next to me and I wrapped an arm around her and pulled her towards me.

"She was attacked by Lucius and Bellatrix. I found her lying on the ground, surrounded in a pool of her own blood, unconscious."

I looked up at Sirius whose face had turned pale. His eyes were blank as he registered what I was saying. He stood in front of me looking helpless. I had no idea what to do. This was the closet I had come to Sirius since the Snape incident. Sirius walked towards the door and rested his hand on the door knob.

"Sirius, you can't go in mate." I told him.

Sirius didn't seem to hear me, but he didn't move to open the door. He stood in front of it, his hand still placed on the door knob as if in some sort of trance. I stood up and walked over to him, placing an arm around his shoulder. He froze under my touch and after a few minutes his hand dropped from the doorknob. He hung his head and I could feel his body shaking.

We stood like that for a few minutes. None of us said anything as Sirius shook, he wasn't crying, it seemed his emotions were coming out in other ways. I kept my arm around his shoulders, not caring what anyone would think if they saw us like this.

The door started turning and Sirius and I jumped away from it. Dumbledore stood before us, looking down at us from his half-moon spectacles.

"She is stable," he announced. I felt Sirius relax and dropped my arm from his shoulder. "She has not regained consciousness but she should be fine. She lost a lot of blood, it's good you found her when you did Mr Potter, if more time had passed who knows what would've happened." The implications of the situation settled in from Dumbledore's last words. "Sirius and Lily, you may visit her. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to come to my office Mr Potter so you can tell me about the events that occurred."

I nodded my head and followed behind Dumbledore as Sirius and Lily walked inside of the infirmary.

LILY

I hadn't been to the infirmary many times, usually only if I had the flu. I looked at Avery who was laying still, her eyes closed and her face so white she almost looked like a ghost. As I neared her bed I noticed Sirius hang behind me as if not sure what to do anymore.

I rested my hand on Avery's and her skin was ice cold, I would've thought she were dead. A tightness restricted my chest as I saw the bandage on her head, slightly stained with blood. I had never been close with Avery, she usually just hung around Sirius but she was always kind. If it weren't for her James and I would never be together. I had so much to thank her for and I never had, I don't think Avery gets enough credit for the things she does. When she helps out people she's silent, as if afraid to take credit for anything she's done.

"How could they do this," I said to no one in particular. "Why Avery, she does nothing wrong." I looked behind me and Sirius remained at the end of her bed, staring at her. I saw him longing for her, I could tell he wanted to reach out and touch her but couldn't. His hands laid by his side twitching. "Don't be afraid of her," I told Sirius.

His eyes flicked to me momentarily before going back to Avery. He stiffened and made his way to the opposite side of her bed where I was sitting. He kneeled down by her side and rested his face against her hand, looking up at her all the while.

The moment was so intimate that I felt like I should leave but I was afraid that if I left Sirius would leave to, I think he was using me as an excuse to stay there. Instead I stood up and hung back from them, allowing Sirius to be worried for her.

Sirius's eyes were glazed over as he stared at Avery. I could see worry and panic filling them but I also saw how much he truly loved her in that moment. It seemed that if Avery were dead he would stop existing. I never thought I'd see Sirius care for someone so much in his life. It was a little scary, how quickly he had changed and how much he cared for her.

I was so absorbed in watching Sirius interact with her that I didn't notice Avery stirring until Sirius jumped away from her, hanging back from her bed. Her eyes flittered open slowly and I slowly walked over to her. She looked around and seemed surprised that me and Sirius were in the room, we were certainly the odd welcoming committee.

"Avery, how are you feeling?" I asked immediately rushing to her side.

"Thirsty," she said in a hoarse voice. I smiled and handed her a glass of water that was sitting by her nightstand. She smiled at me appreciatively before drinking half the glass in one gulp. "Pomphrey probably thinks I'm trying to commit suicide from the amount of times I've been in the hospital wing with injuries this year."

I smiled and sighed in relief, Avery was okay. I looked over at Sirius whose lips were twitching as if he wanted to smile but he was fighting the urge. "Do you want me to get Madame Pomphrey."

"No," Avery said shaking her head. "I would like to recover a bit before having her fuss over me."

She looked over at Sirius and her face became stony as she looked at him. Sirius looked embarrassed for the first time in his life as he scratched the back of his head nervously. "Bit of a nasty fall you had there."

"It wasn't a fall," she said.

"What happened?" I asked, interjecting the awkward conversation.

"Bellatrix and Lucius used the cruciatus curse on me. And then I don't know what spell they used but they sent me off of my feet and I soared across the hallway until I came in contact with the floor."

I gasped and felt slightly nauseous. I've never understood how anyone could be that cruel, especially to someone as defenseless as Avery. "Why did they do that?"

Avery looked at Sirius and I nervously before she started speaking. "They wanted information. They wanted to know why you guys were meeting up with Dumbledore so often."

I looked over at Sirius and his face fell, I knew that he was feeling responsible for what happened to Avery. He was blaming himself for all the times Avery had been attacked. I saw Sirius twitch towards Avery and his motions didn't go unnoticed by her. She watched him intently, her eyes not leaving his face, a look of relief and love flooding it. The moment felt so private I almost turned to leave until Madame Pomphrey came bustling in, disrupting the moment and causing Sirius to jerk back. Madampe Pomphrey shoo'd us away. Sirius and I stood by Avery's bed, unwilling to move until Dumbledore came into the infirmary and took Pomphrey's side by asking us to leave.

James was hovering near the entrance of the infirmary, peeking his head around the door to try and get a look at Avery. "She alright," he asked once Sirius and I approached him.

"She seems fine from the looks of it," I said sparing a glance over my shoulder to Avery. "Won't know for sure until Pomphrey has fussed over her.

James nodded and turned to Sirius, "you alright?"

Sirius looked at James with blank eyes as he robotically nodded his head. James hesitated for a moment before walking over to Sirius and embracing him. Sirius stood shocked for a few moments before he reached his arms around James and clapped him on the back. "It would be good to have you back mate," James said as he pulled away from Sirius. A small smile formed on Sirius's face as he beamed at James.

"Glad to be back, mate." The two boys exchanged happy smiles and I couldn't help but shake my head. I knew the boys couldn't be separated for much longer.

The separation was taking too much of a toll on them, especially on Sirius who had not only lost James but Avery. It had become clear a few nights ago how deep Sirius and James' friendship ran during a conversation with Peter.

I had been sitting in the common room with Peter and James. I was helping Peter with his Transfiguration essay while James was reading through a Quidditch book. Sirius had walked into the room, not sparing anyone a glance as he walked up to the boy's dormitory. James had looked like he wanted to yell out something to Sirius but remembering the current state of their friendship he bit his lip and sighed heavily. He had then closed his book and left the common room without a word to either Peter or I. I looked out at James' retreating form as he left the common room and sighed audibly.

"It's like he's lost a relative or something," I had muttered under my breath.

"You don't seem to get it, do you?" Peter chimed unexpectedly.

"Get what, exactly?"

"James and Sirius aren't just friends, they're brothers. As much as you mean to James, Sirius will always mean more. While he has a girlfriend and other best friends, Sirius is his brother," Peter sighed and a dark look casted on his face. "Remus and I have always realized that while they both care for us as well it will never be the same. Neither Remus or I could sooth either of them currently. Remus can be reasonable, and I can break the tension with a small laugh but what they really need is each other.

"It's a bit hard, following them around, you know? While Remus is occasionally outcasted by them he can stand on his own, he's perfectly content being alone and independent. I sometimes feel a little weak in comparison, you know?"

"Peter, no one thinks you're weak." I said in an attempt to calm his nerves.

Peter gave an unhumored laugh. "I know how people see me, the other Marauder. I'm fine with it, Cassi seems chuffed enough by me." Peter said with a small smile playing on his face.

Despite Peter's word I couldn't help but feel in that moment that he was jealous of Sirius and James' relationship. I had never noticed it before until now but it all seemed so obvious as the years had continued and James and Sirius's relationship and popularity grew while Peter seemed to stay in the same spot. In that moment I had admired Peter, that despite the fact that he knew he came second to his best friends he accepted it and his loyalty would always lie with them.

A/N: I'm really trying to build Peter's character, I hope you guys see this. This chapter is only meh in my opinion but it has laid down the foundation for future chapters. Please read and review :)


Chapter 26: Massive Attack
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 Chapter 26: Massive Attack

 

Saturday March 18th, 11:45 am

 

SIRIUS

 

“Sirius, hello, are you paying attention?”

 

I snapped my head up and cleared my eyes, a hand waved in front of my face to get my attention. “Sorry, what were you saying?”

 

Lydia Rue, a sixth year Ravenclaw, angrily crossed her arms over her chest and blew out a breath, causing a stray hair to move out of her eyes for a moment before irritably falling back into place. “I was talking about how I think Heather has used an enlargement charm on her breasts, they're awfully big lately.”

 

“Oh right,” I said distractedly, looking around the Three Broomsticks for a way out. Before Lydia had joined me I had been sitting alone at the bar at the Three Broomsticks, enjoying my time alone. I had been with James for a few minutes before he had to leave me for Lily. I had intended on drinking a few more butterbeers before heading back towards Hogwarts, but Lydia had spotted me sitting alone and I've been listening to her drone on about school gossip for the past hour.

 

“You don't even seem like you care about what I'm saying Sirius.” Lydia said haughtily, leaning back into her seat with a pout on her lips.

 

“Sorry,” I said taking a pull from my butterbeer and glancing around the room. The bell chimed signaling someones arrival and I glanced towards the door. The room seemed to quiet as Avery entered the room, her arm linked with Cassi's, laughing wildly at something Cassi had said.

 

Her nose and cheeks were a soft pink from the cool March winds. She was covering her mouth with her hand, hiding her smile while she and Cassi sat down at an empty booth. Avery shrugged off her jacket and pulled her hair to the side, revealing an off the shoulder sweater that revealed her naked shoulder. One of her hands was idly running along the side of her neck as she talked to Cassi. The small gesture of hers was incredibly sexy, and she didn't even know she was doing it.

 

“Don't tell me you're still hung up on her,” Lydia spat, breaking my view of Avery as I turned my attention back to Lydia, slightly reluctant. I didn't respond and took a long pull from my butterbeer. Lydia rolled her eyes and clucked her tongue. “I don't really get what you see in her, it's not like she's anything special.”

 

My whole body stiffened as I looked at Lydia. I think she sensed my anger and she retreated slightly. I quickly stood up from my chair and threw down some money, leaving the Three Broomsticks without another word. As I made my way towards the door I walked by Avery's table. I looked over at her and her eyes locked with mine. The sensation was so powerful that I nearly stopped walking and joined her at the table. I came to my senses however, and continued walking outside, stopping on a nearby bench and sitting down.

 

I placed my elbows on my legs and put my face in my hands taking deep breaths as I tried to calm myself. I had thought that as time went on it would get easier to see Avery, but my feelings for her never wavered. It was like she had this permeant hold on me, and no matter how hard I tried to shake her she was always there. After the incident with Lucius and Bellatrix I found myself watching her even more, making sure she was safe, and never walking alone. I think I was secretly hoping she would land herself in trouble so that I could rescue her, even though when the situation was reversed a couple weeks ago she didn't come to save me.

 

My anger from the time I was harassed by Snape and she didn't come help me still lingered but the longing I had to hold her again, to kiss her, to make her smile took precedence over my resentment. At first I thought I would never forgive her, and that I would find a way to live without her, but after I saw her in the bed, bleeding and unconscious I realized how difficult my life was without her in it.

 

Despite the fact James and I are now friends again this hasn't healed the wounds from Avery. On top of that, Remus and Peter still aren't on friendly terms with me and it makes the situation even more difficult. It's hard to believe that a little over a month ago the four of us stood united and basically owned the school and Avery and I were together. Life was perfect. Too bad I had to go and shit on it.

 

Suddenly the atmosphere outside shifted. It felt as if all the heat had been sucked out and there was a cold stillness. It felt like I was sinking and that the emotions and weight of the situation I was in hit me like I'd run into a brick wall. I looked around me and people were glancing around curiously as well. Their faces were drained of color and their face showed signs of struggle. The once bright day turned dark and the happiness in the world was gone.

 

It was like a lightbulb was flashing over my head, I quickly stood up from the bench and withdrew my wand. “Everyone get inside a building,” I yelled. The crowd of people stared at me oddly as they stood in their places wondering what was happening.

 

Behind me I could hear a soft rippling of clothing and the dark feeling that was swarming me became stronger. I turned around and my suspicion became true. I was staring at at least ten dementors all circling the shops in Hogsmeade. “Everyone, leave now!” I shouted louder.

 

People looked at me and then seemed to realize the severity of the situation and ran towards the shops. This seemed to set off the death eaters and they started circling Hogsmeade with greater fervor.

 

I held my wand in my hands but my head was becoming clouded and I knew I had to react fast. I searched my brain for the happiest thought I could manage. I started thinking of Avery and the time we were together. My brain was less clouded and I cried out, “expecto patronum!”

 

A white mist shot out of my wand, my patronus wasn't fully developed and only managed to push back the dementors, but not scare them away entirely. I could feel my energy being drained and knew I wouldn't be able to hold out for much longer by myself.

 

“Sirius,” I heard someone call my name. I turned around and panic flooded me when I saw Avery standing only a few feet away.

 

“Avery, get out now!” I shouted at her. “Go into a shop, it isn't safe.”

 

“No,” she said defiantly, walking towards me with her wand held in front of her. “You can't do this alone.” I was about to respond when she pointed her wand at me and started mumbling under her breath. A gold shine shot from her wand and floated from above my head. “Shielding charm,” she said with a small smile. “I can help.”

 

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, the dementors creeping closer to us as time went on. “Fine, if you want to help go get James.”

 

Avery nodded and without another word set down running around Hogsmeade. I started to panic realizing I was alone. I started thinking of Avery again, of us together, when I first told her I loved her. With a clearer head I yelled, “expecto patronum.” My patronus was almost in full dog form and a few dementors scattered away.

 

My energy was slipping and my body was shaking from exhaustion. I raised my wand once again as the Dementors circled closer. I felt hopeless and I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I strained to search for a happy memory, to find the energy to produce a patronus. I was about to give up when James, Remus and Peter came up behind me.

 

I looked at my friends who had a serious look on their face as they pointed their wands at the Dementors. “Lily, Avery, go find teachers.” James commanded.

 

“If you think we're leaving you you're out of your mind,” Lily said stubbornly.

 

“Lily, now is not the time to be stubborn.” James said looking at Lily with a pleading look in his eyes. “Please go find a teacher.”

 

Lily shook her head, “Potter, don't think for a second I'm leaving you. Expecto Patronum.” A doe came shooting out of Lily's wand and went charging at the Dementors. The rest of us followed after her and with our patronus's combined we managed to scare away the dementor's. Unfortunately that wasn't the only batch of dementor's, and while some of them left more came in larger numbers.

 

Expecto patronum,” Avery yelled before the rest of us. Out of her wand shot an exotic bird that I hadn't seen before, the bird resembled a phoenix but there were different characteristics about it. The spell was powerful and scared off a handful of dementors. Once Avery's patronus dissipated Avery looked drained of energy. Her face was pale and she was swaying in her spot. Suddenly she fell to her knees, her wand falling from her hand as she slowly slid to the ground.

 

“Avery!” I shouted as I turned away from the dementors and ran towards her. She looked up at me meekly.

 

“My head hurts,” she said in a soft voice. “My injury isn't fully healed,” she said referring to the head wound she had acquired a few days ago.

 

“We've got to get you to safety,” I said, putting my arm behind her and helping her to her feet. “James, I need to take Avery to safety, I'll be back as soon as I can.”

 

“We can hold them off Pads, concentrate on finding a teacher,” James shouted over his shoulder as he spared me a small glance before attacking the dementors.

 

I turned and made my way towards the nearest shop. Avery's body was limp as she struggled to stay awake next to me. Avery's condition was causing me to panic, I had no idea what was wrong with her. The first shop I was near was Madame Puddifoots. I quickly made my way inside where a dozen of people were huddled in.

 

“Do you need help?” A kid who couldn't have been older than fourteen asked me.

 

“Yeah, I need a place ot set her down.” I said struggling under Avery's weight.

 

The kid pushed two tables together and cleared them off. I set Avery down on the table and took off my jacket, baling it up and setting it under her head. Her eyes were struggling to stay open as she looked at me. A faint smile was on her lips and I pushed away her hair from her face.

 

“Avery, are you alright? What's wrong?” I asked in a quiet voice.

 

“Ever since I've injured my head I've gotten dizzy here and there, nothing bad. I think the use of magic combined with my head injury just drained me of energy, don't worry about me.” Avery's voice was hoarse as if she had been screaming for hours straight. She tried to put on a brave smile but I could see how weak she was feeling. She reached out and placed a hand on my arm. I almost jerked my arm away from the sudden touch.

 

“You're all I ever worry about, love.” I said slowly, keeping my hand on her face. I then used my free hand to take hers in mine. I moved slowly, in case she would reject it but she laced her fingers in mine and gave me a reassuring squeeze. “I've missed you.”

 

Avery smiled at me and even though the dementors were sucking all the happiness, the smile Avery was giving me made me feel like my body was about to burst from joy. “I've missed you too,” she said.

 

I pulld her hand up and kissed her wrist. Goose bumps trailed up her arm after my lips left her skin. I was about ot lean down to kiss her when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Angry, I turned around ready to punch someone. The fourth year that had helped shove the tables together was looking at me with a apprehensive look on his face.

 

“I don't mean to interrupt but there's someone in trouble over there.” The kid pointed and I followed the path where he was pointing. Just a few feet from the shop a stray dementor had someone cornered. I couldn't make out who the kid was but without thinking I said goodbye to Avery and ran out of the shop and towards the dementor. The dementor was holding the kid by the neck and it's face was nearing the kids. With a lurching realization I saw that the kid was Severus Snape.

 

Expecto patronum,” I cried. The dementor was shoved away and Snape fell to the ground. His face was paler than usual and shaking from fear. He looked up at me and for a moment he looked like he was about to thank me. However, he quickly regained his composure and stood up. He was swaying slightly and used the wall as a way to stand straight.

 

“Just because you helped me out doesn't mean I don't think you're not an arrogant prick.” Snape said.

 

“And just because I helped you doesn't mean I think you aren't a greasy git,” I quickly retaliated. “Have you seen any teachers?” I asked.

 

Snape shook his head, “not since early this morning.”

 

“Bugger,” I cursed under my breath. “I need to go back and fight off the dementors, get to safety.” I demanded from Snape.

 

Snape surprisingly didn't protest and nodded his head before finding the nearest shop and seeking safety. I ran back towards James and the others, thoughts of Avery taking control of my mind, not letting the dementors take control. Once I'd reached everyone they all looked exhausted and there were still a handful of dementors left. “Expecto patronum.” I cried. A big blast of white light came from my wand and hit all the dementors. They scattered away and instantly I could feel my mood lifting and the dark clouds started to clear.

 

“Took you long enough mate,” James said panting, a thin line of sweat decorated on his brow.

 

“Is everyone okay?”

 

“Yeah, I think so.” James said looking around. The place was deserted and looked like an abandoned town. Some window hangings lay on the sidewalk, pieces of garbage floating about. It seemed that aside form us there were no other signs of life. “How's Avery?”

 

“She's fine,” I said with a smile on my face.

 

“Where the bloody hell were the teachers during this?” Remus said loudly as he looked around, people's faces still pressed firmly against the glass windows in the shops.

 

“Something's not quite right,” Lily said as she looked around the deserted space. “If there were any signs of trouble a teacher would be the first to know.”

 

“I should go check on Avery and see if anyone knows where the teachers are.” I offered, the others nodded their heads in agreement to my suggestion. “We should send everyone else back to the castle. Lily, you're the head people will follow you, James you should go with her in case there is another attack. Tell Dumbledore to come down immediately.”

 

James nodded and walked with Lily to the shops, escorting out the kids and telling them to wait outside the shops until they've gathered everyone. Remus and Peter started searching the area for any other signs of distress as I walked back to Madame Puddifoots.

 

Avery was sitting in a chair when I walked inside, surrounded by a few people asking if she needed anything. She looked up at me and smiled. I immediately rushed over to her and kneeled down by her side, placing a hand on her knee.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

“Much better,” she said. I knew she wasn't lying, there was color back in her face and her eyes shown signs of life rather then the dull sparkle that was once hiding behind them.

 

“Why is it that I always have to be worried with you falling down?” I joked. Avery giggled and the simple gesture caused her entire face to light up. Then it was if in slow motion she leaned towards me. Within seconds her lips touched mine and every problem that had been plaguing me seemed to vanish. Her lips were how I remembered them, if not better. She tasted like mint and tea, her breath was warm as it mingled with my own. I wrapped my hand around the back of her neck and pulled her closer towards me. She quickly responded by scooting towards the end of her chair and pressing her hips into me. Our reunion was interrupted by someone clearing their throat. I pulled away from Avery reluctantly, remembering now that we were surrounded by people. I looked around and saw Remus standing by the entrance, a look of anxiousness and amusement mingled on his face.

 

“Sorry to interrupt, but we've found the teachers.” He said, a sense of urgency in his voice.

 

Avery sprang up from her seat and nearly knocked me over in the process. She walked towards Remus and I quickly followed next to her.

 

“They're in the Shrieking Shack, they were stupefied.”

 

“Do we know who did it?” I asked Remus.

 

Remus shook his head. “Dumbledore just arrived, he's reviving them as we speak. He told me to escort the remaining students back to the castle.”

 

I nodded and the three of us quickly set to action, gathering up the rest of the students, trying to keep them calm and escorting them back to the castle. On the way back towards the castle I felt Avery reach over and grab my hand, she gave me a side smile before consoling some nervous third years.

 

AVERY

 

People really need to get their priorities straight.

 

It's been two days since the attack at Hogsmeade. It was soon released that the teachers had been cursed by Madame Rosmerta who was imperiused. Rosmerta felt incredibly guilty for what she did but no one blamed her. She said the last thing she could remember was walking into the kitchen to retrieve a plate of food and then it was blank until Dumbledore brought her back to consciousness. The attack has been linked to Voldemort and his death eaters, some fear there are death eaters inside the walls of Hogwarts. But despite all of this, despite the fact that many students could've been injured or killed, the main topic of discussion and debate was Sirius and I.

 

It was no secret at Hogwarts that Sirius and I were back together. The day at Hogsmeade made us realize that we had both made mistakes and that it was doing neither of us good being apart. Later that night after we got back from Hogsmeade we talked about how it would be different, how Sirius would act less on impulse and be more rational, and I would stop running away from situations. We also agreed to take it slower this time, we both thought that we got so swept up in each other that we got swept up in other situations as well -example being Sirius tricking Snape to going to the Shrieking Shack-.

 

Our taking it slow approach didn't exactly pan out as we expected. Within seconds after talking everything over I had literally jumped on Sirius. He had me shoved against a wall as we kissed and tore at each other's clothing. I don't know how far we would've gotten if James hadn't walked in on us.

 

Every spare moment we had was used as snogging time. Earlier today I was walking down the hallways, coming back from the library, when Sirius abruptly took me by the arm and dragged me towards the one eyed witch. At first I thought he was taking me back to Hogsmeade, which I thought odd. Instead we used this secret passage for an opportunity of us to snog. After a good thirty minutes we both exited the one eyed witch with crumpled clothes and wind swept hair.

 

Currently I was sitting in the common rooms, the clocks hands almost reaching two in the morning. My eyelids were fighting to stay open as I waited for Sirius to return from another full moon. I was worried about his state of mind, last night he had snuck into my room again and we stayed up into the early hours of the morning, leaving him tired and essentially useless today. I only hoped that this wouldn't affect him during his animagus form on such an important night.

 

In order to keep myself preoccupied I turned to my quidditch playmaking book. I know quidditch is over and that it's pointless for me to continue making plays, but concentrating on quidditch always takes my mind off of other things and makes me less anxious.

 

What felt like hours stretched by. The fireplace was no longer lit and there was little light in the room. I could see the sun peaking out over the horizon and new Sirius would be returning soon. I leaned by head back on the couch, letting my playbook fall onto my lap. My eyes were slowly closing, and after what only felt like minutes I felt myself being shaken awake.

 

“Avery, love,” I heard someone whisper. My eyes peaked open and I saw Sirius standing above me. He was smiling at me and I breathed a sigh of relief to see he was uninjured.

 

“I must've dosed off,” I said, straightening myself on the couch and moving over so that Sirius could join me. “How's Remus?”

 

“He's fine,” Sirius said brushing my hair back and running his hand along the side of my face. “Pomphrey is just patching up a few scratches but nothing horrible.”

 

My fear vanished when I heard that everyone was alright and I snuggled into Sirius's arm. He wrapped his hand around my shoulder and kept me close to him. “What's this?” He asked picking up my playbook.

 

“Oh just a few more quidditch plays. Pointless, I know, considering that quidditch season is over but it keeps my mind preoccupied.”

 

Sirius leafed through the book for a few moments in silence. “These are really good Avery, you have excellent defensive techniques. You should show these to James, maybe he can pass them down to the team.”

 

Just as luck would have it a second later James and Peter came waltzing through the door. They both looked exhausted as they sat down on large arm chairs across from Sirius and I in the common room.

 

“Hey Prongs, you should take a look at this,” Sirius said throwing my playbook at James.

 

“What is it?” James asked aggravated, clearly not in the mood to read anything.

 

“Quidditch plays, excellent defensive ones.”

 

James immediately perked up at the mention of quidditch and opened the book, scanning my new plays with fast eyes. Silence passed over the room as James read my plays, he leaned back comfortably in his chair as his eyes took in my drawings and suggestions. Halfway through the book he closed it on his finger and looked up at me. “Bloody hell Avery, these are wicked. You have excellent ideas for protection of the seeker and the goals. It's like you've taken some defensive techniques for dueling and incorporated them into quidditch. In fact,” James drifted off, opening the book again and looking over the plays.

 

“In fact what?” I asked nervously, caught off by James' abruptness.

 

“I think,” James said, not shifting his eyes from the book. “I think that Dumbledore could use this, that the Order could use this.”

 

I felt Sirius stiffen beside me and his posture became hostile as he narrowed his eyes at James. “Prongs, you couldn't possibly be suggesting that Avery get involved with the Order.”

 

“Brilliant,” I said immediately springing up. The idea that I could be involved thrilled me. This whole time I've felt useless as all my friends make strides to fight in the on-going war. Now I felt like I could finally take part in it and help, rather then just sit at the sidelines and fall downstairs. “We should show these to Dumbledore as soon as possible.”

 

“Like hell you are,” Sirius snapped.

 

“Sirius, there's a war going on, and I want to fight.”

 

“I am not knowingly putting you in danger Avery.”

 

“You're not, I'm volunteering myself. If I can help I want to be apart of it.”

 

“She does know some excellent shielding spells,” Peter chimed in.

 

“Shut up Wormtail,” Sirius practically yelled. Peter looked like a kicked puppy as he shrank back in his seat.

 

“Sirius, calm down mate.” James said reasonably. “This war is happening whether we want it to or not, it's going to affect us all. And if we can do something to help fight against it we shouldn't let the opportunity pass us.”

 

“So easy for you to say, you're not the one negotiating your girlfriend.”

 

“In case you've forgotten Lily is in the Order as well.”

 

“Yeah, but she's at the top of our class, Avery isn't.”

 

“What's that supposed to mean?” I asked harshly.

 

Sirius looked at me almost apologetically, “it's nothing against you babes, it's just Lily has top marks, she's prepared for this.”

 

“And I'm not?” I asked, my voice rising with each word. I turned towards James and gave him a stern look, “James, would you mind accompanying me to Dumbledore's office? I think that he will appreciate this.”

 

I shot Sirius a narrowed look as I whipped around and grabbed my book from James' lap, making a dramatic exit as I stormed out of the common room.

 

 

A/N: Alright so I'm not really sure about this chapter, the flow seemed off to me and I couldn't make it work, ah well :/ Avery and Sirius are together! I couldn't keep them apart for too long, I thought 5 chapters and a couple months was long enough to have them suffer! What do you think now that they're together?

 

On another note I am back! Graduated from the airforce and am now an aiforce airman (girl). I couldn't believe all the reviews I had waiting for me when I got back, it's insane and this weekend I'm going to respond to every single one of them. I don't have time during the week, so really only expect updates during the weekend from now on (I'm lucky I've written this entire story and a few chapters of the sequel). Thank you to everyone for sticking around, it's so good to be back :)

 


Chapter 27: Crash into me
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 Chapter 27: Crash Into Me

 

Tuesday March 21st, 6:21 am

 

One hand rested under his chin as he looked at me from his half-moon spectacles. The other hand was idly drumming on his desk, creating an unknown rhythm. He remained silent as I closed my playbook and set it in front of him. His eyes did not move from mine, after a few moments of silence his mouth turned into a smile as his eyes danced.

 

“I cannot say I am surprised,” he slowly drawled out. “It was only a matter of time before you came to me, wanting to help in the Order, what with all of your friends participating in it.”

 

“Sir, please do not think I am wanting to join because of the choices of my friends,” I quickly said.

 

“I didn't mean to assume such a thing Ms. Muze. I was told of the Hogsmeade attack and your part in it.”

 

I blushed from the memory, yes I was able to produce a patronus but I almost passed out. “I'm not as good as James or Sirius at dueling, nor would I ever claim to be. My whole life I've spent being defensive, never taking charge and being offensive. There's one thing I know how to do and that's to defend myself, and others.”

 

Dumbledore raised his hands and placed his pointer fingers together, pressing them against his mouth as he observed me. “If you don't mind me asking, how does Mr. Black feel about your latest discovery?”

 

I stiffened at his name, the memory of our fight still ringing in my head, the wound still fresh. “His reaction was not unexpected. I assure you that Sirius will not be a distraction if I play part in the Order.”

 

“My concerns do not lie with you, however, Mr. Black seems keen on keeping you safe and I only hope that won't provide a distraction to him.”

 

I straightened in my chair as I gazed intently at Dumbledore, “if and when it becomes an issue I shall address it then.”

 

Dumbledore surveyed me once more before nodding his head and slapping his hand down on my playbook. “Very well then Ms. Muze, welcome to the Order.”

 

Dumbledore then explained to me what being in the Order meant and what was expected after we graduate from Hogwarts. Every new member would be assigned to a person already in the Order, we would study under them and learn what we needed to do for the first four preliminary months from them. I was assigned to Marlene McKinnon, a girl from Gryffindor who graduated the year before us. The news came with a slight intimidation factor to me, Marlene was regarded as one of the best and most powerful witches to ever attend Hogwarts. Marlene gave Lily a run for her money in brains, and would surely beat her dueling.

 

Dumbledore kept my playbook but encouraged me to continue creating new strategies, but write them out as Quidditch plays so that if my playbooks were ever intercepted the person wouldn't be able to link it to the Order.

 

As I walked out of Dumbledore's office I had a bounce in my step but the bounce felt heavy. Yes, I was pleased that Dumbledore thought I was strong enough and important enough to join in his Order but at the same time the implications of joining the Order hit me. The war that I had been trying to ignore, that I watched all my friends volunteer for, suddenly became more real as I thrust myself into it.

 

When I thought of life after Hogwarts I never imagined that this is what I would be doing. I had planned on traveling, seeing the world and getting a life of experience. I had hoped that traveling would break me out of my shell, never would I have thought all that I needed to do was fake-date James Potter and fall in love with Sirius Black.

 

When I exited Dumbledore's office I almost jumped out of my skin when I saw Sirius waiting for me in the hallway. His head lifted when he saw me arrive. He looked sheepish as he scratched the back of his head and looked at me apologetically. I regained my composure and titled my chin up as I brushed past him, ignoring his pleading calls as he said my name.

 

“Avery,” he said, his voice near my ear as he easily fell in stride with me. “I didn't mean it, you should know that. When I joined the Order I did it because I had nothing to care about, nothing attaching me or holding me down and then you came along. When you came into my life that was the first time I've questioned what I was doing, the first time I considered staying out of the war and moving to Hong Kong to avoid it and be with you.”

 

“You would never do that,” I said without realizing I was responding to him. It was true though, he could never not fight for something he believed in. The war hit close to home, his family believing in blood purification. More than any of us he had reason to fight.

 

“You're right,” Sirius said, a smile evident in his voice. “I couldn't, but I considered it, because of you. Now, not only do I have to worry about me I have to be terrified for you.”

 

“Because you don't think I could hold my own.” I said harshly.

 

“Avery,” Sirius said, making me stop walking by taking my arm in his hand. I quickly tried to yank my arm free but he had a strong hold on me. He turned me to face him as his eyes bore into mine, begging for forgiveness. “I never meant that, I know you could do it, that's what makes me so scared. I don't want you to be a target. If I die, that's nothing, but if you die I just couldn't-” His voice broke off and his gaze faltered away from my eyes before he shook his head and regained his stature. “If something ever happened to you I would never get over it.”

 

I could feel my defensive shield faltering as Sirius looked pleadingly at me. Deep down I knew he didn't think I was worthless when it came to spells, its just I've never received a lot of admiration and praise in my lifetime so when I feel like I can succeed at something it doesn't take much to knock me down and think twice about it.

 

“There's nothing you can do to stop me from fighting,” I said sternly.

 

Sirius sighed in resignation, he had lost and he knew there was no changing me. “I know,” he said wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me towards him. “It's all happening so fast, we're almost graduated and Voldemort is rising to power as each day passes. I'm scared for our future, I'm scared we wont have one.”

 

I smiled and shook one hand free as I moved his bangs away from his face. “As long as you don't undermine my dueling abilities again we'll have a future.”

 

Sirius smiled, pulling up his hand and placing it on my cheek. He slowly leaned in and kissed me tenderly. Once he pulled away the adrenaline that had kept me going was ebbing away and I could feel exhaustion creeping up on me. With a heavy sigh I looked at my watch and saw it was only thirty minutes until we were scheduled for breakfast. As if to confirm my exhaustion a yawn escaped my lips and Sirius frowned at me.

 

“You look like you haven't slept in ages,” Sirius commented.

 

“I feel like it,” I said as I broke away from Sirius and headed towards the common room.

 

“Skip class with me,” Sirius suggested enthusiastically.

 

“Don't be daft,” I said slapping him with the back of my hand. “NEWT's are a little over two months away, I can't afford to miss class.”

 

“Exams are easy,” Sirius said with a slightly shrug as we walked into the common room. “Just wave your wand around a bit and answer some questions and you're done.”

 

I stopped at the bottom of the girl's dormitory stairs, “if only I could be as carefree as you.” I stood on my tiptoes and placed a hand on his chest as I kissed him on the lips. “I can't afford to faff about like you, I'll see you in class, maybe.”

 

Sirius smiled noncommittally at me as I turned around and walked up the dormitory staircase, not without a proper bum slap from Sirius. “For encouragement on your travels,” he said with a smirk tugging at his lips.

 

I threw my backpack down at the Great Hall as I slumped on the bench at the Hufflepuff table next to Cassi. I stole a piece of toast from her plate and nibbled on it, struggling to keep my eyes open.

 

“There you are, Merlin you look like hell,” Cassi said as she examined me.

 

I pulled a face and said, “thanks Cass, good morning to you as well.”

 

“Christ,” Cassi mumbled under her breath as her eyes fixed on something across from her. I followed her gaze and saw her staring at Amos Diggory. “How long do you think it takes Diggory to get ready in the morning? He has more gel in his hair than Snape has grease. I walked behind him one day and I swear to Merlin he looked at his reflection in every window he passed.”

 

“I know what you're talking about, I swear I once saw him hump his own reflection.”

 

Cassi and I burst out into a fit of giggles as she threw her arms around me and declared wildly, “oh Amos, how do you do it? How do you manage to be so amazing?”

 

“I'd like to thank Merlin for using his bare hands to sculpt the work of art that is me, Amos Diggory.” I said in a deep voice.

 

“Why can't I just marry myself, it would make it so much easier than reminding every girl they're not good enough for me.” Cassi said imitating Amos.

 

“I'm so amazing!” I cried loudly as Cassi and I burst out into a fit of giggles, causing people around us to stare.

 

“So how are you and lover boy?” Cassi asked once our laughter died down.

 

I shrugged as I poured myself pumpkin juice and took a sip from it. “We got into a bit of a row earlier, but we're fine now.”

 

“That explains the homeless appearance you're currently sporting.”

 

“A few wrinkles in my uniform does not mean I'm homeless,”I defended.

 

“Whatever you want to think, love. Just stand next to Tracy Lipman and you'll look like a diamond.”

 

I elbowed Cassi as I chastised her, “that's cruel, she could hear.”

 

“What, it's not like it's a big bloody secret that Tracy couldn't give a toss about her appearance. Only a blind person could ignore her. She sewed black pom poms onto her stockings, pom poms, Avery.”

 

“Yes, we've all seen them.”

 

“And her hair, it looks like an owl attacked it and never recovered.”

 

“Cass!” I said in a harsh whisper as I looked down the table to make sure Tracy wasn't listening to our conversation.

 

“What?” Cassi said indignantly. “It's not like she doesn't know what she looks like.”

 

“You can be so cruel sometimes,” I said in mock horror.

 

“I'm just saying, it wouldn't kill her to pick up a hairbrush once in a while, or non-decorated stockings.”

 

“Alright, enough with Tracy for today,” I said waving my hand to get her off topic. “So, how's Peter?” I asked knowing this was the perfect diversion.

 

“Well, aside from our first date getting ruined by the dementor attack not much has changed. He's really quite shy, it's hard to make him do anything. I thought he was going to wet himself when I grabbed his hand this weekend.”

 

“Yes, well he's fond of you, it's obvious.”

 

Cassi straightened in her seat as a smile fell on her lips. She fluffed her hair and tried to look nonchalant but she was radiating. “Yes, well who wouldn't?” She then leaned over and grabbed her book bag, throwing it over her shoulders and standing from her seat, looking at me expectantly to follow. I stood up and walked behind her sluggishly. Cassi walked ahead of me, her usual powerful and confident gait clearing a path. I admired the way she bounded everywhere, she walked with purpose and her confidence drew in the people surrounding her.

 

The day dragged on. I was constantly falling asleep during class and more than once Cassi had to nudge me during Transfiguration to keep from my head hitting the table. I had a free period the time before lunch and the hours seemed to drag on. Eventually free period came and I dragged myself to the common room. The place was empty, save for a few students doing their homework quietly, and I decided that going up to my dorm room was too much extra effort and that the common room couch was sufficient enough.

 

It seemed I had just closed my eyes before I was cruelly snapped out of my slumber. My eyes slowly opened as I felt someone sink next to me and place my legs on their lap. At first I thought it was a comforting gesture and settled back onto the couch, preparing to sleep agin, but the person drummed on my legs and was hoping on the couch. I craned my neck and looked down at my legs and saw Nial staring at me, a manacle look in his eyes.

 

“You're such a tosser,” I mumbled, throwing a pillow over my head, trying to block him out.

 

“A tosser who is now dating Lelani Michaels,” Nial burst out.

 

“Congratulations,” I said halfheartedly, not having the energy to muster up enough enthusiasm.

 

“Your enthusiasm is astounding.”

 

“Sorry, I haven't slept all night.”

 

“Why are you such a baby all the time?”

 

“Shut up,” I said throwing a pillow in Nial's direction not knowing if I hit my target or not. “If you insist on annoying me massage my feet.”

 

“I'll do no such thing,” Nial said. “I will, however, massage your hand.”

 

“Whatever,” I said withdrawing my arm from underneath me and flopping it onto Nial's lap where he gingerly picked it up and rubbed it. The sensation was oddly soothing. “So, how did you finally get Lelani to be official? I do hope that when you made things official you didn't leave her standing in a hallway again and run to find me.”

 

“Ha ha,” Nials said sarcastically. “Despite the treacherous Hogsmeade weekend we had an enjoyable time up until that point. I figured why not go for it and ask her, the worst she can do is say no and school is almost over. I would only have to avoid her for a month or two if I were humiliated beyond repair.”

 

“Clever thinking,” I responded, Nial set down my right hand and picked up my other one, immediately setting to work on it.

 

“So what kept you up last night?” Nial asked with a suggestive eyebrow raise.

 

 

“Bugger off,” I said kicking Nial with my foot. “I was talking to Dumbledore this morning, I'll have you know. There was no hanky panky of sorts.”

 

“Hanky panky?” Nial asked, stifling a laugh.

 

“Oh, you know what I mean.” I said, not in the mood to explain myself.

 

“What was the meeting with Dumbledore about?”

 

“Oh,” I said, realizing I didn't know how much I could tell Nial. “I gave him my playbook. I figured that even though the Quidditch season was over next year they could use the plays.”

 

Nial raised an inquisitive eyebrow at me, “you went to Dumbledore in the early hours of the morning to give him your playbook?” He asked in a disbelieving voice.

 

“Yes,” I answered firmly.

 

“Alright,” Nial said not pushing me further. I was grateful he didn't push it and rested my head against the arm of the sofa as we fell into a comfortable silence.

 

I don't know when but I fell asleep on the couch. When I came around Nial was gone. I looked at the clock and bolted awake when I saw I had slept for almost three hours. I had slept well past lunch and missed History of Magic. Panic from missing a class didn't overtake me, I was still too tired to fully comprehend the situation. I reached my hands above my head and stretched out my body. I then reached down and ran a hand through my hair, but but I did this I felt my hand hit a piece of paper on my forehead. I grabbed the piece of paper form my forehead, which had been taped to it.

 

Once you wake up meet me in my room. Asked Cassi to take notes for you in class.

-S

 

A smile fell on my lips as I sprang up from the couch. I looked at my reflection in a window and straightened my hair and outfit before going up to Sirius's room. I knocked on his door and heard him say come in before opening the door. The room had be transformed completely. For one, I was able to walk on the ground, clothes and Quidditch paraphernalia were no longer coating the hard wood floors. On Sirius's bed he had a tablecloth with all my favorite food spread out on it.

 

He sprang up from his bed and looked a little embarrassed by the situation. One hand was placed firmly into the pocket of his jeans, while the other was scratching the back of his head as he looked at me. “I wanted to make up for earlier,” he explained.

 

“Sirius you didn't have to.”

 

“I know I didn't, but I wanted to.”

 

I smiled and wrapped my arms around Sirius, bringing him close to me. I rested my head in the nook of his shoulder and neck and breathed him in. He smelled like spices and pie, with an underlying scent of natural musk.

 

“I love you,” I said into his ear.

 

Sirius's hold on me tightened and he kissed my forehead, “I love you too.” Sirius pulled away and held me at arm's length. “Now, let's eat. You've hardly eaten anything all day, I know you're starving.”

 

I looked down at the food and my stomach gave a timely rumble. Sirius loaded my plate with everything from turkey to pumpkin pie to squash. I greedily dug into my food, hardly taking breaths between bites.

 

“Your friend Cassi is very protective of you,” Sirius said once I had slowed down my eating and was no longer inhaling the food but allowing myself to chew it.

 

“That's kind of how we met,” I said smiling fondly at the memory of Cassi telling off Diedra in Transfiguration.

 

“She told me ever so nicely that if I ever hurt you again she's going to make sure I'm never able to reproduce.”

 

“Sounds like Cass,” I said laughing. “You'll grow to love her, honestly.”

 

“Pete seems pretty fond of her.”

 

“She's an easy person to like, horribly honest and could easily kick your arse, but she's been a good friend to me.”

 

Sirius frowned briefly at the memory of our breakup and how Cassi and Nial were the ones to help me through it. I'd noticed that since we'd gotten back together he would do this often. One moment we would be talking and the next he would be slipping away, his eyes blank and a frown on his face. But as quickly as the moment would come it would just as easily fade and Sirius's happy demeanor would return.

 

After dinner Sirius and I laid down in his bed, my head resting in the crook of his arm as he played with my hair. We didn't say much at all. Both of us were full from the dinner and exhausted still from last night.

 

“Would it be inappropriate to cop a feel right now?” Sirius said.

 

I laughed and elbowed his side, “you're such a tosser sometimes.”

 

“What! I can't help it that your shirts buttons are undone to the point of almost seeing your bra. It's my hormones babes, and they're raging.”

 

“I suppose you can,” I said blithely as I flailed out my arms and laid still on my back. “I'm a little bloated from all the food though.”

 

“You can be quite sexy sometimes,” Sirius mumbled into my hair. His breath trailing along the side of my neck, causing goosebumps to appear. Slowly he undid each button on my shirt, his stray fingers brushing along my bare stomach. Once the last button was undone he ran his hand from the bottom of my stomach to the top, slowly pushing away my shirt and exposing my front.

 

I felt exposed like that in front of him. Its not like this was the first time he had seen me shirtless but I'd never felt so exposed, the sun was shining through the window and directly on me. Every imperfection covering my body could be seen by him. I sucked in my stomach, concentrating on making sure I didn't look bloated than the fact that Sirius's hands were tracing the freckles on my body, connecting them into a pattern on my stomach.

 

Sirius then moved his head so that his lips grazed my ear as he spoke, “relax, you're beautiful.”

 

That was all it took for me to get over my insecurities and let go, embracing Sirius in my arms and crashing my mouth onto his. At first the kiss started slow. Then it quickly progressed, our movements becoming more fervent and needy as we pressed into each other, desperate for one another. I started undoing the buttons on Sirius's shirt and he sat up, allowing me to remove it. He then pulled me onto his lap and I wrapped my legs around his back, our naked torsos colliding into each other.

 

His hands were moving so fast across my body it felt like he had sprouted four other limbs that were caressing me. No part on my body went untouched, making me feel like I had been set on fire. He grabbed my lower back and pulled me even closer to him, the friction from our bodies caused a moan to escape my lips.

 

I pushed Sirius back onto the bed, a sudden power taking over me. Sirius reached around my back and undid the clasp of my bra, I positioned myself to make the process easier for him. He hurriedly got it off and left it discarded on the ground, quickly forgotten. Our movements became even more heated as we pressed into each other. He was reaching for the button on my skirt when a loud crash sounded.

 

My head snapped up so quickly I thought I was going to get whiplash.

 

“Oh bloody hell,” Remus cried as he covered his eyes with his hand, feeling around for the door. A broken lamp laid on the ground, the sound from the crash. I quickly rolled off of Sirius and covered my upper half. “Holy tit I'm so, I mean not holy tit, I mean you're naked. I mean, bugger.”

 

“Calm yourself Moony,” Sirius said, grabbing a shirt from the ground and throwing it on.

 

“I'm sorry,” Remus said, his hands still firmly over his eyes.

 

“Avery's dressed mate, you can come out of hiding.”

 

Remus removed his hands but his eyes were still snapped shut. Slowly he opened his eyes and saw me hiding in the corner, the blankets drawn up to my eyes. “I didn't mean to interrupt, I know how you told us to leave you alone but something has happened.”

 

Sirius suddenly stiffened and looked like a dog who had just spotted danger. It was then I noticed Remus's appearance, he looked even more worn down than usual and his eyes were red as if he had been crying. “What's going on?”

 

“It's about James' dad,” Remus choked for a moment and the next words that came tumbling from his lips caused Sirius to fall to his knees and gasp for breath. “He was murdered.”

 

A/N: Hey sorry it's taken so long for this chapter to come out, I've actually written this entire story and am 8 chapters into the sequel so it was just a matter of me getting time to post it, I'm at tech school for my air force training and I thought I would have more time but I really don't. Anyway, I actually kind of liked this chapter (amazing, I know!). I liked the banter with Cassi (She's quickly becoming one of my favorites to write). And the end of it. Then again it could be complete crap, I leave it up for you guys to decide :) Oh and the sequel is called Thin Ice :) Figured I should tell you all that information :)


Chapter 28: The funeral
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 Chapter 28: The Funeral

Wednesday March 22nd, 4:32 pm

SIRIUS

Sometimes I'll be sitting and for a moment life will seem normal. The fear, the sadness, the anger, it's like it doesn't exist. I wonder when the moment occurred where life decided to change, the moment where we went from happy carefree children to mourning young adults. Maybe I'm being too optimistic in saying we ever had a carefree childhood. My entire life has been spent tiptoeing the border of childhood and war. It is now that war has finally won. I know my last breath will be drawn while I'm fighting this war, fighting Voldemort, fighting those who murdered Kurt Potter.

A sudden pressure on my right hand snaps me out of my daze and I shake my head, reminded of where I am. I look to my right and Avery is sitting beside me, her face void of any emotion as she stares blankly ahead of her. Her face remains blank so that she can remain strong for me, I see her forced smiles and her attempts at conversation are all for my benefit, so that I don't crumble. I squeeze her hand back to show that I can still function, that I haven't completely lost it. Avery slowly reaches out, moving with care as if afraid that a sudden movement will frighten me. She moves her hand to the back of my neck and carelessly plays with my hair.

"You should talk to him," she whispers to me.

I follow her eyesight and am directed to James. He's sitting on a couch, his head smothered in his hands that are positioned on his knees. People are surrounding him, his mother, Lily, the funeral director. They're asking him questions, wanting him to take charge, but he can't. And I can't bear to go near him, I'm afraid if I even look at him in the eyes we'll both lose it and there will be no one here to comfort Jane Potter.

"I can't," I respond in a voice that sounds foreign to my ears.

"He needs you," Avery insists.

"He needs his dad," I struggle to finish.

Avery sighs and moves the bangs from my eyes, forcing me to look at her. "He needs you." She repeats firmly. "You're the only one that can help him Sirius, you're his brother."

Her words are all it takes for me to realize I'm not doing my part, not there for James. It feels like another person is controlling my body as I stand up and make my slow way over to James. As soon as I approach the people surrounding James stop talking and stare at me. James doesn't notice the change in the room and keeps his head in his hands.

"Tea anyone?" Avery suggests, rising from her seat and ushering everyone out of the living room. I look after her and give her a grateful smile, she mouths an encouraging 'I love you' before closing the door behind her, leaving James and I alone.

If James has noticed the change he doesn't acknowledge it. "Prongs," I say numbly. James raises his head from his hands and looks at me. The look he gives me causes my heart to constrict and I'm afraid that any moment I'll lose it. His eyes, which are usually filled with mirth and secrets, are red and heavy with the loss of a loved one. I sink into the couch next to him, the couch giving away to my weight lets out a quiet squeak.

For a long time we just sit on the couch, both reflecting on the person we've lost, both feeling anger for the death eater that took his life. They haven't tracked down his murderer, he's still wandering the streets as a free man. Kurt was murdered at a hospital. St. Mungo's had been under attack, Voldemort, the cowardly bastard he is, sought to destroy the hospital so that people could no longer receive help. Kurt was sent to clean up the hospital and restore it and to locate those involved in it's attempt at destruction, luckily the hospital still stands and repairs are almost done being made.

Kurt was working on repairing the psych unit of the hospital when the death eaters appeared again, obviously back to finish their work. He was defenseless, the death eater attacked him from behind. He was killed with the avada kedavra, the attack was quick, his death was brief.

James started digging in his pocket, after a few moments he pulled his hand out, something clutched in his fist. He slowly opened his hand and a snitch laid motionless in it. "He gave this to me for my fifth birthday," James said smiling, twirling the snitch in his fingers. "I named it Harry."

James let the snitch go and the wings sprouted out, the snitch hovered a foot in front of us. We sat in silence and watched the snitch as it floated around the room. The movements were slow, I had never seen a snitch act so tame before. After a few minutes I finally spoke, "Harry is an awful name, mate."

The first sign of joy reflected in James' eyes as he stared ahead at the snitch. "Harry is not an awful name."

"Yes it is, reminds me of an old man."

"Harry is a strong and powerful name," James said, his voice starting to gain that confidence that it usually held. "In fact, I'm going to name my son Harry. Either that or Chudley, after the Chudley Cannons of course."

I laughed loudly, the sound echoing off the abandoned room. My laughter caused Avery and Lily to poke their heads in. Upon seeing us interact Lily let out a sigh and walked near James. "Well mate, if you're going to have a son I want one too."

"And who do you think is going to give you this son, Sirius Black?" Avery asked, the first real smile on her face as she came over and sat on my lap.

"Well if you won't babes then I'm just going to have to find someone else who will." Avery hit me with the back of her hand and I nuzzled my face into her hair, breathing in her scent. "And he will be named Falmouth, after the Falmouth Falcons of course, the only decent team in the league."

"You two are not equipped for children," Lily said, a giggle escaping her mouth. "You two can barely keep after yourselves, let alone another human being."

"Wouldn't you like a little version of me running around?" James asked Lily.

Lily smiled and shook her head, "you cause enough raucous as it is, I don't think the world can handle another James Potter."

"You'll see, we'll have a little Harry flying around on a broomstick in a few years time Lils."

"And if James has one I get one too," I commented, earning a eye roll from Avery.

"Maybe if you're good and put your socks away when I ask we'll get a pet rock, I think that's a good place to start in having to care for something." Avery said, patting my head.

"Well if Sirius gets a pet rock then I get one too," James said wrapping his arms around Lily's waist.

"We'll talk about it later." Lily said in a soothing voice, as if coaxing a child out of wanting a toy.

Our laughter eventually died down and a silence hung over us. With this silence it brought more reflection. The snitch was darting around the room, the sound of it's wings slicing through the air the only noise that could be heard. After a few moments James stood up from the couch and walked over to the snitch. He grabbed the snitch in his hand and it retracted it's wings. James stared down at the snitch for a long moment before speaking.

"It's real, isn't it?" He asked looking at us, speaking before any of us could respond. "The war, that is. It's not just something for us to be cautious about."

No one responded, we all knew the answer. Whether we wanted to admit it or not once we leave the safe walls of Hogwarts we're on our own, and death will only become all too familiar to us.

The funeral occurred the next day. Remus and Peter had been excused from class in order to join the ceremony. Unlike James, Lily, Avery and I they weren't allowed to miss the past two days. James and his mother were already at Godric's Hollow cemetery. I was waiting for Avery and Lily to finish getting ready so I could escort them to the funeral.

Remus, Peter and I were sitting on the couch, eating some h'oderves prepared for after the funeral and sipping tea. Soon enough we heard the clicking of heals against the stairs, signaling Lily and Avery's entrance. Both girls were dressed in black, neither wearing make up. Their look was simple, as if to make sure no attention would be focused on them.

Avery's arm was linked through Lily's, and it looked like without James Lily was having to use Avery as a support system. Lily's eyes were red and her skin was blotchy from crying. Avery look collected in comparison but as soon as she locked eyes with me her tough exterior vanished.

"It's time to go," Remus said authoritatively as he rounded us all together. We locked hands and with a pop we disapparated to the cemetery.

A large crowd had already gathered in the cemetery. James and Jane stood at the front as people came over to them to offer their condolences. They shook hands and hugged until everyone was in their seats facing a closed casket. I kissed Avery on the cheek and walked over to James. With him and Jane I sat in the front row while everyone else sat behind me.

A man stood at the front of all of us, resting his hands on a podium as he spoke. He talked of life and death and how it is all part of our time on earth. What he failed to mention is that murder is usually not something you expect to happen to you. His speech was vague, he knew nothing about Kurt. He didn't know how loyal he was to his family, or how good of a wizard he was. He didn't know that for the past ten years of his life he's had worn the same pair of slippers that James had gotten him for his birthday one year. He didn't know that he had married Jane at the age of twenty but they didn't have James until their late thirties.

After his speech he allowed a few moments silence for us to mourn the loss of Kurt Potter. After the moment had passed he called up James to the podium. James hadn't mentioned to any of us he was going to speak so this news came as a surprise.

I could see his hands shaking as he gripped onto the podium for support. He drew in a few steadying breaths before speaking. "I know I'm supposed to talk about how great of a man my father was and how him dying will forever change me. I think all of these things can go without saying. Those who knew my father knew him to be strong, wise and kind, if not a little irrational. The last trait is one I'm particularly proud of saying I inherited." A tentative laugh rippled out in the crowd, allowing James to steady his breathing and continue. "There's a war going on out there, one way or another it's going to effect all of us. The people out there are nothing but cowards, they attacked my father while he was defenseless, unprepared."

James started choking on his words and I could feel my throat starting to close. I slipped my hand through the opening in the back of the seat and Avery was quick to grab it. "Let my father's death be a sign to all of you that we must remain strong, that we must fight. There's a war out there and it's spreading like fire in a dry meadow." James looked down at the podium, his lips pursed in concentration. When he looked up his eyes were filled with an intensity I've never seen before in him. He was intimidating, powerful, the exact leader the entire school saw him to be. "My father hasn't been the only death, and his won't be the last. The fight against Voldemort starts now. Now, before it's one of you standing up here saying goodbye to a loved one."

James quickly left the stage and with him followed a stunned silence. Jane stood up from her seat and James walked into her arms. They stood in front of all of us embracing each other and crying. The moment felt so fragile and personal I felt inclined to ask everyone to look away. They only let go when the casket was picked up and carried out of the area and towards his grave.

It was surreal as they lowered his casket into the ground. With the use of magic it almost looked majestic as it was set in the grave, slowly being lowered into the ground where dirt quickly covered it. The crowd cleared out once the casket was buried. The eight of us remained by his grave, standing over the freshly packed dirt. Jane was silently crying, her tears falling onto the ground and getting lost in the soil. James perked up and fished through his bag, as if just remembering something. He pulled out a pair of old and battered slippers and set them down in front of his gravestone.

James put an enchantment on the slippers and stepped back, smiling and admiring his work. "He always said he would wear these until the day he died."

Once back at the Potter's house we were all surprised when we found Albus Dumbledore sitting in their living room, eating lemon drops.

"Sorry for the intrusion, I only just arrived," Dumbledore said, standing up upon our arrival.

"You are welcome anytime Albus, can I get you anything?" Mrs. Potter offered, dabbing at the corner of her eyes.

"Tea would be appreciated Jane," Dumbledore said with a nod of his head. Mrs. Potter smiled and walked into the kitchen. "Forgive me for not making it to the ceremony, I was detained at school."

"It's no problem professor," James said gesturing towards a chair where he and Dumbledore could be seated.

"My deepest condolences for your loss," Dumbledore said quietly. James nodded his appreciation. "I'm afraid I have other matters to discuss and that this isn't a moment to exchange pleasantries." Dumbledore looked at all of us and we suddenly became aware that this moment was directed towards everyone. "After your fathers death there have been more attacks. Voldemort has become such a threat many people have gone into hiding, some are even so frightened they can't utter his."

"Sorry sir," Lily said interjecting. "What do you mean they can't utter his name?"

"It appears the sound of his name alone is enough to cause panic, in some circles he is now being referred to as You-Know-Who."

"You-Know-Who," I barked out. "I can't imagine that name sticking for very long, completely ridiculous."

"Some people aren't as adept to handling war as others," Dumbledore said. "People will find comfort in the oddest things in times like these. Which brings me back to why I've come here. With people going into hiding they need to have a sense of security. Ms. Muze, with your permission I would like to be able to teach people some of the defensive techniques you have created. If you agree to this I would also have to ask that you help show people how to administer these techniques. On top of that I have been told you can perform some excellent shielding charms. I hadn't expected to ask for any of your help so soon but times are unpredictable now."

"Avery has only just joined the Order, the rest of us have been in it for months now and you haven't asked anything of us." I said slightly attacking Dumbledore. James had only lost his father and now he wants Avery to fight in against the very people that killed Kurt?

"It is poor timing, I agree Mr. Black. Avery's contributions are needed right now."

"And what about our contributions?" I hissed, my voice growing cold. Avery reached out and grabbed my hand, squeezing it and giving me a reassuring look.

"Sirius, once in battle is when you're needed, but Dumbledore needs me now." Avery said diplomatically. The maturity and authoritative stance surprised me, I had never seen her so sure of herself. She then turned her attention back to Dumbledore, "whatever you need me for I'm willing to help."

Dumbledore nodded and rose from his chair. "Thank you Ms. Muze, I'm sorry that this meeting wasn't very pleasant given the current circumstance. Once you get back to school Ms. Muze we will further discuss our strategy. I will see you all tomorrow, tell your mother I'm sorry I couldn't stay around for tea." He gave us one last smile before spinning around and disaparating.

"Avery," I started but was quickly cut off.

"We can't go through this every time Sirius," she said firmly. Her tone was hard, not angry. "It was only a matter of time before one of us was asked to do something, what Dumbledore has asked of me sounds reasonably safe but there's going to be more times he will ask, and I'm sure they will become more dangerous as time goes on. You can't fly off the handle every time I'm asked to help. If this is going to become an issue then our relationship will end, I love you but there's a bigger picture we're working towards. If this is a matter of you thinking my abilities aren't up to par then-"

"Of course not!" I quickly interjected. "You know I think you're fully capable of completely any task Dumbledore asks of you."

"Then we will not talk about this again," Avery said rising from her seat. "I'm going to go take a nap, I don't know about the rest of you but I'm knackered." I watched Avery walk up the stairs, in slight admiration of how she handled the situation even though it was at my expense. The moment abruptly ended however, when she stepped on the front of her dress and fell down the stairs.

This is why I love her.

A/N: Alright, so I know I haven't updated all that quickly but tech school did not leave me a lot of room to breath but now I'm done with tech school and have 17 beautiful days before I ship off to my first military duty station, yay!!!  So expect updates quick and regular.  I think this story should be all posted and finished within 2 weeks (depending on how quickly the que is moving) and then the sequel, Thin Ice, will begin!! :)  Also, check out my new story Literacy and Longing its a Remus/OC story.  And I'm going to get around to responding to each and every lovely review you all have left me!  Thank you and continue reviewing!!!  


Chapter 29: First Day Of My Life
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 Chapter 29: First Day of My Life

Sunday April 10th, 12:23 pm

It was one of those perfect days down by the lake. It was surprisingly warm for April weather, I was comfortably dressed in a t-shirt and tank top. I was spread out underneath a tree with Sirius, Cassi, Peter and Remus. For the past hour I had been trying to study but the only person aside from me who was actually intent on studying was Remus, the others just proved to be annoying distractions.

"Oi you sod head, pay attention to me, I'm bored." Cassi said throwing bits of grass at my face.

"Cass, this isn't a time for me to entertain you. When I said I was sitting outside to study I actually meant it." I responded, rolling my eyes. Peter was currently sleeping in the shade so he couldn't provide amusement to her and Sirius was too busy rolling his sleeves up and flexing his muscles to pay any attention to Cassi.

"Where's James?" Cassi asked, flipping onto her back and spreading her arms above her head. Cassi and James had quickly become good friends. With Cassi's loud mouth and affection for sizing up people, and James' same affinity they quickly bonded. I was a little jealous with how easily Cassi was able to blend in with all the Marauders.

"Lily's ill, he's tending to her currently." I responded.

"She alright?"

"Yeah, just the flu."

"Hm," Cassi mused carelessly as she glanced around the lake where other people were busy studying and socializing. "Do you think I can convince the first years that the Giant Squid is a ride?"

"Only if you want to be responsible for the death of eleven year olds," Remus muttered from behind his book, the first words he'd said the whole time we were there.

"It's either that or my death by boredom," Cassi sighed dramatically.

"No one is making you stay here," I said.

"Yes but everyone else is like you, with their noses buried into books. Honestly, people have stopped having fun lately."

"It's because of these things called exams, people tend to study for them."

"Pish posh," Cassi said with a dismissive wave of her hand. "People outside the walls of Hogwarts should be studying me and what's going to happen once I'm released into the world."

"It is a fear that plagues me at night," I said dead-pan.

"Hey babes," Sirius said turning around to me. "What would you think if I rolled my sleeves and gelled back my hair?"

I looked up at Sirius, "no." I said flatly.

"Give it some thought, would you? I think I would look rather spiffing."

"I think those girls over there wouldn't mind," Cassi said gesturing towards fifth year girls across the lake from us. "They've been readjusting their hair and tits since Sirius came within feet of them. They may as well take off their shirts for how low they've undone their buttons."

"Babes, why don't you unbutton your shirt in my presence?" Sirius asked edging towards me and playing with the collar of my shirt.

I swatted his hand away, "because I have other things on my mind aside from your sexual satisfaction."

Sirius only smiled at my chastising and closed the already small gap between our bodies as he pressed his chest against my arm. He rested a hand on my bare leg and drew small circles on it. Heat was already radiating from my body and I had to suck in a breath.

Since the funeral Sirius and I hadn't spent much time alone together, and spirits had been so down that neither of us had been in the mood to do much of anything. But now the sun was out, the end of the year was fast approaching, and I was reminded about how time alone with Sirius was desperately needed. If only I didn't have exams that were bogging me down.

Sirius placed his fingers under my chin and titled my face towards him. "The loveliest set of freckles are decorating your nose."

"Wonderful," I said dismissively but Sirius had other plans.

"They're also on your shoulders," he commented before kissing my shoulders. His lips on my bare skin made me shiver and I was finding it hard to contain myself. I looked around to see who was watching and other than Cassi who was mouthing 'shag him now' to me, no one else was paying attention.

"If you're trying to distract me it's not working," I said trying to sound firm but I could hear the slight falter in my voice which only seemed to push Sirius harder.

"Well if that's not working, then how about this." Slowly Sirius lifted up his shirt slightly so that my eyes were met with the perfect V that formed his hips.

"Christ," Cassi muttered staring at Sirius's stomach.

I tried to shrug off the incident but my heart was pounding and the words in front of me were blurring. "Nothing I haven't seen before."

Sirius threw down his shirt and pouted. "I'll have you know, when you become a Black you're going to be expected to reproduce or at least attempt at it."

This comment set me off and I looked up at him. "When I become a Black?"

Sirius looked taken aback and blushed slightly as he scratched the back of his head, a nervous habit I noticed he'd picked up. "Oh well, yes, I mean if you wanted to eventually, that is."

Now it was my turn to be embarrassed. "I mean, I've thought about it of course, and it's a definite possibility, later on."

"Oh just get a room already you two," Remus said. "Our room is free for the time being, and I'm getting tired of listening to you drone on."

Sirius and I didn't need to be told twice. I quickly gathered all of my things and threw them into my bag as Sirius and I walked to the castle at a very fast pace. The actual journey to the dormitory took some time. Every ten seconds or so Sirius would push me against a wall and snog me until someone walked by and interrupted us. After a particularly long journey we reached the dormitory.

Once the door was closed Sirius threw me up against the closed door and snogged me senselessly. I wrapped my legs around his waist and he held me up by placing his hands under me. I grabbed at the bottom of my tank top and whipped it off. Sirius trailed kissed down my neck, at this point my entire body was shaking. Sirius started backing up and turned around. He laid me down on his bed without his lips leaving mine. I pulled his shirt over his head and he quickly broke the kiss to allow the shirt to come off. He then kissed me and put his hands under my back, pulling me towards him. He ran his hand up and down my side, causing me to shiver. He stopped at the top of my pants with his hand resting on the button of my shorts. When I didn't stop him he undid my pants and I kicked them off, feeling suddenly very vulnerable in only my underwear.

Sirius seemed more sensitive after my pants came off. He moved slower, less hurried. His hands traveled every contour of my body as if he was trying to commit it to memory. My heart started hammering as I reached and started undoing the belt of his pants. He stopped kissing me and held my eyes as I undid the button and slid down his pants.

"Are you sure you're ready?" Sirius asked, stopping and looking at me intently.

I nodded my head, "yes, I am." I said confidently.

That was all the encouragement Sirius needed.

Afterwards we laid in bed, Sirius was on his back a look of euphoria on his face as he stared at the bed hangings. I laid awkwardly next to him, not quite sure what to do with myself. I didn't exactly know what the protocol was for times like these.

"Should I run and make a sandwich?" I offered.

"What?" Sirius asked turning his head to look at me.

"You know, a sandwich. Someone once told me that it's a woman's duty to make a sandwich after sex."

Sirius let out his bark like laugh and draped one arm over my stomach, pulling me towards him. "Mmm," he mumbled into my neck. "I love you, you know that right?"

"Course," I responded.

Sirius yawned and stretched his arms above his head, sitting up in bed. The blanket fell down and his bare stomach was exposed. "Shall we go back outside with the kiddies?"

"Eventually," I said as I moved to sit on his lap. "Right after round two."

Later that night Sirius and I were sitting in the common room with James. I had my head resting on Sirius's lap and my legs were hanging over the the arm of the couch. I was reading my Transfiguration book and writing down study notes. Sirius was playing with my hair while reading him the animagi book I had given him for Christmas.

I chewed on the end of my quill, my thoughts transferring from Transfiguration to another thought that had been rolling around in my mind. "Sirius," I said.

"Hmm?" He groaned.

"I've been thinking," I said slowly.

"Good for you love," Sirius said, kissing the top of my head.

"I'm not finished," I laughed. "I've been thinking about how in the Order I'm going to be fighting, and while my shields are strong I need to learn how to duel better. I'm more than capable at protecting myself but I'm not the best at attacking. You and James are the best I know at dueling, help me." Sirius's hand untangled from my hair and remained silent. "I'm going to be doing this anyway, I may as well be better prepared." I defended automatically.

"I think it's a good idea," Sirius said abruptly.

"You do?" I asked, not quite sure I had heard Sirius correctly. Ever since I've joined the Order it seemed any other idea I had was immediately shot down and considered dangerous.

"Anything that will protect you I am willing to do," Sirius said brushing my bangs away from my forehead and kissing me there.

"I've actually been thinking something similar with Lily," James chimed in. "Once she's healthy of course, she's driving herself mad from not being able to study to her 'full potential' because she's sick. And Avery you can help us with defensive spells."

I opened my mouth to agree but our conversation was cut short by a loud bang as the common door room opened and a blaring Cassi came streaming in followed by Peter. "Oi, Avery, get your head out of Sirius's lap and into your room. I've got the best dish ever and I'm stealing you."

"Cassi never does anything quietly, does she?" Sirius sighed as I sat up from the couch and kissed him on the cheek.

"Of course not, but that's why we love her." I said before Cassi took me by the arm and dragged me to my dormitory.

She shut the door loudly behind her when we walked into my room, the sound jolted Lily awake from her bed. Her nose was red and her face was pale, her hair was sticking up in every direction and when she talked it sounded like she was plugging her nose and drinking water. She glared at Cassi as Cassi ignored Lily's sickly state and flopped onto my bed. Cassi and Lily were friendly enough but I wouldn't say they were friends. Cassi's loud mouth turned Lily off, and her ability to get along with James angered Lily even more. Cassi, being the friendly outgoing person she was, didn't notice Lily's hostility. The one thing that kept them bonded was Cassi's knowledge of all school gossip, and Lily being the secret gossip whore that she was, ate it all up.

"So what's cause the big disruption in the common room?" I asked, flopping next to Cassi on my bed.

"Well," Cassi said drawing out the anticipation as she played with the hem of her skirt. "I was merely taking a trip down to the the dungeons where Peter had left his backpack when something, well, I should say someones caught my attention."

"Who?" Asked Lily eagerly as she struggled to sit up in bed.

"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."

"Oh flipping Merlin, tell us already!" Lily yelled.

"I saw Amos Diggory snogging."

"As if that's big news," Lily said, crossing her arms over her chest, disappointed with the news.

"Oh, there's more," Cassi said with a mischievous glint in her eyes. "I saw him snogging a boy!"

"What!" Lily yelled, falling off her bed from the pure shock of it. I myself was sitting on my bed, paralyzed with shock, unable to do anything but let my mouth open and close soundlessly.

"Oh yes," Cassi said rubbing her hands together conspiratorially.

"Who was the other person?" I asked, finally finding my voice.

"That lad from Ravenclaw, sixth year, Gareth Whim."

"I thought I saw him checking out James' bum the other day." Lily mused out loud, still sitting on the ground, the blanket wrapped around her legs. "So," Lily said with a conspiratorial look in her eyes. "How long do you think we can use this against him for."

"Oh," Cassi said leaning back on her elbows. "I have no intention of telling him I know, just merely...hinting at it."

"Hinting, how?" I asked.

Cassi looked at me and winked, "you'll see."

The next morning at breakfast was an eagerly anticipated affair. Lily and I had joined Cassi at the Hufflepuf table, waiting for Cassi's attack or "hinting" as she called it. If seemed like ages until Amos showed up and when he did Lily was so excited she started choking on her toast.

"Oi, Diggory," Cassi called.

Amos turned around looking startled at Cassi's acknowledgment. "What is it you want, Ames?"

"I saw you by the dungeons last night," Cassi drawled out slowly.

Amos looked around nervously, his left eye began twitching and a thin layer of sweat formed on his upper lip. "So?" Was all he managed to come up with. "Not like it's a crime to be in the dungeons."

"Oh I'm not accusing you of anything," Cassi said absentmindedly as she played with her finger nails. "Why?" She asked looking up at him and quirking an eyebrow. "Were you up to no good?"

"N-n-no," Amos stuttered.

"Oh don't get huffy Diggory, it's alright if you were experimenting, it's only normal."

"Experimenting?" Amos practically screeched.

"Of course," Cassi said in an offhand voice. "I experiment with potions all the time."

"Oh," Amos said as if catching onto a joke that he had been left out of and only just joined in on. "Right, a potion. 'Course, that's what I was doing. What else would I be doing?"

"I don't know Diggory, hopefully nothing someone would shake a finger at."

"Course not, as I said, I was doing potions."

"Right, of course, well have fun experimenting." Cassi said in a dismissive voice.

Amos looked confused for a moment, not sure whether he should stay or leave. Eventually he turned and left the Great Hall, his fists balled and mumbling to himself. Lily and I burst out into a fit of giggles that seemed to echo in the Hall. Our laughter was uncontrollable as our bodies shook and eyes teared.

"Did you see the look on his face?" Lily said between gasps of breath. "He looked as if he were going to piss himself."

"Serves him right," Cassi said, whipping a tear away from her eye. "Complete plonker if you ask me, no merit to his name."

"He's got about as much personality as a slug, and the personality of a thorn." I said, my laughter finally dying down as the moment passed.

"In all fairness he's got, well he's sometimes, he can be." Lily searched for one good thing to say about Amos but in the end she came up with nothing and accepted defeat.

"He's got enough hair gel to grease all the floors of Hogwarts," Cassi said, our giggles once again ringing out in the Great Hall. "So, what's on the agenda today ladies?" Cassi asked as she helped herself to a large portion of bacon.

"Classes, then studying with Lily and Nial in the library." I sighed as I haphazardly twirled my fork in my hashbrowns.

"Merlin you guys are about as interesting as a pair of used socks."

"Don't completely disregard socks, they can be quite amusing when inebriation is involved and a hand with many characterized voices." Cassi and I turned to Lily and gave her a questioning stare. "Another one of Remus's stories from the Winter Bash of '76."

"Hey babes," Sirius said scaring the living piss out of me as he snuck up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders.

"Don't do that Sirius," I said putting my hand over my heart, willing it to slow down.

"Sorry love," he said nuzzling his nose in my neck. "It's just I've put my shirt on backwards and I require your assistance to fix it, erm, in my room." I rolled my eyes while Cassi and Lily sniggered. "I'd do it here but you know," Sirius said puffing out his chest and glancing around the Great Hall. "I don't want all the girls to pass out from the site of my naked chest."

"Of course Sirius, always thinking of other people's best interest," Cassi said condescendingly.

"See, Cass gets me," Sirius said ruffling up her hair.

"Oi bugger off and go shag your girlfriend," Cassi said, slapping away his hand and attempting to sort out her hair.

"Ta," Sirius said taking me by the hand and dragging me out of my seat.

I looked back to give Cassi and Lily an apologetic look but Cassi was already puffing out her chest and gaining a manly stance as she made fun of Sirius.

Sirius and I barely made it to History of Magic in time. We practically sprinted to class and while this was going on I was pulling on my shoes. A task that was made more complicated by my inability to walk properly even with both of my shoes on. We burst into the classroom just as the bell rang. Sirius looked unperturbed by being late for class, the only reason he was running was for my benefit.

Luckily Cassi had saved us both seats in the back, saving us from having to sit in the front. I tried to be discreet as possible walking towards Cassi but my shoe laces were still untied and more than once I tripped. Luckily Binns didn't really give a toss about anything and ignored my loud trapeze over to my seat.

"You look flustered," Cassi said with a click of her tongue as she took in my appearance.

"Shove off," I muttered under my breath as I retrieved my parchment and quill.

"Play nice Avery," Peter said with a smile as he wrapped an arm around Cassi's shoulder. "It's not Cassi's fault that you came in looking like you've wondered into a nest of cornish pixies."

Cassi smiled fondly at Peter and kissed him on the cheek. Peter blushed furiously and removed his arm from her shoulder and tried to be more discreet by taking her hand under the table. Public displays of affection were never really Peter's thing, even when he was with Tina. Cassi, however, he made an exception for here and there.

I turned my attention to Binn's as he droned on as to what's to be expected on our up-coming NEWT's. I tried to pay rapt attention and take notes but like always, my attention started wavering and I let my mind drift off as I stared out. I was soon snapped out of my trance by a nudging on my right. I looked over and saw Sirius staring at me expectantly, pushing a piece of torn parchment in my direction. I picked up the parchment and read it.

I'm bored, you should unbutton your shirt a little for entertainment purposes.

I rolled my eyes and wrote back.

You just saw them only a few minutes ago, I think you'll survive.

Sirius picked up the piece of paper and frowned before scribbling an answer.

But I've already forgotten what they look like.

I took the piece of paper and drew two circles next to each other with a dot in the middle of each.

There you go, a drawing. Happy?

Babes, yours are far more detailed than that. You've got a lovely mole just below your-

This time I had been watching him write his message and quickly snatched it from him before he could finish. I ripped up the parchment and threw it into my backpack to hide the incriminating evidence. Sirius looked like a wounded dog as he watched his words being shred to pieces.

"You are such a perv," I scolded Sirius as we walked out of History of Magic.

"Well if you'd just be a bit more lenient with your buttons we wouldn't have this argument." I scoffed and nudged him with my shoulder. "It's my hormones babes, you can't blame me."

I rolled my eyes but couldn't help but smile at Sirius's immaturity. He leaned down and kissed me on the cheek as we walked down the hallway and towards the Great Hall for lunch. Our journey was cut short however when we were stopped by Dumbledore outside of the Great Hall.

"Ms. Muze, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you immediately follow me to my office. It seems we've had an unexpected turn of events."

A/N: I know most of this chapter was a filler but I have enjoyed writing the banter between everyone. I'd kind of stopped doing that for a while because things got more serious and with the new characters added I figured I needed to establish their personalities. Don't you adore Cassi?  I love her, personally!  And I've been slacking with getting back to responding to reviews.  Slowly but surely I'm responding to each and every lovely review you all have left me.  Over 400 favorites, almost 700 reviews, and favorite author of 100??  I can't believe it!  You guys are amazing!  Also, I have a new story out called Literacy and Longing, it's a Remus/Oc so check it out :)  


Chapter 30: Nose-Bug
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 Chapter 30: Nose-Bug

Monday April 11th, 12:15 pm

I wanted to smack the eerie calm manor right out of Dumbledore. He hardly batted an eye as he relayed the news to me. While every sense of my being felt like it was being set on fire he remained stoic, no hint of emotion causing his voice to waver.

"What do you mean he was captured?" I seethed, using every ounce of self restraint to keep from lunging at him and shaking him.

"I am so very sorry Ms. Muze," Dumbledore said in a voice that did not convince me of his sympathy. This wasn't his family he was losing, the one person that had been there for me all my life. Did Dumbledore even have a family? Did he even know what it was like, what it felt like to lose someone he loved?

I leaned forward in my chair and rested my hands on his desk, my shoulders up to my ears as I tried my very best not to hex him. "What I don't understand is how my father, a man who only uses magic for traveling, has been captured by death eaters."

Dumbledore carefully folded his hands in front of him as he peered at me. "Your father was a spy for me. We needed someone inconspicuous, someone we had hoped would never be traced."

"No," I said not believing him. "He wasn't a spy. He's just my dad, he works for a newspaper, a muggle newspaper. There's no way that he was a spy," I said my voice cracking as the words came tumbling out, trying to make sense of everything. If he was a spy I would have known, there would have been signs. Yes, I spend nine months out of the year at school but the three months of summer at home I surely would've noticed something.

"He's been a spy for me many years, one of my most valuable members."

"No," I whispered, the reality crashing down on me. I swiftly stood up from my chair and started pacing the room. I was grabbing at my hair, trying to distract myself from screaming and keeping the tears that were begging to fall from going down my cheeks.

"Please take a seat Ms. Muze, nothing will be solved by your frantic pacing."

"Don't tell me what to do!" I finally snapped at Dumbledore. "This is your fault, you're the reason why he's gone!" For the first time Dumbledore looked guilty but I didn't care, I was too far gone at this point. All I knew is I wanted to hurt Dumbledore just like he had hurt me. "Bring him back," I said slamming my hands down on his desk. Bring him back now."

"We are doing everything we can to bring your father back Ms. Muze."

"If that were true then he would be here now instead of you making promises you obviously can't keep."

Dumbledore looked at me as if trying to calm me but nothing he could do could make me feel any better. "Your father new the risk he was taking when he agreed to being my spy. Just how you agreed to join the Order Ms. Muze, we all are working towards a bigger cause."

"You didn't even ask me if it was okay for him to join."

"No one but your father and myself could know of his job. As I'm sure you haven't told your parents how you joined the Order. Secrecy is of the upmost importance in times like these, it's hard to know who to trust."

"Can I trust you?" I countered. "You so easily threw my dad into your fight for justice without even thinking of what would happen to his family if we lost him."

"It was not an easy decision, Ms. Muze, I assure you of that."

"I'm not so sure about that. Imagine if it were your family." For a moment Dumbledore flinched and I knew I'd hit a soft spot. Instead of backing off however, I attacked full force. "Do you even have a family Professor Dumbledore? Do you even know what it would feel like to lose the person that is most important to you?"

Dumbledore remained silent as he gazed at me, and for a moment I felt guilty. Then when he spoke his words were slow and quiet. "I am not immune to that world Ms. Muze."

This shocked me, I had never heard of Dumbledore's family. Never seen pictures or anything. "Who-" I started to ask but was cut off by Dumbledore's hand.

"The who and what is not the issue. I share in the horror you are currently feeling. I have to ask, after seeing you act like this, are you sure you are prepared for what lies ahead of you? I will not lie to you to suggest once you leave Hogwarts it will be any different, in fact it will be worse, much worse. You will be fighting with many others that you will be spending a lot of time with, and I would not be surprised if along the way we lose some of these people. I want to make sure you are able to handle loss when the time comes."

"Again, you mean. When loss happens again." Dumbledore nodded. I sucked in a deep breath as I tried to calm the racing thoughts in my head. "I don't want anymore secrets."

"I cannot promise you that. What I can promise is that in matters of your family you will know all."

"Sirius too."

"What Sirius chooses to tell you is up to him, not me."

I sighed in frustration. I was desperately trying to grasp at some sort of control while the rest of my world spun out of my reach. "What about my mum, where is she?" I asked suddenly realizing that as a muggle married to a wizard she was a prime target without defense.

"We have secured her in her house and we have people watching your house. Your mother is as safe as she can be."

"Is that going to be enough?"

"In times like these it's hard to know what will ever be enough," Dumbledore answered honestly.

I slumped into my chair, feeling defeated and drained of energy from so much anger and sadness. I could feel myself crumbling and I wanted to desperately go somewhere else where I wouldn't feel any of this. "Find my father," I practically begged Dumbledore. I looked up at him and saw sadness reflecting in his eyes at my desperation. "Please, I just watched James bury his father. I couldn't imagine going through something like that."

"We will do everything possible to bring your father back."

I nodded my head and without being excused or asking to be excused I left his office. I felt guilty immediately after leaving his office but did not go back to apologize. When I walked back to my dorm room I felt like I was floating, the world seemed surreal to me. It looked like everything was clouded, as if I were walking through a fog. When I walked past the common room and into my dorm room I could hear people calling my name but ignored them. I curled up in my bed, drawing the sheets over my head.

I heard someone come in and the footsteps sounded like claws hitting the ground. Something leaped into my bed and when I pulled the sheet away from my face Sirius was laying next to me in his dog form, looking at me with his grey eyes.

"Stay like this," I said wrapping my arm around Sirius's dog body and burying my face in the long black fur. "Don't change back. I'm not ready to talk yet." Sirius whimpered and nudged me with his nose but remained in his dog form as I cried silently into his fur.

I must've fell asleep because when I looked around the curtains were drawn around my bed and there was no light seeping in, clearly showing signs of nighttime. Sirius was in his human form, his eyes locked onto my face as he brushed away the hair from my eyes.

"Are you ready to talk yet?" He asked, moving the hair away from my mouth and gently tracing his finger over my lower lip.

"I don't want to," I whispered, burying my face in his chest.

"Why not, love?"

"Because then it will be real."

"It's real whether you talk about it or not. Please, Avery, tell me. I'm worried."

I opened my mouth and in a shaking voice told Sirius about my father. Told him about being captured and how no one knew where he was. When I finished a flow of sobs escaped my mouth and Sirius only held me to his chest as I cried. His attempts at soothing me hardly mattered.

"It's only going to get worse," I said as my sobs died down. "We're still in school, we're considered protected at this point. Once we're out in the real world it's going to get worse, there will be less protection and we'll actually be putting ourselves in harms way."

"I know," Sirius said stroking the back of my head as he held me close to his body. "But we can't live in fear."

"I'm not scared for myself, I'm scared for the people around me. I'm scared of losing you." I shook my head, "if I lost you I wouldn't know what to do with myself."

"You wont lose me love," Sirius said soothingly.

"You don't know that. You can't one hundred percent promise me you won't leave me."

"I can't," Sirius admitted. "But I promise I'll try my hardest to stay around for you."

"Let's run away," I suggested in desperation. "Let's run away to Spain or China or America, I don't care. Let's just get out of here. We can live normal lives, we can have millions of children and name them all Falmouth if you want to."

Sirius chuckled and his chest moved against my head. "If you think you're able to leave everyone behind then we can go."

I sighed and curled my hands into fists on his shirt. "I couldn't." I said realizing that as much as I hated this war I wanted to fight in it, and I could never leave my friends behind no matter how badly I got hurt in the process and how many people I lost.

"And that's why you're in Gryffindor." Sirius said kissing the top of my head.

It felt like something had awaken inside of me when Sirius had said that. During my time in Hogwarts I'd always questioned why I was put in Gryffindor. I never considered myself brave, or seeking justice, or any of the qualities I saw my fellow Gryffindors' possess. I had thought for the past seven years the sorting hat had made a mistake and when it shouted Gryffindor it really meant Hufflepuff, or another house with fewer responsibilities. When I stepped up to the war it had come as a surprise to me, my confidence and need to fight injustice. I guess the sorting hat knew something I hadn't all along.

The next day I was surprised how easily I fell back into routine. Sirius had told everyone what had happened because I wasn't able to do it myself without breaking down. The worst part to my dad's capture is that there was no finality to it. He could be alive or he could be dead, I had no idea.

Those who knew of what happened were tiptoeing around me, making sure to avoid all conversations about the war and keeping newspapers away from me. Anything to keep me from remembering what has happened. That is, everyone but Cassi was acting different. Cassi remained her loud and outgoing self and never had I appreciated her more. Everyone was treating me like I was some sort of mental patient but Cassi remained the same, twittering on about gossip and clothing.

"Oi you lot," Cassi said flopping down on the couches in the Gryffindor common room. Lately she had been spending more time in the Gryffindor common room than the Hufflepuff room. "I've had enough with your sulking around acting like someone has died."

James shot Cassi a dagger look and to her benefit she looked guilty. "Sorry, poor choice of words," she apologized. "Anyway, I was just talking to Peter and we both agreed that we think it would be in everyone's benefit if we throw a end of the year bash of sorts, to get our minds off of things."

"Please not a ball," James begged. "My parents make me go to one once a year and I bloody hate dancing."

"No, not a ball," Cassi laughed. "There's not enough time to plan one anyway. I was just thinking of gathering all of the seventh years from every house, excluding Slytherin because that will only create problems. We could drink and talk and socialize and maybe there will be music playing, but there will be no obligation from anyone to dance. We need to get our mind off of the war and exams, if only for a few hours."

"I don't see Dumbledore going for that," Lily commented.

"Well he thought it was a wonderful idea when I brought it up with him."

"He what," Lily spluttered. "You actually got him to agree?"

"Of course I did," Cassi said sounding a little offended that someone would assume she didn't get what she wanted. "He said if we can find teachers to chaperone the event he would consent to it."

"Where is it going to be held?" Lily asked. Always trust Lily to ask all the details of events.

"Hogs Head, I know it's not the most ideal place but Dumbledore apparently knows the owner and he said it's the safest area he knows of."

"I think it sounds like a great idea," I said. In this moment I was grateful for Cassi. She wasn't the type of friend that would hold you as you cried, she was the kind that new of a distraction when you desperately needed it. And while part of this party would be for her amusement it was also for my benefit.

"Good," Cassi said giving me a smile. "Lily, since you're so organized I was hoping you could help me set it up and decorate. I need to think of a theme so that I can decorate Hogs Head so it looks less drab."

"Of course," Lily said stepping up to something that involved organization. As the year was winding down Lily was given less responsibilities and I could see that she was getting anxious from having less authority.

"No, no theme," I said. "It's always too tacky. I have a better idea. Instead of doing a theme let's just do light. Plain and simple. Tons of light."

"I like it," Cassi said after a few moments of brewing it over in her mind. "And everyone must wear bright clothing. We've got enough darkness buried into every inch of these walls. It's about time for a change."

"Trust Cassi to turn everything into a bloody fashion show," Sirius said smiling appreciatively at Cassi.

Cassi laughed and threw a throw pillow at Sirius's head. "I better see you in hot pink pants and a green shirt Sirius Black."

"Wouldn't you know it, I have a tutu in those exact colors," Sirius joked throwing his head back and letting out his loud bark laugh.

"Well," Cassi said standing up. "Lily we better get started. We should plan this next weekend, exams are only two weeks after that so this is really the only time we have."

"Right," Lily said jumping up. "Let's start making a list of things we need, teachers who will chaperone. I need my quick writing quill for this sort of occasion." Lily said running up to her room.

"Jesus Ames, you're going to cause Lily to have a heart attack," James said as he watched his girlfriend run around like a complete loon.

"I think it's good for people to have something a little more light hearted on their mind rather than the depressing things you lot think of."

"Sorry Cass, not all of our go to choices of reading is Witch Weekly." James said slightly cynically.

"Whatever," Cassi said waving James off with her hand. "Oh Remus," Cassi said in a sing-song voice as she flitted over to him, slightly bouncing on the tips of her toes as she moved over to him. He hardly spared her a glance as she lounged on the arm of his chair and draped her arm behind him, leaning forward and snatching the book out of his hands.

Remus looked agitated as he pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "What is it Cass? Want me to wear some hot pants for the party?"

"Well, that wasn't was I was going to say but yes, that would be lovely if you could." Cassi said in a sugary-sweet voice. "What I was going to say is that I was having a lovely chat with Robyn Abraham, the seventh year Hufflepuff."

"The one with the hair?"

"Yes, the curly haired one, it's lovely. Anyway, as I was saying I was talking to her and she seems to fancy you."

"I've never even spoken to the girl," Remus stuttered turning a light shade of red.

"You'd like her. She has an extensive knowledge on books, she's just as boring as you are!" Cassi said laughing to show she was joking

Remus couldn't help but smile, Cassi was utterly ridiculous sometimes but it's a wonder how she was never friends with us before. She fit in so effortlessly and seemed to be the glue holding us together while people around us were dying and disappearing. Leave it to Cassi to want to throw a party in the midst of all of this, and yet all of us were eternally grateful, though we may never say so.

"Ever the charmer Cass," James said chuckling.

"Hey gang," Nial said joining in on our discussion and flopping next to me. Lately I had hardly seen Nial. Him and Lelani were going at it strong and whenever they weren't in class they were usually found together. My time with him was usually limited to Potions class and I had grown to miss him over time.

"I forget, what's your name again?" I joked.

"Har har," Nial said, elbowing me in the side. "I actually have something that may be of interest to Sirius and James today." Nial started digging into his pocket. After a few moments he had resting in his hand something that looked like a raisin with legs. "My brother invented this and I'd forgotten he'd given me a handful of them."

"What are they?" Sirius asked.

"They're kind of like bugs, if you place them on a person they will burrow into their nose and begin plucking nose hairs. They're so small it's impossible to get them out on your own. It's a little touch and go with how long it will be doing this for, sometimes it can last twenty minutes, others it can last days. Not a huge prank but it will annoy the living daylights out of whoever has the little bugger up their nose."

"Brilliant," James breathed, picking up the raisin-like bug from Nial's hand and examining it in the light. "How do you activate it? It's not climbing on me right now so I figure there's something you need to do to start it."

"Oh yeah, there's a spell to use to activate it."

"Don't get caught," I warned the boys.

"Avery," Sirius said wrapping his arm around me and kissing me on the cheek. "Do you have such little faith in us where you would think we would let ourselves get caught?"

~*~

"There is something seriously wrong with my nose!" Severus Snape yelled loudly as he sprang up from his desk during Potions class, desperately digging in his nose.

"I just want to die! Make it stop!" Amos said as he rolled around on the ground, following in Snape's example and shoving his fingers up his nose desperately.

James and Sirius were doubled over from laughter as they watched Snape and Diggory make a mess of themselves, rolling around on the ground wailing in pain and agitation, unable to find the thing making their noses hurt.

It had been quite ingenious how they planted the little nose-bugs -as we named them-. They used the wingardium leviosa to prop them on their shoulders and then once class started used the spell to activate them. The spell and trick went unnoticed by the recipients unfortunate enough to receive the nose-bug.

"You should stop snorting that pixie dust Diggory," James said, leaning over the edge of his table and stooping down by Amos, to ensure that he heard him.

"You," Amos said taking one finger out of his nose and pointing it at James and Sirius. "You had something to do with this, didn't you!"

"Diggory, no one forced you to snort pixie dust." Sirius said stoically, a look of innocence on his face.

"I didn't snort pixie dust!" He yelled agitatedly.

"What seems to be the problem here?" Slughorn said, emerging from his office and swooping down on the scene. "Mr. Diggory, Mr. Snape, are you lads doing rolling on the ground? Is this some sort of new mating call?"

"Maybe for flobberworms," Cassi said out loud earning a few sniggers in the classroom.

"Oh you kids keep me young," Slughorn tittered. "I'm afraid that I'm going to have to ask you to get off the floor however, this isn't proper classroom etiquette."

"But it hurts sir!" Snape cried out.

"What exactly is the problem?"

"There's something digging in my nose, it feels like a pin is repeatedly being stabbed in it."

Slughorn looked at the two boys as if they were insane, which they sounded like it. "Right then, maybe this is a matter Madame Pomphrey can sort out."

The boys quickly got off the ground with their fingers up their noses as they left the room. They shot an angry look at James and Sirius as they passed by them. Sirius and James merely shrugged and tried to remain looking innocent, there was no way this prank could ever be traced back to them.

The next day Snape and Diggory were sporting lovely bandages over their noses at breakfast. It seemed the only way Madame Pomphrey could get the nose-bug out was by using a very mild obliterate spell. The end result was successful, in that they got the nose-bugs out, but slightly damaged their noses in the process.

The distractions that everyone had been providing over the past few weeks proved to be enough for hours at a time. But in between moments of laughter, when nothing but silence filled the room. The sadness from the war came trickling in like a faucet that hadn't been turned off completely, little drops kept splashing one by one, I was only wondering when it would flood.

A/N: Alright so I'm really not pleased with this chapter. I wasn't sure how to end it, or where to go with it (the first half I like but the second I'm not so sure about).  Anyway like always leave a review and go onto my meet the author's page!  Also, there's 3 chapters left and an epilogue and then right after that the sequel will be out!!! :)


Chapter 31: Annabelle and Snuffles
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 Chapter 31: Annabelle and Snuffles

Friday April 22nd, 5:43 am

A little girl was laying in bed, her chocolate brown hair spread out under her, resting on the pillow. She was tucked into bed and giggling as an older man read her a story.

'But daddy you read this story every night,' she laughed.

'Are you telling me it's not your favorite? Well then, if that's the case I'll just give this book away to another little girl who will like it.'

'No!' The little girl yelled, jumping up from her bed and taking the book possessively into her tiny hands. 'Read me the story,' she said relinquishing the book once she felt it would no longer be taken from her.

'Alright,' the man said, flipping open the book as the girl curled in bed. 'There was a little girl named Annabelle. Annabelle wasn't a normal girl, she and her family were witches and wizards. Annabelle had a dog named Snuffles. Together Annabelle and Snuffles would go on adventures. Because Annabelle liked to go on adventures her parents would place a protective enchantment on her to make sure she was safe. One day Annabelle stole her dad's broomstick because she wanted to fly. Snuffles sensed danger and tried to get her down by grabbing her shirt with his teeth and pulling her away, but Annabelle wouldn't listen. Annabelle got on the broom like how she'd seen her dad do it and pushed her tiny legs away from the ground. She slowly started rising higher and higher into the air. Below her Snuffles was barking and running around trying to get her down but Annabelle didn't care. Annabelle was having fun until she soared too high and was above the trees. Snuffles looked like an ant on the ground as he ran around. Annabelle tried to move the broomstick down but her hold on the broom wasn't strong enough and she started falling. Annabelle tried to grab at the broom as she fell but her tiny hands couldn't find it. She looked at the ground as it grew closer and saw her dog Snuffles changing. Annabelle closed her eyes as she neared the ground but instead of hitting a hard ground a warm pair of arms were holding her. She slowly opened her eyes and saw her dad. She looked around for Snuffles and couldn't find him. Her dad then told her how Snuffles was her protection and that wherever she was, wherever she went, he was there with her.'

The man closed the book and looked at his daughter whose eyes were slowly closing as she drifted off to sleep. He smiled and leaned over, enclosing the blankets around her small body. 'Goodnight my little girl,' he said brushing her hair back and kissing her on her head.

'Goodnight dad,' the little girl sighed sleepily. The man smiled down at the little girl as he pulled out his wand and waved it over her, mumbling a spell as a golden dust shot from it and fell over the little girl. 'Protecting me just like Annabelle?' The little girl asked.

'Yes sweetie,' he replied.

'Snuffles too,' she said, holding up a toy dog.

The man laughed and performed the same spell on the toy dog. 'Goodnight Avery,' he whispered before leaving her room.

With a sudden lurch I was jolted from my sleep. The dream hung on me like a dead weight.

Since I was young. He's been a secret spy since I was a little girl.

It made sense now that I thought of it, it was like the dream had brought back memories as a child that I never thought were weird but as an adult seemed to give a little insight into my dad's secret life. I remember that anytime he would leave he would place the charm on me, always joking that he's afraid I'm going to get ideas like Annabelle and fly on a broom, but now I see he was doing it for my safety.

I guess he's where I learned all my protective charms from, they'd always come so naturally to me but now I know it's because I grew up with them. I feel slightly manipulated, he used childhood stories to mask his secrecy.

The silence of the bedroom left too much room for me to think so I walked to the bathroom and turned on the shower. When I stepped inside I could feel my thoughts slipping from my head as the hot water tracked down my body. I stood in the shower until I could hear life beginning on the other side of the door, and even then I was reluctant to leave.

"You're up early," Lily commented when I stepped outside of the bathroom.

"A dream woke me up," I answered as I dried my hair and searched for a clean school uniform.

"Avery, could I borrow some of your shampoo? I just ran out," Heather called from the bathroom.

"Sure," I responded. Heather and I had come to be on civil terms. It seems she had forgiven me for 'stealing' Sirius from her after a boy from Ravenclaw started paying her attention. "So how's the party coming along?" I asked Lily.

"Fantastic," she responded somewhat distressed. "I think Cassi asked me to help so she didn't have to lift a finger."

"That would be Cass," I snorted. "Anyway, I'm going to head down to breakfast early. Get all the best food, ta."

The common room was deserted save for one fourth year sitting at a table, frantically writing on a piece of parchment as if his life depended on it. Once in the Great Hall it was eerily quiet, aside from me there was only two other people in their, both in Hufflepuff. I dropped my bag to the side and hastily grabbed at the bacon and eggs. Steam was still rising from the food as I happily shoved it into my mouth, only pausing to drink pumpkin juice.

"Ms. Muze," the voice startled me and I jumped in my seat, dropping my fork in the process, causing egg to splatter on my lap.

I looked up and saw McGonagall standing across from me, her lips fashioned into their usual tight expression. "Yes Professor?"

"Dumbledore would like to see you in his office."

"Have you found my father?" I asked jumping up in my seat.

"I'm afraid not," she said with an actual look of sympathy in her eyes. For a moment I saw her lips curve down into a frown, as if she were displaying some sort of emotion. "If it's at your convenience I ask you to follow me."

I nodded my head and picked up my backpack, wordlessly following behind McGonagall. The trip to Dumbledore's was awkward, neither of us said anything as I followed behind McGonagall whose robes dramatically billowed out behind her as she walked. For such an old woman she was a quick walker, I was practically jogging to keep up with her. When we reached Dumbledore's office she said cockroach clusters and the gargoyle jumped aside. McGonagall nodded at me to go in and I stepped ahead of her, the door closing her out.

Dumbledore's office seemed all too familiar to me at this point, having spent more time in it the past few months than I had my entire life. When I entered his office I was surprised to see someone else there. The man was odd looking, he was short and had greying hair. But the most interesting part of him was that he had a fake eye and it appeared a part of his nose was missing, along with other scars running down his face and arms.

"Ah Ms. Muze, so glad you could join us. Lemon drop?" Dumbledore asked.

"No thanks Professor," I politely declined, taking a seat.

"Oh where are my manors, Ms. Muze this is Alastor Moody. He is a top auror and a member of the Order." I nodded my head at Moody who only looked at me through his good eye, sizing me up with a look of disapproval on his face. "I'm sure you're curious as to why I've asked you here today." Dumbledore paused, crossing his hands in front of him, a sign that the situation was serious. "We are planning an attack in the next few days. We are going to try and infiltrate one of the safe houses designated by Death Eaters. We have some hope that a hostage could be held there."

"You mean my father?" I asked hopefully.

Dumbledore nodded his head, "it is a possibility. I do not want you to get your hopes up Ms. Muze, many people have been captured in this war."

"If there's only a small chance it will be my father who is found why did you call me to your office?"

Dumbledore smiled at me and leaned back in his chair, "in this next attack I would be grateful if we could use one of your defensive techniques. If you agree you will show Alastor here how to properly execute it and if you could, show him some of your defensive shields."

"Are you certain about this Albus? She hardly looks old enough to apparate." Alastor Moody said.

I scowled at Moody and balled my hands into fists. "I'm perfectly capable of this task Mr. Moody. My doubts lie with you however, are you so certain you can perform magic fully with only one working eye? It seems like a weak spot and people would be able to pray on your weakness easily," I said fighting back.

Moody looked at me for a moment before a grimace that I assume to be a smile formed on his lips. "Aye, I like her Albus, she's got a mouth on her."

I looked at Moody confused, the comment I had made was meant to insult not compliment. I shook my head and chose to ignore the odd exchange. "So, shall we get started?"

Teaching Moody only took me twenty minutes to do, as a top auror he was a quick study and caught onto everything almost right away. In order to explain my defensive techniques I used chess pieces and moved them accordingly to have a better visual. The defensive shields took longer to teach, though not by much. Moody said that the shields were old magic and therefore harder to produce since we don't use that kind of magic anymore. It was easy for me to learn however because I had grown up with it all my life.

When the session was done I felt drained of energy. This combined with the nights James and Sirius had been helping me and Lily duel left me drained of energy most days and made it difficult to perform magic afterward.

"Where did you learn this magic from?" Moody asked as I packed away my things.

"My father," I said, choking on my words.

"Aye, yes, your father was a great wizard."

"Is a great wizard," I corrected.

Moody just looked at me and I adverted my eyes, I didn't want to see the look of defeat in people's eyes when it came to my father. I was clinging onto hope that he would be found and returned, alive. I could feel it, I could feel he was still alive. My father and I had always been close growing up and I knew that if he was dead I would feel a part of me go missing.

Back in the Great Hall it was packed with students eating breakfast. I quickly found a seat next to Sirius. He smiled at me as I sank down next to him and put his hand on my thigh, giving it a gentle squeeze before returning to shoveling food into his mouth. I smiled and tried to shake the goosebumps that covered my body anytime Sirius touched me. I'd begun to think that the feeling I'd get with Sirius, the goosebumps and butterflies, would never go away.

"This day is going to go by so slowly," Cassi complained as she played with her oatmeal. "Why can't it be tomorrow already?" She sighed dramatically, laying her head down on her arms.

"Never one to forgo the dramatics, are you Cass?" I laughed.

"Life needs more zest. Anyway, what are you wearing tomorrow?"

I shrugged, fashion had never really been my thing. "Probably just a t-shirt and jeans."

Cassi snorted and rolled her eyes. "I figured as much, which is why I took the liberty of ordering this for you." Cassi reached under the table and produced a box. She opened the box and took out a yellow piece of fabric. She slowly unfolded it and revealed a beautiful yellow halter-top dress. "Ordered it from Witch Weekly and just got it today, the color will look fabulous on you." She said handing me the dress.

"Oh Cass, you shouldn't have," I said taking the dress from her and holding it in my hands. The fabric felt like water as it laid in my hands, the material was beautiful and the color so bright I would look like the sun when I put it on.

Cassi waved a dismissive hand, "think nothing of it. I've taken a look through your wardrobe and the brightest thing you have in there is a dark red. And the dress is low-cut too, I figured Sirius would appreciate it."

"Always looking out for my best interest Cass," Sirius said smiling at her.

"Yes well, I think we're all getting tired of you asking Avery to unbutton her blouse."

Everyone laughed and Sirius shrugged, unembarrassed. "Clothes are just a tease, we all know what lurks under them, why don't we just put all of our bits on display?"

"So wise," Cassi said. "Next will you be solving the cure for world hunger?"

Next to her Remus snorted into his milk and started choking. "Bloody hell Cass," Remus said between gasps for air. "We should make a new rule; no jokes at the table."

"Don't be so touchy, just because you can't masticate properly."

Across from Cassi Sirius spit out his pumpkin juice, coating the people across from him in his drink. "If he can't what properly?"

Cassi used the sleeve of her robes to wipe away the pumpkin juice from her face. "Masticate, it means chew. Merlin Sirius, get your mind out of the gutter. Anyway, I better be off. I've got more planning to do for the party tomorrow." Cassi stood up from the tables and kissed Peter on the cheek.

"What about class?" Lily questioned.

Cassi tilted her head to the side and asked in an honestly confused tone, "what about them?" Before she turned around and walked out of the Great Hall.

"Does anyone have any idea how that girl manages to pass classes?" James asked.

"Babes, pay attention to me for once." Sirius complained later that night in the common room.

Dinner had just let out and I was sitting on a couch studying potions. Exams were a little over two weeks away and I could feel the pressure rising. Between everything that was going on, worrying about my dad, dueling lessons from James and Sirius, helping out with the Order, I hardly had time to study for exams. And it seemed that every spare moment I had for studying was filled with Sirius's cries on how I don't pay enough attention to him anymore. I hardly had time to brush my teeth, let alone frolic around with Sirius. And it's not like I didn't want to. I would much rather be snogging Sirius in the hallways.

"Sirius, we have a little over two weeks left until exams are over. After that, I'm all yours."

Sirius huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. "Pay attention to me now, or I'll take my shirt off."

I looked at him and rolled my eyes, pushing my hair away from my face. "You are such a child sometimes."

"I am not!" Sirius cried defensively. "Is it too much for me to ask you to pay attention to me? All you've done lately is study."

"That's because we have exams, not all of us are like you and can not study and still pass every class."

"That's not true, I do in fact study." Sirius said, his voice suddenly dropping as he inched closer to me.

"And what subject would that be Sirius, your reflection?" I said using humor as an attempt to diffuse the fact that the closer Sirius got to me the more distracted I became.

"Your anatomy, of course," Sirius said as he leaned his body against mine, letting his hot breath run down my neck as he nibbled on my earlobe.

Despite my best attempts to keep a cool head about the situation I shuddered at his proximity and his teasing. He started running his finger up and down my arm and even though there was fabric separating his finger from my bare skin my body still felt like it had been set on fire. He brushed my hair away from my neck and left a soft trail of kisses. My entire body let out a shudder and I could feel Sirius smile into my neck.

"I guess a ten minute break wouldn't kill me," I said closing my book and standing up.

Sirius smiled and jumped up from his seat and sprinted towards his dormitory completely forgetting about me in his excitement. I smiled and started walking towards the stairs and up to his dormitory. When I opened the door Sirius was standing in the middle of the room naked and smiling at me.

"What took you so long?" He said smiling like a Cheshire cat.

I laughed and closed the door, making sure to lock it behind me.

"Oh my god! I just stabbed myself in the eye for the tenth time," I whined as my hands unsteadily tried to maneuver a eyeliner stick.

"Well if you would just let me do it for you," Cassi said jumping up from my bed and moving towards me.

"No," I said, protectively pulling the eyeliner to my chest. "I'm a big girl now, I can do this."

"A big girl whose going to be blinded."

I glared at Cassi, "why are you here again? Shouldn't you be in your room, you know, in Hufflepuff."

Cassi shrugged and pulled a magazine from her bag, idly flipping through it. "I guess, but you need more help than them."

"Thanks for making me your project," I said sarcastically as I pulled down the bottom of my eye and tried to once again apply eyeliner.

Twenty minutes later I had my make up finished, my eyes only slightly red and still slightly watering. I had been the last to finish getting ready, my need to do my makeup by myself took longer than any of us anticipated and we were going to be late for the party that Cassi and Lily had planned. I finally was able to put on my dress and when I slipped it on it felt like a cloud enclosing around me. The fabric was so soft and so light it felt like I was wearing nothing at all. And the color was so bright that it seemed like everything around me was glowing. However, no one was quite was colorful as Cassi. In her orange dress and hot pink boots she could stand out of any crowd, she was never one to blend in.

"McGonagall is going to be throwing a fit," Lily hissed as we walked quickly down the stairs. "Everyone will be waiting for us at the entrance, I bet they're just going to cancel the party altogether."

"Oh don't get in such a tiz Lily-Pad," Cassi said in a calm and rational voice.

"Don't call me a Lily-Pad, it's something frogs jump on, I'm basically a welcome mat for the slimy species. Call me something more fitting like, Princess Lily or Her Highness."

"Oh of course, Her Highness," Cassi said stopping in the middle of the corridor and bowing before Lily. "Would you like to step across my back to cross the threshold, Her Highness?"

"If we encounter a puddle that will be necessary," Lily said tilting her head up and smiling. "Now let's hurry, everyone has got to be waiting for us at the entrance."

Lily quickened her pace to the entrance of Hogwarts. When we rounded the corner we saw a group of students standing there, Slytherins included Dumbledore wouldn't let Cassi and Lily leave them out, looking impatiently at McGonagall whose expression was drawn into a tight lipped frown.

"So glad you ladies finally decided to join us, I thought we'd have to send a search party after you," McGonagall said with no hint of mirth in her voice.

I could feel myself blushing as everyone's eyes shifted over to us, I still wasn't used to a lot of attention and every now and then it would catch me off guard. I kept my head down as I looked for Sirius in the crowd of seventh years. I felt a pair of arms snake around my waist and was drawn into a human body. I looked behind me and saw Sirius smiling. The color reflected off my dress and onto his face, making it look like he was glowing.

"Now that everyone is here we may leave, please stick together." McGonagall instructed as the doors of Hogwarts opened and allowed us outside.

Sirius grabbed my hand as the students started pushing to get out of Hogwarts. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "you look beautiful." I smiled and blushed, kissing him on the cheek. "Since you're the sun I'll be a planet and orbit around you all day," he said with a suggestive wink.

"Sirius Black," I said laughing and pushing him away from me.

"What?" He exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air and looking around innocently. "And might I add, that top does wonders for your breasts."

"Never one to forgo being blunt, are you?"

"I'd like to think that's what makes me so loveable." Sirius said nuzzling my neck and nipping at my ear.

"Oi, break up the love fest and behold my work," Cassi said dramatically as we arrived at Hogs Head.

We stepped inside of Hogs Head and I was honestly stunned by what I saw. The room literally glowed. Even though it was dark outside Cassi and Lily had somehow charmed it so that the windows glowed artificial light. Light bulbs hung from the ceiling, not leaving one dark place in the entire room. The bar-top was a mirror so that the light bulbs above it glowed in the reflection. The tables scattered across the room were covered in either orange or light pink tablecloths. In the corner of the room there was a stage set with people from lower grades at Hogwarts positioned with instruments. Part of the room was table free, the obvious designated area of the dance floor.

"Wicked," Sirius mumbled under his breath.

"You've really outdone yourself," I said, not able to tear my eyes away from the scenery. Everyone else was equally stunned as they looked around the room.

McGonagall's voice was the first to break through, "there will be a few rules before this starts. Professor Slughorn and I are here to supervise. No one is allowed to leave Hogs Head. If any illegal activities are found on the premises you will be escorted back to Hogwarts, this includes, but is not limited to; alcohol, drugs, or any purchases that can be found at Zonkos. We must respect this rented space. If anyone has problems with these rules please speak now and you may leave." McGonagall went silent and surveyed the room. "Very well then. Aberforth has been kind enough to volunteer to work tonight. You will be served either butterbeer or pumpkin juice." Without so much as a 'have fun' McGonagall turned around and stood by the door making sure no one would leave.

The band started playing a slow sound and people quickly broke off into groups, either finding a table or getting a drink from the bar. I noticed that the bartender, Aberforth, looked suspiciously like Dumbledore.

"No drinking my arse," Cassi said as she pulled three flasks from her purse. "Just make sure McGonagall doesn't see you," she said cleverly handing me one.

"Honestly Cass, the party hasn't even been going for five minutes yet and you've already exposed the alcohol," Lily said rolling her eyes.

"You're one to talk, if I remember correctly one of these flasks is yours," Cassi said waving a red flask in Lily's face.

"Don't be so obvious," Lily said, pushing the flask away from her face and down, looking to make sure McGonagall or Flitckwick wasn't watching.

"Oh Lily, lighten up. In fact, I think you should take the first shot." Cassi said challenging her and waving the flask teasingly in front of her face.

Lily rolled her eyes and grabbed the flask before muttering 'to hell with it' and taking a shot. James was standing behind Lily looking proudly at her as if he had just fallen in love with her all over again. Lily blanched and rubbed her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Well don't hog it all," I said grabbing the flask from Cassi and taking a large shot. Firewhiskey, like usual. The alcohol burned my throat as it went down, instantly warming my entire body. I realized then that firewhiskey and Sirius kind of had the same effect on me. Made me warm, a little loopy, felt like I was losing control.

"Oh Remus," Cassi said walking over to Remus and wrapping an arm around him. "I have to introduce you to Robyn, she's just dying to talk to you."

"Alright," Remus said stiffly, his nerves clearly overcoming him. I don't know why he wasn't very good with women. He was attractive, smart, kind and giving. On paper he seemed like the perfect guy, of course his lyncanthropy make him self conscious.

"Let me go get her," Cassi said walking over to Robyn, she was already stumbling slightly. I thought I had smelled alcohol on her breath before we left for Hogs Head but I wasn't sure, but there was no way she could be drunk already from only have two shots just now.

Within a few minutes Cassi returned with a girl who had bushy blonde hair. Her eyes were a dazzling blue but they were darting around frantically as if she were worried she was about to undergo attack. Her dress was a light blue with puffy sleeves that made her look slightly childish.

"Robyn, this is Remus, Remus this is Robyn." Cassi introduced. Remus stepped forward and shook Robyn's hand formally. Robyn took his hand and looked as if she were about to pass out. "Why don't you two get a table and talk? I'm sure you'll have loads to talk about."

Remus nodded and guided Robyn towards an empty table. "She looks like she belongs in the loony bin," Sirius noticed.

Cassi smirked and crossed her arms in front of her chest, a look of expected anticipation on her face. "I know, this should be fun."

"This was a set up?" Peter choked, a look of disbelief on his face as he glanced at his girlfriend.

"Of course it was, Remus is the only single one of your group and I couldn't find a girl fit enough in time for him so I figured why not have fun with it."

"I feel as if I should stop this devastation," James said noncommittally. "But she does look like she'll scare the piss out of him, and that could be a site to see."

"Ladies and gentlemen," Cassi said bowing and holding one arm out to Remus and Robyn. "Your entertainment."

The next twenty minutes could only be described as disasterious. We had all taken a table next to Remus and Robyn and were paying rapt attention to them between shots of firewhiskey. It had all started out normal, Remus offered to get her a drink and Robyn asked for a butterbeer. But shortly afterwards things went downhill, and fast. First Remus had said something funny and Robyn had laughed with a mouthful of butterbeer, the butterbeer sprayed on Remus's face. He, being the gentlemen he is, said nothing about it and tried to discreetly wipe away the bits of liquid. Then Robyn reached her arm across the table to get a chip and the puffy sleeve of her arm caught on fire.

Startled, she started flailing around while Remus attempted to put out the fire. Instead she caught Remus's pants on fire and they both ran around the place like loons. Someone used their cup to put out the fire but whatever was in that cup only caused the fires to increase. McGonagall quickly set to the scene and with a simple flick of her wand the fires went away. Unfortunately for Remus and Robyn smoke was rising from their bodies and they smelled like a candle that had blown out and the unpleasant scent that followed being blown out.

By this point the majority of us were drunk and roaring with laughter. Remus glared at our table as he sat back down at his table with Robyn. We had to give it to him, the boy did not give up, no matter how pathetic the situation was.

"Oh that poor boy," Lily sighed as she laid her head on her hand, a dopy smile on her face.

"She's really quite pathetic, isn't she?" Cassi said, taking another pull from her flask. I don't know how McGonagall hadn't noticed it by this point, either she was blind or just stopped giving a toss.

"Cassi!" Lily exclaimed.

"What? She can't have claimed to make any effort. Her hair is in a frizzy state, her outfit looks like someone took every bit of puff they could find and stuck it on that dress, and there's more lipstick on her teeth than her actual lips.

"Cass," Lily hissed, "I think she can hear you."

"Let her," Cassi said standing up. "Oi, Robyn!" Peter promptly stood up and put a hand over Cassi's mouth, dragging her onto the dance floor where only two other couples were currently occupying the space.

"They've got the right idea," Sirius said standing up and walking in front of me. He extended his hand out to me and smiled, "care to dance my lady?"

I giggled and unsteadily stood up, taking Sirius's hand and letting him guide me onto the dance floor. He twirled me out and then back into his chest, resting one hand on my waist and the other clasped in my hand. I rested my head on his shoulders and breathed in his scent as he held me close to him. He started humming along to the music into my ear, so quiet that it could only be heard by us. Our movements, those a little shaky, were evenly matched. We moved our bodies slowly together, neither of us in a rush. It was nice for once to be able to slow down in life and appreciate Sirius.

Aside yesterday we hadn't had any time together and right now was making me remember how badly I needed him in my life, how hard it was without him. I couldn't imagine my life without him, and me neglecting him only made me yearn for him more.

"I love you," I whispered into his ear. I realize I hadn't said it enough lately and that I had grown so used to having him around that I had taken advantage of it and not shown how much I truly cared for him.

Sirius pulled away from me so he could look at me and smiled, resting his forehead against mine. "I love you too," he said, kissing me lightly on the lips. His eyes locked with mine and they became a dark color, the kind of intensity that shown when he was thinking and a thought was plaguing him. "I've been thinking," he started slowly. "Now, I know you have adamantly told me how you didn't think this was a good idea but it's all I've been able to think about lately. I couldn't imagine my life without you Avery and I only think that this could be the next step for us once we graduate Hogwarts." He paused and took a deep breath, the anticipation rising each second. "Move in with me. When you stood in that apartment a few months ago you belonged there, you and me were meant to live there. I couldn't imagine staying there alone, without you."

Before I could even give myself enough time to think the word came tumbling from my mouth, "yes."

A/N: Alright so this chapter was a little fluffy, mainly the ending. But someone mentioned how there hadn't been enough Avery/Sirius alone time lately and I realized she was right and I quickly had to change this!

Alright so there are 2 chapters left in this story and then a prologue (crazy, right?) And then the sequel will be posted right after (hopefully). The sequel is called 'Thin Ice' I thought it was a fitting title :) Anyway, tell me what you think :) I'm going to finish posting all the chapters for this story before updating Literacy and Longing so expect around a 2 week wait until the next update!  Thanks again to everyone who has reviewed I love you all <3


Chapter 32: NEWT's
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 Chapter 32: NEWT's

Sunday May 14th, 7:56 pm

"What's the final step to making the Blood Replenishing Potion?" Lily practically yelled in the common room as we studied our exams.

I looked up at her and her eye was twitching and her hands were shaking. "You add bezoar, Lily, you know that," I said calmly.

"I didn't know it! I completely forgot. I'm going to fail my exam and never go anywhere in life, I'll be flipping burgers for the rest of my life!" Lily wailed dramatically, laying her back on the ground and putting the book over her face. "I should just give up, this won't work. I accept my life as an old hag with millions of cats and no teeth."

"You'll still have me babes," James said kneeling over her and removing the book from her face.

"Oh great, at least I've got my childhood boyfriend." James cowered back slightly and looked hurt as he stared at the frazzled Lily. "I'm sorry," Lily said reaching up her hand and touching his face. "I didn't mean it James, I'm just really stressed. Exams are tomorrow and I feel totally unprepared."

"You, Lily Evans, unprepared? Never!" James said smiling at her encouragingly. "You've been studying for these exams since you first found out you were a witch."

"It's obviously going to do no good, as I'm going to fail. All these years at school are wasted, all because I'm too dumb to have learned anything."

"Lils, you're acting crazy. You're going to pass these exams with all O's across the board. You're going to get a job as an auror and we're going to grow old together and have millions of children all named Harry and Chudley. We'll even get a cat if you want one, even though I'm more of a dog person. The point is dearest," James said leaning down and kissing her on the lips. "Even if you don't become an auror and don't get all O's I'll still love you."

Lily cracked the first smile I'd seen in the past week as she looked at James appreciatively. "You're right," she sighed.

James looked stunned and shook his head slightly as if the words weren't registering in his mind. "I'm what?"

"Oh don't make me repeat myself James Potter." `

"Lily Evans said I was right," James sang, springing up on his feet and dancing around the common room like a loon, waving his arms above his head and repeating 'I was right, I was right.'

"He has to make a scene about everything, doesn't he?" Lily sighed with the slightest smile still lingering on her lips.

"Well, he built his status on making a spectacle of himself, it's only fair he carries on with it." I said as I watched James continue to dance around the room.

"Why don't you allow me to ever be right babes?" Sirius asked pathetically as he watched his best friend dance around.

I rolled my eyes and nudged Sirius with my elbow. "Because you've never proven me wrong, and most likely never will."

Sirius pouted and crossed his arms over his chest, "hmph," he groaned. "I want Lily to be my girlfriend."

"If Lily will have you you're all hers."

"Oi, Lily-"

"No way in Merlin's saggy balls Sirius."

"But you're dating my best mate, we're basically the same person."

"No," Lily said with finality.

"Prongs," Sirius pouted as James stopped doing his victory dance and re-joined us. "Lily won't share."

"Aw, my little flower, why won't you share with Padfoot?" James said nuzzling into Lily's neck and pulling at her hair playfully.

"Because the type of sharing Sirius wants is not something you would agree to."

"And what would that be?"

"To date me."

James looked at Sirius and laughed, "good luck mate, took me six years to nab this gal."

"I'm not some chicken you trade," Lily said pouting, looking up at James.

"Whatever you say my little hen," James said fondly, taking on a new nickname for Lily.

"You lot are just a bunch of distractions," Lily said huffily gathering up her things and shoving them into her bag. "I'm going to the library where people respect my need for peace and quiet."

"Always creating a scene," James said, smiling after her dramatic leave.

LILY

I thought the library would give me time and space to study but I was wrong. I could feel someone's eyes on me as I sat down at my desk and opened my Potions book. I didn't dare look up, not knowing whose gaze I would meet. I hoped that ignoring the person would make them give up and continue going about their business, leaving me alone. It was probably just a Slytherin, wanting to start an end of the year fight, not having called me a mud-blood enough the past seven years.

Tears still pricked my eyes whenever I was called a mud-blood or thought about incidents where people called me that word. Hadn't I proved myself? Hadn't I proved myself a worthy witch? I was at the top of my year, considered one of the best Flitwick has ever seen at Charms.

My drive for success started at a young age, dating all the way back to pre-school. While other children were playing outside and peeing in bushes I was trying to read and studying adults, learning their language. Once I learned I was a witch nothing changed. I got my required reading as soon as possible (and a few extra books to learn about the wizarding world) and read and re-read everything to ensure I would not fall behind other students who had a leg up by growing up in a magical family their entire life.

To my immense disappointment I didn't excel right away. I was awkward at first with my wand and more often than not would miss my target rather than hit it, but I did not give up. Every spare moment I had I would stay in an abandoned classroom and practice until I was good, no better, than everyone else. I soon started catching on and was able to match most of my students, all but two; James Potter and Sirius Black. I would watch them in class, the magic coming with ease. Sirius would casually lounge back in his chair, waving his wand around as if he had better things to do with his time. James, always beside his friend, would be standing up on his feet, making a big show of his magical ability. I think it's then that my annoyance started with James. I hated how easily magic came to him, and how desperately he wanted people to see his achievements. He became an even bigger annoyance to me in third year when he started noticing women, particularly me. In order to gain my attention he would prank me and push me into the lake, laughing at my expense. I don't know why he ever thought these were charming features for a potential boyfriend to possess.

The final straw on James Potter came for me on his constant taunting of my then friend Severus Snape. He and Sirius had a particular hatred for him, no one exactly knows where the hatred stems from, it could merely be because they are opposing houses. Whatever the case is, they constantly fought, an on-going war between the three. More often than not Severus was the one to receive the worst of it, usually against both James and Sirius with only himself as an defense.

Severus.

My once close and best friend now a stranger to me when I pass him in the hallways. The loss of his friendship still stung my heart whenever I thought about him. He was the first one to tell me about magic, he was the person I confided in. I never thought, when I first arrived at Hogwarts, that I would lose one of my best friends because over house disagreements which would then lead to a war where everyone had to choose sides. He had chosen his and I had chosen mine. For some time we were able to ignore the fact that when we left Hogwarts our lives would be drastically different, but the final straw broke when he called me a mud-blood. I finally saw what he truly thought of me, what he thought of everyone in my condition and we could no longer ignore the inevitable. For a while after I told him I never wanted to speak to him again he begged for forgiveness but as months passed the apologies and begging became fewer and after a year they stopped altogether.

There were moments I missed him, I missed how blunt he was and how cunning and smart he was. I missed the way he would look at me, his full attention focused on me and only me. And how, for a while, I trusted him with my life more than I trusted my parents. For a while he was the best friend I'd ever had, I could never tell James this, he would probably go cross with jealously and blast Severus to smithereens.

The staring continued in the library, it had become so intense I could no longer ignore it. I snapped my head up, ready to lash out at whoever intended to interrupt my studying but was immediately softened when I saw Severus looking at me, a few desks down. We stared at each other for a few moments, unsure of what to do next. Suddenly Severus stood up and nodded his head towards the stacks of library books, telling me to follow him. Maybe it was the nostalgia from recalling events about my old friend that caused me to stand up from my table and follow him.

We walked in silence down the stacks of books, the area becoming darker and darker as we continued to walk. He stopped suddenly and turned around to look at me. He was only a foot away from me but it was so dark I couldn't make out any of his features. The darkness suited me just fine.

"What is you want Snape," I said using his last name, the name foreign on my tongue.

"I wanted to talk to you," he said in a voice barely above a whisper, the usual drawl in his voice gone.

"Well, here I am," I said flapping my arms in the air.

"If you're going to be a bitch about this-"

"Whatever Snape, I'm going," I said turning around but immediately being caught by his hand, forcing me to turn around.

"I'm sorry, I'm nervous I didn't mean it," he apologized quickly.

I tugged my arm from his grasp but remained in my spot, crossing my arms over my chest. Snape withdrew his wand and muttered lumos a small light standing between us, illuminating our faces in an haunting way. I saw a small smile on Severus's face as he looked at me, his dark eyes burrowing into mine.

"How have you been?" He asked calmly.

"Fine, just fine," I responded stiffly.

"I heard you're dating Potter," he said, his voice full of disdain.

"It's not like it's some big secret."

"I always thought you hated him, like I did."

"I never hated James," Snape flinched at the use of James' name, before we'd always referred to him as Potter, I don't think he's ever heard me use his real name. "He was an annoyance before, but he's changed, he's matured. It happens, you know, people changing. You of all people should know that."

Snape looked embarrassed as he dropped his gaze from mine. "It was destined for me to become who I am."

"What a cowardly response," I said harshly. "Sirius was meant to be in Slytherin, meant to become a Death Eater. He had a choice, you had a choice."

"Do not insinuate that Black is better than me." Snape said, displeasure evident in his voice.

"I don't need to say it, you already know it's true."

"I did not come here to discuss how I've failed you," Snape hissed.

"What is it then, why did you ask me to come back here?"

"I wanted to make sure you were okay," Snape said, his voice heavy as his eyes intruded mine, as if searching for secrets that I wouldn't tell him.

"Of course I'm okay, what would make you think otherwise?"

"I'm not dumb, Lily, I know you're meeting with Dumbledore. If you think you can fight in this battle, that you will be successful you're a fool. Voldemort is stronger than all of us, if you fight I'm afraid you won't make it out alive," Severus's voice choked on the last line as he looked pleadingly at me.

"Why do you care if a filthy mud-blood like me dies or lives?"

Snape winced and withdrew slightly from me. "I care about you Lily, you know that."

"No, I don't know that." I said harshly. "If you cared so much for me then why didn't you ever stick up for me? Why did you let your friends call me a mud-blood the second I stepped foot inside of Hogwarts. You never defended me, never corrected people's mistakes, instead you ultimately joined them. James may have been annoying growing up but he never would think I am less of a witch because of my blood, because of the circumstances I grew up in."

"Don't bring Potter up in this."

"I'll bring whoever I want into this," I said defiantly, crossing my arms over my chest in a powerful stance.

"Fine," Snape resigned. "I don't want to talk about Potter anyway."

"What is it exactly you want to talk about?"

"I want to beg you to get to safety. Move to America, anywhere but here. The Dark Lord is rising to power and those who are not on his side are being targeted, this will include you Lily."

I could feel my cold exterior melting, seeing the desperation in Severus's voice was calming me. He still cared, after all these years, he still cared about me and my safety, no matter how misguided it was. "I can't leave," I said in a calmer voice. "I have friends I love, I have James, I can't give that up. And this war, I want to fight in it, I can't stand by and let innocent people die." I reached out and placed a hand on Severus's shoulder, he winced before leaning into my touch. "I appreciate your concern Severus but there's nothing you can say to persuade me otherwise. We've both chosen our sides, our fates and we just have to accept this and move on. You asking me to flee would be like me asking you to join on my side. We both know it's not going to happen."

The desperation in Severus's eyes almost made me want to cry. He looked so helpless as the realization that I would not be leaving sunk in, his last hope shattered upon my words. Severus then moved and embraced me in a hug. For a moment I froze, unsure of what to do but the familiar body of my old friend brought me to reality and I quickly hugged him back. He withdrew from me and his eyes were blurry as he choked back tears.

His last words were like a passing whisper as he moved past me and out into the library, "I'll always care for you Lily."

A/n: Okay so I'm actually quite pleased with the Lily/Severus scene, I almost started crying while writing it. I re-read (many times) the scene where it goes over Snape's past in Deathly Hallows with Lily and I'd become so attached to their relationship that my heart went out to Snape in this part of the chapter and almost broke down crying. Sorry that this chapter is so short but I felt like I accomplished what I wanted to and if I elaborated it would just drag on.  Anyway, again only 1 more chapter and then the epilogue until this story is done.  Can you believe this started 2 years ago?!  Gosh...it's surreal to see how far Avery has come in this story.  Anyway, no need to get sentimental just quite yet!  Please read and review :)



Chapter 33: Graduation
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 Chapter 33: Graduation


Sunday May 22nd, 8:04 am

I sat on top of my trunk, everything packed. My bed was made, the ground around it spotless, and my wardrobe was empty. It felt surreal as I looked around, Lily and Heather were running around like mad doing their hair and getting on their red and gold graduation robes with the pointed black hats that made us look ridiculous. I stood up from my trunk and walked over to the mirror and looked at my reflection. I looked older somehow, more mature. I also had this glow about me, pure joy was radiating from every pore. I was sad that I was leaving Hogwarts but thrilled with what laid ahead of me. I was moving in with Sirius, we had the rest of our lives to spend together and I couldn't wait for it to start.

Sadness still swept over me with the thought of leaving Hogwarts. Every inch of these walls contained memories only we would remember. Our names would soon be forgotten once we left, the people we had met here would move on. I never would've thought at the beginning of this year I would be leaving Hogwarts with the friends and boyfriend I have now. I had suspected when I graduated I would leave Hogwarts, no real ties to this school would be leaving with me. I figured my name would be announced at graduation and for many people that would be the first time they'd ever heard my name. Instead I'm surrounded by love and people actually knew who I was.

I turned to Lily who was pulling her robes over her green dress, trying not to let the static of the robes effect her hair. Heather was applying a thick coat of red-lipstick, a look of sheer concentration on her face. I already had my robes on over my simple white sundress. My brown hair hung loosely below my shoulders, the pointed hat making it puff under the seam.

Once Lily had gotten her robes on she looked at me, her eyes swimming with tears that were begging to fall. "Can you believe it's here?" She said in a whisper, shaking her head in disbelief. "We've finally graduated!" She declared, throwing her arms up into the air and spinning in circles. She stopped spinning and walked over to me, taking me into her arms and holding me tight. "Of all the things that could've happened this year I never thought you would be apart of it." She pulled away and held me at arms lengths, tears spilling down her cheeks. "I don't know where I would be if you hadn't come into our lives, where Sirius would be."

I could feel tears pricking in the back of my eyes, "stop being so corny Lily, you should like some cheesy book."

Lily dropped her hands from my shoulders and threw back her head and laughed. "You're right, graduation has turned me into such a sap." She drew herself up to full height and dapped under her eyes. "Well, we should finish getting ready, we have to be down in a few minutes."

I smiled and walked back over to my side of the room, making sure I hadn't forgotten everything. I remade the bed with nothing better to do with my time. While I was making the bed I was fluffing a pillow and felt a lumpiness in it I hadn't felt before. I stuck my hand inside the pillow and pulled out a sweater, Sirius's sweater. I had forgotten I had it. After Sirius and I broke up for those months I had hidden his sweater in my pillow case. I held the sweater up to my face and breathed it in, his scent still remained on the sweater but now it also smelled of Hogwarts. I carefully folded the sweater and set it into my trunk. When I was done Lily and Heather were ready to go and we all made our way down to the Great Hall.

The Great Hall was transformed completely. The four large tables had been cleared away and benches remained for family members to sit. The teachers table was no longer there and instead remained Dumbledore's podium and thirty-one chairs behind it. Behind the chairs were all four of the tapestries of the school houses.

The Great Hall was buzzing with life, parents were taking their seats, looking around for their children. Our year was waiting around the corner from the entrance of the Great Hall so that we couldn't be distracted by our parents. Most of our year was there already and Lily and Ian Wood stood at the front, trying to get everyone into order and line up.

I caught Cassi's eye and she ran up to me and threw her arms around me neck. "Can you believe it's finally over?"

"Hardly," I said laughing at Cassi's tight embrace. "What surprises me most is that you graduated at all."

Cassi giggled and stepped back from me. "Don't be a twat, today's a day of congratulations and honors. Have you spotted your parents yet?"

My smile faltered and sadness enveloped me. They had not found my father yet. The rescue attempt they made before was another man, I can't even recall his name, but there was no word on my father. Cassi saw my reaction and her smile fell. "Oh I'm sorry Avery! That was insensitive of me I completely forgot, bugger I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault," I said putting on a brave smile. "I think I saw my mum in there, she looked out of place being a muggle and all."

Cassi smiled and started going on about people's hair. "I mean honestly, I know we're wearing hats but that doesn't mean we shouldn't have made some sort of effort!"

I laughed and rolled my eyes at Cassi. "Oi Avery, Cass," I turned around and saw Nial waving at me as he made his way over. "Cass what are you doing here? This is the place for people who actually attended class and are able to graduate."

"Why does everyone think I wouldn't graduate?"

"Because you spent more time curling your eyelashes than you did going to class," Nial joked.

"Oh right, that's it," Cassi said brightly, a giggle escaping her lips. "Where's that boyfriend of mine?" Cassi asked, standing on her tip-toes and looking around.

"No idea, I haven't seen or heard Sirius either," I said. "Oh well, I'm sure they'll turn up eventually." I said shrugging.

"So Nial dear, what are your plans after graduation?" Cassi asked.

Nial shrugged, "don't know yet. I'm currently looking for a flat near Lelani."

"Wait, you're looking for a roommate?" Cassi asked.

"Yeah, why know of someone?"

"Yes, me of course!" Cassi shrieked.

"Oh well," Nial said nervously.

"Oh come on Nial, it will be a great laugh. We get on well enough and I like Lelani and I'll probably spend most of my time at Peter's apartment so I will hardly bother you at all and I really need a roommate and I've been dreading looking for a random stranger to live with. What if they had horrible fashion? God forbid I meet someone like Avery."

"Thanks Cass," I muttered.

"I'll think about it and talk it over with Lelani," Nial resigned.

"Brilliant!" Cassi exclaimed, clapping her hands together.

"Everyone silence please!" Lily said authoritatively. "The ceremony is going to start in a minute so I need everyone to get into four different lines according to their houses. Ravenclaw will start out first, then Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and lastly Gryffindor. Sit under your tapestry and line up according to last name. The teachers are going to walk up first and right after they have attained their positions Ravenclaw leads. Please hurry!" Lily yelled. She came walking over to me briskly, a panicked look in her eyes. "Have you seen James or any of them?"

"No," I said shaking my head, waving to Cassi as she joined the Hufflepuffs.

"Bloody hell, now is not the time for James to make a grand entrance. We'll have to start without them and they can make fools of themselves by coming in late."

"I don't think they ever get embarrassed Lils," I said knowing that they probably wanted a dramatic entrance.

Lily rolled her eyes and couldn't help but let a smile fall on her lips. "Ugh, without Remus our line is screwed up, we'll have to leave a seat between us for him to sit if he ever decides to join us. And then a space between you and Heather for James."

I nodded and relayed the message to Heather who smiled in confirmation. She looked nervous as she kept readjusting her hat and making sure her robes remained smooth. "Alright Ravenclaw, start heading out," Lily yelled.

Slowly the Ravenclaws filed out. Then Slytherin. Still no sign of Sirius or any of them. Then the Hufflepuffs filed out and it was our turn. Suddenly a wave of nerves flashed over me as I walked into the Great Hall. The Great Hall was packed with parents and their children. People were taking pictures everywhere I went. I searched for my mum in the crowd and found her in the third row, a strained smile on her face as she watched me get onto the stage. I focused my attention to the front where Dumbledore was standing, smiling at all of us. I took my seat in the second row with two empty chairs next to me and felt extremely exposed.

"It appears as if some are missing the ceremony," Dumbledore said jovially as he looked at the four empty chairs. "Can anyone tell me where they have gone off to?"

As if on Que right after Dumbledore's question an explosion rang out. Sparks shot over head and rained down on us. Words flashed in the air 'Congrats Grads, we made it! Even Cassi!' The crowd burst into applause, thinking this was part of the act. Cassi was shrieking in delight, enjoying the attention being drawn to her. I looked at the Great Hall doors and saw the Marauders running towards the stage all laughing as they neared the front.

"I guess my question has been answered, thank you for the delightful performance." Dumbledore said as he watched the Marauders take their seats. Sirius turned around in his seat ahead of me and winked before turning around to facing the crowd. "It is now time for the ceremony to begin. First, a word from our head girl and boy Miss Lily Evans and Mr Ian Wood."

Applause broke out as Lily and Ian walked over to the podium. Lily and Ian made a speech talking about every house, they left out any bad and concentrated on how everyone found their place in their own house. They talked about how they'd grown up here at Hogwarts and it was with sadness they were saying goodbye. They talked about how they believe everyone could call Hogwarts a second home and everyone was leaving a piece of them inside these walls. At the end of the speech Lily was in tears, as were most of the girls and most of the parents.

Dumbledore resumed his post at the podium and spoke clearly, "thank you for that wonderful speech, I daresay it was one of the best I've heard at my years here at Hogwarts. Now we are moving onto honor awards, students who showed exemplary skills in a particular class."

The honor awards went quickly, Lily won in Charms and Herbology. James won the award in Transfiguration, Sirius won in Defense in the Dark Arts, Remus won Astronomy, a girl in Ravenclaw won in Divination, and Snape won in Potions. There was one award left and I had started tuning out the awards after Sirius had won, it wasn't particularly interesting.

"And the last award, in Care of Magical Creatures goes to Miss Avery Muze."

I looked at Dumbledore shocked. I hadn't expected to win any awards at all and was perfectly content sitting in my chair waiting to be called until I received my diploma. James was nudging me next to him telling me to stand up and get my award. It felt surreal as I stood up and walked over to Dumbledore, getting my honor award from him. I grasped the rolled up parchment in my hand and shook Dumbledore's hand with my free one.

I waved into the crowd and looked at Sirius who was giving me the thumbs up. I had almost made it to my seat when I accidentally caught someone's foot and wound up falling on my face in front of everyone. The crowd burst out into concern and laughter as I struggled to my feet and dusted off my robes. I looked at James who was about to piss himself from laughter as I sat back down in my seat next to him, my cheeks burning with embarrassment. Sirius turned around in his seat, clearly trying to hide his smile, and gave my hand a reassuring squeeze.

Dumbledore chuckled but quickly moved onto giving out the diplomas. One by one people's names were called and they shook Dumbledore's hand before receiving their diploma. When Sirius's name was called he walked onto the stage with his usual confident strut. He took his diploma and shook Dumbledore's hand before turning to the crowd and letting out a 'whoop'. I laughed along with everyone else as Sirius flashed me a smile and sat back down in his seat. When my name came I was careful not to trip when I walked up and sat back down. The diploma laid resting in my hands, that was it, I had graduated. This one piece of parchment signified my last seven years spent at Hogwarts.

When the last person had received their diploma Dumbledore congratulated all of us. We sprung up in our seats and cheered, our cheers met by a loud round of applause in the audience. Sirius came up to me and picked me up in his arms and spun me around. "We did it babes," he said into my ear. "We're done."

I laughed and kissed him once he'd set me down. "Would you be prepared to meet my mum?" I asked hesitantly. I hadn't brought up the subject before, it hadn't been talked about. I knew I wouldn't be meeting his actual parents, Mrs. Potter was a parent enough for him.

He looked nervous as he sucked in a breath, "sure babes." He said kissing me cheek.

I smiled and grabbed his hand, searching for my mom in the crowd. I eventually found her standing near a corner by herself, looking nervous and out of place. I tore through the crowd, dragging Sirius behind me. When I reached her she let out a relieved smile and took me into her arms.

"I'm so proud of you Avery," she said in a calm voice. I had rarely heard her voice so calm before. Usually it was tight and reserved, something about her had changed. "Why didn't you tell me you were going to win an award?"

"I didn't know myself," I said pulling back from my mum and looking at her. She looked tired, large bags hung under her eyes and her face was pale. She looked thin too, she'd lost a lot of weight. I'd never really considered how big of an impact my father's disappearance would have. "Mum, I have someone to introduce to you." I said standing back and letting Sirius step forward. "Mum, this is Sirius Black, Sirius this is my mum."

My mom sized him up and Sirius politely extended his hand. She took it and shook it calmly. "Please, call me Sylvia." She said politely, surprising me.

"It's good to finally meet you Sylvia." Sirius said, dropping his hand and looking at her directly in the eyes. He didn't look nervous at all, whereas I on the other hand was shaking on the inside.

"So you're the boy dating my daughter." She said matter of fact.

"Yes I am," Sirius said beaming and putting an arm around me. "I care about your daughter very much."

"I can see you've been good for her, especially considering the circumstances," her voice broke off and I could tell she was trying to remain calm and collected. She shook her head and plastered a smile on her lips. "I expect we'll be seeing you around our house until Avery finds a place of her own."

I cleared my throat awkwardly while Sirius shot me a look. I hadn't talked to my mum yet about moving in with Sirius. With everything that had been going on I didn't feel it was appropriate or the right timing to tell her, that and I was scared shitless.

"Funny thing you mention that mum," I said scratching the back of my head while trying to find the right words. "Sirius and I were talking and we've sort of come to the conclusion that we're going to live together."

My mum looked between us, an unreadable expression on her face. I was grateful we were in a crowded area so that she wouldn't create a scene. "Well, that's a good idea considering the circumstances we're currently in." I stood shocked in my place unable to say anything. "You've got to promise me Sirius that you will keep her safe."

Sirius nodded, "I'd never let anything happen to her ever."

"And I want you to spend a dinner with me at least once a week."

"Of course," I agreed, still shocked at how calmly my mom was taking everything.

"And Sirius you are of course invited over for these dinners."

"Thank you," Sirius said smiling.

"Would you mind if I took some pictures?" My mom asked, producing a camera from her purse.

"Of course!" Sirius smiled, throwing his arm around me. I laughed as my mom snapped photos. "Wait, we need the rest of the gang!" Sirius declared. "Hold on," he said running into the crowd to search for everyone else.

"So that's Sirius," my mom said.

"Yes, that's Sirius," I said beaming.

"He really loves you."

"I love him too."

"If you ever get into trouble or things don't work out between you two you know you can always come home, right?"

I looked at my mom, we'd never gotten along well before but right now I felt closer to her than I ever had. I wrapped my arms around her and tried to sniff back the tears. "Of course mum."

My mum let go of me and a few tears were running down her face. She brushed the hair away from me eyes and smiled at me, the first real smile I'd seen on her all day. Behind me I could hear a shrieking of, "but my hair! I can't take a photo with hat head." I didn't have to turn around to know who it was. Cassi's cries continued until she reached us.

I turned around and saw all my friends walking towards me. Lily and James were bickering while Sirius dragged Cassi by her arm as she took off her cap and attempted to fix her hair. Peter was standing next to Cassi laughing silently to himself at her theatrics. Remus was putting a book into the inside of his pocket and grinning broadly.

This was my family I realized. Slowly over time they had come to know me like no one ever had. Each of them were individually different and yet all of our personalities seemed to mesh so well together it's amazing that we weren't like this all along.

After more complaining from Cassi we finally fixed ourselves and stood arm in arm as my mum took a picture of us, the last picture that would ever be taken of us at Hogwarts.

My name is Avery Muze and I am no longer completely and unapologetically awkward. Aside from a few trip ups here and there, I'm proud to say that my tribal and lonely days are over and I no longer have to Duck and Cover.

A/N: Wow! So this is it aside from the prologue. It's crazy to think this is almost over, I was crying while writing this chapter. I know there's still a sequel but a part of Avery is going missing, the part trapped inside of Hogwarts. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed, my real thanks will be after the epilogue which should be out sometime next week. Take time to leave a review :)





Chapter 34: Epilogue
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 Epilogue

Friday June 24th 1978, 2:34 pm

JAMES

It doesn't even weigh a pound and yet it feels like a boulder is currently resting in my pocket.

I pace the space in my small apartment as a means of distracting myself. Honestly, how long does it take for a girl to shower? It seems like Lily has been in there for hours, days even, what could possibly detain a girl for so long in a shower? With a sudden pop I am pulled out of my pacing and look to my left.

"Did you ask yet mate?" Sirius asks, leisurely strolling over to a chair and taking a seat. I envy his calm right now, I think I've forgotten what it feels like to be calm. I think I may forever be trapped in a world where I am antsy and ready to jump at anything.

"No," I said agitatedly, glaring at the bathroom door. "She's been in the bloody shower for ages now, I think she may be dead."

"Tough luck," Sirius says breezily.

"Why are you here mate?"

Sirius shrugged and sighed, "Avery is going mental I think. She just lashed out at me for absolutely no reason again and she keeps eating the oddest-"

"Sirius?" Came a voice from behind me. I whirled around to see Lily out of the shower, a green towel draping her body and her red hair plastered to her back. "I didn't know you were coming here." She looked quizzically between me and Sirius before cocking an eyebrow. "You two are planning something."

"No we're not," I said in a voice that was far too high for my liking.

Lily's eyes narrowed and her nostrils flared. "Yes you are James Potter, it's written all over your face! What are you two planning and why are you lying to me about it?" Absentmindedly I petted my left pocket, a motion she immediately noticed. "What's that you've got there in your pocket? Another secret is it? Give it to me," Lily said holding out her hand and standing in front of me defiantly.

"No Lils, it's not what you're thinking."

"Bloody hell it isn't, give me whatever is in your pocket James Potter."

"No," I said turning around and running away from her, desperate to hide the object.

"James Potter," Lily cried as she followed me, chasing me like mad in her towel. "We are living together now, you promised me no more secrets! Ugh that's it, I've had enough! Petrificus totalus!"

My entire body was seized and I could no longer move. Like an anchor I fell to the floor with a dull thud. Lily hovered above me victoriously, I shifted my eyes over to Sirius for some sort of help but he was sitting in the chair laughing his arse off and pointing at me. Where did she even get a wand? She's in a towel for Merlin's sake.

"Let's see what you were hiding James Potter," Lily said bending over and fishing in my pockets.

I wanted to scream no but couldn't do so. Lily pulled the little box out of my pocket and inspected it. "What does it do then? Is it going to shoot out something that will harm me? I swear to Merlin James Potter if I lose an eye over this I'll never forgive you." Lily held the box out at arm's length as she slowly opened the lid. Her eyes were pressed shut and her face was turned away in anticipation for what could come out of that box. When the box was fully opened and nothing had exploded she slowly opened her eyes. What she found in the box wasn't a prank of any kind but a ring, a ring with a diamond.

"Oh James," Lily breathed. Her eyes began to water as she looked at the ring. "Is this for me?"

I tried to make any sound but I still still frozen. Lily seemed to remember the situation I was in and hurriedly searched the floor for her wand, instantly relieving the spell. I stood up and shook out my body, my joints were cracking from only the few minutes from the bind.

"This wasn't exactly how I planned it going," I said plucking the box from Lily's hand and getting down on one knee. "Lily, I know I've been a down right prat half the time I've known you but one thing was for certain from the first moment I laid eyes on your fire red hair; that I would always love you. This is the one promise I can keep for the rest of my life, that my affection for you will never waver or end. So please, before you hex me again, will you marry me?"

"Yes," Lily gasped, falling to her knees and wrapping her arms around me. "It's not going to explode or anything, right?" Lily asked as I slipped the ring onto her finger.

"No," I laughed. I looked up at Lily who was beaming as tears slid down her face.

"What's Sirius doing here?" Lily asked, darting her eyes towards Sirius's direction. "Is there something else that I'm missing?"

"Nah," Sirius said casually. "Avery and I got into another row."

"Another one?" Lily asked, straightening up and adjusting her towel. It was then I became acutely aware that Lily was in a towel while Sirius stood by us just after we became engaged. This is not exactly how I imagined the rest of the moment playing out. I imagined it somewhat along the lines of Lily ripping off her clothing and shagging me senseless until I couldn't walk. Peter had told me that putting a ring on a girl's finger meant sex whenever I wanted. Peter was obviously lying and I'm going to kill him.

"Yeah," Sirius said shrugging and running a hand through his hair. "Instead of putting a stack of books on top of a table I put them next to the fireplace and she went mental saying I never listen to her when she gives directions. I don't know what's gotten into the girl. The first month of living together was great, we've never gotten along better, but the last week and a half she's been flipping out on everything. Some of the time she's crying, the other is spent yelling at me, and then some times she acts completely normal and jumps my bones every two seconds. The last one I don't mind so much," he said with a sly smirk.

"I'm sure she's just really stressed out," Lily said diplomatically. "Between working for the Venislew Restoration Society and training for the Order with Marlene she's got to be stressed out. The Order has been time consuming for all of us so far, we haven't had any assignments yet but the training has been murder and we're all sleep deprived. Just give it some time, eventually you'll both get into a routine and things will go back to normal."

"I hope so," Sirius said with an exasperated sigh. "Well, I better get back to her, she'll be wondering where I've been. Congratulations on the engagement, I've already got the bachelor party planned out." And with a pop Sirius was gone.

"Well then, now that he's gone I think it's time for a celebration." Lily said with a smirk as she unfastened her towel and let it fall from her body.

I've got to remember to thank Peter.

SIRIUS

I land in the apartment and it's empty. No sign of Avery is evident and with a sigh I sink down into the soft grey couches in our living room. The past week and a half has been draining, Avery hasn't been the only busy one. Training with Frank Longbottom has been educational and I admire his skills when it concerned dueling but the tasks he asked of me were time consuming and drained all the energy from me.

The first month and a half Avery and I lived together had been next to perfect. In the mornings she would go for her internship at the VRS and at night she and I would train for the Order. Usually she would finish before me and I would come home and she would have dinner waiting.

Dinner had been somewhat of a trial and error process, Avery had never done more than boil tea in her life so teaching her how to cook was a bit of a chore. The first time I tried to show her how to make lasagna she had left an oven mitt in the oven and it caught on fire. She used tongs to get the oven mitt out and went to throw it into the sink, however I had been standing in front of the sink and instead of hitting the sink, the on fire oven mitt hit me and my shoulder caught on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished but after that we both decided that Avery shouldn't be allowed to cook anymore. Instead we get take out almost every night unless I'm home early and am able to make dinner for the both of us.

Weekends were a treat, we often had them off so everyone would get together and usually drink. It was surprising how all of us easily got into the routine of our new lives. Though none of us were willing to admit it, we all had a bit of hesitancy when we moved out of the comforting walls of Hogwarts.

Cassi and Nial had moved in together and surprisingly made good roommates. Neither Peter nor Lelani were thrilled with the idea of them moving into together but Cassi always tended to get what she wanted. Cassi had gotten an internship for Witch Weekly and already had an article published in the magazine. She was constantly bringing over sample clothing for Avery and Lily and luckily for me, lingerie. Nial was working for the ministry in law enforcement which Cassi was constantly making fun of him for, saying he was now a stuck up pawn for the ministry.

Peter and Remus were living alone. Peter had found a small apartment near Cassi and was working for the Order. Remus found an apartment farther away from the rest of us near the outskirts of London, a little house in the woods. Remus had become more withdrawn since we left Hogwarts, I think he felt like the odd man out in most situations. All of us were in relationships while he had no one, not that there hadn't been any contenders. Mary McDonald was particularly keen on Remus but he paid no mind to her, although I can't understand why. Remus tended to have a bit of difficulty opening up to women because he was a werewolf, he was afraid of rejection more than any of us.

A pop drew me out of my thoughts and Avery appeared in front of me. Her face was pale and even though she was ten feet away from me I could see her hands shaking. Her eyes were fixed on the ground for a few moments and when she looked up at me her eyes were expressionless.

"They've found him," she whispered. "They found my dad," and like a rag doll she crumbled to the ground.

A/N: Short epilogue, I know but I didn't want to make it long. I just wanted to give a brief description of where they were a month and a half after Hogwarts and set up the sequel. I know the ending seems...dramatic because wouldn't she be happy if they found her dad? Well, wait until you see what's actually happened ;) And why is Avery such an emotional wreck?

Can you believe this is the actual end?  I started this story 2 years ago and I never thought it would become what it did.  I cannot thank you enough for your continual support and praise, through the good and the bad.  Avery is like my baby, I feel like I raised her in some weird way and now she's onto her next adventure and I can't wait to start it!  I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually but I sadly cannot : (  But thank you a million times over!  And be on the look out for the sequel Thin Ice which will be up as soon as this chapter is validated :)  I love you all!




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