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Chapter 10 Blackmail Sirius had never seen Lily so animated. She was bounding around his living room, recounting each detail of the night’s escapades. The others had gone on to celebrate with drinks in Hogsmeade and James had even invited her to go along with them. But, for whatever reason, Lily had chosen to come back to the flat with him. Although Sirius would have preferred to be alone, Lily’s desire to come with him puzzled Sirius and his inquisitive nature prevented him from turning her away. Sirius pulled off his cloak and sank heavily on to the sofa. He conjured himself a cup of steaming hot tea and listened to Lily’s peels of laughter as she whirled around the room. Sirius smiled inwardly; glad to see Lily so vibrant and carefree. He couldn’t remember the last time they’d had so much fun together. As odd as it seemed, clever little Lily and mischief were a natural pair. “Tea?” Sirius tried to distract her but she merely nodded and kept moving about. Sirius surveyed the room. Although a few of James’ fireflies still lingered, the house was otherwise spotless. No sign that a party had ever taken place could be found. Lily’s movements cast few shadows, a signal that the sun would soon be rising above the horizon. Nights of lost sleep had allowed Sirius to memorize how each room of his flat looked during all hours of the night. In the excitement of the evening, neither he nor Lily had realized when the hours slipped away. “You know it’s nearing dawn?” “I feel so alive! Are all your adventures like this?” she hopped onto the couch beside him but before Sirius could answer she was talking again. “No one will be able to fix the staircases and why would they want to? It’s not as if…” “Lily, please, relax,” Sirius begged. “Don’t you dare try and ruin my night, Sirius Black!” Lily grinned as she sipped the tea he offered. “I wouldn’t dream of it.” “I can’t believe you haven’t let me go before. I’ve missed out on so much!” “It sounds as if you will work hard to remedy that,” Sirius murmured, suddenly feeling suffocated by her constant banter. “Well, of course. When Dumbledore showed up I just knew we were goners.” Lily tugged on Sirius’ sleeve. “And you four didn’t even blink an eye,” she said as she stifled a yawn. “We should get you home.” “My parents would not appreciate me coming in at dawn.” Lily shook her head. “I can take you to Calist’s.” Sirius finished off his tea, and then conjured himself another cup as he spoke. “No. She’s in Hogsmeade with the others by now, I’m sure.” Sirius watched intently as Lily hid her face behind the teacup. When she spoke, her voice was a whisper. “I could just stay here.” “Pardon?” Sirius tried not to spew his tea across the room. “I promise to behave.” Lily smiled. “I don’t,” Sirius’ voice held a note of disapproval. “Then I don’t either,” Lily laughed nervously. “Besides, you wouldn’t want me prowling the streets with Death Eaters on the loose would you?” “I offered to escort you somewhere, Lily,” Sirius returned darkly. “It’s unlike you to try and convince me to agree to something by using blackmail.” “And it’s unlike you to need convincing,” Lily countered. “Can I stay or not, Sirius?” Lily’s question hung in the air, causing Sirius to choke on his own planned sarcastic response. Lily had cornered him with her words and her simple presence and she knew it. The idea infuriated him but, at the same time, Sirius admired her determination to get what she wanted. She wasn’t demanding to stay, she was asking permission. Sirius knew he could tell her no. He had every right to tell her no and send her on her way. But the warmth radiating from her body and the soft scent of lemon verbena overwhelmed him. Against his better judgment, Sirius nodded. “All right,” he murmured and took her hand, “come on.” Sirius led her through the darkened hallway, candles flickering awake as he strode passed. “You can stay here. I’ll take the sofa.” “This is your room?” Lily asked her steps tentative as she moved around the room. Sirius nodded and watched as she gingerly fingered his meager belongings. While the rest of his place was decorated for entertaining, this room was all his own: his school cloak was tossed haphazardly on a ragged moss green chair; his dresser was littered with coins he had tossed without so much as a glance as to where they might land; a few photographs of he and the Marauders were tucked under quills on his night stand; and, perhaps most telling, the covers from the four poster mahogany bed inherited from his uncle were strewn wildly across the end of the mattress showing his many nights of troubled dreams. “Surprised?” “Somehow, I expected a more exotic décor.” Sirius straightened the black silk comforter to let her climb in. “Imagining a haven for seducing women, by chance?” he asked knowingly. “Something like that, yes.” Lily snuggled deep into the massive bed. “I’m sorry to disappoint you.” “No, no.” Lily pulled the covers up around her. “This is much more revealing.” “Hm.” Sirius’ face showed his unease but he quickly hid it. “Good night, Lily.” Sirius kissed her forehead softly then, with a wave of his wand, the candles flickered out. “Goodnight, Sirius.” Sirius sank onto his couch again, knowing he was too wired to sleep. Adventures with the Marauders always made him feel like a kid, but he refused to let Lily know that. She had been too excited for him to ruin it with his own liveliness. Tonight was her night, after all. Sirius pulled off his shirt and shoes and dropped them to the floor. Conjuring himself a potent drink, Sirius swallowed it in one gulp and stretched out onto the couch. The drink made his head instantly fuzzy and he loved the floating sensation that somehow managed to keep all dark thoughts from reaching his mind. Sirius closed his eyes letting the warm feeling from the drink wash over him. His thoughts remained hazy for a brief few moments then Lily’s face began to swim into view. Although indistinct, Sirius could see Lily laying in his bed, her tired body sinking into the feather mattress. He could envision the small hollow of her back, where he had so many times placed his hand as they walked, trembling slightly as she lengthened herself into a cat like stretch. The image of her red hair falling into a tumbled mass on his sheets made Sirius’ heart race and, in his delirium, he reached out to touch Lily’s sleeping form. “Sirius?” Sirius opened his eyes slowly, unsure if he had imagined the voice. As his eyes refocused, he could see Lily’s form a few feet away. Sirius fought to subdue the drink’s effects so he could appear collected in front of her. The last thing he needed her to realize was how much the simplicity of her presence in the next room was affecting him. “Are you alright?” he asked worriedly, but as she stepped closer, Sirius became more worried about himself. Lily had wrapped herself in one of his sheets, the edges drooping to show her bare shoulders. The flickering candlelight behind her shown through the crème colored fabric, the gentle curves of her naked body causing a shadow to fall over him. “Everything’s fine.” Lily moved to kneel on the floor beside him. Without thinking, Sirius reached out and touched her cheek softly. “What is it, then?” He sucked in a breath, afraid he already knew Lily’s answer. Lily let her lips slide along his bare chest, still holding tightly to the sheet covering her. “I didn’t come back with you to be alone.” “Why did you come here, Lily?” Sirius touched her lips with his fingers to prevent her from kissing him again. “Did you come merely because I was there or did you come because it’s me?” “Are you doubting my intentions or doubting you own self worth?” Lily asked pointedly, her voice soft but her words belied a hidden sword that pierced into Sirius. Sirius would have been angry if she hadn’t ended the question with a well placed kiss on his neck. “Both I suppose,” he murmured in a rare moment of unmasked emotion. “Well, stop being so damn analytical and enjoy yourself for one night. That’s what I did and look where it’s gotten us.” Her embolden words took Sirius off guard and he struggled to control the passion her confidence had ignited within him. He tried to pull away but the haunting feeling of her caresses drew his hands to her body. Sirius let his hand slide down her bare back as she kissed his chest. “Aren’t you the brazen one all of the sudden?” he finally managed, his breath heavier than he intended. “Terrified actually.” Lily smiled nervously, the confident look in her eyes now gone. “But that’s normal, isn’t it?” Lily’s shaky voice dropped to a whisper. “I mean, the first time…” Lily’s voice trailed off and Sirius’ heart wrenched. “Oh, Lily,” Sirius’ voice broke as he called her name. Sirius had forgotten she’d never been with a man…a damn good flirt, but still innocent as the day he’d met her. Standing up, he pulled Lily with him. His voice was warm in her ear. “There’s nothing to fear from me, you know that, don’t you?” “Of course I do,” Lily answered but Sirius could hear the quiver in her voice as she spoke. Slipping his hands into hers, Sirius forced Lily to loosen the viselike grip she had on the sheets. Lily struggled to wriggle free so she could hang on to the fabric, but Sirius held tight. Sirius kissed her gently, his lips caressing hers with a velvety compassion he’d shared with no other. “Hold on to me, Lily,” he murmured, his voice thick. “Everything else is just an illusion.” Sirius cursed his manipulative response to her as soon as he uttered the words, knowing that merely fulfilling a moment of physical desire for Lily would eventually tear apart his soul. But before he could take back his reckless assertion, Lily let the sheet slip to the floor and quickly pressed her exposed body into Sirius’ for shelter. Sirius let his hands slide along her curves, moving slowly and gently for fear of frightening her. His hands were warm against her shivering skin but, even as Sirius attempted to resist, the silkiness of her body tainted his rational thoughts. “Lily,” Sirius cupped her face in his hands, “are you certain?” “Yes,” Lily answered but the slight hesitation in her voice was obvious to Sirius and, even with the murky thoughts from his earlier drink, he knew enough to back away. But Lily smiled reassuringly and took Sirius by the hand as she led the way to his room. “Do you always take so damn long to get a woman into your bed?” she asked with nervous laughter. Sirius refused to reply, unwilling to admit to her that she was the first woman he had allowed into his own bedroom. Lily’s nervous banter amused him, but Sirius knew better than to let her know that. He hesitated at the doorway as he watched her climb into bed. Sirius knew if he undressed and went to her there would be no turning back. Even he had limits to how many times he could walk away from her touches. Sirius wrestled with his emotions of his desire to protect Lily against his desperate hunger to feel needed by someone. Why had she come to him? He would never her sought her out, not for something like this. Sirius gripped the doorway, his tortured thoughts making him physically weak. Was this really the only thing he had to offer her? The only thing he had to offer anyone? Sirius quieted his thoughts, unwilling to let Lily sense his unease. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her and, more than anything, he knew that rejecting her now, when she was already so vulnerable and waiting patiently for him to join her in bed, would be something Lily could never recover from. Why was he trying to be rational? Sirius…the Marauder known for taking risks… and he was taking the time to consider what one night with Lily might cost her. “Sirius?” Lily’s voice was hesitant, almost fearful. Sirius steeled himself as he began getting undressed. She was depending on him and he refused to let her know he had any misgivings about becoming her lover. As Sirius slipped under the wrinkled linen sheets and silk comforter, he could feel Lily’s shivers ruffle the covers. “Are you cold?” “No.” Sirius made no attempt to move closer to Lily, allowing her the chance to come to him. “Are you scared?” he asked quietly. “No.” Lily’s voice shook slightly then she laughed. “I guess just a bit.” Sirius turned on his side to face her, still refraining from touching her. “Of me?” “Not hardly.” Sirius raised an eyebrow at her quick response. “I’m not. It’s just…” Lily’s voice trailed off and she moved her hand to gently follow the curves of his broad shoulders. “You’ve told me too many secrets over the years to start playing shy now, Lily.” Sirius fought for control as her touch made him begin to forget his objections. This is Lily, he reminded himself. He couldn’t rush her. He couldn’t treat her like everyone else he’d ever shared a bed with. Sirius took a deep calming breath as Lily inched closer to him. “This is a new you. Not the one I’m familiar with.” “Clever answer.” Sirius touched her face hesitantly, afraid she would pull away. When she didn’t, Sirius pressed his lips to hers, kissing her as calmly as he possibly could. Their kisses were gentle and exploring and Lily’s body moved closer to him with each breath. “I do know you,” Lily whispered lightly as her hands traced the jagged muscles on his back. Lily’s slight caresses had caused their bodies to meet and Sirius embraced her tightly as her small frame became engulfed in his. He realized this was new for her. The feeling of being so intimate, so utterly exposed had to be overwhelming her. But she didn’t pull away and rather, Sirius noticed how Lily adjusted her position so that she could feel more of his bare skin against hers. Her light exploring touches made Sirius cringe, knowing with each breath his self control was plummeting. Lily’s lips moved to his chest and Sirius drew in a breath. He knew he was reaching his last chance to forestall the inevitable. “Lily,” he whispered harshly. It took a moment for her to realize the change in him… the tense ripples in his muscles, the fierce longing that turned his gray eyes brilliant; a desperate raw hunger that Sirius had kept hidden behind stoic emotions until this moment. The sheer depth of his emotions should have overwhelmed her, and Sirius was surprised when she didn’t pull away. He eyed her uncomfortably but rather than look fearful, Lily seemed to be filled with curiosity. Her hands slipped further down his body and she pulled him tighter towards her. Without words, Lily’s soft surrendering moans reassured Sirius and he eased himself to lie on top of her. He kissed her deeply, the warmth of her body intoxicating him. Sirius ignored her soothing words, his mind now on nothing but having her for his own. His lips began to travel her ivory skin and Sirius’ thoughts became muddled as Lily’s breath became ragged under his skilled touches. “Sirius.” The soft call of his name made Sirius forget his attempts at chivalry and his lips caressed the soft lines of her neck, breasts and abdomen. Sirius took her hands in his, encouraging her to explore. Lily moved ever so lightly, tucking her curves neatly into Sirius’ own contours. Her raspy breaths and the gentle raking of her nails along his back caused Sirius to arch toward her, his expert hands guiding Lily’s legs to encircle his hips. “Sirius!” A thunderous hammering on the door caused Sirius to halt all movements. As the sound repeated itself, a tormented groan escaped his lips. “Go away, James.” Sirius kissed Lily lightly to wipe the embarrassed grin off her face. “Sirius, you need to get out here.” Remus’ voice echoed behind James’ shouts. “Not now!” Sirius’ cursed the Marauders as he let his lips trace the soft curves of Lily’s neck, determined to finish what they had started. “Yes, now.” The deep voice and thundering crash of his bedroom door made Lily jump. She tried to wriggle from underneath him, but Sirius locked his body heavily onto hers, preventing her from moving. Although his eyes had darkened, Sirius refused to change position, something telling him that allowing Lily to swim into the intruder’s view was unwise. “Black.” “Malfoy,” Sirius answered but still refused to move. Sirius propped himself on his arms as Lily began to gasp for air under his weight. His eyes met hers only for a moment, but Sirius could see the terror that filled them. “I’m rather occupied here, Lucius. What do you want?” “Far be it from me to disturb your little tryst, but you are needed at home.” “Errand boy now, are you?” At his words, he could feel Lucius’ anger from across the room and Sirius cursed himself. He could not taunt Lucius now… not with Lily in such a dangerous predicament. He would not allow her to be put in danger just because she happened to be the muggle born found in the bed of Sirius Black. Sirius drew in a breath of defeat. “I’ll be along directly.” “Good boy,” Lucius hissed and a soft pop let Sirius know he was gone. Sirius rolled onto his back, disentangling himself from Lily. He closed his eyes trying to get his heart rate to return to normal. How could he have been so arrogant to think he could get away with it? To be found with a mudblood in his own bed by Malfoy? Sirius only hoped he’d managed to keep Lily’s identity a secret. If not… The dark thoughts made Sirius’ body tense; each of his muscles causing a gentle tug on the sheets that covered him and Lily. “Sirius?” James’ voice was nearby but Sirius refused to answer him until he got himself under control. Sirius knew his irresponsibility tonight could have easily gotten Lily killed. Just when had he become so heartless that fulfilling some physical need was more important than the life of the only woman he’d ever truly understood? His temper soaring, Sirius slammed his fist into the nightstand. Fragmented shards of the lamp and picture frames showered the bed, causing Lily to try and block Sirius from the debris. Sirius quelled the urge to grab Lily and shove her as far away from him as possible. Did she not understand how dangerous any association with him could be? As if I answer, Lily slipped her fingers into his clenched fist. “Go away, James,” Lily said quietly and, for once, Sirius was grateful she had no problem telling him off. Lily moved to lay her head on his chest as James disappeared, her eyes intent on his. “Sirius?” Lily’s breath was warm against his face and she wiped away the beads of sweat that were clinging to his face. “I’m safe. You kept me hidden,” Lily whispered, her voice holding a tinge of confusion. Sirius wrapped his arm around her waist to reassure her, but he could see the shadow fall over her eyes. Lily knew he had already detached himself… his thoughts had taken him hundreds of miles away and a dozen years in the past even though she still remained in his arms. “I was careless,” Sirius offered as a vague attempt at an explanation. “And put you in danger because of it.” Lily intertwined her fingers with his. “I’m in danger no matter what, Sirius,” Lily said candidly. “We both know that, don’t we? We just keep pushing it out of our mind to pretend it’s not true.” Lily offered him a tiny smile. “It might as well be for something enjoyable like sharing the bed of the infamous Black.” Sirius hesitated, a brief thought that Lily was perhaps using him floating through the edges of his mind. He tried to shake it off but the questions of why she would ever consort with him began to gather like storm clouds invading his thoughts. Pushing her gently to the side, he slipped out from underneath her and to the edge of the bed. He could feel Lily’s eyes boring into his back as he began getting dressed. “Are you angry with me?” Lily asked quietly, making Sirius turn to face her as he stood up to pull on his shirt. He watched her pull the covers more tightly around herself and then, as he continued to eye her, Lily hugged a pillow to her body in a belated attempt to hide her naked body from view. That she was suddenly embarrassed about exposing herself didn’t surprise Sirius, but it did stir a vague feeling of annoyance that Lily was still insisting on behaving like a silly child. Sirius opened his mouth to speak but then thought better of it. Sirius closed his eyes to settle his emotions. Had he really expected that one night with him would turn her into a rational adult that could understand the depth of what they were facing? No, he knew better than that. If anything, he’d taught her that giving in to childish desires was acceptable regardless of the consequences. The thought that he had somehow hurt her more than helped made Sirius head spin. Opening his eyes, Sirius shoved his hands deeply into his pockets, his shirt still hanging unbuttoned on his stiff frame. “I’m angry at myself. Go get dressed. I’ll have someone take you home.” “I can get home fine, Sirius. Don’t worry about me.” Lily straightened up in the bed, resting her back against his pile of pillows. “Just come back safely, okay?” “I need to know you're home safe and don’t take that the wrong way. It’s just…” Lily waved him off. “I understand.” Sirius met her gaze and felt an instant connection with her he’d never felt before. She did understand him more than he’d ever realized and the idea that she could reach so far into his soul both pleased and unnerved him. Sirius had sworn to never allow a woman into his heart again… his own mother had filled him with such a cold empty void that he had long ago vowed to never allow such a thing to happen again. Sirius was frozen, seeing her naked body and gentle curves silhouetted against the crème colored sheets and wondering how it was that he was one most exposed. Sirius gazed at Lily, unsure if she realized the depth of the connection they had made. The studious furrow on her forehead told him she had. “Sirius,” James’ voice was soft but strong beside him. The comforting weight of his hand on Sirius’ shoulder pulled Sirius from his revelry. “We should go.” “Of course.” Sirius turned to Lily, unsure of what was the appropriate comment after everything they had shared on this one evening, but Lily only smiled faintly. “Take care of him, James.”

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