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The next month went by rather quickly. “The Marauders” had found three new passageways, all leading towards Hogsmeade due to late night sneaking around. Snape hadn’t so much as looked at them during their classes, which made Sirius happy, and the first Quiddich game of the season was on Halloween, that very night. Also, Lily and Sirius could be seen holding hands down corridors and laughing on wonderful afternoons such as this one; he had asked her to be his girlfriend the night after the potions class. “…And then I reckon we could have a kid when we’re in our mid twenties.” Sirius said happily, leading Lily out of the castle doors and onto the grounds. “A boy or a girl?” Lily asked, stopping to look at a bed of beautiful red roses, which had just bloomed. “A boy, of course.” Sirius said, bending down next to Lily and picking the biggest one and handing it to her. “Oh really?” She said, taking it from Sirius and smelling it, continuing to walk with him again, “And what about a name?” “Uh… anything but Severus.” Sirius said, smirking. Lily rolled her eyes, smiling slightly. “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.” She said, “What about… Harry?” She suggested, sitting down at the lake’s edge with Sirius. “Harry… Harry Black.” Sirius muttered to himself, rubbing his chin. “Sounds good to me.” He said, coming closer to her and putting his arm around her shoulder. They were both now gazing out towards the lake, feeling the cool October air on their faces and looking at the bright orange and pink sky the sunset was creating. Lily rested her head on Sirius’s shoulder, Sirius automatically resting his head on top of hers. “You coming to the match tonight?” Sirius asked softly, still peering up at the beautiful sky. “Yes, of course I am.” She said dreamily, “I can’t wait to see you play.” She said, grinning. Sirius smiled; he loved spending time with Lily like this. “Oy, Black!” Someone called from behind, causing them both to start and turn around. “Oh…” Sirius sighed, It’s you.” “Yeah, ‘it’s me!’” Gideon said impatiently from across the grounds, “C’mon loverboy, get onto the pitch!” Sirius got up slowly, brushing off his backside as Lily got up next to him and did the same. He and Lily ran over to Gideon. “C’mon Black, we gotta run through the plays!” Gideon said, motioning him over as he turned to head towards the Quiddich Pitch. “Sorry Lily.” Sirius said, kissing her gently on the forehead and turning to follow Gideon. “You know him.” “It’s okay—see you after the match, Sirius.” She said, beaming and beginning to make her way up the castle steps. Sirius smiled at her and nodded his head, then hurried off to catch up to Gideon. “Okay, now Slytherin’s team has a strong offense, but their defense… let’s just say that Stebbins could let a butterfly pass him.” “…What about their Seeker?” James asked Gideon. “Uh… I dunno about that…” “No match for Potter.” Longbottom broke in, “Malfoy’s as good as toast.” Gideon nodded, smiling, “Alright then.” He motioned for them to all stand up, then led them towards the field. Gideon first, followed by Doge, then Sirius, Longbottom, Fenwick, Podmore, and James. “—And here’s the Gryffindor team!” A voice echoed throughout the stands; Daviegh was commentating. Sirius and the team kicked off hard from the ground one by one, soaring into the air to cheers from the crowd. “Gryffindor has two new players… a talented Seeker by the name of James Potter, and a gorgeous Chaser named Sirius Black—sorry Professor—It’s in the description, honest! Oh alright, I wrote it!” She yelled. Sirius blushed as he took his position, watching the Ravenclaw who had given them their flying lessons early in the year carried out the trunk which held the Bludgers, Snitch, and the most important ball to Sirius—the Quaffle. “—And I think Joe Montague is about to release—ah yes—he’s released the bludgers and snitch.” Sirius looked up quickly and saw that James was eyeing the snitch hungrily as it flew right past him and out of view towards the opposite end of the field. Sirius looked back down at the ground just as Daveigh began talking again. “—And Joe picks up the Quaffle, throws it up, and Gideon swipes it!” A loud cheer came from the Gryffindor side of the stadium. Gideon took off, zooming towards the Slytherin goals. Sirius and Doge were speeding off as fast as they could in front of Gideon, trying desperately to get open. Just then, two blurs of green appeared in front of Gideon, cutting him off and causing him to swerve to a halt. He chucked the quaffle as hard as he could towards Doge, who caught it. Sirius was a little ways ahead of Doge on the left, watching him intently as they both headed towards Stebbins, who was keeping the Slytherin hoops. Doge pulled the quaffle back quickly, staring determinedly at the right goalpost… then threw it forcefully—to Sirius; he had changed the course of his hand at the last second. Sirius caught it and whipped it through the left hoop, which was wide open due to Stebbins falling for the trick. “Gryffindor scores!” Daviegh shrieked, “GO SIRIUS! Professor—he’s a friend!” Sirius grinned and then sped off towards Gideon, feeling ecstatic. “Good one, Black!” Doge said, slapping Sirius’s hand as he passed, just before following him towards the center of the field again. “This is Black’s first ever goal being on a house team!” Daveigh cried as Doge stole the quaffle from the Slytherins, who had been in possession of the quaffle a few moments ago. Sirius looked over at Gideon as he began following Doge, Gideon was making frantic hand gestures to him. Sirius nodded and then dove down, directly underneath Doge, shadowing him as the Slytherin side closed in on Doge. Doge zoomed upwards with the Quaffle—or so the Slytherins thought; Doge had dropped the Quaffle down below where Sirius caught it, fooling the Slytherin Chasers into thinking he still had it. Sirius zoomed full speed towards the goals again, Gideon slightly ahead of him, waiting… and then—SMACK. Sirius let out a howl of pain as he felt as if his leg had just come off his body; a bludger had just hit him right in the shin—in the same spot where he had broken it before. He was about ten yards away from the goals, but now had a lifeless leg dangling below him. He screwed up his face in concentration and threw the quaffle with all his might to Gideon. It was the only thing he could do. He flew upwards afterwards, away from everybody, holding his breath in pain. “You alright, Sir’?” James yelled, flying over to Sirius and coming to a stop in front of him as Gideon scored another goal. “Yeah, I don’t think I broke it again… It just smarts a whole lot.” Sirius said, zooming back down to Doge and Gideon while Daveigh shouted “Twenty points to Gryffindor!” “Alright there, Black?” Gideon yelled, a deeply concerned expression on his face. “Yeah!” Sirius said, his leg now throbbing. “Don’t worry, mate!” James said, from above, “I’ve seen it!” He said quickly as he flew down and past Sirius at top speed, bolting off towards the other end of the pitch where Sirius spotted a tiny little walnut-sized glittering ball, zooming around the Slytherin goals, right behind the Slytherin Seeker… who was completely unaware of it. “C’mon Potter… just get past that other Seeker…” Gideon said, blocking the Slytherin Chaser that was trying to get past him and Sirius. Doge was distracting the other two Chasers at the opposite side of the field. James was zooming full speed still, coming closer and closer to the other Seeker. Sirius wondered what James was going to do if the other Seeker realized what James was doing; he would probably get the snitch first. Suddenly, Sirius got an idea. “JAMES!!” He hollered, “REMEMBER WHAT YOU DID AT TRYOUTS!” It seemed like James had heard him, because he suddenly went into a dive, the other Seeker hesitating, then keeling off after him. James was hurtling quickly towards the ground, the crowd gasping loudly as one as they watched him pull up—at the last possible second. He tore off towards the snitch, but the other Seeker did not; there were groans from the crowd as Lucius Malfoy slammed bodily into the ground, his broomstick stuck vertically out of the earth in back of him, quivering like an arrow. Sirius’s eyes went wide as he heard “Potter feints and succeeds, but Slytherin back in possession with quaffle!” but he didn’t care about that—he was watching what was happening to James. James was chasing after the snitch still—it being a foot away from his outstretched arm—but completely unaware of two Slytherin Beaters tailing him, bat’s raised. Sirius looked around desperately; the rest of his team was busy trying to fend off the Slytherin Chasers. Sirius didn’t have to think—He sprung forward with all his might, not caring what was going to happen as he went. He swerved to a halt dangerously in front of the two Slytherin Beaters, deflecting two big bowling ball-sized bludgers with his stomach… and his forehead. He just remembered the screams and gasps that filled the stands as he felt himself slip off of his broom… Sirius awoke with a jolt, sitting up and making out nothing but blurred shapes in front of him. He wasn’t in his four-poster… where was he? “Sirius, it’s okay… you’re in the hospital wing.” A tired voice said from the right of him. Sirius turned his head, his eyes coming to focus on Remus who was sitting on the bed next to him. He looked a little pale. “Wha—What happened? Did we win? How long have I been here? What happened?” Sirius blurted out all at once. Remus raised an eyebrow. “Yes, from what I’ve heard, James caught the snitch right after you threw yourself in front of two of the best Beaters in the school… and you’ve been here since last night. It’s Sunday.” “Wow… have I been knocked out?” “Yep. Cold. For about twelve hours… I’m surprised it wasn’t longer actually.” “Where’s Lily?” “Uh, she stayed here as long as she could with you last night… she brought you those.” He added, pointing to a pile of Sirius’s favorite sweets, a card, and a little stuffed animal dog that were all lying on his bedside table behind him. Sirius smiled, “She’s amazing.” He said, looking back over at Remus. “Yeah…” Remus said in a distant sort of voice, “Really nice too… really.” He said seriously, looking down at the floor. “Is she okay?” Sirius asked. Remus looked up. “Yes… though she was in tears most of the night worried, but Madam Pomfrey finally convinced her and James that you’d be fine and got them to go up to bed.” “James came too?” “Of course. So did the whole team and Peter and Andromeda.” “Oh… hey—why’re you here, Rem’?” Sirius asked. Remus broke eye contact with him and started to adjust his sheets unnecessarily. “…I-I’m sick again—well, I was, but I’m better now.” He said, looking back up at Sirius brightly. Sirius shrugged, “Good… that’s good…” He nodded, turning towards his bedside table and picking up the card Lily had brought him. Sirius, I’m so worried. Everyone’s saying you’re fine, but I can’t help it—you know how I think. The dog was my first stuffed animal and it usually brings me comfort. I was hoping he would bring you comfort too. His name is “Snuffles.” Please get well soon Sirius. I’ll visit you in the morning too, okay? Keep the doggie. Love Always, -Lily- P.S. James and Peter got you the cakes—I don’t know they did it. Sirius smiled and set the card aside, knowing perfectly well how James and Peter had gotten the cakes. Sirius picked up the stuffed animal dog and observed it. It was in a sitting position, all black with smooth fur with a long bushy tail. Sirius grinned as he noticed it’s little green plastic eyes staring back at him. It was a cute thing. “Nice doggie.” Remus said to him, grinning. “His name’s ‘Snuffles.’” Sirius told him, holding it up for Remus to see. “Hello Snuffles!” Remus said playfully, leaning forward to pat it. Sirius laughed just as the Hospital Wing doors burst open behind him. He and Remus turned their heads quickly to see Lily and James come running in, and at the sight of Sirius, smiling. “Sirius, you’re alive!” Lily cried, throwing her arms around him into a tight hug. “’Course I’m alive!” Sirius said, hugging her tightly with ‘Snuffles’ still in one hand. “You alright, mate?” James asked, approaching his bed, “You took two bludgers with a bad leg to begin with… and then you must’ve fell two stories! It was amazing!” Lily stared around at James, frowning. “Yeah, I’m good.” Sirius chuckled, him and Lily pulling away from each other. “My head does hurt a little though now that you mention it.” He said, rubbing his forehead and feeling a slight bump there. “Yeah and Sirius—don’t ever do that again.” James said, “It’s not worth getting yourself killed just so I can be clear to get a stupid snitch.” “Well we won, right?” Sirius shrugged. “Yeah, but still… promise me?” “Alright, James. No more taking hits for the team… or three for that matter.” The rest of the day went by smoothly. They all hung out on the grounds most of the day, discussing the match and asking James to relive his Wronski Feint move. Many people approached Sirius and James, commenting on the game or asking about Sirius’s health. A lot of those people, Lily pointed out, were girls. Sirius had also gained the nickname “Bludger Black” by the end of the day, which lasted a good week before it began to wear off. The next couple of months flew by. Remus had gotten ill again in the middle of November, but recovered the next day as always. (“He’s like some miracle man!” James had said.) Now the month of December was upon them, Christmas in four days. The castle was caked in light snow and the Marauders had a raid planned that night. “Okay, tonight’s shift is Remus and Sirius.” James announced in a whisper from the corner of the Common Room. Remus and Sirius grinned, huddled around James. “You two should check the statues.” James added, “That witch’s hump probably isn’t the only secret passage on that floor.” Sirius nodded, “Alright.”

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