I thought life was being good to be.
Should have known it would be too good to be true.
It might be good for a while. Just to show you what you’re missing out on. Lets you see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it. Then snatches it away.
And you feel stupid for ever thinking that you could be that happy for long.
During the good times, the bad times seem so distant and insignificant. I was just a kid. Now I’m just a guy. The good times block out the bad. They’re there. You know they’ll happen and you know they’ll have consequences. But they’re not right now. You worry about it later. If at all.
But it will catch up with you. It always does.
It's just so easy to forget that at the time.
This time I really thought it was good times for good. Really did.
But then I accidentally gave someone else the chance to fuck up my life.
Well, that’s a lie. It wasn’t an accident. I knew exactly what I was doing. But I wanted her and I wanted to give her everything. That’s all that mattered. At the time. Again, you don’t worry about it. Don’t think it through. But of course when you give someone everything it’s only logical that you’re giving them the power to run off with it.
And the worst part? Knowing that it’s pretty much all your own fault.
There’s something satisfying about alternating your days between smacking rubber bludgers at the back wall and developing a Project. James calls it an obsession. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
It felt good. Weirdly addictive, but good. It started as just something to do. Something that involved head and hands. Something to focus on.
Maybe not useful.
I mean, like James said, when am I ever going to need a muggle motorcycle?
But the people over the road were throwing it away. Just going to chuck it. I couldn’t let that happen. It had been sitting at the bottom of their drive for a week. I offered to pay for it but they weren’t having that. Looked kind of relieved to get rid of it, even. I thought I heard a high five as I hauled it across the road.
The garage and the driveway became my territory. The construction manual became my bible. The spanner became my prized possession and the exhaust fumes became my cologne.
Not an obsession though. James is wrong about that. This was more than a bike. I was saving a life, here. She - that’s apparently how you referred to your bike if you’re a muggle - was dying. He didn’t get that, so he didn’t get to touch her. He learnt that soon after a wrench to the head he at least only annoyed me from a distance.
“You know you can use magic for that now.”
And so it begins.
“I know.” I said.
He was sat against the front wall, hand in his pockets. “So why don’t you?”
“Because.” I didn’t know exactly. Just that I’d been doing this all summer without and I was so close to being finished that this one day with magic would just be cheating. “I’m nearly done.”
He was staring. Probably critically. I didn’t look. It would probably make me throw something at him and I didn’t have the time to do that. I had one day. One day left to get this done.
“You’ve been nearly done for two weeks.”
“You know anything about motorbikes?”
“It’s harder than it looks. I’m nearly done.”
“You better be. You have fourteen hours till we’re meant to be on the Hogwarts Express.”
“I’m nearly done.”
“Was just saying.” He shrugged, chirpy as ever.
He let me get on for a while. Without saying anything. But still stayed watching me. It was weird. Usually he got bored after ten minutes and made an attempt to get me to play Quidditch or something with him. Or else go off to see Remus. One time he even went to Peter’s.
I thought he might hate me now. I probably would have. I didn’t have a lot of patience with moody gits and right now that was exactly what I was.
But instead I got the knowing, sympathetic effort. Not just from him, from his mum and dad too. Which was more embarrassing. He must have told them about my failed attempt at happiness. And they felt sorry for me. Not good for your ego, having your best mates middle-aged parents pitying your social life.
But anyway, staying put and keeping his mouth shut for that long was nothing short of a miracle for James. It made me edgy.
“What are you doing?” I had to ask.
He seemed mildly surprised. Initiating conversation wasn’t all that common at the moment.
“For what? I’ll be out here for a while, you know -”
“Just waiting. Don’t worry. Pretend I’m not here.”
I stared for a moment. Never had those words come from his mouth before. He stared back, unfamiliar innocent look on his face.
So I did. Pretend he wasn't there, that is. For a while. He wasn’t really watching me anyway. I could get back into working quickly. The sun was setting and I needed to make the most out of the natural light and the breeze on the driveway before I had to go back into the stuffy garage. I was now on a strict time frame. One day to get it done. Not even a day. Fourteen hours.
After a while James got up from the wall and walked out of sight down the road a bit. I could hear a car. For a crazy second it crossed my mind that he’d gotten so bored he’d nicked a car and somehow figured out how to work it. Crazier things have happened when James gets bored. But then it stopped. It had been arriving, not leaving.
I didn’t think anything of it.
“Well, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.”
I should have.
I knew that voice. And I knew that it most definitely did not frequently drop in on the Potter residence willingly.
“Seriously, Black, would you put some clothes on? And maybe wash once in a while. My god.”
Look, it may have been evening but it was hot. My t-shirts got sweaty and got in the way so I gave up wearing them. And engines are... oily.
Alright I was mess. But there was no need to point that out.
“I’ve missed your kind compliments.”
“And I’ve missed your outstanding bodily hygiene. And, god - that hair.”
I stood up straight and stretched out my back, popping all my joints. I spent so long hunched over the bike everyday that I was most probably going to develop a hunchback. Just what I needed. To go with "that hair". That hair that might not have been cut all summer and probably retained traces of engin oil in it from repeated incidences of raking it out of my face.
Look - I already admitted it. A mess.
“I’m guessing you weren’t just passing through the neighbourhood?” I ignored the insult and pretended to be civil.
“Driven crazy with longing for old Prongs here?”
“I’m here as a favour.”
I repressed the grating hope about who that favour would be for. Because I knew I was wrong. And I didn’t want that hope. It was pathetic. It didn’t belong here.
“For?” At least my voice sounded casual. Or something like that.
Her eyes were narrowed and darted a glance at James. “This doesn’t mean I’m talking to you, Potter.”
Oh. I understood. “Ah. He told you about the Head Boy thing.”
James just grinned and threw something gold and shiny up in the air and caught it. He knew that she’d hate it. But he still did it. Couldn’t resist.
“He did.” It sounded like her teeth were gritted.
Much as I usually enjoyed James winding her up and aiding it, I glanced back at the bike, so close to being finished. And at the long shadows cast by the sun, almost set.
“Come on then, tell me this favour you need so that I can reject it and get back to work.”
She glanced at James again, less hostility this time though. “You were right. He is a little ray of sunshine.”
Fantastic. I’d been discussed. By dysfunctional couple of the year, as well. I didn’t know what to make of that. James and Evans never conversed in the holidays. Now she was willingly here. Doing a favour for him. Was I dreaming? Weird dream.
I folded my arms. Thought it might make the judgement come quicker.
“You know what day it is today.” She folded her arms right back at me.
It wasn’t a question. I knew it was coming but suddenly I was very glad I had an oily rag in my hands so I had something to grip. My hands tended to spasm a little when this particular subject was brought up. It was weird. I needed something to hold on to.
Her eyes were narrowed at me now. She was a fan of that look, Evans was. “And?”
“And what." I didn’t voice it as a question either. I didn’t need this.
“That’s it?” She asked, sceptically, “You’re not fooling anyone with this act, Black. You can try and sound casual just as much as you want but you can’t fool your best friend. Or me.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s not working, idiot. Look, even now as soon as I brought that up you’ve suddenly got a face like a smacked arse and you’re talking to me like I’m Avery.”
Fuck. I didn’t notice that.
“Leave me alone Evans. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care if you think you’re helping. I don’t need any help.”
“Oh, for God’s sake. You’re as bad as her.”
I felt myself scowl a little more this time. And she saw it.
“No, you’re worse. At least she can admit she’s a mess.”
A mess. She was a mess? Unlikely. You need to have a heart for that.
“I doubt that.” I said, not liking where this conversation was going.
“You are so dense.”
“Thank you. Is that all? Because I’m busy.” I turned back to the bike. So close to being finished. Only now I felt worked up enough to break it rather than piece it together. I didn’t dare touch anything in case the weird hand spasm happened again and I crushed something. I exhaled slowly, willing the tension to subside.
“Is he for real?” Evans demanded of James.
James shrugged, helplessly. Bloody coward, getting Evans on me.
She was mad. She let out an angry little hiss and stamped her way up the drive and suddenly was in between me and the bike.
She was too close to it. No one was allowed that close to it apart from me. I spoke calmly.
“Evans, I mean this in the most polite way possible. But please get the fuck away from the bike.”
“No.” She reached out a hand, pausing millimetres from one of the brakes.
I froze. “Do not touch the bike.”
She raised a red eyebrow. She was evil. Of course she was. Evil associated with evil and look who her best mate was.
I looked accusingly at James. “You told her.” He must have done. How else would she know?
“I may have let slip your unhealthy feelings towards the bike.” He admitted, far too chirpily for my liking.
“Leave him out of this.” Evans said. That was interesting. Evans rushing to Prongs rescue. But I was a little preoccupied because she was still in way too close proximity to the bike. “And listen to me.”
Well, as long as I had a choice. Not. Maybe I could move her out of the way…
“If you touch me I’ll push it over, I swear.” Yep. She was definitely evil.
I gripped the rag tighter. Not because of a hand spasm this time, but because I wasn’t sure if the urge to strangle her would pass. And shit as my life was, it was better than nothing. Which was how I’d end up once James finished with me after I assaulted his One True Love.
“Why would you do this to me?” I demanded of him.
“Sorry mate.” Not a good enough explanation.
But Evans piped up for him. “He did what he had to do. He’s too good of a friend to do this himself. He doesn’t want you to hate him. I, however, have no such worries.”
Bloody hell. A favour for him, defending him and now complimenting him. They might as well get married already.
“Go on then.”
“I will once you wipe that glare off your face.”
I tried. She could still go through with her threat.
She raised an eyebrow. “Well, I suppose that’s the best it’s going to get. We’ll work on the smile at a later date. Oh, happy birthday for yesterday by the way.” The sarcasm was impossible to miss.
“Evans.” It sounded more a growl than anything else, even to me.
“Calm it, Black, or the bike gets it.” She should have been a Slytherin. “Right. I’ll ask you again. Do you know what day it is today?”
I swallowed. It sounded loud. At least my grip on the rag was going strong.
“Yes.” I said, humouring her. But it didn’t come out as light-hearted as I’d have liked. Not much of a shock though. Light-hearted wasn’t something that came easily to me. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever been convincingly light-hearted in my life. Well, most people could probably be fooled. But I knew three in particular that wouldn’t and two of them were right here.
“And what are your feelings towards that?”
"I don't have feelings. Ask anyone".
“And don’t lie to me.” She added, flicking her eyes to the bike.
“Why are you doing this?” Evil, evil, evil.
“Because, you moody bastard, like it or not you are my friend. Sort of. And you’re nothing short of depressed. And you and a certain Miss McKinnon are going to be the death of me with your complete inability to see the truth.”
Another hand spasm. I knew why. “I see just fine.” My teeth were gritted.
“I beg to differ. You know what day it is and you know it means something to you. Why are you pretending it doesn’t?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Admit it to yourself!”
“What good is that going to do? You don’t get it, Evans. You don’t know anything.”
“I’m not blind. It’s easy to see, look at you -”
“Exactly. Look at me.” This was painful to say. And slightly humiliating. But that would probably come later. “Look at me, and then look at her. Off having the time of her life who knows where doing who knows what…”
Evans was giving me an odd look. I thought it was because she was smug that I’d actually sort of admitted it to her. But it wasn’t smug. It was just plain confused.
“What are you talking about?” She asked.
“You don’t get it, Evans. I can see what’s happened and I can see you think you’re helping. But whatever she’s told you, you’ve got the wrong idea. This isn’t something you can fix. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t want me.”
The confused look became mixed with pity. Excellent.
She didn’t say anything for a moment, letting my pathetic comment hang in the air over us. Then when she did, it seemed to come from nowhere.
“I haven't heard anything.” She said, quietly.
“She hasn’t written to me. But you know that.”
“Yeah… you know she's not writing to anyone.”
"Probably off having too much fun. Good for her." Even I heard the bitterness that time.
"Fun? What're you...?" It was worrying. Evans being confused. It didn’t happen often. So that confused me. Which overtook the bitterness.
"Fun, Evans. You're probably not familiar with it. It's this this where you enjoy yourself. I imagine it's what people do when they're off travelling the world."
That confused look again. “She’s not… you know she’s not with Freddie.”
That was stupid. Of course she was. “Where else would she be?”
“You don’t know?”
“Know what?” I demanded. James looked as baffled as me.
“I thought you -”
“She’s not… Freddie’s gone travelling. With Ro. Deb didn’t go with them. Why would you -”
“She hasn’t gone?” I repeated, still taking it in.
“Why would you think she had?”
Why would I not? I knew he wouldn’t leave her alone. He wouldn’t right? Where would she -
“Where is she?”
“I’m not supposed to -”
“It doesn’t change anything, Evans. She still doesn’t c… I don’t…" Stop stuttering. "Where is she?”
“I told her I wouldn’t say anything. But I thought you -”
“Where.” I don’t even know why I wanted to know so much. It wasn’t like I was going to go. She didn’t want me. I just needed to know.
Evans looked uncomfortable. “Hogsmeade.”
Hogsmeade. She was at Hogsmeade on her own. No. Of course. Rosmerta. But why would she stay in Hogsmeade and not go with her brother?
“Don’t do anything stupid. You’re not going to go after her or anything, are you?” Evans looked genuinely worried. “She told me to keep it to myself, where she was, she wanted to get away and be alone…”
Of course she did. She wouldn’t want someone pathetically going after her when she’d made it clear she didn’t care whatsoever…
“She’s not written to you.” I said, sharply.
Evans looked confused again. This must have been a record. “No. She wanted to get totally away. She’s not writing to anyone. But you know that.”
So it wasn’t just my letters she’d ignored. She really was selfish enough to receive letters from all her friends but not reply to any.
“She wanted to get away, I told you. Completely away. She’s not even reading any letters…”
The rag ripped. This time I really had been gripping it too tightly.
She’s not even reading any letters…
I didn’t even consciously make a decision to move. It was like there was a mist in front of my eyes and when I blinked I was in the garage, I’d moved that quickly. I stalked to the back of the room where I’d thrown my t-shirt over a rail.
Evans and James were hurrying behind me.
“What are you doing? What… what did I say? What are you -”
Evans looked completely bewildered and slightly worried for me. I must have had a slightly manic expression on my face.
“Can the muggles see me in here?”
“What?” They exchanged even more worried and bewildered looks. “No… but what you -”
Where was my wand? Did I need my wand for this? I’d never taken lessons, I didn’t have a clue…
“Mate what are you doing? You look nuts…” James attempted to get my attention.
“She’s not reading her letters.”
“Um. No. But -”
“I didn’t know that.” I spun around, squinting in the dim light of the single bulb in the garage. Where was my bloody wand?
“Yeah but…” Understanding appeared on his face. “You wrote to her… what did you say? Mate I don’t think -”
“You can’t go after her!” Evans said, catching on as well, “You said it yourself, she doesn’t care right? You said that… she’s been away for the whole summer, she doesn’t want to see you right now! You’ll have to see each other tomorrow anyway, just calm down and -”
“She never said she doesn’t care.” My search was getting frantic now. I rifled through a box with the remaining bike parts in it. Not there.
“But you said -”
“Because she didn’t reply. I… I said some stuff. On the last day. Stuff I probably shouldn’t have said. I was angry.” Where the fuck was my wand? “She probably hates me even more now. But then I wrote to her. I apologised. I told her everything… Then I thought… She didn’t reply so…”
“Sirius.” Evans’s saying my first name. That was odd. It vaguely registered that it was odd, but I was pretty busy sweeping the rolls of parchment from a battered desk in the corner. Where the fuck was it? “Sirius, come on. You need to calm down. Think about this and speak to her tomorrow. You can tell her everything just… just calm down.”
“I need to know now.” I kicked at the table when it didn’t have my wand on it. The rotten leg snapped in two and the whole thing crumbled forwards, spilling parchment and quills onto the stone floor.
“Mate, don’t you -”
“Do you need a wand to apparate?”
“What? I -”
“You can’t apparate! You’re only just seventeen! You’ve never had lessons you can’t just… it’s illegal -” Evans loved rules.
“You don’t even know how to -”
I’d heard enough. There’d just been the two of us that weren’t old enough to learn last year. We’d sat through Prongs and Evans complaining about the lessons. The three d’s. How hard could it be? They’d never mentioned a wand…
“She hasn’t read her letters.” I don’t know if I was saying it to myself or to them. “She doesn’t know.”
I was going to do it. I had to try. I moved into a space. I couldn’t even remember the three bloody d’s. It didn’t matter. I knew where I had to go and I knew how much I wanted it.
“Mate wait -”
“Illegal, Sirius -”
I was gone.
I’d done it.
I didn’t feel anything as I opened my eyes and took in he new surroundings. Hogsmeade. It looked like Hogsmeade. It took a few seconds for the feeling to settle in and then, as if I was remembering it rather than feeling it, I registered the crushing feeling on my ribs, the air sucked out of me, and the pain.
Was there meant to be pain?
I pressed my hands against the side of my head. It was hurting. At first I thought it was just another side-effect, same as the crushing. But then my hand came away bloody, and I realised what sort of pain it was. Blood. I was bleeding.
I stumbled across the street to a window, squinting at my reflection. It wasn’t pretty. The pain was making it hard to look straight and take it in. Blood. Over the right side of my head, my face. I wiped it away with my arm, clenching my teeth at the raw wound.
It was smaller than I’d thought, from the amount of blood. Just a long slash, thinner than my finger from my temple to my neck. A clean, neat wound. But it fucking hurt.
Splinched. The word came to me as my breathing became normal. It happened sometimes, if you didn’t apparate right. You leave a part behind.
I pictured a slither of skin and a splatter of blood left behind on the garage floor for Evans and Prongs. Nice.
I was lucky, I guess. Cut to the head. Could have been worse. The cut was pretty close to my brain. Could have left that behind.
The way Prongs and Evans were acting, you’d think I already had.
I blinked a few times and shook my head to focus. To bring myself away from the pain. It was just throbbing and stinging now. Focus.
I’d managed to apparate with no lessons and only a minor injury. Not bad. I felt proud for about a second before I look in where I was.
It looked like Hogsmeade. Sort of. The same sort of houses. Buildings. But it wasn’t where I’d meant to end up. It looked like some sort of side street, not the main high street where I’d been aiming for.
Before anymore thoughts registered I was running. Back down the narrow road, not really knowing if I was going in the right direction.
I wasn’t thinking. I just needed to find her. The Three Broomsticks, that was where I needed to be.
She hadn’t read any letters.
She didn’t know.
I made it to the main street, further down. I was down at the other end, near Shrivenshafts. I felt disorientated for a moment. The Three Broomsticks was opposite Honeydukes. Honeydukes was further up, it was near…
I looked up the road to my right.
I was moving before I’d taken anything in. Running again. Then I looked. Really looked.
The end of the road. A silhouette. A silhouette I’d probably know anywhere. I don’t know how. The hair, almost as much of a mess as James, falling past the narrow shoulders. Shoulders I knew. A body I knew.
It stopped me. Long enough for me to take in the whole picture.
A girl. A boy. At the gate.
He touched her. He picked her up and put her back down. He was still touching her.
It was like it all froze. I froze. They didn’t. All I was thinking was that she hadn’t read her letters, she didn’t know and -
She kissed him.
Everything became completely clear. It was a hand spasm again, except this time a whole body spasm. The little bit of anger and tension that I could usually stop if I clenched my fist apart from this time I couldn’t.
I wasn’t thinking, just vaguely aware that I’d quite like to rip this blokes head from his body, but then I did. Think, I mean.
She kissed him.
She kissed him.
She didn’t care. Didn’t care at all. I was right. Of course I was.
It was still there. The hand/body spasm. Shaking even.
I needed to leave.
So I did.
It was natural again. I needed to be away. I wanted to be away.
So with a step and a turn, I was.
It didn’t hurt this time. And I was on target. Back to the garage, near the open door. Still shaking.
Prongs and Evans jumped back at my appearance. Must have been a shock, I suppose. A bloody, shaking mess appearing from nowhere right in front of you not even a minute after it had left.
“Sirius what have you done -”
“Mate you’re bleeding, what -”
I didn’t interrupt them. They stopped dead all by themselves.
I turned. Walked from the garage. They stopped in the doorway, still silent.
I stood in front of the bike.
Shaking. Still shaking. Still with a weird red mist in front of my eyes.
The bike. A summer’s worth of work. So much time and effort gone into it. Just like us.
Stuff like that is meant to mean something.
But it can break.
I kicked it.
There was a sharp intake of breath before it hit the floor.
Followed by a silence.
The pieces scattered. I’d spent so much time on it. It was almost perfect.
It was strange how one kick could make it all fall apart.
A.N. SEQUEL SEQUEL SEQUEL! I told you I'd get it up soon, proud of me?! What to we think of our much-missed, rather temperamental Sirius? It's been far too long without him - TWO WHOLE CHAPTERS! So he deserved a bit of a prologue :)
I'd love to hear what you think! Still love him even though he's a mardy bum (who loves arctic monkeeyys?!). The bike thing - too much? It just seemed to fit in quite well so I had to, even though I'm not keen on throwing lots of obvious canon references into my story. What do we think tomorrow holds?
I'd just like to take this opportunity too, to say how overwhelmed I've been with the response to Fall For Anything. All my reviewers are amazing and even if you weren't too keen on the ending I hope this makes up for it!
I'm so excited!
A.N. II. - Just cleaning up bits of this story. Nothing major will change.
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