Chapter 21: In the Backseat
Wednesday February 18th, 5:06 pm
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, 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.
“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.”
“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 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.
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!
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