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“Two days!” Kristen exclaimed happily, falling into the snow and waving her arms and legs so as to make a snow angel. “Two blissful days and then we are home free!”

“It’s going to be awfully awkward with you and Sirius being forced together at my house,” James said, packing a snow ball discreetly as several prefects passed. Though they couldn’t really tell him off since he was technically their superior, he wouldn’t put it past them.

“Yeah, well, as long as he stays out of my way, it won’t be a problem.” Kristen answered easily, standing up so that she could appreciate her work. Two weeks of practicing had made her a pro at answering all of Remus, James, and Lily’s badgering questions.

“You know how pissy my parents got over the summer when you and Sirius were fighting,” James said, looking for a suitable target. “Especially now that my dad’s…you know, not doing so well, my mum will flip out if you guys are at each other’s throats.”

“We’ll contain ourselves,” she snapped back.

James took out his wand and gently levitated the snowball, still undecided about his victim. “Why don’t you guys just get back together? I mean, I know he misses you, he stares at you through every bloody class.”

“And then he goes and snogs some girl.”

“See, that’s just it though, he doesn’t,” James said, the snowball revolving slowly in the air. “I mean, sure, he says he does, but Sarah is still pissed off at him.”

“Well then it’s obviously some other girl,” Kristen said nonchalantly, standing up and brushing the snow off her backside. “Why are you so wrapped up about it James? We broke up two weeks ago and, frankly, I’ve never been happier. I tried it out, it didn’t work, and now that I know that, I can move on with my life.”

James looked unconvinced, but, as he had tried every other route to guilt her into a confession, he dropped it and aimed the snowball at her, laughing gleefully as she sputtered and wiped the snow off her face.

“Prat!” She yelled, violently pushing him down into the snow. She hoped that would get him off her case for at least a little while. She knew he was disbelieving, she even somewhat suspected that Remus knew, but the longer she and Sirius held them at bay, the more the questions waned. Lily and Remus had been reduced to glaring at them, Peter would simply glance at them with pity, and yet James was insistent in his questioning.

Really, being secretive and sneaking around seemed to come naturally to them. Though the Marauders and Lily were still not buying it, Sarah had all but forgotten that Kristen even existed. Instead, she was hunting down whatever mystery girl that Sirius kept darting away to be with. It all came down to a matter of timing and finesse. As long as they never left or showed up within three minutes of each other, Sarah would remain none the wiser.

And, as Sirius had so aptly predicted, it was extremely, extremely, sexy. There was something incredibly alluring about passing covert notes detailing their next meeting place. Sirius had even taken to filching James’s invisibility cloak so that they could leave the broom closet without being seen, all the while giggling and fixing sloppily done buttons.

“Oh look, it’s the ice queen,” the boy in question suddenly declared, Remus and Peter tailing him out into the snow.

“Real original,” she snapped back, easily suppressing her smile.

“Oh, shut it!” Remus rolled his eyes as he shoved his bare hands into his pockets to avoid the cold. “You two are like a broken howler!”

“They’re definitely as loud as one,” Peter mumbled, prompting thunderous laughter from James as he rolled around the snow.

“It’s not my fault he can’t think up any new insults,” Kristen informed them, making sure her glare was severe.

“And it’s not my fault that you haven’t changed one bit since first year and so these insults still apply,” Sirius told her with a cheeky smile.

“Except that now she has boobs,” Peter put in, throwing up his hands to shield his face when Sirius turned to face him.

But Sirius just laughed and put an arm around Peter’s shoulder. “Too right Wormtail, and they are quite nice if I do say so myself.”

“Well too bad you’ll never get to touch them now,” Kristen told him with sadistic sort of grin.

“Oh, I wouldn’t count on that sweetheart. Next time you want to use me to get over some boy I’ll be there, arms straight-out and ready to grab.”

Kristen made sure her disgust was obvious. “No Black, you most certainly will not. This is the reason I broke up with you, you’re just so bloody horny all the time!”

“You broke up with me?” Sirius asked, looking completely appalled. “I remember a whole lot of me dumping you!”

Kristen snorted. “Hardly. I dumped you because you were all pissy that I wasn’t putting out!”

“Well I’m sorry that I have a penis, and it has needs!” Sirius told her, gesturing vulgarly to his groin. Remus slapped a hand over his eyes at this, not willing to see what Kristen was going to do next.

But she once again surprised them. Where once she would have slapped Sirius, and then slapped the rest of them for good measure, now she turned away, shouting as she left. “Well have fun meeting it’s needs by yourself while I go to find some dark corner to plan your murder!”

“I’ll probably just use Sarah!” He shouted at her retreating figure, only garnering a middle finger for his efforts. He smiled brightly as he turned back to the others. “I will touch her breasts sooner or later, mark my words.”

“You’re disgusting,” Remus told him with a roll of his eyes. “Besides, we are all aware that you’re still with her. You probably touch her boobs five times a day.”

“If I was with her it would be at least ten,” Sirius corrected him. “But even her breasts, lovely as they are, are not worth the constant torture of being around her and yet not able to do much more than look. Now, if you gentlemen don’t mind, I’m off to find some willing woman who will not laugh at my needs like Foxy does.”

“Well, Sarah’s right there, so it should be easy,” James drawled, packing yet another snowball.

Sirius whipped back around, his face instantly drained of color. To his sheer terror, he saw that James wasn’t kidding. She was walking out of the castle, clutching something tight to her chest and looking incredibly guilty. “Shit,” Sirius muttered, looking around quickly for a hiding place. Though he’d seen her a number of times since he had publicly declared he was back on the market, he had always had a ready made excuse to fend her off just a bit longer. Now though, since he had just told the Marauders that he was going to go looking for her, he had no idea how to get out of it.

“Oi, Sarah!” James suddenly shouted, waving his arms wildly to get her attention. “Sirius wants to shag you!”

Even from the distance of nearly 20 meters, Sirius could see her face light up spectacularly. She instantly began to run over to them.

“I am going to kill you James,” Sirius grumbled, looking murderous.

Peter, however, was the picture of innocence when he asked, “But whatever for Padfoot? You said you wanted a willing woman, and, clearly, she’s very, very, willing.”

“Siri! Siri!” She cried, jumping and throwing her arms around him. “Come on Siri, it’s been far too long since we’ve been together. I’ve got a nice surprise for you up in the Astronomy tower!”

“Hooray!” Sirius said with what he hoped was the right amount of enthusiasm, but, judging by Remus’s smirk, he probably sounded just as scared as he felt.

“Have fun Siri!” James called out to him with a wave.

“I’m so glad I’m finally getting you when you have nothing going on!” She exclaimed, holding his hand in a vice like grip as she dragged him back to the castle. “I swear, it seems like anytime I see you you either have class or detention…”

“I know, it’s crazy.” Sirius answered, probably a bit too quickly, but Sarah was too ecstatic to notice.

“And I just saw that whore St.Claire. I filched this off of her,” Sarah told him conspiratorially, holding out an intricate bracelet inlaid with deep blue stones. “All I had to do was bump into her and reach in her coat pocket. She looked awfully upset about something and was too distracted to notice.”

Sirius grabbed the bracelet without thinking. It was the one he had given Kristen just a few days ago. It had been his grandmother’s, the one he visited every summer in France until she died when he was ten. Kristen wore it every time they were together, but neither of them could come up with a good enough story to explain its presence when she was in public.

“She probably got it from that foreign boy,” Sarah said flippantly, not seeming to care in the least that Sirius had simply taken it from her. “I bet she’s already rebounding with him.”

“Most likely.” Sirius said with his charming smile. “Let me give it back to her though, yeah? It’ll irk her to no end wondering how I manged to get it.”

Sarah nodded eagerly, turning him now down a corridor that Sirius knew all to well. “But you can give it to her after wards, yeah?”

“Well of course,” he answered, watching as the stairs to the tallest tower grew ever nearer. He suddenly stopped, an idea suddenly forming. “Sarah, I just remembered that I have something for you in my dormitory.”

Sarah’s face fell slightly, realizing that he was going to insist on going back right away. “I’ll come with you then!”

“No!” Sirius fought back instantly. “I mean, you have an awful lot of zippers and buttons there. It’s going to take you awhile to get them all undone.”

Sarah looked incredibly hesitant, but after several seconds she smiled and nodded, racing up the stairs.

Sirius rolled his eyes heavily, hardly able to believe her. Honestly, she was nuts. Of course, he fully understood that he was incredibly desirable and that most women would kill to be with him, but he couldn’t understand why Sarah continued to chase him when he had blown her off no less than forty-three times over the past two weeks.

He pocketed the bracelet and began walking to the meeting place they had planned out. He was a little nervous that she wasn’t going to be there though. After all, Sarah had said she looked pretty peeved, and he could imagine why. He had, after all, yelled that she couldn’t meet the needs of his penis. While this was true to a certain extent, she had adamantly refused to let it go further than touching while they were in someplace as utterly unromantic as a broom closet, it was not something he would have shouted under normal circumstances.

And, she had only admitted this hesitantly, with a blush covering her face, she was afraid.

Not of pain, but of him. She was afraid that the moment she gave in, he would leave her. No one had ever made him feel so guilty as she had with that one statement. That she could think that of him was abominable, that others could so easily believe it was even worse.

He had to check at least though. They always planned for the next place they were going to use before reluctantly going back out into the open where they had to yell at each other and pretend that they couldn’t stand to co-inhabit any space for longer than two minutes.

He made his way to the great hall, careful to keep his head down in the hopes that no one would really register his presence. There was a small room just off the hall, one that looked as if it had once been used to store winter coat but had long since been abandoned. He looked around quickly to make sure that he was alone and then darted inside.

“I’ve been waiting for fifteen bloody minutes,” Kristen admonished him, her face a ghostly white as it reflected the small light she had illuminated. “What happened?”

“Sarah,” he answered, taking the bracelet out of his pocket and putting it on her wrist. “She filched this off of you and, surprising, thought up quite a good excuse for it. Winston.”

“I am not going to say that Winston gave this to me.” She told him resolutely, though she looked troubled. “I’m sorry. I have this thing barely seventy-two hours and I’ve already managed to lose it once.”

“It’s not your fault you’ve got god knows how many enemies,” Sirius told her, pulling her forehead to him for a kiss. “Speaking of, how’s dad?”

“He was a little upset, but he didn’t seem too perturbed by it.” Kristen answered, wrapping her arms around Sirius and letting him simply hold her. “I think he was distracted by something. I don’t think he’d had time to come up with a plan for you.”

“Brilliant,” Sirius said a bit sarcastically, hugging her close to his body. He nuzzled his face into her hair, memorizing the flowery scent. This is what he loved most about her, this, right here. Just being with her. He’d always played the comforter, but this was somehow astronomically different. “When will you have to see him again?”

“Hopefully not much over Christmas. Like I said though, he’s planning something, I can tell. Dumbledore will probably want me there even when I’m not called.”

“Well, in that case, I should probably start snogging you now lest you get called away for some daring mission,” Sirius told her, kissing along her jaw and up to her ear.

“Ah, of course, we’ve got to indulge you’re top secret agent fantasy,” Kristen laughed. “What shall your code name be?”

“Call me Bond, James Bond.”

Kristen smirked, and eyebrow raised. “You know Bond?”

“I have my muggle indulgences you know. I can’t exactly ignore a woman named Pussy Galore.”

“I absolutely refuse to let that be my codename!” She told him resolutely. “Besides, after the wonderful performance you gave James and the others, you clearly think that’s about the furthest thing from what I am.”

“Hey, it worked, didn’t it?”

“But is that really how you feel? I know you’re used to the usual two days of dating and then it’s a free for all, but I just…I can’t.”

“Kristen,” Sirius said quietly, pushing a strand of air from her face and tucking it behind her ear. “I waited six years for you, and I would gladly wait six more. I love you, with or without sex.”

The sheer preposterousness of this statement coming out of Sirius Black’s mouth was not lost upon her. The fact that he could be so utterly sincere one minute, and then a jack ass the next, was something she feared she would never get used to it. But there was the beauty of it. She had forever to try.

“I love you too,” she breathed, standing on her toes to better seal that gap between them.

She let him take control of the situation, which was the usual. In other relationships, she was always the one leading these things. It had been that way with Winston, Demetrius, Matthew, and any other guy that was fortunate enough to stumble across her path when she was particularly upset. They’d always complimented her and her ability.

But, and she absolutely hated to admit it, she had nothing on Sirius Black.

Oh, he had complimented her before, extolled her abilities to anyone who would listen. And she was well aware of his skill before this. She had never been able to lose herself in it though.

Before she knew it, her shirt was conceding defeat. Over the past few weeks, she had learned to not wear button up shirts, it was just far to easy. But he had somehow learned the secret to T-shirts as hers was now over her head. Sirius, however, was much more obliging and understanding of her relative lack of skill. He always opted for shirts with buttons, which were incredibly easy to discard to even the untrained hand.

She pressed Sirius against the door, throwing her shirt on the ground and pulling his off as well. Sirius’s hands weaved through her hair, pulling her even closer. Neither of them noticed that several hangers clattered to the ground, nor did they hear the resounding thud made when Sirius was pushed against the door.

It seemed, however, that these sounds were not completely lost upon people on the other side of the door.

The door suddenly flew open, causing Sirius to nearly fall over backward. Kristen shrieked and attempted to cover herself, grabbing Sirius’s shirt as it was the only thing within reach.

“Why hello Professor McGonagall,” Sirius said quickly to his incredibly disgusted looking professor, glancing around quickly to see if there was any one else to witness his transgression. To his relief, the hallway was deserted.

“And just what are you two doing?” She asked sternly, her mouth set in a firm line of disapproval.

“Um…well,” Sirius stuttered, looking to Kristen for inspiration. She was hugging his shirt tightly around her, looking determinedly at her feet. “I suppose you could say we were fooling around.”

“I could have figured out that much for myself Mr.Black.”

He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet, at a loss. For some, inexplicable reason, all he could think to say was, “Would you care to join us?”

“Oh my God,” Kristen sighed, her face flushing even brighter.

“Twenty points from Gryfinddor,” Their professor answered, looking completely unfazed by his words.

“I think you mean, ten points to Gryfinddor,” Sirius corrected her with a smile.

“No, I definitely mean twenty points from Gryfinddor.” She said, her staunch look unwavering.

“Siri?”

Sirius felt his mouth go dry at the voice. How was it, that the one person they had gone through all of this for, would be there the moment they got caught? “Sarah! I can explain!”

“Start talking then,” she said menacingly, her hand gripping her wand tightly.

“Well, I was going to the dormitory and…I…well, I changed my mind and decided to snog Kristen.””

“Why couldn’t you think up a lie?” Kristen seethed, hitting him roughly on the arm.

“I didn’t see you offering up anything!”

“I can’t believe you!” Sarah screeched, her wand held straight out.

“Miss Wille, that is quite enough,” Professor McGonagall said, stepping in front of Sirius and Kristen. There was nothing to dispute with the way she said it, nothing to duck around as there had been with Kettleburn. “Miss St.Claire, you will kindly stay away from Miss Wille, and Miss Wille, you will stay away from Miss St.Claire, qudditch practice aside. Do I make myself clear?”

“But she’s a boyfriend stealing whore!” Sarah cried, her face incredibly flushed with anger.

“Be that as it may Miss Wille,” McGonagall continued, pointedly ignoring Kristen’s affronted look, “it does not give you the right to terrorize her or to incite others to do so. If I hear you are, I will take you off the house team.”

“But Professor -

“This is not up for negotiation.” She told the girl tersely. She then turned back to her original culprits. Sirius was now rubbing his hands together frantically to try and garner some warmth as he was standing shirtless in a drafty corridor on a chilly December day. Kristen was still looking incredibly embarrassed as she stood sheepishly with a large blue shirt draped around her. “Miss Wille, I suggest you leave now so you will not be tempted to threaten your spot on the team.”

Sarah continued to stand there for a moment, but then, finally, conceded defeat, her angry sobs audible for several minutes after she left.

“Miss St.Claire, I believe you told Professor Dumbledore that you ended this,” the stern woman said as she turned back to them. “You should no better than to lie about something this pivotal.”

“It’s my love life.” She fought. “Besides, I ended the public part, that’s what’s important.”

“Did you not think you-know-who would be able to use legilimency to find you out?”

“Any thing he managed to see I could explain as having happened in the ten days we were technically together,” Kristen told her stubbornly. “Now that you’ve outed us though, I suppose we have no choice but to be upfront about it.”

“I apologize that I could not allow unusual noises in a deserted closet to go uninvestigated.” McGonagall said pristinely as she smoothed the wrinkles out of her robes. “Next time, I suggest you and Mr.Black be a bit more discrete.”

Just as Kristen was going to snap back that you didn’t get much more discrete than a deserted closet, she heard the trampling of hundreds of students. She quickly grabbed Sirius’s wrist and looked at his watch. It read 12:10, marking the end of all the morning periods and heralding lunch. Without a word she promptly ran into the closet, and shut the door behind her, refusing to open it so much as an inch for Sirius. McGonagall sighed at her students as Sirius began banging on the door and demanding to be let in. Instead of reprimanding them as they deserved, she turned on her heel and followed the stream of students into lunch.

“Oh bloody hell,” Sirius groaned as the next assault came in the form of three boys, two laughing gleefully at his lack of shirt, and one looking positively irate.

“What did you do to Sarah?” James demanded to know, yelling it as he fought against the stream of students pushing against him.

“Nothing!” Sirius shouted back, really hating Kristen at that moment as several people stared at him in wonder, clearly uncertain as to why he was half naked while they had at least three layers on. “Kristen, please let me in!”He groaned to the door, but she was staunchly silent on the other side.

“Nothing my arse! She just came up to me, crying, and demanded that I kick you and Kristen off the team or she would quit!” James yelled once he was able to fight through the students and make it to Sirius, Remus and Peter not far behind.

“Well…maybe she…” Sirius struggled, clearly not on his game as this was the third time within a ten minute span that he had been unable to come up with an excuse. Peter and Remus were smirking at him with mirth that was bursting at the seams, and James looked ready to kill. So, he did the only thing he could think of.

“The jig is up St.Claire,” he announced, knocking on the door.

“I knew it!” Remus declared loudly, shooting his fist into the air in triumph.

“You are going to fix this!” James demanded, not able to enjoy the fact that the plan he had been working to uncover for two weeks had finally been revealed. “Sarah is a damn good keeper, and we do not have time to train another one!”

“Well tell her to stop being crazy!” Kristen shouted from the other side of the door.

“I tried!” James shouted right back, pushing Sirius aside and quickly speaking “Alohomora”. Kristen was at least clothed by this time, but her hair was still in disarray and her cheeks flushed. “And give Sirius his shirt back for Merlin’s sake!”

Kristen quickly handed it to Sirius and he threw it on. “Now, you two are going to talk to Sarah and sort this out. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes,” they groaned in unison.

“Good,” James finished, his jaw set rigidly as he admonished both of them. He looked back to Remus and Peter, both of whom were still on the edge of laughter, and then looked back to Kristen and Sirius, smiling. “You guys really are idiots, you know that?”

“It worked, didn’t it?” Kristen said, pulling on her jacket as well. “It at least got Sarah off our case.”

“But why couldn’t you have told us?” Peter asked, looking pretty put out by their being left in the dark.

“Because you would have told us it was a stupid idea.”

“And we would have been right,” Remus told them. “Obviously.”

“Whatever,” Kristen said with a roll of her eyes. “Now you know, as will the rest of the school by the end of today. Happy?”

“Incredibly so,” Remus said. “I’ve known since that stupid made up fight.”

“Me too!” Peter put in.

“There goes my spy fantasy,” Sirius mourned, looking to Kristen. “And right after we came up with code names too.”

“What is he going to say?” Kristen groaned, leaning up against the wall and then proceeding to slide down it. “If he gets wind that I really was with you all this time, and yet lied about it…He’s going to be furious.”

“Just say we got back together and that we were, I don’t know, friends with benefits before,” Sirius answered with a shrug.

“But it will be without his permission…again.” Remus said quietly, realizing her dilemma.

“Well, tell him that he can continue forward with my death plans now and that you thought it’d be a nice, early Christmas gift for him.” Sirius amended, still looking unperturbed.

“I like how this flow of lies and excuses is coming after all the shit that just happened.” Kristen told him, but she didn’t look a little bit more at ease.

“What can I saw Foxy, your ability to be caught by the worst person, at the worst time, must be rubbing of on me,” he shrugged, holding his hand out to help her off the floor.

“Well, I’m glad we got that sorted out,” James said with grandeur. “And look at that Remus, we pulled it off without getting punched!”

 

*****

 

So, as many of you have gleaned from previous chapters, I have a special place in my heart for Norway. I lived there for three months, and I met some of the nicest people and the most caring indviduals of my life.

As someone that was also deeply affected by the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, I'm well aware of what it feels like to have one of your own turn against you. I know I should stick with my role as author and now try to dish out life lessons, but I can't help but bring it up. No one deserves this kind of pain, but least of all the Norwegians. Their country's policies for decades have been to promote peace and tolerance throughout the world. My heart is with them in this incredibly difficult time.

I just felt the need to say that. But, now we can move on to more pleasant topics, such as your quote for the next chapter!

“If I was anything like Padfoot, I would already have your clothes off and you wouldn’t think twice about leaving those bloody students to figure out how to get home on their own.”  James Potter to Lily Evans

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