"Kevin," she whispered, leaning forward as discreetly as she could.
"Shut up Marlene," Sirius answered, sticking his nose in the cafe menu across from Knockturn Alley. "And use my real name." Marlene rolled her dark green eyes, but scooted her chair closer to him anyway.
"Mulciber walked into Macnair's shop an hour ago. Hasn't appeared since." Marlene shivered slightly, wrapping her brown coat around herself even more tightly.
"Yeah and neither has Carrow. Did anyone ever stop to think that the arseholes could just apparate out of the shops?" Sirius hissed back at her, dropping his menu. Marlene adjusted the blonde wig on her head. "And why couldn't we use real disguises? This muggle thing is killing me." He scratched at the auburn wig that paired ridiculously with his black five o' clock shadow.
"Suck it up, Kevin," Marlene emphasized mockingly. "I'm almost off undercover, and there's no way you're going to blow it for me."
"Sarah. Kiss me." Marlene rolled her eyes, convinced that the urgency in his voice was fake.
"Forget it, Black." he rolled her eyes again, but Sirius pulled her in closer, using all his strength to keep her struggling from being too public.
"I thought you were the one who wanted to take this seriously." Sirius never used that word if he could help it. He moved his hand to the side of Marlene's face, blocking it from view. "It's Snape. If he sees us we're dead." he whispered into her ear.
That was all the motivation she needed. Marlene kissed Sirius roughly, still being careful not to move his hair. Sirius kept his hand on her cheek as Severus Snape and Amycus Carrow swept by in their black cloaks, making sure her face was covered.
Her body relaxed as Snape moved past them, but Sirius did not let go of her. She pulled back slightly, keeping her face close to Sirius' but watching the two fade down the cobbled road. She looked back to Sirius who hadn't yet looked away.
"You want to find a quiet place to finish this, Mickey? Just for old times' sake," he said, his breath falling heavily in the cold air.
"I'm not sixteen anymore, Sirius," she whispered into his ear, "and that was a dumb plan." She backed away from him, standing up, as their target had moved on. "Who the hell makes out a couple of feet away from Knockturn Alley?" she asked, laying down a sickle to pay for their coffee.
"Newly-wed's," Sirius answered, taking Marlene's left hand in his right and playing with the fake wedding band they'd been given for their assignments. Marlene scoffed, but said nothing else on the matter. She laced her fingers with Sirius', not caring that her pseudo enemy had just suggested that they have sex while he was dating her best friend.
"So why do we always get put on undercover anyway?" Marlene asked, lowering her voice on the word undercover.
Sirius looked down at her. "Maybe it's because we're good at pretending to be other people," he said, his mood taking a turn downwards. "You know, living with pureblood propaganda shoved down our throats, we had to learn to adapt."
Marlene looked up at him skeptically. "Really?"
He gave her a wide smirk, and Marlene hit his shoulder before he even said anything. "Nah, I'm just messin' with you. They put us on the simple shit because they know we'd slaughter if they put us out on the field. Isn't that right Micks?" It's true Sirius and Marlene both had top marks in dueling.
"Let's just get back to the apparition point," she said rolling her eyes again.
"Excuse me, ma'am." An officer had come up to the pair, complete with a riot baton hooked to his belt. "Can you please come with me?" Marlene and Sirius looked at each other simultaneously.
"Can I ask to what this is in reference to?" Marlene asked accusingly, releasing Sirius' hand and folding her arms.
"I do apologize, but we have been asked to institute random checks. I just need to know what your business in Knockturn Alley was. I'm sure you understand." He smiled at her, but it quickly faded as Marlene stepped forward angrily.
"I really don't think it's any of your business," she snarled. "And for your information," she said, poking the intimidating man in the chest, "we weren't even in Knockturn Alley."
"Ma'am, I really must insist," he said, his fake-sugary voice dropping. Marlene dropped her hand to her side, but nudged Sirius away, stepping forward again and making the man stumble backwards.
But before she had the chance to do anything else, Sirius placed an arm around her shoulders. This lead Marlene to look at Sirius with hatred, but he pointedly ignored her gaze.
"It's okay, dear. The man's just doing his job," Sirius said, taking his arm off of her shoulder and extending it to the officer. "I'm Kevin Lowry," he said, shaking his hand.
"Obliviate," Sirius whispered, slipping his wand out of his sleeve and catching the officer as he fell forward.
"Let's go," he said, grabbing Marlene's hand again without consent and taking off quickly. Marlene held her head, hoping that the wig wouldn't fly off. Sirius' strides were much longer than hers, and she had to work twice as hard to get half as far as him. Then he stopped without a warning, making Marlene stumble forward, fall into his arms, and be whisked away to wherever he had apparated.
The two bodies tumbled down a small hill in the middle of a deserted field.
"What the hell was that?" Marlene exclaimed when she stopped rolling from the impact of their fall. "Black!" She yelled, turning around to try and find him. A head stuck up from the tall grass. "Sirius!" The head turned into a distant body, and when Marlene made out his features for certain, long dark hair, a light colored wig in his hand, angry eyes, and broad shoulders, she made her way over. They finally caught up with each other, and the first thing Marlene did was strike him across the face.
"Hey! What was that for, bint?" Sirius rubbed his cheek, but walked along with her anyway, leading them towards what looked like a roadway.
"That was for cursing a Ministry official you arsehole! I'm not sure our disguises are going to hold up in court," she said, taking off the blonde wig and letting her dark hair flow down over her shoulders.
"Merlin, McKinnon. You can't really think I'm that daft." Marlene looked at him for an explanation. "What kind of official doesn't wear a badge? And didn't it seem a bit suspicious that he didn't stop Snape?" Marlene looked at Sirius curiously, her doubt never fading.
"Even with all of that! How could you be completely sure that he wasn't just some lazy guard who wanted to take me in a corner and cop a feel?"
"Because that's my cousin's husband, Rodolphus Lestrange, all right! It's a damn good thing he's daft as a giant, otherwise we would've been done for." Marlene could see the stress Sirius got from even speaking about his family.
She glanced up at him apologetically. "Well, sorry. But that still doesn't explain why we're in the middle of freaking nowhere."
"Anytime someone apparates from Diagon Alley, your intended destination is recorded. I couldn't exactly take us back to headquarters, could I?"
"Alright, alright, I get it. You're right, I'm wrong." They walked along in silence for a little while, fussing with their clothes and squinting in the bright sun. "So where are we anyway?"
"Somewhere in the States, I think," he said, looking around as if there was something to see.
"And what on earth are we still doing here?"
"Well I don't know about you McKinnon, but I'm going to sit." Sirius plopped down suddenly, taking a patch of the tall grass down with him. He smiled cheekily up at Marlene, who stared down at him disapprovingly. "Now, I know you never want to relax," he said, making her roll her eyes, "but considering you're stuck here with me, you might as well enjoy it." Marlene sighed, but gave in against her better judgment and sat down next to Sirius, laying her jacket down so she wouldn't get her robes dirty.
"I could just apparate back on my own, you know." Sirius smirked and looked to his left.
"I'd love to believe you dearie, I really would. It's just, I'm one of the fortunate people to know how completely terrible you are at apparition. Go for it." As Marlene shook her hair back from her face and glared at Sirius, his smirk rose to a smile.
"Don't call me dearie," she muttered. "So how's Dorcas?" Marlene asked, her tone hoping to be casual.
"She's Dorcas," Sirius mumbled. "You know, just Dorcas." They didn't speak for a little while. Just watched the sun begin to set. The sky turned from purple to pink to red and to a dark blue before either spoke again. "How's Remus?" Sirius finally asked, breaking the silence. Marlene grimaced.
"How about we get going now? It's probably almost one in the morning in London." Neither of them moved.
"You know, no one would blame you if you wanted to have a night off, Mickey."
"Why, so I can end up like you?" Sirius looked at her and smirked again.
"I guess you're right. I know you're almost off undercover, but there's no way I am. I don't show up sober enough apparently," he said, sitting up and leaning forward on his knees bitterly.
"You know she's just trying to look out for you." Marlene sat up along with him. "She loves you." Sirius didn't answer Marlene, but stood up, as if he was trying to move away from the conversation. "Do you love her?"
"Yep," he answered curtly, reaching a hand down to Marlene. She took it and launched herself off the ground. "Okay, let's go."
Marlene pursed her lips, but held on tighter to Sirius' hand. "Let's go."
"James!" Remus yelled up the stairs. "Dorcas made stew!" He heard a door slam from upstairs, and pushed off the banister. "Thanks, Dorcas," he said, grabbing a bowl off the table.
"No problem," she said, wiping her hands off on the rag that hung off the stove handle. She leaned against it and wiped her forehead of her blonde curls. She tied it up quickly with a scrunchie, and sat at the small kitchen table in the Potters' new home in Godric's Hollow.
"So do you know when they're coming back?" Remus slurped some noodles from his spoon and wiped his mouth with a napkin.
"No," she answered, blowing on her soup. "I haven't seen him in god knows how long," she mumbled. "I just hope they're okay." She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.
"So how was training today?" James asked from the doorway.
"Not the greatest," Remus answered sulkily, putting his embarrassed head down.
"What did Meadowes kick your arse again?" James asked as Dorcas began snickering to herself.
"She did not kick my arse. It's not my fault she's almost six foot." Dorcas bit her lip as she tried not to laugh anymore.
"You're a werewolf, Remus!" she managed to get out before James began laughing uncontrollably.
"Very nice. Nice guys," he said sarcastically as James banged on the table and Dorcas rocked back and forth in her chair with laughter. Remus threw his spoon in his bowl, shoveling down the last of it before getting up to toss it in the sink.
"No Remus, we're joking!" Dorcas said, tugging on his shirt to try and get him back to the table.
"Yeah, c'mon mate, we know you'd dominate us if they ever threw in a surprise Charms exam." James winked at Remus who simply rolled his eyes.
"Well I'm sure we're going to encounter a snitch during an attack, so it's lucky we've got you James," Remus countered, turning on the faucet and scrubbing his dish quickly. Dorcas' eyes bulged, and she tilted her head forward in disbelief as James nodded in respect for Remus' wit.
"Nicely done, Moony," James said, smiling and bowing slightly.
"Are they back yet?" Lily's hair flew all over the place, and she wore only a large white shirt with a faded Puddlemere United emblem on it. It was clearly James'.
"Not yet, sweet heart," James said, running his hand over her hair and then letting it rest on her shoulder.
"Okay, well will someone wake me when they come back?"
"No Lil's, you've got to sleep. You have work tomorrow remember?" Lily ignored James and looked to Remus and Dorcas.
"Will one of you get me up?" Dorcas nodded immediately. "Thanks, Doe. I've got to get back to bed now." Lily's eyes glazed over, and she ducked out from under James' arm to head back upstairs.
"Lily, do you want some stew?" Dorcas asked quickly, holding a bowl towards her.
"No thank you. I think I'll just head up. I really could use some sleep." She smiled briefly, and James smiled as well, that having been the longest continuous thread of words Lily had put together in a week. After her mother died, Lily had been a bit disconnected from the world.
"You coming James?" He nodded back and Lily pat the door frame and gave a quick smile to the others before heading upstairs.
"So she hasn't eaten much?" Remus asked, raising an eyebrow as she disappeared from sight.
James shook his head no. "Not for the last day at least. She'll get better, though. She's just grieving right now." James looked down at the floor and ruffled his hair.
"It'll be okay mate," Remus said, patting James on the shoulder. "She's Lily. She'll get through it. Just know that we're here for you."
"Yep, thanks Rem." James ruffled his hair again. "See you tomorrow."
"Night," Remus said, shutting the door quietly behind him.
"Do you mind if I stay the night, James?" Dorcas asked, grabbing his bowl and putting hers in the sink with it.
"Sure, go ahead. The spare room's got a bed if you want."
"Thanks so much, James. I really appreciate it. I just haven't been able to sleep, you know, without him."
"I know, Dorcas," James said tiredly, heading out of the kitchen and heading up the stairs. "Me too." He flicked his head towards the stairwell, and Dorcas joined him on his way up.
"Hey, Lil's. How're you feeling?" James asked, tossing his shirt and trousers into the laundry bin before climbing under the sheets with her.
"I'm better," she answered after a small pause in which she crawled closer to him. Lily hooked her leg around his, sitting up on his lap, and he opened his eyes in surprise.
"What are you doing, Lily?" He rested his hands on the side of her thighs, trying to pull her back down to lay next to him. "We don't have to do this, you know. I don't want you to do anything you don't want to. I know how you're feeling." He stroked her legs softly, urging her to go back to sleep.
"You know, James, it's really quite astounding how after all these years you still don't know that not everything is about you." James smiled knowingly and grabbed Lily by the waist to pull her down over him.
"Let's sleep Lil," he whispered in her ear, squeezing her sides and kissing her on her lips quickly.
"No, James, can we sleep later?" Lily moaned, kissing James hastily.
"Lily, you need sleep, c'mon. We can do this when you're feeling better." James took her hands off of his neck and rolled over on his side.
"James." Lily ran her hands up and over his shoulders and splayed her hands over his chest. She began kissing his neck slowly, urging him to turn around and face her.
"Enough, Lily!" He turned around and sat up angrily, throwing the sheet off of himself. He turned to her and took her hands. "I know you're upset." Her eyes began to water and she pushed her hair out of her face as the tears began to fall. "But you can't ignore it like this. Not this way, okay? It's not going to help. I love you more than I can explain, and you know I would never say no to that," he said, making her chuckle through her quiet sobs, "but that is not something that can fix this, do you get that?" he asked, holding her by the side of her face in desperation.
She nodded in realization, but her body began shaking uncontrollably and she fell into James' arms. "It's okay," James said, letting himself sag into Lily, too. "I miss her, too." James pulled Lily down gently. She curled into him, and James wrapped his arms around her again. "It'll be okay, Lily. I promise."
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