Author's note: just a quick note because this chapter deviates from canon and, as far as I know, it's the first time I do this blatantly. I know that the Order didn't know the marauders were animagi. I have deliberately chosen to change this for my fic but it won't impact the main storyline. The rest of the story will continue as close to canon as I can make it.
I got the message from the Order on Wednesday afternoon whilst I was working with Sirius on our strategy for the Ravenclaw game. The meeting was on Friday. He got excited about it, but I couldn’t really focus on quidditch very much after that, so we cut the training session short. We walked back to the Gryffindor Tower chatting about random stuff.
“It’s good to be back” I told Sirius as we walked into the common room.
“I missed you, pocket rocket” he said, grabbing me in a lose side-hug and punching my shoulder. He hadn’t done that in so long. “We still need to talk, though”
He’d been trying, but I kept avoiding it. I wasn’t ready. I was enjoying being friends and was putting off the awkward conversation for as long as I could.
“Aaaww, look at you two” James cooed from the sofa he was sharing with Lily. “I trust this means there is absolutely no doubt you’re going to smash Ravenclaw”
“Is quidditch all you think about?” asked Lily.
“No, I also think about you a lot” he replied. She smiled sweetly at him and I made a gagging noise. I felt Sirius’ ribs vibrate with his laughter.
“It’s our last quidditch game at Hogwarts. We are going out in style” I said, winking at James.
“That’s the spirit”
“What are you guys up to?” Sirius asked them. I noticed with some satisfaction he hadn’t let go of me yet.
“Lily was helping me with potions”
“Ugh, I forgot about the potions essay” he groaned.
“So did I” I said. Sirius made puppy eyes at Lily.
“Help us? Pretty please?”
“Fine, get your arses here” she sighed.
We spent a pleasant evening all four of us working together. In those little moments, when it was just us and our schoolwork, it was almost easy to forget there was a war and that all our lives were in danger.
I was very excited. Jo had informed us the meeting with the Order was today right after school and I couldn’t wait. I felt like joining the Order gave our lives purpose and meaning. We would be fighting against Lord Voldemort, helping save lives and make a difference. It was just right. We made our way to Dumbledore’s office together and found him waiting for us with McGonagall. We flooed. Jo explained they had been side-apparating with Dumbledore until then but we were too many even for the mighty headmaster.
When we arrived at the safe house, I was surprised to recognize some of the faces. Frank and Alice Longbottom were there, and so was Arthur Weasley. This wasn’t the biggest shock, however. What really stunned me was the reception Jocelyn got. Every single member, including the older and more senior ones, rushed to her and began congratulating her and checking that she was, in fact, in one piece. I don’t think it had really clicked until that moment just how much respect Jocelyn had earnt but I felt a fierce pride inside me and thought it was only right. It had nearly cost her her life. To my right, Padfoot was staring at her in awe, and I knew he was thinking along the same lines I was.
Once the reunion was over, Dumbledore introduced us as new members in training. Everyone introduced themselves in turn.
“Well, what can you lot do?” said the man who had introduced himself as Alastor Moody.
“Oh, I think you’ll like this, Alastor” Jocelyn said smiling wickedly. I noticed Sirius shot him a glance, Jo seemed very comfortable around him. Was he a bit jealous? “Boys, let the Order meet Prongs, Padfoot and Wormtail”
I stared at her in horror. What was she doing?
“Are you sure?” Sirius asked her. She nodded.
“You need to trust them, otherwise this won’t work” she said.
“Well… I trust her. If she trusts them, that’s good enough for me” Sirius said, looking at me. That was all I needed.
“On three! One, two, three…”
“What did you give these generation of kids, Minerva? We’ve got people turning into animagus left, right, and centre!” Moody said with delight.
“I… I…” McGonagall was staring at us. I felt quite smug at this.
“They did it for me” said Remus, stepping slightly forward.
“Remus, there’s no need” I said.
“Yes, there is James. If we’re going to fight together we need to trust each other” he held his head high and said “I am a werewolf. My friends know, and became animagi so they could accompany me during my transformations”
I understood that moment why the Order was a force to be reckoned with, and why they had a good chance against Voldemort. Not a single person looked at Remus with disgust, or fear. Instead, they looked at him and us with renewed respect.
“That is the level of loyal I aspire to be” said Frank Longbottom. There was a chorus of general agreement.
“Right, let’s get to work then. This will be most helpful, there are packs of werewolves that are rumoured to be friendly with Death Eaters…”
“They need training first, Alastor” Jocelyn cut him off and gave her a look that would have made anyone recoil. Not Moody, though.
“Yes, yes, training. Well, let’s get to it”
And so it was that at the end of March, three months before we graduated from Hogwarts, the marauders, my Lily and our honorary member Jocelyn were all officially part of the Order of Phoenix.
“Jocelyn” I heard him behind me and tensed. Sirius, who had been walking next to me, turned around immediately.
“Leave her alone, Rosier” he spat.
“I’m not talking to you, Black” I saw Christian had come with Regulus, probably to make sure Sirius would back off.
“What do you want Christian?” I asked.
“I want to talk to you” he said. Sirius shook his head.
“I’ll catch up, go ahead, Sirius. It’ll be fine” I said. He shot me an angry look.
“I don’t like this”
“It’s okay. Go on, please” I said. He took off without another look at them.
“What’s up Christian?” I asked him falling into step next to him. Reg had disappeared.
“I’m sorry about what I said the other day outside the Great Hall”
“It wasn’t nice” I said simply.
“I was angry. I shouldn’t have said it. I want you back”
“I… I don’t think so, Christian” we had stopped walking. He turned to look at me.
“We were good together, Jo. Give me another shot, please”
“I… I have been re-bonding with my friends, Christian. And with the Quidditch team. I hadn’t realized how much I missed them until now… I don’t think I can give that up again” I told him.
“Are you really going to let your friends dictate who you can and can’t date?” he asked angrily.
“It is my decision. I am choosing them over you. I’m sorry” I gave him a small smile and walked away.
Sirius was waiting for me outside the classroom for our next lesson. I was about to walk in when he grabbed my arm and pulled me to the side.
“We’re skipping class” he said, leading me away.
“What? Why? Where are we going?” I asked, confused.
“We need to talk. You’ve been avoiding me. You talked to Rosier, so I think the least you can do is talk to me, too” he was angry. This was dangerous.
“You can’t compare it, Sirius” I said when we finally stopped in an empty classroom.
“What did he want?”
“To get back together. I said no, obviously” I informed him. He smirked.
“I bet he didn’t like that!”
“Of course he didn’t” I shrugged.
“I want to apologise for… well… you know… the common room thing” he said looking uncomfortable.
“You were horrible to me” I said. “But I don’t want to think, talk or remember it. Never bring it up again. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen”
“I can’t pretend it didn’t happen, I was a dick”
“I really don’t want to talk about this, Sirius” I said.
“Well… what about the Hufflepuff game?”
“What about it?”
“Come on, don’t play dumb with me Jo. You know what I mean”
“We got carried away. It happens. It’s not a big deal, Sirius” I tried to keep my voice casual.
“Is that all it was?” his tone was off.
“I… is it not?”
“Maybe it’s not. Maybe I want to see what happens if we are open to it,” he said. He leaned closer to me and my breath caught. “I think you want me, Jo”
“Don’t get cocky with me, Sirius. Sure, I think you’re hot but so does half the female population of Hogwarts”
“Only half?” he smirked again and brushed his lips against mine for a brief second. I shivered.
“Stop playing games, Sirius!”
“It could be fun?” he tried again.
“I don’t think so, Sirius. There’s lots of other people we can go to for ‘fun’. Best friends, I only have one. And my mind is a mess at the moment, anyway, I’ve been caught up in the Christian thing, and the Order, and then almost dying and you guys joining. I don’t have space to consider this, us, fun, whatever you want to call it…”
“I’m not in a hurry”
“You’re my best friend”
“I can still be your best friend, that doesn’t have to change”
“I’d rather if nothing changed at all,” I told him. He looked at me for a while. I could almost see the thoughts running through his head. I prayed he’d agree with me, that our friendship was too valuable to throw away carelessly. I did not want to be his new toy. I couldn’t bear it when he got tired and threw me away.
“That sounds good to me, then,” he said. I didn’t miss the troubled look that crossed his features, but if I had to hurt his ego a little to save our friendship and my heart, so be it. He could take one rejection. He had to, for both our sakes.
Re-bonding with the quidditch team was the perfect excuse to speed up my re-joining my friends. After our little celebration in Hogsmeade, I felt it safe to start hanging out with them in public as before. Life was good, and back to normal, or as normal as it can be when you’re part of a secret evil-fighting organization. Easter break was starting in two days and, same as for Christmas, we hadn’t decided what to do. Things were getting very, very dire out there. Nobody felt safe anywhere, and Lord Voldemort was now actively campaigning to take over the Ministry of Magic.
“We could stay in school again” suggested Remus.
“How about we go to my parents’ villa?” I said.
“Are you serious?” James asked, gaping.
‘Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it’
“No, he is” Lily couldn’t resist. The joke was old as time, but we just couldn’t get over it. Sirius hated it. I giggled.
“So very funny, Red”
“Couldn’t help it” she giggled some more.
“Right, anyway. Yes. I mean it” I said. “I’ve been thinking, after we graduate your training will also be done and we’ll start going out on actual missions. Every single time we’re out on the field could be the last. I think we should have some time to just enjoy life”
“I think Jo is right” said Remus. “And there isn’t even a full moon over Easter, which almost never happens. We should go”
“And your parents are okay with this?” Peter asked.
“They are. They’ve been branded blood traitors and are going to America to hide for a while so they’re not going to be using it any time soon”
“Doesn’t that make you a target too?”
“No more than being in the Order does” I shrugged. “My parents aren’t good fighters, they are helping in other ways, like financially supporting the Order. They can do that from abroad”
“I think your villa sounds amazing, then” said Sirius. I beamed.
More students than ever before in the history of Hogwarts stayed at school for the holiday period. I was glad we had somewhere to go that felt relatively safe. Dumbledore had insisted on personally visiting and putting up some extra wards, despite my reminder that nobody knew my parents owned this house in a remote village in the southern coast of France. Chances of us getting attacked there were extremely slim.
We arrived at dusk, and two of our house elves showed people to their rooms. James and Lily were sharing, everyone else had their own. I walked around doing some checks and talked to the elves about dinner, then headed out and sat at the edge of the pool.
“Mind if I join you?” James said. I hadn’t even heard him approach.
“Not at all” he sat next to me.
“I want to ask you for help”
“You know you keep saying that after we graduate things are… well, they’re going to get dangerous for real” he was whispering. I had no idea where he was going with this, and I was curious.
“I’ve been thinking… Lily and I… well, I am so in love with her, Jo”
“I know” I smiled at him. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, I just… I keep thinking that if anything happened to her I don’t know what I would do. I want to spend the rest of my life with her, I want to protect her, and to make her happy”
“James, you already make her happy”
“You think so?”
“I know so”
“Okay, well, here’s the thing. I have been thinking that I want to propose to Lily”
“Holy shit” I looked at him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean that, it’s just… it’s quite the statement, James”
“I know. If things weren’t the way they are I would probably wait, we haven’t even been dating for a whole year, but… what if, you know?”
And I did know. I knew because I had been out there only once and it had already been a near-death experience.
“I think you should propose. And I think she’ll say yes”
“You’re not just saying that?”
“I know Lily, James. I know her better than anyone else. She knows how serious this is, she is the only muggle-born in our group. She loves you, and she’s going to want to do this” I took a deep breath and continued. “Alice, Lily and I used to spend a lot of time talking about finding the one that feels like fireworks. We call it finding our ‘epic’. Alice told me to tell Remus he was hers right before she died. Lily hasn’t told me, but she doesn’t need to. I know you are hers, James. You are it for Lily”
“Thank you” he said, taking my hands in his. “Thank you, Jo”
“Just make sure she makes me maid of honour and we’ll be square” I joked. He laughed.
“You know… I am definitely making Sirius my best man” he wiggled his eyebrows at me.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Don’t even try to pretend you don’t like him, Jo. I am not blind”
“Everybody likes Sirius” I said dismissively.
“What are you so afraid of?”
“You sound like Lily” I rolled my eyes at him.
“No, no, no, no. You don’t get to give me a big beautiful speech about epics and fireworks and then roll your eyes at me” he protested. “You need to tell him”
“I really don’t think so, James. You know how he is”
“Allergic to relationships” I shrugged. “I know Sirius, he’s a great friend, the best of the best, but… I can’t even tell you how crap of a boyfriend he is because he’s never even been one. You get what I’m saying?”
“You could be the one to change that” he said.
“Now I am sure you’ve been talking to Lily” I smiled and shook my head. “Don’t you worry about me, you, captain, have a proposal to prepare. Remember, it has to be epic” I winked at him and stood up, offering him a hand. He laughed hard at that.
“I know you’re a lot stronger than you look, Jo, but that’s just funny” he playfully slapped my hand away.
“Oh no, you did not!” I shouted, pushing him backwards as he tried to stand up.
“You wicked little devil!” and with that, we both ended up in the pool, clothes and all.
“You are having fun without us!” Remus was indignant as he ran out of the house followed closely by the other three.
“The disrespect!” shouted Peter.
“INCOMING!” Sirius sprinted and jumped in the pool, splashing everywhere. It wasn’t long before everyone else was laughing and dripping wet. ‘This is going to be a good vacation’ I thought.
We decided to go out and party with the locals the following night. Lily and I were hugely excited about this and spent a bit more time than we should have getting ready. The boys were annoyed when we finally announced we were ready to leave. We found a terrace that had music and great ambience. Sirius and James went inside to get drinks whilst the rest of us secured a large table.
Before long, we were all tipsy and laughing loudly and the absurd jokes we were coming up with. Eventually, we decided it was time to find a place with more of a club vibe and left. We followed the sound of music to a cool looking club. A discreet confundus charm got us past door security without any issues. Once inside, we made our way to the bar and got some more drinks.
Peter quickly disappeared after a nice looking girl who had been making eyes at him. James and Lily went dancing, and I stayed with Remus and Sirius.
“Hello boys” a pair of muggle girls approached us and batted their eyelashes at Remus and Sirius.
“Hi” Remus said. Sirius and I exchanged a curious look.
“What’s your name?” the taller of the girls had an American accent and long jet-black hair and she went straight for Remus.
“Remus. Nice to meet you”
Remus got to talking to this Silver girl and we discreetly moved to give them some privacy. This left me awkwardly standing next to Sirius and the other girl, who had introduced herself as Melissa. She was shamelessly flirting with Sirius but, to my surprise, he wasn’t really flirting back.
“So, Sirius, do you want to dance?” she asked at the same I said, “Let’s do shots”.
“Shots sound good” he said quickly.
“Okay, shots” Melissa glared at me but I ignored her and ordered. We got three tequilas.
“Right, one, two, three…” Sirius and I tapped our glass in perfect sycn and drank, eyes locked. I almost chocked on my tequila at the strong reaction my body had over this silly tradition. I mentally chastised myself, it’s not like we hadn’t done shots a million times before.
“You know, you could have told me you’re together” Melissa scoffed.
“We’re not together” I said quickly.
“Oh, what’s up then?”
“We are in the same sports team. We train together a lot, and drink together a lot. It’s just how it is” I was babbling. Why was I babbling and why on earth was basically telling this stranger that it was okay for her to crack on with Sirius? What was wrong with me?
“What sport do you play?” she asked turning her attention back to Sirius. I wanted to smack myself in the head.
“Water polo” he replied. I chuckled.
“Oooh” Melissa said. This girl wasn’t very smart. There was no way I could be a waterpolo player. Had she not seen my size?
“Anyway, I promised Jo I wouldn’t leave her alone tonight, and I believe she owes me a dance, so nice meeting you, Melissa” he said. Before I could protest, he grabbed my hand and led me to the dance floor.
“You didn’t have to do that” I said as soon as he stopped.
“I wanted to” he replied. We started dancing.
“I really wouldn’t have minded; I can handle myself alone in a club”
“I said I wanted to” he insisted.
“Okay” I muttered.
An hour later, James and Lily informed us they were going home, and we decided to join them. We quickly checked that both Peter and Remus, who was dancing and snogging this Silver girl (yay!), knew how to get back and left. When we got to the villa, James and Lily disappeared faster than the giant squid when McGonagall strolls by the lake (very fast, in case you’re wondering).
“I am hungry!” Sirius announced to no one in particular.
“You’re drunk” I said. “Come on” I walked to the kitchen and he followed. I sat on the counter, my legs dangling freely and pointed at the freezer.
“We’ve got ice cream in there”
“Do you not like it?”
“I said I was hungry, Jo. I am a six-foot athlete. I need real food” he protested. He did, however, open the freezer and toss me a tub of chocolate ice cream.
“Spoon, please” he sighed and tossed me one, too. “There’s leftovers from dinner in the oven” I offered as I dug into my ice cream.
“That sounds more like it”
We ate in comfortable silence for a while before he put away his plate and came to stand close to me.
“I would like some of that now” he said.
“Here” I pointed a spoonful at him. Instead of taking the spoon, he simply ate the ice cream I was offering from it.
“That is some seriously good ice-cream” he said, clearly impressed.
“You are correct. Want some more?” he nodded, so I fed him again. “Have you spoken to James?” I asked him.
“Sorry, you know sometimes I run away with my thoughts” I ate another spoonful of ice cream before continuing. “James spoke to me yesterday about Lily and I was wondering if you, being his other, less important best friend (he made an incredulous face at that that I ignored) have also been consulted on a delicate matter”
He grabbed the spoon I had been waving around during my speech and helped himself to some ice cream before replying.
“He may have” he said vaguely.
“Oh, come on” I protested. He offered me ice-cream. I leaned forward to eat it and lost my balance slightly. “Ooh” I shrieked.
“I got you” Sirius and his amazing arms (he had insane arms, like, I could just stare at them all day long) caught me with ease and put me back on the counter.
He didn’t move away. Why is he not moving away? Oh, Godric. ‘Please, Sirius, don’t kiss me. I don’t think I can take it’ I thought.
“You guys still up?” saved by the arrival of Peter and Remus! Go boys!
“Want ice-cream?” I offered, pretending the moment hadn’t happened.
“Yeah” they joined and we finished the entire tub.
Two weeks. We had spent two entire weeks in this villa and I hadn’t managed to make it happen. I knew Jo was avoiding it on purpose, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard. I was frustrated and starting to think I had lost my skills. I threw my pillow across the room angrily. We were leaving today after the best holiday I had ever had. It had been truly amazing. We’d been to the beach, played in the pool, gone clubbing a few times, eaten our weight in ice-cream and just had a good old time. It had been, just like Jo promised, a short break from the cruel reality we were facing back home.
I made my way to the kitchen and asked a house elf for coffee. It was rather early, so I didn’t think anyone would be awake. We weren’t leaving until the afternoon and we’d been up till the wee hours of the morning the night before. There were shots, drunken pool antics and a ‘Truth or Dare’ game that had ended with James and I competing over who could eat more chocolate in one sitting without throwing up.
I grabbed the mug the little elf offered and wandered outside on the wooden deck that surrounded the pool area. I sat down and put my feet in the water. I needed a plan. There was clearly something there with Jo, or so I thought. I had caught her glancing at me a few times, and she bit her lip a lot around me recently. I could be wrong, but I was choosing to believe these things meant something. She wanted to resist it, resist me. She’d told me she wasn’t ready to think about what any of the stuff we’d done when she was with Christian meant, but I couldn’t give up.
“Penny for your thoughts?”
“Hey, Red. Why you up so early?” she sat next to me.
“You seem to forget I don’t drink anywhere near as much as the rest of you lot do. I don’t have raging hangovers to contend with” she said.
“So, want to tell me or do I have to force it out of you?”
“It’s Jo. It is always Jo” I said.
“You know, I thought something was going to happen over the past two weeks. But nothing has, has it?”
“Nope. I mean, we’ve had a couple of moments but either we are interrupted by someone, or she finds a ridiculous excuse to break it”
“She told me what happened after the Hufflepuff game”
“She did?” I was pretty sure I resembled an ugly fish opening and closing my mouth in shock, but I was past caring. Lily was practically my sister now that she was with James.
“What do you mean and?”
“Stop teasing me, Red. I swear to Godric…”
“Okay, okay” she chuckled. “Let’s just say if it’d been a N.E.W.T. she’d given you an O”
I felt very smug at that, and grinned wickedly.
“She also thinks you’re a man-whore with an allergy to commitment. And she mentioned you did something horrible to her” Oh. Oh.
“Well, that is true. I spoke to her a couple of weeks ago, she said she didn’t know how she felt about me but that either way she wasn’t ready to even think about it”
“She said she doesn’t know how she feels?” I nodded. “And what do you think?” she asked me.
“I keep feeling like she wants something to happen but she’s trying hard to resist… this, whatever we have”
“She is” I felt both better and worse at the same time. One the one hand, I wasn’t going mad. Jo did like me. On the other, she had a very low opinion of me and was fighting against her own feelings. Brilliant.
“How do I fix this, Red?”
“You have to convince her she’s different” she said. “I can’t tell you how, because I don’t know what you did but also because it has to come from you. But I’d suggest you never, ever, speak to Fiorella again for starters. And that you grovel, hard. Have you apologized?”
“I haven’t even looked at the girl since like February! And yes, I have” I protested.
“Look, I know how you feel about Jo, and I know it’s genuine. But you have to show her. Jo is not going to risk it with you, she values your friendship too much to risk destroying it if you date and it doesn’t work”
“I really don’t have any ideas, Red. I mean, I broke my back, and every other bone in my body, for her. That didn’t do the trick, I’m not sure there’s a grander gesture”
“She was with James at the time. It doesn’t count”
“Are you suggesting I kamikaze towards potential death in order to convince Jo I want to be with her for real?” I entertained the idea for a moment, but Lily’s horrified expression told me she didn’t mean that.
“Absolutely not. What I mean is, what matters is what you do now. Like I said, staying away from girls is a good starting point”
“You could put in a good word for me” I suggested wiggling my eyebrows.
“I’ll see what I can do” she smiled at me.
“Thank you, Lily” I said.
“You can keep calling me Red” she surprised me by saying. “But don’t tell anyone I gave you permission”
As soon as we were back at Hogwarts, we had a meeting with the Order to catch up on what we had missed and to resume training. We had some somber news – two members of the Order were currently missing – but also some good ones, Moody had captured yet another Death Eater and he was already rotting in Azkaban. As my friends paired up with more senior members and started working on their training, Moody approached me.
“Jocelyn, a word” we moved away from the main group a little. I waited for him to start speaking again. “We need you on another field mission, are you up for it?”
“Excellent. Dumbledore wasn’t sure you’d feel ready so soon after Hyde Park but hey, this is a war isn’t it? No time to be feeling sorry for ourselves” I had to chuckle. Moody was even more hellbent on bringing Lord Voldemort down than I was.
“What’s the mission Alastor?”
“We’re going after Dolohov. I have a credible tip on his whereabouts”
“Who is going?”
“Just you and I. It’s a covert mission, should be quick: go in, grab him, out. He’ll be in Azkaban faster than he can say ‘crucio’”
“When are we leaving?”
“Tomorrow” I nodded and turned back to watch my friends train.
“You know, you are a formidable group. The world could use a lot more like you” Moody said before re-joining training and barking corrections to postures and spells.
I broke the news to the marauders and Lily later that night as we hung out in the boys’ room. They weren’t happy I was going, and I could tell Lily was worried, but they didn’t complain or beg me to stay. We were soldiers, fighting was what we did. That night, we stayed with them again. I curled up next to Sirius and closed my eyes.
“Jo, are you asleep?” he whispered after a little while.
“Mmm… maybe?” I said, sleepily.
“Sorry, just wanted to say something real quick”
“Come back in one piece tomorrow, please” I opened my eyes a little and looked at him. I nodded lightly to let him know I’d heard him. “Come back to me” he said it so softly that, later, I wouldn’t be able to tell if I had dreamt it.
Jocelyn was gone for almost a week. It was nerve wracking. We had no way of communicating with her or Moody and not knowing was torture. We tried to keep up appearances and went to class, ate and spent some time in the common room but it was hard work. The boys went to quidditch practice on Tuesday and Thursday and James told me Sirius got hit by the bludger so many times they had to turn their Thursday session into conditioning work instead. I couldn’t blame him. The longer Jo was gone the more terrifying the things my mind came up with were.
We still had training with the Order even though Jo and Moody were away. That they were on a mission didn’t mean there weren’t other things going on. We worked ourselves into the ground every time. I knew we were all thinking the same: we had to stick together and we couldn’t do that until we were allowed on the field.
“Do you think it’ll take much longer?” James asked me when we sat down on his bed together Friday afternoon.
“I have no idea. Jo didn’t really say how long she thought she’d be gone. I just assumed it’d be quick, you know? In and out kind of thing?”
“I know you’re worried. I’m worried too, but she’s with Moody. He’s the best auror we have” he reminded me.
“No one is invincible, James. Not even Moody” he hugged me tightly. It made me feel better immediately. Sirius walked into the room that moment.
“Oh, guys, come on have some decency!” he joked.
He nodded in our general direction and headed straight for his bed side table, where the map had been living since Jo left on her mission. I broke my heart to see how much Sirius cared about her, and how blind Jo was to it.
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” he said. After a little while, he informed us. “Nothing. I can’t find her”
“Hey, bad news travel fast. If anything had happened, I’m sure we would know” I told him. He ran a hand through his hair and went back to studying the map.
“You need to distract yourself, mate. This isn’t good for you” James said. I nodded.
“I can’t Prongs. I can’t think of anything else. I’m terrified she’ll come back in pieces or worse, that she won’t at all”
“You can’t be thinking about that. It is not healthy. You have barely eaten all week. You got knocked off your broom by a bludger, Padfoot. A bludger hasn’t even got close enough to graze you since Second Year” James pointed out.
“He’s right, Sirius. We need to do something, try to keep our minds off it” I said. “Maybe we can go fly around for a bit?”
At that, he seemed to perk up a little. “I may have an idea. Come on, it’s about time I showed you my little secret” he said cryptically.
James and I exchanged a confused look, but we had got what we wanted, so we followed Sirius out.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. A freaking flying motorcycle.
“I want to try! It’s my turn! Let me go!” I shouted. Padfoot laughed and landed in front of us. We’d picked up Moony and Wormtail along the way and they were standing with Lily watching the bike in awe.
“Alright, be careful if you break it I’ll kill you” he said.
“Yes, yes, I know. Now, get off!”
I jumped on it and soared. It was the coolest thing ever. As I flew around, careful to keep to the very edge of the grounds, I thought only Jo could think of the perfect present for Sirius. I wondered if she knew exactly what she was doing when she had given it to him. I wondered if she was conscious of it or if she hasn’t realized it yet. She was the only person (bar my glorious self) who really knew him. She could see his soul, his need to be loved but not smothered, his desire for freedom to do what he wanted and be who he wanted to be without being judged or hated for it like he had been by his family.
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