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  “Ripley, my love, my only, Goddess Divine, queen of Heaven and earth--” Sirius Black leaned over the overstuffed couches back in the Gryffindor Common Room, his grey eyes sparkling with mischief as he tried to charm his fellow student. 

 

“Save it, what d’ya want?” Ripley Todd lowered her book and gave him her attention. His gaze fell to the dust cover on the book and he arched a dark brow at the scantily clad female and bare chested Scottish warrior.

 

“You’re really reading that load of bollocks?”

 

“Feck off, I haven’t a line waiting to date me  like you do.” Ripley snapped the book shut and swung long, lean legs off the couch, rose. 

 

Sirius chose to ignore the stab at him and instead stated bluntly. “If you could cause a slight disruption during dinner I would be forever in your debt.”

 

She scowled at him. “Black, the amount you’re in debt to me already could reach the very top of Gringotts.” She maneuvered away from him and began toward the exit. 

 

Sirius dodged nimbly around the couch to block her from leaving. “It’s for a good reason.”

 

“Oh aye? It always is with you and your lot.” Ripley folded her arms, cocked her head to the side.

 

Sirius grinned rakishly. “You fancy me and my lot.”

 

“Aye, I’d fancy you leaving me and mine alone.”

 

“I can’t. Not with James head over heels for Evans.” Sirius changed his tactics suddenly, softened his intense gaze and leaned closer. “C’mon Rippy, it’s for love, you would do anything for that, wouldn’t you?”

 

She smiled a little, leaned in as well, dropped her brown eyes to the floor, and ever so subtly lifted them to his. “You think so?” She asked, voice breathy. 

 

Sirius had a moment where his mind shouted ‘trap’, but his body reacted to the eighteen year old in front of him. He moved a hair's breadth away from her mouth with his. “Of course.” His breath ghosted across full kissable lips as he moved even closer and waited for her to close. 

 

“Hmm,” Ripley traced a finger down his arm to his wrist, where she bent it back in one swift move that brought Sirius to his knees with a yelp and curse. “I don’t negotiate with terrorists.” She said with a wicked smirk. “But you’re cute. I’ll see if I feel up to it.”  She patted the top of his head and walked up to the female dorm. 

 

“Oh my Gods.” James Potter doubled over in the entry to the common room, his laughter echoing in the silence. 

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Mate, you should have seen your face,” James removed his glasses, wiped at his eyes. “Fuckin’ priceless.”

 

“I said shut up.” Sirius hurled a pillow at his best friend and flopped on the couch. “She’ll do it.” He lifted up her discarded book, thumbed through it and winced as a letter fell out. He checked the address briefly, tucked it into his robes as James strolled over.

 

“Think she can convince Evan’s to go to the Midwinter Ball with me?”

 

“I believe her words were ‘I don’t negotiate with terrorists’.”

 

James pondered for a moment, toying with a loose thread on his robes. “But I’m not you.”

 

“But you are after her best friend.” 

 

“Valid fact.”

0-0-0

Dinner hour dawned with Sirius hopeful that Ripley would come through. His sharp grey eyes searched for her along the Gryffindor’s table. He spotted Evan’s with her burnished hair and found Ripley across from her. He looked at the plate in front of her, she had barely touched what little she had put there, he frowned. She was a hearty eater usually, just as she was avid about fitness. She always joked it was to make up for how much she ate, but he knew from years before it was from being bullied for being overweight. 

James kicked him to bring his attention back to the present. “Now?”

 

“No, see if she comes through.” No sooner had the words left his mouth then he saw Ripley begin coughing. He paused, concern rising for her, until she looked his way, winked one bright brown eye. She pounded the table drawing the attention of several professors to her side and away from the view of the doors. 

 

“Go, go!” James hissed and shoved Sirius into the aisle. The two with Remus Lupin joining them in the corridor ducked into the shadows and withdrew the Marauders Map. “Now or never.” James whispered. 

 

0-0-0

“For Merlin's sake!” Lily Evans admonished Ripley as soon as they were back in their room. “Helping that-that--” She broke off with some sort of noise that had Ripley raising her brows, and lifting both her hands in a gesture of surrender. "Do you even know why?"

 

“I get it, I do--” began Ripley, but she was again interrupted by the red heads angry harrumph. “Y’know, I’m just gonna go get my book, and when I get back for the love of the Gods above, calm your shit. Please.” She left the room, took a moment at the top of the stairs to breathe a sigh of relief and rolled her neck around on her shoulders. She moved silently down the stone steps, her bare feet making no noise. 

 

“I can’t believe it worked!” 

 

Ripley paused at the last bend in the staircase at James’ exuberant shout. “Do you know what this means for Moony?”

 

“I know exactly what it means if we get caught,” there was Remus’ voice, full of logic, a hint of worry, but just as much excitement. 

 

Sirius suggested. “We should probably do something nice for Todd--considering she did assist us.”

 

“I’ll leave that to you.”

 

“Wrong kind of something nice.” Sirius rolled his eyes at James. 

 

James stared at him bewildered. “She’s bloody attractive, are you daft?”

 

Remus raised a hand as he sat in an armchair. “As the mutual party involved I can safely say that Ripley isn’t attracted to man whores, quote unquote.”

 

Sirius scowled at him. “In case you haven’t noticed, I've been in a bit of a dry spell since the middle of last year.”

 

“More like since summer,” quipped Lupin.

 

“It’s still summer.”

 

“It’s bloody September fourth!” James sputtered. Before an argument ensued Ripley took the chance and entered the room. “Rip.” He greeted her with a nod.

 

“James.” She answered coolly. 

 

“Ripley.” 

 

“Remus.” She returned his small smile with her own.

 

“Todd.” Sirius held out the book he knew she was after. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously. 

 

“Black.” She retrieved the book with a small flush at the way he grinned about the cover. “You’re welcome by the way.”

 

“You didn’t give me a chance to say thank you,” he shot back. She lifted a shoulder in a casual gesture. “Have a good night Todders.” 

 

“Don’t forget to turn in your slips for Hogsmeade tomorrow.” She advised the group and departed. 

 

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