Sirius sat silently beside the stairs, leaning against the sun-warmed stone wall. He watched as a group of students stepped outside from the Entrance Hall. He saw a blond, hazel-eyed girl break away from the group and walk a short way down the grassy slope. But no one saw him, for Padfoot had borrowed James’s invisibility cloak once again and he was covered by it now. The students who lingered on the stairs had no idea who sat next to them. They would no doubt have wanted to either ask him if James was doing anything on Saturday or if he could help them study. But Sirius wanted no distraction from what he was there to watch. He had snuck outside to watch Lia Walsh perform her Care of Magical Creatures practical. His girlfriend wanted a career working with magical animals and this, her final test, would determine the outcome of her dream. Sirius wanted to be there in her moment of triumph. Lia introduced herself to an old witch with scratched and scarred fingers before setting eyes on the subject of the practical: a unicorn. Lia smiled brightly and proceeded to feed and groom the fine, white creature. Sirius sighed with happiness as he saw how the unicorn reacted to Lia’s gentle touch, and grinned as she whispered sweet nothings in its ear. The creature stomped his hooves excitedly, but quieted down as Lia shushed him. If it was at all possible, the unicorn’s coat shined even more than it had previously. The old witch watched all this too, with wide eyes. She applauded when the girl had finished and promised to put in a good word for her at the Ministry. Sirius stood and waited as Lia went back inside with a smile that spread joy like the plague. Padfoot couldn’t help but notice the reddish orange strands that the sun cast into her hair, or the grace with which she moved. He crept up silently behind her and threw off the cloak before circling his arms about her waist. This surprised not only Lia, but the rest of the students in the Hall. But after a glance they all chuckled to themselves, they were used to such things from the two. Lia laughed and placed her hands over Sirius’s and looked over her shoulder to meet his dark eyes. He kissed her gently and playfully, entwining his fingers in hers. Hand in hand, Sirius and Lia strode up the Marble Staircase, going nowhere in particular. “I was so nervous!” she said immediately, still trying to get over the shock of her success. “Well, you didn’t look it,” Sirius said, which was an absolute lie, and Lia knew it. She threw him a side-long glance with bright eyes and deliberately bumped into him. They strolled along a wide and airy corridor rather slowly, their steps synchronized. With a laugh and a shrug Sirius plucked a flower from a window sill. He gave it a twirl before handing it to Lia. He was always so happy to be with her, and couldn’t even begin to describe what he felt when he looked at her. It was a rush, a sudden deluge of love and care and friendship and they both felt it. Both of them knew how uncontainable the emotion was, so they didn’t bothering trying to conceal it. Their love was free to roam through both their hearts and had a tendency to bring a smile even to the lips of the sternest of people. Lia smiled and breathed in the flower’s rich, luxurious scent before tucking its bright pink petals behind one ear. Sirius bent down the few inches between him and his girlfriend and smelled the flower for himself. His breath stirred Lia’s golden tresses, making her smile and stop walking. Her lips touched his softly and sweetly, neither paying attention to the fast approaching footsteps. Professor McGonagall appeared abruptly around the corner. “Get to class you two,” she said sternly, though her voice lacked most of the fierce Deputy Headmistress that boiled inside her. Lia blushed and Sirius grinned before they parted ways slowly and with regret. McGonagall rolled her eyes and shooed both along before returning to her own class. ************************************************************************************************************************ Sirius walked slowly down several corridors, past statues and tapestries, even though he was already quite late to Charms. Padfoot nearly ran into the wall as the hall took a sharp turn right. After reorienting himself, those lighthearted thoughts took hold again. Sirius almost always imagined life after Hogwarts, and a life with Lia. He already knew what they’re house would look like: a little cottage on a lot of land where the two could live a life of love. There were always flowers in this day-dream, roses and tulips and daisies. Lia loved flowers. Sirius was about to imagine their wedding day when he realized that he had strode right past the large wooden door to the Charms classroom. He shook his shaggy, dark head at his own carelessness and turned to enter the classroom. It was filled with dark mahogany desks with matching chairs, and each held a student, all of them seventeen. The tiny Professor Flitwick stood on top of a stack of books that rested heavily on a tall stool. Sirius remembered a time when Flitwick had toppled off the stool with a thump and the class had been dismissed almost and hour early. But Sirius banished these thoughts as he devised a way to enter the classroom without being detected. He leaned against the wall just outside the door and bit his lip in concentration. With a sigh, Padfoot remembered that he had left the Invisibility Cloak in a heap on the floor of the Entrance Hall. With a nod to himself, Sirius crouched down and slunk into the room. The tallest students tended to sit in the back because of a complaint from an over-achiever of average height. She had pretended not to be able to see-even when Flitwick added a book to the stack-so that she could sit in the dead center of the front row. Sirius never understood how this accomplished anything for the girl, but her snootiness was to his advantage now. He slid across the cold floor behind the tall students in the back row and snatched a look around the corner. Dark eyes focused, Padfoot saw Flitwick prepare to turn his back and climb down from his high perch. Sirius took this opportunity to hastily scoot forward a few rows prepare to clamber into a chair. Despite his attempts at invisibility, the Professor spotted Sirius immediately. The wizard had acquired the ability to get down from the stool rather quickly, and Sirius wasn’t quick enough this time. He deducted several Gryffindor points before shooing the boy into his usual seat beside James Potter. Prongs was, however, preoccupied, as he was staring bright-eyed at his one and only: Lily Evans. As Flitwick resumed his lecture on Charms N.E.W.T.S., Sirius eyed his friend cautiously; in those hazel eyes was a flicker of longing.

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