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Falling To Pieces by RoxyRose

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 11
Word Count: 75,700
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature

Genres: Drama, Romance, Young Adult
Characters: Sirius, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC

First Published: 02/06/2010
Last Chapter: 05/04/2013
Last Updated: 05/04/2013

Summary:








...of course, boundaries never meant anything to Sirius Black.


Sirius/OC 
Sequel to Fall for Anything
Banner by HeavenLeigh@TDA



Chapter 5: I Will Bend Till I Break
[View Online]

Dear Deb,

Hey, you finally learnt how to pick up a quill and reply. I’m impressed.
Now you just need to learn to write down something that actually means
something rather than thinking you can fool me with your ‘school’s great
but the new chasers are shit’. Are you alright? I know the Sirius thing
must be awkward, tell me how it’s going. I want you to talk to me.

On a shittier note, I’m so, so sorry but me and Ro aren’t going to be able
to make the first Hogsmeade weekend. We’re in Tahiti at the moment
and I kind of got involved helping out at the hospital - Ro’s distracted by
surfing - and I can’t leave just like that. But next one, I promise.

Say hi to Oz and Londy (vomit) and Blakely and the others. Ro says hi
and sends his apologies that I wouldn’t let him send you a poisonous
toad.

I love you little sister,

Freddie.



“McKinnon!”


I could reasonably pretend I couldn’t hear the screaming, as the roaring wind whipped it past my ears in an instant. Realistically, if it were anyone else but Oz I probably wouldn’t have heard.


But I did.


McKinnon!”


I ignored it again and carried on speeding up the pitch, dodging the trailing bludgers that Londy and Blakely were sending my way. The wind made it difficult to keep on course and in control. It was so strong it had ripped the hair tie from my hair, which was now streaming back behind me.


I was at the goal posts, Simpson paused in his circling in front of the middle ring. I didn’t stop with my sprint, kept going. He stayed still, hovering steadily and ready for anything. He was always ready.


I kept going.


I don’t know why I was pulling such a stupid move. Obviously it wasn’t going to end well. I just needed something to take out my frustration on.


I kept going.


Simpson stayed put.


I saw the alert, focused look in his eyes change to one of alarm at the last possible second, too late for him to move aside. Too late for him to avoid me clattering head on into him.


“Fuck!”


We smashed backwards into the golden pole that the hoop was mounted on. Simpson’s back took most of the impact, but his head smacked back against it with a nasty clang whilst I piled into it face first.


I don’t know how we stayed airborne.


“Are you insane?” He groaned, gripping his broomstick in one hand and the hoop in the other to keep himself up.


“Ow.” I tested my face to see if it was broken. I don’t know if you can break your face but it certainly felt squashed.


“It was a genuine question.” He said, rolling his shoulders. They seemed to be moving ok. Less for me to feel guilty about.


“I scored.” I ignored his slightly offensive although not entirely uncalled for question. I gestured down at the Quaffle, now lying in the grass just beyond the right hand hoop.


“You fouled!”


“You weren’t supposed to sit there playing chicken!”


“I’m the keeper!”


McKinnon!” I definitely didn’t miss Oz’s roar that time round.


I flinched, “Yes, darling?”


“What in the name of hell do you think you were doing?” He drew up to a halt, with difficulty. In this wind it took a fair bit of effort to remain stationary.


“Practicing.” I replied, with what I felt was a winning smile.


“McKinnon -”


“Oz, I haven’t had a change to practice against Simpson for the past two weeks. It’s not doing me or him any good. I’m stuck teaching two idiots how to correctly perform a shoulder pass.” I glanced over his shoulder at the two new chasers, still bobbing uncertainly in the middle of the pitch.


“We practice as a team,” Oz glared, “And don’t call them idiots.”


I thought that was rich, since I’ve been called far worse from the mouth of Oscar Dunhill.


“I just wanted to try something fun.” I muttered, childishly.


“I object to that description.” Simpson still looked a little in pain.


“Man up.” I advised him.


“It’s alright for you, your suicide mission was nicely cushioned by me! You get away with a black eye and -”


“I have a black eye?!” I demanded, my hands flying to my face. Bloody hell. It did feel a little puffy. “Bollocks.”


“Oh sure, worry about your slight bruising. I definitely can’t feel my spine but -”


Oz grew tired of our exchange of injuries. “McKinnon, don’t try and kill any more team mates. And play nice. We’re going to perfect shoulder passes in this session, and nothing more.”


“How are we expecting to win against Slytherin in two bloody weeks when not one of the chasers has had the chance to practice the aim of the sodding game - which is to score goals, by the way.”


“Shoulder passes, please.”


“Oz -”


“Do it.”


Gritting my teeth, I attempted a defiant spin, dove down the retrieve the Quaffle and sped back to my new chums.


“So,” I announced, as they gawked, “Shoulder passes.”


I lobbed the ball over to one, who caught it heavily. It knocked him back a little. Oh come on! If they can’t comfortably catch a pass from me how the hell would they have coped with Freddie and Ro?!


“Are we gonna learn that?” The guy asked, still switching his gaze between me and the place I’d just dived. He was a fourth year, known to everyone but me as Ben Hackett. I called him Benjy.


“No.” I replied, being such a good little girl and following Oz’s orders, “We are going to learn to shoulder pass.”


“We’ve been doing that.” Benjy complained. My God Oz had recruited the biggest whiner in the house.


“Yes. And we’re going to keep doing until you either get it right or can’t feel your arms anymore.” I shrugged. That was how my practices had gone for the last four years - they needed to adjust to it.


“Even after all the laps?”


“Yes, Benjy.” I said, “Even after the laps.”


To be fair to them, Benjy Hackett and Samuel Gibbs (Sammy - they were like my pet bunnies - Benjy and Sammy) had actually done well at the laps. They were fit, fair enough. However, fitness can only get you so far. They might have been able to perform on the ground but they needed to be able to manoeuvre a broomstick and do it well. And it was pissing me off.


I didn’t want to be here coaching these two newbies. I wanted to be having fun. I didn’t get to have fun till they’d learnt the basics. Therefore I was stuck coaching. It was a vicious circle.


“Oh come on!” Benjy moaned, after a further ten minutes or so of a thrilling game of passing a ball between us. “We’ve got it now!”


“Nope.” I received a slightly improved pass from the much less irritating Sammy and lobbed it onto Benjy.


“What was wrong with that?!” He demanded, after lobbing the Quaffle on to Sam again.


“It’s weak.” I told him, bluntly. I wasn’t in the mood for niceties. “Look, you’re a strong kid. See how my passes go in a straight line? Yours should do that, but better. Because you’re stronger than me. But they don’t. So we’re stuck here till you do. Get it?”


“It’s straight!” He gritted his teeth with the effort.


“It’s not going to be straight till you start listening to what I’m telling you.” I calmly informed him.


I found myself looking wistfully over to where the others were involved in their separate activities. I found myself jealous of Londy and Blakely, engaged in a boisterous competition of who can almost kill the other before they end up dead themselves. Hell, I even found myself jealous of Simpson at the goalposts alone with his bewitched Quaffles, and Oz off tailing the training Snitch on his lonesome.


I’d always thought that Freddie, Ro and I were the lucky ones, never really having to spend time practicing on our own. I’d kind of felt bad for Oz and Simpson, having such lonely roles on the team.


Now I bloody envied them.


Even Sammy was getting annoyed now. “Just listen to her, Ben.” He had an abnormally high-pitched voice for someone of his build which I found quite frankly hilarious.


“I am.” Benjy glared.


“No you’re not.” I informed him, “Or else you’d have stopped throwing like a girl.”


You’re a girl.”


“Of course I am. Do you have a point?”


“No, ma’am.”


“I don’t know what you’re implying by that, Benjy, but I’m afraid I don’t take offence from people that throw like my granny.”


The rest of the session went something along those lines except probably steadily getting worse and worse. In fact I’d say that was about the highlight.


Oscar Dunhill.” I hissed, seizing him by the upper arm the moment my little Benjy and Sammy had scarpered and followed him into the changing rooms, “I will hurt you.” 


He shook me off as if it were only a minor irritation when I’d been gripping him with all my strength to add to the menacing threat. Twat.


“What d’you want me to do?” He shrugged and peeled off his t-shirt. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before but I couldn’t help staring at his body a little. I definitely saw it differently now I knew Londy had had her hands on it. I shuddered. I definitely had been slacking off in attaining information from Miss Londy Nara. I made a mental note to corner her in the dorm.


“Find me some decent chasers?” I suggested.


“They were the best, Little McKinnon. They’ve got the potential. They’re improving every session, you can see that. Sam especially -” Oz hung his sweaty t-shirt from a peg and settled himself on the bench to pull off his trainers.


“Alright, Sammy’s doing ok.” I paced up and down in front of him, “I’ll give you that. But Benjy Fucking Hackett? I can’t spend another minute coaching him, Oz, I can’t do it.”


“You have to.” He seemed to find tugging off his shoes a lot more important than my qualms.


“He is driving me insane.” I hissed. I’m fairly sure that at that moment, any normal person would have shrank away from me in terror. My eyes were bulging - one of them nicely blackened, lips were drawn back from my teeth and my hair was sticking up in every which direction from the wind. It was pretty.


But Oz didn’t bat an eyelid.


“He’s a pain in the arse. But no more than the rest of you.”


Excuse me?!” My voice was growing in pitch.


“Alright he’s a brat. But he’ll be good once we’ve straightened him out.” He shrugged again.


Shrugged.


I was angry. Very angry. Oz had selected these two as the best of the bunch and now he was leaving me to deal with them and not seeming the care in the slightest that they were shit.


“Why don’t you care?” I asked, “After all the shit you gave me - all of us. Getting us into fit shape to win. Now with these two you’re just ignoring the fact that they’re nowhere near as good as Freddie and Ro -”


“Deb I’m -”


“It’s like you don’t fucking care, Oz! It’s our last year - why would you slack off now? I thought the reason you were such a Quidditch fascist was because it meant so much to you but you obviously just -”


“I’m fucking scared, McKinnon. Ok?” Oz spoke over me with a cold glare.


I stopped. “What?”


“Of course I care, you fucking idiot. I’m scared that they were the best options we had, I’m scared they’re not going to be good enough and I’m scared we’re going to lose because of it. I’ve never had to worry before. But now…”


Oh.


I stood there feeling a little foolish, and very aware that this was the deepest any conversation with Oz had ever gotten.


“Why don’t you help me then?” I asked, in a slightly smaller voice.


“Because,” Oz rubbed a hand uncomfortably over the short bristles of his hair, “You’re the best we’ve got, like it or not. I can make them fast, I can make them strong, I can’t teach them your shit anywhere near as well as you can.”


I think I stopped breathing in shock. Oscar Dunhill paid me a compliment.


Hell has truly frozen over.


And shattered, by the sudden responsibility I had.


“What if… what if I can’t?” I said, realising in panic that if I couldn’t sort Benjy out… well, we’d have no hope.


“You have to.”


“But he’s a jerk.”


“Yep.”


“He doesn’t listen to a word I say. He’s -”


“You have to, Deb. You said it yourself, you know how important this is. For me, for you… Londy, Blakely, Simpson. It’s our last year. You can do this. I’m not asking you as your captain, I’m asking you as your friend.”


Bollocks.


I narrowed my eyes at him. “I can’t believe you just played the ‘friend’ card.”


“Yep.”


“Four years we’ve played together, and not once have you resorted to such low methods.”


“You’ll do it?” He wasn’t abashed. And that maniacal glint was back in his eye - the one that indicated that I was going to train so much I’d find it difficult to climb the stairs without collapsing each night. Wonderful.


I sighed. “Since you’re blackmailing me. Fine. I’ll try. But the pressure is going to kill me.”


“Worth it.”


“Sure it is, you psychopath, you.”


“You realise that everything that’s come out of your mouth is definitely more the sort of thing Londy usually barges in here spouting whenever she fancies perving over me.”


“Oh God. I feel sick. I’m leaving now.”


“Hey, send her in here, will you?”


“Seriously. I will vomit.”


“Hey, McKinnon,”


I turned around from where I’d fled to the doorway.


Oz stood in bare feet and his scruffy trackies, his trainers dangling by their laces from his hands. For once he looked… well, human. Not a Quidditch-programmed robot.


Normal.


“Thanks.” He said, clearly with difficulty.


“No problem, Captain.”




**



“It’s just pointless, I’m telling you. They’re absolutely hopeless.”


“Uh-huh.”


“They’ve got nothing on Freddie and Ro.”


“Uh-huh.”


“And now Oz’s told me it’s up to me to teach them. Can you believe it?”


“Uh-huh.”


I glanced sharply across the table. “Up the sympathy please, Quinn.”


Ray grinned before stabbing a forkful of chips. “You were repeating yourself again. Those three lines over and over and over and over and-”


“Alright. I get it. Smart arse. But it really is hopeless -”


“No it’s not.”


I could tell it was taking a lot of him to resist rolling his eyes but he knew that would just about cause me to flip my lid.


“You’re just stressed because you’re not used to having to play with new and… uh, less able players.” Ray said, barely seeming to even have to think about it between mouthfuls. As bloody usual, “And I’m guessing you’re taking out your anger about Freddie and Ro not being able to make Hogsmeade weekend out on the poor newbies.” He looked up with a smirk, as if to say ‘am I right?’.


Smug git.


I didn’t want to acknowledge it but I had to. Curiosity got the better of me. “How did you know that?” I huffed, grumpily.


“Because this morning when you told me to tell my Mum you’d be able to come for lunch on Saturday you practically spat at me.”


“Sorry.”


“So why can’t they come?”


I sighed. “Freddie’s being a do-gooder. Helping out at a hospital where, I suppose I’ll admit, his presence is needed more than it is here.”


“Generous of you.”


“I just… I know he needs to be there and he’s being amazing and I’m proud of him. I just… I just wanted to talk to him. I’m crap with letters. It’s not the same. I miss him. And I need his advice on this bloody Quidditch crap.”


“Course. Course it’s going to be different without him. But I don’t think you need him. This is a good thing, this opportunity to teach these newbies. It’s nothing to be scared of.”


“Oh sure. Only, if I fail, it has real consequences and it’s all my fault.” I paused, “Like Oz’s untimely death when he drowns himself when we lose.”


“So don’t fail.”


“You haven’t spoken to the tosser!” I said, vehemently, picturing Benjy’s moaning face, “There’s no way to get it through his thick skull -”


“There’s always a way.” Ray quirked an eyebrow, infuriatingly.


Eurgh. I wish he’d stop telling me what I knew was true but was trying firmly to ignore.


I just didn’t want this bloody responsibility to fall on me! There was a reason I wasn’t prefect, Head Girl, Quidditch Captain or anything else that vaguely resembled an authority role. I couldn’t handle it.


“What if I can’t do it?” I said, so quietly it could have been half to myself.


“You can. If you need help, get it.” Ray shrugged, before turning his head towards the Hufflepuff table where his friends were yelling to him, “Gotta go.”


“Oh, abandonment. Great.”


The only response I got was a flash of a grin before he picked up his plate of chips and wandered across the hall with it as if that were perfectly normal behaviour.


So now I was sat alone. Great. I peered down the table to where Londy, Oz, Blakely and Simpson were sat. I could shift past the group of fifth years between us and join them.


I lowered my eyes and then looked up through my eyelashes at the Gryffindor table. As I’d suspected, there was Lily with James and Sirius. It kind of got to me sometimes, if I thought back to last year how at most meal times it’d be the four of us. Now… now we barely sat together more than a couple of times a week. And when we did I could feel the stress clogging up my veins. Because stress does that. Or something.


Just as I thought things were getting better, as well. I mean, we’d been kind of almost normally talking. I’d apologised.


And he’d refused it.


Don’t, he’d said.


Well what in the name of Slughorn’s baggy Y-front’s was that supposed to mean?


I think that was the reason it was so stressful - because I just never knew where I stood. Since the beginning of the year I’d gone from being hated, to being ignored, to being ‘friends’, to being ignored again, to being maybe-a-little-bit ‘friends’ again, to being kind-of-slightly hated again, to being ignored again, to…


You get my drift. It could be any of the above, at any time. I couldn’t keep up with it. It didn’t seem to matter what I did or when it was, I had absolutely no idea whether I was going to be welcomed into the group with open arms (wishful thinking) or looked at like I was a squished flobberworm.


I think that was why I preferred it with Ray. I always knew where I was with him. He was always my buddy, always knew what to say, always knew how to irritate me if I needed my mind taking off something. It didn’t matter if I’d had the most stressful, exciting or boring day ever; when I’d sit down with Ray we’d go through some sort of a routine of him complaining about whatever he needed to complain about (nothing, really. Because things are just easy for him) and I’d attempt to give some sort of shoddy advice that I knew he’d politely ignore, before I’d complain about my (real) problems, and he’d tell me something useful.


Simple.


I liked simplicity.


I wasn’t so keen on not knowing if I was going to receive, at best, a cold smile, or at worst an instant death from Sirius’ murderous eyes.


I don’t think it was good for my health.


With a jolt I realised all at once that; a, I was staring at the three of them, and b, Lily was incredibly (not) subtly ordering me over there with frantic jerking of her head.


I narrowed my eyes and violently shook my head, to which her eyes widened creepily and her lips pressed into a thin line. I then shrugged and gave a helpless hand gesture and she gave up all pretences of subtlety and beckoned me over with a wave of both hands.


At this point I made the observation that just because an exchange between two friends on opposite sides of the room is silent, doesn’t mean it’s not going to attract attention.


Particularly when pulling the faces that Lily and I were.


With a heaved sigh I pushed aside my plate, hauled my bag up onto my shoulder and made my way across to them. I then faced the usual question of how I was supposed to act. See, ordinarily I’d have gone with the breezy, casual, act-like-nothing’s-wrong approach. But Lily had told me on more than one occasion that that sometimes didn’t go down so well. Depending on what sort of a mood precious little Sirius was in. So, what was I meant to do? Wait meekly until I was noticed? Go in waving a white flag? Bow?


I think I’d be more comfortable dining with a family of manic hippogriffs.


What I think was especially wonderful was how, as he was sitting on the opposite side of the table to where I was approaching, he looked up and noticed me. Obviously what followed was one of those painful situations where you know someone’s coming over but you can’t just stare at them until they arrive, and you’re faced with the question of when to greet them. Or not to.


Nightmare. Really.


But, of course, we did the courage-worthy and honourable thing and avoided each other’s eyes in a rather determined fashion.


Naturally.


“Hi,” I said, drawing up to the table behind James. I planted my hands on his shoulders just in case I needed to use him as a shield.


Nope. No reaction. It was going to be one of those days.


“Hey Deb,” The poor, delusional Head Boy himself seemed actually delighted to see me, “Where’ve you been hiding?”


Oh, way to point out the awkward there, Jimmy. Really. Nice.


Still, I wasn’t going to let this opportunity to complain pass me by.


“Quidditch,” I sighed, heavily, dropping into the seat besides him. It was fortunately opposite Lily so all I had to avoid was that diagonal area. Easy.


“Not going well?” James didn’t even try to hide his lack of sympathy. He was positively beaming.


“Like you care Mr Gryffindor,” I snagged one of his chips in defiance.


I care,” James immediately became defensive once I questioned his loyalty as a friend, “I completely care. I care more than any of these two…”


Well I didn’t doubt that. Lily couldn’t give a flying fuck about Quidditch - illustrated by the way she was idly arranging the peas on her plate into a flower pattern - and we all know just how much the other Dear at the table cared. He didn’t even care that I’d tried to apologise; why would he care that I was having an awful time at Quidditch.


“Ok, ok,” I assured James, in alarm, “Sure you care. Whatever. Just hard at the moment, that’s all. Nothing to worry about. We‘ll still beat your arses whenever it is we play you.” I added a silent prayer that we weren’t due to play them until we’d had sufficient time to practice (I.e. the millennia it appeared it was going to take Benjy to learn to shoulder pass).


“April,” James informed me. Trust him to have the Quidditch calendar memorised.


Thank God. Plenty of time. If I could ever muster up the patience to sort out Benjy’s womanly throw.


“Oh. Right. Good,” I said, not entirely sure if my faux-confidence came across so well in my voice.


“How’s the wasps fan?” A low, unexpected voice asked.


It instigated a number of reactions. James jumped and accidentally stuck his elbow in the butter disk, I gawked like a moron and Lily did such a large double-take that I was surprised she wasn’t suffering from whiplash.


“What?” Sirius asked to our startled response, in an annoyed tone.


Yeah, we overreacted. What can I say, we’re prone to it. It’s just that generally, Sirius would make up his mind about just how bad his feelings towards me were when I first approached the table. If they were appalling, he’d glare. If bad, he’d ignore me, and if he was going to exchange a few almost-civil words with me he’d acknowledge me. He wouldn’t then change his mind. It was almost a pattern. A pattern I just hadn’t worked out the rule for yet.


But this was a turn-out for the books. He was varying between degrees of dislike for me. In a matter of seconds he’d changed from ignoring me to asking a very almost friendly question.


Well, I couldn’t pretend I ever knew where I stood anymore.


“Nothing,” Lily stifled a proud smile. She stopped just short of patting him on the head, “What were you saying?”


He wasn’t a complete twit. He could tell that Lily and James were thrilled that he was appearing to be slightly nice to me (I was still wary) but decided to ignore it with gritted teeth.


“I just asked, how’s the wasps fan?” He said, in a rather strained voice.


Oh thanks, friends. Thanks for making this so wonderfully easy for us.


Fortunately after a moment’s stunned silence I found my tongue, “Oh, Sammy! Sammy. Yeah. Sammy’s… ok. Not bad. He’s… yeah. I like his hat.”


Hat?!


A couple of second passed in which Sirius stared, and James and Lily shook their heads in despair.


That meant it was bad.


If James Potter were ridiculing my social skills, the awkwardness must have been off the scale.


“His Wasp’s hat,” I added, in explanation.


Sirius, at least appeared to understand. It was a mark of how well he knew me that it didn’t strike him as that odd a statement to make. I wondered briefly why he ever put up with me.


“Who’s the other one?” Sirius asked, spinning his fork on his plate.


“Benjy Hackett,” I had to repress a shudder at saying his name.


“No idea who that is,”


“Remember the one at try-outs that threw like an absolute woman?”


“Oh God no.”


“Oh God yes. It’s hopeless,” I agreed, hearing Ray’s voice in my head informing me that that was the eleventh time I’d used those words in the past half hour.


Get out of my head, abandoner.


“I’d offer you some sort of motivational comment,” Sirius almost smirked. Yes - make a note of it. He very almost displayed some form of a smile. Sarcastic though it may have been. “But you’re right. Pretty hopeless.”


Funnily enough, the agreement didn’t make me feel any better. I think I preferred Ray’s never-ceasing, foolish optimism.


I gave a sarcastic smile right back, before realising what I was doing and hesitating. Oh God, now I was just smiling at him for an extended period of time. And he was still doing that not-quite-a-smile thing.


Argh.


Fortunately, Lily decided that she’d gone too long being uninvolved in the conversation and so piped up.


“Have you done the Charms essay yet, Deb?”


I jumped at this chance to break the awkward smiling situation and turned to Lily, not missing the curling of the corner of her mouth.


“What Charms essay?” I asked, still catching up to what she was saying.


“Thought not. It’s in on Monday. These idiots haven’t either. I’m nearly finished. Want to come up to the common room with us?”


Again, I was forced to remember this time last year, when me cramming in the last minute homework with them wouldn’t have even been questioned. Nowadays… well, this would be the first time I’d been to the Gryffindor common room all year.


If I did it.


“Uh…” I deliberated.


Lily rolled her eyes and mouthed something along the lines of ‘don’t be such a fucking coward’.


“It’s Thursday,” I observed.


“Yes.” Lily confirmed, not ceasing frowning at me.


“We’ve got ages.”


“Hogsmeade weekend,” Lily pointed out. “And don’t you have training tomorrow night?”


I hated it when she was right.


“And Potter and I have patrol tomorrow evening, don’t we?” She made James jump by directing her fierce stare at him. He nodded fervently, no doubt just relishing in the chance to agree with Lily about something. “So I wouldn’t be able to help you,” She shrugged and looked expectantly for me to agree.


“Oh. Well -” I don’t really know why I was searching for an excuse. Was it that big a deal for me to just be in the same common room as him? I was doing alright sitting here at the table, wasn’t I?


But I couldn’t get rid of a vivid image from my head of a previous awkward homework session. At another point in our odd relationship where we weren’t sure where we stood. Although, back then looked a lot brighter than right now.


“Oh for the love of God,” Lily rolled her eyes again. “Just do it.”


“If she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t want to,” Sirius said, shortly. “Don’t force her.”


For the some reason, the way that he wasn’t looking at me made me a little irritated.


“No,” I announced, “I’ll come.”


“Shocker,” Lily muttered under her breath.


I glared at her, but Sirius didn’t appear to hear. He and James were getting up ahead of us to walk up to the common room.


“This is interesting,” Lily commented, brightly. Also unnecessarily loudly, considering that James and Sirius were only a few paces ahead.


I answered in a lower tone, “You are shameless, Evans.”


“I like to think of it as ‘genius’. And ‘amazing friend’. That sort of thing,”


“Don’t you dare try anything funny,” I warned her, suddenly apprehensive.


“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” She widened her eyes, innocently.


“Course you don’t, Miss Let’s-shut-them-up-in-the-library-alone. James hasn’t got the brains for something like that. It had your name written all over it,”


She merely chucked to herself.


“Please don’t,” I said, in all seriousness, “Please. Can’t you see how difficult just ‘friends’ is? It’s not going to happen like it is in your fantasy ‘happily ever after’ world.”


“And why do you think just ‘friends’ isn’t working?”


I swallowed, “Not happening, Lily.”


She sighed, “Well, let me know when it does.”


Before I could contradict her, the boys stopped and Sirius was shunted towards us by a jab in the back from James. He turned to glare at James who remained looking extremely pleased with himself.


I glanced sideways at Lily. She seemed content enough but gave a tiny shrug. Oh God. Evidently this was James’ version of a ‘plan’. I didn’t have high hopes for it.


When no one said anything I sighed. “James?”


He gave up on Sirius - whose lips were set in a thin line - going along with his master plan and explained himself.


“We were talking,” He gestured between Sirius and himself, “About your Quidditch troubles.”


“Right…” I said, warily.


“And Padfoot here had the wonderful idea -” He was cut off by a swift kick in the ankles and hastily corrected himself, “- Alright, I had the idea. That maybe the reason you’re finding it hard is because you’ve only ever played with your brother and Wilson. So, to give you an idea of how to get used to playing with different people…”


I suddenly knew exactly where he was going with it.


“I’ve had a new partner every year and we’ve got by fine.” 


Sirius had said it to me that night in the Astronomy tower. When we were watching the try-outs in the first place.


“… I thought maybe you could use some help.” James finished.


“From?” I asked, in a tight voice. Even though I blatantly knew. Still, I could hope.


“Guess,” Sirius supplied, dryly.


Of course.


“Yes, what a wonderful idea, James,” Lily smirked, smugly. “Sirius, if I am correctly informed, has played with a different partner every year. Each of whom he’s had to train up. Isn’t that just so convenient? Having a friend who can be of so much help?”


I didn’t like the stress she put on a certain word there.


“Mmm-hmm.” I narrowed my eyes, “Wonderful.”


“Great. So that’s all sorted, then.” James raised an eyebrow at Lily that clearly said ‘I hope you took note of my master plan and now want to have my babies’.


“Um, James? A word?” I said, through gritted teeth.


Lily, still smiling smugly, linked an arm through Sirius’ and swiftly lead him ahead of us. I could tell by how stiff and straight his back was that he wasn’t thrilled about the arrangement. Surprise, surprise.


I glanced up at James to see him grinning broadly.


“You’re welcome,” He said, with a flamboyant hand gesture.


I punched him in the ribs.


Ow! Debbie!”


“What do you think you’re doing, Potter?” I demanded in a hushed tone, even though Lily had been very thorough in marching Sirius away. “You ought to be thrilled that I’m doing shit at Quidditch, Mr Rival-Team-Captain. Not offering to help.”


“I have my reasons,” He waggled his eyebrows.


“Oh, I’m sure you do,” I assured him. Did I mention that they were the most transparent reasons ever? “Reason one - the desire to get into my best mate’s good books by complying with her stupid idea of throwing the two of us together. Reason two - it’s fairly certain that this whole pathetic plan isn’t going to work in the slightest and it’s going to make my Quidditch situation even worse… and then, oh, look who comes out on top -”


“Deb,” James stopped my rant and I noticed that he was actually looked a little offended. “You really think I would do that?”


“I know you,” I pointed out, “Quidditch comes first.”


“No,” He shook his head. “Friends come first. Quidditch comes a close second, I won’t lie, but friends… friends always come first.”


I stared at him for a second. “But you’re almost as much as a Quidditch Freak as Oz…”


And hadn’t Oz revealed to me just hours ago that he wasn’t such an emotionless robot as I suspected? Oh wonderful, my brain was disagreeing with me again after letting me jump to conclusions. Even Oz’s reasons for wanting to win weren’t entirely selfish. Sure he wanted it for himself, but he wanted it for us too. He’d said himself, how much it meant to him, to me, to Londy, Blakely and Simpson.


Bloody hell. Two Quidditch robots had completely turned my view of their priorities around in one day.


“Friends first,” James repeated, throwing an arm around my shoulders, “I care slightly more about you two morons than getting one over on you in Quidditch. Slightly.”


“And Lily?” I added, shrewdly.


“And Lily,” He confirmed, with a smile, “Sure. She’s a friend too…”


I raised my eyebrows and he just laughed and hitched his glasses up his nose.


I felt a rush of affection for James. He may act like the sort of prat that was only interested in Quidditch or provoking a laugh, but it was obvious, now I looked back. It had always been friends first for him. Fiercely so.


He, like Lily, only wanted the best for us.


Alright, they both were stubbornly refusing to see that it wasn’t going to happen.


Alright, they were using the most uncomfortable methods ever.


Alright, they were meddling.


But they were doing it for good reasons.


And, hell, James was allowing a member of his team to, basically, help coach mine. That was a huge deal to him.


“Thank you,” I slung my arm around his waist as we climbed the stairs to their common room, “You big prat.”


“Just do the right thing, Deb,” He said, unnaturally seriously, “I hate seeing you like this. Both of you.”


I swallowed, “We’re trying. Well. I am.”


“You’re trying to ignore everything, that’s what you’re doing. Trying to pretend it all never happened.”


“Yeah. So?” What else were we supposed to do?! I’d exhausted Ray’s ‘options’. Run away - I’d tried and failed that. Fix it - it was obvious to everyone that that we’d not made a great start to that. That only left the option of getting over it. That’s what we were doing.


“You really think that’s going to work?”


I shrugged, chewing my lip, “Sometimes. I don’t know. It has to. There’s nothing else left.”


I meant there was nothing else to do. He took it differently.


“There is. Or it wouldn’t be hurting.” He said, simply.


I glanced sharply up at him. “I never said it was hurting. I’m fine.”


“I didn't say... I know you didn't.”


I sighed, “Look, we’re fine. See, we’re about to do homework together. Just like normal. Are you happy?”


“Only if you are,” He raised his eyebrows with a smirk. His actual words were nice, but his tone was challenging. I didn’t know what he wanted from me.


“I am.” I lifted my chin.


“Sure. Fine.” James looked straight ahead, “Just seems like you trying to skip some stages of ‘getting over it’. It doesn’t work like that. Just like a dive…” Trust him to make a Quidditch reference, “… if you don’t make sure you do everything right as you go along, you’ll end up crashing.”


“It’s easier to know if you’re doing it all right in a dive,” I said, half to myself.


“Nah,” James shook his head, “Just like you can feel it where you’ve gone wrong in a dive. You can feel that when it comes to this too. I know you can.”


I wanted to disagree.


The annoying thing was that I couldn’t.




**




Straighter, Benjy!” I roared above the wind for the umpteenth time in two hours. I lobbed the ball back at him and looped around him, drawing to a halt just behind him.


“I’m trying.” He moaned, catching the Quaffle easily. Great. He could do that but he still couldn’t bloody shoulder pass. So infuriating.


“Here.” I roughly yanked his arm up to the correct height. “Don’t lower your elbow. Don’t relax your wrist. And, for the love of Merlin, follow it through.”


“I’m doing that.”


“Then why are we still doing shoulder passes after two hours n the wind?” I yelled hoarsely as I swooped back to my place further across the pitch.


“Because you’re a huge bitch!” Benjy yelled back.


“Well you’re a little bitch, Benjy!” I called, unperturbed, “How does that feel?”


“Little McKinnon,” Oz approached me from nowhere, “We’re calling it a day. There’s no point carrying on in this. You can’t even throw straight, let alone Hackett…”


I half-expected Benjy to pipe up with a whiny ‘I can too!’. But he didn’t he was slightly in awe (or terrified) of Oz. I remembered well how that felt.


Half of me was so exhausted from repeating myself over and over that I was relieved we were finishing. The other half was so frustrated that Benjy hadn’t got it that I wanted to keep the twat out here until he did.


Exhaustion won.


“Thank God.” I muttered, and dived for the changing rooms, leaving Oz to round the others up.


When I reached shelter from the gale-force winds, and warmth, even that irritated me. I threw my broom, gloves and jacket to the floor, kicked my shoes to the corner and struggled out of my many layers. The weather was definitely taking a turn for the worse with this wind. Summer seemed way behind us.


The hot shower was bliss. There’s nothing like it, honestly. A hot, powerful shower after a hard training session… it’s just heaven.


“Someone’s in a mood,” Londy’s voice echoed from the next cubicle as she arrived. She sounded annoyingly perky. Well she would. She got to mess around with Blakely all session, like usual. I was probably that perky last year when I got to mess around with Freddie and Ro.


“You would be too,” I told her, tugging my hands through my knotty hair.


“I won’t deny that,” She giggled, “But I’m not the one Oz has made in charge of them. He doesn’t credit me with that much patience.”


“When have I ever given him the impression that I’ve got that much patience?”


“He trusts you to do it right,” Londy said, “We all do.”


My stomach clenched uncomfortably. Do it right? By the Slytherin match in what… two weeks? It didn’t look that way.


“You have to do it,” Londy carried on, “Or he will kill himself. No pressure or anything.”


“Great, I’ll bear it in mind. Couldn’t allow something to come between you and your lover.”


“Damn straight.” She called, jauntily.


“How’s that going?” I asked. It was still weird. Londy and Oz. Eurgh. Strange. No matter how often I saw them hand in hand or… face on face… I couldn’t get used to it.


There was a slight pause.


“How many times have we argued since we’ve been back at school?” She asked.


I thought it was a bit of a weird question. I was ready to answer back with a rough estimate of ‘at least twice a week’, but when I came to think of it…


“I don’t know,” I realised, “Have you? At all?”


“I don’t know,” She sounded genuinely concerned, “I don’t… I don’t think we have.”


“Well that’s… Londy, generally that’s seen as a good thing.”


“But we always fight. It’s what we do. I didn’t notice so much over the summer that we hadn’t but now, being back here… it’s strange.” She said, in a bewildered voice.


I found myself in the position of ‘comforter’. This was unusual. Especially seeing as I was comforting my mate that she shouldn’t worry that she hadn’t yet argued with her boyfriend.


“Well, you’re not bitter enemies anymore, lovely,” I reasoned, “Things are bound to change,”


That rang a bell. Things will be different this year, Ray had said at the beginning of the year. Not just for me, it seemed.


“But that’s why we… you know,” Typical Londy wasn’t comfortable enough with saying anything remotely romantic, “It all started with the fighting. What if, without that, we‘re not…”


“Don’t be stupid,” I said, “You and Oz are just… it’s just so obvious, now it’s happened. The sort of thing you didn’t see coming but then when it did… it’s right. You know?”


“Was that what it was like with you and Sirius?”


That threw me. There was a full ten seconds pause as I turned the shower off, pulled my towel from the door and wrapped it around me.


“No,” I said, “No. We’re nothing like you and Oz. You two are… we… we’re…”


“You mean everyone saw it coming with you two?”


No! Not that bit. The… we weren’t right. Obviously. But you two are. You don’t have to worry about ending up like us,” I padded my way bare-foot back into the changing rooms.


Apparently Londy didn’t think it was time to end the conversation.


“Everyone else think’s you two were right, you know. Think you are right. It’s just you two that don’t see it.”


“What are you talking about?” I scrambled through my bag for some clean clothes, “You hate him. I think your precise words were that I was going to ‘regret being friends with him again’.”


“I’m of a mixed opinion,” She grinned, finally sounding a little more like the Londy I knew and loved rather than the one asking me (of all people) for advice on her love life. “As your friend, it was my duty to hate him for being a prick. But you can’t ignore what’s right.”


“And what’s that?”


Londy heaved a sigh, as if I were particularly thick. “That he’s sorry. That you’re sorry. That you’re both just burying your heads in the sand because you’re too bloody pathetic to be the one to initiate it.”


“Initiate it? Initiate what?”


“My God, denial is irritating.” Londy turned her back on me to dress, “All I’m hoping is that he’s going to man up and do it tonight.”


“Tonight?”


“Oh yeah,” She grinned wickedly over her shoulder, “Did I not mention that he’s outside right now?”


“What… I…” I pushed open the door a crack, still holding my towel around me, and peered out towards the stands. Sure enough, there he was. Sitting about halfway up with his hood up. I could only tell hit was him by the way he sat and, yes, that bloody hair. “Londy!” I hissed, snapping the door shut again.


“I thought you knew!” She said, innocently, “He’s been watching practically the whole time.”


What?”


“Go see your man, McKinnon,” She advised.


My man, indeed.


I didn’t dignify her dig with a response. Just hurried to dress, stuff my things into a bag and… what, go and speak to him? Why was he here?


He couldn’t be, as Londy was suggesting, be here to ‘initiate’ anything. She could say that all she wanted, her and anyone else that seemed to have an opinion about us.


But I should know, shouldn’t I? I was the one of the two in question! If anyone knew how things were, it was me. And I knew that things weren’t like that.


They couldn’t be. Not when it was like this.


This wasn’t even hate. Hate, there could have been some sort of hope. Like and Londy-Oz sort of hope. Hadn’t they supposedly hated one another? And now look at them. Hate, I would have maybe been ok with. I almost envied the days I’d thought he hated me.


This was worse. It wasn’t so emotional as hate. It was just that awkward stage between dislike and friends. Surely there was no mistaking that for anything romantic. It wasn’t possible.


And I wasn’t stupid enough to think it was anything more. I didn’t even hope that.


Obviously.


The wind was strong when I climbed the steps to where he was sitting. So strong that it was making my damp hair flap around extremely inconveniently.


I was so curious about why he was there that I didn’t even stress much as I approached him. Much.


“Hi.” I said, sitting a safe distance away. Two seats. Two seats is a safe distance, right? And I was on the row in front of him, too. No chance of him thinking I was being all expectant or over-friendly or… Look, two seats was enough, ok?


“Hi.”


Ok, I’d been hoping for a little more explanation than that.


“What’re you doing here?” The bite of the icy wind made me a little more forth-coming than I otherwise would have been. I just wanted to get back inside.


“I was sent here,” He said, “By James.”


Ah. Of course. The master-plan.


Since when do you do anything James tells you? I wanted to ask. But stopped myself.


“So. Apparently I’m here to help.” He shrugged.


“You’ve been here the whole time?” I asked, partly astonished that anyone would sit through this horrendous wind for two hours and partly mortified that he would almost certainly seen me screeching in a very Londy-like manner.


He definitely knew that. Which is why he smirked and said, “My favourite part was where you threatened to disembowel the girly-thrower one if his next pass didn’t reach you. He was literally on the verge of tears.”


“Shut up,” I scowled, as if this would take emphasis from my burning cheeks, “Benjy does not cry.”


“He wanted to.”


“I wanted to. Do you know how many hours in the past few weeks I’ve spent drilling shoulder passes? Because I’ve lost fucking count.”


“Do you want my help or not?”


For some reason, with those words I realised that we weren’t just two friends squabbling over Quidditch. Which mean… wait. 


That meant that… had he just been smirking?


If I wasn’t mistaken, that meant that we’d achieved another friendly, civilised (ish) conversation. Unfortunately all of them thus far had revolved around Quidditch.


It should not be this difficult.


“I never asked for it, did I?” I shrugged, wearily, “And you never volunteered it. Surely we could just tell James we’ve had a nice little chat, let him feel happy and be done with it.”


He seemed to consider that for a moment with raised eyebrows but other than that, expressionless. “Be done with it.” He repeated.


When he said it, it suddenly sounded very final. All I’d meant was be done with James’ ‘plan’. Not be done with… well, us. Our feeble attempt to be friends.


Merlin, he was touchy.


“I meant -” I was about to correct him.


“If that’s what you want.” He said, in an annoyingly detached manner.


“If that’s what you want,” I retorted, using my usual technique of avoiding the pressure.

Really, I wasn’t quite sure what we were talking about.


He let out a very brief laugh and replied with an air of patience, “No. James is my best mate. And he wants me to do this for you. So, if you’re alright with it, I will.”


For James. Sure.


“’Maybe I don’t give a shit about Lily or James‘,” I mimicked his exact words, used previously on at least two occasions.


He looked up, his head slightly on one side. “For me, then.”


Oh God. It was that look again. Not The Look. This was that New Look. The guilt-inducing one. The one that made me feel bad about everything and want to do anything to make him smile again and -


NO!


I would not give in to this bloody New Look. One was enough. I couldn’t let him affect me with another, that really was pathetic.


“Well,” I said, snapping out of it, “If I let you do this, you have to let me do something.”


He looked momentarily surprised, before giving a lop-sided smile, “Well, that depends what it is, doesn’t it?”


I grinned, smugly, “You have to let me cut your hair.”


He blinked, barked a laugh and grinned, “Why exactly would I allow that?”


“For me,” I mimicked him again.


He accepted that with a smirk and a nod of the head, but wasn’t giving in easily, “Why would you want to cut my hair? Surely it shouldn’t bother you either way? You don’t exactly have to sit there staring at me, day-to-day, do you?”


Balls.


Fortunately I had a counter-argument. “We’re meant to be friends. Unfortunately I have to look in your direction on occasion. And if you’re going to be helping me with this Quidditch crap…” I shrugged.


He leant forward with his forearms resting on the chair in front, the one two seats away from where I was sat cross-legged, facing him.


“So.” He considered, “In exchange for my invaluable Quidditch advice, you want to cut my hair.”


“That’s about it,” I agreed.


“I’m failing to see where I benefit from this.”


“You’re the one that wants to do this ‘helping’ thing, you said for yourself. And you get the added advantage of no longer looking like a long-haired ponce.” I reasoned. Then I wondered whether we were at the stage of friendship where insults were allowable or not. Balls.


Fortunately a slow smile grew on his face, “Well with that argument, I’d be a fool to refuse,”


“Exactly.” I was doing that thing where I spoke without remotely considering what was coming out or where the conversation was headed.


There was a short pause.


“Can you even cut hair?” He asked, sounding the tiniest bit apprehensive.


Like I’d ever tried.


“I don’t feel that that information is relevant to this deal,” I said, smoothly.


“That’s reassuring,” He shook his head, and stuck out his hand. “Fine. Whatever. Haircut for Quidditch advice. Deal. God forbid I should look a ‘long-haired ponce’.”


“Deal. You won’t regret it,” I took his hand and we shook on it. I idly noticed that this was the second deal sealed with a hand shake this term. I hoped that this would end up more definite than the ‘friends’ deal which, although going fabulously right now, hadn’t been the most consistent deal in the world. “Well. That’s nice and official,” I grinned.


“You’ve never cut anyone’s hair in your life, have you?” He said, tolerantly.


“Not once,” I said, brightly, “I was thinking a severing charm. Or maybe a shrinking solution. Probably not safe that close to your brain though. Hmm. I’ll work on some ideas…”


“Can’t wait.” To his credit, he managed not to sound entirely terrified at the prospect. He stood up, “Do you want to go back up to school? You’re cold.”


I realised that I was shivering. Odd how I hadn’t noticed.


“Oh. Right. Yeah.” I hauled my bag up onto my shoulder and made my way to the end of the row. Then, just as I was about to make my way down the steps, the weight was taken from my shoulders.


I spun around, “What are you doing?”


Sirius raised an eyebrow, “Holding your bag.”


“Why?” I hadn’t asked him to. And him carrying my bag, wasn’t that a bit… coupley?


He looked at me like I was a little on the slow side, “Because it’s heavy.”


“I’m fine - ” I began to say, but he interrupted me and walked down the steps ahead of me.


“Dee, I’m carrying your bag for you. Don’t read into it. Don’t make this weird again just as it’s getting better.”


I gawked at his departing back.


Don’t make this weird? Had he not just done exactly that with that sodding comment?


I hurried to catch up, still frantically searching for a casual, flippant comeback even though the acceptable time to say anything had passed.


Think, think…


Why were there no words in my head when I needed them?


Anything would do!


Why did he have to point out the weirdness? Because he was right - things had been better. Far better than I would have dared hope, even yesterday. I’d managed to forget the awkwardness for a whole conversation, words, smiles, jokes and all. That was an achievement.


Wow.


But now…


Don’t bloody read into it? Oh, he presumed I’d read into it, did he?


Because you did, my brain reminded me.


Yeah. Well. So?


Eurgh.


After about seventy-five years in a mutual silence, with me internally ranting to myself, Sirius decided it was time to ‘help’.


“So, about the newbies…” He said, as we made our way up the hill to the castle. For some reason, his voice calmed down my inner anxiety attack and I could be reasonably normal again.


“We’re doomed, aren’t we?” I said, miserably, “Just admit it. We’re going to flattened by Slytherin and Oz is going to kill himself and/or me and it’ll all be my fault.”


Reasonably normal, I said.


Sirius chose to ignore that. “Wasps Guy is good. Just a little… bored. Because he can’t progress until Girly Thrower has. But honestly, he’s good.”


“And Benjy?” I asked. He looked blank so I corrected myself, “Girly Thrower?”


“Girly Thrower…” Sirius hesitated, “He doesn’t seem to like you very much.”


“The feeling’s mutual, I assure you.”


“Well, you’re never going to be able to work together if you don’t get along, are you?”


“Work together? We’re not even at the ‘working together’ stage! We’re at the ‘learning to throw adequately’ stage -”


“You’re still working together. Working together to sort out his pathetic throw. And you can’t really do that if he hates you.”


Ok, I knew Benjy wasn’t my biggest fan. But it wasn’t very nice hearing from an outsider how obvious it was that the cretin hated me. Being hated wasn’t nice. Did you always have to have someone hate you? Now that Sirius and I seemed to be actually getting somewhere with this ‘friends’ thing, was Benjy taking over the hatred?


“So it’s my fault?” I demanded.


“I didn’t say that.” Sirius shrugged, “Just… maybe screaming obscenities and terrifying the poor sod for hours doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe you could try being nice to him.”


“Nice?” I echoed, wrinkling my nose in distaste. “No one’s ever been ’nice’ to me at practice…”


“Are you kidding? You’ve played with your big brother for four years. The one who would quite happily kick seven shades of shit out of anyone that was anything less than nice to you.”


That was true. “But I still got picked on!”


“Oh come on. That was different. That was messing about. When it came to it, no one would dare say a bad word to you.”


I missed Freddie.


But thought of another point. “Oz did!”


“Dunhill gave constructive criticism. He didn’t make you feel bad about yourself… or humiliated. Did he?”


I was slowly feeling worse and worse. Was that what I was doing to Benjy? Humiliating him?


“Am I being a bitch?” I asked, in disbelief, “Am I…. am I being worse than Oz?”


“He’s been doing it longer than you.” Sirius avoided answering. As if I wouldn’t notice. I invented that.


“Oh my God. I’m a bitch. I’m a bitch to poor, girly Benjy.” I realised. Wait... “But he’s a bitch back to me!”


“He’s not going to break down into tears in front of a tough Quidditch team, is he?”


Oh my God. I was bitch.


“Poor Benjy.” I said, half to myself. I felt terrible. Who’d have ever thought I’d feel terrible about being mean to Benjy? “What am I going to do?”


“Be nice to him,”


I pulled a face. “I think the shock might be bad for his health.”


“Not excessively. Maybe just throw in a bit of praise in there alongside the criticism. Encouragement instead of threats. Talk to him, instead of screaming. That sort of thing.”


We reached the Entrance Hall. The relief from the bitter wind was wonderful.


“Thanks,” I said, turning to Sirius to take my bag. “You… that was actually good. Helpful.”


“You sound surprised,” He raised his eyebrows.


“Advice isn’t really your thing,”


“I know. Try not to broadcast it. I’ve got some sort of a reputation to uphold.”


“Will do.” I smiled, “Thank you. Again.”


“You're welcome. Again.”


Ok. Another easy conversation. Improvement. But another awkward end to conversation. Not so good. How were you supposed to end conversations anyway? Did you just walk off? Wasn’t that rude? Hug? Well that wasn’t entirely appropriate…


I was just about to announce that I was going, just for something to say, but he got there before me.


“Are you going to Hogsmeade?” He asked, sounding very casual. How was he managing that?


Hogsmeade. Yes I was. I was going to the Quinn’s for lunch, seeing as I’d been bailed on by my brother. I couldn’t help but remember that in all the time that Sirius and I had been together we hadn’t managed a Hogsmeade ‘date’, as such. I’d always been with Lily, and we’d maybe met up with the boys in the Three Broomsticks afterwards.


The Three Broomsticks. I was going to see Rosmerta tomorrow.


I felt pretty excited. Excited to see the Quinn’s for lunch, and to catch up with Rosmerta in the afternoon…


Focus, Debbie. He asked a question.


“Yeah I am.” I answered, rather more evenly than I‘d been expecting, “Freddie was going to come but he can’t.”


I could see that he was probably going to ask why Freddie wasn’t coming, but the topic of my brother still wasn’t the easiest.


“Got any plans then?”


“Um, I’m going to see the Quinn’s, Ray’s family,” This was odd. I was fairly certain he wouldn’t even remember who Ray was but I carried on nonetheless, “I was round there a lot in the summer, so… you know. And I’ll go and see Rosmerta at the pub. I was working there with her…”


“I know,” Sirius said shortly, putting an abrupt end to my ramblings.


“Oh. Ok.”


How did he even know that? Lily told him, I suppose. Even though I told her to keep it to herself.


His face was closed off again. I hadn’t even noticed that he’d opened up until it was closed off again. Why in hell? He’d been the one that’d asked the bloody question!


“Do you? Have any plans I mean?” I asked, quickly, as if that would open him back up again. Come on. Please be normal.


“Just the usual. With James and Lily. Maybe Remus and Peter.” He said.


I waited for the usual ‘maybe we’ll see you there’.


It didn’t come.


There was a short pause, before Sirius dropped my bag at my feet.


“Thanks. Again.” I said, picking it up, “It was really…”


He turned. Walked up the marble staircase. Reached the top and didn’t look back at me.


“… good to talk to you.” I finished, under my breath.


And now I was alone.


I thought women were the ones that were meant to have to mood swings?




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


A.N. Hey. I thought I'd get this up quicker because the first half or so was actually going well... then it deteriorated. But I wanted to get it up anyway, it's not hugely exciting but I hope it gets us where we're meant to be!

Please let me know what you think...

Of Benjy & Sammy
Of Londy's Oz worries
Of James' master plan
Of Sirius' mood swings
Of Deb being a bitch to poor, annoying Benjy.

I know people wanted the letters to come into it, I'm working on it. I know people wanted them to just kiss and make up, but that's not realistic right now! Progress is being made though!

Please leave a review, I'd love to hear what you loved, hated, what you'd like to see more of or any particular ideas. Anything!

Thanks for reading,

Rx.


http://www.harrypotterfanfiction.com