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Chapter 4: But She Was Wrong
Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Harry Potter and all its characters belong to our Queen, J.K. Rowling.
Sirius walked into the Hospital Wing, Peter snickering behind him. They had had an unfortunate run-in with a couple of Slytherins and Peter was still filled with adrenaline from the fight. But Sirius paid him no mind. His mind was on other things. Well, just one thing, really. And it had a name.
Sirius’ relationship with Marlie was . . . complicated.
They were shag buddies, had been since last year. And though that doesn’t sound complicated at all, Marlie drove him up the wall and she made him feel like a heartless dog. She fancied Sirius and wanted to be more than shag buddies but Sirius wasn’t the relationship type of bloke. Every time he rejected her, she grew angry. She yelled, she cried, she cursed him. Then she swore that he’d never have her again. And they wouldn’t speak for weeks, wouldn’t even look at each other, until finally she couldn’t stand it anymore and would practically drag him to her bed. And then it would start all over again.
This was one of those times.
But Sirius couldn’t deny that nobody made him feel quite the way Marlie did.
It wasn’t love, he knew that for sure. He wasn’t even certain he was capable of loving someone so unconditionally like she desperately wanted him to. Not like his friends. But that was a different kind of love.
No. What he had with Marlie wasn’t about love. Whatever it may be to her, to him it was about the excitement, the thrill. When it came to the bed, nobody compared to Marlie. She was exciting and unpredictable and utterly and completely wrong for him. He couldn’t deny how wrong his relationship with Marlie was. He cared for her, yes, but he didn’t love her.
As he entered the Hospital Wing, a small crowd of people surrounded the bed Mary lay in. She hadn’t been hurt while under the Imperious Curse but Madam Pomfrey insisted she stay overnight because of the shock she was bound to have. Sitting there on the small cot, laughing, Mary didn’t seem so shocked.
He spotted Marlie in the small crowd of people almost as quickly as he spotted Evans or James. He had never seen anybody look so good in bright red lipstick as her. It went great with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes. As his eyes scanned the crowd, he was unsurprised to find Remus, James, Evans, and Turpin there along with Marlie. He was, however, surprised to find Layla amongst the others in the crowd. She was holding a small basket but was pulling out large plates of food from the basket and handing them out to everyone.
“Thanks, Layla,” Mary was saying, “this definitely beats the food Pomfrey was trying to force feed me earlier.” Layla smiled at her in response.
Sirius looked at Marlie. She glanced at him briefly before scowling down at her food, her red lips pursed and her jaw tight. He rolled his eyes.
Peter happily joined the group and Layla handed him a plate of food. He beamed at her and she smiled back.
Sirius sauntered over behind Layla. “We’ve a detention to attend soon, darling,” he said in her ear.
She jumped. “Merlin, Black, you startled me,” she scolded. “I didn’t know you were here. Hungry?” she offered him a plate of food and he accepted it with a gracious thank-you.
He sat down between James and Remus with a “Wotcher, mates,” and began eating.
“Where’d you manage to get such wonderful food?” Mary asked Layla.
“You know where the kitchens are?” Remus asked her, looking a little impressed.
“’Course I do,” she said with a shrug. “Who doesn’t?”
Sirius couldn’t help the smirk that grew to his lips once he noticed Marlie glaring at Layla. Layla had noticed and she sent a scathing look in Marlie’s direction before giving Turpin a pointed look. Turpin raised an eyebrow at the look that Layla sent her, glanced at Marlie quickly then turned to Sirius with something of a glare.
Sirius was no less than amused at the silent scenario that was playing out in front of him. He did so enjoy a good cat-fight.
“How are you feeling, Mary?” Lily asked, breaking the silence that had filled the room.
“I’m all right,” Mary said, shrugging. “I don’t even know why Pomfrey’s so set on keeping me here. There’s nothing even wrong with me.”
“Maybe they don’t want her to feel as though she’s in any more danger,” Lily suggested.
Layla frowned. “Why would she feel as if she were in any danger? She’s dating a Marauder.” Funny how such a simple word as Marauder had so much meaning attached to it when one referred to James, Sirius, Remus, or Peter.
Mary smiled in Remus’ direction and he grinned back at her.
"That's right," James said, puffing out his chest. "We'll take care of that slimy git. Marauder's honor." He banged his chest for effect. Lily rolled her eyes.
"Layla, what time do you have detention?" Anna asked after a while.
Layla’s smile faded. “Eight,” she answered, looking a bit ashamed.
“Reckon you’d better get going then, don’t you?” Marlene told her dryly, earning a dirty look from both Anna and Layla.
Sirius, suddenly, was at Layla’s side, his arm slung over his shoulder. “Reckon Mickey’s right,” he was saying, “best get going to detention before we show up late, yes?”
“Excellent. Coming Prongs?”
“Sure,” James replied easily, though it was obvious he’d rather stay and continue enjoying the company of Lily.
Layla followed the other two out of the Hospital Wing, shooting a snickering Anna a look of dread and panic.
As Sirius and James walked along the corridors, talking happily and joking around, Layla walked slowly behind them. Anxiety was filling her body, the muscles in her stomach tightening painfully, the beginnings of a headache were thrumming against her skull, her hands were trembling and they were slightly sweaty.
“What d’you thi—whoa, are you okay, Lockwood?” James asked, looking a little worried. Sirius turned and looked at Layla. She must’ve looked awful because he, too, furrowed his eyebrows at her.
“Fine.” Layla’s cheeks reddened at her embarrassingly squeaky response to the question.
“Are you sure?” Sirius asked. “You look like you’re going to be sick.”
Layla nodded. Her hopes of them not finding out she was nervous about detention were shattered when James started laughing.
“Turpin was saying that this is your first detention. You’re not having a panic attack about a detention, are you?”
“No!” But her flaming cheeks gave her away.
Sirius grinned. “This is your first detention? Well, Miss Lockwood, I am honored to be accompanying you to such an important event in your life.”
“It’s not a good thing!” Layla snapped at him.
“Relax, it’s not a big deal,” James said, slinging an arm over her shoulder. He was grinning at her.
“Not a big deal?” she looked at him incredulously.
“Isn’t it so cute how nervous she is about a detention, Padfoot?”
Sirius shrugged. “Guess so.”
“It’s not funny, Potter,” Layla replied, angrily shrugging his arm off her shoulder.
They had arrived at the trophy room already and Layla wrung her hands together nervously. “Right,” she said, straightening her shirt and tie. And then, burying her face in her hands, “Oh, Merlin, why am I worrying about my appearance at a time like this!”
“So cute,” James repeated, grinning at Layla like a fool.
And honestly, even through her sheer panic, Layla had to appreciate just how handsome James Potter was. How Lily Evans could constantly turn him down, Layla had no idea. He really was a handsome bloke.
“Right,” Sirius said, opening the door. “S’later, Prongs.”
But, Layla realized as she followed Sirius into the trophy room, Sirius was so much more handsome than James. It was rather disconcerting, really. Or rather, it would have been had she not been so worried about detention.
Oh, and Adam.
One mustn’t forget about Adam.
Layla felt terrible for being more concerned about her upcoming detention than her boyfriend who hadn’t even spoken to her all day.
Filch was waiting for them inside, arms crossed, glaring daggers at Sirius. Sirius grinned at him, and greeted him in a warm, slightly patronizing way that one would greet an old friend. Filch nearly spat at him.
After realizing that all they had to do was clean the trophies without any magic, Layla had more than happily received the dirty rags from the caretaker. She was so ecstatic to find she wasn’t going to be hung from the ceiling by her ankles that she had to honestly fight the urge to begin humming merrily.
“How can you be so happy about having to clean all this without magic?” he asked, completely incredulous. “It’s going to take hours.”
“Better than being hung by my ankles,” she replied happily.
He raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t honestly think that was going to happen, did you?”
She merely shrugged in response. She was now acutely aware and feeling ashamed that she had done nothing to alleviate the problems that had arisen between her and Adam last night.
Sirius shook his head. “I can’t believe it’s already sixth year and this is barely your first detention.”
“Father disapproves of me getting into trouble,” she said nonchalantly. After realizing what she had just said, she bit her tongue and mentally slapped herself.
“I don’t see why you have to listen to him all the time,” Sirius said rather bitterly after some time. “It just seems pointless to always want to please him if it leaves you unhappy.”
Layla frowned. “You’re a Gryffindor,” she told him.
“Disobeying your parents as you did or as you suggest I do takes courage,” she said, stopping what she was doing so she could look at him. “I’m a Ravenclaw. I have no such courage.”
He observed her appreciatively. “Takes more than courage,” he said after a few moments. “It also takes cleverness. You’ve got to be clever enough to realize that although it’s what your parents expect from you, it’s not really what’s good for you. It’s only after that realization that the courage comes.”
“Even so,” she replied lightly. “I’ve no courage for such things.”
Sirius resumed cleaning. “’Course you do. All it really takes is a push.”
“What pushed you?”
“Prongs,” he replied without missing a beat.
The answer caught Layla off guard. “James?”
A nod. “Mate helped me to realize that I was so much better off without all those pureblood maniacs I once called my family. Of course, I always knew that, but it was something he said that really drove me to finally leave.”
The question escaped Layla’s lips before she could stop it. “Why are you telling me this?”
Sirius stopped his cleaning, a frown etching upon the features of his handsome face. “I’m not really sure,” he said after a moment. “I suppose it’s because, although the situations aren’t exactly the same, they’re close enough.” He looked at her appreciatively. “And I think I want to be the one to give you that final push.”
Layla stared at him as he resumed his cleaning, acting as though nothing had happened. Confused, she resumed shining the trophies.
A push, she thought, all it takes is a final push.
I think I want to be the one to give you that final push.
The words swam around her skull, confusing her, making her slightly dizzy.
At first, she wanted desperately to tell Anna about this but then she changed her mind. Anna would simply jump to conclusions and then Layla would be left feeling more confused than ever.
Sirius and Layla finished their detention in silence.
As soon as Filch returned, examined the trophies, approved their work, and allowed them to leave, Sirius darted out of the room. Layla followed slowly behind and was surprised to see Adam leaning casually against the wall near the trophy room, glaring at Sirius as he darted by.
“Adam,” Layla remarked, surprise obvious in her tone. “How did you know I was here?”
“Anna,” came his easy reply. He pushed himself off the wall and started walking slowly alongside her, in the direction of Ravenclaw Tower.
“What did you need?” she asked politely. She was suddenly unsure of what to do with her hands and she wrung them together. Realizing that wasn’t the proper thing to do, she dropped them to her sides, feeling rather awkward.
“I was hoping to talk to you,” he told her, clasping one of her hands in his.
Layla nodded in understanding. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you, too. But I was just so worried about this blasted detention that it wasn’t exactly my top priority.” She bit her lip in embarrassment.
“Yeah, Potter was telling Anna how nervous you were. He thought it was bloody hilarious, that twat.” Layla gave a nervous chuckle. “Anyway, I just wanted to apologize for how I reacted last night. There was no need for me to be so upset about it. I mean, all you were doing was helping the bloke with his homework. And in the middle of Gryffindor common room. It’s not like he took you off to some secluded corner in the library or something.”
“I wanted to say sorry, too,” Layla told him. “I shouldn’t have continued on with it when I saw how upset you were, however unjust it may be,” she added hastily. “Besides, I’ve learned my lesson about tutoring Sirius Black. All it does is land you in detention.” She grumbled the last part.
Adam laughed, squeezing her hand. “I’ve been meaning to ask about that. How did you two end up in detention, anyway?”
“He was walking me back to Ravenclaw Tower and we got caught after hours.”
“Sirius Black, Marauder extraordinaire, got caught wandering the castle after dark?” Adam raised an eyebrow. “What were you two doing that you got caught?”
“It was entirely my fault. I tripped over a suit of armor and made quite a lot of noise in the process,” Layla admitted, smiling sheepishly at Adam.
He let out a laugh and Layla couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face. Adam had a nice laugh. And he made her happy, superbly happy. Or so she thought.
After he finished laughing, he tucked a hand under her chin and pulled her face up to his, kissing her gently. “I love you, Layla Lockwood,” he whispered against her lips.
“I love you, too,” she replied instantly. She was so sure of her feelings toward him.
But she was wrong.
"Sirius, can I talk to you?" Marlie asked as soon as he entered the common room. It seemed as though she had been waiting up for him.
However, she didn’t allow him time to respond before pulling his lips down to hers. He reciprocated immediately.
“I forgive you,” she whispered against his lips once she had regained her breath.
He made to kiss her again but she placed a slim finger on his lips, preventing him from doing so. “What?” he demanded immediately.
“I just have one condition.”
“It’s not even a big one,” she added quickly. “It’s just something small, really. Hardly anything to make a big deal about.”
“So why’s it a condition then?” he asked suspiciously, his eyes narrowed.
“It’s simply for the sake of my sanity,” she assured.
What sanity, Sirius wanted to ask but he bit his tongue. “Let’s hear it then,” he said.
“I want you to stop talking to Layla Lockwood.”
“She’s my potions partner, dolt, how do you expect me to do that?” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Well don’t talk to her outside of potions, then,” Marlie snapped.
“I’ve told you before, Mickey, you can’t tell me who I can and can’t talk to. You’re not my girlfriend.”
“Because you won’t let me!” Marlie growled. She grabbed Sirius arm just as he was about to walk away. “Why won’t you let me?” she pleaded.
Sirius exhaled slowly, trying to control his anger. He’d told her this nearly a million times, if not more. “I don’t want a relationship from you, McKinnon. I want a shag. And that’s all.”
And with that, Sirius wrenched his arm from her hold and walked away.
“I don’t see why you’re so horrid to her,” Lily Evans said as he passed by her. “Marlene loves you.”
But she was wrong.
Authors Note: So sorry that it took me so long to update. I've just started my second semester at my university and I haven't really had the time to write. And when I do it seems as though Writer's Block just takes over my mind. But now I've finally finished this chapter and I'm not quite sure what I think of it yet.
Having said that, I hope you all have enjoyed reading this and I ask that you please rate and review!