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Chapter 1: Meeting Maia
1. Meeting Maia
“I can’t believe this,” Sirius sighed as he tilted onto the two hind legs of his wooden chair with a creak.
“Neither can I,” James muttered glumly, sipping on his butterbeer as he stared distantly at the table.
The room of the Hog’s Head Inn was quiet and dark; the tables smothered with dirt and dust while the windows remained bordered with tackily placed wooden beams, allowing entrance to mere single rays of light.
Remus joined the two at the table, helping himself to his own bottle of butterbeer with a hint of amusement on his face. “I don’t know what you two are complaining about, honestly.”
“Oh, let me tell you, Moony,” Sirius said, falling back flat on the chair’s four legs with a thud, sending the floor beneath them to a slight quiver. “Even Wormtail’s got given an assignment!”
James scoffed, shaking his head disapprovingly while Remus chuckled lightly, “If there’s one advantage to being a rat, it’s that he has his cunning.”
“Well, look at the two of us!” James grumbled, his butterbeer landing on the table with a clunk, “It’s like we’re as useful as a hippogriff’s back side.” He looked at Sirius with a grim look on his face. Sirius, on the other hand, winked as though it was some gesture of comfort.
“Dumbledore probably thinks you two are much too – what’s the word? – reckless?” Remus’ lips twitched as he raised an eyebrow.
“Reckless?” Sirius cried in mock incredulity, “James and I? How dare they!” James guffawed along, beaming at his best friend, the memory of the two muggle policemen and their completely crumpled police car no doubt on both their minds.
Suddenly, a jingle sounded at the door, the thumping of a wooden leg following almost immediately after.
“Black,” said a menacing growl, the man’s beady blue eyes transfixed on what now seemed to be an alerted Sirius, “You’ve got an assignment.”
Sirius punched the air with his fist, obviously thrilled while James sunk even lower in his chair.
“Finally, Moody, what is it?” he exclaimed enthusiastically, wand out and ready.
No one but Remus seemed to notice the concealed smile that lingered on Moody’s lips.
“You’re to protect the daughter of the muggle Prime Minister,” Moody slapped a gruff grin on his face, “As you know, the Dark Lord’s most likely going to attack him some day soon…”
Only Remus seemed to be listening, as Sirius froze, oblivious to the fits of laughter next to him.
“Potter,” Alastor barked, aware that the two had stopped paying attention, “You too.”
The gleeful smile was wiped off of James’ face, his eyes wide and his mouth in the shape of a perfect circle as he and Sirius exchanged glances.
This was certainly not what they’d expected.
“I really cannot believe this,” Sirius muttered even more darkly as James and him walked down the stony footpath that led toward an impressive three-story mansion made of whitish gray marble, hardly taking any notice of the massive green hedges surrounding them.
“I didn’t think, when I signed up, that baby-sitting would be a required feat,” James murmured back; hand in his black bomber jacket, gripping tightly onto the slim handle of his wand. A strong gust of wind rustled his hair, making it appear much wilder than it usually was.
“Yeah, if I’d known, I wouldn’t have bothered,” Sirius replied, a glint in his eye that suggested his sarcasm. Being a part of the Order was an honour in itself, he thought. “How old is this girl, anyway?”
“No idea, Padfoot.” He knocked the golden knocker in the middle of the pale blue door. “No more than ten, I ‘spect.”
There was a little scurry on the other side of the door as James and Sirius waited patiently for it to open.
“Sirs,” an old butler clothed in a black suit and matching tie invited the pair in, leading them away from the gigantic entrance hall where two staircases – on opposite sides of the room – were located, past the spacious drawing room and into the cavernous dining room, where a group of two wizards and three muggles sat awkwardly around a mahogany table.
The pair of wizards, James and Sirius knew to be Albus Dumbledore on the left - smiling pleasantly at the two, his piercing blue eyes glistening softly – and Millicent Bagnold on the right, the Minister of Magic who seemed slightly more grim as she nodded at the two.
James and Sirius smiled at the two before turning to inspect the muggle family before them.
The muggle prime minister was a lanky man, his scruff of a moustache twitching silently as he sat in the middle of two girls, one – wearing a velvet green dress and her dark hair tied into a bun, her eyes darkly brown and cold - was obviously his wife and the other, his daughter, who was not ten, as James had suspected, but rather, nearing womanhood.
“I’ve been told you two are to look after my daughter,” he said sternly, staring at the two with suspicion. Sirius was aware of how unlawful he would seem with his roguish hair, tattered jeans and faded leather jacket.
Dumbledore beamed as he spoke to the man, “Prime Minister, this is James Potter-” James strode confidently towards him, hand outstretched, “and Sirius Black. They are a pair of our finest members.” Sirius, in turn, stretched out his hand, taking a glance at the girl who sniffed in distaste as she caught his gaze.
“Well,” the prime minister scoffed, “this is Maia, my daughter.” He placed a hand on the girl’s shoulders, only to find it shoved away aggressively.
“Shall we retire to your study then, minister? We have a lot more to discuss,” Dumbledore stated, standing up magnificently - his greying beard billowed as though there had been a cast of wind - and gestured for the prime minister and his wife to accompany him. “I daresay these three might want to get themselves acquainted.”
James waited until the others had gone before smiling warmly at Maia, his smile waning as she kept her nose upturned.
“Well, Maia, I’m James, as you already know.” He stretched out his hand once again, only to find it smacked out of the way.
“I don’t need protection,” she muttered angrily, her arms crossed tightly against her ample chest.
“Of course you do,” James said patiently, as though explaining two plus two to a six year old. “Your life is in danger.”
She cast him a glowering stare, her light brown eyes alit with a fiery rage. “My father’s life is in danger, why don’t you two run along and protect him instead?”
James hesitated, glancing at Sirius – who seemed to be staring back at the girl with an equal amount of dislike – before speaking again. “He has an Auror looking after him. They’re sort of police-”
“I know what Aurors are!” Maia snapped, “And quite frankly, I think they’re doing a horrible job if they need you two looking after me.”
James was taken aback. Before he could mutter anything of a retort, Sirius had decided to growl back at her. “We didn’t have a choice in the matter.”
The girl stood up fiercely, facing away from them. “Well, I’m giving you the choice now. I don’t need your protection,” she muttered, fingers performing air quotes before she crossed her arms across her chest once more.
“You listen,” Sirius snarled, “We’re only here because they think you’re important, not because we actually want to save your ungrateful hind. Not that I’ve been looking at it.” Sirius added, looking at James quickly who seemed to have trouble concealing his grin. Sirius had never been as smooth as him. No, Sirius had relied solely on his looks rather than his charm.
Maia spun around viciously, her long black hair attacking the air around her. There was a noticeable flush of bright pink on her cheeks.
“Well, Sirius, or whatever your name is, you can leave now,” she said, pointing towards the intricate wooden door that stood slightly ajar. “I can look after myself.”
Sirius looked at her scornfully, advancing a couple of steps as though about to attack her.
“Listen,” James said hastily, uncomfortably aware of the tension between the two of them, “this is an incredibly troublesome time and as much as we’d rather be out there fighting off Death Eaters and the sort-” Maia spun her head aggressively, glowering at him, “we have been assigned to look after you, so however you both feel about it doesn’t matter, really. Sirius-” he added, looking intently at him, “We have to play our part.”
“Our part does not mean baby-sitting, James! Especially this unappreciative, miserable little girl!”
“I am not a little girl!” Maia shrieked, advancing viciously towards Sirius who had whipped out his wand automatically, “Why does everyone treat me that way?” She stopped mere feet away from him, eyeing the wand as though it had done something to personally attack her.
“Because you act as though you are!” Sirius yelled, approaching her almost as savagely as she had. He started prodding her shoulder, “And if you are to be under our protection then you will start behaving like you are someone worth protecting!”
Maia grit her teeth, her nose scrunched up with hostility. With a heartbeat of a war cry, she had pounced onto Sirius, slapping at his chest as she sat uncomfortably on his lap.
At this point, James had rushed towards Sirius’ side, trying his best to pull Maia off of Sirius’ fallen body without hurting her. Though, unfortunately, it was this moment the others had decided to come back.
“Well, I think that’s all!” Dumbledore had declared, stopping abruptly at the door, an unreadable expression on his face.
“Oh my,” Millicent Bagnold gasped, her hands up to her mouth as she stared at them, confused.
“What is this?” The prime minister shouted, obviously angry as he ran towards the three, lifting Maia up with one pull. “This is what you send us, Dumbledore?”
“It’s not what it looks like!” James protested, eyes staring directly at Dumbledore.
“I think you and Sirius should go back to headquarters,” he said, neither a smile nor a frown on his face.
Sirius got to his feet gracefully, brushing himself off before tucking his wand back into his waistband. “She’s completely mental!”
Maia let out an angry yell and jerked, attempting to stretch out her arms as though meaning to strangle him. Fortunately, her father had her arms in a tight grip behind her back.
“Stop this, now!” he growled at her, shaking her slightly.
“Come on, Sirius,” James muttered, striding away quickly, only hoping that Sirius would be footsteps behind him.
The moment they had arrived in the familiarly mangy doorstep of the Hog’s Head, Sirius had already begun on his rant.
“She’s completely insane, James!” he huffed, swearing to himself as he sat himself at the table, not acknowledging a bent over Remus who was currently repairing a shattered butterbeer bottle – the shock of Sirius’ announcing arrival obviously scaring him.
“Yeah, well, thanks to you, Sirius, we’re assignment-less once again!”
“It’s better than having to look after that waste of space.” Sirius was fuming, his hands threatening to pull out the hairs on his head.
“I’m assuming this Prime Minister’s daughter is proving to be more than a handful for the two of you,” Remus said, grinning cheekily at the pair’s forlorn faces. “What happened?”
James let Sirius continue on his rant, prepared to raise a hand if Remus had wanted to interrupt. He knew it was better to let Sirius release his emotions all at once, rather than in short spasms. And, with the lack of having to lift his arm, he knew that Remus also knew.
“I know girls like her,” Sirius let out a deep breath, the outrage in his eyes still visible though it had been worn out of his voice, “Who think they’re all that.” The bitterness in his voice made sure there was no doubt that Sirius had been comparing Maia to those of his family. “They’re completely fucked,” he muttered finally, shaking his head as he glugged another glass of Firewhisky.
“Well, you’ll be lucky to know that you two haven’t been put off the assignment.” They heard Moody say brusquely as he shuffled out of the back room. “You’re to start tomorrow.”
Sirius swore loudly.
“Where are we meeting her?” James asked, already formulating plans on how to stop the two from murdering each other.
“Fionesca’s Ballet Academy,” Moody replied gruffly, “You two are in for some fun.” He winked, letting out a bark of a laugh.
A/N: Hello readers!
This is another new story that I'm working on. I know I shouldn't but my mind has not stopped planting plot bunnies everywhere. This is just a story of one of the assignments given to James and Sirius when they were facing the war :)
Please tell me what you think of it and more especially, Maia! I think she's quite interesting and fiesty, but it'd be nice to know what everyone else thinks about her!
So, please leave a comment/review! & thanks for reading!
P.S. what do you guys think of chapter images??