Sirius yawned. Stretched. Looked at the clock. It was fifteen minutes into the first transfiguration lesson of the year and he was already bored.
He looked to his right. James' eyes were firmly fixed in a front-left direction. The back of the shoulder-length red hair of Lily Evans. He rolled his eyes, flicked his wand
and rested his feet on the small footstool that had appeared under his desk, and leaned back. At least James had something to look at. He sighed. Fidgeted. He'd only taken transfiguration to help out with Padfoot. He glanced around the room, his dark eyes skimming across the girls in the class. Maybe he could find something good to look at, too... Not to his right. Behind? No. Right? No. Wait...he took a double take at a blonde girl a few desks down. She turned to look at him, and a smile spread across her face to reveal discoloured and irregular teeth. Sirius grimaced as she fluttered her eyelashes and waved. Eugh. Resolved that he'd be surrounded by losers all year, he turned back to James. No hope of having fun when Lily was placed in such a perfect gazing position. But wait...there was a girl next to Lily. On her direct right. Long brown-red hair. About chest length. Slightly curled-loose ringlets. Her head turned to face the front and Sirius caught a side profile and squinted. Persephone Scamander....perfect. Sirius knew who she was. A Ravenclaw. Very smart, but not as...nerdy as Lily. He'd never seen the two together before...in fact, he'd never seen Persephone in the corridors before, apart from in the second year when he'd turned to Remus and commented-"Definitely would." Sirius grinned as he recalled Remus' look of shock at a twelve year old talking about girls in such a way. Sirius recognised her from History of Magic the year before, but as he was in a very complicated relationship involving some Hufflepuff twins and a Slytherin for almost the entire year, he didn’t pay her much attention. She was relatively quiet. He'd never actually heard her speak before. But that didn't matter. As long as she didn't sit behind him all year, he'd be able to while the hours away with ease...much like the repulsive blonde to his left.
Sirius Black spent the next month of transfiguration dissecting Persephone's features, and each lesson he pondered a different one. Her nose, (long, angular, slightly turned up at the end), her mouth, (long lips, thicker bottom lip. Pouts often. Nice teeth.), and her eyes (almond-shaped, green, much like Lily's actually) were the first. After that, he didn't have much else to think about, but luckily the lessons turned practical, meaning she had to stand up. This is when Sirius started looking at her legs (long, quite athletic), and her general body (slim, but with the curves which gave away her Mediterranean background). He also noticed she was tiny. Up to his shoulders. After four weeks of successful and stealthy daydreaming (successful meaning Sirius could perfectly picture himself pinning her against a wall in a deserted corridor), his gaze had not gone unnoticed by his friends. But Sirius was no longer starting to build a picture, he was trying to work out where she went after transfiguration classes ended. He and James often went wandering, in a vain attempt to find Lily and impress her, but no matter how much Sirius kept on his tip-toes, he never once had seen Persephone Scamander. She never once rounded a corner or occupied a library desk. Maybe she was wildly unpopular? No, Sirius thought. She was too good looking to have no friends. Even Snivellus had friends.
It was late October before Sirius breached the subject of the disappearing girl to his friends. They were the only ones left in the common room late one Saturday night.
"She's the great-great something of Newt Scamander, that guy that wrote 'Fantastic Beasts'", James said, practising his snitch catching. "That's all I know. So maybe she's off in the forest doing some research or something." Sirius frowned. He was adamant she was not a nerd. He noticed Remus was grinning from behind his book as James and he debated theories on what she did. Peter was trying his hardest to think of what girls would do on their spare time, but the best he could come up with was "Maybe she's sorting out her skirt." This resulted in a kick in the shin from James.
"She's an Anometomagi," Remus said finally, sounding bored. His three companions silenced and looked at him.
"A what?" Asked Sirius after a couple of blinks. Remus shut his book, uncrossed his legs and placed the volume onto the table. "An Anometomagi," he repeated. "One who can turn into any animal at will, much like an Animagi and Metomorphagi combined. Although, unlike an Animagi, it can be any animal, and needs not be a learned skill. And unlike a Metomorphagi, they cannot otherwise change their appearance."
Sirius and James continued to blink in amazement at Remus' outpouring of seemingly endless knowledge. Peter blinked, but only to try to understand the terminology. Remus continued. "Extremely rare. Genetic. And must be controlled in youth." He took up another book from the table, returned to his previous position and diverted his attention almost immediately. "How do you know all this?" Sirius asked, aghast.
"Heard Dumbledore telling her to keep it quiet in the first year. Just before he spoke to me about..." Remus glanced around the room and lowered his voice, despite them being alone. " furry little problem."
"Why didn't you tell me this sooner?" Sirius asked after a second. Remus didn't look up. "Thought it would be funny to see your face if she turned into a bear when you tried to corner her," he said boredly. James laughed slightly, but Sirius got up of his chair and placed himself in front of Remus on the table. "But..why didn't she tell anyone?"
Remus glanced up for a second, almost in annoyance at this constant bombardment of questions. "Well, with the current you-know-who situation, probably not the best thing to spread around. Death Eaters would be trying to convert her in seconds. Very helpful, to have someone like that." He saw the dark mop of hair nod in the corner of his eye. "Oh, and she has a very embarrassing problem when she gets upset which could provoke bullying, I suppose..."
He noticed Sirius stop and look up at him. "What..."
Remus grinned. "She uncontrollably turns into a giant panda."
Sirius Sighed. "Oh, thank the lord," he breathed. "I thought you were going to say she turned into a Hippogriff."
It took at least another few weeks before Sirius got a chance to contact Persephone Scamander other than a brief "Sorry" whenever he got in her way. He’d managed to hear her speak, McGonagoll often asked her to demonstrate, and her slightly raspy but no less feminine voice often answered questions. In a momentary lapse of concentration one afternoon, he managed to point his wand where he was staring, (Persephone's desk) and managed to turn her pond water into drinking water better than he had his own. At first he replied with the usual "Sorry", but Persephone grinned. And returned the favour. He looked down into his bowl, and instead of brown and green he saw clearly through to the desk surface. When he looked back up to her, her head had whipped back to the front. James smirked beside him. "Finally, mate."
After the lesson, with a slight smile on his face, Sirius managed to feel confident enough to talk to Persephone without letting out that he knew about her talent, much to James' excitement (mostly because Lily ended up cornered by him). He managed to raise up his usual boyish charm, and said in his patented 'Impressive' voice "Hey, Scamander!" as she walked past him. But as she turned to raise her eyebrows at him, his mind went black. "Uh, good job on that water.."
Persephone grinned and walked up to him, a long ringlet falling from behind her ear. "Yeah, uh, you too."
Sirius knew he could not let the conversation end on this. He was Sirius Black. And at this moment in time he could easily be mistaken for Peter Pettigrew. "I guess I'll see you in Hogsmeade tomorrow, then?"
She pouted a little. Nodded. "Three Broomsticks at half one." Before turning and walking off. Sirius mouth dropped open. She was very forward for such a quiet one, he thought...
"Lily! Wait!" James called from behind him, pushing past him to walk after Lily. He rolled his eyes and followed, joining James by the door and seeing Lily walk off with Severus Snape. "Oh, for god's sake," James huffed, angrily waving his wand subconsciously and turning Severus' ear a bright magenta.
The Three Broomsticks was packed full of people. Sirius had debated whether to go alone turn up with James, Remus and Peter, as usual. It wasn't actually a date. Well, he hadn't intended to get a date. Or, he did, just not this soon. Actually, he'd never been on a date. He'd always just...gotten girls. He'd never had to impress them or respect them or...pay for them? The thoughts ran through his mind, when he noticed three girls- one wearing a pink sweater with long mahogany hair. Persephone was sitting in a large booth in the corner with two other Ravenclaws whom Sirius had seen before, and when they all sat down together they were talkative enough for it not to be awkward. Apart from Peter, who was incessantly giggly whenever the mousy girl named Regina spoke. Remus immediately hit it off with the other girl, who had curly blonde shoulder-length hair and bright blue eyes and was flicking through a brand new copy of some kind of nerd book Sirius had never heard off. Apparently it explored some "interesting new themes". With Peter and Remus in conversation, this left James and Sirius to talk with Persephone. "So, do you like animals?" James asked. Sirius elbowed him sharply in the ribs. "What?" He asked, rubbing his side. "You're related to Newton Scamander, aren't you?"
Persephone shook her head and laughed. "You two always make me laugh," she said. "And yes, I am. But that does not mean I come top in Care Of Magical Creatures. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'm failing."
James got up to get them some drinks, and just as conversation started flowing about Persephone's heritage and Sirius' odd placement in housing due to his "Blackness" as Persephone put it, the door swung open and in walked Lily Evans. She shivered as she walked over and sat next to Persephone on the end of the seat, taking off her scarf and gloves and rubbing her hands. "Thought you'd be in here," she breathed. "I'm fed up of coming here with Sev. He just moans."
"Well well well," came James' familiar voice. Sirius mentally banged his head on the table. "If it isn't Lily Evans." James dished out the drinks and looked towards his favourite girl. "Can I purchase you a beverage?"
"Yeah, Butterbeer please," she replied, before turning to Sirius and Persephone. James didn't seem to mind being treated like a waiter. On the contrary, he bowed and said "Of course, mademoiselle," before dashing off to get her drink. Lily shook her head. Sirius decided to be a good friend.
"You know, he's actually not that bad, he's just a bit..."
"Of an arrogant wanker?" Lily finished. "You could never tell."
Persephone sighed. "You know, he only has eyes for you. He never bothers to talk to any other girls, not even the ones who follow him around."
Lily shrugged and looked down guiltily. A butterbeer landed in front of her with a heart drawn into the froth. Lily looked up at her very own waiter and smiled. James nearly had a heart attack, and fell into the other end of the booth. Sirius watched James, and as the latter opened his mouth, Sirius could hear the words forming. 'No Snivellus today?'. But before James had a chance to speak them aloud, he had been shot a look he recognised as saying "Don't spoil it!".