Lily and James
“You’re kidding me. Please tell me you’re kidding me.”
“I don’t kid about school.”
“But James, you? Head boy? I mean, there’s just no way!”
“Why not? You think I can’t handle it?”
“I – Merlin, Dumbledore must be off his rocker!”
“Told you she wouldn’t believe it,” interjected Sirius.
“Oh please,” said Ava, whirling around to face Sirius who was sitting on her other side in the compartment, “as if you weren’t just as shocked as I am.”
“Well if you ask me,” said Sirius, “Dumbledore did it to help James get a move on with Lily.”
“What?” yelped James.
“Don’t tell me you were stupid enough not to know that Lily got head girl.”
James opened and closed his mouth, but was saved from having to answer by the door being thrown open.
Lily stood in the doorway, glaring at James. “You! You were supposed to be in the heads compartment ten minutes ago!”
“What? Oh, I’m so sorry …” James scrambled to get up.
“I cannot believe Dumbledore made you head boy!” said Lily, but her tone was tolerably soft.
“For what it’s worth, I can’t either,” said James honestly.
Lily just sighed and whisked him outside; but poked her head back into the compartment. “Oh and Remus, you’re a prefect, remember? You are expected in the heads compartment too; Merlin, I thought you were responsible!”
Remus grinned, and got up. “Sorry Lily. Bye guys, see you later.”
When Remus was out of the compartment, Ava suddenly realized that she was now alone with Sirius.
“Where’s Peter?” she asked with a frown.
Sirius shrugged. “I have no idea. He said something about going to see some friends when we got on the train. Haven’t seen him since.”
Ava scrunched up her nose. “Hmm.” She tried to keep her thoughts on Peter’s whereabouts, but to do so proved impossible while she was alone with Sirius. He was sun-tanned from the summer, his hair had grown a bit, and his grey eyes were sparkling like always. It was really quite a lot to ask of a girl to keep her thoughts occupied by anything but him, and certain things she would like to –
Ava blushed furiously, blinked several times, cleared her throat and shook her head, trying to fight thoughts that even she could not pretend were anywhere near friendship related.
They were just out of London. Ava, though knowing that she wasn’t able to think straight when looking at him, was unable to avert her eyes from Sirius’ so extremely handsome features, and she found herself hoping that the heads meeting would take as long as possible.
“So Ava,” said Sirius suddenly, “got your eye on anyone this year?”
Her eyes met his. “What?” she said in surprise.
“Well,” said Sirius, smiling slightly, “you’re single, you’re pretty – surely there’s a ton of guys waiting to go out with you?”
She frowned slightly, and tried to ignore that her heart sped up as he called her pretty. “Where are you coming from, Sirius? You know there’s not.”
He looked at her strangely. “Really?”
“Sirius, I pretty much spend every minute of the day with you. How could you not know that?”
He shrugged. “So you’re really not interested in anyone?”
“Err … are you alright, Sirius? What’s with the sudden interest in my non-existent love life?”
He shrugged again. “Can’t a guy be wondering whether his best friend is interested in anyone or not?”
“Are you really not interested in anyone?”
“She contemplated the question for a moment, and then decided not to lie. “Well … I guess I… I guess I might be.”
“Really?” Again that strange look. “Who?”
She fidgeted in her seat. “Just someone … but it’s not important.”
“Oh come on. Tell me. Do I know him?”
She almost laughed at this. “I – I guess you do, yeah.”
Sirius had just opened his mouth to retort when the door to the compartment burst open and a group of five Ravenclaw girls appeared, all of them very pretty and very dressed up, and giggling obnoxiously.
“Hello Sirius,” they crooned, ignoring Ava, who felt a wave of anger at them. The girls crowded around Sirius, pushing Ava aside.
“Hello ladies,” said Sirius charmingly. “Was there anything you wanted?”
“Yes, somewhat,” said the brunette on Sirius’ left. “I was thinking… surely I could make this train ride more … appealing for you?” She moved closer to him, placing her hand on his thigh. “We could have some fun …”
“That is a charming idea,” said Sirius heartily. “But really, does it have to involve me? Why don’t you girls go back to your own compartment? It’s really getting crowded here.”
Ava, though gritting her teeth with fury at the girls, had begun to enjoy herself the girls stared in shock.
“Are you throwing us out?” said the brunette one with an exaggerated hurt look on her face.
“Wouldn’t put it quite so harshly,” said Sirius, still smiling engagingly. “Rather suggesting for you to kindly remove yourselves. There – doesn’t that sound so much more agreeable?”
Ava couldn’t stifle a giggle. The girls, realizing that he was making fun of them, rose one after the other. In the doorway, the brunette turned, and, obviously trying to be very dramatic, said, “we could be great together, you know, Black.”
“Thank you,” said Sirius, still perfectly polite. “I plan on being great all by myself.”
The girl stared, and then left without another word, interestingly enough staring daggers at Ava and not at Sirius.
As soon as the compartment door had closed behind them, Ava adopted a fake solemn look. “You break their hearts, Sirius,” she said dramatically.
“And I don’t even feel sorry for it,” he said, and smiled at her.
Sirius never brought up their conversation in the compartment again, and so Ava, too, stayed silent. She watched him anxiously as soon as they were back in school – it had given her hope when he had rejected the Ravenclaws so plainly on the train, but fear of him falling back into his old habits of girls-of-the-week now that he was surrounded by females only to eager to be with him again, made her even more nervous and anxious than she was anyway. Knowing that Sirius wasn’t in love with her was a lot easier to bear while knowing that he wasn’t in love with anyone else either.
And her hopes fulfilled. Sirius seemed to have taken on a new approach to girls; he no longer dated. He didn’t even flirt. Always friendly and obliging, he kept girls at bay – talking to them when they stroke up a conversation, but always making it absolutely obvious that nothing else was going to happen in a very subtle, polite way that couldn’t have been clearer. Hogwarts’ entire female population was bitterly disappointed. All except Ava.
But she did wonder what had caused this change in attitude, and one evening in the common room she decided that she had to ask.
“Could I ask you something?”
“Well … okay, here it goes. Since the beginning of this year you’ve been … different.”
He frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Well, not so much different, just different in one way.”
“Which is …”
She took a deep breath. “Dating.”
“Dating,” he repeated, confused.
“Yes, dating! See, last year you were always with some girl, and you went out with a different one every week, and now … now you’re all … celibate.”
Sirius let out a bark of laughter. “Celibate? Seriously?” Grinning broadly, he leaned forward slightly. “I wouldn’t call it that, Ava. After all, if you start talking about celibacy now, one would have to consider the fact that when you think about it, I’ve really been celibate my entire life, wouldn’t one? And that would kind of make it not that big of a change.”
Ava swallowed and looked away. “Sirius, be …” she bit her lip, now wishing to make the conversation further ridiculous by making an involuntary pun on his name, “… be … be non-joking, please.”
Sirius laughed again. “Ava, you should know that I am always serious.”
With a groan, Ava buried her face in her hands. “Can we please keep this conversation -” she broke off, groaning again.
Sirius grinned broadly, amusement shining in his eyes. “Serious?” he suggested helpfully.
Ava sighed let out a long sigh. “Alright,” she said in annoyance, “since you obviously can’t be serious, damn it, I’m leaving. I should never have expected to have a …” she closed her eyes in frustration, “serious conversation with you.”
She raised and made to leave towards the girls’ dorms, but Sirius was with her in a flash, grabbing her by the shoulder.
“Stop, Ava,” he said in amusement. “I’m sorry.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and huffed.
“Come on,” he said with a smile. “I promise, no more puns on my name, okay?”
She took a deep breath, keeping up the annoyed façade a little longer, before uncrossing her arms and sighing. “Alright.”
“Okay,” he said with a grin. “Now back to our original conversation, alright?”
Ava smiled, partly voluntary, partly against her will, and they sat back down in front of the fire.
“What I wanted to ask,” she began again, “is that before the summer, you used to go out with many different girls, whether you remained celibate with them or not-”
“I did,” Sirius interjected quickly,
“whatever way,” continued Ava, ignoring him – she knew Sirius, and had always known that he would never sleep with a girl he had only known for a week, and thus this confession did not come as a surprise to her –, “and now, you’ve suddenly gone for weeks without a girlfriend. And I know it’s not for lack of opportunity, so … why?”
Sirius smiled. “I thought that was obvious, actually.”
Sirius smiled. “Well, I just realized that dating so many girls without even knowing them isn’t as much fun as you would think.”
He shrugged. “Yeah. It really struck me that day I ran away. When I woke up at James’, I suddenly realized that none of the girls I had ever gone out with had any idea of my home life or anything. I had never told anyone of them anything about me, or anything of importance for that matter. And then I started thinking how that means I never trusted them. And then I thought that the whole reason I ran away is because I know I’m worth more than what they treated me like. And that I’m also worth more than a completely meaningless relationship. So I realized that actually, I don’t need to go out with girls I don’t even care about.”
Ava stared at him, open-mouthed.
He grinned. “What, you thought I’m not capable of such thinking?”
She swallowed. “Well, I … I don’t know, I guess I thought guys were not capable of such thinking. But I guess you’re not like other guys.”
He shrugged, and smiled slightly.
“So now you’re … now you’re waiting for a girl you do care about?” she asked carefully.
“Sort of, yeah.”
He did not elaborate, and since she didn’t know what to say, she dropped the subject.
But she knew even more definitely than ever before that more than anything else, she wanted to be that girl he had been talking about.
He looked at her intensely, intensely in a way she could not remember him looking at her before.
“Sirius?” she asked, her voice slightly higher than usual.
He flinched slightly, as if he had been absorbed in thought. “Hmm?”
“Are you okay? You’re looking at me strangely.”
“Hmm…” But he kept looking at her in that indefinable way. Before she could ask, he said quietly, “just thinking …”
He shook his head, as if trying to clear it. “Nothing.”
The months passed so fast that before Ava knew it, it was December, even though it seemed like they had just returned from the summer holidays. Christmas decorations were being put up all around the castle, the amours sang Christmas carols, the Fat Lady took to wearing a big, red, Father Christmas head, and Ava felt herself frowning when she looked out of the windows and saw that there was still no snow covering the grounds. But despite the lack of snow, the feel of Christmas was everywhere, and she would have liked to stay in Hogwarts for the holidays. But she had received a letter from her mother asking whether she was coming home over Christmas, and suddenly she had realized that since she had barely spent a day with them over the summer, she hadn’t seen her parents for more than a year. And she felt like that even though they were difficult to handle and it was certainly impossible to ever have a real, parent-child relationship with them, she was strong enough now to face them, spend Christmas with them, and affirm that she was still their daughter. And so she carried a letter to the owlry one December morning, telling her mother that she was very much looking forward to Christmas at home.
Walking out of the owlry and down the stairs, over the lawn and towards the Great Hall, she came across a sight that made her stop, take a deep breath, and then smile a smile that took up her entire face.
There were James and Lily, deep in conversation, and James’ arm was around her shoulders and hers around his waist. They were smiling, both of them, and their eyes were sparkling.
And Ava knew that if she had ever seen happiness, this was it.
“Hi guys,” she beamed, walking towards them.
“Hi Ava,” said Lily, and she smiled at her friend, a bright, blissful smile.
Ava cocked her head to the side. “Is there something you two want to tell me?”
James grinned widely, hazel eyes warmer than ever. “She said yes,” he said simply, at the same time that Lily said, “he asked me out!”
Ava laughed. “About time, isn’t it?”
They both nodded in agreement.
Ava smiled. “I just want to say that as your friend, I demand the right to be bridesmaid at the wedding.”
Lily blushed slightly, and James grinned. “We’ll try to remember.”
“Good,” she nodded. “I’ll leave you two alone then.”
“You don’t have to leave,” said Lily unconvincingly.
Ava laughed. “That’s okay. Your happy-couple aura is killing me.”
She smiled as she walked towards the portal, hurrying slightly. Sirius had said he would wait for her in the Great Hall.
700 reviews!!! You guys are so amazing! THANK YOU!! Please keep telling me what you think!
oh, and since I probably have to mention it - the line where Sirius says, "I plan on being great all by myself" belongs to the writers of Smallville. This is the last time in this story that I'm stealing one of their ideas... promise.
The next chapter will be the last.