Author's Note: Wow, I haven't written in a while. Things have come up, hence me being tied up but I am slowly coming back. All I ask is for reviews, please!!!!!!
Chapter Ten: The Last First Day
“Hey! No one asked you to listen, k? So back the hell off and shove those grits down your esophagus!” Silence fell between the group of third years would had failed to shush Phoenix up and the Marauders.
“So…will you be my Potions partner? Please?”
A mischievous smirk curved on Phoenix’s lips as she opened her mouth, obviously ready to yell. “Ahh! Let go! No, stop! Ahh! Circe be damned! Merlin, Zeus, Buddha! Save me! I’m not going to make-out with you on the Astronomy Tower, Black! For the love of Merlin! This is the four thousandth, nine hundredth, fifty third time you’ve ask and that’s how many times I’ve said no! Let go! No! Help! Have some decency-“
Sirius blushed crimson as Phoenix ranted aimlessly about an affair on said Astronomy Tower. He clamped his hand on her mouth and glared. “Shut up!” he hissed. Phoenix’s smirk only grew wider before she bite Sirius’ palm. “Ow! That ruddy-“
“Planning a rendezvous on the Astronomy Tower, eh Sirius?” cooed a familiar, seductive voice. “Why don’t you leave Riddle out of it and take me with you?”
For the second time that day, Sirius blushed as bright as Lily’s hair. What was with this?, he thought. He was setting a new record in the Marauders’ book. Phoenix, on the other hand, was thoroughly enjoying his discomfort. Figures.
“Thanks for the offer, Aurelio, but I’d rather be Phe’s Potions partner,” he said coolly. Phoenix stopped making her gagging noises and rounded on Sirius, nearly hitting the posed Montana Aurelio.
“Hey! You were just begging me to be your partner so you’d get an easy grade!” she whined.
“Well, Phe,” began Remus slowly. “Technically, it won’t be easy for you to blow up the dungeons again.”
James and Peter shook their heads. “Of course it will, Moony. It’s Phe! She can screw up any potion easily!”
“Right you are, mates. Remember the time she made that blob monster-“
“Ha! That was bloody amazing…The Slug Bug didn’t know how to kill it-“
“-and then Prongs did it last year-“
“-maybe she’ll do it this year-“
“HEY! I’M RIGHT HERE!” shouted both Montana and Phoenix. Montana’s seductively intimidating pose had fallen along with her bouncy, blonde curls. Her electric blue eyes bore into Sirius’ steely grey ones whilst Phoenix’s foot connected itself into Sirius’ shin.
“You don’t want to finish that sentence, Black,” Lily growled as she, Nadia, and Andromeda approached the table. Sirius obediently shut his mouth but his rather handsome face turned a not-so-handsome tint of puce.
“Well, well. Ms. Dolohov is still gallivanting with the Marauders & Co, eh?” Montana inquired suggestively. She raised a perfectly arched blonde eyebrow and fluttered her fake eyelashes. “When will they learn their little friend is working for Sn-“
“Oi, Montana?” Phoenix cut in innocently. Remus couldn’t help but notice she threw a dark glance at Nadia. “Do you know what I just realized? That mask you’re wearing, the orange one, really doesn’t match that outfit or those bruised looking eyes. Maybe you should look into fixing that? I’d suggest some Dark Magic ‘cos it appears that’s the only way that mask can come off.”
Montana stood dumbstruck and wordless while the Marauders broke into a roar of laughter. Giving a tight smile, Montana stormed away, her hair bouncing up like her obviously shortened skirt. At the same time, McGonagall was making her rounds about the tables and handing out schedules. She eyed the Marauders and Phoenix suspiciously when she approached their group.
“Am I to conclude that this behavior will continue over the span of this year?” she asked, quite rhetorically. Sirius sobered up some and knelt down on one knee before McGonagall.
“Minnie, you know that you couldn’t live without this nonsense,” he said, petting her clammy, aging hands. Rolling her eyes, McGonagall set down eight schedules before Remus and walked away.
“Too right you are, Mr. Black,” she muttered under her breath, intending that no one would hear her. But alas, she was dealing with the Marauders, and as the school’s best pranksters and students all around, they knew everything. Supposedly.
The tedious day past by with nothing exciting happening- Phoenix setting Sirius’ hand and James foot on fire in the NEWT level Transfiguration and Peter accidentally locking himself in a cupboard with Peeves had strangely become usual activities over the course of six years. Both groups-Marauders and Marauderettes- found themselves in the same exact classes and class periods. How that happened was a mystery but the smirks on Phoenix, Sirius, and James’ faces could prove otherwise.
So far, the two groups spent their day throwing notes at one another in Charms, combusting body parts in Transfiguration, and dueling during two hours worth of study time-save for three fourths of the Marauderettes, no guessing needed to figure that one out. But at this moment, the groups, along with various other peers, were stampeding into the Potions dungeon, knowing fully well that Slughorn would have something horrendous planned to welcome them all back.
Professor Horace Slughorn was a squat, portly man with a shining baldhead, yellowing teeth, a stubby face, and a belly that preceded the rest of his rank mass. He was infamous for his gluttonous, self-satisfying attitude, his incessant fawning over Lily Evans and Severus Snape and everyone else with god-like skills or deep connections to high Wizards, his Slug Club consisting of said students, and his good-natured loathe for the Marauders and Phoenix. Not to mention the mountains of homework and class-work he assigned every given moment.
“Please sit down in pairs, class, and be warned; who you sit with now will be your partner until you graduate!” Slughorn drawled. Hesitantly but obediently, the students fell behind lab tables in pairs.
James mauled Peter over to his saved table, Sirius threatened Phoenix until she gave in, and Lily quickly snatched Andromeda before Remus could approach her, leaving Remus with a timid Nadia. Glowering at his friends, Remus couldn’t help but think this arrangement was planned.
“Circe be damned, Siri! I said I don’t want to be your bloody partner! Now I’m stuck with you until we graduate!” growled Phoenix. Sirius nudged her in the ribs.
“I need an ‘O’ in this class if we’re going to be Aurors,” he replied. “And you’re going to be stuck with me beyond graduation, so suck it up.” Phoenix snorted.
“You’ve just doomed yourself, turd. I can’t make a Potion to save my life-“
“Yet, you must’ve gotten an ‘O’ on the OWLs to be in the NEWT level Potions.”
Smiling sheepishly, Phoenix turned away. “Nah, my gramps just put in a good word with this teapot of a man. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Slug Bug is right. Life is all about connections.”
“Mister Black, Miss Riddle, please desist,” Slughorn called from the front of the room. Phoenix grinned.
“Who is this Riddle you speak of, sir?” she called. Rolling his eyes and rubbing his stout belly, Slughorn droned on about the principles of the NEWT class and the potion they were to begin brewing that day.
Twenty minutes later, everyone was waking from their reverie and clambering to the ingredients cupboard behind the two Potions masters, Lily and Snape. Sirius and Phoenix quickly got their ingredients after watching Remus and Nadia carefully as to not get the wrong components.
“Did you listen to anything the Slug Bug said?” asked Phoenix conversationally as they sat back down and Sirius lit the fire under the cauldron and poured in the ever-so reactive pixie blood. “I didn’t. I was staring at Rum the whole time. His eyes are just so dreamy-“
Remus, seated next to Phoenix, turned from Nadia and his own cauldron, making gagging noises. “Please, Phe! Don’t act like one of those stalker-girls!”
Phoenix let out a sigh of relief. “Thank Merlin you stopped me now. I was going to upchuck my oatmeal if I had to go further. And mind you, that oatmeal was bloody delicious. Can’t go a day without my oatmeal and raisins and honey and bananas and-“
“Shut up! Gawd, I’m getting images of your upchucked oatmeal!” moaned Sirius as he began cutting up shriveled bat wings.
“Here’s another image for you: you eating said upchucked oatmeal from the floor…oh, wait! It gets better! You eat the upchucked oatmeal from the floor that Snivellus’ hair as been used to mop! Hahaha! Upchucked oatmeal! Upchucked oatmeal!” Phoenix fell to the floor in a fit of laughter, clutching her sides and wheezing for air.
Remus and Nadia watched her with amused looks. “She certainly likes the word ‘upchuck’,” she commented in a low voice, mainly to herself. “And oatmeal.” Remus flushed a faint pink and chortled lightly. Not intending to be heard, Nadia blushed but smiled bashfully back at Remus, nonetheless.
Sirius’ face twisted into a demonic and rather ill looking face. He couldn’t help his eyes from wandering across the room where Severus Snape was avidly reading and writing notes into a decaying book. “That is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard! How did you even think of that?!”
“Oh, it was easy,” she replied, trying to help herself up from the floor by means of the cutting board where the shriveled bat wings and a cup of pixie blood lay dangerously close to the open cauldron. “First I- ARGH!”
The cutting board Phoenix had grasped proved not to be stable and she fell back onto her backside. In the process, her fists hit Sirius behind the knee and he too tumbled down. Sirius was lucky though; the cutting board and the cut up ingredients that had laid upon it went flying in the air and into their cauldron-
“OH…MY…GOSH! RUN!” shouted a wimpy looking Hufflepuff in the front. Indeed, the front half of the class went sprinting out of the door without taking a second glance at the sparks and boogey-colored oil sputtering out of the cauldron. Slughorn was trampled to the floor, unaware of what Phoenix and Sirius had done this time.
“What the- PHOENIX! WHAT DID YOU DO?” Lily shouted as she fanned away the odor from her face. The other Marauders and Marauderettes backed away; the cauldron would surely combust.
“I-DON’T-KNOW!” the berated girl coughed. Her pink hair was askew and her eyes wide with curiosity as she inched toward the cauldron. “BUT-IT-LOOKS-FASCINATING! I-WANT-A-SAMPLE-“
“GET AWAY FROM THAT BOMB!” James cried; despite his tries to sound like a higher authority, they could all hear the laughter he was biting back in his every word.
Just as Phoenix was approaching the cauldron, the contents exploded. Pale chunks of goo with dark spots flew and splattered everywhere. James had pulled down Lily, Peter, and Andromeda just in time, as did Remus with Nadia. Sirius had pushed Phoenix out of the way but forgot about himself. Hence him standing in the middle of the dank potions dungeon, covered with oily, chunky goo sliding down his front.
Chuckling, Phoenix stood up, gunk-free, and grinned at Sirius. He stared blankly back at her, unable to decide whether to kill her or engulf her in a gunk-y hug.
“Seems to me that my upchucked oatmeal didn’t make it into your mouth, eh?” she said, biting her lip hard as to stop herself from laughing. James snorted loudly but passed it as a violent sneeze when Lily glared vehemently at him.
Deciding on the latter, Sirius opened his arms and smiled demonically. “Phe, I don’t think there’s a better time to express how much I love you being my best friend.” Eyes wide and face pale, Phoenix backed away and nearly toppled over three stools.
“Siri…stop…” she stammered. His smile grew wider.
“I LOVE PHOENIX! I LOVE PHOENIX!” he began shouted. Phoenix grinned quirkily as always and winked at Sirius.
“I don’t think I can return the love with as much class as you, Siri. But one day, I’ll find a way,” she said before sprinting out of the dungeons. He turned back to the others and lowered his arms slightly.
“Do you reckon I should give her a head start? Phe’s a better runner than me but I’ve got the Map,” he asked. James opened his mouth but Slughorn-who had been crawled behind the chalkboard and now back to his desk- beat him to the punch.
“I’M GIVING YOU A HEAD START TO GET OUT OF MY CLASSROOM!” he bellowed, his puce face turning purple and his wand tip sparkling. Smirking, Sirius bolted out of the dungeons and to the one place he always found Phoenix after a disaster. There was no need for the Map.
He knew she’d be waiting at Their Tree.
“You sure you got all that upchucked oatmeal out of your ears?” Phoenix asked for the sixth time. “It looks like a cauliflower is sprouting out from your ear- oh, no. That’s just how your ears look. Never mind.”
Growling, Sirius shoved her shoulder and Phoenix started tittering like a drunken. He scratched his ears one last time and got two full chunks out of both. The two were situated comfortably on the willow tree that slouched above the Black Lake. Their legs dangled loosely and if they reached far enough, they could brush their toes in the cool water.
“Merlin, this crap doesn’t come off clothes!” he whined to himself. “Gawd, Phe! That’s fifteen uniforms of mine you’ve destroyed over the past six years!”
“Cool your jets, Black. I bought you a whole wardrobe in fourth year for Christmas. You can’t be out of clothes.”
“But still…this was my favorite shirt.”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! ALL OF THE SHIRTS ARE THE EXACT SAME-“
“I was joking, dummy.”
“Har-har. You’re high-larious.”
“So they say.”
“Who? Those half-witted girls who chased you into the loo? After them groping you, I’m sure something was high-“
“OI! INAPPROPRIATE AND UNTRUE ALLEGATIONS ARE BEING MADE!” Sirius shouted through his shirt as he lifted it over his head. As he folded and tucked his drenched shirt, Phoenix blushed faintly and looked out to the lake awkwardly after doing a double take.
Sirius’ abdomens were, bluntly put, rather chiseled and perfectly symmetrical. His skin had developed a crisp, golden tan over the summer, probably during hours of grueling Quidditch practice with James. He had told Phoenix of his runaway to the Potters’ Manor and how he had spent hours in both Quidditch training and family therapy. Regardless, Phoenix had countless times seen Sirius without a shirt in the dormitory when she had gone up there to wake him and on one awkward occasion when Phoenix was changing her shirt, Sirius mysteriously managed to climb up the stairs to the Girls’ Dormitory and walked right in (only to be hexed back down).
“So…” she began, clearing her throat.
“So,” he parroted. “How was your summer?”
Phoenix’s lips twitched at the corners, but they didn’t form into her usual quirky or sincere smile with her perfect pearly teeth shining. It was a half-frown, half-smirk that Sirius didn’t find becoming on her, or anyone for that matter. “Oh, ya know…”
“No, I don’t know,” he said slowly. “That’s why I’m asking.”
She gave a bitter chuckle and turned to him. “It could’ve been better. I was stuck with the deranged snake while the deranged pops went out and about with his drinking buddies and did whatnot,” she elaborated.
Sirius knew this was as much information she would give him. Phoenix never liked, or seemed able to at the least, to talk about her home life. It almost always resulted in her breaking whatever she was holding or her rather clever way of turning the tide on him.
“What bout you and Snotter? Seems like you two had fun,” she said, glancing quickly at his toned torso. Sirius frowned slightly; Phoenix was going with the latter of her two techniques.
“It was ‘right. I told you how we played Quidditch and went to family therapy…you won’t believe what the doc said to him while we were there though!” Sirius’ face beamed at the memory and his face brightened, as if forgetting his soon-to-be-done task of pumping out summer gossip from Phoenix. “He said something about Prongs’ immature behavior being a result from his lack of parent figures around and he was resorting to acting like a child as a cry for attention and a bunch of mumbo jumbo. The guy was delusional…”
Phoenix tilted her head and grinned. “You sure about that?”
“What? Why wouldn’t I be sure the guy was a nut?”
“Well, you say Snotter and his ‘rents started this therapy over this summer and now, Snotter is really living up to his Head Boy duties. I mean, he seems rather mature now. Kinda coincidental that when his ‘rents are now ‘connected’ with Snotter, he’s changed into a new guy, eh?”
Sirius blinked several times, trying to comprehend everything Phoenix was suggesting. For a moment, it seemed ludicrous but now that Sirius really dug deep into the situation…James hadn’t begged Lily to be his girlfriend or proposed once in the day and a half Hogwarts was open. In fact, the two hadn’t even really talked save for the small bickering on the train the previous day. And James didn’t seem completely tuned in during the summer either; whenever his close friend and personal driver Sharif suggested setting rockets off on the Quidditch Pitch, James didn’t find making the usual explosions as fulfilling as he once did. Nor did he seem extremely as intrigued in talking and planning pranks for the course of the year. James was still James, nonetheless. He was still mildly arrogant and ready for the next prank. Just…mature.
“Should we be worried?” Sirius asked stupidly. Phoenix let out a mighty laugh.
“Oh, Siri, you’re so naïve,” she said, leaning onto him for support as she continued laughing. Her pink curtain she called hair slinked across his bare, smooth chest and he shivered with pleasure. “But this is good, in a lot of ways. Bad, cos he’s Head Boy and can’t always manage mischief with us but maybe…maybe he’ll see why I chose Lily over you guys in second year and why Lily refuses him every single time.”
“Hey! You know something I don’t know! Spit it out!” demanded Sirius. Phoenix furrowed her eyebrows and shrugged.
“If you insist-“ she made some hacking noises and opened her mouth, ready to aim a nice spitball at Sirius when he ducked.
“I DIDN’T MEAN SPIT YOUR SPIT OUT!”
Sheepishly, Phoenix wiped the edges of her mouth with her sleeve. “Gotta be more specific with what ‘it’ is, mate.” Rolling his eyes, Sirius leaned back onto his elbows, letting his bare abdomen catch the last of the sun’s rays. Phoenix hesitantly laid her head on his stomach and looked back out at the lake, her fingers gliding on top of the water’s surface.
“This is our last year, Siri. But it’s ours. I can feel it.We have to make the most of it while I’m here,” she muttered. Sirius glanced at her confusedly and when she caught him giving her quizzical looks, she grinned. “But that feeling could also be me about to upchuck my oatmeal.”
Smiling, Sirius nodded absentmindedly. He couldn’t help but think of how well Phoenix had turned the subject away from her…again.