Chapter 1 : What is this 'convenience store'?
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Disclaimer: If I owned Harry Potter, it would be called Sirius Black.
The entrance to Diagon Alley was in a rather shady alleyway, as most wizards and witches knew, but the Muggles were blissfully unaware of the fact that a thriving shopping area existed just behind the brick wall. To them, the alley was another place to do things that maybe were better left out of the public eye.
So, when fifteen year old Sirius Black leisurely made his way down the cigarette strewn alley, it was inevitable that he’d come across some kind of shifty magazine. In this case, it was the ripped cover of a Playboy magazine with a very busty blonde in a very lewd position. It caught his eye when he bent down to tie his shoelaces and, after brushing a few cigarette butts off, he picked it up like it was worth a million Galleons.
What was this wonderful thing? It wasn’t animated like any picture made by a wizard (and maybe that was a good thing) but it had Sirius under its spell, it had to be hexed with something. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the woman on the cover and the grin on his face widened the more he stared.
I have to show Prongs, he thought determinedly.
He folded the dirty cover carefully and slipped it into the pocket of his faded jeans, running for all he was worth towards the Leaky Cauldron where he would meet James. He all but slammed the doors to the Leaky Cauldron open and attracted many looks, but none of them from his best friend and partner in crime.
“He’s late again,” Sirius muttered under his breath darkly, plopping down at an empty table.
After ordering a Butterbeer, Sirius found himself with nothing to do for the next few minutes. He quickly grew bored, as was typical of most teenage boys, and found himself itching to pull out the Playboy cover again. He took a swig of the Butterbeer and glanced around to make sure nobody was looking.
Taking the magazine cover out of his pocket, he unfolded it and lovingly began to smoothen out the creases. He met the eyes of the blonde in the picture and instantaneously started grinning again.
A feminine voice called out to him, “I’m surprised James isn’t with- oh, Merlin.”
Sirius looked up at a very stunned Lily Evans. She was blushing twenty different shades of red and opened and closed her mouth silently like a fish for a minute. He noted she was unable to take her eyes away from the woman on the magazine cover and he frowned.
“You can’t have it, it’s mine,” he told her sharply.
Her eyes darted around the room and she hissed under her breath, “Put that away!”
Excitedly, Sirius asked her, “Do you know what it is?”
“Sirius Black, put it away.”
With a reluctant sigh, Sirius folded up the picture and slipped it back into his pocket. He asked her again, “Do you know what it is?”
“What were you thinking, pulling out something like that in the middle of public? Where did you even get your hands on a copy of Playboy?” she demanded, taking the seat opposite him.
Curiously, he pressed, “Is it Muggle made? Do you know where I can buy a copy?”
“You have no shame,” Lily sniffed.
With a crooked smirk, Sirius retorted without missing a beat, “Well, you’re the one who seems to know a lot about a dirty magazine.”
“All Muggles know about Playboy,” she snapped at him defensively.
“So it is Muggle made,” Sirius said in complete awe.
“Where did you even find it?” Lily asked, her brow furrowing.
He answered, “At the entrance to Diagon Alley, some bloke left it lying around I guess. Why he’d want to, I’ll never know. So, where can I get it?”
“Sirius, just shut up,” she said angrily.
“Oh come on, Evans. We’re friends, aren’t we?” he tried, flashing her a brilliant smile that could bring hordes of women to their knees.
“Don’t call me Evans,” she retaliated instantly, trying to keep herself from looking too long at Sirius. She knew that nobody was immune to his charm.
He rolled his grey eyes and said dryly, “Sorry, I forgot that only James could call you that.”
“Potter has nothing to do with it,” Lily snapped. “I just don’t like being called Evans.”
“Look, do you know where to buy Playboy or not?” he asked again, more firmly.
She hesitated for a split second and replied shakily, “No.”
“Oh come off it, you know exactly where to buy it.”
“Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you. It’s disgusting,” she spat.
A strange light filled Sirius’ eyes and Lily immediately bristled, knowing that dangerous twinkle in his gaze all too well. He said nonchalantly, “I suppose I could always tell James you’re interested in it. You know what he’s like, he’d find out where they stock Playboy, no matter what, and then he’d leave stacks of them outside your dormitory door. Or maybe he’d send them directly to your house-”
“No!” she shouted and Sirius smirked, knowing he had won.
“Urgh, okay, fine. You can buy them at any convenience store, but don’t say anything to James about me,” she gave in, glaring at Sirius all the while.
“Where can I find a ‘convenience store’?” he asked and when she opened her mouth to tell him to find it himself, he continued, “You never know, James might accidentally overhear me talking to myself about you and Playb-”
“I’ll give you directions,” she interrupted him hastily.
“Why, that’s awfully kind of you.”
Sirius had exchanged a handful of Sickles for Muggle pounds, but he wasn’t exactly sure how many he had or if he had been ripped off by the goblin at the counter. He reasoned with himself, It’s Gringotts, they’d never cheat you.
Two of the most valuable items he owned were now in his left pocket. One of them was the Playboy magazine cover and the other was a sheet of parchment with directions to the ‘convenience store’ scribbled on them hastily.
He would have asked Lily to give James directions to the ‘convenience store’ as well, but he couldn’t be sure if she’d actually give them to him. Just because he got on well with her didn’t mean she’d help one of the boys she hated more than anyone else in the world for his sake.
His footsteps came to an awed halt in front of a pretty small Circle K. This was the convenience store. He could feel his heart thudding erratically in his chest at a hundred miles a minute, his palms were sweaty with excitement and adrenalin surged through every last corner of his body. Another huge grin quickly spread across his face as he dashed towards it.
The sliding glass doors opened silently and sleekly as he approached and he stared at them in amazement, filled with new approval of anything and everything Muggle. It’s not magic, but it’s like magic. Muggles are amazing.
Inside he went and looked immediately for the magazine section. He found it easily enough, it covered an entire wall, and in the darkest corner furthest away from the door, he found the dirty magazines. His grin grew brighter and brighter with every step he took towards them and then he came to a stop in front of the most beautiful magazine rack he had ever seen in his entire life.
Wait a minute. How am I meant to pick one I like if everything exciting’s been covered up? He wondered.
The wrapping on all of the magazines censored all of the women’s private parts with strategically placed stars or black bars. He sighed in frustration but decided that he’d have to buy all of them instead and work out which ones he liked the best. Taking as many magazines as he could into his arms, he turned and crashed into somebody.
The magazines all went crashing to the floor and Sirius swore, “Merlin’s beard!”
He dropped to his knees immediately and began picking up each and every magazine meticulously. The person he had crashed into knelt down to help him and out of the corner of his eye he could make out skinny black pants, but that was about it.
“I’m sorry,” a feminine voice apologised, “I wasn’t looking where-”
She came to an abrupt halt when she realised exactly what Sirius was picking up. She was lost for words and glanced at Sirius’ face, frowning when she noticed he was the same age as her. He picked up the last one and lifted the entire stack of magazines; he hadn’t even looked at her once. Not only did she think he was rude, but he looked like he was wearing some kind of strange costume.
There was an awkward pause between the two of them as Sirius shifted his weight from one leg to another. She ventured, “Aren’t you going to put them back?”
“Of course not!” he snapped, “Why would I do something stupid like that?”
“You’re only sixteen, aren’t you?” she asked him sharply, offended at his tone.
He couldn’t make out her face and said through the pile of magazines, “So?”
“You need to be eighteen to buy them, so unless you have a fake ID, you’re going to have to put them back,” she explained smartly.
“That’s complete rubbish,” Sirius dismissed her and struggled past her in the narrow aisle way to get to the counter. She followed him and watched as he tried to buy the magazines.
He dropped all twenty four of his dirty magazines on the counter, beaming brightly. In an excited voice, he said, “I’d like to get these please.”
The bored woman behind the counter looked at him, raising a sceptical eyebrow. She stated, “ID, please.”
“What is that, some kind of secret code?” Sirius asked, frowning at her.
She clucked her tongue twice in annoyance and explained, “Do you have a driver’s license? Or a university card?”
“Um…no…” he trailed off and she leaned back against the wall of cigarettes, rolling her eyes.
“Then I can’t sell any of these to you. Go and put them back on the rack,” she ordered him, clearly too lazy to put them back herself.
“What?” he cried in outrage. “I’m paying you good money, does it matter how old I am? Why would companies put an age limit on something like this, they’re promoting underage sex by banning children from reading something that can substitute for the real thing-”
The magazines were picked up by a dark haired girl who dragged Sirius away by the cuff of his black robe and he let her lead him back to the magazine rack, too angry to think properly. She released him and put the magazines on the cheap linoleum floor, folding her arms over her chest as she sized him up through critical eyes.
She was obviously a mix, between something Asian and European. Her intelligent eyes were almond shaped and almost black, her hair platinum blonde but black at the roots. It was tied back into a messy bun and she wore a red and black tartan men’s shirt that had the first couple of buttons open to her long, pale neck. It was paired with a pair of black shorts and she wore red Doc Martens. As if it had been afterthought, a white cap with Chinese characters in silver was on her head at an angle, the few metal studs on it caught the light of the fluorescent light bulbs as she shook her head at him.
She was definitely a foreigner.
“Are you stupid?” she demanded.
Even though her fashion was a bit strange and outlandish, it didn’t look bad, Sirius decided. Actually, it was pretty cool and edgy.
She continued, hardly noticing that he was staring at her clothing, “If you really want to buy them, you’ll have to get a fake ID. Why you’d want them, I’ll never know, but-”
“Do you have a fake ID?” he asked her quickly and she blinked.
“Can I borrow it?” he asked again eagerly and she stared at him like he had grown another head.
“Are all British people like this?” she mumbled under her breath. “You can’t use my ID because it has my picture on it. Only I can use it.”
Sirius frowned at her and crossed his arms over his chest, deep in thought. Then he brightened and said, “Then why don’t you help me buy the magazines?”
“No!” she all but shouted at him, going a brilliant shade of red.
“Oh come on, you’d be doing a fellow rebel a favour,” he tried to reason with her.
“I’m not going to buy those-” She threw the stack of magazines a very pointed look, “-for you.”
He asked her, “Look, you’re a foreigner, right?”
“How’d you know?”
Looking at her clothes critically, he said dryly, “I guessed. Anyway, since you’re a foreigner, you’re probably here on holiday. Or you’ve just moved here.”
“I’ve just moved here,” she admitted and Sirius nodded knowingly.
“So you probably want to take a look around London. See what it has to offer and all, do the tourist thing before school starts,” he continued. “And you see, I can help take you around.”
Her dark eyes narrowed and she said flatly, “No.”
“Oh come on, how many other locals do you know?” Sirius asked in exasperation.
“I don’t even know you,” she exclaimed and he shrugged.
“We can get to know each other. I mean, I won’t force myself on you or anything, unless you become one of these Playboy girls-”
She interrupted him. “So it’s a given you’ll never force yourself on me.”
“Yeah, and that’s a bit of a shame, really,” he said, turning on the charm.
She looked at him flatly and he grinned back at her lopsidedly. With a sigh of frustration and resignation, she glanced at the stack of Playboy magazines and then to Sirius’s extremely handsome face.
“You’re sure you have enough money to pay for all of them?” she asked.
He was surprised when she threw a disgusted look at him. Awkwardly, she took the Playboy magazines and money from him, lowering her voice, “Go outside and wait for me. I’ll bring them out.”
He left the store through the magical sliding glass doors and pressed his face against the glass, watching as she paid for the magazines. She produced what he presumed was this famed ‘fake ID’, which was just a small University card with her photograph on it. The woman behind the counter raised an eyebrow at both her and (through the window) Sirius, but she sold the magazines to the girl anyways. The girl came out, carrying two huge plastic bags and she shoved them to Sirius as though she would catch a disease for touching them for too long. He took them gratefully, cradling them close to his body.
“See, that wasn’t that hard, was it?” Sirius asked her.
“It was the single most demeaning experience of my entire life.”
Brushing off the heated glare she directed at him, he said reassuringly, “Don’t worry, you’ll get over it. Pride is useless in today’s society, only the really shameless people make the big money.”
“Gee, thanks,” she muttered darkly.
She glanced at the watch on her left wrist and looked back up at Sirius, explaining, “I need to go now. I’ll give you my number.”
From her purse, she produced a dark green pen that had ‘Hotel Ibis’ printed on the sign in fading golden letters. She held out a hand expectantly and Sirius stared at it, unsure of what she wanted him to do.
“Give me your hand,” she ordered him and he frowned.
“I didn’t think you’d be so forward but-”
She grabbed his hand irritably and began to write a number down on the inside of his palm. He suppressed giggles as the pen tickled him, he was manly and men did not laugh.
“Alright, that’s my mobile number. Call me, so we can figure out when you’re going to show me around London as repayment,” she told him.
“So it’s like a date, yeah?”
“It is not like a date.”
Sirius sighed dramatically and then asked her, “What’s your name?”
“Kit Asou,” she said shortly.
She had already left before he could introduce himself and he huffed in annoyance as she disappeared around a corner. He had quite liked her actually, he was sure they could have been great friends. Maybe she and Lily would have gotten on, they both seemed to know an awful lot about Playboy and buying it.
He looked down at his hand and frowned.
What’s a ‘mobile number’?
When Sirius walked into the Leaky Cauldron again holding two huge Circle K bags, he immediately laid eyes upon Lily and James. As usual, they were arguing and he watched them for a minute- they were always funny to watch.
“Oh come on, Evans, just sit with me for a bit. I don’t want to look pathetic sitting here on my own,” James insisted and she threw him a dirty look.
“So you only want me to sit with you because you don’t want to look pathetic?” she asked him incredulously.
He blurted hastily, “No! No, of course not, I want you to sit next to me-”
“You are not going to believe what I’ve just found,” Sirius said, taking this as his cue to interrupt.
Lily stared at the plastic bags and asked, “Those aren’t what I think they are, are they?”
Sirius grinned back at her widely and James looked suspiciously between them. Jealousy reared its ugly green head and he tensed, suppressing a scowl.
“What’s in them?” He demanded sharply.
“Rubbish,” Lily spat just as Sirius said, “Magazines.”
“Magazines?” James asked, completely ignoring Lily’s addition.
She looked away angrily and Sirius nodded, smiling crookedly. He said, “I’ve got loads of them, look-”
“Not here!” Lily hissed and Sirius shot her a dirty look.
He said darkly, “Fine, since Lily’s such a prude, I’ll show you at home.”
“Are you sleeping over at Sirius’ then, Potter?” Lily asked James.
There was an awkward silence.
James said absolutely nothing, looking to Sirius for permission. Sirius sighed, running a hand through his dark hair and he explained, “I’ve moved in with him. I left home.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean-”
“Don’t worry about it, its fine,” he said, his grin seemed a little bit forced. “I’m happier with the Potters than I’ve ever been with the Blacks.”
James stood up suddenly, his chair screeching on the wood as it slid back. He looked at Sirius and reminded him, “Mum wants us back by twelve for lunch, we’ve got to get going now if we’re going to be on time.”
“But we haven’t even done anything!” Sirius protested.
“Well, if you had been here we might have been able to get around to doing something,” James pointed out in annoyance.
“You’re one to talk, you were late,” he argued and Lily threw her hands up in the air.
“I’m leaving, say hi to Remus for me,” she said and left the two boys.
When she had left, Sirius raised an aristocratic eyebrow and inquired, “So how was your time with Lily? And we’re meeting Moony?”
“He’s sleeping over. I bumped into him on the way here so I invited him,” James explained, ignoring the first question.
Sirius’ eyes lit up as he remembered his plastic bags and said, “The more the merrier.”
Even though curiosity was gnawing at James from the inside like a monster, Sirius refused to let James sneak even one peek as they got onto the Knight Bus. He kept the magazines hidden and when they got home, Sirius snuck upstairs to their shared bedroom. Mrs. Potter was in the kitchen and hadn’t noticed as the two of them had entered, Mr. Potter was working at the Ministry.
Once they got upstairs, Sirius locked the door after James and pulled down all the curtains. He was being overly cautious and began to pull out each magazine from its plastic cover. However, his back blocked James from seeing anything as Sirius laid them all out on the bed. James moved closer to get a better look.
James began, “What in Merlin’s name are you- oh.”
“What do you think of them?”
James couldn’t tear his eyes away from the magazine covers. Even though he felt like he was betraying Lily, he couldn’t help himself as he took in the wonderful bodies of hundreds of different naked women.
“What are they?” James asked in a weak voice.
“Muggle magazines called Playboy,” Sirius proclaimed proudly, as though he had always known what they were.
“Muggles made these?” James blurted in complete disbelief.
“Couldn’t believe it myself either, but then Kit explained it all to me-”
They both someone try to turn the locked doorknob and turned. James hissed at Sirius to put the magazines away and he quickly shoved them under the bed as James unlocked the door. In the doorway stood a very bemused Remus Lupin.
“Why’s the door locked?” Remus asked as James pulled him in, locking the door behind him again.
Sirius spread the magazines on the bed, about to announce again to Remus proudly exactly what they were. Remus didn’t need explaining however and he went bright red as he looked away, spluttering, “Why do you have Playboy?”
Sirius demanded, “You know what Playboy is?”