Chapter 5 : It's Potter to you!
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"Sirius Orion Black! If you don't come down here within the next thirty seconds, I'm coming up there and I will be anything but gentle! Stop being such a baby and get down here!" Aria screamed up the boys’ dormitory staircase, gathering the attention of the whole common room in the process. She tapped her foot impatiently, waiting for the silly seventeen-year-old boy who was sulking in his room. She watched with narrowed eyes as he appeared, taking each descending step slower than a toddler would, and keeping his eyes cast downward.
"Aria, I don't have a hearing impairment, so you didn't have to scream. You just gained the unneeded and unnecessary attention of the whole common room," Sirius muttered, raising his head to glare at her, showing the deep purple bruise that had formed around his left eye whilst flourishing his hand in the general direction of the now silent crowd gathered in the common room.
She inhaled sharply at the sight of the contusion. Aria saw it briefly, only moments ago when he rushed through the portrait hole. He seemed to be okay, but when he glanced up, she noticed the unpleasant shades and the slight gash underneath his eye. She had immediately sprung up, away from the squashy couch she was sitting on as he scampered quickly across the room and out of sight up the stairs, keeping his head down. It was then that she made the decision to scream up the stairs. Looking back, it probably wasn't the smartest idea. Aria shook her head, disregarding his complaint.
She leaned towards him and murmured, "Sirius, what’s happened to you?"
Sirius looked down to the ground once again and motioned her to follow him out of the portrait hole. She followed him, frowning at the possible scenarios that were running through her head of what might have happened . Slytherins were the most likely to blame. This would not have been the first time he has come back to the Gryffindor common room in a less than perfect state. He had probably jinxed them, or played a prank on them, or insulted them, and they had retaliated. The possibilities were endless. She still could not understand why the sight of a Slytherin triggered that sort of unruly behaviour in him. What about them provoked him to put himself in danger? She had thought long and hard of all the possibilities, but could come up with nothing. Abruptly he ceased to walk any further and started to turn around. This caused them to bump into one another. His warm hands moved effortlessly up to her arms and steadied her before she could fall backwards. She felt a slight chill wash over her and mentally admonished herself for not bringing her jumper.
She stared up at him again, surveying his expression. His face was emotionless. Although his grey eyes were hard and looked somewhere over her head, it seemed as though he was waiting for her to talk.
"Sirius," she spoke gently, "I'm really worried, what happened?"
He sighed and reluctantly looked down to her face.
"I might have landed myself in a fight with James."
"What! Why? You two were fine this morning! What could have possibly happened within the course of eight hours or so?"
He sighed again, this time looking away from Aria's face and running a hand through his hair. "We were coming back from the kitchens and James was in one of his moods, because of this whole Lily situation. So I told him to move on. I told him that she wasn't worth the worry or time because she was making him so unhappy. I then said that she wasn't that great anyway."
Aria gasped, pulling her hand up to cover her mouth in shock. "You said that? To James? You said that to your best friend, James, who is in love with Lily? Who has probably been in love with Lily since half way through the first year?! Why, Sirius? You of all people know not to anger him like that!"
"You don't need to make this any worse for me Aria. I don't need a lecture, okay? I already got punched in the eye. Plus, now my best friend isn't talking to me. So yeah, I know that sometimes I should think before I speak."
Aria's eyes were still wide with shock. She couldn't imagine him saying those things to James. Not only had he never expressed that he felt that way, but he said it to the one person that adores Lily and would do anything in the whole world for her, even if it meant dying! Surely this was some kind of sick joke. "Do you really think that of Lily, Sirius?"
"Of course I don't!" he exclaimed, the anger rising and becoming visible in his eyes. "I didn't mean for it to come out that way. I just wanted to try and move his thoughts away from the situation. Certainly not provoke him to punch me in the eye. Who knew that he still loved her through this whole thing? He must really have some strong emotions towards that girl. I swear all he does is get hurt, over and over again. It's awful to watch day in and day out!"
Aria sighed with relief. She was thinking she might have to punch him in the other eye for saying those things about Lily. But she had to admit she also wondered why he put so much effort in, for so little back, especially this year.
"So I'm guessing he isn't talking to you?"
"Good sleuthing, Sherlock," Sirius mocked, whilst rolling his eyes.
"It will be okay. If you let him cool off, then apologise and it should be fine. I'll have a talk to him if he isn't going to hear you out," Aria said whilst giving him a reassuring pat on the arm.
Sirius remained sceptical for a few moments before relaxing.
"I want to go see him now. Can you come with me? I'm scared he will hex me."
"Wow, Sirius Black scared? Who would have thought?" Aria said cheekily while giving him a playful nudge on the shoulder and following him along the corridor.
"Oh come on! You have to admit, when James gets angry, he is scary! He unleashes this freaky power. Even if it’s only exerting physical force, it's still unbelievable. Sometimes I forget how powerful he is. Evans really underestimates him. It would be healthy for her to witness James at his finest. Don't you think?
"I agree actually. I first noticed it a while back, I think perhaps in fifth year? He really excels at Transfiguration. I got him this human transfiguration book for Christmas and he never seemed to put it down. I'm pretty sure he could do half the stuff that was in the book by the time school had started again and you know, most of it is from the seventh year curriculum!"
Sirius smiled to himself. It was from that very book that Aria mentioned, that James had gotten the idea to learn how to become Animagi for Remus. Sirius wasn't bad at transfiguration, but it was James that helped them with the process. He really was incredibly powerful. "James, James, James. What a terrific boy he is. I don't know what I would have done without him these past couple of years, especially after the whole family drama. I really shouldn't have said that to him. I'm really the biggest git known to man."
"Yes you are my dear Sirius, yes you are."
They had arrived at the painting to enter the Head rooms when Sirius lost his confidence slightly. Aria rolled her eyes, said the password and pushed Sirius through the portrait hole and followed after him. Lily was on a couch near the fire, reading a book. Typical really.
Lily looked up when they entered, surprised to see them this late. "Oh hey Aria!" She smiled and rose, discarding her book on the lounge. "Black." She nodded to Sirius and started to turn away, but then turned her head back sharply with a look of shock on her face. "Merlin! What happened to you?"
Sirius grimaced. "Might have said something to James that I shouldn't have."
"Oh, I was wondering why he came storming in through the portrait hole and slammed his door. What did you say to piss him off so badly?"
"I don't think you would really want to know, to be honest."
"Yeah, on second thought, don't tell me. It's best if I don't know," Lily agreed and pulled Aria towards her room.
Aria turned her head before being swept into Lily’s room and mouthed 'Good luck' to Sirius. He sighed and dragged his feet towards James' door. He held up his fist to knock on the door and tapped lightly, hoping that James would be in a better mood. There were footsteps as someone approached the other side and he took a step back, just in case. The door swung open and there stood James with a slightly annoyed expression on his face. His eyes zoomed in on Sirius' eye and his face erupted into a smirk.
"Those colours really work for you Black. Perhaps we could make it a permanent fixture?"
Sirius winced slightly at the use of his last name and looked to the ground, trying to find any words that wouldn't antagonise his best mate further. "Look James..."
"No, I think I would prefer it if you called me Potter for the moment. Friends don't usually say those types of things to their friends," interrupted James, looking annoyed.
"Okay. Look, can we just go into your room for a sec, I need to talk to you, apologise,"
James’ eyes narrowed, but he stepped back and let Sirius move through the doorway. He looked at James again and inhaled deeply.
"Mate, I'm really sorry. I didn't mean to say those things. I just wasn't thinking. I was frustrated because you were upset again, and I was trying to move your mind away from the situation. I hate to see you upset like this. Promise me, I was attempting to make it better. But now I know that I made it significantly worse. Please forgive me. I don't mean those things; the things I said about Lily. She really is a great girl. I just wish she could see the James that the rest of us do."
James’ face was resilient, but softened towards the end of Sirius’ ramble of apologies.
"You're lucky I didn't do that to the both of your eyes, Black. The girls would definitely never give you a chance. One black eye may be good for your reputation, showing that you can get into a 'masculine' fight. But two black eyes? Man, your reputation would certainly need saving!"
Sirius barked with laughter, closed the distance between them and pulled James into a brotherly hug. "Thank Merlin that I didn't say anything worse about Evans, then!"
They pulled back after a moment and looked at each other. "It's hard enough fighting with the most important girl in my life, I don't need to fight with my best friend as well. Please, can we make a truce to not fight this year?" James asked.
"I couldn't agree with you more Prongs."
With that Sirius lunged towards him again and tackled him to the floor, playfully mucking around with him. After a few minutes there was a loud bang and the two Marauders broke off suddenly, shocked by the loud noise. They looked towards the bathroom door and saw Lily and Aria standing side-by-side, their wands raised, their faces filled with shock. Sirius and James chuckled lightly upon seeing their expressions.
"So I guess you two made up then?" Aria asked with one eyebrow raised.
Before James could answer Lily jumped in. "Wait, you know Aria? I want to know what’s going on now. What were you fighting over?"
James looked at Sirius before quietly saying, "I'll tell you another day Lily, when you can appreciate the answer."
Lily merely looked confused before turning and walking back toward her room again. Aria gave them a small smile of approval before following after her friend.
"So, I say we head back down to the kitchens. What do you reckon Pads?"
"Okay. But before I accept your invitation, I have to say: please do not call me Pads! You know how I feel about it. Lily told me there are some Muggle contraptions for women that I probably wouldn't want to know about, that go by the same name!"
James laughed loudly and walked out of his room, Sirius following in his wake.
Lily made her way to Transfiguration the following day in quite good spirits. Nothing was bothering her at the moment, and that was unusual, as something nearly always got up her goat. Her fight with James on their rounds was nearing three weeks ago and they still hadn’t resolved anything. It was almost like it was a subject that they both knew to stay away from. They weren't fighting anymore and that made some difference. They both knew that yelling only wasted their energy. Even though they didn't yell, Lily still felt abnormally drained, leaving it at a truce of sorts. James didn't seem phased by the situation, which only made Lily more anxious to get it all out in the open. She was not one to leave a fight this huge, yet she didn't know how to bring it up with her Head Boy. She found herself oddly intimidated when it came to James these days, especially since the fight was basically all her fault. She thought she should apologise for it, but again came to the original fact that she didn't know how to bring the subject up in conversation with him.
Lily sighed as she tucked her long hair behind her ears. Although she didn't want to admit it, in the small amount of time that she had spent time with him since the start of term, he had definitely changed. Even if it was only a small amount, it was still a significant alteration from Lily's point of view. Pushing the issue out of her head for the time being, she picked up the pace – she was going to be late and an angry McGonagall was not enticing in any shape or form.
She was almost in the Transfiguration corridor when Ella came out of nowhere and flung an arm around Lily’s waist, pulling her into a side hug.
"My dear Lily, it has been too long. It's so awful not having you around the dorm. I don't know what I would do if Aria wasn't there!"
Lily smiled at her friend and hugged back tightly. "I know. I really miss you guys as well. We must have some sleep-overs in my dorm soon. We can do it all muggle too! Make-overs, movies and of course, lollies! What do you reckon?"
"Oh, I would not miss it for the world!"
"What wouldn't you miss for the world?" Aria yelled from behind them.
Lily and Ella both gave a chuckle of laughter before explaining their plan to Aria.
"Oh! It sounds amazing! Soon, please? I'm getting extremely ticked off with the Hampton twins in our dorm. They are becoming increasingly vain by the day! All they do is stand in front of the mirror and pluck their eyebrows or exclaim that they need breast augmentations. Like I want to hear about their future boob jobs! It's ridiculous!"
Lily and Ella laughed again, pulling their friend to their side. The three girls started towards the classroom in high spirits, all smiling widely and each musing about ideas for the sleep-over Lily had suggested.
They walked inside and sat in their usual places, near the front of the classroom. Lily made them choose somewhere in the first three rows at the start of term. She had refused to sit near where the Marauders might sit, claiming that this was her N.E.W.T year, and that she did not need any more distractions than absolutely necessary.
McGonagall was yet to arrive so they continued to talk quietly, discussing the food that they would get for the sleep-over and possible movies to watch. After five minutes, the stern transfiguration professor strolled into the classroom and headed towards the front with particularly large strides for a woman of her age.
The lesson had begun when the door swung open and made a loud bang at the back of the classroom. Everyone turned their heads to see the cause of the interruption that caused McGonagall's lips to purse. It was not a good sign when her lips pursed. Lily silently cursed whomever it was that was coming in late, as pursed lips usually equalled more homework.
It was then that Sirius sauntered inside the classroom with a somewhat dazed look upon his face. His uniform was dishevelled; his tie was loosened significantly and thrown over his shoulder; and half of his pressed, white shirt was untucked. However, the most surprising aspect was his hair. His usual ebony, elegantly styled hair, was messy and sticking up in many different directions. He resembled James Potter more than he did himself.
He frowned and swung his head in every direction looking for his fellow Marauders. Upon finding them, he walked over and sat down next to Potter, with the dazed look still clearly etched on his face.
"Mr Black, are you quite right?" McGonagall snapped.
This seemed to bring Sirius out of his reverie. He looked toward his head of house standing at the front of the room. Oh boy, this was not looking good. The class was probably going to get a ten foot long essay as homework now.
"Of course Minnie. I'm in your class! It almost calls for a celebration, but I know how you don't particularly like festivities whilst you are trying to lecture. Please, I don't want to ruin anymore, continue!" Sirius insisted, his charm oozing out all over the place.
Lily looked back at McGonagall now. Her face faltered and she turned away quickly, resuming her normal strict demeanour.
"Don't let it happen again Mr Black, otherwise I will have to give you a detention. And fix your uniform. Coming from a broom closet or not, I expect you to fix yourself when entering a class of mine." She then turned around to survey what was being written on the blackboard by the charmed chalk stick.
Lily looked back to the Marauders when McGonagall's back had turned. Sirius had a proud, egotistical smirk plastered on his face. It was then that James immediately whacked him on the back of the head. Sirius cupped his mouth to stifle the yelp he emitted before turning to James with an angry expression. James then whispered something along the lines of 'if she gives us more homework, you are dead meat! Oh and fix your tie you stupid, sex-crazed arse!'
Lily turned back to the front of the class and giggled to herself, earning a couple of confused glances from Ella and Aria.
"Now, this year I'm doing things a little differently. You shall be working with a partner, completing all assignments, essays and projects together," McGonagall explained. "As the level of performance is far exceeding anything you have experienced thus far in Hogwarts, having a partner to coach you, support you, and guide you through any difficulties or problems which arise, is, I think, advised."
There was a mutual groan from the class while they waited for the inevitable pairing.
McGonagall started around the room, matching people together.
"Now, who is next? Yes, Mr Lupin, you can be with Mr Richards over there. Miss Rodgers and Mr Northington. Ah yes, Mr Black you are with Miss Slater. And who is left? ... Mr Potter,"
Lily felt the blood rush from her face. There was no one else left.
"Ah yes, Miss Evans doesn’t have a partner either, you shall be partnered with her. Go on, it shouldn't take all day Mr Potter. Perhaps this will make you two see eye to eye for once."
Lily turned around to see the same shocked expression on his face that already appeared on her own. This could not get any worse. They were hardly on speaking terms, let alone friendly. Being Transfiguration partners was really not going to do them any wonders! Plus, everyone knew that this was her worst subject. It would be just like him to rub it in her face; the thought of embarrassing herself in front of Potter brought a flush of mortification to her cheeks. She turned back to the front and tried to remove any emotion from her face before he came over. The last thing she needed was to start up a fight in the middle of Transfiguration. The legs of the chair next to her slid against the floor with a sharp scrape; she turned her head slowly to her right to look at him. His expression was different now. It was hard and concentrated, like he was attempting to calculate a complicated math problem.
McGonagall was just beginning to explain the task for the lesson, but Lily wasn't listening. She was trying to figure out a way to change partners. Eventually she gave up. McGonagall would never let her. She probably put Potter with her to help improve her less than average grades, because yes, he was a genius at this damned subject. But she was too beside herself to think that Professor McGonagall was doing a good thing for her.
"Evans! Are you listening to me?" James persisted.
"Oh, sorry. I wasn't paying attention. What do we have to do?"
"You didn't listen to what McGonagall wants us to do?"
She gave him a sheepish smile. "Uh, no. I fazed out. Sorry."
"That’s okay. Well we are turning these birds," he explained, pointing to the extravagant birds in front of them, "Into glass goblets."
Lily immediately shivered. This was definitely the worst lesson to be partnered with Potter. She had not been able to master turning her match box into a mouse last year, so she highly doubted that this more advanced transfiguration spell was going to work for her. Her shiver turned into a sharp intake of air. Her palms began to sweat and she was beginning to lose feeling in her legs. This was not going to go smoothly.
"Are you okay? You look like you are about to be sick," James asked in a quiet, serious tone.
"I'm just feeling a little dizzy."
A loud scream emanated from behind her. She turned around quickly to see Emma Harlow, a Ravenclaw seventh year, try to grasp a hold of her bird before it flew away after becoming aggravated by the charm. She struggled with it before she began to lose her hold. Emma's let out a squeal as her hands slipped and the bird took to the air. Emma panicked when it began to fly towards the front of the room, towards Lily, and without thinking, she tried to turn it into the goblet before it reached her. She screeched the spell, but faltered on the last syllable, making the glass begin to shudder and expand, all the while, the half goblet, half bird flying closer and closer to Lily's frightened face. The goblet then shattered in a large explosion and shards began to fly even faster towards Lily's face. Lily was rooted to the spot, too frightened to move.
Lily felt a large push from behind her, causing her to fall violently in the direction of the floor. She landed on the ground and irresponsibly looked up only to see a large shard of glass come hurdling towards her right eye.
Ahhh yes, a cliffhanger! Gotta love them!!!
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