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The Art of Breathing. by AC_rules
Chapter 7 : ...Eventful.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 54


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A/N - Well... I wasn’t expecting this to be long. Or have half this stuff in, but I started writing then it all started flowing out much to my surprise. I wanted to give you guys a little more drama and plot movement than you normally get, but I really didn’t expect to write soo much... So I dunno if it’s good or bad or what...

Also, most of the stuff that’s happening with other characters isn’t all coming on suddenly, it’s just that Mary’s normally so self-absorbed she doesn’t see it. She sort of has a nice person day...

Hope you enjoy, and please review :)

“Of all the things I've believed in
I just want to get it over with
Tears form behind my eyes
But I do not cry
Counting the days that pass me by”


Goodbye to You- Michelle Branch

 
I was sitting at the Gryffindor table chatting aimlessly to Lily about this and that. I was completely comfortable and content due to the familiarity of this scene, the same thing occurred pretty much every day as we’d talk about every subject that we could think of, then we’d fall into an uncomfortable silence.

“So yeah, then Potter jumped out on me and I dropped all my bags!” Lily complained the distaste evident in her tone. “Oh hey guys,” Lily said as Alice, Charlotte and Rachel sat down with us. “Happy Easter,” She said to them and they returned the greeting in much the same way.

“Happy Easter,” I said quietly only to be ignored. I sighed and my gaze turned downwards as I felt foolish.

“Sirius!” Charlotte exclaimed standing up and kissing him lightly before dragging him into the seat next to her. My cheeks flushed red and I looked away as my stomach gave an uncomfortable jolt of jealousy.

“You’re so much better than her,” Lily’s voice said in my ear quietly so only I could hear. I brought my face back up and she gave me a comforting smile. “The post!” James announced coming to sit down next to Sirius, Remus and Peter in his wake. “That means eggs!”

“For some of us maybe,” Sirius said darkly. I half-smiled when I saw the family owl flying towards me carrying an oddly shaped package.

“Chocolate,” I said appreciatively ripping off the brown paper that concealed my chocolate egg underneath. I busied myself by peeling back the foil carefully before breaking a small portion of chocolate and consuming it.

“Aren’t you going to read that letter?” Sirius soft velvety voice asked and my heart began racing erratically in my chest. I looked at the letter in my hand which had been attached to the package which I had no intention of reading, ever. It was from Karen.

“Y...yeah, later, in private.” I mumbled feeling stupid and inadequate. Then I was use to that, Sirius’s presence seemed to do that to me.

I woke up feeling terrible uncomfortable and rolled off my bed. It was then that I realised I had donned my thick fleece pyjamas and had sweated... a lot. It explained part of being uncomfortable, the other part being explained by my dream, which I could date back exactly to last Easter. Then, I still entertained the fantasy that Sirius would be my saviour, then I had been unconditionally shy, then Lily and I had been as tight as... as tight as Charlotte’s clothes.

Since then so much had changed. I almost felt sorry at that moment for Lily, dealing with me coming back so much changed. Leaving as a quiet, shy, plain girl whom she could seek solace in and had a wholehearted crush on Sirius Black. Coming back as a purple haired, always annoyed, bitter, angry, completely over emotional girl who was now full on enemies with former mentioned Sirius Black. It was hard for her to understand, I knew that, but I found myself not wanting to waste time with stupid mundane conversations. I simply wanted her to get some decent perspective on the world and it annoyed me that she hadn’t and probably wouldn’t before I died.

I also felt bed for failing to mention that I was dying, and I knew I should just blurt it out, but saying the words out loud to someone was a whole lot more scary than you’d think. I was used to things being closed off and simple, I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, I didn’t want them to think they understood when they had no fucking idea.

Most of all however, the dream made me feel ashamed. Ashamed of what I was, ashamed of what I have become, ashamed of being oblivious, ashamed of chucking that letter into my trunk without a second thought. I hated how hopelessly I had fallen for Sirius only last year, how hopelessly I had been led to believe that I was worse than them, them brought right back up again by a few words so I thought I was so much better. I was arrogant, selfish, oblivious, stupid, annoying and I just kept complaining.

The amount I complained annoyed myself, let alone everyone else! I didn’t want to be a miserable bitch, it had just been happening a hell of a lot recently, and even I had difficulty keeping up with my thoughts. I wanted to be happy, and I tried to see myself in a positive light, but everything was always completely empty. Not even just half empty. Optimism just didn’t suit me, and it wasn’t particularly healthy, I had long since decided, it only leads to immense disappointment. Pessimism led to being pleasantly surprised when things did go right... It made my sense in my head at least.

I sighed pushing the pointless thoughts from my head, no one should think this much on a morning.

I decided it was futile to try and return to the sleep I had been in before the dream had woken me up and instead glanced at the clock. It was now six which didn’t seem a completely unreasonable time to wake (now I was already out of bed at least). I spent ten minutes wondering what to do with myself. Then scalding myself for wasting ten minutes. Then, after fifteen minutes of standing in the silent dormitory, I chose to take advantage of the other four still residing in a blissful slumber and walked into the bathroom. I pulled the light switch and pealed of my sweat-sodden pyjamas. Nice. I chucked them to one side and turned on the shower.

Showers generally woke me up and pushed other thoughts from my mind. I turned up the pressure so the hot water hit my shoulders with force, releasing the tension from my shoulders. I smiled a little while making a million resolutions that I knew in the back of my mind I wouldn’t keep. Be nice to your family, talk to Lily again, stop stressing so much, write a letter to Becky, apologise to Sirius, tell Nate that you know you’re lucky to have him, do some homework, have an early night, relax, go flying... The list went on and made me feel oddly better, so after washing my hair with Rachel’s oddly scented shampoo and conditioner (I still hadn’t been able to get some since she used it up) I slid the shower door open with one last resolution. Right them all down. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it round myself before stepping out the bathroom again.

Six thirty.

I grabbed a quill from my trunk (or as anyone in this century would call it, a suitcase...) and then rummaged around to find some parchment and scribbled the list down, then pulling out another piece and writing a note to myself to buy more shampoo and conditioner in Hogsmead.

I pulled the curtains around my bed so I wouldn’t get the blame for using up too much water or waking them up at six in the morning. I grabbed my wand from the bedside table and quickly performed the drying spell... only it didn’t work. I’d forgotten I had become inept and I shook myself angrily. I tried again, concentrating my anger on my hair, but I achieved nothing. I tried again and again feeling stupid for not being able to perform such a stupid simple spell. I slammed my wand down on my pillow in annoyance, and at last a spark shot from the tip.

“SHIT!” I yelled suddenly, jumping a mile in the air when my curtains set fire. How bloody predictable (not that I’d predicted it, but anyone with a brain would).  “Shit! Shit! Shit!” I jumped up and fell off the side of bed which wasn’t on fire.

“Alice!” I exclaimed scrambling to get up as the curtains on Alice’s bed were pulled back. “Alice! Put it out please!” I yelled and she blinked twice before springing into action. She grabbed her wand and put the fire out without saying a word. I was so unbelievably jealous of her power.

“I won’t tell the other’s, don’t worry,” She assured me and I smiled at her thankfully. Alice was a nice person. Occasionally...

********

I often wondered how I became engaged in such fascinating conversations, and how I was lucky enough to have friends whose intellectual capacities far surpassed the norm.

“Yeah, but if you buy foundation that’s a shade lighter you don’t look orange!” Rachel said folding arms over her chest.

“But a shade darker covers up more bad areas of skin...” Charlotte countered.

“Yeah!” Alice agreed, nodding along side Charlotte.

“No!” Lily said shaking her head. “Paler is the way to go!” I sighed and resisted the strong urge to thump my head against the table.

“I have a suggestion,” I said looking at my nails. “Why don’t you just buy the right shade?” They all looked at me in shock as if my suggestion was ground-breakingly shocking and brilliant. As if it had never even occurred to them that they could buy the right shade.  

If you hadn’t guessed, any sympathy and guilt had long since gone from my mind, and the resolutions had gone right out the window along with my consciousness. Can you be bored to death?

“Hey,” Sirius practically yelled so everyone turned to see him plant his lips on Rachel’s. “What we talking about?” He asked, sliding into the seat next to her. Opposite me.

“Foundation,” Alice said cheerfully.

“How... enthralling.” Sirius said dryly and for a moment I almost told him that I agreed completely but I just tapped my fingers on the table uninterestedly instead. The last thing I wanted was to agree with Black.

“Where are the rest of your cronies?” I asked when the conversation (which had now moved on to the shade of eyeliner – jet black, or coal black?) became too dull for me to handle.

Sirius just shrugged.

“Speak of the devils,” Lily said exercising her amazing ability to switch from one conversation to another without any effort. (Although it can’t take up much brain to discuss different shades of black...) “Although I think Bat black looks warmer you know?” She said switching back to the other conversation.

I looked up to find that the other Marauders were indeed arriving looking cheerful as ever. Sirius was the only one who ever looked sullen and moody.

“Top of the morning to ya’!” James said in an Irish accent. “How are you all?” He asked in the same accent.

Sirius face broke out into a grin as he saw his mates and I had to admire how close those four were. The Marauders were quite a team.  Despite what you may hear in the girl’s toilets, or anywhere with girls, the Marauders aren’t that attractive. They’d look like rats next to models, but they were the best looking at Hogwarts, and therefore they looked so much better by comparison. That isn’t what attracted the girls however; it was the complete effortlessness of everything they did – it all came naturally to them. Charisma wise, they were well loaded, and they had an air about them that meant you had to look at them. Then they’d smirk at you and you’re knees would collapse under you.

Say, if you hand me a photograph of Black I could pick out every little flaw in his face with ease, but when faced with him it becomes much harder. They act as if they’re perfect, which makes them perfect, even though they’re not. I was awed by his presence once, but that had faded now and I could see him clearly again, and it wasn’t half as good as I’d originally thought.

“I’m all right,” Sirius said clapping James on the back. “Why are you Irish today? I doubt Evans will like you any more if you put on a crap accent,” He joked smirking.

“It’s worth a try eh?” James asked. “Gosh I’m famished,” He said pilling food onto his plate and stuffing it into his gob.

“Attractive mate,” Remus said laughing at his ridiculous eating habits.

“Ergguh! You’re making me sick!” Lily complained looking at him disgustedly. James swallowed his mouthful of food.

“No love, the temperature and dizziness is just a side affect of being so close to me!” James grinned.

“I was talking about the nausea, though I guess your face explains that.” Lily said bitterly, though I could tell she was a little proud of her quick comeback.

“You been taking lessons from Mary?” Remus joked. “Maybe you could do with some too mate,” He said to James. “So you can still keep up,”

“Oi! What about me?” Sirius asked faking being offended. “I could give old prongs here some lessons,”

“Erm... yeah, obviously...” Remus said coughing into his hand and looking shifty. It was all just one big joke with them, and I had to admit I was jealous.

“Come on pads, you know you’re not up to scratch,” Pete put in. “I would say you should take some lessons from Mary too, but you know that old saying... You can’t teach an old dog-” he began but he was cut off by the other three joining in.

“A brand new trick!” They finished together, then they were all laughing at some joke I must have missed.

Lily looked over at them too, and I noticed her green eyes fixed on one individual in particular; James Potter. I also noted the absence of the normal disgust that shown through when her eyes were fixed on him, instead they were more curious... intrigued...

James obviously felt the eyes on him and jerked his head round. Lily instantly shifted her gaze so it looked as if she was merely looking to the end of the table. Interesting.

“Who are you looking at, Lily my flower?” James asked and she sent a death glare his way and jumped up.

“None of your business!  And why do you always have to call me that?” She asked standing up angrily.

“I-”

“Because you’d think you would have worked out by now that I’m NOT INTERESTED!” She yelled. “Arghh! Forget it! Just get out of my face.” She finished storming out of the great hall. I wasn’t much surprised by her outburst: she had a temper and James rubbed her up the wrong way. She was especially liable to blow up and anyone at certain times of the month, and James did sometimes deserve it...

“That’s it!” James said, deflating slightly. “I’m giving up; my pride has been dented too much!”

“Come on mate,” Remus said carefully, “You say that every day,”

“She’ll come round.”

James didn’t reply but instead just look dejectedly into his plate of food before pushing it away. “Why does she hate me?”

“She doesn’t,” I found myself saying, without meaning too. Four eyes turned to face me, and I flushed red because it was obvious now that I’d been listening in now. “She doesn’t hate you,” I said defiantly, shaking of the ghost of the old me which threatened to take over me for a mere second. “You just... frustrate her, because she can’t work you out,” I finished lamely.

“How do you know?” James asked eagerly.

“I just... do okay. Who else anger’s her so easily? No one. That’s got to mean something, right?”

“It means she hates me more than everyone else.” James countered flatly. I shook my head and sighed.

“You wouldn’t get it.” I said turning away.

“Seems like you speak from experience to me,” Sirius said his eyes boring into me. I was frozen for a second looking into the depths of his grey eyes, which looked so intense and powerful at that moment I wondered how I’d missed it before.

“No.” I said weakly. “No experience.”

“If you say so, Mary,” He said his eyes still holding the smouldering quality until a voice broke our little moment. No. Not moment... Staring contest. That fits it exactly – ish.

“Sirius!” Rachel claimed grabbing his attention.

I shook myself of all those old emotions, and concluded it was just the after affect of my dream last night. It had been so real that I was temporarily slipping back into those old feelings I no longer had.

“You okay Mary?” Pete asked and I jerked myself out of my thoughts to see that all the Marauders were looking at me in shock.

“Yes, why wouldn’t I be?” I asked but my voice was a little higher than normal.  Sirius, who was now standing up with Rachel, smirked at me and gestured for the others to follow him.

I sat there for a second comprehending what had happened, before realising that the others had all left, and I was sitting their on my own looking like a right plonker. I stood up quickly and hurried to Potions.

*******

Outside potions. Engaged in another ridiculous conversation.

‘James is so annoying!’

‘Sirius is so HOT!’

‘Remus is so kind!”

‘Pete is so... short’

‘I hate James Potter’

‘I LOVE Sirius Black’

SHUT UP ALL OF YOU! SURELY YOU HAVE BETTER THINGS TO TALK ABOUT.

“What do you think Mary?” Rachel asked.

“Huh?” I asked confused, glancing at the door – hoping it would open and class would begin.

“Which Marauder is the hottest?” Charlotte said rolling her eyes.

“Sirius,” I answered without thinking. “NO!” I said when I’d realised what I’d said. “No, erm... James? Remus? Any of them? None of them! I hate them all!” I babbled hurriedly.

“Sirius huh?” Lily asked raising an eyebrow at me. Rachel was raising an eyebrow at me and she did not look happy. Paranoid much?

“No!” I protested, and I was about to continue when out of the blue, my neck was jerked downwards and the sound of laughter reached my ears. It took me a few seconds to realise that someone had put me in a headlock. A headlock. A fucking headlock!

What the hell?!?!?!

“Sirius, I was joking!” A voice called out and the person who was holding me shook with a soft laughter.

“GET OFF ME!” I screamed, laughing at the same time, because it was either a laughing or crying situation. If I started crying I’d have big black trails of mascara and big puffy eyes, and it’s really not worth it.

“Hey Mary! Nice Underwear!”

“Number 16’s? Classy!”

Oh. My. God. I’d forgotten that I was wearing a skirt, and so was now giving everyone behind a view of my underwear (these ones were ones I’d brought, so were infinitely more comfortable,)

“GET OFF ME!” I screamed again and he just laughed. My head was still stuck in his arm, and all I could see was his stomach, and... Below. Hey! You can’t not look at in when your head’s pointed in that direction!

“Like what you see?” He asked so only I could hear. I tired to kick him with my foot, but he chose that moment to release me and I fell to the floor. I picked myself up as everyone laughed and looked at him angrily.

“Sirius Orion Black,” I said with complete calm. “I know a spell that could make your parts stick up into your body and never come down again.” I said and he stepped back. “I know a spell that could make you bald everywhere for the rest of your life, and I have the power to kill you with my left shoe. So if you DARE do that EVER again, I swear to Merlin you WILL regret it!”

“It’s all right knowing the spells,” James said laughing at Sirius’s discomfort. “But from what Sirius tells me, you can’t do the spells,”

“James Potter! How dare you be so rude?!” Lily asked rising up another foot and looking beyond livid. “This isn’t your battle! You have no right to discredit other-”

“ENOUGH!” Slughorn yelled at the doorway. “Everybody In!” He yelled, and we all filled in. The encounter left me riled up and annoyed, but it seemed to have quenched Rachel’s paranoia, and she was now sitting quite comfortably next to Peter.

“I HATE Slughorn,” James spat bitterly from the seat next to me. I looked at him and followed his gaze.

  Lily was already talking animatedly with Slughorn about some potion or other. She was sitting a good few inches away from her partner, Snape, and kept shooting him looks which clearly stated that he was to stay that far away or else.

Slughorn moved form Lily’s table and onto the next, a desk where two Ravenclaw who’s parents did something important at the ministry, and began talking to them instead.

“Psycho.” James said still glaring at him. I fought the urge to laugh, the boy was pretty far gone if he got jealous about Slughorn.

“Most people don’t go a person you could mistake for a bus,” I told him in an attempt to be reassuring. “And I’m talking about size and his face,” 

James tore his gaze from Lily and looked at me; he smiled to show he appreciated my efforts before returning to his watching. Lily was now chopping up some leaves and roots and it was only then we realised we were meant to have started.

“Pads!” James whispered throwing a ball of parchment in his direction. “What are we supposed to be doing?”

“Page 45,” Sirius said before returning back to flirting with Sarah Bones. 

“Right then,” I said flicking to the right page.

“I’ll get the shit,” James said and I assumed he was talking about the list of things we were going to need for the potion. He stood up, his eyes still fixed on Lily who looked to be having a conversation with Snape.

I sat there aimlessly, watching Sirius cut up some purple carrot and I realised that aside from the headlock incident, he hadn’t annoyed me today (much). This was terrifying to say the least.

 “How are you then Mary?” James asked and I turned to find he was now back again. I shrugged and took a purple carrot thing from the pile he had deposited on our desk.

“Looking forward to Saturday I guess,” I said and James nodded. Only three days left!


“See about Saturday...” He began and Sirius head snapped round, as did mine. “Well... Ermm...”

Was he actually going to ask me to hogsmead? Please say he wasn’t. That would be cringing and incredibly embarrassing. I’d have to reject him, and that isn’t something I enjoy doing.

James fidgeted on his chair and changed the subject completely. Weird.

“You changed right Mary?” James asked and there was a note in his voice that I didn’t recognise immediately. James Potter was worried.

“You could say that,” I answered simply tapping my fingernails on the desk.  Sirius, who was still looking over at us, rolled his eyes.

“Well, the thing is,” He began. “because Lily, I mean, I really want too, erm, well, you know, she’s not too fond of me, and well, I’d like her to... you know like me, and well you kind of changed so I was thinking that maybe you could you know possibly help or something?,” He said and I raised my eyebrow at him.

“Now could you try and makes sense?” I said and James flushed slightly.

Sirius rolled his eyes again and butted in, “What he means is that he wants you to help him change to become someone Lily will like,” He said and I nodded in comprehension. I was about to open my mouth to argue the point that he shouldn’t change for someone but Sirius beat me to it. “But I’ve told you mate, there’s no point changing for love as it won’t be true you need someone who excepts you as you are and I doubt that this little-”

“I do think that it’s not worth changing for someone, but merely making sure she see’s how you really are? Now that is worth it. Plus if you change into someone else, she may realise how much she likes the old you? You know the old saying; you don’t know what you have until you lose it Well I have a feeling that’s how she’ll feel,” I said and James nodded in wonder.

“And what would you know?” Sirius asked nastily.

“Well, I have been there on the odd occasion when Lily’s had a breakdown,” I said mysteriously and James’s hazel eyes were looking excited at the fact that I thought he had a chance.

Sirius snorted, “Like anyone would come to you for advice,” he said darkly.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” I asked angrily.

“Well, you’re pretty fake, you hardly ever have boyfriends, you don’t have any close friends, you suck at most subjects, you lose your temper easily and you’re all full of teenage angst,” He said and I looked at him feeling gobsmacked, “Oh yeah, and you don’t get on with your family, and yet people to come to you with advice, I’m trying to work that one out,” He said and I scowled at him.

“Anyway!” James said over Sirius, he now looked excited and eager. “Well! I was thinking that we could meet up on Saturday, and you could help me!” James announced, and I breathed I sigh of relief. And so did Sirius? Huh? Me and my imagination...  

“Yeah okay,” I said and Lily’s head snapped round, and looked at me in disbelief. What was it with people today?

“Don’t you have some other date lined up?” James asked, his eyes darting to Sirius and back to me again.

“No, I’m off guys at the moment,”

“Or are they just off you,” Sirius commented and I shot him a look. “Or are you onto girls instead?”

“I wouldn’t mind seeing that,” James added.

“Shut it both of you,” I said glaring at them both. “I could remove my services James!”

“Ooh, dirty!” Sirius said wiggling his eyebrows.

“When did you decide that I wanted your company? And I think Blondie wants you,” I said pointing to Sarah Bones who was fluttering her insanely long eyelashes at him.

“Well at least someone does want me!” Sirius exclaimed before turning back around.

*******************

“Everybody! Run as many laps as you can, the bottom four have to stay in at lunch!” Miss Quigley yelled. Well there goes my lunch time. “Except Miss McDonald, can I talk to you for a moment?”  

No. No you fucking can’t!

“Go on Mary,” Sirius said cheerfully, “Don’t keep Professor Quigley waiting!”

“I hate Wednesdays,” I muttered as everyone watched me walk over to her. I still didn’t like this woman, she was a bitch out here in the P.E. field, yet nice in the classroom. You can’t do that! Just change whenever you feel like it!

What, like you did? Sirius’s voice reminded me in my head.

Whatever.

“Mary,” She said and I rolled my eyes, she’s decided as my only friend is her fiancé, she has the right to talk to me like I’ m her friend. Well I’m not and I hate her. “We’re doing Duelling in defence soon,”

“Oh?” I asked as if I really cared, although we both knew I couldn’t give a damn either way. If she didn’t, it would make her very thick, which wouldn’t surprise me.

“Yes, and you can’t exactly join in, as spells affect you way too much.” She explained, the sympathy in her pretty eyes was overly-powerful for a second as if it was fighting to jump out on me and give me a big hug. Eww.

“Oh,” I said, flatly this time.

“So, unless you want to tell everyone, could you possibly play a prank on me or something, which would mean I could ban you from duelling?”

“No.” I said shaking my head. “No. No. No.”

“Mary! You don’t actually have to do; everyone just has to think that you have-”

“With all due respect! They all think I’m in love with Nate anyway!” I said and she raised an eyebrow at me.

“And you’re not?”

“NO!” I yelled really loudly. “I AM NOT!” So even she thought I was in love with him? Shocker.

“Just checking,” She said. “Well Mary, it’s the prank, or me telling everyone you have to be put back to first year standards,”

BITCH.

“What was that Mary?”

Nothing,” I said darkly.

“That’s what I thought, now get running, and add twenty to your score,”

I cursed darkly under my breath as I began running around and wondered how I’d ever seen sympathy in those dark dark eyes.

************

It was half way through muggle studies when I realised just what I’d done. Offered to try and get Lily to like James. That was impossible! Improbable! A job of a lifetime considerably longer than mine!

“Very good Mary,” Miss Kingston said. She was a muggle art teacher, brought in to teach today’s lesson. This basically meant it was a doss, but I still had to sit here with paint and pencils and draw the lantern in front of me. “Top of the class! Full marks! Art could be your future!” 

I snorted, (I WILL give that up some day soon.) Miss Kingston was... a character. She walked into our class half an hour ago with a suitcase on wheels that we’d since found out was full of art materials. She unloaded them all with frightening enthusiasm, presented us with paper and told us to get out artistic juices flowing. To embrace the artist within. That wasn’t what made her scary, no, it was the fact that she had obviously tried to make herself into a work of art. Half her hair was in dreadlocks which appeared to have been dyed various times, in various colours stretching from a normal brown, to florescent green. She had swirly tattoos in black and grey on every bit of skin visible and she had piercings in every single place you could have piercings. Some of the girls gave her odd looks but I had been in awe at how extraordinary she looked, and I noticed that Sirius keep glancing at her impressed. Looking her up and down.

“This frog is fantastic!” She said moving on to James (she is way to over enthusiastic.) At the word frog and winced notably and shuddered. I wasn’t scared of many things, but I had a phobia of frogs. It originated from a traumatic childhood experience that I have no desire to think about.

I instead turned my attention to Miss Kingston who was now approaching Sirius to comment on his work.

“Hmm... you have potential!” She said to Sirius before moving on. Ha! Potential! That’s art speak for- that’s crap and don’t bother ever trying again.

“Shut it Mary!” Sirius said as I laughed, not perturbed by his rudeness in the slightest.

“Let’s have a look!” I said grabbing his ‘picture’ I turned around and looked over at his picture.
“Now what is that supposed to be?”  I asked and I honestly didn’t have a clue. It was a fat blob of green, only he appeared to have got bored half way through so it was half finished and looked more like a swing set on drugs to me...

“It’s a frog!” He announced throwing it at me. I jumped backwards and screamed. He laughed and didn’t bother picking up his drawing.  

So he knew about that now? Great. Just great.

************

“So today you won’t be working in your pairs!” McGonagall announced, it was her turn to take team building. Another teacher would take the lesson on the Wednesday, and Miss Quigley would always do the Friday one.

“WAHHEYY!” Sirius yelled at the top of his voice and Professor McGonagall gave him a look. He shut up quickly but I laughed slightly and he caught my eye and almost smiled back.

“You’ll be working as a whole group, blindfolded,” There was a collective groan and all trace of amusement at Sirius’s antics disappeared in a flash. “So! Everyone, come and get a blindfold, then take off your shoes!”

This could not be good.

**********

“What is the point of trying to find our shoes blindfolded? How is that building up a team! It’s not, precisely!” I complained loudly as Lily stood there in stony silence.  Although several hours had past and it was now dinner time I was still fuming over the team building and at Kate-effing-Quigley in general.  I had however managed to keep my anger in check when it came to every other person so that was good, and generally I was in a good mood. I should have known it wouldn’t last. “Lily?” I asked and she turned and glared at me.

“I’m not talking to you!” She announced and I stopped and looked at her shocked and confused. It wasn’t exactly what I’d expected her to say, as I thought, in comparison to most other days I’d been positively saintly.

“Erm... why not?” I asked and she stood there looking livid, as if it was completely obvious and I was being a bitch by not knowing.

“Well, what are you doing on Saturday?”

“Going to hogsmead,” I replied, utterly confused as to where she was going with this.

“Who with?”

“Oh... James,” Comprehension dawned on me and I knew this couldn’t go well.

“You said you were going with me!” Lily announced. It briefly occurred to me how lesbianic this would sound to anyone walking past...

“No I didn’t, because I have to babysit anyway,” I counted.

“You didn’t even talk to me about it, and we always go to hogsmead together!”

“Only if neither of us have dates!”  I pointed out, referring to the pact we’d made way back in third year. Only realising after I’d said it that it made it sound like I was going on a date with James...

“Well then, I hope you enjoy your date with Potter!” She said before stalking off, and I heard the ‘melodic’ sound of Sirius laughing behind me, it sounded louder and more manic than it had ever done before.

“Shut up!” I said angrily. Well that was a turn of events. Since when did Lily care? And the whole idea of Hogsmead was fast becoming less appealing.  Helping James get Lily? Like that was going to happen.

“What’s up Mary?” Sirius asked swaggering over to me. “Had a bad day?” He said with mock sympathy. I glared at him, determined to stay calm. He hadn’t actually bothered me that much today, which was scary to say the least. “No yelling? No come back? Tired are we Mary, run out of lines. It was only a matter of time till you sunk back to boring old Miss Nobody.”

I clenched my fists and tried to walk away, I was determined that I would not lose my temper again this week, so I would just walk away and let him insult someone else. My plan was thwarted however by the fact that he walked in front of me. I couldn’t push past him due to his vast size compared to me. So I gave him a dirty look and hope that it would be enough to make him more the hell away. It wasn’t...

“Come on Mary, I’ve missed my daily entertainment today,” Sirius said still advancing on me. His voice was darker than normal and it scared me slightly. “I could do with something to laugh at, and you’ve been inexplicably average today...”

“Shut up!” I whispered darkly a million insults swimming round my brain, but I held them in and instead tried again to move away but he blocked me again.  He was scaring me now.  The glint in his grey eyes was darker than before and had an evil quality I had never imagined it would ever be there present in Sirius’s eyes of all people, but here it was.

“But why should I?” He asked me cheerfully, not an annoying cheerful, but a down right terrifying cheerful. I stepped back this time.

“Because you’re pissing me off!” I said quietly, not wanting to anger him further because I didn’t want to know the consequences of that. It was surely not going to be good for me.

“But come on, who cares about you? And it’s not like you have anyone else to talk to... Lily doesn’t want to know, none of the others ever wanted to know, your nurse friend is preoccupied with his fiancé, and you don’t have anyone else do you?” He said cruelly.

“Look!” I said still trying to control myself. “Just because you’re pissed off does NOT mean you can take it out on me! I HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING!” I yelled the last part, anger and nervousness flooding through me.

“Yes but you see, I can do whatever I like,” he said arrogance radiating off him. “And right now I want to piss you off because it’s so entertaining.”

“Just leave me alone!” I yelled and for once I was actually scared of him. He had a sort of manic quality about him that made me down right terrified. Like he’d been possessed.

“No.” He said a sadistic smirk playing on his lips, and it suited him entirely, which scared me even more. “I don’t want to.” He finished.

“SIRIUS!” A voice yelled from down the corridor and the Marauders came sprinting down the corridor. “What the fuck did you do to your brother?!?!?!” James asked breathless.

“He fucking deserved it!” Sirius yelled turning around and shaking with anger now. As if before he’d been holding back and now he was letting the full force of his anger flow out.

“What did the letter say?” Remus asked urgently, as if it was the key to everything, which it might as well have been. “The one from you parents?” Sirius’s fists clenched at his sides and seemed to be using every ounce of his energy to prevent himself from causing someone harm. I didn’t know what had caused him to get so angry and I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to know. The last time I had seen him he’d been perfectly calm and laughing and joking with the rest of us.

What had they said? His brother and a letter from his parents.

“Voldermort. Fucking Voldermort.” He muttered violently leaning his back against the wall to support him, almost like he couldn’t support himself at that moment. He breathed heavily for several moments before calming down to a level that wasn’t as utterly terrifying as before.

“Mary!” Pete gasped, the three of them only just registering my presence. They all looked at me with apologetic eyes as if to say that they knew I had been on the receiving end of his anger for a few minutes when in actuality they should have been dealing with it.

“He didn’t-” Remus mouthed at me quietly while Sirius looked away, but I interrupted his sentence by shaking my head vigorously.

He seemed to sense my movement and it brought him back up to boiling point again, he stood up fully, his body shaking with incomprehensible rage. Then he didn’t something that scared me even more than I care to admit; he moved forward half the length of the corridor, and it seemed to me to be in slow motion, as his arm drew backwards and his eyes flashed with anger. Then I looked away and tried to ignore the thump of his fist against the stone wall, what sounded like his bones cracking, and Peter’s gasp.

 “Sirius! Fucking chill!” James yelled at him with all the force he could. I now understood why James had been made Quidditch captain, his voice held so much authority that even Sirius, in his less than stable state, backed up against the wall and sank down it.

I turned my gaze back to his hand, unable to keep my eyes occupied with the brickwork, and saw it was an even uglier sight than I had expected. His hand was a Gryffindor-scarlet and already looked inflamed – although that could be because of several of his bones surely must have been broken -  and even though his knuckles had collided with the wall a few mere seconds ago, his hand was tinged blue with bruising.

That had to be so god damn painful.

“Here,” Remus said in a softer voice. Remus pulled his wand out of his robes, turned Sirius’s hand over, and rested the tip on his palm. Sirius didn’t wince, but I could see all the muscles in his arms tense up.  Remus then uttered a spell that I couldn’t here causing a green light to cover his hand then fade into his skin. He repeated this process several times while James took to yelling sense at him again.

“GET A GRIP MAN!” James yelled at him. “You can’t just lose you’re temper like this! KEEP IT TOGHETHER!” He was yelling and I could see how that method had worked before. It just seemed so wrong and unnecessary on this occasion.

“James,” Remus said warningly. “Come on mate, calm down. Just tell us what’s up,” Peter looked at a complete loss and I almost felt sorry for him standing there wringing his hands over and over.

“Andromeda,” he said when he was finally able to talk properly again. I knew I should leave, that I had no right to be there, but I was unable to move because I could see as clear as day that he was suffering! And my conscience, which was so often locked away, was now coming back at top volume and I sure as hell didn’t know how to deal with it.

“They found out, about you know...” He said looking up at the other three. “So...so... They burned her off the tapestry. Just burned her of the FUCKING tapestry, as if she doesn’t exist! As if she NEVER existed. Like her and Bellatrix never used to play dolls together, like Narcissa was never jealous of her hair! As if she never came over to here and got dotted on by my fucking mother! AS IF SHE DIDN’T EXSIST! She doesn’t deserve a family like that! No one does! WHO CARE SO MUCH THAT THEY CAN JUST BURN HER OFF THE FUCKING FAMILY TREE!”

“Sirius...” Peter said comfortingly.

“That’s not all.” He said sharply.

“Is it helping...?” Peter began but Sirius cut him off.

“SHUT UP!” Sirius yelled at him with all his anger. Pete jumped back from him looking as scared as I thought. Remus shook his head at Peter to tell him that it didn’t matter. That he shouldn’t worry about it.

“The letter.” Sirius began again after a few moments of silence. “Regulus told them that I was still hanging around with you lot, and she told me,” His voice broke now as his rage bubbled over the surface, “she told me, she told me that I was FUCKING LUCKY not to have been burnt off myself!”

 He put his head in his lap and a wave of sympathy washed through me. Sirius Black was suffering, and I was doing nothing to help that, surely everything I was doing was making it worse. I’d always considered those rumours nothing short of bullshit, but now I feel awful and began to believe more of them than I thought possible - beatings, cruelty, death eaters and a million other things running through my head.

“Mary, just go. Sorry if he yelled at you,” Remus said softly but I couldn’t move. I was frozen looking at him in so much pain and suffering.

“Sirius, come on...” James said softly, obviously trying this tactic out for the first time.
“JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!” He yelled and the others sighed and after five minutes of watching him make no progress they all agreed to leave him alone just as he asked. I walked away from him too, but found it impossible to leave him completely alone.

So I did what no male would ever think to do. Not try and fix anything, and just be there.

I slid down the wall so I was sitting next to him, and his body stiffened considerably. “It’s only me,” I whispered and all his muscles relaxed again. I had no words of comfort to say to him, and I’d seen from the Marauder’s failed attempt that it would probably do little good anyway. So instead I put my arm around him and just sat there.

It was one of the most comfortable silences that I’d ever been in and instead of thinking my own troubles, like I always did, I pondered on Sirius’s;  I was too guilt ridden for making things worse for Sirius when the thought crossed my mind that he’d also been making things worse for me too. It wasn’t going to change either.

“Sorry,” Sirius whispered after goodness how long, I wasn’t sure anymore. It seemed like he’d managed to calm down back to his normal state and was now just a little shaken up.

“Doesn’t matter,” I said softly, because at that moment it didn’t much, petty differences and annoyance beside, I didn’t want him to be suffering. “I’m sorry, for not caring about your family and that,”

“Why should you care?” He asked after another moment of silence. “I’m just a dick who makes a nuisance of himself,”

“Well, yeah,” I agreed and he smiled slightly. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t care at all,” I said dragging him up again. I glanced at my watched and sighed when I realised we’d missed dinner.

“You hungry?” he asked when he saw me looking.

“Nah, I’m okay...” 

“I know where to get you food?”

“Yeah, I’m starved,” I admitted and he smirked and started dragging me around.

“Oi! Just because I’m hungry doesn’t mean I’ll follow you around like a lost puppy,” He seemed to find this funny and laughed at me slightly, and I didn’t yell because I was glad he appeared to be cheering up somewhat.  “Where are we going arsehole?” I asked after being pulled in what I thought was a full circle.

“Tickle the pear,” He instructed me after dragging me down one corridor. 

“Fuck no.” I said crossing my arms. “I’m not just going to do whatever you tell me to!” I counted.

“Suit yourself,” He said reaching forward as if to tickle it himself.  I looked around for some reason or other and so it came as a great surprise when Sirius jerked my whole body forwards with a simple arm tug and I found myself standing in what looked to be the kitchens.

“Ee!” I squealed excitedly.

“You sound like a girl,” Sirius said pushing me into a seat.
“And what is that supposed to mean?” I asked pretending to be outraged.

“Nothing,” He said innocently. “Thanks,” He said going completely serious again. “You didn’t have to stay or anything, you should have left me to it, I’d have been fine.”

I shook my head. “Think nothing of it, though I’d like to ask for one favour in return.”

“Mary, I thought I already told you. I’ll have sex with you whenever!” He bellowed and a startled house elf looked around in utter shock.

“You prat!” I said, though I was laughing, “The favour I meant,” I said pointedly. “Was that we go back to normal. Not like before the summer,” I clarified at the expression on his face. “Just don’t expect me to be all nice and comforting ALL the time. Or at all.”

“Oh, thank Merlin,” Sirius grinned. “That means I don’t have to be nice either,” he explained in answer to my questioning look.

“Right then, we are decided. We are officially still enemies!” I announced holding out my hand, which he shook.

“Starting tomorrow,” he clarified, clicking his fingers so a house elf came over. “Ham and pineapple deep pan pizza, hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, pancakes with golden syrup and two slices of lemon cake.” He ordered. “Chop, chop,” He said cheerfully.

“Don’t be so rude!” I reprimanded him, and he just laughed.

“Like you’d be any politer,”

“Just because you have a point, does not mean you can rub it in my face!”

“Mary m’dear, the only thing that needs rubbing in your face is some fake-tan.”

“My paleness is endearing!” I said and he laughed. “It is!” I protested in reaction to his laughed.

“Did Natie-Watie tell you that?” He asked in a mock baby voice. I was about to snap back with some witty retort (if I had managed to think of one in time) when we were presented with the food. It was only then that I realised he had ordered my favourite food’s of all time.

I didn’t say anything, but looked up at him in shock. He winked at me.

He winked at me?!???? I toyed with the idea that he knew that these were my favourite foods, but tossed them aside quickly.

“Gosh, today’s been so...” I began.

“Shit,” Sirius finished at the same time that I finished with...

“Eventful.”

“Eventful?” Sirius asked as he stuffed his face full of pizza. (really pleasant to see his half chewed food by the way...)

“Yup,” I answered not wanting to tell him my life story. Or day story for that matter.

“Soo... you’re helping James get Lily,” He stated. I grimaced. He smirked. I laughed. We both ate some more.

******

“Know any more secret passage ways then?” I asked when we were walking back. The meal had been good, and we had managed to keep away from any arguments and Sirius appeared to be in much higher spirits.

“One more,” He answered and I looked up curiously. “But I’m not going to tell you.”

“That’s cruel!”

“You’re cruel,” He counted and I shrugged. I could hardly advertise being nice was one of my qualities.

“Well then, I’ll be very cruel and torture you until you tell me!?!?!”

“Oo, scary,” he said sarcastically, but he was joking. “Okay, well. You see that painting of the wizard over there,” He said pointing to an ugly wrinkled bold man with a great number of warts.

“You mean the minging one?”

“No, the one that looks like you!”

“None of them look like me!” I countered. He walked forward to the ugly one I’d been talking about in the first place.

“You’re such an arse!” I yelled, but I thought it was pretty funny too.

“Hey, I was giving you a compliment really; you’re not half as attractive-”

“Well at least I don’t have my portrait stuck outside the Gryffindor common room!”

“Oi! Watch it Miss E-i-o!”

“Tell me what to do to get in!” I pleaded remembering the whole point to this anyway.

“Okay, what you do, is you stroke the guys beard and say, let me in sexy!” Sirius said and I walked forward and my hand was almost touching his beard... when he burst out laughing.

“You are impossible! It doesn’t do anything does it?” I asked humiliated in the funniest way possible.

“Aha, you’re so gullible.”

“You know what, there’s gullible written on the ceiling!” I said and he instantly looked upwards, then realised what he done.

“Good one Maz,” he said nudging me, but doing so with enough force to send me flying to the floor.

“Mhhfffgh.” I groaned lying there on the carpet. I was lucky in the fact that nothing was bleeding, which was liable to happen with me.

“Whoops,” Sirius said cheerfully, hauling back up again as if I weighed as much as a rag doll.

“Hey, you’re portrait!” I exclaimed as we arrived in front of the Fat Lady.

“Wow, you’re right, it’s like looking in a mirror!” Sirius exclaimed.

“But the thing is, we’re not insulting you here, were insulting the painting.” I said and while he was working that out. I mouthed the password at the Fat Lady, and pushed him over the threshold.

“Ha!” I exclaimed as he fell flat on his face. “That’ll teach you to knock me over!” I stepped over his legs and into the Gryffindor Common room to see several angry faces glaring at us.

For a start, the Marauders were sat on the comfiest sofa’s glaring at us, well no; their glares were entirely directed at Sirius. It was Lily, Rachel and Charlotte who were glaring at me.

“What time do you call this?” James asked.
“Bob.” I answered. It was a reflex reaction and I honestly didn’t mean to say it, but six pairs of eyes turned to me as if I was completely barmy.

Sirius was smirking as he stood up again. He, having much more confidence than I ever will have, didn’t bother hovering in the threshold but instead sat down on one of the sofas.

“Hey guys,” he said, not as cheerfully as before, because it was obvious he was about to get the third degree.

“We’ve been worried sick!” Remus lectured, standing up and beginning pacing. 

“No note!” Peter added crossly.

“No message!” James continued.

“No, I’ll be back soon!” Remus put in.

“It’s MIDNIGHT!” Peter exclaimed.

“What the hell have you been playing at??” They all chorused together.

There was a deadly silence as everyone waited for Sirius to answer, and I fought the urge to laugh.

They sounded so unbelievably like some pushy parent telling off their thirteen year old daughter.

I stared hard at the carpet and tried to concentrate on not laughing. They’re mad enough already for some incomprehensible reason.

Well... no. Lily was mad because I was going to Hogsmead to James (To help him pull Lily...) Rachel was mad because I’d just been one-to-one with her boyfriend for several hours (to cheer him up). The Marauders were mad because they were worried about Sirius, and they couldn’t find him (surely they’d check the kitchens??). Charlotte was mad because she fancied James, and had heard about the Hogsmead thing. Also because Rachel was her friend and Rachel was paranoid that I was stealing her boyfriend. So... no. Not incomprehensible, just surprisingly predictable. (if that makes any sense)

“I’m waiting for an answer! I’m not going to wait much longer! Three...two...one...”

Then I burst out laughing and everyone started at me. I flushed red and sighed. Were things like this only funny to me? Yes? No? Probably...

Sirius winked at me again. I pretended not to notice.

 Rachel noticed. Lily noticed. Charlotte noticed.

Oh crap.

“Well then, I’m going to bed,” I said knowing that it was the easiest way to avoid the others. “Nighters,” I said pathetically, before making my way up the stairs.  

I sighed as I got changed quickly (In an attempt to avoid the others, who were hanging on a chance to spend time with the Marauders it seemed.) After last nights issues with my thick fleece pyjamas I pulled out the smallest pyjamas I possessed. These pyjamas covered about as much as could be covered by a small handkerchief; a great deal of my leg was exposed and it was cut low enough to ensure anyone who was trying to look an excellent view of my clevage. I still like them though,and it's not like anyones going to see me.

The set consisted of a tiny pair of blue and white striped shorts and a white top with a red anchor on. They had been Becky’s previously and so had the familiar scent of alcohol, smoke, mulled wine air freshener and damp which doesn’t smell as bad as it sounds.  

The day had been.... eventful. It was the only word I could think of describing it. I climbed into bed mulling the day over in my head and realising I had several issues:

One, I had to prank Mrs Quigley when I could barely do magic.

Two, I had to teach James how to act around Lily and waste my hogsmead time doing it.

Three, Sirius Black knows I am terrified of frogs.

Four, Lily isn’t talking to me.

Five, I now felt more sympathy for said Sirius Black than I ever planned on having.

Yet my last thoughts before I drifted of into a less than peaceful sleep wasn’t about any of my problems, or even hogsmead, but on my dream and how maybe I was so lucky to have a family who sent me eggs and wrote me a letter on Easter.

Those photos’s I never look at...

Those arguments I always cause...

The letters from Karen that just kept pilling up, unread and collecting dust...

Then I was asleep.

 A/N - So yeah... long. Hope it's not too long, too quick, too much? Also, sorry about the longer than normal wait, it got rejected :/

Please tell me cause otherwise I'll never know, and to all of you who reviewed already you rocks :D and all you have had added me as a favorite PLEASE review...


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