Chapter 3 : Chapter 3: Hello, I Love You
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She holds her head so high like a statue in the sky
Her arms are wicked, and her legs are long
When she moves, my brain screams out this song.
- Hello, I love you by Doors
Wow. There’s really no other word to describe this moment at all. It’s official. I, Sirius Black, am whipped. By the most beautiful girl in all creation. Even Veela would be jealous. I’m besotted with Maisy Heart. Temperamental problems affecting this? Well, for starters, she has about... zero self confidence in herself, her appearance or anything she does. Absurd to be honest, but that’s girls for you. Two, she’s my best friend’s love-of-his-life’s best friend. Slightly problematic I feel? And three? I promised I’d be her friend and tutor, for god’s sake.
Back to this most precious moment in eternity. Wow. Maisy’s just walked in, which gets me every time. I can’t help it. She’s just walked in, like a bird on the wind, she saunters in behind Lily, chatting quietly to Ava. Her long, dark hair has been pulled up into a sketchy high pony tail, some of the strands are falling out and framing her perfect face. This is work mode hair. She doesn’t understand the fuss of looking good for school.
Merlin, she’s wise. And she’s wearing make-up but you can really tell because it’s all natural and pretty and Adam and Eve kind of gorgeous. But the best thing, the only thing that ever draws me away from her hazel brown eyes, is her smile. A rare occurrence, but its there. All cute, ditsy and upturned. That’s a smile alright.
Lily walks past me and dumps herself on the bench to my left. Maisy seems to tiptoe and sit directly opposite me on James’ left. I even fail to notice Lily look up and smile at James before returning to her wholemeal toast because Maisy has just leaned forward to grab the honey and I kinda slightly saw right down her shirt... But James! Oh Jamesie.
James Potter. The big J.P. What’s to like? What’s not to like? He’s Quidditch co-captain and a fantastic chaser. He puts his chasing to good use in pursuit of Lily Evans, daily. He’s intelligent and comes up with cunning pranks nearly everyday. Dark messy hair, annoying golden snitch that flies around him like a halo. Always at least three girls sneaking behind him, just to smell him or whatever it is that stalker girls do. But how he wishes one of those girls was the coquettish Lily Evans.
Coy and intelligent also, she’s hated James ever since he asked her to marry him in first year. And the hatred has developed into a mutiny for him in the past 6 years. But he’s in love. Everything about the girl tantalises him. She’s pretty, yes. Many boys believe she’s the most gorgeous thing at Hogwarts since the new Nimbus 500 made an appearance, but I know better. Though James is lucky, he could tell Lily he loves her right now and she wouldn’t bat an eyelid...
“Lily, I love you.” James said, smiling broadly.
“Yes, good morning James,” Lily replied, not looking up from the knife in her hands. I can just see the ‘swish and flick’ repeating in her mind.
“But I mean it!” he whined, pouting.
“So do I, I hope you have a good morning,” she smiled up at him. Maisy’s mouth was hanging slightly open at Lily’s look.
“Urm... Lily. Did you just smile at James?” she whispered theatrically.
“Yes...” Lily trailed out, buttering her toast and looking up with raised eyebrows. “Why can’t I be civil with James without you girls setting our wedding date!”
Somewhere down the table Ava and Lea laughed together. Remus chuckled into his porridge.
“Urm, James has already set your wedding date, Lily.” I piped up. James kicked me from under the table. I grunted, staring him down.
“Sirius?” Maisy asked, turning to look at me and pushing away her small bowl of cereal.
“Yes Maisy?” I smiled, chomping on my Nutella and toast. You gotta hand it to them Muggles – Nutella and toast is ambrosia from the gods.
“Your letter was cute, thanks,” she said, still smiling.
I think my heart just burst into a thousand pieces. “Really? Good! Did you sleep? You look really good today,” I complimented her. Her cheeks flushed crimson and Lily hit my arm, glancing at Maisy and grinning before turning to me with fire in her eyes.
“For fuck sake, what’s it with the Potters hitting me today?” I moaned. This earned me another punch. And kick. Fantastic. I bruise frickin’ easily, people!
“Stop dazzling her, you bastard.” Lily whispered, her eyes dancing like flames as Maisy turned and began to chatter to Remus quietly. Remus looked odd for a moment then nodded slowly.
“I didn’t. I just said she looked nice?” I backed up quickly, looking away from Maisy and Remus and glaring back at Lily who softened slightly.
“Oh. Oh okay then. Just... Don’t worry.” Lily gave up and put her cutlery down, agitated.
“When’s this tutoring starting then, Pad?” James asked, shoveling a rasher of bacon into his mouth.
“Yes, this tutoring…” Maisy asked, her voice quieter than it was before. She looked better, and she was talking to all of us. Last night had worked for her.
“I’m ready when you are. Sirius-ly...” I added, winking. Haha, fantastic gag.
Maisy seemed to like it too. She giggled and James winked at me. I glared at him and put my middle finger up. Suddenly it turned bright red and burned white hot. In my haste, I dunked it straight into the iced water pail.
“What the fu...!”
“Do that again and I’ll curse it off!” Professor McGonagall yelled from behind me. I turned around and smiled that winning smile.
Minnie. Our favourite teacher in the whole world. A legend in her own right. Much more of a softie than she lets on. Not that we’ve ever seen that side of her... But we’re positive it’s hidden in there somewhere, underneath all of those petticoats...
“Timetables,” she said simply and large rectangles of parchment landed in all the seventh years’ hands. Maisy looked at hers and bit her lip. James was scratching his chin inquisitively and looking up at McGonagall.
“Minnie! I’ve only got you three times a week! What’s happened?!” he squealed, looking thunderstruck. He winked at her.
“Detention, Mr Potter,” she said without looking up as she handed out more timetable corrections to some sixth years. “Friday night, my office. Eight o’ clock.”
“Woah! Fair shout James! Can I come too?” I added hastily, joking along.
“No, Mr Black, you may now proceed to Muggle Studies for your first lesson,” she added with a curt tip of her head towards the oak doors.
“I’d much rather talk to you my dear Minnie!”
“Ask me the previous question Mr Black,” she sighed, not even bothering to turn around as Peter grumbled about his timetable.
“Can I come too?” I asked, unsure what she meant.
“Yes Mr Black. Friday night, eight o’ clock.”
“Result!” hissed James, high-fiving me.
“Must be a record!” Lily said scathingly, picking up her bag and stalking off to her first lesson. She shouted a goodbye to Maisy and proceeded with the throng of the school.
Maisy was giggling and packing her bag on the bench. Her skirt was interestingly short today. Still no tights. Still slightly brown from the summer. Still...
“Sirius, please stop looking at Maisy’s legs. It’s creeping her out. And me, for that matter,” James said, chucking a boiled egg at me. I caught Maisy’s eyes and smiled. She laughed. Remus came up behind her and smiled over-enthusiastically.
“Muggle Studies anyone?” he beamed.
“Let’s ride, gang.” I said, grabbing my own bag and ruffling my hair. Someone behind me swooned. You win some, you lose some!
“Sirius, urm... ” Maisy was stuttering and looking at her hands again.
“Maisy, spit. It. Out.” I laughed.
“Partner. Muggle Studies?” she looked up hesitantly, glancing at the blonde in front of us and looking away sadly.
“Right...” I said. Wait. She wanted to be my partner.
“Oh, okay...” she finished, looking slightly crestfallen and speeding up. I pulled her back lightly by the shoulder so she was facing me.
“Yes, I’ll partner with you, Heart,” I smiled, grabbing her bag when she smiled back and dropped the satchel from her grip. I laughed and it boomed around the hall.
“I have that effect on women,” I winked at her. She stifled a giggle and walked on with Remus. He turned around and looked at me, puzzled. I shrugged and carried on beaming.
Walking behind Maisy? Total bonus. Such a pretty girl. Holds herself well. Reminds me of the end of exams when my liking for her was rekindled like a burning furnace. The day that Maisy took my heart from my chest and gripped it furiously, caught my breath and stopped all thoughts not related to the species of Maisy Heart from entering my mind at all. The day that her eyes shook up my insides and transformed my immature teenage feelings of lust into something much deeper, much stronger…
It was the final day of exams. Everything was over. All the hours of revision and sleepless nights of worry were behind us. The final exam had been a hardcore History of Magic assessment. Would students still mix up Odric the Oddball and Uric the Irksome in future generations to come? Most probably. But for now, exams were over, the sun was shining and they’d just served chicken pie for lunch – which was a result.
The Marauders and I were sat underneath a small weeping willow, its lavish branches brushing the top of the lake like fingers. James was agitatedly watching his snitch fly out of reach and lose itself in the reeds. Remus, as usual, had his head in an ornate yet dusty book, Peter glimpsing at it from beside him, chewing his nails worriedly.
“So...” I started, lying on the grassy bank and resting my hands behind my head. James looked over and sighed.
“She’s meant to like me! Not that Snivelly Slytherin!” He almost shouted, putting his head in his hands.
“They’re just friends, James. You know Lily – she’s nice to everyone,” said Remus.
“Except you,” Peter joked quietly. Unluckily, James heard and sent Peter a non-verbal hex, causing him to run off to the castle yelping.
“Great. Now he’s gunna sulk for a week,” Remus huffed, slamming the book shut and storming off after him. He walked into a group of three leggy girls, one of which touched his arm delicately and continued up to school with him. The two remaining girls kept walking towards us, though I couldn’t see them in the dazzling sunlight. James was now face down in the grass, groaning. I gave up with the mystery and closed my eyes, savouring the mid-June sun. Then a voice rang out over the buzz of the water beetles,
“Sirius?” I opened my eyes and glanced up. Her face was silhouetted in the light, only a small smile was evident. I sat up quickly and watched as she sat down on the grass, kicked her shoes off and leaned back on her arms, worshipping the sun.
“Maisy?” I said, dumbfounded.
“Urm... That would be me. Lily and I thought we’d pop over for a chat,” she smiled. “How did you guys find the exam?”
I had never noticed her doe eyes before. Or the sun-kissed glow of her skin. Or the way her legs carefully tucked underneath each other. How one side of her hair was tucked behind an ear, cutely, I registered. She was, dare I say it, beautiful.
Of course, I’d known this for years, but suddenly, with one fleeting look, all my memories and thoughts prior to this moment that involved Maisy made me smile.
“Sirius, mate, you’re creeping them out,” James nudged me and laughed. Lily and Maisy giggled softly.
“You haven’t spoken in about three minutes.” Maisy said. Oh, how angelic.
“Yeah, very unlike you. We think you’re ill,” Lily added, smiling. I looked at them both.
“Oh, ha ha,” I said, sarcastically.
“What do we owe the pleasure of you two lovely ladies on this fine day?” James said, grinning broadly.
“End of exams! And it’s such a lovely day. Thought we’d come and chat. Seeing as Ava wan...” Lily stopped and received a kick from Maisy. Feisty! She narrowed her eyes, cleared her throat and continued. “Anyway... How did you find the exam?”
“Boring?” I said. They laughed.
“Well, it was a fantastic opportunity to catch up on some beauty sleep.” James said, returning to his lounging position on the grass.
“Again, James, you’ve out-pricked yourself,” Lily said, flipping her hair and tucking her dishevelled locks behind her ear.
We were silence for a long time, leaning back and absorbing the sun’s rays. Students were laughing and running around, enjoying the sunny day.
“Oh would you look at that! Dear Snivellus is coming to join us!” James said suddenly, standing up and leaning against the gnarled trunk of the tree as a tall, gangly boy loped across the field, still clutching his school satchel.
“Potter, what the fuck is your problem? Get over it. He’s leaving in a week.” Lily snarled, shocking us all with her words. Swearing was not one of Lily’s traits.
“Where’s he going? Off to join his Death Eater coven?” James laughed. Maisy bit her lip and looked over at Lily, whose eyes seemed on the verge of tears. I coughed and looked over at Severus Snape ambling across the grounds. I could see this was going to end badly.
“James. Mate. This isn’t the best time, c’mon.” I tried to stop him. He folded his arms and looked down at me.
“Padfoot, how else will I say goodbye?” he winked and began to walk over to the skulking boy. Lily stood up and shouted over to him.
“James! Don’t! Please!” she pleaded, her tears tracking down her cheeks. Maisy was sat on the grass, head down, picking up the individual daises and twisting them into her hair. She didn’t want to be involved.
“Sev!” Lily shouted.
But it was too late. James had flicked his wand lazily, the non-verbal spell shocking the greasy-haired individual and forcing the rest of the school to act like a giggling gaggle of geese. The scantily clad students seemed to rush over from nowhere and surround the upside-down boy with his trousers around his ankles. Lily ran over, pushing past the crowds of students and pulling at Snape in tears - trying to pull him down, but failing. She realised nothing would budge the boy who was shouting and cursing at James, who was laughing whole-heartedly at the whole situation. She walked over to James and hit his chest. A lot. Consistently. Maisy still didn’t look up. I moved and sat next to her, putting my hand on her shoulder – she was shaking..
“I don’t like arguments,” she whispered, still not looking up. She was breathing unsteadily and hiccoughing quietly. I hugged her with one arm and realised how good she smelled. Like sweet chocolate and freesias.
Suddenly, a distraught looking Lily came tearing over; make-up all down her face, her eyes puffy and red. Maisy jumped up from the ground and moved away from me rapidly. She put her arm protectively around her waist and walked her up towards the castle. Lily put her arm around Maisy’s shoulders in response. They fit like a puzzle, two best friends that were worlds apart but similar in many ways. From a distance I heard Lily hiccough and whimper,
“He called me a Mudblood!”
I gasped and looked over at James who was watching Lily leave, uncertainly. James walked over to me and I sighed. I felt for the guy but sometimes... Well, a joke becomes too much. I felt for the girls. I turned and saw Maisy look back at me and wave shyly.
Perfect. I’d fallen for Maisy Heart.
Soon enough, I found myself sat next to Maisy in Muggle Studies, chatting about toasters and labelling a cross section of an electric plug.
“Why?” I said, “WHYYY!”
“Sirius, shutup!” she laughed.
“This is so boring!” I nearly cried. It was. Though sitting here, next to Maisy, was an upside. She smelt lovely, as always. Her hair was tucked behind her ears again, and she was touching her jaw nervously.
“Okay okay, just like – for goodness sake!” I said, huffing dramatically, folding my arms and leaning back in my chair.
“Mr Black, anything you would like to add to this lesson?” Professor Greene said from behind me.
I laughed loudly and replied: “Yes, this lesson needs a personality.”
The classroom burst into laughter, Maisy went quiet and put her hands in her lap. I grimaced. I forget, she hates the attention.
Everyone had spun around to watch the confrontation. I tried distracting them – pointing at Jason and exclaiming his news about Lea (“Tell us something we don’t know!” someone scoffed).
This made Maisy stiffen and crouch further over her work. Why was I so stupid? I knew she hated attention. I know she dislikes anyone noticing her, so what is my problem? I tried telling people through my mind, Look away now, nothing to see here! To no avail, my mind was not being searched by any scary seventh years Leglimens and Maisy and I were still being watched like Hippogriffs. Then suddenly, she went to stand up, tears streaming silently down her face, and she fell, gracefully, onto the floor with a loud thud.
“MAISY!” I yelled. My heart thudding and my brain whirring into displacement.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” someone yelled. Two firm hands grabbed me and pulled me up.
“It’s okay Maisy, can you hear me?” he said, holding a hand to her forehead, crouching down next to her and counting her pulse on her wrist.
“What is your PROBLEM?” I shouted, pushing him hard so he tumbled away from Maisy onto the floor and glared up at me.
“She only fainted, you twat,” he said smoothly, his voice laced with venom. Professor Greene rushed over and stooped down next to Maisy, pointing her wand at her head and whispering quiet incantations. She patted Jason’s arm and told him to return to his seat. He refused, holding Maisy’s hand protectively.
“Sirius, I think you need to sit back down.” Remus said from behind me. I looked around at him, feeling anger flooding from my head to my toes.
“I know. I know.” I whispered, looking up at Remus as he patted my shoulder. He’s worked it out. He’s too smart for his own good.
Then, I heard a voice. A heavenly kind of voice. Yes it was croaky and sounded terrible for a moment, but it rang like a bell through my head.
“Jason?” it whispered.
“I’m right here Maisy,” came the reply. Smarmy git.
“Where’s Sirius?” she croaked.
“I’m right here, Heart,” I whispered, smiling at her as her face transformed into a smile.
“Good, I’m gunna need someone to help me to the Hospital Wing,” she said, looking up at me, her eyes still red and running with tears. Professor Greene looked at me suspiciously.
“Did you give her something to get out of my lesson? Thought you could both SKIVE?” she shouted maliciously, her eyes burned into mine. BITCH! I clutched my hand to my heart and looked at her,
“What kind of monster would do such a thing!”
Sarcastically. Of course.
Remus backed me up, “Professor Greene, Maisy hasn’t been feeling too well recently, I’m thinking it’s a condition that she needs sorting out?” he smiled. Teachers pet! The old hag melted and asked me, kindly, but through gritted teeth, to take Maisy to the Hospital Wing.
“I can do it!” smiled Jason, in triumph. Does he want a slap?
“No, I think I can manage.” I replied, cursing him under my breath. Ugh. Maisy grabbed my hand and tried to pull herself up, weakly. My heart seemed to burn. Poor Maisy.
“Jason, I think you should go back to the lesson. You never understood electricity,” my girl pointed out to him, and smiled weakly. Jason watched her, his mouth agape. Ha! Suck on that.
“But, Maisy...” He spluttered. “You... You’re delirious! You can’t want this... Idiot to take you to the Hospital Wing?” he asked, his voice going all high-pitched and girly in rejection.
Maisy’s eyes started to tear up again. She looked at him and bit her lip. Oh.
“Maisy, if you want him to take you...” I said, obvious of her affection.
“No! Please. Sirius? Please take me up? I need someone with a strong back AND mind,” she replied curtly, glaring at Jason, who sunk miserably back to his seat and watched us leave with malice written across his face.
We reached the corridor when she collapsed against the stone wall, tears burning her scarlet cheeks. She sobbed for a while and I watched, not knowing what to do now. She liked Jason, I wasn’t stupid. But she needed me. He had Lea.
“He’s a user, Maisy.” I said, crawling over towards her and touching her hand.
“I-I kno-o-w,” she hiccoughed. “You’re t-too nice to m-me, Sirius. Wh-y can’t boys be more l-i-ike you?” she asked, crying harder and burying her head into my shirt again. I wrapped my arms around her protectively.
“Cos I’m better than all of them,” I laughed, winking at her. She giggled and coughed. She was so fragile. So very very fragile. Even hugging her like this was painful. Like she could snap.
“Remember that day, after exams? When we went through this very same situation?” I smiled down at her. She looked up, embarrassed.
“I’m sorry. I’m pathetic I know.” Her lips trembled. Not what I was thinking at all, actually.
“No, you’re brave. You’re just not as strong as everyone else. Something bashed down your barriers. You’re just vulnerable.” I said. She looked up and looked rather astonished.
“How did you...?” she started. I know you better than you think, Heart.
“I’m fantastic, remember? Now c’mon. No more tears okay? I’m taking you to the Hospital Wing.” I stood up and placed my hands underneath her back and knees. She pulled her arms around my neck and we walked, easily, towards the East of the school.
“I could walk you know?” she said weakly, giving me a watery smile.
“And let me risk you passing out or falling or collapsing again? I don’t think so. You’re safer here.”
Closer to my heart, I thought, against my better judgement.
“Thank you Sirius. You’re a really good friend.”
That one hit me like a Hogwarts Express to the chest. I felt myself falter, and not look down at her eyes. I furrowed my brow in confusion. Why, why were girls so confusing?
“Why thank you, Heart. I would say the same, but you know...” I winked at her.
She hit me playfully and smiled, resting her head in the crook of my collarbone and neck. Her hair smelt of freesias again. Like summer. Like that day. We reached the Hospital Wing and Healer Dunn took her inside and rested her on a bed. He smiled at me and told me to come back at lunch, she’d be fine.
“Quite surprised it isn’t you that’s hurt! No pranks today then, eh?” the old man winked at me. How he did love us Marauders and our fun and games. What a dude.
“Not yet, Captain! I’ll inform you of the next, don’t you worry,” I said, tipping an imaginary hat to him.
“Good good,” he said, bustling around the medical cabinets as I left. I waved to Maisy and proceeded to the dungeons for Potions. Fantastic.
He may be a Healer, and he may be awesome. He could probably heal all of her fainting spells and dizziness but could he heal all the pain she’s feeling? No, no he couldn’t.
“I didn’t mean to do it, Sirius!” James whined from across the pumpkin juice. He was staring into his cup dejectedly, looking at Lily down the table who was sat with Maisy, sporting a swollen lip and hand.
“Yeah... How were you to know that the SWELLING SOLUTION would make parts of her body SWELL!” Remus said, shaking his head.
“You’ve out-pricked yourself, as Lily would say.” Stupid, stupid boy.
“I just want to impress her! Blow up her cauldron and then clear it up, be all heroic like...” He put his face down on the oak table and mumbled incoherently. He wasn’t eating his lunch – he must be depressed.
“She’s better at Charms than you. She would have mended it herself. And don’t you think she would have worked out your plan?” I said.
“After six years, she was probably expecting you to finally harm her.” Remus sighed.
“Help me!” James cried, tugging at his hair and hiding behind a jug of pumpkin juice; away from Lily’s glare.
“You’re beyond help mate. You need a freaking brain transplant,” I laughed, looking at Maisy who was looking very peaky, but altogether better than earlier. She smiled at me. My stomach did a little flip. Remus eyed me.
“Remus, chill. She’s fine!” I said, reading his mind.
“Why what happened?” said James, stuffing his face with Shepherd’s Pie from behind the juice. He was eating very quickly, eager to leave before his body was blasted into a million pieces across the Hall like confetti.
“Maisy fainted in Muggle Studies.” I said nonchalantly.
“Oh, Christ. Is she okay?” James said, actually pausing in mid bite. “Is Lily okay? She’s her best friend after all...”
“I think Maisy is fine now.” I punctuated the Maisy. Everything had to come back to Lily. If I didn’t love the poor sod to bits I’d probably be sick of this by now. Instead I laughed at his idiocy and obvious affection for the girls.
We all continued eating in silence, Remus glancing over at me more than often. It was kind of creepy. I was about to look up and ask him what was up when he gave me a final sympathetic glance - then I heard footsteps walk past me and saw a blonde haired boy walk down to Maisy. He sat on the bench next to her, straddling it with both legs on either side. Maisy looked at him in disgust. I strained to hear the conversation. Lily looked on, without speaking, catching my eyes with her and raising her eyebrows at me.
“Maisy, you’ve changed. You didn’t sit with me in Muggle Studies today. We always sit together,” he said quietly, moving to touch her hand but she moved it away quickly and put it under the table before he could even reach it.
“Yeah, and that’s going to change from now on,” she hissed, glaring at him. “Why are you doing this here, you user? Lea is my friend, so leave me alone.”
“B-but...Sirius Black, Maisy? He’s a Black!”
“He’s sincere, unlike you Jason,” Maisy replied curtly, looking over at me as I quickly averted my eyes.
“What? How am I not sincere? We’ve been friends for years Maisy! Why are you suddenly choosing him over me?” he asked, apparently heart broken. Maybe he would cry! It was this time of day that I wished I had one of those Muggle thingy-ma-bobs; a camera or something.
“Because he didn’t leave me. He didn’t ditch me. He didn’t get together with one of my friends and lie to her. Yet... But that’s not the problem!” she shrugged off the last part and continued. Run off with one of her friends? Why would I do that? “And he’s always been a friend of mine! How can you say that?”
“So this is about Lea?” he asked, bowing his head and scratching his head uncertainly.
“Of course it is! Look, you knew how much I liked you and you’ve been using it to your advantage ever since. Lea is lovely. She’s my friend. And she likes you. So walk away, and we’ll pretend this conversation never happened. I don’t need this on top of everything else I have going on,” she snapped as Lily made to get up and usher him away.
“I’ve liked you since day one, you idiot!” he yelled, slamming his fists down on the table. Maisy straightened up, her expression terrified. She hates confrontation, and I’ve sat here too long. I’m about to snap.
“Jason! Back the fuck off,” I yelled, standing up and moving over to him.
“Sure you have,” Maisy replied quietly to Jason then looked up at me, her eyes pleading.
“I have! I thought, me and Lea would make you, I dunno... And you, Black, keep your nose out of business that isn’t yours!” he shouted, pushing my chest hard as he turned round to face Maisy again.
“You thought you’d make her jealous? You are something else, Jason. Tough shit. It didn’t work. And Lea is a friend of mine too, and I think she should know exactly what you’re like. Day one of school and you’ve already lost your girlfriend, imagine that...” I said for her as she smiled at me and mouthed ‘thank you.’
“Black, you’d better back down…”
“Stop talking to him like that! We’re her friends, we look out for her – and you’re pissing me off, to be honest!” Lily snapped, standing up and flashing her Head Girl badge at him.
“Maisy, please. Don’t do this,” he whispered, side stepping Lily and walking into me unexpectedly.
“It’s already done Jason. I’m beyond caring about you.”
“I...” Jason started but I interjected quickly,
“Stop. Just go. If you give two fucks about her then you’d respect her wishes and leave her alone.” Even I knew my grey eyes would be the colour of mercury, hard and dark; it was intimidating.
Jason skulked off, pulling his hand through his hair and looking distraught. I would have felt sympathy but, he hurt Maisy and that’s a major no-no on my part. Maisy now seemed to collapse into tears. Lily put an encouraging arm around her. God, this was a bit messy eh?
“Oi, Jason!” I called. He walked over and looked at me like Devil’s Snare being threatened with fire.
“Yeah yeah, Black. She’s all yours. But if you hurt her...” Jason hissed, walking over and pointing a finger at me warningly.
“Why would he hurt her? He’s been a better friend to her than you’ve ever been!” Remus said, his hands positioned on the table as he looked up angrily.
“She deserves more than you.” I said quietly, sitting myself back down, walking away from what could easily be a fight.
“And you think you’re more than me?!” he laughed.
“Maisy obviously thinks so!” Remus jeered.
“Remus, mate, just don’t.” I said quietly, begging him with my eyes and feeling myself sag involuntarily.
“Yeah, Remus, don’t,” said Jason, scathingly.
“Hold up one damn minute here!” James started, angrily, waving his hands for everyone to stop. He then narrowed his hazel eyes at Jason in irritation. “You upset Maisy, then you walk over here, upset Sirius, and now you’re having a go at Remus? Mate, you need sorting out.”
“What. And you’re gunna be the one to do it?” he sneered.
“Watch out, Jason. And leave the Gryffindors alone from now on.” I said, staring at him. He returned my glare with acid then stalked off, leaving us with bated breath.
“What we do for our friends eh?” James said, with a low whistle.
“Yeah, friends...” Remus said, looking at me knowingly. He couldn’t prove anything. Not on my part.
“Sirius?” Maisy said quietly, scooting into the seat next to me, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Maisy?” I asked, smiling. Lily sidled up behind her, also smiling at the pair of us. Or… Wait, she was smiling at James’ bowed head. Miss Evans!
“Thanks for doing that, with Jason. You didn’t have to,” she said, looking uncomfortable.
“I...” But of course, James got there first when he heard Lily click her tongue impatiently.
“No problem, us Gryffindors have to stick together!” Maisy smiled at him and profusely thanked all three of us. Lily looked down at James in anticipation, a rare smile curling at her lips.
“And Lily, I’m really sorry...” James said, wringing his hands. She stopped him in his tracks.
“Don’t apologise! It’s fine. I know what you were trying to do. And although, you are a dick, it’s fine. I can charm the swelling away in an instant; I just wanted you to feel guilty.” She waved her wand and returned back to her normal visage. James beamed at her. “And what you guys did for Maisy, not bad. Seriously, I think there’s hope for you yet.” She twinkled and made to leave, grabbing a bread roll and flinging her bag over her shoulder.
“Maisy, you coming?” she called, stopping half way down the table and craning her neck towards the door.
“Urm... I think Sirius was going to give me some tips on transfiguration this afternoon. We have no lessons.” I was? And, we have no lessons?!
“No worries, see you at dinner,” she called, giving us all a fleeting wave and leaving the Hall. James jumped up and ran after her, not missing a moment of her happiness today. He caught her arm just before she left and they walked out, chatting and laughing together. Happy days! Happy, happy, happy days!
Remus looked at me and I glanced at him to leave. “Well I’ll just be going then...” he said, scoffing, and followed Lily and James out.
“So... I’m tutoring today then?” I asked, straightening up my tie and robes. “Do I look studious enough? Will Minnie actually believe what I’m about to do?”
“You look like a mini Professor – and I’m sure she’ll get over the minor heart attack that will inevitably ensue. But you know, I was wondering if we could get a head start. I need it you know,” she said, pulling out her timetable and scrutinising it for a moment.
“I’m free all afternoon... Are you?” she said, looking up hopefully, forgetting what she had said earlier. She’d planned to say this and stumbled on the final hurdle.
“If you do, I do. We have the same timetable remember?” I said, watching her cheeks flame bright red.
“Oh, yeah,” She giggled nervously, touching her jaw and shoving her time table back into her satchel.
“Well, shall we?” I said, offering her my arm. She paused, then took it nervously, keeping a distance from me the whole time.
“Jason is totally looking isn’t he?” she said as I laughed through means of my own and patted her shoulder dramatically with a, ‘You’re so funny!’
“Oh yes, most definitely,” I whispered theatrically, bending down to her ear to say it before straightening up and continuing the charade.
“Good plan!” she whispered back, punching me lightly on the arm.
“Hey! What was that for?”
“I’m playing along, remember?” her eyes twinkled at me as we walked out of the Hall, Maisy skipping slightly as we made it into the open Entrance Hall.
So we’d beaten one of her obstacles down; just about a thousand to go.
“Imagine it changing in your mind! It helps. Go on, try again,” I said encouragingly. Bless her; she really was shocking at Transfiguration. She screwed up her face and pointed her wand at the book. It instantly turned into a tortoise.
“Fantastic Maisy!” I whispered, scared of Mrs Horne’s protégée Madame Pince kicking us out. The library was a fantastic place for non-verbal spells and studying – no one was ever around. Especially during the seventh year’s free periods.
Maisy beamed at the tortoise and hastily transfigured it back into the book. Brilliant. She had come on in leaps and bounds during these past couple of hours of studying.
“See? Fab!” I smiled.
“I couldn’t have done it without you!” she beamed.
“Well, I’ll be here the next time. We gotta train you up! N.E.W.T level isn’t all fun and games.” I said, bemused at my seriousness.
“True. I wanna get an E, but I know that’s aiming too high.”
“Maisy, you can never aim too high.” I said, touching her hand and squeezing it. She flinched slightly then relaxed. Then, high-pitched laughter came from in front of us.
“Oh would you look at this, Jenna?” said Kim, the most vicious of the Slytherin girls, staring at us. I dropped her hand easily and cringed at the thought of Maisy’s state of mind after this. These girls weren’t gunna leave until some damage had definitely been done. They weren’t the kind to compliment you on your shoes and walk off hand-in-hand like BFFs.
“Oh Kim, it’s true love’s young dream!” she scathed, laughing vindictively.
“What do you harpies want?” I asked, gritting my teeth and watching Maisy shrink low into her seat.
“Nothing, Sirius, nothing. Thank you for your prank the other day. It really opened our eyes to how much the Gryffindors need sorting out,” Kim smiled angelically crashing into the seat opposite and putting her legs on top of the table.
“Ha, you couldn’t get us back even if you tried. You girls really are pathetic. Goodbye now,” I smiled at them and indicated the door behind them. They both laughed and looked over at Maisy,
“Oh I don’t think so! Look at Maisy here, she doesn’t want us to go, do you Maisy?” Jenna said sadly, pretending to pout.
“Go a-a-way.” Maisy said. Shaking. Today had been really rough on her – fate obviously wasn’t in a very forgiving mood.
“Maisy’s not too well today so can you please, I don’t know how to say this politely... Fuck off?”
“Oh yeah, Sirius, sticking up for your GIRLFRIEND now?” they laughed.
Maisy shrunk even lower in the chair and grabbed her wand hard, her knuckles were white. She didn’t look up once.
“Urm, no, just a friend getting some friendly tutoring.” I said matter-of-factly. Yeah, bite on that.
“Oh yeah, she does need it.” Fuck, not the response I was hoping for!
“Yeah, she’s bit of a div to be honest. How many hours a day are you giving her Sirius? Plenty I hope.” Jenna laughed again.
“Fuck off, Jenna.” Maisy said quietly.
“Ooh-ooh! It can talk. No Lily to talk for you, eh?” No, but she’s got me.
“I said, fuck off.” She was trying, but her voice was becoming weaker and intimidation was getting to her. I was shocked. What do I say?
“Hey Sirius, how about you give me some tutoring, I’m not too bright myself.” Kim winked at me. Ugh. I swear I felt bile rise into my mouth.
“Oh yeah, what would you like help in – the beauty department?” Ooh burn.
Jenna gasped and Kim looked at me in vile displeasure.
“Well, that’s what you’re helping Maisy with, isn’t it?” Kim said maliciously as the pair snickered and walked off, leaving me gob-smacked at the thought. They thought Maisy needed help in the beauty department?
“Maisy?” I said quietly. I put my arm on her shoulder. She jumped up at my touch and grabbed her books, running from the library without a word. I paused, unsure of what to do. Do I leave her? Do I help her? She asked for me before, now she doesn’t want anything from me? I called out to her when I left the library, speeding along the corridor like a man on a mission,
“Maisy! Please, come back.”
She turned around and then kept walking, she was in tears again. She looked betrayed. Stupid fucking Slytherins. I ran to catch up with him and pulled on her arm. She freaked out.
“Get off of me, Sirius!”
“Maisy, Maisy, calm down! It’s only me.” I was just trying to reassure myself. Her big brown eyes were swimming with tears. I grabbed her other arm, though she tried to protest and pulled her into my chest, hugging her tight until she fell limp and dissolved into the epitome of sorrow. I clung to her waist for support. Even I felt ill. Felt bad. This was my fault.
“This was my fault.”
“No, no it wasn’t. I’m sorry.” Maisy said, wiping her eyes and pushing me off of her. “This is my fault. I shouldn’t have accepted your help.”
She looked up into my eyes and her lip trembled, “I knew this would happen.”She walked away, up the grand staircase and into the Gryffindor common room. I watched from the third level, not believing what had happened. Everything had been perfect. Maisy had been getting there. And now, she was gone.
I walked up to the Common Room dejectedly and was attacked by Lily as soon as the door swung open.
“What did you do? WHAT DID YOU DO?!” Lily cried vehemently. She had tears in her eyes too. What was it with girls today?
“My best friend has just gone up to bed in tears at half past four in the afternoon! And I left her with you! You don’t get it do you? She’s the most precious thing to me. She’s like my sister. How dare you hurt her!”
James stepped in and pulled Lily away by the shoulders. I looked on, in shock. I couldn’t speak. Me? Hurt her? I wouldn’t do that. Not on purpose.
“Sirius, what happened?” said James, sitting Lily on the sofa and touching her shoulder in comfort.
“Kim and Jenna found us working in the Library. They were nasty, really, truly nasty. And Maisy just crumbled. Broke down. She was fine. We were fine. And now...” I stopped, pushing the palms of my hands into my eyes. Remus looked up from his book, pity in his eyes.
“How could you?” Lily whispered.
“I didn’t mean to! I tried to make them leave! You know what they’re like!”
“No. How could you. How could you help try and bring out the old Maisy and then let her sink back again? How could you let her get back into that state! She was awful! I tried for days and days to help her – she hasn’t been the same since…”
“What darkness? What happened this summer?” I asked, staring at Lily as she sobbed and paced the room, flinging her hands in the air a lot.
“Like she would tell you! Don’t you dare come near her again, you hear?” Lily cried.
“Lily, I don’t think Sirius meant any harm...” James soothed.
“I would never hurt Maisy. Ever. She’s one of my friends.” Lily laughed nastily. “It’s true! I know it’s my fault. I should have got us out of there or hexed them or beat them to death with old books or something! I just didn’t know. Lily I’m so sorry. Please, tell Maisy? I’m sorry? Beyond sorry…” My hands were shaking in worry.
“I’m sorry Sirius,” said Lily, getting up and hugging me. She added with a whisper, “I know you like her. But I’m not about to stand back and watch her get used by you.” And she slapped me.
“Don’t come near her,” Lily snapped. “Us. Any of you.” She added, looking at James and Remus.
“Lily,” said Remus, always the voice of reason. “It’s not our fault. We care for you girls, really! We’re gunna be there if you get hurt, we’re not just gunna stand by and let all this shit happen to you. Sirius made one mistake…”
“But he still let one of us get hurt!” said Lily nastily. I hung my head. Way to go, make me feel even worse.
“He didn’t mean to. Maisy wouldn’t want to lose Sirius, she’s just upset!” Remus added.
“I know she wouldn’t,” said Lily quietly.
“So, c’mon. Go talk to Maisy. Breathe. We’re gunna be here.” Remus smiled.
James got up and ran his hands through his hair, “And Lily, I know I say this a lot but – I’m always gunna be here. Seeing you upset breaks my heart. And seeing someone so close to you upset breaks my heart even more. Please, don’t walk out on us!”
“We need a female figure to keep our lives on track!” I added jokingly, trying to lighten the atmosphere and not get hit again. I was a walking bruise today.
Lily smiled and beckoned us into a large hug. James was beyond ecstatic, his head resting in Lily’s chest. She laughed this off and ruffled his hair.
“I’m sorry – I’m just worried, that’s all,” Lily sniffed as James wiped away her tears without even thinking about it. He snapped his hands away as Lily stared at him in disbelief.
“We know,” he whispered.
“We’ll help. We’ll get through this,” Remus said quietly, looking across the room at Ava who wasn’t looking too impressed, to say the least.
“We’ll sort this out,” I seconded, looking into Lily’s emerald eyes and noticing the pain for the first time. This wasn’t just affecting Maisy. This was affecting all of us.
And now, this was a mutual feeling. Friends stood up for each other - the Gryffindors, through thick and thin. Nothing was gunna change that. Especially not any nasty Slytherins bitches or a pompous blonde haired Ravenclaw twat.
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