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Chapter 45 : Detention
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“We could talk to Dumbledore,” Mia said, as she paced left and right in Grimmauld Place’s the living room. “We could ask him to have Harry serve his detention with someone else. Like McGonagall…” She stopped for a moment to think. “Or Snape.”
Sirius, who’d been sitting on the sofa watching her pace, gave her a horrified look. “Snape?!” he yelled in disbelief. “Are you mad? Giving the kid on a platter to Snape? You might as well just throw him into a pit full of wolves.”
“Better the devil you know, than the devil you don’t,” Mia told him with a sigh. Unfortunately enough, that was the best she would think of at the moment. “Besides, he cared for Lily. I don’t think he’d ever be capable of actually harming her son. Umbridge, on the other, strikes me as bit of a sadist. It seems like she enjoys seeing us all jumpy because of her. Voldemort’s out there and the only thing I can worry about at the moment is that woman! Infuriating!”
Sirius didn’t say a thing for a few moments, just letting her pace and let the steam out. When he saw the pacing slow down slightly, he took it she was calming down as well and, in a quick movement, he rose slightly from the sofa, wrapped one arm around her waist and pulled her onto his lap unexpectedly as he sat back again.
“Ooch, what was that for?” Mia asked, wrapping one arm around his shoulders to make sure she wouldn’t fall down.
“The pacing was making me dizzy,” Sirius told her not so truthfully. He actually just felt like doing it. “Besides, you can stop worrying and coming up with mad ideas like detentions with Snape. I have a plan.”
She frowned. “A plan?”
“And what would that plan be?”
“Well,” he started, “I won’t go into too much detail but I can tell you this: either she’s a sadist or not, Umbridge certainly isn’t completely stupid. She knows there are limits the she can’t cross, at least not this early in the year and not with Dumbledore in charge. She may think she’ll get away with hurting or messing with Harry as long as she thinks we won’t notice it or won’t care… but if we make it clear to her that we’re watching Harry closely, messing with him it may very well jump beyond the limits – she’ll never risk being caught, sacked and getting bad publicity for her precious ministry.”
“So your plan is to show her we’re watching over Harry,” Mia concluded. “Why wouldn’t she know it already? Why wouldn’t she know it after that bloody conversation she made us have just yesterday?”
“’Cause she’s a huge cynical cow, that’s why,” he said naturally. “Because she’s one, the woman immediately thinks everyone else is. You say Harry’s not lying, that’s he’s a good kid, she thinks you’re protecting yourself from being accused of having raised a paranoid troublemaker. It’s as simple as that. We just have to show her wrong. That way, she’ll see she has a big wall between herself and Harry.”
That made a lot of sense, actually, Mia thought. But it also had its disadvantages. “And we’ll become stones in her shoe.”
Sirius shrugged. “We already are stones in her shoe, love – anyone affiliated with Harry is. We’ll just become really uncomfortable ones.”
“She’ll try to get us out of the way,” Mia warned him. “You don’t endure living with stones in your shoes, you get rid of them.”
“Let her try,” he replied. “Besides, I’d say we’re safe for a while, while she outlines a plan to mess with us again. Now, relax. In a couple of hours I have to go back to the school because of the Gryffindor tryouts and I’ make sure to pass her the message, okay?”
She sighed. “You sure this will work?”
“One can never be sure… but I’d say it’s likely it will,” Sirius admitted.
Mia nodded then. “You’re sort of a genius, you know? You’ve barely ever been face to face with her and you can read her better than me.”
“The ability to read evil people comes with growing up with a herd of them,” he told her, looking away. “Guess they served for something, after all. Doesn’t matter now.” The shadow that had been in his eyes when he said that disappeared just as he looked at hers and brushed her cheek with his hand. She was his love, his escape. “But you really need to just clear your mind and let yourself relax. You know what is really great for that?”
She looked curious. “What?”
He grinned wickedly for a moment. “Your lips,” Sirius said right before pointing at his own. “Right here.”
Mia smiled. She should have known where he was getting. But then again, he was right. That sort of thing did clear her mind of any thought. She decided to go ahead with it and tightened her hold his shoulders, making their faces come closer together so there were mere millimetres between them. “You mean here?” she whispered.
“Touching is required,” he specified, before subtracting those millimetres and brushing his lips against hers gently.
“Hum… how come you always start feeling like kissing me in the most random situations?” Mia murmured against his lips. “We were having some sort of important conversation with no romantic tone whatsoever in it a few seconds ago.”
He shrugged. “For some reason I just can’t get enough of you. Guess I must love you or something.” And he kissed her. How soft her lips felt against him, how warm they made him feel in the inside, just like they had in the first time they’d kissed, so long ago.
Her arms left the hold on his neck and came to his sides before they dropped horizontally on the living room couch. How long it had been since they’d end up snogging in the living room couch, they couldn’t remember. But it did make them feel loose… almost like when they were teenagers and sneaked into broom closets and empty classrooms more than they should.
They might have gone even further if Kreacher’s bullfrog voice hadn’t come from somewhere to bring them back to the world. “Master, Mistress… Master Alex is awake. Kreacher thinks he’s upset.”
Their lips came apart and Sirius nearly growled at the house-elf but, by the time he sat up and looked over the couch and at the doorway, the house-elf was already gone.
“Now, don’t be angry at him,” Mia told her husband softly, sitting up too. “It’s rather touching the way he cares about the kids.”
“Well, he could have waited for me to finish kissing you,” he mumbled.
Mia laughed. “We both know this kissing might have led to something else that would last way too long for him to wait.” She got up and stretched her arm for him. “Come on, let’s see what’s wrong with our little boy.”
Sirius groaned before accepting her hand and getting up too. They left the living room and made their way up the stairs to the nursery.
There, they found their son sitting in his cot and whimpering with remains of tears on his cheeks as one of his little arms held on to the stuffed black dog that was his favourite toy. When he saw his parents, his face lit up a bit and he dropped the dog, raising up his arms, asking to be picked up.
Mia walked ahead, approaching the cot to lift the baby of it and snuggling him against her. The baby relaxed against his mother’s hold and rested his head against her chest as she rubbed his back gently.
“Is he ill?” Sirius asked her, approaching her before he let his son’s little hand grasp his thumb. He had a strong grip, so he couldn’t be that bad.
Mia shook her head. “I don’t think so,” she told him. “I think he’s just noticing that Mommy and Daddy haven’t been home with him all day like they usually were. Izzy had a little phase like this when I had to get back to work after having her.” She kissed her son’s forehead. “Poor baby.”
Alex babbled, in a better mood than he’d been a few moments before, and tried to reach for his father’s face.
“Well, mate,” Sirius told him, taking him off Mia’s hold into his own arms. “Parents having to work is part of life. But don’t worry, we’ll be around as much as we can.” He turned to his wife. “What do you say we take him to a walk this afternoon to make it up to him?”
Mia raised an eyebrow. “Didn’t you have the Gryffindor tryouts to attend this afternoon? And a certain plan to put in practice?”
He grinned as Alex grabbed a fistful of his hair, though not too violently. “Who said Hogwarts isn’t a good place for a walk?”
“Well, if that’s the case…” Mia said before she reached to kiss the baby’s cheek and then his Daddy’s lips, “it’s a date.”
They arrived at Hogwarts little more than half an hour later, after feeding the baby and dressing him for going out.
“This,” Mia told her son just as they came out of the floo connection to her office, “is Mommy’s office. Mommy used to live here before your Daddy came back and you were born.”
“And before Mommy there was a ghost here,” Sirius said with a grin. “I wonder what happened to Binns after you replaced him. I can imagine him in a ghost retirement home boring his fellow ghosts to…” he chuckled, “well, to death.”
“Oh, don’t be so mean,” Mia said, shaking her head as she placed the little boy on an armchair so she could search in his baby bag for a hat to cover his head from the sun that shone outside. She pulled out a dark blue one and placed it on Alex’s head, only to have him trying to take it off right away. “No, honey. It’s sunny outside – you’ll get sick.” She put it back on his head and gave him a stuffed toy to distract him, which seemed to work.
This time, Sirius was the one to pick him up and to carry him outside. Mia closed her office behind them and they made their way to the main staircase in order to reach the ground floor. But on their way there, they ended up running into McGonagall.
“Sirius, Mia, I wasn’t expecting to see you here this afternoon,” the professor said in surprise.
“The Gryffindor tryouts are today,” Sirius explained. “I thought it wouldn’t be a problem bringing them along.”
The deputy-headmistress shook her head. “Oh, of course not. Is that Alex?” She smiled warmly at the little boy. “I don’t think I’d seen him since last July. Merlin, he’s been growing like a weed, hasn’t he?”
Mia chuckled, reaching for the baby’s hand and rubbing its soft skin with her thumb. “Sometimes I feel like every time I pick him up he’s grown at least an inch.”
“Next thing we’ll know, he’ll be getting into the Hogwarts express,” Sirius joked as Alex looked at them, pretty clueless about what they were talking about.
“Oh, Merlin help us that day,” McGonagall said. “Your daughter Isabelle isn’t so bad, I’ll admit, but it’s only a matter of time before one of your children inherits the marauder gene. My money would be on that young man, Sirius, considering he looks so much like you.”
He grinned widely. “That’s my boy.”
Mia sighed. “If that’s the case, we’ll have our hands full in the meanwhile.”
The older teacher laughed. “I’m fairly sure of that. Well, I should get going now. And, Sirius, tell Angelina Johnson to pick us a decent keeper this year – Severus has been quite hopeful Slytherin will get the cup back now that Wood has graduated. I rather like to see it in my office, though.”
“I’ll pass the message along – I’m sure she’ll be happy to make sure you don’t lose part of you office’s decoration,” Sirius said in amusement before their former teacher resumed making her way up the stairs. Then, he looked at his son, who was entertained with the stuffed toy again. “One of these days, I’ll teach you how to fly and when you come to Hogwarts you’ll be the one handing the cup to McGonagall, mate.”
“Not if he gets me part of the genes,” Mia warned him. “And don’t even think of putting him on top of a real broom until he’s at least five years old. And certainly not alone, then.”
“I’m not mad, woman,” he told her. “This bloke will be an ace.”
They made their way down to the ground floor and then left the castle in direction to the lake. The weather was wonderful – it felt like a mid-summer day. They lake’s water reflected the blue sky over them and the whole landscape looked like something right out of these postcards muggles sold in souvenir shops.
The giant squid’s waving tentacles over the water reminded them of the times they’d hide in little secluded places by the lake as teenagers and do things that might have gotten them several weeks of detention. Sirius eventually conjured a blanket for them to sit and for Alex to amuse himself rolling and playing outdoors – it wasn’t something they had the liberty to do often, after all.
It wasn’t until a quarter to five, the time for both the tryouts and Harry’s detention to start, that they even thought of leaving that place.
“You should go put your plan in action,” Mia told him, scooping Alex onto her lap. “Harry’s detention is starting in half an hour.”
Sirius shook his head as lied back on the blanket on his elbows. “I can only put it in practice when he’s already there with Umbridge,” he told her. “Just relax. We should get going to the pitch, though – people should start to arrive at any time to warm up. Harry might be there with the team before he’s to leave to Umbridge.”
“Oh I hadn’t thought of that,” Mia said. “Do you think he’s nervous?”
“Maybe. But either he is or not, he’s faced worse,” Sirius replied soberly. He was the first to get up, helping her to do it too.
There were only a few Gryffindors in the Quidditch pitch, some holding broomsticks, other just sitting on the bleachers or the benches that surrounded the game field. Angelina Johnson stood in the corner talking to the team, Harry still among them at the moment though not dressed in his Quidditch robes like the others. He looked rather uncomfortable as the Quidditch captain shot him a glare.
“You brought Alex!” the heard their daughter’s familiar voice coming from behind them.
They turned around to see Izzy approaching them from the stands with a huge smile on her face. She unceremoniously took her baby brother from her mother’s arms and tickled him, making the little boy giggle. “How long are you gonna stay?” she asked her mother.
Mia smiled. “Long enough for you to catch up with him. It’s barely been a day since you’ve last seen him, after all.”
“I got used to having him around,” she said casually before she messed the little boy’s hair and he squealed.
Sirius chuckled. “I guess we can say the same. So, Izzybel, are you trying out?”
She snorted. “Me as a keeper? Yeah, right. I tried once and nearly fell of the broom. I’d rather stick with the amicable games at the Burrow or just flying around. Sorry, Daddy.”
He shrugged. “Well, one can’t be good at everything… At least you can fly, something we can’t say about your mother.”
“Hey!” Mia complained, elbowing him.
Izzy fought back a laugh before turning to her mother. “Can I take Alex to stay with me, Ginny, Hermione and Luna? We’ll watch him. Or can you come and sit with us? That way you wouldn’t have to worry.”
Mia sighed, watching her daughter’s pleading look – it wasn’t like she was asking to use her brother as a quaffle. “Alright. But be careful with him. We’ll just go talk to Harry and then I’ll go sit with you, okay?”
Izzy smiled and made her way back to her seat with her little brother in her arms, while Mia and Sirius walked the other way, approaching the dispersing group that was the Gryffindor Quidditch team trying to talk to Harry.
“Hey,” he said when he saw them. “I was just leaving for the detention.”
“Are you nervous?” Mia asked him softly.
He shrugged. “I’ve had detentions before.”
“Not with her,” Sirius pointed out. “But we have it covered.”
He raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
“Just go there and you’ll find out,” his godfather said, giving him a look that clearly asked him to trust him.
“And then come find us,” Mia added. “We’ll be around.”
“Okay,” Harry said, a bit suspicious, before turning around to leave the pitch. Before disappearing, he waved at the girls and at a very nervous Ron that was exiting the dressing rooms, holding the broom he’d received from his parents as a gift for making prefect.
“Well, I think I’ll get going, then,” Sirius told her. “Wish me luck scaring Umbridge without showing that’s what I’m trying to do.”
She smiled. “Scary Sirius.”
Umbridge’s office looked like it had come right out of some sort of very… strange girly magazine. Everything was covered with lacy covers and cloths, there were dried flowers in jars everywhere and a whole wall was covered with a collection of ornamental plates adorned with cats. All of it in pink. Wickedness, Harry thought as he stared at the ridiculously ugly plates, does have very strange surroundings this time. He wasn’t sure if he should feel like laughing or freaked out over it.
Suddenly, he felt a great urge to just run away from there, from that ridiculousness. Harry observed the woman for a moment as her back was turned to him. She looked sturdy but he thought he might have a good chance of tackling her and make a run for it if he was quick enough.
You’re not running, you little coward, a voice in his head said. After all, if he’d endured being in the same room as Lockhart three years before when he was only twelve, he couldn’t chicken out with Umbridge now that he was fifteen.
“Evening, Professor Umbridge,” Harry said stiffly.
The woman looked at him and gave a little sniff before waving her hand and signaling for him to sit in a small lace-draped table in a corner. He did as she told and thought for a moment of asking her for clemency and beg for an hour to attend the Quidditch tryouts, if not for anything else, to support his best mate. But he didn’t have a chance in hell and pissing her off wouldn’t be a good idea.
“Now, Mr. Potter,” Umbridge said, smiling and this time meaning it as she closed the door. The boy didn’t even know what was coming. “This is your punishment for spreading evil, nasty, attention-seeking stories.”
Harry gritted his teeth inside his mouth as he heard that but didn’t say a thing, just looking away from her.
“There, we’re getting better at controlling our temper already, aren’t we?” she asked way too sweetly. “Now, you are going to be doing some lines for me, Mr. Potter. I must not tell lies. No, not with your quill,” she added as he reached for his bag. “You’re going to be using a rather special one of…”
There was a knock on the door that interrupting her and Umbridge frowned in annoyance to Harry’s own satisfaction.
“Yes,” the professor all but spat.
The office’s door opened and, to Harry’s clear surprise, Sirius poked his head into the room.
“Er… excuse me,” Sirius said, forcing his voice to sound a little embarrassed.
Umbridge frowned at seeing him, nearly showing her teeth in rage. “Mr. Black. How can I help you?”
He coughed . “I’m sorry, it’s just that the Quidditch tryouts are about to start and I’ve completely forgotten to bring my broomstick,” he said. “I just needed to ask Harry if I could borrow his firebolt. Better have something fast to make sure I catch those kids in time, in case they fall, hum?”
Harry raised an eyebrow at him. What was he playing at? They’d just been together a few minutes before and he hadn’t mentioned anything about having forgotten his broomstick. Maybe he’d just remembered it… no. Sirius had mentioned something about having his detention under control. He was playing at something, Harry realized before tagging along. “Er, sure, go ahead and use it.”
Sirius’s face shifted to fake relief. He was good… only someone who’d known him for a long time or that knew of his plan would recognize the pretending. “Thanks, you’re a lifesaver. Oh, and, by the way, we’ve brought you brother Alex along. I thought you might like to see him later. Your godmother and I will probably stay late today because of the tryouts. Find us later, would you? We’d love to know how this detention went… Don’t leave out any detail.”
“Great,” Sirius said. “Well, I’d better get back now.” Then, he turned to Umbridge and gave her a fake apologetic look. “So sorry for the interruption.”
And then, he closed the door, leaving a furious Umbridge behind, nearly smoking out of her ears.
“Hum, professor,” Harry said, a few seconds later. “The special quil…”
The woman pursed her lips in fury – she knew she couldn’t use a blood quill now. Not with the brat’s godparents watching so close. “Just go ahead and use yours, Mr. Potter. I’ve just remembered this one wasn’t working so well.”
Outside, Sirius listened and grinned. He had no idea what the matter with the ‘special quill’ was but, judging from her tone while refusing it to Harry, he guessed it might be cursed or something. One way or the other, he had a feeling his plan had worked – now she knew she’d have to get through him and Mia before she even thought of touching a hair of Harry. And didn’t the annoyance that came for her with knowing it just make him want to do a victory dance?
He was pretty sure now she officially hated him and Mia but it was a necessary hazard to protect their godson. And, maybe recklessly, Sirius didn’t care in the slightness. He ended up not doing the victory dance but he did grin all the way back to the Quidditch pitch.
A/N: Well, how did you like this one? Sorry it, once again, took a whole week for me to update but today was my last day of classes before Christmas break and next chapter is already halfway done, so maybe I'll it post earlier. I can't promise the same about the one after that because of my family's Christmas plans, so if you'd rather I update normally to keep an even space between next and the one after it, it's up to you. Earlier or normally? Well, send some feedback! Review!
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