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The Art of Breathing. by AC_rules
Chapter 26 : Progress II.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 44


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A/N - Helllloooo guys! Wow it feels like a long time since I've been here talking to you guys, and it probably has been too long. Sorry about that. I blame taking 14 GCSE's and being expected to get good grades in every one and the fact that all my friends have as many issues as me. Plus I went on holiday to Lanzarote sin laptop which meant I couldn't write for a few days and I'm now even MORE bogged down with work. Then there was some crazy weird formatting issue which took me twenty minutes to fix as for some reason my chapter stretched the page, so half of it was just randomly blank :O. It's here now though :)

These lyrics are thanks to a reviewer called 'Frankie'  - thanks :)

Kiss me quick
But make it last
So i can see how badly this will hurt me
When you say good bye
Catch me - Demi Lovato


Lily was carefully appraising her appearance in the mirror and trying to do something complicated with her hair that I didn’t really understand. She’d been there for at least half an hour fiddling about with clips and hair spray and I assumed she had an exact idea of how she wanted it to look, and was just finding it difficult to get there like the perfectionist she was. It was kind of transfixing to watch her fix the same bit of hair over and over before shaking it all out and trying again. Also a little bit scary if you thought about it –how much time would she waste in her life just primping and preening?

“What are you doing?” I asked after another few minutes had passed, and she sighed.

“I’m trying to get it right,” she answered through gritted teeth, and I nodded like that actually meant something to me. I shuffled on my bed, realising that I’d put the stupid uncomfortable underwear that Karen had brought me on again and reminded myself that they needed to be burnt and never touched again.

“For someone who doesn’t want to go on a date today, you’re trying very hard to look ‘right,’” I air-quoted, and looked at what else she was wearing. Then I looked at what I was wearing.

Compared to my jeans and a t-shirt combination Lily’s outfit looked very glamorous and well... generally more attractive. For a start she had her legs on show, covered only in a pair of cold looking tights which were definitely not appropriate for December.

Lily looked at me for a moment, before apparently deciding I was right and pulling out all the complicated clips and running her fingers through it until it looked exactly like it had when she’d started – the I’ve-just-got-out-of-bed-look. I watched her – slightly shocked as she rubbed off some of her make up to make it look scruffy and rougher around the edges.

“You’re right,” she added, pulling a large jumper out and putting that on top of the top/dress thing she’d been wearing before. The jumper wasn’t necessarily unattractive but it certainly didn’t show off her figure quite the same as the other thing had, and it did look as if she’d just pulled the first thing she could find out of her trunk in a hurry.

She still looked a lot better than me though.

“How have you done that?” I asked incredulously. “Just pulled on some stupid jumper and still managed to look half decent, and your legs are going to freeze Lily!”

“No they’re not; I put a warming charm on the tights.”

I was so jealous of her right now.

“Oh get over it and stop feeling so sorry for yourself. You know that the last thing I want to do today is be at this bloody date. Now, let’s go before I decide better of this madness and throw myself out the window.”

Talk about being melodramatic.

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

“Okay, my question,” Jeremy said from across the other side of the table. “Who’s your lesbian option?” he asked, and I nearly spat out the mouthful of smoothie (which would not have been pleasant for him on the other side of the table). Although really, if he was insisting on saying things like that just as I took a drink, he deserved everything he got.

“My what?” I asked dubiously. “My lesbian option?” Over the past hour or so since we’d met up, I’d realised there was a lot more to Jeremy Wood than his strangely cool exterior. I don’t think I’d ever manage to actually get him riled up and angry, and every single emotion seemed slight and very simply expressed, but he was also funnier than I’d expected.

“You know,” Jeremy said, smiling ever so slightly and his eyes clearly telling me that he thought the fact that I had no idea what he was talking about was a little bit odd. It was probably a seventh year thing. “If you had to be a lesbian, who would you go for?”

“That’s such a weird question,” I told him, taking another sip of my smoothie to give me time to think. “I’ve never thought about it before.”

Having no inclination to turn lesbian in the slightest (not that I had a problem with anyone who did) meant trying to decide who I would choose to be a lesbian with if forced was a little hard... I just couldn’t see it.

“That is unbelievable,” Jeremy said, pronouncing every syllable of the word and saying it in his slow, cool fashion.

“Who’s your gay option then?” I asked, laughing at his laid back smile and the slight raise of his left eyebrow.

“Dumbledore,” he said, which made me choke again on the sip I’d of the drink I’d just taken. This time I was sure he was doing it on purpose – as this was the fifth time I’d ended up choking on my drink in about ten minutes, and the odds were it wasn’t a coincidence. My thoughts were confirmed by the fact that the corners of his lips were tilted even more upwards than they had been before (now at about the level of a normal person’s smile).

“Dumbledore?” I questioned, once I’d recovered from choking and Jeremy nodded seriously – all traces of a smile now gone as he tried to convince me.

“Dumbledore is the coolest of the cool,” he informed me, lazing backwards on the couch of the cafe. We had decided, in the end, to go to Willow. Partly because I wanted to stay away from the main crowd unless they did think this was a date, and partly because I wanted to eavesdrop on Lily and James – who hadn’t arrived yet.

“Well, obviously,” I agreed, slightly sarcastically.

“Plus he’s got the most incredible beard. I can’t imagine it any other colour than silver, you know, and I’ve always wondered if his hair is that colour everywhere.”

“Bad mental image!” I exclaimed, shielding my eyes and trying to block it out before I saw it in too much clarity. “Eww. Eww. Eww!”

“Is it long there too?” Jeremy asked, smiling a little again and waiting to see the change in my expression. He seemed to wait a lot, and feed off other people’s reactions a lot more than anyone else I’d ever met. He was... intriguing.

“Stop it!” I cried out, trying to stop the image from growing any more hair (which would have been preferable if the extra long silvery hair covered anything in the mental image – of course it didn’t). “I’m never going to be able to look at you in the same way again,” I complained under my breath once I’d finally recovered from the image. “You disgust me.”

“Let’s drink to that,” Jeremy said, lifting his plastic cup of smoothie to clunk against mine. The liquid sloshed about inside as I brought mine up to join his, before taking it back to take a sip.

“I wonder if Dumbledore wears a thong?” Jeremy mused, the second I had taken a sip. I swallowed the juice down quickly before bursting out into laughter.

“Stop it!” I exclaimed through my laughter, as the door of the cafe opened. Jeremy had leant back again, and raised his eyebrow for a brief second before returning back to his normal blank expression.

There was a bell attached to the door so whenever anyone entered Willow it was very much obvious, and I naturally turned to the doorway to see who had entered.

Willow was a cafe me and Lily had discovered last year and fallen in love with. It was slightly away from the main village so not many people saw it or came in (so it was unusual for many people to come in) which meant it was usually quiet. The drinks were cheap and lovely and instead of seats the cafe had sofas and armchairs scattered about in dark, rich colours which compensated for the neutral coloured walls. There was always some music playing and a lovely view of the hills surrounding Hogsmeade. Plus, they served the best smoothies in the world.

I had expected it to be Lily’s figure at the doorway with James, but instead was the last person I wanted to see at the moment. Sirius, complete with Amanda.

“Oh Merlin,” I muttered, looking back to Jeremy quickly and pretending like I hadn’t seen him – he definitely hadn’t seen us yet (given he was currently helping Amanda take her coat off – eww.). “Don’t look, and make me laugh,” I instructed Jeremy, glancing away and feeling my heart racing erratically in my chest as I felt my cheeks flush. Bloody hell I was mess. If a glimpse of Sirius from this far away could make me act like such a sap then I didn’t know how I’d been dealing with sitting next to him in every lesson.

“I’m sorry; I don’t work well under pressure.” Jeremy shrugged, looking just as relaxed as he always did. “I thought you weren’t trying to make him jealous anyway,” he suggested quietly, his eyes sparkling slightly, which showed quite clearly that he’d never believed that story in the first place.

“I’m not,” I replied, leaning forward with my elbows on the table so I could whisper without risking him overhearing.

“You could win him back if you wanted,” Jeremy suggested, copying my movement deliberately so that we were sitting nearly forehead to forehead, and so that Sirius definitely couldn’t hear what we were saying.

“I don’t. I was the one that told him we couldn’t be together.”

“He asked you out?” Jeremy asked curiously, not even glancing at Sirius as I was longing to do. He was behind my back and it was all I could do not to turn around and openly stare. It was like an itch that I wasn’t allowed to touch, I was so aware of it, which meant it was even worse.

“No,” I admitted. “I think he was going to once, then I changed the subject and then we had a big argument.”

“Sounds functional” Jeremy commented.

“That was my point.”

“Well, I’m sure it was a good one. You haven’t answered my question though.” Jeremy continued, leaning back on the sofa and smiling lopsidedly. “Who’s your lesbian option?”

“Merlin, I don’t know? Lily probably,” I answered; still distracted by the fact that he was sitting only a little way away from me. I could feel his eyes boring into the back of my neck, and I lifted my hand up to it and ran my hand over it in the hope that I could brush away the feeling. I couldn’t.

“Wouldn’t that be a bit awkward considering how close you guys are? Remember you have to share the same dorm afterwards,” Jeremy continued, and I briefly considered how much he must think in a millisecond to find the flaw in my answer so quickly. For someone whose movements were all so deliberate and purposeful, he seemed to think a lot. Then my mind went back to Sirius and Amanda – were they snogging? What were they talking about? Was it going well?

Was he actually looking and thinking about me, or didn’t he care anymore?

“Okay... well I don’t know. It seems like a pretty stupid question to me in the first place,” I snapped back, with a little too much distress sounding in my voice because Jeremy’s eyebrows rose again for a split second.

“Don’t insult the question’s missus,” Jeremy said, standing up. “Do you want another smoothie?” he asked, nodding towards my empty plastic cup.

“Yeah okay, how much is it?” I asked, still feeling on edge and a little fidgety.

“A sickle.”

“Bullocks,” I said in return. “Will you not just let me pay for the drink?” I requested.

“I am. It costs one sickle.”

“Fine. Whatever. I’m going to the loo,” I told him – if he felt the need to pay then fine, there was nothing I could do to stop him really. Plus it meant that I had more money to buy something else, which was always nice – my savings were actually growing this year thanks to guys buying me stuff rather than having to pay for it myself. I’d make up for it by buying everyone really good Christmas presents next weekend. Anyway, I was now too uptight and worried to convince him that I should pay for it myself.

“Oh hey,” I said a little uncomfortably, as I saw that Amanda was also in the toilets. That meant that Sirius and Jeremy were alone in the cafe – awkward. I tried to imagine what they’d be talking about or if they just sit there in silence, glancing at each other. Jeremy probably wouldn’t even bother looking over actually, and Sirius was probably glaring daggers at the back of his neck and generally looking rather stupid. It suddenly felt really good that Jeremy was in the year above and so much more relaxed than Sirius was.

“Hey Mary. How are you? Funny how we ended up in the same place, given yours and Sirius’s history,” she said, and it was as clear as hell she was nervous – she was trying and failing to put on some lip-gloss because her hand was shaking so much. She’d smeared it down her chin somehow and had obviously tried to wipe it off, leaving a trail of grease behind it, which wasn’t altogether noticeable but she appeared to be practically hyperventilating about it. I found that I actually felt sorry for her, and felt even worse when I was surprised that I did.

“What history?” I asked dryly – despite feeling sorry for her, it was hard to get away from the fact that she was the girl dating the guy that in my ideal world, I would be dating (ahhh, scary thought). She was like my direct rival or something like that, and I’m not a nice enough person that I could let that go. Plus she was even more perfect than Alice and Lily put together, which bugged the hell out of me.

“Well... you.... I mean...” She stopped and looked at me for a second. “What did happen between you and Sirius?” Her eyes were wide with curiosity and I noticed that I’d never her seen her with so much eye make-up on before (rivalling mine on a dramatic day), and that it really didn’t suit her. She was normally very pretty but I had to say that she’d gone a little... over the top.

Of course she was still prettier than me.

“Not half as much as the rumours would say,” I muttered, glaring at my own reflection in the mirror agitatedly. I didn’t really want to talk about it, it made me feel sort of sad that the whole thing had gone to pot, and I regretted my decision to end the whole thing before it even started. Especially as – from my brief second of looking at Sirius – I had to admit he looked really good today.

“He doesn’t like me,” Amanda said hurriedly, looking at me desperately for advice or some form of consolation. “He’s still in love with you. He hasn’t even looked at me. He just keeps glancing over at your table and watching you. What can I do to make him like me? Help me Mary?”

“In love with me?” I snorted. “I’m sorry but I think you must be talking about someone else because that is the biggest load of bullocks I have ever heard in my entire life. Sirius doesn’t love anyone apart from the fellow Marauders because he can’t be arsed with the concept and the only reason he bothers with girlfriends is because they throw themselves at him.”

“Okay,” Amanda said quietly, and she sounded as if she was about to cry – crap.

“Look I didn’t mean you,” I said, in a vague attempt to try and recover the fact that I’d just told her she was desperate and her boyfriend would never love her. Frick. “I’m just bitter,” I said, although the lying was killing me. “I’m just very upset,” I added in, and my voice sounded so patronising and fake that I didn’t think she’d buy it for a moment.

“Because you loved him and he didn’t love you back?” Amanda asked, watching me carefully and waiting for my answer.

“No!” I protested loudly, realising I was digging myself into an even bigger hole with every single word I said. “Just forget it – it’s... complicated.”

I can’t believe I just used the most clichéd phrase in the history of relationships other than that time old classic ‘we need to talk.’ Well, she’d started the whole cliché by starting to go on about love.

“Don’t start!” I warned her, brushing a piece of hair away from my face and glaring at my reflection (bad face day much?). “Take some of the eye shadow off,” I told her sternly.

“Sorry?”

“I’m helping you!” I exclaimed in annoyance. “You’re going to take some of that eye shadow off and stop trying to act like someone else. Be yourself – he likes that. Then have a little more confidence and don’t feel scared to shoot him down. Make some jokes or something, be dirty minded – whatever. Just be amusing, engaging and yourself,” I told her. “Now can I actually go to the loo?” I asked, even though I hadn’t wanted to go in the first place. I’d just needed to get out of the place before I ran over and attached myself to Sirius by the lips, or something equally as stupid.

She nodded, thanked me, took off her eye shadow and hurried back out to Sirius.

I was going to seriously beat myself up if that actually worked.

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

“Okay, I have another question,” Jeremy said, as we began to walk back to the castle slowly. It was only around five but the sky had gone dark already and it struck me that I hadn’t paid much attention to the seasons recently – I hadn’t seen how much winter had come on recently. I can’t believe I hadn’t even noticed when it had been getting dark.

“Right,” I muttered, waiting for whatever he’d throw at me next. We’d been playing the questions for hours now and the questions were slowly getting more and more ridiculous so I braced myself for something even more stupid than ‘if you had to eat a tonne of a type of fruit, which fruit would you pick’ (nectarines, obviously) ‘weirdest thing you’ve ever been afraid of’ (pineapples...) and various other stupid things. “What’s the worst question I could ever ask you?” he asked, and I looked at him for a moment in surprise.

“I’m sorry?” I asked.

“Honestly, what’s the worst question I could ask you? I won’t ask you if you tell me,” he reassured me, and I contemplated the idea. What harm could the answer do? Plus he was the type to probe if he thought it was something serious, and I’d answered every other question he’d asked about me so I could hardly stop now. I just had to make sure it was covered by something that would make it seem like any ordinary thing, rather than ‘I’m dying’...

“Worst thing you could ask me? Okay so that would be...” I tried to think of a way that didn’t make it sound as bad as it was. “What’s the thing you’d least like everyone in the world to know about you. I wouldn’t be able to tell you.”

“Interesting,” Jeremy said, quirking up an eyebrow very slightly – he was analysing every single word I said. “Your question.”

We arrived at the castle and walked through the gates, and I tried to ignore the fact that quite a few people were eyeing us up curiously. Mary McDonald, the ultimate loser and Jeremy Wood, attractive Qidditch extraordinaire, walking into the castle deep in conversation. I suddenly felt very self-conscious.

“Why did you agree to go to Hogsmeade with me? In a sense... As in, why did you go along with Lily’s and Alice’s plan? What I mean is, why did you agree to spend the day with a complete stranger?”

“Ah. Well... bad break up. Dated her for over a year but was head over heels. She didn’t have a decent excuse for breaking up with me either – she said she didn’t want any attachments because she was going on this world tour. She was the year above. Felt it was about time I got over it.”

“I’m sorry,” I told him sincerely, reaching up to touch his arm in an attempt to comfort him. We were in the middle of one of the slightly quieter corridors by now, and he stopped walking and looked at me curiously – of course for someone whose every mood was deliberate and considered (without seeming to be thought about at all), a tiny movement like that would be on par with me throwing off all my clothes and yelling about how I was attracted to house elves on weirdness levels. I dropped it quickly. “For what it’s worth I had fun today,” I told him, and he smiled slightly. He started walking again, and I followed his lead.

“I had fun too. Even if you knocked your smoothie all over me when Sirius and Amanda started swapping saliva and made us leave the cafe after we’d ordered lunch because you didn’t want to sit there watching them.” I bit my lip slightly with the embarrassment. “And then when we walked into Lily and James and you made us stop to see what she was yelling at him about. Then when -”

“Alright, alright! There’s no need to go into specifics about it. I’ll admit I was a bad date.”

“I thought we said this wasn’t a date?” Jeremy said, stopping again and looking at me. His fingers brushed against mine for a second and I looked up at him nervously. For once I didn’t say anything and I just looked up into his brown eyes and waited to see what he was going to do next. He stepped forwards very slowly so that our faces were nearly touching (if he looked downwards anyway – he’s a bit of a giant, let’s be honest). Time was being a bit funny and I realised a little bit too late that I really didn’t want to do this and that it wasn’t a good idea in the slightest. What the hell was I supposed to do now? Our lips were only about a millimetre apart and I’m pretty sure – although I don’t have a lot of experience on this one – that he was about to kiss me. I panicked slightly and froze up. Shit. Shit. Shit.

I could feel his body heat and sense how close he was to me, but it’s not like I could back away and shake myself now, was it? It was making me really uncomfortable and I suddenly realised I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do. So I stayed put and decided to go with it – it couldn’t be that bad could it?

Then I realised he hadn’t moved for absolutely ages and I looked up at him through my lashes. Then he moved forwards a little more and I closed my eyes to block out his face (I’m such a lovely person) and for the tiniest split second his lips were brushing against mine.

Then he moved back quickly and I opened my eyes again.

“This is too weird isn’t it?” Jeremy asked, and I breathed a sigh of relief and stepped backwards. I was glad to be back in my own personal space bubble, and even gladder that I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t do the whole kissing thing here. If not the whole thing would have been disastrous.

“Much too weird,” I agreed, and let myself relax again. “Friends though?” I asked and he nodded – smiling slightly in his laid back, relaxed way, but I could tell he was thinking hard about what had just happened.

Thank bloody God for that. I let myself relax further and felt so much better than I had moments before when things were getting a bit... well... I don’t know really. Strange – let’s just go for that.

“Mary!” Alice called, and I turned to see that somehow we’d walked to the main staircase and Alice was there with Lily on the stairs. Alice looked pretty bad herself, but that was nothing as to the vision that was Lily – covered in mud with what looked like (unless I was very much mistaken) smoothie – and wearing a fantastic scowl. “Don’t mention James,” Alice mouthed to me, and I nodded.

“Talk to you tomorrow then?” I said quickly to Jeremy –eager to join the others and find out just what the hell had happened.

“Yeah. See ya McDonald.”

I waved and hurried up the stairs to joined the other two.

“How was your date then?” Alice asked, and I wasn’t sure if Lily was capable of speaking in her current state. She was shaking and was only managing to move up the stairs with the help of Alice prodding her in the back as she went. “Worth our effort?”

“It wasn’t a date,” I corrected her. “But yeah, it was good. Jeremy’s nice – sort of calming.”

“You’re smiling – it must have been good if you’re actually smiling. I mean you’re never in a good mood, but you seem to be now... This guy’s a miracle worker.”

“No need to overdo it,” I muttered under my breath. “You might just ruin it for me.”

“This is so exciting!” Alice squealed – very much like Lily normally does and I rolled my eyes but couldn’t bring myself to be particularly annoyed at her. The day had put me in a good mood. Even though it definitely wasn’t a date; it was just good to have someone relaxed to talk to about what not. To start a whole new friendship without any old complications or stuff like that. I was just nice. “Isn’t it Lily?” Alice asked, nudging Lily who made some sort of grunting noise.

“What happened?” I mouthed, and Alice shrugged to say that she didn’t know.

“James is in the hospital wing though,” she whispered, although I’m pretty sure Lily heard because she began muttering swear words under her breath.

“Oh. How did your date go then? Madame Puddifoots?” I asked casually, as we got to the top of the stairs and continued on our way back to Gryffindor tower.

“Not exactly...”

“Mary?” another voice called, and I turned around trying to locate the source of the voice (although I knew immediately who the voice belonged to). Sirius was hurrying up the staircase behind us and we all turned around and watched him. “We need to talk,” he added, slightly out of breath, when he’d got close enough so that he didn’t need to yell to make himself heard.

“What is it with clichés today?” I asked tiredly, trying to hide the fact that I was really glad to see him not still attached to Amanda’s lips. Him being here, and therefore not with her, meant that he wasn’t sleeping with her, which made me feel a hell of a lot better. Although knowing him, he probably already had slept with her, but at least he wasn’t right at this particular moment. It made me feel better anyway.

“Can I talk to you then?” Sirius asked impatiently. He’d even managed to get Lily’s attention this time, who looked a little like she was on something, or dead, but at least her eyes had focused a little more and a slightly familiar facial expression was recognisable beneath the dirt. “Alone,” he added, sending a look at the other two.

“Can’t it wait? I wanted to talk to my friends about their dates.”

“Mary, please,” Sirius implored, and I was more than a little shocked at the tone of his voice – he sounded almost desperate. Well, at least I wasn’t the only desperate one in the school.

“We’re going to drop our bags off, get er... cleaned up, then go down for dinner,” Alice said, pulling Lily up the stairs and leaving me alone with Sirius. I watched their retreating backs for a moment.

“Not here,” Sirius said, and pulled the sleeve of my coat. I followed him obediently and reached up to pull off my hat – I looked ridiculous enough in my fur lined boots, gloves, scarf and big coat without adding in the stupid bobble hat (it’s December okay). Sirius was only wearing two layers (a big difference to my six), and it made me wonder if he’d been back for a while (and if so what the bloody hell had he been doing). I looked at what he was wearing again and decided he’d definitely changed clothes since I’d seen him this morning (although it was equally attractive, annoyingly so). Why?

“If you want my help to get out of anything you can forget it,” I told him, as he pulled me into an almost empty corridor. “Why here?” I asked. It didn’t seem like a particularly special place if you asked me – it was just a pretty normal empty corridor. “How come you were back early?” I asked, finally letting something that was on my mind out.

“Amanda had to patrol. She’s still doing it now,” Sirius said off-hand. He didn’t seem particularly bothered that his date had been cut short by something as frustrating as prefect duty. Can’t say I was going to lose any sleep over it.

“Where’ve you been then?” I asked, fully aware I was beginning to sound a little bit obsessive and stalkerish. Possessive alert. Ahh! Stop Mary.

“Prank,” Sirius muttered, again sounding distant and looking at some spot over my shoulder.

“Look. If you’re going to talk to me can you get on with it?” I questioned, extremely frustrated – for once I didn’t want to be near him, I wanted to be in the dorm with my friends where I was needed. It seemed strange that the tables had changed so much in just a few days.

“I want to talk about what you said about it being over,” Sirius said finally, and I looked at him in surprise. I hadn’t expected him to talk to me about that. “Because I don’t think it should be,” he carried on, and I looked at him in disbelief.

“Sirius, we went over this!” I exclaimed in frustration. “You know that it wasn’t working,” I began, and just then some small first year bent their head around the end of the corridor and looked at us unabashed. Her eyes were wide and she stared at us for a few moments.

“Scat!” Sirius said, getting more worked up by the second. “In here,” he muttered, pulling me into a broom cupboard.

“Are you serious?” I asked disbelievingly. “I am not talking to you in a freaking broom cupboard.”

“Mary! Can you not just listen for once in your life?” Sirius snapped.

“Why should I listen to you when you’re acting like a complete prick?” I asked, poking him in the chest and finding it impossible to read his expression in the pitch blackness of the cupboard.

“Lumos,” Sirius said, and I could suddenly see again. It was a little bit blinding really. “I just... I saw you and bloody Wood today and I realised that, well, I miss you,” he finished lamely, and I sincerely hoped he didn’t have some speech planned or something equally as lame and embarrassing. It was bad enough as it was – I hated when people told you how they felt about you. What were you supposed to say? And all the words sounded stupid and pathetic when someone said them to you: ‘I like you’ ‘I fancy you’ - they were all just awkward and horrible and made me want to cringe. Not the effect they’re supposed to have right? Plus I had a feeling that if Sirius started spouting any of those lines I’d probably vomit or something.

“You miss me,” I repeated, wondering if that was lamer than saying ‘I fancy you’ or something along the same lines. I decided that actually it was probably the line I’d have picked out if I was forced to.

“Well yeah,” Sirius said, and I hoped to God that he wasn’t going to start doing something like in one of those stupid romance books: ‘I miss your smile, I miss your laugh, I miss kissing you, I miss talking to you, and most of all I miss you...’ that type of shit. Thankfully he kept his mouth shut and I wondered if he hated all that stuff too.

“But we were just arguing all the time! We were doing each other’s heads in, as well as everyone’s else, and it’s just... it’s not going to work.”

“You say that, but I’ve thinking.”

“What a surprise.”

“And really I think we have two options – hear me out – we could do it your way and just give up and ignore each other, which frankly makes all these lessons seriously weird. Or we could actually date.”

“I’m sorry?” I asked with my eyebrows raised. “I don’t think I get your point.”

“I mean that we could try and forget all the stuff from before and start a new slate. Stop with the arguments that keep going round in circles. Forget about all the eavesdropping stuff, I mean we only did it because well...”

“Yeah,” I added in, trying to make sure he didn’t elaborate on the whys.

“I promise to forget about it if you do,” Sirius continued – seeming glad that I’d saved him from that little part of the conversation.

“What does this forgetting entail?” I inquired wearily.

“That you come out with me next Saturday – it’s another Hogsmeade weekend – and then you tell me whether or not you think my proposition would work.”

“Are you asking me out?”

“Sort of,” Sirius said, and he ran his fingers through his hair a bit like James did when he was stressed out. I considered the whole thing for a while and I was struggling to find a reason why we shouldn’t. It was obvious that I liked him (even using the words in my head pained me) more than I realised before this whole ‘it’s over’ thing, and what was the worst that could happen? If we were still getting at each other’s throats all the time we could actually give up and let bygones be bygones, but this whole second chance thing? Why not.

I wanted to. I actually really wanted too, so maybe I just should?

Surely I deserved a little bit of happiness after all of this, and being with Sirius might make me happy.

Then it might not.

Things could go either way, and I knew which way I wanted it to go.

It would be fine – just a little fling of sorts. Nothing serious – Sirius wasn’t like that and I wasn’t really either. We could try it at least.

“So...” Sirius said, still ruffling his hair up and looking at me slightly worried. Sirius nervous was pretty amusing, but the hair messing up was really beginning to get on my nerves. I reached up and stopped his hand without really meaning too, and I guess that pretty much told him my answer when my fingers lingered on his hand for a few seconds too long.

My heart started to do the whole speeding up thing again, as I looked up at him.

“I missed you too,” I muttered, although I felt like a fool for saying it, and it probably gave a lot more away than I wanted to. Still it was unfair for me not to say something when he’d at least tried to go into it. I could feel my heart thumping against my chest and I was so very aware of it, to the extent that it was impossible to ignore.

Then my hands were round his neck and I was kissing him again – if only to stop the awkwardness before it took over completely, but partly because I really had missed him and although I hated to admit it, I really cared about him. I think he was as relieved as I was that the whole conversation was pretty much over, and it felt so good to be back here with my arms around him and feeling him so close to me – no matter how stupid I sounded to think it.

I ran my fingers through his hair and found that I felt even better than I had all day – and it had been a good day for once.

This was definitely what I wanted – to have a relationship before I died. It seemed to make sense. It wouldn’t be anything serious anyway because well, it was Sirius... so that meant that things wouldn’t get complicated at the end, because I knew where I was stood from the beginning. It would be all right, and I wouldn’t have to watch him make his way through the female population, or worry about whether or not we were mad at each other, or talking to each other at the current moment.

Then suddenly the room was filled with light and I realised that we’d had most of this conversation in a broom cupboard – and we’re now kissing in a broom cupboard (relationship cliché number three). For a second my heart stopped beating completely because for a split second I thought that it was going to be Snape – it had to be. This was my life and of course he would pick now to ruin everything by holding my secret above me, threatening to tell Sirius.

No. It wasn’t.

It was Amanda.

Sirius’s girlfriend.

“Shit,” I said – rather astutely in my opinion – with one arm still wrapped around Sirius’s neck as I watched her facial expression turn from shock, to anger, to repulsion and finally... to being bloody upset. Then she ran before Sirius had really gotten a grasp of what had happened. It had all happened so fast that I hadn’t had a chance to drop my arm from around his neck, and now things had become awkward again and I dropped it quickly.

“Fuck,” Sirius said, looking more than a little panicked (and obviously thinking about other things than the awkwardness). “Mary! Help me. What do I do? I’ve never cheated on anyone before, ever!”

“Don’t I feel special?” I muttered, wondering why I’d ever expected any different from my life. Something bad had to happen to even everything out and put things back on to a shitty level.

“You can’t change your answer now by the way,” Sirius added – a trace of his smirk returning back to his face. “You’re stuck with me.”

“Oh god,” I muttered, although it was hard to hide the fact that I was a little pleased by the outcome of the hideously awkward conversation . “You’re stuck with me though too. You better not cheat on me or I’ll kill you.”

“Look at you all vulnerable,” Sirius said – smirking properly this time.

“Just, if this thing starts to get at all messy, can we admit defeat?” I asked, and Sirius shrugged, before beginning to look worried. “What?”

“Amanda?”

“In a few seconds this conversation’s going to get awkward again, and I think we’ve had enough of that for today. So please can you say something that will stop it? Anything will work? But if it doesn’t become normal in the next few seconds I don’t think I can go through with this whole thing,” I said through gritted teeth – did I ever mention that I’m appalling with relationships?

“No pressure,” Sirius commented, looking at me wearily as if any minute I was going to explode and start yelling for no reason (likely). “I think your sister fancies Frank.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Don’t be, it’s not fault your sister has awful taste – you make up for it impeccably.” Sirius smirked, putting his arm around me and looking – quite possibly – more arrogant (and attractive) than he had in a long time.

“There’s no way I can get out of that without insulting myself, or complimenting you,” I complained, and Sirius grinned even more.

“Go on. Do it,” I raised an eyebrow at him. “Compliment me,” he continued, his eyes sparkling in amusement as he waited for my response.

“I can’t lie.”

“Come on – compliment me.”

“There’s no need to make it sound dirty.”

“There’s always a need. Now compliment me.”

“You’re.... very funny.”

“Without the sarcasm please,” Sirius said in his worse impression of a teacher’s voice (possibly based on McGonagall – disturbing much?). “And be more elaborate. Really go to town with this.”

“Sirius,” I complained moodily. “I don’t want to.”

Sirius stopped walking and looked at me with a relatively firm expression on his face. “Fine.” I sighed, trying to think of something I could say. “I really like the way you walk. Some people walk around with their shoulders all hunched up, and looking at the floor. You walk around like you’re slightly drunk, but at the same time it’s like you’ve accepted whatever is going to come flying at you because you know you can take it, because you know that you’re brilliant, funny, pretty darn hot – at least that’s what you think,” I added hastily at the end, and Sirius smirked.

“You have thought far too much about how I walk,” Sirius commented, looking at me like I was just a little bit insane. He probably had a point.

“How do I walk?” I asked curiously.

“Like a man,” Sirius said seriously. “I don’t know, I’m normally looking at other things.” Sirius continued when I gave him a look. “Not the floor though – apparently.”

“Don’t mock me! You have to compliment me now though. What do you like about me then?”

“Hmm....” Sirius considered slowly, and I hit him. He grabbed my hand and linked his fingers through mine in a nice, non-creepy way. “I like your hair.”

“Honestly! I just rambled on for about an hour about how I liked the way you walked, can you at least come up with something decent before I get so upset that I crawl into a hole and overdose on sleeping potion.”

“Someone’s feeling a little melodramatic, and it’s even weirder than your walking fetish.”

“Tell me.”

“Persuade me,” Sirius said, raising an eyebrow and looking at me carefully.

“I won’t help you with Amanda.”

“Aurgh. Fine – I was expecting something a little more exciting on your behalf but I should know better by now I guess. Okay. Well. I like the way that everything is to the extremes with you. You can’t just be upset, you’re distraught. You’re not happy, you’re elated. You either don’t bother with something at all, or take it head on at full speed. One minute you can be sitting there not saying a word and just thinking far more than anyone in the world should, and the next you’re sending all these comments flying back at me so fast I barely have chance to react. I like how you’re nothing I ever expected I’d like. As a rule I don’t like emotional girls – but I could sit and watch you crying. I don’t like extreme people but with you it just sort of... works. I don’t think I could ever get bored of you, and you’re so like me, yet so different at the same time. I like the fact that you’re completely and utterly crazy.”

“That was almost sweet.”

“I aim to impress – it’s how I roll. Or walk. Whatever floats your boat,” he teased, and it was only then that I realised he’d been holding my hand since I’d hit him. So far it hadn’t been that weird. “Now, will you help me with Amanda?”

“Eurgh. You’re so needy.”

“Pretty please?”

“Fine,” I said, rolling my eyes, and pulling him in the direction Amanda had run.

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

“Hey,” I said, shutting the dorm door behind me and smiling at the others from the doorway. Lily seemed a little more cheerful than she had when she was being pushed up the stairs, and Alice looked a little better too – she was smiling a little bit and there was a little more colour in her cheeks. Neither of them looked like they were particularly happy though and for once I felt like I was the most positive person in the room. “Let’s hear about what happened on these dates then?” I asked, sitting down on my bed and curling up on top of my duvet.

“Where the hell have you been?” Lily asked, her eyes sparking up in surprise as she turned to see my somewhat unusual expression – I was actually smiling.

“We were looking for Amanda. We traipsed around for half an hour searching every bloody corridor when Sirius – the bloody idiot - suddenly goes ‘oh I’ve got the map’, and then pulls it out and locates her straight away. The Ravenclaw common room – obviously. So we walk all the way there so that we can talk to her, I asked Sirius if he had a password and he said we wouldn’t need one. Then we finally get to the sodding place and we get asked this question, and they wouldn’t let us in because we didn’t know the answer.

Then Sirius tried to flirt his way in and then obviously, he picked the wrong girl (who was like twelve by the way) because her boyfriend came flying round the corridor and punched him in the face – he was also about twelve too, still made him bleed though – freaking hilarious. So then Marlene McKinnon comes out to see what all the fuss was about, then she punched Sirius too. Tells me off for being a hypocrite and flat out refused to let us in. So then we gave up, got dinner from the kitchens and came back.”

“God,” Lily muttered under her breath.

“You sound like James,” Alice pointed out, and Lily let out a very long stream of swear words which – quite frankly – I was really impressed by.

“So why were you looking for Amanda anyway – what was so important that you had to disappear?”

“Erm,” I muttered, biting my lip and trying not to meet their eyes. “Sirius cheated on her, and was trying to find her to explain. He roped me into help.”

Suddenly the other two were very much alive, Lily had stopped swearing, and they were both leaning forwards and looking at me expectantly.

“Who with?” Lily asked eagerly. I found it a little bit sad that something as stupid as gossip could get them actually paying attention and almost excitable.

“Me.”

“God. Oh fucking hell James get out of my head!” Lily shrieked, and I looked at her apprehensively.

“Would you like to tell me about your dates? Then I’ll tell you about the situation I am in with Sirius.”

“There’s a situation?” Lily asked.

“You tell first.”

“Mike dumped me,” Alice said simply. It was a common fact that she had no feelings for the bloke, but being dumped always kind of sucked.

“How come?” I asked, and Alice shrugged bitterly.

“I think it’s something to do with the size of Charlotte’s chest.”

“Charming.”

“That’s what I said.”

“But Charlottes big in a fat sort of way,” I said, sighing. “You’ve got the sweet petite curvy blonde thing. I mean you’re lovely and kind and brilliant. Why would he want Charlotte?”

“She’s got the ‘I’m pretty easy’ thing,” Alice said, sighing, “I’m not really bothered about being shot of him – good riddance, he kisses like a freaking lizard, but it’s not very flattering.”

“A lizard?” Lily questioned. Alice darted her tongue out in a Lizard-like fashion and I think we understood exactly what she meant. I laughed loudly, and the sound of it echoed around the dorm - I hadn’t laughed properly in ages.

“Lily?” Alice suggested, and Lily sighed.

“Right, well,” Lily began, and I could tell that when she started she’d be going on for a freaking long time. I braced myself for the long rant that was sure to follow the second she began the story. “Turns out James is really clumsy when he’s nervous,” she said, and for a second I thought she wasn’t going to elaborate on the story even more and I was nearly speechless. “I mean, the guy’s a seeker so you’d bloody expect that he’d be able stay cool and not do stupid things wouldn’t you? I mean, I don’t even know why he was nervous because if you think about it, it was only a date and he doesn’t even like me like that. He says he does but really he just wants to be able to see what my bra size is. I’m serious here,” she added, as if we hadn’t believed her.

“He actually asked me what my bra size was. We were having a perfectly normal conversation, I wasn’t even annoyed at him – I was enjoying conversing with James Potter then he asks me what my freaking bra size is!” Lily paused and took in a deep breath. “Apparently the Marauders used to have this stupid game when they first found out what bra sizes were that they had to guess what all our bra sizes were to see who was manliest or something crap like that. So then I was like, okay, well... that’s a bit weird but I was trying to be nice. So I go, ‘What size do you think I have then’ and he says an A. An A!”

“Oh dear,” I said, biting my lip.

“I’M A B,” Lily practically yelled.

“Lily, just admit it. You’re an A,” Alice said, rolling her eyes irritably. Lily is somewhat... sensitive about her chest size (which is on the small side in fairness) and therefore she wears bras that are too big for her so that she can claim she’s a B. She yells at us every time we mention it, so it’s not surprising that the date ended up badly if James mentioned that.

“So then he obviously realised he said something wrong, because I was so pissed off. Then he got nervous and goes ‘not that there’s anything wrong with an A, I happen to like small-chested women’ he called me flat-chested! Then he knocked my smoothie all over my supposedly flat chest and tried to wipe it off and ended up accidently groping me.”

“Wow,” I muttered, and Alice nodded in my direction – she’d obviously heard this story while I was away.

“He wasn’t too bad for the rest of it,” Lily shrugged. “His annoying frustrating self, sure – but not any worse than normal. Until he tripped me up and made me fall into a pile of mud, groped me again and thought a nice end to the date would be to ask me again if I was an A, or a double A. So I slapped him round the face screamed at him that I was a B and pushed him in the lake.”

“Sounds lovely.”

“Apparently he hit a rock or something in the lake because he had to go to the hospital wing with concussion.”

“So not the perfect date?”

“NO,” Lily snapped. “The only good thing that came out of it was that he brought me a cat.”

“What?” I asked, noticing for the first time that Lily did in fact have a tabby cat curled up on her bed – how bizarre.

“Don’t ask,” Alice said, rolling her eyes, “Now you spill.”

“Sirius sort of asked me out.”

“Oh.”

“And we came to a mutual agreement, and then Amanda walked in on us kissing.”

“So you’re going out with Sirius?” Lily asked, her eyebrows rising up extraordinary amounts with disbelief. I nodded. “But you’re crap with relationships.”

“Shut it,” I muttered, and Lily rolled her eyes.

“Mary’s bad with relationships?” Alice asked curiously, and Lily nodded.

“She was the one who killed romance in the first place,” Lily said, seemingly a little calmer now she’d ranted everything off again, and was instead stroking her brand new cat. “She hates people asking her out, she hates PDA, she hates and romantic or sensitive comments – or gestures actually. Then she can’t stand the word girlfriend or boyfriend because it makes her cringe.”

“Shut up Lily!” I said loudly, “None of that’s true – I’m a brilliant girlfriend.”

“When you went out with James you avoided him because you were scared he’d call you his girlfriend, and made me spend as much time with him as possible so that you could carry on avoiding him. Then you were gutted when he dumped you and asked me out instead.”

“That was a long time ago! Anyway we were just talking and it wasn’t even awkward or cringe-worthy.”

“So that means he didn’t say anything sensitive?” Lily suggested. “You really hate sensitive guys.”

“No I don’t,” I protested. Lily gave me her ‘oh really’ look and I rolled my eyes at her, trying to think about something I liked about sensitive guys.

“You can’t think of anything,” Alice mocked in her annoying voice.

“I like men who cry,” I said finally and the others both looked at me like I was an alien.

“Really?” Lily asked, implying that obviously she wasn’t the crying man type of girl. “Isn’t it a bit... weird?”

“Well, there was this advert and it was this properly manly tough guy crying, and it was really attractive.”

“That is a little creepy.”

“No, it was really hot!” I argued, and the others shook their heads at me.

“I can’t see Sirius as the crying type,” Lily said after a while and I shrugged.

“He’s pretty hot without the tears.”

“Well then, good luck. Just don’t get your heart broken yeah? You know what Sirius is like.”

“Yeah, I know,” I answered, looking down at my feet in thoughts that I didn’t quite understand. Was this a mistake? I guess I just have to wait and find out.

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

“It’s snowing,” I said, looking out the window as the flakes began to fall. They swirled around in the sky idyllically – exactly like a snow globe.

“That means it’s going to be cold,” Becky complained as she played down her card. As magic seemed to be making her feel a lot better we’d all taken to sitting with her and doing anything magical we could think of to see if it made her feel any better. Currently we were playing exploding snap, which she had no chance of winning because her reactions were appalling. Still, she had a little more colour in her cheeks and didn’t seem quite as dead as before. “I’m not really a fan of coldness.”

“I think it’s going to settle,” I said after a while. “Hopefully it will settle.”

“It’s snowing!” James exclaimed, bounding into the hospital wing so Nate could check his head (after the whole concussion thing...). He seemed a lot more cheerful than he had done yesterday when he’d really been cutting himself up about it. Now he seemed to be in good spirits and why? The weather.

Humanity confuses me sometimes.

“Aren’t you excited?” James asked, and I shook my head slowly.

“Snow was only exciting when it meant you could have a day off,” I said, as the snowflakes I watched swirled down to the floor and melted on the grass.

“You had a day off for snow?” Sirius asked, coming into the hospital wing with the others. James was, apparently, the only one who’d been enthused enough by the snow to run all the way to the hospital wing.

“At Muggle School you used to.”

“That’s so unfair,” Sirius complained. “Because it will all be gone by next weekend, and it won’t have settled today. It’s basically being wasted, bloody Sundays.”

“Hello to you too,” I added, waving at him before letting my hand drop and playing my card.

The whole thing exploded and I jumped back quickly, narrowly avoiding getting burnt.

“WHAT THE-?” Nate yelled, coming out of his office before looking at the deck of cards, muttering curses (and not even bothering to keep them clean for once) and walked back into his office.

“Someone’s moody,” Remus commented, sitting down on one of the spare beds. He looked pretty awful and I decided that I felt for the guy – he seemed to get ill quite a lot.

“Are you okay, you look ill?” Becky asked, her eyes travelling over Remus’s pale skin and slightly haggard appearance.

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

“He had some bad news from home,” Sirius put in. “His grandma’s sick again.”

“I’m going to go and see her next week,” Remus said, looking nervously at the bed in the far corner of the hospital wing behind the screen.

“Mary? Does Lily hate me?” James asked, sounding more than a little pitiful.

“No. I think she was having a good time before the bra size incident,” I told him, stretching the truth a little bit... “She’s very sensitive about her chest size. You shouldn’t have mentioned it, or said that you thought she was a C.” I told him and James looked a little lost.

“Why, she’s not a C. She’s an A, I think, and what does it matter?”

“It’s a girl thing; you’re not supposed to understand.”

“Well explain it to me!” James said, and I rolled my eyes.

“Fine. Boys like girls with big chests, therefore girls with small chests are jealous of those with big chests. Girls with big boobs want small boobs because they think they’re fat and boy’s like petite skinny girls. Those with average sized boobs wish they were either bigger or smaller, because boys like curvy girls, and skinny girls, but not averagely sized girls.”

“God.”

“But that’s stupid,” Pete said, shaking his head. “We just like boobs – we don’t care about the size.”

“Nice Pete,” Sirius commented. “Really smooth.”

“You’re not supposed to talk about boobs in front of girls,” James added.

“Then why the hell did you?” I interjected, and James shrugged.

“Guess I was nervous.”

“I don’t understand you guys,” I said, sighing over-dramatically.

“We’re simple,” Sirius informed me. “You just have to understand that we’re actually that simple to understand us.”

“You’re complicated,” I told him, shaking my head at his comment.

“No I’m not,” Sirius said. “That’s like... saying Lily’s complicated – she’s not she’d just like to think she’s complicated because she doesn’t want to realise that she’s really that shallow and easy to read. The only difference between you and us is that we accept that we’re simple and you make everything into something more than it is. If you say something wrong you’re a bad person, and you worry about that. Where as we know that if we say something wrong, it just mean’s we’ve said something wrong, or we know we’re a bad person and accept it.”

“And you say that’s not complicated? It is. Every person in the world is complicated and you have to work them out bit by bit before you can truly understand them, and only then – when you know every single memory and thought – can you actually say that that person is easy to understand. You can’t judge us, because you don’t know exactly what’s going on in our heads so how do you know?”

“Being complicated is worrying about what other people think of you and being self conscious. It’s simple just to accept that that’s the way you are and just deal with it instead of trying to change.”

“So you’re saying you’ve never changed? That’s rubbish. Everyone’s complicated – you’re very complicated. Every little memory and every little action builds you up into the person that no one could possibly ever understand unless they knew it all. Of course maybe to yourself you’re simple, because you understand why you do everything you do which makes it logical – but you can’t begin to say that other people are complicated because you can’t possibly know every little thing that’s ever happened to them because it’s just not possible. Therefore it follows that you’re not simple, and no one else is either, because there’s always more to someone than you’d expect, and even when there’s less that’s complicated too because you have to work out why there’s less. Everyone has a story and if you hang around long enough to listen to it, you could work them out.”

“But then you’re saying that everyone’s complicated, and everyone’s simple, which means technically I’m still right.”

“No you’re not,” I countered, shaking my head.

“Am too!” Sirius grinned childishly.

“Not!”

“Am!”

“Not.”

“Am!”

“How did an almost intelligent debate end up at that?” Becky wondered aloud, and several of the others laughed at her words. I decided not to dignify Sirius with a response and instead looked towards James incredulously.

“Aren’t you supposed to be here to get your head checked out?”

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

“Let’s organise a snow day,” Sirius said as we came back out of the hospital wing. My mind was on other things as I tried to get use to the fact that Sirius was actually holding my hand – which was a little bit weird but nice at the same time I guess. It wasn’t like carrying around an extra weight or anything (which is what it sometimes felt like), mainly because he was tracing circles on the back of my hand like he had done several times before, so it didn’t feel too new and scary.

“I’m sorry?”

“We could get everyone to have the day off, and just play outside all day instead of doing double potions.”

“Very tempting,” I considered carefully. “Although I don’t see how on earth it would work.”

“We could work something out; we’re not called the Marauder’s for nothing,” Sirius said impressively – or at least attempting to be impressive. “Shush,” Sirius said suddenly, and he started listening to the empty corridor carefully. He pulled out the map, and whispered “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good.” And then he looked at the map, then upwards again.

“What?” I asked in a whisper, and he put his fingers to his lips and leaned forwards, pressing himself against the wall.

“They’re coming this way. We need to hide,” he muttered, and I sighed in exasperation – if he was attempting some bad joke he was failing miserably and he should probably just stop before I got more annoyed. He glanced around quickly, possibly in the hope that some place to hide would just appear. “This will have to do,” Sirius said, looking at what looked to be a broom cupboard.

“I’m not going in there,” I told him firmly, but he ignored me and pulled me across the corridor and into the cupboard. “Will you tell me what the hell you’re doing?” I asked in a heated whisper when he shut the door.

“It’s Regulus,” Sirius said, shushing me and pressing his ear to the door.

I sighed, and leaned back against the wall, knocking over a broom loudly, for which I received a dark look from Sirius. There were several moments of silence while Sirius concentrated very hard on whatever was going on outside the door.

“Drat,” Sirius swore, moving away from the door and sealing the map again. “They were only talking about some potions assignment.”

“So you just pulled me into a broom cupboard so you could eavesdrop on your brother, who was talking about homework?” I asked, disgustedly. I moved again and sent more things falling to the floor.

“Shush. They might still hear us, and how else am I supposed to know what’s going on at home?” Sirius asked, sitting down next to me and sighing.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I said, suddenly feeling a little guilty about the whole thing.

“Shit. You’re not supposed to know about the map.” Sirius added after a few seconds.

“Sirius, you used it in front of my yesterday too. I decided against acting like I didn’t know what it was, it seemed pretty self-explanatory in any case. I’ll pretend I don’t know if you like,” I added, and Sirius shrugged.

“We should stay her for a minute to make sure they’re gone,” Sirius added and I nodded, feeling a little annoyed. The moment had almost been nice between us to before all this business with broom cupboards.

“So you think I’m complicated then?” Sirius smirked, and I could just about see his face through the darkness. The room was thick with dust and it was a little hard to breathe but I didn’t much care.

“Yes,” I said in response, and I rested my head against Sirius’s arm. “Far too complicated for a simple creature like me to understand in any case.”

“Not saying much, simpleton.”

“You’re so lovely,” I said sarcastically, and I could tell Sirius was smirking even though I could only see his rough outline.

“You’re lovely too,” Sirius said, but this time his voice didn’t sound like he was mocking me. It was like something had stripped away something from it, and it was rawer and more intense. Or maybe that was my mind playing tricks on me – either way it made me shiver slightly.

Sirius, who apparently has better senses than me, reached up to my face and touched my bottom lip with his thumb for a second. I was frozen, practically melting, and if I stood up I’d probably do something daft like faint or fall over.

“The loveliest,” he continued, before dropping his hand. The moment seemed to hang over everything and for a second I was, embarrassingly, completely entranced by him and I could think of nothing else. There was a few more seconds of silence where I just looked at him, and he looked straight back before he spoke again. “We should go now,” he said, reaching for my hand and pulling me up.

“We have a snow day to plan.”

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

A/N - Okay so I've written quite a bit of the next chapter already so the update shouldn't be as long but I'm not going to promise anything because school has a habbit of loading me with TONS of work at the worst time's. So what do you guys think? I've given you some of what you wanted, although the rest of it probably won't happen as soon as you'd like. Much love you guys and please keep reviewing. I SWEAR that I'll answer everything single one of them and I'm so sorry that I've been neglecting them for so long :( :( :( Please forgive me guys and review again :D :D


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