When I woke up the next morning, I was sure that Mary would have forgotten the entire thing by now. But when I tried to pull her in for a kiss that morning, she pushed herself away, walking out of the portrait hole by herself.
Luckily, there was no one around to see that.
I wasn't supposed to get rejected like that. No girl was ever supposed to push me away. I was supposed to be the one pushing them away.
At breakfast, I tried to sit next to her and make it seem like nothing was wrong. I didn't want anyone thinking that I, Sirius Black, was having trouble with girls of all things.
Mary was drumming her fingers on the table – duh-dum, duh-dum, over and over again, the incessant sound thudding in my mind. Finally, she turned to me and said, "Sirius, could you follow me for a second?"
She probably wanted to make up – of course. There was nothing else. And since we were stopping in the middle of the Great Hall, I knew she wanted an audience. She must have known that I loved audiences and public displays of affection. Finally, she was beginning to understand!
"I want to break up."
Wait – she was joking. "What?" I asked, just to make sure that it was all just a joke. She was a bit early for April Fools...and it wasn't that good of a joke anyway. I would have to teach her how to pull the perfect prank.
"I don't want to be your girlfriend anymore, Sirius." The words she said – they didn't make any sense. Were they even supposed to fit together in a sentence like that? I just didn't understand – no girl would ever say this.
"But – why?" I managed to say, trying to find what she exactly meant. She just had to be joking.
Her brown eyes stared intensely into mine as she said, clearly, "Well, truthfully, I can't stand being around you right now. So, I think it would be best if we broke up."
She wanted to break up with...me? In front of the whole school? Mary – my girlfriend, the girl I got to spend so much time having fun with me, wanted to just throw me to the side and forget about all that snogging? But we worked so well together! "Um...you're kidding, right?" I asked, blinking.
She scoffed. Right in my face – just scoffed at me. "No, I'm being serious."
What the hell was going on? "But, we were getting along great," I insisted, taking a step forward to touch her. Maybe she had forgotten how great we had gotten along – maybe if I -
But she just shrugged me off. "Don't try anything. Nothing will change my mind, Sirius. I can't even look at you right now, so excuse me, but I have to leave."
I made a reach for her hand, but she withheld it from my grasp, striding out of the hall and disappearing down the corridor.
She didn't just – no...not in front of everyone like that. How could she – my mind went blank and stared off in space, trying to make some sense out of what had just happened. But nothing made sense at all.
"Hey, mate! You're missing breakfast!" Jumping at the sudden shout, I shook my head. No, it didn't matter. Nothing mattered – nothing made sense, so nothing mattered. And putting a smile on my face, I made my way over to the table.
They all stared at me with these sickening sympathetic expressions on their face. They were sorry for me...embarrassed for me. Just because of some girl. But, no, I was above that...
"You know..." I spoke up as the idea came to me. It was perfect – a sure way to get my mind off of everything. "We need a party this weekend. After the Quidditch match." And the phrase "I'll supply the drinks" definitely put a grin on my face.
The first thing I grabbed after entering the common room at the afterparty was a very nice bottle of firewhisky.
Oh, yes, my night was going to be perfect.
Scanning the room quickly between conversations with random people, I judged everything around me. Dancing, talking, snogging, dancing, and...
Oh god, she was here. That Ivy Bennett was just sitting on the couch, wasting her life away by getting that lost sheep look on her face. She really needed to loosen up – have fun at least. Just sitting on the couch between random people and looking lost was not fun.
She wasn't that bad – maybe Remus would get her to have some fun. Oh, what was I saying? Remus plus Ivy equals no fun whatsoever.
"Hey, Padfoot, I got you another!" I heard James say from behind me.
I had the best of friends. Three best friends and the one in my hand. Who needed girls?
"I got you this..."
The voice swam in and out of my head. "Anothordrink?" I muttered, trying to open my eyes to see the drink in front of me.
"No, it's your hangover potion..." Urgh, why was that voice so annoying? Blindly, I reached out in front of me and managed to clasp a small bottle in my head. Immediately, I brought it up to my lips and tilted back my head. It was...bitter.
Squinting my eyes, I tried to sit up, realizing that I was surrounded by a comfort of some kind – oh, pillows.
Hey, my bed!
Staring incredulously around at my surroundings, my gaze landed on Peter watching me (with very wide eyes) only a few feet away. "Hey, Wormtail!" I greeted him, feeling suddenly very awake.
Peter kept staring at me. "You better get dressed quickly. Breakfast begins soon," he told me, before going back to his own bed.
Breakfast! Food sounded great. Quickly, I dressed and made my way down into the common room in a record time of four minutes. From the staircase, I could hear Remus talking to someone. Peering in, I could see...blonde hair.
Aha, it was that Ivy Bennett. Even she couldn't ruin my mood. Jumping over the back of the couch, I startled her and I greeted them with a extremely excited, "Hey! What's going on?"
"Feeling better then?" Remus asked me sarcastically. See, he's not really great at that sarcasm stuff. At least he tries though.
So I just grinned. "Hangover potion, dear Moony."
Remus responded with an eye roll. Clever. Turning toward Ivy, I decided that my good mood could be shared with her. "How did you like the party last night?"
"Fine," she answered, refusing to meet my eyes.
I laughed, trying to rack my mind for any memory of last night. Well, I drank a lot. That was a given. "Well, at least you remember it," I told her. Maybe I danced or something. That would be good...
"You don't remember any of it?" She sounded surprised. She obviously had never been drunk in her entire life. I couldn't even imagine her as a drunk.
"Don't remember any of it?" Remus laughed. "I don't think he remembers any of yesterday period."
I was about to say that of course I remembered the Quidditch game, but then Ivy asked, "You don't remember going around singing?"
Singing. Even better than dancing. "Did I? Must have been the best thing you've heard then," I joked, imagining the amazing voice they must have got to enjoy.
I actually got her to laugh (a soft, sort of breathy laugh, but a laugh all the same). She looked extremely relieved as she said, "Well, not exactly..." a smile appearing on her face.
I could definitely tolerate this version of Ivy Bennett. She needed to laugh more often.
February 21st – hell night. Remus's transformation was bloody awful. Nothing seemed to get him to calm down. He was biting and growling, snapping at us with every move, threatening us with his teeth bared.
I circled around him, trying not to surprise him with any rash movements. For some reason, the circling motion caused Remus to pounce – clamping down on my shoulder.
Not giving myself time to react to the pain, I lashed back, bringing my claws down on him. Whimpers filled the room as he retreated to his corner.
Night from hell.
Remus seemed to be thinking the same thing as he looked down at the covers of his bed, letting Madame Pomfrey change the bandage on the side of his face I had clawed into. We waited until she had left to pull up chairs beside his bed.
"You feeling better after the night from hell? Get enough rest?" I questioned him. He had missed a whole day of classes – I wished I could miss a day and just rest and do nothing. Some people had all the luck.
Remus frowned and didn't say anything in response. Something else must have been bugging him too. If it was just the transformation, he would have begun talking about it.
"Something a matter?" James asked. He was definitely thinking the same thing.
Remus began picking at his sheet. "No, it's fine-"
"It was Ivy's birthday today!" Peter piped up. "He bought her a present."
This was just too good to pass up. I couldn't stop the smirk from appearing on my face as I asked him, "You missed your little girlfriend's birthday?"
"I'm hurt and you're still making fun of me?" Remus questioned.
But even James was smiling. "You're avoiding the question."
Remus leaned back in his bed. "Okay, so, I bought her something. It doesn't mean anything-"
But Remus had never bought something for a girl before. "You fancy her," I exclaimed. "Remus Lupin and Ivy Bennett – together forever."
"Stop..." Remus warned us. "You can't make fun of the person who's already lying in bed with half of their face mauled away."
"Sure we can," James grinned.
"He has her present in his bag," Peter suddenly said.
James and I exchanged a look as we both dived for the bag hanging off the bed post. "No, guys, don't!" I could faintly hear Remus saying.
In the bag was a book of parchment, wrapped neatly in a beautiful deep vibrant red ribbon and an absolutely gorgeous ink bottle with 'Ivy' written on top. This. Was. Gold.
"Whoa, Moony, you went all out," James exclaimed, bringing out the presents.
Remus sighed heavily. "What does it matter? I missed her birthday anyway."
The hurt in his voice was heavy – it really was eating him up inside. Suddenly, I didn't feel like joking around anymore – not with Remus feeling so awful.
Peter and James must have felt the same way since an awkward silence fell over the room. Remus looked down at his sheets and continued to pick off imaginary lint. I wouldn't have been surprised if he was holding back tears.
"Listen," I found myself saying. "Maybe I can...I don't know...go get her or something."
Remus started shaking his head. "It's three in the morning, Padfoot. I don't want to just wake her up because-"
He trailed off, noticing the look I was giving him. "I'm sure she would want to see you. If not, she'll want to after she realizes how much you want to see her."
Remus didn't say anything, so I grabbed the Invisibility Cloak from James's hands. "Just wait here," I told him.
"I'm not going anywhere," I heard Remus's fail of a sarcastic response as I put the cloak over my body and left through the hospital wing doors.
As I made my way up the common room, I tried to clear my head of my thoughts. Why was I doing this? How was I going to just sneak up to the dormitories without anyone but Ivy knowing? Of course I knew how to get up the girls' staircase – that wouldn't be a problem – but would getting Ivy out of bed and down to the common room be possible?
Slipping through the portrait hole, I took a look around the darkened common room. Nothing out of the ordinary except...
For a startled, sleepy Ivy sitting on the couch.
How convenient. Slowly, I walked over to where she was glancing around the room, running a hand through her hair. She had obviously heard me come in. Her eyes were wide with confusion and fright and I knew as soon as I showed myself, she would begin screaming.
I just had to do it.
Grabbing the fabric covering my head, I pulled down quickly and replaced the hand over Ivy's open mouth. She stared back at me, eyes widening even more. "Don't be afraid." I shrugged off the rest of the cloak and said, "Okay, I'm going to move my hand, and you're not going to scream, okay?"
She was practically hyperventilating against my hand. I waited until she nodded and finally took my hand away. "What-how-" she began sputtering nonsense.
"I'll explain it all later, but, for now, come with me..." Pulling her up, I didn't even bother to explain the Invisibility Cloak to her. Instead, I just threw it over us and hoped that she wouldn't begin asking questions.
She tried to speak but I immediately 'shh'ed her. This wasn't the time for chat.
Carefully, we began walking down to the third floor. She held on tight to me, probably afraid of where I was taking her. I couldn't even imagine what was going through her mind. But she wasn't important. Remus was.
Finally, we reached the hospital wing and I lead her through the doors. "He wants to see you," I told her, taking the cloak off of us. "Over there." I vaguely pointed in the right direction as Ivy looked at me with a confused expression. She walked a few steps toward the general direction and took in the sight before her.
Remus had fallen asleep, still in an upright position. Peter and James were sitting in the chairs next to him, eyelids drooping.
Ivy turned back toward me, her eyes widened. Was I supposed to tell her how to do everything? Instead, I just waved her on. She just had to talk to him. How hard could that be?
"Remus?" she whispered, her voice so light I was surprised Remus even sitrred.
"Ivy," he responded, fixating his eyes upon her. Oh, god, it was like a cheesy romance scene. I had half a mind to turn away.
"I'm sorry," she said. Really, she couldn't think of anything better? What was she saying sorry for? That I had caused the injury on his face?
Remus started shaking his head. "No, I'm sorry. I missed your birthday."
I could have sworn Ivy was getting tears in her eyes. Maybe she really fancied Remus in return. "It's okay, I mean, you're hurt – you have an excuse -"
Remus chuckled. "You shouldn't be worried about me. It was your birthday - your day. That reminds me. Happy belated birthday."
He looked over at Ivy's presents on the table and I watched as she followed his gaze and realized that he had bought her a present. Taking the items in her hands, she just stared down at them. "Thank you," she finally said, running her fingers over the ink bottle. "It's amazing, Remus."
To my surprise, she climbed into the bed and tried putting her arms around him. That wasn't really possible with Remus voicing his pain. Ivy immediately started apologizing and I could have gagged watching the two of them.
I had to drag Ivy away after twenty minutes. We walked back in silence. What was I supposed to say to her? Start teasing her about Remus? No, I could do that here – underneath the cloak in the silence of the corridors.
I couldn't believe Remus had bought her that gift. I didn't even know it was her birthday. Probably no one knew. "Why didn't you tell everyone it was your birthday yesterday?" I asked quietly. She had acted like it was a normal day. Normal people didn't do that.
"I don't know."
Really, was she that quiet about things? Maybe she wanted to have a big party for once. "We could throw a party for you tomorrow."
No, I was wrong. She looked horrified as she turned to me and said, "I don't want a party. I don't want everyone to know."
But why? What was the point of no one knowing that it's your special day? "You don't want a party? It's supposed to be your day and you don't want anyone to know?"
She shrugged lightly. "It's okay. You don't have to do anything for me."
How strange. There had to be something seriously wrong with this girl. Maybe – well, just maybe we could do something.
When we went to visit Remus early the next morning, he was already out of bed and ready to leave.
He looked anxious for some reason and I could only guess why. "I need your help," he immediately said as we walked through the doors.
What were we supposed to say? No?
"Need help with your lady?" James teased him.
I grinned at the look on Remus's face. "No," he finally responded after the initial surprise on his face diminished. "I just want you to do something for her."
I grimaced. "Why?" Did he want us to start including her in everything? I mean, she wasn't that bad when you thought about it...but if she was going to become what Lily was to James, I just couldn't handle it again.
"Can you...maybe, give her something today?" Remus was still down at the floor, mumbling softly. "Like...a belated birthday present?"
James and I looked each other with eyebrows raised. He actually wanted us to get involved with a girl he fancied? She must mean a lot to him.
"Sure," James agreed. I mean, who were we to say no? Remus never asked for much – we practically had to beg him to allow us to become animagi. Remus deserved this.
However, searching through our things for something we could just give away was harder than we thought. I had absolutely nothing – well, if she wanted crumpled-up clothes or parchment airplanes, then maybe. But I doubted she would want that.
What did I know about her? Nothing expect for the fact that she liked writing. ...Nothing.
Well, I would have to work with that.
Looking up, I saw James setting a box of chocolates on his bed, obviously satisfied with coming up with it at the last minute. Peter was throwing off the covers of his bed (I don't know what he thought he would find in there...) and then moved to rummage through his desk drawers. Maybe...we were putting too much thought in this.
Or maybe not enough.
Her eyes grew wide at the sight of presents on her chair. She walked up to them cautiously as if she wasn't sure they were for her. I couldn't blame her: this was a pretty random gift-giving.
Her gaze fell on James's present first. He was grinning at her as she opened it slowly, meticulously, as I found myself growing tired of watching her. But she looked happy for once. There was a genuine smile on her face as she looked up and said, "You didn't even know it was my birthday."
James shrugged. "Ah, well, I knew I was saving them for a reason." Yeah, for us. "Happy birthday Ivy."
Peter's present was put together at the last minute – a chocolate frog covered in a sheet of paper. But Ivy still managed to say "thanks Peter" in that truly thankful voice of her's.
I watched as her eyes finally fell on my present. It seemed like it took her even longer to open mine. Her eyes stared down into the box (that previously held my...oh, I don't even remember anymore) and I knew she didn't know what to think.
Because, seriously, who puts a piece of parchment in a big box? Someone that's amazing, that's who. Besides, an IOU is more thoughtful than random chocolate. She probably didn't understand what I meant.
"That IOU is for anything you can possibly think of," I quickly explained. She continued to stare into the box and I wondered briefly if she was crying.
I hoped she wasn't – I didn't know how to deal with crying girls.
"You didn't have to get me anything. All of you." Her voice cracked in the middle of her sentence and I knew she felt – how do you say it? - out of place.
James quickly caught onto it. "We wanted to," he exclaimed. "And next year, we'll actually know about it ahead of time." Nice add-on.
"And you deserve to have a great birthday." And there's Moony – feeling guilty as usual.
So I grinned and, in a spur of the moment type of thing, decided that I should remind her. "Well, I also promised you that I would help you with your story. So, consider my present my debt to you." Maybe I was feeling bad for her, but I found myself wanting to do...something.
"Thanks," she responded softly.
There was a short pause, and then James leaned in to whisper. "Now, don't let this out to any of the other girls. They'll be jealous you have Sirius as your love slave."
She looked like was going to faint. "What-" she tried speaking, but it only came out as a squeak.
Looking at the expression on her face, I could only laugh. "I did say anything, my dear." And when that familiar shade of red appeared on her cheeks, I realized how much I missed the teasing of Ivy Bennett. It was just too easy.
"Don't traumatize her," Remus tried to end all of the fun. Coming to rescue of his little girlfriend. "They're just joking," he quickly said to her.
I just put on my best grin. "That's what you think, Moony."
And when Remus just shook his head with that smile on his face, I knew he was laughing inside.
Ivy even managed to smile. She actually had a sense of humor – wonderful.
Even though Remus followed her around like a lost puppy – wolf – for the next week, I didn't see much of Ivy until she came bursting in the common room one night, her eyes scared and her hands shaking.
Remus, who was looking away, didn't notice it at first. I just kept staring at her as she made her way across the room, stopping in front of us.
What could possibly have scared her that badly? A spider on a wall? Wouldn't doubt it. Remus finally looked up and noticed the fear on her face, doing a double take.
"What's wrong?" he asked, that look of worry immediately crossing his face. If she was scared, he immediately became worried. They were obviously made for each other.
I moved to see them more clearly. She began babbling nonsense and Remus had her sit down on the couch to calm her. I almost expected him to put his arm around her to comfort her but Remus probably didn't want to be too direct. It was an opportune moment – he should have taken it.
Wait – what if it was about -
"Oh, we've been meaning to tell you about last week," James exclaimed before I could. Yes, she was probably worried about what happened to Remus last week. "Don't tell anyone," James added.
What if she had already told someone? Would she do that to Remus? Hopefully not. He didn't need anybody ogling at him like some creature. He didn't deserve that.
"Promise you won't tell anyone?" I said for emphasis.
She looked at us all, her eyes almost shining with tears. "I promise."
I tried to grin at her – make her feel like it wasn't such a big deal – but I just couldn't force a happy smile on my face. Remus, however, could. "Thanks, Ivy," he told her.
I could have sworn I saw her shudder.
"Padfoooooot..." I heard someone loudly whisper in my ear as they shook me awake. I groaned, pulling the covers over my head.
"Go away," I mumbled.
But that only caused me to be shaken further. "You will never believe what...or should I say who is in Remus's bed."
My eyes snapped open and I immediately bolted upright. "What?" I asked. No way...there was no bloody way that someone was in Remus's bed...other than Remus.
James grinned and turned around, toward the direction of Remus's bed. I quickly scrambled out of my covers, trying to be as quiet as possible and followed him.
Hoping that whoever it was was still awake, we pulled the hangings to the side to catch a glimpse.
She was sleeping all curled up in a little ball on the far side of the bed. From what I could see, she still had her clothes on. But that didn't necessarily mean anything.
I leaned forward to take a closer look – make sure it was really her. Yes, I could tell from the blonde hair. Ivy Bennett was sleeping in Remus Lupin's bed. Remus was never going to let this down.
I grinned and, deciding it was time for her to wake up, sang, "Wakey wakey, eggs and bake-y..."
James tried to sound concerned, but the grin in his voice told me otherwise. "Shh, Padfoot, you're going to scare her."
Her eyes just flew open and immediately focused on us. She looked...awkward. "Wh-" she began to say but her voice didn't seem to be working.
So, James took the silence as an opportunity to continue with our morning welcome. "Oh, look Sirius, she's finally awake."
I grinned again. This was just too good. "How was your sleep?"
She obviously didn't know how to answer by the way she was blinking at me. "Uh-" Did she even know the correct...vocabulary to use?
"Imagine our shock," James began, looking quickly over to me. I nodded in response. "-when we woke up to find you in dear ol' Moony's bed."
Actually, it was really anybody in Remus's bed. But, of course, it made it so much better that it was the girl he fancied. Or maybe...they were together now. Hopefully they were if she had spent the night with him.
"It was really a bit of a shock," I added. "You know, we knew Remus liked you and all, but we never thought this would happen."
She looked absolutely lost. Me and James nodded at each other and we immediately went to go sit on either side of her, making sure she had no where to run to.
"So, how was he?"
I cannot even put into words how great it was to see the horrific expression on Ivy's face. She couldn't even talk.
"Oh, come on," I nudged her. "I've actually heard that he has some really wolf-like tendencies." James just about snorted.
She just stared at me with nothing to say.
"Don't try to deny it," James tried again. "We've heard stories too, you know." Stories about Remus with girls, no, not really. But being a wolf, why yes, we've heard those stories.
"We're just friends," she finally formed a couple words.
Wait – what? No, she couldn't be serious! James and I shared a look of surprise before I exclaimed, "Friends with benefits?" Who knew Moony had it in him? "You're going to break the poor guy's heart!"
"No-" Ivy began stuttering.
"Then you must be his girlfriend," James reasoned.
She sighed (and pretty loudly too) and, with her voice actually raised, tried to say something. But it was cut short as Remus came back into the dormitory, staring at the three of us with the blankest expression I've ever seen on his face.
This probably looked bad.
Not as bad as what he did last night of course.
He bolted over to us, grabbing her hand and pulling her out of the bed. Peter chose this moment to wake up and ask "what's going on?" as Remus disappeared with his girlfriend out of the dormitory.
We ignored Peter's question and got ready for the day's events. Which meant interrogating Remus.
"Mooooooonnnnyyyyyyy..." I caught sight of him already sitting at the table for breakfast. He knew better than to look up. "Remmmmyyyy..." I tried again. Sliding into the seat next to him, I gave him a grin.
He mumbled a hello, never looking up from his plate.
"How was your night?" I asked him teasingly.
I could tell he had rolled his eyes even though he wasn't looking up at me. "For your information, we didn't do anything. We slept in the same bed, but that's all we did. Sleep. You know, where you close your eyes and rest?"
James sat down across from us. "Denial," he exclaimed.
Remus looked up at him. "No, I'm telling the truth. We never touched each other."
Peter was staring at us strangely. "What are you talking about?" he asked again.
"Moony here," I began to explain. "-had a wild night with none other than Ivy Bennett."
As soon as I said her name, she took a seat at the table, away from us unfortunately. That didn't stop us from grinning over in her direction though.
Peter leaned forward, obviously interested. "You...did...stuff with her?" See, Peter is like this little kid who's too innocent to use "grown up words."
"No," Remus insisted. "I didn't-"
James looked at me. "It's okay if you did-"
Remus sighed. "Guys, nothing happened!"
I chuckled. "Ah, Moony. Don't be shy. Just fess up already."
It looked like he was about to crack. He held his head in his hands, and said, very clearly, "We. Did. Not. Do. Anything."
Maybe he was telling the truth. But this was just too good to ignore.
Remus tried to ignore us throughout the rest of day. However, he wasn't doing such a great job of it. Ever so often, he would interrupt our conversation with a "we didn't do anything" and "we're just friends".
We ignored him, even though his constant proclamations were starting to convince us that he really didn't do anything. If he had, he would be blushing every time we mentioned it. Being defensive just wasn't a Remus-type thing to do.
Remus got away from us after dinner by going to the library. We went into the common room instead and began a game of Gobstones. Essays could wait.
I was just in the middle of beating James down (and he was whining about how I was cheating) when the portrait swung open and someone stopped in front of us, sniffling quite loudly.
"You owe me a trip to the kitchens," the familiar voice babbled.
I looked up to see Ivy standing in front of me, eyes red and cheeks flushed. "What?" I questioned. Was she even talking to me? Why would I take her to the kitchens? Especially when she was crying?
"The IOU..." she whispered, looking down at the carpet.
Oh, yes, the IOU. Well, I couldn't possibly say no to her birthday present. I wasn't heartless enough to just ignore the crying girl in front of me. "Okay, let's go," I told her, standing up.
I didn't need to know why I was going. Just as long as we finished this IOU as quickly as possible.
But if she was going to keep sniffling behind me, I was going to crack and ask what happened. I would end up giving into Ivy Bennett.
My weakness? Crying girls.