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The Art of Breathing. by AC_rules
Chapter 38 : Empowerment II.
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 49

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A/N - Helllo! Hello! I'm still really enjoying sixth form like the cool kid I am... and I've finally got back into writing. I don't know if you've noticed this, but I've bene finding writing this story really difficult recently - it's so close to the end! I keep finding bits I want to write and shove in, but they just don't fit, it's very frustrating, but I've gone back to my normal obsessive ways wheere I start planning our scenes whenever I'm not talking to someone... Not many of them have made it into a word document yet, but that's all right.  Also... I realised something the other day - I was reading a story on here and it was really funny and I was there laughing along and I was like, I wish I was funny. Then I realised how un-funny this story has become. I mean, obviously it's not going to be the lightest story in the world but... hmm... ANYWAY. Please R & R. I will answer. One day... (hopefully).


I managed to hold myself together for a few minutes (long enough to get me to the top of the staircase) when I started to fall apart. I had Snape’s blood encrusted on my knuckles from that last punch and the overwhelming guilt I felt, which had started when that sickening crunch reached my ears, increased tenfold as I tried to comprehend how I’d ended up feeing sorry for Snape.

To be desperate enough to do what he’d done meant that he must have been desperate, beyond desperate – desperately in love with Lily and prepared to do anything to get her. Then I’d remembered the snippets of conversation I’d had with Lily about him – me always telling her to stay away. Only now, when he was stumbling backwards looking as if he was about to cry (probably due to what I’d said, not what I’d done) with blood smeared over his face where his nose had started bleeding. I mean, shit. I’d felt pretty bad anyway, and then Lily’s voice floated through my subconsciousness... But... Sev’s my best friend Mary! It’s not his fault! His Dad and his mum... they don’t get on. He drinks a lot. They fight. I think... I think sometimes he hits her, and Sev, but he wouldn’t tell me. His Dad’s a muggle – that’s why he hates them Mary! It’s not his fault.

There was one time, in third year, when she’d refused to talk to me at all because I said that I thought the Marauders had the right idea when they pushed him in the lake. He was fiercely protective too, and it was obvious that their friendship had meant a lot to him... it seemed like a lot to lose over a word... Mudblood.

It had been a matter of time, as I’d always told Lily, but it must have been hard to come into this year with a replacement best friend, and what a crap replacement! Where had I been? Stuck up in my own problems which I wouldn’t share or trailing after Sirius like some lost puppy. It was no wonder then that she hadn’t wanted me to get that close to him, that she was annoyed by the fact that I had forgiven him too many times.

I had forgiven him too many times.

With this startling and shocking revelation I apologised to Snape before turning on my heals and running.

Now I was walking down the steps slowly  - given a misplaced fall with me in this weak state could probably kill me, hell I was pretty  sure punching Snape had broken at least one bone in my hand – with my arms wrapped around myself in an attempt not to fall apart completely.

Yesterday if someone had told me that’d I’d have broken Snape’s nose and essentially told him to stuff his stupid blackmail attempt then I might have suggested you got me confused with Lily or with someone who has slightly more guts than little old cowardly me... and I’d probably have expected to feel proud or at least slightly empowered, but I just felt lost...

I wasn’t the type of person to go around breaking people noses. In fact other than the Snape-thing the only act of violence I’d ever really committed was the incident on the train this year. Sirius was always special I suppose, and I’d been desperately trying to change myself at that point... Still, it was a mark of how bad things had got.

I stumbled into the Trophy room without even realising I’d been heading there, now though I knew it was definitely the only place I wanted to be just in case Sirius was still there (lets bypass how pathetic that is for the time being). Only ten or so minutes had passed, although it felt more like several lifetimes, and I had a feeling he might still be there. I wondered if Sirius ever felt guilty after hexing random people as he always did?

Probably not.

I quickly wiped my hands to get rid of the blood – hiding the evidence. The thought made me feel squeamish and even more uneasy than I was.

The fatigue from all that running, yelling and hitting was beginning to hit me now. I glanced around the trophy room and found that it was completely empty.

I didn’t even have the energy to swear.

Instead I leant back against the wall and let out a deep breath. Then I was crying; big, loud tears that I didn’t think I could silence if I tried. My head swam with dizzy tiredness and I suddenly felt like I was going to collapse and... Who would find me? It’s not like I was known for going to the trophy room and I had the map, so the Marauders couldn’t use that trick. The castle was so big and I was so small I could easily just disappear. Sirius or Remus might think to look for me here, but it was unlikely considering how I’d ran away from Sirius when he’d been calling after me...

Shit. What would happen if I collapsed and nobody knew about it? Would it be enough to finish me off early?

The panic wasn’t helping. My heading was swimming and my balance was off. I swayed to the left and just managed to hold myself upright as it got worse. Oh God...

“Mary?” Sirius asked. Except Sirius couldn’t ask that, because he wasn’t here... I closed my eyes to block out the way the world was moving out. I could feel his hand on my arm – maybe I was hallucinating too now. “Okay, stay there. I’ll be two seconds.” Sirius who wasn’t really there said. I nodded which made my head spin and my muscles felt like they were all melting and would no longer be enough to hold me up...

“Sit.” Sirius said and I was gently put down onto a chair. “Put your head down...” He said. A hand was on my back, pushing me downwards so that if I were to open my eyes I would be facing the floor.

“Sirius,” I muttered with my eyes still scrunched closed. “I’m going to be sick.”

“Right, okay. Two seconds.” Sirius said and I heard footsteps running... Then they were coming back and a metal bin was pressed into my hands. “Breathe slowly.” Sirius instructed and I attempted to follow his instructions but it was easier said than done. I needed oxygen in my lungs and it felt like I was lacking some, so I was breathing fast to supply it... “In, out, in, out.”Sirius said with his hands tracing familiar circles onto my shoulders. “Better?” Sirius asked when I managed to slow my breathing down to the pace he’d suggested.

“Hmmph.”I mumbled in return. I didn’t really want open my mouth in case I started projectile vomiting everywhere (which felt likely).

“Open your eyes,” Sirius ordered. I obeyed again, given I was in no state to argue. I blinked them open slowly and found that I could see clearly again, even if my face was pointing towards a dustbin. Classy.

I gave myself a few seconds before I spoke.

“Where the bloody hell did you come from?” I asked. I felt much better now that I could see again. The world had stopped moving again and the dizziness had ebbed away to a degree and now felt manageable.

“The invisibility cloak.” Hiding from me. Lovely. “Sorry I had to leave you for a second there – I needed to get you a chair.”

I nodded. Bad idea. The movement refreshed my nausea and I retched into the dustbin Sirius had kindly brought for me. How unattractive could I possibly be? Honestly. Some people spent hours putting on make-up before going to somewhere where the guy they’re in love with might possibly be in attendance, me? I seek him out when I’m practically hyperventilating, crying and about to throw up.

No wonder he ditched me.

“Interesting colour.” Sirius commented. I assumed he was trying to be funny, which I’m sure it would be if I wasn’t still emptying the entire content of my body- including all my internal organ’s (or so it felt like)– into a stolen dustbin. Apart from that it was hilarious. I voiced my level of unamusement by throwing up a bit more. “Bin’s looking a bit full.” Well, at least Sirius seemed completely comfortable and normal with the situation.

“Just clean it up, please.” I muttered when I finally finished throwing up. He obliged. Unfortunately for me – and Sirius – it became apparent that my emotional breakdowns no longer ended when I nearly passed out because I was still crying. Worse than that, I was bawling.

“Look, I’m just going to grab another chair.”  Sirius motioned towards the door. I nodded helplessly, tears rolling down my face in relentless torrents.

He returned in several seconds and put his chair beside me. He gestured to his shoulder so I threw my arms around his neck and carried on sobbing. He wrapped one of his arms tight around me and angled his body so that I was crying on his chest. I’d missed Sirius, I really had. Seeing him but being forbidden from talking to him/looking at him/ communicating with him in every way had been physical painful and I was just glad that, apparently, it was over – if only for the time being.

“It’s the Ephaiyadaphia. It makes me overemotional.” I bawled out in between sobs.

“You’ve always been overemotional,” Sirius said softly with both arms now wrapped around me – holding me as close as I could be.

“I’ve always had Ephaiyadaphia.I said only it sounded slightly more like “Sob... I-I-I’ve...Sob...sob...Alwaa...sob...sob... had...sob...sob...sob...ephia...sob...yadaphia” He didn’t say anything to that, and instead kissed my forehead which I decided was a very eloquent response in any case.

Then, to my great surprise, I heard McGonagall’s voice floating to my ears. “Well if you’re sure you don’t know where he is then I suppose...” Then she walked right into the trophy room with James in tow and promptly stopped talking.

I broke away from Sirius hurriedly in an attempt to make myself look slightly less like I was crying my eyes out of their sockets... but the quick movement cause my previous nausea to reach it’s previous crescendo. I swallowed. I doubted I had anymore food left in me to throw up.

So.” McGonagall said sharply. Given the way I’d pulled myself away from him so suddenly and the fact that I was staring at the ground (in attempt to will away the urge to be sick, again) meant it probably looked like she’d walked in on a heavy make-out session or something of that calibre. “You were not at my office five minutes ago for your detention because..?” She addressed Sirius.

I swallowed realising that the invisibility cloak was right in front of her left foot. She hadn’t noticed it yet but I was sure any second she would, and she’d know exactly what it was... James and Sirius had noticed this too apparently because James was glancing at the cloak then to Sirius from behind McGonagall’s back.

“Well you see, Mary was just...” Sirius trailed off, shrugging as if that would explain it.

“Just what?” McGonagall asked lips thin and fuming. I looked up at her hoping the fact that I’d clearly just been crying would help the cause. I sniffed loudly and made a big deal about wiping some of the tears from my face.

“Upset.” Sirius continued. James was nodding at me as if to tell me to keep up the pretence – did he realise I’d actually been crying? “Very upset.”

“That still does not explain why you are here.”

I moved again slightly and that was enough to force me to grab the bucket off the floor to throw up in it. Sirius immediately was immediately behind me holding my waist for support. James whipped the invisibility cloak from the floor and out of sight as McGonagall stepped backwards in repulsion.

“Well, I ran into her and she looked like she was about to pass out, Professor. So I grabbed her a seat from next door. Then she said she was going to throw up, so I borrowed the dustbin. Then she was throwing up and I thought it would be better if someone sat with her until she felt well enough to go to the hospital wing.” Sirius said. “She was also upset.” He added as an afterthought.

“Fine.” McGonagall said sharply. “Potter, you will help Professor Slughorn in the potions lab instead. Mr Black, kindly escort Miss McDonald to the hospital wing when she is fit – look after her. You will serve your detention tonight instead.”

“Booked up.” Sirius said brightly. Her lips thinned and she left without another word. Sirius shrugged consolingly at James and mouthed the words ‘tough shit’ which James grimaced at. Then James left (accompanied by a frustrated McGonagall) looking slightly disgruntled but making the effort to give me the thumbs up and an approving smirk.

“He’s definitely going to think I’m pregnant now.”

“What?” Sirius asked. His next snapped round and he looked at me with an expression of alarm plastered onto his gorgeous features. “Did you say pregnant?”

“Oh, come on.” I said with an eye roll. “No, Sirius, me being pregnant is the rumour that’s going round. Obviously people can hear when other people start yelling and took your ‘I’m six-fucking teen! I can’t deal with this! With you!’ to mean that...” I trailed off.

The whole conversation had just got very awkward...

“That I was pregnant.” I finished after a long thirty seconds of silence.

“Ah,” Sirius said.


“Well,” He began again, looking at his feet. “I know for a fact that James doesn’t think you’re pregnant.”

“That’s always a bonus.”

“Plus I’m pretty sure that he thought you faked throwing up so he could grab the cloak. You’re his new idol – he’d probably have kissed you of McGonagall wasn’t there.”

“Tell him not to until I’ve brushed my teeth.”

“I’ll tell him not to ever think about it again unless he wants me to beat seven shades of shit out of him.”

“Could you actually beat him up?” I questioned curiously.

“Course I could.”


“I can’t believe you’re doubting me – I’ve done it before.”

“Sure, sure,”

“I am stronger than James.” Sirius protested, pouting at me in a rather adorable fashion.

“Larger maybe,” I said, trying to hold back my smile.

“Muscleier.” He said, holding out his arms with his fists clenched to demonstrate that fact. He had his chin stuck out stupidly too, and it made me laugh slightly despite of myself.

“Fatter.” I said poking his stomach.

“I’ll give you fatter, “Sirius muttered darkly. I watched him apprehensively for a second as he sat, motionless, before he lunged at me. He grabbed my waist and proceeded to tickle me of all things. I let out a screech of surprise and tried to back away from him which made my chair scrape along the ground noisily. “Admit it; I’m stronger and more macho than James.” Sirius said whilst I yelled rather lady likely and tried to get away from his tickling hands. 

“Yes!” I agreed between my giggles and screams.

“Say it.” Sirius implored. I was absolutely certain that he was smirking his overlarge head off, but I was doing what one normally does when being tickled – convulse wildly, jerk around, scream and giggle. The latter things made it harder for me to really focus on what exact expression was on Sirius’s face. It was probably good thing given I spent far too much time staring at Sirius’s face. Or his arse. At the minute it was usually his arse, as he spent most of his time walking away from me.

“You’re stronger and more macho than James!” Then with that admission his hands stopped tickling me. Instead his hands were on my hips and he was leaning forward and... Kissing me.

Why? Why did every stupid conversation we had result in us acting all normal, before he started bloody snogging me  (which I just allowed to happen), then he’d freak out on me and everything would end up the same pants way it had done at the beginning.

This time I pulled away first, although it wasn’t anything to do me finally growing sense of dignity or anything like that. “I hope you don’t take offence to this.” I told Sirius before grabbing the bin off the floor and vomiting. Again.

“I hope you don’t take offence to the fact that I’m not going to kiss you again.” He said vanishing my vomit casually with his wand. He stood up and picked up one of the chairs. I stood up too – feeling a lot steadier – and we carried the chairs and the bin back to the classroom before I’d fully decided on my response.

“Depends on the reason.”

“You taste like your breakfast – and not in a good way.”

“Yummy – Regurgitated toast.”

“Every time I talk to you, you get even sexier!” Sirius declared sarcastically, but he was smirking at me in his adorable but really attractive fashion.

“Maybe if you talked to me more often, it wouldn’t come as such a shock.” I hadn’t even realised that at some point during the very short walk to the end of the corridor we’d ended up holding hands until he promptly dropped it at my words.

“I -” he began stopping half way through and then decidedly not looking at me. I folded my arms in front of my chest and waited for him to meet my gaze. He did, about thirty seconds later, and that steely stubborn expression had returned to his eyes and I could pretty much predict what he was going to say next. “We need to talk.”


Sirius was in the dorm waiting for me to be ready for the big talk. I’d taken some anti-nausea potion, some nourishment potion, a shower and now I was brushing my teeth to completely eradicate the taste from my mouth.

“I wasn’t hiding from you.” Sirius said after I’d accused him of wearing the invisibility cloak to escape me. “McGonagall’s started giving us detentions in free periods too and James and I have worked out a system of making them painless. Say James and I have to polish the trophies in the trophy room. I don’t turn up, James is sent to do it himself without his wand, and I hide under the invisibility cloak with my wand. Then I clean all the trophies with my wand, and James and I play exploding snap for the next couple of hours. Then when I have my detention rescheduled for some time and James does the same for me – utterly painless.”

“Oh.” I said, except I was brushing my teeth so I really said ‘whoh.” Sirius was leaning against the door frame and watching me with the most heart-stopping knee-weaking expression on his face –serious and smouldering. He looked like a model. “Whow whid whou whet weh wedetention?” I asked through my mouthful of toothpaste.

“Sorry, Mary love?” He was smirking again now.

I rolled my eyes, spat out the toothpaste and washed it down the tap, before turning to him again. “How did you get the detention?”

“Oh, we persuaded a couple of suits of armour to stop Sniverlus from entering the toilet.”

“Persuade how?”

“Magic.” He said with a wink. “We were hopping that he’d get so desperate that he’d go to the girls loo’s, but McGonagall saw them and as we were hiding round the corner with a camera...”

“Right, obviously.” I said trying to hide the fact that I was a little disgusted by their behaviour.

Although it was funny.

The picture would have been freaking classic.

When I turned around again from where I was drying my hands Sirius was right behind me. He placed his hands either side of me on the counter before kissing me in a way that was ever bit as mindboggling as the way he’d been looking at me before...

“Now you taste much better.”  I pushed him off me.

“You want to talk, we talk, and I’m tired of all this messing around. I know this is clichéd and crap, but my heart can’t take much more of your pounding so please, say your piece and go. I know how this ends.” My voice came out heated and bitter but it was stronger than I thought it would be.

“If you know, could you tell me if you will forgive me, then?” He said with a wicked grin that made me want to kiss it right off his face. I wasn’t going to though, that would be stupid.

Reeeaaallly stupid.

“I am seriously not following.” I answered flatly, folding my arms. He still had me trapped between his arms but he had wisely chosen to keep a bit of distance between us so that I didn’t lash out at him.

“When I apologise, do you forgive me?”

My head suddenly felt a little light and dizzy again which I put down to the after-affects of my vomiting spree. He was going to apologise? Apologise.

I had a little pathetic-girly moment whilst I gushed about how Sirius Black was going to apologise to me in my head. I doubt he’d even apologised to anyone in his life. Probably only Remus after nearly turning him into a murderer, but that was a little doubtful.

“I... it depends what your apologies like.” I answered trying to sound strong rather than pathetic.

“Would you like to sit down?” Sirius saw through it immediately and that devilishly attractive smirk he always wore played on his lips and twisted up in amusement. I rolled my eyes at him, annoyed that he’d caught out my weakness, and brushed past him as I walked back into the dormitory.

“Am I going to need to sit down?” I asked sounding more solid this time.

“I think you might.” Sirius said with another heart stopping grin. I wanted to hit myself internally – if I couldn’t stop myself going on about how fantastically wonderful and brilliant he was for a couple of minutes then surely he was just going to hand me a wishy-washy apology and expect me to just suck it up.

I wasn’t going to.

“Right,” I muttered, throwing myself onto my bed. I folded my arms and legs and looked up at him expectantly. I cast out all thoughts of how I loved him/wanted to rip off his clothes/thought he was perfect and instead concentrated on the fact that he’d broken my heart.

“I’m...” A pained expression crossed across Sirius’s face for a split second. “I’m sorry, Mary.”

I looked at him blankly, waiting.

“I...I was wrong.”

“Is that it?” I questioned in a dry unimpressed voice. Just as I thought. All the anger I’d felt towards Snape was creeping back as I forced myself to list all the times that Sirius had caused me pain and screwed me over. If he thought I was going to be a pushover then he was going to be in for a big surprise.

“What? No!”

“Because even though I might be over-emotional to the point of stupidity and I might cry a lot but I’m not exaggerating when I say that you broke my heart. You smashed it and I let you. Now if you want any degree of forgiveness from me you’ll need something better than I was wrong.” Again I realised how good it felt to have the upper hand and swore that I’d milk this for all that it was worth.

“Mary, apologising is really something I find difficult.”

“Difficult? Like you know anything about difficult.” If he wanted forgiveness he’d have to prove that he meant it. He was going to have to plead. He might even start crying by the time I was done with him.

 Once upon a time, I had sworn to take Sirius Black down a peg and I had done pretty much the opposite. I’d let him use me. I’d built up his ego. I’d kissed him. I’d blown up his over large head to its current level of enormity, and now I was going to take it all back.

This is me, Mary McDonald, finally being tough and powerful.

“That’s not fair.”

“Oh I’m sorry – am I not being fair? Gosh, how selfish.”


“No, dammit Sirius. I’ve let you walk all over me, I’ve let you fit me around everything else and I let you hurt me. A lot. You never even saw anything wrong with leaving me to -”

“That’s not true!” Sirius protested. “I didn’t know what else I could do! I was-”

“A cold hearted bastard.” I put in, smiling primly. His arrogance was going to deflate like a sodding balloon and he would rue the day he ever thought he could mess with me.

“As far as I could see I had two choices – break your heart or break my own-”

“And you picked mine.” I

“Because I thought that you only had two months to have a broken heart, and I had-”

“A full healthy life to look forward too. Oh, that must be tough.”

“I didn’t realise that breaking your heart would hurt me just as much.”

“Nice line, did you look it up?” I asked allowing a small amused smile to play at my lips. I was keeping my cool quiet well, whilst he was there sweating and ranting – doing anything he could to make me listen to his pathetic words and explanations.

“Mary!” He exclaimed in frustration. Then he fixed me with his most smouldering expression and for a second I thought I was going to melt then and there. I was so close to throwing my arms around him and saying ‘sod it all! I love you!’ when his smirk crept back onto his insufferable features. He’d done it on purpose, and for a second he thought he’d won.

That was it.

I raised an eyebrow at him in callous fashion and dragged my eyes across his body before giving him an unimpressed look. “I don’t think so.” He flushed and stepped back self-consciously.

“Mary,” Sirius tried again with his voice soft and seductive. He sickened me.

“No.” I said simply.

“I’m really sorry.” Oh Merlin. His was now using the same voice he used when he’d called me beautiful and all those other things and... it was working. My resolve was turning into mush and he knew, full well, that he had me in the palm of his hand.

Then I was angry again.

“What? What do you want me to say?” I snapped, glaring at him. “Oh of course that’s fine Sirius. You just screw me over again with your stupid mind games and make me want to die, but you just waltz in here after ignoring me for a whole week even when I accidently told you that I loved you, and you’ve said you’re sorry so that’s just fine, I’ll just lie down so you can walk all over me, shall I? So you can go back to normal guilt free.”

“That’s not what I want.”

“What does ickle-Siri want?” I asked in a fake sickly sweet voice.

“I want you back.” I took in a sharp breath and found myself unable to speak, which urged him on. “I was really stupid, okay? And I -”

“Do you remember when you slept with Nadine Fisher?” I asked sweetly.

“I explained that.”

“Uh-huh.” I said sardonically.

“You told me you were over me!” Sirius protested.

“I also told you I loved you, do you remember that?”

“Yes.” Sirius said. “But do you remember when you ignored me for weeks for no good reason.”

“I had good reason.” I answered stiffly, thrown off by the sudden change of subject.

“And I thought I did too, but they weren’t good reasons – not at all. They were just great big mistake, but it was so in my face and I just needed to process it, then you said you were over me, then you said you loved me and then I didn’t know what the hell I was supposed to do, but I know what I should have done. I should have told you that it didn’t matter and I’d be there for you, and that’s what I’m trying to do now. I’m sorry.” I had got to him. He was gesturing all over the place and his words weren’t coming out in his normal cool smooth demeanour. He was genuinely upset.

That was good, really good.

But it wasn’t enough.

“Beg.” I said coolly.

“Wha – ?”


Sirius looked at for a second before getting down on his knees. I was finding it very hard not to laugh at him, now. “Mary McDonald, I am sorry for letting you ignore me. I’m sorry that I told you I cheated on you when I didn’t, I’m sorry that when you were freaking out and told me to leave, I left. I’m sorry for hurting you at the wedding. I’m sorry I broke up with you. I’m sorry that I tried to be friends with you when it was obviously hurting you. I’m sorry about Nadine. I’m sorry that I let you get that drunk. I’m sorry I even thought about letting you sleep on the floor, and didn’t immediately surrender my bed like a gentlemen. I’m sorry that I shoved you off on Remus, I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to his advice, I’m sorry that I ignored you, I’m sorry that it looked like I’d been having loads of fun this week –although I haven’t – and I’m sorry about anything and everything that I’ve done which might have hurt you.”

“Anything else?” I asked, openly smiling now.

“I’m sorry about the way I kiss you at inappropriate time, like now.”  He suggested with a smirk and a quirk of the eyebrow.

I let him kiss me for a few seconds. It burnt gorgeously and I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was impressed that I’d managed to hold my resolve for so long... and it wasn’t finished yet.

“What was Remus’s advice?” I asked dancing backwards away from him.

“To tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

“That I do.”

 “This isn’t a wedding; I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You know,”


“Like you said when you were drunk.”

“You hate me?”


“What then?” I asked grinning at him.

“That I love you. I’m just a bit of an idiot and-” I cut him off mid sentence by throwing my arms around his neck.

“Am I forgiven?”

“No! You have to write me and eight foot love letter.” I said before kissing him. A lot. “I’m sorry too.” I said and I realised that I was practically crying with happiness. Oh dear. Any arrogance I’d knocked out of him would have been pretty much built up again by that point, but I didn’t care anymore.

Sirius loved me. Sirius Black loved me. Sirius Black just told me, Mary McDonald, that he loved me.


Naturally my reaction to processing this thought was to throw myself on him. I may have been slightly too enthusiastic with this, because I knocked him backwards (not that he seemed to care) and we both fell onto my bed, with me on top.

Then I was laughing because Sirius loved me. Sirius Black loved me. Sirius-flaming-Black loved me.

I was so happy I could die.

Little bubbles of euphoria were bursting inside my stomach and my elation could probably have provided several countries with happiness for a couple of years but for once this happiness was mine. I had this. It was mine. It was me – dying, broken, too sarcastic and over emotional Mary McDonald – who was loved. It was me who was now sat on Sirius’s lap on my bed with every nerve in my body singing with happiness as I buried my face into his shoulder and inhaled his scent with this new found knowledge that Sirius loved me.

Sirius loved me.

Sirius bloody loved me!

Sirius himself was now looking at me with a bemused and loving (!!!!) expression on his face which I loved almost as much as I loved him. I loved life. I truly did.

All this stuff I was constantly complaining about could go sod itself! I was unbelievably blissfully happy and nothing could shake me from this feeling. I was going to live forever and nothing in the world could stop me now. What could the world do to me?

It could kill me.

Oh God! I was going to die! This happiness was going to be snatched away from me before it had ever truly begun and there was nothing anyone in the world could do about it. Sirius loving me wasn’t going to miraculously cure me like in that book that Lily read.

Before I could dwell on this anymore three figures walked into my tainted ball of bliss... and they were clapping. Well, Lily’s ‘clapping’ stretched to her putting her hands together three times before her hands fell to her side, but the others were clapping with extreme gusto.

“Bravo!” Charlotte declared, grinning.

“Full marks go to Mary McDonald!” Rachel added laughing as she saw the expression on Sirius’s face.

“You made him beg!” Charlotte declared through her own laughter. “He begged!”

“You left the door open.” Rachel said unnecessarily, grinning. “And Peter had the bright idea of projecting all the noise to the common room...”

“So the entirety of Gryffindor heard you beg.” Charlotte said gleefully. “We thought we’d tell you before you got carried away with anything.” She said nodding towards where we were sitting on each other, on my bed.

Sirius expression fell.

“How very generous.” Sirius said darkly. “Excuse me a minute.” Sirius said getting up and walking to the still open door of the dormitory.

“Oh I have to see this.” Charlotte said.

Rachel offered me a small smile and added “Sorry... you probably didn’t want everyone to hear that.”

“Sorry?!” I exclaimed. “Of course not! I’m thrilled.”

“I heard that.” Sirius growled before stepping on to the staircase. It promptly turned into a staircase and sent him flying towards the ground. “PETE! I’m going to KILL you!” He roared. There was a squeak of surprise, a yelp and cheering.

I poked my head round the door so I could see exactly how Peter was going to be murdered to see him throwing himself behind one of the couches to avoid a violent looking hex. One of the first years noticed me first, who nudged her friend, then suddenly everyone was staring up at me and began to clap.

The whole of Gryffindor were clapping me! They were yelling things too but I couldn’t make out more than the odd ‘you made him beg!’ ‘never have thought it myself...’ ‘Arrogant arsehole!’ and ‘how sweet!’

I laughed from my place at the top of the stairs and found my gaze fixed on Sirius. For a few seconds he looked incriminatingly embarrassed, before he plastered a smirk on his face and he too started to applaud me. “Mary! Mary!” They started chanting. I was utterly amazed. Who knew everyone else longed to here Sirius Black beg just as much as I did? I sure as hell didn’t, or I might have tried it a long time ago.

“Go.” Charlotte said pushing me out onto the staircase (which was still a slide courtesy of Sirius). I slid (fairly gracefully) down to the bottom and looked around in awe as everyone was clapping me, yelling my name, and going on about how bloody brilliant I was. It was like I’d just won them a Quidditch match or a thousand points, not made the Gryffindor player get on his knees, beg and declare he loved me. In all honesty, I thought the second one was much better anyway.

“Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!” Someone started (much to my bemusement) and then everyone in the common room was demanding it. Why were there even so many people here? Most classes were over by now, and dinner wasn’t for another half an hour, but... were they even all Gryffindor? This was madness. It was like stepping into someone else’s life, I decided just as Sirius swept me into a movie style kiss.

“What on earth is going on?” James asked walking into the common room with an incredulous expression on his face.

“Mary made Sirius beg!” Pete squeaked excitedly. Pete was practically glowing with this revelation; I found it a little bit scary actually.

“I’m warning you, Pete.” Sirius muttered, pulling away from me to send him a dirty look. He still had his fingers holding on to the back of my robes tightly and an arm around my waist – as if he was scared of me slipping away any second. That was probably because he loved me.


“Oh ho!” James said smirking his arse off.  “Begging, eh? Thought that was beneath someone like you? Guess not. Was he on hiss knee’s Mary?” He asked, looking as if he’d just won several Quidditch tournaments all at once.

“Yes.” I confirmed watching with amusement as Sirius’s anger flared up again. James quirked an eyebrow at me and I nodded in his direction to show I wholeheartedly approved of his provoking. James sent me a look which I took to mean he actually liked me quite a lot now, or could have just been caused by the euphoria he felt at this new thing to tease Sirius about.

“What were you begging for then, mate?” He asked his face twisted into amusement. Sirius remained silent and looked murderous.

“For Mary!” Someone squeaked excitedly. James now looked as if he’s just won several Quidditch tournaments single handedly, against Slytherin. The expression of pure elation on his face was completely priceless.

“Ah.” James said throwing an arm around my shoulders. “I can see why.” He added, winking at me as if to say ‘watch this’, just as Sirius’s fist shot out.

James dodged it easily, threw his head back and laughed.

“Stop it.” He growled, putting his own arm around me protectively.

“Why don’t you beg me?” James asked, stepping backwards instinctively as if dodging the next punch. It made me wonder just how often they actually came to blows.... it was probably very regularly actually...

“I’m never going to here the end of this.” Sirius muttered darkly.

“You better not complain too much, Black. Or I might think you didn’t mean it.” That shut him up and caused everyone to start laughing at him again. He groaned something that sounded a bit like “Mary” under his breath in frustration but kept his arm wrapped tightly around my waist.

“Mary McDonald – you are one of a kind.” James said fondly which induced another growl from Sirius.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in detention?” I asked sweetly.

“Legged it when Slughorn went to pee.” He said dismissively. “I’m guessing you’re back with our Sirius, then?” I nodded. “Well, be careful with him – he’s a very delicate specimen. Very low self confidence... last night I walked in on him crying.”

The second fist Sirius sent flying hit it’s target. James’s glasses flew off his face and an ugly red mark appeared on James’s face. His smile was knocked off his face for a split second before he laughed and said “What was that mate? Was that supposed to hurt or something?”

Sirius let go of me completely and took a menacing step forward, which made James grin even more.

“Fight! Fight!” People started yelling. I rolled my eyes and grabbed Sirius’s arm before he could throw any more punches.  There was a loud ‘Oooooow!’ from the congregated bunch of idiots and violence-endorsing yobs which I ignored.

Sirius tore himself away from glaring at James reluctantly to face me. “Come on,” He pleaded, using his puppy eyes to great effect. I raised an eyebrow at him. “I do not approve.”

“Mary! My reputation is in tatters!” He said in a hushed whisper. “And I have to prove to you that I can beat this prat given you didn’t believe me!”

“You’re asking me to let you beat him up?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes?” Sirius said hopefully. “You really need to go talk to Lily anyway, so you wouldn’t even have to stay and watch me do it...”

“Wait, why do I have to talk to Lily?” I asked thrown off my argument. I had roughly planned out what I was going to do and say, but for once he’d thrown me off without resorting to unscrupulous methods (seductive glances and snogging me senseless). Simply by saying something which might – but don’t quote me on this – actually hold a resemblance to sense.

 “You need to tell her.” His words made everyone else in the common room – who were all standing impatiently wondering whether I would allow him to fight or not, and whether he’d listen to me – fade away slightly. I looked at him, startled, and stared straight into his wonderful grey eyes in mild shock. Sirius was giving me advice? More than that – Sirius was giving me good advice. Sirius had paid enough attention to my life to present me with a suitable course of action which actually made sense and might eventually work to the greater good, even if it was going to be painful. Wow.

You think you know someone, and then they come out with something like that. Even if he was using his guidance to throw me off preventing him from engaging in a muggle duel with his best friend, turned brother, to restore his reputation which I just enjoyed ruining. Still...

“She hates me.” I said very quietly and sincerely.

“You owe it to her.” He said seriously. “I mean, I don’t like Lily particularly but I can fully understand why she’s so royally pissed.” He paused for a second, waiting. I nodded. “Now Mary, you’re going to go upstairs to the common room and explain it to her, right now, and I’m going to punch the shit out of James for being an annoying arsehole.” I nodded and hugged him briefly for strength before heading back towards the stairs.

“You know what I can’t believe?” I asked loudly over the noise of the crowd when I was about half way up the stairs. “That you actually asked me for permission. Guess you really have gone soft!” I had to have some fun before I doomed myself to misery for all eternity (by telling Lily).

“You did not.” Sirius groaned back, but he was smiling.

“Oh yes I did, Black.” I said stealing one last look at him before I disappeared into the dorm. I drank him in with that one look and reminded myself that he loved me (Helovesmehelovesmehelovesme) which meant that I could do this.

“Black? I’d say something like Pink would be more appropriate.” Was the last comment I heard from James before I shut the door of the dorm behind me.

Then the enormity of what I was doing hit me like the full force of a hurricane and I stopped still in the doorway. I had to tell my best friend that I’d been lying to her for as long as I’d known her. I had to tell my oldest friend that I was going to die and I had neglected to mention in to her. I had to tell her that in two months she’d probably have a front seat (well, pew) for my funeral. I swallowed a deep breath and took another step.

For once, the world was on my side. Just five minutes ago half the school had been cheering my name. Ten minutes ago Sirius had begged for me and told me he loved me. Sirius loved me. I could do this. All I had to do was close the space between us, apologise, and admit out loud what my mind and body had been rejecting for so many years – that I was going to die. I just had to open my mouth, and speak. I could do this.

I could do this.

The realisation that this thing I’d been putting off for so long was actually possible made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. That’s how simple it was. Just to talk. Anyone who knew me would probably tell you that I usually didn’t have a problem with that, talking I mean, so this should be a breeze.  I should have done this months ago, years ago.

So I walked over to her harbouring a foreign confidence and under the notion that I was just going to sit down and spit it all out in a great big rush.

I hadn’t factored in her talking first.

“I’m proud of you.” Lily said stiffly from where she was pulling stuff out of her trunk and folding it into piles on the floor. “I mean, really. You did make him beg. If it were me I’d have tortured him a bit longer, after all you have been a complete mess.” Oh dear: she wasn’t just talking, she was rambling. That was never a good sign and when you added in the manic folding of her underwear you had a very pissed off Lily Evans who was probably about to blow up hysterically, which was a great starting point for the biggest conversation of my life.

“I mean, I’m pretty sure you haven’t put any make up on for a week. I mean, you look fine without it – obviously – but it’s not normal for you. Your face always looks so weird, not in a bad way, when you don’t have your huge overdramatic and excessive make up – not that I don’t like it or anything, because I do. Well... It’s just strange, you know, I suppose you haven’t thought anything of it, really, but I’ve had to watch you fall apart and I am your best friend, so I know – you know?”

“No.” I answered truthfully. My answer didn’t seem to help her mood because she started refolding things and speaking with a little more fervour.

“Well, I suppose I shouldn’t expect things of you anymore – you’re only going to let me down, after all. I mean you don’t even know, do you? Of course not. Well, fine. I don’t care. What’s it to me?”

“Lily, what are you talking about?” I asked slowly. I was stood hovering over her as she began folding her socks, and that’s when I knew there was definitely something on her mind.

Who, other than someone who was having a complete mental breakdown, folds their socks?

“I just want to know – and I think I have a right to know – why your heart was only going to be broken for two months. What happens in two months, huh Mary?”

“One month and a week, now.” I corrected her nervously. My throat was doing its normal closing up thing and my heart was, very helpfully, beating at a speed only a drummer on serious stimulating drugs would have been able to match. I still spoke though, that was good, and I didn’t feel sick. Much.

She put down her socks. She turned around and stood up in one fluid motion which, not that I’d admit it out loud, scared the shit out of me. Normally when she was angry she became much clumsier but if anything she seemed more fluid and graceful right now than she ever did, and I had no idea what that meant.

“No one else noticed that bit, but I’m your best friend, I notice these things. I notice a lot of things actually, Mary. A hell of a lot more than you notice about me!” Her voice was increasing in tempo and volume.

“I -”

“Let me rant!” She hissed. She took a deep breath. “So I noticed that you have some weird relationship with Nate that no one understands, and I noticed that you’re always throwing up, and I noticed that you’re weak, and I noticed that you can’t do magic, and I noticed that you have this great big fat file in the hospital wing!” She shrieked. “So I asked Nate. I practically threatened him to tell me, but he said he couldn’t. He said that you had to tell me, but I knew that was never going to bloody happen! So I asked, very simply, if you were ill and he said yes.”

I was silent. I swallowed.

“Ill.” Lily said repeating the word and rolling it off her tongue. “Well that was simple enough, you’d told us before about this freak blood condition and I guess I always knew that you were fucking MENTAL!” She screamed the last bit in my face. “So I thought fine, I can deal with you being ill. You not bothering to tell me about it hurt a little more than the fact that your just plain ill. Then I hear that.”

“Lily.” I said trying to pacify her. “I was going to tell you, right now.”

“Too late! Too late!” She yelled throwing her arms up in the air. “I really cannot believe you Mary; I can’t, but go on - say what you were going to say. I’m dying to hear it.”

“I’m...I’m ill.” I said lamely.

“How ill are you, Mary? Tell me, just how ill are you?”

This was it; the moment of truth, my challenge, the great big crescendo of a really long day.

The walls of my throat had caved in and I was pretty sure that my voice was going to come out as a croak. I didn’t. When I eventually opened my mouth the words were clear and strong – wow. “Terminally. I’m terminally ill, Lily. In one month and a week’s time, I am going to die.”

It wasn’t that bad! I’d admitted it out loud, and I wasn’t dead. Yes! Yes! Go Mary bloody McDonald!

Then Lily broke down into tears which quickly halted my internal celebration. For some insane incomprehensible reason, I wasn’t even surprised. Immediately and instinctively I moved towards her and sat her gently down on the floor whilst trying to get something out of her incoherent wailing’s.

“I’m not mad! I’m not mad at you! I’m just... I’m sad!” She declared sobbing. “So why am I yelling at you? Why? WHY!?”

“Because,” I said wrapping my arm around her. “You’re Lily Evans – you only let people see two of your emotions. You’re either angry, or you’re happy, and because you can’t be happy right now you’re just angry.  That’s okay. I deserve it anyway.”

“Y-you’re my best friend!” Lily wailed (which was mildly terrifying) and I gripped hold of her shoulder more tightly and decided not to say anything. “I mean! You’re Mary – my best friend!”

“You’re my best friend too, Lils.” I told her softly.

“Yeah, right.” She said fiercely before her tears renewed a little. “I’m sorry!” She said. “I’m not mad, I just... I really don’t know what -”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’ve been like that for the last seven years.”

“I... I’m not mad” She said with a sniff. “I mean...I am a little mad.” She confessed as if it were some great secret. I smiled inwardly at that. “But only because you... you told Sirius!”

“I didn’t tell Sirius.” I said truthfully. “I mean, I was going to, but it was the day of the wedding. He was hiding under the bed, starkers, and Quiggle’s mentioned it.”

“Oh my god!” Lily declared, and another few tears rushed down her face. I brushed them off for her. “I’m sorry – but that’s really funny!” She declared, and then a stifled giggle escaped from her lips. “I’m sorry!” She said again. “I just... I don’t know how to react!” Then she went back to her tears.

“Neither do I.” I admitted.

“It’s just – I can’t be really sad, because it doesn’t seem real. It hasn’t sunk in yet! So I’m just... I don’t know!”

“Lily, it’s okay.”

“No it’s not! You haven’t told me for years and years because, well I don’t really know why, but I’m assuming because you were scared of my reaction, and now I’m proving you right!”

“It wasn’t to do with you Lily,” I told her, shaking my head and holding onto her shoulder tightly. It might sound backwards and wrong, but I felt a lot closer to Lily now than I had done for months and months. I’d known I’d been driving this fat wedge into our friendship, but I’d done nothing to really sort it out except a few half hearted attempts at becoming closer again... and now it felt much better. It felt like I had Lily back – my Lily.

Obviously Lily never really belonged to me, but because of her hot temper when we were little I always used to sit and talk her anger out of her until she was back to her smiling ways. I’d crack a pathetic attempt at a joke, or tell her of some stupid incident until her angry face (as I had dubbed it) would give way slightly and a smile would crawl onto her face. Then she’d smile her dazzling smile and say ‘no one can cheer me up like you, Mary’ and then she’d link her elbow through mine and we’d skip off to the next lesson together.

Those were the only times when I was the one that was helping her. Lily wasn’t really a fan of being helped much – she’d rather be doing the helping – so as the years went by these moments became rarer and rarer, but I always treasured them. Even though there were the moments when Lily was at her worst I always felt closer to her. I guess it was because deep down I’ve always felt that I never really deserved to be Lily’s friend (something which I’ve definitely proved this year) because I thought she was much better than I could ever be – cleverer, more beautiful, more graceful ect... and her anger put her back down to my level.

Now, with my arm wrapped around her, as she tried to come to terms with just what the bloody hell she was feeling, I felt like I was needed again. I felt like perhaps I could give something back to Lily, after all she had given me...

The list. Number one – make it up to Lily.

How? Obviously just sitting with her while she cried out the tears that I’d caused her wasn’t enough. I had to do something more... something that might start to make up for the fact that I’d essentially ignored her for the last couple of months...

“Lily,” I said suddenly. Interrupting her stream of nonsense sobbing and explanation as to how confused she was feeling... (blah blah). “You want to understand, right?” I asked and she nodded. “And you want to know more than Sirius does?” She nodded again. “And you wanted to be included in the past couple of months?” She nodded again.

I dived under my bed and pulled out the dust covered pensive. I pulled out all the little bottles filled with glittering silver liquid and pushed them towards where Lily was sitting.

I poured the content of half the bottles into the basin and then added a couple of newer memories to it.

“What are you doing?” She asked looking up from her tears to watch my progress.

“I’m making it up to you.”

“Do you even know what memory is in each bottle?” She asked and I shook my head. “So you’re just... just letting me see any of it.”

“Yes.” I said. “You can see whatever you want. It’s your right to know more than anyone else, and I don’t have the time to tell you about it. Take all of them.” I said gesturing to the rest of the bottles. “Have it – if you want it I mean.”

“I get your memories?” She asked in awe. I nodded again. “Can I...can I look at them now?” She asked.

“It’s what I expected you to do.” I told her.

So I turned my back on her as she disappeared into my memories and pulled out my list with a smile on my face.

1.)    Make it up to Lily. -DONE

2.)    Make it up to Marlene.

3.)    Make it up to Rachel. - DONE

4.)    Tell Karen I’m sorry for being such a bitch to her.

5.)    Punch Snape and break his nose. - DONE

6.)    Visit my Mum’s grave and say goodbye to her properly.

7.)    Get completely and utterly drunk. - DONE

8.) Find out the Marauder secret. - DONE

9.) Make it up to Sirius.

10.) Pull a prank that beats all the Marauder pranks and that will go down in history as being completely amazing.

Five out of ten, I thought, wasn’t bad all things considered. With that conclusion I collapsed on my bed and decided that, considering it had been such an emotionally challenging day, I could allow myself to have a quick nap before dinner...

A/N - That should have pleased some of you should it not? Yes...? Scarily... I think this story will be finished really soon, and that terrfies me... just thought you should know. Also, in my sort of writers block for this story I have started like another four stories or something stupid? If you'd like to check thoes out too... :) <-- that's me trying to look innocent. I'd really appretiate it anyway, and thanks to all of you who have been stalking me and reading them - it makes me a very happy person. Reviews also make me happy, just saying.... ;)

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