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The Art of Breathing. by AC_rules
Chapter 39 : Luck.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 51


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A/N - Ello, ello ello, your faithful writer here with aaannoothhherr chapter (horaary!). So, I feel I haven't told you lately how amazing you are. Honestly, I love you all and you should all know that. Maybe I'm in a sentimental mood or something, maybe it was something I ate, but there you go. I'm going on holiday in like three days and, you know what, I really need a holiday however awesome Alevels are. I'm rambling. I've also got back into my review answering and have developed a scheme to get them all answered as quickly as possible (Answering all the reviews for either a chapter/a month/or a page of 25 reviews every night). Don't get me wrong, it's not like answering your lovely reviews is a chore, it's just that I'm like, no I can't asnwering them because I've got loads of stuff to do, I'll do it later. Then it's like - theres FIFTY reviews to answer! Ohhhh myyyy ddaayyss. Anyway, I'll let you read now.... 

 
It was not at all surprising that we ended up late for dinner:  Lily spent about an hour in my memories before shaking me awake, attacking me violently with her arms, sobbing for a few minutes, before insisting we go for dinner immediately... although not so immediately that she didn’t reapply her make up again first and insist I do the same.

When I asked her why she gave me an are-you-completely-stupid-look before pointing out that after the events in the common room earlier every single person in Hogwarts was going to be looking at me when I entered the great Hall to eat.

I redid my make up. And I did my hair too.

Then Lily complained at me for taking ‘so bloody long’ and it was almost like old times again, which made me smile. Then after all this dithering we eventually made it down the stairs and to my great surprise Sirius was at the foot of the stairs waiting for me. Then more time was ‘wasted’ (according to Lily, not Sirius) by Sirius greeting me with a long knee-weakening kiss which Lily complained was vomit-inducing and completely unnecessary.

“Well,” I said, “We haven’t got much longer left, so it is necessary.”

“You finally told her then?” Sirius asked kissing my cheek for good measure. I had missed him so incredibly much and still couldn’t get over having him back, let alone the whole ‘I love you’ shenanigan so each time his wonderfully soft lips so much as touched my skin every cell of my body started dancing around and doing the conga. This over-reaction meant Sirius persistently kept spontaneously kissing me, holding my hand, sneaking his arm around my waist and generally acting in a very touchy feely fashion that I probably would have murdered him for if I wasn’t in such a good mood.

Lily, who was on my other side, was competing for my attention in a slightly different way (thank Merlin) by linking her arm through mine and striking up interesting conversations about James Potter and other pieces of gossip I’d missed over the past couple of months in which we hadn’t talked. I was actually very interested in why exactly she’d agreed to go out with James, but I couldn’t concentrate on what she was saying when Sirius was kissing the spot just below my earlobe and  saying very inappropriate things in my ear in a whisper Lily couldn’t hear (again, thank Merlin for that).

“Sirius,” I complained pushing him away from me with my signature hand-to-the-chest-push which I’d put to such good use in the past. “Stop being so annoying!”

“He can’t help it.” Lily cut back, tightening her grip around my arm. “Anyway, he asked in the middle of the great hall and normally I would have said no purely because of that... but considering how nice he’s been to me as of late I thought that it would be a bit too harsh if I said no, in front of everyone.” Lily continued.  “He knows it’s not a real date though.”

Sirius barked with laughter at that.

“What?” Lily snapped. “He does! He couldn’t possibly think that after all these years I actually fancy him?”

“Of course he could.” Sirius said before pulling me towards him again. “Especially considering you do.”

“I do not!” Lily protested crossing her arms over her chest and sending a glare in Sirius’s direction.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Sirius said ‘wisely’ which caused Lily’s pale complexion to turn an interesting shade of red, similar to her hair. “Not like my Lady,” Sirius added winking at me.

“Oh no,” Lily said with an eye roll. “She just makes you get on your knees and beg.”

“Let’s just hope James doesn’t grope you again.” I put in helpfully, before they both started yelling at one another.

“Don’t even remind me!” Lily wailed as Sirius resumed his laughing.

Sirius’s hand somehow ended up round my waist again with his fingers spread over my right hip. As if that wasn’t enough to distract me from Lily’s rant he then leant very very close to my left ear and whispered “Do you really care about them right now,” in his most gorgeous voice.

“Yes!” I said loudly.

“What? Oh.” Lily said with an eye roll, before continuing to talk.

“You sound very... defensive.” He said. It wasn’t fair. His lips were so close to my skin that I could feel the air moving, and sense his body heat. It was like an annoying itch that I couldn’t shake off, and didn’t particularly want to. “It’s almost like... you’re not really paying attention...”

Oh great. Now his hand was on my arse.

“Sirius, for Merlin’s sake!”

“What?” He asked innocently.

“So! I really don’t know what to wear.” Lily declared loudly just as we reached the entrance to the great hall.

You know what? I was really enjoying having them fight for my attention. I don’t care how attention-seeking that sounds, it was flattering that they both wanted my sole undivided attention and I wasn’t going to complain.

“Are you sleeping in our dorm tonight Mary?” Sirius asked, pulling me out of my thoughts quite violently.  Lily scowled deeply in his direction and glanced at the entrance to the Great Hall, which we’d stopped outside of.

“I... aren’t you supposed to be doing that... that thing tonight?” I asked trying to send him a meaningful look which he completely missed. I received a confused expression from his direction and an over exaggerated sigh from Lily. “To cheer up Remus...” I suggested. “Because he’s feeling a bit under the weather...?”

“Mary I have no... oh.” He said suddenly remembering that today was full moon... You’d have thought that he’d have remembered these things but apparently not. I suppose he was still Sirius Black, even if he’d gotten on his knees and begged. For me. Not like I’m boasting or anything. “The others can deal with it just this once.”

“So I’m thinking,” Lily said loudly as Sirius was leaning forward and about to kiss me. “That Mary should walk in with me first, and then you should walk in afterwards.”

“Why?”

“Because it will be more dramatic,” She said before pulling me forward into the Great Hall. “I seriously don’t know how you put up with him.” Lily complained loudly. “Urgh!”

I smiled. “I think that fact that he’s -”

“Actually,” Lily interrupted. “I really don’t think I want to know. So... I kissed James.” She suddenly said after a short pause. “Multiple times.”

“I know,” I said slowly. “I was there...”

“What?”

“At New years and at Peter’s party...”

“Oh, right.” Lily said her cheeks a satisfying shade of pink. “Well...”

“You mean there were more occasions?” I asked turning to face her with my eyebrows raised.

“Maybe.”

“Lily Evans,” I said with a satisfied smirk. “You have been busy.” She scowled and flushed a little more. “Any other juicy little secrets you want to spill before Sirius catches up with us?” I asked as we reached the Gryffindor benches.

“Juicy secrets eh, Evans?” James asked sending Lily a wink. James, at least, seemed to be in very high spirits. Although, I guess that was to be expected given Lily had, finally, said yes (well, technically she’d said yes again, but still) and Sirius looked like a complete idiot in front of everyone, he thought that I’d managed to actually throw up to save the invisibility cloak (which made me a completely acceptable girlfriend choice now) and Sirius seemed to be back to his usual idiot-self. Plus, instead of slapping him round the face, Lily smiled weakly in his direction before recoiling in horror at the state of his face.

“What the blood hell -?” Lily began.

“Oh,” James said waving it away. “Sirius and I had a fight.”

That was apparently enough to render Lily speechless for a long enough period for Sirius to appear at my side again, having made the treacherous journey across the hall successfully.

“You managed to –” I began, fully planning to make some comment about him not having another mental breakdown, crying, and panic attacks, but he cut me off quite magnificently by kissing me.

I suppose I should have predicted it given the way he’d been acting in the corridor but I hadn’t expected this sort of behaviour in front of everyone in the Great Hall, all of who were most definitely watching. Also I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to kiss me whilst he was standing and I was sitting on the bench. It helped that I’d turned my body around to insult him but it still wouldn’t have thought that it would work.

It did though. Then I had my arms around his neck, somehow pulling him down so he was sat on the bench too. By some incredible feet he managed to throw one leg over the bench – whilst kissing me – to sit down properly. Once again, Sirius Black has utterly shocked me. Who knew that type of thing was possible?

“What were you saying?” Sirius asked, smirking away.

“I... erm, nothing.” I muttered, completely thrown off (for the billionth time that day).

“That’s what I thought.” Sirius smirked. He swung his other leg over and put his arm around me. I shoved it off me and gave him a look.

“Did I give you permission to act like a prat?”

“I thought you said I didn’t have to have your permission?” Sirius asked with a wicked grin. My good mood was deteriorating slightly as with all the ‘I love Sirius Black’ nonsense (well, not exactly nonsense I suppose) I had neglected to remember what an annoying prick he was for most of the time. Naturally I was a frustrating bitch in return, but still.

“You’re so annoying and I hate you.” I spat at him returning to my dinner feeling completely pissed off.

“Mood swing much,” Lily commented serenely.

“I hate you all!” I said stabbing my dinner violently.

“Well,” Sirius said in his slightly more seductive voice. “I know for a fact that isn’t true.”

“And how do you work that out, Sherlock?”

“Because you love me.” He said into my ear, though I’m pretty sure that it was fairly audible. I flushed slightly and melted. Damn.

 “Fuck off.” I said with slightly less conviction.

“Atta girl,” Sirius commented. I hit him.

“You know what has the same number of letters as I love you?” I asked sweetly. “Bullshit.”

“Well,” Sirius said. “It also has the same number of letters as the truth... and Mary McDonald has the same number of letters as hormonal girl, deluded bitch and my girlfriend.”

“Well, Sirius Black has the same number of letters as constipated, complete tit, shitty in bed...”

 “...hot and Sexy.” Sirius put in cheerfully.

“Hot and sexy doesn’t have the same number of letters as Sirius Black.” Lily pointed out.

“Oh but it does,”

“Not it doesn’t!” I said (after counting the letters up myself). “It only has ten letters: H-o-t-a-n-d-s-e-x-y.”

“No,” Sirius said, “Hot as in H-a-w-t. Hawt.”

“That’s not even a real word!”

“Yes it is -”

“Anyway,” Lily said, interrupting us. “If you two had a fight, then how come Sirius’s face is fine?”

“I didn’t know you thought I was fine Evans?” Sirius barked.

“That’s not what I meant!” Lily exclaimed loudly.

“I heard the funniest rumour the other day,” I interrupted. “I heard that James was actually in love with me, right, and so you broke up with me to prove that you cared more about your friendship with James than me. So now I was getting with Remus to push Sirius into jealousy so much that he’d say ‘screw James’ and come after me, and to break up the Marauders once and for all so that I could use them all for my own sexual gratification and for single girls everywhere.”

“Go girl power.” Lily commented dryly. “Now please, explain this.” She said waving her fork in the direction of James’s face. It was quite impressively bruised. He had a black eye, a cut lip, and a rather red left cheek.

“Battle scars.” James said with a smirk. “Do you like them, Lily?”

“No.” She answered curtly. “I’m just curious as to whether you really are so pathetic that he,” She pointed at Sirius, “Escapes without a scratch, and you turn up with your face looking even more like a mash potato than it normal does.”

“Oh! Burn.”  Charlotte said sitting herself down at the end of group with Rachel, Alice and Frank behind her.

“To be fair, Sirius is much bigger than James.” I pointed out.

“Oh er,” Charlotte added helpfully.

“Well obviously,” Sirius said puffing out his chest and generally looking like a prat.

“Oh shut up.” I snapped a lot more aggressively than I intended too. I put my hand to my mouth in mild shock – since when were my mood swings this bad? “What’s wrong with me?” I wailed (overdramatically, I’ll admit) as everyone looked at me with concerned expressions on their faces.

“You’re in llooooooovveeee!” Alice sang.

“Isn’t everybody?” Peter asked, sounding slightly bitter.

“I’m not.” Lily cut in.

“You wound me, Evans, you really do.”

“Oh shut up, Potter.”

“Sorry Sirius,” I said as the above conversation was going on around us. “I didn’t mean to snap at you,” I said fluttering my eyelids at him.

“You’ll have to make it up to me,” Sirius said with his trademark smirk back on his face.

“Really?” I said. “And how do you suppose I do that, Mr Black?”

“Oh, come on, will you two stop having verbal sex for two minuets!” Lily exclaimed loudly (attracting a lot of attention). “And will someone please explain what’s wrong with Potter’s face?”

“Genetics,” Sirius smiled.

“I thought you said his mum was quite attractive.” Peter said.

 There was silence.

“What the bloody hell?” James requested, quite aptly.

“You’re the one who asked if his mum was hot!” Sirius said in Peter’s direction. Then, to James; “Would you have preferred me to say that she was hideous and repulsive?”

“Yes! I can’t believe you think my Mum is attractive!”

“She is though,” I put in helpfully. “She has a very appealing face.”

“When did you meet his mum?” Lily asked soundly slightly bewildered.

“I was visiting Sirius at Christmas,” I told her just as James yelled...

“But she’s old!”

“She’s not that old.” Sirius said.

“She is, though!”

“Well, okay, yes she is old; I was only trying to defend her honour.”

“Why? So you can get into her pants.”

“That is a horrible image.” I put in.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Sirius said smirking at the change in James’s expression.

“I’m going to write to mum right now and tell her that you think she’s attractive.” Sirius’s smirk froze somewhat.

“You can’t do that.” He said in horror. “She’d never let me in the house again! She’d probably think I fancied her.”

“You don’t?”  James demanded.

“James, I’m only going to say this once – I do not fancy your Mum.”

“Well,” another voice said halting the conversation completely. I turned around and found myself looking at the bemused face of McGonagall. Oh Merlin. “I’ll be sure to convey that piece of information to Mrs Potter next time I see her.” She said her lips twisting up into an almost-smile.

Professor McGonagall has a sense of humour. Well, I’ll be damned.

“Miss McDonald, I see you’ve recovered from your sickness?”

“Yes, Professor.”

“And without even a trip to the hospital wing? Remarkable.” I decided it was best to stay silent. “In the future, you should know that muggle duelling is unacceptable and that your domestic issues shouldn’t be settled in such a public way.”

“I... what? Professor I -”

“I have no doubt that you didn’t encourage them in any way, but maybe next time you should avoid a situation when you might have two people from my house fighting for your affections.” She continued. I was completely baffled.

“I honestly have no -” James kicked me under the table. I glanced up at him for a second... and he winked. “Have... erm... nothing to say.”  I finished. “Won’t happen again.”

“You shall see that it doesn’t. Black, I see you have managed to fix your face.”

“Oh, do you like it Professor?” He asked cheekily.

“Might I ask how?” She said ignoring his commented completely, except for a nostril flare of annoyance.

“You may.” Sirius answered happily.

How?” She asked darkly.

Magic.”

“Mr Black, if you -”

“I did it, Professor.” James cut across her. “I thought I’d keep mine though, gives me the rugged bad-boy look, don’t you think? Chicks dig that shit.”

McGonagall’s nostrils flared and her lips thinned. “You will serve your detentions tonight, my office.”

“She just wants to get us in there alone, Prongs; Minnie loves the rugged bad boy look.” Sirius said in a very audible stage whisper, just as McGonagall turned away.

“Twenty points from Gryffindor.” She said before walking away. Peter was the only one who seemed remotely bothered by this.

“Why did you call James, Prongs?” Lily asked with her arms crossed over her chest. “Prongs is the name of my owl...” She said slowly.

The pair of them burst into fresh peals of laughter at this. It was so loud I thought that any second McGonagall would turn back and dock more points for disruptive behaviour or making a loud noise.

“Okay, I’m with Lily now – will you please explain that?” I said waving a hand in the direction of James’s face.

“Oh,” James said with a grin. “Apparently the fifth year Gryffindors have transfiguration just before dinner due to timetabling issues, and Minnie was a little confused when none of them turned up.”

“Because they were listening to Sirius begging, and then watching you fight?”

“Yes – she’s fast.” James said somehow making it sound very suggestive. “They were with the Slytherins, who naturally ratted us out, so Minnie comes barging in to the common room -”

“Just as I had James in a headlock.” Sirius added in.

“Which I was going to escape from, just when McGonagall -”

“– Conveniently for James –”

“– interrupted us. We tried to persuade her that we hadn’t really been fighting but...”

“Given we both had various bruises and someone had erected a sort of ring...”

“She didn’t buy it.”

“Funny that.” Lily commented with an over exaggerated eye roll.

“So then McGonagall said as it was own fault, we couldn’t go get it healed – she went down and informed Nate of this, and probably checked to see if you’d been to the hospital wing too – and then...” James trailed off.

“She asked us why we were fighting and James said –”

“You.” James said with a huge grin. “Her face was priceless, his too actually,” James said indicating in Sirius’s direction. “Then I started talking about how in love I was with you, and how you’d be been playing Sirius and me against each other and how I couldn’t bare it any more – given Sirius was supposed to be my best friend and had treated my feelings for you in such a cruel and unfeeling way – so I’d just lost it and started hitting him. Then I’d said something about how you’d confessed that I was the one you truly loved, and Sirius had gone psycho too... and at some point people had put a ring around us and we hadn’t noticed because we were so engrossed in the fight.”

“And McGonagall brought it.” Sirius said disgustedly.

“Hey! She felt so sorry for us that she only gave us one detention, you should be thanking me.”

“And yet, I’m not.” Sirius said.

“Well you’re the one who fancies my mum!” James declared. “Anyway, so then Sirius cons me into healing his face – as it’s too dangerous to do it yourself – with the promise that he’d do mine.”

“And let me guess, he didn’t?” I asked.

“Obviously not,” James said pointing to his lip, which had just started to bleed again. “But it’s okay, because Lily thinks it’s sexy.”

Lily didn’t answer because she looked like she was in the middle of a very violent internal battle. James looked at her with his forehead creased into confusion for a few seconds before she snapped her head up and suddenly said “I’ll heal you.”

“Sexual healing?”

“Seriously, Potter. Get over here and I’ll fix it for you.”

“Now that’s an offer you can’t refuse.” Sirius commented. It was only then that I realised at some point he’d snuck his arm around my waist again. I leaned into his chest and inhaled his scent.

James, rather enthusiastically, dived under the table (making the effort to look up Lily’s skirt as he did so) and appeared on our side grinning like he’d just been told Christmas was coming nine months early.

“Heal me!” He declared pulling himself up onto the bench right next to Lily. She scowled, obviously regretting her decision, but pulled out her wand anyway.

“She could so jinx him right now,” I pointed out to Sirius.

“Or just kill him.”

“Nah, she fancies him too much,” I answered. Lily dropped her wand at that point and it fell to the floor with a loud clatter.

“Are you sure you’re up to healing him, Evans, you appear to be shaking.”

“It’ll be you who needs healing if you don’t shut up.” Lily answered pointing her recovered wand at James’s eye and beginning to mutter things. The bruising faded and disappeared... then she began working on his lip. She pulled his chin up towards her so she could see the cut properly, and I wondered exactly what James was about to try...

“Get your dirty hands of my leg, Potter.” Lily said calmly.

In a few minutes (in which Sirius distracted me from watching the spectacle of Lily concentration so much on James’s face by kissing my neck) Lily drew back and declared that she was finished.

I was a little stunned given that James had been given such an ample opportunity and hadn’t really done anything. Maybe he was beginning to grow up?

“Evans, I think you missed a spot on my lip.” He said. Ah... maybe not. Lily snapped her head towards the offending lip and was about to protest that she couldn’t see anything wrong with her healing when James leaned forward and kissed the words right off her lips.

“Who else saw that coming?” I asked.

“Everyone did.” Charlotte said.

“Even Evans did, that’s probably why she agreed to it.” Sirius said with a loud bark of laughter.

“Potter!” Lily exclaimed finally pulling away.

“Yes, Lily-kins?”

“You’re healed; go back to your side of the table and stop sexually harassing me.”

“You’re right,” James said, “My broken heart is so healed.”

I threw my head back at that, and laughed loudly. Sirius’s looked down at me with his hand resting on my hip and I thought, bloody hell, when did life get this good?

*********

“A little Birdie told me you’d gotten back from your honeymoon,” I said stepping back into the familiar territory of the hospital wing with a smile stretching widely across my features.  “Well, I say bird... more of a wolf really.”

“Really?” Nate asked turning to face me with an equally big smile on his face. I hadn’t seen him for ages and ages. I hadn’t talked to him for ages and ages. I genuinely felt estranged from Nate – who had been a mixture of my best friend and honorary big brother. 

“Well, that... wolf informed you correctly.” Nate said.

“You look happy.” I said taking another step into the hospital wing and thanking Merlin that the all the beds were empty, except for the one at the end where Remus was lying fast asleep.

“I am happy.” Nate said in such a way that I wanted to squeal to express how happy I was that he was happy... because he was. Nate hadn’t been this happy for ages – he looked younger, he didn’t look so damn tired for once and his eyes were sparkling again. He was blissfully and deliriously happy. I smiled straight back at him. “You look happy.” Nate said.

“I am happy.” I said and for that moment in time it was completely and utterly the truth. Then I ran forward, threw my arms around his neck and hugged him. “I am!” I repeated. Nate smelled of Nate, as was to be expected, but it was such a warm comforting smell that I’d forgotten over the past few months... where had I been? What had I been doing?

Other than Sirius Black.

“I’ve missed you Maz.” Nate said, with an arm around my back. I’d missed me. I’d missed being happy. This strange feeling of elation was so foreign and weird... like I could walk on air or... like I was indestructible.

Obviously I wasn’t. I was dying, but right now – in that singular moment – I honestly couldn’t give a shit.

I just nodded at him in agreement.“Go on then,” Nate said pulling away from me and sitting himself down. “Tell me all about it.”

“It’s all just... sorted itself out.” I said mirroring his actions and sitting cross legged on one of the beds. “Everything, I never even imagined that my life would actually come to some kind of... conclusion.”

“Yet here we are,” Nate said. “Am I going to get details? Or I’m I going to have to guess from your vague comments and ambiguous statements?”

“Go on,” I implored. “Guess.”

“See,” Nate said, “That puts me in a rather difficult situation. What if I mention something that you haven’t actually sorted out yet, and inadvertently put a damper on your ridiculously happy mood? I haven’t seen you this happy since... scratch the last, I’ve never seen you this happy. I really don’t want to be the one responsible for bringing that inevitable downer.”

“Okay, fine... When was the last time I gave you an update?”

“About six months ago,”

“That’s not true!”

“It sure feels like it,” Nate commented. “I don’t know anything about your life anymore, Mary; I used to count on your letters to provide me with your over-dramatised life to add a little excitement to my dreary life of domestic bliss... this whole year I’ve been watching it all from a distance wondering what the bloody hell is going on in your head.”

“Sorry,” I said feeling slightly abashed. “But... it’s different. You’re like... you’re like a big brother, yeah? Before, you were like... distant and detached from it. Now you’re bang in the middle of where it all happens, and you actually know all the people I’m talking about. I... I have no idea where I’m going with this, but... well; I can’t tell you everything, can I?”

“I’d prefer if you did,” Nate said, “But I understand, don’t worry about that.”

“Well, go on then Nate; guess – It’s all obvious.”

“Okay,” Nate said glancing round the room for inspiration. “Sirius.” He said finally.

“Ding.” I said tracing a big tick in the air.

“Lily.”

“Ding!” I said again, repeating the movement.

“Erm...” Nate said. “Well... you mentioned a wolf on the way in so...”

“Ding!”

“I’m out.” Nate said. “Did I miss anything?”

“No... I’m pretty sure you got most of it.”

“So Lily knows?”

“Yep,” I said happily.

“I’m proud of you kiddo,” Nate said, leaning forwards and ruffling up my hair in annoying big-brotherly fashion.

“Get your hand off me, creep,” I joked.

“I’m happy for you and all, but will you please tell me what was going on with Sirius?” Nate asked. “Honestly, I can’t keep up – one minute you’re hating on him, next  your dating him, next your avoiding him, then at the wedding...” Nate said giving me a stern look. “I could have picked you out a better nephew if you were that desperate...” I blushed slightly and refused to meet his eye. “Obviously, I only got back yesterday and I was asking Remus earlier -”

“– You stalker -”

“And he said something about drunken parties,” Add in a disapproving look from Nate here. “Being friends, him ignoring you, and Remus babysitting you.”

“Well,” I said pointedly.

“Well what?” Nate asked when I didn’t continue.

“Well... do I have to talk about it? It’s kind of hard to explain... it’s complicated.”

“Complicated.” Nate scoffed. “Relationships don’t get complicated till you start adding in sex and marriage and -” He stopped abruptly as I purposefully looked at the floor. I was absolutely positive that I’d turned a spectacular shade of red. This conversation had just gotten extremely awkward. “Well...” Nate said. “That’s certainly illuminating...” He stood up awkwardly and walked the length of the hospital ring in search of something he could do to distract himself.

“Oh, come on,” I said rolling my eyes and watching his progress. “Are you honestly surprised?”

“I knew that Sirius bloke was -”

“A male teenage, congratulations Nate – you’re observation skills are impeccable.”

“I was going to say bad news.”

“Thirty seconds ago you said you were happy for me!”

“That was before I realised you were...”

“If you say sexually active I think I will die,” I said putting a hand up to my head and hoping that the floor would just swallow me up. Honestly. I’d never expected myself to be having this sort of conversation with Nate...

Thanks to Merlin he smiled at that last comment and shook his head. “Sorry,” He said. “It’s just, that’s weird.”

“Why?” I challenged him.

“Well... you’re Mary.”

“Yes?”

“Well. Look, why don’t we change the topic?”

“That’s probably a good idea.” I answered stiffly.

“What have I done?” Nate asked. “Why are you annoyed?”

“Oh don’t worry; it’s just me being mood swingy.” I said standing up. “I think I’m just going to -”

“Mary, come on,” Nate said. “It’s only weird because, like you said – you’re like a little sister. I wasn’t mocking you or -”

“- This is so awkward!” I practically wailed.

“Well, you’re the one who brought it up,” Nate said, holding his hands up in the air to depend himself.

“No, you did!” I said.

“Unintentionally! I just assumed that given you’re normally so sensible -”

“So were you abstinent when you were a teenage, Nate?” I asked sweetly.

“I – no,” He admitted. “Really, really not.”

“Oh ho,” I said victoriously. “Really really not abstinent eh, what does that mean?”

“It means that...well; I was a bit like Sirius.”

“Meaning that...”

“Meaning that I was on Quidditch team, I was popular and I thought I was all that.  I also may have been somewhat... er... I was a complete arse, all right?”

“Didn’t save yourself till marriage then?”

“Obviously not,” Nate said. “I don’t know if you noticed, but Kate is pregnant.”

I laughed at that.

“Kate used to be on the Quidditch team too, we were best friends actually,” He said thoughtfully. “But she refused to talk to me in seventh year because I...er... I slept with her best friend. Being the stupid teenage male that I was, that was when I realised that Kate was – at a risk of being cheesy – the one. She told me that I had to get my act together and prove that I was worth her time... that’s why I ended up becoming a healer. I thought it might be classified as a respectable job.”

“Then what happened?”

“I didn’t see her for years after we left Hogwarts. She went travelling... and I’d already set myself up for a Healer job. So I went for it – did the training and everything and I’d been working there for about a year when she walks into St Mungo’s with a bloody lip. She’d er... she’d kill me if I told you this, but basically she’d just got into a cat fight with her ex’s new girlfriend. She recognised me, obviously, and made a comment how the tables had turned and how she was definitely the unrespectable one now. I er... I said I had no issues with taking unrespectable ladies on dates, and well... then I did.”

“And that was that?” I asked.

“And that was that.” Nate finished. “Or there abouts... Anyway, look Mary – I know what it’s like to be a sixteen year old teenager and just... just make sure you know what you’re doing?”

“Oh,” I said with a wry smile. “I know exactly what I’m doing.”

Nate grimaced. “Was that necessary?” He questioned. I shrugged. “As, for all intents and purposes, I’m your big brother – am I allowed to beat the shit out of him?”

“Beat the shit out of who?” Sirius asked from the doorway. Nate and I exchanged a look. I bit my lip. “Congratulations, by the way,” Sirius said. “Sorry that I left early.”

“That’s quite all right,” Nate said, also biting his lip. I noted that there was actually a cool note in his voice. “What are you doing here?”

“I... I came to talk to Remus?” Sirius suggested. “Just to check that he’s all right.”

“He’s unconscious.” I informed him. “Anyway Sirius, I’m going back up the dorm now. I’ll see you later.” I said, kissing him quickly, turning to wave at Nate and offering my mental condolences to the unconscious Remus, before turning back towards the door and seeing myself out.

*********

I was sat clutching one of my mother’s reading books and flicking through it feeling quite comfortable. I’d managed to bag the comfiest sofa even though I was only sat on one corner of the double seater on my own because given Sirius Black had begged for me, I was practically royalty.

I could feel the heat of the fire from behind me and felt completely relaxed and blissful...I was also very amused listening to the third years talk about how I’d managed to get Sirius to fall in love with me by a mixture of love potions, death threats, and lying about my gender. It was oh so amusing.

“Apparently, she told him she was pregnant but she wasn’t so then she slept with Lupin to get pregnant. He thought she was in love with him and now he’s heartbroken. He wasn’t in classes today, and have you seen how ill he looks!”

“I’d feel ill if I’d slept with her, too!” A girl said and I inwardly laughed.

“Urh, you lesbian! That’s vile!”

“Well I heard she’s dying.” That got my attention. “And that Sirius is only staying with her because he feels bad. That’s why her and that hot nurse are so close.”

“That’s stupid! I heard it’s because she’s willing to...” I think there may have been a crude hand gesture at this point because it was followed by a chorus of “Eww’s” “That’s disgusting!” “The little slag!” “Wouldn’t you?” and peals of laughter.

I turned another page of the book but I was secretly smiling and laughing at their conversation. The sad thing was I remembered when I’d been like those girls and so engrossed in the gossip of the older years...

“Well I think he’s actually gay.”

“What!”

“And he just needed a fake girlfriend to cover it up, when actually him and James Potter are -”

“That is the most disturbing picture I’ve ever had in my life.” I commented loudly. The four girls looked up suddenly in my direction before bursting into hysterical giggles and resorted to ‘whispers’ which I could still here clearly.

“What a bitch.”

“Gosh, why couldn’t he have gone for a nice girl?”

“Or at least a pretty girl!”

“Even I’m prettier than her. She’s probably just drugging him up with love potion.”

“I heard she’d confounded him.”

“Well I heard that she’s actually rather charming and a wonderful person.” Sirius’s voice said and I snapped around to look at him. He caught my eye across the room and I smiled.

“Well, what I heard was that the whole thing was actually his fault.”

“I heard that they should have never have broken up in the first place.”

“I heard that he was a complete arsehole”

“Really?” Sirius asked quirking up an eyebrow in my direction and walking over to my sofa. “Because I heard that he was the greatest damn guy in the world.”

“Is that so?” I asked as Sirius sat down next to me and put one of his arms around me.

“Yep.” Sirius said as I rested my head in his shoulder.

“Well I heard that she was pretty darn special.”

“I heard she was just a slut.”

“I’ll give you a slut.”

“Oh please do,” Sirius said and I elbowed him. “Nah I was joking, I heard that she was the most respectable lady in the whole of England!” I snorted. “I heard that she was kind, generous, truthful, sexy as hell, and all together rather beautiful!” Sirius said in a pompous posh voice that made me laugh.

“Arrogant arse.” I commented dryly.

Attractive arse.” Sirius countered.

“Arguable.”

“Offended.”

“Offence intended.” I added.

“Well that’s just hurtful,”

“I do my best.”

“Love you too.”

“Well that’s handy, cause I’m a little bit in love with you too.” I said offering him an overly sweet smile for added affect.

“Ooo. Long sentence.”

“Childish.”I quipped.

“Always.”

“This is stupid.” I said realising how ridiculous this conversation was getting, if you could call it a conversation, I wasn’t really sure if it counted.

“You’re stupid.” Sirius commented back happily.

“Shut up.”

“Make me.”

“Fine.” I said leaning forward and kissing him softly. I could feel Sirius laughing against my lips as he encircled me with his arms. Now that was the thing about kissing Sirius, it made me forget everything else in the world (in a non-cheesy non-sappy way, because I really couldn’t deal with that crap).

 “Where’s everyone else?” Sirius asked. He said it directly to my ear in between kissing just below my earlobe which tickled like hell.

“Detention?” I suggested. “Well no, Lily is prefecting somewhere and as you’ve just visited, you know Remus is in the hospital wing.”

“How rock and roll.”

“People are looking at us.” I said glancing round the common room to find most people staring. It was a little unnerving.

“I have an idea to make them stop?” Sirius suggested and I raised a quizzical eyebrow.  Then he proceeded to lock lips with me.

You know the sort of vomit inducing snogging that you sometimes have the misfortune to witness when you are sure that any moment one or the others face will just disappear and be accidently digested, which leaves you so completely disgusted that you have to look away or you will probably start feeling queasy? He kissed me like that.

It was funny and I was trying very hard not to crack up laughing which would spoil the whole effect and the whole point of the exercise but eventually I cracked. Then we both creased up laughing as I saw a) the expression on some of the others faces who’d still been watching and b) the awkward way that everyone else was trying to look away.

“Effective.” I nodded.

“Enjoyable?” Sirius quizzed with a raised eyebrow an amused expression.

“Maybe not so much...” I shrugged pulling myself onto his lap and looping my hands around his neck. “I’m enjoying this new state of privacy though.”

“The common room is never the most private place in the world Mary, love.” Sirius commented. “And we’re very good looking people; they can’t help but stare at us!”

 “They’re just jealous of you for having such an amazing girlfriend.” I said sticking out my tongue.

“I do have an amazing girlfriend, have you seen her?” Sirius asked and I smiled and reached up to kiss him. He laughed and smiled at me.

“I don’t know, tell me about her, and I’ll see if I can give you any clues?” I asked in between kisses.

“Well she’s a bit short,” Sirius said and I resisted the urge to hit him fairly easily because he was still kissing me in between his words and that tends to make my brain a bit forgetful. “But she’s very nice.”

“Really?” I asked slightly breathlessly as I rested my forehead against his to catch my breath again. I had a feeling my health was deteriorating or Sirius was just getting even more attractive because the breathlessness was a bit... pathetic?

“And she’s beautiful, strong, wonderful, delicate, mildly aggressive, funny, did I mention beautiful?” whilst speaking he’d lifted one of his hands up to his face and it was now resting on my cheek.

“You must be a very lucky guy,” I said my voice still coming out shaky. Sirius ran his lips across my cheek and stopped just below my ear and whispered “The luckiest,” I snorted and Sirius smirked at me.

“Where have you been reading up them lines anyway, Casanova?” I asked.

“Your eyes.” Sirius commented back as seriously as he could manage. I laughed and Sirius grinned at me.

“Seriously, you’re amazing,” I said leaning back onto his chest and smiling at him. “Honestly to God I could marry you.”

“Marry me then,” Sirius said still smirking at me.

“Don’t be daft.”  I scoffed at him.

“No, I’m serious, if you want to get married let’s get married!”

“I.. but... no!” I spluttered half laughing half amazed at the complete crap he was talking. “We can’t just get married. That’s stupid.”

“Well, yeah,” Sirius agreed. “But my lady gets what my lady wants.”

“Seriously, where is all this coming from?” I asked gesturing wildly.

“I feel bad and I’ve missed you.”

“You love sick fool.” I said appreciatively.

“Shush, you don’t want to ruin my reputation now do you?” Sirius said put a finger against my lips to make me be quiet, he was joking though.

“When we get married,” I began, smirking at him. “How many children are we going to have?”

“Hundreds.” Sirius smirked back.

“If we’re having hundreds, you can push them out of your -”

“Not a necessary image, Mary dear.” Sirius said cutting me off.  “How about... five.”

“We have to have an even number.”

“Six then?”

“Well, then if we have three girls and three boys, that’s still an uneven number.”

“Eight.” 

“We’d have to be at it like rabbits all the time to have eight.”

“Where’s the problem with that?” Sirius asked and I laughed.

“You,” I said kissing his forehead... “Need,” ...cheek... “To go,”...Lips... “To your detention.”

“No I don’t,” Sirius counted wrapping his arms so tight around me that I felt it might squeeze me to death – in a good way. I buried my face into his neck and smiled into his skin.

“You’re already late.”

“So I might as well not go.” He said resting his chin on my shoulder and running his fingers through my hair.

“You’ll get double.”

“I don’t care.”

“It only means less time later.” I said pulling myself off him. “Lily will be back soon, and I really need to talk to her some more.”

“Eurgh,” Sirius said, kissing me one last time before pulling himself away and hurrying off to his detention. I smiled at his disappearing back (okay, arse) before retrieving my book from the floor (Merlin only knows how it got there) and going back to my reading with a blissful smile on my face.

Somehow, although I wasn’t sure quite how, my life had managed to sort itself out completely in under 24 hours. I had my best friend back, and I had Sirius. And I still had over a month left to enjoy it.

I glanced upwards for a split seconds, grinned, and concluded that there definitely was a God, and that maybe he didn’t hate me so much after all.

A/N - Now, I'm perfectly aware that pretty much nothing happened in this chapter, but it was supposed to be part of the next chapter but then I just kept writing and, because I won't be able to write these characters soon :'( I decided to indulge myself... and the chapter ended up being 17 000 words long which... erm... is very long?

My aim is to get this story finished by the end of the year *fingers crossed* because well, my new years revolution was to actually FINISH a novel length story, and well... I'd meant a completely orginal one, but finishing this is the only way I'll ever manage it now. Theres going to be, according to current plans, 44/45 chapters.... so I'll be updating prettttyyy reguarlly till the end of the year. Wish me luck guys!

Also, please make a tired and rambling girl very happy and.... Review? Go on, you know you want to. (I wouldn't mind if you wanted to read my other stories or come question me on my MTA page either... )

Ac, out.
 


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