Sirius paced up and down the middle of the seventh year dormitory impatiently, as he did every week, waiting for James and Remus to get back from their prefect meeting. Left, right, left, right, left, right, left, turn, right, left, right, left, right, left, right, turn.
“But it’s only 8 O’clock Padfoot, the meeting doesn’t finish until 9.” Said Peter sitting cross legged on his bed, homework from at least three different subjects spread out in disarray in front of him.
“That’s clearly not the point Wormtail.” He snapped.
“You’ll wear a hole in the carpet,” he said matter-of-factly, which annoyed Sirius and he glared at the top of Peter’s head as he continued pacing. “Can you explain this to me again?” he said pointing at the relevant paragraph in his textbook with the tip of his eagle feather quill.
“Peter, if you took notes you wouldn’t have this problem.” He replied, exasperated.
“You don’t take notes.”
“I enchant my quill to take them for me, every other lesson.”
“That’s using my initiative, and you don’t say that to Prongs."
“Prongs helps me.”
“And Moony writes his own notes without any help from us! Why can’t you?”
Peter clearly decided that getting help from Sirius was a lost cause because he turned back to his textbook without another word. Sirius knew he shouldn’t have lost his temper with Peter, but they had practically the same conversation every week, and sometimes Sirius did help him, but this week had clearly been one time too many for Sirius.
His pacing quickened with his annoyance, but luckily for Peter, he clearly was smart enough not to say anything else. Sirius also knew that there was something else niggling at the back of his mind, and as usual, he didn’t know quite what to do about it.
Still pacing a full ten minutes later, Sirius glanced around the room, deciding he couldn’t pace the same seven steps for the next hour, he muttered a quick “See you later,” to Peter, grabbed his cloak, wand and the marauder’s map from James’ bedside cabinet and left the room.
He jogged quickly down the stairs and hurried across the common room, ignoring everyone who tried to talk to him, including the fat lady who warned him that he only had forty five minutes until curfew.
He continued his jog, down through the castle, across the entrance hall and out onto the front lawn, only slowing as he reached the lake.
Now slightly out of breath, having just jogged through the castle, Sirius sat down at the edge of the lake and ran a hand through his brown hair. His fringe flopped over his forehead, the picture of casual elegance as he stared moodily down at the glistening black water.
Sirius sat there, until the lights shining from the windows behind him started to go out. He supposed he should think about going back inside, or risk a detention, but then that was what he had brought the map for.
“Shouldn’t you be inside Black?” said a voice behind him.
Sirius turned his head and looked over his shoulder. A Ravenclaw was standing silhouetted In the remaining light coming form the windows behind her, her prefect badge glinting slightly in the soft moonlight. He turned back to watching the gently rippling water and shrugged.
“Maybe, what you gonna do about it?” he said barely loud enough for her to hear. “Give me a detention?”
“I could,” she replied, sitting down next to him on the bank. She glanced sideways to look at his face, the expression on hers something close to concern, but not soft enough to suggest pity. “But I won’t, if you tell me what’s wrong.”
“That’s blackmail, McKinnon.”
“I know, aren’t I clever.” She said with a wry grin.
“There’s no need to Brag about it though.” He said bitterly.
“Is it James?”
“Is it any of your business?”
“No,” she glanced down at the grass by her feet and picked a blade of it from the mass and twirled it as she said, “But I’m here to listen, if you want to talk.” She dropped the blade of grass and pushed herself to her feet. “I thought I’d let you know, McGonagall’s on duty tonight. She’ll be out here in ten minutes; I suggest you get beyond the entrance hall by then.” She turned and began to walk back towards the castle.
Sirius felt the sudden urge to speak, almost to earn the lack of detention, but it wasn’t that, the words just seemed to fall out of his mouth before he could stop them.
“I feel like I’m losing him, I…” He looked round at her; she had stopped still facing the castle to listen to him. “He’s too busy being Head Boy.”
“Tell him that, it’s his last chance to make a go of it with Lily, he can’t pass that up.” She said turning back to face him, her silhouette casting a shadow on Sirius’ face.
“But I don’t want to lose him to her either.”
“If he doesn’t know, he can’t do anything about it.”
“Goodnight Sirius, remember what I said about McGonagall.” She turned and walked back across the lawns to the front doors, pausing at the threshold to look back at him, still sitting next to the lake, alone. She had never had a best friend, so she couldn’t be sure what it was like to feel like you were losing one, but from what she had seen, she was almost glad she didn’t have to go through it.
Sirius wasn’t sure why he had talked to Marlene McKinnon about his fear of losing James, maybe it was because she was the only person to have asked what was wrong instead of passing it off as attention seeking or just another bad mood. He was sure; however, that if she asked again he would tell her, just like the last time they’d had a similar conversation; in his fifth year. She had a way of putting advice that made you compelled to follow it, and follow it he would.
He didn’t know exactly how he was going to tell James how he was feeling, but he was determined to find a way.Every so often, we all need a kick up the backside, and it just takes someone to be willing to do it. Luckily for Sirius, he had Marlene.