Chapter 6 : The Marauders' Reveal
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Sirius clears his throat before asking, “What do you mean?” He hastily unlocks his arms from around me and we shift hastily apart on the couch.
James doesn’t seem to notice our current state as he walks over to a desk in the side of the common room, surveying his parchment. “Boat House idea is out. It’s too obvious. I’ve thought of something…better.”
He gives us an expectant smirk, waiting for our response.
“What, in the last ten minutes?” I exasperatedly say impatiently, partially annoyed at his insistence but mostly at his consistently awful timing. I awkwardly turn away from Sirius to face James.
“Well, where’s it going to be, then?” Sirius asks, looking equally as peeved.
James licks his lips and says with a devious smile,
“The Shrieking Shack.”
* * *
“Are you mad?” Sirius is looking at James with an incredulous expression written across his strained face. He stands up, leaving me on the couch.
“Perhaps a bit, but can you imagine how utterly sensational this will be?” James looks like a madman, clutching his parchment in hand, and his wand held out for no apparent reason.
“This is insane, Prongs. Even for you,” Sirius says, turning to me for a look of agreement.
“Yeah James,” I start carefully. “I’m not sure this is possible…how will we get into the Shack unseen?”
“James, this is a disaster waiting to happen,“ Sirius adds seriously, shaking his head.
“Padfoot, you of all people should know it’s actually not.” James says pointedly. There is a split second where Sirius and James exchange a look, and suddenly I am under the impression they are having a silent conversation. I narrow my eyes, curious.
“But James, that’s not possible with this many people,” Sirius says pointedly.
“What’s that?” I interject skeptically. I sense they are keeping something from me.
But they are still facing each other, as if completely unaware of me standing two feet beside them.
“Of course I know that. But you’re overlooking a key step.” James says, his eyes large and bright with excitement.
“What? Surely not…the passage?” Sirius asks, his eyes widening.
“Of course not. I’m not an idiot,” James snaps. I really wish they’d let me in on whatever the bloody hell they were referring to…
“We can easily get our small group of older, responsible students across the grounds under the cover of fog, it won’t be trouble at all,” James explains. I laugh humorlessly. Fat chance of that.
“But…Prongs we’re not supposed to. We can’t.” Sirius states in an uncharacteristically anxious voice. “And Dumbledore. We’ll be expelled for sure.” Sirius is running his hand through his hair, only mussing it further. A nervous habit of his.
I myself am thoroughly lost. “Mind filling me in please?” I say, annoyed.
“This will end badly, James.” Sirius goes on regardless of my questioning
“Not if I have anything to do with it,” James says, suavely confident.
“I don’t know…” Sirius says slowly. His hair has not reached a level of disarray I have never yet witnessed.
“Trust me, it’ll go without a hitch. My plan is foolproof,” James says self-assuredly.
“But-” Sirius starts.
Now I have had enough.
“Can you two gits please stop ignoring me and explain what the hell you’re going on about?!” I screech, standing now and looking between the pair of them with an angered expression.
This seems to break them from their focus. Sirius turns towards me,“Sorry. I’m just trying to convince James here that he’s being absolutely insane.”
“I know, but what’s this about a passage?” I have an unnerving feeling of being left out of a large secret. Though I was quite used to this kind of behavior with these boys, this was approaching the last straw of my patience.
James and Sirius exchange a look for a moment before turning back to face me.
“Well Rora…” James starts, handing me the piece of parchment he'd been holding. “We’ve got something to explain.”
Sirius looks at James incredulously. “You want to show her?”
“Of course Padfoot, it’s fine. We trust her.”
“What in the bloody hell is going on?” I ask again.
Sirius just smirks and gestures to the old parchment James was still holding out.
I take the parchment, confused, and survey it. It’s blank and yellowed and frayed at the edges.
“What? There’s nothing on here?” I raise one eyebrow. “If you lot are pranking me right now I swear…” I warn.
“We’re not,” Sirius assures, and slowly takes out his wand.
“Rora, as a trusted friend of the Marauders…we confess we have not been completely honest with you.” James says, mirroring the motion with his own wand.
I stare at the both of them in utter bewilderment and silence, as they both reach out their wands, hold them to the blank parchment and mutter in unison,
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
Suddenly the parchment, blank mere seconds before, is alive with lines, shapes and words. My eyes widen in awe. The shapes form what appear to be blueprints, with names of rooms and corridors popping up all around. In the center, the words Messers Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs proudly present…the Marauder’s Map appears in loopy crimson lettering, spreading out across the page like droplets of spilt wine. I stare disbelieving at what I’m seeing.
“What is this? Where did you get this?” I ask in bewilderment. James and Sirius smirk at each other and don’t respond.
My nose is barely millimeters from the surface of the parchment as I examine every line as it appears. There are many labyrinthine lines and words, making a maze of shapes before me.
“You didn’t…” I start slowly. “Surely you didn’t make this?”
I look up at them, and they are both smiling proudly now.
“That’s right, took us ages to get it right.“ Sirius says, coming over to stand closer to me so he can look at the map.
“See these footprints? That’s someone walking through the 2nd floor corridor as we speak.” He gestures to one of the many small black dots slowly moving across the page. I am speechless.
“Wait,” I say now, inspecting the lines closer. “This…this is Hogwarts?”
“It is,” James says.
I examine the map closer, and see a whole network of lines that seem to represent each floor and room in the castle. Many I recognized, and even some I didn’t. I scan it more, spotting the Great Hall, the dungeons and the green houses. Hundreds of the dots are moving around at varying speeds, some in groups, others alone.
“And it tracks everyone?” I ask, examining the many different labeled names. James nods.
“Really useful for sneaking around at night,” Sirius says with a laugh. “How did you ever think we pulled off all those pranks so well, Rora?”
“I…I don’t know,” I am in a state of awe. “I just can’t believe you gits have had this map for years and never told me!”
They laugh together. “Well, we couldn’t exactly have the whole school know, it would get confiscated immediately.” Sirius explains sheepishly.
“Oh, and I’m the whole school?” I raise an eyebrow at him.
“I wanted to tell you last year,” he confesses. “But I had to make sure your allegiance to the Marauders was true.”
“Oh please,” I scoff, but I’m smiling.
"And if you haven't noticed, those nicknames of ours really came in handy with this map." James says giddily, gesturing to the title.
"Hmm, and here I was thinking you were just overly affectionate," I say with a chortle.
"Ha-ha, good one Rora," Sirius says sarcastically. "But actually we did needed to have some degree of anonymity so they couldn't trace it back to us."
"Except that you still call each other the names all the time?" I point out, raising an eyebrow. "I hardly think no one has noticed."
"Well, we only really do that in front of you and a few others, actually," James says. "Only the most trustworthy Gryffindors who would never rat us out."
I roll my eyes. "You blokes take yourselves way too seriously,"
They laugh merrily before I press on, “So…where is this passage you were talking about before?” I scan the page, searching for a marker.
James looks nervously at Sirius for a moment, evidently now becoming hesitant about the extent of my knowledge. Sirius just shrugs and points his finger to the Hogwarts grounds portion, on top of a little tree labeled Whomping Willow.
“You’ve got to be joking,” I say, looking back up at him incredulously.
“No, not joking in the slightest my dear Rora.” James gives a sly smile. “But we won’t be using it,”
“No?” I ask. “Then what does this map have to do with your genius plan?”
“We can use it to check if there are any staff members nearby, of course!” James exclaims.
“We’ve got it covered, don’t you worry, love” Sirius says, mirroring James smirk as he takes the parchment from me. He seems suddenly rather affectionate towards his best mate again, I note. Perhaps the prospect of a mischievous plan had distracted him from his annoyance with James.
“I think this will go off without a hitch, we’re quite experienced with navigating the grounds after dark,” Sirius explains casually as he takes out his wand.
“Mischief managed,” he mutters, pressing his wand to the map, which wipes its surface clean again.
"But hang on,” I prod. “How often do you blokes go out after dark? Is it really that often?”
“Oh, just once a month,” James and Sirius find this endlessly amusing, apparently as are struck with a laughing fit. I purse my lips. Like interrogating the Mad Hatter, these two. But I got the sneaking suspicion that they were hiding something more…
“And anyway, we can explain more later,” James says, composing himself. “But I’ve got to go meet Evans for our evening rounds planning with the Prefects,”
This wipes the grin clean off Sirius’s face in an instant.
“On a Saturday?” He asks incredulously. James cheeks flush ever so slightly as he nosiily fiddles with the rolled map.
“Yes, it’s highly urgent,” he stammers and quickly stashes the map back in his pocket. “It was, er, Lily’s, I mean Evan’s idea, sorry mate, can’t stay,” and with that he turns around back out the portrait hole again.
Judging by Sirius’s expression, it would seem the momentary coalescence he felt with his friend was waning once more at James abrupt departure. His brow begins to lightly furrow as he looks at the space James had occupied just seconds earlier.
“Git,” I hear him nearly inaudibly mutter under his breath.
“Well then,” I sigh and return to my seat on the sofa by the hearth. “I am going to hold you to that promise of a full explanation,”
But Sirius’s face is stern once again as he turns to sit next to me once more. In the silent moment where we sit staring into the glowing embers, still very much alone in the deserted common room, I can’t help but remember what we had been doing right before James had stormed in so suddenly...but I can’t bring myself to say anything. I’m not even sure what I could say.
“Rora, I promise I will explain…everything. Just so long as you promise me that when we leave school we won’t lose touch.” he says lightly, his voice almost pleading.
“Yes, of course, Sirius,” I answer, taken aback at his tone.
“It’s just what you said earlier, about us going our separate ways…” he trails off. But I can guess that he is worried moreso about James.
“Oh, well I suppose I just assumed we’d all end up living different places, with our careers, that’s all,” I say reassuringly. Sirius is staring into the flames now, worry etched across his face.
“I don’t know where I’ll end up,” he says lightly. “But promise me we’ll find a way to all stay mates,”
“I promise,” I say with certainty.
“No matter of James ends up marrying Evans of if you get launched to the moon or if Remus gets lost in the basement of the Ministry or if Marigold drowns in a pint of cider?”
I give a snort and he laughs with me. “Yes, even then, we will find a way. Though I think I have more of a chance of getting launched into the galaxy than James marrying Lily,”
Sirius raises an eyebrow for a moment, “I’m not so sure,”
I roll my eyes. “You are truly a jealous green-eyed monster, Black,”
* * *
Middays on Sundays at Hogwarts often had a lazy atmosphere despite the looming due dates of the week ahead. On this particular Sunday, I found myself attempting to be studious despite my longing to be curled up on a sofa by the fire.
It was the day after the Hogsmeade trip, and Sirius, Remus, and Peter and were seated across from me on one of the long wooden tables lining the spaces between the aisles of books in the school library. The leaded glass of the windows cast a cross-hatched shadow across the surface of the table and my impressive spread of books and papers.
The boys were all hunched over a large spread of parchment with discarded games of Hangman strewn about, seeming to not be getting much studying done at all. They were chatting in quite a distracting manner, but I was doing my best to ignore them and focus on my astronomy report. Though my success in this was questionable…
“You know, Rora, it is quite a shame you aren’t studying to be an Auror with James and I,” Sirius whispers to me casually.
“Why’s that?” I answer absently, not looking up the report which was spread over the majority of the table in front of me as I filled in chart data and drafted summaries.
“Because then you’d be Aurora the Auror.”
I look up to see him giving me a cheeky grin, and I roll my eyes. Him, Remus and Peter erupt in cackles, looking very pleased with themselves.
“You know, it’s funny. I was sitting here with my good mates Remus, Sirius and Peter but all I see are a bunch of immature eight year old boys,” I retort disdainfully, dipping my quill into my ink bottle and very purposefully continuing to write.
Sirius slides down the bench next to me.
“Don’t be like that, Rors,” he whispers with an exaggerated, puppy dog expression.
Remus slides over next. “Yeah, he wasn’t being serious,”
Peter giggles madly at this and I try with all my might to disguise my emerging grin and deny them the satisfaction of their lame pun.
“You lot are insufferable,” I say, but the corners of my mouth have risen, and I am defeated.
“No I’d say we’re just looking for Au-Roaring good time, is all,” Sirius responds. I could slap him.
“You have the worst taste in puns, do you know that?” I tease.
“Black! Mockinglow! Quiet down, or I shall have to remove you from our quiet library!” We hear the snapping reproach of Madame Pince, the librarian, from behind us. We all quickly straighten up in our seats and stifle our laughter.
“Madame Pinchers doesn’t seem to like my puns much,” Sirius whispers, miming the look of a perturbed crab. It is all we can do to stop our cackles from escaping, but it is too late.
With a silent fury that only a librarian could muster, Madame Pince strides back over to us in an instant and points her finger silently to the door. “You will be sent through those doors unless you can behave,” She says with a stern raise of her brow. We all obediently return our gazes to the books in front of us.
The creak of the library doors alerts us to a new addition and we look up to see two adult figures emerging, walking side by side.
“Speaking of Aurors,” Remus mutters. They were indeed two of the Ministry Aurors who had been more or less sleuthing around the castle for the last few weeks of classes. Sometimes I would see them pacing through an empty corridor or lurking outside a classroom door, but I had rarely bumped into one of them more directly.
We watch as they survey the library, the many rows of students pouring over parchment rolls and books, and make their way down the line.
“Should we hide the contraband?” Remus jokes. “Take cover under a table?”
The taller one of the pair, a lean man in his early thirties with a rough blonde beard and a pierced brow, reaches our table.
“Good afternoon, students,” he greets amicably. “Successful studying?”
We all nod silently and politely, myself stifling a snort at how paradoxically obedient the boys looked.
“An aspiring Astronomer?” The Auror asks, looking down at my astronomy chart with some interest.
“Erm, yes. I want to work for the Magical Center for Celestial Observation one day,” I answer shyly. His light eyes twinkle a bit.
“Ah yes, my Aunt works up there. And I believe one of the professors here used to be employed there, too. What was his name again, Lidia?” The Auror calls over to his partner, a young black woman with jetblack hair, who is by the window, looking furtively out onto the grounds.
“Lancaster?” she answers. “The new one, right?”
My mouth hangs open for a moment in disbelief. I exchange a rather confused look with Sirius.
“You’ve met him yet?” The first Auror asks, obviously surprised at my harsh reaction.
“Well yes, he’s our substitute Charms professor, but I didn’t know he was an Astronomer,” I am a bit disturbed by this. If the employees at the Observatory were anything like him, I wasn’t sure I wanted to work there after all…
“Oh yes, he left the position a few years ago, I believe. My sister knows him from school,” the second Auror, Lidia, explains. “Maybe he could help you study,”
I am grateful for her good intentions, but studying with Lancaster was the very last thing I would want to do.
“Perhaps I will,” I say politely with a shrug.
“What Aurora here means to say is, no thank you, that bloke is a git,” Sirius interjects.
My eyes widen and I kick Sirius’ foot from under the table. Peter has to stifle another laugh.
But luckily the Aurors find this very amusing.
“Not a great teacher, then?” the first one laughs.
“Not really my cup of tea is all,” I answer apologetically. “I appreciate the suggestion, though,”
Lidia, however, gives an easy smile. “Come to think of it, Clarke, my sister did say he was rather…egotistical at times,”
Sirius gives a hollow laugh. “You could say that,”
The first Auror, whose name was apparently Clarke, is still staring at us somewhat curiously and still with amusement.
“You, what’s your name, boy?” He asks Sirius.
“Black,” he answers coolly, leaning back casually in his seat. “Sirius Black,”
Clarke nods slowly, as if he has confirmed something. “Thought I recognized you,”
Sirius flinches ever so slightly at this. I wonder on what circumstances this Auror had encountered his family members.
“I was talking with your brother, Regulus, just yesterday,” he explains. Sirius looks slightly relieved.
“He’s alright, for a Slytherin,” Clarke gives a booming laugh.
“You were a Gryffindor in school, I take it?” Remus asks.
“Oh yes, the very best House!” he answers jovially.
“Behind Ravenclaw, of course,” Lidia jabs and Clarke rolls his eyes.
“Oh you and your gaggle of bookworms,” Clarke teases.
“I seem to remember Ravenclaw winning the House Cup our seventh year?” Lidia says with a coy smile.
“You two graduated together then?” Peter asks.
“Oh yes. We hated each other a bit back then though,” Clarke says wth a playful grin. “She couldn’t stand me,”
“Only because you were such an arrogant prick,” Lidia says.
“But she warmed up to me eventually,” Clarke winks at us.
“Clearly, or else I can’t imagine how miserable being co-workers would be,” Peter observes innocently. Both Clarke and Lidia share a hearty laugh at this.
“Quite,” Lidia agrees.
Just then, the ever formidable Madame Pince has returned looking more full of wrath than I had ever seen her.
“Dawlish, Jones, please leave the students to their studying. If you cannot patrol without distracting them, I must ask you to please take your conversations elsewhere,” she hisses coolly.
Clarke nods his head in understanding and quips to us, “Well, we’ll leave you lot to your, um, dutiful revision,” He eyes the boys’ stacks of discarded Hangman games scribbled all over their papers with a smirk. “Happy studying,”
Once they’ve continued on their way and Madame Pince has recoiled back to her front desk lair, we all return to our occupations. I try to regain my spot in the long list of coordinates and position logs and I notice even Sirius has cracked open his D.A.D.A. textbook. I see Remus taking out a bit of tattered parchment, tap it with his wand under the table, and examine it closely.
With a start, I realize he has the Marauder’s Map.
I glance over at Sirius, with his dark hair falling softly in his face as he pours over his book, his eyes downcast towards the words in a casual focus. His white shirt is unbuttoned slightly, his house tie abandoned somewhere, so that I can see a slight peaking of his neck and chest. I lick my lips as a strange sensation flows through my torso.
I snap myself out of it and clear my throat softly, trying to get his attention.
Sirius looks up, his eyes meeting mine and I subtly gesture to the map in Remus’s hand. Sirius’s eyes widen, and he gives me a distinctly warning look. He jerks his head towards Remus and Peter and then shakes it back and forth, mouthing, “Don’t say anything yet,”
“You better explain tonight,” I mouth back to him. I am partly impressed by the sheer skill it must have taken to make the thing, and partly irked that it took so long for him to divulge it to me.
Sirius only gives me a dismissive nod and a smirk. In contempt, I pursue my lips and return to my chart.
His grey eyes blink up to me and catch me staring, and I hurried avert my glance back to my chart.
Later on, when the sun has begun to set behind the distant mountains, the boys decide they have had quite their fill of studying and elect to head back to Gryffindor Tower. I rise from my table to leave with them, but as we make our way out of the library, I slow down and turn instead towards the staircase to the Astronomy Tower. Before I get up even one step, Sirius calls me to stop.
“Hey Rora! You coming?”
I turn, and hold out my overflowing arms full of astronomy material in explanation.
“I’ve really got to go up to the Astronomy Tower and study the sky more. I need to memorize this star system,” I explain, indicating my large handful of rolled up charts. “It’s nearly dark, and conditions look clear, so I really should take advantage of it…”
“Well mind if I join you?” he offers with hopeful eyes, making his way towards me. “I don’t really fancy sitting around the Common room tonight. It’s getting quite boring already,”
I shrug, “Sure Sirius. But I have to warn you it’s not going to be exciting up there tonight either, just me peering into telescopes,”
He only smiles. “I’ve known you long enough to know about your obsession with stars, Rora. You can’t hide your giddiness.”
I narrow my eyes, “Well I only meant you may be bored…”
“I think I’ll risk it,” he holds out his hand, turning now towards the staircase. “And besides, I’ve been up there plenty of times and I’ve been able to occupy myself.” His smile at this was oddly devious. “You coming?”
I shrug with a reluctant smile and take his hand and ascend the stairs at his side.
Once we reach the top, I open the door and lead him out onto the large expanse.
The ceiling of the tower is transparent, allowing a full panoramic view of the night sky. The rain from earlier that morning had altogether subsided, the grouping of clouds moving off into the west, leaving a wide clear patch of sky. The stars are bright and clear, perfect viewing conditions that only the aftermath of a rainstorm could bring. Though we seem to be the only students taking advantage of it tonight.
“Blimey, this is incredible,” Sirius murmurs, his face directed upwards in awe as he walks across the deck. The deep indigo of the approaching night was creeping in, with tiny a dotting of stars twinkling above like friends returning from a long holiday. Or at least that was how I liked to think of them.
“I can’t remember the last time I was up here where the stars were so clear.” Sirius marvels, standing at the edge of the balcony.
"You were probably preoccupied with other things,” I say teasingly.
He smirks but doesn’t respond.
I walk over to one of the large silvery telescopes and tap it with my light willow wand.
“But anyway, this should be perfect for my observing tonight.” I say, as I watch the telescope’s core light up in a fiery orb as it starts up. I put one eye into the viewing piece.
I hear him say from behind me. “You’ve always been so good at this star stuff, Rora. I don’t know how you do it,”
“What? Astronomy?” I ask.
“Yeah, you are brilliant at it, you know that?” He is still facing away from me, head turned up towards the sky.
“I just really enjoy it, mostly. The skill just follows, I suppose,” I say lightly, as I position the telescope’s lens to the correct position in the sky.
“Saturn is gorgeous tonight. So clear,” I observe quietly, mostly to myself, as I spread out my star chart. I redirect my telescope to a distant patch of stars, zoom in and begin to take note of their positions. Sirius is now slumped down behind me, against the wall, surveying the night sky with awe.
There are several moments, full of nothing but a comfortable silence as I tinker with my telescopes and note the star’s relative positions as Sirius sits calmly at my side. My quill’s scratching was the only sound apart from the quiet hum of the forest and the clatter of the telescope’s mechanics.
“I wish I was talented at something,” I hear Sirius say quietly after awhile. The night sky has deepened now, becoming a velvety expanse of darkest blue.
I abruptly stop my observing and turn back to him with an incredulous expression on my face.
“What are you talking about?” I say in disbelief. “You’re good at everything you try, Sirius.”
He rises now, and strides over to the railing, eyes cast upwards. “Maybe so, but I don’t have one thing that sets me apart, like you,”
“I hardly think that’s true,” I scoff, abandoning my chart and going over to stand with him. “You wrote that bloody map, for Merlin’s sake! Half the population of adult wizards in Britain couldn’t do that!”
He shrugs. “I dunno. I sometimes think I’d like to have one thing…”
I raise an eyebrow. “Well I think you’re completely mad because you’re one of the most brilliant in our year. And you’re studying to become an Auror. Not many could do that, either,”
But he doesn’t seem pacified by this. He stares pensively out over the grounds, a slight frown across his face. The Great Lake reflects the starlight like a blanket of shimmering silver, and I see the light reflected in Sirius’ eyes.
“I’m not exactly pleasing my parents, you know,” he says quietly.
“They’re Death Eater sympathizers you know,” he whispered. “You don’t have to pretend to not know. Everyone knows.”
I was frozen still.
“I know,” is all I can think to say.
“Even me just being in Gryffindor is a shame to the family,” he says, voice barely above a whisper.
“You’re lucky you have normal wizard parents, Rora. They’ll always be proud, whatever you do.”
I looked away form my telescopes now to face him. His brow was furrowed as he stared into space above the grounds. His arms were tensely clutching the railing, his veins popping.
“Sirius,” I whisper, taking his hands in mine. “You are not your family,”
He looks to me now, his grey eyes sad. “Aren’t I?”
“You aren’t,” I say with conviction. “You are more compassionate, more intelligent and more good then they can ever hope to be,”
“Sometimes I…” he trails off. He lowers his head and whispers, “Sometimes I’m terrified of becoming just like my parents. You’re so lucky to have a loving family, Rora. More than you ever might realize,”
“My family life is far from perfect,” I say defensively. “My father is a genius wizard whom has many important friends, yes. But he’s also an unorganized mess at home who starts too many projects to finish. And my mother is a muggle who couldn’t tell you wolfsbane from chocolate frogs, but she is tickled by the whole world of magic, so I guess she tries. But she still is skeptical of every magical being or object she encounters. So that of course present problems. And I just…get overwhelmed by it sometimes. ” I blurt. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this much about my family, really. No less Sirius.
Sirius seems amused by this. “But see Rora, that may be so, but that’s endearing. There are much worse things to have as parents, believe me…”
I shrug. “I know, I’m not saying I have it worse. It’s just…If only you knew how everyone else views you Sirius, you’d have nothing to worry about,”
“I don’t care what people think of me,” he says simply. He walks back over the wall and sits down again, leaning casually against it with his back.
I turn around to follow him and take a seat next to him on the floor. My arm is leaning against his, and I slowly rest my head on his shoulder.
“Well obviously you do, if you’re scared of being misjudged based on your family,” I say lightly.
“It’s not that simple,” he replies, shifting slightly.
“Sure it is,” I say.
“I’ve gone through it so many times with them, I’ve tried to please them, then I’ve been the rebellious son, I’ve tried it all.” he whispers.
“Screw them, Sirius,” I whisper back. “If they can’t see what an amazing son they’ve got, they clearly don’t deserve you,”
I hear him give a gentle laugh, almost no more than a breath. “Well I think it’s too late for Mumsie and father to see anything about me, give my moving out and all,”
“Well, all the more reason for you to move on and realize that who you are is not dependent on who came before you or what others think of you,”
I lock eyes with him and we are silent for a moment. I want so much for him to understand me, to know that I care about him.
“You seem to be the only one who understands sometimes, Rora…” he whispers to me after a few moments.
I am silent, pondering his words. Do I understand him?
“Surely James understands you just as well as I,” I offer, looking back at him. “He’s your best mate after all.”
“Yes, I suppose…” he trails off again “But at the moment he’s a bit distracted,”
I sigh and snuggle myself closer to him. His long hair is falling on my cheek slightly. I can feel the gentle rise and fall of his chest as he breathes. My legs begin to tingle slightly.
I slowly look up at him. His eyes are closed now, almost falling asleep as we sit here together. For a moment he looks younger, almost childlike. The haughty exterior has disappeared for a fleeting instant. I have a desire to stroke his cheek. But I stop myself.
“We should get back,” I whisper, as I start to get up. “Or we’ll both fall asleep up here and suffer a whipping from Professor Sinistra.”
“Mmm,” he says, though his eyes are still closed.
“Come on, “ I say, rising and this time it’s me who holds out my hand.
He opens his eyes to look up at me. There is the lightest trace of a smile as he takes my hand.
Once we are back to the common room, Sirius stops and turns to face me at the foot of the dormitory stairs. All the lights are down now, and it appears everyone has gone to sleep.
“By the way, you still owe me a complete explanation of your map,” I point out as I yawn widely. “Don’t for a minute think I’ve forgotten,”
“I’m a wizard of my word,” he says with a smirk. “You can hold me to that,”
I smile at him, and he simply smiles back for a moment. We are silent, but the fluttering in my stomach has annoyingly returned.
“Thank you for tonight, Rora,” he whispers after a moment, and leans down slowly. I feel the lightest touch of his lips against my forehead. I bite my lip softly, a bundle of nerves seems to have erupted within me. He smiles lightly, staring me down until turning to go up the stairs. I turn as well, climbing slowly up and up until I reach my door.
I open it and practically float to my bed, dropping my things lazily in my trunk at the foot of my bed. I plop down onto my bed, my hand gently touching the spot on my forehead where his lips were mere seconds before.
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