Chapter 11 : Figgy Pudding and A Friendship Date II
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Honeydukes was what heaven Lea envisioned to be. It was filled to the brim with every kind of sweets a person could imagine. Shelves upon shelves sagged under the weight of brightly wrapped candy and barrels overflowed with sweets. Luscious pink squares of coconuts, all types of chocolate, caramel coloured toffees, glittering sugar spun quills, bonbons and sherbet balls. Along the walls were “Special Effects” sweets such as Pepper Imps and Ice Mice and “Unusual Tastes” among others. It was stunning.
“Oh this is better than Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” Lea sighed as she began wandering around the shop.
“Another book, about a sweet factory, Ronald Dahl wrote it, he's a muggle author, but this place is so much better,” Lea commented vaguely as she studied a bar of blueberry dark chocolate.
“Favourite type of sweet?” Sirius asked as he picked up a packet of Acid Pops.
“Honeydukes Rainbow Chocolate Covered Pretzels,” she answered immediately. To prove her point she showed him the tin she had already picked up. He chuckled and they wandered over to the Unusual Tastes corner of the shop.
“Ever had a blood-flavoured sucker before?” He asked her holding one up. To his utter surprise she nodded.
“Whoa?! What it did taste like?”
“Why don’t you try one and find out?” she suggested reading the label of bottle of Cockroach Clusters. He snorted at this. “No thanks.”
“It’s actually not that bad,” she said mildly. “Tastes kind of sweet, coppery, it’s like sucking a sickle.”
Sirius raised his eyebrows at her choice of words as he suddenly had a very different scenario in mind. However he chose wisely not to comment on this.
They paid for their sweets and then made their to the Three Broomsticks. Inside it was crowded, noisy, smoky and cozy. They found a table by the fireplace and collapsed on their chairs.
“God I love this time of year,” Lea said sentimentally. And she did. It seemed like the world became a little nicer during holiday time.
“Yeah it’s nice. Want a drink?” Sirius asked.
“Yes please, surprise me,” she replied. Sirius grinned at her and got up from the table flattered by her trust in him to get her a drink.
Ten minutes later he returned with their drinks and slid a steaming tankard towards her. Grateful she took a sip and sighed in satisfaction. Pleased he took a sip of his own drink, firewhiskey mixed with Gillywater soda and said, “Hard apple cider, only comes out this time of year according to Madame Rosmerta.”
“It’s delicious, here, try some,” she offered him her tankard. While he took a sip or two, she dug in her purse and came up with a cigarette and match. Deftly she lit the match with her thumbnail and then lit her cigarette. Sirius smiled in the way that blokes do when a girl does something surprising. She lifted a shoulder carelessly that said, “Yeah, you know it,”
“Didn’t know you smoked,” he remarked. She exhaled a quick stream of smoke and smiled sheepishly. “I don’t smoke a lot, it’s a nasty habit, but my brothers all do it, so does my mum, but I only try to smoke in pubs or at a show. I don’t want to become addicted it.”
“So you smoke socially?”
“More or less. Mostly because I enjoy the smell of it, and well, the memories associated with it. It always reminds me of my family or some of the really great music I’ve seen, and once in a while when I do smoke, it just takes me back to it.”
He nodded in comprehension. But then she added, “But don’t smoke! Smoking is bad for you!”
He let a out bark-like laugh and shook his hair out of his face. Christ he liked her in. Not in the “I want to date her/shag her” kind of way, but in a companionable, “man she’s something kind of way”.
They chatted for a bit, enjoying their drinks. Lea learned that he thought his ears were too big for his head (they weren’t she assured him), he was allergic to strawberries (made him erupt in hives) and that he had broken his nose three times which explained the slight crookedness to it (she thought it added a touch of sweetness to his face).
In turn Sirius found out that she had pierced her nose as a sixteenth birthday present to herself (he found it quite charming on her), she had received a “P” in her Astronomy O.W.L. (she couldn’t for the life of her map things) and she was double jointed in her thumbs and both of her big toes (when she showed him her thumbs he freaked out).
They ended up having a late lunch in the pub and people watched for a while. It was cozy and warm and Lea couldn’t imagine being anywhere else at that particular moment.
“Hey Sirius,?” she suddenly asked remembering something. “Why do your clothes smell like incense?”
Sirius flushed and tugged at his hair. “Okay…don’t tell anyone this…but I really love incense. It helps me sleep better, I love the smell of it, so I always light at before I go to bed. It drives Peter mad.”
“Ohhhh, it’s kind of funny, I never pegged you as type who liked incense.” She commented.
“Yeah well that’s because you didn’t know me very well, you were too busy ignoring me,” he pointed out.
“Very true. Big mistake on my part. To think we could have bypassed this entire silliness entirely if we had realized it’s better to be friends than not earlier.” She rolled her eyes and Sirius flicked an empty peanut shell at her.
For a moment Sirius studied her and she squirmed a bit under his keen gaze. “What?”
“You know what I really like about you? And no, I don’t mean like like, but admire in you? Besides the fact that you don’t put up my with my bullshit and that you could probably kick my ass?”
“Do tell me,” she drawled lighting another cigarette. This was the last one she promised herself. Smoking wasn’t a good habit. Plus it made you wrinkle earlier.
“You’re so…. coolly confidant. You could care less about what I or any guy for that matter thinks about you.”
“That’s because I don’t! I have better things to do,” she began and he held up a hand. “See! That’s exactly it! You’re just so…sure of yourself.”
She smiled wryly and then hesitated before speaking. “Yeah well…don’t worry, I’m fully human and I’m a girl and believe me, I have my doubts and insecurities and flaws.” Lea felt it important for him to know that she was human, that she was real, because real friends accept each other, flaws and all.
She was only this honest with Remus and Lily. Sure she liked Marlene, and even James, but she wasn’t as close to them as she was to Remus and Lily. She wasn’t quite sure she why she was being so candid with Sirius.
Then she realized that in between all of their dancing lessons and the few conversations that they’ve had in the Common Room or studying together here and there, that he had always been frank with her. Whether or not he was saying stupid things or being sincere he was honest with her.
It spooked her a little bit, to be so honest with someone she really didn’t know. But at the same time, it intrigued her.
She snapped out of her musings and smiled at him. “You think I have loads of confidence Mr. Black? You have self confidence up the wazoo!” He snorted and shook his head.
“There’s a difference between self-confidence and being egotistical and just riding off the attention people give you.” He said thoughtfully. “When people indulge in your antics, I mean, James and I pull a load of prank and to a certain extent and we goof off a lot, you come to begin to put on a show for everyone at school, because that’s what they expect. It’s not real you know, it’s kind of putting on a play.”
“Well maybe, god forbid you don’t become an Auror, you can go into acting,” she suggested biting back a grin. “I mean with a face like yours, I’m sure you’d find work,”
“Yeah and with the rest of me I could probably get a gig as a gigolo,” he rolled his eyes.
“I’m sure that either way you’d have a lot of fans,” she teased. Sirius threw another peanut shell at her.
While Lea and Sirius sat chatting in the Three Broomsticks, Lily and James were wandering around the snow-covered village. James wasn’t sure whether or not he could hold her hand. After all, this was all fairly new.
She slid him a merry look and James relaxed a little bit. He proffered an arm to her. Lily smiled and slid her arm through his and they continued to stroll around Hogsmeade arm in arm.
“James?” she asked after a moment as they passed Zonko’s. “Yeah?” he replied.
“Can we bypass Madame Puddifoot’s all together? That place gives me a headache. It’s too pink.” Lily said. James laughed.
“I’m relieved to hear you say that. Is there anywhere in particular you’d like to go? The Three Broomsticks is always really crowded, plus everyone would be there,” James began to ramble.
Lily nudged his shoulder with hers. “Relax James. I’m not embarrassed to be seen with you. In fact, as Marlene put it, I’m on a date with the Gryffindor star Chaser, girls will be rather put off by this development. But let’s go wherever you’re comfortable.”
“What do you mean girls will be rather put off?” He asked confused.
“James I don’t know if you have a thing called a mirror, but in case you don’t, you should use it and see what most of the girls talk about.”
James felt a stupid tug of childish pride at her compliment. “Yeah well I’ve spent the last four years trying to get you to notice me so I haven’t been paying that much attention so the girls. Plus with Sirius’ fan club always twittering around him, it’s kind of hard to notice normal girls since you’re scarred from the stupidity that surrounds him.”
“Yeah his fan club is quite scary,” Lily agreed.
“I want to go somewhere where I can hear you, and not have to shout over people.” James told her.
Lily nodded. “I know a couple of places,”
James looked at her with surprise in his eyes. She smiled mysteriously. “You’re not the only one who know likes to explore,” alluding to James and Sirius’s bromance walks they liked to partake in after curfew.
After wandering through a series of cobblestone alleys, she took him to a cozy little coffee shop that was tucked in between a bakery and a Magical Creatures shop.
“I’ve never been to this part of town before,” James commented as he looked up at the buildings.
“Not many Hogwarts students do, most of us are too busy loading up on merchandise from Zonko’s and Honeydukes and then park their butts in The Three Broomsticks.”
“Or suck each other’s faces off at Madam Puddifoot’s,” he added.
“Precisely. Lea and I like to wander a lot, to get away from all the students and such, we came across this place in our fifth year.” Lily said he opened the door to the café.
It was quite spacious inside with tables, couches and squashy looking armchairs. The crowd was a little older there, but James spied a familiar face or two among the people. On one end of the café there was a wall with bookcases that were stuffed to the brim with books. There was a fire crackling cheerfully and an eclectic collection of art hung on the walls. It smelled of coffee, fresh baked bread and of the scented candles that were lit on the surfaces of the table. James took a deep breath and a lazy smile made its way on his face.
“Yeah the smell kind of makes you go a little funny,” Lily said biting her cheek.
“It smells amazing in here!” James said a little dreamily. She shook her head and did a bold thing by taking his hand in hers and leading him to a couch with a table in front of it.
Lily tucked her legs under her and curled into the couch and James eased down beside her. A young woman came over to them, smiled at them and handed them two menus.
“May I get a cappuccino?” Lily asked. The woman nodded and left to get her drink.
“Holy crap there area lot of choices on here,” James whistled as he studied the menu. She laughed.
“Yeah but the food is good, take your time.”
The food was good and James settled into the couch content with the atmosphere and the company he had. He took a swig of his mulled mead and said quietly, “This took too long,”
Lily lifted her eyes to his and nodded silently. She closed the small distance between them and leaned into James. “I’m sorry for being an idiot and making you wait so long,”
“IT’s ok. It was worth it.” James cautiously put his arm around her. “I think the time that was spent getting ot this point was worth it. It gave us the time to develop into the people who we ended up—“
“Fancying?” she broke in. James grinned and nodded.
“Yeah. But no, I’m serious. Some people make-out one night and then the next day, they’re suddenly together. Some people make-out one night and never speak to another the next day. Some people become friends and somewhere down the line they get together. Some people hate each other initially but then something just conks them on the head and suddenly things change and they get together. People get together in so many different ways, there’s not a right or a wrong way.” James said.
Lily sat back and digested this. “You’re right. What matters is, they you get there in the end. Not the journey towards it.”
“But you have to admit, in some cases, the journey towards it can be one hell of a ride, it can be pretty amusing.” James grinned.
“Yes, especially if you’re a spectator to it,” Lily replied privately thinking of Lea and Sirius.
As Lily and James spent the afternoon cozying up to each other and talking, Peter and Remus joined Lea and Sirius at The Three Broomsticks and the four of them had fun playing Exploding Snap and chatting. They had in-depth discussion about Lily and James and the probability of them becoming official within the week. Peter and Lea had to suffer through a ten-minute argument about Quidditch that had Sirius turning red in the face because of Remus’ stubborn stance that it wasn’t the greatest sport in the world. They ended the day by going for another round of drinks before calling it a day.
The four of them trudged along the path back to the castle not speaking much because it had gotten colder. Snow began to fall again and Lea pulled her coat around tighter. In her nervous anticipation of today she had forgotten her scarf and she regretted it. Sirius noticed this and without hesitating unwrapped his muffler and handed it to her.
Before she could protest, he changed his mind and then just wrapped the muffler around her himself. “There, now don’t even think to argue against it. Shut up, it’s cold and I can’t have you sick and leave me stranded at dance practice.” He said sternly. She shook her head but played with the ends of it, biting back a smile.
“So were you two on a date or something? We kind of lost track of you this morning,” Peter asked in a muffled voice.
“No, we weren’t on a date date, we were on a friendship date,” Sirius explained. Remus just looked at him and he continued, “We just wanted to spend some time one on one to prove to each other that first impressions are not always true and it’d be easier for all of us, if we were proper mates.”
“How…very grown up of you…” his mate remarked. Peter rolled his eyes and said nothing. It was a common fact that Sirius really didn’t have mates who were girls. And those girls who did start off as mates with him usually ended up as one of his short-term girlfriends. It would only be a matter of time before she became one his girls, or Sirius screwed something up.
“Well you know Remus, I decided that I ought to take steps into growing up.”
“And clearly, today was a big step in his book,” Lea said loudly nudging Remus. He chuckled.
“Shaddaup you two. I am making an effort—“
“Something you rarely do,” Peter cut in and Sirius slapped him lightly on the head. “I am making an effort and everyone should be very proud of me!”
“Okay Sirius, we are all very proud of you, and we appreciate your valiant efforts in trying to grow up.” Remus sighed. Lea nodded in agreement and then added, “Yes, I for one, really do appreciate your effort,” although she was smiling, there was a warm look in her eyes and Sirius felt himself growing a little bit taller.
It was later that night when Lea realized she had forgotten to give him back his scarf. She had changed into a pair of sweatpants and a pulled on a large jumper over her when she spied the scarf lying on the pile of discarded clothes.
She thought about quickly running over to the boy’s dorm and returning it, but it was well past two in the morning and she was tired. Marlene, Lily and her had indulged in a girl’s night after dinner, recounting how their respective days went. To Marlene and Lea’s disappoint Lily hadn’t kissed James yet, but they had held hands. They had ended up giggling, gossiping and dancing around to some of Lea’s music, savouring the fact that they could still act goofy without worrying about tomorrow. After graduation no one knew where they were going or what they were doing and it was like nights, and days, like these that they really appreciated.
It was late, he was probably asleep and she didn’t want to disturb him she reasoned as she put away her clothes. She neatly folded his scarf and caught a whiff of incense and chuckled to herself. He was so odd in some ways.
Lea crawled into bed and wrenched her bed hangings around her. For a moment she just laid there, enjoying the feeling of being under so many layers and then she ran the scarf through her fingers contemplating about its owner.
She’d return it to him first thing tomorrow, she decided and to remind herself she’d keep the scarf on top of her covers tonight so when she woke up it’d be the first thing she saw in the morning.
Lea closed her eyes, fingers still playing with the scarf. When she would wake up in the morning, she’d find her hand tightly curled around it, having kept a grip on it the entire night.
A/N: Aaannnd the cue the start of something new. I hope you enjoyed it, please review. :)
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