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Like a House on Fire by 800 words of heaven
Chapter 17 : SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!
 
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Sirius was acting strange. I mean stranger than usual. That boy was weird on his good days. Recently however, he seemed even more out of whack. What was he doing that was so completely and unbelievably Sirius? Where do I begin? Well, let’s see… first of all, he was being nice. It was creepy. And sort of suited him. And he was all into asking me how I felt about things all of sudden. He’d never given a damn before, why suddenly start now? Not that I was complaining much about that. It seemed to be a positive change, for once. He stared at me too. Like, a lot. A lot as in every time I happened to glance in his direction (which wasn’t that often, mind you) I invariably caught him looking back. And he never looked away. It as if he wanted me to know that he was watching me! It was downright creepy! Those stormy grey eyes were always so intense… and really, I have not spent a single daydream wondering about those eyes… not even one. I swear.

 

And there was one more thing. I wasn’t sure if this was just me though. For all his weirdness, he seemed to be a lot wittier… and more charming… and more handsome… and I am not fantasising about Sirius Black!

 

No, really. I’m not.

 

Am I?

 

“SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!” Sirius yelled excitedly, doing some sort of victory dance around the Common Room. It was the first Saturday of December and by the sounds of it, there had been a massive snow storm last night, leaving Hogwarts transformed into a winter wonderland.

“Millie, please shut your boyfriend up!” cried Lily, as I stumbled down the stairs to see what all the fuss was about. She was curled up on a sofa, her hands over her ears.

“Ask your boyfriend,” I growled. I was not happy about being woken up before eight-o-clock on a Saturday morning. “It’s his best mate who’s gone bonkers.” I plonked myself down next to Lily and scowled at my boyfriend.

“No can do, Millie dear,” James said. He didn’t seem disturbed in the least by the god-awful racket Sirius was making. Maybe he’d grown used to it over the ears. Or maybe he’d gone deaf because of it. “There is very little that can shut him up right now.”

“He’s right,” Remus said, sounding as miserable as I felt by this news. He collapsed down next to me. Sarah, who was sitting opposite us, next to James, smiled shyly at him. “Nothing short of killing him would shut him up right now.”

“That can be arranged,” Lily growled.

“SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!” Sirius continued to crow. More people had gathered to see what was going on. Most, after realising it was just Sirius being an idiot, went back to bed, charming their dormitory doors, so the sound was muffled.

“Where’s Peter?” I asked, looking around. He seemed to be the only one who was missing from what had become our group.

“Still sleeping,” James said.

“How can he sleep through that?” I asked, indicating a still victory-dancing Sirius.

James shrugged. “The bloke has a God-given gift to be able to sleep through anything.” Lucky little git.

“SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!” Dear Merlin! Was there nothing that would shut this guy up?

“Oi! Black!” I yelled across the room. “Shut up!”

“SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!” Bloody hell!

I aimed a cushion at Sirius’ head. And didn’t miss. It concked him on the back of his noggin hard enough to surprise him into silence.

He whirled around and narrowed his eyes at me. I raised an eyebrow at him. “You’re going to pay for that, White,” he said menacingly. He picked up the cushion I threw at him and chucked it at my head, but his aim wasn’t as good as he thought it was, because he missed me and hit Lily instead.

Everyone went dead quiet. Sirius looked visibly scared. And with good reason. It was one thing to throw a cushion at Lily. It was a completely different thing to throw a cushion at Lily when she’d been rudely awakened by a half-crazed adolescent male on a cold Saturday morning.

“You. Are. So. Dead!” she screamed. The rest of us exchanged looks. This could take a while.

 

After Lily had finished completely annihilating Sirius – or at least to the point where he was practically in tears begging for mercy (I wasn’t sure if they were tears of fear or laughter, considering that once she’d attacked him with all the cushions in the Common Room, she’d started to tickle him), we headed down to breakfast. Once everyone had eaten (Sirius decided that the best way to get back into Lily’s good books was to start berating me for not eating a proper breakfast), Sirius suddenly cried, “Snowball fight!”

 

Now, as pretty as snow was, it was definitely prettier from afar. Preferably when there was a thick pane of glass between me and the powdery stuff, with a roaring fire warming my face. It was not nice when my pretend-boyfriend physically picked me up, slung me over his shoulder like he did this every day and hauled my arse outside. Pretty obvious that he ignored my shrieks of protest, right?

 

“Black you put me down right now or I’ll make sure you’ll never be able to have children!” I yelled in his ear.

“Calm your farm White! It’s just a little snow!”

“It is not a little snow! It’s bloody frozen water! And do you know what frozen water is? It’s freezing! And I do not like freezing!

He seemed unaffected. Note to self: must work on being scary and intimidating.

“Black, I’m warning you –” I never got to finish my threat (good thing too, it wasn’t that great) because at that precise moment I was unceremoniously dumped into the snow. I lay there for a split second before the cold started to creep up, before shrieking and jumping up, dusting off as much of the blasted stuff as I could from my (now wet) coat. Sirius just stood there and laughed at me.

“Merlin Millie, I didn’t know you were such a sook!” he said, between guffaws. He was not witty or charming or handsome anymore! Okay, he was still looking damn fine with his hair all ruffled and falling gracefully into his eyes and his pale cheeks tinged slightly pink from the cold… but that didn’t redeem his recent behaviour! Nor did it mean that I liked him! Just that I was a teenage girl who happened to notice when a cute guy was around. Nothing wrong with that.

I scowled at him and whacked him on the back of his head.

“Ow!” he cried.

“Who’s the sook now?” I asked. By this time, the others had made their way down the hill to where Sirius and I were. James and Lily were hand in hand and I was happy to note that Remus and Sarah were deep in conversation.

“Am not!” he cried. I didn’t notice the snowball Sirius was preparing to throw at me in retaliation until it was mere inches from my face. With the reflexes borne of years of Quidditch, I managed to duck just in time. Sirius’ snowball flew harmlessly over my head and straight into Remus’ face. We all stared in shock at him. He seemed surprised at first, then he shook his hair, dislodging excess snow, bent down, picked up a handful of snow and chucked it in the general direction of Sirius’ big head. Of course it missed, instead hitting James in the gut. And so, through various hits and misses, all six of us spent a morning laughing and throwing balls of frozen water at each other.

 

After a couple of hours, we began to tire. Well, most of us did. James and Lily had been pelting snow at each other and had tripped over a largish mound a while ago. They hadn’t resurfaced and none of us really wanted to go check on them. We got enough of what they were most probably up to in the Common Room thank you very much. Remus and Sarah had retired to the sidelines and were watching and laughing at Sirius and I pelt each other with snowball after snowball, offering their help every now and again. And weren’t we brutal.

“You’re going down White!” Sirius sang.

“No!” I began, throwing a snowball at his (exceptionally fine) arse, “You’re going down!”

“Not if you go down first!”

“Ha! We’ll see about that!”

Snowball after snowball, hit after hit, finally, finally Sirius called a momentary truce. He walked slowly towards me, but I kept my guard up, just in case. Maybe it was his lopsided grin, or the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, but something about him seemed shifty… And I was right! When he was three feet away from me, with an all mighty yell, he threw his last snowball at me. My eyes widened in shock as I watched the sphere of ice approach my face. With my mad Quidditch skills, I whirled wildly out of its trajectory, only to bang into six feet of solid muscle.

 

My extreme velocity already had me more unsteady than usual, adding to that was Sirius’ surprise at having failed in his last attempt to win (never!) and a speeding adolescent female, I of course toppled over, managing to cause Sirius to topple right on top of me.

 

We hit the snow with a soft whoosh, the white blanket making itself useful for once and cushioning our fall. Still, the ground was still hard and having six feet of teenage boy land on top of you was enough to wind anyone. I lay there for a moment, with Sirius sprawled over me, with the need to breathe forever increasing.

“Millie? Are you alright?” Sirius asked. Apparently, his lungs had managed to salvage some air.

I couldn’t reply. I didn’t have the oxygen.

“Millie?” he asked again, alarm creeping into his voice.

“Gerrof!” I somehow managed to gasp out.

He seemed to finally get it. “Oh right,” he said, lifting his body off of mine. I gasped in some sweet, sweet air. “Sorry.”

I lay there for some time, getting my breath back. Enough oxygen had managed to reach my brain once again for me to notice exactly what my current situation was. I was pinned to the ground by Sirius Black! Was it only me who seemed concerned about this arrangement? I looked into Sirius’ face (only because there was nowhere else to look) and once again found his eyes on me. Suddenly, my breath decided to abandon me again, and this time, for no apparent reason other than Sirius Black was looking at me with those bloody eyes of his. I noticed that right now, they were the colour of a pale winter morning fog, almost colourless, as they reflected the whiteness of the snow.

“What?” I eventually managed to whisper out.

He didn’t say anything. Instead, his hand slowly reached for my face and brushed a strand of hair that had escaped my ponytail and landed on my face away, without once taking his eyes away from mine.

“Are you alright?” he asked quietly, his voice sounding slightly husky. I felt the bottom of my stomach fall away at the sound of his voice and once again, I was feeling a little short of breath.

Somehow, I managed to nod in response to his question.

“Good,” he murmured.

I nodded again, not trusting that anything would come out if I tried to speak.

“Hey! Are you two okay – oh,” Sarah and Remus had come over to us to see what was going on. “Sorry, we didn’t know we were interrupting something.”

“Having fun you two?” James asked, a smirk evident in his voice. It seemed that he and Lily had finally finished snogging. At the sound of his best friend, Sirius and I snapped out of… whatever that was… and we scrambled to our feet. Actually, I scrambled to my feet; Sirius seemed incapable of doing something as ungraceful as scrambling. He was up on his feet first and pulled me up to mine. “Thanks,” I muttered and busied myself with dusting off snow from myself to avoid seeing my friends’ smirking faces. Oh, they had no idea!

Sirius snorted. “I don’t know, how about you and Evans?” he teased. Lily went as bright red as her hair and James grinned sheepishly, running the hand that wasn’t holding Lily’s through his hair. I peeked at Sirius and he gave me a wink and a devilish grin. I quickly looked away and hid my giddy smile.

 

As we dragged our cold, wet and tired bodies back up to the castle to dry off and warm up again, I wondered to myself, what the hell was that?




AN: A cute little fun chapter because fluffy stories can never be too cute! What did you think of Sirius' behaviour? Too quick too fast? Or stuff can't happen fast enough? Let me know! And because I love you all, I'm telling you now that the next chapter is Millie and Sirius' first real date! Get excited people!


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