“And here I thought you were sending out your trunk to be refurbished.”
Sirius let out a nervous laugh leaning back against the wooden chair. He could feel his heart beating fast. “I’d be a right prat if that were the case.”
Remus’s joking response had been unexpected. It had been difficult to tell Remus the reason he’d ran away and why he’d need to empty his trunk. Though in hindsight, Sirius wasn’t sure why. Remus wasn’t judgmental by nature. And Remus couldn’t possibly think less of him than he had after the werewolf incident. It might have had to do with the fact that Remus had loving parents who scoured the world and used up most of their savings searching for a cure for lycanthropy. As with James and Peter, none of them could really relate to being treated so terribly by the very people who were supposed to love you unconditionally. Though he wasn’t being completely fair because Remus certainly understood hardship and the cruelties humans were capable of.
The bit of light streaming through the half open curtains illuminated the mess of items still on Sirius’s bed. Remus was sitting on his bed and Sirius had pulled over one of the extra chairs in the dorm. His bed looked strange with the empty space where his trunk had been.
“Your parents they are…” Remus’s voice trailed off unable to complete the sentence.
“Crazy? Insane? Horrid? Shall I continue listing adjectives?”
Remus smiled briefly. “I suppose those will do, but…“
Sirius who had been fiddling with his tie glanced up. “But what?”
“Aren’t you more worried about…” Again Remus trailed off.
“Voldemort.” Remus uttered the word quickly. It was brave to say it at all as so many were too afraid to now-a-days. “From what I’ve read in the Prophet he doesn’t usually like it when you say ‘no’ to him.”
Sirius laughed drily. “No, he does not. Good thing he never knew.”
“He didn’t know?”
“I’ve been approached before this to show my support, but did he know one of the reasons I was disinherited was because I refused to join him? No.”
“I suppose that’s good,” Remus said and he suddenly sat up straighter. “Wait...you’ve been approached before?”
Sirius shrugged. “I was heir of a powerful ancient pure blood family…it was to be expected.”
Remus appeared to be processing this information. “Was James approached?”
“Not that I know of,” Sirius said. “His family has been blood traitors for several generations. I’m not sure if they’d even bother.”
“Then maybe they’ll leave you alone, now that you aren’t the heir?”
“I’m not sure. If he’s heard I was disowned, and I don’t see how he hasn’t, then I’m sure he’ll be watching me.”
“That’s a pleasant thought.”
Sirius nodded. Honestly he hadn’t given Voldemort much thought at all. He’d been more focused on how his family would try to make his life miserable as possible; almost forgetting that if Voldemort heard of his defiance he’d surely be murdered. It was naïve to believe he’d be written off just because he was no longer heir. Sirius had been a public figure as heir to the family and running away had not changed that. As long as he stayed the topic of gossip then Voldemort would remain interested in him. Though whether it was to continue to recruit him or kill him would remain to be seen.
Remus cleared his throat breaking Sirius’s thoughts. “What are you going to do about your parents?”
“What can I do?” Sirius gesturing roughly to his possessions scattered on his bed. His thoughts about Voldemort had left him agitated and speaking about his family only made it worse. “I ran away and it still feels like they won.”
“You did get away, isn’t that what matters?”
“Not when they can barge in with lawyers demanding whatever they please!” Sirius sprang to his feet, walking swiftly over to the window. He didn’t speak again until he had his emotions better under control. “Just knowing they are still monitoring me…”
“I know it’s not what you wanted or the ideal situation,” Remus began.
Sirius turned, throwing him a withering look.
“Use it against them.”
“And how do you propose I do that?” Sirius asked sarcastically.
“By being on your best behavior and achieving top grades.”
“That’s what they want.”
“Is it? From what you’ve told me, I would think they’d want you to fail. It will reflect better on them if your grades are awful. If the disowned Black heir is expelled from Hogwarts, won’t everyone think that your parents’ made the right decision? No one would blame them that they took the reins of the family away from someone so unstable and unsuitable.”
Sirius opened his mouth to protest and then shut it because Remus was right. Somehow Remus had guessed correctly his family’s motivation despite having nothing to do with the pure-blood world. “I just…it sounds like an awful lot of work. Failing would be easier.”
It was Remus’s turn to give him a look.
“I’m just kidding. I haven’t forgotten that I’m on probation and I don’t want to be expelled.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Remus stated. “I do sometimes wonder.”
Sirius let out a laugh. He sometimes wondered too why he so often skirted the line between detention and expulsion.
“What are we going to do about all your stuff?”
“Professor Keenan said he’d send some boxes up later.” Sirius walked back over to his bed picking up an old shoe box that he had stored odds and ends in. Lifting the lid on the top were several photographs of the four of them taken in third year. They all looked so young. “Maybe I should go through some of this stuff. What are your plans for the day?”
“I’ve got to do some research in the library.”
Sirius groaned. “For what? We don’t have any reports due this week.”
“Extra credit for Flitwick. I have to make up points for that practical test I spectacularly failed.”
“What are you researching?”
“Hmmm…doesn’t sound particularly interesting.”
“I didn’t pick it,” Remus replied. He pulled several books out of his satchel before adding a notebook and quill.
“Suppose I’ll join you. I have plenty of school work and since now I’m going to be a model student, I suppose I better get started.”
“Didn’t you have a group meeting to go to?”
“We were only going to meet to assign different sections to work on. I’m sure I’ll run into one of them later today and find out what they assigned me.” Sirius glanced sideways at Remus suddenly worried that Remus might not want his company. They were getting along better, but it certainly wasn’t like before when he could assume that Remus would want to spend time with him. Perhaps asking about his group meeting was Remus’s way of hinting he didn’t want Sirius to tag along. “Unless you want to be alone?”
“No, you can come,” Remus said, slinging his school bag over his shoulder.
Sirius grinned and scooped up his bag from the floor. It was still packed from before when he planned on meeting with his group. “Ready?”
The boys descended down the stairs and they were met with a still very lively common room. Gryffindors glanced their way and Sirius hoped that this was enough to dispel rumors that he’d been expelled.
“Oi! Black! Where are you going?”
Sirius turned to see that it was Elizabeth Stroud who had called his name. She was in his group. She was sitting with Mary McDonald and Clara York. Sirius approached them, while Remus hung by the door. “Sorry I missed the meeting. I was delayed.”
“I heard. Getting your trunk repainted?” Stroud demanded, unimpressed by his excuse. Stroud had her arms crossed and her boldness amused him.
Sirius laughed. “Remus asked me the same thing.”
“And?” Stroud commanded
“Liz!” Clara York said. “Maybe it’s personal.”
“It’s ok,” Sirius stated. He took a deep breath. MacDonald was a big gossip so if he wanted everyone to know what had happened, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have her hear this. “My parents were really angry I ran away so they demanded some of the heirlooms back…including my trunk.”
He was greeted with three identically shocked faces. York’s mouth has actually hanging open. Though Sirius couldn’t control his family and it was them who were acting crazy, Sirius couldn’t help but feel some embarrassment from the situation. He wasn’t worried the Gryffindors would taunt him though. Even if any of them did find it at all amusing, they’d more than likely be too scared to say anything. Everyone in the castle knew Sirius wouldn’t hesitate to hex someone that annoyed him, and that James would back him up. Now the Slytherins were another case entirely, but he wasn’t going to worry about them for the moment. “Anyway I’m heading to the library, what part do you want me to look into?”
Stroud snapped out of her shock and fumbled with her papers. “Here – uh – I listed what everyone was assigned. I made copy for you.”
Sirius took the sheet from her and folded it twice depositing it in his bag. “Right. Thanks. I’ll start working on it straight away.”
The girls were still studying silently and he nodded at them before heading to the Portrait Hole where Remus was waiting. Remus threw him a questioning look, but he didn’t voice his thoughts until they were several feet away from the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.
“What did you say to those girls? Stroud, York, and MacDonald?”
“I told them that my parents were mad at me and demanded some heirlooms back.”
Remus looked taken aback. “You did?”
“You don’t think I should have? Too many students saw me with my trunk and I know there-“
“No,” Remus said cutting him mid-sentence. “It’s good you did. Using what they did against them. I’m just surprised.”
The boys lapsed into silence and the walk to the library was long enough to build up the wall of awkwardness back again. Once they choose a table Remus didn’t waste a second before he went off into the stacks leaving Sirius alone. Sirius glumly flattened the paper with his assignment. He knew he had to stop overanalyzing Remus’s actions.
Remus returned with the book he needed and after several minutes Sirius looked up to see Remus staring at him.
“What?” Sirius asked. He wasn’t one to feel self-conscious easily, but if he had ink on his face he would like Remus to just tell him instead of staring.
“Nothing…it’s just nice to be studying again together. To just be able to be normal again with each other.” Remus paused looking suddenly embarrassed. “That sounds sappy doesn’t it?”
“It does,” Sirius agreed a grin appearing on his face. He wasn’t one to share feelings constantly, but sometimes it did need to be said. “But I’m glad for it too.”
They shared a grin and then went back to working on their separate assignments.
James swerved in and out of the defense players and drove the quaffle straight through one of the hoops. There was a large eruption of cheering from the stands, distracting James for a moment as this was only a practice and not an actual game.
Distractions in quidditch always had a potential for causing danger.
The shout came from his right and when he looked a Bludger was hurtling straight towards him. There was only enough time to dodge to the left, but the small movement was enough to save James from a direct hit. The ball still hit his shoulder and caused his broom to spin out of control for several seconds before he was able to regain control of it. Once he was sure he wasn’t going to fall to his death the pain from the impact began to register. He flew towards the ground with his teammates close behind him. The grass was still the brown winter color. The temperature hadn’t been quite warm enough to turn it back to green. He winced as he tried to rotate his shoulder. There were no broken bones, but there surely would be bruising.
The Beater who had hit the Bludger began apologizing profusely. He had meant the Bludger to stop James from scoring, but had misjudged the timing completely. Gallagher, the team captain, was the last to approach James and he did not seem at all concerned for James’s welfare. Instead he looked more peeved than anything.
“I want you to tell your fanclub that I’ve banned them from watching our practices!”
“You heard me Potter. We have a game in two weeks and I won’t have you distracted.”
“I – they aren’t my fan club.” James glanced back at the four fourth year girls who had made the racket. It was quite a feat that such a small group was able to make so much noise. The girls weren’t there just to see him surely. Watching Quidditch Practices was a popular pastime of girls that age and all his teammates were considered popular by just being on the team.
“No? They only cheered when you score and for no one else.”
James didn’t know quite what to say to that.
“Tell them, Potter! Practice is over for a day.” Gallagher marched off towards the changing rooms.
James turned to his teammates for support, but they apparently were just as annoyed with the girls as Gallagher. James, of course, recognized the fourth years. Last year they’d begun the tradition of holding signs with his name and the other chasers in red and gold glitter. He’d even spoken to them a few times, but so had other members of the team. He’d probably even flirted with them.
As he approached the girls, the tallest named Gloria called, “Did we get you into trouble?” She had strawberry colored hair and pretty blue eyes, which happened to be the same color of the sky. She looked innocent, but if the rumors were true she’d gotten farther with several boys than James had ever gotten with a girl.
“A bit…thought it isn’t me Gallagher wants to ban from practices.” James looked around the stands for Peter, but did not see him. “Did you see where Peter got to?”
“Pettigrew? Err…he left suddenly,” another girl, Jessica answered blushing. She had her long black hair in a single braid and was also very pretty.
“He say why?”
Jessica bit her lip. “He asked me to go to Hogsmeade, but I had to decline.”
James raised his eyebrows knowing Peter would have not taken that well.
“Nothing against him,” Jessica added quickly. “I already said yes to someone else.”
“Already? Has the Hogsmeade notice even been up yet?”
“It’s supposed to be up today,” Jessica answered. “I can’t help it if someone was quicker.”
James nodded. He had a feeling he’d be spending the afternoon trying to boost Peter’s self-esteem.
“What about you? Any plans yet?” Gloria asked hopefully.
“We were hoping to buy you a butterbeer…to make up for the distraction this afternoon,” Gloria stated. “And you can bring your mates.”
“Especially Black,” a girl with dark brown hair chirped.
“Marla! Honestly,” Gloria admonished rolling her eyes.
James grinned. “Sorry to disappoint you, but Sirius won’t be able to come. He’s still on probation.”
Marla frowned and she looked so disappointed that James found himself insisting that Sirius would have loved to come if he could. Even though James knew his best friend would never deem this group of silly girls the time of day.
“So is it a date?” Gloria interjected.
James let his eyes sweep across the group. They were silly, but it could be entertaining. Even though he’d been thinking about trying to ask Lily Evans to go with him, this might be for the better. The way she scowled at him at every opportunity probably meant she’d decline his offer. “Sure. One butterbeer is all I can promise and I’ll bring Peter and Remus along.”
“Great!” Gloria said all smiles. If she was disappointed on his insistence of the one butterbeer she didn’t show it. “And we promise to be better behaved next practice. We don’t want to be banned.”
“Perhaps if you cheered for other players than myself?” James suggested.
Gloria looked scandalized. “But you are our favorite player!”
“Of course I am, but the others are pretty good, right?”
“We’ll think about it,” Gloria replied. James sent her a grin, ruffled his hair and said his goodbyes. He could hear them giggling and talking animatedly behind him as he made his way to the castle. Convincing Peter to come along shouldn’t be too hard, though Remus might take some persuading.
Up in the castle James found Peter sulking in the common room. Jessica had been right and the Hogsmeade notice was on the bulletin board. As James walked toward Peter it sounded as if that was all everyone was talking about.
James took a seat gingerly as to not jostle his shoulder. “Cheer up, Pete. You’ll still see her when we meet the girls for butterbeers.”
His words startled Peter. “What?”
“You know Gloria, Marla…Jessica…”
Realization dawned on Peters face and he looked mortified. “They told you!”
James shrugged. “She sounded sorry about disappointing you.”
“Really? You think she would have said yes?”
“Probably,” James said even though he wasn’t so sure. As horrible as it was to think, most girls as pretty as Jessica did not find Peter a suitable match. Though being a Marauder significantly boosted Peter’s popularity. “Seen Sirius?”
“Mary said he went to the library with Remus.”
“Really? The library?”
“He’s probably still trying to get on Remus’s good side,” Peter muttered.
“I’m going to go change. Need to use some of Remus’s bruise cream, my shoulder is hurting and then I suppose I’ll head there too.”
“Can’t we do something else,” Peter whined.
“We need to get our assignments done at some point. Might as well do it as a group.”
Peter grumbled his acceptance and followed James up to the dorm.
Author’s note: Hopefully this update didn’t completely disappoint. Thank you to everyone who is still sticking with my story and please review!