CHAPTER 4 - WE ARE YOUNG
"Passion rebuilds the world for the youth. It makes all things alive and significant." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
It seemed as though her feet couldn't get her out of there faster. In all fairness, she had no idea where she was running, she wasn't so familiar with the corridors and staircases at Hogwarts. Bloody Hell, she thought, how did I manage to get myself into this mess.
A few weeks had passed since her discussion with James Potter and it seemed that it had had the effect she was hoping for. He seemed to be... The only word to describe him was humbled. He wasn't showing of in front of Lily anymore and even though it was hard for him, he looked the other way when boys talked to her. But what was most surprising is that a few days after The Fight, he actually apologised to her.
The conversation had been awkward at best, with long pauses and very little eye contact, but as far as everybody could tell it had resulted in a truce of some sorts between Lily and James.
"So, did he ever say what happened? My Dad, I mean," Harry said, his green eyes wide from behind his glasses.
Remus shifted in his seat and frowned, trying to remember. "It was the middle of November, a few days before the full moon. We were all in the dormitory when James marched in, a triumphant smile on his face..."
"So did you apologise to her?" Remus asked, not looking up from the letter he was writing.
"Even better," James grinned, pushing his glasses up his nose.
"She agreed to bear your children and begged for you to plant your seed within her right now?" Sirius suggested, getting up from his bed.
"You're really a moron sometimes, you know that right?" James said while glaring at him.
"Seeing as we are second cousins I can safely say it runs in the family." the boy replied, throwing a pillow at James face and knocking his glasses off.
"Shut it both of you, I wanna know!" Peter said and came closer, as if he might miss a word.
"Well, she said that she would only talk if I agreed not to ask her out, so I reluctantly said yes; she couldn't bloody believe it when I said I was sorry and promised not to do it again, but in the end she said that we could try having a schoolmates sort of relationship, you know, everybody eats together and does homework together. But if and only if I stopped asking her out. So I had no choice but to say yes... I mean, eating together and stuff is better than no stuff at all right?"
"Prongs, I have to say, I fear you may be growing up." Remus chuckled.
It was that conversation that brought about all this mess, she thought furiously, finally deciding she had run far enough and stopped. Lily had come into the 6th year bedroom that evening and told her friends about her conversation with James. Mary had no problem sharing meals and free time with the Marauders and Sophie - Elise didn't have a problem with the boys to begin with. She hadn't told a soul about her conversation with James, which wasn't so hard seeing as the only two souls she spoke to where Lily and Mary.
But a deal was a deal and slowly the Marauders became part of the girls' daily routine and Sophie - Elise got a chance to observe them even further. James was still smitted with Lily but he tried to keep himself in check better. Sirius was a flirt. Well, not that he liked to flirt, but girls were just throwing themselves at "the black sheep" of the Black family. Being raised abroad, Sophie - Elise had no idea what all the fuss was about, until one night when Lily and Mary explained everything to her. It had been hard at first to get her mind around everything. Purebloods and magical domination, magical "royalty" and this boy, well, he was almost a man, that managed to see past everything he was raised to stand for and be himself.
She started seeing Sirius in a different light from then on. No longer was he the heir of a rich family and a spoiled little boy, but a man, who was trying to find his way on his own.
It was the first week of December and the teachers were trying their best to keep students warm inside the castle by giving them mountains of homework that would ensure them no time at all to go outside. It wasn't uncommon for Sophie - Elise to stay up way past midnight, doing homework in front of the fire in the common room.
On a night like this, she found herself with company.
"Good evening, studying hard I see."
She looked up to find Sirius Black standing in front of her, his hair hanging in his grey eyes and a book in his hands.
"Defence Against the Dark Arts. I don't see why you need to study extra hard for that subject." she winced and internally slapped herself the moment the words left her mouth and she realised what it sounded like.
"You know, I do need to defend myself." he said and sat down on the other end of her table.
"Look, I didn't mean to say..." She started but he waved her off.
"It's okay. I understand my last name has a reputation of it's own. You don't know me anymore than I know you, but you are eating at my table and I am studying at yours, so I think it's best not to jump to conclusions. Let's get to know each other first." he smiled a twinkle now forming in his eyes.
"Well, what do you want to know?" she said and laid back in her seat. She took her hair band out of her ponytail and her hair cascaded down her shoulders, gleaming in the light of the fire.
"Do you have any brothers or sisters?" he started, and she knew by his smile that this wouldn't be the most intimate question he would ask.
"I have a brother named Vladimir. He is ten years my senior and is living in New Zealand with his family. What about you?"
"I have a brother named Regulus, he's two years younger and the apple of my mother's eye."
"He got sorted into Slytherin right?"
He nodded and lowered his eyes for just a second.
"Do you miss France?" he continued without skipping a beat.
"Sometimes, it's hard being the new kid, not knowing so many people."
"Is there anybody in particular you miss from back there?"
She laughed as she was sure this question might come. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, you know, maybe a Jean-Luc, or a Pierre..." He said innocently.
"Or perhaps a Marie or a Isabelle?"
Sirius, who was leaning back on the rear legs of his seat, nearly fell over. He quickly straightened himself and looked at her with wide eyes. "Do you mean...?"
"That I would rather song Mary than you?" she paused. "Nope, sorry to disappoint, but your face was priceless."
Her line sent Sirius into a fit of laughter and his laugh was so contagious she couldn't help herself. She could feel the muscles in her abdomen cry out in protest and tears were starting to form in her eyes but she found the situation so ridiculous she couldn't help it.
They resumed their studies and she would watch him from time to time, not really sure what to make of him. She could see the appeal he held to most women, tall, dark and handsome but there was an air about him, something childish,he was rough around the edges. Like a diamond in the rough, she thought. The rest of the evening was silent and after a couple of hours she rose to her feet, bid him good night and returned to her room. She didn't give it much thought after that.
Sirius Black was anything but serious. A marauder at heart, he seemed to enjoy the commotion that always seemed to follow him, in class, in the tower or just about anywhere he went. He was reckless, but only in what concerned himself. He was fiercely loyal to his friends, who he had grown to see as family and wouldn't do anything that went against their well being; it was the best side to be, as his friend. You were protected and looked after, in a way in which you wouldn't expect a 16 year old boy to act.
"Well mate, I'm afraid that the news isn't so good after all," James said, as he sat down on the couch next to the fire in the common room. He passed Sirius the letter he was holding and waited for him to finish reading.
"So, I guess it's just us then?" he asked.
"They said we could go back, but I don't see the point. We could very well stay here for the holidays."
Sirius frowned a little as he tried to think of a way around this. "Well, it's settled then, it'll be a Marauder Christmas at Hogwarts!" he said and grinned wildly at the thought. "Old Albus won't know what hit him!"
It was the second week of December and already the castle looked like something that came out of a catalogue. Tall Christmas trees were being put up in the Great Hall, decorations had appeared over night in the common room and in the halls and classrooms and the staff was beginning to feel the Christmas spirit. They had even caught McGonagall humming a carol before class.
"Well, a Christmas at Hogwarts sounds lovely right about now," Lily said miserably. "We're going to the Dursley's winter home up North to get to know them better, before the wedding."
"Dursley... Isn't he had big bloke your sister was seeing a couple of years ago?" Remus asked.
"Oh, the very same. I don't suppose the planet could hold two of them. Petunia wasn't keen on bringing me along but his sister Marge will also be there and I suppose they need me to keep her busy while they sneak around doing God knows what." she shuddered a little at the thought.
"At least you get to go see your parents," Sophie-Elise said. "Mine owled me, said we can't go back to France for the holidays. Father is really busy and there will be all sorts of Ministry functions to attend, so they thought it best for me to be here, where I wouldn't get lonely."
"So, that makes what... Three of us?" James said. The group nodded. Mary, Peter and Remus would also be leaving two days before Christmas to go home.
"Apparently, our holidays will be tres jolie," Sophie - Elise said and closed the book she was reading, placing it in her lap.
"You know Elise, you're pretty hot when you talk French," Sirius said and wiggled his eyebrows. A book collided with the side of his head.
"Don't get started with me, Black." she said flatly and glared at him.
"Hey, no need to get defensive!" he cried and started rubbing his head. "I was merely stating the obvious."
"Well, keep the obvious to yourself. I wouldn't like your germs all over me..." She said and poked her tongue out at him.
"They would be some of the sexiest germs around, mon darling," he said in a forced accent.
Sophie- Elise started laughing and punched him in the arm. "Oh for the love of Merlin, Sirius, cut it out, or else the poor girl will be forced to lock herself in her room for the holidays." Mary said, making thje group laugh. She got up and left, followed by Lily.
On Sunday morning, Sophie - Elise woke up at the break of dawn. Cursing herself for not being able to fall back asleep she got up, took a quick shower and changed into a pair of jeans and a sweater. She quietly made her way down the stairs and decided to get some breakfast to help start her day.
She took her time navigating the corridors of the castle and much to her pleasure, she managed to find her way without getting lost. There were a few dozen students scattered across the Hall, mostly 5th and 7th years getting up early to get a headstart on studying. But her surprise came when she looked at the Gryffindor table. There, quietly having an early breakfast, was Sirius.
Sophie - Elise casually walked up to him and took a seat right in front of him.
"Good morning, General Sunshine!" she said brightly.
"Come again?" he said, startled by her greeting.
"It was a joke I heard once. Never mind." she said as she poured herself some coffee.
"Well, nothing like a good joke to help start the day. Let's hear it."
"Oh no, it's quite silly I assure you."
"Jokes are supposed to be silly. Don't keep me waiting." he said and leaned forward to listen.
"Okay, here goes. There was this King, who thought very highly of himself. And every morning he would go out on his balcony and say Good morning sunshine. Then one morning he heard a voice saying Good morning Your Highness. The King was so thrilled he called the Queen and told her that he was so important that the Sun returned his greeting in the morning. And so for a few weeks he would go outside, say good morning and receive a reply. Then one morning the reply never came. Good morning sunshine! Good morning sunshine! Good morning SUNSHINE! And a voice said Good morning Your Highness, my name is Adams, General Sunshine is on vacation."
First she thought he was going to choke himself to death on juice. It took him a few seconds to regain his composure and swallow. When he finally got his voice back, he looked at her
"It was bad, yeah I know," she laughed.
"It was so corny I feel ashamed to laugh." he said and continued eating his food.
They ate in silence for a while, as the castle and it's residents started to wake up. The Hall became more crowded and the idle talk filled their surroundings.
"Sirius?" Sophie - Elise finally said, breaking the silence.
"Why aren't you and James going home for Christmas?" it had just occurred to her that they had not mentioned any reason in their conversation a few days ago.
"Well, Mr. and Mrs. Potter are working with the Ministry. And apparently some big project came up, classified of course and they won't be able to make it home Christmas Day." he said as he finished his food.
"I'm sorry about that... Although it will be nice having a few familiar faces around during break." she didn't look at him as she spoke. It was starting to dawn on her how much her life had actually changed and how homesick she was.
"It's your first Christmas away from home, isn't it?" she was somewhat startled by his observation and just nodded."Do you... Do you want to go for a walk? It would be nice to get some fresh air and just relax."
"That sounds lovely, I'll go get my cloak then." she said and started to rise.
"Because you have to walk all the way back to the Tower, it's not like you can magically summon it or something." he teased her, a grin now plastered on his face.
She shook her head in annoyance at him. It wasn't that she didn't like to use magic, she just felt more comfortable doing some things the old Muggle way. But alas, she took out her wand and summoned her warmest winter cloak, one of deep purple with fur trimmings and the pair made their way out on the grounds.
It was a sight indeed, the Hogwarts grounds in the winter. The Forbidden Forest looked calm under the white blanket of snow and the Black Lake was now frozen, giving it a wonderland appearance. The snow cracked and creaked under their shoes and they walked in silence for a while, just breathing in the cold morning air and feeling the wind whip across their faces. Sirius led her around the Whomping Willow and to the edge of the Lake.
Then suddenly it hit her, she was by the side of a frozen lake, on a beautiful winter morning with a handsome boy who had asked to be here with her. Blood started rising to her cheeks and suddenly she had no idea what to do with her hands. Even though he wasn't looking at her, she was feeling very self conscious.
It was in times like these she would've liked to be like some of the French girls she had shared her room with (impossible seeing as some of them were part Veela), with perfect hair and social skills that went beyond telling very bad jokes. In a group she was great, but one on one conversation... Not really her thing. She was busy mentally cursing herself for not spending enough time on her make-up in the morning. Not that she knew she would find herself here. But then again, THIS was nothing more than a walk. Sirius didn't make any comments or innuendos, he wasn't flirting with her.... Why wasn't he flirting with her? Did she want him to flirt? Of course not, but then again, why wouldn't he flirt? Her inner monologue became so loud that she almost missed what he was saying.
"... Then maybe we can go to Hogsmeade, you know, get a drink that kind of thing..."
"Yeah sure, I'd love to join you and James." she said and smiled as she pushed her hair out of her face. Damn wind.
"Oh, okay then. It's settled." he said and Sophie - Elise felt a bit of disappointment in his voice. Figuring it's just her imagination, she started pacing around the spot where they were standing.
"Are you cold?" he finally asked, looking at her like she was a caged animal. She hadn't realized she was pacing.
"A little yes, do you mind if we go back?"
He extended his hand and she took it, as he lead the way back to the castle. The journey was quiet and in the back of her mind she registered he had not let go of her hand. Again, it felt nice. But why was he holding her hand? But why wouldn't he? But did she want to hold his hand? And most importantly, could a psychologist be called in? It wasn't normal to have these arguments in one's head, she was sure of it.
Again with the voices. If she were to listen to them all, she would space out on half of her life. Like now for example, she had missed the entire walk back to the castle. Sirius pushed open the door for her and she felt the warmth of the castle immediately. Her cheeks were tingling and the heat spread through her body.
"Elise, do you usually not pay attention when people talk to you?" he asked casually.
"What do you mean?" she was staring at him with wide eyes.
"Well, here I was trying to invite you on a date and your reply was, I'd love to go out with you and James? I mean, I know we're close, but that's weird even for us, you know..." He was grinning at her.
"You know, I was trying to... Joke, yes that's it. It was a joke!" she said proudly, putting her hands on her hips. "I was making a joke because I am funny..." She internally cringed at how she sounded.
But Sophie - Elise was silenced by Sirius' lips crashing down on her own, his hands holding her arms. He tasted sweet and warm, like milk and cocoa. She slowly registered that now HE wasn't paying attention to what she was saying. She pulled away. He was smiling at her, not his usual arrogant grin, but a small and honest smile. He pointed up. Mistletoe, just great. She tried to open her mouth to speak, but instead she squeaked like a scared mouse. Then she did the first thing that came to mind.
She ran for it.
Bloody Hell, she thought, how did I manage to get myself into this mess.
AN: Wow, this one just wrote itself. :D I'm really honored by all the feedback this story is getting. Thank you to all those who reviewed and thank you to those who added this story to their favourites.
Next up, it's Christmas time! (in July no less ^-^).
Once again, I don't own Harry, Sirius & co. They belong to JKR.