Chapter 1 : Confessions
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It was time for her mid-morning coffee break. The shop had been fairly quiet and she was bored. It was days like this she dreaded, with nothing to do but count the hours away. She was just about to shout to her assistant, Beth, to watch the till when the pair of them stepped foot into the shop. Dressed in unusual clothes and making enough noise for an army of people they were hardly what you’d call inconspicuous. One of them was tall and lean with messy black hair and round glasses perched on his nose, the other was more well-built and had hair that just grazed his shoulders. Feeling both fascinated and wary by them she changed her mind and stayed behind the counter and watched them out of the corner of her eye as they’d wandered around the shelves looking rather overwhelmed. Well, maybe ‘wandered around’ was a bit of an understatement for the boy with longer hair. It was more like she watched him being practically dragged around by his friend; his pout clearly visible from the distance away she was.
Should he tell her? He felt he could no longer lie. If he was going to continue seeing this girl he was going to have to be honest with her. She knew he wasn’t entirely truthful with her anyway; he saw it in her eyes every time he had lied. He saw the… disappointment? Hurt? He wasn’t sure what it was, he wasn’t exactly knowledgeable on women and their expressions. All he knew was that it hated seeing that look and hated knowing that he was the cause.
He rolled his eyes inwardly at how pathetic he’d got. He’d always been a love ‘em and leave ‘em type, yet here he was considering a future with a girl he’d known for about half a year. As much as he hated to admit it, the thought really scared him. After all, he wasn’t James who had always known what he’d wanted and gone after it with all his heart for seven years, not caring how much of a pillock he made of himself. Nor was he perpetually nervous and shy like Peter, who despite this never seemed to lack a little female attention, having a few steady girlfriends at Hogwarts. Remus on the other hand was pretty much the complete opposite of Sirius; quiet and brooding and completely oblivious to the group of girls who had convinced themselves they were in love with him, believing they would change their mind pretty quickly if they got close enough to discover his furry little problem. He was nothing like his friends when it came to women.
He was just Sirius Black. Sirius ‘Never-stuck-with-a-girl-for-more-than-2-weeks-before-as-there’s-always-something-wrong-with-them’ Black. The girls he’d dated were always beautiful to look at but always ended up to be too clingy, too boring or too excitable. Always too something in the end. Lydia on the other hand wasn’t any of these things. She was definitely attractive, but not the type he usually went for. A short haired brunette with a pretty flat chest but nicely shaped lips to make up for it, she was more a pain in the neck than anything else. He could have sworn she went out of her way to infuriate him at times, but in the end they usually just ended up laughing it off. She was one of the first girls to actually say no to him too, and it was the challenge of the whole thing that had really caught his attention.
It was all James’ fault anyway he decided. After all, the only reason he’d asked Lydia out in the first place was because James had bet she wouldn’t fall for his charm whilst they were on the way to her little Muggle shop for the second time. Sirius couldn’t resist retaliating and had taken the comment as a personal insult. Getting shot down right in front of James however had not only proven James right, but had not exactly done wonders for Sirius’ ego. Not one to be beaten though he’d taken a leaf from James’s book and gone back to the shop every day for just over a month to ask her on a date until she’d finally agreed. James had found it hilarious until Lily reminded him it had took him seven years. Sirius had loved her a little bit more for that.
Now here he was, five months later, laying in her bed and for the first time ever in his life wanting to share a part of himself with a woman that wasn’t his other wand. He wanted her to know all of him, but he was worried that sharing that part would make her hate him or something stupid like that. He couldn’t believe how pathetic he had gotten. It wasn’t exactly the best time to be opening up about the Wizarding world either, with it being in the middle of a war, but this only made Sirius want her to know more than ever. It was dangerous out there, even for unassuming Muggles and she could at least be on her guard. The close shave he’d had with his dear brother was enough to prove that.
They’d been to the restaurant in town a few weeks ago, Sirius had been on a small mission for Dumbledore for the previous fortnight and so they were making the most of seeing each other again. As they had left, Sirius noticed a man through the crowd, stood across the road staring at the two of them. The mere sight of him had made his heart stop. As he had tried to get a better look he had disappeared into the night, but Sirius was sure it was Regulus. He’d been jumpy as he’d walked Lydia home, never letting go of his wand in the pocket of his jacket all the way, ready to strike at any moment. There had been no sign of him since, but Sirius wasn’t feeling in the mood to take risks with her life. He’d taken to putting protective charms around her house as he came and went, hoping it would keep unwanted visitors out.
He continued to stroke the soft skin of her arm as he held her to his chest, battling with himself over what he should do. He knew he could always go back to Muggle solution number one and modify her memory if she reacted badly. He scowled into the darkness as he thought of casting that spell. He didn’t like the idea of people getting inside his head and playing with his memories, making him reluctant to use it on anyone else. To him, interfering with a person’s memories just didn't feel right. It was so personal and was almost as bad as taking away their free will in his eyes.
It was now or never. He took a deep breath.
‘You’re such an idiot!’ She giggled, trying hard to give him her best disapproving look but failing as her lips twitched up into a smile. Sirius grinned back at her and put down the spoon he’d been balancing on his nose. He couldn’t quite believe how much he had enjoyed spending the day with her; especially to say he’d only started asked her out to prove a point.
‘Well, I made you laugh, so it can’t be all that bad,’ he pointed out to which she just smiled in response. He liked her smile he decided as he watched her from across the table. It suited her.
‘So, come on Sirius, I want to know more about you. What do you do for a living for example? I’ve told you all the fascinating details about my job,’ she asked, changing the subject. She leant forward on the table and rested her chin on her hands, waiting politely for the answer.
‘You did tell me an awful lot. I’m pretty sure I could run it for you now you know,’ he told her cheekily. She pouted and narrowed her eyes playfully at him.
‘Stop trying to change the subject and give me an answer for a change. Besides, you shouldn’t have kept asking questions if I was boring you so much!’
‘Okay, okay,’ he conceded, holding his hands up in surrender. He considered her for a moment then said, ‘I’m a magician.’ In the most dramatic voice he could manage. He loved telling Muggles that and trying to guess their reaction. Usually they either looked vaguely impressed or they gave him a disbelieving look. He watched carefully as Lydia raised an eyebrow and looked at him sceptically. She fell into the latter.
‘As in, like for kids parties and stuff? Abracadabra and rabbit’s out of your top hat magician?’ she asked, trying hard not to laugh.
Sirius smiled, thankful that he’d taken Muggle Studies at Hogwarts just to piss off his Mother. The first time they’d told him the Muggle version of a wizard he’d nearly pissed himself.
‘I can do much more than that, I’ll have you know,’ he said patiently. ‘I’m very good at it, if I do say so myself; I’ve been training for seven years.’
‘Really?’ she asked, surprised. ‘I didn’t think you were that old.’
‘I started young,’ Sirius said with a quick flash of his teeth. Lydia pursed her lips, but the amusement was still visible in her eyes. After a moment she burst into a fit of giggles.
‘I’m sorry,’ she laughed, working hard to control herself. ‘You just don’t seem the type to be a magician. I had you down as more of a… builder. Or maybe an electrician. You know, something with actual labour, something manly.’
‘You don’t think what I do is manly?’ Sirius said pretending to be offended. In actual fact he was a little offended, but she had no idea what he could really do he reminded himself.
She stopped laughing and her eyes widened just slightly as she thought she really had upset him. He could tell she was fighting hard to maintain the straight face though.
‘Um, sorry,’ she said, biting her lip. ‘I didn’t mean to question your manliness… I just… er…’ She looked lost for words as she struggled to decide what to say next.
‘Maybe I could show you a trick?’ he offered recklessly. ‘See if I can change your mind about my talents?’ He knew he shouldn’t, that it would probably get him into more trouble than it was worth but he just couldn’t resist. He took a cursory glance around and saw no-one was paying them much attention anyway. They were in a secluded corner in the quieter part of the place. He’d paid extra for that as he always did when bringing a girl out.
‘Don’t you need all your equipment or something for that?’ she asked curiously.
‘No, everything I need is right here,’ he said tapping his pocket. ‘I can show you something if you like.’
‘Really?’ she asked eagerly. ‘Go on then please!’
‘Okay,’ Sirius said cautiously. ‘Now don’t laugh, but I have to use my magic wand.’ He drew out his wand slowly, knowing she wouldn’t be expecting it to look anything like it did. Her eyes widened at the sight of it.
‘That’s your wand?’ she asked, doubting him once more. Then seeing his face she quickly added, ‘It’s just I’ve never seen anyone use one like that before.’
‘You won’t have,’ Sirius said slyly. ‘There’s only a select few of us allowed to use them that’s why.’
A soft, ‘Oh,’ was all she could manage. ‘What are you going to show me then?’
‘Hmm,’ Sirius looked around the table. Eyeing his napkin he placed it in the middle of the table. ‘How about I make this fly?’ She nodded eagerly. ‘Okay, what was your magic word again? Abracadabra?’
She simply nodded again, looking between the napkin and Sirius’s wand.
‘Abracadabra!’ Sirius whispered dramatically but thought ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ hard in his head, swishing his wand and flicking it towards the napkin. It floated off the table a few inches and Sirius smiled as he saw Lydia’s jaw actually drop as she watched it.
'Lydia,' he whispered into the darkness, before he could stop himself. His voice sounded horribly strangled as he still wasn't convinced he was doing the right thing.
'Hmm?' was her only response.
He took a deep breath. 'I've got something to tell you. I want to tell you more about myself.'
That got her attention. She rolled onto her stomach and rested her chin on her hands, still half-laid on his chest, but remained silent. The questioning look on her face was enough to let Sirius know he had her undivided attention. He still couldn't believe how close they'd grown in such a short space of time.
Sirius closed his eyes with a groan and put his hand over his face. How do you even start telling someone something like this?
‘Sirius?’ Lydia whispered as she gently pulled his arm away from his face. He gave no resistance but kept his eyes squeezed shut. ‘Please look at me.’ She sighed. ‘What’s wrong?’
He opened one eye to see her big brown ones looking directly back at him.
‘You know on our first date, when we went to that restaurant in town? You asked what I did, for a living.'
'Yes...' she said slowly. 'You told me you were a magician and I thought it was ridiculously funny, but you are pretty good at it I guess.' She smiled fondly at the memory.
'Good at it? I'm bloody amazing I'll have you know!' he exclaimed, forgetting momentarily what the point of this conversation was. She just giggled and moved herself up until her face was level with his and planted a kiss on his nose and whispered.
'I know, I just don't want you to get a big head or you might not get in and out of my front door.'
'Ha bloody ha,' Sirius grumbled sarcastically. She kissed him lightly on the lips and smiled again.
‘You were saying?' she prompted gently. Sirius pulled himself up so he was learnt against the headboard.
Sirius considered her for a moment before saying, 'What if I told you the tricks I showed you weren't an illusion? That magic really does exist?'
'What do you mean?' she asked looking confused.
'Lydia, I'm a wizard,' he said simply.
Sirius left the house fairly early the next morning, deciding to have a walk before going back to his small flat as he needed the fresh air. He hadn’t been kicked out as such, but Lydia had made it clear she needed some time. He had left his two-way mirror and explained how to use it, saying if she decided she wanted to speak to him, she could always contact him through that. She had eyed it with extreme caution, but he was grateful that she had eventually accepted it.
They’d spent most of the previous night talking after his little confession. He had told her so much about his life, showing her spells and talking so much that his voice had become hoarse. She had finally succumbed to sleep in the early hours of the morning and he’d simply watched her, looking for the slightest reaction to all he had said, until he’d finally drifted off too.
Thinking back now he couldn’t help but notice how quiet she’d been for most of the night, asking questions here and there but hardly giving anything away. He was desperate to know what she was really thinking, whether she wanted to become a part of his world eventually. He knew he had to be patient with her, but it was so hard. He certainly wasn’t gifted with it. Whether she could accept the fact magic was really alive in the world was now up to her and all he could do was wait.
As he walked, he suddenly had a vision of them together happily, sat around eating dinner with Lily and James, laughing and joking with not a care in the world. He imagined introducing her to Harry, something he’d refrained from doing because he was so worried Harry would accidently spew some magic that they wouldn’t be able to explain. She’d mentioned meeting him before after he talked about him so much and he knew she would love him just as much as he did. He smiled at the thought when a new image flickered to life in his brain that both pleased and unnerved him. He pictured himself sitting with Lydia, tickling a small baby in her arms. His baby.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted when a silver stag burst into being in front of him. It lowered its head and spoke with his best friend’s voice.
‘Padfoot, slight emergency. It's happened.’ James’s voice sounded thick as his Patronus relayed his message. ‘Please come when you can.’ The Patronus dissolved into thin air.
Sirius looked around and saw a Muggle man across the road stood looking at him in disbelief. Today just wasn’t his day. He swiftly modified the man’s memory and turned on the spot with a small pop, heading to the Potter’s with a feeling of dread deep in his stomach as he contemplated what he was going to find.
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