Chapter 4 : Half-Baked
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- Bob Dylan
"I can't believe you guys!" Peter shouted at them, his voice echoing in the evening air. He jogged to keep up with the others, who were walking at a rather brisk pace. It was a partly cloudy Saturday evening, the sun just setting, and the six of them planned on spending it lakeside after dinner.
James turned around with a grin on his face. "You have to give us some credit for managing to pull it off with only two bottles of butterbeer and Lia's self-stirring teacup," he said good naturedly. He was honestly proud of the prank they pulled off, even if Peter was still mad about it hours later. He'd get over it soon enough, as he always did.
"I still regret letting you lot borrow that," Lia muttered under her breath, unsure as to how she had allowed herself to be manipulated into that. She was the manipulator, after all. Frankly, it was an embarrassment falling for her own tricks. She turned around and mouthed an apology to Peter, wincing as she did so.
"Maybe that'll teach ya not to sleep in so late," Sirius remarked, plopping down in their usual spot under the shade of a large oak tree.
"You could have just woken me up normally," Peter exclaimed, red in the face and still annoyed at them. He took a seat on the ground, choosing a spot near Lia, and away from both James and Sirius.
"Peter, what kind of wizards would we be if we didn't use magic in every way possible?" James asked rhetorically, as if this explanation was of more use to Peter than an apology ever would be.
"And remember, early dugbog gets the mandrake!" Sirius reminded him in a sing-song voice, leaning against the tree trunk behind him. "'Sides, there's no reason for you to still be mad. It happened seven hours ago, for Merlin's sake."
Peter rolled his eyes at the popular wizard saying that he had been hearing from his mum for years. But, nonetheless, he allowed the subject to drift away as the group began talking about other things. They all sat in a poorly formed circle, save for Lia, who had made herself comfortable by lying across Remus's lap.
"Am I nothing but a couch to you?" Remus asked with a laugh as she situated herself.
Lia grinned at him in response. "The ground is wet," she said with a confidence, as if it made all the sense in the world for half of her to get wet as long as the other half stayed dry.
"So that's a yes," he murmured, looking down at her. The setting sun was reflecting off the golden tones of her hair, which was splayed haphazardly against him. Her eyes were trained on Sirius, who had gone into some sort of detailed story that Remus had absolutely no interest in. He was far too invested in the girl in his lap, who hadn't been paying him any attention for quite a while now.
Suddenly he was startled out of his daydream by Carter, who was snapping her fingers in front of his nose. "Remus. Remus!" she called, causing him to look up at her. "Merlin's pants, what is going on in that head of yours?"
He shrugged his shoulders innocently, making a point to keep his eyes off Lia. "Anyway, I was asking you if you knew why Sirius had detention. He won't tell any of us," Carter continued, ignoring his temporary trance. Remus shrugged his shoulders again, gesturing that he had not been informed like the rest of them.
"I was under the impression that McGonagall caught him and Elisa Maddox in a broom closet together," James supplied loudly, shooting Sirius a sly smile. Sirius returned the smile, raising his eyebrows in both a charming and arrogant manner, something only he could achieve.
"I don't kiss and tell," he replied, crossing his arms comfortably behind his head.
"Then how did James know?" Lia asked curiously.
"He's my best mate, Foxe. You and Carter tell each other all your girly secrets," Sirius answered simply, pausing for a moment before giving James an accusatory look. "Although I can't say I expected him to share said secrets."
"Oh, pish posh," James replied with a wave of his hand, "We all know you're just dreadful at keeping secrets, Sirius. That is my dear friend Peter's strong suit." Peter grinned at James, puffing his chest out a little on the rare occasion of James complimenting him.
"I don't know, Sirius. I'd say you keep important secrets well enough," Remus cut in, his eyes darting to Lia again as she played with the sleeve of his jacket.
Sirius winked at him, "Important secrets. I'm good at those."
Carter watched the exchange between the two with a look of befuddlement on her face, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Why do I feel like I'm on the outside of some massive inside joke sometimes?" she asked them.
Lia sat up abruptly at Carter's statement, joining in on the conversation. "Yeah, I get that vibe, too, and it's only from you four," she said, narrowing her eyes at James in particular.
"Me?!" he asked in disbelief, pointing at himself. "Why is it always me?!"
"I think you know why, James," Lia said dramatically, looking at him with disdain in her eyes.
"For fuck's sake, is this about the jumper again?" Sirius cut in between them before an actual fight could occur. Lia had a habit of starting useless arguments with them, James in particular, just to screw around. And when it was James and Lia, it was best to kill it early on, before their sibling-like spat grew into something more.
"Perhaps," Lia continued, shifting her gaze from Sirius back to James, "perhaps not."
Carter shook her head at them, "Okay, back to the real point," she said. "Are you ever going to let us in on this whole thing?" she inquired, looking at James imploringly and ignoring the clear confusion on his face due to what Lia had said.
"I don't know if we can trust you with such a vital piece of information, babe," Sirius replied with an air of exaggerated mystery. Carter huffed in response, annoyed by both his lack of answer and his repeated use of melodrama.
"Well, if you won't tell us," Lia began, her gaze trained on Remus. She leaned closer to him, moving her lips towards his ear until she was nearly brushing it. "We'll just have to force it out of you," she whispered huskily into his ear.
She ran her fingers lightly over his cheek, her nails scratching against the slight stubble, giving him goosebumps. He avoided looking at her, and concentrated on the looks of their friends. Her hand moved from his cheek to his hair, raking her nails against the back of his head. The others each looked at him with raised eyebrows, as he stared back with wide eyes. Save Sirius, who was sporting a grin and giving him the thumbs up. Suddenly, Lia let out a giggle and kissed him lightly on the cheek before moving away from him.
She leaned back on the heels of her hands as if nothing had happened at all. "Well, I tried, Carter," she said casually.
Carter rolled her eyes, "So much effort you put into it, too. I was afraid you'd strain yourself."
"I really do try to contribute to this friendship," Lia said with mock seriousness. As if trying for an example, she reached into the pocket of her skirt. "Anyone fancy a spliff?" she offered.
"I don't know how you manage to smuggle those things in every year," Peter said as she passed the square tin to Carter, who plucked one out happily.
"Or how you manage to afford it," Remus piped up, being the only one to understand just how expensive the drug was in the muggle world.
"When you have money, you have power, my dear Remus," Lia replied, ignoring Peter's comment entirely as she offered one to Sirius. "What about you?"
"I can't," he said. "I've got McGonagall's detention in about twenty minutes," he continued, groaning at the very idea of it. It wasn't that he actually hated detention. It was how much of a nuisance it was to attend. There were loads of other things he could be killing time with, like messing with Carter and helping James plan another Grade A prank. But instead, he had to spend the night doing god knows what because Elisa's moans happened to be a little too loud.
"Wow, you're really stepping it up this year, Sirius. Usually you try and bail on detention," Remus added. He shook his head at Lia, turning down the offered spliff in her hand. She shrugged at him and kept it for herself.
"James and I are trying to start over this year. Aren't we, Prongsy?" Sirius said while ruffling James's already messy hair.
"He's doing it for Lily. I'm doing it because I only have two years left, and I figured it would be the right time to straighten out," he explained. "A little bit, at least," he added quickly when he caught the alarmed looks on everyone's faces.
Lia raised her eyebrows quizzically, "Am I the only one who doesn't buy this?"
Carter took a drag of her spliff and shook her head. "Nope, I'm on your side," she replied between puffs of smoke. "In fact, I bet you five galleons that you'll have another detention by Monday."
Sirius only laughed, "Oh, it's on, Edevane." He pushed his messy hair out of his eyes and stood up, "And with that, ladies and gents, I'm off." They all wished him luck and shouted their goodbyes after him as he made his way back towards the castle.
While the rest of the group continued their night in the Gryffindor common room, Sirius sat in Professor McGonagall's classroom, impatiently awaiting her arrival to find out what task he would be enduring. He wasn't at all surprised when she walked through the doorway with a rather stern look on her face. He grinned cheekily at her, figuring if she was already in a sour mood, he couldn't make it any worse.
"Detention on the first weekend back from term break. That must be a new record, Mr. Black."
Sirius laughed at her clipped tone and stood up, "So what'll I be doing tonight, Minerva?"
She narrowed her eyes at his use of her first name. "Polishing trophies, as I'm sure you have grown to be a champion of, since you seem to be doing it so often," she replied. She turned on her heel to leave the room, but not before uttering a single last sentence in his direction, "And kindly refrain from using my first name, Mr. Black. It's entirely inappropriate."
He shot her an innocent smile, that would have earned brownie points from any other teacher. "You've got it, Min- I mean, Professor," he said, his grin not faltering.
Sirius had been polishing the trophies for over two hours before he was finished. After being dismissed, he headed straight towards Gryffindor tower, walking alone in the darkened, empty halls. He didn't have a watch, but he was sure it was nearing curfew, when all the students were at least supposed to be in their common rooms, if not their dorms. He walked quickly, hoping to catch his friends before they turned in for the night.
He shivered in the cool hallways, annoyed with the fact that neither Scotland nor England ever seemed to get even remotely sunny. Let alone warm enough to do average summer things, like go swimming. It was only September and they already needed jackets and jeans just to go outside. In fact, he had only really seen his friends in jackets and jeans, which is why he, unfortunately, had never seen Carter in a swimsuit.
His mouth creased into a frown at the thought of all the missed opportunities he had experienced over the summer. It wasn't as if Carter was like Lia, who had no problem walking around in little more than her underwear. He hadn't even seen Carter in a pair of shorts, which was something he immediately felt the need to remedy.
Lost in thoughts of Carter's legs, he didn't even notice a girl around his age turning the corner that he was just walking past. The two smacked straight into each other, neither having been paying a bit of attention to their surroundings.
Sirius backed away from her, rubbing his bicep where she had walked into him. She glanced up at him, eyes wide in surprise. He attempted to get a good look at her while he could, wondering why in the world another student would be out and about in the school halls at such a late hour.
Without an invisibility cloak, at least, Sirius thought, shaking his head and smirking at the girl's amateur mistake. Her dark hair fell behind her in one long, sleek plait, quite the difference to the wild and wavy locks he was used to seeing on Carter and Lia. Unlike her hair, however, her eyes were a wide pale hazel, and were currently flickering about to and fro in a nervous manner. He couldn't help but get the feeling that she was up to no good.
"What are you doing here?" she asked in a rather irritated voice. He knit his brows together in confusion.
"I could be asking you the same question, you know," he replied as he leaned back against the wall with his hands in his pockets. There was a moment of silence as the pair starred each other down, the girl unsure of what to do or say.
"If you must know, I had detention with Professor McGonagall," she answered curtly, crossing her arms over her chest like it would somehow improve her credibility. Sirius snorted in disbelief.
"As much as I'd love to believe that, babe, I was the one in detention with Minerva," he informed her, rolling his eyes at her half-assed cover story. The girl answered this with a pointed glare.
"It really isn't any of your business why I'm here," she said with a scoff before abruptly turning around and stalking away.
"Next time you sneak around late at night at least bring an invisibility cloak," Sirius called after her. He rolled his eyes again at her retreating form. Honestly. People shouldn't be sneaking around if they weren't even going to at least try and be inconspicuous. It was an insult to the rest of them, really. He and James had taken years to perfect the art, and it was only good manners to follow in their footsteps. This wasn't amateur hour, even Peter was better than that girl. Well, maybe not Peter, but at least Remus.
Sirius shook his head in annoyance and continued his walk to Gryffindor Tower.
"Fudge flies," he yelled at the fat lady, jolting her awake from her sleep. She jumped in fright and looked startled for a moment before calming down upon seeing it was only Sirius.
"Always nice to see you, Mr. Black," she said as she began fanning herself and gave him entrance. Sirius walked into the mostly empty common room, hoping to complain to James about the inexperienced girl lurking about in the hallways. Instead, what he found was Carter sprawled acrossed a couch near the dwindling fire, seeming to have fallen asleep in her jeans and white cotton tank top, black leather jacket having been discarded onto a nearby table.
Sirius gave a small smile and got on his knees near the couch, lowering his lips right next to her ear. "How kind of you to wait up for me, my fair lady," he murmured. Carter began to stir, and sat up, rubbing her eyes. He straightened up, "But was the plan to fall asleep?"
"Of course not, you dolt. Don't be stupid," she said groggily, smacking his chest.
"I'm wounded, my dear," he quipped, taking a seat next to her on the couch.
She pursed her lips in response. "Now I remember why I never do anything nice for you," she muttered, standing up.
Sirius stood as well, grabbing her wrist before she had a chance to begin walking towards the girls' dorms. "Thanks," he mumbled into her hair as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head, almost reluctant to do so.
Carter's cheeks reddened, and she pulled away. She would rather be fed to the giant squid than let him see her blush. "Yeah, okay," she mumbled, tugging her wrist from his grasp, "night."
"Hey Carter," he called as he watched her walk away. She stopped, waiting patiently for him to continue. "Did you happen to pack any shorts this year?" he asked in a hopeful tone.
"Fuck off, Black," she called back, continuing her walk up the stairs.
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