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the present by timeturner
Chapter 11 : Crappy Honesty Talks
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 67


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the present
Chapter Eleven: Crappy Honesty Talks


She wasn’t sure why she had agreed to this. As if being out in Hogsmeade again, being this close to Hogwarts, wasn’t bad enough she was in the presence of one of the most well known wizards in the world. She hated the attention, the whispered voices, the welcoming smiles of his return but, most of all, she hated that Sirius seemed to be enjoying it. For the first time since she’d met him, she could see where he’d gotten his reputation of being the wildest Marauder.

He had kept at it for hours…the dancing, the singing, and the general celebratory happiness that seemed to engulf him. She didn’t blame him, of course, but his forcing her into such a happy little world was beginning to tear at her soul. She wanted to say she was having a horrible time but, the truth was, she hadn’t had this much fun since her days at Hogwarts. He somehow managed to make her forget the all too serious world she had left at Grimmauld and only now, as the bar began to slow and the patrons disperse did she begin to have that hollow feeling of guilt for taking the time to enjoy herself. They had long since stopped serving drinks to everyone but Sirius and, with her own glass already empty, she reached across the table to steal his. She had just finished polishing it off when his soft voice filtered over her shoulder.

“Thief,” he whispered, chuckling softly in her ear. “Come, stop being a wall flower and dance before they throw us out.”

“I don’t want to dance.”

“Well,” Sirius sank into the chair next to her with a huff. “We can dance or we can talk about Harry’s daughter Juliette…your choice.”

Hermione choked. Her stomach revolted and dizziness like she’d never experienced caused her to drop her head between her knees with no concern for who might be watching. Her breaths came in ragged gasps, her deep coughs causing tears to stream from the edges of her eyes. She managed a broken, “I hate you,” before she slipped out of the chair and into the dusty floor with a clumsy thud.

Sirius sank down onto the floor beside her, ignoring the curious glances of the few remaining patrons. He stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles, waiting patiently for her to regain some sense of composure. It took a few moments for her to regain her breath and she pulled her knees up underneath her long cloak, watching him with eyes full of fury.

“I hate you,” she managed again. She tried to stand up but he held her back, his hand sliding into hers.

“No, you don’t,” he whispered, pulling her back down beside him. “You’ve wanted to tell someone for six years. I see it every time you look at her. You want someone, anyone, to understand.”

Sirius could see the longing in her eyes, the desperate hope that she could finally be honest with someone after all this time. But just as quickly, he saw the fear that held her back and, as if he was looking in a mirror, he could feel the tension overtake her like an animal that had been caged far too long. He stood up and offered her his hand. “Let’s go somewhere less public, shall we?”

She slid her hand into his, her voice almost inaudible. “Not Grimmauld, please, not Grimmauld.”

He smiled at her nervousness, unsure of where her sudden timid nature had come from. Mere minutes ago she looked ready to slug him and now she looked near collapse. He slid his arm around her shoulders for support and led her into the cold night air. His steps were short, matching her own less confident ones, and he could feel her trembling next to him.

“You know,” he offered smiling, “your guilt over this whole thing is pretty ridiculous. It’s not as if being with more than one person is a crime.”

Hermione nodded, moving closer to him as he led her to Hogsmeade train station. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“And why is that? Because I was some Hogwarts playboy? You really do listen to Tonks too much.” He laughed as he motioned to the attendant behind the ticket counter. They spoke for a few moments before Sirius handed over a stack of coins from his pockets. “You’d think with me being dead and all people could find something better to gossip about than my sexual exploits,” he chuckled as he accepted two tickets and led her to a nearby bench to await the train.

“You weren’t?” Hermione asked, sinking down beside him.

“No, I was chased more than doing the chasing,” he grinned, “price of being a Black.”

‘Oh, yes, you poor thing,” Hermione couldn’t help but smile back at him. “At least you haven’t lost that arrogance you’re so famous for.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he laughed as the train pulled up, inches from their feet. The scarlet red engine made Hermione hesitate and Sirius slipped his arm around her waist. “Its okay, this one goes no where you’ve ever heard of, I assure you.”

She nodded without comment, a flurry of memories washing over her as she followed Sirius through the corridors and into one of the back compartments. Unlike the school train she remembered, this train had formal sitting areas, overnight accommodations, and from the marker on the map, a full service restaurant and bar. Her voice was full of surprise. “It’s like a muggle train.”

“Every once in awhile a muggle can have a good invention, can’t they?” he asked holding a door open for her.

“I didn’t mean—" her apology was lost in a smile as she noticed the grin on his face. “Remus was right…you can’t ever be serious.”

Sirius stopped her as she tried to walk through the doorway, his hand resting lightly on her arm. “You are about to find out how untrue that is but, that also is something I prefer to keep out of public view.”

Hermione locked her gaze with his, his sudden honesty causing her breath to catch in her throat. She’d never felt comfortable with Sirius when Harry was around. It was almost as if his presence turned her into an outsider but now, with his body so close to hers, she couldn’t help but understand what Harry had seen in him. His love of life, his arrogance that couldn’t help but draw you in and make you laugh until your sides hurt and then there was that look. Certainly Harry had witnessed it…he wouldn’t have been so trusting in Sirius without having seen it himself. But, Hermione had never actually felt the depth of his gray eyes and the kindness, loyalty and caring that lie hidden under his many scars. When she realized how close she had drawn to him, she quickly stepped away. “I understand.”

“Somehow, I knew you would,” he smiled but Hermione couldn’t help but notice that it didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Coffee?” he asked as he slipped off his cloak and tossed it onto the seat. He sank down opposite her, waiting for a response, giving her a quizzical look. “Hermione?”

“Whiskey, if you can manage it,” she whispered quietly, refusing to look at him. Why did she feel like such a child around him? She hadn’t felt so uneasy, so lost, since before she graduated Hogwarts.

Sirius nodded, a smile lighting his face. “I prefer brandy for these rather crappy honesty talks but whiskey it is.”

Hermione laughed but quickly covered her mouth. “Brandy works fine.” She accepted the glass, taking a small sip while she chose her words. “How did you know?”

“Her eyes,” he answered simply.

She smiled. “They’re Lily’s, aren’t they?”

Sirius nodded, taking a drink rather than respond. He leaned back against the soft red velour, the squishy cushions softening the train’s jerky movement as it began to pull out from the station.

“Have you ever been in love, Sirius?” she asked quietly. “Real love, where it makes your heart ache?”

She had expected him to be surprised but he didn’t even raise his eyes her direction. “No.”

“No?” Hermione frowned, her eyes searching his. But his emotions were well practiced and, except for the darkened gray of his eyes, she couldn’t read a thing. Did anything ever phase this man? “Really?”

“Love turns normal people to fools,” he returned as he poured himself another drink, “so no.”

“Ah,” she nodded, trying to withhold her smile. “She broke your heart, then?”

“I refuse to answer that.”

She had expected a smile or even a cocky grin but the heart-wrenching look he couldn’t hide caught her by complete surprise. She reached for him, her hand resting lightly on his knee. “Sirius?”

“I’m sorry, Hermione,” his voice broke ever so slightly. “I just can’t.”

Hermione shifted slightly, moving to sit beside him. She heaved a heavy sigh, letting her hand rest on his thigh. “So, you are human after all.”

“One day when I’m drunk you might be lucky to get it out of me,” he smiled. “But back to you. You loved Ron that much, hm?”

“It devastated me. Looking back I feel like such a fool for reacting to his death the way I did. He deserved so much better. He deserved to have his memory treated with love and respect and…” Hermione grew quieter, silent tears beginning to run down her cheeks. “He deserved so much better than me.”

“Oh,” Sirius murmured as understanding washed over him. He let his arm drop around her shoulders, pulling her head to rest in his chest. “You and Harry, then, you ran to each other when he died?”

“How did you know that?” she gasped, wiping away the tears she hadn’t even noticed were falling.

“I ran to several people when James and Lily died,” he admitted quietly. “More than I should probably confess to. I just kept thinking that someone, somewhere, would be able to fill the emptiness I had inside.” He shifted uneasily, moving away from her to take his glass in his hand. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be telling you that.”

“Why?” Hermione slid her arm into his and pulled him back into the seat. “Afraid I might learn you actually have feelings?”

“No, just…” Sirius tried to reach for his glass again but she stopped him. He looked up at her, an automatic sarcastic remark flying to the tip of his tongue. But something in her closeness, the sincere desire she had to actually understand him made him hesitate. The sudden feeling of wanting to be honest with her - something he hadn’t felt the need to do since James and Lily’s death- caused his breath to catch in his throat and his words came out more emotional than he had intended. “It’s easier for me to listen than it is for me to talk, is all.”

“Chicken.”

“Yeah,” Sirius chuckled, knowing she was letting him off the hook and appreciating her for it. “I am.”


Author’s Note: I broke the chapter in two…I promise they are still together in the next chapter and the rating will come in to play in chapter 12 (young’uns be forewarned!). Thanks to everyone who is following this…you’ve all made this so fun to write each chapter!


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