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The Marauders Kiss by sweetprofanities
Chapter 55 : Digging deeper.
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10


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Ali was sitting in a corner of the Gryffindor common room alone, trying to get some peace and quiet. There was a raging party going on around her for James Potter’s eighteen birthday party. Ali protested the idea initially. The seventh year’s NEWTs were coming up. They should have been studying. She was preparing for them, how could they not be? James was also a rotten, jerk of a friend that teased her relentlessly. He didn’t deserve a party…

Alright, she didn’t truly believe that. But that’s certainly what she said to him when he proposed the idea a week ago, asking if she’d attend. Lily and James had stepped up the public displays of affection about thirty thousand fold over the past few weeks and Ali was finding them hard to be around. But she adored Lily, and James was… okay. So she was enduring it all. She looked up from her homework and saw Anna Cox glaring at her. It was pretty common these days to find her doing that. Her minions weren’t trying as hard to please her anymore, and Bianca and Maria had even started being what could be considered nice to Ali. 

Ali looked Anna dead in the eye and mouthed “get over it” and gave her a fake smile to deliver the final blow. Of course she wasn’t taking Bianca and Maria’s newfound kindness to heart. They were just being nice because Ali was currently in the social spotlight for dating Sirius. It was ridiculous and she didn’t want it at all. If she didn’t find her affections for Sirius growing every day, she would most certainly dump him and the spotlight his stupid, beautiful face brought with him.

Just as Anna started to shake with anger, ready to rise from her seat and march over to Ali, Sirius appeared out of nowhere.

Aliiiiiiiiiiii.’ He whined. 

‘No!’ She snapped instantly.

Aaaaaalllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!’ He whimpered, getting to his knees before her armchair and placing his chin in her lap.

‘For Pete’s sake, Sirius! No! I’m not telling you anything about it.’ It had been over two weeks of this. Ever since the morning after the quidditch match, Sirius had been nagging her for information on Dumbledore’s secret society. How he’d even managed to remember such a minute detail from that night with the chaos going on around them was beside her.

‘Why not?’ He sat back and stared at her, looking irritated.

Ali laughed, ‘are you shitty with me?’

‘For someone so well-read, you’ve got a pretty dirty mouth, you know that?’ Sirius raised a brow at her, still trying to look angry.

‘I do know that. You can thank my father for that ladylike trait. I mean, if you ever dare to come face to face with him again that is.’ She smirked and reached forward to grab another of her textbooks for a reference. As she grabbed it, Sirius hit it out of her hand and it fell to the floor.

‘Sirius!’ She looked up at him for an explanation but he just pouted at her.

‘I’m just going to be really annoying until you tell me.’ 

‘You’re already really annoying. It can’t get much worse.’ She replied. As she got used to being around Sirius, she found not only her boundaries and guards lowering, but also her cheek rising. As she turned to face him the look on his face was too much for her to handle. She started to laugh. She reached out and pushed him and he fell back onto his hands and smiled.

Ali!’ He tried to sound authoritative, but he was still laughing and smiling at her from his collapsed position on the floor.

‘Piss off you pest. Go and gallivant around the party, you’re not getting any information out of me.’ She said, reaching down to pick up her fallen textbook and looking it over to see if it suffered any damage.

‘Why do you have to be so rule abiding?’ Sirius asked as he stood up.

‘It is a secret society, Sirius. How secret would it be if I went around telling every Tom, Dick and Harry about it?’

‘My name is Sirius. Not Tom, Dick, or Harry. How many times do I have to tell you that? You think you’d remember your own boyfriend’s name.’ Sirius rolled his eyes and shook his head in mock exasperation as he lent down towards her.

‘Shut up.’ Ali laughed. Sirius smiled at her, and placed a kiss to the corner of her mouth. It still made Ali’s chest warm up, even though they had been dating just over three months now. She wondered if this heightened affection even died down? Judging from her parents, she expected probably not. 

‘Have you written that letter to your mum yet?’ Sirius asked, drawing back. It was as if he had read her mind.

Ali groaned, ‘…yes.’

‘You have not!’

‘Shut up!’

‘Ali, write the damn letter!’

‘I have!’

‘Liar!’

‘Ugh! Okay! I haven’t.’ She gave in as Sirius shook his head down at her.

‘Being stubborn isn’t going to make this any better. Just say you’re sorry.’

‘She’s being stubborn, too!’ Ali argued. She had tried to write her mother an apology time and time again since Sirius had suggested it, but her silly pride kept getting in the way.

‘You’re acting like a kid, you know that, right?’ Sirius looked down at her, ‘sometimes I forget you’re so much younger than us.’

Ali’s jaw dropped, ‘I’m sixteen and a half, Sirius.’

Sirius started to laugh, covering his face with his hand, ‘that, right there, only proves how juvenile you are.’ After his remark however, Sirius had to duck as a textbook flew directly at his head. When it missed him and hit the wall behind him, Ali squeaked in worry.

Sirius just laughed loudly and walked away to join James and the others in their loud party endeavours. 

‘Stupid know-it-all.’ Ali muttered to herself as she retrieved her book. The noise level of the party had driven Snowball into retreat hours ago. Regardless of what she may have said to him, she knew he was right. For the first time in her life, Ali had opted to stay at Hogwarts over a school break. It was very out of character for her.

She was still not on talking terms with her mother, and frankly still a little angry about what she had said. True she didn’t mean the bad words she had said against Kanika. But her parents were being unfair. She was a model student. She was a prefect. She had the highest grades in nearly all of her classes. Her teachers all sang her praises. What more did she want? She had to make a fool of her at the station? In front ofeveryone? Mothers were so embarrassing.

And coming to conclusions that she was going to jump into tricky situations with Sirius was downright rude. Ali wasn’t naïve. She knew how babies were made. She had read a plethora of healer’s books on biology and the human body. She knew. And she certainly did not want one any time soon. She had a career to think about! And besides. She wasn’t ready for any of that. And Sirius was a gentlemen! …mostly. 

All it came down to was – well, she was being stubborn. Just like Sirius had said. She wanted more than anything to apologise to Kanika. But she wanted an apology first! So she kept putting off her letter. She would write it, then rip it up and get frustrated and have to read a textbook to calm herself down. So for now she gave up on it. 

And as it came up to the holidays, and she thought she best write it, James came to her and asked if she would stay. The Easter weekend this year fell on James Potter’s birthday. And when James had come around, asking everyone to stay over the holiday for an extravagant birthday bash, Ali found it the best way to procrastinate her need to apologise even further, and accepted the request to stay behind. 

She missed her family terribly. But she wrote to her father explaining about the birthday invitation and he had replied with a ‘have fun Ali-bear! Keep your wand close in case anyone tries anything funny though. Men are monsters!’ To which Ali rolled her eyes. And at the end Tucker had scribbled a ‘love you nerd!’ in florescent glitter ink.  

Ali looked around at the people enjoying themselves. James was currently invading Sirius’s personal space and Sirius was laughing at him. Lily was sitting with Marlene, who looked to be a little higher in spirits lately. Remus was among them, but Peter seemed to be absent, as was Mary.

Ali almost contemplated going up to the dorm, tiring of the noise herself now. But just as the thought crossed her mind, she saw Anna Cox huffing an exasperated breath and getting to her feet from where she was sitting with some of the quidditch team players. Anna threw her arms down and stormed off to the girls’ staircase as Ali stifled a laugh.

Since Sirius had kissed her on the train, Ali had weathered a fair amount of taunting from other students. Mostly she ignored it, unless she felt like retaliating and shutting them down. But usually the taunts were pretty mild, and didn’t cause her a great deal of grief. But now that she and Sirius had been together in the public eye for a full term, people were beginning to tire of the diminutive reactions she gave them. Now something else entirely was starting to happen, and she liked it even less.

‘Hey Ali.’ A fifth year girl walked by and waved to her. Ali felt a groan escaping her tightly pressed lips at those two words. Last year, most people weren’t even sure how to pronounce her name. Now suddenly they all knew her nickname. And insisted on using it for no apparent reason. It was infuriating. She tried to forget it, and returned to her reading. A few more minutes passed by and another student stopped to hover beside her.

‘Hey Ali. Are you doing homework?’ 

Ali looked to her right at this newcomer. It was a third year boy. Ali sighed, knowing full well it would be cruel to be rude to a thirteen year old.

‘Yes. I am.’ She replied, turning back to her book.

‘Sorry. I didn’t mean to bother you. You’re just… you’re just so awesome. I just wanted to let you know. You’re really awesome.’ 

A little shocked at being called ‘awesome’ more than once, if at all, Ali turned to look at the boy to see if this was some kind of prank. She stared at him, and his shy smile gave him away. He was being honest. He smiled awkwardly, nodded his head to her and started to walk off.

‘U-uh.. thank you!’ She called out to his retreating figure. He turned around briefly to wave and continued on. Ali just sat, a little shocked, and blinking. When she looked around, a few more students were watching her. They smiled and waved at her also and that’s where Ali drew the line. It was all too weird. Most of these students had ignored her from day one. This was not natural.

She collected up her things and made for the stairs. As she got to the bottom, she remembered Anna and sighed. She looked to her right at the boys’ staircase and pondered it. She gave a quick shrug once her decision was made and started to climb the staircase up to the boys’ dorm. She looked around once she reached the boys level and no one was to be seen. She quietly opened the door and disappeared inside. 

When she turned around after quietly shutting the door she realised the room was not empty as she had expected it to be. 

‘Oh, sorry Peter! I thought you were down at the party.’ She apologised. Peter, who was perched on his bed looking at Ali curiously, just shook his head.

‘It’s okay. You can come in. Are you waiting for Padfoot?’ He asked. Ali made her way over to his bed to see what he was doing, before replying. It looked as if he was reading up on his NEWTs practicals. 

‘Uh, oh. No. He’s downstairs. I just wanted a bit of quiet and my dorm is currently occupied with some less that friendly members. Are you studying?’

‘Huh? Oh. Yeah. I’m… I’m just a bit worried. I’m not as smart as the boys. They all seem to get things in class, whereas I have to try a lot harder.’ Peter shrugged.

‘Oh, me too. It’s frustrating how smart Sirius is.’ Ali felt her upper lip twitch just thinking about it. Stupid Black and his enormous brain power.

‘Tell me about it. Sometimes I want to hit them in class. “Oh, haven’t you gotten that spell down yet Wormtail? You just do this. See?” Ah, no. I don’t see, actually. Show offs.’ Peter allowed a grumpy pout to settle on his face as he looked down at his books. It made Ali giggle. At her little outburst, Peter looked up at her strangely. Almost as if he was wondering if she was laughing at him. Upon inspection, as he realised she was merely laughing at his statement, he smiled at her.

‘I can completely agree with you there. Stupid know it all. Thinks he’s the master of all things spell related.’ Ali muttered thinking about Sirius’s gruelling transfiguration lessons and the way he just seemed to master things within minutes that took her hours if not days.

‘The worst part though is that they all are. Well, Prongs and Padfoot seem to be naturally advanced. Moony does have to try, but barely. He’s a genius in his own way.’

‘You know, I’ve always wondered something Peter.’ Ali frowned at him, hitching her books up in her arms. ‘What in Merlin’s name are those nicknames?’

Peter laughed, covering his mouth with his hand. ‘You honestly don’t want to know.’ He smiled, looking down at his NEWT book. After a moment he sighed and Ali decided something.

‘Would you like some help? I mean, I’m not a genius. But I study hard. And it sounds like we’re both quite similar in that way. I might be a more useful guide than the others?’ She smiled at the pudgy boy before her, as his face lit up at her offer.

‘Really? You’d do that, for me?’

‘Of course! I love magic. Any time I can read about it or practice it, I will. Especially if it’s helping someone else.’ They smiled at one another and Peter shuffled over on his bed to make room for her. Ali settled in, dumping her books down and launching into methods of study first. She had already started practicing for her own NEWTs, so none of the subject matter was new to her.

As they chatted, Ali started to realise what a sweet boy Peter was. He was slow, and skittish, but he was quiet and kindly and he listened to everything Ali had to say about charms practice. It was Ali’s best subject, so she had a lot to offer on it. Neither of them seemed to slow down or realise the time until the dorm door creaked open and Remus wandered in. 

‘What are you two up to in here? I believe Sirius is looking for you Ali.’ He smirked at his discovery and made his way over to the foot of Peter’s bed. 

‘I’m sure he is.’ Ali grinned knowing her hiding place was probably fool proof. Why would Sirius come looking for her in his own dorm?

‘Adams is helping me with some revision.’ Peter said as he practiced the precise wand movement Ali had been teaching him.

‘She’s very switched on, isn’t she.’ Remus smiled at Ali, seeing the kindness she had shown him last year being bestowed on Peter now. 

‘She’s a much better teacher than Prongs or Padfoot, that’s for sure.’ Peter nodded still practicing the movement. 

‘If you keep at it, you’ll surely pass your charms NEWT. I can help you with the others, too. I don’t mind.’ As Ali was finishing her sentence, the dorm door burst open and James and Sirius fell through the doorway laughing loudly.

‘I won!’

‘Shut up Padfoot, I was clearly in first! Moony! Who won!?’ The two boys looked up from their position on the floor, over at Remus, Peter and Ali.

‘Hey. What’s going on here? Why are you on Wormtail’s bed? Treachery!’ Sirius scrambled up and bounded over to them, tackling both Ali and Peter down on the bed. James just laughed, getting to his feet and joining Remus at the foot of the bed.

‘What is going on in here?’ Lily’s voice interrupted Ali and Peter’s cries of dispute over being laid upon.

‘Wormtail’s trying to scam Sirius’s lady right under his nose! It’s now a battle to the death.’ James explained as Lily joined them in the dorm.

‘Shut up, she was just helping me study.’ Peter cried, pushing Sirius off him.

‘That’s what they all say.’ Sirius shook his head, sitting up and staring at Ali and Peter.

‘Push off you mongrel.’ Ali glared at Sirius and kicked him off the bed. With that the entire dorm burst into laughter while Ali got to her feet and stood above Sirius. As he sat up, rubbing his back, he looked up to see her smiling above him and joined in the rest of the laughter.

‘Right, well you’re mine now. Study can wait.’ Sirius got to his feet and scooped Ali into his arms.

‘Sirius! Put me down!’ 

‘Nein.’ 

‘Sirius!’

‘Non.’ Sirius just laughed as he carried his lady over to his bed and dropped her down. She gave him a menacing frown which Sirius ignored as he climbed onto the sheet-lacking mattress and kissed her. There were groans from all around them from the other inhabitants of the dorm so Sirius pulled away.

‘Don’t act like you’re not enjoying the show, lads. Lily I could teach James a few new moves for you? It would certainly spice things up.’ 

‘He knows enough, thanks.’

‘Yeah, I know enough!’ James mimicked in a mocking tone. ‘Wait… enough? That doesn’t sound satisfied. Get over here!’ James yanked Lily over to his bed while Sirius and Lily laughed at his expense. Sirius then pulled the drapes shut around his bed while the attention was momentarily off he and Ali.

‘Sirius. They’ll get ideas…’ Ali spoke quietly, looking a little concerned as Sirius shuffled closer to her.

‘Let them. I just want to lay here with you for a bit.’ As he presented her with a sweet smile, Ali knew she couldn’t argue such an innocent request. Lily was up here with James, so it wasn’t that bad. 

‘Well, at least get some pillows for us then.’ She rolled her eyes, trying to feign nonchalance, when really she was still quite happy over the fact that someone she was developing such deep feelings for, was reciprocating. It certainly didn’t always happen this way. She knew she was lucky. 

Sirius located a couple of pillows and pulled a blanket up from the side of the bed and laid back with his arms behind his head. 

‘Did you enjoy yourselves down there?’ Ali asked, placing her head down beside his, but choosing to lay on her side to have a better view of him.

‘Yeah. It was okay.’ Sirius explained some of the funnier things that happened while Ali had been helping Peter. She smiled at a few of the stories while they listened to the rest of the boys and Lily chatting away beyond the drapes. There was a lot of laughter for at least an hour, until things began to quiet down around their conversation. Remus could be heard getting into bed, and Peter was already under his blankets a while ago. Lily, it sounded, was trying to get James to calm down, but was laughing loudly at his jokes and wasn’t doing the best job. 

A few times Ali and Sirius listened in on them and laughed softly at Lily’s “James for heaven’s sake, calm down” followed by her own laughter. As the dorm grew steadily more silent, and James and Lily were the only voices left speaking at the same decibel Sirius and Ali were, Ali yawned.

‘I should probably get going.’ She reached up and rubbed one of her eyes as it began to sting from tiredness. 

‘Not just yet.’ Sirius shuffled and turned onto his side, so their faces were but centimetres apart. He smiled at her in such an innocent way Ali felt her heart rate pick up. His eyes seemed to just be scanning over her features, and he reached out and pulled a few of her curls through his fingers. Even though she knew those curls would now be on the frizzier side, she couldn’t bring herself to chastise him. He seemed so content.

She propped herself up on her elbow suddenly, and reach down to his lips to place a kiss over them. It was light, and fleeting, but as she drew back, Sirius reached up and pulled her back down. He pushed himself into more of an upright position and pulled her body to rest over his own, claiming her lips over and over again. She could feel him smiling through their kisses and laughed, just a little.

‘What’s funny?’ Sirius asked, pulling back to look at her.

‘You.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’

‘Alright.’ She shrugged, lowering her lips down to kiss his neck. Sirius seemed to lose any words after that. He arched his back, basking in the contact and Ali did her best to imitate the way he kissed her like this. She had gone from terribly inexperienced, to rather confident since they had started dating. Snogging was one thing Sirius was verygood at coaching. 

One of his hands reached up to delve into her hair gently, while the second travelled down her side and rested on her outer thigh. As she trailed her tongue lightly from the bottom of his ear, down the curve of his jaw and let out a warm breath, Sirius’s second hand moved into a place it never had before. It moved so effortlessly to the inside of her thigh, easily bypassing the casual baby blue dress she had on and touching a part of her body that had never before been touched by foreign hands, brushing the elastic of her knickers along the way. 

Ali’s eyes snapped open and she sat up so quickly she almost fell off the bed.

‘Whoa! Sorry! Sorry!’ Sirius whispered, pulling her back over to safety. ‘I just, I wasn’t thinking, sorry.’ He pulled his hands up in defence as the two sat opposite one another, Ali looking very flustered.

‘I-’ Ali started, but found herself lost. Her heart was beating so fast, she could hear it over the silence around them. It felt as if her heart was pounding so hard, it was forcing the blood to rush to the place Sirius’s hand had just left. She had never felt this way. Her head was spinning. It sounded as if even James and Lily were down and out by this point, ‘I’m sorry. I’m- I’m just-’ Ali shook her head and closed her eyes.

‘Hey, no. It’s fine. I’m the one that’s sorry. You-’ Sirius laughed a little, ‘You just made me forget where I was when you did that… I’m sorry. Lay back down?’

Ali stared at Sirius, her eyes wide as saucers. She was breathing deeply through her nose and holding her dress down at her mid things while sitting on her feet. She swallowed as Sirius watched her, looking guilty. She nodded as her breathing evened out and the heat between her thighs began to subside. She quietly shuffled back over to him.

They laid down, opposite one another, and Sirius raised his hands up to his chest.

‘I won’t move them from here. I promise.’ He looked as if he were highly amused and doing his best not to show it.

Ali frowned, ‘I’m not ready for that.’

‘I know.’

‘I’m just- I’m younger than you. I don’t have a lot of experience with this stuff.’

‘I know.’ Sirius nodded, still smirking.

‘Stop smirking. It’s not funny.’ Ali hit him on his shoulder, giving him her very best angry face. It only served to make Sirius laugh as silently as he could manage.

‘I’m sorry. I know. I won’t do it again… without permission.’ He ended his sentence with a nod like he was definitely okay with that as an answer.

‘Sirius?’ Sirius hummed a reply to let her know he was listening, ‘Have you? I mean… have you… done it? Before?’ She found herself unable to look at him as she asked this, and focused on his hands and chest instead. 

‘Uh, yeah.’ Sirius replied casually, ‘Once. But that doesn’t mean you have to rush into it. I’m happy where we are.’

It was a simple reply. A comforting one also. But strangely, Ali didn’t feel overly comforted by it. Instead she felt strange. Almost a little angry. Why on earth was she angry? She tried not to frown, but it was difficult. She was angry that Sirius had slept with another girl? Was she jealous?

‘Who?’ She had no idea why she would ask such a question. Did she really want to know that? Why couldn’t she stop frowning?

‘Uh.’ Sirius hesitated looking at her, ‘it doesn’t matter Ali. Honestly, I don’t think you’d even know her. She left school two years ago.’

‘I might know her.’ She pushed for an answer for reasons she was unaware of. Why would she want to know? What would it prove? Why was she doing this?

Sirius stared at her for a moment and his face was bland. It didn’t suit such handsome features to look so lifeless and dejected.

‘Ali, I’d honestly rather not talk about it. It’s not a fond memory. I was fifteen and she was seventeen. It was after a quidditch match when everyone was getting particularly rowdy. She sort of cornered me. And I didn’t really want to do it. But she kept saying all these sly little things, digs at my “manhood” or something.’ Sirius seemed to tense up a little at the thought. But then he shut his eyes and took a deep breath.

‘It’s just, it’s not something I’m proud of or particularly want to recall. Ever.’

Ali felt her upper lip twitching. The jealously wasn’t gone, it had just taken a backseat to something more important. Anger. She wanted to know this girls name even more now so if she passed her in Diagon Alley she could hex her. 

She hadn’t really expected Sirius to be unexperienced. He was Sirius Black. So many occupants of the school followed him around like a bad smell. She was witnessing firsthand what taking him off the market did. People were angry with her. People were trying to befriend her. Sirius Black made people do some very questionable things.

Ali had to stop herself thrice from demanding to know the girl’s name. She wanted to get it out of Sirius purely to hunt to girl down. But as she looked on at the quiet form of the beautiful boy before her, she realised it would probably have been best just to drop it. To change the subject. 

‘I haven’t. Before. Done… it. That is.’ Ali blinked at her terribly worded sentence. When she refocused on Sirius he was smiling at her.

‘I figured as much.’ He reached forward and kissed her and suddenly her inner turmoil subsided, ‘don’t worry about that stuff. I’m just happy having you here. We can just lay here like this, and I’ll be happy.’

Ali looked down at his hands again, and pulled hers up and interlaced them with his own, moving in close to him.

‘I’m happy just laying here with you, too.’ Ali admitted. They lay there together for a moment, silent with only the sounds of their breathing as a distraction. Ali noted Sirius’s dampened mood, she was tuning into his emotions much more readily than she ever had with another person before. 

‘You make me happy.’ She broke the silence, speaking to his chest instead of his face, ‘I wouldn’t have dreamed it in a million years that this would have been how I spent sixth year. You’re a pest and a rotten little prat. But somehow, you make me happier than anything else at this school ever has.’ It felt strange admitting that. It felt odd being so candid with someone that wasn’t her parents. It felt strange, but it also felt nice. It felt safe.

She felt Sirius grip her hands tighter in his own and turned her attention up to his face. He paused, silent for a moment. Then he inhaled deeply and focused his gaze back onto her.

‘Can I be honest with you for a second?’ His eyes seemed to almost light up with heightened emotions. Ali just nodded a reply, feeling her voice wouldn’t quiet reach him if she spoke. 

‘Sometimes-’ Sirius swallowed and took a breath, ‘-sometimes I worry that I don’t know how to love.’

Ali blinked at him, a little confused. But she didn’t interrupt.

‘It’s part of the reason I didn’t want to say we were dating, back before the Christmas party.’ Sirius’s eyes wandered down to their entwined hands. ‘I was never really shown love while I was growing up. My mother and father loved the idea of me, but they never really loved me.’ For a moment Ali wanted to voice an argument. Of course his parents loved him. He might have been a troublemaker, but that would be no reason to deny your child of love. Parents had to love their children. It was an animalistic reaction. She’d read about it. But she kept quiet with her thoughts as Sirius paused. She didn’t feel like this was something up for debate. And so she listened.

‘I get scared sometimes, because I don’t want to turn into my parents. They didn’t love each other. They didn’t love Regulus or I. They were just obsessed with status and blood purity. They used to cane us, and sear things into our skin when we acted up. Regulus-’ Sirius paused again, playing with his lip between his teeth, ‘Regulus learnt really fast to just do what they wanted. But me? I was a problem child. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t like me asking questions.’

Caning little boys? Searing things into their skin? Ali felt her eyes stinging with the weight of the words being spoken. She was suddenly very happy she didn’t try to argue. Sirius continued on, stare fixated on their hands.

‘I wanted my mother to love me. I wanted her love more than anything in this world.’ Ali had never been overly renowned for reading people. But the unspoken pain she could see in Sirius’s eyes at those words took a hold of her heart like a hand clasping around it and squeezing. ‘When I was eight, I sliced open my own hand, just to see if she would kiss it better. I saw that happen when I snuck out of the house one day. A little muggle boy had fallen over, and he was crying. So his mother came running out of the house and scooped him up. She kissed his knee where it was bleeding and he stopped crying as she took him inside to fix him up.

               ‘When I went to my mother, blood spilling from my hand, she shook her head at me and called out to Kreacher. She told me I was stupid for not being more switched on, and left the house elf to heal me.’

Ali felt a tear leak out from her eye closest to the pillow, but she didn’t move to wipe it. How could a mother be so loveless? She felt ill.

‘I feel like, because I share their blood, I’ll grow into them, regardless of what I want. When I acted out and refused to be placed in Slytherin when the sorting hat suggested it, I did that because I didn’t want to be affiliated with their kind. The elitist of the magical world. The people that made me believe Mudblood was an acceptable term. People that openly express they think killing muggleborns is best for our kind. I didn’t want to be those people. Even though they were all I knew, somehow I knew I didn’t want to be them. But I chose that. So I don’t even know if I should be in Gryffindor. Maybe I will just grow into them eventually? Will I have a separate room from my wife if I ever marry? Will the only things we talk about include family traditions and scathing remarks towards those of unmagical breeding? If I ever have kids… will I beat them for reading out a line wrong from a book? Will I cane them when they miss a note on the piano? Will I burn things into their skin for asking questions about muggles?’

‘Sirius.’ Ali’s voice cracked as she interrupted him. Tears were flowing freely from her eyes, but as Sirius directed his attention back to her face, his expression was impassive and barely sad. Ali reached out and pulled him into her body as she cried. For a while the only thing that could be heard in the dorm was Ali’s almost inaudible sniffles as she tried to calm herself.

As some time passed, she found her voice again, ‘I had no idea… Sirius. I- I didn’t know parents could be that cruel.’ She stared back at him as she drew away from the refuge she had taken against his chest. Sirius still seemed distant, and as if he wasn’t completely present. He hummed a reply still engrossed in his own thoughts.

‘Sirius,’ Ali tried to get his attention. She leant forward and placed a soft kiss on his lips and he blinked a couple of times, coming back to reality. ‘I’m sorry.’ It was the only thing she felt able to say.

Sirius seemed a little stunned by her words as he just stared at her without replying.

‘Please-‘ Ali stopped herself momentarily trying to thinking out the structure of her sentence in her head before speaking. She took a deep breath, which was still hitched with the remnants of her outburst.

‘Please don’t ever think you’ll be like that. You’ll never be like them. You love everyone. You’re so much better with people than I am… you’re… you’re the epitome of love.’ It was the truest thing she could speak. She had once believed Sirius Black to be a brute, and incapable of human decency. But as she got to know him she had come to realise many things. Sirius Black was unfailingly loyal, it was uncanny. Sirius Black loved his friends. All of them. Even Peter, whom he teased. Sirius Black was an idiot, surely. But he was very far from incapable of love. And after just hearing a tiny snippet from his childhood, he probably should have been incapable of love. But he fought against it, and he was amazing for that.

‘You’re amazing.’ Ali smiled back at him, one last tear escaping her eye. Sirius reached out to wipe the tear away and a small smile appeared on his face.

‘Thank you.’ He whispered as they stared back at one another.

Ali felt an all-encompassing need to stay with this boy, by his side, no matter what. It would have seemed Sirius Black had many layers, but he was starting to bare the innermost ones to her, and even being who she was, she knew that made her special. 

One thing was for sure, she wanted more than anything to hex Mrs Black into oblivion. What a sorry excuse for a witch. She would never allow anyone to hurt Sirius like that again. And she was going to get up early the following morning and write to her mother. She realised now just how silly she had been.

She didn’t even realise she had drifted off to sleep, hand in hand with Sirius. And for once, Sirius would have a nightmare free sleep. 


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