You didn't really sleep.
You had intended to nap, to unwind and just enjoy the feeling of being back in Hogwarts. No Black family, no awkward cuddling up in the night with Sirius.
Instead you just lay, staring at the canopy, trying to figure out if your friend was being serious with the note he'd sent you.
You could maybe accept that Sirius found you attractive, that maybe he wanted a quick fumble in the greenhouse like so many other girls before you but the words he'd used....
It sounded like the words of a man in love and that was just frankly ridiculous.
Sirius Black didn't know how to love a girl.
You'd seen the constantly revolving door of heartbroken women crying in classes, crying in the Great Hall, crying in the nooks of the castle. All for him.
You wished in a way that you hadn't gotten so close to him and then maybe you could shut off the hopeful feelings you felt. You wanted the note to be real. You wanted Sirius to like you as something more.
What you didn't want is to end up avoiding your friends just because Sirius was their friend first.
If only Remus were here but he wasn't due back until tomorrow. Owl post was too slow to properly convey the twisting feeling in your chest.
Dinner time rolled around and you heaved yourself out of the bed and towards the dormitory door. Every step down into the common room felt like your stomach was being yanked slowly up your throat. You sincerely hoped he'd already gone down because you didn't know if you could cope with an awkward conversation all the way to the Great Hall.
Thankfully it was empty and you scuttled out of the portrait hole quickly, almost falling through in your haste to get out before anyone saw you. The Fat Lady laughed her head off watching you stumble upright but you ignored her.
When you got to the Great Hall, you didn't immediately go in. You peered around the doorway, spotting Sirius in the middle of the Gryffindor table, head resting on one hand as he tried to look interested in whatever Peter was telling him animatedly.
You should go in there and face the music but your feet just wouldn't move. In fact, the second Sirius turned to the door, you leapt out of sight back up the corridor and swore heavily.
“Such colourful language,” a gentle voice to your right made you almost scream in fright. “I shall really have to remember the phrase 'standing like a gormless huddle of trolls'. I rather like it.”
“Professor Dumbledore!” you straighten up. “Sorry I was just....”
“Loitering?” he raises a kindly eyebrow. “Or are we hiding?”
“From Mister Black I presume. Love's first touch can be frightening indeed.”
“No no, love-”
“My dear Miss Locksley, I know the goings on of my school and I dare say you are both more than a match for each other. I also dare say you've helped improve each other's work over the past few months. May I offer you some advice?”
“Sure,” you nod like an idiot, completely embarrassed that even the headmaster had noticed what was going on.
“Come this way, my dear. We don't want eavesdroppers after all.”
He leads you into a side corridor before looking down his crooked nose at you and smiling, “The advice is simply this. Youth is fleeting, your school days are nearly at an end. You can run from what might be and always wonder or take the risk and yes, it can go badly wrong but with only half a year remaining, why not take a chance on what might be a great love?”
“I'm not sure he's capable, Professor,” you blurt out.
In all your dealings with the headmaster, he had a habit of bringing the truth to the foreground.
“Everyone is capable of one great love,” his eyes twinkle. “I am aware Mister Black has a certain....reputation but even those who seem irredeemable have hope. You'll never know unless you try. A heart can always be mended but lost potential can never be re-found.”
“Thank you, Professor. That's actually really helpful.”
“Now run along before Mister Filch finds an excuse to try and give us both detention for loitering,” he winks.
“Professor?” you ask, just as he turns away. “Have you ever had a great love?”
Dumbledore says nothing except to tap the side of his nose but his eyes sparkle in a sadly reminiscent way. You feel a little bad for asking, given the reaction but he just smiles warmly at you before walking back to his office.
You head back to the Great Hall with a renewed sense of purpose. Why the hell not, right? If it didn't work out, it didn't work out. You would be trying to start a career soon anyway. Plenty of chances to meet someone else if Sirius was a bounder.
You strode past the threshold only to see Peter nervously eating his food and an empty seat across from him.
Sirius had gone.
Sirius kept looking at the door, hoping you would turn up.
Why had he wrote that stupid note? He should have just waited to tell you. What if he'd scared you off? What if you wanted to completely avoid him now?
“Are you listening?” Peter interrupts, waving his hand in front of Sirius' eyeline. “Honestly. You're thinking about her, aren't you?”
“Oh button it,” Sirius snaps, feeling grumpy and on edge.
Where the hell were you? You were never normally this late for food. You had a proper appetite on you most days.
He thought he caught the swish of your hair near the doorway but Peter clapped his hands in front of Sirius' face to get his attention and when he turned back, there was nothing there.
“She doesn't like you that way. Stop daydreaming,” Peter huffs.
“Who says she doesn't like me?” the question comes out as a snarl. “Did someone say something?”
“It's just obvious. Normally you would've done things with a girl by now.”
“But she's not like that. She's different.”
“Why is everyone falling in love lately?” Peter miserably spears his parsnip. “It's not the same any more.”
“Wormtail, school is nearly over. Soon it won't be the same at all.”
“You'll still all visit me though, right?” he squeaks nervously.
“Of course. Don't be a prat. We just won't see each other every day is all.”
He glanced back towards the door and sighed heavily. You weren't coming.
There was one last thing he could try. If you were thinking about his note and what it meant, you might be out in the forest again.
“I'm going to get some air. See you later,” Sirius dashes away before Peter can protest.
He barrels outside, feeling the freezing air stinging his face as he rushed over to the rock overlooking Hagrid's hut. You weren't there.
He trudged through the snow, ignoring the fact it was coming over his shoes and soaking into his socks. He ignored the biting wind as he fought over to the edge of the forest.
“Locks?!” he calls out as a torrent of snowflakes swarmed around him. “LOCKS?!”
It was hard to get his voice out around the howling noise. The further he got into the canopy of the trees, the darker it became and he was very aware that this was probably the stupidest idea he'd had since he became an animagus.
He was met with something skittering to his left. He whipped his head around to see a hulking black figure, half hidden in the gloom but he could see the glistening pincers clicking.
He had no time to grab his wand before it was advancing on him, legs as tall as he was as it strode into the clearing. He fell backwards over a tree root, swearing in panic and try to scramble to his feet without looking away. He couldn't afford to look away or it would take him.
He wished he'd never strayed this far into the forest.
Just as it was about to bear down on him, his vision was completely covered by white fluff, warm white fluff. It was snarling in a horrendously vicious manner and he could feel the body vibrating above him.
Was it the wolf he'd met in the forest? Was it Diana?
The acromantula backed away, rearing slightly but whatever was protecting him held fast. The giant spider hissed, venomous spittle dripping on the ground as it retreated into the darkness.
The furry body moved off him and stepped to the side and he could finally see the big wolf which seemed almost luminescent compared to the dinginess of the forest. It was still scanning the treeline warily but as far as Sirius could tell, the danger had passed.
“Thank y-” the words died in his throat as one second, the white wolf was next to him and the next you were in its place, looking panicked.
“Are you okay?” you look him over. “Did it bite you? Did it drip anything on you? Do I need to get you to the hospital wing?”
“Sirius!” you shake him a little. “Are you okay?!”
“Yeah,” he blinks back to reality. “Yeah I'm fine. What the bloody hell was that?”
You ignore his question, choosing instead to help him to his feet, “You sodding idiot! Why on earth were you skulking around the forest in a blizzard?!”
“I was looking for you!” the colour seems to be burning in his cheeks. “I thought you'd run off here like usual.”
“I can handle myself,” you snap as you bustle him to the edge of the forest muttering occasional words like 'moron' and 'idiot'.
“Locks, are you an animagus?” Sirius asks bluntly.
You stop, staring up at the snow strewn castle and sigh heavily, “Yes. Please don't tell anyone though. It's just a freedom thing. I like to sneak out of my dad's house and go into the woods but I needed to be able to defend myself in more ways than just with a wand. I'm not registered though. Please keep it a secret.”
“Only if you keep mine,” Sirius winks before transforming into the shaggy black dog.
You stare at him for a few seconds as he changes back and far from being impressed, you look pissed off.
“That was you?!” you whack him in the arm. “You complete arse, Sirius Black! You listened to me talking about you and didn't say a bloody word and you crept into my lap!”
“You were cold,” he smirks, rubbing the point where you'd hit him. “And I never knew you cared.”
You looked mortified.
“Hey, it's not any scarier than me writing you that note,” he prompts.
“So you did write it,” you breathe sharply. “I wasn't sure if it was just....just...you know, a joke or something.”
“Why would I joke about that? I'm not a complete cad. I don't joke when it comes to writing my feelings down. That'd just be cruel and what's funny about being cruel?”
“So you really do like me?”
“Of course I do, you great plum!” Sirius makes an exasperated noise. “It's just, I've always been too scared to say anything in case you thought I was just trying to get a leg over. I'm not in this for a quick bunk in the fields, I like you, Locks. For the first time in my life, the thought of being without someone in my world frightens the pants off of me. I don't want this year to end and never see you again.”
It was spilling from his mouth faster than he had time to be embarrassed about it. Months of hidden secrets and feelings just poured out and every sentence that passed his lips eased his chest just a little bit more.
“Every horrible thing I did, I did because I was afraid of what I felt and I was afraid you wouldn't want me,” he continues. “I know I have a reputation but it's not who I am and I hope you see the real me. I really care about you. I mean, blimey, you don't know how long I spent searching for a necklace like that. I had to go into a muggle town and that was an eye opener.”
He sees you touch the pendant subconsciously and he's glad you haven't taken it off at least. That means there's hope.
“I want us to be together but I realise I've been a proper little shit the last couple of months so it might not happen but if I didn't tell you soon, I was going to explode. I meant what I said at my family's house, Locks. I love you.”
He was almost grateful for the howling wind as at least it filled the silence as you looked at him completely stunned. He'd never seen your eyes go that wide and you weren't even shivering any more against the insidious cold.
“Oh fucking hell. I'll meet you in the tower,” he loses his nerve, desperate to get away before you can reject him. “I can't feel my fingers any more and I should probably change before I get frostbite so I'll-”
But you cut him off by stepping forward and kissing him. He was so surprised that he forgot what he was supposed to be doing until his brain kicked back in and he wrapped his arms around you, pulling you so close he was nearly crushing you to him.
You were so warm and even in the blast of snow he could still smell the perfume on your clothes. He forgot where he was in that moment.
“Naww, ain't that just lovely,” Hagrid sniffles from the edge of the forest, crossbow in one hand and a dead pheasant in the other. “I knew you would sort it out. Didn't I tell ya?”
You broke away, coughing awkwardly, “Hi Hagrid.”
“Go'un, get up to the castle n' get warm,” Hagrid gestures. “You'll both freeze to death out here if ya stay too long.”
“We got it, Hagrid,” Sirius laughs, feeling happier than he'd ever been. “Come on, Locks. I think even my underpants are soaked through right now. Let's get changed.”
Newly clad in thick woollen jumpers, warm trousers and cosy socks, you and Sirius sat in front of the common room fire laughing.
“I can't believe I waited this long to say something,” Sirius pushes his wet hair back out of his eyes. “I could've died when I realised I'd kissed you on Christmas day. Drunk me has a habit of letting the truth out.”
“Imagine if you'd told me before this whole Jane mess,” you nudge him. “Could've saved ourselves some arguments.”
“Yeah...yeah I'm not proud of that,” he looks to the floor. “Merlin, I've said some rotten things to you in my time but the train....I'm surprised you ever forgave me.”
“I think I was just hoping you were the person I thought you were.”
“And I hope I live up to it,” he takes your hand. “Can I tell you something, Locks?”
“That Boxing Day morning, I woke up and I was holding you but I didn't want to stop so I just pretended to be asleep.”
“You sneaky little git,” but you're smiling. “That happened this morning too.”
“I like waking up next to you,” he mumbles, as if saying it too loudly would be shameful.
“Want to do it again?” you blurted out before you could stop yourself.
“I don't mean like...sleep with each other, I just mean-”
“-I know,” he grins. “I wouldn't be such a presumptuous cock about stuff like that. Obviously I would like to, you're gorgeous, don't get me wrong. I would just like to go to sleep next to you and not be afraid you're going to kick me out onto the floor in the morning.”
“Let's go then. I'm absolutely knackered after today.”
He grabs your hand leading you up to the boys' dormitory which was mercifully empty before pulling you into the four poster bed, casting a charm for floating light orbs and then drawing the curtains closed. Once you were both lying on the bed, he pulls you to lie on his chest.
“You know, I can't believe we both played as our animagus forms,” Sirius laughs to himself.
“And you were totally subservient to me,” you tap him on the chest.
“Well....you're bigger than me. Wolf trumps dog. I'd be stupid to ignore that. Now stop bruising my ego and kiss me.”
You reach up, lips meeting his as you softly kiss him. You got so lost in the sensation that you nearly shrieked as the door closed and Sirius had to shush you with his finger as someone, presumably Peter, came in.
“Sirius? Sirius are you there?” he calls outside the bed.
“Tired. Wanna sleep,” Sirius puts on his best croaky voice.
“Oh, oh alright then. See you later,” Peter seems immensely disappointed and got into his own bed.
“Be very quiet,” Sirius whispers into your ear. “Now turn over so I can cuddle up properly.”
“You're very bossy,” you hiss, scooting around.
“You love it,” you can hear the grin as he kisses your cheek softly. “Sweet dreams, Locks.”
And you both drifted off, a sense of wholeness and total relaxation but most importantly, peace.
“BLOODY HELL, WHAT A DISCOVERY! COME LOOK AT THIS GUYS! IT'S SIRIUS AND LOCKS!”