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Wolf Pack

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“Locksley!” screeched the stern voice of Professor McGonagall. “Stop setting Bisby on fire! This is a class, not a pyrotechnics show! Ten points from Gryffindor!”

Selucus Bisby whimpered as his friends put out the small flame you’d started on the base of his robes. You didn’t know what he was complaining about. Nothing was damaged after all.

Well…..alright, his robe had caught fire more than you expected.

“Nice one, Locks,” James Potter nudges you. “Good revenge for tearing down the Gryffindor banner in the Great Hall.”

“Could she do it in a way that didn’t lose us the house cup?” Remus sighs. “I’d like not to be last again.”

“Come off it, Mooney,” James scowls playfully. “They’re Slytherins. Who cares? The reward is greater than the risk.”

“I don’t think that’s the saying,” Peter chimes in, his watery eyes tearing up from the spring pollen floating into the aired chamber.

“How about it, Padfoot?” James pokes Sirius on the other side of him. “Think Locksley’s got style?”

“Hmmm,” is all Sirius will contribute, even when Bisby turns around to reveal there’s a giant message burned into the back of his robe.

‘KICK ME.’

“Bit simple,” Sirius huffs, barely glancing up. “Like a first year kind of prank.”

“Why are you such a grump to her, Padfoot?” James narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Are you jealous I have other friends?”

“I just don’t think it’s funny,” Sirius grumbles, scratching the notes on the blackboard down onto his parchment.

Sirius never did appreciate your jokes, your pranks, even your opinions. Since you’d become friends with James, Remus….and by extension Peter hung around, Sirius had always been horrible to you. You’d shrugged it off as him feeling threatened by a girl having the same sense of mischief, even that James’ attention was now divided but you’d never done anything personally to insult him.

“What would you have done then?” you challenge.

“This,” Sirius waves his wand. “Evanesco.”

Bisby’s chair vanished the second he went to sit down and he crashed to the floor, much to the howls of laughter from the Gryffindor side. Professor McGonagall looked furious, however.

“Right! Out! Locksley! Black! Twenty points from Gryffindor and detention for a week! These are your N.E.W.T’s coming up and you ought to be taking them seriously, not acting like children!”

“Wicked,” James grins at you both. “You two are fantastic entertainment. See you in Potions!”

Sirius gives a wink to James before giving a pointed look to you, one to mean 'I win’. He was so competitive these days.

“Remus, can you-” you begin.

“I’ll copy my notes,” your beleaguered friend sighs.

“You’re a love,” you squeeze his shoulder before gathering your school books.

Sirius has already crossed the room and you speed up, passing through the door just after him. You half expect some kind of conversation but he just looks you up and down before heading to the Gryffindor common room.

The more one to one interactions with Sirius you had, the more you were starting to hate him. I mean, you didn’t deserve this treatment.

You hurried along a passageway that only you knew of, cutting through a portrait of Laszlo The Lost which dropped you just a staircase away from The Fat Lady. You got through the portrait hole and into the common room, plonking yourself obviously in the armchair facing the hole. You wanted to get one over on Sirius for being an arse.

You waited until the door swung open and he climbed through, startling a little to see you back so soon. You say nothing but raise an eyebrow at him.

“Funny,” he says monotonously before moving to flounce off to the boys’ dormitory.

“I’m hilarious, actually,” you reply acidly.

“That’s what you think,” he mutters as he passes you.

“That’s what I know, Black. Don’t hate me because you can’t live up to my prowess.”

“Love, if you are the standard, even Gary Waters could achieve it and he almost drowned in the smoke of his Living Death potion,” his tone is hostile.

You stand up, unbelievably enraged by his continual dismissal of you. How could he be so awful but James thought the sun shone out of his arse?

“You spiteful little tosser,” you spit. “Guess it runs in your family.”

You spin on your heels, storming up to the girls’ dormitory. It was a low blow you’d just gone for but with a brother like Regulus Black, Sirius’ apple didn’t fall too far from the tree it seemed. A secret Slytherin in Gryffindor Tower.

You sulked all period until Potions came and you made sure you exited before Sirius did.

 

**

 

“Can you not just get on with her, Pads?” you hear James pleading as you descend the stairs in the middle of the night.

You pause, hiding around the spiral to eavesdrop some more.

“Why should I? She basically told me I’m like my family. Do you know how hurtful that was?” Sirius sounds….upset?

“And you never lay off her,” James sighs in exasperation. “You never praise her, never smile at her, never say a kind word to her. What else is she going to think?”

“I don’t give a toss,” Sirius replies stubbornly. “She’s an arrogant little cow who shows off to get your attention. Just bloody date her and be done with it so she can bore off once you break up.”

“Locks is like my sister, good lord,” you can hear the revulsion in James’ voice. “Look, I just want my two best friends to get along. It’s not a difficult request.”

“I’ve tried.”

“Not really though, have you? I’m not stupid, Pads.”

“Alright fine, I haven’t tried. I don’t see why I should. Am I not allowed to dislike someone?”

“You don’t even have a reason.”

“Arrogant, show off, swot,” Sirius lists. “I could go on.”

“So you dislike her because she’s you? Well that makes sense then,” James says sarcastically. “Come on, please? Pretty please?”

You hear Sirius moving before…

Everte Statum!”

You’re flung back onto the stairs where you start sliding down them, your rear and back catching every step until you’re deposited at the bottom, your nightdress almost rucked up.

“You little sneak!” Sirius cries. “Were you listening?”

“So what if I was? You speak too loud,” you get up, trying to pull your nightie back into place.

“This is a private conversation, Locksley,” Sirius growls. “Get out.”

“You’re talking about me so no, I won’t,” you glare.

Levicorpus!” Sirius cries.

You’re yanked up into the air by your ankle and you’re upside down now. Your nightie flips down over your face and you know your knickers are exposed for everyone to see. You try and push the material back over yourself, trying to preserve your modesty.

“Sirius!” James shouts in horror. “Stop it!”

“It’s what she deserves,” Sirius says stubbornly, keeping you up in the air.

You feel humiliated, your cheeks are burning red and you’re just praying everyone stays asleep.

Liberacorpus!” James uses the counter spell and you crash to the carpet in a heap.

The stinging shame you feel finally bursts forth with the sudden shock of your abrupt landing. Tears spring up and before you can stop yourself, they’re rolling down your face. The last thing you wanted to do was cry in front of James and especially Sirius but you can’t help it.

“What on earth is going on?!” comes Lily’s voice as she comes down the stairs.

She spots you on the floor, dishevelled and crying and sees Sirius and James with their wands out.

“You horrid little toads!” she snarls. “Leave her alone!”

“She started it,” Sirius tries to mumble.

“I don’t care who started it, you’ve upset her,” Lily approaches him, poking him in the chest. “You’re a no-good, Sirius Black and you, Potter. You’re not much better. She’s your friend, right?”

“Hey, I got her down, Evans,” James holds up both hands. “Don’t look at me.”

You couldn’t bear being in the same room any more. The tension was getting too much.

You fled out of the portrait hole to the bewildered cries of the people behind you.

Out and out you ran, down through a curtain that hid a corridor to the lower levels and through a secret door hidden in the wall to the school grounds. Out you ran towards the Forbidden Forest, past Hagrid’s Hut.

You needed to be free. You needed to roam.

Then you transformed.

Becoming an Animagus was a long and awkward process, involving a month of hiding a mandrake leaf under your tongue. Why had you done it? Because the idea of escaping your form was appealing sometimes.

Your home life was claustrophobic, your father keeping you in the house since your mother passed and never allowing you to go outside. The idea of becoming a free animal, a creature to range wherever they pleased had taken root. So you’d done the spell last summer holidays, escaping out of your room at night to wander in the nearby woods.

As you padded to the edge of the small lake to get a drink, a wolf stared back at you, white fur dappling to soft grey. You felt at peace for the first time that day.

After laying on the cool silt for a while, a twig snapping made you look around sharply.

Sirius Black.

Sirius Black was in the forest and he was frozen as he looked at you.

“Easy now,” he says, seemingly a little frightened.

You can’t be bothered giving him the scare of his life. All of the fight had gone out of you. You just whine a little bit before going back to resting.

Sirius dithers for a little bit before walking forward, edging around you. He seems to consider something for a second before coming towards you.

“If I come stroke you, you won’t eat me, right?” he holds out a plaintiff hand.

Not that you hadn’t considered it but Sirius being relatively nice was such a drastic change that you were curious how it would feel.

You roll onto your back to show him you weren’t dangerous before righting yourself again. He seems to gain more confidence then.

“You can understand me, hmm? Guess I’ve always had an affinity with canines,” he tentatively places a hand on your head, stroking.

When you don’t react much, he gets braver and starts scratching behind the ear. You hated that it felt good.

“There we go,” he coos and you feel weirder by the second that you’re allowing this to happen. “Got a name?”

You did but not that you could communicate that.

He looks up to the moon hanging brightly in the sky and then to you with your ghostly white fur.

“I guess not. How about…Diana? Goddess of the moon. Seems fitting,” he sighs before sitting down next to you and stroking your ears back with both hands. “I’d just feel weird talking to you without giving you a name. Is that alright?”

You give a soft yip.

“Great,” he smiles slightly and you’re struck by how handsome he was when he was actually happy and relaxed.

The pang for acceptance by him just grew in your chest. All you ever wanted was the same as what James did, for everyone to get along.

“Can I tell you something Diana?” his smile fades. “I really upset someone today and I feel horrible about it. I made this girl float upside down and flash her knickers to the common room because she….well, no. I shouldn’t make excuses. I’m just a shit. That’s what I am. She was just listening to a conversation where I was being mean about her and I don’t blame her for it. I was just lashing out. Truth is, Diana, she’s right. I am scared she’s taking James away. James is all I have and Remus too. My family have all but disowned me for not being some pureblood fascist and I feel….I feel lonely.”

Well that doesn’t mean you should take it out on me, you think. Maybe you’d gain another friend that way.

“And I guess the reason I want to hate her is because she’s exactly what I’d like in a girl. It scares me.”

Your ears perk up then, your tail standing upright. Did Sirius Black, the notorious womaniser, just say he thought you were perfect for him?!

“Yeah I know, it’s silly,” Sirius mistakes your surprise for interest. “Maybe I should try being more friendly to her, if she even gives me the time of day any more. I just….she’s so infuriating as well. It’s confusing.”

Now you had no idea where you stood. It seemed Sirius was completely all over the place in his opinions of you but…at least it wasn’t pure hatred. You could work with that.

“I think she came in this forest,” Sirius looks around. “I’ve seen her dash in here a couple of times when she thinks we’re not looking.”

It startled you to know Sirius was a lot more observant of your movements than you thought.

“Did you see her, Diana?”

You bark a little, pointing your muzzle in a random direction before he gets it.

“Thanks, girl,” he fusses you more, standing up. “You really are a beautiful wolf, you know. Glad there’s nice things in this forest too.”

With that, he leaves.

You wait a good few moments before haring off in a lateral direction, trying to flank him so you can get to a spot and re-transform. You manage it, propping yourself on a rocky crop, trying to seem nonchalant.

“Locksley?” you hear Sirius call in the distance. “Locksley, please answer me. I’m sorry!”

“I’m here,” you shout back and he eventually finds you, climbing up and sitting next to you.

“Look, I….that was too far. Way too far. I’m sorry.”

“So you should be,” you fake sniffle. “That was horrid, Sirius. What if I hadn’t been wearing anything underneath?”

“Then I would’ve got a good show,” he seems to say without thinking before freezing and correcting himself. “This apology isn’t going very well, is it? Locksley, come back to the Tower. I didn’t mean it. I was just angry about what you’d said earlier.”

“You know, I don’t really think you’re like Regulus,” you do some apologising of your own. “You’d just pissed me off too much and I was being hurtful.”

“Truce?” Sirius holds his hand out.

“Truce,” you shake it.

“In the morning we can get back to determining who James’ true best friend is,” Sirius smirks.

“Well I hope you’re prepared for disappointment,” you wink.

“Come on, before the spiders find us,” Sirius shivers a little at the thought.

He leads you back out of the forest, giving you his jacket to cover your bare arms as you showed him the secret passageway back up to the common room.

“How come we’ve never found this?!” Sirius exclaims as he makes his way through the corridor.

“Because I’m just cleverer,” you laugh. “I know a lot of hidden passages. You’ve just never asked.”

Silence then falls until you reach the snoozing portrait of The Fat Lady, waking her up and saying the password.

“It’s 1am!” she protests, ruffling her dress. “Really! Children today have no respect!”

But she swings open anyway, admitting you two.

James is asleep in one of the armchairs, obviously waiting for your return.

“Should we wake him?” Sirius asks.

“Nah,” you shake your head, giving his jacket back. “He looks comfy.”

In a moment of shared conspiracy, you and Sirius both look at each other before you point your wand at James.

Anteoculatia.”

James’ unruly hair transforms into brown antlers.

“Brilliant,” Sirius sniggers. “Now he can look like the prat he really is.”

Sirius Black just complimented something you did! Wonders never cease.

“Good night,” you nod, smiling before turning towards the girl’s dormitory.

“Night, Locks,” he replies.

He called you Locks. He never called you Locks. It was always your full surname like you were a formality or something.

Maybe he was making an effort after all. Maybe Sirius Black wasn’t such a complete cock.

Chapter Text

“Alright. Which one of you gits did this?” James was waiting for you in the morning, apparently having collared Sirius before he went down for breakfast.

He still was sporting some impressive antlers that Remus had started dangling scarves off of. Remus did have a sense of humour but it was often overshadowed in the wake of yours, James’ and Sirius’ boisterousness.

“Don’t look at me,” Sirius held up his hands. “I just want toast.”

“Suits you,” you try to stifle your budding grin. “Really brings out your eyes.”

“Locks, you arse,” James huffs but he’s smiling widely. “I do think they’re rather fetching. Evans! Oi, Evans! What do you think?”

Lily looked up from her revision notes, rolled her eyes and went back to reading.

“Oh she wants me,” James winks. “Best put it back though. I won’t be able to get through the portrait hole.”

You do the reversal spell and scarves fall all around him and pool at his feet. He cheerily picks them up, dumping them on the table before putting an arm around both you and Sirius.

“I can feel it’s going to be a good day,” James breathes in before letting out a contented sigh. “So neither of you continue your cat fight, yeah?”

“Can’t promise,” Sirius says quietly but he flicks a look at you like he’s conflicted.

You suspect he still harbours the urge to be mean to you but he’s trying to fight it for the truce’s sake. You’d take that. It’d make classes easier anyway.

“You two,” James groans, looking at the ceiling. “Come on then. Slug is waiting.”

“Goody,” you hear Sirius mutter blackly.

Professor Slughorn had been trying to recruit him for ages for the ‘Slug Club’. You’d listened to his endless rants about his abilities at Potions being overlooked because of what his family name was. His hatred for his brother Regulus, who had joined the club, only kept him farther away from the ridiculous dinner party farce.

You, on the other hand, hadn’t been so lucky in dodging Slughorn’s insistent invitations. He’d ambushed you outside the Great Hall one day and you hadn’t been able to turn him down.

You hated the pomp and ceremony of the whole thing, knowing Slughorn was only interested because your family was once one of the 'Sacred Twenty Eight’, the old wizarding lines, until your grandfather had married a muggle woman and the Locksley’s had been excommunicated.

“Locks, close your mouth. A bowtruckle could get in there, you daydreamer,” James snorts. “Let’s hurry up before you get more detentions.”

 

**

 

“Wonderful!” Slughorn cries as he monitors the process of the Wiggenweld potions being made all around him. “I must say you’re all improving! Very good Miss Evans, immaculate as always!”

Lily puffed up a little at the praise as she added more lionfish spines to her cauldron.

“Swot,” Sirius mutters, smirking as he looks at her and she pokes her tongue out at him.

“Oi, stop flirting. You know I called dibs,” James nudges Sirius.

“Why do you even like her? She hates you?” Sirius shakes his head, messing up the amount of flobberworm mucus he had poured into a bowl.

“The girls who are worth the effort are the hardest to catch but once you break their resolve, they’ll be loyal as anything,” James holds up a finger wisely.

You snort, “What you mean, James, is…you like girls being mean to you.”

“Precisely,” James nods with a wide grin. “I like a girl that can tell me no and Evans is perfect.”

“You’re messed up, Prongs,” Sirius rolls his eyes.

“Says the bloke who can’t even settle on one girl,” James counters. “Ever get bored with it? The endless snogging?”

“It’s alright,” Sirius shrugs and tries to act cool but knowing what he told your animagus form in the forest, you see the hidden side to him that he desperately wanted a steady partner that was good for him.

“How about you, Locksley?” James turns to you. “Not seen you with a boyfriend yet this year.”

“I think dating Simon Lethford was enough to put anyone off romance for a while,” you fake shiver. “It was like dating Devil’s Snare, all over you.”

The most curious thing happened.

Sirius laughed.

Even James seemed bewildered, “You alright there, Pads?”

“Fine,” Sirius coughs, hiding his face behind his long hair. “Maybe you need to set up Locksley with someone then, if you’re that concerned.”

“No,” you say immediately as James’ pupils dilate in excitement. “No way. I’m not doing a blind date. I’d rather kiss the giant squid.”

“Oh cooooome oooooon, Locks,” James pleads. “Could be fun?”

The banter is interrupted by Slughorn, just as your potion is turning green.

“Splendid, Miss Locksley!” Slughorn claps. “What a fantastic example! I trust I’ll see you on Saturday for my party?”

Bollocks. There was no way to get out of it with the Potions master staring right at you.

“Of course, Professor,” you smile falsely.

“Brilliant,” Slughorn grins. “Take ten points for Gryffindor for a marvellous display of potionswork.”

Then he moves onto James’ cauldron which was turning slightly red from the doom berry juice and barely gives it a glance, gliding away to the other side of the room.

“Know it all,” James hisses. “Could’ve helped me.”

“It’s more fun seeing you make a tit out of yourself,” you smirk.

“Ah but it’s funner seeing you having to go to Slug Club again,” Sirius points out.

“Funner isn’t a word, mothbrain,” you frown.

“Who cares when I don’t have to listen to Slug prattle on about his 'acquisitions’? Enjoy yourself, Locksley. I’m sure he’s got a glass jar big enough to collect you in,” there’s a horrible smile on his face.

You knew it was too good to last. Already the vindictive candour was coming out again and it appeared your fragile little truce was over. Already you were getting worked up by his smug face.

“At least he thinks I have promise. How are your prospects looking, Black?” you fire back. “Last I heard, you were just scraping an Acceptable.”

Sirius’ eyes narrow and you know this is going to escalate soon but you can’t help yourself.

“For goodness sake!” James glares at you both. “You promised!”

“I didn’t promise anything, Prongs,” Sirius accidentally snaps the lionfish spine in his hand.

“Time’s up!” Slughorn announces. “Pack away your things!”

You couldn’t get out fast enough. You needed to escape before you threw a punch because that definitely was not going to go down well.

You leave just after Marlene McKinnon and hear the two boys discussing things furiously behind you.

“I thought you were trying to be nicer since you upset her?” James says sternly.

“She just annoys me,” Sirius’ voice, disgruntled and moody. “Thinks she better than everyone.”

“For your information,” you whirl around on your heels, not caring the looks that you were getting from the other Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. “I don’t think I’m better. If you wanted help, I would’ve given it any time you asked. There are subjects I’m terrible in too. Not for one second do I believe I’m superior in any way to either of you so just shut up and stop judging me by your own yardstick, Black. You’re unfair and you’re cruel.”

You don’t give him a chance to respond before ducking out into a hidden passageway that led to the rickety bridge. You had one free period before your detention and you intended to blow off some steam.

 

**

 

Haring through the undergrowth, you run in your wolf form, relishing the chance to get your angry energy out. The more you ran, the calmer you felt.

What was the point in believing Sirius was anything other than a bad egg? He’d gotten your hopes up last night but seems his true nature would always win out. There was no chance of the three of you becoming best friends.

You smell something coming up behind you and turn your head to see a big shaggy black dog racing next to you, gaining until he was level. You’d never seen a dog on the Hogwarts grounds, let alone in the forest.

You stop, teeth bared because you didn’t trust it wouldn’t attack. Instead, it just bows its head, presenting its neck for you. A sign of submission. A friendly dog then?

You regard it for a moment before using one paw to bop it on the nose before running in the opposite direction. It gave an excited yelp before chasing after you, sprinting through thickets and under tree roots.

You quickly hid along the tree line and watched as the dog turned this way and that, trying to find you. Then you leapt out, knocking it to the ground before rolling along down the hill with it and finally coming to a standstill.

The dog wags its tail before tentatively coming up and nuzzling its muzzle against your fur.

This had to be the strangest dog you’d come across. Most canines around your family estate were too scared to approach or wouldn’t dare play silly games like this.

It nudged you, trying to get you to interact more but you’d already spent too much time here. You had detention and McGonagall would go spare if you were late.

You playfully bite its ear, just a nip before licking its face and then moving back towards the edge of the forest. You knew it well enough by now to lose the dog in the winding pathways.

When you got to the edge and transformed, you walked out but not before noticing that Sirius’ leather jacket was hung on a branch. Was it like last night? Had he gone looking for you again?

You’d find out soon enough, you guessed. He had detention with you.

Still felt strange to you though. He loved that jacket after all and you’re sure he wouldn’t leave it lying around….

 

**

 

“I wonder what colourful excuse you have for me this time, Black,” McGonagall says curtly as Sirius hurries into the room, dropping down into the desk next to you. “Thankfully one of you can be punctual.”

You don’t even look to Sirius. You can’t exactly face him after your outburst earlier.

“Today, you’ll be shining up these goblets without magic for the O.W.L practice exams. If I don’t see my face in them by the end, you’ll continue tomorrow and if they’re not done by the end of the week, a further week’s detention will be issued. Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes Professor,” you both chorus.

You’re given a cloth, some silver polish and a box of discoloured goblets. McGonagall leaves the room after that, confident you’ll both carry on her instructions.

You sit in silence for a while, only the dull clang of metal heard occasionally as well as the rhythmic wiping. It was quite peaceful in a way, not using magic for once. You’d not been a stranger to chores in your life. Your father said it helped build character doing things the muggle way sometimes.

“Locksley?” Sirius clears his throat.

“What?”

You could ignore him but you didn’t want to be equally childish.

“Do you really think I’m cruel?”

You look up, startled by the question and he’s staring at his goblet hard, in deep thought. He’s trying not to make eye contact by any means.

“What would you call it when you insult me, put me down, levitate me in the common room then bully me?”

Bully you?!” he seems surprised and drops his goblet with a clatter on the desk. “I don’t bully you!”

“You’re always picking on me, Black. I’ve never done anything to you in the first place. I tried to be your friend.”

He goes quiet for a moment before picking his goblet back up, “I’m just like my brother then, hmm?”

“No, Regulus is more charming,” you frown.

“Oh and you’d know all about that in the Slug Club,” Sirius mutters hatefully. “Going to get with Reggy then, Locksley? Trying to sneak back into the 'Twenty Eight’ by marrying into my family?”

“Oh sure, because a half blood like me is sooooo welcome in the Black household,” you sneer. “Keep your sodding pureblood status. I’d rather be mixed blood and proud. The last person I’d date is Regulus.”

For just a second, Sirius’ expression softens.

“I’m not like my brother,” he says firmly, almost like he’s trying to make himself believe it.

“I know,” you sigh. “I know.”

Silence falls again as you move onto the next goblet, the grime giving way to shiny silver. Sirius is just nervously bouncing his foot on the stone floor.

“Locksley?”

“What now?”

“You know your jumper’s on inside out?”

You look down quickly, seeing the seams prominent on the sides of your waist. You must’ve put it on wrong when you left Potions.

“Balls,” you hiss, correcting it.

More minutes pass in relative silence.

“Locksl-”

“WHAT?!” you almost yell, the awkwardness getting too much for you and he jumps a little in his seat.

“Why do you go into the forest when you’re sad?”

“Are you spying on me, Black?”

“I just notice,” he shrugs. “It’s dangerous in there, you know.”

“Not for me it isn’t,” you try not to give anything away in your face. “Besides, I don’t really care if there are dangerous things in there. Takes my mind off things.”

“That’s not very healthy,” he frowns.

“Neither is it healthy when you disappear off down the Whomping Willow with the others,” you give him a pointed stare.

“Ah,” he goes white. “You…you uh…you saw that, huh?”

“Several times. Not hard to figure out why,” you set your goblet down. “Poor Remus. Must be awful.”

“He deals with it better than can be expected,” Sirius leans back in the chair, staring at his knees. “He’s a tough bloke really. Inner strength. We do the best we can for him.”

“I’m sure you do.”

“Why did you not mention that you knew?” he looks at you strangely.

“It’s not my business,” you shrug. “If Remus wants to tell me, he’ll tell me. That’s his secret to share.”

“You know, you’re alright, Locks.”

Evidently that had earned you some brownie points with Sirius. Guess he really was protective and clingy over his friends.

“Does this mean you’ll stop badgering me?”

“It means….it means, I want to come see the Slug Club,” he says carefully. “Because I want to see how you handle my brother. I reckon it’d be good entertainment.”

“Really?” you blink. “You want to come with just for the giggles?”

“Why not?” he raises an eyebrow, a mischievous smirk on his face. “Can’t handle it, Locksley?”

“Oh I can handle it,” you laugh. “I just think you’d be more suited to asking Sophorina Fawley to be her 'plus one’.”

“Errr, no thanks,” Sirius fidgets uncomfortably. “Already burned that bridge.”

“Snogged her?”

“It was like kissing a Grindylow. Wet and all teeth. Frightful. Poor girl got obsessed and I got out sharpish.”

“That’s what you get when you pick pretty girls with no brains,” you smirk.

“Says the person who dated Simon Lethford. He only has fluff in his skull.”

“Alright, I’ll give you that one. Fine, you can be my 'plus one’ but I want equal entertainment back.”

“It is me, after all,” he puts his hands behind his head lazily. “You’re guaranteed a good night.”

You burst out into hysterical laughter and his confidence seems to falter. You highly suspect he used that line often on girls but it had never had this reaction before.

“You’re an odd girl, Locksley,” he shakes his head. “Think of this as a trial run then. No James, no Remus….Peter doesn’t count. Let’s just see how we get on without any of them involved to show off to.”

“Deal,” you nod. “But if you continue to be horrible, I will hex you in the night. I can get into the boy’s dormitory.”

“Like I can’t get into the girl’s,” he gives you a cryptic look before returning to his goblet.

“In that case, have a good wash before Slug Club. I don’t know where you’ve been.”

Now it’s Sirius’ turn to laugh, “I suppose that’s fair.”

“Am I hearing merriment?” McGonagall pokes her head around the door.

“No, Professor,” Sirius replies. “Just the sounds of elbow grease.”

“How very likely,” she gives a shrewd glare but she can’t prove anything. “On with your work.”

You both finish detention in a much more comfortable silence.

 

**

 

“I can’t believe you’re invited to Slug Club and Evans won’t ask me!” James’ voice wends up the stairs. “What on earth are you going with Locks for anyway?”

“To make fun of Regulus,” Sirius replies.

“Understandable, I guess. He is a colossal git.”

“That’s polite for you, Prongs,” Sirius chuckles. “Anyway, you said to make an effort with Locksley, so I am.”

“I’m proud of you, Pads,” James sighs happily. “Glad you’re trying.”

“Are you going to stand there all day, Locksley?” Sirius calls up the stairs. “I know you’re there.”

You roll your eyes, wondering how he always knows before descending and you see him do a double take.

The boys had never waved you off for the Slug Club before so they’d never seen you dressed up. You had tight black flared jeans, a criss cross tan rayon crop top that showed your midriff and your hair was smoothed and feathered like a muggle celebrity you’d once seen in a magazine. Farrah Fawcett was it? Possibly. You also had two gold hoop earrings in.

“I…I don’t know what I expected,” James babbles. “That’s daring.”

You shrug, “Muggle fashion. More interesting than wizard fashion. I refuse to wear those dress robes that look like curtains.”

Sirius is just staring at you with his mouth open. He has looser fit jeans, a paisley shirt with the collar popped over his leather jacket and his hair was sleek and shiny.

“I think you broke Sirius,” James laughs, noticing his friend.

“I think she looks nice,” Remus appears behind them both. “It’s something different.”

You date her then,” Sirius hisses under his breath.

Remus just grins and pats him on the shoulder, “Oh I wouldn’t want to spoil your date.”

“Yes!” James latches onto the train of conversation. “Go on, you two. Can’t be late. I’m sure it will be lovely and romantic.”

“Piss off,” you’re sure Sirius is blushing.

You decide to spare him further embarrassment.

“Come on, I didn’t wear this for nothing, you know. I’m trying to wind up, Regulus,” you wave Sirius over. “He’ll go mental seeing muggle fashion.”

“Excellent,” Sirius claps his hands together and rubs them. “Well? What are we waiting for?”

He leads you out of the portrait hole and you’d be stupid not to notice the many jealous stares of the Gryffindor girls as he does. He certainly had a reputation.

“You know, I think this will be fun,” he smiles.

The Slug Club with a man who you weren’t sure if they hated you or not. Sure, what wasn’t going to be fun about that?

__________

Gorgeous Moodboard by @beuleosi !!!!

image

Chapter Text

“Miss Locksley! Wonderful!” Slughorn’s booming voice assaults you as you enter the room. “And who is this you’ve brought with you?”

He comes up, shaking your hand before his eyes fall on Sirius and you think you’ve made his entire year.

“Ooo, Mr Black! Excellent! You finally came!”

“You have Locksley to thank for that one, sir,” Sirius smiles charmingly before placing an arm around your waist. “She kept saying how fantastic these parties were and my curiosity got the better of me.”

What the hell was Sirius doing?! He was acting like you were a couple! His hand was on the bare bit of exposed flesh between your top and your trousers.

“Oh are you….?” Slughorn gestures between the two of you. “Isn’t that nice! Young love!”

“She’s a diamond,” Sirius pulls you close and knuckles your head slightly, still with that disarming grin.

“Make yourselves at home,” Slughorn points to the table where various students were milling around.

“Thank you,” you find your voice as Sirius escorts you past him.

“You’ve got soft skin, Locksley,” Sirius remarks casually.

“Was I supposed to have scales?” you shoot back.

“I did imagine you might be a secret dragon,” he laughs. “Certainly breathe enough fire at me.”

“Well…if you will be irritating,” you roll your eyes.

“I’m a delight,” Sirius says from right next to your ear, making you jump slightly.

He’d leaned in, his lips almost brushing your cheek and his hair caressing the side of your face. You were alarmed at the proximity, wondering what his game was….I mean, he’d never been this forward before?

“Oh balls,” he looks up suddenly. “It’s Mary Outhwaite.”

“Ex?” you guess.

“Not one on friendly terms,” he lets go of you. “I need to scarper until she gets settled in or there’ll be a scene.”

“You really need to stop being such a tart, Black,” you shake your head. “It’s all coming back to bite you.”

“Don’t be such a matron, Locksley,” he scowls before disappearing into a side room behind a curtain.

You end up gravitating towards the refreshments table, selecting some champagne that Slughorn allowed those in sixth year and above to drink. You’d certainly make the most of what was available if you had to sit through another one of these snoozefests.

By now you were incredibly bored of hearing about the other students’ claim to fames and wished there’d be some actual conversation now and again.

“Haven’t seen you in a while, Locksley,” the silky voice of Regulus said from behind you.

“It’s been a while since one of the parties,” you say matter of factly, turning around.

Certainly less striking than his brother but he still carried that dark charm to his face with his high cheekbones, intense brown eyes and waves of aristocratic hair. Where Sirius exuded mischief and happiness though, Regulus was a lot more serious, more brooding.

The Black brothers were polar opposites.

“Still dating that muggleborn idiot?”

Immediately that got your hackles up. Regulus had continuously been berating your choice of partner last year to the point where you’d almost decided never to admit your family was ever pureblood.

“No,” you answer succinctly, hoping that was the end of it.

“Really?” his eyes flare with interest. “Glad you’ve seen sense. Listen, Locksley, I have something to ask you.”

You sincerely hoped he wasn’t about to ask you out.

“I told my mother about you and your family. She’d like you to come over for a visit during the Christmas holidays.”

“Why?” you blurt out. “I’m not…I’m not….”

“Oh, two mistakes in a long lineage is not a problem,” he waves dismissively. “Every family tree has unfortunate leaves that need to be pruned.”

“Even the Blacks?” you raise an eyebrow.

“Now that would be telling,” he smirks.

“I’d kind of respect you more if you did tell me,” you mutter.

“That’s quite an interesting outfit, by the way,” Regulus notes your daring fashion. “You always were brave. It’s a quality I admire in a woman.”

Damn. You wanted him to be offended by your choice of clothes, not interested. Regulus was making you vastly uncomfortable with his roundabout way of courting and you wish Sirius would re-emerge, even to keep up the pretence of being a couple for a tiny bit longer.

“So, Locksley. Would you like to visit me?” Regulus fixes you with his version of a charming look, taking your hand and kissing the back of it. “I’d very much like to get to know you.”

There’s a crash behind you which, thankfully, saves you from having to answer him.

Sirius has just been pushed out of the side room by an angry Mary and bumped into the cabinet containing Slughorn’s photoframes which wobble precariously. You see him glance at you, Regulus still holding your hand and there’s an expression he gives you which you don’t quite understand.

“What’s he doing here?” Regulus’ voice gets colder.

“I invited him,” you draw your hand back.

“Sit down everyone! Let’s not get too excited!” Slughorn waves everyone over and everyone dutifully takes a seat.

You hate how it happens but you end up sandwiched between Sirius and Regulus, feeling the tension sucking your available oxygen away.  The conversation has split into pockets along the table so you’re subject to the most obvious war of words you’ve ever been in the middle of.

“Thought you didn’t like events like this, Sirius?” Regulus says haughtily. “Weren’t they too ‘pureblood fascist’ for your liking?”

“I just wanted to see what the fuss was about,” Sirius shrugs. “Couldn’t leave Locks on her own to scoff all the sausage rolls, could I? That’s not very gentleman-like.”

“Of course you would think with your stomach, rather than trying to find a potential wife amongst the betters of your year. No wonder mother is so disappointed.”

The tone is extremely venomous and you got the sense why Sirius hated his family so much. He really wasn’t anything like them.

“Mother is disappointed in anything I do,” Sirius replies hotly. “And I don’t want some sycophantic 'twenty eight’ wife. I’m not interested.”

“And that’s where you’ll always be a failure in our family,” Regulus viciously attacks the steak in front of him. “I’ve asked Locksley if she’ll come to ours in the Christmas holidays for a visit.”

“Oh really?” Sirius puts down his fork and leans an elbow on the table, looking at you with great interest and meaning. “And what did you say, Locks?”

“I didn’t say anything yet,” you gulp more champagne, desperate to get drunk so this would be less of an ordeal. “My father wants me to stay here for Christmas.”

“Oh no matter. I can send an owl and ask his permission,” Regulus leans forward too until both brothers are staring each other out across you.

“He won’t give it,” you say sharply. “He needs to know I’m in a place of safety at all times and he’s never been to your house.”

“There you go. She’s not going to come. Very sensible man, your father,” Sirius nods, his eyes never leaving his brother.

“Come off it,” Regulus snorts. “Everyone knows Edmund Locksley lost his marbles when his wife died. Should be no trouble convincing him I’m not going to harm his precious daughter.”

“Don’t you dare talk about my father like that,” you hiss, slamming your fork on the table.

“Don’t take offence, Locksley. I only speak what others do,” Regulus tries a sympathetic look but you know he spoke his own mind just now. “They say he’s a bit of a crackpot these days. Even rivals Saturnalius Lovegood.”

You’re stood up, chair noisily scraping backwards before you know what you’re doing. Every pair of eyes in the room turns to you and the conversations die off into silence.

“Trouble, Miss Locksley?” Slughorn asks.

“I’m afraid I’m not feeling well, Professor,” you’re shaking with the effort to not punch Regulus in his smug face right then and there. “I’ll have to retire for the night.”

“Oh, that’s a shame!” Slughorn smiles brightly. “Perhaps next time. Run along now, dear girl. I do hope you’re better tomorrow.”

“Me too, Professor,” you say before hurriedly exiting.

You feel bad for leaving Sirius behind but you couldn’t bear another second of listening to Regulus talking about you like you were a commodity, like he could arrange a relationship.

You found yourself wandering out into the grounds again, sitting on one of the rocks overlooking the Forbidden Forest and Hagrid’s Hut. It’s chilly but you’d rather grin and bear it considering your other option was going back to the Gryffindor common room and facing James’ questioning.

There’s a soft 'ruff’ to your left and you turn to see that shaggy black dog sitting by the side of the rock. It seems to be patiently waiting for a response.

“Hey boy,” you pat the rock. “Come up here.”

The dog obeys, jumping slightly haphazardly on the uneven surface. You stretch out a hand to pet it before realising it might not be so friendly to you in human form.

“Is this okay?” you hesitate, hand hovering.

The dog answers for you, moving its head to make contact and you begin stroking it, scratching it behind the ears.

“Where did you come from?” you coo slightly. “Do you have an owner?”

It whines slightly.

“Did Hagrid set you loose around here?”

Again another whine.

“Stray, huh?” you pet him more. “Poor thing. I hope someone is feeding you.”

The dog responds by coming closer and nuzzling into your side, paws and head across your lap.

“Oh, does that mean I’m feeding you?” you laugh. “Well lucky for you, I always stash some of the nibbles from the Slug Club in my bag.”

You end up feeding the dog some mini pork pies which it graciously and delicately took from your hand. It was certainly very domesticated for being a stray.

It’s not until you see your breath misting a little while later that you realise the dog has lain across the exposed parts of you, keeping you warm like a personal furry blanket. Maybe it can tell you’re the wolf it met in the forest? It seemed quite intelligent after all.

“Hey boy, I’m gonna need to get back before someone catches me out here and I’m also going to need to apologise to Sirius for running out on him and leaving him with his arsehole brother.”

The dog lifts its head and yips a little in understanding.

“I can’t believe they’re related,” you carry on, shaking your head. “I feel sorry that Sirius has to go back every holiday and put up with a whole family of that.”

The dog starts wagging its tail and panting.

“You know, he’s not that bad when I think about it,” you continue your ramblings. “I can see why girls fall over themselves for him. He is very charming when he wants to be. I just wish he’d drop the ego sometimes. He can be quite nice underneath.”

Something cold and wet suddenly latches on your cheek and you feel the rough tongue of the dog licking you.

“Hey, easy there!” you laugh, wiping away the slight slobber. “I’m going, okay? Thanks for keeping me company. Be safe.”

The dog gives a muted bark….more of a 'boof’ noise before scampering towards the castle. You half wondered where it was going.

You dropped down off the rock and started walking back, rounding the corner towards the bridge and across until you were back in the south courtyard. You turned into one of the tunnels and bumped headlong into another person.

For a moment your heart stopped as you imagined you’d just careened into Filch but thankfully luck was on your side.

“Locks!”

It was Sirius and he looked concerned.

“What are you doing out here?” you say in bewilderment.

“I’m looking for you, you great plum,” he laughs. “Wanted to make sure you didn’t run off into the forest at this time of night again.”

“I just needed to get air.”

“I know. My brother is…well, you know all too well. I’m embarrassed, frankly. Sorry if he’s been like that for a while to you.”

“He’s not your responsibility,” you rub your arms, trying to keep warm. “Don’t apologise for him. Not that I’d accept an apology from him anyway.”

“Well, if it makes you feel any better, I believe you now when you said you’d never date him,” Sirius winks. “The look on his face when you left. I wish I had a camera.”

“Was it good?” you start walking back with him.

“Priceless,” he snorts. “I don’t think he’s ever been rejected before. He went sort of blotchy and ended up drinking all the wine.”

You laugh and you continue the walk in silence until you reach the passageway back up to the main floor of the castle. Up you go and through a tapestry until you’re almost near the staircase to the Gryffindor common room.

“Get back!” Sirius hisses, pulling you into the alcove and pressing you against the wall, hiding you both in the shadow.

This time it really was Filch, jangling his keys and scanning the corridors, his battered lantern clutched in his gnarled hand. You kept deadly still and quiet, waiting for him to pass. Gradually the sound of jingling deadened to silence once more.

Then you became hyper aware that Sirius Black had you pinned against a wall. You met his eyes and for a brief instant you thought you saw his gaze flick to your mouth before it returned again, almost like he was deciding if he was going to kiss you.

“You really do suit that outfit, Locks,” he finally says, before stepping back.

“Thank you,” you say in a bit of a daze. “Come on, we’re nearly there.”

You both hurry towards the portrait of the Fat Lady who protests a lot, threatening to leave you outside all night but finally relents and swings open.

When you both climb in, the room is empty. The fire still has some dregs of embers in it but the tower is quiet.

“Thanks…” you start awkwardly. “For looking for me.”

“You were upset,” he shrugs.

“I didn’t know you cared,” you smirk.

“Maybe I do,” he runs a hand suavely through his hair. “Anyone who can tell my brother to piss off is alright by me.”

“So we’re gonna get on just fine now, right?”

“Yeah, you’re not bad,” he nods. “Just no….no…”

“Taking James away?” you finish. “I’m not here to be competition. I just want to be included.”

He holds out his hand for you to shake and you do so.

“New start,” he says firmly.

“New start,” you nod in agreement.

You’re both just holding onto each other’s hand still. Now you’re staring at the hands.

“This is where you let go, Locks,” he says with a grin. “Unless you can’t resist me right now.”

“Hey, you’re the one who pinned me against a wall,” you challenge.

The mischief flares in his gaze and he uses your hand to drag you forward until you’re flush against him.

“And I think you liked it.”

“You’re full of yourself, you know,” you narrow your eyes.

“Just how you like me,” he winks.

“We should really go to bed,” you look at the clock on the wall.

“Oh well, I didn’t realise you were so forward and progressive,” Sirius waggles his eyebrows. “But I’m game.”

“You pig,” you roll your eyes, shoving him backwards and he laughs.”Good night, Sirius.”

“Good night, Locks.”

You start ascending the stairs to the girl’s dormitory and you hear just a whisper of his voice behind you.

“You looked really pretty tonight.”

Chapter Text

James marvelled at the change in the dynamics between you two in the coming weeks. You didn’t fight, you only employed playful insults and, on the rare occasion, gave each other compliments.

“This is weird,” he remarked loudly in Charms one day. “Are you setting this up for a bet?”

“Don’t know what you mean, Prongs,” Sirius smirks. “You told us to get along. We are doing.”

“Yeah James,” you cut in. “Don’t you like it?”

“I think he misses the attention,” Remus adds. “You’re not fighting for the spot of his ultimate friend any more.”

“Aww, you’re jealous because me and Sirius are getting on?” you pout playfully.

“I think he is Locks. How adorable,” Sirius ruffles James’ hair making it stick out even more.

“I don’t think I like this at all,” James scowls.

But you did. You were much happier knowing every lesson wasn’t a veiled war of words and you actually found yourself hanging out with Sirius more. Sometimes you’d do study sessions and help him with his Potions homework and he’d return the favour by giving you pointers for Defence Against the Dark Arts.

“No no no,” Sirius grabs your hand as you nearly fling your wand into the bowels of the Room of Requirement. “Stop being a prat and do it properly. A happy memory.”

“I’m trying,” you hiss, feeling frustrated with yourself. “I’m just….I’m struggling to find one.”

“I thought I was supposed to be the broken friend,” Sirius laughs his short bark-like laugh. “You can’t seriously have had that bad a life that you can’t think of anything, Locks. It’s got to be better than mine.”

Your wand falters, hand lowering and you bite your lip. How could you blurt out the fact that coming to Hogwarts was your only reprieve in life? Surely that would sound pathetic.

“Locks?” Sirius asks softly, coming a little closer. “Is it really that bad at home?”

“It’s fine,” you brush off.

“It’s not fine. I can see it in your face. Talk to me.”

You heave a great sigh, “Regulus was right. My dad is…my mother died when I was eleven, just before I came to Hogwarts. After that, my dad started losing it. He’d talk to the walls, he’d get controlling…it was like losing both parents.”

“I’m sorry,” Sirius says genuinely. “Must be hard going home every summer.”

“It is,” you nod, fighting not to look too weak in front of him.

“I don’t like going home either,” he brushes his hair back, looking a little grim. “I lock myself in my room the whole time practically but do you know what my happy memory is?”

“No?”

“First year, when everyone expected me to be sorted into Slytherin and the hat chose Gryffindor. That was the point I realised I’m not my parents and I could be who I wanted to be. That’s my strongest happy memory.”

You thought about it for a while before raising your wand again. You thought long and hard about every time you come back to Hogwarts and the relief you feel when the castle comes into view from the train window. It’s a safe feeling, it’s a homely feeling.

Expecto Patronum!” you flourish and rather than pathetic tufts of mist, something more tangible starts to form.

A silvery wolf erupts from the end of your wand, pouncing out into the air before scampering around you in a wide circle, noiselessly howling as it went. It made three loops before disappearing back into nothing.

“I did it!” you cry, jumping up and down, a stupid grin on your face.

“Yeah, yeah you did,” Sirius is giving you a strange look but rearranges his expression quickly. “Well done. I knew you could do it.”

“I had a good teacher,” you smile at him and he looks a little shy now. “Thank you. I was so scared about that on the N.E.W.T exam.”

“Now you don’t need to be. Shall we get some lunch? I’m starving,” Sirius motions. “I could murder a roast right now.”

“Sounds good to me. I could live on mash potato.”

Then a curious thing happens. Sirius puts his arm around your shoulder to lead you out. He seems to realise what he’s done and turns it into a pat on the back, pulling away quickly.

You’ve never had much physical contact bar the night of the Slug Club so you didn’t really know why he’d done it. All you knew is you could still feel the heaviness of his arm across you and you wished he hadn’t pulled back.

 

**

 

Since then, the dynamic between you and Sirius had slightly changed again.

He’d become more tactile with you. It started off as an occasional shove when the banter got at its most impish, then it became a shoulder squeeze or a ruffling of your hair.

The others started noticing and you caught them a couple of times discussing what was going on.

“Do you think they’re snogging?” you overheard James ask as he sat in the biggest armchair of the common room. “I can’t think why they’d be so touchy feely otherwise.”

“I think they’re just getting along,” Peter pipes up. “You did ask them to.”

“No, I think James is onto something,” Remus scratches his chin. “Pads is being very out of character.”

“See?!” James gestures.

“Normally with girls he’s just suave but he seems to be making a tit out of himself around Locks,” Remus continues. “Did I tell you she walked by in those tight trousers again and he stumbled into a tapestry? Peeves got him so tangled up, I had to enlist a second year’s help to get him out. It was embarrassing”

“You mean he was looking at her?” Peter squeaks. “What would Sirius want with Locksley? She’s not really his type.”

“You mean dim and giggly?” James snorts.

“They are very similar,” Remus points out. “Maybe he really likes her and he’s just too chicken to say.”

“I’ll get it out of him,” James throws a snitch into the air, catching it quickly. “You know, when I suggested they get along better, I didn’t think they’d catch feelings for each other.”

“I’m not so sure Locks feels the same particularly,” Remus smiles. “I guess time will tell.”

“And when are we gonna get you a girlfriend, Mooney?” James asks.

“Oh, I’m not particularly fussed,” Remus laughs. “I just want to pass my exams first.”

“Suit yourself,” James shrugs before straightening up. “Alright, Evans?”

“Get lost, Potter,” Lily rolls her eyes as she passes through.

“She so wants me.”

She gets to you on the stairs and you desperately motion for her to keep quiet. She’s surprised but does so and you follow her up to the girl’s dormitory.

“What are you spying for?” she seems confused.

“I just overheard them talking about me,” you sit on your bed.

“Not more insults, is it?” Lily narrows her eyes. “I already gave James a bollocking over that.”

“No no, they’re just speculating if Sirius has feelings for me,” you laugh, like that was the most ridiculous thing in the world.

“Well you do suit each other,” Lily throws her backpack onto her bed. “But fishing from the same pool, don’t you think? Are there not other boys in Hogwarts you can take an interest in?”

“I don’t like him like that,” you blush furiously.

Lily just raises one eyebrow and deigns to say nothing further.

That just leaves you lying on your bed, wondering if what the boys said downstairs was true. Had Sirius been clumsy around you? Was there something more or was it just normal gossip for Hogwarts?

 

**

 

At midnight, you groggily get up with the rest of the N.E.W.T Astronomy students and trudged up to the tallest tower.

Remus was the only one of the group to take the subject apart from you so you linked up at the portrait hole, mumbling about how you were so glad lessons didn’t start til eleven tomorrow.

As you both lay there, looking up at the stars whilst Professor Sinistra talked about the importance of the upcoming exams, Remus leaned over and whispered.

“Locks, I know you were listening. You’re terrible at hiding.”

“Shut up, Remus,” you hiss. “My ears were burning. I couldn’t just ignore it.”

“What I said was true, you know,” he continues. “I think Sirius does really like you.”

“As a friend.”

“Perhaps. I’m no expert on relationships as you know but he’s not normally like this around girls. I think you’re really confusing him.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“I don’t know,” he laughs. “But it’s nice to see him not act like cock of the walk for once. I forget he’s just like the rest of us sometimes.”

“It has been nice to get on,” you admit. “As for anything further, I don’t know.”

“I may be overstepping, and tell me to jog on if I am, but I think you’d be good for each other. You humble him and he gives you more confidence. That doesn’t mean you should cross the line of friendship though unless you want to. Don’t let James push you into anything. He can be a bit of a git sometimes when he finds a cause.”

“I stopped listening to James a while back,” you snort.

“Locks?” Remus shuffles closer so his arm is touching yours.

“Yeah?”

“Can I tell you something? Can I tell you why I take this class? I really should have told you a while ago but I was afraid to….”

“It’s alright Remus. I know,” you whisper softly. “But thank you for wanting to trust me with this.”

“You know?”

“For a while now and I’m still proud to call you a friend. I don’t care what you are.”

You think you see tears start in his eyes but he quickly blinks them away. You spend the rest of the lesson making jokes until Professor Sinistra nearly docks points from Gryffindor because you can’t stop laughing about all the ‘Uranus’ references.

When you start making your way back to the common room, you hear a nasally voice from behind you.

“Getting cosy I see, Lupin.”

You turn to see Severus Snape, arms folded and sallow face burning with hatred.

“What do you want, Severus?”

“Me? Oh nothing. Just waiting for a friend.”

That friend turned out to be Regulus who surveyed you with a look of annoyance and appreciation, almost like he hated that he was interested. Now you were wondering what was going on.

“You see, me and Sev here are quite disappointed Locksley,” Regulus began. “You ran out in the middle of dinner.”

“I wasn’t well,” you say firmly.

“Quite. So I just wanted to inform you that I sent an owl to your father about Christmas. Considering I couldn’t get the chance to tell you earlier, thought I would do it when there were less people around.”

“You what?!” your shout echoes off the walls. “I told you no!”

“Sometimes arrangements are for the greater good,” Regulus bows his head magnanimously. “I know you’re getting close to my odious excuse for a brother but I’d like to tell you I’m the better option.”

“And you need your flunkie here to do that, huh? Just in case I kicked off?” you point at Snape.

“Flunkie?!” Snape seems outraged. “You’re lucky to be getting such an offer, you halfblood mongrel.”

“Hey!” Remus steps forwards. “Don’t you dare call her that!”

“Or should I just call you mongrel then?” Snape snarls pointedly.

“Remus, stop,” you grab his robe, pulling him back.

“Yes, heel,” Snape continues venomously. “Be a good pet.”

Remus goes for his wand but Regulus is quicker, disarming him before training the wand on you both.

“I really don’t want to get forceful, Locksley. This is a great honour I’m bestowing, the chance to bolster our family’s houses. You’re the last of a line and if you don’t marry into a pureblood family, you’ll never keep the legacy going.”

“I don’t want to!” you cry. “That sounds like a horrible life!”

“Perhaps this will persuade you then to fall in line,” Snape draws his wand out on Remus.

Without thinking, you shove Remus out of the way and don’t have time to use a counter spell.

Sectumsempra!”

It was like your body just tore itself to shreds. One second you were standing there and the next you were on the floor, your clothes split open and turning red rapidly. The cuts on your face were weeping blood into your eyes, making it impossible to see the damage of Snape’s spell.

“What did you do that for?!” Regulus panics. “You’ve ruined her face!”

“We need to go,” Snape grabs Regulus, dragging him away as they both break out into a sprint down the corridor.

“Locks!” Remus drops to his knees beside you. “I’ll get help!”

You think you may have passed out at some point as you heard his footsteps echo into nothingness.

 

**

 

“How many times?!” Madam Pomfrey shrieks. “Go back to your tower! It’s late!”

“No!” you hear a stubborn voice. “I’m not leaving!”

“Well fine!” Madam Pomfrey huffs indignantly. “But one of you will have to go.”

“I’ll stay.”

You finally work out who the voice was.

Sirius.

You open your eyes and see him arguing with the nurse as Remus is leaving the hospital wing. You wonder how he managed to know or why he was even here.

“Sit down, Mr Black!” Madam Pomfrey bodily shoves him into a chair. “You can stay another half an hour but stay after that and I’ll get your head of year.”

“Understood,” Sirius nods before spotting your eyes are open. “Locks! Oh bloody hell you gave me a scare. Remus told me Snivelly had used his slicing curse on you?!”

“Yeah, hurt a bit,” you laugh weakly, looking down at your now smooth skin.

“Are you feeling okay?”

There’s this squeezing sensation and you look down to see he’s taken your hand. He also looks genuinely frightened.

“I’m fine. Stop being a worry wart,” you sit up. “I’m all healed.”

“Good,” Sirius thumps you in the arm. “You stupid girl! Why did you jump in front of a spell?!”

“He was going to hurt Remus,” you massage the spot where he hit you. “I couldn’t let that happen.”

“Oh…you and Remus……” Sirius lets it hang there like he’s fishing for information.

“Me and Remus what?”

“Do you…is there something more?”

“We’re just friends. Would you not jump in front of a spell for your friends?” you frown in confusion.

“Yeah yeah, just….oh I don’t know,” Sirius puts his head in his hands. “I’m not thinking straight. I’m gonna kill Snivelly.”

“He’ll get what’s coming to him,” you say darkly. “Regulus too.”

“Regulus was there?”

“Yeah he was telling me how he was my best option at marriage again.”

“The little bastard,” Sirius growls. “I’m so sorry, Locks. I wish I could keep him away from you.”

There’s the rustle of wings as your family barn owl comes soaring through the open window. Clumsy as Bernard was, he managed not to knock over the vase of flowers at the end of the bed before dropping you a letter and then flying back out to the owlery.

“Oh no,” you stare at the letter.

“What?”

You pick it up, tearing it open and look at the message from your father.

 

My dearest girl,

Mr Black has written the kindest words regarding you spending Christmas at their house.
They’ve assured me you’ll be safe, providing me with blueprints of the location and the loan of their house elf to keep in contact with you.

I gave my permission and I hope you have a good time.

I’ll check in daily.

Dad.

 

“He really did it,” you put a hand over your mouth. “He sent a letter to my dad about staying over at Christmas.”

“Regulus did?!” Sirius snatches the parchment out of your hand and reads it. His face becomes angrier and angrier.

“What am I going to do?” you start biting at your fingers. “A whole two weeks of being forced to get close to your brother.”

“Locks, look at me,” Sirius grabs your hand away from your face. “I’ll go home this holiday. Normally I’d stay here but I’ll go home. I don’t care. Let’s pretend to my parents it’s me your interested in and that way I can keep Regulus from locking you into a stupid marriage arrangement.”

“You’d do that?”

“Of course I would,” he smiles at you. “I promise I’ll get you through this. Nobody should suffer my family.”

“Thank you,” you squeeze his hand back and he looks momentarily dazed by the interaction.

“Yes…well…I…uh….you should get some rest,” he stammers.

“Stay with me 'til I drift off?” you ask.

You know you’re pushing the boundaries of friendship with that request but you needed some comfort after the horrible surprise.

“Sure, just don’t tell anyone. I have an image to maintain,” he grins. “Get some sleep, Locks. I’m glad you’re alright.”

“I’m glad you came.”

You close your eyes before you can see his reaction, almost too afraid to.

Just as you’re drifting off, you feel him stand up from the bed, lean over and kiss your forehead before his footsteps move away from you and out of the hospital wing.

Chapter Text

What Sirius expected in the days to follow was you gratefully hanging onto his every word, following him around, letting him get to know you even more.

What actually happened was you somehow got closer to Remus….

He began noticing little things like in-jokes and lots more giggling between you. He wasn’t sure if he was imagining it at first but then the others picked up on it. He couldn’t understand why though.

He was the one who’d run out of Gryffindor tower the moment Remus had told him what’d happened, he was the one who hadn’t left your bedside as you recovered and he was the one who’d offered to give up, not only a Christmas at the Potters or Hogwarts or even his own dingy terraced house he’d moved into but his pride at coming back home to his own family. All to protect you.

So why were you spending more time with Remus than him?

It wasn’t fair that he should get to hear your scathing wit, see the twinkle in your eye when you talked about things that you liked, smell that faint swish of blossom perfume as you turned.

Oh no….I really like her. You humongous idiot. You’ve caught feelings for someone. Actual feelings. This wasn’t supposed to happen.

I mean sure he thought you were fun to be around and he couldn’t deny you were one of the prettiest girls in the school but now he was actively getting jealous and he couldn’t remember a time when he’d been that arsed about a girl to feel this way.

Your own friend….you complete prat.

How had he missed what everyone had been joking about these past couple of weeks? James kept writing ‘Locksley-Black’ on little notes and bewitching them to buzz around his head.

“Bloody hell,” he groaned, unaware he’d done this out loud.

“That’s enough language from you, Mr Black,” Professor McGonagall said sharply. “Need I remind you, you’ve only just finished a series of detentions.”

“Sorry Professor,” he mumbled, much to the sniggering of James and you.

You turned to Remus and whispered something in his ear to which he smiled warmly at and Sirius would’ve given anything to find out what it was.

When Remus ruffled your hair though, that was the final straw.

You’d obviously made a decision and he needed to move on. That’s what he did.  

Sirius Black, Hogwarts lothario. Time to stay true to his reputation.

 

**

 

You’d noticed Sirius had been avoiding you lately.

“What do you think is up with him?” you ask Remus, walking back from the Astronomy tower one night. “He’s gone all distant again.”

“I have no idea,” Remus shrugs. “Would you like me to find out?”

“No, that will sound like I care too much,” you try to play it off, although you’re secretly upset he’s starting to revert back to how he was.

“Locks, you need to talk to him sometime about…about whatever this is.”

“I don’t want to make an idiot of myself though,” you sigh. “What if he sees this as just friendship and then it becomes a teasing point that I like him?”

“Well….school ends forever in a few months,” Remus laughs. “You won’t have to suffer it long.”

“You’re horrible at pep talks,” you shove him lightly.

“This is why I’m not the leader of the Marauders,” he shakes his head.

“Yeah….we still need talk about that sometime,” you frown.

Remus had let slip recently that the four boys referred to themselves as 'Marauders’ and had made a map of Hogwarts with the secret passages and a way to spot when teachers were on patrol. Considering Sirius hadn’t known about a few hidden walkways, you reckoned it musn’t be very good, although Remus had sworn you to secrecy so you couldn’t go to James and give your opinions.

“Not right now, Locks,” Remus shuffles awkwardly. “They’ll lynch me for telling you. It was supposed to be a private boys’ thing.”

“And then you let a girl into the friendship group. How awful,” you roll your eyes.

“It’s not like that,” he puts a hand on your shoulder. “I just don’t want them to think I can’t keep secrets.”

“But you actually can’t,” you point out.

“Locksley, please.”

“Fine. We’d best get back before the Fat Lady has a hissy fit about the time.”

Giggling and footsteps rounded the corridor, sounding conspiratorial in nature. People must be sneaking around right now.

When they round the corner, you can see it’s Sirius with Jane Dempsey, looking like they’re up to no good.

“Oh, hello,” he says casually before noticing Remus’ hand on your shoulder then he throws his arm around Jane. “Busy corridors tonight.”

“Yeah, just a bit,” you mutter.

“Rather late, isn’t it?” Remus asks.

“Welllllll, gives us privacy,” he winks and Jane giggles like a ditz. “Smuggling Hufflepuffs into our common room isn’t very celebrated and considering what we intend to get up to….”

He looks you full in the eye before turning his head and kissing her right in front of you.

You feel a sensation of your gut wrenching, like you just want to attack Sirius, shout at him but you keep your composure. The feeling is so violent and comes on so suddenly that you’re incredibly disorientated. You just want to get away.

You end up power walking in a straight line, not looking where you were going and bumping into Sirius’ other shoulder as you made your flight.

“Oi!” Sirius yells in surprise at the jolt. “Locks? Locks!”

But you’re already at the Grand Staircase now, hurrying up the steps towards the Fat Lady.

“Password?” she yawns.

“Leo Dormiens,” you hurriedly say.

“Are you alright dear?” she asks unexpectedly.

“Fine,” you lie, trying to cover up the burgeoning tears.

“Boy trouble I assume? It’s that Black, isn’t it? Many a girl I’ve seen crying outside my portrait over that one. Don’t worry, my dear, you’re worth ten of him.”

“Thank you. Can I get inside please? I just want to sleep.”

She nods and swings open and you crawl through, only to exit smack into James.

“Oi oi, Locksley,” he grins. “The others not back with you yet? I’ve just seen….what’s wrong?”

He’s noticed the brimming waterworks now and his whole playful expression drops.

“Come 'ere,” he takes your hand, leading you to the large sofa in front of the fire. “One sec.”

He rings a bell on top of the mantle and a house elf seemingly appears from nowhere.

“Good evening, master,” it bows, nose almost touching the floor. “Can I fetch you a snack?”

“Two hot chocolates please,” James nods. “Better get some chocolate Digestives too.”

“Coming right away.”

Then it disappears again.

“What’s wrong, Locks? I’ve not seen you like this since Sirius had you in the air. Did Regulus say something to you again?”

“No….no he didn’t,” you bite your lip so you won’t actually cry in front of him again. “It was….oh this sounds stupid.”

“Let me guess. Sirius?”

You look up in alarm.

“Ahhhh I’m right,” he grins. “What’s the idiot done now?”

“Snogging Jane Dempsey in front of me.”

“And that bothers you becauseeeeeeee?”

“Because it was so unnecessary! He could’ve waited til I’d gone or something. Felt like he was showing off,” you scowl.

The house elf reappears with the drinks and biscuits and you start dipping your digestives in the warm cocoa.

“Seems to me that Sirius is doing what he’s always been doing,” James shrugs. “He just had a small break.”

“I……I don’t know what I’m saying,” you shake your head. “I…”

“You have a crush on Sirius and you’re a little jealous.”

“Shut up, you berk,” you hiss defensively.

“It’s written all over your face. It’s fine, by the way. We did have our suspicions about you both.”

“Uggghhhhhhh is it that obvious?” you hide your face in your hands.

“Just a bit. Don’t worry about it Locks. Sirius is….well he’s not very good at letting people in. It’ll take him a while and he’ll make stupid mistakes sometimes.”

“Since when did you get so good at giving advice when Lily throws things at your head?” you sip your drink.

“Since she agreed to go out with me yesterday,” he winks. “Perseverance works.”

“That’s incredibly creepy, James.”

“But effective,” he holds up a finger. “I guess having a female friend is quite good to tell these things too so here it goes…..I really like Evans. Like like like her. First time I saw her I’m like, there’s my future wife. Does that make sense?”

“Wow, that’s pretty strong.”

“Right?” he nods wisely. “So of course I’m going to try as hard as I can with her and now, I get my chance.”

“Well I’m happy for you then,” you smile. “At least one of us is doing well.”

“Listen, I’ll knock some sense into the blockhead. It’ll be fine.”

“Thanks..for the talk, I mean. I just don’t know how I’m going to get through Christmas if he’s being like this.”

“It’ll be fine,” he repeats.

At that point Remus comes back through the portrait hole with Sirius in tow. Both boys have bloodied faces like they’ve been fighting.

“What the hell happened to you two?!” James sits up.

“Forget it,” Sirius snarls, flashing you a look which is a mix of anger and regret before stomping off up into the boy’s dormitory.

“We’ll talk another time,” Remus wipes his bloody lip before following suit.

“What on earth?” James’ head swivels round to watch his departing friends. “I’ve gotta go, Locks. I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”

“Sure,” you nod and he sprints off.

You finish your hot chocolate and biscuits feeling more confused than ever. Tomorrow you were supposed to be leaving for the Black house.

What state would yours and Sirius’ friendship be in by then?

 

**

 

“Well that was rude,” Sirius looks at your rapidly departing figure.

“Are you an idiot or are you just cruel?” Remus is scowling at him.

“Excuse me?”

“Doing that, in front of her.”

“I’m having fun, Moony. Bore off.”

He tries to steer Jane away to the hidden alcove with the bench but Remus steps in front of him. He’s surprised by his friend’s boldness more than anything.

“What is your problem, mate?” he asks as casually as he can.

“I need to speak with you, right now.”

“Look, I’m gonna go back to my common room,” Jane ducks out from under Sirius’ arm. “Come find me tomorrow before you go, yeah?”

After she leaves, Sirius looks at Remus who’s practically bristling with anger, shades of the werewolf in his face as his nose slightly elongates and his gums recede back.

“Easy now,” he takes a step back. “Not in school.”

“What are you playing at?!” Remus walks forward. “You just upset Locks!”

“Upset her? I don’t see how.”

“You know how. Don’t play dumb.”

“I think she’s made it perfectly clear she doesn’t like me like that.”

“How? Did she say those words exactly?”

“Not really but-”

“Then how do you know?”

“Why don’t you tell me?” the jealousy spills out.

“I’m sorry?” Remus blinks. “What are you saying?”

“Awful cosy you two.”

“Are you having a laugh?”

“I see you whispering to each other, laughing, going off to other places alone. Not hard to work out.”

“Yes. We’re friends. Friends do those kind of things.”

“You didn’t used to.”

“Well I hadn’t told her about my…affliction until recently. Now I’m a bit more comfortable confiding in her.”

“I bet you are.”

“Sirius!”

But Sirius had long stopped caring about what Remus had to say. The memory of Remus’ hand on your shoulder and how close he had been to you collided with all the other memories of late and he launched himself forward, grabbing Remus by the jumper.

“Get off me!” Remus struggles but it’s too late for Sirius to listen to reason.

In his mind, his friend was the obstacle and he needed to be moved out of the way.

He landed a couple of blows on Remus’ face before receiving a few back and the two scrap like toddlers, banging into the stone walls until they’re rolling around on the floor of the corridor.

“Just admit you like her!” Sirius shouts, catching Remus in the mouth.

“Not like that!”

“You want her to be your girlfriend!”

“No I do not! She’s just a friend! Get over yourself, you arse! Just because you’re too chicken to try yourself!”

The blows got fiercer until they both stopped, looking up at Mrs Norris who’d loudly meowed before turning tail and running to fetch her master.

“Shit! Run!” Sirius scrambles to his feet.

Both boys flee back up to the Grand Staircase.

“This is not over,” Sirius hisses before giving the password.

“Is it as far as I’m concerned,” Remus counters. “I told you what’s going on. Up to you to believe me or not.”

Sirius breezed past you and James in the common room, noting your defeated expression and he felt like the world’s worst person as he went up the dormitory stairs.

How could he say he was better than his family when he’d just done something so blatantly callous towards you and then accused one of his best friends of trying to make a move? Even better, he’d resorted to common violence about it.

As he shut himself in his four poster bed, he just quietly seethed at himself as he stared at the dark canopy. He was better than this.

He wanted to be the man who made you a promise he’d keep you safe, he wanted to be that shaggy dog that kept you warm on your night time outings and you never knew it was him, he wanted you to be the one he had his arm around…not Jane Dempsey.

What a mess this was and it was only going to get worse tomorrow…..

Chapter Text

You wake up early, throwing your things haphazardly into your trunk and dragging it down the stairs into the pile where they would be magicked later onto the train. You make a bid down towards the grounds and the carriages pulled by threstrals, wanting to get on the Hogwarts Express as quick as you can.

The last person you wanted to see for several hours straight was Sirius.

When you got to the train, you found a compartment at the back of it, seating yourself down and staring out of the window towards the castle, wondering how you found yourself in such a horrible situation. You were going to have to spend two weeks with, not only Regulus, but now Sirius was following his brother in the 'who is the biggest arse' stakes.

“Oi oi, Locks,” James pokes his head into the compartment. “Was wondering where you were.”

Remus looks out from behind James too, his eye slightly swollen and grey bruising blending into yellow. He seems tired but he still smiles warmly at you.

“We got worried,” Remus adds.

“I'm fine, I just wanted to get out before Sirius woke up,” you sigh.

They both come in the booth and sit down, James opposite and Remus to the side of you. They seem to stare at you more than normal.

“Well this is awkward,” James announces. “Moony, stop being a git and explain last night for her. She doesn't know what happened.”

“It's really nothing,” Remus looks sheepish.

“Moooooooony,” James calls. “Don't make me hex you. She deserves to know.”

“Know what?” you ask. “Why you and Sirius beat seven bells out of each other?”

“It was a misunderstanding,” Remus looks anywhere but at you. “I told him off for being so blatant with Jane and he thought...he thought.....”

“Oh for heaven's sake,” James rolls his eyes, losing patience. “Sirius thought you and Remus were going out. That's why they fought.”

“What does he care who I might be dating anyway?” you shrug. “He's with someone.”

“No no, it's not like-” James begins but at that moment the compartment door opens and Sirius enters with Jane.

The pair seemed to be smiling until Sirius looks at you and his face falls a little.

“Morning,” James coughs, shifting a little on the seat.

“Morning,” Sirius sits down next to him, Jane joining.

“Hello Locksley,” Jane waves at you.

“Hi Dempsey,” you nod. “Going home for Christmas?”

You're trying to be polite but it's hard not to want to bolt down to the other end of the train. This was already excruciating.

“Yeah, you?”

“She's visiting my family,” Sirius interrupts the conversation. “My brother invited her.”

“Oh? You and Regulus?” Jane gives you a look like you've gone down in her estimations.

“Not by choice,” you mutter darkly.

She seems to flounder at that answer and everyone goes quiet. It stays like that for a while as the train starts moving back towards London.

“Let's find another carriage,” you hear Jane whisper to Sirius.

“No, it's fine,” he grits his teeth stubbornly.

“Remus, fancy moving elsewhere?” you announce nonchalantly and loudly. “You can give me some advice about my astronomy essay. I don't want to bother everyone else with it.”

“Uh, sure,” Remus nods, getting up with you.

“See you guys later,” you don't even look back as you leave for another booth.

Finally you're able to get some peace in an empty compartment.

“Locks, you know you just made that ten times worse, right?” Remus says softly, sitting next to you again. “He already thinks we're together and now he'll be certain of it.”

“What does it matter though?!” you get irate. “He's made his choice. He can believe anything he wants now.”

“You're both so pigheaded,” Remus sighs. “Can't you see it?”

“See what?”

“He's only doing this to see if you get jealous.”

“Well that's incredibly manipulative.”

“Locks! Listen to me! Sirius is an idiot! I love him to death but he's so inept when it comes to actual romance and he's incredibly insecure. He doesn't believe anyone truly likes him for him.”

“That's not my problem,” you huff. “I tried being nicer to him, I spent so much time with him and this is what he does?”

“I know, I know,” Remus puts his arm around you to hug you. “It's not fair on you but you have to be the better person here.”

“I wish you didn't make an annoying amount of sense sometimes,” you lean your head on his shoulder. “I just don't know how I am gonna survive two weeks of this.”

“I'm always available by owl. Just vent to me at the end of every day and I'll write back.”

“Promise?”

“Promise, as long as I can tell you how terrible turning before Christmas Day will be.”

“Oh Remus,” you sit up straighter. “I'm sorry, I've been so self centred, I forgot this will be a bad month for you.”

“It's alright,” he smiles. “Like I say, just promise I can rant about it to you. James and Sirius get bored of it and Peter....Peter will just bombard me with owls. He's not going back to his family this year so he'll be incredibly bored.”

“Anything from the trolley?” the witch with the dining cart knocks on the door.

You buy a load of sweets, knowing Remus doesn't have much money and you both sit there, happily discussing life at Hogwarts whilst eating your way through them. Gradually the landscape outside turns from green rolling hills to a more urban spread.

“Locksley, I.....” Sirius is at the door but trails off at the sight of you and Remus fighting over the last cauldron cake. “I'll come back later.”

“Padfoot, stop it,” Remus abandons the fight and stands up so Sirius can't disappear. “Just say what you need to.”

“Fine,” Sirius' tone goes colder as he looks at you. “We're nearly at Kings Cross. Meet me off the train and I'll take you to my parent's house.”

“Alright then,” you nod.

Sirius lingers for a bit longer, seemingly deciding whether to say something to you but instead he just looks at you holding the cake and says, “You'll want to give that to Moony or you won't fit into those tight jeans any more soon.”

“Excuse me?!” your voice goes up an octave without meaning to.

Sirius doesn't reply though. He just gives you a sneering look and tries to leave the compartment but Remus slams his hand across the doorway, barring the exit.

“Apologise to her right now,” he says angrily. “That was awful, even for you.”

“She knows I'm joking,” Sirius replies blandly.

“No you weren't, you were being spiteful,” Remus hisses. “Stop being a world class prat and say you're sorry.”

“Do you always let him speak up for you?” Sirius points to Remus, giving you a meaningful look. “He's very protective lately.”

“He's just being a good friend, unlike you,” you stand up yourself.

Friend,” Sirius rolls the word around. “Yeah...friend. Sure. Is that what you call everyone you snog in the astronomy tower?”

“What?” you blink, genuinely confused.

“Oh come off it,” Sirius curls his lip. “Last down after class? Everybody knows what that means.”

“It means we were talking too much. You know, you really are thick at times.”

“I don't often “talk” to James with my arm around him,” Sirius snorts. “Just admit it, Locksley.”

“There's nothing to admit,” you shake your head, completely bewildered by how fixated he was on this.

“Fine, you carry on shacking up with my friends and ruining our friendships,” Sirius rounds on you. “Maybe Kerrin O'Sullivan's rumours were right about you. You're just the school broom. Anyone can have a ride.”

The noise you made when you hit Sirius in the face was so loud it bounced around the booth and when he stumbled back into the door, it rattled violently.

“What the hell is going on?!” James appears, seeing Sirius clutch his bloodied nose. “Moony?!”

“Wasn't me,” Remus holds up his hands. “It was Locks.”

“Bloody hell, I leave you to get along for five minutes and this happens,” James frowns. “You two are being terrible right now. Pack it in!”

“He started it,” you offer up childishly.

“Alright, fair,” Sirius wipes his face clean. “That was too far. I deserved that. I'll leave you alone until we get to the station.”

He walks off, his face burning with shame.

“What did he say?” James demands to know.

“Said Locks was the school broom,” Remus sighs.

“Oh that little toad! I'm gonna kill him!” James scowls, running after his friend.

“Maybe he's right,” you bite your lip. “Sirius I mean. Maybe I am ruining your friendships.”

“No, don't think like that,” Remus holds your shoulders. “If there's a problem in this group, it lies with Sirius, not you and if we have to cut him out because his behaviour is too awful then we will.”

You just flop back into the seat, feeling worse than ever.

When you finally got to the station, you got off with your luggage, hoisting it onto a trolley before spotting Sirius waiting by the barrier. You take a deep breath and stride over towards him.

“Let's get this over with,” Sirius mumbles, taking the lead out of the station towards a big stately car outside.

“Master Black,” a chauffeur had gotten out of the driver's side. “Miss Locksley. Master Black the Younger is already in the car. Please join us.”

You took one look at Sirius, hoping he was going to grow a pair about this situation and help you against Regulus but he just looks at the floor.

Fine. You can go swivel. I'll do this alone.

With no more ceremony you got into the car.

“Hello Locksley,” Regulus drawls. “You look a little aggrieved. Everything alright?”

“Long journey. Just tired,” you say as little as you have to.

“And...brother,” Regulus nods towards Sirius. “Fighting again? Mother will not be pleased.”

“Mother is never pleased,” Sirius looks out of the window.

“I can't wait to show you around, Locksley,” Regulus continues like he didn't hear. “Perhaps one day it will be your home as well.”

“I rather like where my home is,” you say bluntly. “More greenery.”

“But it's rather a lot smaller, yes?”

“Perhaps.”

“There's a park opposite our house. You could go walking in there.”

But you couldn't run. You couldn't feel the true earth and roots beneath your paws without fear of another human spotting you. You could never transform into your wolf again.

“Thrilling,” you make it very evident what you thought of that.

“Of course we could steal the muggles' gardens from next door for you,” Regulus grasps for something to keep your interest.

You say nothing knowing it was fruitless to try and get through to him. You'd feel even more trapped living in their house than you do in yours.

“Ah, here we are,” Regulus says proudly after another few minutes of silent driving.

You look out to see a row of three storey townhouses which suddenly part, revealing another secret one that looks a little darker than the rest. The brickwork is more weathered and the window frames give an outdated air.

“The chauffeur will take our luggage in. Come with me,” Regulus grabs your hand and pulls you out of the car.

You try to look back at Sirius but he's just shuffling along behind you, looking defeated. The closer you got to the door, the more anxious he looked.

If you weren't so angry with him still, you'd appreciate just how much courage it took him to come back here for you but his actions on the train had left a bitter taste in your mouth.

“Mother! We're here!” Regulus calls out into the gloomy but ornate corridor.

Walburga Black, a severe looking woman with pale skin and hair so dark it made her face look even paler by comparison, seemed to float down the corridor, her old fashioned dress trailing along the expensive carpet.

“Oh darling!” she fusses over Regulus, stroking his hair extravagantly before her eyes fall upon you.

You get the distinct impression of being scrutinised to within an inch of your life. You can see she's not impressed by your clothing but you're just a family name to her anyway.

“This must be Miss Locksley,” she nods at you. “My son has told me so much about you.”

“Good things I hope,” you try to be cheerful.

There was no sense in offending the Black family this early on. You still had two weeks left after all.

“Yes they were,” she confirms rather matter of factly.

“Mother,” Sirius mumbles from behind you.

Her face loses all charm and this shrewd expression replaces it. You can feel Sirius shrinking under her withering gaze and briefly wonder if Sirius had even told her he was coming home.

“Don't you have your half blood friends to go back to?” she sneers. “I thought you made yourself clear when you left this house and this family that you never wanted to see us again.”

You just stood there, anticipating either a fight or Sirius walking out. To your surprise, he walks forward to stand next to you and takes your hand.

“It's not fair of me to not introduce Locks to you,” Sirius stands a little straighter.

He was helping you....actually helping you. Your respect for him went back up a little. He was putting aside his spitefulness to do what he said he'd do.

“I was under the impression she was a prospective match for Regulus,” Walburga surveys your interlocked fingers.

“So was I,” Regulus adds.

“Really?” you say politely. “Because you even said to me you noticed I was close with Sirius. I do apologise, Mrs Black, for any confusion.”

She recovers quickly, looking back to Sirius.

“Well....at least you're seeing sense,” she draws herself up haughtily. “Courting a Locksley is the most sensible thing you've ever done. Maybe you're changing for the better. Your father will be so proud.”

“And that's what counts right?” Sirius says back bitterly but if Walburga picked up on it, she didn't comment.

“Welcome to our home, Miss Locksley. I'll show you to your room,” Walburga gestures for you to follow and you let go of Sirius' hand.

She takes you up the grand staircase, up to the top floor where she shows you into a room with an elegant four poster bed, heavy velvet drapes shining against the afternoon sun. Your luggage has already been transported up and laid out neatly next to the dresser.

“This is where you'll be staying,” Walburga says. “Now, some ground rules in my house.”

You stand to attention a little to look like you were interested.

“You do not spend the night in either of my sons' rooms, you will not play them off against the other. Edmund may be mentally indisposed as I've heard but I am sure he's told you to weigh up your options. The Locksleys are not fools, however, I will not have you messing with their emotions....even if Sirius is not in favour.”

“My father is not mentally indisposed,” you fire back without thinking. “He's just grieving and lonely which is understandable.”

“Indeed,” Walburga seems marginally aggrieved. “Perhaps I can introduce him to Margo Bulstrode. She's in need of remarrying after her husband died. That should keep him focused. I know your family has had some....diluting recently so this will help strengthen your blood ties.”

You keep quiet, the idea frankly horrifying to you to call a Bulstrode 'mother'. Then again, perhaps if your dad did have someone in his life other than you he might come back to reality a little. You'd prefer to be able to have a say in who would be a potential partner though.

“I'll send an owl later. Dinner is in thirty minutes,” she continues, taking your silence for agreement. “Please change into something more appropriate.”

“Of course,” you nod, knowing that the sparkling lamé top was offending her greatly.

“Very good. Whilst we're here, what took your eye with Sirius over Regulus? I would've thought Regulus was the...better choice for you and your family.”

“We're both Gryffindors,” you lie, anything to hide the true reason you liked him....or used to like him. “We have more in common in that sense in our ideals. I've found Regulus to have different ambitions.”

“I see,” she looks at you shrewdly. “I suspect you're one of those girls who has these young notions of having their own careers, yes?”

“Yes.”

“If it comes at the expense of carrying on the Black line, you won't be working. Duty above personal hobbies. Am I understood?” she says coldly.

“You are.”

“Excellent. I'll see you presently.”

She swoops out of the room, her dress billowing behind her like in that old muggle movie about vampires you've seen.

Finally you have time to process what just happened. Walburga was expecting you to marry one of her sons and give her lots of grandchildren and be content to be a housewife. Not only that but she wanted your father to marry a pureblood too.

You could definitely see why Sirius left this house. Nothing of this family was present in his personality.

A knock at the door makes you look up and Sirius is standing awkwardly in the doorway.

“Alright Locksley?” he looks at the floor. “Can I talk to you?”

“Is it going to be civil this time?”

He sighs before coming into the room and closing the door, walking over to you, “Look, I know I was really out of order on the train. I'm sorry. I'm sorry if I upset you that night after astronomy too. I didn't mean to.”

“Yes you did,” you're not letting him get away with it. “That's exactly what you wanted to do.”

“No,” he scoffs, unconvincingly. “Why would I want to upset you on purpose?”

“Because you're jealous of Remus.”

“Moony can do what he likes.”

“Then why did you beat each other up?”

“Erm.....uh......,” he flounders.

“Just be honest with me,” you unfold your arms. “I thought we were getting on really well and then all of sudden you're waving a girl in my face and being horrible to me again.”

“Yeah well you were spending so much time with Remus,” he blurts out angrily and then his eyes widen like he didn't mean to say that much. “Uh...I just...”

“Were you mad because you felt I was ignoring you?” you try to throw him a lifeline.

“I guess,” he smooths his hair back. “I was just really enjoying your company and we had good laughs and I was telling you things I don't tell many people and then you just stopped hanging out with me. When I saw you with Moony I.....yeah, I was jealous. He got all your time.”

“Because he told me about his werewolfism and was confiding a lot in me that he has never even told you,” you explain. “I was helping him through a tough time because his mother isn't well right now and he's not sure whether she's going to pull through.”

“Oh.....” Sirius trails off. “Really? Why didn't he tell us?”

“He didn't want you to feel sorry for him and treat him differently. By the way, we never had this conversation. Don't ever tell him you know until he's ready to talk to you.”

“Sure,” he nods. “Well....I feel like a total prat now.”

“Feel like?” you snort. “You are a total prat.”

“I'm sorry, Locks. For everything. I don't even like Jane. She keeps giggling at everything even when it's not funny,” he shakes his head. “Look, can we just start over? I miss being your  friend.”

“As long as you talk to me when you're feeling upset about stuff so we don't get misunderstandings like this.”

“Deal,” he grins, holding out his hand and you shake it. “Sterling work on pissing mother off also. She looked so offended coming out of this room.”

“I can see why you hate it here,” you look around at the room. “Delusions of royalty.”

“Exactly!” Sirius' eyes light up. “That's exactly it! You know, I'll show you my room later. You'll laugh so much. It's designed to annoy my parents.”

“Depends if she lets me,” you smirk. “I've already been told I'm not to be alone in the evening or night with you.”

“Oh yes?” he winks. “But all the fun things happen at night.”

There's a crack which makes you jump and the Black family house elf appears in the room. If it were possible to say, even the house elf appeared to think it had grandeur above its station.

“Dinner is ready, Miss. Mistress calls you.”

“Get lost Kreacher!” Sirius snarls.

“Very good Master Sirius,” Kreacher scowls, not seeming sincere at all before vanishing with another loud crack.

“I'd best get changed,” you point to your trunks.

Sirius just leans against the pole of the four poster with a sly grin, folding his arms, “Well don't let me stop you.”

“Get out before I jinx you,” you roll your eyes.

“Alright but I really hope it's that low cut jumpsuit you're going to wear. I can't wait to see my parent's reactions to that,” he sniggers before turning to leave but when he gets to the door he pauses, seeming to take a deep breath before turning around again. “Thanks, Locks. For not hating me, I mean. Even though I was awful to you.”

“It's alright. I already got some comeuppance.”

He touches his nose gingerly, laughing, “Yeah you did. I'm definitely never pissing you off that much again. You hit hard.”

“I'm not just a pretty face,” you pretend to blow on your knuckles.

“You're a lot more than that.”

Something about the way he said it hung in the air until it became something awkward. There was too much meaning behind his tone and he seems to panic a little because he scuttles out of sight.

As much as you're glad the fight between you is over, you're still confused about what your friendship is. After all, Sirius' reaction to Remus was too extreme to pass off as feeling you were becoming a distant friend.

Maybe your time here in the Black family home would make it a bit clearer...if you survived dinner that is.

Chapter Text

After deliberating whether to go outrageous in your clothing or not, you settled for a pinafore dress over a shirt, something not formal but not gaudy either. You’d only been here a mere hour and you didn’t want to cause chaos.

You leave the bedroom and Kreacher is waiting for you, giving your outfit a disgusted look but signalling for you to follow all the same. You never thought a house elf could make you feel so small but the way he was muttering under his breath, you knew he thought very little of you already.

“-Half blood filth-“ you catch every now and then but it’s faint.

When you get into the dining hall, your eyes have to adjust to the dim candlelight. There’s a long table running down the centre with one end seating Walburga Black, the other seating a stern looking man with sharp cheekbones, aggressively thick eyebrows and lustrous hair swept back neatly. You could see a lot of Sirius in his features. 

This must be his father, Orion Black.

The two boys were sat opposite one another and a chair had been set for you next to Sirius. He, in turn, was wearing a brocade waistcoat and a loose shirt, looking like something in a Regency muggle novel that your mother used to keep.  

The Blacks really took tradition seriously.

“Sit, my dear,” Walburga gestures, and you obey, already feeling a stuffy air of tension rising in the room.

“Thank you for having me here, Mr and Mrs Black,” you try politely.

“I must say,” Orion speaks, his voice deep and drawling. “When my wife told me one of our sons was considering courting a Locksley, I would never have expected it to be Sirius. I’m pleasantly surprised.”

“I’m glad you approve, father,” Sirius puts on a fake smile and you can see it’s costing all his pride to do so.

“Of course, the Locksleys do have their current….image problem,” Orion continues. “Walburga tells me Edmund is in need of a match. It might help his…ailment.”

“He’s not really been the same since my mother died, sir,” you say carefully. “She was the love of his life.”

“Curious when pure wizards fall for muggle girls. I don’t mind the dalliances but marriage….what was he thinking?” Orion tuts. “Your grandfather tried to get him to marry my sister Lucretia but he wouldn’t listen.”

“He did?”

This was news to you. You never had any inkling the Blacks wanted to intermingle their families earlier into your house.

“Robert was something of a pragmatist,” Orion smirks. “He even said Edmund could carry on seeing your mother additionally but he needed a pureblood marriage to carry on the line.”

“I think that’s rather medieval,” you say bluntly.  

“Let me guess, girl,” Orion sneers, his skin pulling back tightly so you can see the outline of his skull. “Your mother read you muggle books about marrying for love?”

You say nothing, heat pooling in your cheeks. You’d never been so angry and you’d never been so simultaneously embarrassed.  

“She’s only ever dated halfbloods or more at school anyway,” Regulus snorts, helping himself to food. “Never seen her with a muggleborn.” 

“She likes who she likes,” Sirius says warningly. “Nothing wrong with that.”

“Let’s eat before an argument ensues,” Walburga shakes her head. “The main point is Sirius has a twenty-eight family match which will make your child a pureblood so this really is moot discussing this. It will bolster the Locksley name back from disgrace.”

You would’ve said something nasty back but Sirius’ hand shoots to your leg under the table and he squeezes it hard. You just bite your tongue and start spooning dauphinoise potatoes onto your plate.

“So, Regulus, how did this confusion occur? Your mother led me to believe it was you that was courting,” Orion breaks the silence after a few minutes of quiet eating.

“That’s what I believed,” Regulus flashes you a rather offended look. “We attend Professor Slughorn’s parties quite regularly and had struck up quite the rapport. I was a little disappointed when my brother seemed to be taking her attention.”

“I guess I’m just more charming, Reggie,” Sirius smiles pleasantly.  

“Are you courting for love then?” Regulus asks casually, intending on making his brother squirm. “From your outbursts, I would never have taken you for the type to date a family name. “

Sirius nearly chokes on his vegetables before composing himself and taking your hand, placing it in full view of the table with your fingers interlocked, “Of course. It’s just a coincidence she’s from an old family. I like her for her.”

“I didn’t say like, I said love,” Regulus smirks smugly.

You felt incredibly uncomfortable now, all eyes on the both of you. Sirius was never going to say anything so outrageously romantic because, as Remus had told you, Sirius was terrible at relaying feelings and found it awkward being overt.  Regulus knew this and was trying to expose your fake relationship for what is was.

“Yes, actually, I do love her,” Sirius says quietly.

Silence falls across the table as everyone processes what’s just been said. Regulus looks absolutely stunned, Walburga and Orion are staring at their son as if he’d just sprouted pixie wings.  You, on the other hand, look anywhere other than Sirius.

Did he really just say that?! You know he was trying to keep Regulus away from you but saying something so bold was just so out of character. He really was putting a lot of effort into protecting you.

“Well, I suppose it’s a bonus,” Walburga shrugs, clicking her fingers so Kreacher appears with a salt cellar as large as himself. “Your father and I were arranged and it took time. A good foundation for a good family match will ensure no problems.”

“What your mother means, Sirius, is that she’ll expect many grandchildren if you’re so much in love,” Orion laughs.  

“Well that depends on when Locks is ready,” Sirius hides his face behind his hair, finally succumbing to embarrassment.

“Such modern notions,” Walburga tuts. “I despair of today’s youth.”

Again the room lapses into tense silence.  You can feel Regulus’ eyes boring a hole into your head. You got the impression he was furious.

Sirius has let go of your hand but he keeps nudging your foot with his, as a sign of solidarity. You’re able to eat a little of the meal now, the uncomfortable atmosphere having killed your appetite before. You’re just praying for the moment when you can leave and hide in the guest room.

A crack beside you makes you jump, your knees banging into the table as you see Kreacher appear next to you with a grin on his gnarled face. He’d definitely done it deliberately to spite you.

“Kreacher has a message from Edmund Locksley.”

He hands over a letter before walking out of the door.

Ignoring protocol, you read it quickly,

 

Dear daughter,

Walburga has told me you’re settling in well and you’re courting her eldest son Sirius. Sirius was one of your friends, wasn’t he? That’s lovely. I was friends with your mother before we started courting also.  

I hope you’re enjoying yourself.

Walburga has also arranged for me to meet Margo Bulstrode this week.  

Speak to you in a couple of days,

Dad

 

“Good news?” Walburga asks knowingly.

“Just that he’s meeting Margo this week,” you tuck the letter into your shirt, away from prying eyes.

“Excellent,” Orion nods in approval . “About time. Margo is an attractive prospect, I’m sure they will get on well.”

“Maybe there’ll be wedding bells soon,” Regulus says nastily, knowing that’s the last thing you wanted to hear about your father.

“I hear Margo looks like the backside of a hippogriff,” Sirius interrupts. “Edmund will have more taste than that.”

“Sirius!” Walburga chides.  

“So who do you suggest then?” Orion tents his fingers, studying his son.

“Judith Abbott,” Sirius shrugs. “Pretty widower, part of the twenty eight, likes gardening. Locks tells me Edmund loves his garden.”

“I think this girl has changed you, Sirius,” Orion gives you a shrewd look. “You’re actually thinking sensibly. Walburga, send an owl to the Abbotts.”

“Yes dear,” Walburga replies. “Well if you’ve changed my son this much, I think you’re rather ready for marriage soon yourselves.”

You’re currently taking a big gulp of wine and cough awkwardly as she says this, grabbing the nearest napkin to stop yourself spluttering everywhere.

“Mother, enough,” Sirius scowls.

“She’s right, brother,” Regulus chimes in. “We’re nearly finished with school. You could start married life straight after. How about a joint wedding and graduation party?”

“Blacks don’t penny pinch,” Orion’s eyebrow raises. “Two separate events Regulus. It will be the same when you have a lady on your arm.”

“We’ll think about it,” you recover yourself. “We’re concentrating on our N.E.W.Ts first.”

The plates are cleared away and you’re just itching to run out of the room. This was the most excruciating situation you’d ever been in. At least Sirius had helped you avoid potentially getting a pureblood fanatical stepmother. The Abbots were incredibly reasonable and modern.

“Very well, “ Walburga nods. “You can all retire for the evening. I’m sure the journey was long. Breakfast will be at the normal time.”

Both you and Sirius stood up in tandem, hastily leaving the dining hall and going up the two flights of stairs to the bedroom landing.  

“I never imagined it would be that bad,” you blow air out hard. “Your parents are so….”

“Oppressive? Yeah,” Sirius mutters darkly. “This is why I ran away.”

“I’m sorry to make you come back here.”

“I wasn’t going to let you face them alone,” he smiles before it falters. “About what I said in there-“

“-You were just trying to protect me from Regulus, I get it,” you finish for him.

“Uh…yeah, yeah that’s what it was,” he seems reluctant to admit it for some reason. “Come here, I said I’ll show you my room.”

He opens the door to his left and as you enter, you see a sprawling room coated in posters but they weren’t wizarding posters. They were pictures of motorbikes and girls in skimpy lingerie…even girls with their breasts on show.

“Drives mother nuts,” he grins. “I put a permanent sticking charm on them so she can never get rid.”

“You know, I feel like I understand you more now,” you look around. “Why you are the way you are, why you cling to James-“

“-I do not cling to James!”

“Sure,” you wink at him. “But I get it. I would run away from here too.”

“I know I’m forbidden from your room but I’ll sneak in there later today and we can talk like we started doing near the forest last month. I liked that. Would that be alright? I know you’re still probably mad at me for what I did and I don’t deserve it but I miss our conversations.”

“We said a fresh start, Sirius. Sure. Come up later. I’m going to get a nap. I hate travelling,” you yawn for dramatic effect.

“See you later, Locks,” Sirius smiles warmly.

You head towards the guest room, only to run into Regulus who’d come up from the other side of the house.

“Think that was funny, do you?” he scowls.

“Funny?”

“I asked you here to be my guest and you show up with my brother?”  

“I told you before, I’m not interested.”

Regulus backs you up against the wall and your hand goes to your wand hidden in the garter underneath your dress.

“You humiliated me,” Regulus snarls quietly. “Now Sirius is the favourite son because he’s ‘cleaned himself up’ when you and I both know he’s just here as a buffer.”

“I don’t know what you mean,” you stare him out. “He loves me, remember? When have you ever heard Sirius say that about a girl?”

Regulus pauses, unable to think of a comeback but draws his wand and you do the same. You’re both stood there, inches apart and wands at the ready.

“I should’ve let Severus continue cursing you,” he says bitterly. “You have no taste.”

“Wow,” you laugh. “So because I don’t want you, you’re happy to slice my face up? That’s mature, Regulus. Why don’t you date Servilia Greengrass? She likes you.”

“Because despite your common attitude, I like your spark and I find you very attractive,” Regulus moves back. “Locksley, I am the better Black brother. Sirius will do what he does with all girls. Use them and then discard them. If you get married, he’ll have mistresses. He can’t help himself. He’s a wastrel. I would never do that. I would adore you, lavish you, give you perfect children.”

“Well that’s my decision to make,” you say firmly. “Now I’m going to bed. Good night.”

You duck past him, going into your room and locking the door, enchanting it so he can’t use spells to get in.  

Were you really having to barricade yourself away like this? Regulus was obsessive. It almost scared you.

Hopefully Sirius would come over soon and you’d feel a little safer.

You just lie on the bed, wand tucked under the pillow, staring at the canopy and trying to shut off your whirring brain. You were no good tired, you would never survive this place.  

Only twelve days left to go.

Chapter Text

There was a light tapping at the window and you saw Remus' owl, Selene, patiently waiting outside.

You got up, letting her in and she stuck out her leg for you to take his letter before zooming around the room and coming to land on the desk, ruffling her feathers and making herself into a ball to snooze whilst she waited for you to construct a reply.

 

Dear Locks,

I hope you're still alive when you get this and the big bad pureblood family didn't eat you up. I also hope Sirius is behaving himself. I don't enjoy having to fight with friends but when they're being arses, I'll make sure to knock his block off next time.

I can feel the change coming worse than ever right now. I think the more stressed I am about things, the more it hurts. Exams and the future and making sure everyone is alright is a tough business. I just hope I can be contained alright when Christmas comes.

Write back soon

All my love, Remus

 

You set his letter down and drag parchment, quill and ink out of your trunk and begin composing your own letter.

 

Dear Remus,

Still mostly alive although the Cruciatus curse would be less painful than the dinner I just had. They want me to get married to Sirius and have babies the second I leave Hogwarts and not only that, they're setting my dad up with a pureblood witch to 'fix' our family name.

The only good thing is Sirius is keeping his word in making sure the ruse is going well. He apologised to me earlier about the train so at least we're getting back to normal. I didn't think he'd grow up but guess he is mature in some ways. He even declared at dinner that he loves me to really sell the interaction. You should have seen Regulus' face. I wish I had a camera.

Anyway, you shouldn't be so stressed about it all. We can take care of ourselves and exams are just a few hours of your life. You're the smartest person I know, you'll do absolutely amazingly. The future will just fall into place.

I hope your change won't be too bad. If you had a bad Christmas, just remember you're coming back to your second family soon,

Love Locks

 

You tie the scroll to Selene's leg before she gives your hand a small nuzzle and flies off into the night, almost crashing into a second owl that was coming in to the land.

“It's like Spaghetti Junction in here,” you hear Sirius' voice and you turn to see him emerging from a wall.

“Where did you come from?!”

“There's passages all over this house. Don't worry, Reggie hasn't got any into this room,” he grins. “You've got a lot of post.”

“I'm popular. One day you might know how that feels.”

“That was very quick for you, Locks,” Sirius laughs. “Oi, that's the Potter's family owl. Wonder why James didn't send Malachi?”

“Probably sending quite a few letters out and needs lots of owls,” you take the parchment from the new owl. “You know how he is. Chatterbox.”

“What does it say?”

You unfurl the scroll and read aloud, “Oi, Locks. Guess who kissed Evans after you left on the platform?

“I can't believe she gave in,” Sirius snorts. “More to the point, I can't believe his persistence paid off.”

“I know. Guess getting her away from Severus really helped though. She's been much more confident since.”

“Snivelly has a way of bringing people down around him. He's like a gloom sponge. James write anything else or is he just boasting?”

“There's more: I expect to hear if you've kissed anyone too. It's only fair. Maybe you and.....” but you trail off, too embarrassed to carry on.

“You and what?” Sirius prompts.

“It's nothing,” you say hastily, stuffing the letter into your dress.

“You know that makes me want to read it even more,” Sirius approaches. “Tell me or I'll tickle you.”

“Do that and you'll be vomiting slugs for a week,” you warn.

“If you can stop me that is,” Sirius winks before diving on you and wiggling his fingers on your sides.

“Stop!” you squirm. “I mean it!”

“Oh yeah? I don't see you trying to get free.”

He was a little bit too strong for you to get free when his arms were around you. You can feel yourself slipping to the floor with the lack of breath and your dress was riding higher up your thighs until with a flourish, Sirius deftly plucks James' letter from your garment, taking care not to touch anything he shouldn't.

“Right then,” he jumps backwards out of reach and begins to read, despite your protests. “I expect to hear if you've kissed anyone too. It's only fair. Maybe you and Sirius can stop pratting about each other and get to snogging so the rest of us will stop having to hear.....to hear.....from the both of you about how you obviously....like each other. Then again, Remus seems to be getting awfully close too. Be assured, I will be the only one of your friends who doesn't try to cop a feel because you're like a sister to me and Evans is way prettier to me anyway. Can't say what Peter would do but I think he'd wet himself if a girl approached him. Ciao for now.

He turns bright red, dropping the letter on the bed like it had scalded him. Then he sees the letter from Remus and picks that up too, scanning it quickly.

“Hey! Stop reading all my mail! This is private,” you make a grab for it but he steps out of your reach.

All my love,” he reads Remus' last sentence.

“No, enough of that right now,” you point a finger at him. “You said we'd drop this.”

“I'm really confused, Locks,” Sirius sighs, raking his hair back so the candlelight illuminates his strong jawline. “Why is James saying we like each other but then saying Remus likes you? I thought Moony said you were just friends?”

“We are as far as I know. If he wants something more then that's unfortunate,” you fold your arms. “I don't see him that way.”

“And me?”

“I.....” you don't know how to answer that but the longer you keep silent, the more obvious the answer is going to be. “Do you? I mean you get really annoyed whenever a boy comes near me.”

“Only because they aren't good enough for you. You have some horrible taste,” he says quickly.

“If I had horrible taste, I'd be entertaining Regulus right now,” you raise an eyebrow.

“You know what I mean,” Sirius mumbles, his hair flopping forward to hide his face. “Do you promise, Locks? Do you promise you don't like Remus?”

“Yes I promise. Why do you care so much?”

“I don't want to see my friends get hurt and I don't want our group to become awkward if something goes wrong.”

“School ends in six months, Sirius. If something went that wrong, you'd never have to see either of us again if you didn't want to. But I promise, I don't have romantic feelings for Remus. Boys and girls can just be friends, you know?”

“Alright,” he nods. “Anyway, I'd best go before mother starts doing her night rounds. Probably an idea to get in bed. Just wanted to see if you were okay.”

“I'm fine, thank you. Good night.”

“Night, Locks,” he hesitates for a moment before leaving the room.

You don't go to bed though, you start penning a reply to James.

 

Hello idiot,

Sirius was in the room when your letter arrived and he read it. Thanks a bunch. Now it's incredibly awkward when we just got on good terms again and he's back to being weirdly jealous of Remus.

Congrats on kissing Evans. I guess she lowered her standards because Paul Jessop is dating someone else currently.

Will let you know if I kiss anyone but at this rate it might just be the racist house elf as at least he's open about how he feels.

Write back never,

Locks.

 

You attach the letter to the Potter's owl where it flaps its enormous wings and takes off, leaving you finally alone.

You just crawl into bed, exhausted from the emotional tension.

The Black family were going to kill you with awkwardness by Christmas at this rate.

 

**

 

Several days go by where you maintain a weird kind of civility with Sirius.

Whenever Regulus or his parents are around, he'll be touchy feely, make more jokes with you and generally look like he was your boyfriend. When you were alone, however, he would become awkward with you, still making some jokes but nowhere near how close you used to be.

One step forward, two steps back with Sirius Black.

One day whilst exploring the house, you come across a room with a giant family tree sprawled over the entire stretch of wall. It ranges back quite a few centuries and you follow the line all the way until you reach a burn mark where Sirius' portrait should be.

“I was devastated when he ran away from home,” Walburga says from behind you, making you jump. “Of course I would never admit that to him. Headstrong boy that he is. You know, I was disappointed he wasn't in Slytherin House but ultimately that didn't matter. I just wanted a whole family.”

“I think he just felt like an outcast,” you venture.

“He made himself one,” she says sharply and you can tell how hurt she'd been when Sirius had left. “I never threw him out, no matter how rebellious he got. He's my son.”

“I don't mean to speak out of turn but maybe you should tell him that sometime. He has the impression you don't love him.”

“Really,” she scoffs but then her face falls. “Perhaps I've been too harsh on him. As the eldest son, there's a lot of responsibilities. At least he is fulfilling one now with you. Reparo!”

The burn mark recedes and an image of Sirius blooms there instead with a vine that connects to another blank cameo.

“You will be there one day,” she points. “Providing this match stays good, of course. Your children will come after. To be a Black matron is to understand how to keep a family going. At times, we have had to resort to half-blood marriages but that is the price for a healthy line.”

“Unlike the Goyles you mean?”

“Well...yes,” she smiles wryly and you can see shades of Sirius in that expression. “Marrying cousins and half siblings for decades on end does produce some problems sometimes.”

“We have a tapestry in our house,” you recant, trying to relate to her so she might be a bit more kind to you. “In the style of the Bayeux one with a rolling story of our family. When a member of our family dies, the tapestry shows the manner of their death.”

“How very traditional. I should like to see that sometime,” Walburga nods her approval. “The Locksleys go back to the Saxon era do they not?”

“Yes Mrs Black.”

“A very old house indeed. Overthrew a King and settled for a Lordship. Fascinating history.”

“Ah, you mean my ancestor Robin of Locksley?”

“Yes. Such a curious wizard.”

Or as the muggles in the town called him, Robin Hood. When he'd been deposed from his lordship by the interim King, he'd used magic to break into the treasury and distribute wealth amongst the commoners before terrifying the King with illusions of the true King Richard coming back from the crusades on the back of a dragon.

“We still have his bow and arrow in the archives under the house.”

“We used to have many of our artefacts but they were stolen over the years by outsiders marrying in. I hope you don't have any ideas, Miss Locksley.”

“Mother,” Sirius interrupts, looking at you meaningfully to see if you were alright. “History lesson is it?”

“She's well learned it seems,” Walburga hums.

Sirius' eyes travel to the mural and then stop on his restored cameo, “You put me back.”

“Well....you are back, are you not?” she gives a small smile. “I shall leave you two unsupervised. We are on a family walk around the park later. Wear sensible clothing.”

She floats out of the room but Sirius didn't even give her a second look.

“She put me back.”

“She does care you know,” you say softly.

“Oh don't take her side,” he scowls. “She'll say anything to get you to think her way. She just wants you to become a mini-her.”

“I'm not sure I suit ruffles,” you muse and Sirius, try as he might, can't fight the mirthful snort that comes out.

“God no. So...uh....heard any more from the others?”

“I got a crossed owl that I'm sure was meant for Lily and I tried not to vomit,” you screw up your face. “I never knew James was so soppily romantic.”

“He's been head over heels for Lily for ages. Poor girl, she'll get sick of him soon.”

You take a deep breath before mentioning the next name, “And Remus is one day away from the change. He thinks it's going to be a really bad one. His dad's made the cellar into a cage.”

“Balls,” Sirius sighs and you're at least grateful he's not going into one of his weird moods. “I feel so sorry for Moony, Christmas Day of all days. He has rotten luck.”

“At least he'll have a smoother New Years. I don't think fireworks would've helped him if he had changed on that date.”

“No, you're right. Still.....poor Remus. I got a letter from Peter that Professor Glaive has had a nervous breakdown and Dumbledore's trying to convince him to stay on.”

“Imagine if the curse of the DA professors was getting shorter and they only last half a term now. What has he got to be nervous about?”

“Probably doesn't help having us as students to be honest,” Sirius laughs. “James using wind spells to lift his robes over his head, you letting boggarts free in his office, me changing the blackboard to spell rude words....I think I'd go crazy too.”

“Maybe we should tone it down a bit then,” you suggest.

“Good idea. Anyway, let's get ready for this walk. It's going to be excruciating enough with my brother around.”

 

**

 

Wandering around the park that had a light dusting of frost, your feet crunched heavily as you walked.

Part of you longed to get away from everyone, to turn into your wolf and feel the cold beneath your paws. There was no chance of that happening though it seemed.

Orion seemed intent on making it a route march, strolling with such long strides that you had to jog in places to keep up. Walburga was confidently keeping pace also, commenting about the crisp air and how wonderfully bracing it was.

“Not like it isn't bloody Christmas Eve or anything,” Sirius whispers to you. “What was she expecting? A tropical thunderstorm?”

“I could make it do that if you wanted,” you whisper back.
“Don't tempt me,” he groans and you can see the glimmer of mischief in his eyes.

“Come along...love birds,” Regulus turns you to both, spitting the last words like they were poison. “You know, brother, you're being remarkably chaste with Locksley. I've seen you in action at school and you're not shy about public displays of affection.”

“What do you call this?” Sirius brings both of your interlocked hands up to show him. “Just a friendly gesture?”

“I call it tame by your standards.”

“Locks doesn't like being showy.”

“I seem to recall she wasn't shy around Lethford. I caught them in a rather compromising position in the forest one time.”

“Compromising eh?” Sirius shows a sudden interest. “How compromising?”

“Let's just say it's a good thing being pure isn't a requirement for marriage these days,” Regulus gives you a nasty but perverse look.

“Oh and I bet you looked away as soon as you saw,” you fire back. “Nobody likes a watcher, Regulus.”

“I wanted to see what I would be getting,” he shrugs. “And you know exactly what you're doing, don't you Locksley?”

“Stop talking to her like that,” Sirius snarls. “You horrid little beast.”

“Suit yourself,” Regulus flounces back to his parents.

“I wish I could hex him right now,” Sirius looks incredibly angry.

“Me too but we need to keep a clear head,” you squeeze his hand.

He takes a deep breath and tries to let his rage out slowly before moving a little closer to you.

“Please tell me Lethford wasn't your first. I can't imagine he'd be stellar in the sack.”

“He wasn't,” you say dryly. “No idea how to please a woman and not willing to be taught. No he wasn't my first. Does it...bother you?”

“That you've had sex before? Of course not,” he gives you a strange look. “Shows you've lived. Boys that get hung up on that sort of thing are not mature enough to get intimate.”

“There's been three,” you carry on walking with him. “Lethford, Michael Yardley and my first was Eoin O'Shaunessey.”

“O'Shaunessey?!” Sirius blinks. “Didn't he leave school two years ago? The Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain? The...the...”

“Very good looking one? Yes, that's him,” you smirk. “I have good standards sometimes.”

“Blimey, now I feel intimidated. He plays for the Galway Giants now, doesn't he?”

“That's the one.”

“Now none of my previous flings feel glamorous,” he playfully huffs. “Five for me.”

“Is that all?”

“Expecting more?”

“A lot more. You get about.”

“I do but I don't shag every girl I date. They have to have something a bit special,” he shrugs. “I'm very picky in that regard.”

“Well colour me surprised.”

“Keep up,” Regulus calls back sneering. “Musn't be seen canoodling, Merlin forbid.”

“Oh that's it, I've had just about enough of him,” Sirius growls. “Look alive, Locksley.”

You're not expecting it when he stops, takes your face in his hands and lowers his head, kissing you softly. You shut your eyes quickly so as not to give away your shock.

“Mother!” Regulus is complaining.

“Sirius, there will be none of that sort of thing whilst you're here,” Walburga chides. “Be prim and be proper. This is not a bordello.”

“Sorry mother,” Sirius breaks off. “Got carried away.”

“Leave him, darling,” Orion looks back, that same grin that Sirius does when he's feeling cheeky, on his face. “The boy's in love. Be thankful it's brought him home.”

“Just this once then,” Walburga sighs. “We'll go on ahead but no more when we get back to the house.”

Regulus looks mortally affronted as he stares horrorstruck at the two of you before his mother prompts him to keep moving.

“I think that shut the little toerag up,” Sirius snorts. “Sorry about that, I just couldn't stand it any longer.”

“Did you see the look on his face?” you try to match his joyful tone, desperate to mask your complete surprise that Sirius had just kissed you without warning.

“That'll be stuck in my memory for a long time,” he grins. “Anyway, let's go over this way. There's a nice pond area. Might be frozen over.”

So you spend a pleasant afternoon with Sirius by the frozen pond, skating rocks over the surface and seeing who could throw theirs the farthest. It felt like that month where you'd gotten along really well before the Remus misunderstanding.

“Locks, I'm having a really nice time,” he declares as you start walking back to Grimmauld Place. “I didn't think I would do.”

“It's a lot better than I expected too,” you smile before shivering a little.

“Oh here, let me,” he immediately takes his scarf off, wrapping it around your neck. “Better?”

“Yes thanks. Such good manners and here I thought you had the politeness of a dog,” you settle into the warm fabric that smells completely of Sirius.

He balks a little at the word 'dog' before shaking it off, “I was raised properly, you know? I just choose to be an impolite git.”

“Ahh I see,” you nudge him.

“Best keep up the ruse,” Sirius takes your hand again. “We're nearly back.”

You were a good ten minutes away actually but you didn't argue. You found it nice.

“Wish it would snow this year,” you sigh. “I always get snow at home but I guess the city is too hot for it.”

“Your house sounds nice,” Sirius looks at you warmly. “You'll have to show me sometime.”

“Can visit for Easter if you like,” you suggest flippantly, not expecting him to agree. “We make giant chocolate eggs ourselves, I mean in the muggle way. My mother was much better at it than I was. She could marble several kinds of chocolate together in such a pretty way.”

“Deal,” Sirius says quickly. “You had me sold at 'chocolate'.”

“Alright then,” you blush a little. “I'll send an owl to my dad if you like.”

“You do that,” Sirius says firmly. “I don't believe for a second your dad is as barmy as they make out. I think I'll have a wonderful time.”

“He's not,” you nod. “He's just still grieving and he's lonely. Some people call him eccentric for that because he shuts himself away.”

“Well if ol' Reggie doesn't get the hint, we'll need to keep up this pretence anyway and your dad thinks we're a couple so maybe it'll cheer him up?”

“Maybe.”

Just before you get back to the door of Grimmauld Place, he turns to you, “Listen, I'll come visit you tomorrow morning before everyone gets up. The last thing I want is for you to wake up on Christmas morning to Kreacher or my mother shouting at you for sleeping in. Nobody deserves that at Christmas.”

“Alright, bright and early then,” you think to the present you'd gotten him and wondered if he'd like it.

You gave him back his scarf before entering the house and leaving for your room before dinner would be served. In the mean time, you take out the little box and look in it, seeing the long chain with a pewter pendant that looked like a dog's ragged paw print. You'd heard everyone else refer to him as Padfoot so much, you thought it'd be a nice little touch.

Maybe you were putting entirely too much effort into this but he was saving you from Regulus after all. Or were your own feelings getting in the way?

Get it together, that kiss didn't mean anything.

But you wanted it to.

The more time you were spending alone with Sirius, the more you caught yourself looking at him in a different light to friendship. If you couldn't get a grip on your feelings soon, it'd become really difficult to continue just being pally.

Then again....

Sirius was being rather hasty to agree to spend another holiday with you, especially one just before the N.E.W.Ts. Did he like spending time with you too?

Crack!

Kreacher appeared in the room making you drop the pendant into the box in surprise. He just grinned with malice at you before announcing, “Mistress requires your presence for dinner.....half blood wretch with no regard for proper formalities, oh no. Dresses like a common trollop she does. Not good enough for Master Sirius, traitor that he is.”

“Shut up, Kreacher,” you hiss, used to his outbursts by now. “You know, if you were nice to me, I might be nice back to you.”

“Kreacher does not need the half-blood to be nice to him. Kreacher has his mistresses' affections and that's all that counts. Dinner is ready.”

And with that, he apparates away.

Stung a little by his words, you dress more conservatively before going down to dinner, not before wrapping Sirius' present up, perhaps a little more elaborately than you should have done.

To Sirius, this reminded me of you. Merry Christmas. Love, Locks x

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Oi! Locks! Wake up!”

You're rudely shaken awake by Sirius who's looming over you, still in his pyjamas which consisted of nothing but long johns.

“What is it?” you blink, trying to clear the fog of sleep.

“It's Christmas!” he says grandly. “Told you I'd wake you up before anyone else could.”

“It's still dark,” you look outside.

“Oh well...I'll just go back, shall I?” he winks.

“Shut up, Merry Christmas Sirius,” you hug him.

“Good lord, you have morning breath that can knock out a dragon,” he jokes and you thump him in the side. “I mean, Merry Christmas! Sooooo, what did you get me?”

“It's on the table,” you point at the immaculately wrapped package.

“So pristine,” he remarks, going to pick it up. “Anyone would think you're actually putting effort into this.”

You get up, yawning before heading to the sink and brushing your teeth.

“Hey, I didn't really mean you had bad breath,” Sirius says apologetically.

“I'm just getting ready for the morning,” you say around the toothbrush. “Open it.”

When Sirius attacks the paper and sees the pendant inside, he stops for a second, holding it up to the light. You weren't sure whether you were about to get laughed at or thanked.

“Is it okay?” you ask, when the silence becomes unbearable.

“It's perfect,” he says in a tone you can't quite place. “Thank you.”

He slips it over his head where it rests on his bare chest and he admires it some more.

“You're welcome.”

“I don't think anyone's ever gotten me something so personal before,” he says quietly.

“I may not know where the name Padfoot came from but I thought it would be nice for you.”

“I'll tell you sometime soon,” he nods resolutely. “Once I clear it with James.”

“Clear it with James?”

“It's something that involves the four of us boys from before we knew you.”

“I won't pry,” you smile, finishing up at the sink.

“Come with me into my room. I have your present there,” he grabs your hand, leading you quickly through a panel in the wall that swings open and down a narrow constricting corridor that's more claustrophobic than the Hogwarts' ones.

When you reach his room, there's a small package on the bed that looks like he's been struggling to wrap. There's spellotape all over it in haphazard lines.

“I'm not good at making things pretty,” he ruffles the back of his hair in an embarrassed sort of way.

“Well I'm not marking you on a test,” you snort, moving to pick it up.

When you unwrap it, your mouth falls open to see he also got you a necklace. It's a silver filigree crescent moon with an opal inside that shimmers between ghostly white, pale blue and light green.

“Coincidence right?” Sirius smiles. “I thought because your patronus was a wolf, you might like it.”

“It's beautiful, thank you,” you hold it up to the dim candlelight to watch the colours dance through it.

You missed Sirius turning bright red, the colour reaching down to his shoulders. He shuffles over, taking it from you and unclasping it.

“May I?”

“You may,” you get your hair out of the way and he ties it around your neck.

It sits quite high, not far off a choker but you like how on display it is.

“Now we match,” you turn back around and see he's closer to you than you thought.

There's a moment where neither of you knows what to do. You're just staring at each other, starting to breath heavily in the awkward atmosphere before there was the sound of someone coming down the corridor.

“Go, quickly!” Sirius shepherds you into the secret passage and you bolt back to your room, closing the panel as quietly as you can before throwing yourself into bed, hiding the remnants of Sirius' wrapping paper under the pillow.

“Get up,” Walburga raps on the door. “Our visitors will be coming soon. We want to be presentable.”

She opens the door and deposits a box just inside the doorway, “More appropriate clothes. We have a lot of old wizarding families coming today. Your style is a little...gauche for their tastes.”

“Yes, Mrs Black,” you nod. “Merry Christmas.”

Her lip twitches for a second in amusement, “Merry Christmas Miss Locksley. Be in the dining room in no more than an hour.”

She leaves and you retrieve the box, opening it to see a high necked black gown that had shades of Walburga's own dress sense. The only concession she left you for your own style was saying you could do your hair how you liked.

You didn't care though. Once you dressed, you made sure Sirius' present was prominent over the collar. She couldn't take everything from you at least.

A rapping on the window alerted you to the fact that three owls were hovering outside and you quickly opened it, allowing them to swoop in with packages. You knew they were from James, Remus and Peter. Peter's owl was the smallest of the lot and a little worse for wear.

You tied your own gifts back to them with your cards onto the owls' legs and watched them swoop off into the crisp morning air. You closed the window immediately, shivering a little.

It turns out making friends with James' lot made for some interesting presents. James had given you a magical slingshot that always hits the target as well as some of the Potter's homemade Black Forest Gateau cake and a bottle of Icewine, Peter had given you a book on Practical Defence Against the Dark Arts techniques because he knew it was your least competent subject and Remus had sent a book called Magical Creatures of Great Britain with a note that read 'Since you keep disappearing into the forest' and a vinyl record of a muggle band that you really liked.

It was probably the most loved you'd felt since being at Hogwarts. You'd never seemed to make solid friends that had stuck around.

Aware of the time, you quickly did your hair in big curls before walking along the corridor just as Sirius exits his room.

“Nice dress,” he says sarcastically. “My mother I assume?”

“Just a tad,” you sigh.

“You look like a proper Black now.”

That sentence hung in the air with a lot of intent behind it but you weren't sure if it was derogatory or wistful that you should be accepted into the family.

“Anyway,” Sirius coughs. “James is a right git. He sent me a miniature motorbike but it fires flames out of the back. I've just had to put my waistcoat out.”

“He does like his jokes,” you smirk. “Time to get this over with?”

“Before we do,” Sirius looks down the corridor, making his pendant jingle a little over his clothes. You noted he wore his prominently too. “Just to warn you the rest of the extended family is going to be here. Some of them are even more militant than my family about pureblood status. Try to keep it together. It's going to be excruciating.”

“Well, we'll have to face it together,” you grab his hand before leading him downstairs.

Sirius was right, there were a lot of people waiting in the dining room, breakfast foods piled up on the table. You recognised some as the Malfoy family, Abraxas the head of the household along with his wife Eira and the younger Malfoys, Lucius and Narcissa Black who'd gotten married quite recently and were at Hogwarts when you'd just started. The other side of the table you had no idea who they were.

“Oo this one is new,” a heavy lidded young woman coos at you. “She's very pretty looking.”

“Bella, don't scare her off,” Narcissa chides.

“Introductions I believe are in order,” Orion Black bids everyone to sit at a designated spot around the table.

You're thankful to discover they sat you next to Sirius but horrified that Regulus is on the other side of you. You remembered what happened the last time you were in this situation.

“These are the Malfoys: Abraxas, Eira, Lucius, Narcissa and here are the Lestranges: Marceau, Rosalie, Rabastan, Rodolphus and his wife Bellatrix, Narcissa's sister.”

Bellatrix gives you a gleeful little wave that sets your teeth on edge. Something about her screamed deranged by the way she never took her eyes off you as you settled yourself in.

“This is the Locksley heir,” Orion gestures to you. “Currently courting my son Sirius.”

“Oh well done, Sirri!” Narcissa nods. “Back in the fold I see.”

Sirius says nothing but gives a curt jerk of his head.

“Is half-bloods what you're reduced to?” Bellatrix is still staring at you. “The Locksleys were kicked out.”

“And marrying Sirius will restore them,” Orion says just as testily. “The Locksley are an older family than even ours, even the Lestranges.”

Bellatrix's tongue flicks out and she looks like she wants to fight you but Rodolphus puts a warning hand on her shoulder.

“Going to speak up, little mouse?” Rosalie asks you casually.

“What would you like me to say, Mrs Lestrange?” you say as politely as you can, holding the eye contact longer than you need to.

“She is certainly another spirited one,” Lucius drinks from his goblet, ignoring protocol. “Been breaking school rules since I've known her. Glad I was not her prefect.”

“I find rules very limiting,” you continue with your head held high. “Why should I control how fast my learning is? I'm a curious person.”

“Locks could do a taboo jinx in second year,” Sirius says, almost proudly.

“Really?” Abraxas leans forward. “Fascinating.”

“Oh so it was you who made the word 'mudblood' taboo,” Regulus announces loudly like he's just realising. “Slytherin House was mute and dumb daily because of that.”

“Don't like the word mudblood, girly?” Bellatrix crows. “What's wrong with it?”

“Nothing,” you keep up your pretence, even though you hate yourself for saying it. “It's just such a common word it was easy to mess with a lot of people.”

“She's just a firebrand,” Abraxas quells Bellatrix with a hand. “Smart genetics are good. Perhaps the Dark Lord can use them some day.”

Then everyone went quiet, assessing your reaction.

Nobody talked much about Voldemort at school. It was something that was on the periphery of people's knowledge but everyone knew he was too afraid to attack Hogwarts whilst Dumbledore was headmaster. There was a sense of being safe in that.

Now you were reminded that everyone on the outside dealt with this every day and more and more people were joining his ranks. The entire family in front of you probably thought he was the best thing since sliced bread for his stance on muggleborns.

You just shrug non-committally before taking some orange juice for yourself. You can feel Sirius tensing next to you and he squeezes your knee to let you know he's on your side.

He was right though. The next few hours were excruciating.

Bellatrix had taken a real disliking to you...or maybe a fascination, you weren't sure, but she hounded you with difficult questions at every opportunity and even Walburga had to step in.

“But see, Reggie is such a prime example of a Death Eater in the making,” Bellatrix continues. “I think Sirri doesn't have the stomach for it. Which brother do you prefer Locksley?”

“The one I'm actually going out with,” you say tartly, sick of her attempts to push you more in Regulus' direction. “We have more of a connection.”

“Is that what they call it these days?” Rabaston howls with laughter and Bellatrix sulks that the attention has been taken away from her.

After Christmas dinner, Walburga allows people to leave the dining hall for a rest and Sirius hurries you into your room before closing and locking the door.

“I'm so so sorry,” he looks absolutely ashamed. “They're...they're....”

“Pureblood fascists?” you finish for him. “Voldemort supporters?”

“My family aren't actively supporting him like the Malfoys and Lestranges but they don't disagree with his ideals. I bet this has put you off being my friend for life.”

“No because it just highlights how different you really are,” you smile, feeling a lot calmer now you're out of the dining room. “You're a true Gryffindor, Sirius. Never forget that.”

“Locks, you're really not the obnoxious prat I thought you were,” he tucks a stray curl behind your ear. “I can't wait to get back to Hogwarts and carry on the hijinks. I sent James an owl earlier and we're going to get you in on the map we've created. You know loads of stuff about secret passages that we don't.”

“I'd like that,” you nod.

Crack!

Kreacher appears in the room looking sourer than ever, “Master Sirius should not be in the half-blood's room. The mistress will not approve.”

“I'm just talking, Kreacher,” Sirius says angrily. “I'm not exactly in her knickers.”

“Very good, Master Sirius,” Kreacher wrinkles his nose. “The Master of the House requests everyone in the drawing room.”

Then he's gone.

“So much for a quiet breather,” Sirius mutters.

“Not long to go,” you try to cheer him up.

“Locks...I wanted to ask you something.”

“Sure?”

“I-”

But he's interrupted by Regulus knocking on the door. Sirius just gives you a look before heading into the secret corridor behind the panel.

Steeling yourself, you open the door and Regulus comes in without being invited with a present in his hands.

“Look. I wanted to give you this when I thought you and I were going to court,” Regulus hands it to you. “I just want you to know I'm sorry for my behaviour lately. You've seen my family and what they expect of me. It's a lot of pressure. I took it out on you and I shouldn't have. I hope we can get back to how we were at the Slug Club. I'll see you downstairs.”

He leaves in a hurry as if frightened of your reaction and you stare at the space he left in amazement. Regulus....apologising?

Your fingers pull at the ribbon of the present and you unwrap it carefully to see a beautiful box. You're still not sure whether you trust him not to harm you with some bubotuber pus or doxycide powder in it so you try every spell you can think of to search it without opening it. Nothing alerts you so you take a deep breath and lift the lid to see a tiara in there with glittering onyxes set into the ornate silver.

You're about to pick it up when Sirius reappears, this time at the door.

“That's a bit fancy for you,” he nods at the box.

“Courtesy of your brother,” you roll your eyes. “Apparently it's an apology.”

“Just throw it on the bed and come down. Doesn't go with your outfit,” Sirius snorts.

The action of you laughing makes you touch the tiara ever so slightly and the next thing you know, your body is flung this way and that before pain makes all of your limbs crunch in on themselves. You're trying to scream but no sound is coming out and you're just hovering above the ground, feeling something dripping from your mouth, your nose, your eyes.

“LOCKS!” Sirius yells, grabbing the duvet cover and using it to protect his hands whilst he pulls you down to the ground with great effort. “SOMEBODY HELP!”

Walburga comes running down the corridor along with Orion and both see you stretched out to your fullest capacity, shrieking silently with the pain.

“Nolite Maledictum!” Orion points his wand at you and you collapse into Sirius' waiting arms. “What on earth is going on?”

“Ask Regulus,” Sirius spits venomously. “He just gave her a cursed object. I'm going to kill him!”

“I'm going to find him,” Orion disappears, leaving Walburga to enter the room and she seems unsure of herself for the first time since you got here.

“Is she alright?” she asks.

“I don't know!” Sirius is panicking. “She's barely responding! How he could do this, mother! This is vile, even for him!”

“Hush my boy,” she envelops him whilst he's still trying to pat your face, to help you regain your senses. “We'll sort this out. This is unacceptable behaviour. If Edmund ever found out....”

She looks genuinely afraid and you're thankful that your father's old duelling reputation still inspires a sense of respect. You'd enjoy this immensely if you didn't feel like you were still being residually set on fire over and over.

“What is the meaning of this, boy!” Orion flings Regulus into the room. “She is a guest!”

“What happened?” Regulus seems confused. “Why is she bleeding?”

“From the cursed tiara you just gave her, you fucking bastard!” Sirius tries to launch himself at his brother but Walburga holds him back.

“Cursed? I didn't curse anything!” he cries. “It was just a tiara! I thought it would look nice with her silver dress she wears at the Slug Club!”

“Orion, we have to get her seen to,” Walburga says firmly. “Edmund will want his daily report and if we've mistreated his only child...”

“I'm well aware,” Orion snaps.

Now everyone downstairs seems to be aware of the ruckus because eager faces are appearing in the doorway. One catches your eye though. Bellatrix is licking her teeth gleefully. Then you understood all too well who had cursed you.

“Not Regulus,” you cough, blood running down your chin. “Her.”

You point and Regulus goes even paler.

“Cousin, did you tamper with my present today?” he asks. “I left it out in the entrance hall.”

“Well she didn't die, did she?” Bellatrix shrugs. “It was just a friendly initiation. I endured much worse to be part of the Dark Lord's service. The girl has strength, sometimes it can be fatal. I must say, for a half-blood mongrel, she could be very useful.”

“Out,” Orion orders. “Get out. You've attacked a guest, Bella. If Edmund Locksley finds out, we're all finished.”

“Mad Eddy Edmund?” she taunts. “What will he do?”

“For his only child? Anything,” Sirius snarls. “You have no idea how fierce that bond is.”

Bellatrix just shrugs and grabs Rodolphus who seems indifferent to the whole thing and they disapparate out of the house.

“Are you alright?” Sirius notes you're stirring more.

“Fine,” you struggle to sit up. “Not the best Christmas I've had.”

“Let me take her to St.Mungo's to be checked,” Walburga offers her hand to you but Sirius slaps it away.

“We're leaving right now,” he stands up, helping you to your feet and supporting you as you wobbled precariously. “I'm going to my house and I'm going to take care of her.”

“Sirius!”

“No, mother, that's enough,” Sirius starts using magic to put your things back in your trunk.

“Don't leave us again!”

“I'll send owls. I'll still keep in contact but...we need to get away from this place.”

“Let him,” Orion nods. “Miss Locksley, on behalf of the Black family, I apologise whole-heartedly. This is not the way we treat those under our roof and our protection.”

“I understand,” you nod, feeling more magnanimous than you ought to. “It was pleasant to meet you all.”

“I'll grab your trunk, brother,” Regulus scoots out of the room quickly and you think he's mortified this has happened.

So Regulus was genuinely making an apology. The Black family were full of surprises.

When Regulus returns, levitating the trunk, Sirius grabs both of the handles of yours and his in one hand and clutches your hand tightly in the other.

“See you next year sometime,” Sirius says coldly before disapparating and taking you alongside.

You almost fall over when you appear in the cold room of a tiny cottage but Sirius catches you.

“Woah there, Locks. Settle down on the sofa. I'll start a fire.”

With a flick of his wand, the fireplace roars into life and he starts cleaning the dust away hurriedly.

“It's not usually this much of a state but I've not been back here in a while,” he smiles apologetically.

“It's nice here,” you look around. “Peaceful and cosy.”

“Oh well...glad you like it,” Sirius mumbles, his hair covering his face. “I'll get us some of the cake that James sent over and we can just sit down with no demented members of my family around.”

He retrieves the cake tins from your trunks and goes into the kitchen where he brings out some ugly looking beige plates that were probably antiques in your grandparents time.

“Sorry, this is all from charity shops. I had to make do when I came here. No more trust fund rich boy lifestyle.”

“You know, I actually like you more because of this,” you take the plate as Sirius leans over with a wet flannel to clean your face up. “I've always wanted to get away from my family to see if I could make it without the heritage money.”

“I'm sure you would,” Sirius dabs at your skin. “You're smart, probably good with finances and you know the muggle lifestyle. I've had to cobble bits together as I've gone along.”

“So I see,” you nod to the doily covering the living room table.

“Shut up and eat,” he playfully scowls.

You try to put the fork to your mouth but your hands start shaking and you drop it with a clatter back onto the plate.

“Locks?!” Sirius comes around the front of you, concerned. “Are you okay?”

“I...I thought I was going to die,” you admit. “More so than when Snape hit me with the severing jinx. I didn't think any of your family would care if that curse killed me.”

I care,” Sirius puts his hands on your knees. “I'm not too macho to admit that that shit me up something proper, Locks. The idea to use an Unforgivable Curse on Regulus was very tempting. I felt so...useless.”

“You've not been useless. You got me out of there,” you manage a weak smile. “And kept me protected from Regulus.”

“If I ever see Bellatrix again, I'm gonna kill her,” Sirius mutters darkly before finishing clearing up the blood on you and going to wring the flannel out over the sink. “On a brighter note, I did manage to swipe this from their house before we left. Accio champagne!”

A bottle flies out of the trunk again into his waiting hand and he pours it into mugs before handing you one and toasting.

“Let's make the rest of Christmas a bit more festive, shall we?” he smirks, clinking his cup against yours. “You can get drunk if you like. My house, my rules.”

“I might need to,” you laugh softly before downing the contents of the cup immediately.

“Well alright then,” Sirius blinks in astonishment. “I'll need to keep up.”

Talking with Sirius by the fire turned out to be better than any day you'd spent with him so far. Sure it had begun horribly but you more than made up for it with joking around, talking about everything and nothing.

The more drunk you got, the braver the topics became and you found out exactly how played up Sirius' ladykiller reputation was.

“Dumb girls are easy to fool around with,” he gestures sloppily. “No effort but it's not fulfulling. By the time I realised that, I already had notoriety and no girl I actually liked would come near me because they thought I might use them.”

“Well you did date a lot of bimbos,” you shrug. “Must have taken you a good long while to realise.”

“I'm not smart at everything,” he holds his hands up. “Merlin's beard, I'm swaying. I've not been this tipsy since James stole Firewhisky from Filch's office.”

“Are you doing that?” you point up to where vines are creeping along the ceiling and twisting down in an elegant drop formation, white berries springing up throughout.

Sirius looks up and his eyes widen in alarm as he looks back to his wand idly twirling in his hand, “Shit, sorry. I daydream sometimes and-”

“-About mistletoe?”

“I was going to do it as a display for the family to keep Reggie off you even more. Just popped back into my head. I mean...since it's here?” he shrugs and gestures up. “How about it? Christmas kiss?”

“Sirius, I-”

“-you don't want to. That's fine,” he blusters quickly.

Emboldened by the alcohol you lean forward and take him by surprise, kissing him and he flounders for a moment before pulling you back when you went to break off.

You didn't quite mean for the kiss to deepen so much but one second it was a friendly peck on the lips and the next his hands were in your hair, your hands were on his chest and you were slowly leaning back on the sofa with him following.

“Uh, Merry Christmas,” you come to your senses.

There was no way that Sirius liked you as anything more than a bit of fun or just a friend. The champagne was the only reason he did that.

“Yeah, Merry Christmas,” Sirius shakes his head to clear the fog but for a moment he seems disappointed but you could have imagined it.

“I should sleep. All my limbs are aching from the curse,” you stretch a leg out.

“I've only got one room here so you can take the bed. I'll take the sofa.”

“Don't be so melodramatic. We can sleep in the same bed you know.”

“But you're a girl.”

“Thanks for noticing. Boys and girls can sleep next to each other without shacking up, you know.”

“As long as you keep your hands off the goods,” some of the old Sirius comes back and he winks at you.

“I'll do my best,” you roll your eyes.

You change in the bathroom, resolving to shower tomorrow. Everything still hurt but the pain was less now. The alcohol had done its work to take the edge off.

Sloping back, Sirius had shoved a hot water bottle under the sheets before passing you into the bathroom.

“It gets cold in the winter here. Wouldn't want you to put more clothes on after all.”

“You really are a flirt when drunk.”

“I'm just naturally charming,” he grins.

You get in the bed and finally Sirius does too.

When he turns out the light, you're too nervous to fall asleep. It had seemed like a good idea at the time but now actually sleeping next to Sirius seemed like a bigger step than you were ready for. You told yourself it was just between friends but there was some part of you that was really starting to like him as more and you had to resist the urge to reach out for him.

That kiss had confused you greatly and you just shuffled over to lie on your side away from him, just so you could think.

What were you supposed to do now?

 

**

 

Sirius was lying in bed staring at the dark ceiling.

He was such an idiot for that mistletoe trick. What had he been thinking?

Well....not a lot really. He was so focused on wanting to kiss you, all sense of rationality left his brain.

Seeing you under the curse had scared him a lot and that was the point he realised his feelings were even stronger than he realised. It wasn't just a case of wanting to date you, he needed to be with you but he didn't know how to broach the topic.

I mean you had kissed him back but he couldn't assume that was what you wanted since you were drunk yourself.

Why was this so confusing?!

He'd never felt like this before and he didn't know what to do. He wanted to reach out and hold your hand but he couldn't so he turned away too and hoped sleep would carry him off soon.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Sirius awoke, it was sometime in the peri-dawn, where the light was just creeping under his faded and ancient curtains and stealing into the room. He could just make out the shape of the bedside cabinet and the forlorn looking chair with his dusted boots on it but most of all, he could make out you.

You were curled into his body, face resting against his chest and your hand coiled into the t-shirt he'd worn to bed for modesty. In turn, he appeared to have put his arm over you in the night, possessively claiming your body even while he slept.

His first thought was to stiffen up, to be utterly afraid that he'd done something that was too much. If you woke up in his arms now, what would you think? Would you trust him that he wasn't trying to take advantage? Would you trust that it was just his stupid subconscious?

You gave a small stir, nose wrinkling like you were having an unpleasant dream and reflexively Sirius kisses your forehead softly until your face slackens again and you go back to your peaceful rest.

What was he going to do? If he moved, you could wake up but if he lay like this, you'd catch him for sure.

I'll pretend to be asleep, feign innocence.

He didn't have to pretend though. After settling back and feeling you move even further into his embrace, he just drifted right back off to sleep.

 

**

 

“MORNING!”

“What the bloody hell?!” you cry, waking up in a tangle of limbs.

“What a cute pair of lovebirds you make,” James is grinning at the foot of the bed.

“How did you-” you start but he holds up a keychain and jingles it.

“I wish I'd never gave you that key,” Sirius grumbles, managing to free his leg from under yours.

It's at that point you realised you must have been cuddling Sirius in your sleep, even worse, James had seen it. There was no way he wouldn't tease you mercilessly about this now.

But a small part of you looked at your friend in the bed and noted he wasn't phased at all by the position you'd both woken up in.

What did that mean though?

“Getting cosy together, are you?” James' grin gets even wider.

“Oh shut up, you prat,” you roll your eyes. “How did you even know we were here?”

“My owl bounced back from your parent's house. Figured you'd be here. Something happen?”

James flops on the bed in between you and Sirius looking between you both.

“Yeah actually. Bellatrix cursed me.”

For once James gets very serious and he sits bolt upright, “What?!”

“It's true. She cursed Reggie's present to Locks and...and....Merlin it was the scariest thing I've ever seen,” Sirius shudders. “There was so much blood.”

“Hey, I'm fine,” you say softly.

“I know,” Sirius sighs. “It just wasn't nice to see. Brought her here instead of staying one more second there.”

“Smart move,” James nods but you note his jaw is locked. “I'm sorry that happened, Locks. Bit of a bugger it being on Christmas n' all.”

“We made up for it later,” you say without thinking.

James' eyebrows shoot up, “Did you now?”

“Oh button it, Prongs,” Sirius shoves him off the bed. “How is it going with Evans anyway?”

“Oh she's the one for me definitely,” James scrambles off the floor. “Oh and I brought food. I thought you might not have grabbed anything from your folks plus I think the muggle shops are closed today.”

“I'll start breakfast then,” you slip out of the room, eager to get a break from both boys.

You didn't want any more questions from James and you still felt a little strange about waking up to Sirius....especially after last night.

You took the eggs and bacon from James' bag and started cooking in Sirius' unused kitchen. You reckoned he barely cooked when he was here because everything seemed too clean.

It was a little therapeutic to do something so manual too. There wasn't many opportunities to cook at school after all.

A hand moving around your waist made you jump and you looked around to see Sirius smiling sheepishly as he was reaching for a cup.

“Sorry Locks, didn't make to make you scared. Breakfast smells great. Thanks for making it.”

“That's okay, it's just eggs and-”

But you stop as his arm comes around your waist and squeezes you to him before kissing the side of your forehead. You're that stunned that you fall completely silent.

“Uhhhh,” Sirius flounders for a second. “I'm still half asleep. Don't mind me.”

He high tails it out of the kitchen, his cheeks turning pink before you see him brushing his hair back nervously and talking to James.

With the spatter of bacon fat hitting your hand, you're jerked back to reality as you process just how domestic that was. Was Sirius...did he....did he see you as more than a friend?

 

**

 

“Bollocks bollocks bollocks,” Sirius hisses as he approaches James.

“What, what's wrong?” James steps forward in alarm.

“I was too familiar,” he rakes his fingers across his scalp, pulling at his hair. “I just acted like I've been dating her for years.”

“And that'ssssssssss bad?”

“I haven't even told her how I feel.”

“Why not? You were all cuddled up when I came in. I thought things were good?”

“I'm...”

“Scared?” James offers before scoffing. “Call yourself a dog? You're just a big scaredy cat.”

“Shut. Up.”

“If you don't tell her soon, I will,” mischief creeps into James' smirk.

“You dare and I'll eat you the next time Moony transforms.”

“Try it, I'll biff you with one of my antlers.”

“Just let it go, will you?”

“Everything okay?” you seem a little confused when you come in with food on plates.

“Yeah, yeah. It's fine,” Sirius says quickly. “Just lad stuff.”

“Sirius tells me you're going to cut me in on the map you're working on,” you're obviously trying to change the subject and he's grateful for that.

“Oh yes!” James' eyes widen in delight. “Because you know a load of passages right? What are you two doing about the rest of the Christmas holidays?”

“Uh, we hadn't discussed that yet,” you bite your lip. “What with the cursing and all it's been a bit hectic.”

“Listen, if you two wanna go back to Hogwarts, I'll give you the map and you can get started, okay? I'm being super trusting here because this thing is like golddust so don't let me down,” James pulls a folded piece of parchment from the back of his jeans. “I expect major hijinks and I'm talking major, when I get back for New Years.”

“How about we do a New years prank?” you offer.

“I knew I liked you,” James winks. “That's a fantastic idea. Do you think we could get in the Slytherin common room? I'd like to give ol' Snivelley a little Christmas present for being so beastly to Evans before we left.”

“Oh I know a way in,” you grin, setting the food down.

“You do?!” Sirius says in surprise.

“I was going to put a dungbomb in Regulus' bed for insulting me one time. There's a hatch from the kitchens that the house elves showed me.”

“Perfect!” James exclaims. “It's settled.”

“Great!” you beam as you go back to retrieve your own breakfast.

“Plus it gives you two some more alone time,” James nudges Sirius in the side quickly. “I mean it, tell her soon. At least you'll know one way or the other.”

Sirius shushes him quickly as you come back and the three of you enjoy a nice normal Boxing Day.

 

**

 

“Time to go, Locks!”

You'd managed to get through the night again with Sirius but you had woken up to him with his face buried in your hair and his arm over you again. After extracting yourself carefully, you were able to avoid another strange morning and now you were just closing your trunk, ready to apparate into Hogsmeade.

“Ready to go,” you call back, grabbing your last few items before meeting Sirius in the living room and taking his hand.

“Home, here we come,” Sirius grins before you both reappear just outside the Hogwarts grounds.

“It's snowing!” you remark, gazing up in wonderment at the thick snowfall covering the castle and the flakes falling down around you. “Sirius! It's snowing!”

“Yeah, yeah it is.”

His tone is strange so you look back and he holds up your connected hands with a raised eyebrow, “Can I have my fingers back before you break them in excitement?”

“Sorry!” you bluster, stepping back. “I'm just happy.”

“You look really pretty when you smile like that.”

“You're paying an awful lot of compliments to me lately.”

“Well....I got to know you better,” he shrugs lazily. “I feel more comfortable doing it.”

“You've been feeling more comfortable about a lot of things lately,” you try to prod the conversation in the direction of yesterday's breakfast incident.

“Maybe I have. Let's get these trunks up to the castle and then I challenge you to a snowball fight. If you're not chicken that is....”

“Oh you're on,” your eyes narrow. “You'll be begging for mercy.”

“I'd like to see that,” he laughs before pointing his wand at your luggage. “Wingardium Leviosa!

The trunks floated into the air and trailed behind you as you made your way to the entrance hall and left them in the entrance for the house elves to magic to the common room. The second you did, Sirius grabbed your hand again and pulled you to the courtyard, across the rickety wooden bridge and down towards Hagrid's hut. He gave a gesture to point out all the virgin snow just waiting to be used.

“This is our battleground!” he yells before picking you up and throwing you into the snow where you disappear into several inches of it with a squeak. “Catch me if you can!”

“YOU COMPLETE ARSE!” you screech with indignation, fighting to get back to your feet. “I SWEAR I WILL END YOU, SIRIUS BLACK!”

All you can hear is him cackling as he runs off. You manage to get vertical again before scooping up a sphere of snow and haring after him. He's fast but you're sneakier and you know where to cut him off until you're an arm's reach away from him and you let loose your weapon, smacking him straight in the face where he splutters.

“Revenge is sweet!” you cry victoriously.

“You really are surprising,” he clears his face which is turning pink from the cold before he's about to approach you.

“Sirri!” you hear someone call and turn to see....

“Jane?!” Sirius balks.

“You came back early too!” she's tramping down the hill towards you both.

“Uh yeah.”

There was something about the situation that made your stomach fall through your body. You'd forgotten they were dating and you'd effectively helped him cheat when you kissed him on Christmas Day. That made you feel about as tall as the shrunken heads in Knockturn Alley.

“Hi Locks,” Jane smiles uncertainly at you. “How was Sirius' house?”

She was trying to weedle for information and you felt bad for lying to her but you couldn't bring yourself to tell her the truth.

“Not the Christmas I would've liked,” you answer.

“My family gave her a cursed item as a joke,” Sirius paraphrases. “I brought her back here as soon as we could. Trying to cheer her up.”

It wasn't the whole truth but she accepted it readily.

“That sounds awful! I'm so sorry,” Jane offers.

You don't want her sympathy. You didn't deserve it, after all.

“I'm fine,” you smile weakly. “Anyway, I'll leave you two to catch up. You don't need me playing gooseberry.”

You wave and turn away, going back towards the castle and not daring to look back. You bump into Hagrid who's walking Fang up towards the bridge.

“'Ullo Locksley,” Hagrid grins. “You alright? You seem in a bit a' sorts.”

“It's nothing,” you try to brush it off.

“Don't seem like nothin' to me,” he stops in front of you. “Seems like you were 'avin some fun with young Sirius there n' now yer aren't.”

“Well if you saw then you know why I'm going back in.”

“Jane, hmm?” he raises a bushy eyebrow. “I gotta say, I've seen Sirius with a few girls but he ain't seemed as happy as he did with you just then.”

“But he's not dating me, is he?”

“Come 'ere,” Hagrid pats your back with a huge hand. “That boy's an idiot so don't hold it against him. It'll all work out n' those that are meant to be together will be together n' when you two finally admit what's going on, I'll be waiting for a celebratory pot a' tea. Deal?”

“Deal,” you can't help but smile and hug Hagrid around his enormous middle.

He always tried to look out for as many students as he could. Despite his appearance, he had the most gentle heart you knew.

“Now get in that there castle n' get warm. That's an order, ya hear?”

“Got it. Hope you had a good Christmas. See you soon.”

“Bye now!” Hagrid waves you off as you go to your dorm room.

 

**

 

“Locks?” you hear Sirius calling up the stairs a couple of hours later. “Locks, are you there?”

“Yeah?” you call back.

“Can we talk?”

“Sure. Gimme a minute.”

You pad down in your comfy fleece pyjamas as you enter the common room and see Sirius standing at the bottom with wet hair and a big red mark on his cheek. He seems a bit sullen.

“Are you okay?” you're a little concerned by his appearance.

“I...uh....I told Jane we were over,” he looks at the floor. “She belted me across the face.”

“What, why?”

“Said I was leading her on. Said it was obvious I didn't like her as much as someone else. She was so angry, Locks. I felt so bad.”

“We should feel bad. We kissed when you were in a relationship with her. That wasn't fair.”

“I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done that,” Sirius mumbles into his hands. “I shouldn't have done any of this. I keep fucking it up like everything else.”

“Maybe we should take a step back.”

Sirius' head shoots up and he seemed panicked, “No!”

“No?”

“No I don't want to step back. I don't want that, I want.....I want....”

“What do you want, Sirius?”

He looks like he's struggling with himself greatly. His mouth keeps opening and closing before he moves forward, taking you by the waist and arresting your gaze. You can't look anywhere else but in his eyes which are so full of torment.

“I want y-”

“Sirius! You're back!” you hear Peter's weedy voice across the room. “Hi Locksley, did you have a good time?”

“Great,” you look around Sirius' body. “But I'm actually going to take a nap. The cold has really gotten to me.”

“Oh okay! See you for dinner then!” Peter grins cheerfully.

Sirius looks livid at the interruption though. You can tell by the way his jaw is clenched and he's taking deep breaths.

“Please let me talk to you in private soon,” he whispers to you. “It's important.”

“Later.”

For now you just wanted to get away. It was too much tension and the second you got into your four poster bed, your chest eased up.

Torn between feelings of guilt, jealousy and longing, you just needed space. I mean, it was wrong what had happened but you were still wrong for wanting more. You also think that everyone is right and that Sirius does like you but there's a voice in the back of your head that says he'll treat you just the same as he did Jane.

You didn't want to be another notch on the bedpost of Sirius Black.

But then again he'd been incredibly affectionate with you lately and Hagrid's remark that he seemed much happier around you than any other girl stuck in your thoughts.

Just as you're about to take your nap, a note comes flapping up the stairs and deposits itself on your bed. You wonder what the hell is going on.

 

Locks,

I can't keep this in any more. It's killing me to hide it.

It's you. I want you. I've wanted you for a long time now.

I'm sorry I dated Jane. I was such a spiteful prick. It did it as revenge because I thought you and Moony were together. I'm really ashamed of it in fact.

But this Christmas, it made me realise I can't shy away from what I feel any more.

I really hope you feel the same but if not, I'm sorry for ruining our friendship.

I'd like to see you tonight if you're up for it so I can tell you this to your face but I couldn't wait any longer.

Yours always,

Sirius.

 

As you let the parchment slip from your fingers, your heart is racing. This has to be a joke. Maybe it was Peter sending this upstairs. It couldn't be real.

Guess you'd find out when you went to dinner tonight.

 

Chapter Text

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?”

“Uh...the second.”

“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.

 

**

 

Shit.

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.

“LOCKS?!”

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.

Acromantula.

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?”

“You're a...a....a....”

“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?”

“Sure.”

“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.

“Really?!”

“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.”

“You too.”

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!”

 

Chapter Text

You felt a pair of hands dragging you by your ankles out of the bed and you flailed, using your wand to cast a Jelly Legs Jinx at whoever was manhandling you.

“Blimey, Locks! I'm only playing!” James drops you on the floor in a heap whilst he wobbled about the room like he was some grotesque landlocked octopus.

“Don't shout down my earhole then,” you get up, smoothing out your rumpled clothes.

You look back to Sirius who's just laughing his head off, too doubled over to actively join in. You end up duffing him in the head with a pillow which only sets him off more, tears streaming down his face as James deliberately walked around like an idiot, showing off.

“Good Christmas then, I see?” you hear Remus' voice from the entrance of the dormitory.

“You're back!” you rush over and hug him and he returns it warmly. “You look well. Did your Christmas transformation go alright?”

“Not too bad. I managed to sleep through most of it. Managed to gnaw a bit of my arm though so I've got a brand new scar to join the rest.”

He showed you his forearm, rolling up the sleeve of his jumper and you could see the shining silver pinched skin in the groove of a bite mark, dimpled in its unevenness. Healing potions had only worked up to a point it seemed and you wondered just how deep it went originally.

“Oh Remus,” you ran a finger over it. “You'll be held together by spellotape soon if you're not careful.”

“Already is,” Sirius gets up from the bed, yawning loudly and stretching. “Listen now everyone because I've got something to say and it's gonna get pretty deep.”

“Is that what you said to Locks last night?” James winks, tottering on his feet as he collapses over his trunk.

“Oh please say you didn't do things whilst I was right next to you?” Peter groans like it's not the first time it's happened.

“Like you wouldn't secretly enjoy it,” Sirius shoots back. “Don't think I haven't caught you staring at my girlfriend before.”

Girlfriend is it?” you laugh. “That's rather presumptuous.”

“Wellllllllll,” he lazily approaches you and throws his arm around your shoulders. “Aren't you?”

“I guess I'll go out with you then,” you nudge him, smirking.

“There we are,” he kisses the top of your head so extravagantly that you're sure he making absolutely sure everyone knows you're an item. “That was simple. Now about what I'm going to say to you all.”

“You're going to dye your hair ginger?” James resurfaces from the floor, his legs much more stable now.

“Button it, Prongs,” Sirius sighs. “What I mean to say is, I'm sorry everyone for being a massive prat. I've not dealt with any of this maturely and most of all, Moony, I'm really sorry for being so horrible to you.”

“Jealousy does funny things to people,” Remus shrugs. “I never thought you actually hated me, for what it's worth. I knew it was because of Locks and our friendship.”

“Yeah well,” Sirius scuffs the carpet with his foot. “Sorry all the same.”

“I'm just happy you're together now....finally.”

“Yeah,” James chips in. “Now you can stop being an insufferable bore about it and get back to being fun.”

“Oh cheers,” Sirius scowls. “Do you want some wibbly arms to go with those legs too?”

“Gladly,” James grins. “Then I can be a proper octopus.”

Anyway,” Remus coughs loudly. “I seem to remember we were going to fill Locks in on our map.”

“And it's a big responsibility,” Peter says sternly, but the effect is more laughable than anything. “You're being let in on a big secret.”

“Actually I'm letting you in on a secret,” you fold your arms. “I know more passageways and hidden rooms than you lot combined.”

“She's not boasting either,” Sirius nodded in confirmation.

“Excellent!” James pipes up. “Let's get on that then!”

“What about breakfast?” Remus holds his arms up before letting them fall back. “I mean I did just do a long journey.”

“Ohhhh alright then. Time to eat.”

 

**

 

Over the next few weeks you helped the four plot every secret walkway, every invisible room and every forest route that leads to interesting places. It's thrilling work that almost has you coming across Filch's path a few times with some narrow escapes but after the final room is written down, you're all crowded around the map, admiring the spidering design.

“This is brilliant,” James grins so widely that his eyes almost seem manic. Then he leaps on you, crushing you in a hug. “You wonderful beauty!”

“Oi, get off my girl,” Sirius growls playfully.

“Mine now,” James lifts you up, attempting to carry you off but comically drops you as Lily comes round the corner. “Love of my life!”

“What were you doing to Locksley?” she seems exasperated.

“Keeping her away from Sirius so they don't snog in front of me,” he lies quickly.

“Sure,” she narrows her eyes. “I could go off you, Potter, you know.”

“You could but you're not going to. I've got a winning personality,” he flashes two thumbs up.

“You're an idiot,” she steps forward, kissing him on the cheek. “See you in Potions.”

She sweeps away down the corridor before calling over shoulder, “And pick Locksley up, you ungallant little oik.”

“Yes ma'am,” James does a goofy salute before helping you back up. “Sorry, Locks. We had better go to class before Sluggy pops his robe buttons.”

“Move out!” you call down the corridor to everyone. “Class time!”

“So bossy,” you hear Peter murmur but you ignore him.

They file out, you at the rear as you round the corner heading to the dungeons. You're almost around the bend when you smack into someone coming the opposite way.

“It's you,” you hear as you say, “Sorry!”

Jane Dempsey stands before you.

“I've not seen you around lately,” Jane starts after an awkward pause. “I mean, I've seen you and...him from a distance.”

“Look it was never my intention to hurt you, Jane,” you begin but she shushes you.

“I know it was never your fault. Truth be told, I wanted to hate you but this whole thing was Sirius' fault because he couldn't face up to what he really wanted. I can't begrudge him for finally growing a spine.”

“I've got to say that slap you gave him...wish I could've seen that.”

“Oh I made it a good one,” she smiles genuinely. “Locksley, I don't want any bad blood between us because of this. Can we start over? We might not be best friends but-”

“-I'd like that,” you offer your hand out and she takes it, smiling gratefully. “Let's pair up in Transfiguration next class and see how it goes.”

“Deal.”

And with a much lighter conscience, you walk off to Potions.

 

**

 

As the Easter holiday approaches, you strike up a decent friendship with Jane, much to everyone's surprise. Sirius doesn't understand it but he accepts it. In fact, he's much more warm towards her whenever you all meet and it seems the spectre of his past mistake is well and truly gone.

“WILL YOU GET THIS RUDDY OWL OFF ME?!”

You can hear this from the other side of the Fat Lady's portrait as you crawl through. Once on the other side, you see James is being harried by Bernard, your own family owl, his leg caught in James' robe clasp as they dither around, wings flapping and arms flailing.

“Bernard!” you try to sound stern whilst trying not to laugh. “Stop that.”

Instantly the owl settles, hooting indignantly as James extracts him by the leg, hanging him upside down before he twists around and flies to you, landing on your outstretched arm.

“Blimey,” James shakes himself, feathers floating down from his clothes. “Seems very insistent.”

“He's always been impatient,” you shrug. “I mean he is quite old and-ow! Fucking hell, Bernard!”

For Bernard had just bitten down on your fingers to remind you that he was still holding out the leg with the letter. You hastily take it off and he hops off towards the back of the Gryffindor common room armchair, perching and settling himself in for a tiny nap.

“What does it say? Nothing bad I hope,” Sirius comes up next to you.

You open the letter:

 

Dearest daughter,

It would give me great pleasure to host Master Black over the Easter holidays.

Walburga and Orion have given their blessing and will be sending over a present also which is very kind of them. They have expressed the wish that you and Master Black have separate bedrooms which, naturally, I was going to enforce anyway.

Please let him know this has been agreed and I look forward to seeing you next week.

Dad.

 

“I forgot I'd asked him,” you hold up the letter for Sirius to read before turning to James. “Just saying we're spending Easter at my house.”

“Well, less chance of you getting cursed this time,” James nods wisely. “Evans is coming to mine this holiday. No idea how I wangled that one but she's coming.”

“Probably only to force you to study for the N.E.W.Ts.”

“I wish her good luck,” he waggles his eyebrows before settling back on the sofa.

“My parents gave permission. What a joke,” Sirius sighs. “And the gift is probably because they still feel guilty for Christmas.”

“I hope this holiday is a little less adventurous.”

“With you and me? No chance,” he holds you around the middle from behind. “I expect many forest hijinks.”

“I think I can arrange that.”

He kisses you on the cheek before picking you up and sitting in the armchair, arranging you across his lap.

“Just think, this'll be our last holiday before our exams and the last time we'll ever be returning,” he stares into the fire. “I'm going to miss this place.”

“Can always be a teacher if you're that desperate,” James pipes up. “Professor Black.”

“I'll leave the teaching to Moony. He's a lot cleverer than I am.”

“No arguing that,” Remus looks up from his Charms textbook. “I don't have the patience to teach. I'm not very good with kids.”

“You know I've just thought, we've all got our nicknames and such but we haven't given Locks one,” James sits up so suddenly that his glasses go slightly askew. “I've not put her on the map yet either. What the hell do we call her when we've already got a wolf?”

“Moony Two?” Sirius snorts and you dig him in the ribs.

“Just because mine is moon related doesn't mean it has to be exclusive,” Remus puts the book down. “She is the true wolf after all.”

“Yeah but Other Moony sounds a bit weird,” James ponders, rubbing his fingers along his chin. “Tell you what, Locks. Transform and we'll give you an assessment. Only Pads has seen you so far.”

“Let's go up to your dorm then. I don't fancy explaining to the rest of Gryffindor Tower why there's a big wolf in the common room,” you stand up.

“Good idea!” James jumps up to his feet, running upstairs.

You follow suit and the second you get into their dorm room, change. James turns around and nearly falls backwards in astonishment.

“Crikey! I didn't think you'd be that big!” he exclaims, rushing up to you and tentatively patting your head like he expects you've tricked him and just supplanted a wild animal in your place.

“Now that's a deterrent,” Remus laughs as he sees you and Sirius follows last, smiling affectionately.

“So what do we think?” James circles you as you sit on your hindlegs patiently. “Show me your snarl, Locks.”

You obey, lips curling back as the deep growl rumbles in your belly.

“Oh you are magnificent!” he seems practically delighted. “Look at those teeth! Longer than yours Moony.”

“I did say she was the true wolf,” Remus pets your back. “And a lot softer than my fur too.”

“When you're quite done stroking my girlfriend,” Sirius coughs. “Since you're so impressed with her teeth, how about Moonfang? Shorten it to Fangs?”

“YES!” James' eyes widen. “Perfect! Let me find the map and add that in.”

And so you were finally fully inducted into the Marauders gang.

“WHAT IS THAT?!” Peter shrieks shrilly as he enters the dorm. “STUN IT QUICK!”

Everyone falls into peals of laughter as you change back and Peter half faints into the curtain of his four poster bed. No one else seems to catch it but you notice the dark look of loathing he gives you. In fact, it's one of a dozen glowers you've received over the past couple of months whenever you've been publicly affectionate with Sirius.

Probably safe to say that Peter Pettigrew hated your guts.

 

**

 

“All packed?” you're waiting for Sirius in the common room.

“Just about. Trying to find less...uh....rebellious clothes was a hassle,” he mutters, dragging his trunk down the stairs.

“Why are you bothered about that?”

“Well....I want your dad to like me,” he goes slightly pink on his cheeks. “Don't reckon he will if I turn up in ripped denim and leather.”

“Remember his daughter wears daring stuff,” you point to yourself. “You'll be fine. As long as the important bits are covered he doesn't care.”

“Very progressive.”

“Well he did marry a muggle.”

“True. True enough. Shall we get to the platform?”

You journey, hand in hand to the train station, waving goodbye to various acquaintances until you reach the Hogwarts Express.

“Have a good Easter, Jane!” you call to her and she whirls round, coming to hug you.

“Make sure you have a better Easter than Christmas,” she whispers in your ear. “And you'd better help me with this Transfiguration coursework when you get back because I'm actually bricking the exam now and I still can't turn my mongoose into a scarf”

“It's all in the confidence. You'll get it, you will,” you reassure her.

“Bye Sirius,” she waves before moving back to her Hufflepuff crowd.

“Really quite a turnaround from the last time we did this,” Sirius snorts. “Remind me never to be that much of a git again.”

“I would but you wouldn't listen,” you grin, pulling him into the train and towards the compartment where the others were sitting.

Once again Peter was staying behind and you were very glad for his exclusion. During the past week he'd gotten colder towards you, although whenever James or Sirius would address him, he put on a fake demeanour to make it seem like he enjoyed your company.

In truth, you couldn't wait to never see him again.

“Roll up,” James ushers you in and you take the opposite seat, noting Lily is here too. “We were just saying how this place should have beds in it. I'm right tired, I am.”

“Use Moony for a pillow,” you suggest. “I'm sure he won't mind.”

“I bloody would mind,” Remus scowls. “Use Evans. She's much more comfy than I am.”

“Great idea!” James throws himself backwards, resting his head on Lily's legs and throwing his own legs over Remus' lap. “So comfy. Don't mind me.”

And within seconds he was asleep as both of his poor victims just looked at each other exacerbatedly. Neither could move without waking him.

“How does he do that?” you ask Sirius in amazement. “Fall asleep anywhere?”

“Always done it,” Sirius shrugs. “Long as I've known him. Seen him fall asleep standing up in Potions once. Are you tired, Locks?”

“A little, the dungbomb raid on the Slytherin common room went on a bit late for me.”

“Tell you what, you do what James is doing. I'm actually a willing volunteer.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. You're cute when you're asleep anyway. Come on.”

He allows you to curl up on him as he amiably chats to Remus. You think you're just dozing, listening to the conversation but all too suddenly, you're being gently shaken.

“Locks, we're at King's Cross.”

“What? Already?! I didn't sleep.”

“You've been asleep for four hours, you prune. Didn't even wake up when the lady came with the trolley. Had to guess what you wanted. Thought you might be a bit peckish.”

He held up a cauldron cake he had stashed on the seat next to him.

“Look at him. He's all domesticated,” James snorts.

“Well I think it's lovely,” Lily shoots him a warning look.

“What I mean to say is, I'm going to bake you my world famous toffee pudding. Been meaning to for a while,” he tries to backtrack.

“I'm sure,” she says dryly before winking at you.

They were both as bad as each other for winding one another up. They were very well suited in that respect.

“Thank you, Sirius,” you give him a quick kiss before devouring the cake, not knowing how hungry you were until the icing touched your lips.

“You are rubbish at eating properly,” Sirius shakes his head. “You know you're supposed to get it in your mouth?”

“I have? Haven't I?” you get paranoid, trying to swipe your face clean.

“No there's a bit juuuuuuuust here,” he swoops in, kissing you so forcefully you nearly fall backwards. “Only joking. Just fancied a snog. Come on then.”

You say your goodbyes to everyone, hugging them tightly before moving onto the King's Cross platform and up towards the lifts that take you out onto the street.

You half expect to be making your way via the Underground but once you get to the surface, you see your dad waiting there for you, eagerly waving as you come into view.

Greying hair, a frame that was still muscular but with the inevitable pull of age and a gold chain containing his wedding ring and your mother's, your father hared across the street and yanked you into a bone crushing embrace.

“My girl,” he beams. “I feel like I haven't seen you in ages. You're looking very well I must say. And this must be him! Mister Black, pleasure to meet you.”

Sirius seemed a bit off guard at your dad's friendly attitude and it took him a moment before his brain kicked back in, “Yes! Nice to meet you, Mr Locksley. Thank you for having me over.”

“Please, Edmund. Mr Locksley sounds dreadfully old and I'm not a complete duffer yet.”

“Didn't think you were,” Sirius smiles politely. “Looks like you could still take on people in a fight.”

“There's a reason I'm not allowed back in the duelling club,” your dad winks. “Magic with might as a tactic got banned because of me.”

“So I've heard. Everyone goes on about your battles.”

“Oh tosh,” he waves a dismissive hand. “It's all technique. I'll show you if you like.”

“Really?!” Sirius' eyes light up.

“But only because my daughter seems very happy with you, Master Black. Treat her well, I'll treat you well.”

“Understood, sir and call me Sirius.”

“Well, come along Sirius, daughter. Time to go home.”

He leads you to a brand new car you don't remember ever seeing before but he must be feeling more like himself to have bought one. Once everything is packed in, you set off.

It's a winding drive through the busy streets of London until you hit the outer boroughs where the houses become more spread out until gradually they make way for leafier suburbs. Finally, you're at the gate of the manor house as it opens automatically for the car.

“Bloody hell, I didn't realise your house was this big,” Sirius leans his head out of the window as the vehicle trundles up the drive.

It's definitely too large for just you and your dad. It always felt uncomfortable rattling around it, like you were some faded ghost pining for a long lost love....but it was home.

“I feel like my folks are really poor by comparison,” Sirius jokes.

“Oh nonsense,” your dad laughs genially. “We're just an old family. This place has been the ancestral home for centuries, ever since it was uprooted from Sheffield in the 1300s. Nasty business with a proto-witch hunter. Took three wizarding families to move the entire house.”

“Locks says you have a lot of historical artefacts.”

“That we do, young Sirius. I'll be happy to show them to you if you're interested.”

“Of course I'm interested, sir. That sounds brilliant.”

You could see both men were more comfortable around each other now and that made you happy in turn.

Once in the house, your dad allows you to take Sirius to his room and leaves you alone, saying to be ready for dinner later.

“I like your house. It's colourful,” Sirius remarks at the gold and duck egg blue room but his eyes linger on the big family photo on the wall. “That's your mum?”

“Yeah that's her.”

It felt like a lifetime ago that it had been taken. You were nine then and your mum and dad were hugging you from behind as you had the widest smile you could possibly make, showing the tooth you'd lost just days before.

“Can see where you got the looks from,” he studies it. “You were really cute there. What happened?”

“Oi!” you smack him lightly on the arm.

“You know I don't mean it,” he slips an arm around your waist before sighing. “I'm sorry you lost her so early. Can't imagine what that's like.”

“Sometimes it feels like she's still here. I'll catch the smell of her in the house, that floral perfume. It's comforting.”

Sirius tilts your chin up and kisses you softly, “Locks, they never leave us. I bet she's proud of you, wherever she is.”

“I hope so.”

“I know so.”

A comfortable silence descends where he holds you to his chest, just gently rocking with you.

“I love you,” he murmurs into your hair.

“I love you too.”

You come to your own internal conclusion, knowing your relationship with Sirius was much deeper than any you'd been in before. Everything fell into place in that moment.

“Sirius, I'm ready,” you look up at him.

“Ready? For what?” he looks puzzled until realisation dawns. “Oh! Oh, are you really sure?”

“Unless you don't want-”

“-Of course I want to, I just didn't want to pressure you or rush you. You're really important to me.”

“Well then. I'm ready.”

He takes one of your hands and kisses the back of it, “Tonight then. I'll come to your room. Don't suppose you have a secret passage, do you? Don't fancy sneaking down the corridor and waking your dad up if you have a creaky floorboard or something.”

“Just open the window and make for the woods. I'll meet you there. Not in the house. Not with my dad around.”

“That's fair,” he chuckles softly. “And remember, if you change your mind, I won't be angry. It's okay to not be ready. Just because you've been with other people doesn't mean it's the right time for us.”

“Tonight,” you say firmly.

He leans his forehead to yours and closes his eyes, smiling, “Tonight.”

 

 

Chapter Text

You allow Sirius to change as you go do the same in your own room.

It feel strange to be back after so long. There's a thin sheen of dust on the dressing table which you think is a little odd. Your father always usually cleans obsessively to keep his mind active.

A knock at the door startles you.

“Oh I'm sorry darling,” your father's leaning against the doorway. “Listen, can we have a chat? There's something important we need to talk about.”

“It's not about where babies come from is it because mum already left me that letter for when I was thirteen.”

He coughs to hide his embarrassment before stepping in, “Oh no. Nothing like that. Not that I don't know you get up to no good, young lady. That's a conversation for another time. No, it's about a guest that's coming to join us tonight.”

“Oh....OH!” you say in realisation. “It's a female guest!”

“Sit down, love,” he gestures to your bed, perching on the edge of it. “I know this may be a lot and I didn't really know how to broach this topic sooner. Somehow it didn't feel quite right to put it in a letter. I've been...seeing someone for a few months now and-”

“-well that's fantastic,” you beam. “Please tell me it's not a Bulstrode though.”

“What? Oh no. Do you mean Margo? Frankly I've seen paintings of manticores that are more attractive.”

You snort with laughter and he seems to relax now.

“She's called Felicity. I met her at a gardening club in the village. Same age as me, widow.”

“Dad, is she a muggle?”

“Is that important?”

“Well I just don't want to pull out my wand and have her think I'm mental or something. I don't know if you've had the talk with her or not.”

“She's a squib actually,” he muses, stroking the peppery stubble on his chin. “From the Fletcher family. Don't bring it up though, she's still sensitive about not carrying on the magical line.”

“Of course not. I'll tell Sirius to be tactful too.”

“He seems like a nice lad. Don't know how the hell he came from Orion Black but I can see you're happy.”

“He's sort of the black sheep.”

“I'm getting that vibe, yes,” he nods with a wry grin. “Anyway, I just want to make sure you're alright with it before I telephone and confirm dinner. I don't want you thinking I'm replacing your mum or anything. Miriam was a once in a lifetime find but I hope, with Felicity, I can feel even a tenth of that love.”

“Go for it, dad,” you hug him. “I want you to be happy. Invite her over.”

“Love you, poppet,” he kisses the top of your head. “Now, I'll leave you to go tell Sirius. Oh and no funny business in the night. I'll know.”

“Yes dad,” you sigh, thinking that he wouldn't know at all.

He was a heavy sleeper.

You padded over to the guest room, just opening the door to find Sirius shirtless, your pendant around his neck and trying to pick a shirt.

“I like the white one,” you say, making him jump.

“Bloody hell woman. Knock!” he frowns playfully.

“Not when I'm getting this kind of view.”

“Oh you like it?” he stretches up so you can see the muscles rippling under the skin. “Come here then.”

You move over to him and, once you're close enough, he snatches you, pulling you flush against his body before he attacks you with a kiss. You'd love nothing better than to take your time with it but you knew you were on a deadline.

“Raincheck on that thought,” you break away, breathing hard.

“Do we have to?” he grins. “I like watching you get all flustered.”

“Shut up,” you bop him on the nose. “Dad's inviting his lady friend over tonight to meet me. Just to give you a warning that she's a squib and last of the magical blood line so don't put your foot in it.”

“Oof, my mother won't like that,” Sirius exhales hard. “She was very set on matching him up with a pureblood.”

“I don't think she'd care considering we're actually a couple now.”

“Hmmm,” he didn't sound convinced. “But no, I won't be rubbish and offend her.”

He pulled on the shirt and a waistcoat which he left undone. You hated how effortless it was for him to be handsome like this.

“You're staring,” he winks. “Can't get enough of me, Locks?”

“Just you wait until tonight,” you turn your back and start to walk out. “I'm going to ruin you for ever wanting to be with another girl again.”

“Is that a promise?” he calls after you. “Can I get that signed on a contract?”

“See you downstairs.”

 

**

 

Felicity was a lovely woman.

She loved to talk about flowers and growing vegetables and she had the kind of homely smile that seemed to make a person happy, no matter how grumpy their disposition. She also looked at your father like he was the best thing in the world.

Sirius, for his part, was charming and affable; asking questions and genuinely being interested in the answers. You could see your father grow more and more approving of him as the meal went on. They even went off together into the kitchen to help get the dessert ready.

“Now we're alone, let me just say I don't intend to take your mum's place-” Felicity begins but you silence her with a hand.

“It's alright, really. I just want my dad happy and you really seem to make him feel that way. You've got loads in common as well. I bet the garden is going to be beautiful in the summer.”

“I persuaded Edmund to put in a willow tree by the brook,” she says conspiratorially. “Call me a romantic but there's something wonderfully magical about that entire image. The bent leaves, the running water, the blooming buds.”

“I can't wait to see it,” you smile and she returns it warmly.

“I'm so glad you feel that way and I'm so glad you approve. I was a little worried.”

“Don't worry. I've been feeling nervous about bringing Sirius to meet dad.”

“Of course,” she slaps her head. “Of course you understand. Well I must say he is a very polite and handsome boy. I think you won't go far wrong with him.”

When the two men come back in, you eat chocolate sponge pudding with custard before delving into more late night conversation.

“Good lord, is that the time?” your father looks at the grandfather clock. “I think you two should be getting to bed now. We'll clear up.”

“If you want alone time, just say,” you remark slyly and he just rolls his eyes and laughs.

“I forget how old you're getting sometimes. Too clever for your own good, missy. Now go to bed.”

“Good night,” you get up, motioning to Sirius to move with you.

Just as you're about to go up the staircase, your father's voice floats after you.

“And stay out of each other's rooms.”

“Protective, isn't he?” Sirius smirks before ignoring your father's words and pulling you into his room. “He and I had a little chat in the kitchen.”

“Oh he didn't threaten you, did he?” you sigh.

“Only lightly. He just said he'd make my testicles disappear if I hurt you and I got the impression he meant removing them in a muggle way.”

“Bloody hell. That's a bit strong.”

“I thought he'd threaten much worse if I'm honest,” Sirius rubs his nose against yours. “So....tonight?”

“Tonight. Sneak out at one a.m. Dad should be asleep by then. Go out of the window and straight across the grounds to the woods. Make sure you're Padfoot.”

“Got it.”

“See you later.”

 

**

 

You waited until the designated time, your window open and ready.

The house creaked but it was nothing more than age and you knew your father would be asleep. Carefully and quietly, you climbed out of the window and scooted down the trellis. When you hit the ground, you turned into the wolf, sprinting across the greenery and making for the treeline.

The tepid air felt good as it whistled through your fur, the dew drops cooling your paws and the gibbous moon lighting your path.

“Locks?” you hear from the woods and know that Sirius is already waiting. “Is that you or do I need to be very scared right now?”

You change back, “It's me. Where are you?”

“Behind the big rock.”

You walk around and see he's foraged a spare sheet from one of the cupboards in the guest room and has set it down on the grass. He's patiently lying on it, staring at the stars above.

“I should've taken Astronomy,” he muses as you join him and he reaches out to hold your hand. “It is rather pretty.”

“Didn't go with your career path though, did it?”

“I have no idea what I want to do when I graduate,” Sirius says in a low voice. “I just took things I liked. Is that bad? Shit, I never really thought ahead and we have our blooming N.E.W.Ts in two months.”

“It'll be fine. You've taken a lot of good core subjects anyway.”

“And what about you? Did you take a random assortment too?”

“No I took the subjects to get into the Department of Mysteries. They dropped the requirement for Divination two years ago.”

“Department of Mysteries, eh?”

“Yeah, I just enjoy the idea of having variety every day.”

“I can understand that. Locks, Locks this is for real, right? We graduate and we'll stay together?”

You sit up on your hand, looking at his stricken face. You could see the ripple of insecurity plainly.

“Of course we will, unless you turn back into an utter arse,” you shove him lightly.

“It's scary, thinking of the future and all,” he whispers to no one in particular.

“I know it is but I'm not going anywhere.”

“Promise?”

“I promise. Come here,” you lean over and kiss him shyly.

“Locks, I really do love you, you know. Terrifies me a bit.”

“Shut up,” you kiss him again and again until he finally stops talking and melts against you.

His hands brush into your hair, pulling you closer almost desperately. You roll completely on top of him now as he embraces you and you get the feeling he's never been this way with a girl before.

“I love you too, Sirius.”

He smiles into the kiss as it deepens and his fingers start pulling up the hem of your nightdress.

“Take it off me,” you sit up.

“Are you sure? It's quite cold.”

“I'm sure.”

The fabric glides over your head and onto the ground.

“Fucking hell, Locks. You're not wearing anything underneath,” his eyes widen impossibly.

“I'm not shy, you know,” you place your hands on his chest and shrug. “Do you want me to put it back-”

“-No!” he answers immediately. “Merlin, no. You're beautiful. I could stare at you all day.”

“Care to join me?”

He sheds his nightshirt as you roll off him to the side and soon he's just as naked as you are, pale skin gleaming in the moonlight.

“Now,” he begins with a grin as he slips down your body. “I really must insist you let me make love to you.”

“Go right ahead, if you think you can please.”

That seems to ruffle his feathers because he narrows his eyes and pushes your legs apart, letting his face dip in between them and his broad tongue lap a line up towards your clit before suckling the little bud.

“Well you have some idea of what you're doing, I'll give you that,” you tease him. “But if.....shit, Sirius!”

He'd started flicking his tongue against you at such a fast pace that you arched up, your hands automatically coming to rest in his dark hair, tugging every time he makes you twitch. He was relentless, determined to make you cum as he edged one crooked finger into you, curling it in a spot that made you gasp.

With a shuddering cry, you came, gripping onto him as he eased you through the way you clenched around his fingers.

“Oh Locks, I swear you are the loudest woman I've ever been with. I love it,” he smirks, crawling up your body. “So worth the wait.”

In your haze, your hand delves in between you, grabbing his hard cock and stroking up and down. His breath catches in his throat to become a low rumble, the animal within surfacing for a moment before he kisses you, exploring your mouth as you work him before he finally can't take it any more.

“Still sure about this?” he asks, pulling away for a second.

“Merlin's bollocks, just do it before I get too nervous,” you laugh.

“Right, first thing is first. Let's not give your dad a reason to kill me. I doubt knocking his daughter up will rate highly,” he grabs for his wand, letting the point rest over your lower abdomen. “Induresco.”

A tickling sensation starts inside but settles quickly. He stows his wand to the side before lining himself up and gliding easily into you until he was fully seated, arms shuddering slightly as he rested his weight on them.

You wrapped your arms around him, keeping him close as he started a languid place, dragging against your walls with every calculated thrust. He was experienced, you could tell, but he still treated you gently, lovingly.

“Tell me you love me, Locks,” he groans, picking up his pace. “Please.”

“I love you. Sirius, I love you,” your fingers are digging into his skin, the kisses are getting messier.

He drove himself as deep as he could, one hand clutching your thigh around him as he came, the warmth flooding you before he finally stilled.

“I hope that was better than Eoin O'Shaunessey,” he jokes.

“It was,” you smile up at him, the adoring expression reflected back.

He moves to the side of you, pulling you to lie on your side too and wrapping his arms and legs with yours.

“Move in with me,” he blurts out.

“What?”

“When we graduate, move in with me.”

You're that stunned you don't respond and you can see his face falling by the second.

“Uh, I mean...it's just an idea,” he backtracks rapidly, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “You don't have to. I just thought....”

“Yeah?”

“I just thought since we're happy and school is ending....”

“Ask me again when summer term ends,” you nestle your face against his. “I don't want this to be high pressure or a flash in the pan, Sirius. Just take it slowly and naturally.”

“I wouldn't treat you that way,” his brow wrinkles as he frowns. “I've never felt this way about anyone before Locks. I'm not going to mess you around.Trust me.”

“I do but all the same. Once our exams are done, ask me then.”

“Okay,” he nods a fraction. “But you'd better have an answer for me or I'll turn your hair blue.”

“I've been meaning to try out a different colour.”

“Oh you tart,” he tickles you softly, chuckling to himself. “I am being serious you know, Locks.”

“I know.”

“Good,” he kisses you. “Now we'd best get back before your dad realises we've snuck out.”

“I wish we didn't have to. Would be nice to fall asleep like this,” you settle further into his embrace.

“Won't be so easy to do when we get back to school so let's make the most of this holiday,” Sirius starts to disentangle himself. “If you're up for it that is.”

“As long as I get to be on top next time.”

“Don't make me get excited again,” he bites his lip. “It's late.”

“Something to think about for tomorrow night,” you wink, getting up and retrieving your nightdress.

He puts on his pyjamas before taking your hand and walking to the edge of the woods with you. You stroll in relative silence but it's comfortable, it's just basking in the afterglow. You realise as you spare a glance at his content face just how much you've fallen for him.

You did want to say yes to living with him but there was still some part of you that was scared this would end just as quickly as it started. It didn't stop the small fantasy of waking up in his little cottage every morning though.

“Locks.”

The tone was so different, so sharp that you stopped immediately, looking at his face which had drained of colour. He was staring towards the mansion, fear evident in his eyes.

You turned to see what he was looking at and felt like your stomach had dropped through the floor, your heart started racing and your limbs went weak.

The Dark Mark.

The Dark Mark was floating over the house.

Immediately you ran, you sprinted as fast as you could towards the door. You didn't care about the stones on the path ripping into your feet, you just needed to get in, to see, to see whether.....whether your father was dead.

“LOCKS!” Sirius screams at you, trying to catch up. “LOCKS STOP! DON'T GO IN!”

But you were already near the door as you took one last look up at the green skull in the sky with the writhing snake and flung yourself into the house.

“LOCKS!”

 

Chapter Text

You didn't know what you'd find as you flew down the corridor but you tripped over something in the dark and sprawled forward on the carpet. It took you a moment to realise what you were currently lying on and you suppress the scream that's rising in your throat.

Felicity was on the floor, limbs twisted at an awkward angle where she'd fallen and a glassy stare. She was dead.

Sirius catches up with you, coming to a dead halt as he spots the figure on the ground.

“Locks, we need to go. NOW!”

The sound of crystal shattering has you scrambling to your feet and diving into the living room where your stomach drops.

Your father is duelling with two people, jets of red firing around the room to be met with jets of green. In the flashes of light, the attackers were illuminated. One you instantly knew as Bellatrix Lestrange, the other....

You'd only ever heard stories about Lord Voldemort but seeing him in the flesh made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. You could see he was handsome once, the cheekbones sharp, the jawline strong and the hair regal but now the skin was waxy, too shiny and stretched. The eyes though....the eyes were blood red.

“Hello little girly,” Bellatrix laughs. “Nice of you to join us.”

“Take Sirius and get out!” your father yells without turning around, dodging another curse. “Just get out!”

Stupefy!” you shout, aiming your spell at Bellatrix as she jumps out of the way.

“Sirius!” your father pleads. “Get her away!”

“I'm not leaving you!” you protest, using the body bind curse but again, Bellatrix dances away.

“Such wonderful loyalty to your father,” Voldemort sneers. “We have no issue with you, dear girl. You are bringing purity to your line once again. Your father, however, wants to consort with muggles and squibs. Vermin. He was offered a chance to redeem the Locksley family but threw it back in our faces. He is irredeemable. Heed your father, child. Leave.”

“Never,” you snarl. “Expelliarmus!”

Bellatrix's wand flies from her hand but Voldemort catches it, giving it back to her before shrieking in a chillingly high pitched voice, “Crucio!”

The worst pain you'd ever experienced in your life coursed through you. All of your nerves felt like they were on fire, your muscles were cramping and your vision went white as you twitched horribly on the floor, screaming endlessly.

Everte Statum!” Sirius' voice and the curse lifts.

You're crying but you don't remember when you started. The brief bliss of a pain free moment is taken away as a pair of hands grip under your armpits, dragging you to your feet.

“DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH MY DAUGHTER AGAIN!” your father bellows, his jinx knocking Bellatrix out as Voldemort deflects it away and the piano explodes in a shower of keys and wire.

Sirius holds you against the wall, out of the way but you're fighting him. You squirm so hard he's having difficulty keeping a grip.

There's an explosion and his body cocoons you as the blast wave hits. Once the smoke clears, you can see Voldemort has disappeared beneath the rubble of the ceiling as it collapsed in further.

“Sirius! Take her to Dumbledore!” your father turns around to address you. “Tell him what happened!”

You watch with horror as the debris flies away to reveal Voldemort is unharmed and, in the split second where your father tells you he loves you, a flash of green light blinds you and the last remaining member of your family is gone.

An inhuman cry and you raise your wand, too incensed to care that your mouth was already forming the killing curse until that uncomfortable squeezing sensation alerted you to the fact that Sirius was forcibly disapparating and taking you with him.

When you were dumped on the flagstones of Hogsmeade, you still weren't processing what had just happened. He was gone...your father was gone...he was murdered.

“Locks,” Sirius' quiet voice behind you.

He still hadn't let you go yet.

“Take me back,” you growl.

“I'm not doing that.”

“Fine, then I'll go myself,” you scramble to your feet, preparing to apparate home.

“Are you mental?!” Sirius grabs your shoulders, shaking you violently. “Locks! He'll kill you!”

“No he won't, because I'm going to kill him!”

“Think about what you're saying! If you even attempt the killing curse they'll throw you in Azkaban!” he yells in your face.

“I DON'T CARE!” you shout back. “THEY KILLED MY DAD! WHAT DO I HAVE LEFT?!”

“Me! You have me! Don't you dare get thrown in Azkaban and leave me alone! I couldn't bear it!”

You'd only just realised he had tears in his eyes and he looked deathly afraid. He was shivering with the adrenalin as he tried to make you understand.

“If you died, I'd have nothing left Locks. Please, please don't go back. I promised your father I'd take you to Dumbledore.”

“They killed him,” the words come out strangled and strained.

“I know, I know,” Sirius holds you tightly, pressing your head against his shoulder. “And Dumbledore will make them pay. I know he will.”

 

**

 

Standing outside the headmaster's office was daunting when you didn't know the password.

“What do we do?” your voice is barely working any more, the dried tears making your face feel stretched and tacky.

“Pontefract Cakes,” Sirius announces loudly and the gargoyle leaps aside for you.

“How did you know that?” you ask in mild surprise.

“I'm always getting in trouble,” he shrugs.

You step onto the rotating staircase, moving upwards with Sirius holding your hand until you reach the headmaster's office and knock on the door. There's silence for a few moments until you hear a soft voice.

“Come in.”

Sirius goes in first, pulling you along even though your legs feel like lead. You just want to fall on the floor and not get up, to curl up in a ball.

“Something's happened, something...monstrous,” Dumbledore stands up from his desk, wearing a faded pinstripe nightcap and a long blue nightshirt, his knobbly knees poking out of the bottom.

“Yes sir,” Sirius starts shakily. “It's Edmund Locksley, sir. He.....”

“Miss Locksley, please sit,” Dumbledore gestures to the plush chair in front of him.

You obey, your strength finally giving out as the velvet accepts you. Sirius comes to stand at your side.

“Tell me everything that happened,” Dumbledore comes around the front of the desk and sits on it.

“We went to Locks' for the holidays,” Sirius starts. “We-”

“-No it started at Christmas,” you interrupt, finding your tongue. “Sirius' mum wanted to set my dad up with a pureblood match. The Lestranges and Malfoys were there and agreed. When we went home at Easter, my dad must have rebuffed the offer because he was getting close to a lady who's a squib. The Lestranges must have found out and told He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named because he came for my dad tonight. He killed Felicity and then he killed....he killed....”

“Please don't feel like you have to finish that sentence,” Dumbledore says kindly.

“Voldemort came with Bellatrix Lestrange. She seems to be his right hand,” Sirius adds. “Edmund asked me to get Locks to you.”

“Are you both unhurt?” Dumbledore looks at you both over his half moon spectacles.

“Locks got hit with the Cruciatus curse.”

“I'm so sorry,” Dumbledore places a gentle hand on your shoulder. “Normally I would escort you to Madam Pomfrey but there is an urgent matter I must discuss with the both of you. You are aware, I'm sure, of the counter move against Lord Voldemort?”

“James told me,” Sirius nods. “Like a rebellion?”

“More like a defence line,” Dumbledore pats your shoulder before moving back. “I myself am leading it although I trust that will stay within this office.”

“Of course, sir.”

You just mutely nod.

“I would like to extend the invitation to you two to join and, by extension also, Mister Potter, Lupin and Pettigrew....should you so wish of course. Your grades have always been remarkable and I dare say it's a better use of your talents than tormenting the student population.”

“What exactly would we do?”

“Reconnaissance, directing the aurors, intelligence.”

“So we'd be spies? We can do that. Uh, we have an ability that could help a lot with some recon work. We're-”

“Oh I'm well aware, Sirius,” Dumbledore holds up a hand. “This is my school and, as I've already told Miss Locksley, I know the goings-on. You have a fine animal form, if I may.”

You look up in alarm into those eyes that were twinkling with a hint of mirth. He knew. He knew you were animagi and wasn't going to report you.

“Headmaster? I'm in,” your mouth is a tight line. “I want to root every last Death Eater out. I'm very sure I can name you at least four right now.”

“And that's a wonderful start. Now please, discuss this amongst your immediate peers but do not let it venture further than that. I shall send word to you when I am arranging our next meeting. For now, please rest. I know nothing I say can rectify what has been done tonight but know that I and Hogwarts are here for you, Miss Locksley. I dare say Sirius will take care of you first and foremost, however.”

“I will,” Sirius chips in immediately. “Come on, Locks.”

Your legs are still weak and he ends up slinging your arm over his shoulder to help you walk out. At least the staircase moves for you.

“I don't want to go back to Gryffindor Tower,” you say listlessly once you get to the bottom.

“Why not?”

“I know Peter is there and I'm not in the mood to explain this. Please.”

“Okay, where do you want to go? I can't go in the girl's dorm and I don't think there's....hang on. Follow me.”

He leads you to the seventh floor and props you against the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy before walking in front of a stretch of wall three times until a door appears.

“The Room of Requirement?” you ask.

“Come see,” he guides you by the hand through the entrance.

Inside is the biggest four poster bed you've ever seen. It could easily sleep four people. It also had lamps either side and a supply of tissues on one night stand.

“Is this what you need?” he asks uncertainly.

You just nod, feeling the tears brimming in your eyes. You didn't need to hold it together any more.

Silently, he sweeps you up in his arms and carries you to the bed, putting you under the duvet as you begin to sob openly. He climbed in with you, pulling you into his chest and just holding you as the enormity that you'd never see your father again hit you.

“I'm here, Locks. I'm here,” Sirius kisses your forehead. “Just rest, I'm not going anywhere.”

He held you until you cried yourself to sleep.

Chapter Text

You awoke with a start, the remnants of emeralds flashing across your vision and that high pitched sneering voice as it screeched into the gloom.

Avada kedavra!”

“Locks!” Sirius cries in alarm, wrestling to keep you still as you thrashed about. “It's okay! It's me! You're safe!”

You blink yourself more awake, noticing his concerned expression and the slight scratch on his cheek where you'd caught him with your nails in your feverishness.

“I'm sorry,” you trace over the blooming redness. “I didn't-”

“-I don't care about that,” he cuts in. “If anything it'll make me more dashing.”

“Dashing? Someone has a high opinion of themselves,” you revert back to normality, pushing the tragedy away until you could deal with it better.

“Tell that to the women of Hogwarts, I'm sure they'd disagree.”

“I'll ask McGonagall then.”

“Oh don't. I'd rather not know that answer,” he makes a face. “Are you hungry? Do you need anything? I'll run down to the Great Hall and grab breakfast for us if you don't want to go anywhere.”

He was trying. Merlin bless him, he was trying his hardest to look after you.

“I need to go and speak to Dumbledore anyway,” you sit up. “I don't....how do I....funerals, I mean.”

“We'll get it sorted,” Sirius squeezes your shoulder.

“I don't even have a change of clothes. Our trunks....they're at my home.”

“Locks, it's not important. No one will care if we look a bit dishevelled. I can ask a house-elf to get us toothbrushes. I just want to make sure you eat something.”

“Okay,” you take a deep steadying breath, feeling too cried out to have strong emotions any more. “Let's go.”

 

**

 

You thought when you entered the Great Hall that the remaining students who stayed for Easter would be oblivious, too caught up in their problems to notice your appearance but when you entered, the whole of the hall turned to look at you.

“Sirius,” you clutch his hand tightly. “I can't do this. They're staring.”

“Let them stare,” he growls. “You'd think they'd never seen people looking a bit worse for wear.”

It's not until you started walking down the tables that you heard muttering and whispering. You spotted the pitying and sympathetic glances and your heart jolted to see the Daily Prophet on the Ravenclaw table with it's glaring headline:

DARK MARK OVER CHAMPION DUELLER'S DWELLING

A giant photograph of your father in his prime, beaming as he accepted his trophy from the UK Championship committee made you forget to breathe for a moment.

“Oh shit,” Sirius spots it too.

“So fast,” you remark, almost in a haze. “They printed it so fast.”

“Miss Locksley, Mr Black,” Professor Flitwick calls from the teacher's table. “Over here please.”

Sirius puts his hand in the middle of your back to start you walking and you make it past all of the curious and prying eyes.

“Yes Professor?” Sirius talks for you.

“The Headmaster said to give you a message when you arrived down here. He wishes to see you in his office and not to worry about breakfast.”

“Thank you, sir,” Sirius nods, leading you out of a side door.

Once you're out of the hall, your chest relaxes and the anxious and tight feeling you had dissipates. Sure you're no stranger to attention but the collective sympathy was oppressive. You have to take a moment before motioning to Sirius that you were okay to continue.

When the headmaster opened the door, he'd already set a small table up laden with porridge, cereals, toast, jam, marmalade, eggs, bacon and sausages. The smell hit your stomach first as it growled angrily.

“I do hope I have enough,” Dumbledore smiles kindly at the noise. “Do please sit. We have many things to discuss.”

You and Sirius sit down and he begins helping himself to eggs, making a mess of his plate.

“Now,” Dumbledore addresses you. “I shall start by informing you that I went to your home after you visited me last night.”

Crash!

Sirius drops his knife onto the table where it makes an almighty racket, “Sir, that's dangerous!”

“I am not afraid of Voldemort, Sirius,” Dumbledore's shrewd gaze turns to him. “Unfortunately he fled the grounds at the sight of me. I was able to transport your father and his paramour to a safe location and to bring you your trunks back.”

He gestures to the corner and you see both heavy chests lying innocuously.

“Wizard law dictates the next of kin to preside over the funeral arrangements but, given your age, Miss Locksley, I have taken it upon myself to do that for you. The Minister of Magic wanted something grandiose but Edmund did not strike me as an extravagant man, am I correct?”

“He didn't like having material things, sir,” you speak up. “I'm pretty sure he would've been happy with a shack as long as he still had his garden.”

“Which is precisely why I have erected a mausoleum that is built into the grounds of your house for him,” Dumbledore nods. “I understand your mother was buried there also in the lilac patch. If you would like, I can move them to be together.”

“Please and if Felicity has anyone-”

“-I've taken care of that also,” he holds up a hand. “Eat, you're shaking.”

You didn't realise you were until he mentioned it. For the sake of appearances, you made a half-hearted effort at nibbling some toast, even though it felt like cardboard in your mouth.

“The Minister also gave me Edmund's will,” he picks up a scroll. “For posterity, I need to read it to you. Whether you choose to listen is entirely up to you. To my daughter, I leave the contents of our family vault, the artefacts of our bloodline, the Locksley estate and manor house. I also leave the beach house in Conwy to my daughter also.

“Professor?” you ask when he appears to be finished.

“Yes, Miss Locksley?”

“Can I get rid of it?”

“Rid of what?”

“The house? I don't want it. I don't want any of it. I can't go back there knowing what...what.....happened. I can't walk past that room everyday.”

“I can help you sell it, if that's what you wish,” Dumbledore tents his fingers.

“I don't need money. Put it to some use. In fact, use it to co-ordinate your meetings, Professor. It's got plenty of rooms for people to stay in just....just leave my father's room untouched. That's all I ask.”

“Are you sure?” he regards you over his spectacles. “It is a very generous thing you offer.”

“I'm sure. If I can't bring him back, the best I can do is make sure I help take down his killer. I'm only sorry he ran like a coward so you couldn't get him.”

“Tom has always been afraid of me,” he sat back. “Oh yes, I call him by his birth name. I knew him as Tom Riddle. Bright boy, head boy in fact but he could not...what's the expression? Pull the wool over my eyes. His charm hid something very dark within and he knew I would not fall under his spell as so many other teachers did. That is why he fears me. He cannot control my perception of him.”

Silences falls for a few minutes before you break it.

“Sir, if I ever come across Bellatrix,” you voice the panic that's been burgeoning in your brain for the past few hours. “I nearly used an Unforgivable curse. Sirius stopped me.”

“Revenge will not give you the comfort you seek, especially not in the way you attempted, though when faced with the loss of a loved one, it is easy to see why some would resort to such a final solution. I do not blame you but I do not encourage it. I applaud that you pulled yourself back from that particular brink. It shows courage and it reflects the qualities of your house.”

“My father used to say there is no honour in swift justice.”

“And he is wise to say that. Rash actions have larger consequences. Spending your best years in Azkaban is not your wider destiny, Miss Locksley. Now, once Mister Potter, Lupin and Pettigrew return, if you are intent on giving your ancestral home to our cause, I will gather you for a meeting here to discuss what happens after your schooling ends. For now, I'm afraid I cannot delay or disband your N.E.W.Ts but I can ask for favourable marking under the circumstances. Please do not worry yourself. You are a bright witch and after Voldemort's inevitable defeat, you will have a good career ahead of you. Minerva tells me you have ambitions for the Department of Mysteries?”

“Yes Professor.”

“I have my contacts should your exams go disastrously wrong. Finish your breakfast and take your time to grieve. I will escort you back to your home for the funeral when it is ready.”

Without realising what you were doing, you stood up abruptly, reaching over the table and taking Dumbledore's paper thin hands in yours, squeezing softly, fearing you'd crumple the delicate skin.

“Thank you. I....”

“I understand,” his eyes said he knew the particular pain of loss but you didn't press him for the story. “There is no need to thank me, although, once this is over, you may buy me a punnet of sherbet strawberries. I am rather partial, though I fear, entering a muggle sweet shop in my regular fashion rather attracts some odd looks.”

He smiles crookedly and you let out something akin to a laugh before finding your appetite had returned just enough to eat some bacon before Sirius ate the whole plate.

 

**

The funeral was meant to be a subdued affair. You didn't think anyone would really turn up given your father's waning sanity being flashed around the Wizarding community but you were wrong....oh so wrong.

Wizards and witches came from miles around and the aurors protecting the house had to magic extra seats. They brought you gifts as their condolences, they told you stories of your father and watching him in his duelling matches or the advice he used to give on magical horticulture.

There was so much love around that your tears were long forgotten as you face stretched a smile instead. It warmed your heart to know how much respect he'd truly had all along.

That was, until you saw Regulus making a beeline for you. Sirius' grip tightened on your arm in kind.

“Locksley, I....I want you to know how sorry I am,” he'd almost torn the lace trim on his coat cuffs. “I never....”

“Reggie, fuck off,” Sirius growls. “Not today.”

“Right,” Regulus nods, still not meeting your gaze. “Right, yes. Wrong timing. I'm sorry.”

“We apologise also.”

Walburga Black had appeared at her son's side and your whole body stiffened as Orion joined also.

“You must understand we didn't want this. We had no part of this,” Orion tries to make you realise. “We weren't concerned in the slightest that he didn't want to court Margo.”

“No, it wasn't your fault on that account,” you say firmly, looking him boldly in the eye. “But the company you keep? It was theirs. If I ever come across the Lestranges again, they'll understand I am exactly my father's daughter.”

“I don't doubt it,” Walburga inclines her head respectfully. “I hope you can forgive us for bringing this to your door. The killing of a pureblood line....it's not what we believe in.”

“We heard you fought the Dark Lord. That is very impressive,” Orion continues. “You are a Locksley through and through. Be strong, uphold your family name and even if you do not want our blessing, you and Sirius have it. We would be proud to have you as a daughter, though I understand why you would not wish to associate with us. We shall take our leave. We just wanted to pay our respects. Goodbye Miss Locksley, goodbye Sirius.”

“Bye then,” Sirius' tone is harsh and blunt, making his family scatter to the exit in their haste not to offend. “What in the bloody hell was that? They love all that Dark Lord nonsense. Why would they applaud you fighting him?”

“I don't think they're as fanatic as you make out,” you rest your head on his shoulder. “It's probably a 'trying to keep up with the Jones' thing with all the other pureblood fascist families.”

“Yeah well, they're still not on my Christmas card list,” he mumbles. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah I think that could've been a lot worse so I'm actually relieved.”

“Oi, Locks!” a familiar voice rings out behind you and you turn to see James, Remus and Peter approaching.

All the boys are wearing muggle suits, although Peter's hangs off him around the shoulders and strains around the stomach like a podgy child trying to play dress up.

“What are you doing here?” you look in amazement. “Easter isn't over yet.”

“Come off it,” Remus smiles warmly. “Sirius sent us an owl and we're not going to let you do this alone. We're your best friends....even if we did have to take the Knight Bus last night to get here.”

Now the waterworks were threatening to spill over and, noticing you were about to have a meltdown, James throws his arms around you, hiding your face in his chest. You feel the thump of more arms around you and know the others are comforting you too.

“I swear, Locks, we'll kill the bastard,” James mutters straight in your ear. “No more.”

You'd never heard James so serious, you'd never heard him this angry but, as you managed to look up at him, you saw the fierce rage in his eyes and it reminded you that, daft as he was, James really was one of your closest friends and extremely protective.

“Whatever it takes,” Remus whispers in your other ear.

“Can I have my girlfriend back now?” Sirius tries to make light of it.

The heavy tension and the stoic moment of solidarity is broken to be replaced by the usual quick witted jibes.

“Nah, decided I wanna keep her,” James taunts. “Lily's too high maintenance. Locks is easily pleased.”

“She's got better standards than you, mate,” Sirius quips back. “Jog on.”

You fall back into Sirius' arms as he wraps them around you and kisses your cheek.

“We got a letter from Dumbledore,” Remus starts. “About joining the fight. We were talking on the way down here. We're in.”

“Good because welcome to our new base,” you gesture to the manor house.

“Blimey, I bet every bedroom has a bathroom,” James squints up at the upper levels. “I could get used to this.”

“It was getting too lonely in there anyway,” you shrug.

“We're all in this together, Locks,” Remus nods grimly. “Every step of the way.”

He stretches his hand into the middle of you all and you place yours on top of his. Sirius and James shoot out theirs to be the next one but end up bending their fingers back trying to be competitive. Peter.....Peter hesitates long enough that it becomes uncomfortable before finally stretching his stubby little hand and placing it on the pile.

“Together,” everyone echoes.