Lily, Marlene and Dorcas were huddled together in the corner of the common room, chattering excitedly over what looked like some sort of fancy box.
"It's a record player," Remus explained to his confused pureblood friends. "It's a muggle device that plays music. Lily must have figured out a way to make it work. Normally muggle technology won't work within the walls of the castle. The magic makes it go all wonky."
There was a scratching noise and some static and the whole common room fell silent as they waited to see if the girls had been successful.
Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help
The common room cheered and the girls squealed with excitement at their accomplishment. Sirius, who was sprawled across the couch with his head on Remus' knee, sat up looking thoughtful.
"This is muggle music?"
Remus laughed. "This is The Muggle Music. The Beatles."
"Is all Muggle music like this?" Asked James, equally intrigued.
"Of course not. There's different genres and groups. It's just like Wizard music. Though, personally I think muggle rock is way better than wizard rock."
James and Sirius instantly became obsessed. Most of their free time was spent flipping through the collection of albums that was now permanently being kept in a trunk in the common room. By mid October, they knew nearly every song by The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Sirius' favorite, by far, was David Bowie.
People stared at the makeup on his face
Laughed at his long black hair, his animal grace
The boy in the bright blue jeans
Jumped up on the stage
And lady stardust sang his songs
Of darkness and disgrace
It was a full moon, so Remus was away and James and Peter had gotten detention for hexing Mrs. Norris. Sirius sat on the floor of the common room, cross legged and surrounded by records.
"Well, isn't this a rare sight!"
Sirius glanced up and saw Marlene standing over him, grinning.
"What are you on about?" He frowned. Marlene shrugged and sat down beside him.
"Sirius Black, alone and quiet." She laughed. "Just doesn't happen often. Where're your friends?"
"James and Pete have detention and Remus...he's visiting his mum. Where are yours?"
"Lily is tutoring a first year in potions and Dorcas ran off with Dylan Abbot."
"Abbot!" Sirius' eyebrows shot up.
Marlene hummed. "She fancies him. And I suppose he fancies her back..."
They both fell silent and Sirius busied himself with the records once more. He knew they were teenages and that they were meant to start having interests in each other - James hadn't stopped talking about Lily's increasing breast size since they had gotten back to school, and Sirius himself would be lying if he said he didn't notice the way girls would giggle and blush when they saw him coming through the corridor. Thinking about it too much made his head spin a little and he tried to focus on David Bowie's voice instead. Marlene reached over and took the album cover of Aladdin Sane out of his hand.
"You know, I kind of love that Bowie wears makeup. It's very....'devil may care', you know?"
"So that's the sort of bloke you like, Mcknickers?" He said with a sly smirk. Marlene shoved him playfully.
"Not quite as much as Bowie. But some blokes look nice! A lot of rock stars wear a kohl." Her hazel eyes lit up and she gasped. "Sirius!"
"Huh?" He blinked at her and then jumped away. "Whoa! Hell no! I'm not wearing makeup!"
"It'll be fun! No one's around! No one will ever know-"
"I'll know! I'm not getting all dolled up like some bird!"
"You won't be 'all dolled up like some bird'! I think you'll look really good!" She scooted a little closer and threw on a pout, fluttering her lashes at him. "Please?"
Sirius' eyes narrowed for a moment, but he sighed in defeat. "Fine."
Marlene squealed with girlish excitement and jumped up. "I'll be right back!" And she hurried away.
Sirius briefly considered running off, but he did genuinely like Marlene even if he found her and her friends to be insufferably annoying at times. But as far as girls went, Marlene was alright. Before he could come to his senses, she was back and clutching a small black bag.
"That looks like a lot more than just kohl, Mckinnon." Sirius said wearily as she sat down once more, folding her legs beneath herself. She rummaged through her bag for a moment and plucked a long, thin, black pencil out.
"No." Grumbled Sirius.
Marlene rolled her eyes. "Just open your eyes, Black...a little more...a littl-"
"That's as open as they get!"
"Alright, Alright!" She raised the pencil and moved even closer so he could feel her breath on his face. "Don't flinch." She warned.
"Get on with it!" He gritted his teeth.
"Sorry!" She bit her lip, taking a deep breath in. Sirius held his breath as she brought the stick up to his eye. The seconds seemed like hours and he had to remind himself not to move when it finally touched his bottom lid. It was very strange, he decided. Not painful, but certainly not pleasant and he couldn't fight the annoyed whine that escaped his throat.
"Oh stop it, Black! It's not that bad...Almost...done." She sat back on her heels and smiled proudly.
Sirius bit his lip. "Er...How does it look?"
Marlene dove back into her bag, emerging with a small silver compact. Sirius jumped back slightly.
"What is that?"
She laughed. "Relax. It's only a mirror!" She popped it open and turned it to face him. "Very punk rock."
Sirius carefully took the mirror from her and held it closer to his face. It was very subtle, but the dark black liner definitely made his eyes pop and he definitely resembled some of the artists on the covers of the albums he had grown so fond of. "Heh...That's pretty cool."
She nodded. "It is..."
New love - a boy and girl are talking
New words - that only they can share in
New words - a love so strong it tears their hearts
He wasn't sure exactly what came over him in the next few silent, awkward moments. But suddenly his voice seemed to be working without any instruction from his brain and he asked "So Marlene...Do you fancy anyone?"
A pink tinge suddenly fell across the girl's face and Sirius had to admit, she was very pretty. Whether he had closed the distance between them or she had, he wasn't quite sure. Her lips were very soft and she smelled like vanilla and spices and...what on earth was he meant to do with his hands? Oh well.
As quickly as it started, it was over and the two thirteen year olds stared wide eyed at each other as the record scratched and came to an end.
Sirius opened his mouth to say something and was more relieved than he had ever been in his life when he heard the distinct sound of the portrait swinging open. He and Marlene jumped apart as if they had been electrocuted as Lily Evans climbed through.
"Hey Marls," She smiled at her friend and eyed Sirius with only slight disdain. "Black."
"Evans." Sirius matched her tone, but kept his eyes down, hoping she wouldn't notice that he was wearing eyeliner or the sign he felt he surely must have written across his face that read 'I just kissed your best friend'. He stood hastily, "Night Marlene. Er...Thanks." And he ran off to the dorm.
His face felt like it was on fire as he plopped down on the closest bed (Remus') and stared up at the ceiling. So he'd kissed Marlene. His first kiss had to happen at some point, he supposed, but he didn't expect to feel so strangely panicked by it. He turned on his side, opening Remus' bedside drawer and stealing a piece of honeyduke's best chocolate. Was Marlene his girlfriend now? Is that what was expected? He wasn't sure he liked the idea of being anyone's boyfriend...He looked out the window, it was very late and he was very tired from all of the night's weird happenings. He wondered for a moment why James and Peter weren't back, but figured they got caught up with something and that was the last conscious thought he had.
He was woken very suddenly by a pair of hands shaking him.
"Sirius, wake up!"
"Well wake the bloody hell up! We figured out how to sneak into the kitchens!" James whispered excitedly. Sirius' eyes snapped open.
"You what? How?" He sat up, slightly disoriented as he realized the bed he was in wasn't his.
"We were heading back from detention and we-" Peter stopped short, staring at Sirius in confusion. "Er...Are you wearing makeup?"
James burst out laughing and had to cover his mouth so he wouldn't wake Frank. Sirius glared "Bowie wears eyeliner."
"Yeah, but Bowie is Bowie," Said Peter, grinning from ear to ear. "You're just you."
"Well, McKinnon certainly seemed to like it." Said Sirius smugly. "Right before we snogged!"
The laughing stopped abruptly and the two of them gaped at Sirius through saucer sized eyes.
"You snogged McKinnon!"
"Yes," Sirius sat up slightly straighter. "And she said, and I quote, 'It's very punk rock'. So unless either of you have been getting any action, I suggest you shut your gobs about my style choices. Now, you were saying something about kitchens?"
Even though it was closing in on four in the morning, the boys threw the invisibility cloak over their heads and Sirius followed James and Peter down to the kitchens.
"Tickle the pear?" Sirius hissed, eyeing James. "What on earth made you even think to try that?" he asked once they were standing in front of a giant painting of a bowl of ordinary looking fruit.
"Right place at the right time," James shrugged. "We happened to spot a house elf doing it and we followed him in." He reached up on his toes and tickled the pear and the painting swung open.
The house elves swarmed around them, eager to serve and happy to see them. Much happier than Sirius' own house elf had ever been. They served them cakes and cookies and hot chocolate and Sirius suggested to James and Peter that they bring some back to the dorm for when Remus got back.
"I ate some of his stash anyway."
"You've got to stop stealing chocolate from him. He nearly strangled you the last time." Peter reminded him.
"That's why I suggested replacing it." Sirius defended, wrapping a few pastries up in a napkin and stuffing them into his pocket. Their stay was short, it was nearly five in the morning, and they sleepily said their goodbyes and thanked the house elves once more before slipping the cloak on and started back towards Gryfindor tower.
They were nearing the stairs when they heard the clicking of shoes walking fast paced down the corridor and a mix of hushed voices.
"Minerva, he's lost a lot of blood. There's got to be something else we can do to help him."
"Not much we can do, Poppy. Poor dear. All we can do is make him comfortable and heal him back up..."
Sirius, James and Peter ducked into the shadows, holding their breath so they wouldn't be heard as Madam Pomfrey and Professor McGonagall rushed down the corridor in the direction of the Hospital Wing followed by a figure that looked like a student floating on an invisible stretcher. The student, they realized immediately, was Remus.
They stayed still and silent until their head of house and the medi witch were gone.
"We need to follow them." Sirius whispered urgently.
"They'll never let us see him." Peter shook his head.
"We need to try. He's our best friend. We need to see that he's alright." James said, nodding to Sirius in agreement. They ripped the cloak off and ran as fast as they could to the infirmary where all three of them began pounding on the door until a startled Madam Pomfrey came and opened it.
"Boys! Keep it down! I have patients! Is something wrong? are any of you hurt or ill?"
"We have to see Remus!" James insisted.
Madam Pomfrey's eyes widened and she looked flustered but she quickly composed herself. "I'm sorry, Mr. Potter. I can't allow you to see him right now. He's very ill and-"
"But we know that he's a werewolf!" Said Sirius.
Pomfrey gasped and looked around to be sure there was no one else within earshot. "Mr.Black! Keep your voice down! Now I don't know how you boys know about Mr. Lupin's condition, but since you do know then I assume you are aware of exactly why I cannot allow you to see him at the moment. Now, unless one of you have fallen ill or have been injured, I must ask you to leave!"
"We aren't leaving." Peter said, bravely. But when Professor McGonagall appeared over Pomfrey's shoulder, that bravery faded slightly and he shrunk back behind James and Sirius.
"Boys," Said McGonagall, calmly. "Now is not the time. I'm not going to ask you what on earth you're all doing out of bed at this hour, but I'd like all three of you to return to your dormitory immediately. It's barely sunrise. After breakfast, assuming that Madam Pomfrey approves, you may return and visit with Mr. Lupin. Is that clear?"
The three boys deflated slightly. "Yes Professor." They murmured, and they turned and headed back to Gryffindor tower.
"Did you see how pale he was?" Peter whispered once they were back in the dorm.
"Pomfrey said it's only getting worse." James mumbled miserably, climbing into his bed and setting his glasses on his bedside table.
Sirius laid on his bed, staring at Remus' empty one and chewing nervously on his lip. "...We've got to do something."