"Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone. We find it with another." -Thomas Merton
We do not find out until the next day where Sirius had run off to. We learn that he had taken to the Forbidden Forrest in search of refuge, transforming into his animagus as a source of comfort. He reappeared the next morning at breakfast with bags under his eyes and a shallow cut on his face here and there. He didn't seem willing to talk, and kept his head down for most of the meal.
Months pass, and these wounds start to heal. Him running off seemed to be a one-time deal, for he never did it again. Slowly, day after day, week after week, he adjusted to life at school once again, with peeping eyes and nosey questions all around him. He received many questions about Scarlet's death, but none concerning his daughter. He voiced that that was a small relief to him one chilly night in late October.
"If people would begin to question her… I don't know how I would respond," he admits, accidentally knocking his ink all over his essay for N.E.W.T. Potions. He sighs, producing his wand and cleaning up the mess.
"I wouldn't either," James admits, lazily flicking his wand and watching his stack of books levitate from the table to the ground, over and over.
"It seems they forgot about it," Sirius mutters, looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping. "It was published in the Prophet after all."
"They probably didn't think much of it," I say, sitting up from where I was lounging on Remus's shoulder. "And they wouldn't know to look to you, anyway. I know this is terrible, but she was a slag… it could've been a number of people's baby, and you two never went public about it."
He takes this into consideration, nodding slowly in agreement. The conversation drops there, and from then on, he seems more relaxed about the subject of people finding out.
October blends into November, and November into December with little change other than the weather. This year seems to have turned out a nasty winter, the grounds blanked in feet of snow a few weeks before Christmas. This seems to give teachers the impression that we have more free time, and thus, more time for homework.
"Remember when we thought we had it bad in first year?" James mutters cynically one evening.
To top off this wonderful new development in our lives, Peeves seems to have found a new hobby. Because of our incessant amount of homework, we constantly travel back and forth from the library, and this gave the poltergeist an excuse to become more familiar with me and my friends, especially my boyfriend.
"Looney, loopy Lupin! Looney, loopy Lupin!" he would cackle, soaring down the corridors and throwing stale bread from the kitchens at him. "Loopy Lupin, I see what you do at night! But where do you run off to, Loopy? Where, where, WHERE?!"
He usually finished this routine with a raspberry to the face, and a curse in the back from me, to which he would scream and fly off down the opposite corridor. It was really quite a hassle to make sure other students didn't hear what he was taunting, and even harder to make sure they didn't know what he was talking about.
Just as we thought we couldn't handle any more, Christmas break begins, and the castle's population thins out. As they had the past few years, parents called their children home for security, and I could estimate that at least ¾ of the school had gone home, leaving the four of us (Peter not included) the only 7th years in the entire school. Yes, just as anyone could have predicted, this year was a vital one for bloodiest wizarding war in history, or so Professor Flitwick told us.
On Christmas Eve, after the feast, the boys and I retreated to their dorm for the night, joking around, reflecting, just being ourselves. It didn't even cross my mind that something was off when James turned out the gas lamps and everyone laid down to get some sleep. I sit awake in the darkness for a few minutes, feeling Remus's warm body laid next to mine, his breathing making the mattress rise and fall in the most subtle way. Suddenly, as I was weighing my options, a warm, soft hand reaches up and pulls on my sleeve, coaxing me down into the most relaxing sleep I've had in a while. Christmas morning begins for us when we hear a tapping on the window.
"James Potter," Sirius mutters, and I hear the squeaking of his bed, so I can assume he's getting up. "It's your damn owl that's woken us this early.""Actually, Pads," Remus calls, leaning up on his elbow to get a better look at Sirius in the bright morning light. "Your shouting woke me up."
I sit up next to him just in time to see Sirius make a very rude gesture in the direction of Remus. I chuckle, and he gives me a mock dirty look.
"It's a letter from your Mum," Sirius announces, tossing the envelope onto the foot of James's bed, and breaking off a bit of old muffin to toss to James's owl.
"Christmas greetings, I suppose," James muses, ripping open the envelope. "Yep."
The day progresses as any with the four of us would. After breakfast, we decide to have our final snowball fight out on the grounds, in the exact spot where we held it when we were first years. It was sentimental, bittersweet, and really made me reflect the past six and a half years of my life. I realized I wouldn't change one single thing to get to where I am today. Just as the fight is about to begin, James and Sirius pop up to get a good look at their opponents, and Remus and I do the same. Then, Sirius does something that momentarily delays the fight. Just as James is about to yell the countdown, he brings his index finger to his lips, kisses it, then raises it and his eyes to the sky.
"This one's for you, baby," he mutters to himself, thinking we hadn't noticed. But we had, and we all give each other very confused looks before brushing it off, and continuing the fight.
After that day, we notice he's begun to pick up the habit, kissing his index finger and brining it to the sky before doing something, something usually involving skill. As we begin our first attempts at apparition, he does this constantly, as if it was bringing him good luck.
But this wasn't the only new habit Sirius Black had picked up on. The observation had been made my James, and voiced to me, Remus, and Peter one night in the common room while Sirius was out. James claimed he was up to something, and he thought he knew what.
"What do you mean, 'up to something?'" Remus asks, quirking an eyebrow at James's odd conviction.
"Haven't you noticed him absent from the common room a bit more than usual?" he says, an evil glint in his eye. "Sneaking around, talking to someone he wouldn't usually be talking to?"
"Not really…" Remus admits, still looking utterly confused.
"Come on, Moony, he's been hanging around a lot of Ravenclaws lately!" James explains in a rushed whisper, obviously excited. Nobody answers for a minute, letting this sink in.
"You don't mean-"
"I think I do," James finishes, bearing a self-satisfied grin as realization washes over Remus's face.
"I don't get it," I voice, and all heads snap to me.
"Me either," Peter admits, shrugging.
"You, Peter, I'm not surprised about," James waves him off and turns to me. "But you, Tonks? Isn't it obvious?"
"No, what does Ravenclaw have to do with anything?"
"Do I have to spell it out for you?" he says sarcastically.
"Obviously," I respond, a bit of bite in my tone. James takes a few seconds to answer, looking around to make sure no one was eavesdropping.
"I think he's after Marlene McKinnon."
I don't respond, confusedly staring back at him.
"Sirius Black? After that nut-case?" I mutter incredulously. "No way."
"She's really grown up, Tonksie."
"But all I can remember about her is how crazy you guys used to make her sound!" I exclaim. "I even experienced her! In 3rd year, remember, she was your date to the ball!"
"I don't like to remember that," James mumbles, blushing.
"Exactly," I make my point. "You guys still don't like her."
"Well, obviously Pads does," Remus muses. "I don't disapprove."
"You don't think she's off her rocker?"
"No," Remus responds reasonably. "I don't. As James said, she's matured."
"Okay then," I sigh. "But don't you think he would've told you guys about it? Don't you tell each other everything?"
"Not necessarily," Remus makes a face and turns to James, who blushes.
"You don't tell us much about Lily, do you Jamesie?" Remus calls him out, wearing a mischievous and self-satisfied smirk.
"What is there to tell?" he replies nervously, wringing his hands.
"Oh, stop with the bullshit," Remus laughs. "We all know you two are together."
"Yeah, that's been established," James mutters, glancing nervously at Remus. "I told you guys back in October that we'd begun a relationship."
"But what since then?"
"What is this, 'hound James with questions about his personal life time?'"
"Hey, you guys got mine out of me," Remus retorts, throwing me a glance when I huff.
"What do you want to know?" James blurts, finally letting his guard down.
"Nothing," Remus admits. "I just love seeing you all flustered."
James rolls his eyes.
"Plus, now I know there's something going on between you two. I'd been speculating, but now I know."
"Good job, Holmes. I. Told. You. That. We. Were. Boy. Friend. And. Girl. Friend. In October."
"I know that," Remus huffs. "I meant I speculated something beyond… first base."
James doesn't answer, but looks very uncomfortable.
"I'd rather not be here for this conversation," I interject, trying to keep my fit of giggles in. I stand up from the couch, tossing my neon blue braids over my shoulder. After kissing Remus goodnight, I continue. "I don't want my mental image of James and Lily to be marred by anything like that. Goodnight."
Several days after the initial speculation, this theory of Sirius being with Marlene is brought up again. It's mid-March, and N.E.W.T.s are approaching fast, so it isn't out of the ordinary to find me, the boys, Lily, and Lydia all crammed around the coffee table in front of the fire trying to get some work done. As we work, I notice James continuously looking up at Sirius, the wheels in his mind whirring, but not at all because of school work. Before I know exactly what's going on, a piece of parchment is slid onto the book Remus and I are sharing.
What do you think is up with him? James had written, the ink still glistening.
Remus makes a face at me, then turns to James and shrugs. James sighs, running his fingers through his hair as Lily picks up on our silent conversation. After another period of silence, James takes action.
"Hey Pads, you okay?"
"What?" Sirius responds, obviously drawn from some thoughts. "Yeah, fine."
"You know, it's been a while since you've been on the dating scene, mate," James coaxes, his voice smooth and charming. His plan is suddenly evident to me. "That seems like a fit group of girls over there,-"
He receives a playful slap on the arm from Lily.
"-why not go and try to talk to one? You're on the Quidditch Team, you're a Marauder. I'm sure they know who you are, and would be more than happy to have a chat."
Sirius doesn't respond, but continues to stare blankly at the girls across the room.
"I don't want to."
This shocks everyone into silence.
"Sirius Black doesn't want to go hit on a girl?" Remus voices, incredulous.
"No," he responds simply. "I think I'm good. Thanks for the suggestion, mates."
Without another word, he turns back to his essay, leaving the rest of us in complete and utter shock.
Yay, another chappie! :D Hope you liked it! I know some of you won't be pleased that I skipped over so much of 7th year, but I think if I would've gone into more detail, it would've been superfluous and dragged, and that's what I'm trying to avoid! So, anyways, I hoped you liked it! (:
By the way, I changed the name of my Criminal Minds fic (now called "It's The Kid's Turn) because there were literally dozens of fics with the name "A Fresh Start." So I changed it! Please go check that out, that would be aweeeeesome-possum. :*
Did I mention it's summer for me? (: Going on a frozen yogurt run tomorrow with my friends! Yum! Well, I'm probably going to go watch Criminal Minds now (go figure).
Please leave a review! :D