I headed back down the stairs after taking a shower and washing the smell of quidditch practice off of me. I threw my hair into a pony tail, and did not neglect spraying a bit of perfume in the crook of my neck before I headed down to meet Sirius. He was in the same spot that I left him, though he had apparently grown tired of reading his book, so he stared at the floor as he waited. He stood up as soon as he saw me appear, and he held out his arm.
"Shall we?" he said with a small smile. I took his arm as he led me out of the common room.
"Sirius, it's past dark. We're not supposed to be out of Gryffindor tower," I protested, trying to pull him back through the portrait hole, but to no avail.
"Will you calm down?" he said, looking left and right through the corridors. "I'm an expert at sneaking. Just keep quiet until we get out of the castle." I silently brought my hand up to my mouth and gestured locking my lips with a key. I let him lead me down many staircases and out a small door towards the back of the castle. It opened up on the other side of the greenhouses and toward the lake.
"I never knew there was an exit there," I said quietly, still locked onto Sirius's arm.
"Not many people do. James, Remus, Peter and I know every nook and cranny of this entire castle. That's why we're so good at sneaking around," he explained with a wry smile. We continued to walk further from the castle toward the lake, the lights shining from the window getting fainter. The lake looked like glass, and was so dark against the sky. It was no wonder they called it the Black Lake. I could barely discern where the lake ended and the night sky began. A chill surged through me as a breeze picked up over the water. I gripped Sirius tighter as I shivered. He must have noticed, since he unlocked his arm from mine and draped it across my shoulder, pulling me close for warmth. He didn't say a word until I was ready to speak. We walked along the lake for fifteen minutes in silence, enjoying each other's company and indulging in the closeness of our bodies. I was very grateful for his patience.
"Sirius," I said softly, trying to keep my voice low as if someone might hear what I was about to say. He hummed in acknowledgement. I took a deep breath, about to grant him the knowledge he had sought for days. "There is a reason you didn't know me before now." My body stiffened. I still wasn't sure how this was all going to pan out.
"I know," he said coolly. "I was just waiting for you to be ready to tell me why." His words were so smooth, as if he did not have a single care in the world keeping him from content. My stomach wretched as I prepared myself to tell him everything, while all the while, he was as calm as the October night we strolled through.
"You're not going to believe me when I tell you," I stalled. Sirius stopped and stood in front of me, placing his hands behind my neck. Chills shot through my body as his gaze penetrated through me.
"Marilyn, nothing you could possibly say would cause me not to believe you," he said, his eyes holding my stare. "You trust me with whatever it is you're about to tell me, and I give you my word." He didn't look away until I nodded that I understood. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders again and we continued walking down the shore of the lake.
"I'm not exactly from here," I said, not knowing fully how to explain. Sirius just nodded, silently asking me to speak further. "I mean," I stumbled over the words, "I'm from a different time, from the future." I winced as if I was waiting to get hit by a double-decker bus. Sirius pursed his lips, attempting to digest my very out-right statement. "I know it sounds unbelievable. I didn't believe it either when Dumbledore told me." I felt so frazzled. My mind was going in all sorts of directions. The fact that Sirius wasn't saying anything made me all the more dislocated. I looked at him, practically begging him to say something.
"Well," he began, "that certainly explains a lot." We continued to walk around the lake in silence. I kept quiet in order for Sirius to gather his thoughts. I knew it was a lot to take in, and I decided to be patient. After another fifteen minutes, "How?" was the only thing he could come up with to ask me. But I obliged.
"I went into the Room of Requirement in my own time, and came out in your time. That's really all I know about it," I said, trying to sound calm, as if this sort of thing happened all the time.
"The Room of Requirement?" He asked, sounding very puzzled, like the mention of a room he had never heard of stumped him more than finding out I had skipped through time.
"So much for knowing every nook and cranny of the school, Sirius," I said as both of us started laughing. "Maybe I'll show it to you sometime," I said with a wink. I felt the tension lessen as we held each other chuckling in the cool October air. A few more minutes passed before Sirius spoke again.
"So what of Zephyros Horsefeather?" He asked. I could tell the thought had just resurfaced in his mind. I had to think for a few seconds how I was going to approach this topic.
"Well," I began, the shakiness returning to my voice. I imagined that anything else I told Sirius would not come as much of a shock as my initial secret. "Zephyros, later in life, of course, is my father." Sirius furrowed his brow, like he was trying to comprehend how that was possible. I stayed silent as I watched him trying to work it out in his head. There was not much else I could elaborate on the subject.
"So your father is here at Hogwarts," he said as if he was figuring a mathematical equation in his head, "and you're here at Hogwarts at the same time." All I could do was nod. It was almost too much for me to even think about. "Well that's a bloody mess, isn't it?" He said, laughing. "What about your mother?" I just shrugged.
"Her name is Elektra. I have no idea her last name. I'm going to assume she is in Slytherin as well," I said, looking at Sirius, expecting him to answer. He gave a quizzical look and nodded.
"Yes, I think there is a girl named Elektra in Slytherin. She's a real frigid bitch." I just smiled. I was glad I was not the only one who disliked my parents. I felt very close to Sirius in this moment. It was like I was melting into him, and he was becoming part of me.
We continued around the lake for nearly another hour, talking about my past and how much things had already changed for the better. Sirius seemed genuinely interested in everything I had divulged to him. He was now the only person who really had a good idea of who I was. We stopped at the dock and dangled our feet off the edge, leaning against each other and watching the stars move across the water as it got later into the evening. Time seemed to slip away when I was with him. It didn't matter how late it was. I felt so at ease when I was with him. In his arms was where I felt most at home. We sat and peered out over the lake for what felt like hours. I felt my eyelids getting heavy with sleep.
"Sirius, I think it's getting late," I mumbled sleepily, resting my head on his shoulder, trying to keep my eyes from closing.
"It's nearly midnight," he said, looking up at the moon and judging the time by its location in the sky.
"So resourceful," I muttered through a yawn. I had begun to stand up when he grabbed my arm and pulled me back down.
"Stay with me," he said, his eyes reflecting the ripples of the water, "just for a little bit longer." I silently obliged as he pressed his forehead against mine, and then kissed my temple softly. I let out a contented sigh as he pulled me closer to him in his arms.
When we finally decided to head back up to the castle, Sirius grabbed my hand and laced his fingers through mine. It felt so right.
"I feel so much better now," I said, swinging my arm playfully as we trudged up the hill. He gave a small laugh.
"I have a secret too, Marilyn," He said quietly. "Do you want to see?" He stopped on the hill and waited for me to nod. "Okay, but promise not to scream or anything." He took a few steps away from me and gave me a mischievous smirk, one I was already very accustomed to. The next thing I knew, the spot where Sirius had stood was now occupied by a massive black dog, which started bounding around me playfully. I couldn't contain my giddy laughter as he came up to me wagging his tail. I scratched behind his ears as he licked my hand affectionately.
"This is so cool," I said as I stroked his head. He transformed back into a human and smiled at me. "That is some secret, Sirius." He wrapped his arm around me again as we continued walking up the hill.
"Thanks," he said, nearly out of breath. "James and Peter are Animagi as well."
"What about Remus?" I asked innocently. I felt Sirius tense up.
"We'll save that for another day," he said, although I was sure that he was never going to tell me a secret that was not his to tell, and I was not going to push for it.
"Can you teach me?" I asked as we approached the small door in the back of the castle. Sirius gave me a quizzical look.
"It's not as easy as you may think. It takes a lot of practice and skill to," I cut him off.
"Are you trying to say I'm not skilled?" I said teasingly. "I'll have you know, Sirius, that I am the most skilled witch of my class." That was not entirely true. Hermione Granger was the smartest and most resourceful of us all, but I followed a close second. Sirius merely chuckled.
"We'll see," he said as he cracked the door to see if anyone was around. "But if your Animagus turns out to be a sloth or a platypus or something, we won't let you hang out with us. It would be too embarrassing." I gave a good punch on his shoulder as we sneaked through the door and headed up toward Gryffindor tower. We reached the common room without anyone noticing us creeping through the corridors. The room was empty and the fireplace was just burning cinders. I headed toward the stairs when Sirius whispered after me. I turned around and saw him with his arms crossed over his chest. "No goodnight kiss?" He pouted playfully. I trotted over and kissed him on the cheek. His exasperated sigh told me that he was looking for a little more than that. I turned around and headed up the stairs.
"Goodnight, Sirius," I said drowsily. "See you in class tomorrow." I reached the top of the stairs and shut the door to the girls' dormitory.
"Goodnight, Marilyn," Sirius whispered. "See you in my dreams tonight." He smiled to himself and trudged up the opposite staircase to meet his loving bed.