A Little Too Close
Remus and I joke around during the entire walk back to the Portrait Hole, but the moment I step into the Common Room, my eyes catch sight of someone sitting on the couch facing the fireplace. Someone with black hair.
I freeze in the middle of laughing at a comment Remus made about one of Peeves' recent pranks and stare fixatedly at Sirius’ back. Don't know why I'm thinking this right now, but… I wonder what he said to Ellie.
Some part of me vaguely registers Remus patting me lightly on the back. “Uhh, hey, I'm going to crash, okay?” He pauses. “Er, g’night then?”
I hear him go up to the Boys' Dormitories and then jump suddenly at the sound of the door closing. Oh shoot, I didn't say good night back to him! I must be more out of it than I thought. But unfocused as I may be, I turn my attention back to the playboy, who, oddly enough, hasn't seemed to notice that I'm even here yet.
I edge closer to him stealthily and am just about right next to him when I bellow into his ear, “SO, HOW'S IT GOING, MR. WALKING GENITALS?”
“What the bloody—crap!” Sirius nearly falls off the couch in shock.
I flop myself down into the space next to him on the couch. “That's what you get for zoning out like you did,” I point out, trying not to burst into laughter.
Sirius' face flushes with embarrassment for a moment, but then he looks at me annoyed. “I wasn't zoning out, I was just thinking! And what's this walking genitals crap?”
I gape at him in mock surprise. “What are you talking about? Are you telling me you're not a give-me-twenty-cents-and-I'll-get-you-laid machine?” I smack my knee. “Merlin’s beard, and I thought I was always right!”
Sirius just rolls his eyes and stares back into the fire with a sigh. “What do you want?”
I raise my eyebrows, taken aback.
Whoa. Did he just turn down a fight? We can't go minutes without having a row and I was just out for a couple of hours. Now, he's not up for it? That’s it. It’s over. The world as we know it is going to end.
But despite my instinct to keep arguing with him, I can’t help but ask him about what happened. “You talked with Ellie?” I say as I grab a pillow and hug it to my chest. It came out more as a comment than a question.
“Yeah,” he replies, not bothering to look up at me.
“What… did you guys end up talking about?” I ask tentatively. Honestly, I don't know why I'm asking at all.
There’s a moment of awkward silence, but then Sirius heaves another sigh and answers simply, “I turned her down.”
“Wait.” I turn towards him in amazement. “You did what?”
Sirius turns to me with a strange look on his face. “What’re you getting all surprised for? I’m engaged to you, so I have to stay faithful or whatever, right?”
Caught off guard once again. That’s the first time Sirius has said the word engaged since he’d read his parent’s letter in Defense Against the Dark Arts. For some reason, hearing the words on his lips made me flush.
“It's not like I want to be engaged to you!” I retort quickly, willing the heat in my face to flow back down.
“Yeah, well—!” Sirius starts to retaliate, but then turns instead to stare back into the fire. “I don't know why I rejected her actually,” he admits in a low voice.
He doesn't know?
“Well, that’s why I was surprised earlier, to be honest,” I say thoughtfully. “I mean, you were with her the longest, right?”
Sirius looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “Where'd you hear that? Oh wait, don't answer that. James, obviously.” He sighs again and continues, “I’m not sure dating someone for a long time is actually any indication of how I feel. I mean, I tried, but she would never be—” He pauses. “I don’t know. Just can't take this commitment thing, I guess.”
I laugh nervously. “Why? Do you have some sort of horrible past that scarred you for life or something?”
He just glances at me and then shrugs. “Sort of.”
Wait a minute, I was totally joking.
“Well, not sort of—I mean, not really,” Sirius continues in my silence. “It was a long time ago, so the girl probably doesn't remember me anymore. It’s not really important.”
I nod slowly. “Okay… I guess?”
That was weird. I mean, I said it to kind of lighten the atmosphere, but he actually sounds kind of serious about this. Blimey, I wonder what happened to him back then that made him so reckless when it comes to relationships.
But before I can even ask, Sirius turns around on the couch to glance around the Common Room. “Looks like everyone already went to the dorms to crash,” he comments in mild-surprise.
I sit up straight in my seat and look around myself. Is it really that late? “Guess so,” I reply absentmindedly.
Sirius suddenly spins back around to grin at me. “So, it's just us, huh?”
I stare at the crackling fire and repeat slowly, “Just… us… huh?”
I'm alone. In a room. All alone in the Common Room with Sirius Black. Why do I get the feeling that this isn't a good thing?
“Well, yeah,” says Sirius with a duh look on his face. He then jumps up from the couch and stands to face me. “Well, let's get started then!”
Yeaaahh… let’s get started—Wait, what? No, I knew it. This is really bad.
“H-hey!” I spring up in alarm and back away from him a few meters. “Stupid playboy! Better not be thinking—just 'cause there's a girl and a guy in a room—you wouldn't dare—!”
“Wouldn’t dare what?” he says innocently.
No, mate, you are far from innocent.
Sirius takes a step closer and I take one step back. This continues until, crap, my legs hit the back table by the wall. This is bad. Okay, defense tactics. Be, uh, assertive. And, erm, aggressive!
“What d'you mean 'what', you crazy git?” I snap angrily, but he just grins at me again. Bloody hell. This isn't working, I'm too freaked out! “Y-you better not do any… any… stuff to me tonight!”
Sirius leans even closer until he's only centimeters away from my face. “Stuff?” he repeats. He then looks up at the ceiling in mock thoughtfulness. “Ohhh, you mean stuff? Like that kind of stuff? Like… bring you up to my dorm and do stuff stuff?”
I just nod horrified. Blimey, I can't even muster any sound to make anymore.
He places his hands on either side of me on the table. Oh, bloody hell. Oh, bleeding bleeding fires of the underworld. Oh, great big… I need a thesaurus.
“I'll tell you from experience, Cecilia,” he whispers in my ear, “It's a lot more fun to do it down here. Out in the open… where someone can walk in any second.”
OH MY GOD. So he’s that kind of guy? This is worse than I thought! I see him lean closer and I shut my eyes tightly. This has got to be some crazy nightmare! I brace myself for whatever is going to happen and…
I hear something move behind me and feel Sirius' arms pull away.
I open my eyes just in time to get whacked in the head by a rather large Transfiguration book. GEEZ, what happened the no-hitting-girls rule?!
As I swing my arms over my head in pain, I hear Sirius' voice: “You git. Did you forget we had extra homework together? Get over here and start studying!”
I peek through a crack between my arms and see him turning around to go back to the couch.
“Oh, phew…” I drop my arms and almost collapse from relief.
So he was talking about studying down here. Now I feel perverted. But he obviously knew what he was implying before, soooo… I guess I don't feel that bad? Okay, I feel pretty bad.
Upon hearing my sigh of relief, Sirius spins around to face me again with the Transfiguration book hanging in his hand over his shoulder. “What're you phew-ing about? You think I'd actually do that kind of stuff to you?”
I fold my arms and look at him in exasperation. “Well, yeah! You’ve only already done it to… hmm…” I look up in mock thought. “Only every other girl in the school! If you haven't noticed yet, I'm a girl too!”
I expect him to make some witty comment about my gender or maybe even lack there of, but he just hits me in the head with the Transfiguration book again and says in an irritated voice, “Idiot! You actually trust gossip like that? As if my fooling around would ever get that far! Of course, I’d wait for someone I actually li—”
I raise my eyebrows. “Actually what?”
He turns away abruptly. “Never mind.”
I run after him, more curious now than ever. “Wait, what were you going to say?” I stop in front of the couch. “I’m not going to stop bothering you till you tell me what you were going to say.”
“It wasn't anything important! How would information about my love life do you any good anyway?” Sirius reaches over and pulls the table in front of the couch closer to us. The impact of the edge of the table to the back of my knees makes me fall face first onto the sofa.
“Just start the homework,” he says, flipping through the pages of the Transfiguration book.
After muttering a lovely assortment of curses, I grudgingly flip myself over on the couch and pull a roll of parchment and quill towards me. As much as I want to know what he was going to say, Sirius is right. If I want any sleep tonight, I'm going to have to get to work on this thing.
I’ve changed my mind.
Sleep is not even going to be possibility tonight. In fact, the most we've actually gotten down of the parchment was our names and house! This is ridiculous.
I stretch my arms behind my back with a jaw-splitting yawn. “Oi, Sirius, I don't think the information we need is even in this book.”
Sirius feebly flips through a few more pages before slamming the book closed. “Yeah, you're right,” he replies as he leans back against the pillows on the sofa. “I guess we'll just have to extrapolate from information we already know or something.”
I scratch my head thoughtfully as I think back to my homeschool teachings. “I think I did some research about this topic at home a while back,” I say slowly, trying to search through all the useless information in my mind for the needed facts. (And, boy, I'm telling you… I have loads of useless information.) “But I can’t quite remember all the details…”
“You better,” Sirius warns gravely, “because if we don't get this essay turned in by tomorrow, for sure McGonagall is going to give us a week's worth of detentions. She's just like that.”
What the? How did this all come down to depending on me?
I turn on him exasperatedly. “Hey, stop stressing me out! The whole reason we're even doing this is because of you!”
“Well, if you didn't yell so loudly in class, then she wouldn't even have noticed!”
“Then you shouldn't have bothered me in the first place!”
“Fine,” Sirius huffs and reaches over to grab the Transfiguration book off the table. “If you don't want to do it so much, I guess you won't be needing this.”
“Hey, I was going to use that for reference! I don't want detention either!” I reach for it, but he turns around so his back is facing me and holds it out of my reach. I grab at it again. “You're so immature! Give that—oi, give it back!”
I reach over his shoulder, but evidently, even sprawled on his back, my girly arms barely reach the length of his. Should've known as much.
Sirius smirks. “Oh yeah? Let's see you try and get it!” He waves it tauntingly just at the tips of my fingertips.
“Let's see you try and get this, jerk!” I whack him over the head. Hard. “GIVE IT BACK!”
“Bloody hell, alright already!” Sirius relents, trying to dodge my tiny girl fists. “Hey, cut it out!”
In the middle of another smack across his shoulder, he grabs my hand and pulls me forward to stop my hitting him. But instead of flopping against his back, I lose my balance and land on his shoulder, my mouth accidentally bumping into the side of his head.
Sirius gives a jolt in shock. “AGH! What're you doing?” he demands, spinning around to face me.
“What's your problem?” I fold my arms in irritation. “Sorry I bumped into you, but you're the one that pulled me, so it's your own fault—wait, are you blushing?”
He puts his hand over his ear and says defensively, “No, I'm not!”
What utter lies. His face is definitely red, so why is he… I attempt to suppress a fit of giggles in realization. “What? Your ear is your sensitive spot? What are you, a dog?”
Sirius just glares and me and then stands up and walks towards the stairs up to the boys' dormitories. “I'm going to sleep.”
I jump off the couch and run after him a few steps before stopping behind the sofa. “Hey, what about the essay?” I call to his retreating back.
“I'll do it before class tomorrow! Worry about your own essay, dumbass!” he yells back without turning around.
“RUDE!” I yell back.
Ugh, what is with him?
I walk back over to the front of the sofa, grumbling. “Man, if he could do it himself in the first place, what was the point of trying to make me remember everything? I hate this guy so mu—AGH!”
I sprint back to the table, searching frantically through the various pieces of parchment for the seventh year Transfiguration book I had earlier. Bollocks, it's not here anymore! Sirius must have taken it when he ran back up to the dormitories!
I collapse back onto the sofa and heave a huge sigh.
Sirius Black. Damn that playboy.