Lost in Transit
I brush my damp hair out of my face and peek my head out the door before walking out awkwardly.
I had put Sirius’ borrowed clothes on in the bathroom only to find that they were way too big for me. The waistband of the sweats had to be rolled up several times and the hem of his t-shirt hung over my thighs pretty comically.
“Hey, Sirius,” I call out as I shut the bathroom door behind me, “you know you could’ve just went into my room to get some of my own clothes… hello?”
My eyes sweep the room puzzled. Wait a minute, he’s not even here!
“Wow,” I comment as I plop down onto his bed. Now what? Wait for him here on his own bed? …Okay, no that's awkward. I jump off the bed and wander around the room, scrutinizing all his stuff. Despite its awesome size, the room is actually pretty barren now that I take a good look at it.
I didn't notice while I was in shock from the rapist pedophile ghost, but the entire room actually kind of smells like Sirius too. Some part of my mind found it familiar and almost… comforting. Wait, I know how he smells like now? Thaaaat’s a tiny bit creepy.
As I roll my eyes at the thought of all his fangirls waiting for him back at Hogwarts, my eyes catch the sight of a small desk by the window. It’s covered in scrolls of parchment of a myriad of lengths.
Huh, didn't make him out as much of a writer.
I pull out the wooden chair and collapse onto it, perusing all the writings. I pick one up and bring it closer to the candle light.
“It's… a letter,” I breath out in amazement. “To me?”
I unscroll the parchment a bit more and begin to read aloud softly to myself, “I know you're probably not going to end up reading this as usual, but you know me. I’m just going to write it anyway.”
I stare at the words in confusion. What’s that supposed to mean? I knew him? But… I look at the date. It’s dated last year in the winter, long before we even met at King’s Cross.
“So… it’s that day again. How long’s it been now? Almost seven years? I wonder if you even remember. Some part of me hopes that you don’t remember any of it, if only because that’d mean you not contacting me all these years wasn’t out of loathing. Imagining the unlikely is far more preferable to the truth, but I guess what I’d really prefer is if all this never happened. Empty wishing huh? Wow, this letter is getting depressing. On another note, guess what my mate James and I did today! We got these dung bombs and totally screwed over Professor Gru—”
What in the… what is he talking about?
I drop the letter back on the table and blindly grab for another one. I probably shouldn't even be reading these, but I can't take my eyes away from them. I knew him before. I knew Sirius Black. Or at least he knew me. But why can't I remember?
I glance at the date again. Nearly seven years ago.
“I had this idea to write letters to you today. I know it's stupid and all, but we haven’t seen each other ages and I miss you. But I don’t blame you for not wanting to talk to me. To be honest, I don't even know why I'm doing this. You'll never read this. You'll never see this. You'll probably never even see me again. But I still want to talk to you, even if it’s only just like this.”
Five years ago.
“I just started school today at Hogwarts. I got sorted into Gryffindor! Blimey, can you imagine Mum and Dad's faces when they found out? But it made me wonder what house you'd be sorted into. Hufflepuff because you're the nicest person I know? Ravenclaw because you're so bloody smart it drives me mad? Maybe even Slytherin because you’re a pureblood like me. Or if a god exists in this world, maybe he'd let you join me in Gryffindor. You deserve a place here more than me anyway.”
Five months ago. He must've written it at school and brought it back.
“I saw you today. I saw you for the first time in years. Bloody hell, I should’ve known you’d get so damn pretty once you grew up. You’re still so cheeky it’s hilarious. But… when I looked into your eyes on the platform saw no sign of hatred or even recognition, I won't lie and say that I didn’t breathe a sigh of relief. Well, I won’t lie and say that it didn’t make me feel like shit either. Because I knew you didn't know who I was. Just some guy who helped you with your bags.”
Two days after the last letter.
“I don’t know whether I should be happy or bloody terrified. What were my parents thinking getting me engaged to you? Blimey, how the hell is this going to work? Especially after I pretty much did everything I could to try and make you hate me already (speaking of which, I had no idea I was so bloody good at). Okay, I lied. Not all of that was for your sake. Your angry face is so damn cute, how is anyone supposed to resist? But now that we’re supposedly going to be together for all of bloody eternity or whatever… no, this isn’t going to work out. This needs to end now. Someone give me the will to make it stop. But how the hell am I supposed to hold back?”
I drop the parchment back on the table and press my palm into my forehead, my head reeling. What is going on? These letters negate everything I thought was true about our entire relationship. So, King’s Cross wasn’t the first time I had met him? Then when? And why can’t I remember any of it?
A sharp pain shoots through my head across my eyes and I have to lean against my arms on the desk for support. But when my watering eyes open again I spot something else at the bottom of the letter I had just dropped on the table.
I pick up the parchment again and my eyes glance down at the closing phrase, which was… in surprisingly messy handwriting, especially considering the fact that the rest of the letter was written with extraordinary care. I squint down at the near obscure writing.
The first word seemed to be “Love,” which was crossed out with a quickly drawn line. A second was a “Your friend” with a carelessly scribbled squiggle through it. Third, a very fiercely crossed out “An aquaintance” by an evidently irritated Sirius. But the letter finally ended with a short and simple, “From, Sirius Black.”
Wow, amazing how long it took him to just think of a synonym for “sincerely.”
I let out a short breath in amusement as I gaze over the rest of the letters, but am abruptly cut off by a soft movement behind me.
“Now who’s peeping?” Sirius says, grinning at me from his place leaning against the bedroom door. He pushes himself off and begins meandering towards me. “Hasn’t your mum taught you to keep your hands to yourself?”
I blush and quickly scramble out of the chair. “Where have you been then?”
“Well, I was going to get an extra blanket since you’re so paranoid about sleeping with me,” Sirius explains with a hint of a smirk on his face, “but all the maids probably went to sleep and I couldn’t find anyone, so I just came back here to find you looking through all my stuff. Had fun?” he adds, clearly amused.
I look down to find the letter still clutched tight in my hand and throw it back on the table behind me. “Not exactly?” I reply hastily.
Damn, why’d it come out like a question? I guess because it really wasn’t all that fun. I feel like my mind’s become twice as convoluted after reading those letters. Since when did Sirius Black ever sound so sincere? Do I know him at all? Do I even know myself?
“You know,” Sirius’ voice comments from somewhere a lot closer than I expect it to be.
Once I shake myself out of my own thoughts, I glance up to find him less than a meter away from me. I actually jump in surprise. “W-what, know what?”
Sirius grins at my reaction, but continues, “Y’know, there are usually consequences for such an invasion of privacy.”
“And you’re the one-out-of-ten rarity because you are such a kind and compassionate person?” I say hopefully.
At this, Sirius actually looks up at the ceiling in thought. “Hmmmm, yeah, no,” he concludes. “Where’s the fun in that?”
It’s at this point that I see the glint in his eyes.
He takes a step towards me and I edge away from the desk, trying to keep my distance. “Whaaaat are you doing, Sirius?”
“Nothing.” He grins again and takes two more steps.
Two more steps back.
“Okay, well, I’m warning you! You promised you wouldn’t touch me, playboy!” I retort quickly. “Keeping your word, right?”
He sticks his tongue out at me childishly. “Right, sure I am.”
“Like hell you are—eep!”
My legs collide with the edge of the bed and I fall over on my back, caught off guard.
Before I can push myself up, Sirius crawls over me with his hands on either side of my head. “Dunno what you’re talking about. I’m not even close to touching you,” he says mischievously.
“I am going to bloody murder you,” I mutter through a bright red face.
But Sirius just leans in close. Close enough for me to kiss him if I even moved an inch. “Well,” he says in almost a whisper. I see his arm move up over my head and squeeze my eyes shut. “Let’s… see… you… try!”
And at the last word, I suddenly feel the impact of something soft knocking the wind out of me.
My eyes open to see Sirius’ arm recoiling, one of his pillows in his hand. “Ha, still not touching you!” Sirius calls teasingly from his place now standing on the corner of the bed.
“You ugly troll!” I yell, grabbing a pillow from behind me and throwing it at him, though he easily dodges it.
Sirius laughs and tosses his pillow from hand to hand. “What are you getting all worked up for? I didn’t break any of your little rules,” he taunts playfully as he hurls the pillow at my face once again.
“What about the no-hitting-girls rule, huh?” I retaliate as I catch the pillow and raise it over my head, standing up for a better angle.
But somehow my face breaks into a laughing grin instead of the angry glare I usually shoot at him when he pokes fun at me. I lean over to hit Sirius with the pillow in my hand, but before the cushion can connect with his body he reaches out and grabs my wrists, stopping me altogether.
“Doesn't apply to you,” Sirius teases again. “Since when did you ever act like a real girly-girl?”
“How ironic of you to ask me that, Princess Sirius,” I counter, rolling my eyes. “I don't remember you ever hanging out with enough guys to be considered manly.”
I push back against the force of his hands on my wrists to shove him off, but I feel our footing slip on the comforters and suddenly gravity takes hold of our bodies in completely the wrong way.
To put matters simpler, I promptly fell right on top of Sirius Black on his bed.
“Ugh…” I shake the hair out of my face and reach forward to push myself off of his chest. “Ow, sorry, sorry! I didn't mean to—”
“Master Black, Miss Vance! I heard some ruckus!”
With extraordinary timing, a maid spontaneously decides to push open Sirius' door right at this very moment and walk in.
“Are you both alright—oh!” She takes one look at us on the bed and backs up against the door in shock, inadvertently slamming it abruptly closed. “Oh, I am so sorry, Master Black—I didn't—I didn't realize…” Her face turns a bright pink as she reaches behind herself frantically to turn the doorknob. “It didn't occur to me that you two were—I'll leave you two to—please forgive me!”
And with that she flies out the door and out of sight.
Merlin’s epic and glorious beard, I don’t think I’ve ever been so mortified in my entire life.
“Well, that was awkward.”
I look down at Sirius to see him grinning at me sheepishly.
“You’re telling me!” I mutter as I shove myself off of him, a brilliant red plastered on my own face. “I thought you said all the maids went to sleep!”
Sirius pushes himself onto his elbows, a bit flushed himself. “Right, let me get this straight,” he explains. “I said they probably all went to sleep and I couldn't find any. It's not like I scoured my entire house to make sure!”
“Well…!” I begin to retaliate.
Our lack of words create an uncomfortable silence. Well, could awkward silences ever be comfortable?
“Let's just go to sleep!” I say quickly as I grab a pillow and dive under the covers, facing away from Sirius. Enough trouble has happened tonight involving that playboy. I'm gonna need a couple of hours to wipe my memory of this level of mortification.
“Yeah, sure, I guess,” I hear him reply nonchalantly behind me.
Sure, I guess?
Despite my reluctance to face him from my embarrassment, I turn back around in his bed. “What do you mean, 'I guess'?” I ask skeptically. “What, do you not sleep around this time or something? It's pretty late.”
By late, I mean bloody two in the morning.
Sirius shrugs. “I'm an insomniac. It doesn't matter what time it is at night, I don’t really ever sleep properly.”
I just gape at him. How much more could I possibly learn about this guy in one day?
It was almost as if he read my thoughts because he then continues, “It's not big deal. It's been going on for a few years already.” He chuckles to himself in spite of the whole seriousness of the matter. “That’s probably why I snack on crap twenty-four seven for energy.”
Now that he mentions it, that's true. He does eat a lot on a daily basis. Though I wonder how he stays that skinny despite his perpetual gluttony. Damn all people with high metabolism…
I shake my head, still trying to process all this new information. “Wait, so you don’t sleep, like, at all?” I ask, taken aback. “So, what do you do all night? Write those letters you never send?”
“Depends how I’m feeling that night. Sometimes I go out for a walk or fly around on my broom. You’d be surprised how many things you find to do at night after seven years of mild chronic insomnia, but I started out just writing those letters.” He gives me a mischievous grin. “But you’re here right now, so what’s there to write? I bet you could be a load of help tonight.”
“No-I-can’t!” I say quickly before turning my back to him again in embarrassment.
I feel his arms wrap around my waist under the covers and his head rest against my shoulder. “Oh, c'mon, it's all a part of the act, right? Plus, this way I can probably get a few hours of shut-eye too. Have pity for this poor, poor soul,” he jokes.
Part of the act? Is it really? “What, you need to have your arms wrapped around a chick to fall asleep?” I say exasperatedly, now thankful for the position we're in because he can't see the blush on my cheeks.
“Nah, just you,” Sirius says, snuggling closer to me. “You're warm.”
I feel my body heat up even more as I mutter, “What are you, a dog or something?”
I let the conversation end like that as I sink into the bed and his strong arms. He said it was just an act, but the longer I lie here, the longer I realize that the position is more comforting than awkward. Is that supposed to mean something? Or are our body structures just coincidentally close-fitting?
After a few minutes pass by in silence, I nudge Sirius with my shoulder. “Hey, you asleep yet?”
He snorts. “You're talking to an insomniac here.”
I roll my eyes. “Hey, you said you'd fall asleep if you were holding me, alright?” With some difficulty, I turn around in his arms to face him against his chest. “Okay, well, if you're going to use me as body pillow all night, you're going to have to give me something in return. An answer, specifically.”
He laughs. “Fair enough. What do you want to know?”
I look up into his eyes. “What do those letters mean? The ones you wrote to me.” As hard as I tried to fall asleep, the letters wouldn't escape my mind. I had to ask about them.
Sirius heaves a long sigh and looks down at me. “Do you really want to know?”
I feel my eyelids grow heavy with fatigue, but blink hard a couple of times before replying, “Yeah, of course. Why else would I ask you?”
“So, you really want to know,” he repeats.
“I just told you I di—”
“You'd do anything to find out?”
I raise my eyebrows at him despite the tiredness in my eyes. “Your answer is supposed to be your payment for hugging me while you sleep.”
He gives me a sly grin. “Well, it's not enough for this particular answer. You're gonna have to give me another something in return.”
It felt like lead curtains were trying to pull over my eyes, preventing me from ever knowing the truth. It really was a long day. “Yeah, okay whatever,” I mumble. “What is it then?”
Sirius leans in closer to my face, still grinning broadly. “Well, you’re going to have to…” Suddenly, I feel my eyes close at that very moment against all odds and…
Wait, what happened again?