A/N This is the last chapter, which is really very saddening because this is probably my favourite fic to write. Anyway, enjoy it! (In all its heavenly cliched glory :)
Chapter Fifteen - You Can't Always Get What You Want
"I've been a right bloody idiot."
She groaned loudly, cringing inwardly so violently she was afraid her organs had been crushed.
"I've been a right bloody idiot who liked the thought of Frederick fricking Gooble better than Frederick Gooble himself. My imaginary Frederick Gooble was my supposed Prince Charming, the real Frederick Gooble is a right bloody wanker with no brains or sense of humour and if I wasn't such a right bloody idiot I would have accepted that and moved on."
She groaned again.
"If I wasn't such a right bloody idiot I would have dumped him ages ago and stopped pushing back all these Sirius attractions."
She groaned so loudly the back of her throat felt scalded.
"All in all," Jane said, "You've been a right bloody idiot."
Lydia sat up, shocked, "How long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to know my suspicions about you needing to be admitted to St Mungo's were right." Lily said grimly, "I hope you appreciate that I left James down at the ball to come and talk to you."
"You should go back. I'm quite content to sit here and talk to myself about what a right bloody idiot I've been, but thanks anyway." She added as an after thought before groaning.
"Oh stop that…" Lily said impatiently, hitting her softly on the shoulder. "When were you planning to tell me about your 'almost kiss' with Sirius Black?!"
"Almost kiss?" Lydia asked, "Forget that. We have much bigger issues to deal with."
"Like what?" Jane asked looking confused.
Lydia rolled her eyes and sighed, "Jane, drop the 'almost' from the 'almost kiss.""
"What?" Jane and Lily collectively screeched launching themselves at her.
"Was he a good kisser?!"
"Half an hour ago. Entrance steps. Yes." She groaned.
"But how? Last I heard he was off with Emmy Jones and…" Lily frowned, "Do you actually tell me anything? When I'm ranting about James and how he asked me out and you're berating me for information do you think that in return I might like to hear that you're attracted to Sirius Black?"
"No." Lydia answered. "This is why I'm berating myself. Until about half an hour ago I hadn't admitted it to myself."
"That's not entirely true." Jane said, "You told me."
Lily glared at Lydia accusatively.
"She was the first person I saw after I realised!" Lydia cried in defence, "And she lured me into a sense of trust by telling me her prince Charming had red hair!"
"Did not. You burst into the room and said it straight out."
"Oh whatever." She muttered sullenly, "After that I decided I was going to ignore him. And my feelings. I thought bringing them up at the breakfast table might not constitute as ignorance."
Lily rolled her eyes. "You really are an idiot."
"I think she's an entertainer." Jane piped in in an informative voice.
"Why would you want to ignore them?" Lily asked referring to Lydia's feelings.
"Because he's Sirius Black!" Lydia exclaimed, "And everybody likes him!"
"That's the only reason?" Lily asked with a raised eyebrow.
Lydia sighed in frustration, "Maybe… No… Probably not… I don't know alright! Maybe it's also because when I first met him I hated him immensely and didn't want to go back on my word or something mental like that." She grimaced, "Tonight I have come to the conclusion that I am mental. Completely mental. And I am also a right bloody idiot. A right... bloody... idiot…" She said emphasising every word.
"So, are you and Sirius going out now or…?"
"I have no idea." Lydia muttered miserably, "I ran back inside before he could say anything."
"Er, I don't want to rain on your parade, but why on earth didn't you take him back to the room of requirement and…!"
"Jane!" Lily exclaimed, "We're not all slags like you!"
"I am not a slag!" Jane exclaimed looking wounded, "I'm sexually experienced. My mother says there's nothing wrong with that."
"My mother says 'that' would be my ticket out onto the street." Lydia moaned, "If I started dating Sirius Black then in all likelihood I'd be out on the street."
"Why because he'd pressure you into bed?"
"No because I'd probably be overcome with lust." Lydia supplied, "Oh God… My transition from actual human being to shallow teenager is complete."
Jane and Lily threw back their heads and laughed.
"It's not funny!" Lydia cried.
"I disagree. I find it hilarious." Jane said.
"Yeah well… Fine. If me being a right bloody idiot at least brings happiness into the world I suppose it's not so bad."
"Will you stop going on about what a right bloody idiot you've been?" Lily exclaimed.
"But, I have!" She cried, "I feel so embarrassed! How am I supposed to sort this all out? I don't want to have to turn around and say I actually like him!"
"You snogged him. I'm sure he's figured it out for himself." Jane said with a snigger.
"Just for a minute, get your head out of the bloody gutter and recognise how embarrassing it is." Lydia muttered angrily, "I kept telling him that I didn't like him – that I hated him even – and now I have to turn around and tell him I like him? I mean…" She sighed in frustration, "And I'm also embarrassed about dating Gooble because that turned out to be about as stupid as eating dragon dung. And that I walked away afterwards without saying anything and…"
"I just want to sit here and sulk about what a right bloody idiot I've been, forever."
"You'll have to talk to him eventually."
"I've never appreciated how nice the word 'eventually' is."
"Tomorrow." Lily said firmly.
"I can't! I'm too embarrassed about this whole thing…"
"You're a coward." Lily muttered.
"I'm fine with that. If you're under the impression you're going to bully me into doing something courageous you can high tail it back to Gryffindor common room where you and your noble courage belong."
"So what happened with Gooble then?" Jane asked with a frown, ignoring her last comment.
"I dumped him." Lydia said shortly, "Why didn't you lot tell me what a prick he was?"
Lily rolled her eyes and looked at Jane accusatively as if she had failed to mention that Frederick was a prick. Jane shrugged and said in defense; "She wanted him!"
The sound of a clock chiming rang through the dormitory. Lydia sat up and looked at her bedside clock.
"Merry Christmas." She muttered miserably.
Cheers erupted below and fireworks flew past the dormitory windows.
"I'm going to bed." Lydia muttered climbing in.
"Me too." Jane said climbing in after her.
"Your bed is over there." Lydia said to her in dim wit tones.
"I know but I've had a shitty night too. And My Mum always crawls into bed with me when I've had a shitty time."
"Yes well… Your mother thinks it's acceptable to be a slag."
"Sexually experienced!" Jane cried in protest.
"Lily? Are you joining the shitty night bed?" Lydia asked.
"It's Christmas. I better go back to my dormitory."
"Pffft. Christmas, you want to see Potter!" Jane said aiming a kick at her from under the covers.
"I do not." Lily said blushing furiously.
"You're betraying the sisterhood." Lydia said with a laugh.
Lily rolled her eyes and said; "I'll see you both at lunch tomorrow. Merry Christmas."
And with that she waved them both good bye and descended the stairs.
"Why was your night shit then?" Lydia asked.
Jane sighed, "I saw Christian Messle snogging his girlfriend."
Lydia frowned, "Isn't he the Hufflepuff quidditch captain?"
"Yep. He even makes the Hufflepuff Quidditch robes look sexy."
Lydia barked with laughter. The two girls didn't pay attention to their room mates filtering in from the ball or the late hour, because they both had men in their lives and there was much to talk about. And when Jane fell asleep after the two had exhausted everything that could possibly be said on Christian Messle and Sirius Black (and how good looking they were) and Lydia had reflected on her whole night; she decided she kind of liked being a shallow teenager.
Lydia's eyes fluttered open. She rose slowly from her pillow and blinked uncertainly. For a moment she couldn't remember why a feeling of dread was hanging over her. It was very infuriating to feel dread and not know why it was there.
Oh that's right, I royally embarrassed myself.
She sighed and looked around the dormitory. She and Jane were the only ones still in bed. She looked at the clock and realised that they'd both missed breakfast by an hour.
Jane grabbed the blankets and pulled them to her side of the bed ferociously. Lydia kicked her sharply intent on waking her up.
"What happened?" Jane asked, bolting upright.
"Nothing, it's Christmas."
"Oh, is that all?" She muttered falling back into bed.
"Get up!" Lydia said hitting her with her pillow. "You've got presents you know."
Jane peered over to her bed and eyed the large pile greedily. She looked back and forth from the presents to her pillow as if deciding which was more tempting. After a moment or two she groaned and rolled out from underneath the cover, her decision obvious.
"Merry Christmas!" A bright voice exclaimed. Lydia and Jane looked up; Lily was coming through the doorway holding a gift.
"Here." She said thrusting it into Lydia's arms.
"Merry Christmas girls."
James' greeting was the only warning Lydia and Jane got that he was about to enter their dormitory. They both screeched and grabbed their robes.
"Oh honestly." He muttered indignantly coming into view, "It's not like I didn't see you wearing those dresses last night. They were just as revealing then."
"How did you get up here?" Lydia demanded.
"A couple of second years could prove that; if you think, you are, or something along those lines… Didn't really get it." Lily wrinkled her nose in confusion. "I think it was something to do with Shakespeare because my mother is always reading-"
"Yes thank you Lily I was actually talking to the six foot black haired male impostor." Lydia said quickly cutting her off.
"We marauders have long since perfected the art of getting into the girls' dormitories." James said with a large smile.
"That's not terrifying at all." Lydia muttered, "Remind me to lock the door Jane."
He ignored her and pointed to Lily, "And she's here too and I couldn't stand the separation."
Lily rolled her eyes but a smile was tugging at her lips.
Jane groaned and grabbed another parcel, "Just no affection. It's too early for marauder affection." She threw a significant glance at Lydia when she said this who blushed ferociously and turned away.
"It's never too early for marauder affection." James said with a cheeky grin grabbing Lily around the waist.
"Don't." Lily said with a giggle, shrugging him off, "They both had a bad night last night."
"I heard." James said with a nod at Lydia, "Sirius had had a few butter beers by the time I got back from the ball so he was quite chatty."
Lydia's heart beat erratically. "What did he say?"
"Nothing much." James said with a shrug. "Just that Gooble was a prat and that you looked nice."
"Oh… That's alright then." Her heart calmed a bit.
"He also mentioned that you snogged outside on the entrance steps and that Slughorn caught you and something about you finally dumping Gooble on his perfectly polished arse."
"What?" She shouted.
"You've noticed Gooble's perfectly polished arse?" Jane asked with a snigger.
"Er… Yes." James said quickly, not willing to give away any information about the prank he and Sirius had played on Gooble in their fifth year.
Lily cleared her throat, "Anyway… The Gryffindors are all down in the grounds having a massive snow ball fight. We could sneak you both in."
Lydia gaped at her. Come into contact with Sirius Black? After such a short healing period?
"Thanks anyway," She said thrusting a parcel into Lily's hands and heading to the bathroom to get changed, "But I've got something I need to do."
The corridors had never been so alive at Christmas. Lydia wasn't particularly accustomed to being at Hogwarts in the holidays but she had in her second year as her brother had come down with dragon pox, which was highly infectious. The castle in any case, had been much quieter then.
She could hear the shouts of the Gryffindors below and snowballs would occasionally fly out from nowhere and land on the stone. The Ravenclaws were huddled in the great hall, the Hufflepuffs were singing Christmas carols festively and most of the Slytherins were nowhere to be seen. Lydia felt like a lone soul walking down the corridors glumly, baring her prefect badge clearly on her grey coat so she at least looked like she was doing something constructive.
Prefect patrolling on Christmas morning… No you're not pathetic at all Lydia
She turned to retrace her steps and perhaps bellow at the Gryffindors to watch where they were throwing their snowballs when she spotted Professor Slughorn heading towards her, with a look of determination plastered on his face.
Deciding that it was bad enough that she was doing prefect duty on Christmas day, she turned away – the last thing she wanted to do was get into a conversation about how her potion project was going with Frederick pussy Gooble, or if she was planning on snogging someone else from her potions class.
Slughorn was much too determined to talk however and yelled, "Miss Johnson!"
Grimacing, and no longer able to pretend she hadn't seen him, Lydia turned and said, "Merry Christmas Professor!"
"Yes… Yes… Very merry indeed." He said joyously, slapping his belly affectionately. After a moment he frowned and asked, "Why aren't you with Miss Evans? Or Mr Gooble. Or Mr Black," He added with a slightly confused frown as if remembering so many names was a grave difficulty, "One shouldn't be alone on Christmas!" He patted her on the shoulder, "I'm sure Dumbledore would understand if you skipped prefect duty for one day!"
Sirius' face popped into her head, and she imagined him throwing snow balls feet below them in the grounds and said quickly, "Oh I don't mind Professor!"
He raised one of his eyebrows; she got the brief inclination that he could see through her lie as easily as she could see through nearly headless Nick who was floating down the corridor, humming some of the Hufflepuff's choicest Christmas carols to himself glumly.
"Enjoy the ball?"
"Immensely." She muttered.
They stood for a few moments in an awkward silence and finally he said, "Are you sure there isn't something else you want to be doing right now?"
Telling Sirius I was a right bloody idiot and then snogging him senseless?
She shook her head mentally reprimanding such shallow thinking.
He looked at her intensely for a few more moments, as if analysing her. He said in a dubious voice, "Christmas, is a grand time of year, as it is the one time of year, when one can tell the complete truth."
Lydia wasn't completely sure how to react to this cosy piece of trivia. Deciding that Slughorn was either drunk or just madder than he usually was she said slowly, "Uh… Yes I'll keep that in mind Professor."
He gave her one of his doubtful looks and then sighed, muttering to himself, "Teenagers."
Lydia frowned in confusion, "Excuse me Professor?"
"Nothing, nothing!" He said quickly, "Miss Johnson if you are sure that you have nothing better to do today then would you mind doing me a small favour?"
Lydia nodded, not noticing the devious smile forming on his face.
She'd forgotten how many stairs there were to the owlery. Panting, she promised herself that she would never again agree to do one of Slughorn's 'small favours.' The stairs were quite icy and she'd nearly fallen twice.
She could hear the shouts below, probably coming from the snow ball fight. For a moment she pined to be a part of it; to not be worried whether Sirius Black was down there or not, to be fighting along with him would be even better…
She continued to climb, wondering how her family were fairing with John's persistent whining at having received socks for four consecutive Christmases (courtesy of Great Aunt Cecile.) She wondered what her parents would think of their gifts: Mum would no doubt mutter something about not needing another self drying tea towel and Dad would probably smile in delight at his new book. She knew John would be happy with a cauldron set; she'd spent the majority of her summer on the lawn with him making potions out of mud and grass – and it would certainly shut him up about a new pair of socks for at least half an hour.
She could hear owls hooting and knew she was close to the top, carefully quickening her pace she stepped up a few more steps and stopped.
Sirius Black was leaning on the bricks looking out at the forest.
That bloody sneaky old codger! She thought, scowling at the thought of her potions Professor and his 'Small favour.' Next time a teacher wanted something done they could start a revolution and try doing it on their own. Bloody teachers and their laziness!
She tried to turn around but the ice was too slippery and she fell instead.
Sirius turned around and rolled his eyes.
"Do you want me to perform that sole sticking charm now?"
She ignored him and said outraged; "You're supposed to be down there fooling around in the snow!"
He shrugged and looked out at the forest again. Feeling her cheeks go warm she knew that if she didn't start a conversation soon the situation would border on awkward, which she really couldn't afford in her already embarrassed state.
"Well what are you doing here anyway?"
He sighed and said, "I…"
"Needed to post last minute presents?" She suggested quickly issuing the packages in her arms – Horace Slughorn's personal Saint Nick contribution. He eyed them hungrily for a moment and then turned away, "Nah."
"Well at least you're organised. More than I can say for Slughorn!" The words tumbled out of her mouth in such a quick fashion she wondered if he'd understood them.
She coaxed a large owl down from the rafters, nervously glancing back at Sirius every now and then. This certainly wasn't how she had imagined their first meeting. He was acting very strangely. The owl grew tired of waiting for her to tie her parcel and pecked her on the hand. Scowling she paid the owl more heed and tied the parcels to its leg securely. It drooped with the weight but hooted in obedience before flying off, hovering lower than it usually would have.
She took a few tentative steps towards him, finally resting against the ledge, still wanting to turn and run. Her avoidance plan had been tainted which left her with one option: Apologising. How did she start such a ridiculous apology?
Sirius… I'm a right bloody idiot. Pitch me over the side of this wall or snog me…
Not for the first time that day she reprimanded herself for imaging herself in such a close embrace with Sirius.
"I'm not organised." Sirius said bitterly bringing her out of her trance, "I just don't send my family presents."
"Why not?" Lydia asked with a frown forgetting all about her apology.
"Because they don't really speak to me much nowadays. I moved out."
"You moved out?" Lydia gasped.
"Well they moved me out. Said I wasn't welcome home. To be honest, it's a big relief. I don't get on too well with my folks." He stopped for a moment and looked down at his feet, "But sometimes, I like the idea of family."
Lydia looked down at her feet as well, "Yeah, sometimes we like the idea better than the thing itself I suppose."
Sirius nodded and looked up again, "I don't want to get all angsty. It's just; the holidays magnify the bad things."
Lydia nodded, "So your family they're…"
"Pure bloods." Sirius muttered, "Obsessed. "
"Not." Sirius finished for her, "Yep. I'm the big family disgrace."
Lydia didn't know what to say to that. What could she say to that? "I'm sure they love you."
Sirius looked away for a moment and said, "I'm sure they do too. Just not as much as they love their blood status."
A silence fell over them. Lydia put her hand on his arm in a way she hoped achieved comfort. She thought of her own family at home, probably crowded around the fire screeching madly at all the presents. Her family had always been quite stable. Her parents fought occasionally but never in front of her and John.
Sirius placed his hand over hers and squeezed it. Lydia wondered briefly if her family would like Sirius. Her mother would probably adore him. Her father would probably want him locked up in Azkaban. John would probably tag around after him (he constantly sought the attention of older boys).
"Sirius…" She started her voice shaking somewhat, "I… I've been a right bloody idiot."
His family induced frown fell and he smirked, "Well I don't mean to sound like a prat but I kind of already knew that."
She rolled her eyes and continued, "And I want to say sorry for going out with Frederick Gooble."
Sirius raised an eyebrow, "You don't have to apologise to me! I'd be more worried about your self of being; it must be in tatters after the trauma of dating Gooble."
She grinned and looking out at the forest, she said, "You have to turn everything into a joke don't you?"
He thought about it for a moment, "I suppose I do. We'd all go mad if we didn't joke."
She laughed and said, "Well, I've got a pretty good joke too. It's incredibly shallow but I've learnt that incredibly shallow things are often good for the soul."
He turned towards her with a frown, "Oh yeah what's that?"
"You've got to promise not to laugh."
Sirius rolled his eyes, "You usually order people not to laugh when you tell jokes? Doesn't that slightly defy the point?"
"No not really." She said with a laugh, "This joke's unique. I'm serious if you laugh I'm going to pitch you over the side of this wall."
"And I fully believe you." Sirius said.
"Okay…" She took a deep breath, "Though I've tried to squander it with all my might, I have a small crush on you."
A small smile formed on Sirius' lips.
"You said you wouldn't laugh!" Lydia cried in protest slapping him on the arm.
"I'm smiling." He said, his words sounded eerily familiar, "There's a difference."
She burst out laughing then, remembering what she had said to him in the potions store cupboard during their first detention. She stopped laughing and looked at him. His eyes had their usual mischievous glint and there was a cheeky smile playing on his lips. She began to think that maybe she liked that better than a heart shatteringly honest smile.
"So." She asked inching closer to him, "What have you got to say that?"
He smiled and inched closer to her, when her nose was nearly touching his he said; "I'd say, I kind of already guessed that from last night."
She rolled her eyes.
"And, just like last night, I'd say you're seriously getting in the way of my whole 12 step celibacy plan."
"In all fairness," She said, "You seriously got in the way of my Prince Charming."
He closed the gap between them and kissed her. It struck her that if all she had to pay to have Sirius kissing her in the owlery – kissing her with a vigour she might add – was doing a small favour for Slughorn, then it was well worth the price. She barely had time to mentally giggle at this before Sirius drew away and said, a mischievous grin playing at his lips, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."
A/N I can actually imagine you all covering your ears (or eyes technically as you're reading) and screaming; "NO MORE CLICHES! NO MORE!"
Although I did have a little idea in my head about a sequel. At the moment this idea is not really comedy and I don't think it will be set at Hogwarts (though there will probably be Hogwarts "Flashbacks" - What can I say? The influence of Lost is dangerous) If you'd like to see this idea turn into a fic of some kind, let me know :)
Thanks to everyone who reviewed, or added this to their alerts or favourites. :) I appreciate it muchly and I'm afraid to say that my ego has increased ten fold because of it. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't review this last one, because there's a Harry Potter character of your choice (decided to branch out from just the marauders for those out there who love the others as well :), a chocolate pudding and a hearty snog from Sirius on offer if you do review. So please do!