Wow, it's been ages since I uploaded a Harry Potter fic, hasn't it? Ohhh...this is bad. My poor Sirius must've felt rather unloved. Hehehe.
Well, this is an idea that came to me while attempting to do my 'Torts A and Legal Method' reading for tomorrow (and let me tell you, that stuff is B-O-R-I-N-G!) Anyway, there's no pairing to this story, it's just...angst, and, as the title says, a surprise conversation between two people who hadn't expected to talk to each other in this manner.
Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything to do with the series "Harry Potter" –it all belongs to J.K. Rowling. Except for Sirius. He's mine. What's that? Oh, yes, it's true. Just ask him yourself, if you don't believe me.
...Sigh, not like you believed me anyway, but...if only!
And now, on with the story!
The Astronomy Tower; home to surprise conversations:
As she walked into the Astronomy tower, a habit that had developed since her first year whenever she wanted to seriously think about something, the 6th year student paused upon seeing a dark figure seated on one of the window ledges.
A displeased expression found itself on her face as she stood where she was for a moment, trying to make out the figure. This wasn't the first time that she had encountered other people in the tower, but it was the first time that she encountered just one person. The people she usually encountered were couples, delighting in the view and the...romantic setting of the place.
The sudden cough from the seated figure drew her attention back to him. From the looks of things, he still hadn't noticed her -well, she had been silent upon entering for a reason. Even for a prefect, it wouldn't look good explaining to Filch why she was out of bed at that hour, especially when none of the prefects were on patrol that week.
Sighing, she wondered what she should do. She saw only two honest options; either go up to the figure and make him/her (it looked more like a male, and the cough had sounded...masculine) aware of her presence, or to just turn around and leave.
But she didn't want to leave; it was 'her' spot after all. Wasn't it? Ah, yes, of course it was. Making her decision, she took a few brisk steps forward, heading towards the seated figure. Besides, students weren't supposed to be up at this hour of the night anyway.
"...You're not supposed to be up at this hour, don't you know that?" She watched, half-alarmed, as the figure jumped, and her hands automatically reached out to grasp onto his arm, fearing that he would somehow manage to fall through the bar-less windows. As she held onto him, she made a quick mental note to tell the Head-Boy that they needed to do something about the windows in the Astronomy tower -for the students' safety.
"Lily?" Hearing the somewhat startled voice calling out her name, she brought her mind back to the present, where she was still holding onto the male's arm. And through the meagre amount of light that the waning moon offered her, she felt herself sighing inwardly.
She wouldn't have recognized that voice...but the looks were something unmistakable. After all, who else at Hogwarts had that pale, perfect skin, with contrasting dark hair? And, having been around the school for six and a half years, she had yet to see a more...clear pair of grey eyes on a person's face.
"Black." Simply because he had called her by her first name didn't mean that she had to return the courtesy. "What're you doing here?" And just like that, her 'hardworking Gryffindor-Prefect" mode was back in place. "You're not meant to be wandering around at this time of night. Honestly, when will you learn?" She peered around the tower-room, a suspicious expression on her face as she did so. "And where's your other half? Where's Potter hiding? Let me-"
"-tell you I'm going to tolerate it. This has gone on for far too long. Do you honestly think that-"
"-you are above the rules here at Hogwarts? That what applies to every other student here doesn't apply to you? That just because of your noble heritage, nothing applies to you and you can just traipse around the school whenever you wish? I should have -"
"-That's enough Evans." Lily stopped her ranting at the icy tone laced in the male's voice. If she had been any other girl, she would have actually paid attention to his words, and would have probably cowered before turning around and fleeing the tower.
But she wasn't any other girl, was she?
"Excuse me, but what gives you the right to stop me like that?" she questioned, glaring down at him. "It's a free world, Black. I can say whatever I want without the likes of you trying to stop me."
The dark-haired male nodded slowly, letting out a somewhat forced laugh as he did so.
"You're right," he admitted, after a moment's pause. "It is a free world." He turned his gaze to the sky outside. "Hence, I don't need to be back in my room -I'll go there whenever I feel like it."
Lily Evans found herself being forced to take a few deep breaths, in an attempt to force her fiery temper down. She honestly didn't know how he did it, always managing to say the right things to get her all riled up. Yes, Potter was simply infuriating with all of his antics and proclamations of love...but Black…Black was just a different story.
Black made her want to launch into an argument straight away. He made her want to drop the 'sweet, intelligent and caring' act, that was so much a part of her, and just...lash out, inflicting pain through her words.
Black, she supposed, just made her want to...rebel.
Or was it that he made her want to be herself, without feeling the pressure to be someone else?
Maybe...maybe Black just -
-liked confusing people?
"I don't know how you managed to remain in school, without being expelled, for all this time," she said, pushing aside her thoughts as they started to make her mind run in circles.
Sirius Black grinned. He was still staring at the sky outside so, technically, she couldn't see him...but she just knew that he grinned. She didn't know how; she just did.
"Well then, that makes two of us," he said, his voice devoid of the usual...humour that would have been attached to a comment of that nature. "Maybe Dumbledore realizes how good I am for the school?" Lily couldn't help but snort at the suggestion. Good for the school my ass. "...Or maybe my folks used their 'connections' to ensure that I stayed here, no matter what I did. Even good people will do anything you ask of them, if given the right...incentive..."
Lily stared hard at the back of his head, a frown marring her pretty face. Had he...just said what she thought he had said?
"You actually think that your parents would have bribed the school committee?" she questioned, just to clarify things. The seated figure nodded. "...Are you serious?" The moment she said it, she cringed, awaiting the usual smart-aleck reply she got whenever anyone asked that particular question. It was practically inevitable, and she knew that she had set herself up for that one.
"They may hate my guts, but they wouldn't want an un-educated Black son, who just happens to be the heir to the freaking family."
Lily Evans blinked.
What? Where's the smug grin? And the 'why yes, I am Sirius'...?
"Give yourself a bit more credit, Black," she said, before she could stop herself. "Maybe you haven't been expelled because you are actually a pretty good student -all your stupid antics aside, of course. Stupid antics which count for about 89 of what you do..."
"89..." echoed Sirius, before turning around to face the girl, with a slight smile on his face. "Is that really what you think?" He didn't wait for an answer as he turned back to staring out of the sky. "Maybe Dumbledore pities me. After all, there's not a single person in this school who doesn't know how things are going with me and my oh-so-dear family..."
At this comment, the pretty red-head had to fight quite a bit to stop her jaw from dropping. This was not, and she meant not what she had expected to hear coming from Sirius Black's mouth. Ever.
"Pity?" She shook her head. "I don't think the words you and pity go together in the same sentence, Black. Unless it's 'pity' for the poor unfortunate soul you played your latest prank on." She waited this time, knowing that she had intentionally set herself up for another one of his smart-aleck comments.
Mainly along the lines of; 'pity? I'll have you know that by making them the target for my next prank, I happened to increase their popularity tenfold! Pity...hmphf, never heard a more insane thing in my life!'
"Then you'd be surprised, Evans..." There was something about the...distant note in his voice that caused the prefect to shuffle her feet somewhat awkwardly. "Even people as arrogant and selfish like me do have a case for pity..."
Something, thought the red-head, is seriously wrong. Since when does Sirius Black talk about himself in this way?
"So what you're saying is that you'd like to have people pity you?" Disgust swelled inside her gut as she stared at the back of his head once more. "What for, so that your popularity can increase? So you can have more girls than you originally did? So you can revel in the attention?"
When he turned around to look at her, she wasn't quite sure what caused her breath to hitch in her throat, or what caused the seemingly painful tug on her heart.
Maybe it was the somewhat sorrowful expression on his face, or maybe it was the depth of the warring emotions in his usually clear grey eyes.
"Popularity, Evans?" he let out a bitter laugh. "It means nothing to me. Nothing." He sent her a dry smile. "I would give up my so-called popularity any day, if it could mean that I would have...a normal life, without expectations, without relatives hissing in your ear about 'untainted blood' and 'toujours pur' whenever they get the chance...without having to...dread going back home for the summer holidays..."
The last part was said so quietly that Lily, who was standing right next to him, had to lean into him to hear it. And it didn't help matters much when she did hear what he had to say.
She usually disliked being around Black for the simple reason of his...well, overall charisma. It almost suffocated her when they were ever together, or paired together for any assignments -suffocated her because she was the type of person who had only dreamt of having that kind of personality.
But now, she was disliking being in his presence because of the sheer...pessimistic attitude he was now suffocating her with. No, it wasn't just pessimism...it was lacking hope too. And to her, lacking hope was something that would be unbearable. Everyone had something to hope for, some degree of hope, to live out their lives. It gave them strength and helped them get through difficult periods in their lives.
And here he was, sounding devoid of any of that hope, optimism and cheerfulness that had quickly been linked to him and his personality.
Not only that, but he was making it hard for her to believe in her hope and optimism.
"You don't need them, Black," she said quietly, after a while. True, she may not exactly be high on the male's list of 'good friends' but she wasn't an idiot, thank you very much. And hence, she knew about his family, and about the conflicts -increasing conflicts- he had with them.
Pushing her other, unrelated thoughts out of her head, she continued speaking. "You don't need people like them. Fine, so they're your parents and your family; your blood. But do you really think that blood is the only thing that is necessary to...feel a sense of belonging, or attachment to a group of people?" The red-head shook her head, sending the loose strands of her long, wavy hair flying. "You've got it all wrong, pal. To be a family, there are other things that are important; like personality; like...friendship, common ground and...Trust and love."
"Common ground? Trust and love? Personality?" He snorted again. "Sorry Evans, but my family seems to be lacking in all departments." He stiffened. "Except for Andromeda."
At least there is someone in your family who you can stand to see...who you care for.
"So?" She wondered why she was taking it personally, why she was taking it on herself to...set him straight. This was Black after all -the frustrating, devilish, charmingly irresistible 2nd half of the annoying, dense, James Potter. She wasn't supposed to even have a conversation with him.
At least, that was what she had told herself a few years back, when the two had revealed their...unique trouble-making qualities.
"...So?" echoed Black.
"So you don't have much of a family there," explained Lily, somewhat impatiently. "But, has what you've been telling them been nothing but lies?" She saw his quizzical expression and continued before he could interrupt her. "You've always said that you do have a family. Here at Hogwarts. A family that means far more to you than your blood-family does."
She rolled her eyes, with her hands on her hips. "I'm talking about Potter, Remus and Pettigrew, you big oaf," she said, wondering how it was possible for somebody as intelligent as he was -and trust her, he was intelligent- to be so stupid at times. "Your 'brothers' as you like to call them. Your 'best friends' as you like to call them. Your..." she stopped. "You get what I mean. You've got them. And frankly, if they do mean as much to you as you've boasted they do...I don't see why you're even thinking about your 'lack' of a proper family."
A cool breeze blew into the tower through its many opened windows, rustling clothes and hair as it blew around the room. Sighing, Lily wrapped her arms around herself, grudgingly realizing that walking around in her light-weight pyjamas at night probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. Especially when she knew how cold it got in the Astronomy Tower.
Feeling somewhat unnerved by the...simple stare she was receiving, out of grey eyes, she turned her attention to the sky outside, following his earlier example. It had been cloudy before, blocking out the faint light of the distant stars and the waning moon. But, she noticed, the clouds were slowly receding, which allowed more light to shine down on the planet.
"They do mean a lot to me..." the mumbled affirmation caused Lily to briefly glance back at the perfect black-haired male."More than they or anyone else will ever know..."
"I doubt that, Black," reminded Lily. "I'm not exactly your best-friend am I? But even I can see how important they are to you." Sirius simply stared into space, eyes as troubled as they were before. "Who cares about the threats to throw the Potters, Lupins and Pettigrews out onto the streets if their sons continue to 'taint' your 'noble' blood?"
Sirius' head shot up to stare at her, questioningly. "How-?"
"Your mum sent you a Howler, Black," said Lily, dryly. "I would be surprised if someone in Hogsmeade didn't hear what she had to say to you in that."
"Ah, yes...my dear old mum can create quite a few unforgettable memories, can't she?" Sirius grinned, although it was rather viciously. "And then there's dear old Regulus..." Lily snorted once more as she continued to rub her arms.
"Who gives a fig about siblings, Sirius?" she questioned, shaking her head. "They're nothing but a bunch of trouble, no matter how hard you try to be nice to them." There was a rather wistful smile on her face. "No matter how hard you try to apologize to them about what you are...and no matter how hard you try to convince them that you're still the person you once were, as a kid...and that nothing can change that..."
Her statement was met with a few minutes of silence; during which the rustling of the trees, in the breeze, could be heard quite clearly. Staring out of the window, she did not notice the intense look she was receiving from her...companion, as realization dawned on him.
"You know," started Sirius, turning his attention back to the sky. "I say we should marry Petunia off to Regulus. Dear heavens, they'd be perfect for each other."
Lily's head turned so fast that, for a moment, both she and her companion were afraid she would have done something seriously wrong to her neck.
Sirius stared at the fiery-haired prefect, wondering if he had finally said the wrong thing and ended the...weird yet strangely comfortable atmosphere that had surrounded the pair a while ago.
He certainly didn't expect the red-head's mouth to twitch, nor did her expect her to burst out laughing.
He hadn't expected her to continue laughing until tears formed in her eyes, and until she clutched at her stomach.
He hadn't expected her to half-slump onto him for support as she continued laughing.
And, blast it, he definitely hadn't expected to start laughing along with her.
They remained in that position; Sirius seated on the window-sill, his head thrown back as he laughed loud and clear, and Lily leaning against him for support, arms wrapped around herself as she laughed so hard she started crying.
A moment or two later (or was it three?), the pair managed to control their laughter, and what was left was Lily wiping her eyes and sniffling, with a big smile on her face. Sirius, looking highly amused, stared at the red-head.
"That was fun," he said, "Except...why were we laughing so hard?"
"The thought of Petunia getting married to Regulus," answered Lily, sending him an amused expression. "I have never seen your mum, but Merlin, I can just picture her reaction."
Sirius chuckled as he tilted his head to a side.
"Believe me, it wouldn't be pleasant." He shook his head, a wry smile on his lips. "And it's ironic, because they'd be perfect for each other; they're more alike than they know..." He couldn't help but chuckle again. "I wonder what Reg would do, should he find out that he has such a lot in common with your sister."
Lily smirked. "He'd probably throw himself off a balcony..." Sirius shot her a rather affronted look.
"Throw himself off a balcony?" he echoed, as Lily nodded, somewhat surprised as his reaction. "Darling, we're Blacks. Why the devil would we want to do that to ourselves? We'd much rather just going out and killing the offensive muggle who's so much like us." He heaved a heavy sigh. "What'd you think we're oh-so-pure-and-noble for? Just for the sake of it?"
It took Lily a fraction of a second to correctly interpret that particular twinkle in his eyes, and to therefore realize that he was joking.
"You never know," she said. "Don't ask a Mudblood to fathom the way a Pureblood's mind works." There was a strange note of bitterness as she said it, and she wondered for a moment why her companion's face fell. It didn't take her long to figure it out. "I...don't mean you, idiot," she said, quickly. "I meant the other Purebloods...like Snape, Malfoy, Lestrange, Nott and...well, the Blacks."
"But I am a Pureblood..." mumbled Sirius, lowering his gaze to his lap.
"Yes, you are."
"You can't change your status in this world, Sirius, or your background," said Lily, understanding what was going on in his mind. "What you can change is what you do with that status and background of yours. Will you join the other Blacks, and their idealistic ways concerning 'normal' people like us, or...will you just be who you are? Be who you want to be?"
"Well that's a stupid question Lily," said Sirius, sounding surprised. "You should know me better than that."
"Actually, this is the first time I'm having a proper conversation with you, Sirius. So how exactly should I know you better than that?" There was a surprised expression on her face as she said it, and it matched the surprised one on his face.
"Ah," he said, slowly. "You're certainly right about that...our first 'civilized' conversation."
"That doesn't involve me screaming my lungs out at you to quit being a prat."
"Or you rejecting James again."
"Or me thinking of further additions to my list of 'A 101 Ways to Kill, Dismember or just Annihilate Sirius Black'..." His deep, comforting chuckle echoed around the otherwise empty room, and she suddenly felt goose-bumps forming on her arms -and it wasn't for logical reasons.
"First step to being infatuated; denial," he said, as he flashed her a quick smile.
"You keep telling yourself that."
"Oh, I will love...the question is; can you keep on telling yourself that?" Lily rolled her eyes as he grinned cheekily at her. It seemed that the usual, frustrating Sirius Black was back, replacing the...rather out of place character that he had been for the past fifteen minutes or so.
A quick glance into his eyes confirmed this. They were no longer the cloudy, emotional grey eyes that she had earlier seen. No, they were as clear as crystal, and were twinkling as they usually did.
Well, she thought, somewhat proudly, my job here is done.
Somewhere in the distance, the main tower clock started ringing, unconsciously capturing both hers and his attention. They both counted each chime mentally, staring out into the sky as they did so, until it stopped.
"One o'clock?!" exclaimed Lily, as she turned to stare at her companion, her green eyes quite wide.
"One o'clock," affirmed Sirius, looking equally surprised. "Whoa. Never thought it'd be that late..."
And just like that, as though it had all happened in the blink of an eye, the pair was back to their usual selves.
"I ought to take 20 points from Gryffindor, Black," muttered the red-head, as she stared at him. "How many hours is it past curfew? One and a half. Honestly, will you ever learn?"
"Not like you can talk, Evans dear," said Sirius, sweetly. "I mean, if you hadn't decided to keep me here, talking, I would be in my bed by now, dreaming the kind of dreams that any person would love to dream."
Lily scowled at him.
"So I'm told..."
"Just...go back to bed, Black. Before I'm forced to knock points off Gryffindor."
"Oh, I would. You may not care, but...Potter's worked quite hard to get the Quidditch team in good shape, hasn't he? You wouldn't want him wasting all of that effort and winning us so many points for nothing, would you?"
It was Sirius' turn to scowl at her, although it did nothing to mar the...strange beauty of his face, as it usually did to people. In his case, scowling simply brought out his other, sharper features, like his high-cheekbones, near perfect bones and extremely clear grey eyes.
And there I go with the eyes again...
"You're one conniving woman," he growled under his breath, as he got pushed himself off the window-sill. "I ought to warn James about hooking up with you..."
"You do that, especially since there won't be any hooking up any time soon..." Sirius suddenly grinned, causing a strange feeling to enter her gut.
"Ah, not any time soon, but it will happen, won't it?"
"What? Black, you're delusional. You-"
"-And you did say that James worked hard on the Quidditch team and that you wouldn't like to waste all of that hard work, on his part..." By now, the good-looking male was grinning so bad that he looked as though Christmas had come early.
"Black-" started Lily, warningly.
"-So it's true."
"Black, I'm warning you-"
"-You do have a thing for him."
"Aww, ickle Lilykins has a thing for Jamsiekins...how cute is that?" Sirius nudged her conspiratorially. "But, merlin, it sure took you -" he ducked as he made a swipe at his head, "-long enough."
"-Ooooh, can't wait to see Jamsie's expression when I tell him about this tomorrow morning, during breakfast..."
"Sirius Black," started Lily, hands on her hips and her voice taking on a rather high pitch as the familiar waves of annoyance washed over her. "Don't you dare go around spreading---" He was gone before she could put in another word, and she could hear his low chuckles as he made his way down the stairs.
Releasing a heavy sigh, Lily turned back to the sky outside, staring up at the twinkling stars that shone in the now almost cloudless sky.
She had come here to seriously think about something that had been bothering her, and had instead found a seriously bothered Sirius. So much for her 'thinking' and 'reflecting' time. Now she'd never-
-it hit her just then that while addressing the doubts and insecurities of a down-hearted, low-spirited Sirius Black, she had managed to address what she had seriously wanted to think about. Namely, her family; her sister; her problems with wondering why her life was what it was.
I suppose we're more...similar than we'd like to think, in that aspect, she thought to herself, watching a particular star twinkle steadily. Urgh, that's just beyond worrying. I think I need some sleep. Now.
With a last glance at the sky, Lily Evans turned her back on the window, and headed towards the stairs.
It had certainly been an encounter she wouldn't be quick to forget -not when she had found out that there was more to Hogwarts' resident heart-throb than just looks and charm.
Not when she had found out there were moments, extremely rare thought they were, when the said heart-throb didn't annoy or frustrate her.
Phew, that was a tad bit longer than I thought it'd be. Sorry about that! Again, this is not a Sirius/Lily pairing –good heavens, no. It's just...an angst-filled piece, and I just wanted to explore using a different character as opposed to James or Remus.
Reviews will be gratefully welcomed!
See ya, and take care!