Disclaimer: I don't have anything clever to say without sounding lame, so I'll keep it short and just say that I don't own Harry Potter or anything else here except the plot and Rose Logan.
"There is a thin line between love and hate and it turns out that line is a scarf" - Jennifer Aniston, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Stumbling along behind my luggage trolley, I was oblivious to the surrounding melee, intent only on reaching the brick wall that separated platform 9 and platform 10. Of course, with what can only be termed Sod's Law, I promptly ran into the side of another trolley, my luggage flying everywhere, my trunk falling open to reveal my underwear packed neatly on top.
Staring in embarrassment, I felt the customary blush heat its way, slowly, from the base of my neck, over my chin, reaching my nose, filling out my cheeks, over my forehead and sprinting the last few centimetres to reach the roots of my hair. It was bad. Then, it got worse.
'Ah, Loganberry, eager to see me, are we? I know that you fancy me, but sprinting across the platform at high speed to fall at my feet does seem a tad over the top.'
The smooth, arrogant tones of Sirius Black hit my ear, and raising my eyes, I saw an amused smirk on his all too handsome face. Just perfect – as if being late wasn't enough. I am not normally a tardy person. In fact, I am more likely to be the person who arrives anywhere; class, the party, and especially lunch; five minutes early. Being late stressed me out, and this compounded with the presence of Black to put me in a very bad mood indeed.
Sirius Black annoyed me. Every single thing about him annoyed me. From his graceful swagger, which I could never achieve, to his pristinely messy appearance, to his silky hair, high cheekbones, and perfect grades. Not to mention an athletic body, honed by multiple Quidditch matches, which, by the way, his team normally won. It was safe to say that everything about Black annoyed me, yet one thing annoyed me more than all of the rest put together. The fact that I might be very (and I mean very) slightly attracted to him.
His quip about his 'knowledge' of my feelings for him hit too near to the mark, and gave my annoyed persona the kick that it needed to break free from my normally shy and retiring personality.
I stood up, brushing off my jeans, looked him straight into his deep grey eyes, and said in the iciest tone I could muster:
'For the last time, Black, my name is not Loganberry. I understand that from the lofty heights of narcissism within which you reside, it is difficult to believe that not everybody worships the ground that you walk on, but please listen very carefully, and take the following information to heart. I, Rose Logan, do not fancy you. Okay? Now, if you will excuse me, I have precisely ninety seconds to make the Hogwarts' Express, and I most certainly do not want to spend any more of them being suffocated by your ego."
Well done, annoyed-me. You managed to slide a good few insults in there, as well as keeping your feelings for him hidden. Now you just have to achieve an elegant exit, and your dignity will not have suffered too much.
I collected my belongings, reloaded them back on the trolley, and attempted my version of a stalk. However, knowing me, this was most likely more akin to the broccoli stalk than the sophisticated and disdainful exit. At least I tried.
Yet my not-so-dignified escape was interrupted by a shout from behind me -
'What?' I sighed, forcing my features into a sardonic expression as I turned round to see a smirking Black.
'Nice underwear!' he yelled.
My face burned as the blush returned full force. Rather than let him have the satisfaction of seeing that he had embarrassed me, I whipped my head around, and pushed through the barrier, channelling my mortification into swinging my heavy luggage through the nearest door of the steaming train.
This then meant that I had to haul all of my belongings down through the narrow aisles of the train, bumping elbows and crushing feet as I searched for my friends. Added to this, the train had begun to move, and so my customary clumsiness landed me on the floor a few times more, as well as in some laps.
Safe to say that by the time I reached the carriage that my friends were occupying, I was a blushing, sweaty mess, my normally curly hair frizzing out into a halo of auburn. My friends were in a carriage about two thirds down from my starting point, and I stumbled upon it by chance, as the dulcet tones of Lily hit my ear.
FOR GOODNESS SAKE, POTTER, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE! WE'VE ONLY BEEN IN THIS CARRIAGE FOR FIVE MINUTES, AND ALREADY YOU ARE HERE PESTERING ME! GO AWAY!'
'But Lily darling-'
'I'M NOT YOUR LILY DARLING.'
I pulled back the door of the carriage, opening on the familiar scene of my enraged best friend being supplicated by her stalker.
This scene never showed Lily in her best light: James Potter always turned her into an angry spitfire. Most of the time, she was a very sweet person, loyal to her friends and always up for some fun. Her strong personality had overwhelmed me at first, but after five years of friendship she had wiggled me out of my introverted shell, and I had tempered her exuberance down.
The draft of the open door had alerted Lily to my presence, and as she caught sight of me, her face changed from angry to relieved.
"Rose! Thank goodness! We were so worried that you had missed the train! Katie and I were planning on standing with one leg on the platform and the other on the train, so that it couldn't leave. But then Black said that he had seen you getting on at the other end." She flung her arms around me, and I grinned into her red hair, pleased to be united with my best friend, even if we had seen each other three days ago in Diagon Alley.
Black was lounging upon the seat next to the door, and at the mention of his name, winked at me. I dredged up enough confidence to roll my eyes at him, but the annoyance from earlier had dissipated, and this being so, I had relapsed back to my normal state of chronic shyness.
Turning to Lily, before my blush could reinstate itself, I apologised for my tardiness. This was another of my personality traits – to apologise for everything, even if it wasn't truly my fault.
"Sorry to worry you: there was a huge pile up on the M25, and it took twice as long as normal to get here."
"No worries – glad you're here, and Katie and I didn't have to lose a leg over you."
Chuckling at the image of my friends doing the splits between the train and the platform, I shuffled forward to swing my heavy trunk up onto the luggage racks. However, despite my rather strong arms, the trunk proved to be too weighty for both for my muscles and the momentum with which I swung it, and in that slow second where I realised that it wasn't going to make the rack, my brain registered one thought.
Then time sped back up to normal speed, as my trunk lurch downwards and clipped a surprised Sirius Black on the side of his head. And, of course, burst open again, spilling everything, my underwear included, onto the new carpet that comprised Sirius Black.
Oh dear indeed.
I stared at him for a moment, frozen in horror. Then my mouth kicked into action.
"Oh my goodness – I am so sorry! Are you okay? I really didn't mean – I can't believe – it wasn't my intention to… oh crap!"
He held up a hand to stem the tide of apology that was rolling off my tongue, wincing slightly.
"It's okay, Loganberry. I'm fine. I'm sure you just wanted to give me a closer look at this underwear of yours."
Trust Sirius Black to be concussed, and still have a smart (and embarrassing) reply.
I blushed again, aware of my friends' perplexity at the word "closer". However, even humiliating quips weren't going to rile me – I had almost brained the boy. Ignoring his remark, I offered him a hand up, staring worriedly at him, in case he should suddenly faint.
He smirked at me, plucked a pair of my lacier knickers from his shoulder, and handed them to me, a grin stretched wide across his face. I quickly turned to help Lily, Katie and Alice pick up all my clothes and chuck them back in my trunk. They were biting their lips in an effort not to join in with the Marauders, who were all laughing quietly.
Finally, all my clothes and my knickers were hidden in my closed trunk, the handle of which I grabbed, and moved into the far corner of the carriage, preparing to swing once again onto the luggage rack. Before I could commence, however, a hand closed around the handle, and Black effortlessly lifted my heavy trunk onto the rack above my head. The way his t-shirt tightened around his biceps as he did so gave some explanation as to his lack of effort, and lack of maiming other members of the carriage.
"I'm not sure I want a repeat of your previous attempt." He smirked at me.
I nodded, eyes downcast, a sick and humiliated feeling in my stomach.
"Are you – well-," I swallowed. "Are you sure you are okay?" I whispered, eyes just daring to glimpse at him from beneath my lashes.
As he regarded me, his expression changed from arrogant smirk to gentle smile.
"I'm perfectly fine, Rose. No harm done – just a slight headache. I've far worse on the Quidditch pitch. In comparison to a bludger, that was like a head massage." He chuckled.
I nodded, slightly appeased, and then tucked myself into a seat in the corner to curl up for the rest of the journey, still hugely embarrassed and slightly guilty.
The only fortunate outcome of my ineptness was that it had given Lily time to calm down after Potter had riled her up, and so rest of the train journey passed without incident, with just a few minor squabbles between them. The fact that we had been forced to share a carriage in the first place meant that there was nowhere else for Lily to go to escape Potter. As much as he aggravated her, she didn't want to spend the eight hour journey in the corridor, leaving Potter to rifle through her trunk. She gave Katie and me a meaningful look as she and Remus left to fulfil their two hour prefect patrols.
Soon enough, she was back, and the four of us; Katie, Lily, Alice and I; sat quietly chatting in the corner of our carriage, discussing our summers and our plans for Sixth year, as the boys played multiple games of Exploding Snap. Even when their rowdy cheers diverted us from our conversation, I studiously ignored meeting the gaze of Black or any of his friends, the earlier incidents still raw in my mind.
However, as the lights of Hogsmeade station appeared in the distance, the time came for us to change into our robes. Surprisingly, aside from a few objections from Potter, the boys graciously left the compartment to give us the privacy to change.
"Until next time, love." Black winked at me once more as he grabbed a protesting Potter by the front of his t-shirt and dragged him out. My cheeks reddened a little once again. I busied myself with changing into my robes, ignoring the knowing looks from my friends. There would be questions later.
Indeed, as I emerged from the bathroom of the Sixth Form Girls' Dormitory in the Gryffindor Tower after the Beginning of Year Feast and Sorting, it was to find my three erstwhile dorm mates and friends sitting on my bed.
I groaned. "Do we have to do this now?"
"Yes." stated Katie, patting the head of my bed next to her forcefully, and giving me a sharp glance.
I rolled my head back to look at the ceiling, but there was no deus ex machina descending to save me from the inquisition of my friends. One of the 'perks' of being an introvert with two very extroverted and confident mates was that they generally rode roughshod over any objections you had to their insatiable curiosity. At least Alice had some tact.
"Now," said Lily, business-like, as I settled down beside her, "what did Black mean by 'a closer look at your underwear?"
Did I mention in addition to being extroverted and confident, Lily was also highly perceptive? There was no way I was going to get out of this. Blushing, I quickly recounted the whole sordid affair that had been my day from the beginning. It was best to get it over and done with now.
"Oh Rose." sighed Katie, after I had brought them up to speed. "When are you going to admit your feelings for him?"
I coughed to cover the deepening of my blush. Solely in the company of my friends, I pulled myself out of my shell and defended myself.
"I have no need to admit anything, thank you Katie. I am fully aware of the completely involuntary feelings that I have for that idiot, I just choose to ignore them, with the hope that they will pass."
Huh, like that was ever going to happen. Katie had only known that I had fancied Black for a year, since the beginning of fifth form. With intense shame, I do admit that I have fancied Sirius Black since our second year; even though he is an arrogant, conceited, lazy, womanising prat; but no one knows about this humiliation apart from Lily, whose little fingers are forfeit if she dare reveal the secret even to a blade of grass.
"Or," interjected Alice, "you could stop ignoring your feelings, and accept his offer of a date?"
"Over my dead body!"
Lily and Katie exclaimed at the same time.
"Alice," Lily said seriously, "there is no way that I am going to let someone as sweet and lovely as my mate Rose here be used by Sirius Black."
"Precisely." added in Katie.
"Um hello! Guys! Rose is right here!" I waved at my friends. "Please give me a little credit. There is no way in this whole Milky Way, galaxy or universe that he is ever going to find out about my feelings for him. And I am most certainly not going to put down my pride to become the next flavour of the week to a guy who only asks me out because it is a joke that began in third year, which he takes up whenever he is bored. At least Potter is sincere in his affection for Lils."
Lily harrumphed at this. "I'd rather he wasn't - then maybe he would just give up. And Rose, I know that you are far too sensible, and have far too much self-respect to be taken in by Black. However, as much as you like to hide it where it comes to Black, we're your mates – we know how sweet you are underneath, and we're just trying to look out for you. I've always thought that you are the nicest person I know, Rose, and I just don't want some idiot like Black trying to take advantage of that."
When she put it like that, I couldn't really continue to be affronted. I blushed, again, and sighed.
"Fine. Thanks for your concern, but I'm not in any danger of succumbing to Sirius Black. Pigs might fly – or you might go out with Potter, first!"
We all chuckled at that, and then thankfully diverted to different topics for the rest of the evening. Looking around at their laughing faces, I realised again how lucky I was to have three such great friends. With them around, this year certainly wasn't going to be boring.
Thanks for reading. Ellie Baby xxx