Sirius is sitting still as he watches her dance when she thinks no one is watching. The Common Room at this hour is almost always empty and he often comes down and sits in a corner to think. He didn't know that she would be up this late to do something similar. He wonders if she's always danced at night to relax after a long day or if it's some idea that's been planted in her mind since she started talking to Xenophelius Lovegood on and off in Potions. He's also pretty sure he saw the boy dancing randomly on the grounds the other day while everyone else was inside because of the rain. Thinking about it, he can't help but note how much better her body looks when it moves – maybe it has something to do with her being female and all. He imagines her dancing out in the rain herself, white button up shirt clinging to her skin, the fabric becoming see-through due to the water. He swallows roughly and tries to pull himself away from the image.
He hates her. He hates her so much right now he can't even put it into words. It's not her fault and he knows this. She didn't mean to be so beautiful. She didn't mean to seduce him like she had. She didn't mean to have his best friend fall for her. Lily Evans is not the type to even realize just how amazing she really is. He watches as her hips move to the music in her head, her hands held high. She twirls and her skirt billows out, her red hair fanning around her and shining in the dying light from the fire, and Sirius loses his grip on his wand which falls to the ground with what feels like a deafening clatter.
The spell is broken and she immediately stops, a gasp of shock coming from her mouth before she places her hand over it. Inwardly cursing himself, Sirius stands up, grabbing his wand from the ground and shoving it into the pocket of his robes that are hanging over the back of the chair.
"Sorry to interrupt, Evans." His voice is hoarse, as though he hasn't used it in a while, but it still sounds unnaturally loud to him. He clears his throat gently, crossing his arms over his torso as he waits for her to say something. She still seems a bit shocked to have been caught – or maybe she's starting to feel embarrassed. He wishes he could see her face more clearly to know if she's blushing. He's always thought she looks about ten times as pretty when she does so.
She finally lowers her hand, avoiding his eyes and looking at the embers in the fireplace. "How long have you been there?"
"Longer than you. Quite a nice show, that was. Didn't realize you were such a good dancer."
She groans, covering her face, and he's positive she's blushing now. He can't help but smirk a bit in triumph. He loves to fluster her, even unintentionally. Taking a few steps towards her, he tilts his head, the corners of his mouth still upturned in an arrogant smile as he gets closer to her. Reaching forward, he takes her arm, pulling her hands down gently.
"Do you always do that without music?"
"Do you always watch girls from shadowed corners at odd hours of the night? Because that's kind of creepy."
"It's a new hobby, I'll admit." His arrogance has turned to amusement and he lets out a soft chuckle. He doesn't even realize he hasn't let go of her arm until she tries to pull it away. Releasing her, his smile fades slowly, and he looks towards the fire. "I didn't mean to, though. I just didn't feel the need to stop you. You looked… relaxed."
She scoffs, straightening out her blouse, and crossing her arms indignantly over her chest. "You say that as though it's a rare occurrence."
He chuckles lightly, giving her a teasing look. "Because you look so at ease right now, Evans." She huffs and he grins. "Face it – you're wound tighter than a clock. You need someone to loosen you up."
"Oh, really?" She all but glares at him and he tries his best to smile politely. "And who would be a good candidate for that? Potter? Or are you volunteering yourself to the cause?"
His smile falters momentarily, but it's back in it's place, arrogant as ever as he slides his fingers to the collar of her shirt, rubbing the fabric gently between them. "Well, whichever you'd prefer, really. Though James did call dibs…" She smacks his hand away as he gives his characteristic barking laughter. She goes to storm back towards her room and he's quick to cut her off, hand leaning against the wall to the entrance of the staircase so she can't quite get passed him. "I was just joshing, Evans. Don't be such a spoil sport."
"You… are incorrigible, Sirius Black," she mutters, before ducking under his arm and going up the stairs. He knows he can't follow and thus watches her, eyes never leaving her waist as he remembers how wonderful she looked dancing.
- - - - -
Sirius is watching her again the next day at breakfast. She's sitting next to Marlene McKinnon, chattering away about something he can't quite hear. She catches his eye briefly, pausing for a moment, and quickly going to look at her food seconds later. He smiles a bit, but Marlene sees him next, and she gives a small, shy wave, thinking he's looking at her. The two had been on a date a few weeks ago – she'd had a good time, but he'd carefully let her down by saying he just wasn't ready for a relationship. She still made it evident she was ready to jump back on board whenever he was on a regular basis, however. Waving back awkwardly, he quickly looks away, shoveling two helpings of eggs into his mouth in a matter of seconds.
"Padfoot? Padfoot, are you listening?"
"Eh?" He glances over to James, who has apparently been talking to him this entire time, and he can't help but feel his stomach drop a little. He knows he fancies Evans and because of that, she has become the one girl in Hogwarts he hasn't made a move on. The one girl he can't, maybe. He's always wondered if that was why she seemed so appealing – wanting what you couldn't have always seemed like a popular trait amongst human beings. "No, sorry. Guess I'm still shaking off sleep."
He looks unconvinced at first, but doesn't push. James knows that Sirius is not one to talk about most of his private thoughts out loud, even to his best friend. So, taking a bite out of a piece of sausage, he moves on. "I was saying – I heard we're supposed to pair off in partners in Transfiguration today. You think Lily will be up to being mine?"
"She'll probably try to hex your trousers off before she agrees."
"Well, ever since I was made Head Boy, she seems a little less… Irritated by me. A little." Sirius looks to him, notices he's gazing off in another direction, and follows his gaze back to Evans. He's quiet for a moment, then returns to his plate, stabbing a piece of ham with his fork and beginning to slice it.
"Yeah. Well, maybe you'll get lucky."
He's quiet for a moment and Sirius can feel his eyes on him, watching him cut angrily into his food. "What's got your knickers all in a twist, Padfoot?"
He doesn't seem satisfied by this answer in the slightest. Tapping the table, he finally prods him in the side with his elbow. "Tell me what's up, Sirius. You look miserable."
He searches for some sort of excuse, something he can tell James to soothe his worries that won't involve Evans at all. He knows explaining to him that he's wanted her for over a year now won't go over well. He would either feel obligated to back down on his affections for the girl of his dreams or he would suddenly look to Sirius as competition. It's a quiet rule amongst male friends that you just don't go after the same woman as your best mate – it never turns out well. He's quiet for a long time, taking the pieces of ham he's carved up and chewing on them for longer than necessary before he swallows. It takes him a minute to finally think of a good enough reason. He's just lucky it's the middle of winter.
"Regulus' birthday is coming up."
James gives an understanding "oooh." Nodding, he drops it, and goes back to eating his breakfast.
Sirius has never felt more horrible for lying to anyone before. But he knows this is for the best.
- - - - -
McGonagall doesn't let them choose their partners. She chooses them for everyone. She likely has done this because she's used to the Marauders pairing themselves off together and often when that happens, something gets set on fire or transfigured into something it wasn't supposed to be. Sirius swears he hadn't meant to make the block of wood they were supposed to transfigure into a flower turn into a phallic shaped object instead, but McGonagall has never believed him. As though fate has chosen to be extra cruel to him that day, he's paired off with Evans. He gives James an apologetic look, but he shrugs, muttering that it isn't his fault or anything as they pass each other to head into their selected pairs.
They choose a corner in the back of the room where no one else is really located. Evans maintains that she works better in silence and Sirius isn't about to object to being so cut off from the rest of the group. He stares at the maroon pincushion their supposed to turn into a mouse for a long moment before glancing up at Lily. She seems to be practicing the swishing and flicking of her wand, wanting to be able to get it right on her first try. Sirius is quiet for a long moment before he sighs impatiently, taking out his wand, swishing and flicking, and the cushion is now squeaking and scurrying around in a box. Albeit a slight red tinge in the fur, it's a perfect rodent.
Lily stares at him in shock. He smiles. "What? You think just because I slack I'm not talented?"
"No, I just – your first try, it's –… It's impressive."
He shrugs and shoves the box with the other pincushion towards her. "Feel free to try so it actually looks like we're doing something." He tries to ignore the fact that she's still staring at him, proud of himself for making her realize that he's not just some idiot who's particularly talented at hexing people. He would have bragged to her about how this was easy compared to learning to be an animagus in a matter of weeks, but he knows that that will only land him in trouble. "Come on, get to work. Or you'll have to dance off that T mark later tonight."
She fumes and goes to work on the pincushion. She doesn't say another word to him all class.
- - - - -
"Do you ride, Evans?"
She spins around to face him. He's been walking behind her in an empty hallway after class for about thirty seconds now and he felt the need to say something. Her eyes are wide and her cheeks are flushed ands he looks ready to hex him into next Tuesday. He beams a bit, a devilish smirk plastering itself onto his lips.
"Brooms, I mean. Flying? It can be just as relaxing as dancing and not as embarrassing if you're caught." She relaxes some, now clearly embarrassed for her assumption, and he can't help but chuckle. "What did you think I meant?"
"Nothing." She's quick to answer, looking at him with a guarded and infuriated expression. "And even if I did ride, Black, it wouldn't be with you."
He watches her storm into the girls' bathroom. He knows it's just to get rid of him. Moaning Myrtle's lavatory has been out of order for years. Whistling happily, he heads back to the Common Room, wondering how many people she would have jumped to the conclusion of shagging with. He likes to think it's just because she wants him as badly as he wants her. Even if he's wrong.
- - - - -
He watches her dance that night, as well. And the next. And the next. He's wearing James' invisibility cloak each time, thankfully, as she makes a habit to check of the room almost every time just in case he's sitting in a dark corner waiting again. He's sure to keep his wand in his pocket so he doesn't disturb her. He watches in silence as she spins, twirls, runs her hands over her body. He can tell when the song is slow or upbeat. He wonders sometimes if it's ever Latin. He's often imagined himself dancing with her, his own hands fumbling over her curves. He often imagines himself pressed against her, lips on the skin of her throat as they move together, her head leaning against his shoulder. Their dance is intricate, passionate – forbidden.
But never, ever real.