Sirius pressed his head against the cool glass of the train window and tried to tune out the inane chatter next to him. Who the hell was this tart, anyway? And why was he still here listening to said tart, rather than escaping to another compartment?
Because McSlutty here was an exchange student from Australia, which meant that Lily – as the newly appointed Head Girl – was responsible for her, which meant that James – as the newly appointed Head Boy and, more importantly, Lily's boyfriend – had to stay there too, which meant that Sirius – who was sincerely reevaluating his friendship with James – was stuck here as well to provide moral support to his twat of a friend.
So it was all James's fault. Sirius always knew that guy was trouble.
"Then he had the nerve to tell me he was breaking up with me because he couldn't do a long distance relationship! Can you believe that?"
Lily, who was currently bearing the brunt of McSlutty's prattle, shook her head with what she probably thought was a sympathetic expression, but just ended up looking like she was in pain.
Good, Sirius thought with vicious satisfaction. This whole mess is partially Lily's fault too. If she wasn't dating James, I'd never have to be here for this torture.
Although, he conceded, he supposed he did owe her something for finally giving James a chance, thus saving Sirius from his friend's heartbroken theatrics whenever the fiery Gryffindor turned him down.
No. Never mind. He didn't owe her anything after being subjected to this hell.
"So then I said to him, 'You can't break up with me, 'cause I'm breaking up with you!' And I walked off." McSlutty punctuated this declaration with a particularly self-satisfied smack of her chewing gum.
"Good for you!" Lily was obviously trying her best to live up to her duties as Head Girl, despite her dislike for the girl. James, however, seemed entirely preoccupied with his own thoughts and had somehow managed to tune the chattering girl out.
"Besides, he was just holding me back. Now that I'm here I'll just get an even better boyfriend! One that's cuter!"
Sirius gave a snort of laughter, not even trying to disguise it as a cough, and not bothered at all by the blistering glare Lily threw at him.
Sirius felt sorry for whatever poor sap the girl set her sights on. Unfortunately, he failed to notice the significantly sultry looks McSlutty was casting at him out of the sides of her eyes.
Lily, on the other hand, did notice, and felt suitably vindicated.
"Anyway," McSlutty continued, crossing her legs and leaning in a little towards her unwilling seatmate, "I'm sure you three could help me find a great guy, right?"
And suddenly, there was a hand squeezing Sirius's thigh, a hand with terrifyingly sharp nails dangerously close to some parts of his anatomy of which he was rather fond.
Sirius bolted straight up out of his seat. "Bathroom!" he said in a calm, dignified voice that most definitely did not squeak, before high-tailing it out of the compartment as fast as humanly possible.
At last, he was free. Remus and Peter had no idea how lucky they were to have escaped the torture of McSlutty's company. Well, Sirius amended, maybe Remus wasn't so lucky, considering he was currently recovering from his wild time as a werewolf last night. But Peter, the little rat, had no excuse. He had sneaked away to sit elsewhere before James could guilt-trip him into staying, like he had done to Sirius.
Sirius wandered down the train, poking his head into compartments as he searched for a new place to sit. He may have promised James he would support him, but there had been no mention of allowing his person to be molested by a harpy. Confident that, under the current circumstances, James wouldn't expect him to continue with his promise, Sirius felt no qualms about spending the remainder of the train ride avoiding McSlutty at all costs.
Back in what Sirius was now calling the Compartment from Hell, James was torn.
He really, really, really wanted to make his own escape and catch up with Sirius – who he knew wasn't coming back any time soon – but he felt he should stick it out like a good boyfriend. He turned to his beautiful, wonderful, brilliant girlfriend who was glaring at him with scorching eyes that promised all sorts of horrible pain if he left, and he made up his mind.
Stiffening his resolve, and fixing the image of Lily's dazzling face in his mind, he turned back to the horror sitting across from him and tried to look interested. He was rewarded with a loving squeeze from Lily's hand, currently wrapped around his own.
He could deal with this, for Lily.
He just wished he had thought to bring earplugs.
"Your friend is so cute!" the frightening girl gushed to James. James nodded, barely paying attention.
What was her name again? Something with an 'm' – Melissa, Melinda wasn't it? Mindy! That was it.
"Don't you think we would make a cute couple?"
This girl used the word 'cute' way too much. Had she just asked him a question?
"Sorry, what did you say?" James asked, shaking himself out of his thoughts.
"Sirius. Don't you think he and I would make a cute couple?"
"Sirius?" James choked. "You mean my friend, Sirius Black?"
Mindy giggled, and the sound grated on his ears. "Of course, silly."
Sweet Merlin, how did he get into these things? "Well, you see, you have to understand, that Sirius is already seeing someone right now. Maybe you should pick someone else to date?" There. That was a nice, clean way of handling the matter, if James did say so himself. And he did.
"Oh," Mindy looked rather disappointed, and for a moment James felt a pang of sympathy for her.
That sympathy was promptly shot out of the water once Mindy opened her mouth again. "But it's not like he can't break up with her, right? So it'll be okay." Mindy's bright smile once again graced her features.
James could only stare at her in shock, hoping he had misheard but knowing he hadn't. Even Lily seemed unable to do anything but gape wordlessly at the oblivious girl.
"No, well, you see they're both very happy together," James stammered at last. "And it doesn't really matter, because Sirius is still- Ouch!" he yelped.
James gawked incredulously at his girlfriend. She had just gouged her nails into the back of his hand! Painfully!
And now Lily was sitting there, smiling at Mindy as if she hadn't just tried to permanently maim her boyfriend.
"Well, don't give up just yet," Lily encouraged the other girl, as James stared at her in shock. "I think you have a pretty good chance."
"Lily, what are you talking ab-Ouch!"
Lily glared at him.
James decided, for the sake of his hand and its continued well-being, that he was going to keep his mouth shut for a while.
He'd find out what Lily was up to later, preferably when she wasn't attached to his hand.
Unfortunately, James didn't get a chance to talk to Lily until during the Welcoming Feast. When he saw that the others at the table were happily preoccupied with dishing up their food and chattering about their holidays – with the possible exception of Sirius, who appeared to be fighting off Mindy's leg as she tried to feel him up beneath the table – James decided this was as good a time as any to confront Lily.
He glanced around surreptitiously, making sure no one was listening, then ducked his head down next to Lily's. "What was that all about back there on the train?" he whispered.
Lily, after reassuring herself that no one was listening in, whispered back conspiratorially. "Just think of it as a prank on Sirius; he'll have to fend her off for a while, at least until someone clues her in. And, the more time she spends chasing after him, the less time we have to spend with her."
James decided that he had a very sneaky girlfriend. He also decided that he enjoyed it very much, especially that distinct gleam of mischief that lit up her eyes when she tapped into her inner Marauder.
He met Lily's grin with one of his own. This was going to be fun.
Sirius vaguely noticed out of the corner of his eye that Lily and James were grinning at him with matching smirks, which never meant anything good, but he was too busy defending his honor from a very determined foot to pay much heed at the moment.
Why did that tart have to sit across from him during dinner? Why? What had he done to deserve this?
He had managed to avoid her all the way up to the castle, where his luck had promptly run out. And now he was stuck in some sort of evil game of footsies with the devil herself.
Sirius knew what he had to do. He couldn't run away forever – he was a Gryffindor, after all.
No, what he needed to do was take her aside and gently explain that, sorry, but he was already taken and not interested in pursuing a relationship with her. At all. Even if she were the last human on the planet. And that he'd rather castrate himself than be with her.
That should do the trick.
Just then, Sirius caught a particularly lascivious grin on McSlutty's face as she attempted to stroke her way up his leg.
Maybe running away wasn't such a bad idea after all.
Sirius had crept down to breakfast early the next morning, when there were only a few other students already there. Hopefully, McSlutty was a late riser.
Sirius was distracted as he ate, his mind on the missing Marauder. Most of the time during the summer, Sirius and James were able to join Moony for the full moons. However, due to the awkward timing of latest moon, Remus had been left to bear the excruciating transformation on his own. Sirius hated the thought of Remus being alone and in pain.
So caught up was he in his worrying, that Sirius failed to notice the sinister shadow creeping up on him, until it was too late.
Sirius choked on his biscuit. It was her! "What did you call me?" he coughed out.
"It's a nickname, don't you like it?" she pouted.
Before he could tell her just how much it made him want to chuck up his breakfast, she draped her arm across his shoulder and pressed her cheek to his.
"We didn't get to talk much yesterday, but I'm so glad you're interested in me too. I think you're really cute!"
"What are you talking about? Listen, I'm sorry if I led you on or something, but I'm already seeing someone." Maybe that would get through to her.
"Oh, I know! It's okay, just tell her you found someone else. It's not a problem!"
Was this girl completely thick? "I mean I'm not inter-"
"Oh no!" she cut in with a gasp of horror. "I forgot I was supposed meet with Carrie to help her braid her hair before breakfast!" She pulled back to stare at Sirius with a stricken look. "I'm really interested in what you're saying, Siri, but I need to run right now! I'm so sorry! Tell me about it later, okay?"
And with that she grabbed Sirius's cheeks and pressed a wet, smacker-of-a-kiss right on his lips. As she was running out the doors, she called back, "And don't forget to tell me when you've broken up with her!"
Sirius just stared after her in disbelief. Did that… really just happen? Or was he still in bed dreaming? Could that girl possibly be real?
Sirius didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He settled for running to the bathroom and sterilizing his mouth.
For the rest of the day, Sirius dedicated all of his energy to avoiding McSlutty. James was no help, choosing to laugh at his plight rather than do anything remotely useful, such as murdering the girl.
It was getting to the point where Sirius would break out in a cold sweat every time he heard the cry of "Siri!" Thankfully, James hadn't shown any inclination to call him that again after Sirius had threatened to hex his balls off the one time he tried it.
It was now dinner time, and Sirius felt remarkably like a twitchy rabbit. McSlutty hadn't shown up yet, which only served to make him more nervous. He shoveled his food into his mouth then jumped up, intending to run up to his dorm and not come out until he absolutely had to.
He was about halfway to the door when it all came crashing down around him.
"Siri! There you are! Come eat with me!"
Like a devious little snake, she had sneaked up on him when his back was turned and vulnerable. Devil-woman.
He turned around and there she was, in all her terrifying glory.
This was it. Time to be a man.
"Oh, hi McSlu- er… um… I mean, uh, hey there!"
He was off to a great start.
Now, if only he could remember her real name.
"Listen," he decided to forgo using her name, "I think we need to have a talk."
"About what, Siri?"
Sirius's eye twitched, but he bravely pressed on. "About us. Actually, there isn't any 'us'. There never was any 'us'. I'm not interested in dating you, so please leave me alone." There. It was out, and hopefully she would accept it and move on.
"WHAT?" Shit, her voice was loud when it wanted to be. "But…but we have something special! I'm really interested in you! You can't do this to us!" Sirius tried not to look at her trembling lower lip, or the tears welling up in her eyes as she gazed pleadingly up at him.
Oh Merlin. This was not good. People were beginning to notice their conversation. It was kind of hard not to, considering they were holding it in the middle of the room and one of them was shouting and crying. Soon the entire Hall – even the Slytherins, who were wearing looks of smug satisfaction – was staring with avid curiousity.
Pretty much everyone at Hogwarts – teachers included, and maybe some of the centaurs – was aware that Sirius was dating someone. A surprisingly large number of them had learned it first-hand by walking in on the pair in a quiet classroom or deserted corridor. This knowledge, of course, just made the whole situation so much more deliciously scandalous.
Even James, his supposed best friend, was just sitting there, frozen with a strange hybrid of horror and hilarity on his face.
"First of all," Sirius began, "what's your name?"
"Mindy!" she shouted, sounding terribly affronted.
"Right then. Mindy. I'm trying to make this very clear. I'm...not...interested. "He said this last bit very slowly and deliberately, so she'd be sure to understand. He was so intent on making her understand, that he didn't hear the doors to the Great Hall swing open then gently close, didn't hear the quiet but firm footsteps coming up behind him, and didn't hear the whispers that broke out among their scandal-loving audience.
Apparently, Mindy didn't hear any of it either.
"It's because of that whore you're dating, isn't it?" she cried, her face turning red in her distress.
"Who's a whore?" came an amused voice, just behind Sirius.
Sirius spun around and drank in the sight of the slender boy standing just a few feet away from him. He was pale – when was he not – and appeared to be favoring his right leg slightly, but that could just be the way he was standing. Sirius let out a relieved sigh. Remus seemed to be okay after his night alone with the wolf.
Sirius grinned, taking in the amused arch of Remus's eyebrow and slight smile quirking his lips. "Apparently," he answered, "the girl I'm dating."
"I see," Remus mused thoughtfully. He turned to Mindy. "Well, that seems rather harsh…er…I'm sorry, who are you?" he inquired politely.
"I'm Mindy Thompson, the exchange student from Australia," she snapped, a little annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of such an important conversation.
"Pleasure to meet you. I'm Remus Lupin, a fellow Gryffindor, it seems," he said, indicating the crest on her robes. "Now then, why were you calling Sirius's girlfriend a whore?" He smiled pleasantly at her.
Mindy couldn't help but smile back. Remus was obviously a nice boy. Good-looking, too. Maybe if she and Sirius weren't getting together, she would have given Remus a try.
"Oh, because Sirius really wants to be with me, but he can't break up with his girlfriend, because I guess she's really clingy or something."
Remus's smile didn't falter, but his eyes suddenly had a hard edge. "Oh, really?"
"Uh-huh!" Mindy continued, oblivious to the dangerous glint in Remus's eyes. "I keep telling him to be honest and tell her he found someone else, but she's probably having a hard time accepting it. She can't see when she's not wanted."
Sirius gave a groan that didn't do any justice to the depth of his frustration.
"Look," he cut in, trying to make it as clear as possible, "I think I need to set you straight on a few things."
Beside him, Remus snorted in amusement. "Interesting choice of words," he stated dryly.
"It's not just that I'm already seeing someone, though that's a very large part," Sirius continued, ignoring Remus's interruption. "I'm just not interested in you. As a girl. I'm not interested in you, because you're a girl. I'm not interested in girls in general." He waved his arms around a bit to emphasize his point. Surely she'd get it now?
"What do you mean? Am I not pretty enough for you, is that it?" Mindy was starting to get upset again. Not good.
"Well, this is getting rather ridiculous," Remus decided. It was clearly time to be as blunt as possible.
He grabbed Sirius's chin, and before Sirius could so much as blink, Remus had pulled his face down, crushed their faces together, and shoved his tongue into Sirius's mouth.
Sirius was vaguely aware of some whistling and cat-calling going around them, but quite frankly was more occupied with the hot mouth that was doing such wonderful things to his own. It wasn't often that Remus's aggressive, wolfy side came out to play, but when it did it always left Sirius feeling breathless and lightheaded.
After a few moments of ruthless kissing, Remus released Sirius and turned to Mindy with a kind smile, and maybe just a hint of smugness. "What he's trying tell you is that he's gay, and he's with me. Also, I don't particularly enjoy being called a whore. I think it would be a good idea if you ran along and found a different boy to play with."
Mindy gaped like a fish. She blinked a bit. She opened and closed her mouth a few times.
"You're gay?" she finally shrieked. A few of those watching snickered.
"At last, she gets it," Sirius muttered.
"You're really gay?" she yelled once more, and Sirius nodded.
"I can't believe this! You tricked me! How dare you?"
The entire Hall stared in shock at the trio – Sirius rubbing a reddened cheek, like he couldn't quite believe what had happened; Mindy glaring, arms crossed in self-righteous indignation; and finally Remus, his eyes surprisingly fierce as he regarded the girl in front of him.
"I think you should leave now," he broke the stunned silence, his voice deceivingly calm.
"Oh, be quiet, you man-whore," she sneered.
"Alright, that's it." Sirius made a lunge into his robes, searching for his wand, but stopped when Remus's hand curled around his wrist.
"I think you should leave now," he repeated, not taking his eyes off the girl, and this time she noticed the dangerous glint of the wolf in his eyes.
Remus smiled pleasantly.
She turned on her heel and stormed out of the Hall without another word.
"Wow. What a bitch. I'm glad that's over with," Sirius declared, with an air of satisfied finality.
"Quite." Remus agreed mildly, the wolf already fading out of his eyes.
"You know, Moony," Sirius grinned suggestively, "you're really sexy when you get all possessive."
Remus raised an amused eyebrow. "Sirius, are you coming on to me in the middle of the Great Hall?"
Sirius returned the eyebrow, with interest. "Maybe I am. What are you going to do about it?"
Remus's reply, however, was cut off as James strode towards the pair, a grin on his face.
"Alright, you shirt-lifters, that's enough of that. Moony, my lad, it's delightful to have you back, and just in time to save your damsel in distress, too."
"Alright everyone, show's over, go back to your dinners!" James yelled, and their audience finally began chattering amongst themselves once more, obviously discussing the recent outrageous events.
James turned and took Remus's hands in his own, looking deep into his eyes. "Remus, I want you to know, I have never, ever thought of you as a whore," he said with a deadly serious expression. "Book-whore, yes. Whore-whore, no."
"Thank you, James." Remus rolled his eyes.
"That's right!" Sirius said, scowling as he suddenly remembered Mindy's crimes. "She's got some nerve, calling you a whore. Bloody hypocrite."
"Yeah, yeah," James said, flapping a hand around dismissively. "This is the part where you get all defensive over your little lover-boy who you want to whisk away and ravagenow, we get it. Anyway, Remus, I've got an idea I think you'll like." He threw an arm around the smaller boy's shoulders and started leading him out of the Hall. "How 'bout we get a spell that puts the words 'Moony's Bitch' across Sirius's forehead. Eh? Good idea, right?"
"You know," Remus frowned thoughtfully, "it does have some merit." Several blatantly eavesdropping students in the surrounding area nodded in agreement.
Sirius huffed. "You are all a bunch of twats. And you," he rounded, jabbing an accusing finger at Lily, seated nearby. "I know you had something to do with this whole mess."
Lily just stuck her tongue out – rather childishly, Sirius thought – and grinned. "You can't prove anything."
"Come on Sirius, and leave my girlfriend alone. And Peter," James called, "hurry along and come up when you're finished."
Peter nodded, shoveling mashed potatoes into his mouth.
"Oh alright," Sirius sulked, catching up with the other two. "But don't think I've forgiven you for abandoning me to that harpy. This was all your fault. If you hadn't made me keep you company on that damn train ride, this would never have happened."
"Whatever, you wanker," James protested as they passed through the doors and out of the Great Hall. "You know, you could have solved this whole thing by just telling her flat out that you were gay."
"I tried! She just didn't listen!"
"Come on Sirius," Remus cut in and gently took his boyfriend's hand. "Let's stop by the kitchens and see if they'll make any chocolate pudding."
Sirius followed unresistingly, still ranting about the horrors he had been subjected to.
James grinned as he trailed along behind them, watching the two lovers. Yep. Definitely Moony's bitch.