"I'm so sorry, Sirius," Marlene said immediately. She hesitated momentarily before continuing, "Was…was it completely awful?"

Sirius shrugged. "I've had my fair share of bad break ups. But this time I may have been a tad more upset than usual," He frowned slightly here. "Tell Milo I'm sorry if having to play his reserves costs him his chance at the World Cup."

"Do I want to know?" Marlene asked slowly, trying very hard not to even imagine what could have possibly happened that would result in Milo having to play his reserves, but also secretly quite pleased that one of those reserves was likely being put in for Joscelind.

"Probably not," Sirius admitted. "If it wasn't for how much I messed things up with all of my friends I'd say we should just forget this whole thing ever happened."

Marlene's heart couldn't help but fall at those words. He wanted to forget all of it? Even the part where she'd finally confessed that she loved him? She was heartbroken at this, to say the least. But she supposed that having her best friend back was better than nothing.

"I'm sure everyone will understand," Marlene comforted him. "As long as you apologize and all that jazz. I mean, come on, you were only a semi-jerk to us for like two, three months. We've had to put up with Prongs' obsession with Lily for years."

"You make it sound really bad when you put it like that," Sirius said with a slight wince. "But I guess I was kind of a jerk."

"I'm nothing if not brutally honest," Marlene told him cheerfully. "That's what best friends are for, after all."

"You are honest," Sirius admitted. "But do you really mean it, Mars? You wouldn't ever lie to me about anything?"

"Of course not," Marlene replied immediately, rather affronted.

"Never?" Sirius pressed.

"Never," Marlene confirmed.

"Not even if you were beyond frustrated with me and my overwhelming jerkiness and you'd tried everything else to get me to see sense?" Sirius questioned.

"Someone has to keep you grounded," Marlene replied sensibly, not entirely sure where he was going with this line of questioning. They had already established that she had been telling the truth about how she felt about him. He couldn't still be talking about that, could he? "Even if I'd rather just punch you in the face—which, I might add, I will be doing next time, just a forewarning for you."

"I'd really rather there wasn't a next time," Sirius admitted.

"Yes, that would be nice," Marlene agreed.

"But for real, Marlene," Sirius said, and Marlene couldn't help but notice that for once he was using her real name and not an abbreviated version of it. "You would never lie to me?"

"No, Sirius," Marlene stated, getting just the slightest bit impatient at this point. Seriously—where was he going with this? "You're my oldest friend; I could never do that to you."

"So if, say, hypothetically," Sirius began slowly, "We were having a…erm…conversation in which we were discussing a hypothetical girlfriend of mine who may or may not have been the nicest person around and who may or may not have influenced me to be rather annoying to my friends and kind of a jerk, and you wanted me to see reason, would you lie and say whatever you could to get me to see reason?"

"No…" Marlene said slowly. And then, finally voicing her frustration, "Sirius, what are you trying to get at here?"

"Yesterday," Sirius began hesitantly, "When you and I were…ahem, talking, were you telling the truth when…when you said you loved me?"

"I…yes," Marlene replied, a bit uncomfortably.

While she had been entirely truthful when she'd told Sirius that she loved him, it was one thing to admit it when they were shouting across the room at each other, but now that she'd had some time to think about it and in light of recent events, perhaps it would have been for the best if that little detail had remained a secret for quite a bit longer. Because, honestly, if he was having such a hard time simply bringing the topic up, he couldn't possibly feel the same way about her, of that Marlene was certain.

"But I already told you that I was telling the truth," Marlene pointed out, hardly having to expend any effort to recall the beginning of the conversation they were currently having.

"We got distracted from that particular topic," Sirius replied. "We started talking about Reg…and you're positively certain that you weren't just making it all up? Not about Reg, about…loving me."

"I've said it enough times already; I don't know why you keep questioning it," Marlene told him. "But yes, Sirius. I was telling the truth." And, steeling her resolve, she continued, "After everything that has happened with Joscelind lately, I can finally see what everyone else has been claiming to see for years: I love you, Sirius. I'll always love you."

Sirius didn't immediately reply, causing Marlene to have a brief moment of panic. Did he not feel the same way? Had she just completely ruined their twelve-year friendship? However, he finally spoke up before she lost it completely.

"Do you remember first year?" Sirius asked her, and Marlene couldn't help but notice that apparently he was changing the subject again. What in Merlin's name was this going to accomplish?

"Things were great back then," Marlene stated, deciding to go along with him for the time being. "We had some awesome pranks."

"We made some great new friends," Sirius chimed in.

"Things were simpler then," Marlene said decisively. "Not like now. Growing up is too hard."

"I wouldn't really agree," Sirius said. "After all, we were growing up back then, too. We were really immature then, weren't we?"

Marlene let out a small giggle. "If Moony was here right now, he'd say that we're still immature."

"And he'd probably be right," Sirius admitted. "Just don't ever tell him that I told you so." He shook his head then. "But back then we were insanely immature." He hesitated for the briefest moment before continuing, "Do you remember how we used to react when Prongs would refer to us as a couple? Like, he'd call you my girlfriend and…stuff."

"And then we'd both get so distracted from whatever it was we were doing in order to deny it," Marlene continued for him, a small smile on her face. "We got them all back for it in the end, though." She couldn't help it as her grin widened. "We really did have some pretty epic pranks, back in the day."

"Things have been different this year," Sirius said with a shake of his head. "I really screwed things up."

Marlene chose not to respond, and merely sat there. Speaking up would be pointless; Sirius already knew her position on the matter: she one hundred percent agreed with his assessment.

"I was an idiot," Sirius continued. "But I learned from my mistakes."

"How?" Marlene couldn't help but ask.

"Honestly, I never really liked spending time with Joscelind," Sirius admitted.

"You seemed pretty infatuated with her to me," Marlene told him doubtfully.

"Well, at first I was," Sirius replied, "For those first few weeks. But then we got back to school and everyone did their best to avoid me, because I was so annoying."

"So you noticed that?" Marlene asked with a slight grimace when he paused to take a breath.

"It was kind of obvious," Sirius stated. "Not that I blame any of you; I was pretty annoying, talking about Joscelind all of the time."

"Incredibly annoying, in fact," Marlene chimed in.

"But with everyone avoiding me and then that whole thing with you and Regulus," Sirius continued, "I couldn't help but realize how much I missed you and all of the time we used to spend together."

"We missed you, too," Marlene told him.

"No, I meant I missed you, Marlene," Sirius said, finally turning away from staring pensively at the lake in order to face her. "I mean, yeah, I missed spending time with the guys, but I really missed spending time with you. That's what made me start hating spending time with Joscelind. She just wasn't you."

Marlene really didn't know how to respond to this, and instead continued to stare out across the lake, as it was conveniently directly in her line of sight. It didn't matter, however, because Sirius continued on speaking without pause.

"And then things got worse when I started subconsciously comparing the two of you," Sirius said with a shake of his head. "Just for the record, you're a thousand times better than her. Not that I would have admitted it then. By that time you were dating Regulus, and I was incredibly angry with you. I tried to convince myself that I was better off without you, but then we had that…er, conversation at practice."

"That's one way of putting it," Marlene muttered. "I was completely awful to you."

"We were both awful," Sirius stated. "But it's alright, because then we had another, equally wonderful conversation. And if we hadn't had that conversation, then I never would have decided to drop in on Joscelind and thus discover her in a rather compromising position with the Irish team's Seeker."

Marlene couldn't help but grimace at this.

"I think it all turned out for the best, though," Sirius said, noticing her expression.

"Well, if you really think there's an upside to finding out like that, that I was right about your girlfriend," Marlene told him, "Then I'd love to hear it."

"I'm never going to have to see her ever again," Sirius pointed out, "Which is always a plus."

"This is true," Marlene conceded.

"And…" Sirius hesitated momentarily before continuing, "Now that she's out of the picture, I can finally stop lying to myself." At this point, Sirius reached across the open space between himself and Marlene and grabbed her hand before going on. "Marlene, I love you, too. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've loved you since the very first day I met you, when we were five years old, even if it has taken me this long to recognize what those feelings really mean."

Marlene didn't know what to say to this, and chose to merely stare at him in a slight state of shock.

"You're…serious?" She finally managed to get out.

Sirius rose an eyebrow at her word choice, but simply replied, "Always."

At this, Marlene slipped her hand out of Sirius' relaxed grip and basically threw herself at him. As Marlene's arms went around his neck, Sirius instinctively wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her just as tightly.

"Promise me something, Sirius?" Marlene said into his shoulder.

"Anything," Sirius replied.

"Let's never be this stupid ever again," Marlene said firmly. "Deal?"

"Deal," Sirius confirmed as Marlene pulled back from him slightly, grinning broadly. "And…will you be my girlfriend?"

"I'd love to," Marlene stated. Then she sighed. "I suppose it's about time to go inside again, don't you think? You've already missed all of our morning classes today…"

"We could go to class…" Sirius began slowly. "But I'm pretty sure I can think of something much better for us to occupy our time with."

The smile spread across Marlene's face once more. "I reckon I can, too. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Obviously," Sirius said. "We need to share the good news with everyone else." A completely serious expression appeared on his face suddenly and he continued earnestly, "After all, they need to know that they really were right all of those times they tried to convince us that we were perfect for each other."

"A prank it is, then," Marlene said agreeably. "They're really going to hate being proven right…"

Ten minutes later, Sirius and Marlene had their plan set and Sirius got to his feet, ready to go put everything in motion. Making a split decision, he offered a hand to Marlene and, upon helping her up, he pulled her close once more and pressed his lips firmly to hers.

"Have I told you today that I love you?" He asked, once they had broken apart.

"Once or twice, maybe," Marlene said with a smile. "And, just for the record, I love you, too. Now, what do you say we go wreak some havoc on our friends?"

"An excellent suggestion," Sirius replied. And, hand in hand, the pair made their way back up to the castle together.

She took him faster than you could say sabotage

END.

a/n-For more on the McKinnons and also the general madness of Marlene and the Marauders, check out the stories co-authored by myself and An-Jelly-Ca, which are posted under the penname SiRiUsLyPiNkAnDgReEn. Also, I believe I may write a short companion piece to this story about James and Lily, so be on the lookout for that sometime in the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading!