So, I'm in the process of moving my little drabbles from my blog to this account and this is the first to come. It's actually a deleted scene from later on in The Art of Timing, but because I went with Lily's P.O.V, it was fairly hard to keep. Marlene and Sirius' friendship is one of my favourite things to write, so enjoy!

Disclaimer: Still not J.K. Rowling, sadly.

For the life of her, Marlene couldn't figure out what had possessed her to follow Sirius Black down a dark corridor after curfew.

"Come along, Triple M," aforementioned boy grinned as he tugged at her hand, "I would like to get out of here before the sun comes up."

She scowled at him and ran a hand through her chin-length blonde hair. Not that her scowls ever had an effect on Sirius; even worse so in the unlit hallway. It was times like these that she wondered why she even was friends with him. They obviously didn't match.

Marlene was spunky, fierce and had an impressive arsenal of witty sarcasm; everything Sirius didn't like in a girl. At least, everything he didn't like in a girl he was trying to shag.

Sirius was epitome of tall, dark and handsome, and had a smirk that Satan would sell his own soul for; Marlene wasn't stupid enough to fall for that. At least, not stupid enough to fall into his bed.

But they were friends, close friends, and had been for a few years. Sometimes, in one of his rare moments of nicety, Marlene would even go so far to call him her best friend. He knew more about her than anyone else – even the girls she'd shared a dorm with for the past six years.

He knew about the strawberry shaped birthmark on the left side of her ribcage. He knew about the ticklish spot on the base of her back. He knew that while she refused to eat them because of James' stupidly strict Quidditch diet rules, she loved Yorkshire puddings with a passion.

He knew everything, all because her fourteen-year-old self refused to sleep with him so he refused to leave her alone.

"Where are we even going?" she hissed. By now the November chill was starting to seep through her (not so attractive but incredibly comfortable) flannel pyjamas and raising the goosebumps on her skin.

Sirius grinned again. "Patience, grasshopper."

"I'm cold."

His laugh echoed around the empty hallway, rousing a few portraits from their sleep. They began to grumble drowsily to one another before a particularly old looking fellow called out – in what Marlene assumed he thought was an intimidating fashion – "Who goes there?"

Sirius rolled his grey eyes and went to open his mouth. Before he could utter whatever inappropriate retort Marlene was sure he was thinking of, she clamped her free hand over it and gave him a scowl. Once again, it had little effect.

He kept his hand tight around hers as he continued to pull her down the hallway. The pair were silent until Sirius finally came to a stop.

Marlene's eyes squinted in the darkness, taking in the tall, curved figure of Circe with a frown. Confused was only the beginning of how she was feeling.

"Why are we here?" she asked.

With yet another secret smile, Sirius dropped her hand and stepped towards the statue with a flourish. "Ladies and gentlemen, let me present one of the many magnificent findings that I, Sirius Black, am proud to have."

"That's a statue of Circe; a four hundred year old statue of Circe. I highly doubt that it is yours."

"I'm not talking about the statue." His eyebrows wiggled. "I'm talking about something much, much bigger."

"If you're talking about your exclusively masculine attachments, I'm sorry to say—"

He silenced her with a hand. "Shut up, you daft bird."

The fingers on his raised hand wiggled for a moment before attaching themselves to Circe's stone hip. They drew downwards, stroking her in such an expert way that Marlene almost had to look away. It was a good thing it was the dark; the blush rising on her cheeks would have had Sirius cackling for weeks.

His movement finally rested in the groove of Circe's rippling skirt, his fingers pressing against a spot softly. The statue sprang to life, her hips swaying out of Sirius' reaching and twisting her body to reveal a dark hole in the wall behind her.

Marlene blinked. Through the hole, hanging lanterns began to fire up one by one, lighting a path that eventually disappeared into further darkness. The path looked damp and earthy; she was suddenly regretting not bringing a coat.

"Shall we?" Sirius asked, snapping her from her bewilderment with a charming smile. His hand stretched out towards her again, brushing against the outside of her elbow. She gave him a look somewhere between reproachful and uneasy. Leaning towards her, he put his lips by her ear. "Come on, I've been waiting ages to show you this."

Just like that whatever uneasiness and reluctance that harboured in her gut vanished. She could practically hear Lily's reprimanding voice in her mind ("Are you a complete nutter? Letting Sirius Black lead you into a dark and mysterious path is just as bad as following him into a broom cupboard!"). She let it dissipate with the shake of her head.

"Let's go," she said, giving Sirius her first grin of the night.

Because really, what could possibly go that wrong?

This. This is what happens when you ask "what could possibly go that wrong?".

She maybe should've stopped at the statue. She possibly should've stopped once they got to Hogsmeade. She definitely should've stopped when he dragged her down an alley that resembled something out of a bad mobster film. But no, she didn't.

Why? Because Marlene McKinnon has no system of resistance when it comes to a prat called Sirius Black, no matter how many times he gets her into situations like these.

"No," she said, not for the first time. "Absolutely bloody not."

Peering over the sheet he held up in front of his face, Sirius raised his eyebrows. Despite the room having light at a bare minimum, she could make out swirls of black ink on the other side of the paper. A jolt of uneasiness hit her gut again. Stupid prat.

"I am not doing this. I don't want a tattoo!" Marlene attempted to reinforce. "You are out of your bloody mind if you think—"

"You know, being out of your mind isn't necessarily such a bad thing. It's certainly a lot more fun being insane."

She glared at him again. A sudden loud buzzing came from behind the curtain leading into the next room, sending her jumping in her seat. Sirius let out a slight cackle.

"Shut up!"

Sirius pursed his lips thoughtfully and set down the paper between them. "Do you think that would be too cliché?"

His finger pointed to the drawing of a dog's face, dark with a pair of clear eyes. Marlene held back the urge to roll her eyes. Since finding out Sirius' 'special talent' ("And not the only one," he had added with a smirk), he hadn't stopped flaunting it in her face. After a few weeks, the novelty had worn off.

"I think it would make you look like a prat," said Marlene, "but you seem to be doing a fine job of that yourself."

It took a while for Sirius to respond, and when he did, he was frowning. Not in the confused way that Marlene was so used to, but in the way that she was raining on his parade. Which she was, because it was a stupid parade.

His dark eyebrows furrowed above his grey eyes, his face turning into a storm cloud. "You know, I really thought you'd be up for this."

There was a strict set of emotions Marlene and Sirius could feel when they were together. The way Sirius was looking at her right now was breaking the rules. His eyes bore into hers, gentle but hard at the same time, and she felt her stomach shift. This time she wasn't so sure it was because of the loud buzzing in the background.

He rubbed the back of his neck, a sure sign that he was about to stray into the 'we-don't-talk-about-this' area. "Marlene…"

Strangely enough, he was not the one Marlene thought was going to break the boundary first. He studied her for a few moments, watching her expression shift from confusion to concern to pure panic, before finally speaking.

"You're my best friend," he said. As she went to retort, he quickly shut her down. "No – you really are."

Marlene eyed him sceptically. "What about James?"

"James is my brother. So is Remus and, well, yeah, I suppose Peter too. And you—"

"Don't call me your sister."

"I'm not! I mean, they know a lot about me. How could they not? We share a bloody dorm. Anyway, blokes don't… well, they don't do feelings, do they? Even though James should really work on that because he won't shut about Evans and her…" He trailed off at Marlene's sharp look. "Right! Right, what I mean is, they all have their own problems. I don't really want to, you know, burden any of them with my crap. James already knows more than he should. And I'm not exactly the trusting kind of guy – pureblood families kind of fuck that up for you – but you… I trust you. I think, more than anything."

Marlene simply stared at him. Having Sirius Black so much as wink at you would be the highlight of most girls' day, but here he was practically spilling his bloody heart out to her? It was a joke. It had to be a bloody joke.

"And so," he grinned at her, slowly looking like his old self and sending relief into her stomach, "this is what I'm getting. What we're both getting."

He pushed the piece of paper towards her, pointing to a single word scrawled across the page in a flourished font:


"Confidimus?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

He smiled, almost sheepishly. "It's a Latin variation of 'trust'. Fitting, don't you think?"

Yes, but she wasn't about to admit it.

"I never thought I'd be getting a tattoo." Letting out a sigh, she picked up the sheet to examine it further. "Where exactly would we be getting it?"

Mischief spread across Sirius' face faster than she'd ever seen it before. He scooted closer to her on the bench, so close that their knees slid against each other.

He brought his index finger to her stomach, drawing it upwards to rest just under her left breast. "Birthmark," he murmured. Marlene frowned as he stroked across her middle until he reached a similar spot on her opposite rib cage. "Tattoo."

"Why?" she asked, fighting to keep her breathing even.

Smirking at her, he hooked his finger gently inside her sweater. His face was close enough for her to feel his lips brush against her cheek as he whispered into her ear.

"Because that way I'll be the only one to know both of the secret marks on your body."