The Sugar Quill
Author: Anione Graton  Story: A Battle Worth Fighting  Chapter: Chapter 2
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“Get off your duff, Black

“Get off your duff, Black. You’re going to miss the carriages to the station.”

 

Sirius looked up at James sadly. It had never been this hard for him to leave Hogwarts before. He knew it wasn’t the fact that he had one year left. It wasn’t that he was going to miss his best friends over the summer. He had been living with James for over a year.

 

It was Cassie. He knew he was going to miss her more than anything else.

 

“Just because you made a new friend that you’re going to miss doesn’t mean you have to make the rest of us late,” James told him, shuffling around in pockets for something. “Blimey, did I give the map to Remus?”

 

Sirius looked around on the floor halfheartedly. “Probably,” he shrugged.

 

“Oh, come off it,” James said, hitting his friend gruffly in the shoulder. “You’ve got two months before you can see her again, and in between then you can always owl her, right?”

 

“Yeah,” he sighed, standing up. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right.” He grabbed his trunk and scratched his head awkwardly.

 

“There you go,” James said happily, clapping him on the back. “Cheer up, mate. This is nothing new. I feel like this every single year.”

 

Sirius gave his friend a look. “You do not.”

 

“Well, I wish I did,” James said with a dejected sigh.

 

“It’s not your turn to be depressed about Lily. It’s mine.”

 

James looked up, his eyebrows raised questioningly. Sirius only laughed at him. “That’s not what I meant and you know it, you stupid prat.”

 

In response, his friend only mussed his hair and then, thinking about it, stopped. He walked down the stairs ahead of Sirius. Sirius only dragged his trunk down slowly, trying to will it all to happen in slow motion.

 

It was true, he didn’t want to leave school for fear of losing touch with Cassie. It wasn’t that he thought she couldn’t keep their friendship alive, it was just the fact that he didn’t want to be apart from her for any length of time.

 

This got him thinking seriously. Would I care this much if she were just a friend?

 

After spending a week together in detention, Cassie and Sirius had struck up a general interest in each other. From then on, they made it a point to talk when they shared class, which at that point in their careers at Hogwarts, was only Transfiguration. It was even harder trying to talk when their detention warden was watching them both carefully.

 

It was the Hogsmeade trips in which Sirius had really gotten to know Cassie. She was an intriguing person, more so than the other girls he had dated. There was something just different about her. She was full of life and spirit and wisdom. Merlin knew she had plenty of wisdom. She had advice about everything and didn’t mind giving it out. Anyone who asked. And he usually asked for a lot.

 

It was said that anyone from Ravenclaw was of wit and ready mind. Not a truer word could have been spoken about Cassie Reye. Everything about her was sharp and intuitive. She even confessed to him once in a booth at the Three Broomsticks that she possessed a touch of the Inner Eye.

 

“It ran in my family. It’s not something I advertise.”

 

“Sure. Tell me what my future looks like, Cass.”

 

“No.”

 

“Please! Cassie!”

 

“You’re so stupid.”

 

“It’s a perfect match. Stupid and smart. Beautiful and… well… good looking. More so than any wizard in the entire of England, right Cass?”

 

“Don’t make me laugh, Sirius.”

 

“Padfoot! Are you coming?”

 

Peter’s voice shook Sirius out of his dream state. He ducked into the nearest carriage with James, Remus, and Peter and stared out at the fading castle as they pulled away from Hogwarts.

 

“Can you believe that at this time next year, we’re going to be out of Hogwarts for good?” Remus’ voice sounded foggy and far off to Sirius’ ears.

 

“I know what you mean. Do you think I’ll go pro with Quidditch?”

 

“Wouldn’t doubt it.”

 

“Thanks, Wormtail.”

 

“Just think. In a matter of years, we might be married with kids. Isn’t is frightening to think about?”

 

“Not that frightening, Moony.”

 

“Actually, it sort of is.”

 

“Oy! What is this? Gang up on Potter day?”

 

“Well…”

 

Sirius tuned them out. Discussing future plans did not seem as important as dwelling on the past. Cassie had unknowingly become an intricate part of Sirius Black.

 

That year, boarding the Hogwarts Express was not an enjoyable thing. Feeling the weight of the train beneath his feet did not spark the same excitement in Sirius that it always used to. He threw his things into an empty compartment and sat down, waiting for his friends to join him. He closed his eyes in an attempt to get some kind of release.

 

The door to the compartment slid open and someone walked in. Sirius wasn’t aware of whom, and didn’t really care. It wasn’t until he smelled the familiar scent of freesia flowers did he notice that it wasn’t one of the Marauders close to him.

 

A small pair of sweet lips pressed against his cheek. “Wake up, stupid.”

 

Sirius’ eyes fluttered open and his brown eyes swiveled over to meet Cassie’s beautiful beaming face. He twisted his mouth into a sarcastic grin. “What are you doing in here, dozy? Don’t you have Ravenclaw friends of your own?”

 

She shrugged absently. “I do. They’re not as fun as you.”

 

“Oh? And why is that?”

 

“Because you make me feel smart.”

 

Sirius barked with laughter and Cassie’s grin widened. She grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the compartment. “Come on!”

 

He frowned. “Where exactly are we going? There are only so many places we can go on this train.”

 

“Just shut up and follow me!”

 

Sirius was too influenced by her presence to argue for long. All he wanted was to follow her and be with her as long as he possibly could before they parted ways for two whole months.

 

They entered a compartment in the very back of the train that was unoccupied. They walked in and Sirius stood in the center of the compact room, his hands shoved lazily in his pockets. “What did you want to show me?”

 

“Nothing,” she said. “Did I ever say I wanted to show you something?”

 

Sirius frowned. “Okay then, I’m confused.”

 

“You should have that embroidered on a pillow.”

 

He turned toward her and glared. “I’m getting really tired of you insinuating that I’m stupid just because I’m not a Ravenclaw. I’m not a Slytherin.”

 

“Ew, even worse,” she said laughingly.

 

Sirius only lunged at Cassie. She gave a sharp squeal and ducked out of his way before he could get to her. She laughed openly at him, running to the other side of the compartment to be away from him.

 

He stood opposite her, his hands on his hips. “So, why exactly are we alone together in the first place? I know it’s not so you can call me stupid, because you can do that just fine in public.”

 

Cassie’s cheerful blue eyes cast downward and her demeanor changed. She was no longer cheery and playful. She was suddenly demure, which she confessed to Sirius, was how she normally was. He brought out the lighthearted side in her. But he also knew, without even thinking about it, she brought out the mature side in him.

 

“I’ve never been this unhappy about leaving school,” she admitted. “I think you’re the reason. I’ve never had such a great friend, someone who has made me feel so great. I’m not usually this outgoing.”

 

Sirius crossed his arms, staring away uncomfortably. She was voicing his exact feelings and it was scaring him.

 

“I just wanted us to have some time alone before we left for the summer. That’s all.”

 

“You have an owl right?” Sirius spoke up after several seconds of silence.

 

“Yes. Does James?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“So we have that. What are we getting all depressed f-for?”

 

Yet as Cassie and Sirius stared at each other, they both knew that there was a whole other reason to be upset. They had both denied it was happening, but over the course of the year, they’d taken more than just a friendly liking to each other.

 

Sirius was scared to feel something so strongly for anyone. He had never felt this way about his family. He knew he loved his friends like brothers, but this was different. No girl at Hogwarts had ever made him think like she had.

 

He had never felt until he met Cassie.

 

But he was only seventeen. How was he supposed to know what true love felt like? His best friend claimed to have been in love with the same girl since his first year at Hogwarts, but she had never even given him the time of day. That wasn’t true love. That was merely infatuation. James just being James.

 

Sirius was Sirius, and this was Cassie. Cassie was wonderful, intelligent, timid and reserved, but she also had a streak that caused her to be baiting and playful.

 

She was staring at him like she had seen him for the first time. She looked scared out of her mind. He couldn’t even imagine that he was that scared. What was so wrong with feeling something new? Was he going to lose her to this?

 

“Cass,” he whispered, not meaning it to sound as emotional as it came out.

 

She closed her eyes and smiled. “I love it when you call me that.”

 

He smiled despite himself and stared at his feet. “What’s going on here? Are we still going to be friends next year or is this goodbye?”

 

She looked up quickly, surveying him closely. “Do you want this to be goodbye?”

 

He frowned at her. “What? No! Of course not! Do you?”

 

“No!”

 

“Then why are you so scared?”

 

She shrugged. “Just don’t want to lose you is all,” she said dismissively. She sat down on one of the seats. “You know, I think someone is going to come in here pretty soon. The compartments get full quickly.”

 

Sirius was utterly perplexed. She had just turned everything around on him, not for the first time since he’d known her. She was good at avoiding questions, especially about loss.

 

He only shrugged it off, following her lead. They talked for several minutes before Cassie drifted off to sleep on the couch. Sirius looked down at her. He wanted to let her sleep in peace, but he didn’t want to leave her.

 

Huddling up close to her, he propped her head up against his shoulder and rested his face on the top of her head. His mind reeled with thoughts and it was a couple of hours before he drifted to sleep himself.

 

Pain was overtaking him in a way he never knew. He didn’t want to lose the girl in his arms and he didn’t understand why.

 

//
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