The Sugar Quill
Author: potions gurl  Story: On Our Own  Chapter: Chapter 1
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Chapter 1

Disclaimer: If you recognize it, I don’t own it. It belongs to the fabulous JKR who is so nice to let us play in her world. If you don’t recognize it, chances are I might own it, or I barrowed from someone else. Sincere thanks to Robin for letting my use Sirius’s fighting stance from her stories.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Standing at the edge of the alley, the young Auror could just see his target. Or at least the shadow of his target, but that was good enough at that moment. He knew that as long as he could see the shadow he couldn’t be surprised, affording him a small measure of relief. The shadow moved, heading for the open space between two buildings. The Auror was ready for him,  waiting for the right moment. And there it was. The other wizard moved into the open.

 

Impedimenta!”

 

But the spell hit a shield; the wizard made it to safety once more. Frustrated, the Auror turned away from the opening of the alley –his opponent had a target area now. When he looked back out he saw the shadow again, closer this time and with his wand raised. The Auror stepped out from his hiding spot, filled with elation at his impending victory, when…

 

Avis!”

 

Suddenly the Auror was set upon by a flock of small, twittering birds. He was so intent on seeing though the birds that he didn’t hear the slight pop behind him. He just managed to clear the birds when he heard a voice.

 

Locomotor Mortis!”

 

The Auror’s legs snapped together; he fell helplessly to the ground as his attacker Disapparated.

 

It was a few moments before he was composed enough to perform the countercurse and free himself. Once that was done he Apparated out of the simulation room and into the locker room to pick up his belongings. Afterward he Apparated to his home, tired and resentful over not being able to best James Potter.

 

An owl waited for Sirius. “Hullo, Thea. What does Moony need now?” Dropping his bag and Auror robe in a chair, Sirius reached for the note.

 

Padfoot,

  Hope work wasn’t too stressful. If you haven’t managed to get yourself a date for this evening, stop by the Bull’s Head around eight, the others will be there.

            Moony

 

“Remus, why do you always pick Muggle establishments?” Sirius asked himself. “They never have any good drinks. At least the Bull’s Head is relatively close, though.”

 

Sirius set about making himself some dinner and tossed a few treats to Thea.

 

~*~

 

It was a few minutes before eight when Sirius pulled up to the Bull’s Head and propped his motorbike in the alley between two of the buildings. He then made his way inside and to the bar. He had just ordered a Theakstons Bitter when he saw Remus and Peter in a corner. He paid for his ale and made his way over.

 

“Glad to see you could make it. Dressed in leather–let me guess–the bike is outside?”

 

“Good evening to you too. Evening, Peter, how was your day?”

 

“Okay. Mum is still after me to find a job. She still complains about my getting only four NEWTs.”

 

“Not everyone can be as smart and good looking as Sirius here. A good evening to you fine gentlemen.” James slid into the fourth seat at the table. “So, did I miss anything? Saw your bike outside.”

 

Sirius growled at James. “What does everyone have against my bike? At least I have a mode of transportation.” He took a drink of his ale; his hair flipped away from his forehead.

 

“My God, Sirius, what did you have a fight with?”

 

“Remus, what are you talking about?”

 

“You have a couple of small gashes on your forehead. Obviously they didn’t bleed too much if you don’t know about them.”

 

Sirius reached up and sure enough felt the tell tale signs of cuts. “James, you prat, this is all your fault.”

 

“How do you figure?”

 

“You cast that stupid spell and made me fall on the ground.”

 

Remus, trying to ignore the snickers coming from his other side, cast a quizzical look at James who did his best to ignore it and took a drink from his own glass. “When will they send the two of you out together so you’re on the same side?”

 

“I don’t know. And Sirius, if you weren’t such an easy target, you wouldn’t have ended up on the sidewalk.”

 

The four friends sat talking and drinking for a while. Every now and again Remus would look over James’s shoulder with an odd smile on his face.

 

“Moony, would you care to enlighten us as to why you have such a stupid grin on your face?”

 

“No, I don’t think I will.”

 

Sirius rolled his eyes at his friend and went back to the conversation. After another half-hour of this look-and-smile business Sirius leaned across the table to see what Remus was looking at. When he looked over James’s shoulder a young woman standing at the bar quickly turned away.

 

“So,” exclaimed Sirius sitting back down, “which of us was she staring at?”

 

“Well, I could be wrong, but you I think.”

 

“Then you will have to excuse me.” Sirius downed the rest of his drink and stood, making his way slowly through the tables. He finally reached the bar and took an empty spot near the end, pretending to look over the list of drinks.

 

“The Bitter isn’t bad, though I’ve had better.”

 

Sirius glanced to his left, toward the voice. Standing at his elbow was the young woman who had been watching him. At first he thought she had mossy brown hair, but upon closer inspection he saw that it was shot through with copper. She came to just above his shoulder, which surprised him. Standing at six feet himself, most women barely came up to his shoulder.

 

It was her eyes that really drew him in. They were amber and seemed to be alive. He was so struck by them it took a moment to realize she was talking.

 

“My name is Manhattan.” She held her hand out to him.

 

“S–Sirius. Do you come here often? I don’t recall seeing you around before.”

 

“Once in a while I make it out here.”

 

The bartender come over to see if they wanted anything to drink and Sirius stayed at the bar talking with Manhattan; he didn’t realize how late it had gotten until James stopped by

 

“Well, have fun pal. See you at work tomorrow.”

 

“Blimey, has it really gotten that late? Miss Manhattan, it’s been a pleasure. We’ll have to meet again some time.” Sirius kissed her hand in a grand manner before following his friends outside. “So, does anyone want a ride home? It’s safe, I swear.”

 

“Do you solemnly swear?”

 

“Now James, you know those two words only go together on certain occasions. No takers? All right, then.” Sirius got on his bike and sped off down the road. One of these days, he’d manage to get it to fly.

 

~*~

 

Later that week Sirius again found himself in an alley, only this time he was being hunted and didn’t know his opponent’s whereabouts. He quickly took stock of his surroundings: an escape ladder led to the roof of a nearby building and he thought he’d see if there was an advantage to be gained by climbing to the top.

 

Once there he could see the layout better, but there was still no sign of his opponent. Sirius was looking over the side when he caught movement to the right and ducked just as a jet of red light whizzed though the space he had just occupied.

 

He quickly made his way back to the ladder. As he got close to the ladder his intuition kicked in; Sirius peered over the side and saw his adversary waiting for him at the bottom.

 

He ran silently to the other side of the building and vaulted over the low roof wall. Sirius made his safe descent to the ground with the help of a quick Cushioning Charm. Upon landing he quickly took stock of his surroundings. Looking up he saw his adversary on the roof; quickly yet quietly he left the alley.

 

The street he found himself in was mostly open, but that didn’t disconcert Sirius. He quickly made for a parked car on the other side just down the road. As he neared the car he heard the telltale pop of someone Apparating into the vicinity. Sirius took a leap for cover and rolled, coming out on the other side in a crouch with his wand at the ready.

 

His adversary stood there, facing the other way.

 

Expelliarmus!”

 

Before his foe had a chance to react, Sirius held his own wand in his right hand and his adversary’s in his left; both were pointed at his target.

 

James turned around, hands raised in defeat. “Nice job, Padfoot. Erm… might I have my wand back? You look extremely threatening in that pose.”

 

“I don’t know. You did leave me in a compromising position last time.”

 

“Yes, but you had a wand; at this point, I don’t.”

 

“Such a shame, too. Well, goodbye.” Sirius flashed a devilish grin before Disapparating, dropping James’s wand at the last second.

 

~*~

 

“Oi, Black. You coming for dinner tonight? Lily’s coming over and I know Mum would be happy to see you too.”

 

“Yeah, I’ll be there. 7:30, right?”

 

“Yeah,” James confirmed, entering his and Sirius’s cubicle. “You really should do something with your half of the cubicle. It’s kind of bland.” Flicking his wand slightly he transformed the gray walls on Sirius’s side into a rainbow of color. James’s side was already full of pictures from their days at Hogwarts and various other clippings.

 

“When I want to decorate, I’ll do it myself,” said Sirius with mock outrage as he charmed the walls back to normal. “Now get out so I can get some work done. Don’t you have work of your own?”

 

“Sure, but if you’re kicking me out, how can I do it?” James plopped down into his chair. “It’s a shame there’s so much paperwork to do in training. But I hear it doesn’t get any better once you’re actually in.”

 

“Don’t make me have to cast a Silencing Charm on you again.”

 

“Ho, very funny.” James started his own work.

 

~*~

 

“Mum, I’m here.”

 

“Mum, I’m here too.”

 

Mrs. Potter came into the entrance hall as James and Sirius were taking off their Auror robes. “James, you’re early. Sirius, what a pleasant surprise.” She had a warm hug for both of them. “Why don’t you join me in the kitchen while I finish getting dinner ready. Your father should be home any time now. When is Lily arriving?”

 

“I told her diner was at 7:30.” James sat at the table. “So she said she’d be here around seven.”

 

“Is there anything I can do to help?” asked Sirius.

 

“Not at the moment, no. Just sit and tell me how you’ve been. Its so quiet without you boys here all the time.”

 

Sirius and James talked about work–as much as they could anyway–about James besting Sirius earlier in the week and Sirius coming out on top that morning in the training room. Sirius talked about his bike and how it was almost ready to fly… and got a scathing look from Mrs. Potter in return.

 

At one point they heard a pop of Apparition. To be sure that it was a safe arrival Sirius leaned back so that he could see into the hall, he received a wave of greeting as Mr. Potter headed into his study. A little while later there was another pop followed by Lily’s voice.

 

“James? Anyone?”

 

“In here, Lily.” James stood to greet her. She entered the kitchen just as he was getting to the doorway.

 

“Good evening everyone. Sirius, how great to see you. You look well.”

 

“Would I dare look any other way in your presence?” he asked as he twirled her in a hug.

 

After dinner James, Lily, and Sirius went outside to enjoy the unusually warm April evening. They had been talking about some upcoming plans they had for the spring when Sirius made an unusual proclamation.

 

“I was thinking, we should get tattoos.”

 

“Sirius, what kind of a suggestion is that?”

 

“Its okay, Lily; he just wants to impress his new girl.” James had to duck to avoid a wallop to the head from his best friend. Lily burst out laughing.

 

“Who is the lucky lady this time?”

 

“Someone he met on the pull at a Muggle bar. Doesn’t even know her name or where she lives.”

 

“Her name is Manhattan and she lives in London” Sirius attempted to look superior, but he was smiling so didn’t quite manage it.

 

“See James, he can get particulars. Too bad London is so vague when telling someone where you live.”

 

“Where are you suggesting we get these tattoos anyway? And who are you talking about when you say ‘we’?” James looked interested but apprehensive and  ruffled his fingers through his hair.

 

“Where you get it would be up to you; I’m thinking of the body-art parlour across the street from my flat. And the ‘we’ refers to us, of course–you, me, Remus, Peter. It would be fun.”

 

James appeared to be giving the idea some thought. “I’m game I guess, if Remus and Peter are. But I’m clueless about cost, preparation, care, things like that.”

 

“I’ll take care of  finding all that out.”

 

~*~

 

Sirius spent Saturday morning cleaning; his mates were coming over to his place that night and he hadn’t done a good job of looking after himself or his flat all week. By lunchtime the place was presentable; he decided to look into the tattoo information so he would have that to present to the others that evening.

 

A young man stood behind the tattoo-parlour counter. He looked up with an unexpected glean of recognition and turned, calling into the back room. “Oi, Manny. I think you have a visitor.” He returned his attention to Sirius. “What can I do for you today, Mr. Black?”

 

Sirius was taken aback for a moment by the use of his name and made to grab his wand, but then recognized the young man as being from his year at Hogwarts.

 

“I came in to enquire about tattoos… Ravenclaw, correct?”

 

“Yes I was. Francis Devin at your service. And you have come to the right place to get your information: Dragon Tooth Tattooing is the best. What kind of information are you looking for?”

 

Before Sirius could answer a young woman emerged from the back room. Her brown and copper hair was pulled back and her amber eyes full of laughter. When she saw who was in the shop she did laugh.

 

“Well Mr. Black, its seems you have found me.”

 

“Sirius, allow me to present my sister, Manhattan Devin. A graduate from Madam Rhiamon’s Charms Academy.”

 

“Why did you go all evening without telling me?”

 

“Now where would the fun have been in that? Since you seem surprised that I’m here, I gather you didn’t come to see me.” Manhattan punched her brother good-naturedly; he was laughing at her.

 

“I stopped in looking for information on tattoos. But instead I find the angel who so captured my attention. Perhaps you could be of some assistance?” Sirius flashed her the grin that always had the desired effect on women.

 

~*~

 

“Padfoot, you in?”

 

“Yeah Moony. In the kitchen–come help,” Sirius called back in response. “What did you bring for this evening?”

 

“Fire Crab Whisky. Any idea what Prongs will bring?” Remus entered the kitchen and set the bottle on the table.

 

“With him you never can tell. I picked up some Chimaera Ale when I was out this afternoon. Don’t know if Peter will remember to bring anything. But we should have enough.”

 

Remus helped Sirius gather up some glasses and take them into the living room as James Apparated in.

 

“Brought some Veela Vodka and Runespore Rum; now we can have a grand time.”

 

“Does Lily know how much you drink at times, Prongs?” Sirius took the bottles from James to put with the other ones.

 

“Of course she does. Who do you think I drink with when I’m not with the pair of you?”

 

They all laughed so hard they didn’t hear Peter Apparate in.

 

“If you’re laughing this much you must have started without me.” He feigned disappointment, but was really rather amused by his friends.

 

“That’s not true. We haven’t had a drop.” Remus answered, though the look he shot James said that that might not be entirely true for all of them. “But know that you’re here we can get started. What did you bring?”

 

“Just some crisps. I never know what’s good to drink.”

 

“Peter, my lad,” said Sirius throwing one arm around his shoulders and steering him to the sofa, “you did just fine. After all, we have to have something to eat too. Prongs, will you do the honours?”

 

James poured four shots of Runespore and handed them around. The four friends drank the first shot together as had become their tradition. After that they settled in for a night of fun.

 

~*~

 

Many shots later, while they were playing cards, Sirius’s thoughts started to drift. It took a kick from James to bring him back.

 

“Oi, Padfoot, stay with us.”

 

“I’m sorry. Is it my turn?”

 

“It has been for five minutes, if you had been paying attention.”

 

“There must be something on your mind,” injected Remus kindly with a hint of laughter, “to have you drifting into the stratosphere.”

 

“Probably the girl from the bar. But she lives in London so he’ll never find her.” James chuckled as he poured himself a shot of Veela Vodka.

 

“Actually, she lives just across the street.”

 

“What?” exclaimed James.

 

“She does.” Sirius told them about his afternoon, and how, much to his delight, he’d found Manhattan. 

 

James laughed, Peter looked bewildered and awestruck at the same time, and Remus just smiled in that all-knowing way of his.

 

“Well, you know what you have to do now don’t you?”

 

“Do enlighten me, Moony.” Sirius didn’t quite manage the look of total ignorance that he was going for, and ended up instead with a rather bewildered expression.

 

“I’ll enlighten you,” broke in James. “Get off your malingering arse and go ask her out.”

 

“When did you swallow a dictionary?” Peter’s comment caused everyone to burst out laughing again.

 

“Wormtail’s right, you know,” Sirius got out between chuckles. “The use of big words was always Moony’s department.”

 

“They require you to do some reading and research to become an Auror. I guess I picked up some new words along the way.”

 

Everyone chortled more at this proclamation. It wasn’t very long before most of the liquor was gone and the four friends were sloshed beyond comprehension.

 

 

 

Author’s Note: A huge thank you to Lady Narcissa, my fabulous beta reader. Also, thanks to Sammy Weasley for being my unofficial beta and for letting me barrow some of your people and drinks.


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