The Sugar Quill
Author: potions gurl  Story: On Our Own  Chapter: Chapter 2
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Chapter 2

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.

 

Chapter 2

 

Sirius awoke to find himself in his bed, but didn’t recall getting there. He also wished the room wasn’t so bright; he glanced at the window and saw that the drapes were closed. Scowling at the window he stood up and headed for the kitchen.

 

As he walked down the corridor Sirius heard a strange rumbling noise from his living room. Instead of reaching for his wand, Sirius looked puzzled and continued walking. When he reached the open room the noise was louder, but he couldn’t see anything. He thought the source might be on the other side of the sofa and went to investigate.

 

Three steps into the room Sirius found himself on the floor and wasn’t sure why. It took a moment to realize his legs were lying across something. The something was in fact a someone: his best friend, James Potter.

 

James was awake and looked just as confused as Sirius. Suddenly there was a loud rumble from the other side of the sofa followed by a yelp and a thud. Both Sirius and James attempted to get to their feet but kept getting tangled with each other. After a few minutes of unsuccessful attempts a new sound reached their ears. Across the room, Remus stood in the doorway to the kitchen laughing.

 

“I was beginning to wonder when you’d be getting up.”

 

“Good, come help us instead of standing there laughing.”

 

So Remus came over to his friends to help untangle them. By this point Peter had managed to get his bearings and was standing.

 

“I have tea ready if you want some. It will help cure what ales you,” Remus headed to the kitchen with a mischievous gleam in his eye.

 

When the other three got there Remus had the tea ready for them.

 

“Sure do feel like death warmed over this morning.” Sirius said, attempting to stifle a yawn.

 

“That’s what you get for trying to drink yourself into oblivion.”

 

“You were with me shot for shot there, Prongs.”

 

“Was I? I don’t remember. But I must have if I feel this bad.”

 

“Well, you know what they say,” said Remus bringing some toast to the table. “If hangovers were fun they wouldn’t be punishments.”

 

They sat in silence eating their toast and drinking their tea. The plate was always full of toast; the three hungover friends had each gone through about six slices before realizing this. When Sirius paused to actually figure out how many pieces he’d eaten, they all broke into laughter.

 

It was Remus who composed himself first. “Sirius, why would we all want tattoos and what would they be of?”

 

“Well, I was thinking we could all get the same thing as a mark of our brotherhood. Yes Peter, I know we aren’t brothers in the literal sense. I hadn’t come up with a design though.”

 

“I don’t think I’m too keen on getting a tattoo,” squeaked Peter absently running his hand down his left forearm.

 

“We don’t have to decide today,” said James. “I know, we can all think of a design and then when we get together next week we can see what we have.”

 

~*~

 

“So, have you asked her yet?”

 

“Asked who what?” Sirius answered his cubicle-mate. It was the following Tuesday and he was reviewing a case for the exam later in the week.

 

“Manhattan. Have you asked her out? You could always invite her to ‘pub night’ tomorrow, Lily’s joining us.”

 

“Maybe I will.”

 

Sirius went back to his work and presumed that James had as well. As he worked, the scent of flowers wafted his way. The scent was too strong to be coming from another cubicle, but he couldn’t think of why there would be flowers in his and James’s space.

 

“What is going on?” Sirius asked turning to his partner. But he only saw the back of James’s head as he worked and there were no flowers anywhere.

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Black.” Though he didn’t turn to face him, Sirius knew James was smiling. “Now if you don’t mind, I’m trying to work.”

 

Sirius had no option but to return to work himself, the scent of flowers still heavy in the air. It got so bad that Sirius cast the Bubble-Head charm on himself so he could have clean air to breathe. He was getting so much work done that he didn’t realize what time it was until James started to tap on his bubble.

 

“You going to spend all night here?”

 

“That depends,” Sirius said, standing and stretching. “Are you?”

 

“Nope, I have a date. Unlike some people I know. Come on, let’s go.”

 

Together they walked to the lifts and took one down to the Atrium so they could Apparate out. When Sirius landed at his flat he turned around and almost ran into James. “Oi! Don’t be scaring a person like that. It’s not healthy.”

 

“Sorry, mate. Just wanted to let you know that we’re going to the Mooncalf Dancehall tomorrow night. Hope your girl can make it.” And before Sirius had a chance to comment, James Disapparated.

 

“Slimy git,” Sirius muttered on his way to the kitchen. “Doesn’t give a body any space.”

 

“Sorry. I can leave,” replied a voice from behind him.

 

Sirius whipped around with wand at the ready to see Manhattan standing in his living room. “Oh, didn’t hear you come in. How did you come in and why did you come in?”

 

“Sorry. I knocked and thought I heard an affirmative to come in, but your friend was here.”

 

“Don’t be sorry, besides I’m always talking to myself. Say, would you like to join me for dinner? I don’t have anything fancy, but you would go a long way to changing that.”

 

They ate chicken and boiled potatoes while talking about school and laughing at the antics each had pulled. It was a warm evening so they took their rice pudding into the living room where the window was open. “Oh my, look at the time. I have to open the parlour in the morning so I should get going. I had a wonderful evening. You are something else, do you know that?”

 

“Thank you for staying for dinner, it was very delightful indeed. You wouldn’t be interested in joining me tomorrow night would you? A couple of us are getting together for a little bit. I could pick you up say, seven o’clock?”

 

“That sounds lovely. I will see you at seven then.”

 

~*~

 

When Sirius walked into Dragon Tooth Tattooing the next evening, there was no one in the parlor besides Francis.

 

“Hullo. I’m looking for Manhattan, is she here?”

 

“Sorry, you just missed her. She left with some guy: something about a hot date.”

 

Sirius growled in aspiration and turned around ready to stalk out.

 

“Francis,” came a voice from upstairs, “I’m going to kill you one of these days. Hullo Sirius. I’m ready. Later, berk.”

 

They left the parlor and Sirius led the way back across the street to his place, and out back to the shed. He went in and fetched his bike. “You aren’t afraid of heights, are you?”

 

“Why? Does this thing fly?”

 

“Not yet,” he replied, climbing on. “Come on, let’s go.” He held out his hand to Manhattan and she got on behind him. “We’re headed to the Mooncalf Dancehall in Bermondsey. Wizarding establishment. Ever been there?”

 

“Can’t say that I have, no.”

 

“I think you’ll like it.” With that Sirius started up the bike and they were off. As Sirius secured his bike next to the building, James and Lily Apparated behind him with two loud pops; introductions were made all around. The four of them walked into the Mooncalf together. Remus had already reserved a table; they made their way to him.

 

“What would you like?” Sirius asked Manhattan once she was seated.

 

“I’ll have a Seeker’s Rum.”

 

“Oh, that does sound good. Will you get me one of them, James?” asked Lily as James held her chair for her.

 

The men went off to get the drinks. Peter entered while they were at the bar and walked back to the table with them.

 

After sitting and talking for a time Sirius, Manhattan, James and Lily went to dance. There were a number of couples and people dancing, but the floor wasn’t crowded. They were having a good time and had been dancing for a while.

 

“Mind if I cut in?” Without waiting for a reply James took Manhattan, leaving Sirius partnerless in the middle of the room.

 

“Looks like it’s you and me,” Lily said at his elbow.

 

They danced this way for another half an hour before Remus came and stole Lily. Sirius again found himself without a partner. Scanning the dance floor, he couldn’t even see Manhattan.

 

“Looking for someone?” whispered a sweet voice in Sirius’ ear. Turning he found his date standing there; he wrapped his arms around her.

 

“You sneak up on people too much. Come on, let’s get a drink.” Without waiting for consent he released her waist and grabbed her hand; together they made their way to the bar.

 

“What cen I do yeh fer?” asked the barkeep.

 

“I’ll have a Fire Crab and a …”

 

“Vampire’s Breath,” supplied Manhattan.

 

“Here yeh be,” said the barkeep handing over the drinks.

 

The both tossed back their drinks and headed back to the floor for some more dancing.

 

“Oi, Black,” James called when they got to the floor. “We shouldn’t stay out too long, we have field work tomorrow.”

 

“Good point,” Sirius called back. He then turned to Manhattan, “would you care for one more spin before we leave?”

 

“That would be great.”

 

The six of them all left at the same time; James, Lily, Remus and Peter Apparated to their respective houses while Sirius and Manhattan got on his bike. The trip back to Diagon Alley didn’t seem to take long at all.

 

“Do you have to run off this evening as well or could you come up for a little while?”

 

“I don’t see how that could hurt.”

 

~*~

 

Sirius lay in bed trying to figure out what had awoken him. It was still dark so it hadn’t been his alarm. He was about to account it to a dream and go back to sleep when he felt a soft kick. Sirius tensed and was ready to reach for his wand when he remembered why there was someone else in his bed.

 

He smiled to himself in the dark as he remembered his evening. He rolled over to gaze at his companion for a few minutes before gathering her close and going back to sleep.

 

Light was beginning to come in the window when Sirius opened his eyes next. This time, though he knew what had woken him. Someone was tickling him.

 

“You’re cute when you sleep, did you know that?”

 

“No. Actually, the others always said I had horrible morning hair,” he replied, a smile playing on his lips. “Good morning to you too. Would you like some breakfast? I’m sure I could find something.”

 

“I don’t want to be a problem.”

 

“You’re not a problem. Even if you were I wouldn’t mind,” Sirius countered, getting out of bed and leaning down to gently kiss his sleep-tousled companion

 

Sirius grabbed his things and headed for the shower. He emerged some twenty minutes later. When he walked into the bedroom he found the bed made, but Manhattan was nowhere to be seen. He dropped his towel on the bed and headed for the kitchen.

 

“You’re still here,” he said, seeing Manhattan making toast. Stupid. That was a stupid thing to say.

 

“Are you disappointed?” she asked with a mischievous glint in her eyes. Sirius didn’t have a chance to answer before he found himself in her arms being kissed. He held her close and the kiss deepening.

 

“Not if you’re going to greet me like that,” he answered when they finally broke apart. “Now, how about that breakfast before I head out?”

 

~*~

 

Manhattan was there when Sirius got home that evening. She even had dinner almost ready. In fact, she was there most evenings that week and was becoming a regular occupant of the little flat. Sirius concluded getting Saturdays off was going to be nice. He spent the entire day with Manhattan.

 

“I won’t be in tonight,” he told her mid-afternoon when they were sitting on the sofa. “We’re gathering at James’s and I will probably not be stable enough to make it home. Please don’t give me that look; I would love to stay home with you. But this is something we have been doing since sixth year. Tell you what,” Sirius leaned into Manhattan since she had pulled back slightly, “I’ll take you out mid week to make up for it.” He finished leaning so that his lips touched hers.

 

“I was hoping you would be home this evening, but I guess I can find something to do. Besides, Dad was hoping I could help out in the parlour this evening.”

 

They had a light supper in the early evening. Manhattan left to help over at the parlour and Sirius got ready to go out. First he went to the Mooncalf to get a bottle of Vampire’s Breath to take with him. He then Apparated to James’s flat, landing outside the door. Confused, he knocked.

 

“Door’s open, come on in,” James called.

 

 “Why can’t we Apparate inside anymore?”

 

“Just for tonight. I put a blocker on it so that you wouldn’t be able to attempt it once you’re smashed. Not just you mind, but all of us.”

 

“That’s a really good idea,” injected Remus from the doorway. “You really should close the door, Sirius, you’ll let in pests.”

 

“Yeah, big ones, that get all hairy once a month.”

 

Remus jumped him; the two of them rolled around on the floor in a mock fight. They didn’t notice Peter arrive and only stopped when James put the Full-Body Bind on them.

 

“Now, if you two are willing to act your age, let’s talk about this tattoo business while we can still think.”

 

They settled in and discussed getting tattoos. In the end it was decided they would get them and they’d go with Remus’s suggestion of a fireburst. The placement was to be left to the individual.

 

“So, how about next Saturday?” Sirius poured the first round of drinks. “We can do a guys afternoon instead of evening. And you should invite Lily, she might enjoy it.”

 

“Sounds like a plan. Bottoms up.”

 

As predicted they were in no condition to do anything but fall asleep where they were by two o’clock. And sleep they did. It was midmorning before Sirius became conscious. As usual Remus was the most stable and therefore made tea and toast.

 

After eating and helping to clean up, everyone left. Sirius was able to Apparate, but wasn’t completely stable.  He managed to make it home without splinching, but didn’t have such luck on the landing. He ended up in a heap on the floor and remained there until Manhattan came over that afternoon.

 

“Sleep may be good for you, but I don’t imagine that’s very comfortable. Wingardium Leviosa.” She levitated Sirius to the sofa so that he would be more comfortable and draped a quilt over him.

 

Sirius woke up a while later to the smell of something cooking. His stomach grumbled in protest for not having eaten anything all day; he got up and headed for the kitchen. Manhattan was sitting at the table with her back to him.

 

“It’s about time you got up,” Manhattan said as she turned to face him. “I made stew if you want some.”

 

“That sounds lovely.” Sirius sat in one of the empty chairs while Manhattan went about getting dinner for the two of them.

 

Over dinner Sirius talked about his evening with his friends and the plan to get tattoos. He managed to wheedle a promise out of Manhattan that she would do the body art for the four of them.

 

~*~

 

“Black, you really should pay attention here. We’re going to get killed otherwise,” James was saying as Sirius was snapped out of his own thoughts.

 

“Sorry. What’s happening?”

 

“They are sending us out with Fish and Wellington. They suspect it is just some ambitious youths causing trouble but want it looked into anyway. Be ready to go and meet in the prep room in ten minutes.”

 

Sirius spent eight of the ten just sitting and focusing. He needed to be able to concentrate on the task at hand or he was liable to get himself or his partners killed. Once he was prepared he grabbed his field robe, pocketed his wand, and headed for the prep room.

 

James and Blake Wellington were already there; Natalie Fish arrived just after Sirius. Once everyone was set, they Apparated to their destination point. It turned out to be a metal yard and there were piles and stacks of everything that could be made of metal. They had just landed and were starting to take in the terrain when a jet of red light came from around a corner, narrowly missing Blake.

 

All four of them hit the ground rolling and came up into their fighting stances, each with a blocker of some sort behind their back. There was no sign of their attacker.

 

“Potter,” called Natalie, “are you in charge of this mission?”

 

“I’m not sure. They weren’t expecting trouble. Reducio!” James shrank a pile of metal that someone had just disappeared behind.

 

“Black actually had the best practical score,” injected Blake. “Though Potter is pretty good at problem solving. Perhaps the two of you can come up with a plan.”

 

Sirius looked over at his friend and gave a brief nod in Natalie’s direction. James nodded that he understood and prepared to run. “Wellington,” Sirius called softly so as not to attract unwanted attention, “on my mark, make for Fish’s spot.”

 

Blake nodded that he was ready. Sirius gave the signal and in the same breath hit the top of Blake’s barrier sending metal pieces everywhere. James had been ready and was able to cast a shield over their area so that none of them got hurt.

 

“Looks like we have trouble, even though it wasn’t expected. The old standard still holds true it seems. The thing we have to do,” Sirius had started talking as soon as they were together, “is catch them off guard, confuse and then trap them. Wellington, do you have any experience on the Quidditch field?”

 

“Very little. I was second string Beater my sixth and seventh years.”

 

“Okay. What about you, Fish?”

 

“I was a Chaser for three years.”

 

“Great. No offence Wellington, but we need you to play point person.”

 

“That’s fine. But you don’t have brooms, how will Quidditch help us?”

 

“Some of the best moves can be adapted for use on the ground. The best way to accomplish our goal is to do a variation on the Spinning Diamond.”

 

“The what?” asked Blake and Natalie at the same time.

 

“No time to explain right now. Wellington, you stay here and be ready with a capturing spell, you need to be able to get more than one at a time or they will get you. I would suggest gathering some of these scattered pieces up and making a wall to hide behind. We need the element of surprise on our side. If you get one of us,” Sirius waved his hand to indicate James, Natalie and himself, “don’t worry about it. The other two will be able to handle the situation.

 

“Let’s go and I’ll explain the plan on the way. Look for us, or at least the others, in a few minutes.” Sirius, James and Natalie headed out across the clearing and behind a pile of metal. “Now, the three of us need to be ready with shield charms as we will be out in the open. The trick is to get them to catch barely a glimpse of you before you move. The key to doing the diamond with three people is to have the fourth corner open at all times. It should be easier here because we can Apparate to the points, causing more confusion to our opponents.

 

“When they come for us we will slowly work back to where Wellington will be ready. Have your wand ready, but don’t cast a spell unless you have to as it will slow us down and they could hit you.”

 

They stopped about fifteen meters from where they left Blake and got into formation. Sirius lit a spot between James and himself that marked the fourth corner. When the light faded James sent red and blue sparks into the air to attract attention. As soon as they started fading the three Aurors started their Apparating.

 

It wasn’t long before three people emerged into the clearing. Sirius got only a brief look at them before Apparating to his next point. The three in the middle were turning this way and that trying to get a good aim, but the Aurors wouldn’t stay still. They started to move in Blake’s direction forcing the group that way too.

 

It didn’t take long before the center group was within range to be bound. They were so disoriented that Blake had no trouble binding them. Sirius appeared on the edge of the clearing just after Blake cast his spell, doing a little victory dance to celebrate that his plan worked. Natalie appeared opposite him just in time to see the figure sneaking up on Sirius.

 

“Black, look out!”

 

But Sirius was so involved in his victory that he was too slow in heeding the warning. As he turned and started to sink into his fighting crouch, the spell hit him. He fell as his partners cast Stunners on his attacker.

 

 

 

Author’s Note: Thanks to my fabulous beta reader Lady Narcissa for making it flow better. Also, thanks to Sammy Weasley for being my unofficial beta. Most of the drinks I also borrowed from Sammy with permission, you’re the best.


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