The Sugar Quill
Author: Alphie (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Quidditch, Anyone?  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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Continued from Quills and Ink Bottles

A/N: This is the third and last in my little series. If you haven't read Plugs and Outlets and Quills and Ink Bottles yet, you might want to read them first. This is VERY different from the others. It's got more of a PG rating, rather than PG-13, but I still found myself laughing at it. Thanks to all those who read the preview and gave suggestions or cheered me on: Jilly, Caitlyn, Durayan, Ginny…and mostly everyone in the chat room! Thanks to Jane and Zsenya for proofing it. And to Thing1 for lighting a fire under me and helping me think of a good way to torture Sirius!

 

"Bloody rocks!" Sirius wanted to say, but all that he was able to manage was a rather loud growl. He had been waiting all day in the cave for Harry to show up and the rocky ground was beginning to hurt the pads of his feet.

He decided to stop pacing and just sit, but the moment he did, he started thinking. "What am I going to say to him? When James and Lily asked me to look after him, I didn't consider that I'd be the one telling him about this."

He looked up at the sky and gave a great bellowing bark, as if to send a swear word up to his old friend, but then immediately felt badly about it and began pacing again whining quietly now. He couldn't get Harry's letter out of his head. He'd only gotten it two days ago and he'd read it a dozen times.

Dear Sirius,

How are things working out with your assignment? I certainly hope all is well and you have some good news for us. Dumbledore could use it.

Believe it or not, life is pretty normal right now. Except for the fact that all the teachers have loaded us down with studies for the O.W.L.s and my mind is wondering on to other things. And not the things you would expect. I keep thinking about a girl. I know it's silly, but I really can't figure it all out.

Never mind my ramblings. I'm just curious about how you are since I haven't heard from you in a while.

Love,

Harry

"I keep thinking about a girl."

"A girl."

"A."

There was one in particular. Sirius reread the letter many times trying to read between the lines and find who this girl was and exactly what Harry's 'relationship' was with her. Sirius could assume that Harry probably hadn't done much physically with her, as he'd never spoken of 'a girl' before this. Except for Hermione…

Hermione?

No, he discarded the thought immediately. If anyone fancied Hermione, it was Ron. So, who precisely did Harry fancy?

The sound of footsteps nearing the cave snapped Sirius out of his thoughts and he could just see Harry approaching. "Alright, James. This is it, " he thought. "I bet you and Lily are having a really good laugh right now." A teasing smile danced across his face as he transformed from the great black dog to his rather thin human self.

"Hi, Sirius." Harry came bounding up, slightly out of breath.

Wrapping his arms around him, Sirius said, "Good to see you, Harry."

"What's so important? Why did you want to see me so quickly? Is there information about the Order? Are we getting any closer to Voldemort? Where is Professor Lupin? And why couldn't Ron and Hermione come up here with me? Is this something really bad?"

Sirius could barely get a word in edgewise when Harry was in a state like this. For a boy that the press described repeatedly as "shy", Harry sure was talkative. "No, no, nothing like that! I just… I got your last letter, and I thought you and I should talk, um, alone."

Harry's face went a bit pale. "Oh."

"You do want to talk about this?" Sirius furrowed his eyebrows.

"Yes, I just," Harry stammered. "I didn't know you would do this face to face. I thought you'd send a letter."

Sirius smiled. "Harry, some things are too difficult to put onto parchment." Seeing Harry flush slightly, Sirius continued. "Now, without trying to sound too forward…" Sirius paused as he felt a wave of nervousness hit him in the stomach. "How much do you already know?"

"Nothing. They are a complete mystery to me." Harry looked down at his feet. "You'd think I'd know some things with Hermione as a best friend, but she's not like other girls. Besides, I don't…er…like her in that way. Ron does though."

With his suspicions about Ron and Hermione confirmed, Sirius nodded. "Now, Harry, when you say you know nothing…er…" Sirius thought for a moment, ran his fingers through his thick hair and continued in a more nervous and rather shaky tone, "Surely you know some things. You do know all about babies…and where they come from and all that, right?" Sirius could hear the pleading in his own voice at that.

Harry's eyes grew wide and he flopped down on a large boulder. "Oh, Sirius! Come on! How old am I? Four?" He shook his head in disbelief. "What I don't know is how to actually talk to a girl without losing the feeling in my limbs and sounding like a total prat!"

Sirius heaved a sigh of relief and took a seat next to Harry on the ground. "Well then…how to talk to girls, hum?" He remembered that rather embarrassing incident in his fifth year and wondered if it would be worth the humiliation to tell Harry the whole story. THE incident suddenly replayed itself, in its horrifying entirety, in his mind's eye. Oh Gods; not this…but…well, someone should benefit from the lesson learned, I guess. Is it worth the humiliation to tell him this?

He looked over at Harry to find him looking back with a fixed and curious stare. With a heavy sigh, Sirius said, "All I can tell you, Harry, is don't do what I did. Your friends will never let you live it down."

After a pause, Harry asked, "What did you do?"

"It was your father's fault. I should have never listened to him."

A mischievous grin filled Harry face. "What? What did you do, Sirius?"

Deciding upon the proper course of action to tell the story, Sirius asked, "May I borrow your glasses for a moment?"

Puzzled, Harry removed his glasses and handed them over to him.

"At the start of our fifth year," Sirius began, "Remus and I started noticing a change in James, especially when a rather pretty red-headed girl was around. He was distracted and would lose his concentration. Now understand that this is a Prefect we're talking about…top of his class. I noticed it more and more as we would study. He'd get this dreamy sort of look on his face and he'd stare off into nothing. So one night, I asked him about it, and this is what he said to me."

Sirius began ruffling up his black hair, causing it to stand out at odd angles. He put Harry's glasses on the end of his nose, rested his chin heavily on his hand, and smirked in such a way that the glasses went askew.

"You know what I've been thinking, Sirius?" Sirius forced his usual bass voice up into a tenor range, and shot a glance out of the corner of his eye at Harry, who was listening intently. "Girls are like Quidditch Balls."

Harry snorted.

The act was dropped. "James was obsessed with Quidditch, so this comparison was no surprise to me. But he didn't stop there."

He resumed his imitation of James Potter bringing a wide grin to Harry's face. "Girls are like Quidditch Balls. We all try to beat off the unwanted ones or score with the easy ones. But the one we'd all like to catch is the Golden Snitch!" He said the last part in a hushed whisper of reverence.

"My dad thought my mum was a Golden Snitch?"

"Shhhh!" Sirius shot out. "Just listen."

"Think about it, Sirius. Girls like Portia Pratling and Irmine Lance are Bludgers. They're big and boisterous, and they'd knock the wind out of a bloke if he got too close." By now, Sirius had stood up and his posture had changed completely as his imitation became more defined. "And Susie Templeton, Candy Coaco, and their crowd are all like red Quaffles. They prance around in bright colors, showing off all the time. They want to be noticed. They like to be caught." Sirius pointed a finger at Harry. "But remember, Sirius, you only get ten points if you score with a Quaffle." He locked eyes with Harry before continuing in a dreamy voice.

"But the Snitch…ah, the Snitch." Sirius was now staring longingly up at the roof of the cave. "The Snitch is gold, and shiny, and very difficult to find." His focus came back down on Harry. "Just like the right girl."

Taking off the glasses and looking down at Harry, Sirius returned to his normal voice. "So I asked him, 'James, are you talking about Lily?' He seemed surprised that I'd guessed his little secret, but he didn't really mind. I then asked him if he had spoken to her about all this? UGH! That was a mistake. He then started rambling on about how Seekers weren't really allowed to even practice with the Snitch, and how things might be easier for him if he could practice with the actual Snitch rather than a Muggle golf ball."

"But I thought my Dad was a Chaser?"

"He was! And I made the same point to him. I said, 'James, you're a Chaser. Why do you need to practice catching the Snitch?'" He paused. "Then it hit me. I understood what he had been mumbling about. He was nervous and he needed to practice." Sirius handed Harry back his glasses.

Harry's face was screwed up in puzzlement. "I don't understand what you're getting at."

"He didn't know how to approach her. He was trying to figure out a way to become comfortable around her…just as you are trying to do with…er…what did you say her name was?"

"I didn't," Harry said shortly. "So you're saying I need to practice?"

"Well…yes."

"How? " said Harry, rather desperately, shaking his hands in a gesture of helplessness, before he looked back at Sirius with a puzzled expression. "And what does all this have to do with whatever it was you did?"

Sirius cleared his throat. He didn't really want to tell the rest of the story, but he thought Harry would appreciate it. "Well, I too, had a crush." Sirius couldn't believe it, but he felt his neck get suddenly hot. "Joy Pebblebrook"

"So?"

Sirius rubbed his neck. "Well, I wasn't as smooth with the ladies as I…er…made myself out to be." That was it. He was red in the face. Harry just stared at him. "Everyone assumed I was cut out to be some great ladies man, and I was…in public…with a large group of girls to show off for. But one girl…alone…that was a different story."

Harry nodded, "Yeah, I know what you mean."

"So, I decided that James was right. Practicing what I wanted to say would be good idea." Sirius began rubbing his hands together nervously. It wasn't every day that one willingly embarrassed oneself so thoroughly in front of one's godson.

"One night, very late, and after everyone had fallen asleep, I snuck out of the tower and headed for the History of Magic classroom. Binns kept suits of armor from every war around his room and I thought they would work nicely."

Harry gave him a rather blank look. "Work nicely for what?"

Sirius felt himself, if possible, get redder, as he mumbled, "To …practice on. You know, um, speaking to and all that."

"Wait a minute!" Harry held up his hands, disbelief showing on his face. "Don't tell me you snuck around Hogwarts in the middle of the night to mumble sweet nothings at a suit of armor?"

Giving Harry a sideways glance, his face almost frowning, Sirius nodded silently. Harry burst out in laughter. Sirius really couldn't blame him, but he still couldn't bring himself to laugh with Harry, even 20 years after the incident.

"I shouldn't have done it, but hindsight is always 20/20," he grumbled.

Harry continued to laugh. "I can just picture you, on bended knee, pledging your love to a suit of armor!"

"You have no idea." Sirius sat down next to a still giggling Harry. "It was just awful. I asked it out on a date….and even gave it a single red rose, which I thought terribly charming, which I tucked delicately into the mail of the armor's glove so it could 'hold it'."

 

Harry was now doubled over.

"And the worst is yet to come. I leaned over to give it a kiss on the cheek and it started to talk." Harry stopped and looked up at Sirius, still smiling, but with curiosity. "I nearly wet myself. It said, 'Oh, Sirius Black, I've been dreaming of this moment! I'd be honored to be your date!' I must have jumped ten feet into the air!"

Through renewed howls of laughter, Harry gasped, "How could it talk?"

Here was the kicker. Sirius kept a perfectly straight face as he looked Harry right in the eye and said, in a rather poisonous tone, "Because your charming, understanding father and the equally charming and forgiving Mr. Lupin were under the Invisibility Cloak enchanting the wretched thing."

This was too much for Harry, and he fell over onto the ground. Sirius continued, "I didn't realize they had followed me, or that they were even there until the armor asked, 'Am I your Golden Snitch?' I turned around to hear chortles of laughter coming from the corner, and with horror, watched my two friends remove the cloak." Sirius was seriously red in the face. "I was teased mercilessly about it from that day forward. On my next date, James gave me an oil can in case the armor got squeaky. Even at your parents wedding, James suggested that I escort a suit of armor."

Harry wiped at the tears in his eyes.

"BUT," Sirius added pointedly, "there is a happy ending. Joy Pebblebrook did eventually go out with me and I had a lovely time with her."

"Did she wear a suit of armor?" Harry mocked.

Sirius shook his head but finally gave a ghost of a smile, "Not funny," he said in a sing-song tone.

Sirius couldn't help but think how much Harry was like his father, not just in looks, but in humor, too.

"Sorry, I couldn't resist." It took Harry a few moments to calm down and stop laughing. When he did, he asked, "Well, not that I didn't appreciate hearing that story, as I've not had such a good laugh in a long time, but what exactly was I supposed to learn from all that?

Especially now that I will never be able to look at a Golden Snitch or a suit of armor in the same way ever again."

"Er…well…I think the point James was trying to make was that there are all types of girls out there, Harry. We just have to keep our eyes wide open so we can be sure to find that one special girl. And when you do find her…" Sirius didn't know how to word it any other way, "…don't let her go."

"Sirius?" Harry scrunched his face up in thought. "What if some of the other… players on your team are…er…related to your Golden Snitch?"

This confused Sirius a bit. "I think you're mixing your metaphors, Harry."

"Okay, then let's say…the Bludgers are the Snitch's brothers…and you think they'd like to keep you away from her?" Harry stammered.

With sudden realization, Sirius asked, "Does this Snitch have freckles and red hair?"

Harry nodded.

Under his breath Sirius mumbled to himself, "What is it with the Potter men and women with red hair?"

"What?"

"Nothing. Harry, " Sirius turned to face him, "I don't think that any of the Weasleys would mind if you fancied Ginny."

"Sirius!" Harry rolled his eyes, startled by the use of Ginny's name.

"Ask her to study with you sometime. Or perhaps play a game of chess. Be yourself and I'm sure it will all work out."

They spent a while talking of other things, catching up on all the happenings going on around the magical world. Soon the time came for Harry to be going back to the castle. Before he left, he turned back to Sirius with a questioning look.

"Sirius, can I ask one more thing?"

"Anything, Harry." Sirius was sure Harry was going to ask another question about Ginny and prepared himself for it.

"Can I tell Ron about all this? I think he needs to hear it, too."

Sirius smiled and said, "Sure. Just…try not to laugh too hard at my expense."

"What? Laugh at you? Why would I do that?" Harry smiled and ran off down the mountain.

Sirius looked up at the sky. "James, I think he's going to be just fine." Sirius sighed and closed his eyes, then gave a wry smile as he pictured James' laughing face. "But you're still a prat for doing that to me," he mumbled in an amused tone.

 

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