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30 June 2005 @ 12:13 pm
Lo, in which there is experimentation with the first person, name of Frank  

I didn't intend to add lyrics to these chew-toys of stories, because I'm only mucking about wiv 'em. However, I was listening to Under Rug Swept and some just jumped out, decided to rough me up with a musical mallet and made a swift getaway into my iPod. Rather depressing, how much of my life can be summed up in a song by Alanis Morisette. >.<

kabeyk, LOVE, ya know pourquoi.

After running away

This is the only kind of love, as I understand it, that there really is

-- Alanis Morisette

He plinks his finger against the glass. It doesn’t set off a chain of cause-and-effect, unless the sharp crackle of pain across his fingernail counts.

“I thought the snakes’d be interesting,” he whines, but he keeps his voice low all the same. The zoo has been quite -- he searches his mind for a suitably un-Black-family phrase -- cool, up until now. The idea of a family outing is novel to him; he’s not yet sure if it’s a good novel or a bad novel, or indeed a Mills and Boon novel. All he knows is that being around the Potters is like having a lit wand poked into the darkest corners of his mind.

James just looks bored. He’s been to the zoo “hundreds of times, Padfoot. A gazillion, at least”.

Once every year since James was born actually makes sixteen, but it’s probably not very exciting to him any more. For his part, Sirius just isn’t sure whether he likes the idea of cages.

“Snakes are interesting,” said James, “if I Vanish that glass and you go for a swim in their little pool. That would be interesting to me.

“Your morbid fascination with bringing about my demise doesn’t bother me,” Sirius informs him in lofty tones and gives him a shove. James’ shoulder bangs against the glass and the boa constrictor inside opens one sleepy eye. James pokes his tongue out at it.

“There you are, boys,” says Mrs Potter, materialising behind them with her arm tucked inside the crook of her husband’s.

After twenty-two years of marriage, they still kiss each other good morning. James thinks that this is inexpressibly disgusting and makes spirited attempts to throw his toast at their heads when they do it. Sirius doesn’t know where to put his face as Mr Potter takes both his wife’s hands in his own and rubs noses with her.

Sirius has never seen his mother kiss his father. In fact, he can’t remember the last time his parents were even in a room alone together. How he and Regulus ever came to be conceived is a source of constant mystery to him.

“I hope you’re not tormenting the poor defenceless snakes,” says Mr Potter, with a twinkle in his eye that reminds Sirius far too much of Professor Dumbledore. Professor Dumbledore who still doesn’t know that Sirius has run away to the Potters’. Sirius told Mr Potter that he wrote to the Professor. The lie makes him feel more uncomfortable than he’s used to; lying to James’ father is not quite the same as lying to Kreacher or his mother. Even the comparison makes him feel dirty and ungrateful.

“Sirius was,” says James, pushing his glasses up his nose. Due to being banged about so much, they are always off balance and often stuck together with Spellotape because James can’t be bothered to fix them with magic. Sirius’ opinion is that James should make a point of taking them off before he does something like whack Sirius over the head with a pillow. Then again, that would require thinking ahead. Prongs isn’t exactly famous for that, as Evan’s weekly hexes prove.

“We should report him to the zookeeper for cruel and unprovoked tormentation of reptiles,” continues James, his cheeks going pink with excitement.

Sirius thinks that James is perhaps just a little too giddy at having him around. Then again, he’s an only child. Even Sirius had his moments of childish plotting, with Regulus or against Regulus, but James never did. He’s never had a chance to grow out of it. He’s also never had a brother who liked playing with fire and boiling water rather too much.

“Jolly good,” says Mr Potter. “Shall we stop for ice cream on the way home, or will we be detained by Sirius’ incarceration, do you think?”

“Nah,” says James, his fingers looping around Sirius’ belt and tugging. “He’s got the look of a vile murderer, I reckon they’ll arrest him on the spot.” He grins into Sirius’ face, sending porridge-scented wafts of breath against his cheek. Sirius wrinkles his nose.

“I’m taking you down with me,” he warns and sidesteps James’ tickling hands in order to shake back his hair and smooth down his shirt.

All his clothes belong to James, apart from the two sets of school robes he managed to stuff into his trunk on the way out. All the rest were in the laundry, being hand-washed by house-elves. As such, everything is a little too long and too narrow, James being a lanky git. Sirius is stockier; he has muscles, or a “beer-belly” as James calls it. In fact, the Black household only stocks the finest, headiest spirits, as Sirius had occasion to discover when he broke into the alcohol cabinet on his first summer home after starting Hogwarts.

The Potters walk a little ahead of he and James. Sirius can’t decide if it’s because they realise James would object to being treated like a kid, or if they don’t want to associate with two teenaged boys who keep running about like escaped lunatics and trying to knock each other to the ground. A bit of both, most likely.

Tussling with James is wonderfully mindless. He isn’t like Peter, who cries if you hit him too hard, or Remus, who always looks too fragile to touch. James does, however, make a most satisfying grunt if you happen to place your fist into his solar plexus. Sirius never does it very hard, though. He’s more careful of James’ kidneys than he was of Regulus’. James is more of a kicker; Sirius already has a collector’s edition of purpling bruises down his shins.

After a while, Sirius runs out of breath and impetus, and he grabs hold of James’ hair to call a halt to the proceedings. This tactic never fails to work because for someone with such awful hair, James is very possessive of it. James immediately stops twisting about and ducks away, rifling his fingers through his hair to get it looking just messy enough.

As Sirius watches, Mrs Potter’s hand drops from Mr Potter’s arm as she pauses to look through her handbag. When she’s finished, Mr Potter takes her hand and presses it to his lips, before loosely grasping it by his side.

Something inside Sirius clutches unbearably tight at this. He darts a quick look at James.

“Revolting, aren’t they,” sighs James, with a world-weary shake of his head.

“Shut up, James,” snaps Sirius, feeling a tint of red wash over his eyes. “They’re lovely.”

James shoots him a sidelong glance, chewing his lip. Sirius knows he is going through several potential, cheeky answers in his mind, so it surprises him when he just mutters, “Sorry.”

“No, I’m sorry,” says Sirius, cursing himself for ruining the playful mood. It’s so typical of him. Mr and Mrs Potter’s clasped hands are swinging as they walk; they seem almost oblivious of it, as if their connection is so steady that they never need to question it.

“They met here, you know,” says James. Sirius knows he is trying to make up for his earlier statement, which is silly. James is normal and thinks his parents are a bit embarrassing. Sirius isn’t normal, and he wants to kill his mother with his bare hands.

“Really?” he says.

“Yeah. Near the lion enclosure, I think. That’s why they drag -- I mean, that’s why we come here to visit each year.”

Sirius’ lips curve upwards. He likes to think of Mrs Potter, who is little and dark, striking up conversation with the tall, sandy-haired Mr Potter. Sirius’ parents had an arranged marriage and did not see each other until the day of their wedding, which was lush and spectacular and everything that was expected. He knows James’ parents got married in civvies at a Muggle register office; he saw the still, sepia photograph above the mantelpiece.

“Kind of appropriate, you know they were both in Gryffindor,” says James, grinning. He has his father’s smile. Sirius’ parents have wedding rings in the shape of snakes, which is also appropriate, although he doesn’t care to share this detail.

“Come on, we can pretend to be brothers. Wonder how many people we’ll fool,” says James, grabbing Sirius' hand and yanking him along. His palm is damp with sweat, but Sirius doesn’t let go. He likes being James’ brother.

He doesn’t think they’ll fool anyone, though. James’ face is open and carefree, his eyes bright behind his glasses. Sirius carries the familial taint of the Blacks wherever he goes, like a brand on his forehead. He is never going to have children. That’s the kind of inheritance no one deserves.




James lolls about on the bed, which his mother magically extends every night so they’ll both fit in it. The Potters’ house at Godric’s Hollow is small and ramshackle, with a vast kitchen, smoky living-room and bedrooms designed for midgets. When the bed is extended, there is no room to walk about; they jump from the threshold of the door right on to the mattress and have nearly brought down the ceiling twice with the bed-bouncing this inspired.

It’s turning into a sweltering summer. The ice cream melted in their hands on the way home and they ended up licking it off their wrists. They had to take the Muggle bus, because of James and Sirius being underage. Sirius wonders if Mr and Mrs Potter don’t do it just for the novelty of taking a bus.

Sirius didn’t like that part at all, being all squashed up against a smelly Muggle with sweat-patches on his singlet. At least he could lean against James on the other side, even though James objected at first with a “Geroff me, Padfoot.” Sirius persisted, not liking the way the man’s thigh was digging into his own, and James relented with a sigh. Sirius is fairly sure he let ice cream drip on to Sirius’ jeans on purpose, though.

Now, James has only his pyjama bottoms on. He has a quill in hand and is waving it around as he tries to come up with a letter to Evans that is charming, witty, winning, smooth, sensitive and irresistable, and those are just the adjectives James has come up with in the last five minutes. Sirius is of the opinion, often shared with James but never heeded by him, that James could be the reincarnation of Shakespeare and Evans would still use his correspondence as kindling.

“Come on, Padfoot,” wheedles James. “Give us a hint. I know you’re popular with girls.”

Sirius stands in the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom, his mouth full of toothpaste and toothbrush bristles, and says without much distinctness, “Not with Evans. And besides --”

“What?” yells James. “Come in here, you prat. Your teeth can wait.”

Sirius doesn’t agree. He pads back into the bathroom and spits, then swills gelid water from the tap around his mouth. It’s a pleasant contrast to the blanket of hot air, which is wrapped closer around his body than James’ old flannel pyjamas. They have a Marvin the Mad Muggle print. Sirius isn’t familiar with the comic; his father refuses to have anything pertaining to Muggles in the house, even when it pokes fun at them. He’ll probably choke to death on his own bile one day and save Sirius the trouble.

An impatient huffing noise comes from behind him and he turns to see James perched on the edge of the bath, picking his toenails. Sirius rolls his eyes and pats his mouth dry with a white -- an amazing colour for a towel; the black ones he’s used to don’t show up dirt -- fluffy towel.

“Leave off, you great ponce,” says James in irritation. He has moved to scratching his bare knee now. “I need your help for a very, very important matter and all you can think about is your impending plaque. I call that heartless.”

“You forget, I don’t have a heart,” says Sirius, smiling crookedly.

“Yes, you do,” says James, pulling down his pyjama leg. “You just keep it in a jar somewhere. Aren’t you boiling in those pjs? You will be under the blankets. I’m going to sleep in my boxers.”

“Ah, Prongs, don’t,” protests Sirius. Mornings are awkward enough without James stripping down to the bare necessities and James knows it.

“I won’t if you help me,” says James, sending him a wicked smile. Sirius realises he has been outwitted by the scion of a long line of hapless Gryffindors and succumbs to the terrible shame.

“Come on, then,” he grouses. “You cleaned your teeth? I don’t want your smelly breath in my face all night.”

“I have gorgeous breath, you philistine,” objects James, prodding him in the back. “The scent of midnight roses and sea breezes and --”

“And porridge,” adds Sirius. “Don’t forget the porridge.”

James looks startled, blows into his hand. “What do you mean? My breath smells of porridge? Yuck.”

“Never mind.” Sirius shakes his head in impatience and clambers on to the bed. He grabs James’ parchment and rolls his eyes at James’ pitiful attempts.

“Well?” James looks painfully hopeful and Sirius can’t bear to be scathing. Yet.

“What do you want to say to her, exactly?” sighs Sirius.

“That’s she’s beautiful,” says James, sounding solemn.

Sirius cocks an eyebrow at him. He’s heard James call Evans many things -- sexy, gorgeous, hot stuff, attractive, good-looking, a bit of all right, pretty; even, against all evidence to the contrary, sweet -- but never beautiful. Sirius lays aside the parchment, feeling swamped by an unnameable feeling.

“Why don’t you just say that, then?” he suggests. James blushes.

“It sounds stupid.”

“Oh, and --” Sirius looks down “-- comparing her eyes to precious emeralds and her hair to a fiery sunset isn’t stupid?”

“Well, when you put it like that …” James puts his head to one side, his arms crossed over his chest.

Sirius is still jealous of the faint line of dark hair that spirals southwards from James’ navel, not that he’d ever let on. Even Peter’s got hair on his chest by now; only Sirius is left smooth as a baby’s bottom. He blames his bloodlines, like he does for most things he doesn’t like about himself.

“Here,” says Sirius. He makes an extravagant gesture of scrawling on the parchment. James crawls up beside him to watch, his breath heavy against Sirius’ face. “Dear Lily,” he pronounces as he writes, “I’m James Potter. You may remember me as the git --”


-- the massive git who’s made your life a misery ever since that first Polka-Dot Hex in first year. Thing is --” Sirius falters, looking straight into James’ hazel eyes. There are little specks of green and brown in them and he looks both humiliated and excited.

“-- the thing is,” resumes Sirius, after a pause that stretches out a bit too long, “I really think you’re beautiful. Also, I’m sorry for being a prat. Really, my mate Sirius is much nicer than me, not to mention better-looking and far more charming --

“Oy,” says James, slamming his shoulder into Sirius’ chest, “you can have any girl you want, but not her.”

“I was joking, Prongs,” says Sirius, spitting out a mouthful of James’ hair. “I haven’t got the slightest interest in Evans. I was just pointing out a few obvious facts that she probably knows already.”

“You’re right, actually,” says James, sounding gloomy. “I’m not that charming.”

“Oh, you’re --” Sirius scrabbles for something both honest and flattering, and settles for, “You’ve got a certain something. I mean, who wouldn’t like a skinny idiot with specs and hair that hasn’t been brushed for a decade?”

James compulsively reaches for his hair, but he can’t deny it; his only comb since forever has been his fingers. His argument is that this is more ‘natural’.

“It’s hopeless!” he cries, flopping back on the bed with a heart-rending sigh. He passes his arm over his eyes, wincing as his glasses dig into his nose.

“Well, yeah,” says Sirius, “but that’s hardly news, is it?”

“That’s it!” says James, his body going rigid and ridiculous. Sirius stifles a snort. “I shall renounce the female race from here on in. I shall be a model student. I shall dedicate myself to my studies and earn a rake of NEWTs and become Head Boy --”

“You’re off your rocker, mate,” says Sirius, searching under his pillow for his book. It’s one of Mrs Potter’s, with a lurid pink cover featuring a rugged man clutching a large-bosomed lady to his leather-clad chest. “You’ll never get Head Boy, you’re too much of a rule-breaker.”

“Yeah, true.” James breathes out noisily through his nose. “Perhaps if I offered myself up as Evan’s personal slave?”

“Mmm, dignified, mate,” agrees Sirius, opening the book. He’s got to a really exciting part, where two pirates are duelling for the right to claim one of the indistinguishable female heroines as his booty.

“I can hear your voice just dripping with deep and heartfelt concern,” says James dryly.

“Heart’s in a jar, remember?” Sirius reminds him, lying back and holding the book over his head. One of the pirates rips his shirt off, revealing a torso rippling with muscles, and brandishes a gleaming sword. Sirius grins; he loves action. The romance stuff is for the birds.

James douses the candle on his side of the bed and snuggles down. It is still far too warm for either of them to get under the covers, but James coils himself up into his usual foetal sleeping position. His bare toes brush Sirius’ cloth-covered knee and Sirius feels a deep, curling sense of content.

After half-an-hour or so, he puts the book down; the seduction scene has begun and Sirius is too tired to decide if he’ll skip it or not. He wets his thumb and finger with his tongue and pinches the wick of the candle on his side. James, who has obviously been waiting for this moment, shuffles around so they are nose to nose.

“I don’t want to be an idiot with Evans any more,” he whispers. He doesn’t have to. Their room is on an entirely different level to the main bedroom, so they could host a couple of dragons there without the Potters hearing anything. It’s just the effect of the sudden dark and being in bed. It happens at Hogwarts too; even with Silencing Wards up, they still use low voices.

“You might need a personality transplant, then,” breathes Sirius. James knocks him on the arm and Sirius pinches his hip. “You really do like her, then? Not just fancy her?”

“I love her,” says James, and he sounds so sure that Sirius feels winded. “I’m going to marry her, Sirius.”

“Yeah,” says Sirius, after thinking this over. “You’re really going to have to pull out all the stops, otherwise we’ll be dragging her to the altar bound and gagged.”


“You didn’t think I’d let you do this alone? You’d end up blowing up the castle. Or she would.”

As his eyes become accustomed to the darkness, enough that it becomes mere shadows, Sirius makes out James’ grin. “I knew I could count on you.”

Sirius feels a trickling feeling in the back of his throat. “Of course you can,” he says gruffly. “You’d better -- make me best man, though. Or something.”

“That’s a given,” laughs James, and the trickling intensifies.

James gives a mammoth yawn and knocks foreheads with Sirius, something he hasn’t done since they were much younger. The impact makes Sirius feel dizzy, just as it did back then. James displays no ill effects, but then he has the skull of a triceratops. In fact, within seconds he is fast asleep, without so much as a “Good night”.

Sirius turns away from him so that they are no longer curled up knee to knee. When he is sure James won’t wake up, he gives in and allows himself to cry for his mother.


Current Mood: crazycrazy
Current Music: "You owe me nothing in return", Alanis Morisredsetter
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 1st, 2005 01:20 am (UTC)
*does a down-to-the-disco dance* Jamesy boy is my utter fave. I lurve him like jelly babies. 8D