“Locksley!” screeched the stern voice of Professor McGonagall. “Stop setting Bisby on fire! This is a class, not a pyrotechnics show! Ten points from Gryffindor!”
Selucus Bisby whimpered as his friends put out the small flame you’d started on the base of his robes. You didn’t know what he was complaining about. Nothing was damaged after all.
Well…..alright, his robe had caught fire more than you expected.
“Nice one, Locks,” James Potter nudges you. “Good revenge for tearing down the Gryffindor banner in the Great Hall.”
“Could she do it in a way that didn’t lose us the house cup?” Remus sighs. “I’d like not to be last again.”
“Come off it, Mooney,” James scowls playfully. “They’re Slytherins. Who cares? The reward is greater than the risk.”
“I don’t think that’s the saying,” Peter chimes in, his watery eyes tearing up from the spring pollen floating into the aired chamber.
“How about it, Padfoot?” James pokes Sirius on the other side of him. “Think Locksley’s got style?”
“Hmmm,” is all Sirius will contribute, even when Bisby turns around to reveal there’s a giant message burned into the back of his robe.
“Bit simple,” Sirius huffs, barely glancing up. “Like a first year kind of prank.”
“Why are you such a grump to her, Padfoot?” James narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Are you jealous I have other friends?”
“I just don’t think it’s funny,” Sirius grumbles, scratching the notes on the blackboard down onto his parchment.
Sirius never did appreciate your jokes, your pranks, even your opinions. Since you’d become friends with James, Remus….and by extension Peter hung around, Sirius had always been horrible to you. You’d shrugged it off as him feeling threatened by a girl having the same sense of mischief, even that James’ attention was now divided but you’d never done anything personally to insult him.
“What would you have done then?” you challenge.
“This,” Sirius waves his wand. “Evanesco.”
Bisby’s chair vanished the second he went to sit down and he crashed to the floor, much to the howls of laughter from the Gryffindor side. Professor McGonagall looked furious, however.
“Right! Out! Locksley! Black! Twenty points from Gryffindor and detention for a week! These are your N.E.W.T’s coming up and you ought to be taking them seriously, not acting like children!”
“Wicked,” James grins at you both. “You two are fantastic entertainment. See you in Potions!”
Sirius gives a wink to James before giving a pointed look to you, one to mean 'I win’. He was so competitive these days.
“Remus, can you-” you begin.
“I’ll copy my notes,” your beleaguered friend sighs.
“You’re a love,” you squeeze his shoulder before gathering your school books.
Sirius has already crossed the room and you speed up, passing through the door just after him. You half expect some kind of conversation but he just looks you up and down before heading to the Gryffindor common room.
The more one to one interactions with Sirius you had, the more you were starting to hate him. I mean, you didn’t deserve this treatment.
You hurried along a passageway that only you knew of, cutting through a portrait of Laszlo The Lost which dropped you just a staircase away from The Fat Lady. You got through the portrait hole and into the common room, plonking yourself obviously in the armchair facing the hole. You wanted to get one over on Sirius for being an arse.
You waited until the door swung open and he climbed through, startling a little to see you back so soon. You say nothing but raise an eyebrow at him.
“Funny,” he says monotonously before moving to flounce off to the boys’ dormitory.
“I’m hilarious, actually,” you reply acidly.
“That’s what you think,” he mutters as he passes you.
“That’s what I know, Black. Don’t hate me because you can’t live up to my prowess.”
“Love, if you are the standard, even Gary Waters could achieve it and he almost drowned in the smoke of his Living Death potion,” his tone is hostile.
You stand up, unbelievably enraged by his continual dismissal of you. How could he be so awful but James thought the sun shone out of his arse?
“You spiteful little tosser,” you spit. “Guess it runs in your family.”
You spin on your heels, storming up to the girls’ dormitory. It was a low blow you’d just gone for but with a brother like Regulus Black, Sirius’ apple didn’t fall too far from the tree it seemed. A secret Slytherin in Gryffindor Tower.
You sulked all period until Potions came and you made sure you exited before Sirius did.
“Can you not just get on with her, Pads?” you hear James pleading as you descend the stairs in the middle of the night.
You pause, hiding around the spiral to eavesdrop some more.
“Why should I? She basically told me I’m like my family. Do you know how hurtful that was?” Sirius sounds….upset?
“And you never lay off her,” James sighs in exasperation. “You never praise her, never smile at her, never say a kind word to her. What else is she going to think?”
“I don’t give a toss,” Sirius replies stubbornly. “She’s an arrogant little cow who shows off to get your attention. Just bloody date her and be done with it so she can bore off once you break up.”
“Locks is like my sister, good lord,” you can hear the revulsion in James’ voice. “Look, I just want my two best friends to get along. It’s not a difficult request.”
“Not really though, have you? I’m not stupid, Pads.”
“Alright fine, I haven’t tried. I don’t see why I should. Am I not allowed to dislike someone?”
“You don’t even have a reason.”
“Arrogant, show off, swot,” Sirius lists. “I could go on.”
“So you dislike her because she’s you? Well that makes sense then,” James says sarcastically. “Come on, please? Pretty please?”
You hear Sirius moving before…
You’re flung back onto the stairs where you start sliding down them, your rear and back catching every step until you’re deposited at the bottom, your nightdress almost rucked up.
“You little sneak!” Sirius cries. “Were you listening?”
“So what if I was? You speak too loud,” you get up, trying to pull your nightie back into place.
“This is a private conversation, Locksley,” Sirius growls. “Get out.”
“You’re talking about me so no, I won’t,” you glare.
“Levicorpus!” Sirius cries.
You’re yanked up into the air by your ankle and you’re upside down now. Your nightie flips down over your face and you know your knickers are exposed for everyone to see. You try and push the material back over yourself, trying to preserve your modesty.
“Sirius!” James shouts in horror. “Stop it!”
“It’s what she deserves,” Sirius says stubbornly, keeping you up in the air.
You feel humiliated, your cheeks are burning red and you’re just praying everyone stays asleep.
“Liberacorpus!” James uses the counter spell and you crash to the carpet in a heap.
The stinging shame you feel finally bursts forth with the sudden shock of your abrupt landing. Tears spring up and before you can stop yourself, they’re rolling down your face. The last thing you wanted to do was cry in front of James and especially Sirius but you can’t help it.
“What on earth is going on?!” comes Lily’s voice as she comes down the stairs.
She spots you on the floor, dishevelled and crying and sees Sirius and James with their wands out.
“You horrid little toads!” she snarls. “Leave her alone!”
“She started it,” Sirius tries to mumble.
“I don’t care who started it, you’ve upset her,” Lily approaches him, poking him in the chest. “You’re a no-good, Sirius Black and you, Potter. You’re not much better. She’s your friend, right?”
“Hey, I got her down, Evans,” James holds up both hands. “Don’t look at me.”
You couldn’t bear being in the same room any more. The tension was getting too much.
You fled out of the portrait hole to the bewildered cries of the people behind you.
Out and out you ran, down through a curtain that hid a corridor to the lower levels and through a secret door hidden in the wall to the school grounds. Out you ran towards the Forbidden Forest, past Hagrid’s Hut.
You needed to be free. You needed to roam.
Then you transformed.
Becoming an Animagus was a long and awkward process, involving a month of hiding a mandrake leaf under your tongue. Why had you done it? Because the idea of escaping your form was appealing sometimes.
Your home life was claustrophobic, your father keeping you in the house since your mother passed and never allowing you to go outside. The idea of becoming a free animal, a creature to range wherever they pleased had taken root. So you’d done the spell last summer holidays, escaping out of your room at night to wander in the nearby woods.
As you padded to the edge of the small lake to get a drink, a wolf stared back at you, white fur dappling to soft grey. You felt at peace for the first time that day.
After laying on the cool silt for a while, a twig snapping made you look around sharply.
Sirius Black was in the forest and he was frozen as he looked at you.
“Easy now,” he says, seemingly a little frightened.
You can’t be bothered giving him the scare of his life. All of the fight had gone out of you. You just whine a little bit before going back to resting.
Sirius dithers for a little bit before walking forward, edging around you. He seems to consider something for a second before coming towards you.
“If I come stroke you, you won’t eat me, right?” he holds out a plaintiff hand.
Not that you hadn’t considered it but Sirius being relatively nice was such a drastic change that you were curious how it would feel.
You roll onto your back to show him you weren’t dangerous before righting yourself again. He seems to gain more confidence then.
“You can understand me, hmm? Guess I’ve always had an affinity with canines,” he tentatively places a hand on your head, stroking.
When you don’t react much, he gets braver and starts scratching behind the ear. You hated that it felt good.
“There we go,” he coos and you feel weirder by the second that you’re allowing this to happen. “Got a name?”
You did but not that you could communicate that.
He looks up to the moon hanging brightly in the sky and then to you with your ghostly white fur.
“I guess not. How about…Diana? Goddess of the moon. Seems fitting,” he sighs before sitting down next to you and stroking your ears back with both hands. “I’d just feel weird talking to you without giving you a name. Is that alright?”
You give a soft yip.
“Great,” he smiles slightly and you’re struck by how handsome he was when he was actually happy and relaxed.
The pang for acceptance by him just grew in your chest. All you ever wanted was the same as what James did, for everyone to get along.
“Can I tell you something Diana?” his smile fades. “I really upset someone today and I feel horrible about it. I made this girl float upside down and flash her knickers to the common room because she….well, no. I shouldn’t make excuses. I’m just a shit. That’s what I am. She was just listening to a conversation where I was being mean about her and I don’t blame her for it. I was just lashing out. Truth is, Diana, she’s right. I am scared she’s taking James away. James is all I have and Remus too. My family have all but disowned me for not being some pureblood fascist and I feel….I feel lonely.”
Well that doesn’t mean you should take it out on me, you think. Maybe you’d gain another friend that way.
“And I guess the reason I want to hate her is because she’s exactly what I’d like in a girl. It scares me.”
Your ears perk up then, your tail standing upright. Did Sirius Black, the notorious womaniser, just say he thought you were perfect for him?!
“Yeah I know, it’s silly,” Sirius mistakes your surprise for interest. “Maybe I should try being more friendly to her, if she even gives me the time of day any more. I just….she’s so infuriating as well. It’s confusing.”
Now you had no idea where you stood. It seemed Sirius was completely all over the place in his opinions of you but…at least it wasn’t pure hatred. You could work with that.
“I think she came in this forest,” Sirius looks around. “I’ve seen her dash in here a couple of times when she thinks we’re not looking.”
It startled you to know Sirius was a lot more observant of your movements than you thought.
“Did you see her, Diana?”
You bark a little, pointing your muzzle in a random direction before he gets it.
“Thanks, girl,” he fusses you more, standing up. “You really are a beautiful wolf, you know. Glad there’s nice things in this forest too.”
With that, he leaves.
You wait a good few moments before haring off in a lateral direction, trying to flank him so you can get to a spot and re-transform. You manage it, propping yourself on a rocky crop, trying to seem nonchalant.
“Locksley?” you hear Sirius call in the distance. “Locksley, please answer me. I’m sorry!”
“I’m here,” you shout back and he eventually finds you, climbing up and sitting next to you.
“Look, I….that was too far. Way too far. I’m sorry.”
“So you should be,” you fake sniffle. “That was horrid, Sirius. What if I hadn’t been wearing anything underneath?”
“Then I would’ve got a good show,” he seems to say without thinking before freezing and correcting himself. “This apology isn’t going very well, is it? Locksley, come back to the Tower. I didn’t mean it. I was just angry about what you’d said earlier.”
“You know, I don’t really think you’re like Regulus,” you do some apologising of your own. “You’d just pissed me off too much and I was being hurtful.”
“Truce?” Sirius holds his hand out.
“Truce,” you shake it.
“In the morning we can get back to determining who James’ true best friend is,” Sirius smirks.
“Well I hope you’re prepared for disappointment,” you wink.
“Come on, before the spiders find us,” Sirius shivers a little at the thought.
He leads you back out of the forest, giving you his jacket to cover your bare arms as you showed him the secret passageway back up to the common room.
“How come we’ve never found this?!” Sirius exclaims as he makes his way through the corridor.
“Because I’m just cleverer,” you laugh. “I know a lot of hidden passages. You’ve just never asked.”
Silence then falls until you reach the snoozing portrait of The Fat Lady, waking her up and saying the password.
“It’s 1am!” she protests, ruffling her dress. “Really! Children today have no respect!”
But she swings open anyway, admitting you two.
James is asleep in one of the armchairs, obviously waiting for your return.
“Should we wake him?” Sirius asks.
“Nah,” you shake your head, giving his jacket back. “He looks comfy.”
In a moment of shared conspiracy, you and Sirius both look at each other before you point your wand at James.
James’ unruly hair transforms into brown antlers.
“Brilliant,” Sirius sniggers. “Now he can look like the prat he really is.”
Sirius Black just complimented something you did! Wonders never cease.
“Good night,” you nod, smiling before turning towards the girl’s dormitory.
“Night, Locks,” he replies.
He called you Locks. He never called you Locks. It was always your full surname like you were a formality or something.
Maybe he was making an effort after all. Maybe Sirius Black wasn’t such a complete cock.