Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: Sirius Black/OC, James/Lily
Short summary: Erica Costello’s life has been absolutely crazy ever since they closed Hogwarts down. But it gets even worse when she gets her hands on a wonky timeturner and she is sent to the 1970s with no way of getting back to her own time. Now she is forced to hide at Hogwarts with annoying girls, crazy pranksters and a certain boy named Sirius Black that seems to have it out for her. SBOC and eventual JPLE. This story is AU after the sixth book.
“Erica?” Mary asked, looking at her in concern. “Are you alright?”
“I have to go,” Erica said, her voice barely above a whisper. She had to get out of the common room. She couldn’t get a handle on her emotions and there was no way she could freak out and continue to stay under everyone’s radar. She got up and raced out of the portrait hole without looking back, although she did hear Lily say, “See? I told you I looked ridiculous.”
Erica ran blindly down the seventh floor corridor, stopping only when she couldn’t keep down the contents of her stomach anymore. “Whoa,” she heard someone say, and she had to hold in a groan as she recognized the voice. She did not want to deal with him right now. “Are you alright?”
She turned to look at Sirius as she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “Fuck off, Black,” she said, before practically sprinting to the end of the corridor. Once she turned the corner, she spotted a broom cupboard and dashed inside, sealing the door shut behind her. She backed into the corner and sunk down, hugging her knees to her chest. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen it before. Those familiar emerald eyes that belonged to the girl that was quickly becoming Erica’s best friend also belonged to Harry Potter, the same Harry Potter whose parents were killed by Lord Voldemort himself.
She wiped at her eyes, her tears starting to blur her vision. She tried to slow her breathing but it was coming in short gasps and she was finding it impossible to calm down. It was possible she was overreacting but it felt like every emotion that she had worked so hard to bottle up was suddenly bursting out of her, as if she were some kind of human volcano. She couldn’t believe this. She had long ago resigned herself to the fact that James Potter was Harry Potter’s father but this… this was too much. It was hard, knowing he was someday going to get the girl of his dreams to marry him, only to die at the hands of the darkest wizard in history. It just wasn’t fair. For the first time since she had been sent back in time, she was actually considering trying to change it. She couldn’t let this happen to James and Lily, they were both two amazing people that deserved their happily ever after together.
She heard someone trying to open the door to the cupboard and sighed. She hoped the rumors about Filch’s lack of magical ability were true because she did not want him to burst in on her and give her detention. She hid her head in her hands and tried to slow her breathing, just in case he broke the door down. She didn’t even notice the person outside the door muttering something, so she was more than a little surprised when the door flew open.
“Hey,” Sirius said, standing over her. His trademark smirk quickly turned to a look of concern. He dropped down onto his knees and grabbed Erica’s face, forcing her to look at him. “What’s wrong?”
Erica shook her head, finding it impossible to answer. Sirius’s appearance only seemed to work her up even more. She didn’t want to hear his insults right now and she definitely didn’t want him to pester her over the reason for her freak out. And the thing that she absolutely hated the most was the way her breathing started to speed up even more when she saw him.
He looked at her in shock, unsure of what to do. Then he pulled his hand back and slapped her across the face. As soon as he made contact, he pulled back and put his hands up in the air, as if he were surrendering. “I had to do that,” he said, looking almost wary that she would hit him back. “You needed to snap out of it.”
Erica nodded. Sirius sat there and watched as her breathing finally started to slow. “Thank you,” she said after a few minutes.
Sirius smirked again. “It was no problem. What were you freaking out about anyways?” Erica rolled her eyes but didn’t respond. His eyes darkened as he realized what her silence meant. “Oh,” he said, his voice turning cold. “It’s just something else you can’t tell anyone, right?”
Erica’s emotions were out of control already and she just felt tired. She sighed and asked, “Why are you even here, Sirius?”
“Well, you see, I go to school here –” he started to say, the sarcasm completely obvious in his voice.
“No,” Erica interrupted, quickly becoming frustrated. “What are you doing in here? Why did you follow me?”
He stared down at his hands and muttered, “I don’t know.” Erica scoffed at this and turned to stare at the wall. She didn’t know what was going on with this guy but he was really starting to drive her mad. And the fact that she seemed to like him in spite of the way he acted only made it worse. She heard him moving and didn’t know why she suddenly felt worse now that he was leaving. She hugged her knees to her chest and buried her head in them, trying to hide her tears.
But then she heard the door sealing itself shut again and she looked up at him in surprise. “What are you doing?” she asked.
He shrugged. “I don’t want Filch to barge in, I’ve had enough detentions with him this week.” She was still confused and he sighed as he explained, “It is after curfew, you know.”
“Oh,” she said softly, watching as he sat down next to her.
He stared at the wooden door for a moment before asking, “So what’s wrong?”
She shook her head, trying to come up with something quickly. “I just… miss my family. It’s hard getting used to the fact that they’re not around anymore, you know?”
Sirius nodded, although he didn’t really know what she meant. “You were really close with them, huh?”
“Well, yeah,” Erica replied, looking at him in confusion. “Of course I was, being that they were my family and all.”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Sirius replied darkly.
“Oh,” Erica said, remembering what Jenn had said about Sirius’s family on her first night at Hogwarts. “Right. Sorry.”
He let out a hard, cold laugh. “Ah, I see those people have told you all about my family.” Erica rolled her eyes but didn’t even bother answering him. “Not that it surprises me. It seems like everyone knows what happened this summer.”
“I don’t,” Erica said softly.
He looked at her in confusion and then shook his head. “You are so weird.” She didn’t say anything to that, just placed her head on her knees and continued to stare at the wall. Sirius felt that he might have pushed her too far and couldn’t believe that he actually felt guilty about it. “I ran away from home,” he said.
“Why?” she asked.
“I couldn’t take it anymore,” he said. “My cousin left Hogwarts in June and joined the Death Eaters. Apparently, she’s managed to weasel her way right into Voldemort’s inner circle.” He made a sour face at this. “Anyways, it was all my parents could talk about. They were so proud of her, but they completely shunned my other cousin for marrying a muggleborn. And they kept looking at me as if they expected me to follow in her footsteps. Anyways, my cousin and her fiancé came to dinner one night and pretty much enlisted my little brother into Voldemort’s service and I just… couldn’t deal. So I left.”
“Where did you go?”
“James’s place,” he replied. “His parents were really nice about it. They welcomed me into their home and let me stay for the whole summer. They even invited me back for the holidays but… I don’t know, it would feel weird.”
“Like you were intruding?” she asked, knowing the feeling just a little too well.
“Yeah,” he nodded. He turned to look at her expectantly and she realized that she was supposed to share now too.
She frowned, wishing she had known this information came with a price, and said, “I’m pretty sure my dad was a certified genius. It always seemed like he knew everything… and he was always there to help me out when I needed him.” She couldn’t believe how true this was. At first it had only been a poor excuse to explain her odd behavior but as she kept talking, she realized that she meant every word of it. She did miss her father terribly, especially now when she needed his advice more than ever. He would be able to make sense of the mess she had landed in, would have laid out the pros and cons of changing the future for her friends’ benefit. She held in a gasp as she felt that familiar pang in her chest as she thought of him and the tears that had dried up were running silently down her cheeks once more. “But then my mum died in June and everything went to shit. It was almost like he stopped being my dad, you know? He spent all his time at work or lying in bed. And my brothers…” Erica shook her head, the desperate longing she felt for family starting to overwhelm her.
“What happened with your brothers?” Sirius asked curiously. He could tell that talking about it was hurting her but he was also overjoyed at the fact that he was finally getting the truth from this strange girl.
“My older brothers, Sam and Dean, just stopped talking to us after the funeral. I mean, Dean lives in Egypt so we didn’t hear from him much anyways but he stopped answering my owls. And Sam said it was too hard and he needed some time alone. It was like he didn’t even care that everything was falling to pieces and I needed him there. And the twins just stopped using magic. They wouldn’t go to any of the tutoring sessions my dad set up. And they would stay out all night with their idiot friends doing Merlin knows what. Sometimes it felt like I was the only one willing to deal with everything. But I’d still do anything to bring them back.” Her sobs took over then, making it impossible to continue talking. She found it strange that she was sharing all of this with Sirius when she hadn’t even told her friends about it, but it was nice. It felt like a weight was being lifted off her shoulders. And it was the absolute truth. Too much of what she had said in the past two months had been clouded by half-truths and small lies. Erica had always felt like she was an honest person and all of the lying had worn on her. It was nice finally being able to speak the truth.
Sirius reached up tentatively and rubbed her back. He felt extremely awkward but he knew he had to do something, he had kind of pushed her into talking about it. “I’m sorry,” he said sincerely, honestly feeling bad for her. He felt a little twinge of guilt for the way he had treated her but he was able to shrug it off. Just because she was being honest with him right now didn’t mean that she always had been. He was still a little baffled as to how she knew about Snape, and it seemed a little odd to him that Voldemort would want to go after a seemingly ordinary sixteen year old girl, but he pushed that aside for now.
Erica tried to calm herself down quickly, but it felt like it was all coming out now. She had bottled up the longing for her family for so long that it was finally bursting out of her. And the fact that Sirius was touching her did not seem to calm her down at all, the movement of his hand sending shivers up her spine. It seemed to take her forever, the minutes dragging on in the awkward tension that filled the broom cupboard, but she finally managed to stop the tears from falling. She shrugged him off and wiped at her tears before muttering, “Thanks.”
“Yeah, well, I did promise James that I’d be nicer to you,” he joked, giving her his trademark smirk.
She rolled her eyes, although she couldn’t help wondering if it was true. “I’ll let him know that you held to it, then,” she said as she stood up. She had to get back to Lily and Mary and try to explain her strange behavior before it was too late. She turned back to Sirius and looked into his eyes, feeling the heat of the blush creeping up her neck, and said, “Really, thank you.” She turned back to the door quickly before he noticed her bright red cheeks, muttered the charm that would open it, and strode out into the hallway.
She had barely made it to the corner when she heard him call out, “Wait up!” She stopped and waited for him, despite her better judgement. She knew the truce they had stumbled into tonight would only last for a little while, she didn’t want to still be around him when he decided she was full of crap again. “Where are you going?” he asked once he caught up with her.
She looked at him in confusion, “Uh, the common room. It is after curfew, you know,” she smirked as she repeated his words from earlier.
He walked in silence beside her for a moment before saying, “Look, don’t mention the thing about my brother to anyone, especially James. He doesn’t take that kind of stuff very well.”
“I’ve noticed that,” she said. He looked at her expectantly and she sighed. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep it to myself.” He nodded, satisfied with her answer. “And don’t tell anyone about what I said, okay? My family’s dysfunction isn’t really something I want to get out.”
He let out a loud, bitter laugh. “Believe me, I know that feeling.” She tried to hold back her laughter, not wanting to make him angry by letting on to how much she knew about his family. It was kind of pathetic but she actually enjoyed being on good terms with Sirius.
The moment was shattered, though, when they heard Lily yell from behind them, “Erica! There you are!”
Erica turned around and smiled. “Hey, Lily. Sorry about earlier, I –”
Lily, who had noticed her puffy red eyes and wet cheeks, rounded on Sirius and demanded, “What have you done to her?”
Sirius looked completely baffled. “What? I haven’t done anything!”
“Look at the state of her!” Lily said “I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that every time she’s around you, Black, she ends up in tears.”
Sirius opened his mouth to retort but Erica cut in before he could start flinging insults at her friend. “No, Lily, he didn’t do anything. Really,” she added at the look of disbelief on Lily’s face. “He found me like this and he was just being nice.”
Lily narrowed her eyes at the both of them before grabbing Erica’s wrist and dragging her off towards the portrait hole. Once they were inside, she pulled Erica to a dark corner of the common room before turning to her and asking, “Are you sure he didn’t do anything to you?”
“Yes!” Erica said, starting to get exasperated. “Like I said, I kind of freaked out a little – I’m sorry about that, by the way – and he found me like that. None of it was his fault, I promise.”
“So what, he decided to walk you back to the common room out of the goodness of his heart?” Lily asked, still looking a little skeptical.
“Yeah, I guess,” Erica replied. She knew Sirius was a bit of a twat but Lily was really going overboard with it.
Lily scoffed at that and muttered, “Like he even has a heart.” Erica couldn’t help rolling her eyes as she walked past her friend, heading up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory. “Hey, wait!” Lily called after her, following her up to their shared bedroom “What did you freak out about, anyways? It was so weird, it was like you got one look at those glasses and just took off. We weren’t sure if we had offended you somehow.”
“No, you guys didn’t do anything,” Erica said, sorting through her trunk so Lily wouldn’t see the panicked look on her face as she tried to come up with a lie quickly. “It’s just that… my mother had glasses like those. And I’ve been trying not to think about any of that since the Quidditch match, you know, but it all come rushing back to me.”
“Oh, Erica,” Lily whispered, rushing at her and pulling her into a tight hug. “I’m sorry.”
Erica’s eyes widened in surprise and she patted Lily on the back before quickly breaking from the embrace. “Thanks, Lily.”
Lily looked at her friend sadly and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Erica shook her head. “No, I’m fine. Actually, Sirius helped a lot earlier.”
“Black helped you?” Lily asked, looking completely baffled. “I thought he hated you.”
Erica shrugged as she got into bed. “Maybe he’s bipolar.”
Lily laughed at that and said, “That wouldn’t surprise me.”
“Whoa,” James said, as Sirius stormed into the dormitory and slammed the door behind him. “What’s crawled up your arse?”
Sirius glared at him. “Your girlfriend needs a muzzle.”
James smirked. He didn’t know how it was possible but Sirius always seemed to annoy Evans even more than he did. “What’d you do this time?”
“I didn’t do anything!” Sirius practically shouted. “Just because I was walking back to Gryffindor tower with Erica doesn’t mean that I did something to her!”
Remus, who had been trying to ignore his two friends so he could study Transfiguration, decided to step in. “There must be something you’re not telling us, Padfoot.”
Sirius groaned and threw himself on his bed. “Not you too, Moony.”
“Well, I mean, if you look at it logically,” Remus said, trying not to smirk at Sirius’s reaction, “Lily wouldn’t have gotten angry if she simply saw the two of you walking together without fighting. She might have been a little surprised, I’m sure we all would have been had we seen that, but she wouldn’t have done anything that required you to think she needs a muzzle.”
“Oh fine,” Sirius sighed. “Erica was crying, but not because of anything I did to her!”
James looked at his friend in disappointment. “Sirius, you promised you’d be nice to her.”
“I was being nice to her!” Sirius said, throwing his hands up in exasperation.
“Well, what was wrong with her then?” James asked.
“Who knows,” Sirius muttered. “The girl belongs in one of those locked wards for the mentally unsound at St. Mungo’s.” They looked at him expectantly and he groaned again. “Look, I was walking back from the kitchens when she ran by me and puked in that orange vase by the tapestry of Cliodna and then locked herself in a broom cupboard. So I went to go see what was wrong with her and she was having some kind of panic attack or something… so I slapped her.”
James scoffed. “Oh yeah, Padfoot, you were a perfect gentlemen, weren’t you?”
“Well, it made her stop hyperventilating! And she thanked me for it,” Sirius shot back, getting more than a little annoyed with James. Why was he being so protective of this stupid girl?
“Why would she do that?” Peter asked.
“Because she’s fucking loony, Wormtail, that’s why,” Sirius responded.
“Did you ever find out why she was freaking out?” James asked, clearly worried about Erica. He knew something really bad must have happened to make her react like that.
“It was hard to make anything out, she was crying so damn much,” Sirius said, feeling a little bad about lying to his friends. “But I waited for her to calm down and I brought her back. And that is all that happened!”
Remus looked surprised. “You mean you actually managed to be around her for five minutes without accusing her of something? I’m impressed.” Peter sniggered but stopped at the glare Sirius gave him.
“Yes, well, it was difficult but I managed,” Sirius spat out sarcastically. The room fell silent after that. Peter drew the curtains around his bed while Remus went back to reading his Transfiguration text. James was watching him with a shrewd expression on his face and it made him slightly uncomfortable. “What?” he asked, raising an eyebrow at his friend.
“I think you like her,” James said suddenly. Remus looked up from his book and watched his two friends in interest. “You like her a lot more than you want to and that’s why you’re so mean to her.”
Sirius laughed. “You’re a lot dumber than you look, Prongs.”
“It’s not dumb!” James said, seeming to get surer of himself the more he thought about it. “It makes perfect sense. You like her but you don’t know anything about her and that means she holds all the cards. And you don’t like that because you’re used to being in control in all of your relationships. So you’re mean to her. Merlin, I can’t believe I didn’t realize this before!”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Psychotherapy isn’t a career you should look into, James.”
James turned to Remus to back him up. “Doesn’t it make sense, Moony?”
Before Remus could reply, Peter stuck his head through his bed curtains and said, “Do you think you three could quit gossiping like a bunch of old biddies? I’m trying to sleep here!”
Sirius shared and amused look with James before flicking his wand. Suddenly, Peter was hanging upside down in the air as if a rope were holding him up by his right ankle. “Why don’t you try sleeping like that?” he asked as James and Remus roared with laughter.