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 decided that she was going to avoid Sirius for the next few days. She wasn’t sure she would be able to maintain her sanity during another encounter with him, especially if he decided that he hated her again. She skipped breakfast and went straight to the library, sitting in a dark corner full of dusty History of Magic books that no one frequented. She had her Potions book spread out in front of her, trying to make sense of Golpalott’s Third Law and failing spectacularly. Not only was it probably one of the last nice days of the year, the skies were a clear light blue and many students were trying to soak up what were probably the last warm bits of sunshine, but she couldn’t stop thinking about what she had discovered the night before. She was a little surprised that she hadn’t picked up on it sooner. It had been a little obvious from the start that James was Harry Potter’s father, his age fit and he looked so much like the Boy Who Lived that it had made befriending him feel really strange. Her first reaction had been to push him off, stay as far away from him and affecting that as possible, but he was just so damn charming that it was impossible to not like him. But she had no idea how he’d manage to show Lily that side of him.
And Lily… Lily had become one of her closest friends. Erica had foolishly hoped that she would be able to find Lily when she got back to her own time, whenever that happened, so that she could explain everything. Knowing that this was impossible, that her friend might die in five short years, made her seriously reconsider following the rules that Dumbledore had set up for her. She didn’t think she would be able to live with herself if she let something that awful happen to someone as good as Lily. She wasn’t even sure she was doing the right thing by not warning anyone of the tragic events that she knew would happen. But then she remembered the reason for all of Dumbledore’s rules, there was a distinct possibility of making everything worse that came along with trying to mess with the past. It was a strange dilemma, deciding if her friend should get to live at the expense of everyone else, and she wished that she had someone she could talk to, someone that wasn’t Dumbledore and his infuriatingly strong opposition to changing anything, someone that knew her secret and wouldn’t judge her for wavering.
Needless to say, she wasn’t actually getting a lot of work done. She sat and watched the day go by out the lonely window in her isolated corner, making an extensive pros and cons list in her head. It was hard remembering that she wasn’t the only student in the library that day so she practically jumped a mile when James appeared from behind a bookcase.
“There you are,” he whispered, smiling down at her.
“Here I am,” she said, trying to smile back, although it ended up looking more like a grimace.
He sat down next to her and made a face at her homework. “You do realize that isn’t due until next week, right?”
“You do realize that it will take me that long to understand all of this rubbish, right?” she replied, her words dripping with sarcasm.
James rolled his eyes. “Honestly, it’s really not that hard. I could help you with –”
She interrupted him. “I am not getting down on my knees and begging for your help again, Potter.”
He smiled sheepishly at that, scratching the back of his neck as he replied, “Actually, I need to ask you for a favor.”
Erica laughed at that, the sound seeming louder after enduring the silence of the library for so long. “Oh, this should be good.”
“Oh, don’t look so pleased with yourself,” James said, frowning. “I’m not about to get on my knees or anything. I just need you to keep Lily out of the common room for a couple hours tonight.”
Erica looked at him in confusion. “Why?”
He scratched the back of his neck as he answered, “It’s Sirius’s seventeenth birthday and Remus, Peter and I wanted to have a proper celebration. She’d throw a fit if we tried to start a party while she was in there but if there is already one in full swing, then there’s not much she can do about it, right?”
Erica had to resist rolling her eyes at him. “And why would I want to do something nice for Black?” she asked, remembering his bad attitude towards her and everything she did all too well.
James frowned at her. “Come on, Erica,” he said. “Sirius has always had really shitty birthdays, his family sees to that, so we need to make this one good. It’s the most important one, after all.”
Erica couldn’t believe that she actually felt bad for Sirius at his words. The boy was an unbelievable pain in her ass but he did deserve to have a decent birthday, especially since he was a legal wizard now. Erica sighed and said, “Fine. I’ll keep Lily out of the common room.”
“Thank you,” he said, smiling at her as if he knew she was going to agree this whole time. It kind of made her want to punch him, but she was able to contain herself.
“Don’t mention it,” she muttered as she started to pack her things up. She wasn’t going to finish her homework any time soon so she might as well get dinner before starting her new James Potter-sponsored mission. James fell into step with her as she left the library and she couldn’t help feeling a little apprehensive. What else did he want?
“So, I heard you had a pretty rough night last night,” he said, looking at her sympathetically.
She stopped short, looking at him in horror. It felt like someone had doused her in ice water and her head was filled with conflicting emotions. She couldn’t believe she had actually told all of that Sirius Black of all people. Of course he would have told everyone what she said, how could she have expected anything different? Still, she couldn’t deny how incredibly disappointed she felt when she realized he was not the person she thought he was. She tried to keep her face blank, ready to deny anything Sirius had told James, as she asked, “What did you hear?”
James shrugged. “Just that you were really freaked out about something.”
“Okay,” she said, narrowing her eyes at him, trying to gauge just how much he knew.
He sighed and ran his hand through his already messy hair. “Look, the point I’m trying to make here is that if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.”
Erica couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face at his words. “I know,” she said, incredibly pleased that he still wanted to be his friend despite whatever Sirius had told him.
“Remember,” he said once they reached the Great Hall, “you’ve got to keep her out of there until at least nine, alright?”
Erica rolled her eyes. “I said I’d do it,” she reminded him, hoping he would stop pestering her about it. She scanned the Gryffindor table, hoping to find one of her friends, but her eyes seemed to zero in on Sirius Black sitting with the rest of the Marauders. He looked up soon after that, the way he always seemed to do whenever she found herself staring at him, and she had to look away before he spotted the embarrassed flush on her cheeks. Finally, she spotted Lily sitting at the far end of the Gryffindor table and went to sit with her, getting really annoyed at how aware her body was of Sirius as she passed him.
She didn’t notice that James had continued to follow her instead of sitting with his friends. “Alright, Evans?” he asked brightly as he sat down across from her.
Lily sighed in annoyance before turning to Erica. “I’ll meet you in the library in an hour, okay?”
Erica looked at her in confusion. She had no desire to go back to the library, having spent more than enough time there to last a couple weeks. “For what?” she asked.
Lily rolled her eyes at her friend. “To start studying for the Charms exam,” she replied.
Erica groaned. “I forgot all about that.”
James looked between the two of them in horror. “That’s not until Friday! You don’t need to start studying now. Merlin, Evans, you are a bad influence.”
“That’s funny, Potter, considering I could say the same about you,” Lily said, looked at him in annoyance. She turned to Erica and asked, “Are you going to be there or not?”
Erica nodded. “But do you think we could study outside instead? It looked so nice out and I don’t think I can handle the library any more today.” It was true, she was pretty sure she was going to deck Madam Pince if she had to listen to her rant on about how the students had no respect for the written word one more time that day.
Lily raised an eyebrow at her but James was the one to explain. “Yeah, you should have seen her earlier, Evans. Sitting in some dark corner surrounded by all of the Potions books the library has. It was quite pathetic, actually.” Erica frowned and punched his shoulder as hard as she could. “Ow!” he said, turning to glare at her.
Lily’s lips twitched, as if she were trying to fight a smile, as she said, “That’s fine.” Then she got up and left the Great Hall.
James was beaming as he watched her go and Erica couldn’t figure out why. “What, do you think you’ve made some kind of progress with her?”
“Well you saw her,” he said, looking much like the cat that ate the canary. “She was trying not to smile at that last thing I said.”
Erica didn’t want to laugh, knowing it would probably hurt his feelings, but she couldn’t help herself. “You have a lot to learn about girls, James Potter.”
He sighed as he started to pile food on his plate. “I know.” He looked so upset that Erica instantly regretted bringing it up. He ate his food quietly, looking deep in thought as he stared resolutely at the table, and Erica was glad when his friends came to join them. Although, she wished Sirius would have stayed at the other end of the Gryffindor table.
“Prongs, did you just have a conversation with Evans that didn’t turn into a screaming match?” Sirius asked, smirking as he sat down next to Erica. He wasn’t even that close to her, no parts of them were touching, but her heart rate seemed to increase exponentially as soon as he was near her.
“I suppose,” James muttered, trying to hide his annoyance with the redhead from his friends.
“It’s a miracle!” Peter said loudly, drawing a ridiculous amount of attention to the group. “An early Christmas miracle!”
Erica rolled her eyes at the two of them, deciding to ignore their antics. “Hello Remus,” she said quietly to the sickly looking boy who was watching his friends in amusement.
He smiled back at her. “Hello,” he replied.
Erica was about to ask if he was feeling alright, he looked pretty awful, when she heard James gasp. She turned to see him staring at her in a strange way, as if he had never looked at her properly before. The blood rushed to her face and she was starting to feel really uncomfortable when she asked, “What? Why are you staring at me like that?”
“I’ve had a brilliant idea!” he announced.
Erica wasn’t sure she wanted to hear whatever it was but when he didn’t explain further, she asked, “And what is it?”
“Well, you said I have a lot to learn about girls,” James explained. “Particularly our dear friend, Lily. And you are a girl –”
“You’ve just noticed this now?” Erica asked, feeling a little put out. She knew she wasn’t as gorgeous as, say, Cassidy Wilson, but she had hoped that the fact that she was female was quite obvious.
James ignored her, continuing as if she hadn’t interrupted, “So you can teach me!”
Erica rolled her eyes. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
James looked as if she had just kicked his puppy. “Why not?” He was looking at her with big, sad eyes and Erica knew she would end up giving in eventually. She still put up a fight, though, shaking her head quickly before looking down at her half-eaten dinner. “Oh, come on!” James said, trying to hold in a smile. He could tell she just needed a little pushing to agree.
Sirius sighed as he butted in. “Leave her alone, Prongs. It is a fantastically bad idea.”
James scowled at his friend. “No, it’s not,” he muttered.
Erica looked over at Sirius, extremely grateful he had stepped in. She knew that James would end up with Lily but she didn’t think she wanted to be the one that pushed them together. She didn’t think she would be able to live with herself if she knew she had pushed them along the road that would soon get them killed. He was ignoring her, though. “Are you almost done?” he asked James impatiently. “Madam Rosmerta is waiting for us.”
“More like you’re waiting for her,” Remus replied, smiling at his best friend. “You’re not going to spend the whole time hounding after her again, are you?”
“Oh, I am legal this year,” Sirius pointed out. “She has no reason to turn me down now.”
Peter snorted. “Like that’s the reason why she’s turned you down all these years.”
Erica laughed along with the rest of them, although she wasn’t in a very good mood anymore. She had been trying her best to ignore Sirius, not wanting to somehow unintentionally provoke him into insulting her again but the fact that he was acting like she wasn’t there was starting to make her angry. She had opened up to him last night, told him things that she hadn’t shared with anyone, and now he wouldn’t even look at her. And she liked Madam Rosmerta, she had always been so nice to her and her friends every time they had gone to the Three Broomsticks in her own time, but now she found that she wouldn’t have minded very much if the woman drowned in a vat of butterbeer. It was all Sirius, he was messing with her, driving her clinically insane and she didn’t think she could take much more of it. She pushed her half-eaten dinner away from her before saying, “I’d better go before Lily attempts to murder me with her Charms textbook.”
Sirius nodded, not even looking at her, and she couldn’t help but frown when she realized that that was all she was going to get out of him. Remus and Peter both bade her goodbye while James childishly ignored her. “Right,” she said, feeling extremely awkward as she stood up. “Bye!”
She was half way out of the hall when she heard James yell, “Just think it over, Costello!”
She could feel the eyes of practically everyone in the Great Hall looking her way, wondering what it was that James Potter wanted the new girl to think over. She turned back and laughed at him, making sure he could see as she shook her head. “Not going to happen, Potter!” she shouted back before turning and heading up to the Gryffindor common room.
Erica expected Lily to be waiting for her outside the common room, impatiently tapping her foot in the way she always did when she had to wait for someone, or maybe even doing some homework of her own, but she was nowhere to be found. Erica checked the common room, even looking in the dark corners that were usually reserved for hormone-crazed couples, and the dormitory, but no Lily. She was sure she had asked Lily to meet her in the common room, but she might have been mistaken. She went to the library and searched the stacks for what felt like hours but there was no sign of Lily, and to make matters worse, the redhead was still nowhere to be found when she finally got back to the common room. Erica sighed, a little upset that she would have to study for Charms by herself now. She grabbed her books from the dormitory, still feeling extremely pleased when Cassidy Wilson hurriedly closed her bed curtains as soon as she spotted Erica, and then sat herself down outside the common room, right next to the portrait of the fat lady. It would take some quick talking but she was determined to keep Lily outside the common room until everything was clear.
She had been ready to give up for the night, the party sounding incredibly tempting, when she finally spotted her friend walking down the hallways towards her. She stood up, ready to reprimand her friend for making her wait but stopped when she noticed the tear tracks flowing down her face. “Lily!” she said, immediately grabbing her friend and pulling her into a hug. “What’s wrong?”
“It’s awful, Erica!” Lily said, her voice hoarse from all the crying she had done. “Jenn’s parents were killed by Death Eaters!”
“What?” Erica asked, completely shocked. “How do you know? What happened?”
Lily laid her head on her shoulder as she replied, “I was talking to Jenn in the Great Hall right after I left dinner when Professor McGonnagall came up and said she needed to speak with her. We could just tell by the look on McGonnagall’s face that something was wrong, so she kind of clamped on to me and before I knew what was happening, she was leading the both of us up to Professor Dumbledore’s office. I guess they were out to lunch at some wizarding pub in Diagon Alley called Potions when they were attacked; the Death Eathers killed everyone there!” Erica felt herself go stiff, but she recovered quickly and hoped her friend hadn’t noticed. She had remembered hearing about the attack on the famous wizarding pub. The place had gone out of business soon afterwards and the building was still abandoned, no one had wanted to dine with the ghosts of the massacre, but the legend of Voldemort and his followers’ brutality had lived on. She remembered reading about it after the Dark Lord’s return, how he had killed everyone in the restaurant, staff and customers, just to kill the head of Magical Law Enforcement, who liked to dine there on his days off. It felt like a giant boulder had been added to the weight already on her back, more bodies added to the count that she could have prevented if she only tried. She tried to force that out of her mind, though, and focused on her red-haired friend, who was still semi-hysterical as she tried to explain what happened, “- and then Dumbledore made her go and stay with her little brother at her uncle’s house while they worked out the funeral arrangements. I felt horrible! She was completely wrecked and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it!” She broke out in sobs and seemed to cling even tighter to her friend.
“I’m sure the fact that you were there helped her immensely,” Erica replied. She wasn’t exactly sure what to do so she let Lily cry herself out on her shoulder, occasionally patting her back when the sobs seemed like they were about to get out of control.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, her friend pulled away and started to frantically wipe at her eyes. “Come on,” she said, leading her friend towards the portrait hole. “I need a drink.”
Erica stopped trying to get between her friend and the portrait hole and stared at her in shock. “What are you talking about?”
Lily sighed in annoyance. “I know it’s Sirius’s birthday. Every year, Potter and his stupid buddies throw a party in the common room and every year, they just expect me to completely forget about it. I tried stopping it last year but there’s really no use, and besides, I could really go for a butterbeer right now.”
Erica was a little shocked at Lily’s behavior but simply shrugged it off and followed her into the noisy, packed common room. She knew it was a little unhealthy, but she agreed with her friend, the burn of the alcohol erasing what she had just learned would greatly help at the moment.
“I still can’t believe it!” Sirius said, looking annoyed as he and James crawled out of the hump of the one-eyed witch statue, joining Remus and Peter in the empty corridor.
“Still won’t go out with you?” Peter asked, knowing Sirius’s bad mood had something to do with the curvy blonde that ran the Three Broomsticks. He had stayed by the one-eyed witch in the invisibility cloak keeping watch while the three of them had gone into Hogsmeade. Now he did his best to cover the three of them and the large case of butterbeer they had nicked from the basement while Sirius had tried to distract Madam Rosmerta. Naturally, he had used that time to try and charm her into a date, although it apparently didn’t work out.
“No!” Sirius said, glaring at his friend. “Can you believe she said she doesn’t date students?”
“Tough luck, mate,” Peter said, clapping Sirius on the back before grabbing the map from James and trying to figure out the best route back to the common room, particularly one where there weren’t many people around to bump into the three invisible boys.
Sirius shot an annoyed look at Peter before stooping down, the three boys were now too tall to be under the invisibility cloak at the same time, and following Peter down the deserted hallway. “I even mentioned it was my birthday –”
“I told you that wouldn’t work, Padfoot,” James laughed, interrupting him
Peter laughed, “Yeah, and James speaks from many years of experience.”’
“Hey,” James said, coming to his own defense. “I have a better chance with Evans than he does with Rosmerta!”
His three friends stopped momentarily, wearing looks of extreme confusion. “But she hates you,” Sirius pointed out.
“That’s right,” James said. “And hate is a passionate emotion, which means that Lily is passionate about me.”
Sirius couldn’t help laughing at that while Peter just looked even more confused as he held up a tapestry that would lead them to a hidden staircase. “James,” Remus said gently, as if he were trying to console his friend, “I’m not sure that it works like that.”
James sighed. “Look, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. So while Lily may hate me now, at least she thinks about me enough to create such a passionate emotion. Madam Rosmerta probably hasn’t given Sirius a spare thought since he left tonight.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “Well at least I got Rosmerta to give me a birthday present. When’s the last time Lily and her passionate emotions got anything for you?”
James only frowned at his friend while Remus and Peter laughed. “You didn’t tell us that she gave you something,” Remus said.
“I’ll show you in a second,” Sirius said, nodding toward the end of the hallways, where the portrait of the fat lady was waiting.
As they got closer, they noticed Erica sitting outside the portrait hole. Peter greeted her before saying the password. She simply smiled at him and whispered a quick, “All clear,” as Remus, James and Sirius climbed awkwardly inside. The common room was more crowded than usual for the late hour, word of the party had spread fast, so they dumped the large case on a table near the back of the room. While they were still under the invisibilty cloak, Sirius reached into the pocket of his cloak and pulled out three small bottles of firewhiskey.
“She just gave those to you?” James asked, looking at the firewhiskey in awe.
Sirius smirked as he said, “I know it may be shocking to you, James, but some of us are actually quite good at charming–”
James laughed and shoved his friend. “Piss off, Padfoot.” Then he quickly removed the invisibility cloak before calling attention to themselves and the incredibly large case of butterbeer they had brought with them, letting everyone know that the party had begun.
After the crowd of well-wishers, and those wanting a drink, around them had dissipated, Sirius spent a good majority of the time sitting in a corner with the rest of the Marauders and quite a few of the sixth and seventh year Gryffindor girls. He was pretty sure he’d even seen girls from other houses as well, but that might have been the large amount of alcohol he had imbibed. James and he had drank most of one of the bottles of firewhiskey, while Peter, ever the lightweight, had passed out in a corner armchair after only a couple sips. Remus did what he always did at a party, which was simply sit back and observe. He never seemed to partake in the partying, instead choosing to take care of his friends after they had stupidly drank too much. James, of course, was moaning to him about Evans, much like he always did when he had a little bit too much alcohol in him, although Remus didn’t seem to be paying attention to him. Sirius had managed to ignore his friends for the most part, instead spending much of the time talking to the girls, except they had disappeared after he had rudely brushed Cassidy Wilson off when she tried to drunkenly throw herself at him. It wasn’t that he minded all that much, the girls that had spent most of the night crowded around him weren’t exactly ones he would have chosen to spend a drunken night with, but he found it a little annoying in the way they all seemed to do whatever the bitchy brunette told them to do.
After being forced to listen to his friend recount a particularly nasty incident he had with Lily the year before, he was pretty sure he was going to punch him for being so pathetic, drunk or not. “Come on, Prongs,” he groaned, frustration evident in his voice. “Why don’t you just move on from Evans already? I’m sure there are plenty of girls that’d be willing to help you out.”
James frowned. “Ugh, don’t remind me of those girls,” he said, thinking of the ones that had just been swarming around them. “Their desperation is so off-putting.”
Sirius smirked. “I don’t know, I kind of like it.”
“Bullocks,” James spat out before taking another large swig of the firewhiskey.
Sirius raised an eyebrow at his friend, surprised by his strong reaction. Remus was the one to explain, “You always did complain about how much Cassidy Wilson annoyed you when you were dating her, and most of those girls are her minions.”
“I never said I liked dating them,” he pointed out.
“Then why haven’t you paid any attention to them this year?” James asked.
Sirius furrowed his brow. “I didn’t realize you were that interested in my sex life, Prongs.” James smirked and started to say something, but then his face dropped as he spotted Lily Evans climbing in the portrait hole.
Remus turned to see what James was looking at and cursed. She looked upset enough already, her eyes were red and puffy and her cheeks were wet with tears, and it only seemed to intensify when she spotted the bottle of firewhiskey in James’s hand. “This isn’t going to be good,” he muttered.
James hid the bottle behind his back but it was too late. She was already making her way through the crowded room toward him, Erica following her with an anxious look on her face. Once she reached them, Lily said, “You know you can’t have that on school grounds, Potter. I mean, you’re not even seventeen.”
“But it’s a party, Evans! Sirius, here,” James gestured to his friend, his words slurring together, “just turned –”
Lily cut him off, “You know I have to confiscate it, so why don’t you just shut up before you say something stupid and give it to me?”
A few of the people around them, including Sirius and Remus, snickered at that. James simply scowled and handed her the bottle. They then watched in shock as Lily studied the bottle for a moment before shrugging her shoulders and chugging what was left of it. She made a face while she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and put the empty bottle down on a table near them. “Happy birthday, Sirius,” she said before turning and running up the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.
“Did that just happen or am I so drunk that I’m starting to hallucinate?” James asked after a few moments of stunned silence.
“Sorry,” Erica said. “I kept her out for as long as I could.”
She turned to follow her friend up the stairs but Remus stopped her. “Wait a second! Is everything alright?”
She turned back to look at them and Sirius noticed that her eyes were red as well, although not nearly as bad as Lily’s. She bit her lip before shaking her head quickly. “There was an attack earlier today in Diagon Alley. Jenn’s parents were killed.” And then she turned and ran up the stairs before they could question her further.
The four boys sat in an awkward silence, the happy feeling from the party having completely left them. Sirius shook his head. That girl really knew how to ruin a good time. Remus turned toward the window and his mouth dropped open in surprise. “Padfoot, isn’t that your family’s owl?” he asked, nodding towards the window.
Sirius turned and saw the all too familiar grey and white coat of the owl that belonged to his mother. “Great,” he muttered as he noticed the letter it had tied around its leg. This night was definitely taking a turn for the worst.