I wanna make you smile
Whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do
Is grow old with you
I'll get your medicine
When your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
It could be so nice
Growing old with you
I'll miss you
Give you my coat when you are cold
I'll need you
Even let you hold the remote control
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink
I could be the one
Who grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you
Adam Sandler ("Grow Old With You" from "The Wedding Singer")
Sirius Black had ten minutes before he was supposed to be at work, and he decided that he might as well say hi to Jo Gilles before he left- he'd hardly seen her at all in the past two weeks, and he was missing her rather psychotic sense of humour- it was unusually like his own.
He knocked on the door, knowing full well Lily Evans wouldn't answer, as she'd been out with James Potter half the night. He'd come home at about three in the morning, wide awake and singing the ABC- though Sirius was quite sure he'd called lost the thread of it when he got to D. James insisted it was just hyperactiveness, but Sirius knew (from personal experience) that it was probably the alcoholic beverages that had been served. James hadn't been interested in arguing when Sirius woke him up- the only word he'd understood from James's incoherent speech was 'Panadol.'
As he'd expected, the figure that appeared at the door a few moments later was Jo, her long black hair tousled and tangled. She looked at Sirius blearily, blinking in an effort to get the sleep out of her eyes.
'Hey, Jo-jo.' Sirius said cheerfully.
Jo stared at him. 'What did you just call me, Black?'
'Since when did you call me Black?'
But instead of another comment, she just sighed and turned around.
'What's up?' Sirius asked.
'See…there's something I want to talk to you about.'
'Back to first names are we?' Sirius teased.
Jo didn't answer, instead, a kind of sad and confused expression flashed across her eyes, until it was replaced by her normal look, with only a flicker of something else hidden in the shadows. 'The ministry've offered me a job.'
Sirius grinned. 'That's great!'
'It's in Australia.' She said bluntly, and Sirius's jaw dropped.
'It's in Australia.'
'But you said no, right?'
'Umm…I said I'd think about it.' She caught sight of Sirius's expression and rushed to defend herself. 'Well, what exactly is keeping me here, huh? I've barely got any family, except my brother, James and Lily are always busy, Remus is so preoccupied, and you-'
'I like you!'
Jo rolled her eyes. 'Yeah, and it seems that's about it. You've kissed me once, and I've barely seen you at all all week, our relationship- if you can call this a relationship- is going nowhere. So tell me, what is there keeping me here? Give me one good reason.'
Sirius was looking at the clock and missed the pleading look in her eyes.
"Shit. Jo, I've got to get to work. I'll talk to you later, kay?'
She nodded, forcing the lump in her throat down. 'Yeah. Later.'
Lily woke up several hours later, and her immediate reaction to the light filtering through the gap into her curtains- that fell, remarkably, right on her eyes, was 'headache.'
'Jo?' She mumbled, climbing out of bed.
Jo was sitting at the kitchen table. 'The panadol's by the fridge,' she said by way of greeting.
'Morning to you too,' Lily muttered, groping around in the cupboard for a chat. She waited for Jo to snap back at her, or just say something incredibly stupid as a comeback- but her friend just muttered 'hi,' and went back to mushing up her weet-bix.
Lily woke up over a cup of rather strong tea, and then sat for a moment and stared at the wall, willing herself to wake up. Needless to say, it didn't really work.
'Got any plans for today?' Jo asked after awhile, picking up on the fact that Lily wasn't about to start making conversation. But in reply Lily just groaned and started picking at the sugar lumps in the sugar bowl, in an attempt to get a bit livelier.
'Lily.' Jo said tiredly, wondering if Sirius had lunch break soon, 'stop bouncing on the couch.'
Oh dear. I sound like my mother…this is not good. Haven't seen her for over a year, won't ever see her again, and yet somehow I still sound remarkably like her daughter…how very strange.
Lily giggled, yawned, and promptly fell asleep.
Sirius raced inside that evening, hurrying in an attempt to stop the rain from soaking him right through to the skin. However, trying to dodge the raindrops had only succeeding in making him thoroughly wet, and so as he finally got home into the warmth that surrounded him, the only thing on his mind was a shower.
Remus looked up from the table and grinned at his friends' predicament. 'Don't catch cold, Padfoot,' he warned. 'When you sneeze it shakes the whole house.'
Sirius opened his mouth to say something (undoubtedly a very witty thing, as it was from Sirius) and sneezed. Remus hid a smile with his mug, and Sirius sniffed, walking off to the shower in what he hoped was a dignified fashion, leaving a trail of water behind him.
When he came out, James was also up, and he was quite a bit more cheerful than he had been that morning. He grinned his normal grin instead of scowling, his black hair much more fly-away than it normally was- he'd obviously forgotten to brush it, most likely due to daydreaming about Lily, something he was quite prone to now.
'Don't smirk at me like that, Prongs. It makes you like frighteningly evil.'
James blinked. 'It does? I never knew that.'
'Probably because people were too scared to tell you,' Sirius muttered under his breath, flopping down onto the couch.
'Sirius. We have ice cream here. Ice cream.'
Sirius didn't answer.
'My God, I think he's ill, Prongs.' Remus said, peering over the back of the couch to look at Sirius.
'Padfoot,' James said loudly, 'We have ice cream.'
'Yes, he's sick.'
James climbed over the couch and stared at Sirius for a moment. 'What's up?'
'Nothing,' he muttered.
'Yeah, right,' James snorted, and he looked at Sirius with concern. 'Come on, tell me.'
'Jo's got a job…'
'And if she goes she'll never know that I- umm…yeah.'
'So go after her, idiot!'
'What's the point?' Sirius said, sighing sadly. 'She wants to go…I can't stop her.'
James stared at his best friend in disbelief. 'Sirius. Black. Go and tell her that you love her. Now.'
'No, next year. Yes, dopey, now!'
'Okay, I'll, um, see you guys later.' He lingered by the doorway for a moment, until Remus pushed him out, shutting the door behind his back.
Sirius peeked back in. 'You sure about this?'
He left, leaving Remus and James to ponder over their friend's insanity.
'You, Mr, are a pickle,' Rowena said ferociously to her owl.
It hooted back at her, and if owl language could have been translated, it was probably saying she was insane, and he was not a pickle, he was an owl and he would appreciate it if she didn't embarrass him in front of his fellow owls, thankyou very much.
'Actually, it's an owl,' a voice from behind her clarified.
Rowena spun around and dropped her owl in the process, causing the poor (and now very embarrassed) creature to fly up into the rafters of the owlery, while she glared at the person who had so rudely interrupted her.
'So, Archer. Life got so boring you had to turn to your owl for conversation, eh?'
'When humans are as boring as you it doesn't give me much choice, does it?'
The intruder's eyes became cold, and he sauntered over closer to her, his dark blue eyes glinting. 'Your boyfriend gotten sick of you?'
She was about to snap at him, when it suddenly occurred to her that she didn't have a boyfriend. 'What?'
'Terrible, terrible last name isn’t it?'
'He gotten sick of you?'
'He was never healthy of me in the first place.'
The boy sighed, exasperated. 'Do you ever talk sense?'
'Do you have a brain?'
'Why do you always answer my questions with questions!'
'Why do you keep asking me questions?'
He made a loud noise, making Rowena smile, as he looked extremely impatient and an owl had just done its business on his sandy hair.
He glared at her, but continued, unaware that owl poo was trickling down closer to his ear. 'I was wondering…'
'What were you wondering?' She interrupted, having a great time just watching the small trail of white slither closer and closer to his earlobe. She was just waiting for the loud shriek that would follow his discovery.
'Wanna go to the Halloween ball with me?'
She stared at him, and stepped closer, inspecting the owl poo; positive it must have done something his brain…maybe it was radioactive or something.
'What the hell are you doing?' He said, bewildered…this was one weird, weird girl.
'You have bird poo in your hair, Diamond.' She said simply, turning around to go, completely forgetting the letter that lay on the ground, tossed there by a very ruffled owl, which hooted a last comment to her as she departed. Owl poo, lassie, not bird poo.
The boy watched her go, raising his hand to his head in an attempt to get rid of the mess in his hair. In doing so, his eyes fell upon the abandoned envelope. Once he was positive Rowena was gone, Alex Matthews slipped her letter into his robes and hurried downstairs after her.
She spun around.
She scrunched up her nose and scrutinised him. She grinned. 'Yeah. See ya later, Diamond.'
His head felt strangely light, and he made his way back to the Slytherin dungeons humming happily to himself, earning quite a few odd looks from fellow students, all of whom were positive he'd lost his mind.
'Ro. Please. Please, tell me you're joking.'
'You are?' Joey, her best friend, looked hopeful.
'No, I'm not.'
His face screwed up in disgust, picturing his enemy in his mind. He stuck out his tongue at the image and then opened his eyes again to see Rowena looking puzzled.
'What? Has he put a hex on you? Cause you're acting all…different. More than usual.'
She shook her head. 'No…I had a letter. I think I posted it…'
'Who cares about a letter?' Joey said impatiently. 'You have said yes to Alex Diamond. Have you gone insane? Have you been running around in the dungeons? You haven't kissed him, have you?'
She pulled a face. 'No! But hey, he's cuter than you.'
Joey was quite offended.
'Hi, Kermit, is Jo there?'
Lily yawned loudly and looked over her shoulder. 'Uh huh. Want me to get her for you?'
'Yeah…' Sirius stepped inside, walked around a broken lamp, raised his eyebrows at a painting with a large hole blown right through the middle, and sat down at the table, careful not to sit on a chair with bits of glass embedded in the cushions.
'Have you been exploding stuff?' He asked, as half the breakable items in the room were now broken, cracked, or melted down. 'Cause it's addictive, you know…once James almost blew up his cat.'
Lily's eyes opened slightly wider, which really wasn't saying much. 'And did he?'
'Well, no…I kind of did.'
Lily snorted with laughter and lay her head down on her arms for a quick snooze. When Jo finally entered the kitchen, her hair a bit more well kept than it had been that morning, her eyes lit up for a brief second the moment she saw Sirius, but she quickly glanced down, biting her fingernails.
'Thought you were busy,' she muttered, not meeting his eyes.
'I had to work. But I wanted to talk to you.'
'So talk already.'
'Could we go outside?' He looked at Lily meaningfully, hoping she'd get the message, but as she appeared it be asleep, it didn't do much good.
'Here's fine,' Jo said shortly.
'Okay…Er- I love you?'
Maybe Jo had been expecting him to ask her if she wanted some boysenberry ice cream, or maybe ask her to go to the movies.
But whatever she'd been expecting, it wasn't that.
Jo looked up slowly, her eyes hopeful. 'Really?'
Sirius grinned. 'Want me to write it down?'
'I do!' Lily said brightly, looking up from where she'd been 'asleep.' 'Oops…Jo, can I borrow your camera?'
'Yeah, it's um, somewhere in my room.'
'Might as well be in the black hole,' Lily said under her breath, eyeing her two friends suspiciously. 'You aren't going to make out on the table, are you? Cause I'm kind of hungry.'
'Thankyou, Miss Evans, for your input. Now shoo.' Jo was considerably more cheerful than she had been earlier.
Lily left, wondering if James would kill her if she didn't get the photographs…probably.
Jo gave Sirius a tiny smile. 'I thought you weren't coming. I got a bit angry, actually.'
'You did all this?'
'Well, yeah. Lily got into the spirit of things and dropped a cup, but she fixed it up later, so it really doesn't count.'
'I never knew you were so evil.'
'I never knew you had a freckle on your ear,' Jo commented, leaning up closer to look at his ear.
Sirius's face broke out into a grin, and he kissed her far harder than what was actually necessary, not that she cared.
'Guess what?' She whispered, the moment they'd broken apart. 'I love you too.'
'Don't blame you, I mean, I'm a pretty lovable guy.'
She rolled her eyes, before allowing herself to be swept up into another kiss. 'Yeah, and pretty darn conceited one at that.'
'Moi?' Sirus said innocently. 'Conceited?'
'No, that other guy.'
'You, my dear, are far too sarcastic.'
'I take lessons from queen Lily.'
Lily put her hands on her hips, standing in the doorway where she'd been watching them with amusement. 'And what is that supposed to mean, oh high and mighty Jo?'
Jo didn't answer, so, in return, Lily fumbled around for the button on the camera. 'What is wrong with this thing?' She said grumpily, peeping through it to see only black.
Jo glanced up for a moment. 'You have to open the lens,' she offered helpfully.
'I knew that.'
Sirius said something that could have been 'Yeah right,' or maybe something else strange, Lily wasn't quite sure, as Jo was in the way.
'I did! Uh oh…' Lily glared at the camera. 'And so now you just have to run out of flim, don't you?'
James opened the door to let in a jumpy Lily. 'It's freezing out there!' She said, jumping up and down on the spot in an attempt to get warm.
'It's called autumn.'
'Thanks, Mr Potter, for your wisdom. I appreciate it, really I do.'
'So has Sirius told her yet?' James asked, getting straight to the point.
'And you got the photos?'
'Now, James, why would you want photos of your best friend kissing my best friend right after he tells her he loves her, I mean, it's a rather mean thing to do, don't you think?'
'You sounded awfully excited when I- no, actually, you suggested it before.'
'You did…you didn't get the photos, did you?'
James tutted and shook his head, black hair flying every which way. Lily loved it when he did that, as it made him look so young and innocent…not always innocent, though, just cute. And his eyes were so dark…I'm becoming quite sentimental, she realised, shaking her head. Must be old age. Although, eighteen isn't really that old, now that I think about it.
'What's up with you? You've got this weird look on your face. Are you thinking?'
'Me? Think? James, be serious.'
'What are you thinking inside that little head of yours, then?'
Lily chose to ignore the little head comment- though she didn't mind admitting that his head was quite a bit bigger than her own, due to inflammation of the brain from having to say and do witty things occasionally. Lily realised she'd better answer his question.
'I was wondering if you'll ever tell me you love me, you told Sirius to tell Jo after all.'
'How d'you know I told him to?'
'Come on, you really think Sirius would do that of his own accord?'
James grinned. 'I think you're being a bit harsh on my dear Sirius.'
'I'm just being realistic. But do you?'
James smiled at her, picked her up, and carried her over to the window. 'Potter, what the hell are you doing?'
'I've always wanted to tell you under the stars.'
'But it's cloudy,' Lily pointed out, looking up in the white sky, the fluffy clouds lit up brightly by street lamps.
'Have an imagination, Lil. Unless you want to wait until tomorrow?'
Lily thought about it for a moment. 'nah, you can say it now.'
James set her on her feet, his brown eyes crinkled up at the corners like they always did when he smiled. 'This isn't really very romantic,' he said, pushing a strand of hair off her face.
'It'd be more romantic if you actually said it! I swear, if I didn't love you so much I'd strangle you…' She looked up at James and raised her eyebrows. 'What? You look like you've just seen a whole plate of chicken wings or something.'
He just continued grinning stupidly, and, as Lily backed away slowly, wondering if he was hallucinating about chicken wings, he'd kissed her more deeply than he ever had before, leaving her completely breathless.
'What was that for?' She whispered when he'd put her down- he was a lot taller than her, and found it easier to just pick her up instead of having to bend down.
'I love you too.'
'No, I just made it up. Course I do, you prat.'
Lily glared at him. 'I am not a prat.'
'Whatever you say. Do we have chicken wings round here? I'm feeling quite peckish now I think of it…'
Lily shook her head sadly. 'You've lost your mind.'
James smiled charmingly at her. 'I lost it the moment I saw you.'
She snorted. 'No, I'd say you lost it the moment you met Sirius- he must have corrupted you…though I s'pose it could have been the other way round…no, can't imagine Sirius as innocent.'
'You can't?' James was now looking for some chicken wings.
'James, just out of curiosity, do you ever think about anything but your stomach?'
'Yeah, I think about you, and Pickles- he's off on an errand at the moment- and I think of Sirius, and Remus, and Voldemort- speaking of Voldemort, we've got the late shift tonight.'
Lily groaned loudly. 'Yuck. I'd rather go to Petunia's wedding…no, cancel that, even late shift's got to be better than her wedding.'
'Her wedding? Who'd marry her?' It was lucky for James she wasn't very fond of her sister, or she might have been quite insulted.
'My sentiments exactly…dunno what that Vernon guy sees in her. Actually, I don't know what she seems in him.'
'No, I'm afraid she might actually like him. Eurgh.' Lily pulled a face at the thought.
'You coming?' James had just pulled some chicken wings out the fridge- they'd been hidden behind the frozen peas- and was now heading towards the door, eager to start eating.
Lily eyed the doorway with distaste. 'I'd rather stay here, if you don't mind-'
James grabbed her hand and pulled her out into the cold.
'Now. Do you like the purple dress-'
'The green dress-'
'Actually, I’d say it's a mossy kind of colour.'
'Or the black one?'
'Which could also be called- um, inky darkness?'
'Joey.' Rowena said crossly. 'Which one looks better?'
'I think canary yellow looks better on you,' Joey said, glaring at the range of clothes now scattered across his bed.
'How, pray tell, do you know all the colours of the rainbow?'
'I have talent.' He replied.
'Oh, come on, just tell me which one looks better!'
'I said. The yellow.'
'I don't have a yellow.'
He waved his wand. 'You do now.'
'Oooh. That's pretty.' Rowena picked up the dress- which had been a mossy colour before- and stroked it gently. 'How'd you do this?'
He shrugged and rolled onto his back. 'So you've got a dress, good for you.'
'Why are you being such a pain?'
He didn't answer, so Rowena turned to more important matters. 'Okay. I need shoes.'
'You could wear those old bluey colour shoes you used to have,' he suggested helpfully.
'I thought they were nice.'
'You called them ratty, old, and, if I remember correctly, you asked if they'd been nibbled on by mice.'
'You don't remember correctly,' he muttered.
'Get a life.' She snapped, snatching up her clothes to leave.
'I have a life, thankyou very much.'
'Whatever you'd like to believe, McIntyre.'
Joey flinched as the door slammed, and then rolled back onto his stomach. He could hear Rowena stomping back down the staircase, no doubt trailing a maroon dress behind her with her hair falling out all over the place. He had a horrible suspicion that he'd just lost his best friend.
Alex Diamond looked at the letter in his hand, deciding whether or not he should open it. His conscience had gone on holiday though, so, before it had returned, he'd ripped it open. On the parchment, which was ripped in several places was a rather long letter written in navy blue ink, Rowena's small writing printed neatly across it.
This is going to sound weird, I know, and I know you're probably busy at the moment, but you said I could write if I ever needed something- well, I need something now.
I've been having these really weird dreams. I don’t know what they mean, and I don't think I'll ask Trelawney- she'd probably say they mean I'll explode on the spot in a few weeks or something peculiar like that. Joey doesn't believe in Divination - neither do I, really, but this is different- and he'd most likely scoff at the thought of dreams predicting the future.
The reason I'm writing to you - apart from the above reasons- is because James Potter's in them, and you're the only person I know who's close to him. I can't really explain it in a letter- my hands starting to hurt anyway- so would you be able to meet me at Hogsmeade sometime? We can finally go there (Joey keeps having far too much butterbeer than what's good for him). The next weekend's on Halloween, so send a reply soon, kay?
P.S. I don't suppose you know the ingredients for a shrinking solution?
Alex frowned, deep in thought, wondering what her dreams were about. He knew who James Potter was- everyone did, from his reputation as a troublemaker and from Quidditch. He guessed this Lily she was writing to was Potter's girlfriend, a red-haired Gryffindor.
All the cute ones were in Gryffindor, he thought sulkily. Including Archer…she was probably off with her Gryffindor friends now. Though some of the Ravenclaws weren't too bad, and if you squinted up your eyes a bit, the Slytherins could pass for pretty. He sighed loudly and folded the parchment up again, putting it in a fresh envelope addressed to Lily Evans, and then hurried off to deliver it before Rowena thought to go and check if it had ever been sent.
Once in the Owlery it took quite a while to actually get an owl to take the letter- they were all feeling unusually stubborn, and they'd also seen him talking to the dark haired girl who'd insulted them so deeply. When he'd finally shoved a poor, innocent, feathered (and rather gullible young owl that was expecting treats) he left, wincing with pain- he hadn't known owls could get so grumpy, not to mention violent.
While Alex fought with the owls, Rowena wasn't with her friends, she was sitting on her bed staring at her pillow. It was a very interesting pillow, if one looked at it for a prolonged amount of time. It had a rather odd piece of fluff hanging off the corner of it and if you looked at it with one eye closed, it took on an uncanny resemblance to an elephant.
She turned away from the elephant after awhile (if you closed the other eye it looked like a rat) and her eyes fell upon the pale yellow dress thrown upon the end of her bed. She sighed and crawled over her covers to it, smoothing out the creases. There were small daisies along the hems, embroidered neatly where before it had been quite plain. Rowena stood up and tried it on, eyeing her reflection in the mirror. Joey was right (for once). She did look nice in yellow, it somehow made her eyes stand out.
She looked around for some shoes, but, as it always was when you needed something badly, no shoes were in sight- except the scruffy blue shoes Joey had mentioned that afternoon.
Rowena was just searching under her bed for a pair of shoes that would match- or at least a pair of shoes with holes at the toes (it was strange, the amount of shoes she had with holes in them…for the moment, she blamed Joey and conveniently forgot she hated shoe shopping) or at least a pair of shoes when there was a quiet knock on the door.
Rowena banged her head on the bed just as she found a matching pair of shoes that did not have holes in them. 'Ow! Hang on a minute.'
She slid out from under the bed, brushed the dust of her front and opened the door, with the shoes hanging off her wrist.
It was Joey.
'What d'you want?' She asked warily, trying to see behind his back to check for dungbombs or something equally gross.
He grinned and held out a tiny daisy. 'Sorry?'
Rowena looked from the flower to him and back again. 'Is it poisonous?'
Joey laughed and bounced into the room. 'No. But I figure if you are going to go to the ball- God help you- you should look okay, because otherwise I won't dance with you once.'
She smiled and took the little yellow daisy, sniffing it. 'Well, now you're here, I wanted to ask you a question.'
'Should I wear platform shoes or sandals?'
Remus unlocked the door, walked inside and switched on the light, expecting to see Sirius playing chess with himself, or maybe with Jo, though that was rather unlikely. Jo couldn't see the point to chess, and it was a rare event if she didn't throw one of her opponent's pieces across the room out of frustration. So, obviously, even if she wanted to play, hardly anyone else would risk playing with her for fear of concussion.
He blinked at the scene he had just walked into, closed the door, and went back to where James and Lily were working with Miranda Whitehorn.
'Moony! I thought you were tired?' James greeted his friend cheerfully, and gestured towards the empty chair next to him.
'I thought it best not to interrupt Sirius and Jo.'
Lily giggled, and said something quietly to Miranda, who snorted with laughter.
James grinned. 'I take it she's not going to Australia then?'
Remus thought about it for a moment. 'Not tonight, anyway. And if Sirius has anything to do with it, I'd say she won't be leaving London unless he's in Azkaban or some place he can't get to her.'
'How come they're over there, anyway? They were at our place before,' Lily said, frowning.
James shrugged. 'Sirius's bed is bigger?'
Miranda stood up suddenly and pointed in alarm to a device that was a lot like muggle security cameras. It showed three hooded people sneaking around the woods outside the house they were in. The four of them looked at each other, trying to think of what they could do.
'Okay.' James said firmly, taking charge. 'Miranda, you were good at Charms ,weren't you?'
She nodded, her normally tanned face white in the darkness. 'Right, you go with Lily and try to freeze them. Remus and I will be right behind you to capture them- but you do it first if you can, okay? No, actually, Remus- you go ahead- you're the best with curses and blocks and stuff, so you can try and block anything they try to throw at Lil and Miranda, I'll stay behind them to get the idiots once they're frozen- I'll help freeze them if I can. Got it?'
The other three nodded determinedly, and they left, moving as quietly as they could.
yellow brick road