32. Not allowed to give Tattoos
AKA: 5 Times Sirius Black failed to be a Tattoo Artist, Plus 1 Time he Actually Succeeded. Sort of.
“I’m going to become a tattoo artist,” Sirius announced proudly, as he sat on his bed with his pillow held firmly in his lap.
None of the others in the room replied.
He turned to see what each of them were doing, unclear why they were paying attention to something other than him, when clearly he was the most interesting thing in the room.
Remus and Peter were huddled over a book, discussing in low tones an assignment they had to turn in the next day. It was something that Peter had procrastinated doing, and then begged for Remus’ help to complete at the last minute.
James had several papers sprawled out on his bed, pouring over them with an intense amount of concentration.
Sirius suspected that they were his plans for Quidditch this upcoming year, as he took his captaincy very seriously.
“You guys,” Sirius whined with a huff, “Was anyone even listening to me?”
“Of course,” Remus answered without a beat, “You’re going to try to give people tattoos.”
“Not try,” Sirius corrected, “Succeed.”
James snorted in response, “Hate to break it to ya, Prongs, but there’s a lot more to giving tattoos than just drawing on someone’s skin.”
“Psht,” Sirius waved his hand dismissively, “It can’t be that difficult.”
Remus and James looked up from their books, shooting each other a knowing look before returning to their tasks.
“In fact, I’m going to start right now!” Sirius decided, jumping up from his spot and looking around.
Realizing that it was well after midnight, and most everyone else would be asleep, he plopped back down on his bed and revised, “On second thought, I believe I will be much more successful in the morning.”
“Sure you will,” James answered placating.
Sirius folded his arms and pouted.
He’d prove him wrong.
Sirius stepped back proudly as he looked at his entire set-up.
It was perfect.
He had a chair for his client to sit on to receive their tattoo and a stool with wheels for him to do his work on.
He sat on the stool with a satisfied sigh, turning to the unsuspecting fourth year who was waiting patiently.
“Alright, then,” Sirius said, reaching over to grab his needles in the sleek black leather case they had arrived In just the day before. Not wanting to waste any time, he had special ordered them from a shop in Knockturn Alley, paying extra for it to be delivered immediately, “Let’s get started, Marvin.”
“It’s Martin,” the young boy replied immediately, his once assured gaze suddenly turning nervous.
“Sure, sure,” Sirius answered, waving his mistake away, “And you wanted a kneazle on your leg?”
“A dragon,” he corrected, his eyes wide as they turned to look at the other boys in the room, “I wanted a dragon on my arm. Not my leg.”
“Of course you do,” Sirius cooed.
He shot a smirk at James who merely rolled his eyes in response, but his slight quirk of his lips showed he was amused.
Sirius took a deep breath, knowing this was his moment to prove himself.
To finally live his dream.
He unzipped the bag slowly, taking the moment to appreciate the tone of the zipper in the nearly quiet boy’s dorm room.
He gently lifted up the top of the case, his heart fluttering at the sight.
There were an assortment of colors bordering the case, ink for him to use while he drew.
But right there, in the middle, was what he had been waiting for.
He picked up the long, silver needle and held it closer to his face, feeling his heart race faster, beating deep within his chest.
His breath caught as the glint of the silver shined in the light.
His breath then quickened, imagining taking the needle against the boy’s skin, pushing down deep as he skid the instrument across, creating lines, and leaving a trail of pain … blood …
[Several minutes later]
“You okay, man?”
Sirius moaned as he lifted himself up, looking around at his surrounding to try and re-orient himself with where he was.
“Why am I on the ground?” He asked confused, looking up at James who was barely holding in his laughter.
“You, uh, you fainted mate,” James replied with a snicker.
Sirius narrowed his gaze at his best friend, “I what?”
“You fainted,” James repeated again.
“I did not,” Sirius immediately retorted, turning to look at Remus who was watching the scene in glee, “What really happened Moony?”
“You took one look at the needle and your eyes rolled back in your head and you fell to the ground,” Remus explained, expanding on James’ story.
“Is someone a little nervous around needles?” James teased, poking and prodding his friend.
“Shut it, antlers,” Sirius growled, pushing himself up and brushing the imaginary dirt off his clothes.
“Sorry about that,” he said to his client, turning in a whirl and putting on his most charming smile, “Where were -?”
He paused, looking at the empty seat in front of him.
“Where’s Marvin?” Sirius asked.
“Martin,” Remus corrected.
“Marvin is a better name though,” James countered.
Peter chimed in from his spot in the corner, looking like he couldn’t quite decide if he wanted to show sympathy towards Sirius or if he was going to join in laughter with James and Remus.
“He left as soon as you fainted,” he squeaked.
“Better luck next time, mate,” James said with a clap on his back.
“Although,” Remus spoke thoughtfully, “Perhaps next time, you should pick a career path in which you are not terrified on the instruments you are holding.”
This time, Peter did not hold back his laughter with the other two.
Sirius merely grumbled disheartened, trying to figure out how he could succeed the next time.
“Yurr ‘eadyy?” Sirius slurred, grimacing at the third year with two heads sitting in front of him.
He ignored the look of sheer terror on the poor kid, and reached over to his needle case to pull out his much needed tool.
This time, he didn’t linger over the grand opening, but simply scooped up the instrument into his fumbling hand.
He paused a moment, feeling elated when he realized he wasn’t experiencing any nerves, rapid heart beating, or cold sweating.
“Nowr,” Sirius spoke, stumbling over to the blurry figure, “Lesss do d’iss.”
He turned on the tattoo gun, hearing the buzzing next to his ear and smiled manically.
Finally, his time was here.
“What the bloody hell do you think you are doing?” a voice shouted from the doorway.
Sirius barely had enough time to blink before the person gently eased the tattoo gun from his hand.
Another hand, coming out from nowhere, grabbed something from his other hand.
“Are you drunk?” the voice asked sternly.
“Heeyyyah,” Sirius exclaimed, pointing to the bottle as he blinked slowly to try and regain his full vision, “I wasser lookin’ fur dat. Whur ya fine it?”
“It was in your hand,” the voice replied flatly.
Sirius squinted at the face before him, examining the stern lines and the light color hair.
“Reeemuusss,” he shouted, lurching forward to put his weight on his friend.
“Get off me,” Remus ordered disgruntled, pushing Sirius off and onto the bed.
Sirius felt another pair of hands on his body and looked at Remus with wide eyes, “Why ya havah four handz?”
“Those are my hands you dolt,” another voice said.
Sirius realized this voice was different than the first voice and turned to the source, brightening up immediately.
“Jaammeessey – James!” He yelled out, reaching to pet the side of his best mate’s face, “Preeetty Jamsey.”
“Sirius, what are you doing?” James asked pointedly.
“Tattoering!” he shouted, waving in the direction of the boy who was waiting for Sirius to put his masterpiece on him.
“While drunk?” Remus asked incredulously.
“Gosta git rid of the nerves sumhowz,” Sirius answered seriously.
Remus sighed disappointedly, turning to the kid, “Get out of here.”
The kid nodded, looking relieved and raced out of the room.
“Hey!” Sirius complained.
“You can’t go waving needles around when you’re drunk,” James scolded his friend.
“Ppsshttpsthff, I arr fiiiiine,” Sirius said with a wave, “In factah, Imma mur than fiiine. I – I – “
His body fell over to the side and his snores started not too long after.
Sirius sat back with a proud smile on his face.
He had done it.
He had finally completed his first tattoo.
Sure, there was unforeseeable complications along the way, but he had overcome them all and finally drawn a piece of art onto someone’s body to be immortalized forever.
“Well,” he stated, grabbing a mirror and holding it up for the fifth year in the chair in front of him, “What do you think, Steve?”
The kid squinted as he looked in the mirror at his tattoo, and then looked down on his shoulder the best he could.
“I asked for a rook from chess,” Steve said accusingly.
“That’s what that is,” Sirius assured him.
Steve frowned deeper, “This doesn’t look anything like a rook.”
“He’s got a point,” James voice chimed in from nowhere, causing Steve to jump.
“It looks more like a thick blob,” Peter said, leaning in to look at it more closely, “Did you mean to draw blob?”
“Perhaps he meant to draw a rook after it had been destroyed in a chess match,” Remus suggested thoughtfully.
Sirius just looked at his friends annoyed.
Steve looked in between the four panicky, “But, I don’t want a blob on my arm. I wanted a rook.”
“Which is what you got,” Sirius said pointedly.
“If you squint your eyes, and tilt your head to the side you can see it better,” Peter said, mimicking the action he’d just described.
“Oh yeah,” James said, following the action, “I see it now. Although Remus is right, is does look like it’s suffered quite a bit in its last match.”
“No one appreciates true genius, anymore,” Sirius huffed, throwing his hands into the air, before stepping off.
“Wait!” Steve called out, fumbling out of the chair, “What am I supposed to do with a bloody permanent blob on my arm?”
“Should’ve thought of that before you made poor life choices,” James answered with a shrug, motioning to the other two to follow him behind Sirius, leaving Steve standing alone disgruntled.
“Mr. Black? What’s this I hear about you coercing students into getting tattoos that you give out yourself?”
Sirius sighed, “No one was coerced. They all came to me of their own free will and choice.”
Professor McGonagall pursed her lips, “Be that as it may, I must ask you to stop giving out tattoos.”
“But professor,” Sirius replied quickly, “This is my dream! My true calling in life! Isn’t that what school is all about? Leaning where to find your place in the world? How you can contribute to society?”
“Of course,” she answered without a pause, “And if this is truly a dream of yours, then I suggest you practice outside of school over the holiday and pursue this career choice once you leave the school for good.”
Sirius pouted, but didn’t counter her point.
McGonagall hesitated before adding, “Although, if all of your work is similar to that piece of art you left on Steve’s shoulder, then perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at a couple of different options. Just in case.”
She turned around, leaving a snickering James and Peter next to their friend as he pouted further into his seat.
“What’s this?” Sirius asked suspiciously as he looked at the scene in front of him.
When McGonagall had told him to quit the tattoo business, he’d tossed his needles in the bin and thrown the chair into a spare broom cupboard.
He wasn’t expecting to walk into his room and find James sitting in the very chair he’d thrown out, with Remus and Peter sitting next to him on the beds.
“It has come to our attention that we haven’t been the best of mates to you in recent times,” James answered.
“So, we wanted to do something to show our support for you, no matter what endeavor you choose to pursue,” Remus chimed in, nodding over towards Peter.
Peter stood up and walked to Sirius, holding out a sleek wooden box.
He looked at it suspiciously, wondering what the chances were that his friends rigged it to do something bad upon opening, but decided to take the chance and reached for it anyway.
When he lifted the lid, he found several sleek pens.
“They’re semi-permanent tattoos markers,” Peter explained, “So that you can practice without getting trouble.”
Sirius smiled, wondering what he’d done to get such great friends.
“We figured you’d need a volunteer to try it out,” James said, motioning to himself sitting in the chair.
“Or two,” Remus said, gesturing to himself.
“Or three,” Peter added, smiling widely as he took a step back.
Never one to get emotional, Sirius merely smiled back at the three and said, “Well then, let’s get started.”
“Mate, you really do suck.”
“I do not!”
“I asked for a snitch.”
“You got a snitch!”
“This is not a snitch.”
“At least it’s round.”
“You can almost tell it’s a snitch. I can see the almost wings here.”
“I hate you all so much.”
“We love you too Pads.”