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Chapter 5: Chapter 4
Step 3 - The bittersweet misery that accompanies association with the Marauders.
“Dear Merlin! Tammy!” I shouted as soon as I had entered the common room and spotted her unmistakable yellow hair. Actually, I revoke that statement. It was mistakable. “Dear Merlin! You’re not Tammy!” I gasped as a third year girl looked at me, flummoxed by my most peculiar behaviour.
“Penny,” I heard my name, “I’m here.” Oh! There she was... At the table furthest from the fire... Far from here. I bounced towards her and set my bag down. “How was it?” she asked, her eyes tired as she had just waited two long hours for me like a loyal pup.
“Well, I lost some crucial half hour in the beginning not knowing where detention was and all, but that had been compensated for through Sirius’ and James’ persistent attempts to get on my nerves.” I stated, pulling everything out of my bag like I had in detention.
“You said you weren’t going to act as though you hate them,” Tammy yawned, her blue eyes growing moist.
“Oh no, I’m not acting.” I said matter-of-factly, beginning my animagus essay which should’ve been done a whole two hours ago. “They’re absolutely unbalanced, Tammy. You have no idea. They kept referring to me as ugly. Well not really refer,” I thought about it, “They implied it actually.”
Tammy furrowed her brows.
“And you!” I gasped sharply, stopping everything I was doing to stare at her, “You never told me!”
“Told you what?” she blinked, flicking her fringe away from her face.
“That my self esteem was going to be severely hurt and in distress! It’s probably around down here now!” I leveled about shin height.
“I never said it was going to be easy, Pen-”
“- and it was you who suggested it, may I remind you.” she waggled her eyebrows at me. So it was obvious that I was totally in love with Sirius. Ever since first year. Ever since I fainted when he smiled at me as we boarded the Hogwarts Express. Though I doubt he knew it was me. Out of the other five hundred girls who have fainted at his feet...
“Well, I just upped my price then!” I exclaimed, complacent with the fact that I’d conjured up such a devilish idea.
Tammy narrowed her blue eyes at me like the evil witch she was, “Ten galleons. Take it or leave it.”
“Okay, I’m sorry.” I squeaked, immediately turning back to my essay. I didn’t really know what driving force compelled me to take her up on this challenge. But there was something that intrigued me to it... Forcing me to carry this mission through... And it wasn’t the money.
“So, Penny, how was detention?” Neo asked as he and Brad approached our table. Already finished their essays, the geniuses they were, they had free time pretty much all the time.
“It was spectacular, Neo. Just grand.” I muttered sarcastically, focusing on the not-so grueling task before me. I’m a Ravenclaw and ergo, essays are a piece of chocolate cake.
Brad smiled at me, dimples indenting his rough cheeks while Neo merely rolled his round brown eyes.
“Why’d you do it?” Brad asked, green eyes glistening with curiosity. So it was completely out of my nature? So what? Take me to the Wizengamot.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with that agreement does it?” Like I’ve said before, Neo was a genius. I looked up to find myself staring at a copy of the agreement that Tammy had written down.
“Tammy!” I yelled, attacking her with my quill.
“It’s only for vindication if you accuse me of anything in the future!” she protested in defense, smiling widely.
“Oh, and that’s why Neo’s carrying it around with him everywhere.”
“I don’t carry it around everywhere...”
“See! What are you up to?” I shot at Tammy who merely laughed even more loudly.
“Calm down, Penny. Has Sirius Black really left that much of an impression on you that now you’re suspicious of us?” Tammy poked her tongue out, wrinkling up her nose as she allowed the words to sink into my brain. Not like that took very long.
I crossed my arms angrily and let out a ‘hmph’ sound, raising my chin pompously. “Don’t talk to me.” I said stubbornly.
“Okay, Mrs. Grumpy,” Tammy giggling, shaking her head. “I’m going to bed now, Mrs. Grumpy.” She pushed back her chair and began walking towards the stairs, with a short good night to Brad and Neo.
I looked to the two boys, who merely blinked back at me.
“Wait!” I blurted out suddenly, “Wait! I’m coming.” I closed the lid of my ink bottle hastily, picked up my roll of parchment and held my bag against my chest. Things were tumbling out of my arms as I ran - with difficulty - up to the dorm with Tammy.
“Good night!” I heard one of the boys call out after me. Absolute geniuses, I tell you.
The next day was absolute horror.
Students from all houses looked at me and murmured amongst themselves, barely concealing the unpleasant words that came out of their mouths; “Ugly”, “Mole rat”, “A hippogriff’s hind” and the abominable “gnome”. I instantly knew who was to blame.
Tammy merely looked at me, confused, as we walked past a group of huddled Hippogriffs, each casting me a quick inquisitive look.
“What was that about?” she asked, running after me as I marched into the Great Hall; the pancakes on the table my only objective.
I didn’t answer. Instead, I plopped half a dozen pancakes onto my plate and squirted a gallon of maple syrup on top of them with my wand.
“The Marauders!” I shrieked as soon as Tammy sat down beside me, causing her to jump up in fright. “The Marauders have told everyone I’m ugly!”
Tammy looked at me, eyes wide with bewilderment. I expected her to say something along the lines of “The Marauders? Never!” And she did exactly that.
“The Marauders?” she snorted with a disregarding smile as she turned her head towards the bowl of scrambled eggs. “Never!”
“I’m telling you Tammy! It was them!” I stared at her intently, eyes popping out of my sockets. It must’ve frightened the poor girl to death for she stopped breathing, eyes large and frozen. Then, suddenly, there came a burst of laughter right behind me.
“I hope you weren’t talking about us,” came the familiar detestable voice of James. “because it definitely was us.”
I turned around rapidly, giving each of the four boys a stare worthy of a gruesome murder.
Each angelic face merely gazed back at me calmly. I turned back to my table and huffed, upturning my head stubbornly. I refuse to talk to them.
“Mind if we sit here?” he asked. He sat down without a response, which undermined the utter meaning of asking. I turned my head away from him.
Sirius, much to my hidden pleasure, sat across from me.
“Is it just me,” Sirius said, smiling fondly at me as Remus and Peter sat on either side of him, “Or do you look much uglier today?” He beamed as though it was some sort of flattery.
I looked at him, outraged. How dare he!
Tammy, on the other hand, stifled a giggle.
“Oh,” Sirius said in a high-pitched voice, cocking his head as everyone turned around to Tammy. “Hello.”
Tammy stopped giggling and froze.
I saw out of the corner of my eye how Remus reached across the table to pat her arm, smiling. “There’s no need to be shy around us.”
I rolled my eyes as Tammy quivered with excitement.
“Yes,” Sirius agreed, nodding his head as though in contemplation, “You’re a far better sight than Huckleberry here.”
I couldn’t avoid contact with him anymore. I turned around, fiercely and gave him the most savage, relentless glare I could. He beamed. Not cower, not shudder, not faint, but beamed.
“Now that I have your fullest attention, not that you haven’t been giving it to me all this time, I wanted to ask you something.” Sirius said, winking at James before glancing back at me. “I want you to come with me to Hogsmeade next weekend.”
My heart froze. “But that wasn’t a question.” I breathed, slightly flabbergasted.
“I know. I lied when I said I wanted to ask you something. What I meant was that you’re coming with me.” He said it so calmly that I suspected something. He smirked, raising an eyebrow in that familiar condescending manner. “Be there or be square, Huckleberry.”
He stood up fluidly, jerking his head for his friends to follow. Remus gave a meaningful look back at me and exchanged a kind smile with Tammy, who was looking far too downhearted now that they had gone.
“Penny,” she said, looking down at the table, her lips in a sad pout. “You do realise that Sirius Black has just asked you out.”
I turned to her, appalled at her lack of scrutiny. “Tammy, were you not listening? He didn’t ask me anything.”
“Well, he’s taking you out, okay?” Her glazed over face seemed to suggest that she was lost in reverie.
I let out a scoff, but truly, my heart hammered against my chest quite quickly.
Hogsmeade. The venue that is home to many events. One such event: Sirius and my date. Yes, the week went by fast and no, I am not sane to be doing this.
I waited at the Entrance Hall door as multiple groups of students walked by me, sniggering as they did so. Remind me why I am doing this again. Oh, right, that's absolutely right. Because I want ten bloody galleons, I thought to myself angrily.
This is not right. This was not happening. I continued muttering to myself aggressively as I thought of all the possible scenarios that could very well take place. Needless to say, each scene ended with death and bloody murder. I huffed, biting my bottom lip as I pictured a very graphic image of Sirius Black propelling me off of the cliff, down to my long lasting death.
I checked my tattered smiley-face watch, its big arm pointing at the 9 while the little arm poked at the 2. In other words, it was 5:45. Whilst I thought of the many reasons as to what could have happened to the almighty Sirius Black, I heard a noticeably distinct cough behind me. Knowing instantly, I spun around in a not so friendly manner and begun slapping the sides of the man in front of me.
“You. Kept. Me. Waiting. For. Over. Six. HOURS!” I exclaimed the last word frantically, my entire inner being exuded through that one little word. I paused as I stared, transfixed, at not Sirius Black, not even James, but Remus. My mouth refused to close itself. “Remus?”
“Penny,” he acknowledged me as me, not as an ugly gnome. I smiled internally, if there was ever such a thing possible.
“What are you doing here?” I asked politely, pulling my arms back quickly as I noticed they were still very much outstretched towards his neck. I was quite flustered out of surprise and shock, you see.
“He’s not coming,” Remus said gently, raising an eyebrow, consequentially stretching a thin line of a scar on his temple. His oceanic blue eyes stared at me with what I’m assuming to be pity.
“Who’s not coming?” I refused to believe that I had been subjected to yet another of Sirius Black’s pesky little prank. I kept my lips tight together, pinching them tighter and tighter until they stopped existing.
Remus smiled a small smile, pushing past me to gaze at the now setting sun. I guess you would’ve thought that my being in Ravenclaw would make me smarter than Sirius Black. But now I’ve just realised: this is game on. I moved Remus out of my line of vision and rather stared down at the smooth, marble floor, plotting my next ingenious move.
“Do you think the sun ever knows that there are people who miss it?” I hear an imaginary voice ask. Then I heard it sigh.
Yes, that’s right. I will destroy him. I smiled evilly. My make belief image of a Boggart grinning next to me as Sirius cowers and cries. “No! Penny, no!” I would hear his infuriating little husky, manly, oh-so-attractive voice plead. I let out a small cackle before I noticed Remus’ slender body leaning against the wall, his face illuminated by the orange light of the continually vanishing sun. I narrowed my eyes at him - a subconscious instinct whenever a Marauder does nothing to harm me, physically or mentally - taking note of the many little scars he had on him. Oh, I wondered why... And what.
He let out a small chuckle, “I can’t believe you stayed out here for this long.” He turned his head back toward me, the lines around his eyes suggested inquisition.
“To be completely honest,” I lied, “I didn’t even realise what time it was.” I raised my chin pompously and huffed, my arms crossed tightly against my chest. Bravo Penny... Of course you didn’t notice the many hours that flew by, the many people that walked past, sniggering as they did, and finally, the bloody sun beginning to set. Clap clap clap.
Remus maintained his steady gaze on me, not blinking until finally, I decided to reflect the light of the dying sun off of my watch onto his eyes, only because he was starting to unnerve me. Though, obviously, I didn’t let him see that.
“It’s best to go back to your common room, Penny.” he said lightly, taking a couple of steps toward me. “There’s no point waiting any longer.” I felt my shoulder get heavier and it was at that moment I realised his large hand was, once again, touching me. His essence... was on me.
I didn’t wait another second. I couldn’t. I sprinted, as fast as I possibly could, back to my common room. Up the billion of stairs. I prayed to Merlin I wouldn’t collapse and tumble back down, only because I didn’t want to have to run back up.
“He stood me up!” I shrieked at Tammy. This time, I didn’t mistake her for an unfortunate third year. Though, I did notice that same girl running off the opposite direction as soon as I had walked into the common room.
Tammy looked up from the piece of parchment she was reading with a jerk, fear expressed all across her face as I approached her, in what I presume to be a very menacing manner. I marched straight towards her, arms rigidly straight on my sides. I stopped abruptly before I reached her, staring at her with intensity to match Dumbledore’s beard... Yes, that’s right. Dumbledore’s beard.
Suddenly, I collapsed to the floor. I heard this distant sound, a wailing sound. A sound that sounded nothing like me. Though it was me. I wailed and screeched so loud the entire room was looking at me. Neo was in my peripheral vision, mouthing the words “What in Merlin’s beard?” to Tammy. I didn’t fail to notice her shrug, a very confused yet concerning look on her face as she bent over to look at me. I latched my arms around Neo’s skinny legs, hugging them tightly as a means of covering my shameful face.
“Merlin, she is a banshee!” I heard a girl shout out in a gleeful manner, initiating a cluster of giggles to form within my ears.
That was when I stopped. I slowly let go of Neo’s legs and slowly got back onto my feet. I turned around to look at her. I didn’t even know her. I glared at her annoying mouse face as she continued giggling, her friends giggling along with her. Giggles. They were everywhere.
I rapidly grabbed onto Tammy’s ink bottle, hurdling it straight at that girl’s now blackened face. “Stop it!” I said firmly, a moment’s pause of silence before I stomped my legs on the spot and ran up to the refuge of my dorm, my lips so tight.
Sirius Black, I thought as I forcefully kicked the door open and pretended like it didn’t hurt, this is only the beginning.
Author's Note: Hey guys, I'm bringing this story back from the dead, so hopefully it still has the same tone as the previous chapters :) I have big plans for this story, so I'm really hoping you enjoy it! Please leave a review and tell me what you think!
Thanks in advance!