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Polychromatic by HarryPotter is my LIFE

Format: Novel
Chapters: 77
Word Count: 241,721
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Humor, Romance, AU
Characters: Lupin, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, Remus/OC

First Published: 02/28/2008
Last Chapter: 09/11/2016
Last Updated: 09/11/2016

Summary:


Banner by follow the butterflies at TDA.

Mischief. Mayhem. Marauding - this is what happens at Hogwarts. The Marauders team up with their nutter friend, Anna Xanthis, in an effort to destroy Hogwarts. Or maybe they'll just get some chocolate . . . Yeah, chocolate sounds good.

Also, James would like everyone to know that Lily loves him . . . Or will. Eventually.

Sept 2016: Revising.


Chapter 1: Everyone Is Trying, Everyone is Shining (Who Are You? . . .The Dalai Lama)
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Strike us like matches, cause everyone deserves the flames
We only do it for the scars and stories, not the fame
At least everyone is trying, everyone is shining
Everyone deserves the flames but it's such a shame
-Fall Out Boy



"Sirius. Sirius!" I screamed. I watched in horror as my best friend was dragged away by Aurors. "He’s innocent! I swear to God - he’s done nothing!" I unleashed a high-pitched, enraged scream, and time everywhere seemed to slow down. It took me a few moments to realize that it indeed had.

I wondered for a moment, if it had been an uncontrollable burst of my own magic that had slowed down time; but when I saw a tall, elegant figure with a long sleeping beard walking towards me, I knew that it hadn’t been me that had slowed time to an almost stop.

"Dumbledore," I breathed.

His long, quick paces and my frantic leaps brought us face-to-face in a short amount of time. Before I had a chance to talk, Dumbledore did. "Miss Xanthis , there is little time. Lily and James’ fate has already, unfortunately, been decided. Sirius’, however, has not."

I suppose I should explain...

For the first seven years of my life, my mother, my father, my brother and I lived peacefully along the coast of the Greek island, Crete. My mother, a witch, worked at the Greek Ministry for Magic. My Muggle father was a doctor.

It was mere days after I turned seven that my mother was offered a promotion; the only problem was that it entailed relocating to Great Britain. My father had no problems - doctors were always needed, and he could find work wherever. The problem was my brother. Eight years my senior, he was fifteen and already settled into his Wizarding school.

After fighting, tears, and confusion (that last one exclusively my own,) we found ourselves standing outside a modestly large home. Four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and other such rooms that come with a house of that size. For two weeks after we had moved, my brother refused to speak to either my mother or my father. He never cried, he was simply always angry.

He would yell at me for the smallest things, and by the time he had packed up his trunk to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as a fifth year, I had learned to fight back. Four long years I had to wait before I was allowed to go to Hogwarts. By then, my brother had long since forgiven my parents, assimilated to the British culture, and finished his education. Taking after our father, he was training to be a healer.

On September 1st, 1972, I was lugging my trunk through Platform 9 3/4, my parents were behind me, carrying the cage of the owl I had received for my birthday a month earlier. Mushy goodbyes embarrassed me, but I bade a nervous goodbye to my parents and excitedly boarded the Hogwarts Express.

In my search for a compartment, I happened across a nice-looking girl with long red hair and stunning green eyes. She looked about my age, maybe a year or two older. "Do you mind if I sit here?" I asked the girl. She looked up from the textbook that she was reading (a textbook, why was she reading a textbook?) and nodded. I thanked her before setting down my belongings and settling into the seat.

Within the next twenty minutes, the girl, whose name I learned to be Lily Evans, was joined by a tall, slightly chubby blonde girl, and a short, brown haired boy. Almost immediately after the boy had greeted Lily and taken a seat, the train gave a jolt and began to move. After an hour of the ride (in which all three of the students whom I shared a compartment with were reading) I still had spoken little more than ten words to Lily.

I was about to ask Lily what year she was in when the compartment door slid open with a crash. Two tall boys stood in the doorway, one slightly taller, and broader than the other. The second boy had hair that stuck in all directions, and wore glasses with thin, black square frames. "Lily, my darling, how are you on this fine evening?"

"Far better before you came, Potter!" Lily Evans snarled. I figured that these two were most likely at least a year ahead of me; to say that they seemed to recognize each other would be an understatement.

The boy called Potter shrugged and nodded towards the blonde girl and the boy. He finally turned me and looked shocked to see me. "Who are you?"

"Er . . . the Dalai Lama?" I’m not sure what it was that possessed me to say that, but it was out of my mouth before I could decide whether or not the boy would find it funny.

The boy looked at me strangely, before smiling brightly. "Cool, I always wanted to meet that dude."

"James," asked the taller boy. He flipped his dark hair out of his face. "Who the fuck’s the dolly llama?"

"Oh my god, Sirius is worse than you, James," said Lily.

"Shut up," I said. Once again, I hadn’t thought about what I said.

"Excuse me?" said Lily. She seemed extremely afronted.

"I said . . . Shut up."

Lily looked at me in disgust. "Get-"

"No need to tell me," I interrupted. "I’m leaving."

I grabbed my heavy trunk and sleek black owl in his cage before leaving the compartment in an angry huff. I noticed for the first time two other boys, standing just behind their friends, outside. A boy with light brown hair had scars all over his face, and was only slightly taller than me. The last boy seemed to be staring intently at James Potter and Sirius, whose surname I did not know.

And then I realized that I had no compartment. The problem was quickly solved. "Hey, that was fucking awesome," said Sirius. I decided that he had an unnatural liking for the word ‘fuck’. "Wanna sit with us?"

"As opposed to making nice-nice with Lily Evans? Of course."

During the rest of the long train ride I learned that Sirius’ last name was Black; that the shortest, chubbiest boy who seemed to idolize James and Sirius was called Peter Pettigrew; and that the scarred boy was Remus Lupin, as well as the kindest person I had ever met.

The boys, as well as Lily and her two friends were Second years. And all but Lily’s male friend were in Gryffindor.

When I had thrown on my robes over the Muggle clothing I had worn that day, I was ready to exit the train. I was separated from my new friends when I had to follow the rest of the First years to the boats. I climbed onto a boat and was immediately followed by three other people. I was jumpy and jittery, part of my exuberant nature, and immediately received dirty looks from my boat-mates when the boat rocked and shifted dangerously in the water.

On the giant man’s orders, we went into the castle where we stood waiting. The noise level was high, I couldn’t be bothered. I was fascinated by the castle. It was more magnificent inside that it was outside, and that was saying something.

The chatter ceased immediately when a stern looking women entered and began to talk. I tried to listen, but couldn’t pay attention long enough to retain any information that would be important later. I simply stood and waited, planning on imitating whatever the other students were doing. I had hoped that at least they listened.

The lady returned and led us through doors that must have been two or three stories tall. We entered a bright room, ceiling like the night sky, and enchanted candles hovering above us. I smiled; my mother had told me about the sorting. I knew that I would be one of the last students called to the three-legged stool.

"Xanthis, Anastasia." Peter, Remus, James, and Sirius clapped loudly when my name was called. I had eventually confessed that I was not, in fact, that Dalai Lama. Sirius became frustrated when we refused to explain it to him. I was all for trying, but James told me that it would just be a waste of my time.

I sat down clumsily on the stool and the hat slipped over my eyes. I kicked my legs back and forth until I heard a voice. It seemed to be inside my head, though I doubted that.

"Hmmmm. Hello, dear. This will be quick; you needn’t worry. Without a doubt, you belong in-

"GRYFFINDOR!"

I hopped down from the school, removing the sorting hat and tripping on my way to the Gryffindor table. Some laughed, others stifled their laughter, and others were sleeping, eagerly awaiting their dinner.

After I sat down and listened to the boys’ excited congratulations, Professor Dumbledore stood and spoke. (All over, was the amazing, accomplished wizard known; not just in Britain.)

He spoke a few wise words (nitwit, blubber, oddment, tweak) and let us eat.

After a full dinner, I followed one of the prefects up to the Gryffindor common room. I followed the other timid first year Gryffindors up the spiraling staircase to our dormitory. Connie, Elena, Alice and Bria, I learned, were all nice enough, though perhaps a bit bland compared to the new friends I had already made.

And for four years I made my way through classes, catty girls, obnoxious boys (my favorite being the Marauders, as they came to be known) and growing up with little conflict.

And after that little introduction I believe that it is time for the story to truly begin...

 

A/N: For those you reading for the first time - enjoy! And for those of you that have come back after the entire year of Polychromatic's absence, thank you so much!


Chapter 2: They'll Never Take The Summer From Me
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Well they can take, take, take the kids from the summer
But they'll never, never, never take the summer from me
It was the very first time that I lost my mind for the week
-All Time Low


It was the middle of July and Hogwarts had let out just about a month ago. In another month and a half I would once again be back in school, though as a fifth year. Having to sit at home with only my mother and father was intolerable. Nearly everyday I walked a mile to the beach and spent the day there, before walking back just as it began to get dark.

The beach held a strange attraction for me. The warm, sometimes too hot, sand tickled my feet, and I loved to stand at the shores and have the salty ocean water lick my feet. Though nothing beat paddling around in the choppy water for a bit.

Finally, I was having my friends over. I planned to bring handballs, and frisbees, and of course, Wilson, my bright yellow volleyball.

"Anastasia, I’m very worried about you having four boys over." My mother was not quite as excited as I at the Marauders coming to stay. She had long since accepted that I would not befriend any girls, but I had a feeling she did not count on me wanting them to stay over the summer.

Apparently she didn’t. Even with the strict sleeping arrangements that would definitely be enforced, my mother was a nervous wreck. I was at school ten out of the twelve months of the year and she did not know what kind of trouble I did or didn’t get into. My dad didn’t have quite the problem with it; he was still fairly in touch with his younger self, and I guess the desperation in my voice as I practically begged for my friends to stay got to him.

I suppose my mother would have said no, had it not been for my father. She had me clean the entire house, probably as punishment for having boys come stay over. However the one place I downright refused to clean was my room. I had told her that I might as well not clean it, since she didn’t plan on letting me have the boys up there. My dad told me later though, that my mom was leaving on a trip for the next month, and I could have my friends in my room whenever I want. "I think that you’re old enough to make the right choices, and if we give you the freedom to, I know you will," he had told me.

So, as my mother put her three trunks into the Ministry Car that was already filled with seven of her colleagues, she reminded my father over and over to watch me like a hawk. He assured her, over and over, that he would. I kissed my mother goodbye and waved until she was out of sight. My father had already gone back inside and was preparing to leave for work. He had a major surgery to prep for and couldn’t be late. As soon as my mother and the car had turned the corner I raced back inside the house and down to the basement. I found the giant beach bag that had gotten buried in stuff and filled it with everything I’d need for a trip to the beach.

"She’s down in the basement, you can head down," I heard my father’s muffled voice say.

"Thanks," said another.

There was a slight creak as the basement door was swung open and loud, pounding footsteps told me that someone was running down the steps. I turned around to see Sirius emerge from the staircase. "Sirius!" I yelled.

I ran and launched myself into his arms. He swung me up and hugged me. "Ah, a month has been too long," he stated.

"Yeah," I agreed.

"I never knew how much weight someone could gain in a month; you’re getting heavy." Sirius smiled a cocky grin as I stuck my tongue out at him and struggled from his arms.

"Maybe you’re just too weak," I accused with a smile.

"Psh! Me? I’m Sirius Black, I can carry the weight of the world."

I smiled. "Of course you can, Sirius." I patted his shoulder in a consoling way that made him growl at me.

"Oi! Xanthis, you down there?"

"No!" I yelled back up at the person I knew to be James.

The footsteps stopped and I assumed James was just jerking around, pretending to decide against coming. After five minutes I said to Sirius, "You don’t think that he thought that I was being serious, do you?"

Sirius shook his head and his black hair whipped him in the face. "No, he’d never think that. First of all, you’ve never been serious a day in your life. Mostly because I’m Sirius, but even if I wasn’t Sirius I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be serious either."

I nodded in a very understanding way. All of a sudden I felt two hands wrap around my waist from behind. I screamed, piercing and high pitched; the person behind me yelped and let go and I saw James whip his invisibility cloak and hold his hands up in a surrender.

"Dammit, James!" I yelled.

"Come on! How else was I supposed to get a hug?" said the brown-haired, hazel eyed boy.

"I don’t know," I whined, my voice returning to just above its normal volume. "You could ask for one like a normal person."

James looked at me if I was a particularly interesting species of, er, something, or other. "Why would I do that?"

"Just try it."

James looked around the cement walled, cardboard box filled basement as if he couldn’t understand why he’d try something as normal as asking for a hug. "Can I, er... Have a hug?"

I looked at him as if I was honestly considering it. "No."

I then picked up the beach bag and started towards the stairs. I tripped over the edge of the box but caught myself before I fell to the hard floor. "Phew."

"Haha," said Sirius, smiling his cocky grin. "I got a hug."

James stopped in his tracks. "I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Do you mean to tel me you gave that, that, THING, a hug and not me?!"

"Uh," I said. "Yes?"

"Disrespect!" he yelled. "Disrespect!" Spit flew from his mouth and landed on Sirius, who was standing nearby. This caused Sirius, who noticed the flying and landing spit, to dance around screaming and trying to wipe the offending liquid from him.

"Ew! Ew! Ew!"

"Well we can see who the girl in this friendship is," James announced after I let out a loud belch.

I laughed and without warning I dropped the beach bag and jumped into James’ arms, just as a I had to Sirius. He caught me with ease and held me tight.

"See?" I said to Sirius, who was finally calming down. "James can hold me with no trouble, unlike someone else in this room."

James smiled superiorly and set me down when I began to squirm. I picked the bag back up and went upstairs. "Remus and Peter should be here soon."

I started at a run up the wood stairs and my toe caught on the overhang of the top step. With a scream that was much more deep and playful than the one I had uttered a few minutes ago, I fell with a crash and slid down the steps to the bottom, bumping my chin on each stair going down.

I groaned and shifted over to my back. James grabbed the bag that was still latched onto my hand and Sirius scooped me up into his arms and carried me up the stairs. "See?" he said, when he had seemingly effortlessly reached the stop. "Strong like bull."

"Okay, bullshit, put me down."

"That’s no way to talk to your rescuer," Sirius informed me. "So where should I put my shit?"

I had come to notice, in the past years, that Sirius was not only abusive of the word ‘fuck’, but all other swear words as well. I have to admit that his trashy mouth rubbed off on me. But only a little bit.

"Wherever?" I was too preoccupied with the plate I saw sitting out on the granite countertop. The plate was plastic, as were most things in our house, because of my constant clumsiness. But it wasn’t the plate that had me dashing across the kitchen in excitement; it was what was sitting on top.

Cupcakes.

Chocolate fudge frosted, confetti cake. "Crrrupciiisss!" I said, demonstrating to James and Sirius what the word cupcake sounds like when cupcakes are shoved in ones mouth. There was no mirror in the kitchen, but I assumed that I had chocolate and cake crumbs all over my face since I had shoved the entire cupcake into my mouth at once.

James shook his head in mock disgust. "There is no way that you are a girl.

"And you are definitely a dog," he told Sirius after the tall boy had repeated exactly what I had done.

"Thank you," we replied simultaneously.

We all laughed for a bit and then I reached for another cupcake.

"Don’t touch that cupcake!" I looked at Sirius with a confused expression. He had his hand reaching out to me in an overly-dramatic way, even though he could have easily taken it from me. "Don’t do it!"

Slowly, painfully slowly, I lifted the delicious cupcake to my mouth and stuck my tongue out. I put my tongue on the cupcake and licked just the tiniest bit of icing, off, I continued and then -

"No! Stop it! Bob doesn’t like that!"

I stopped in shock. "Bob? Bob doesn’t like it?"

Sirius nodded.

I looked at him. "Please tell me that you did not name this cupcake Bob."

He shook his head. "Thank God-"

"That’s not Bob, that’s Bob’s girlfriend."

I couldn’t take it anymore. I burst out laughing. "So where is Bob then?"

Sirius picked the biggest cupcake off the plate and held it up. I took the cupcake I had licked all over and smashed it into ‘Bob.’ "Look!" I shouted. "They’re making out!"

"Oh. My. Goodness." Remus had just walked into the room and stood next to James. "Please tell me that they’re kidding."

James shook his head sadly. "Nope. But console yourself; she’s probably just drugged up."

I pushed the giant vase of flowers that rested on the island counter in the middle of the kitchen aside. There stood Remus with a giant smile on his face. I was prepared to leap into his arms in way of greeting, but Sirius beat me to it.

"Remy!"

"Merlin," whispered Remus as Sirius dive-bombed into Remus’ arms. My eyes widened in shock when Remus caught Sirius with little difficulty and massive muscles bulged out of his t-shirt. I could have sworn that they had just been skinny little sticks a few moments ago. He held onto Sirius for a moment as Sirius leaned up and kissed him on the cheek. Within nanoseconds of that, Remus dropped Sirius down onto his butt.

"You know, mate," Remus said, as he shifted his duffel bag from his shoulder to the floor. "That was just creepy. And so what that whole cupcake thing."

"I’m creepy," I piped up in a small voice. "And intimidating."

"Yes, of course, because all people who are five feet are intimidating."

"Excuse you’re forgetting about two other inches." Okay, so I was a little short. Big deal. "And besides, have you noticed how jacked I am?"

I lifted my arms up about my head a made a muscle. While I wasn’t nearly as big as Remus, or Sirius or James, there was a definite strength in my arm. Speaking of which...

"When did you get so huge, Remus?"

Remus, who was about average height, maybe a little more, and on the skinnier side, looked himself up and down. "Um?"

"No I don’t mean fat, I mean your arms." I walked over to him and lifted his arm up. I probably poked it a good seventeen times before he got began to get annoyed and told me to stop or he’d use his super duper superman arms to rip me in half.

"Hey, you guys wanna know where you’re staying?" They all nodded and picked up their bags, following me up the stairs and I showed them to our guest room. It was the largest room besides my parents room, and had a large bed with two smaller cots set up on an empty wall.

"Okay, well, here it is. I’ll be eating Bob."

"No you won’t!" screeched Sirius in an incredibly girly way. In fact, it was so incredible that every single person in the room stopped to look at him. Dead stopped. He took the chance to bolt past me, out of the room and down to the kitchen.

He slid down the banister and landed with an easy grace; I attempted to imitate. Let’s just say it didn’t work. From the moment I jumped, I was barely able to get my butt high enough into the air to land on the banister, once I was on I wobbled dangerously back and forth until I reached the bottom and slid off the end into a wall.

I quickly picked myself up and started running after Sirius again. In all honestly I forgot why we were running. I skidded into the kitchen just after Sirius and jumped onto his back. With one arm around his neck I grabbed Bob the cupcake from his hand and smashed it backwards into his face.

Sirius picked up the cupcake closet to him (which just happened to be Bob’s girlfriend) and tried push it into my face but missed; he only smeared my face with a bit of chocolate icing and the rest of the cupcake went flying across the room. James, coming seemingly out of no where, dove into the room and caught the cupcake between his teeth. Remus jumped on top of him trying to wrestle it from him. We were so busy that no one heard the front door open and someone walk into the room.

Cold water, very cold water was being dumped on me and Sirius. We looked up after a scream to see Peter Pettigrew standing above us with a triumphant smile. Sirius, James and Remus and I laughed out loud. Peter could be a riot - sometimes, perhaps a bit too clingy to the other Marauders, but, in general, a good guy.

"Bob and Bob’s friends fight!" I shouted. The entire plate of cupcakes was grabbed. In between bites I smothered all four of my friends with frosting and cake. Again, the door opened, unbeknownst to us. Honestly, an evil mastermind bent on taking over the world could have walked in and we wouldn’t have known the difference.

Someone cleared their throat loudly. I looked up with my head locked between Sirius knees, and my chocolatey hand on James’ face to see my older brother, Jason, standing there. "What the hell? Your only brother comes home for a visit and you can’t even take your head out from between some guy’s legs for a second to greet me?"

Chapter 3: Kids Will Have Fun
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So give me one good reason,
why we need to be like them
Kids will have fun and offend,
They don't want to and don't fit in
- blink-182



"Jason!" I cried happily. I quickly untangled myself from all the limbs and jumped up to hug my brother. He backed away from my chocolatey self, but not fast enough. There was sugary sweetness all over his back.

When my brother had still been going to school, we didn’t get along well. I had been angry with him for causing our mother and father so much grief when we first moved. I remembered my mother crying every night and my father’s grieving voice as he begged Jason to open his bedroom door and talk.

It probably wasn’t until I had started school that I forgave him. But since then, he had become my protector. Much like the Marauders were to me.

"You know," he said, as I let go of him. "I think I would have preferred you not greeting me, actually."

"Not like you had a choice," I reminded him as I fell back into the pile of boys. Remus, who was on top, groaned as I landed fully on top of him.

And there was the sight - a twenty-something healer watching in a amusement as four sixteen year old boys and a fifteen year old girl struggled and laughed as they were piled in a mass of limbs on a kitchen floor. Covered in chocolate and other yummy sweets, of course.

"Who wants to go to the beach?" I shouted, moving my head so I was no longer smothered by Remus’ hair.

"Me!" shouted the aforementioned boy.

"Me too!" cried James, excitedly trying to leap up, but failing miserably and tripping back into the pile of people.

"Me too!" repeated Peter.

"I’ve never been to the beach," Sirius admitted. Every single person in the room turned to look incredulously at him. "What? Up until a week ago I lived with those horrible, horrible people that I just happen to share a last name with."

"Well then there’s no question," said Jason, leaving the white, painted doorway to join our conversation. He picked up one of the cherry wood chairs that surrounded the kitchen table and measured three steps from the sink with his feet before putting the chair down. He tapped the ceiling with his pointer finger three times and with a squeaking noise, one square foot of ceiling opened on a hinge. Jason reached up into the space and pulled out a set of car keys.

"So that’s where they keep them!" I shouted. My parents had two cars. One for the family, and one for my father to get to and from work each day. My parents hid the keys from me out of fear that I might take the car for a joy ride on whim.

I may have helped this notion along from doing so earlier in the summer.

"Yes," answered Jason. "And don’t tell them I told you. Now untangle yourselves and get into your suits. We’re leaving in five."

And in a feat that had been impossible previously, we untangled ourselves and raced up the stairs. Me racing to my room and the boys to the room that they were sharing.

In a quick motion, I took a hairband from my wrist, and tied up the dark curls that I would sometimes cover in Sleakeazy's, just for ease of wear. From the pile of clothes on the floor, I picked up my black bikini top. I had to root around a little while for the matching bottoms (not that it was too hard to match black) and pulled on a pair of my brothers old orange swim shorts over them.

I slipped flip-flops on my feet after I got the suit on and was at the base of the stairs before the boys were. "What took you so long?" I asked, as the Peter, James, Remus, and Sirius came thundering down the stairs a half a minute later.

"Well excuse me if I can’t get dressed in super-human speed for something I’ve never done before." Sirius had on a pair of black and blue swim trunk with a white t-shirt was standing with his arms crossed across his chest.

"Yeah well that’s not my fault. Hurry up, Jason!" I was positively glowing with excitement. Even though I’d been going to the beach almost everyday for the past month, this was the first time I could go with my friends.

"Come on, you guys! Get excited!" James joined me in my quest to excite my other friends. "Jump! Be happy go crazy! To the car!" James added as soon as he saw Jason making his way quickly down the stairs.

"Onward!" shouted Sirius. In a rush of bodies, the five of us, followed closely by my brother, thundered down the stairs and burst into the garage in a fit of excitement.

There it was, in it’s shining glory; the Jeep CJ. My brother, a liscensed driver, slid into the front seat, James slid into the seat next to him, and the remaining four of us squeezed into the back. It was a bit of a tight fit, but we were barely a minute from the beach. My brother began to pull the car out of the garage when I remembered that I had left the bag inside.

Not thinking, obviously, I jumped out of the moving Jeep to the shouts of protest of the cars other inhabitants. I grabbed the bag from the basement and jumped into the completely open car. Before my brother continued to back out of the driveway, he turned around and glared at me for a good minute.

"I’m sorry for being stupid?"

He continued to look at me for a few more seconds. Then he nodded, turned around, and continued to back the car out of the garage. In less than I minute we were out of our housing development and on the way to the happy sandy place. "Wheeeeeeeeee!" I yelled.

I popped up onto the bars on top of the car. There was no roof on the car, and therefore it was mostly our summer car; but during the summer it was perfect for cruising and driving to the beach.

"Radio on, please," Remus requested.

Jason flicked on the radio and it was automatically tuned to his favorite station. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the newest single by Queen, was blaring loudly.

"Whoo!" I was swaying happily, still sitting on the ‘roof’ of the car.

"Merlin's pants, Anastasia, we’re going nearly fifty miles an hour, you’ll kill yourself if you fall!" yelled Sirius.

"Ooo, is the big, bad Sirius Black scared of an itty bitty car?" I taunted him and leaned back of the bar I was perched on. It my head tipped back and I saw the harsh, hard pavement below me; it still didn’t occur to me that I could hurt myself badly. I believed that I was invincible

I was saved when Sirius grunted angrily and pulled me back down onto the seat next to him. "Don’t ever do something that stupid again." Sirius had grabbed my left hand and held it tight. There was a wild look in his grey eyes.

"Yeah," James added. "Listen to him, you could have killed yourself." Remus and Peter agreed too.

"I don’t have to do what you say," I said, wrenching my arm away from Sirius. "And don’t call me Anastasia."

I turned back to look at Sirius and he looked incredibly, genuinely hurt. "I’m sorry," I told him honestly. Sirius was the only person, ever, who could get my sympathy. He so rarely needed it, that when he did, I felt like the most horrible person.

He sighed and shrugged. "It’s no big deal, I just - I thought you were going to fall and kill yourself. Which would have been a big mess to clean up."

I nodded. "Yeah, it probably would’ve been, wouldn’t it."

"Well, now that we’re here," said Jason, interrupting us. "And we’ve been sitting here for nearly ten seconds now. You can all get out of the car."

I was the first one out of the car and was already sprinting down towards the sand. I passed straight by the snack stand that I knew I’d be returning to later, and ran straight for the crashing waves. Without thinking about how cold (or not so) the water might be, I moved into it some ten feet, until it was deep enough for me to fall into the waves.

To be honest, it was an attempted dive. I had always wanted to be like those wonderful, graceful people who could just up and dive into moving water, or stationary water, for that matter. Alas, I could not, and instead, the belly-flop was my pitiful attempt.

I must have been paddling around and jumping the waves for a good three minutes before Remus appeared beside me. "Where’s everyone else?" I asked him.

"Slowly getting in. They’re afraid of the cold," he scoffed.

I laughed. "Little wimps."

"What did you call me?" James was the next one that came up beside me. "Hey, I’ll have you know that I braved this water. It’s your precious Sirius over there who won’t come in like a real man. And Peter."

"I’m more man than you!" I shouted at Sirius, attracting the attention of a few other water-goers.

"I thought we already established that earlier," James said, likely to himself.

Sirius let loose a tribal yell of some sort and splashed him way into the deeper water, Peter close in tow. "Wheeeee!" Sirius yelled as he took off from under water did a flip in the air and splashed back down again.

"Fun." Sirius looked so cute, the water coming up to his chest, with the his tongue slightly hanging out of his mouth and smiling like a young child.

"Yes, it is," I agreed. "So, what were O.W.L.’s like last year?"

All the boys except Remus groaned at the mention of the horrid tests.

"They weren’t that bad," said the aforementioned boy.

"They were horrible!" yelped Peter, before falling back into the water in a play faint.

"They were annoying," Sirius complained, whipping his wet hair nonchalantly out of his face.

"The tests weren’t terrible, but afterwards . . ." James trailed off and he was pouting slightly, probably thinking about what it was that upset him so much.

"Oh yeah!" Said Sirius, he was smirking. "That was by the lake with-"

"With that goody-too-shoes, smarty pants, skeletor, teacher’s pet, bitch that James is obsessed with?"

"You mean Evans?" said Sirius.

"Yeah." I didn’t like Evans at all, for all the reasons that I just ranted about.

"Hey!" said James. "First of all, I’m not obsessed with her, and second of all, what makes you think all those things?"

Even the other Marauders couldn’t deny that each and every thing I had said about Lily Evans was true. Instead of manning up about it, they just stood looking towards James with pitying expressions until he got the hint.

"Okay," he admitted, "maybe it is true.

"I’m hungry."

Wow. That was a quick recovery. So, we all paddled into until we could drag our legs through the heavy, crashing water.

"Jaaaaassssssoooon!" yelled James. "Jason, oh, Jason! Where art thou Jason?" He was animatedly peering through the crowded sand, running to and from various places around the beach.

We watched James run around for nearly a minute before he came back, disappointed. "I can’t find him."

He turned from us once again, looking for Jason, when we finally saw him.

Unseen by James, Jason creeped up behind him until he was directly behind him. "Over here, numb nuts."

"We want food," James professed to my older brother, who stood there, completely dry, with a pamphlet in his hand, reading up on a new study that was being conducted at St. Mungo’s.

Jason raised his eyebrows at James, who came up to about his eye level. "And is there something you’d like me to do about that?"

James thought about for a moment. Before shaking his head. "No, now that I think about it. Not really at all."

Jason laughed and shook his head before handing my a handful of Muggle money from his pocket. I pocketed it in on of the many pockets that the orange shorts had and took off through the sand. The boys took off after me and soon they had all passed me. I grunted and jumped onto the nearest back, which, happened to be Remus’, and for a moment I thought we were going to topple backwards. He stumbled, and still (amazingly) kept going.

"Yeah! Whoohoo! Go Remus! Go Remus!" How someone of his size could keep going with another person on their back, let alone still be winning in a race, was beyond my comprehension. "Holy crap, Remus, do you have some secret life that we don’t know about?"

Remus shook his head stiffly and then stopped abruptly. The other boys did also. "Where are we racing to?" he asked.

Peter, Sirius, Remus and James looked to each other in confusion.

"The food, duh!" I shouted, and took advantage of their stupor, and took off, cackling manically before bursting through the door, into the food vendor.

Five orders of large fries and five large colas later, we were heading back outside to sit on the benches that overlooked the sand and water. The beach was alive with activity. Those who weren’t splashing in the water were playing on the beach, or lounging around and eating like us. The beach really was more fun with friends.

And then there was THEM. The same couple who was here everyday, snogging themselves silly on the sand.

"Ew," I said, turning away from the promiscuous couple. I shoved a bunch of salty fries into my mouth. "Mmm, beach fries are superior."

"Fuck yeah they are!" shouted Sirius, making nearby mothers scowl as they covered their childrens’ ears.

I lay back with my head resting on Sirius’ arm and my bare, sandy feet kicked up on the table. Every few seconds I would pop another fry into my mouth and follow it up with some of Sirius’ soda, which tasted way better than mine.

"Woah, hey, guys! There’s two people over there going at it!" Sirius, Remus and Peter all stood up to get a better look at what James was shouting it. I remained seated and just started eating all of their fries since I had already seen it numerous times.

They all sat down pretty quickly. They were quiet for a while before Sirius spoke. "Wow," he said. "That’s pretty gross."

James suddenly popped up in his seat and giggled like a little girl. No lie. "Guys! Guys! Guys!"

"Yes, freak dearest?" asked Sirius, batting his eye lashes at James.

James lowered his voice to a whisper and we all leaned in to hear him. "We should maybe do a little pranky-wanky?"

"Not a chance," said Remus, barely giving. "Do you see how many Muggles are around!"

At the same time, Sirius said, "Hell yes! As long as you never say pranky-wanky again."

James smirked and completely ignored Remus’ warning. "Can’t make any promises, mate."

Sirius and James wore their identical smirks. Anyone who knew them knew that, that was trouble. They leaned in and began whispering, Peter immediately joined in. I would have gladly been whispering and plotting too, but I was too busy staring Remus down. Unfortunately, I was not talented enough raise one eyebrow, so the overall stare may have been less effective. In the end, Remus sighed and put his head in the middle too.

Remus, despite Sirius and James’ brilliance for ideas, was the brains behind most of the technicalities of the pranks. Without him, it would mean that everyone else would be responsible for thinking.

Still picking off of everyones’ fries, I leaned into the group (which was now attracting suspicious stares) when there was a loud explosion down the beach and terrified screams.

The entire happily frenzied beach was thrown into chaos. People were running through the sand, some without their things, some trying to lug their possessions along. The couple had stopped snogging.

"Please tell me you guys did not do this," Remus moaned, as we all jumped up and discreetly slipped our wands out.

"Of course not!" yelled James, clearly affronted. "I may be mislead sometimes, but I’d never cause anyone real harm."

We saw Jason running up the beach. He had nothing in his hands except his wand, which he wasn’t bothering to hide, and Wilson the volleyball. "Let’s go!" he screamed, and we were off running to the car before he had reached us.

I felt the bottoms of my feet getting cut up as a ran barefoot on the gravel, stepping on various things, but didn’t care. I wasn’t sure if the commotion had been the fault of a wizard, Muggle, or something else, but I didn’t want to stay around to find out.

I jumped into the CJ, sliding in next to the boys, who were nervously crammed in, except James, who sat, just as jittery, in the passengers seat. Jason hopped into the car, started it, and pressed a giant red button next to the ignition. The car went invisible. He threw Wilson back to me before pressing another, smaller blue button. And car slowly began to rise into the air and we flew, invisible, over the traffic jam to get out of the parking lot.

"Check out the noise!" I shouted to my brother and pointed toward the direction where the problem had originated. He took a sharp left and we soon flying over what looked like a giant crater in the earth, but nothing inside. The cleanliness of the destruction; no blood, or scattered body parts, led me to believe that this was the work of wizards.

Everyone was silent as my brother flew the car home and landed smoothly before rolling into the garage. We all got up and walked slowly upstairs. My brother went into the refrigerator and pulled out bottles of water for everyone.

We were all speechless until Sirius shouted, "What the hell was that?!"


Chapter 4: This Is How We Do (Return of the Cupcakes)
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A/N: If you haven't noticed yet, the quotes of songs that I put in the beginning of each chapter tends to set a tone for the chapter. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes you have to look a little harder for the connection. So, yeah... Happy Reading.



(Come on let me hear you!)
We're the party,
you're the people,
this is how we do.
-All Time Low



"What the hell was that!" Sirius repeated, when no one answered.

Jason shook his head slowly. "I think I have an idea - don’t know for sure - be back soon."

He took off, grabbing the car keys from where he had placed them on the kitchen table a moment ago. We stood in a circle, listened to the car start up and drive away before we started shifting nervously.

I was shocked. I’d been going to the beach nearly every day for a month and there was not even a hint that something of that magnitude was going to happen. Jason’s hunch led me to believe that it was indeed a wizard who had thrown the beach-goers into havoc. So, if that was true, what had the attacker been after?

"Ummmm. . ." I said. No one knew what to do to get things going again. There could be no lighthearted chatter after the previous events, Bob and his girlfriend had already been eaten, and there were no people to wreak havoc on. "You guys wanna watch a movie?"

Remus nodded, but the other three boys, all pure-blooded, had no idea what a movie was, and looked perplexed. "It’s a moving picture on a screen, with lots of words and fun," Remus explained, in a nutshell.

The word fun piqued the boys’ interest, as it did with all of us. I took off up the stairs and ran into the room where the boys were staying and crash landed on the larger of the beds. "Oi! One of you go make some popcorn. Er, actually that should be you, Remus, since none of these guys here could manage such a simple task."

I got back up from the bed and went over to the selection of VHS tapes we had in our house. Sometimes it helped being half and half; I got the best of the wizarding world, and the best of the Muggle world. I scanned my eyes over them until I came across it. That’s it, that’s the movie.

"So, who’s up for The Godfather?" I asked, slipping the cassette out of it’s case

___

Jason didn’t return for another few hours after the movie ended. Those few hours were filled with ice cream, and Sirius’ re-enactments of the movie.

"I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse!" shouted Sirius, before running up to James. "Want to make cupcakes and try to recreate Bob?"

James smirked at our insane friend. "I’m afraid I’m gonna have to refuse."

"What about you, Anastasia. What do you say to you, me, and some cupcake mix?" He winked suggestively.

"How could I say no to that?" I smiled. With no need for convincing the other boys, who were surely into the idea of making a mess out of sugar and chocolate, I bounced around the kitchen, getting cupcake mix, and all the stuff that needed to go into the mix.

I told the boys to pull out of the cupcake mold and spoons and bowls and set the oven to a hot temperature, I wasn’t really specific. I wasn’t the most organized person, and was immediately taken off of cupcake duty when I began to dump unmeasured ingredients into the metal bowl. James grumbled about the cupcakes not coming out delicious enough, and carefully measured the remaining ingredients.

Meanwhile, Remus had set the oven to the correct temperature and Peter had set to washing the measuring cups and such. Sirius and I, however, were not being helpful, but had gotten into the chocolate frosting and we were eating it out of its container.

"Oh! Gross! You guys are double dipping!" James accused as me and Sirius each dipped out spoons back into the tub of frosting numerous time.

"You’re just jealous cause you’re standing there and measuring stuff and being a square instead of eating the yummy frosting with us!" I yelled defensively.

"Maybe. . ." said James and stuck his tongue out at us before beginning to spoon the batter into the mold. "You have frosting in your hair," he added without looking up. I looked down and saw that I did indeed have frosting in my hair. I tried to suck the frosting out of my hair, and James just shook his head in astonishment at my abnormality.

Thirty minutes later we went to take the lovely smelling cupcakes out of the oven. There were all burnt, and James wept over the destruction of his perfect cupcakes, blaming it on me.

"I wasn’t even the one in charge of taking them out in time!" I defended myself.

James, still mock-sobbing, cried, "It’s your presence! The cupcakes know you’re here! They burned themselves just because they knew that if they didn’t your reputation for burning everything would be tarnished!"

"A reputation I hold with much pride, thank you very much," I reminded him.

And that was us. The Marauders and me. Less than five hours ago there had been an explosion a mere few hundred feet away from where we were, probably caused by a wizard, one of our own kind.

Yet we stood around in my kitchen, attempting to resurrect a dead cupcake and watching Muggle movies. I liked to believe that were special in a way that others just couldn’t be. We were carefree and immature and we liked it that way. And if there was an evil wizard on the rise well, we’d just have to go kung foo his weak, annoying arse, wouldn’t we?
 

A/N2: Just a little note for those who noticed (or those who didn’t) this story begins in the summer of 1976. After a little research I discovered that VHS was not made available to the public until late 1976. For the purpose of the story, I made it available a little earlier. Not that it really matters...

And everyone should already know that the Godfather isn’t mine.

A/N3: Just wanted to thank any and all readers and reviewers out there. The feedback I've been getting makes me happy that I've come back to fanfiction. So thanks! And I also wanted to apologize for the big gap between chapters; there was a little hold up and confusion in the queue, but, there it was, and hope you liked it.


Chapter 5: It Gets Worse Every Day
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Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
-Guns N’ Roses


 

After a second attempt to make cupcakes, in which James literally pushed me out the door and then locked me out of my own house, they came out perfect, and I was let back in.

"Dude, you can’t lock someone out of their own house!" I screeched at James as a stomped through the house where there were delicious smells of yummy baked things. "It’s just not cool!"

"Hey, don’t insult my coolness; I’m one of the coolest kids in school," James protested. We were in the kitchen and he had begun to scowl at Sirius. "Do you have anymore icing? You and that git over there finished it. Mostly that git," he added under his breath.

"Maybe," I told James. "But even if I did, why the hell would I give it to you, you locked me out of the house?"

"Yeah! You locked her out of her own fucking house!" Sirius piped up. There was chocolate all around his mouth and all over his face.

I turned and frowned at him. "I didn’t see you coming to my rescue!"

Sirius just shrugged. "Well, I wasn’t the one who did it. And, you have to admit, these cupcakes would not have come out this perfect if you had been here. You’re cursed." Sirius was holding one of the cupcakes and running his hands over it to show its perfect shape and minimal bumps. And no burntness.

"Please stop feeling that cupcake up," Remus told Sirius, as he began to look through the pantry for frosting.

"Hey, guys, I found some!" squealed Peter, who had been searching for frosting in the refrigerator. "Ew, but it’s banana flavored."

Sirius shook his head in disgust, as did Remus and James. "Who the hell eats banana flavored frosting?"

I shrugged, it sure as hell wasn’t me.

Finally, I had pity on the clueless Marauders (and I also wanted those cupcakes myself) and climbed up onto the counter to reach the top cabinet. I rooted around trying to find the chocolate frosting before I located it and threw it down to Sirius, who awaited it with outstretched arms.

James grabbed it violently from Sirius before I could jump down and join Sirius in eating the chocolate frosting; he grudgingly gave the remaining frosting back to me and Sirius to eat once he had finished frosting all of the cupcakes.

Me and Sirius were just using our fingers to get the last bit of frosting out of the container, and the other three boys had already started devouring the (admittedly really good tasting) cupcakes that James had made, when we finally heard the garage down open again, and the unmistakable rumbling of the CJ coming in.

We all continued merrily as we heard the engine cut and Jason’s heavy footfalls on the stairs. The doorknob turned and a weary, worried looking Jason stepped in.

James saw the unsettled look on my brothers face and immediately went over to over him a cupcake. "Cupcakes make everything better," he assured.

Jason took the cupcake and did not look assured, or any happier, but he did smile a little more as he bit into it. "Wow, that’s really good."

"Yeah," said Sirius. We all knew what was coming now.

"It’s like a fucking fantastic explosion in your mouth," said Sirius, Peter, Remus, James and myself.

Sirius scowled at as us all. "You’re just angry because you’re so predictable," Remus told him. "So, any news?" He added, the most mature and concerned out of all of us, even if that wasn’t saying much.

Jason nodded his head sadly. He sat wearily down in one of the kitchen, still eating the cupcake. He sighed and seemed to be collecting his thoughts for a moment. "Have any of you ever heard of Voldemort?" We all shook our heads, except for Sirius. "What about a man named Tom Riddle."

All five of us nodded our heads this time. "I think each of us must have polished this large, obnoxious trophy with his name on it at least seven times." Sirius smirked.

"Yeah, well, that was back in his good days. Since then, he’s become an evil mastermind intent on taking over the Wizarding and Muggle worlds; enslaving the Muggles and Muggle-borns for not being Pureblood," Jason explained. "He goes around calling himself Lord Voldemort now, and he’s gathering up followers; you've heard of him, Sirius?"

Sirius face was pained and mortified. This Voldemort dipshit sounded a lot like the type of people his family would have been sorted with . . .

"My family is big supporters of the guy," Sirius told Jason reluctantly.

Ha. Who called it? I did.

"I don’t associate with them anymore," he added quickly. "I ran away this summer and I’m living with James now."

Jason nodded. "Well, this guy obviously can’t be too big if you lot haven’t heard about him, but he’s getting stronger. That explosion at the beach today proved it.

"When I went to visit the Ministry, they already had some Aurors on the scene, so they must be getting suspicious about this character. No one knows whether it was simply a Muggle hate crime, or if there was a Wizard he was after."

Sirius was muttering to himself. I felt sympathy, something I give very little of, as I heard him. "Stupid family . . . Can’t believe he . . . Gonna kick his ass."

I caught James’ eye and nodded discreetly towards our best friend. He nodded back and mouthed something to me that I could not make out. I never understood how everyone could read mouths all the time and why I just couldn’t grasp it if it was that simple; then again, I was me.

We all sat in silence for a while. It may have been contemplative for others, but for me, it was bored.

Jason spoke up. "I’ve got to head to work, lots of people who were nearly blasted apart today to treat." He grabbed his jacket again and was already heading back down the steps to the garage when he turned back and said, "Just be careful, guys. This fellow, as unpleasant as he is, is getting stronger every day."

Sirius just shook his head and cast his eyes downward, James looked solemnly toward his best friend, Remus looked concerned in general and Peter had his finger up his nose.

I smiled and thought about snacking. "So, who wants some Honeyduke’s chocolate to go with those fabulous cupcakes?"

A/N: Sorry about the short chapter, I hate them so much, but this really is a transition chapter. The next chapter should be longer, I think. Yeah, it is; I checked. Hope this chapter wasn't too terrible. XD


Chapter 6: Secrets Are Tailored Trouble
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A/N: Well, the queue re-opened early; that was a nice suprise! I probably should have gone to sleep, but when I saw the wait in queue was just an hour, I couldn't resist posting this!



All our secrets they are tailored trouble 
Draped loose now around your hips
Your spotless instincts are valid
We co-exist
-Taking Back Sunday



It was August thirty-first, and to say the least, I was pumped. I had not seen the Marauders in an entire two days (which had become a rare occurrence over the summer); we had left my house after staying there for three weeks, and went to Remus’. We remained there for two weeks, before I was ushered home without explanation. When I got home an owl from Sirius was already waiting for me. He had told me to meet at James’ house, after three days passed.

I had never had such an exciting time. The fact that my parents had even let me stay at boys’ houses was incredible, but the things that happened at James’ house were even more so. I had never lived in an entirely Wizarding Residence before (besides Hogwarts, which one could hardly belittle by calling a residence.) Not that James’ house was small; on the contrary, it made for great games of hide-and-seek and other fun, childish games of the sort.

We stayed there for the remaining month of summer, except for the end, when my mother called me home to go shopping and pack for school. I had a sneaking suspicion that had she not, I still would have been sent home by the Marauders. Those boys were up to something, and I needed to find out.

I became more suspicious when I saw them two days later at Diagon Alley. There was Peter, James, and Sirius, but no Remus. The Marauders obviously did not see the oddity in one of the members being absent, or at least did not let on to it. And I couldn’t help but wonder, was their seeming indifference to keep me from finding out the truth?

I was still pondering this later on, as I was purchasing the required books from Flourish and Blotts (which were plentiful this year, a wonderful omen for the O.W.L.s). And later still went I went into the Quality Quidditch Supplies store and bought a new broom for the Quidditch season, as well as a polishing kit.

I flooed back home from the Leaky Cauldron, after stopping to have a Butterbeer. I arrived into my house, clumsily stumbled out of the fireplace and looked up to see my frazzled mother. "How are you, dear?" she asked, running a hand over her slightly wrinkled robes.

"Fine, mum," I answered.

Two days after that found me at August thirty-first, not at all packed, and not at all ready to go.

"Anna, are you ready to go tomorrow?" called my mother from downstairs, using the new name that I had recently demanded to be called by.

"Of course, mum," I chimed. I looked around my room at the mess. My school robes, the uniform that went under the clothes, as well as my Quidditch robes were haphazardly tossed into my ebony trunk. My school books lay open, a few pages already torn, next to the trunk, begging to be put in. Other important school-like things were in random, unknown places around my room.

I only knew where my wand was because I had secretly been practicing in the night. My parents were none the more knowledgeable, and I was improving while everything else got rusty with their magic over the summer. I had only caused a few fires, and one very minor explosion to the next house over.

"Anna," Jason said from my doorway. "You shouldn’t lie to mum about that."

I raised my eyebrows at him and smirked. "Because you don’t lie to her as well? I seem to recall you telling me about all those drunken nights at Hogwarts, or do I not?"

Jason stuck his tongue out at me and continued onto his room, which was in the attic; after he had finished healing training, our mother had turned the attic into a full apartment for Jason, so that he never had to really live with us if he didn’t want to, and could start to save up for his own home with the meager salary that St. Mungo’s offered the starting Healers. He had long since moved out of it, but he often came back to visit.

It wasn’t until the next day, at nine o’clock when I was violently shaken awake by my brother, that I realized that I still had not packed my trunk. I spent far more time than I had to spare, hunting around my room for clean pairs of knickers and socks that needed to go to Hogwarts with me. When I had extracted the last of my belongings from the corners of my room, it was twenty minutes to eleven.

"Anna, get downstairs. Now! You’re going to be late!" I heard my mother’s usually soft voice screech.

Obviously there was no time for a shower. I looked down at my clothes, a pair of black sweatpants and a fitted red t-shirt. I thought that I looked more than presentable. I made a mad dash to the bathroom (which wasn’t that far; in fact, the door to the bathroom was directly next to mine) and brushed my teeth, getting minty froth all over my mouth. I quickly washed off my face.

I threw my curly, bed-tangled hair into a ponytail and ran back out. I stopped in my room long enough to jam my wand into my pocket and drag my heavy trunk down the stairs.

"Anastasia!"

"Don’t call me that, mum!" I protested loudly as I made my way, exhausted and stressed (and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock) into the kitchen. I slipped my feet into a pair of my flip flops, which were already sitting right by the door, before heading out the door.

I stood outside waiting for my mother for nearly a half a minute before she came out shaking her head in disbelief. "We floo, dear," she reminded me, making me feel as if she was talking to long-term patient at St. Mungo’s.

"Right, right," I muttered as I tried to push my trunk along. My mother sighed and took pity on me. With a quick sweeping motion, my trunk was floating inside the house again. I ran in after it and in a frenzy my mother threw Floo powder into the flames of our large, brick hearth. I tripped in my rush to the fireplace, and knocked my head on the brick. I stood, holding my head and moaning. My mother made a noise somewhere between a groan and a growl.

I didn’t pay attention and she said something, and before I knew it, I was spinning, and spinning. With plenty of clumsiness, I stumbled out into what appeared to be a dark alley beside King’s Cross Station. Upon a closer look, I discovered that it was exactly that. My mother made me drag the trunk again because of all the Muggles around.

When I finally reached platforms nine and ten, it occurred the me that I could have gotten something to roll the trunk with. I shook the thought from my head, as it only frustrated me. I stood, slouched, and with my trunk tipped up so that it was taller than me. I growled at the wall, the trunk, and my mother, who had left back home in a frenzy, after Flooing my trunk to me. (A task that she did not trust me with, and with good reason.)

"Need some help there, my little damsel in distress?"

I turned around to see Remus. I could honestly say that I was really, really, really happy to see him.

"Please," I groaned. And with three minutes left before the train departed, Remus and I burst onto platform nine and three-quarters, each holding one end of my trunk. The crowd was mostly gone and students on the train, but what was left of a crowd dispersed as Remus and I went charging through, straight for the train. He helped me heave the trunk onto the train and then I followed him quickly (as I could) down the long corridors of the train. It had already begun to move from the station.

Finally, Remus stopped and smiled. "This is where me and the guys are sitting." He slid the door open and pulled my trunk in for me.

"What’s hangin’, love?" Sirius asked. He was leaned up against the wall and had his legs stretched out. Peter’s lap just happened to be in the way. I noticed a large gash across his face.

"Sirius, who’d you get into a fight with?" I asked, nodded toward his injury.

"Giant werewolf," he told me. "Don’t worry, I won though."

James was looking at Sirius as if he had done something as stupid as swallow a hoard of angry wasps, Peter was somewhat imitating James’ face, and Remus looked absolutely scandalized.

"What’s with the overreactions to Sirius’ ego?" I shook my head all four Marauders. "No one looks at me that way when I make wild proclamations; it must be cause you lot like me better."

"Where do you think you get it from?" James said; his face had quickly gone back to it’s jovial, smiling self.

"I always thought I got it from-"

The glass, sliding door to the compartment slid open and in slipped Lily Evans. Oh, how lovely.

"Oh, you lot are in here," she quipped. "Don’t mind if I leave before your egotism and stupidity catch."

Evans was gone quicker than she had come. All five feet seven inches, one-hundred and five pounds of her swished her non-existent hips and she left with her nose in the air.

I couldn’t decide between running out and picking a fight with Evans before we even got to the school, and scolding James for liking the monster from the black lagoon, (a.ka.- Lily Evans.)

"James, how the hell do you like that?!"

"Don’t you guys remember?" James said dreamily, as he stared at the doorway in which Lily Evans had just left.

"Er, no," said Remus. James looked around at Remus, Sirius, Peter and myself as if we were all hopeless.

"Well, then . . ." he said.

___


It was his First Year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and it was destined to be a good one. He had grown up around magic his entire life, he had a good name (not that, that mattered at all), and he was a personable boy; easy to befriend.

He had wandered from his parents, wanting to get a good look at Platform nine and three-quarters. He loved watching the older students converse and show off their proficiency at difficult spells. He looked on in idolization, hoping that he too could do that one day.

As James wandered, one particular group of students caught sight of him. With nasty grins on their faces they came over and cornered James. "Like that, little man?" said a particularly large student with a green trim around his robes.

James, oblivious to the dark nature of magic that had just been performed, nodded eagerly. "You bet! Am I going to learn how to do that at Hogwarts?"

The boy raised his eyebrows and smirked. James fleetingly thought that his smile made him look a bit scary. "Maybe not at Hogwarts, but if you get into Slytherin, kid, there’s a definite chance."

"Slytherin!" James said nastily before it registered in his brain that he was surrounded by many older students who not only knew more spells than him, but dark magic as well. "Why would I want to be in that house?"

"You got a problem with Slytherin, little trash?" asked one of the other boys who were flanking the ringleader.

"Hold on," said the boy who originally spoke. "You look familiar, kid. What’s your last name?"

"Potter," James told the older boys.

All the boys sneered. "Potter. A blood-traitor. I should have picked up on that hair. Your family has been a bunch of blood-traitors for centuries."

"Thank you," James said proudly.

"That was not a compliment," snarled one of the older boys.

All three older boys had cornered James, all at least a foot taller than him, and were holding their wands out to him threateningly.

There was a small cough heard from behind and a calm voice said. "Is there a problem here?"

The boys turned around and James caught sight of a girl that looked to be his age standing there. She was fairly tall for her age, just a bit chubby, but had the most gorgeous, emerald green eyes and long, flowing red hair.

James stood, fascinated. The older boys however were not as caught. After a quick, whispered conversation. They looked at her and said in a nasty voice, "Mudblood!"

After spitting at her feet, they walked away, forgetting about James.

James, whose heartbeat was turning back to normal after the terrifying encounter went up to the girl. "Thank you so much for saving my life. Those guys are bad news," he told her. "I’m James Potter."

"Lily Evans, your welcome, and I could tell." She smiled and offered her hand to James. "I’m a Muggleborn."

"I’m a blood-traitor," James announced with pride.

___

"But that was before she turned bitch," I explained, sighing.

"Yeah, but I can’t help but believe that side of her is still there somewhere." James smiled.

I shook my head and turned to Sirius. "Can’t you do anything about him."

"I wouldn’t even if I could, love. He’s way more arrogant and destructive when he’s trying to impress Evans."

I was about to ask if anyone had a deck of Exploding Snap when the young witch that pushed the lunch trolley stuck her head in. "Anything off the trolley, dears?" she asked, as always.

"Hell yes!" said Sirius, jumping up and already pulling coins from his pocket. Not one person in the compartment was far behind him.

Hours later, we had almost arrived at Hogwarts (at least, the voice on the P.A. system told us so) when the compartment door slid open yet again. This time, a boy of medium height entered; he wore Hufflepuff robes and a Head Boy badge.

"Remus, I didn’t see you at the Prefect meeting," said the Head Boy, looking stern.

"Shit!" whispered Remus, not one to usually swear. "Er, I swear, I completely forgot. I’m so sorry, Aaron."

The Head Boy rolled his eyes. "It’s alright Remus, chill out." He crossed the compartment in a few strides and held out a couple papers to Remus, holding a quick whispered conversation. "You’ve got patrolling duties tonight, Remus. Sorry, mate, but you weren’t there to pick so you kind just had to take what was left."

Remus nodded. "Well, it’s my fault. Later, Aaron."

Aaron nodded at the boys in the compartment, as way of saying goodbye, and smiled at me quickly before leaving.

"That’ll be you next year, Moony," Sirius said.

"Who’s Moony?" Remus asked, stressing every syllable that came out of his mouth.

"I don’t know," Sirius said, quickly catching on. "I don’t actually know why I said that." His eyes quickly looked towards me and then shot back to Remus.

"You guys are acting really weird," I told them.

"What d-do you m-mean?" stuttered Remus. I eyed him suspiciously. The other boys looked nervous, though not to the point that Remus was.

To be honest, I was offended, and that didn’t happen easily. These boys had been best friends since their First year, and I became their friend only a year later. I never minded when they just hung out by themselves; I had other acquaintances in my own year that I occasionally talked to. (Very, very occasionally.)

What upset me was the apparent magnitude of whatever secret they were keeping from me.

With my face scrunched into an annoyed position, I got up and walked straight out of the compartment without saying a thing. I wandered around the train for the last five minutes before I came across the kid who was, apparently, Head Boy.

"You alright?" he asked me.

I nodded. "I’m fine. I just needed a little break from all the testosterone."

Aaron, the Head Boy, laughed. "Sometimes we all do. You had a good summer, I hope?"

"Yeah. And you?"

He nodded. "My older brother got his girlfriend pregnant and they both had to drop out of Auror training, but, other than that, it was pretty swell."

"Ouch," I said. That sounded like it had to suck.

"Nah, it’s worse for my brother than me," Aaron told me. "My parents are just a little more watchful of me now."

The train began to slow down, and then came to a complete stop.

"Well, that’s my cue," Aaron said. "I’ll see you around?"

"Yeah," I answered, and went back to find the Marauders. Aaron was nice, maybe a little too dull for me to spend a lot of time with, and made me want my Marauders back.

"Anastasia!" I heard someone call. I knew immediately that it was Sirius. Not only from his voice, but he was the only person who still insisted on calling me Anastasia.

I ran to him and the rest of the Marauders. "Guys, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have gotten angry like that; you guys have the right to keep whatever your secret is from me. If someone knew every little inner workings of your brain, it’d drive you mad and I-"

Remus cut in. "We owe you an apology too. I should have told you a long time ago; in fact, you'll be the first person I actually tell, since this lot found out on their own and-"

"Come down, mate. You're rambling," Sirius said. Then, he turned to me. "We'll tell you later tonight."

I wasn’t a very observant person, but over the past few weeks, I had gathered that whatever the secret was, it belonged to Remus. I gave him a warm smile, as well as the rest of the guys, and yelled, "Last one to the horseless carriage is a giant squid!"

Chapter 7: No Rules Tonight
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There will be no rules tonight
If there were we'd break 'em
Nothing's gonna stop us now
Let's get down to it
-Plain White T’s



I sat impatiently through the sorting. "I cannot figure out why they don’t just let us eat while they’re sorting the little twerps," I groaned to the four boys I was surrounded by.

They each agreed wholeheartedly and Remus pulled a gigantic block of chocolate out of his pocket. He began to eat it and Sirius dove on top of him, they both fell off the bench, wrestling at the feet of a few terrified first years for the bar of chocolate.

"Ahem, Mr. Black, Mr. Lupin?" Professor McGonagall’s voice was stern and disapproving.

Sirius and Remus jumped apart. It seemed that Sirius had won.

"Sorry, Professor," Remus said before sitting down.

"Yeah, sorry, Minnie," Sirius said. He hung is head in mock shame. "You see, thing of it is-"

"Mr. Black, must you really force me to give you a detention before the feast even starts?"

Sirius thought for a moment. "Yes."

"A week, Mr. Black. A week you will serve detention for me. Now if you don’t mind I’d like to continue with sorting the First year students that you’ve no doubt scarred."

Sirius made a sweeping bow before returning to his seat. "Five already," he bragged to James, before breaking the chocolate into five good-sized pieces; one for each of us.

"Good job, Sirius," Remus teased. "We haven’t even done the prank yet and you’ve already gotten five detentions."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "You’re just sore at me because I stole your beloved chocolate."

"Yeah, so?" Remus said.

Sirius shrugged and turned his attention back to the chocolate.

"Mhm, Honeyduke’s best," I claimed.

"Fuck yeah!" shouted Sirius, probably louder than he intended to, because he drew stares from most of the Great Hall, which had recently gone quiet with the conclusion of the sorting.

"Mr. Black!"

"Yes, Minnie?" asked Sirius, addressing our angry Transfiguration Professor.

"Add another two detentions to that."

"Aww, all I did was a swear a bit," he protested.

Professor McGonagall shook her head as she took a seat and Dumbledore came to the front. His eyes surveyed the crowd. "Welcome to all! Nitwit, blubber, oddment and tweak! Everyone should have a little more of it in their lives."

The First years, always confused by Dumbledore’s opening speech didn’t notice the food pop up on their plates, but all the older students did.

Turkey, Shepard’s Pie, potatoes, vegetables, steak, fish, all the works found their way onto my plate. I followed James’ gaze down the table to see the dainty Lily Evans put a few stems of steamed broccoli on her plate and nothing else.

I laughed at her, my mouth full of food, and ended up spraying Peter. "Sorry about that, mate," I told him.

He shook his head to show that it was nothing and cleaned himself up with one of the cloth napkins. When he was finished he glanced at his watch. "Guys, guys it’s time!" he whispered excitedly.

Sirius looked at him as well. "Yes, Peter, we know; don’t wet yourself."

Peter calmed himself and waited for James to get up from the table before following. Remus got up next, and finally me and Sirius a minute later. We met up outside the Great Hall. "You know the incantation, Remus?" James asked. He nodded in response. "Okay. Me, Peter, Remus and Anna are going to position ourselves at the designated spots, disillusioned. Sirius, you know where to go? We all know the Aquamenti charm?"

We all nodded, Peter a little uncertainly. "Alright, Remus, it’s your show now."

Without words, Remus moved his wand and I watched and Sirius, Peter, James and finally myself blended into our background. Remus quickly cast the charm on himself and all of a sudden five red, blinking rings appeared to be floating in the air.

We each grabbed one from Remus’ hand and slipped it on so that we could see each other at all times.

"Let’s go," I whispered. Four blinking dots (including my own) headed towards the Slytherin table, while a lone dot, Sirius’, made it’s way towards the Head Table. Professor McGonagall did not notice the red blinking dot that stood right into front of her face. Neither did the Slytherins, until Severus Snape took a mouthful of water.

He gurgled and spat and clawed at the air. By the time the stream of water had turned away from him, it had become much more powerful, and joined by three others. The entire Slytherin table was soaked in a matter of seconds. The girls were screaming and clutching their hair, pulling their robes about them to cover their white uniform shirts.

I looked down at my own chest, thankful that I was disillusioned. I laughed thinking about how I’d look with my bright orange bra showing through my own shirt. I must have laughed too loudly, for one of the Slytherins threw their arm out and I came painfully crashing down to the table. I grunted as I had the wind knocked out of my and was cut by glass. I forced my self to get up and out of the way.

Gasping for breath, I made my way down the table, starting to laugh.

The rest of the hall had long since caught on and McGonagall was furious; she knew exactly who did it.

"Sirius Black, Ja-"

She did not get to finish yelling out the intended five names because Sirius Black, invisible to the entire student and teaching body, yelled, "Present!"

And a powerful jet of water erupted out of no where, hitting McGonagall right in the face. The drenched Professor stood for a few moments, before grabbing blindly in front of her catching only the edges of Sirius’ robe as he fled. He quickly threw it off and it became immediately visible, no longer attached to his disillusioned body.

I caught sight of the blinking dot and took off after it towards the doors of the Great Hall. James, Peter and Remus followed and neither of us bothered to discontinue the spouts of water than were coming from our wands. A few members of Ravenclaw got splashed in our frenzied escape, but were in good spirits compared to Slytherin.

We burst out of the Great Hall but kept running; we knew there would be people following us.

"You know that we’ll get in trouble for this no matter how long we keep running," gasped Peter. He seemed to be having trouble keeping up with the rest of this.

"Yes," I took the liberty of answering for everyone. "It’s just more fun this way."

Peter made a gagging, coughing noise and attempted to move his rather pudgy legs faster. "In here!" Sirius yelled and we all dove behind a some drapes near the large oak doors that led outside.

"It’s a passageway," I whispered.

Behind me, Sirius pulled out the map and whispered, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." He squinted his eyes, trying to see, and when he could not, brought his wand back out and said, "Lumos."

"They’re right outside, guys. And the old grumbly care-taker is with them. We have to keep going down this path."

None of us had ever been in this one before; I was curious to see where we ended up. It was less than a minute when we were face to face with another tapestry. I peeked my head through to see a familiar area. "Guys! This is where the Room of Requirement is!"

"She’s right," said Sirius, poking his head out above mine.

"Of course I’m right," I growled, before stepping out of the passageway, causing Sirius, who had been leaning on me, to stumble forwards.

"Klutz," I said mockingly.

"Now I know what it’s like to be you," he said replied

"Wipe that stupid smirk off your face, Sirius, no one likes you."

Sirius did not stop his smirking and this annoyed me greatly.

"Alright, alright. Since you’re so upset with me, you can choose where we go," he said, nodding towards the currently blank wall.

"I want to go where I’m most comfortable," said three times, and I walked back and forth passed the wall.

A door appeared and Sirius opened it; he stepped and in looked around before turning back to me with a confused face. "Where is this?"

I stepped in and peered around. I didn’t recognize the room at all. There were two large, plush black sofas, and two matching black leather armchairs. There was a large fireplace on the other side of the room. On it’s ledge were a few photographs. Some were Muggle and some were magical. All of the photos seemed to have the same subjects. Four attractive kids; two boys and two girls. There was also large television that was not like one I had seen before. Upon further inspection, it would not turn on.

"Of course it didn’t turn on," Remus said as if it should have been obvious. "There’s too much magic at Hogwarts for Muggle things to work."

"So," said Sirius. "Where is this place?"

"I have no idea," I replied. The room did not lie. I wondered whether I was just not most comfortable anywhere. I also wondered if this was a room I would come to know and love in the future. I didn’t know, and therefore didn’t dwell on it.

Instead, I draped myself over one of the sofas and relaxed. "Does it matter though, as long as we can’t be caught?"

"Not at all," Sirius said, imitating my action on the other, larger sofa. Peter took an arm chair, as did James. This left Remus to push Sirius off his couch and take it over.

Sirius, angered by this, made to push Remus off again, but was unsuccessful. He grumbled, dragging himself over to my couch, and shifting me so that he could fit himself on the couch as well. "I’m pouting!" he shouted.

"Yes, we’ve noticed," said James, prodding the on button on the television. "Why won’t this damn thing work!"

"I’m not repeating myself," grumbled Remus.

"I wish I had some hot chocolate," I groaned. "We should go down to the kitchens."

"Me too," agreed Sirius. "Do you lot think the feast is over yet?"

"Definitely," I said.

Remus shook his head. "You know full well it’s not, you just want your hot chocolate."

"So," I began defensively. "Is that such a crime?"

"No," he admitted. "I know what it’s like to have that dire need for chocolate."

I got up and headed towards the door, the boys following, before stopped dead and rounded on Remus. "What’s your secret?"

He got a wild look in his eyes and tried to dodge me and get to the door, but I grabbed him by the back of his shirt. He laughed nervously. "You know, hot chocolate sounds so good right now."

"Not as good as knowing the secret I’ve been out of the loop of for four years now," I accused.

"No, not really; only three." Remus sighed and stopped pulling. I let go of his shirt and he turned around to look me in the eye. "I don’t know why I didn’t tell you earlier," he started. "I should know that you of all people would be okay with this, you’d probably think it was cool actually . . ."

Remus took a deep breath and looked down before brining his eyes into contact with mine again . "I’m a werewolf."

I stood for a moment taking in the information. "Wicked."

Remus looked about ready to laugh, and then he did. He stopped immediately when I smacked rather roughly on the back of his head.

"What was that for?" he cried indignantly.

"For not telling me sooner, dipshit."

"Sorry, about that," he said, looking down. "It’s just that I was kind of afraid of that chance, however little, that you’d hate me for it. And then I would have felt guilty if you had stopped hanging with the rest of the guys as well."

I nodded in understanding. "It’s alright. God, it must be horrible for you."

"It used to be more-so than now."

"Why?" I asked, curious now.

"Er, well-"

"It’s because us three are illegal animagi and go with him during his transformations to make it more bearable," Sirius said bluntly.

"Well put, mate," James said, clapping Sirius on the back.

"Yeah, well put," said Peter, doing the same.

"Well now that I no longer feel a giant barrier in our relationship," I said pointedly, looking a Remus, who looked away, guilty. "Let’s go get some yummy, liquid, chocolatey heaven."

I smiled at Remus, and linked my arm in his. "Yes, let’s," he said, linking his arm with Sirius, was who linked with Peter. James came to flank me on my other side.

We had barely stepped out of the Room of Requirement and gone down one staircase when we heard McGonagall’s crazed yell. "Marauders! And Xanthis!" she added as an afterthought.

"Shit! Minnie, I’m so sorry about that water," Sirius yelled. We were trapped, McGonagall was coming at us from the top of the stairs, but the staircase was changing.

He looked over the edge and saw that we were directly above another one. He smiled and began to climb up onto the ledge. "Ready to continue the chase?"

"If you jump, I jump too," I told him. I grasped his hand, in the most platonic way possible, and we made the jump from the ledge to the staircase under.

"Oh my!" We heard our favorite Transfiguration Professor yell.

"Oi!" James’ voice echoed throughout the staircase.

"You idiots!" Remus yelled.

Peter screamed like a little girl.

I landed hard on the stair, Sirius in the same position next to me.

"Owwwwww," I moaned.

"Fuck! That hurt," Sirius complained.

"Black! Xanthis! What is going through your heads!"

"Just trying to have some fun, Minnie," I shouted, as me and Sirius took off once again, making a mad dash for the kitchens.

When we arrived at the portrait, Sirius tickled the pear, and we each waited impatiently, still bubbling from our experience, for the portrait to slide open and let us in.

"Must. Have. Hot. Chocolate!" I gasped at the house elves. "Please!"

They immediately busied themselves and Sirius pulled a rather timid looking one aside to ask for a mug as well. We had just sat down at rather small table, in rather smalls chair, to drink our hot chocolate with mini marshmallows when a livid McGonagall burst in through the portrait, followed by an amused and serene looking Dumbledore.

Professor McGonagall stood with her finger pointed angrily at us. Her mouth was moving but there were no words. Either she was speechless at our insolence, or had just not thought of what she would say when she actually caught us. Or it could have been something else too, I suppose.

"I think what dear Minerva is trying to say," Professor Dumbledore said pleasantly, "is that the two of you have detention every Friday and Saturday night for the next three months. Mr. Black, this is in addition to the detentions you’ve already received."

"Sweet," Sirius said under his breath. "I am so far ahead of James right now."

Professor Dumbledore put his hand on the still speechless McGonagall’s back and lightly steered her out of the kitchen. Before he walked through himself, he turned to us and said, eyes shining brightly, "that was quite a brilliant jump, if I do say so myself. Quite daring." And he left.

Sirius and I each took a gulp of hot chocolate, but upon meeting eyes spit out the hot liquid in laughter. Both covered in hot chocolate, we began to laugh harder. When we had finally stopped, we finished off our mugs in silence. I asked for a big thermos of that delicious stuff to go, along with a large block of chocolate. Sirius liked my idea and asked for the same thing.

Happily laden with our hot chocolate and chocolate, we left the kitchens. We were just about to start up the first staircase when I heard someone shout, "Anna!"

I turned around to see Aaron striding towards me and Sirius, his Head Boy badge glinting in the light. "That was a pretty sick prank you guys pulled back there."

"Thanks," I said. "We like to think it was too."

"Shouldn’t you be off docking points somewhere?" Sirius asked. "You are Head Boy, after all."

Aaron looked affronted and immediately came to his own defense. "I could dock them from you if it’d make you feel better."

I laughed a bit, thinking that it was pretty clever of him. "Don’t worry, Anna, I wouldn’t dock them from you."

"Good to hear," I told him, smiling.

"We’ll just be going," Sirius said, steering me back towards the common room. "Before someone who will get us in trouble shows up," Sirius told me when I protested.

I sighed and yelled, "Later," to Aaron. "I don’t see what’s so bad about him," I said to Sirius.

"He’s Head Boy," answered Sirius, not even considering his answer.

"And what happens if Remus makes Head Boy next year?" I asked; we both knew it was fully possibly.

"Then it doesn’t count, because he’s a Marauder, and being a Marauder neutralizes all your bad traits."

"Ooo, big word," I teased. "Neutralizes."

"Shut up." Sirius tapped me playfully in the back of the head, causing me to splutter and spit out the mouthful of hot chocolate I had taken.

"You do realize that this means you owe me a sip of your hot chocolate now," I warned him.

"Sure, Anastasia. Sure."

A/N: Well, I'm ridiciously excited right now. I save my chapters in blocks, and this chapter was the last chapter in the first block, so it's a pretty big landmark, even if you readers have no idea what I'm talking about. So i just wanted to thank you all for reading, and I hope you continue to!

Chapter 8: You Can't Wait To Fall In Love
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Yeah what I'm saying is do you, do you want to lose it all?
Cause this is more than just a dance hall drug
You can't wait to fall in love
-Boys Like Girls



I had never had a boyfriend before. I had never wanted one either. I had snogged guys before, in games of truth or dare, and once, the year before, I had had an almost boyfriend, before it fell through with no disappointment to me. (To be honest, it was sort of my fault.)

Aaron was the first guy that I had come to like in a long while. I had started talking to him by chance, but less than two weeks into school, I was charming notes from his class to my own.

Ugh, I’m so bored.

I would whisper an incantation, and the parchment would whiz over to wherever Aaron was, classrooms away. A few minutes later it would return with a reply.

I know what you mean. And I can’t even sleep in this class. It’s so bright in here.

I’d check up to make sure my teacher wasn’t watching and reply back

I can’t even do anything but stare intently at McGonagall. She’s still sore at me and Marauders for the stunt we pulled in the beginning of the year.

It got to the point where I would feel kind of detached when I wasn’t chatting with him. I never spoke to anyone in my classes, only when I had to, so having something to do other than pay attention was good for me.

Even at night, parchments would whiz around the castle all night. I cannot figure out why no one ever tried to grab them, but after a while Aaron became paranoid, and we began sending the notes out our windows, rather than through the castle.

Often he would come sit at the Gryffindor table since I outright refused to leave the Marauders side during the few hours a day I got to spend with them. It was nearing Halloween, the end of October, when Aaron came with us to Hogsmeade. Usually it was just the Marauders and I causing havoc, but it was the day before when Aaron asked, "Would it be alright if I came with you and your friends to Hogsmeade?"

I eagerly told him yes. I had fallen for him fairly hard.

Saturday morning, Hogsmeade morning, I trudged out of bed at ten (far too early for me) and slipped into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. To top it off I threw a sweatshirt over my head; I didn’t like being cold at all. (Unless there was snow involved, of course.)

I arrived at the Great Hall around ten thirty, after I had brushed my teeth and located my wand. I sat down next to Sirius. "Morning," I grumbled. I took some hot chocolate and gulping it quickly before clutching and my throat and gasping. "Hot!"

"Careful there, Anna, it’d be a shame if you died on us," Remus taunted.

I smiled and turned around, still coughing a bit. "Aaron! Are you lot ready?"

"Not quite yet," said Sirius, piling some more pancakes onto his plate.

"Good," I said, not having eaten yet myself. I looked at the number of pancakes on Sirius plate and put twice as many as mine. Sirius looked over and saw my challenge, before piling a bunch more on.

This went of for quite a while before Aaron burst out, "Will you two bloody hurry it up?"

I nodded, shoving the last of my pancakes into my mouth. I chewed as well as I could before swallowing the clump of pancakes. It was sort of painful, actually.

Sirius shook his head and went to grab some more pancakes. James, who was getting frustrated with Sirius, grabbed his arm and dragged him up. We all started walking towards the Entrance Hall.

"So how has your day been so far," Aaron asked me.

Next to me, I could see Sirius rolling his eyes. "Well, not terrible considering it hasn’t started yet. But I was a little bit put out about having to get up so early."

"Oh! We didn’t have to leave so early," Aaron said apologetically.

"It’s alright," I told him. "It’s probably healthier for me to get up early anyway."

"And since when do you care about being healthy," quipped Sirius, butting into the conversation.

"I don’t," I said simply.

We were silent for a bit, until we reached Hogsmeade Village.

"Anyone up for Three Broomsticks?" Aaron said amiably.

"I don’t know. I was thinking-" Sirius started to protest.

"Three Broomsticks sounds great," Remus said, putting his hand over Sirius mouth. He retracted it nearly a second later.

"You licked my hand!" he claimed, scandalized.

"Yes I did," said Sirius proudly.

"That’s just a bit gross, mate," Aaron said earnestly.

"Did I ask you?" Sirius snarled.

I sighed but accepted it. He could have said something even more mean. Like-

"And I’m not your mate."

Nevermind.

That brought an awkward silence to things. It was broken only when we got into Three Broomsticks and sat down at a large table, each of us ordering a butterbeer. I noticed Evans and her friends sitting nearby, each drinking only a small gillywater, except one girl, who was drinking some fun looking concoction that I had never seen before.

"Rosmerta!" I yelled across the cheery pub.

The young, smiling witch came over. "What can I do for you, dear?"

I pointed and the girl and her drink. "Can I have whatever that is as well?"

"Sure, dear," she replied, still smiling and turned away.

"Do you even know what you ordered?" Aaron asked me.

"Nope, where’d the fun in that be?" I asked, in all seriousness.

Aaron laughed. "That’s what I like about you." He gave me a pointed look that I barely noticed.

"Why, thank you," I said graciously.

Rosmerta interjected on the pleasant conversation carrying a tray of drinks. She set a butterbeer down in front of everyone, and a second drink down in front of me. I took a sip of the bright red liquid and my eyes widened in delight. It was like a mix of sugar, cherries, more sugars, and a light lemony flavor.

"This is incredible!" I yelled.

"I like incredible things! Can I try!" Sirius cried.

"Me as well," Aaron said.

I passed the drink to Sirius, on my left, who took a large gulp and smiled in delight, just as I had. With reluctance, he passed it on to Aaron, who also had a similar reaction. By the time everyone at the table had tried it, there was none left.

Sirius, who had downed his butterbeer in two sips, was already bored. I finished mine shortly after and joined him on the bored list.

"I wanna go!" I whined.

"I’ll go with you," Aaron offered, getting up.

"Drinks were my treat," James said, getting up to pay. "Padfoot, mate, why don’t you wait for me?"

Aaron and I left The Three Broomsticks alone and headed down the gusty street together. We were about to head into Zonko’s when Aaron pulled me aside. "Listen," he said softly. "There’s something I’ve been trying to say to you for a couple weeks now."

I smiled in excitement, having an inkling of what he was going to say. I was absolutely stoked; the first guy I had really liked, liked me back!

He made a few protesting noises in his throat before he said, "The thing is, Anna, I really, really like you."

I smiled broadly and took his hands in mine. "Well thank goodness for that, because I’d feel a bit unloved if I liked you and you didn’t like me back."

He smiled and let go of only one of my hands. We continued into Zonko’s, fingers laced. "So," he said as we were browsing the shelves, waiting for the Marauders to catch up. "What are we going to do about our predicament?"

I looked at him oddly. "What predicament?"

"Well," he said, as if it was obvious. "We’re in different years, and different houses, and we like each other."

I failed to see the predicament, and the big deal he was making out of it.

"I don’t know," I shrugged.

The Marauders chose that opportune moment to appear around the corner and yell in joy at finding us. Remus saw our hands and gave me a slight smile. James nodded in congratulations and Peter did the same as James. I fleetingly wondered if he knew why he was nodding at me.

Sirius did not seem as pleased but whispered, "Congratulations," in my ear anyway.

I spent probably more money than I should have on what Aaron called, "Pointless joking items."

"They’re not pointless if they make someone laugh," I explained.

He nodded. "Now there’s a point."

"You ready to go?" I asked, after I had handed over a few galleons and sickles to the shop owner.

"I’m up for whatever you are," he said.

"Back to the castle?" I asked.

"Of course," he said. This aggravated me slightly, him being so compliant, but with our hands laced, we made our way back to Hogwarts.

We were enjoying light banter when Aaron stopped the conversation dead. "So, this predicament."

What had come in an undertone before was more prominent now. I felt closed in, like Aaron was pushing me to solve this predicament and attach myself to him. And to be honest, I no longer wanted to solve it.

I groaned inwardly. This guy, the guy that I had liked so much; so much that I had even let him into the little, happy life I led with the Marauders, and within seconds I no longer wanted to be near him.

"Well, we should just, er, see what happens," I told him, trying to get him off my back. Aaron shrugged.

In the next few days I figured that what he wanted was commitment. And over those same days, as I was late, time after time for meeting him, and constantly found myself wishing that I was planning a prank, or riding my new broom, or just being able to get up from his presence as I pleased, like I could with the Marauders; I realized that commitment was exactly what I could not give him.

"Remus, can I talk to you?" I asked him one day. It was late at night, I had already sent a message to Aaron telling him that I was going to sleep, but I had no intentions of it.

He turned to me and rolled his eyes. "Please tell me you’re not going to get all serious on me."

"Did you ever think about the irony that the least serious person in the world has a name that sounds like the word serious?" I asked, getting sidetracked. I took a look at Remus face; he obviously knew that was not what I had wanted to talk about. "Right, sorry; staying on track."

I took a deep breath. "Let’s do this quick," I said. "So I can go back to being stupid. Okay. I really, really liked Aaron up until he told me that he liked me and now I feel like I’m obligated to be near him and he’s pushing for more obligation. And until he told me he liked me I wanted to be near him, and didn’t feel obligated." I said this all quickly, but Remus, who had experienced dealing with a stressed me before, caught it all.

Before he could speak, I said, "Wow. That feels a lot better."

"You need to tell him," Remus said.

I looked down towards the ground. "I know."

"He’s a good guy," Remus told me. "You can’t keep him going like this."

"I know that too," I said. "And I want to be free of this.

"You know, dammit, I really thought that he was going to last for a while."

Remus smiled sadly. "It’s a right shame too. He was Head Boy; we haven’t been getting as many detentions lately."

I laughed. "If you like the benefits so much, you go out with him," I suggested.

"No thanks," said Remus, laughing. "He’s not my type."

Laughing, I made it to the top of the girls staircase. I turned back around and looked Remus in the eye. Well, I looked him in the eye as best as I could from so far away. "Thanks."

He only nodded in response and went up his own spiralling staircase to the boys’ dormitory.

The next day, after a more restful sleep, I met Aaron down at breakfast, seventeen minutes later than I had told him.

"Sorry, I’m late," I said.

"It’s alright," he said kindly. "I’ve come to expect it. In fact, I think I’d be a bit disappointed if you showed up on time."

I gave a small nervous laugh. "Listen, Aaron, er. Well. The thing of it is. Hmm."

I stopped, thinking of how to put it. I decided to tell him the whole truth. "I was more comfortable with you when we were friends, and I’m sorry, I just can’t deal with obligations, as you can see, from my chronic lateness. Not that I’m not late to everything else as well but-"

Luckily, Aaron was fairly smart, and picked up on my subtle break-up with him. "I only expected as much," he admitted. "You’ve been distant ever since I told you. I only wish I wouldn’t have worked up that courage to find that you felt differently."

"But I did like you, I really did. You have no idea how much," I told him. "Just until I found out you liked me as well."

He nodded and smiled a bit sadly at me. He kissed me quickly on the cheek and gave a quick wave.

"Feeling better?" asked a voice in my ear.

I turned to see Remus, and I nodded eagerly. "So much," I told him.

"Hey, where’s the Head Boy?" Sirius asked when he got to the table.

I smiled, knowing he’d be pleased with the news. "No longer joining us here."

"Really?" asked Sirius hopefully. I laughed at my rightness.

I nodded. "Good."

"Then how about a pancake eating contest," I suggested, "and this time there’s no one to interrupt us and telling us to hurry."

"You’re on, love," he replied, before spearing a large stack of chocolate chip pancakes and putting them on his plate. I did the same. We both drenched our stacks in maple syrup before James counted down and we both dove in.

Yes, I thought, it feels good to be back into the normal routine.

Chapter 9: Our Little Group Has Always Been and Always Will Until the End
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Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
...
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end
-Nirvana



I had a very odd sleeping pattern. On days we had class, I would often not go to sleep until one in the morning; being forced to wake up at six-thirty for a seven o’clock start of classes. Often, I got woken earlier due to my primp obsessed dorm-mates.

On the weekends, I usually went to sleep around the same time, if not later, but never woke up until after noon.

It wasn’t difficult to wake me up, but getting me to stay up was a far different story. With my friends the Marauders, it was a bit opposite.

It was six-fifty; I was running late because my frustrating room-mate, Bria, had refused to leave the bathroom until she had perfected her eye-liner, and I had to pee! With a growl through the bathroom door, I stormed out of my own dormitory and up to the boys Sixth year dormitory. Rules be damned, I had never followed them before and didn’t see why I needed to now.

I burst into their dormitory, to see all to boys still soundly asleep in their beds. Sirius, I was amused to see, had a teddy bear. "Wake up!" I yelled, in a fairly loud voice.

Not a stir. "WAAAAAAAAAAAKE UP!"

Still nothing. I walked over to James and prodded him with my wand. Nothing happened, I repeated the action with Peter, Remus and Sirius. I looked at my watch; seven minutes until class. There was no way that I was making it to breakfast.

I sighed and grabbed Peter’s ankles, dragging him out of bed so his head made a hard collision with the floor before the rest of his body collapsed in a heap. "Good Godric, he’s still asleep," I whispered.

I dumped James, Sirius and Remus out of their respective beds as well. Nothing. I glanced again at my watch. Five minutes to class; I was already late. It took me at least ten minutes to get out to the Herbology Greenhouses.

With a smirk, I remembered the prank we had pulled at the feast at the start of term. "Aquamenti," I whispered. I shot a heavy jet of water all around the room, soaking the beds, the belongings, and the Marauders. I expected groaning, cries of indignance. Whatever I expected, it was not silence, save for the snores of James and Sirius.

"Arrrrrrgg!" I cried in frustration. "Hey, James! Evans want to kiss you!"

"What? Where?" James jumped up immediately and went running towards his door, but stumbled over Sirius, who was still sprawled on the floor. He fell heavily on top of his friend.

This woke Sirius up, who cried out in pain. "James, you arse!"

Remus then woke up due to all of the confusion. "James, get up. Evans does not want to kiss you." Then he looked at his watch. "But she may skin you alive seeing as we’re going to be very late for Potions and you’re her partner."

James gave a cry and ran into the bathroom, quickly shutting the door.

"Hey! I needed that!" I yelled.

"Why not use your own?" Remus asked, who had begun, in vain, trying to wake Peter.

Sirius was banging heavily on the bathroom door, claiming that he needed beauty time.

To Remus, I said, "Because whats-her-face was in it." Then, to Sirius, "No amount of beauty time could help you."

He glared at me and said, "Well I see you didn’t even take any beauty time."

I looked down at my wrinkled robes, to my untied shoes. I pulled lightly at the curly, black hair that I had woken up with and simply run a hand through a few times before leaving the room. I wore no make-up.

"I don’t need it," I insisted.

"True," said Sirius. "But I do! What would I be without my hair?"

"Nothing, obviously," I replied.

"Grumph." I assumed that Remus had finally gotten Peter awake. When the rather short, round boy stood up, I saw him shaking large spiders off of him.

I was terrified of spiders. I screamed loudly and fled from the room, forgetting that I needed to pee. I ran quickly up to my dorm, grabbed my bag and made a mad dash out to Herbology. I was still screaming for effect.

Ten minutes late, I ran into Herbology. Professor Dier looked at me with aggravation; I was late, and I still had not ceased screaming.

"Spiders!" I yelled. "Spiders! Lots of spiders! They tried to get me!"

Professor Dier sighed and shook her head. "Sit down, Miss Xanthis."

I stopped screaming, adopted a more calm look, and sat down next to a Gryffindor bloke. I put my chin into my palm and drifted off until the kid next to me hit my rather hard on the shoulder. "Sorry," he said apologetically, but you wouldn’t come out of it."

"It’s nothing," I told him. "So . . . Why am I coming out of it?"

"Because we’re repotting Mandrakes?"

"Dammit! Professor Dier, why do we have to do this again?" I stood up and loudly called across the class.

"Miss Xanthis! You must sit down! We do this every year, have you not gotten used to it yet?"

The aging Professor looked weary.

"No, I haven’t," I insisted, though I did sit down and grumpily pull on my dragon-hide gloves.

"Alright, let’s pull this sucker out," I said, grabbing for the Mandrake.

"Anna, no!" my partner (damn, I wish I knew his name) grabbed both of my wrists and looked at me with scared eyes. "You can’t pull them out until we’ve all got our ear muffs on."

"Right," I said. "I knew that."

"Here," said my partner, handing me a pair of fluffy pink ear muffs.

"Trade you?" I offered with a large smile. His nice, normal looking ear muffs were much better than the pink ones he had tried to give me. Ew, pink. Almost as bad as spiders. Okay . . . Not really.

"Not a chance," he said, smiling equally big.

I grumbled and put the ear muffs on. I looked around the room quickly. I could hear absolutely nothing. Four times, we’d done re-potting Mandrakes, this being the fifth, and I still had not gotten used to the sensation of hearing absolutely nothing.

I looked towards my partner (I’d have to be sure to ask his name when we were done with this) and he nodded in confirmation. I yanked the protesting Mandrake out of it’s pot and looked at it curiously. It was such an ugly little thing, and it’s fists were swaying in protest.

The bloke made a hurry up motion, but it took quite a bit of time to shove the little thing into a new pot. I looked at him hopelessly after I had finally gotten that ruddy thing in. He took pity and re-potted the next Mandrake. I found myself laughing as he had even more trouble that I had pulling out the Mandrake, and putting it back in.

It went like that, back and forth for a while, before Professor Dier came over and tapped us on the shoulder, telling us to remove our earmuffs. I did so gratefully; the pink was starting to catch.

"What’s your name?" I asked the boy, not seeing the rudeness (not that I would have particularly cared if I had) in not knowing his name when he knew mine.

"Stephen," he said.

"I’m Anna," I told him.

He nodded and raised his eyebrows. "I know, you’re in my house. And in my year."

"Right," I said, looking around the classroom.

"Alright, class, as soon as you’ve cleaned up you may go."

Stephen and I cleaned up the dirt and such that had gotten everywhere before I left that classroom in a hurry; I had remembered that I needed to pee.

Later that day at dinner I came and sat down next to the Marauders. "You lot ever get to class this morning?"

Remus chuckled. "We completely missed Potions. James got out of the bathroom, and then Sirius shut himself in there. When James finally got Sirius to get out of the bathroom, Sirius saw the same spiders that made you mental."

I shuddered at the memory of those spiders, and Remus continued. "Well, he saw those spiders and had a reaction very similar to yours except, well. Do you remember last year when you tried to leave in a rush and, well, you forgot to turn the doorknob? You sort of ran into the door? Well Sirius did that, and fainted."

"I did not faint!" interrupted Sirius, who had been listening to Remus’ explanation. "Real men don’t faint! I passed out."

"Alright," Remus obliged. "Sirius passed out, and we spent nearly ten minutes trying to rouse him. And by then we just didn’t want to go to class, so we just ate some chocolate and headed down to Charms for our second class."

"Sounds like a very eventful day. Mine was too. There’s this bloke in our house, and he’s in my year, and I learned his name," I declared proudly. "And then in Potions I blew up my cauldron and Slughorn is making me work with some Ravenclaw now."

"Speaking of Potions," said Lily Evans, who was sitting a bit down. "Where were your precious Marauders this morning?"

"Can’t you mind your own business? No matter. Sirius was worried about his hair. He’s probably the only person who spends as much time on his hair as you do, Evans." I said, gesturing towards her short, curly red hair, that looked very stiff and full of product.

"I’m bored," Sirius whispered in my ear. He waved his wand at Evans, who let out an almighty scream when she found herself hanging upside down by her ankles. Her robes and skirt fell over her head, and her bright pink knickers, and long, skinny, chicken legs were exposed to the entire Great Hall.

"Black!" She screeched! "What the hell is your problem?" She kicked and screamed some more. "I can hear you laughing, Xanthis, don’t bother trying to hold it in!"

I stopped laughing long enough to retort, "Wouldn’t even think of it, Evans."

"Put me down, dammit!"

"Gladly." Evans fell in a heap on the ground. Her friends rushed over to her quickly.

She did not accept their help and stood up by herself instead. She walked over to Sirius and stood in front of him, huffing. She was lucky she was tall; although not eye-level with him, she’ wasn’t even a foot shorter than him. (Whereas, had it been me, I would have stood more than a foot shorter.)

I looked at Sirius’ rather muscled arms, and again at the twigs that Evans had, and could not help but to laugh.

"Something funny?" She rounded on me.

I nodded vigorously. "I actually did find it sort of funny when your hair stuck completely out to the side when you were upside down a minute ago. And also that you’re not really a match for Sirius, but you’re still attempting to be intimidating."

"As if you are?" she sneered.

"Yeah, I like to think I am."

"She sort of is," Sirius insisted.

"Did I ask you?" Lily snapped, turning her attention to Sirius.

Sirius giggled. I shook my head at her sadly. "Do you really intend to fight both of us extremely intimidating people? Actually, the three of us?" I nodded by head towards Remus, who groaned.

"Yeah, I do. I’m not alone," Lily said. Within ten seconds, she had her four friends standing behind her.

The fight had not yet escalated to such a large scale that the whole hall was attentive. After Lily had been put back on the ground most eyes went back to their food. James, however, did nothing but stare at Lily.

"You’re not really going to let us take a fall, are you, mate?" Remus asked James.

"I can’t take sides!" James protested, his eyes snapping away from Lily and onto Remus.

"So you’re not going to back up your best mates because you like a bitch who doesn’t like you back?" Coming from Remus, who was rarely harsh towards people, James realized how what he was doing sounded, and immediately jumped up and stood next to Sirius.

"Sorry, Evans," he said. "I can’t let you mess with my mates."

"Nice, Prongs," I heard Remus whisper with a smile.

Evans looked scandalized. I suppose it must have been pretty shocking; the guy that has been obsessing over her since he layed eyes on her, all of a sudden against her. She cast her eyes downward and quietly sat back down, her friends in tow.

I stood rooted to the spot, stunned, as did Remus and Sirius. Peter, had joined us, did as well. James, however, merely smiled to himself and busied himself with some potatoes.

I turned to Sirius, a look of incredulity on my face. "Did you not just see Evans walk away from conflict? Because of James, none-the-less?"

Sirius, said nothing, just sat down in his seat, and let his head fall unceremoniously into his potatoes. He stayed like his for a bit before jumping up and screaming. "My hair! My hair! My gorgeous hair!"

He ran from the Great Hall, still screaming. The three remaining Marauders and I looked at each other, sighing. We got up from our seats and headed after our nutty mate; we had to comfort him in his time of need.

We found him in the boys’ shower, fully clothed and on his third lather and rinse. It was after Sirius’ seventh lather and rinse that we finally managed to pull him out and gave him dry clothes.

Sirius, who looked much less distressed after cleaning his precious hair, came and plopped down onto his bed. James, Remus and Peter were likewise in their own beds.

"Sirius, you melodramatic fool, get off your bed!" I demanded.

"Why?" he asked, slowly getting up.

I took my chance and jumped in. "Because there’s no way in hell I’m going back to hell." The dark-haired boy looked at me in confusion. "Hell being my dorm."

"Well, where am I supposed to sleep?" he said after a while.

I surveyed the room. "Move in with James?"

"Oh, no you don’t!" shouted James, as Sirius appeared to be seriously contemplating my suggestion.

He began to nod. "Alright," he said, and pushed James to make room for himself.

He and James began to have a fighting match in James bed, until Remus took the liberty of pointing out how odd it looked. Sirius accepted that I was not getting out of his bed, and James, by extension, accepted that Sirius was not leaving his.

"Night boys!" I called the room.

Remus and Peter responded with enthusiasm; James and Sirius, not so much.

I laughed to myself and snuggled closer to Sirius’ pillow. "Yup, this is going to work out just fine," I whispered inaudibly to myself.

"What was that?" asked Sirius.

I groaned. "Nothing."

"G’night!" he said.

I laughed silently. Yeah, this was going to work.

A/N: Anyways, I just wanted to say how excited I was when I got on my computer earlier today; there was a record number of new reviews waiting for me, and I just wanted to personally thank lollipop marauderette, always dreaming, and siriuslyawesome for reviewing a crapload of chapters! You guys are really great, all of you! And I also wanted to point out that there is now a Meet the Author link in my profile for anyone one wants to ask about my writing. 

Peace.



Chapter 10: We're Writing a Song That We Can Dance To
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Let's write a song that we can dance to
Cause they all wanna listen
Just to know how it sounds when
I do that thing you know that I do

-Mayday Parade

Over the next few months I would force the boys out of their beds and they’d have to move in with another of the guys.

Finally, one night, long after I had lugged my trunk into that room and mooned my old roommates on the way out; Remus had an idea. He pulled out one of his books and we spent five minutes watching him turn the pages of the book.

Finally, he pulled out his wand and cleared his throat. "Videor cubile," he said loudly and clearly. We all gasped as a fifth bed appeared between his and Sirius.

"Remus, I love you!" I claimed, running and giving him a giant hug before christening my new bed by jumping up and down on it.

"And this is our way of showing that we love you too, but not enough to get kicked out of our beds every night."

I smiled broadly and kept bouncing. "Hey, is tomorrow a Saturday?"

Remus nodded.

"Whohoo!" I made an extravagant jump from my new four-poster to Sirius, and continued to jump up and down, occasionally missing the bed and landing on Sirius’ legs.

"Ouch! Watch it, Anastasia, you might hit the jewels!"

I laughed and stopped jumping, instead, I collapsed on top of his legs. "What jewels?" Then, I burst out into laughter again and flew (yes, I actually flew. Well, not really, but I wish I did,) back to my bed and snuggled under the covers. "Night, my favourite, bestest, mates in the entire world."

There was a chorus of goodnights and we all fell asleep. The next morning, I did not wake up. It wasn’t until one in the afternoon that I was roused by an insistent Remus.

"Up, now," he insisted.

I grumbled and rolled out of bed. I found myself tangled in the sheets on the floor. I kicked furiously, lashing out on the restricting cloth. I grumbled and righted myself. I pulled my knickers out of my arse and shifted my short, blue, plaid pajama shorts.

I ran my fingers through my hair a few times and exited the room with dignity. Unfortunately I had to come running back and grab my red fleece blanket because it was cold.

I walked elegantly down the stairs (alright, more like my feet slipped and I slid the whole way down on my bum,) and came to a rest at the bottom.

"You alright?" Stephen, my classmate asked.

"Er, yes, I’m fine." He offered my a hand, which I took, and he pulled me up to my feet.

He looked like he wanted to say something, and then thought better of it. I suppose curiosity must have got to him, because he then asked (with a stress on the word boys,) "Can I ask why you were up in the boys dormitory?"

"That’s where I live," I explained, as if it was a simple matter, and continued off to take a seat next to Sirius on the couch.

"Morning, love," he greeted.

"I want hot chocolate," I said in reply. "And I’ve got detention later for, and I quote, 'impressing my bad values on younger students.'"

"Specifically?" he asked.

I smirked. "I may have slid down a banister with your golden snitch boxers on top of my head, yelling on about the secret relationship between Minnie and Dumbledore."

Sirius nodded as if it was a perfectly reasonable thing for me to do. "But there’s nothing in the rules against that!"

"That’s exactly what I told our beloved teacher! And then I told her she was just embarrassed that I had brought her secret to the public. And then she gave me detention for tomorrow as well."

"Tough luck," Sirius said with sympathy.

I nodded and stood up, leaving my blanket on the couch. I had begun to walk towards the fire, not even having taken three steps, when I heard Evans’ lovely voice.

"Can’t you keep your clothes on, Xanthis?"

I looked down at my shorts and black tank top I was wearing. "Last time I checked I was. You’re just jealous because you’d look like a pole with clothes on if you wore something like this."

Evans laughed in a very high-pitched, annoying manner. But other than that she was speechless.

"Yeah, that’s right, Evans. You and your AA cups can keep on walking."

She growled and turned on her heel, stomping up the stairs to her dormitory.

"That’s right, I win!" I turned around and let out of congratulatory kung-foo kick, just for fun. Unfortunately, the fun ended when I hit my foot on the fireplace, and the fuzzy black socks that I had been wearing caught fire. I screamed loudly and in a very high-pitched way. "Holy shit!"

Sirius jumped up from the couch. "Your foot! Your foot! Put it the fuck out! Someone help!"

"Use your wand, you twit!" I yelled angrily.

He pulled it out quickly and yelled, "Aquamenti!"

The flames that had engulfed my foot died down. "Ow."

"Wow, Anna, are you alright?" Stephen had seen the fiery foot and come running over.

"Yeah, I’m alright," I insisted. "Not having the most coordinated morning though."

"I noticed," he said, laughing.

"Yeah, she doesn’t normally set her foot on fire, if that’s what you were thinking," Sirius said.

"She fell down the stairs this morning too," Stephen said, laughing.

"Did she really?" Sirius was laughing now. "I thought you said you weren’t going to do that anymore."

"Yeah well it’s a hard habit to kick," I answered, laughing in spite of myself. I thought it was something that everyone should be able to do; laughing in spite of themselves, that is. "Hey, so we had an agenda, remember? Hot chocolate?"

Sirius nodded. "Mind if I join you?" asked Stephen.

"Not at all, lad," said Sirius, clapping the younger student on the shoulder. "Hey she didn’t happen to learn your name yesterday, did she?" he asked, pointing to me.

"Er, yeah, she did," Stephen answered, obviously not knowing why he was being asked.

"Oh, well she got very excited about this. She doesn’t generally know peoples’ names, you see," Sirius explained.

"Ah, well then I consider myself lucky," said Stephen, as the three of us left the common room. "You are aware," he asked me, "that you are leaving the common room with one sock, one barefoot, and clad in not very warm pajamas."

I surveyed myself for a moment before running back into the common room. I came back with my red blanket. Still only one sock, but, hey, you can’t have everything.

"My foot’s cold," I whined, about a minute into our journey to the kitchens.

"Well, you should have thought of that before you came out into the castle with only one sock on," Sirius scolded me.

Stephen was much more helpful. He took off his own sock and put his un-socked foot back into his shoe. "There you go, as long as it doesn’t gross you out too much. I know girls aren’t really into smell and grime and stuff."

I growled at him and he looked taken aback, because I actually growled. But then I smiled, thanked him and put the sock on my cold foot. I then proceeded to inform him that I prided myself on not acting at all feminine.

"That must be why I can stand to be in your presence for more than a minute."

I decided to take this as a compliment and simply smiled. The three of us chatted lightly and without conflict until we got down to the kitchens. Stephen looked on in amusement as Sirius tickled the pear, but his expression changed to shock when the portrait swung open to let us through.

We heard voices, but continued in, thinking they were of another student. We were wrong.

"Dumbles and Minnie, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-"

"Mr. Black!" Professor McGonagall screeched. She had, in fact, not been kissing Professor Dumbledore. She was, however, sitting at a table with him, and they had been engaged in what appeared to be an enjoyable banter.

Sirius smiled big and wide. "Detention, I’m guessing?"

"Deh-ja-vu," I whispered to Stephen.

"Two weeks, all three of you!" screeched McGonagall. Then she did a double-take. "Mr. Carol?"

"Er, yes?" said Stephen, awkwardly.

"I did not expect this of you," she said at a more normal volume, but with a much more disappointed tone.

Stephen didn’t say anything, just looked at the ground. I actually started to feel a bit bad for getting him into this. But, as they say, a little trouble never hurt anyone.

"And Miss Xanthis, an extra detention for inappropriate attire!"

"What is it with all of you people and my pajamas!"

For the first time, Dumbledore got up and walked over. He had three thermoses in his hands. "I believe you were looking for these," he said, and handed us the thermoses, which turned out to be filled with rich, creamy hot chocolate.

"Albus!" McGonagall cried.

"What?" he said serenely. "They made the trip all the way down here, they may as well get what they came for. Now, off with you lot."

Sirius, Stephen and I, each clutching our hot chocolate, slowly walked out of the kitchens. Then, once the portrait had closed behind us, we broke into hysterical laughter and ran all the way to Gryffindor tower.

___

"And it’s Potter with the Quaffle! Man, he sure does know how to fly," says Peter Pettigrew excitedly. "And that’s a Cleansweep 700 he’s riding, folks."

Urg, why do they let him keep commentating! There’s nothing about what’s going on in the game, I thought in slight frustration as a I swung the Beater’s bat to hit away a Bludger that was going straight for James’ head.

"Watch it!" Sirius called, coming to a stop next to me. "You almost missed that and it could have been James’ head!"

"I’m sorry if I don’t have the best hand-eye-coordination!" I yelled to him, as he took off once again.

"Well maybe you shouldn’t be a fucking Beater, then!" he screamed back.

I growled at him, even though I knew he couldn’t hear, and resisted the urge to swing my bat at his head. I supposed that he was still mad at me for forgetting that we had a match.

I had woken up that morning at ten o’clock for a ten-thirty match. The Marauders had gone down to breakfast, assuming that I had an alarm set; they all knew not to wake me before it was time.

Sirius came thrashing into the dorm, screaming about a match and me waking up. My first thought was that someone had set fire to the room with a match. Irrational, of course. But I dressed quickly and ran down to the pitch to an even angrier Captain James.

I snapped my attention back to the game in time to see a Bludger soaring towards me and Hufflepuff Chaser soaring towards the goal. I took aim, swung with all my might at the Bludger, and missed it. I groaned in frustration, but then saw the Bludger coming whizzing back past my face, towards the same Chaser I had planned to aim at.

I looked around for what sent it, and felt a rather rough blow to the back of my head, and saw Sirius’ arm sticking out as he sped past me. "Nice hit, Xanthis."

He was so going to get pummeled once this game was over.

"And the Gryffindor Seeker’s going after the Snitch!" Pettigrew said excitedly.

Finally, the kid commentates, I thought.

And with a giant bubble of hope for my redemption, I noticed the Hufflepuff Seeker gaining on ours. I sped towards the flying Bludger, and took aim. Knowing that I had to hit it, I swung back far, and concentrated hard. As the bat connected with the ball, I felt my entire arms vibrate, and the Bludger went speeding towards the two Seekers. I closed my eyes when I realized that the ball was as likely to hit our Seeker as it was Hufflepuff’s.

I opened one eye a crack, feeling like I was watching a horrific crash. I felt my breathing speed up, and I wondered if the rest of the stadium was seeing this moment as I did; a life and death situation. The Bludger hits the Hufflepuff Seeker, and James lets me live. It hits our Seeker, and I better move back to my old dorm if I don’t want to wake up dead.

And...

A blow to the Hufflepuff Seeker’s back. Thank. Godric.

Our Seeker grabbed the Snitch and there was an uproar from the Gryffindors. Polite clapping from the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, and booing from the majority of Slytherins. (Chances are, they would have booed either way.) But it didn’t matter, because I hit the Hufflepuff and was not going to get eaten alive by James.

The Gryffindors, us, the winners, took our victory lap around the pitch. Halfway through, we broke into our victory dance. A little arrogant and pompous, yes, but funny all the same. Especially since I had fallen off during it once the year before.

After the lap, we touched down. "Good match, team!" James said; it was odd to see him serious and taking responsibility after being with his immature self each and every day. "Take two days off, practice on Wednesday."

We grumbled, but accepted what it would be. James was a Quidditch obsessed fool, something we had known for a very long time. He would always, first and foremost, put Quidditch before his sanity. Not that he had any. . .

"Sirius, you arse!" I knocked him on the back of the head.

"Hey," he said, pushing his windswept hair out of his face. "It’s not my fault you shouldn’t be a Beater."

I stopped walking, and stood still, glaring angrily at him.

"Chill, fireball, I was kidding," he said.

I still stood at him, glaring. I believe my eye might have twitched a bit in annoyance. "Well if you’re so great, Sirius, why don’t you give me some tips!"

"Alright, maybe I will!"

"Alright then, let’s go!"

Just as I heard James call out something about a party in the common room, I took Sirius by the wrist and once we were both back in the middle of the pitch, we mounted our brooms and flew back into the air, still clutching the bats.

"Well," he said. "Your swing doesn’t really need work, but you’re not that accurate."

Oh my goodness, what did I get myself into?

We spent nearly three hours. Sirius throwing Bludger sized balls at me, and me having to hit them. And then, when I got good enough at that, Sirius let out the Bludgers.

Without fourteen players to go after, they were both going after us; I made Sirius put one away. The highlight of the day was watching him wrestle a ball that wasn’t even the size of his head, and the ball winning.

As much as a hated to admit it, Sirius’ helping had helped. I was never a bad Beater, just an inconsistent one; Sirius taught me how to be more accurate and take better aim.

Of course, my way of thanking him was punching lightly him and telling him not to interfere with my suckiness next time.

He just laughed and yelled, "Last one to the party’s a rotten egg!" He cheated; he was already five meters in front of me by the time he finished yelling.

A/N: Thank you so much, all of you guys! All of my readers and reviewers mean so much to me! And i just wanted to say that i hope you guys are still enjoying all this, because i know i am. Also, special thanks to hjplover, who has also reviewed all the chapters.


Chapter 11: The Party Scene (The Times We Felt Alive)
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Here's to the fast times; the times we felt alive; 
To all the nights that we forgot to get back home
Stay seventeen,
The party scene has got the best of me and you,
-All Time Low



I tripped on my way into the Gryffindor common room after the Fat Lady had opened to let me and Sirius enter. I was caught before I hit the ground and looked up to see Stephen, barely holding in his laughter. "I don’t even want to see you after we’ve got some Firewhiskey into you."

"Trust me," said Sirius, following me in. "It’s not a pretty sight."

"Hey, I hold my liquor better than you!" I truthfully insisted.

"Touche, Madam," he said, laughing.

"May I escort you to the firewhiskey, dear lady?" asked Stephen, taking my hand.

"You may, kind sir," I replied, laughing.

We both laughed, and he led me through the common room, which was already beginning to fill up with rather drunken students. It seemed to be that most of the younger students had been sent to bed.

Stephen scooped up a steaming cup of firewhiskey and handed it to me. I took a large gulp, swallowed, and shook my head, trying to rid it of the burn. I saw Evans from across the room, eyeing me with contempt.

"What’s the matter, Evans?" I yelled. "Have a little firewhiskey, it’ll take that stick right out of your arse!"

"I don’t drink, thanks very much," Evans snapped.

"Suit yourself!" I hollered back. Though, even as I mocked Evans, I had to admit that I respected her decision. To stand and say no in the face of what was clearing overwhelming peer pressure was an admirable quality. 

"Dance with me, you fool!" I commanded of Stephen. Music was coming from some somewhere - I couldn't tell where - and I was already dancing like mad.

He laughed. "I’m afraid of what’s going to happen by the time you've had your fill of firewhiskey."

"Trust, me. I’m fun."

Stephen and I were dancing, me uninhibited as always. I liked to think that I had a special sort of dance; it was wild and crazy, but not distasteful. Others might desribe it as "weird."

"Woah, watch it there, love, you’re gonna knock someone over," cooed a slightly tipsy Sirius as he came over to me and Stephen. "See, I made a bot of a dent on the liquor as well." A fair amount of unintelligible nonsense.

"I’ve made a bigger dent," I boasted. "And on top of that, I still know what I’m saying."

"The night is still young, love," Sirius teased, smirking, and then taking a big gulp out of his cup. He swallowed, and then shook his head in a manner very similar to I had earlier.

Three lovely hours later, sometime around midnight, Sirius and I had ourselves totally and completely smashed. Stephen had wandered away somewhere earlier, slightly unnerved by our behavior, as was anyone in Gryffindor that was relatively sober at the moment.

I had climbed on top of the sofa, and was precariously balanced on it. Sirius, wanting to remedy this, told me to climb on his shoulders. I did so. A minute after that found him running around the common room, clutching my legs tightly so that I did not fall. I found the whole situation absolutely thrilling, and was waving my arms in the air, screaming in joy.

"Sirius, you imbecile, stop running!" Remus shouted. Sirius abruptly stopped running and his grip slackened and I went forward, flipping from his shoulders. Drunk as I was, I thought it was quite amusing until my back hit the ground and I got the wind knocked out of me.

It shocked me when I tried to breath and could not; I got into a panic and began to cough violently. I heard Remus shouting at Sirius, and then running over to me. After a while, I was able to breath again, but still did not get up. Finally, I pushed myself into a sitting position.

Remus sighed in what was most likely relief, then, he pounced. "You two nutters can’t even watch out for yourselves! What if you broke your neck, Anna! Sirius, you could have just seriously injured your best mate! You two can’t be left alone!"

Remus cried out in frustration and Stephen appeared again. He surveyed the situation.

I sat on the floor like a young child; I tapped my feet and made a drum beat with my hands on the floor. Sirius, sitting next to me, was trying to pick up on the beat, but could not seem to grasp it.

"Wow," Stephen said. "Sirius wasn’t kidding when he said she was a mess once drunk."

Remus shook his head. "I don’t know when they’ll learn. This happens every time they get drunk! And they never remember it afterwards!" He thought for a moment. "Actually, they’ve only gotten drunk once before . . . But the same thing happened last time!"

"Sirius runs around the room with Anna sitting on his shoulders, and then she falls and get’s the wind knocked out of her?"

"Yes!" cried Remus.

Stephen just stood there. "They’re absolutely mad. Need any help with them?"

Remus stood and pulled at his hair. "Most likely, yes. James is god knows where and Peter’s passed out. Do you mind bringing Anna up to our dorm and seeing if you can sober her up a bit?"

"No problem," said Stephen. He grabbed under my arms and pulled me up from the ground. I swayed, but he kept me up right. "Let’s go, Anna, you mad child."

He supported me as I stumbled to the dormitory, Remus helping Sirius in a similar fashion. When we arrived in the dormitory, Remus told Stephen to put me on the bed next to Sirius’. Remus then disappeared and left Stephen stare to at me and Sirius. Running water could be heard from the bathroom.

"Sit upright," Remus commanded firmly. 

I sighed and locked eyes with Sirius. We both rolled our eyes and Remus' seriousness. Once me and Sirius were sitting, backs supported by the headboards on our beds, Remus splashed icy water on the both of us.

"Ahh! Fuck!" Sirius screamed; he had surely not been expecting the attack.

When the water was splashed on me, I sat quiet for a moment, and then shook as much of the water off me as a could, before falling tired. Next to me, I could see that Sirius had also already fallen asleep.

As the last bits of sleep claimed me, I heard Remus tell Stephen, "Let's go back to the party, see if there are anymore of these nutters. Now that they're sleeping they're in no danger of hurting themselves." Stephen made a sound of agreement and I heard them leave.


And then I fell asleep.


Chapter 12: Everybody Seems So Happy
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Everybody seems so happy
Have I possibly gone daffy?
What is this?
What's this?
- Jack, The Pumpkin King (The Nightmare Before Christmas)


"I hope you don’t balloon up over holidays," Stephen told me as he climbed into the horseless carriage; he was going home for Christmas, while the Marauders and I remained. To my great dismay, Lily Evans would remain as well. "Goodness knows you’re going to eat all the chocolate in the castle."

I scoffed. "You say that as if I don’t already." Laughing I shut the door to his carriage and waved him off. I was glad that I had learnt his name; he turned out to be a great mate.

"So, my partners in crime, what are we going to do this fair holiday?" I asked my main men, the Marauders, as I joined them on the stone steps in front of the castle.

"Well I was thinking it’d be a great time for planning. I don’t know how we’re supposed to pull any pranks with a grand total of twenty students in the castle," Remus said logically.

"Very true," said James. "We could go get Lily to fall in love with me!"

"Sure, Prongs, sure." Sirius laughed and put his arm around his mates shoulder.

Sirius was reaching for the large doors to let us into the castle when I had an idea. "Let’s have a snowball fight!"

"Er, Anna, there’s no snow," Peter pointed out.

I looked around. How had I not noticed the lack of snow?

"Come on, Anastasia, you are in dire need of some snackage," Sirius said, leading me inside. "To the kitchens!"

As we walked, I contemplated our food-centered adventures. We sure did go to the kitchens often, and every time we did we ran into someone unpleasant. I couldn’t help but wonder who it would be this time.

"Alex!" Alex, short for Alexandra, was one of Lily Evan’s friends. She was by no stretch of the imagination a friend, but she was a sight better than Evans.

"Sirius Black! How lovely to see you here," drawled Alex, hate overenunciating her words.

"I wish I could say the same for you! And what’s with the full names? How would you liked it if I called you Alexandra Bones?"

"I’d say you better watch your step," Alex spat playfully. I had to admire her. She wasn't much taller than me, and other than that we were about the same size. Her beautiful, naturally bleach blonde hair made her look even less intimidating.

"Sorry, but I can’t hit a girl," said Sirius, sidestepping his classmate and going to the house elves, asking for something sweet for us all to snack on.

"Excuse me!" I yelled. "What do you mean you can’t hit a girl? You hit me all the time!"

"You don’t count as a girl, Xanthis." Alex sneered. Well, despite the fact that I could see beyond her association with Evans, it seemed that he couldn't see past my association with James.

I growled at her, and chucked an apple that had been sitting on a nearby table at her head.

She ducked. "Bitch!"

"I think you’re confusing me with Lily Evans!" I called. I found myself having to duck as the apple came flying back at me.

"Missed me!" I yelled.

"Woah, ladies, break it up," said James, coming in between us. We glared at each other over James' outstretched arms. "No need to fight." He groaned as Alex tossed something at his head and it made contact. Satisfied, she stomped out.

"You know, I’m getting this feeling that someone doesn’t want us in this kitchen," I said, sitting down, and waiting for the elves to finish up with the food.

"Yeah, the rules don’t want us here," Remus pointed out.

"Oh, shut up, you prissy little Prefect," Sirius said. Peter laughed.

"Let’s go, mates," I said with a smile on my face. "I do believe we have some pre-Christmas shenganigans to engage in."

Said pre-Christmas shenanigans were a tradition. We did not usually go home for Christmas, unable to bear the thought of leaving each other. So instead, we messed around in the common room, putting up extra bits of mistletoe and tinsle, and decorating the tree with homemade ornaments. We’d nick marshmallows from the kitchens and roast them over the fire, getting the sticky all over ourselves and others. This generally happened on the last three days preceding Christmas.

This year, however, Lily Evans was staying too. We went on with our usual activities, but I often caught James glancing at Evans, curled up on the couch and reading a book. Apparently, James caught Evans glancing at him a few times. I suppose it must have taken a lot of loyalty not to go over and flirt with Evans while we were doing stuff together in such close proximity to her; that, or he just really liked us a lot.

On the last day of pre-Christmas shenanigans (which really needed an official name) we always stayed up until three in the morning, sharing old Christmas stories, and funny stories in general. Sirius was always at his most quiet when we launched into stories about our families, but this year, he told them with gusto about the Potters and their fun lifestyle.

One day, I’m going to ask that boy about his family, and demand that he tells me everything, I told myself.

We said our sleepy goodnights; Peter had already fallen asleep in the middle of a story and James was beginning to forget what he was talking about mid-sentence.

The next morning, Christmas morning, I was rudely awaken by a throughly excited Sirius. "Wake up! Wake up! It’s Christmas," he yelled with a childish excitement and wonder.

Barely able to open my eyes, I looked at my watch with a groan. "Good Godric, Sirius! It’s seven o’clock in the morning!"

"Please! Please? No one else would wake up!" he protested, pulling me out of my bed, and not giving me a choice in the matter.

"I wonder why," I muttered and shook off Sirius’ grip. "Alright, just give me a minute." I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my sleep-deprived face. I put my hair loosely up and exited the bathroom.

"Okay, let’s go."

Sirius let out an excited squeal that was far too out of character for a sixteen-year-old boy for me to tolerate. We each sat down at the foot of our beds, where there was a pile of presents each.

I was about to reach for the shiny blue package when there was a crash at the window. I jerked my head up to see a large, brown barn owl hovering in front of it. I opened it and smiled; the package was from Stephen. I had already sent him a book on Quidditch; he was hoping to try out for the team next year.

I decided to open that first, because it was in my hands, and came out with a sparkly red bracelet and a huge block of chocolate. That boy knew me too well. Unable to burden myself with jewelry, I attached the bracelet to my school bag. It sparkled whenever the sun hit it.

I looked at the dark chocolate longingly and sunk my teeth into it. "Anastasia, I’m appalled it’s seven o’clock; you don’t need any chocolate."

"Oh, of course not," I said, gesturing to him and the own chocolate he was biting into. "And you say that as if we don’t eat chocolate for breakfast every day."

Sirius nodded. It was true, we did eat chocolate for breakfast nearly everyday. I mean, it was usually a little square, or some chocolate chips in our pancakes. But, still.

I picked the shiny package back up. I unwrapped it, seeing that it was from Remus. I couldn’t believe it; it was more chocolate. I smiled when I noticed there was a book on history as well; leave it to Remus to take advantage of the fact that I actually liked a class. (Well, technically I didn’t like the class, just the subject.)

There was a rather large package sitting near my feet, and I excitedly opened it next. It was from Jason, and it was a giant cage. Inside, there was a note. It read: Just pretend there’s an owl in here. It’s actually in the owlery.

I laughed at my brother. Next, I opened a package from my parents; it contained a deluxe basket of Honeydukes chocolate. This is about the moment began to wonder just how much chocolate I ate; this was the third present of chocolate I had received. Not that I minded, or anything.

"Sirius, do I eat too much chocolate?"

"No clue, love," he said. He was too busy examining a small metal toy, trying to figure out how to open it.

From Peter, a Muggle mystery novel, by an author I did not know. I did, however appreciate the gesture, for it meant he had listened to me when I mentioned that those old Muggle paperback mysteries to be delightfully corny, awfully written, and terribly enjoyable.

I was about to reach for the present from James, which was rather oddly shaped, when Sirius exclaimed.

"Anastasia! Are you mad?!" I looked over and saw him clutching the gift I had gotten him.

In his right hand was the box the gift had been in and in his left hand was a handsome silver watch. It was a tradition in the Wizarding World for the family to present their coming-of-age son with a watch. The watch was numbered regularly around the edge, but instead of a face, the gears of the watch could be seen turning gracefully. On the back was a small inscription. 

"I know your birthday is not until next week," I began. "But think of this as a combination gift."

"But, Anastasia-"

I tried to wave him off and he continued with, "It must have been a fortune!"

"No buts! It doesn’t matter what it costs, or who was supposed to get it for you. I want you to know that even if your family is rotten, I will always be here, and I will always be your family."

"Read the inscription," I demanded. 

Sirius turned the watch over and whispered as he read, "For the man who has shown me what 'family' truly means."

"Thank you," he said, with the most sincerity I had ever heard him speak. He quickly put the watch on his left wrist.

"You’ve made my day just by accepting it," I countered with as much sincerity. "Now . . . On to the presents! Again!"

I opened up my gift from James and was shocked to find a limp Bludger, a new pair of Beater’s gloves, and a note.

All this needs is to be activiated,
the note said. Then you can practice to your big heart’s desire.


I laughed and thought to myself, Ruddy Quidditch captain.


Finally, I pulled the last gift out of the pile of wrapping. It was from Sirius. It was small, and I knew right away that it was must jewelry.

Unsure, I unwrapped the badly done, plain brown paper and carefully opened the box. Inside was a silver ring; a large, square cut ruby sat in the middle, surrounded by intricate gold carvings.

"Gryffindor colors," said Sirius, from over my shoulder. I jumped. I hadn’t noticed that he was there. "I got one for myself and the rest of the guys as well. I thought they could by like those bloody friendship bracelets that girls make for each other, just way less girly. Ours are far more manly," he assured me. "No stone, just bands." He seemed very adamant that I know how masculine the boys' rings were. 

I laughed and kissed him swiftly on the cheek. Upon further examination I saw that my initials were monogrammed on the inside.

"Sirius, this was incredibly thoughtful. I didn’t know you had it in you."

"You underestimate me, love."

"That I do," I admitted. "Ready to go to the common room? We can just wait for the rest of the sleepy-heads to wake up."

"Hey," said Sirius, as he offered me his arm. "You’d be one of those sleepy-heads too if I hadn’t woken you up."

I smiled and knocked lightly into his shoulders as we tried to squeeze through the doorway together. "That’s all besides the point; the point being that I am awake."

We stumbled clumsily down the staircase - mostly my fault - and arrived in the common room to find it still dim; it had yet to become fully light outside. The tree was brilliantly lit, and the silvery tinsel shined. Sirius and I collapsed together on the couch, staring into the fire. I tilted my head on his shoulder.

"Mhm. Your hair smells like strawberries," I told him.

"Well, you smell like vanilla," he retorted.

"That wasn’t an insult," I told him, laughing.

We sat together in silence for what might have been two hours. During that time, I fell asleep, and suspect that Sirius did too.

I was startled from my light slumber as I heard James thunder down the stairs, yelling. "Mate! Mate! These rings are awesome; I feel like part of some elite group!"

"You are," Sirius reminded him, as he sat up. "You are in the Marauders plus Anastasia group."

I smiled lovingly at my favorite people. "And we are obviously an elite group. We are the best. Everyone wants to be us," I insisted, half-joking.

"Well that’s a little arrogant, don’t you think?"

Oh, bollocks. No one needs a dose of Lily Evans this morning. I got up from the couch to confront her, but found myself laughing instead.

James was standing at the bottom of the staircase, under a bit of Mistletoe. Evans had begun to cross the threshold, but must have been stopped.

"Potter! What is this nonsense! Let me out of this - this . . . Whatever this is!" She was continuously walking into nothing in her desperate attempts to gain back her personal space. Honestly, for someone so supposedly brilliant, she was lacking common sense.

"Why, Lily dearest, I believe that it’s some mistletoe that you’re stuck under," Sirius informed the enraged red-head.

"What!?" she cried. "Potter, you better let me out!"

James, who had yet to say anything, gave us all the surprise of the day. He took out his wand and waved it a few times. Suddenly, Evans was able to step out of the barrier. "Why did you just let me go?"

He shrugged silently, then said, "Well, I realized it wasn't as funny as I thought it was." Then, if James had given us the surprise of the day, then Evans gave us the surprise of the decade. She lifted herself up on her tippy-toes, and gave James a swift peck on the cheek. "Mistletoe is a rule of Christmas. I always follow the rules."

James stood, staring at Lily with the widest eyes I had ever seen him with. He looked as if he’d been slapped across the face, but, in a good way, if that was possible. He had goofy smile on his face.

"You know, Potter, that was actually quite a good bit of magic. And you did recognize where you went wrong. Maybe, Potter, you’re not as bad as I thought."

She smiled at him, and James smiled back, looking as if his face would break from the ecstasy. Alex came gracefully down the steps, looking tired, but composed. "Lily, what did I miss?"

"Oh, nothing," she said, with a smile. Alex shrugged and they sat down by the Christmas tree, opening gifts.

The Marauders walked over to James and patted him on the back, congratulating him. I, however, stood stock still in fear. Evans doesn’t hate James. She may want to be friends with James. James is friends with me. I recoiled in fear and considered the question: Would I have to tolerate Lily Evans?

A/N: Well, to be honest I did not originally plan on sumbitting two chapters today. But, when I came home I had a nice little surprise - I was given trusted author status! So, I decided as a treat for you guys (and me, who is very excited to have this) I was going to post two, especially since the last one was quite short. And, just a little heads up, next chapter, we're mixing things up a bit.


Chapter 13: Start Over Tonight
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I've gone for too long living like I'm not alive
So I'm going to start over tonight
Beginning with you and I
-Paramore



Brilliant. Go, me. What have I gotten myself into?

I woke up the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, to find that Alex was already awake and showering. I lay in bed until I heard her turn the water off, then got up and searched for clothes to wear. Alex was out shortly after that, her body, as well as her hair, wrapped in a towel.

I shut and locked the bathroom door, quickly taking off my pajamas and turning on the hot water. I caught a look at myself in the mirror, and turned away, disgusted with my girth. I had eaten too much at the Christmas feast.

I showered and dressed quickly, putting on a bit of make-up before leaving the bathroom and following Alex down to the Great Hall. We sat down, the only ones there besides two Ravenclaws, and didn’t do much other than stare into space.

I couldn't speak for Alex, but I was still contemplating my new predicament.

"Sorry," muttered Alex, as she knocked into my arm, reaching for the kippers across the table. I looked in envy at Alex’s full plate, but only picked on some bread myself. Alex always ate with a meticulous slowness, and I found myself falling back asleep on the table until I was awoken by a hand on my shoulder.

"Morning, Lily," Potter told me. He was smiling so happily, I almost laughed.

"Morning, Potter," I replied. I heard a choking noise next to me and looked over to see Alex glaring at me with incredulity. I suppose I had some explaining to do.

But it would have to wait, because trouble in the name of a Fifth year Gryffindor girl (or, not so much) was coming. "Oh, bugger," I whispered to myself.

"Alright, Evans," I heard from across the hall. The klutz stumbled, and Black, who was walking next to her, caught her and righted her. "We’ve got some things to straighten out," she told me, when she was closer to me.

"If you’re going to be friends with my friends, then you’re going to have to make an attempt at being civil, and I’ll do the same."

I nodded; Xanthis wasn’t being unreasonable. Yet.

How quickly that ended. She picked up a pancake, and pointed at it. "This, is a pancake; it’s part of a balanced breakfast. And it’s yummy." I looked away in disgust as she crammed the whole thing in her mouth.

"Next," Xanthis said, slightly muffled by the pancake. "Is a breakfast sausage. This round, meaty, greasy cylinder is delicious and filled with vital protein." In went the sausage.

Xanthis grimaced. "Actually, this is pretty gross. I lied; breakfast sausages are not part of a balanced breakfast."

She then proceeded to inform me on other breakfast foods, such as hash, kippers, cereal, crepes, and eggs (though she told me that she didn’t eat those herself.) Although Xanthis kept an air of informing me, I could tell that through her explanations, she was mocking my own eating habits. I was about to defend myself when she shouted to Remus, who had just entered the Great Hall.

"Remus! Do you have it?"

The Prefect nodded eagerly hurried over to where we were sitting. He pulled a large block out of his bag. He smiled sweetly as he unwrapped it and handed it to Xanthis. It was chocolate. "This," she said, "is the God of all breakfast foods. It’s chocolate; it tastes good and gives you an energy boost for the first few classes of the day!" She attempted to take a large bite but cried out in pain; the block of chocolate was very large, and apparently hard.

"Are you quite finished?" I snarled.

She nodded. "Just about."

"Good," I said. I stood up, and went face-to-face with Xanthis, who was also standing up. I was about half a foot taller than her, give or take, but she glared up at me with just as much intensity as I glared down at her. "Just because I’m now friends with one of your friends, doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do."

She sneered at me, then laughed. "First of all, sweetie, if you’re friends with one of my friends, it pretty much means that every time you’re around him, you’ll be around me. Second, I’m not telling you what to do; this is just my way of telling you that seeing every bone in your body through your skin is, quite frankly, disgusting."

With that, Xanthis, the little bitch, turned on her heel and marched out of the Great Hall. I turned to Alex, who must have been having an argument with Black. She had a sheepish look on her face. "You know, Lily. Er, she might have a thought."

It hit me rather hard, when Alex told me that what Xanthis had said was truthful. I looked down at my body, which was obscured by the knee-length skirt and long-sleeved blouse I wore. I had always had a bit of a problem with my body, thinking I was large. It was news to me that I was far too thin.

What I needed was an impartial judge. "Black!" I barked. He was always brutally honest. He turned his head a looked at me questioningly. "Am I . . . Too thin?"

He didn’t even think before answering. "Anastasia wasn’t lying," he told me. I took that to mean I was. Wait, was that her name? Anastasia? I supposed I should have known that her name wasn’t Xanthis.

I sighed and sat down at the table, surveying the food. I had to be honest, it smelt quite good. Maybe just one pancake wouldn’t hurt. I picked up a fork and jabbed just one pancake with it. I took a bite, no butter or syrup and it was an explosion of flavor in my mouth.

"There you go, Lily," I heard Alex say, her blue eyes smiling and encouraging me. As I continued to eat the pancake, I wondered how long it had been since I had eaten one. I knew I had eaten them before. Was it my Third year, maybe? I didn’t know.

When I had finished, I turned to my best friend and looked at her seriously. "How long has it been since I’ve been . . . How I am?"

She shook her head. "Too long. But it doesn’t matter, because now you’re getting better. I just never thought that it would have been Anastasia Xanthis who brought you to it."

I laughed in spite of the serious subject matter. "You knew that was her name? How come I never did?"

Alex shrugged and laughed as well, her long blonde hair bouncing along with her head.

"Well," I said, "how long before lunch?"

She looked down at her watch. "We’ve got four hours to kill."

I smiled mischievously, a way the was sort of abnormal for me. "What do you say we start up a snowball fight?"

"I’d say, wow, Lily Evans. Two surprises in one day."

We stood up and linked arms, giggling happily all the way outside, where a white layer of snow had just lain fresh the night before.

Alex ran through the open doors, stopping only to grab a cloak and boots from the common room. I walked tentatively out behind her.

Baby steps, I told myself, baby steps.


A/N: Well, hopefully you picked up on what it was that I mixed up - a change in POV!!! This chapter is pretty cool 'cause it signifies both the first time this story changes point of view, and it signifies the end of my second block of chapters. Which means, onto the third block! (And that much closer to the end. Which is going to be sad when it comes. :(  This chapter was pretty short, I think - i might post another. I'll see how it goes. Hope you guys loved it.

Chapter 14: Take Back Everything
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Take back everything you ever said.
You never meant a word of it. You never did.
Take back everything you said.
-the Academy Is...



"Lily Evans ate chocolate!" I shouted to the common room. Classes were beginning in two days and all the students had returned from holiday. It was about a week after Evans and James had called their unofficial truce.

However, Evans and I had still not taken a liking to each other, and she scowled at me as she walked in behind me Sirius and Peter; with Remus and James. The people in the common room spared me a glance and a snicker, but most people were too confused to give more than that. I suppose if I hadn’t hung around with the Marauders all the time, I wouldn’t have even gotten that.

"Would you shut up, Xanthis?" Evans asked as she brushed quickly passed me.

"No!" I replied, as if it was silly for her to even think it, which it was. "But you cannot tell me that that was not the most amazing thing you’ve ever eaten."

I decided by the silence that came next that the chocolate had been pretty damn amazing. She turned around in a huff, red hair still looking dry and product-filled, and stomped up the stairs. I had a sneaking suspicion that she was smiling.

Sirius nudged me. "Look at the love bird." I looked over towards James and had to smother my laughter. He had leaned on the wall, slid down to his bum, and was smiling to himself like a young child with a secret.

"Oi, Potter!" I shouted in his face.

He jumped and looked towards me, startled. "Bloody hell! What do you want, Anna?"

"Oh, nothing, just wanted to know how things with your goddess were going."

He stuck his tongue out me childishly and I returned the gesture. I tucked my long black hair behind my ears and waited for an answer.

"Quite lovely, thanks," James finally answered.

"I’m glad," I said with a smirk, and went upstairs to take a nap.

___

It was the end of March. It had now been about three months since what James liked to refer to as ‘the third greatest day of his life.’ He and Lily still fought every day, and Lily made it clear that she still thought that James was an obnoxious toe-rag; however, it was slightly less hostile, and usually involved an apology within the next twenty-four hours.

Sirius and Lily’s friend Alex were also less apt to argue. In fact, they could usually be found flirting. Sirius telling her some of our funniest times, and Alex doubled over in laughter. She was actually quite a good match for Sirius.

Remus doubled his chocolate supply, and I found it. He was quite enraged when he discovered me sitting on his bed, happily munching on his chocolate. He got over it when I agreed to reimburse him.

As Sirius spent more and more time with Alex, and less with the Marauders and myself, we began to spend more time with Stephen, who offered quite a bit of comic relief.

I was sitting on the couch in the common room, working on a nasty Herbology essay on the Mandrake Draught, when I heard Stephen come up behind me and say to me:

"A witch, a warlock, and a goblin walk into the bar. . ."

I looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to finish the joke. "Well?"

"Oh, I don’t know, I was hoping you could finish it for me. I’ve never actually heard the end of that one," he informed me.

"Figures," I muttered laughing. "Ugh, this bloody essay’s going to make me drive this quill into my head."

"Yeah. You might not want to do that," he advised, coming to sit next to me, and taking the essay from my hands.

I raised my eyebrows at him, unable to raise a single one. "You think?"

He then took my quill from me and began to scratch out a couple of things, and add in a few more. "Yes, I do. It quite possibly will hurt."

"I’ll take that into consideration," I said, leaning back with my head over the edge of the couch.

I saw, upside down, of course, Sirius coming down from our dorm, and Alex coming down from her own. I briefly wondered how someone could be so graceful; I doubt that girl had fallen down a set of stairs in her life, or tripped over a single chunk of air. They met at the bottom and Sirius gripped her hand.

I stared wide-eyed. Stephen had finished fixing up my essay, and hung upside with me. "Woah, what a couple," he said.

"Never would have thought it," I admitted. Shaking my head, but then stopping; the blood was rushing to my head a bit and making it hurt. "Actually, I didn’t even know they were an official couple."

Stephen turned to me with what appeared to be a bit of difficulty. "Really? I thought you guys were all really close."

I nodded. "We are, we’ve just been seeing a bit less of Sirius lately."

Any further conversation was interrupted by James entering the common room. "Oi!" he yelled. "How are my two favorite upside-down Fifth years?"

"Peachy," I answered, flipping backwards off the couch and falling to the floor as the blood rushed out of my head.

"You alright?" asked Stephen, coming over to me and helping me up.

I thought about it. "Yeah, why not?"

James had reached us by this time. "We’re going to play a little bit of Quidditch. You two up for it?"

"Duh!"

"You know it!"

Remus and Peter both already had brooms slung over their shoulders; although they were not on the team, both boys enjoyed playing Quidditch, even though Peter was just a bit clumsy about it.

"Teams will be a bit uneven, won’t they?" I asked as we headed out into the bitter March air.

James nodded. "Yeah, I suppose they will. You don’t think Lily would want to play, do you?" He was all set to return to the castle.

"Don’t push it, James. She may talk to you now, but she’s still got a stick the size of Europe up her arse."

He frowned at me, but I took his silence to mean that he knew I was right. Instead, he turned to Stephen. "This is the perfect chance to train you up for next year," he said excitedly. "We’ll have you in top Keeper shape. You are trying for Keeper, right?"

Stephen nodded.

"Brilliant!" said James. He unlocked the broom shed and me and Stephen both retrieved our brooms. I pulled my long hair into a messy bun to keep it out of my face. A year earlier I had had a bad experience with hair in my face and a somewhat minor crash.

We each mounted our brooms, and rose up into the sky. James pulled a Quaffle practically out of no where, and I had reason to believe that how he came about it was dubious. Of course, that had never stopped any of us before.

We flew around for a bit, passing the Quaffle around, before taking turns at shooting it at Stephen. I had to admit, I was no Chaser, and I was wishing for my Beater partner, Sirius, to be here. I figured I could have shown a bit more skill at that. I had become especially good after he had helped me out.

We flew around until darkness began to set it, then headed into the castle, starving, for a bit of dinner. We were all sweaty and disgusting when we arrived in the Great Hall, and scanned it quickly to see if Sirius had arrived yet. We saw him sitting with Alex and Lily. As we sat down near them, I noticed Evans’ full(ish) plate of food and less bony figure.

"Nice boobs, Evans," I told her, and sat down a seat away, pulling food off of the serving plates at a lightning rate. She glared, but I believed that she was really actually pleased that I could no longer make fun of her flat-chested, bony figure, (or, lack thereof.)

"I didn’t know you swung that way, Anna," Stephen said, sitting down next to me and helping himself so copious amounts of food as well.

"I swing all ways, mate," I told him. His azure eyes lit up as he laughed, and he flipped the light brown hair that hung around his ears out of his face.

I began to eat my food when Sirius leaned around Evans to talk to me. "Where have you lot been all day?"

"We could ask you the same question," I whispered with disdain. His voice had been at a lower volume so I assumed that this was a conversation that should not be overheard.

Unfortunately, with Evans' ears about a foot above me and Sirius’ mouths, we were not likely to get our wish. Instead, he stood up and motioned for me to follow. We stood just outside the doors of the Great Hall. "So, where were you," he repeated.

"Playing Quidditch," I answered, slightly perturbed by his attitude.

"Without me?" He looked a bit hurt. But only a bit.

"You were too busy being lovey dovey with Alex."

And then it happened. Sirius Black blushed and looked down at shoes. He never blushed. "You know?"

I looked up at him. "You weren’t exactly hiding it. Why didn’t you just tell me and the guys? We would have supported you."

He shrugged. "I don’t know, I just feel like I’m never with you guys long enough to tell you anything anymore."

His ignorance inflamed my temper again. "That’s because you’re not." I turned back towards the Great Hall, and without another word to him, I went back to eating.

Over the next week, Sirius apologized to each of the guys, who accepted his apology with ease. He also apologized to me numerous times, namely because I refused to accept each one. I was personally offended that another girl had entered his life.

Not that I was angry that they were going out; just that there was finally another girl in his life that so easily replaced me. Not that we had ever gone out, nor was I hoping for it; but, this was Sirius’ first serious (haha, Sirius- serious) girlfriend, and I did not realize that it meant I would see him less. He was my best friend out of all of the guys, and I felt neglected.

Not that I would ever admit that to him, though.

So as Sirius continued to ignore me and the Marauders, I continued to ignore him. I only wondered how long it was before the guys could see that Sirius’ apologies had not been genuine.

"Anastasia!" I heard as I entered the Great Hall. The voice came from behind me and after hearing it for nearly five years, I knew that it belonged to Sirius. I wanted so badly to turn around, instead, I continued walking.

"Hey! How’s my favorite angry little girl?" Stephen came over and placed an arm over my shoulder.

"Angry," I grunted as a picked up some toast, smushed it pieces and then mixed some butter into it, making a rather unappetizing looking paste.

I looked over to Stephen and saw him pulling a face while looking at my plate. Always one to stun, I dipped finger in the mush and put it in my mouth. "Wow, that’s actually pretty good. It needs a bit more bread though."

My actions had also attracted the stare of Evans who looked thrown, and James, who looked amused. I picked up another piece of bread, crumbled it, and then tasted the new and improved food. "Pretty good."

"You realize that you just wasted five minutes of your life with that, don’t you?" Stephen asked, laughing.

"No I didn’t," I protested. "With this paste of butter and bread, I shall take over the world! So . . . 'Scuse me, while I go do that."

I felt that my speech would not have been complete without a frenzied exit, so I grabbed the plate and made a mad dash out of the hall.


A/N: Well, I obviously have no self-restriction. I was so excited about this chapter (no idea why, though) that I needed to post it. That, and the fact that the last chapter was rather short.) Well, I won't bore you anymore. peace.

Chapter 15: Come Back to Me?
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Would you come back to me
Yeah I can't do another day
I"m not certain of it anyway
I'm not messin' with another life 

-Goo Goo Dolls

May brought the final Quidditch match of the season. Gryffindor lost to Ravenclaw. I was disappointed, but I lived; had it been Slytherin, well, let’s just say that I might have just had to do something drastic. (Anna, however, was a wreck - she hated Ravenclaw worse than Slytherin.)

May also brought another month of Lily and I being rather civil. After all the years I had chased her, she finally responded, even if it was in a purely platonic way. Thanks to some unseen force (and probably a little help from Anna) Lily was far more like the person she was six years ago than most people would have believed. I always did though; I never forgot what she had done for me, and the bravery with which she had done it.

I had just touched down to the ground after the match; I was distraught and annoyed. However, I saw her striding across the Quidditch field towards me, her hips (which, as Anna loved to point out, had fully returned) moving, I couldn’t help but smile.

"That was a really good game, James," she told me, and put her hand on my shoulder. "Your whole team was incredible; there were just a bunch of bad calls."

I smiled. "There’s always next year. We’ll be back! We’ll be badder! We’ll be . . . Er, well badder in a better sense of the world."

Lily laughed. It was light and flighty and made me want to say more funny things so that I could hear it again. She was about to say something else when her friend Alex came up to her and quickly brought her away from me.

"Sirius!" I yelled.

"Yes?" I jumped when I realized he was right behind me.

"Make your girlfriend bring Lily back!"

Sirius laughed, and I briefly wondered why everyone was laughing at me that day. "No can do, mate. They’re having 'girl time’ today."

I scrunched up my face. "Ew."

"Totally agreed," said Anna, coming up and walking next to me. She struggled to keep up with me and Sirius; both of us had a larger stride. She refused to look at, or acknowledge Sirius’ existence, and I felt caught up in something that I didn’t want to be. I could tell they each felt bad, but Anna was still not responding to Sirius’ efforts to repair the friendship, probably because after three months she had to keep things up. She couldn’t suddenly give up her resolve; if she could, then she just wouldn’t be Anna.

"Do you ever wish you had someone to have ‘girl time’ with?" asked Sirius. Ah, he had a new tactic, I suppose; just try to make things normal again. I briefly thought that it could work. If Anna was thrown off guard she might just-

"Why would I want-" And then her face looked shocked and angry. She must have realized that she had just broken that silent pact with herself that we all knew she had.

Sirius was staring at Anna. Anna was staring at Sirius. There seemed to be something in both of their eyes.

"Why would you want what?" I asked, hoping to move things along.

"To do that," she finished in bored voice. She shook her head and looked back at me. "I don’t know why I’d want ‘girl time’ or someone to be girly and do make-up with. I’d rather hang with you guys and play Quidditch and eat."

"You guys? Like as in all of us?" Sirius asked hopefully.

Anna looked at him, first expressionless, then annoyed. "Since when do you hang around us?" she said in anger. I wondered if Sirius would have preferred her not talking to him again. "Even after you apologized to your Marauders, your brothers, you didn’t do anything to change it! You still spent all of your time with precious Alex, paying no attention to the people who have stood behind you, entertained you and loved you for the past however many years!"

She stomped her feet harder as we kept walking. She didn’t not stop or speed up. Sirius groaned and reached up to his hair. His robes slipped down to his elbow and a shiny silver watch showed.

Then Anna did stop. I followed her gaze to the watch. I didn’t understand why she was so transfixed by it. Then I remembered; she had given it to Sirius - it was like some symbol between those two, or something. I felt giddy enough to giggle like Peter did when I was playing with the snitch we snagged. This would surely be touching to Anna.

Sirius noticed that Anna and I had stopped.

"Anastasia," he began.

She shook her head, and he stopped talking immediately. For a fleeting moment, I thought she would hit him, or yell again, or simply walk away. Or kiss him. On the lips. But she reached up and traced a finger on the watch before smiley widely at him and launching herself onto Sirius.

Three months, and they were finally talking again. Life was good.

I watched and didn’t bother to stop myself from laughing as Anna planted kissed all over Sirius head and cheeks and squeezed him tightly, apologizing for being stupid and accusing him of not caring.

Sirius responded right away. "I’m sorry for being a dick-wad, arse-faced, ninny baby."

The entire school had gone back up to the castle. It was a good thing too, because I doubt that Alex would have seen the chaste relations between Sirius and Anna as anything other than sexual.

Anastasia had removed herself from Sirius, but they were walking closely, talking excitedly. We finally exited the Quidditch pitch and I saw Lily standing there. I quickly went over to her. "Where’s Alex?"

"Why, worried she saw that?" Lily was not being vicious, but her tone was bordering on it.

"Yes. Because she wouldn’t have seen that they’re just a couple of best friends who haven’t talked in months."

Lily looked at me skeptically. "So if you didn’t talk to Sirius for a few months that is how you’d greet him?"

I laughed and smiled and Lily’s wit. "Honestly? Yes, it is." I paused. "But, really, it’s nothing to worry about. At least not yet," I added, as an afterthought. "Shouldn’t you be with Alex, by the way?"

Lily nodded. "I told her that I’d catch up. I wanted to apologize for leaving so quickly."

I smiled. She wanted to apologize. To me.

Wow, there’s a reason I like this girl so much.

"It’s no problem, really," I assured her, putting my hand on her shoulder as she had done to me earlier that day. "But, I must return to the other loves of my life."

She blushed and nodded, and I smiled as a realized that she had begun to grow her red hair out long, and wear it natural. "Your hair looks very nice that way!" I called to her as a chased after Sirius and Anna. They were still talking endlessly when I caught up to them; I suppose a three month absence can do that people.

"If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em," I said and quickly inserted myself into the conversation between two of my best friends. This is just where I belong, I told myself.

A/N: Damn me and that not-self-restriction. Oh well, you guys got another chapter out of it. And this was in James' pov! Hope you guys like it, and just for a little sneak peak - next chapter is in Sirius' pov!

Chapter 16: State the Obvious
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I realize you love yourself more than you could ever love me
So go and tell your friends

-Taylor Swift

"Hey, sweetie." I looked up to see Alex coming to join me on the couch. I smiled at her and put my arm around her shoulder when she sat down. She leaned her blonde head against my shoulder and nuzzled into my neck.

"How was your day?" she said, speaking again when I didn’t say anything.

"It was good; I can’t believe that it’s June already. Exams are next week. Not that I’m studying, or anything of the sort, it’s just that Exams mean the end of school. Next year we’ll be Seventh years!"

"That is rather exciting, isn’t it?" she said, smiling. Her lips were glossy and pink. I didn’t like kissing her when she had stuff on her lips, because it always came off on mine and I did not appreciate having fruity-smelling lips.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, leaning against each other, before Alex got up and headed up to my dorm. I raised my eyebrows; no girl had ever been up there besides Anastasia, and I had a feeling that Alex was interested in something that Anastasia was not.

I followed her up, curious, and she closed the door behind us after checking that none of my dorm-mates were there. "So," she said flirtatiously. "You’re looking very handsome today."

I smiled. "Am I now?" I took a few steps closer to her. "Because I’m just not feeling it."

She took a few steps closer as well. "Well let me prove it to you." She closed the gap and pushed her lips forcefully onto mine. I immediately noticed a difference in the way she snogged me. She was a girl with a motive, a motive that I wasn’t very eager about.

When Alex and I had finally stopped feuding months previous, and started talking, she was sweet, entertaining, albeit lacking flare. I had taking such a liking to her; I was completely captivated. Once I had started fighting with my beloved Marauders and Anastasia, it was downhill from there. And it all led to this moment.

Alex was no longer the innocent, kind girl I had met.

My suspicions were almost confirmed as she began guiding me over to a bed. It was Anastasia’s bed. I jerked her around so that we headed towards my own instead. Not once did we break the contact of our lips and Alex’s tongue had gotten into my mouth. I tasted fruity lip gloss.

She took control of our movements once again and backed me into the bed so I fell over onto it and she was on top of me. I lay there, snogging my girlfriend thinking:

What kind of fool am I? . . . I’m in Sixth year! I should be jumping at the chance to shag Alex . . . But why am I not?



And then it happened; Alex went to unbutton my pants. I couldn’t take it. I broke the contact between our lips and put distance between us, though we were both sitting on my bed. She looked confused, and a little hurt. She also looked slightly comical with her bright blonde hair sticking up in various places, and a line of pink going from her mouth to her neck.

"I can’t do this, Alex," I told her, looking straight at her. "It doesn’t feel right."

Alex scoffed. "Why not? It’s not like you haven’t done it before?"

What? What!? That was all I could think. Where in the bloody hell did Alex get the idea that I wasn’t a virgin. I spluttered at her, unable to form words.

"I mean, it’s obvious that you and Anastasia were sleeping together before us."

And then I didn’t know whether to laugh, or to cry, or to talk incoherently some more. It was insane to think that me and Anastasia had been . . . Had been -shagging!?! "Where the fuck did that idea come from?"

Alex looked taken aback. "Well, isn’t it true?"

"No!" I cried. I jumped up from the bed and crossed the room, fixing my mussed hair and made sure that there were no traces of Alex’s make-up on my face.

Alex had stayed on the bed, but turned to face me. She was picking at a stray string in the comforter. "I honestly have a hard time believing that, and I’m sure the majority of other people would too."

"I can’t believe you won’t just accept this and get over it!" I cried at her, not angry, but frustrated. All I wanted was to go on like this little escapade hadn’t happened.

"I can’t believe that you’re a seventeen year old guy who won’t have sex," Alex said, giving me this look that made me want to do nothing other the growl. "I mean . . . Seriously! That's the most pathetic thing I've ever heard!"


"Get out!" I yelled, angry this time.

She stomped and threw the door open, and left, without a look back.

I couldn’t believe it. Alex had always been the nicest person I knew, and she had gone from sweetheart to bitch in seven seconds flat. I lay down on my bed, just staring up at the ceiling, wondering if maybe I should have just gone with it.

Fucking girls, I thought. Wait . . . Way too ironic again. Stupid girls. Running around all nice, and then wham! They're bitch!

"Hey, what’s going on, mate." I turned over to see Anastasia standing in the doorway. It was three in the afternoon on a Sunday, and she was still in her polka-dotted pajama pants and a t-shirt that rode up a bit on her stomach because of the way she was leaning on the doorframe.

"I think me and Alex broke up," I told her. I wasn’t completely sure because we hadn’t actually transpired those exact words, but the point was across well enough.

"Erm. I’m sorry?" Anastasia said, offering a pitiful attempt at a sad smile. "Actually, no I’m not. And there’s no way in hell that I’m going to pretend to be."

I smirked at her. At least some things never changed. "I wouldn’t want you too. You wouldn’t be Anastasia if you did."

She came over and lay down on top of my bed. The bed was fairly small, and she had pushed me over and I was beginning to fall off. "So, who do I need to beat up?" she asked.

"All those people who . . . Oh, never mind."

It wasn’t a split second between the time I finished the sentence and the time that Anastasia was pulling my hair. "You know I don’t like it when you do that. You need to tell me!"

"Alright, alright!" I cried. "Just let go of the hair!"

She smirked and let go, and began to laugh when I massaged my scalp. "According to Alex, everyone thought that we were sleeping together."

Anastasia looked as shocked at the news as I had felt. "And that’s why you guys broke up?"

"No, we er, well. We broke up when I wouldn’t shag her and then she brought that up."

Anastasia stood up and smoothed back some of her own hair that was sticking up. "Yeah, well people have no idea what they’re talking about." Then, without another word she went down to the common room. I had a bad feeling about it, and got up to follow her.

As soon as I exited my dorm and got onto the steps, I heard a screech and a series of bumping and knocking. I finished my descent of the steps and saw Anastasia jumping up from the ground.

"Spaz," I whispered laughing.

But Anastasia did not laugh. Her eyes were too busy scanning the common room. She stopped dead and I assumed she found who she was looking for. I had a feeling that I knew who she was looking for.

"Hey, bitch!" Anastasia crossed the room so she was standing directly behind Alex on the couch. Yep, I was right.

Alex turned around and had a nasty look on her face. "What the hell do you want, Xanthis, and can you get it somewhere else?"

Anastasia stood still, and her arms trembled. I took a step backwards. Rarely did she get this angry, but when her arms started trembling from containing her anger, it was always when her magic became uncontrollable.

And I was right. Again, just like I always am. I dropped to the floor as a heard something whiz across the room from behind me. It was a fairly large rectangular object flying; it turned out to be a book. Alex saw it coming just in time as well, and ducked so that she was no longer in view. When she resurfaced, her hair was a putrid pukey color and Anastasia was smirking.

"I don’t care what kind of rubbish you say to or about me," growled Anastasia, glaring at Alex so dangerously that I was surprised that the blonde (or, not so much, at the moment) wasn’t in tears or melting into a puddle on the ground. "But when you mess with my friends, you’re going to get messed up as well."

And there was a sickening crunch as Alex’s nose bent backwards from a good, hard punch delivered by Anastasia. "You’ve called me a guy before," explained Anastasia, as she headed away from Alex, who was being helped by some of the people around her, "so you should have known that I’d hit just as well as one too."

She came back over to me and stood before me, smiling up at me with a shine in her eyes. "I know you must not appreciate being defended by a girl, but she’s had it coming for a while. Please understand?"

Anastasia looked so hopeful and little guilty as she looked at me with pleading eyes; I kissed her on each temple and put her forehead to mine. (I had to bend down quite a bit, of course.) "Once a best friend, always a best friend."

A/N: Man, I'm definetly over-using this Trusted Author thing. I've got to put a limit on myself. Hope you guys liked this chapter - kinda a little too drama filled, eh?


Chapter 17: Kick It Here
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It's been getting late for days
And I think myself deserving of a little time off
We can kick it here for hours
-All Time Low

 

"Oh, crap!" I yelled, and ducked under the large table in the Herbology greenhouse.

We were working with Venomous Tentacula and I don’t know why the professor thought that I could handle it. I had lost my concentration (not a rare occurrence) and begun looking out the window when there was a tug at my hair and that stupid, oversized plant was eating my hair.

It had eventually let go, and that was when I ducked under the table.

"The big, bad plant is gone now," said Stephen, his head appearing under the table.

"Oh, my savior! How can I ever repay you!" I cried, as I made to get up from under the table. I knocked my head on the table and fell back to my arse, clutching my head in pain. I growled.

Stephen laughed at me. "Come on, it can’t be that painful. And you’re not allowed to growl; people don’t growl."

"Well then I’ll be the first." I rolled out from under the table and stumbled up to my feet, brushing the dirt and twigs from the greenhouse floor off of my robes. He helped and brushed off my back for me.

"So," he said as he brushed off the last of the dirt. "How do you suppose you’ll repay me?"

I smiled coyly at him. "I don’t know, any ideas?"

We had left those bloody Venomous Tentaculas on the working tables on gone to wash off our hands. "Well, I do need someone to practice Quidditch with."

I smiled. "I’m always up for a good game of fly-up-into-the-air-and-play-with-variously-sized-balls."

Stephen hit me very lightly on the back of the head. "What have I told you about renaming things and replacing them with unnecessarily long sayings?"

I laughed and we left the greenhouse for lunch after we were dismissed. "I don’t remember, what did you tell me?"

He shrugged. We laughed.

It was later that day, after dinner, that we headed down to the Quidditch pitch and grabbed our brooms from ours dorms. Technically we were supposed to keep them in the broom cupboard, but I was never one for the rules, and I was slowly corrupting Stephen with my rebellious ways.

Muaahhahaha.

We flew around a bit to warm-up first, and after that I threw a few Quaffles at him as he tried to defend the goals. He stopped every single one, but in the end we could not decide whether or not he was a really good Keeper, or I was just that atrocious at being a Chaser.

We touched down to the ground and headed immediately back to the castle. It was getting dark and McGonagall had threatened that I would be banned from Quidditch next year if I got another detention that day. (She had given me two earlier that day, in class.) I knew she was bluffing, but I had figured that I would humour dear Minnie.

"So," said Stephen, as we approached the castle. "I guess I owe you a thank you now."

I took a deep breath. I was going to be bold and uninhibited, just as always. I stopped and turned to him. Stephen’s light brown hair had grown out a bit over the past few months and was now tickling the back of his next, curling lightly. He smiled a slightly-crooked smile at me.

"How about with a kiss?" I asked. No turning back now.

I expected him to answer with words, good or bad. I did not expect to have my face lightly grabbed, with Stephen’s lips against mine.

He pulled back after a few seconds. "Not bad," he said, laughing just a little. He laced his fingers in my mine and we continued up to the school. Right before we stepped inside we heard a horrible, howling squeal of pain. The squeal of a werewolf.

Poor Remus, I thought.

Stephen shook his head. "That’s got to be a hell of a night for whoever turns into that."

I agreed, but I also smiled. Stephen didn’t seem to hate werewolves; I don’t think I could have tolerated someone who judged so quickly if he had.

I quickly pulled him through a secret passageway; we would soon be out past curfew, and by taking the passageway, we got to the common room just in time to see Filch coming around the corner.

Probably about half of Gryffindor house was crammed into the room. Every couch and chair had multiple people sitting on it, some people sat on the floor, and others were at desks, working. It was Thursday and exams started the next day. Most people were doing last minute cramming.

I however, never the perfect student, refused to. I always did well enough, even though I knew I could do better if I studied. But where was the fun in that?

"Hey," Stephen said pointedly, "look at all these studying people. Maybe we should try that?"

I shook my head. "Nah. I think we should go nick Remus’ chocolate again."

Stephen contemplated this. "But he’s been guarding it more secretly lately."

It was my turn to contemplate.

Stephen spoke again before I could come up with an answer. "I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll help you get the chocolate, because I just might possibly know where it is, if you agree to study with me afterwards."

"Pinky swear?" I asked him, and stuck out the littlest finger on my left hand for him to grasp in his own.

He laughed at me. "What are you, seven?"

I stuck my tongue out through my teeth and tried the best impression I could of a little child. "Yes."

"Alright," he agreed, and grasped his pinky into mine. Then, being unnecessarily sneaky, we darted up to the dorm. I didn’t worry about any of the Marauders spotting us trying to steal the chocolate because they were otherwise preoccupied; Stephen didn’t know that.

Stephen had made me turn around while he extracted the chocolate from its hiding place, saying that he even though he was helping me get the chocolate, he couldn’t let me see where he was getting it from. "Grab some chocolate quickly, what if they come now?"

"They won’t," I assured him, but did not explain further. Remus had a wide selection in the large box. There was milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with almonds in it, and all other sorts. I grabbed more chocolate than I needed (all dark chocolate, my favorite) and turned back around so Stephen could replace the box.

"Ready to study now?" he asked, touching his hand to my shoulder.

"No." Stephen gave me a look. "But I will, just like I promised."

He smiled. "I’ll get my books."

He met me down in the common room less than a minute later, and we scanned the room for a place to make ourselves comfortable. There were no places, and even most of the floor was getting covered.

"Let’s sit on the coffee table," I suggested.

Stephen shrugged and sat down across from me when I plopped myself down. He opened up a textbook and began to read a passage. I wasn’t paying too much attention, instead I tilted my head back a bit and closed my eyes. It wasn’t a minute before I was hit roughly on the shoulder.

Stephen was looking at me like he was trying not to laugh. "Can’t you even concentrate for seven seconds?"

I shook my head. "Not likely."

"Too bad."

He got up and after putting the book down, dragged me from the table and sat me in a corner. Stephen then retrieved said book and sat behind me. With his arms wrapped around me and the book in front of me, he began to read off passages in my ear.

I let him continue for a while before I interrupted him and said, "If you think that I’m concentrating more like this then you’re kidding yourself."

He laughed and kissed me under my chin when I turned around slightly. "But, seriously," he said, "we have to study. But you can eat the chocolate while we study if it makes you feel better."

"Okay!" I said brightly, intending on spacing off again. "I’ll listen."

He laughed. "No, I was thinking it’d be a rather good idea to have you read this time."

I grumbled and angrily turned pages in the book. Tomorrow was our Transfiguration O.W.L., I supposed, because that was the book that Stephen had gotten. I began to read about hellhounds.

"Hellhounds are dark creatures resembling large dogs, though they are three-headed. These creatures are often used by witches and wizards as guards, because they are un-able to be put to sleep, except for a weakness which is unique to each . . ."

I stopped, having forgotten what I was doing in the middle of the reading. It actually happened quite often.

I heard a snapping noise behind my head and came back to the present. I jerked around and saw Stephen shaking his head. I could not tell if it was in frustration, disappointment, pity, or just plain amazement.

"Did you really just forget that you were reading?"

I looked down at my feet. "Maybe."

"You are so odd," he told me, laughing.

"Yes, thank you," I replied. "Do I really have to study?" I gave him puppy dog eyes. To be honest, I was quite pitiful at it, but, I hoped it would work all the same.

Stephen sighed. "Alright, I suppose not. But I do; so why don’t you sit there and stare into space for a bit?"

I nodded and leaned my head back against the wall, popping some chocolate in my mouth. I thought that, maybe, after Stephen had studied, we could nip up to mine and the Marauders’ dorm, since I knew they wouldn’t be returning any time soon.

I suppose I don’t sleep much, what with my late night tendencies and waking early in the morning for classes, because I dozed off. I was shaken awake roughly an hour later by Stephen. "Well, it’s good to see that you’re at least getting a good nights rest."

"Nuph me fruo," I mumbled.

"Yes, of course." Stephen laughed and he grabbed my arms, pulling me up. I stood and swayed falling back to the ground and knocking my head into the wall. I lay on the ground and groaned, still perfectly content to go back to sleep.

"Shit!" he muttered and picked me back up again, not letting go this time. "I’m going to help you up to your dorm, alright?" He laughed and I stumbled around a bit on my loose legs. "It’s a good thing you stay in the boys’ dorm; if you stayed in the girls’ you would have been sleeping in the common room tonight."

I made a sound to show that I had, in fact, heard him and let him continue leading me up to the dormitory. I vaguely remember being lain in a bed, and being kissed on the forehead before falling asleep once more.

I did not wake up until ten the next morning. I looked around, startled to realize it was Friday. It was a particularly pleasant morning; sunny, warm, and the only thing wrong being a slight ache on the back of my head and the fact that I’d have missed my first two classes.

I got up lazily, grabbing some clothes and heading to the bathroom, noticing that Peter, James and Sirius were still asleep. Remus was not here, presumably in the hospital wing, though.

I had slowly dressed in my robes, wearing the pants that used to be Sirius’ even though they should have been in the wash at that point. However, I didn’t feel like wearing a skirt that day. It was ten fifteen and I was about to head to my class (which would have been Transfiguration) when I had a near heart attack. I realized that it was O.W.L.’s; the Transfiguration exam started fifteen minutes ago.

"Bloody hell!" I shouted, and immediately doused the entire room in water from my wand. The sleeping boys jumped up and fell ungracefully out of their beds. "We’re supposed to be taking our exams now!"

I suppose, even us four slackers who didn’t give much of a hippogriff’s arse about most of our grades, understood the importance of this O.W.L. James, Sirius and Peter, without even changing, bolted from the room, directly behind me.

Without incoherent shouting, we managed to cram ourselves into a narrow passageway and arrive outside the Great Hall in less than two minutes. No one gave a thought as to the fact that barging into the test in a mad dash would get us into more trouble than simply quietly arriving late, but our muddled minds could not process such a complex thought.

"What is the meaning of this?" Professor McGonagall exploded as us four frenzied students burst in on the exam.

"Er, well, we overslept," Sirius began to explain. I was still reeling from the journey and shock of realizing that I was missing my O.W.L. "And I suppose Anastasia did too because she ran into our dorm to make sure we got to the O.W.L. and-"

Sirius stopped talking, and had a strange expression on his face. No. Could it be?

Embarrassment?

"We took the O.W.L.’s last year," he muttered. Then he began to laugh; to himself, or at himself, I did not know.

Then, Sirius’ statement clicked in my brain. Crap. I had woken them up in a complete panic attack, and I had only just realized that they had no test they needed to take. They were Sixth years and their exams did not start until the next week.

Without another word, Sirius, James, and Peter left the Great Hall. That turned all of the attention onto me. I cleared my throat. "Er, Professor, sorry, but I think I’m going to need some parchment."

A/N: Well, here's chapter, 17! Time for a preview!
Chapter 18: Preview:

"Well I’ve lived in this muggy country my whole life," he explained. "Not that I don’t love it," he continued. "But sometimes I just wish there was a little less rain."


I shook my head, disagreeing. "No way! If there was less rain there’d be less mud-sliding!"

Stephen nodded. "You’ve got a point there. Well since you’re so smart I think you deserve a reward."

He leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek, then trailed them to my mouth. We once again began to snog, still on the floor, me leaning over him.

I hadn’t heard the passageway open, or the whispers that followed, but I did notice when someone tripped over my back and let out a strangled scream. Did I mention that the passageway was extremely dark?
A/N2: Chances are, updates will be quite quick, since I obviously lack self control. But eventually, I'll run out of saved chapters and they'll become more slow. Hope you guys liked this chapter!

Chapter 18: She's the Ghost That Keeps You Up at Night
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She's like a ghost that keeps you up all night
And she'll be a secret you can keep
Keep me
-Mayday Parade

 

"That was quite a show you four put on," Stephen said, after we had (finally) finished our Transfiguration exam.

"Thank you very much." I yawned. "Ugh, still tired."

Stephen laughed and slipped his arm around my waist. "Is that all you do? Sleep?"

"Nah," I told him, "I have fun too."

"Really? Because I know some fun activities that we could partake in?" he had a devious smile and winked at me.

"What is it with you boys and snogging. I mean, honestly! Is going for a nice dip in the lake or playing Quidditch not good enough for you?" As I said this, I was smirking, to make sure he knew I wasn’t actually ranting and throwing a fit.

Stephen stepped back and made a sweeping gesture with his arms, indicating for me to take him wherever I would. I grabbed his wrist and led him to the passage way that the Marauders and I had taken earlier that day.

Once I had pulled the tapestry back behind us, Stephen and I wasted no time. His lips were on mine within seconds and one of his hands was on the small of my back, the other on the back of my neck.

This is rather interesting, I thought to myself. And instantly, for reasons unknown to me, I had the urge to laugh. Being myself, I was unable to restrain.

Stephen, in between planting kisses on my lips, began to chuckle himself. "What - was - that- for? Am I that bad of a kisser?"

"I wouldn’t know," I answered before taking a breath and going back into the kiss.

I wasn’t quite sure how long we were there, but after a while we had stopped snogging and just sat down next to each other, talking.

"Well, I moved to Britain when I was seven; from Greece. I can still mostly speak fluent Greek, I think, and a bit of Italian, because that’s what my mother was. My mom wanted to me to learn Latin so I could know all these word origins as well, but my dad stopped her; he's always on my side, 'cause I'm his little princess." Stephen and I had gotten to talking about our childhoods.

"Well I’ve lived in this muggy country my whole life," he explained. "Not that I don’t love it," he continued. "But sometimes I just wish there was a little less rain."

I shook my head, disagreeing. "No way! If there was less rain there’d be less mud-sliding!"

Stephen nodded. "You’ve got a point there. Well since you’re so smart I think you deserve a reward."

He leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek, then trailed them to my mouth. We once again began to snog, still on the floor, me leaning over him.

I hadn’t heard the passageway open, or the whispers that followed, but I did notice when someone tripped over my back and let out a strangled scream. Did I mention that the passageway was extremely dark?

Stephen and I jerked apart and jumped up. "Bloody hell," said whoever had tripped over me. They were on the ground a few feet away.

That was sounded so familiar. The kind of familiar that you hear every day on end. Kind of like -

"Sirius, mate! I told you watch out!"James spoke.

Sirius grumbled some more. I could see a faint outline of him getting up and brushing himself off. "What were you doing on the ground anyway."

I knew he was talking to me, but chose not to answer, and hoped he would forget that he asked.

"‘Ello, did you hear me?" Sirius asked, not angrily.

"Er, yes," I answered.

"So are you going to answer?" Sirius continued. I suppose he had cottoned on, by then, to the fact that I did not want to tell him why I was on the ground.

"We were snogging," said Stephen, speaking for the first time since we were interrupted.

"Bloody hell! Stephen, is that you?" James asked.

"Yes?"

"We didn’t even see you on the map! James, we’re going to need to find the glitch," Sirius said. "If you were snogging An-"
 
Sirius stopped talking. "You were snogging Anastasia!?!"

"Um, yes?" he replied.

I briefly wondered what would happen. Last time I had had a boyfriend (though I could barely call Aaron a boyfriend) Sirius had been, well, kind of mental. I hoped he wouldn’t be this time; he and Stephen were friends.

"Congratulations, mate," Sirius said. "Well, I’m definetely writing about today in my diary - I MEAN JOURNAL!"

"You have a diary?" I looked Sirius incredulously. "I don’t even have a diary - and I’m a girl."

"No you’re not," Sirius said, laughing.

"I’ll prove it," I challenged.

"That’s okay," James intervened, "there doesn’t need to be any proving here."

We all burst into laughter. After a few minutes, we calmed down.

"How’s Remus, guys?" I asked, directing my question at Sirius, Peter and James.

"Remus is ill?" Stephen asked. He was not aware of Remus’ ‘furry little problem.’

"Er, yes," Sirius replied in a slightly forced tone of voice. "He’s in the hospital wing, but he should be better by tomorrow."

"Oh, that’s good," I said.

There were a few moments of silence. A rarity when you put Marauders, myself, and someone as jubilant as Stephen in a small enclosed space. "I’m hungry," I said, breaking the silence.

Stephen sighed. "Why do you even bother announcing it anymore? It can just be assumed."

"Because I expect to be accompanied to food by my mates," I replied.

"Shall we?" asked the voice I knew to be Sirius. We couldn’t all link arms and walk as we usually did, the passage barely being wide enough to fit to people side by side. When we emerged into the Entrance Hall from the passageway, I cringed and recoiled.

"Light," Stephen whined; it seemed he was having a similar problem.

Sirius looked at me, and then at Stephen and then began to laugh. "Well you’re just a regular old vampire aren’t you, Stephen?"

Stephen looked at the older boy questioningly.

"Well you’re not to fond of the light, and Anatasia's got this bite on her neck - and vampires bite necks."

My hand flew up to my neck, even though I wouldn’t be able to feel the love-bite. Sirius walked over and poked a spot on my neck. "Ow!" I yelled indignantly.

Sirius looked innocently at me. "Just letting you know where it was."

Stephen was smirking at me. "Hey, this is your fault," I told him.

He laughed. "I’ll gladly except responsibility for that."

I knocked him in the shoulder as Peter, James and Sirius laughed and made kissing noises. We had crossed the Entrance Hall and quickly entered the Great Hall, where the house tables had been replaced and food was sitting on the tables. I made a mad dive for the chocolate ice cream.
___

O.W.L.’s passed fairly quickly. Miraculously, I managed not to be late for a single one. (Besides that first one.) Considering that I hadn’t studied at all, I didn’t think I did too bad. Surely with a bit of studying I could have done better, but I was just not that kind of person.

Stephen had earned the nickname "Vamp."

"It’s because of your vampire tendencies," Sirius explained, when Stephen had inquired as to where the nickname came from.

Before anyone knew it, it was the end of the year feast. "I can’t believe it! No more quills, no more parchment, no more teachers! For a whole two months!" I stopped and looked around. "But, I have to say, I’m going to miss this place more than I want to admit."

They all (they being Sirius, Peter, James, Remus and Stephen; the usual) nodded around me. I happily skipped the rest of the way to the Great Hall, content that my best friends would catch up. I burst into the Great Hall only to have Lily Evans run straight by me in tears.

"Er, James?" I said, once he and the rest had caught up. "I think that’s your cue."

James’ eyes traveled to the retreating Lily and he immediately took off after her.

"I give them the holiday before they’re snogging up a storm," Sirius said, as we headed into the Great Hall and took our seats and the Gryffindor table. Under the table, Stephen grasped my hand.

"Ew." I cringed. "I don’t need pictures in my mind of my innocent little Jamesie contaminating his tongue on Evans’."

Sirius looked at me seriously. I thought about the irony of it in my head and could not keep a straight face. "Listen, Anastasia. I love you and I love James; but, God help me, if you mess this up for him, you’ll have hell to pay."

I smiled sweetly at him. "I’d never do that, Sirius; you should know that."

He nodded and our eyes connected in mutual understanding for a few seconds. "I know, I shouldn’t have said that."

Suddenly, being that I had barely noticed it there before, I shouted, "Food!" and leaned over numerous people in my quest to heap helpings onto my plate. I earned a glare from Alex, who was still angry with me, and from a few of the other people who didn’t care for my loud rambunctious personality in general.

"Bet I can eat more potatoes than you!" shouted Sirius, out of the blue.

"You’re on!" I shouted. Sirius should have known by then that he could not win, being that potatoes were my favorite food. Not counting desserts, of course.

Ten minutes later, I was slowing down. Sirius hadn’t stopped eating quite yet. I cursed him in my mind, then thought up an elaborate reasoning for why I hadn’t been able to beat him. It just wouldn’t have been acceptable if I lost on my own account.

After another minute or two, my stomach had no more room. I put down my spoon and sat in a huff. Disgusted, I pushed my other food away. For five minutes Sirius teased me about the fact that I hadn’t been able to beat him, and then I realized that Evans and James had still not returned.

Either Evans was being extra horrible and teary, or they had begun to do the unthinkable. In other words, bond by way of the lips. Sirius seamed to notice as well. "WHERE’S PRONGS AND EVANS?!"

Remus, ever logical, said, "Well, seeing as she doesn't hate James anymore, and neither is dating someone else, they’re probably snogging."

Evans and James arrived back just in time for Dumbledore to begin his end of the year speech. Evans’s eyes were a bit puffy, and she had permitted James to drape his arm around her shoulder.

Dumbledore cleared his throat just as Evans and James sat down. His presence commanded absolute silence. "Another year gone," he began, "any number of rules broken, meals eaten, friends made, friends lost. It seems that so much time has gone by since the beginning of this year, but the calendar disagrees.

"I would like to specifically address the Seventh years. . ."

As much as Dumbledore’s speeches usually enthralled me, my mind was other places. Like Stephen’s hand, which was craftily sneaking up my thigh. I hit him lightly on the back of his head, but then rested my chin on his shoulder to show him that I was not about to go crazy physco bitch on him.

I must have closed my eyes, because I was soon shaken awake by Sirius. I noticed that Dumbledore had stopped talking and the delicious Hogwarts food had been replaced by desserts. The time of aching stomachs (roughly ten minutes earlier) was far gone and I chipped into blocks of ice cream and placed many pastries on my plate. Next to me, Sirius’ plate looked similar.

Stephen looked on and laughed. "You two are creepily similar," he noted, laughing.

"It’s ’cause Sirius is so feminine," I claimed at the same time that Sirius said -

 "That’s because Anastasia is a boy."

James, Remus and Peter joined Stephen in his laughter this time. They all agreed with Sirius, and I refused to talk to them for a minute, before my resolve broke.

Full once again, we went up to the Gryffindor common room.

"I’m going to miss this place," Sirius said, lounging back on the coach and surveying the room with a fondness of a student who would not return.

 "You’re not a Seventh year yet," I reminded him.

"It’s only a matter of time," said Sirius.

I frowned. It was an upsetting thought. I wasn’t ready to grow up, but in two years I would be forced out into a real world of danger, hard-work, and bills . . . Psh, yeah right.

"Don’t remind me," I grumbled. I decided to change the subject. "Remember that time when you guys were in Third year and . . ."

I stopped and trailed off, quickly surveying the common room. Most of the school was still in the Great Hall, mingling, but James and Evans were not among them. However, neither were they with this. I pointed this out, and devilish grins popped up on all of our faces.

"Where art thou Lilith and Jamesith?" Sirius called out, in a high-pitched voice.

"Yes," Stephen added. "Where is the flower and, er, whatever James is?"

"Where is our favorite goody-two-shoes and her ever faithful sidekick; Lovesick Quidditch Boy!" I put my hand to my forehead and pretended to be looking for them.

"Please don’t kill Prongs, Evans; we’re responsible for making sure he doesn’t have to return to his parents in a matchbox. Or with an unborn son!" Remus yelled, earning laughter from everyone.

"Hey! I found them!" we all turned to Peter at the sound of his squeaky voice. He was pointing excitedly under a table, where Evans and James sat next to each other, laughing hysterically.

"Well, they’re not shagging, but they are laughing. And as everyone knows, both release endorphins." Everyone turned to Sirius, who had spawned the odd fact. He shrugged, and Evans and James crawled out from under the table.

All seven of us were quiet for a few moments. In this particular group, quiet and downtime never sat well.

"So," said James. "Considering the fact that it’s only ten o’clock, and Marauders never go to sleep before midnight, who’d like to play a rousing game of truth or dare?"

 "Woot! Woot!" I shouted.

Sirius, Remus, Peter and myself got down on our knees and bowed to James. In our circle of friends, truth or dare was a very god-like game, and was heavily worshipped.

Stephen nodded his head and seemed to be amused by our antics. I got up, laughing, and stood next to him.

Evans was the only one who looked skeptical. I couldn’t blame her, though. She wasn’t exactly used to our behavior, or a game as superior as truth or dare.

"Er, well, where would we play it?" she asked. "We’d be interrupted if we played it in the common room."

I was about to suggest the Room of Requirement, but Sirius caught my eye and shook his head quickly and discreetly. I wondered if he had known what I was going to say, but kept quiet just in case.

"Our dorm, of course," said James. Gesturing to me and the Marauders.

Evan’s face grew red. "That’s against the rules! I don’t care what she does." Evans and stopped and pointed accusingly at me. "But I won’t do it!"

Before James could try to convince, her I butted in. "Get over it, Evans; live a little. Get the stick out of your arse and your nose out of the air."

She stood, looking entirely affronted, before pushing past me and marching her way up the stairs to the boy’s dormitories.

"Thanks," James whispered into my ear, as he whizzed by to catch up with Evans.

I nodded back to him. Without warning to him, I jumped up and Stephen’s back and demanded a piggy back ride. I was surprised that he didn’t fall our stumble backwards.

"It’s good to know you’ll always catch me," I told him, ruffling his hair.

"Always," he confirmed.

I smiled as James’ random (and quite badly-timed,) "Go out with me, Lily?" Could be heard echoing from staircase. Well, at least he had gone from Evans to Lily.

I, however, was going to call her Evans for quite a while.

"Hurry it up, you two lovebirds," Sirius yelled.

Stephen and I jogged the rest of the way to the Sixth year boys dorm. I sighed, and realized it would be the last time I was in this dorm while it was still the Sixth year dorm. I looked over and Evans and saw her face wrinkled up. I sniffed the air, it smelled normal, but to an outsider, I suppose, it might have reeked a bit.

We all sat down in a circle. My head in Stephen’s lap and my legs over Sirius’.

"Hold on," James said, getting up from the circle. He pulled out a black case from under his bed; it was filled with potion bottles. I knew for a fact that the Marauders had some Polyjuice Potion in there, along with other various illegal potions.

I smirked as I saw James pull out a small, corked bottle, filled with clear liquid.

"Veritaserum," Evans whispered, as James sat back down and placed the bottle into the middle of the circle.

"Okay," he said. "Lily, truth or dare?"

A/N: Wow, this is a pretty long one. I think I must have connected these two chapters. This is pretty bad, I'm exhausting my saved chapters, but I can't seem to stop posting. Oh well, think of it as a Father's Day present. Happy Father's day to everyone. :D

A/N2: Oh, and if you've got some time, why not drop by my Meet the Author topic on the forums? There's a link in on my Author's page. ;)


Chapter 19: I Make The Music Stop
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A/N: Happy Father's Day, everyone . . . Again. Okay, after this chapter, they're going to start coming a bit slower. (Not too much, probably just every other day or two.)
By the way, I'm looking for someone to bounce my ideas off of. Sort of like a beta, just without all the technical corrections. So, if you're interested, please let me know.


 


I don't mind falling down to try again,

'Cause when I get back up on my feet,

I make the music stop,

So hear me now


-Cobra Starship


Evan’s eyes widened. She gulped. "Er, truth?"

James looked at her inquisitively. There were so many things he could ask her; embarrassing secrets, among others. But what Evans did not know about James was that he was quite a humane person - she would have done well to realize it. "How did it feel to break the rules, Lily?"

After taking a sip of Veritaserum, Evans answered, "Not bad at all."

James nodded, and smiled secretly at Evans. I could not see her face, or whether or not she smiled back.

Evans, who had quickly recovered her composure, turned towards me. "Truth or dare, Xanthis?"

"Dare," I said, picking up my head and feet from their respective resting places and glaring at Evans, making an attempt at intimidation.

"I dare you," Evans began, "to . . ."

She stopped, still thinking. It seemed that dears Evans could not think up a dare spectacular enough. James leaned over and whispered something in her ear.

"No fair!" shouted Remus. "It’s against the rules to help out in the production of a truth or dare!"

"It’s okay," I told him. "I think since Evans is new to all of this she can have a handicap."

The rest of the group consented, and Evans resurfaced with a devilish smile on her face. "Xanthis, I dare you to go down to the kitchens and consume a two ounce bottle of hot sauce."

I smiled at the challenge. "Not to specific, eh, Evans? Technically, I could just skip down to the kitchens, have the house elves get me a bunch of hot wings; but I won't. It'll be far more entertaining to do this dare the way it was intended."

I got up, waiting for at least two people to follow (it was the required number to make sure that the dared person did what they needed to) and headed down the stairs. A few more people had entered the common room, but not many. I decided that it would be safe to go to the kitchens, being as the teachers would still be at the feast.

I, followed by Evans and Remus, left the common room and began a leisurely stroll through our favorite dark, narrow passageway. I briefly wondered how and why the two most rule-abiding people had been sent to follow me.

We got to the kitchens quickly and without incident. After asking for it, a bottle of hot sauce was placed in front of me along with a slice of chocolate cake.

"Didn’t you just fill yourself to a disgusting point half an hour ago?" Evans asked, eyeing me with distaste as took a huge bite of cake. (Without a fork, of course, because that was the fun way.)

"Didn’t you just start eating again half a year ago?" I asked her, scathingly, jumping quickly to my own defence. Evans actually looked taken-aback and hurt by what I had said. . . Whoopsie.

I then tipped my head backwards with the mouth of the bottle in my mouth. The hot sauce wasn’t too hot, but it didn’t stop my mouth from burning up.
 
About halfway through the bottle I gagged; have you ever tried chugging hot sauce? It's not as fun as one would think - Remus came over with a goblet of pumpkin juice and I took a sip. 

After that, it didn’t take a lot of time for the hot sauce to disappear. Once the last drop was in my stomach, Evans scowled at me, and we went back up to the dorm.

"How was it?" Sirius asked, as I sat back in between him and Stephen.

"Oww, my lips are so burnt they're going to fall off!" I replied dramatically. Then asked, "Truth or dare?"

"Dare," he responded with a scoff.

"I dare you to," I said. "Say truth the next time it’s your turn." It might not seem like such a bad dare, but to Sirius, the king of dare or double dare, it was.

Sirius stuck his tongue out at me. "Fine. Truth or dare, Stephen."

The game of truth or dare got quite entertaining after we had all warmed up. Even Lily was getting into the game; I figured she just had a mountain-sized load of stress to relieve. As if her playing the game wasn’t enough, she and James (the arrogant, bullying toe-rag) had formed an unofficial team.

Somehow, Sirius’ turn had alluded him for quite a while, and he protested loudly, "Fuck! Everyone’s got about a trillion times; I haven’t gone since that first one!" I laughed at his whiny, child-like voice, and petulant attitude.

"Okay, okay," Remus laughed at our childish friend. "Truth or dare, Sirius?"

First, he threw a dirty look in my direction, then, reluctantly said, "Truth."

Remus smirked, something that was quite uncommon for him to do. Then, he raised his eyes from the ground; the flitted from Stephen, to me, to Sirius. "What do you think of Anna?"

"I think she’s one of the best friends anyone could ask for?" Sirius looked confused as he answered Remus’ query. I was too; I couldn’t figure out why Remus would ask such a pointless question.

"That’s not what I meant," said Remus slyly. I wasn’t the most perceptive person in the world, but I could tell that Remus was up to something. "What do you think of her, meaning, how attractive is she?"

"You weirdo," I said to Remus, as Sirius began to laugh.

"I think she’s quite beautiful," Sirius admitted, smiling arrogantly in my direction.

"Tell me something I haven't known for years," I retorted. So much for me accusing Sirius of arrogance.

As Sirius and I continued laughing, I looked over at Remus, who was looking smugly between Sirius and I. I had the urge to pester him to no end and find out what was up, but I resisted. Around the circle, Peter, James and Lily all had small smiles, and Stephen looked uncomfortable. I shifted closer to him and rubbed my thumb against his hand in a reassuring way.

___

"Well, I guess we’re going home." The Marauders, Stephen and I (and, surprisingly, Lily) had just heaved our luggage onto the train, and were slightly uncomfortably squished into a compartment. I was perched on Stephen’s lap, trying to make more room, and Sirius had jumped onto Remus’.

That, of course, did not last long. Sirius ended up on the ground, and stayed there.

"Yeah," said Sirius. "But I daresay it won’t be long before we see each other."

James nodded. "We should go somewhere this summer, seriously."

We all agreed excitedly. Stephen tapped me on the shoulder and motioned out the door. I got up and he followed me out quickly. "Listen," he said. "This is rather hard for me to say."

I looked at his stunning blue eyes and swishy light brown hair and wanted nothing more than more him to tell me that he liked me as much as I liked him. He’d been there for me all year, and wasn’t just some passing crush; I knew it.

"I like you, a lot."

I was giddy inside. I was doing flips, and I honestly wasn’t sure whether or not I’d stay standing. I’m sure the excitement must have shown on my face, because Stephen smiled and stared laughing. "I take it that means you like me too?"

"No, not at all," I told him sarcastically.

He laughed again and swooped down on my lips for a quick kiss. "I’m not coming back to Hogwarts next year," he blurted out.

And the flips stopped. "Are you . . . Serious?"

At that moment, before Stephen could answer and say that, yes, he was serious, the compartment door slid open and James and Sirius tumbled out into the corridor. "No, I am!" Sirius protested, not getting up from the ground.

I laughed and smiled at Sirius, temporarily forgetting the problem at hand.

"Of course you are," I told him, offering him a hand to help him up. "You alright?"

"Yep," he replied, dusting himself off, thought there was no dirt on him. James pushed him back down and the two began to wrestle jokingly in the middle of the corridor.

I turned back to Stephen. He looked slightly frustrated; I supposed it was hard for him to get something like this out, and being interrupted didn’t help. After an apologetic smile from me, he went on to explain that his parents were moving to Antarctica to study the living organisms there, and that he had to go with them.

I’m sure I must have looked crestfallen, because that was how I felt. I had liked Stephen so much; the first guy I really, truly liked was being taken away from me. But my thoughts were interrupted as Sirius was thrown from James and rolled onto my foot.

"Ow, Sirius!" I yelled at him, but a smile crept it’s way onto my face.

I had moved a few feet so that my arm was around Stephen’s waist and I was planting quick kisses on his neck while I laughed at Sirius and James’ antics.

By the time we got to the Platform, hours later, I had been having so much fun that I nearly forgot the bad news that had just befallen me. I saw my parents and enthusiastically greeted them. "Mum! Dad!" I ran to them and threw my arms around their necks. (With some difficulty, seeing as my dad was rather tall, and my mum . . . Not so much.)

I was catching them up on everything that had happened during school. I quickly fetched Stephen and his parents and introduced everyone. The gathering was interrupted when Mr. and Mrs. Potter joined the party - smiling and friendly - they asked my parents if they could whisk me away to stay with them for a couple weeks in Australia.

"Well, I suppose it would be alright," my father finally agreed. I screamed in joy and hugged both my parents, both of James’ parents, and kissed Stephen quickly on the lips for good measure. The Potters graciously invited Stephen as well, but he declined; he and his family were going to spend a few weeks in Antarctica to see the environment.

"Let’s go!" cried, Sirius, who had somehow been left out of the earlier shenanigans.

Mr. Potter, an elite auror for the Ministry, had acess to just about anything, including the new Ministry cars. The four Marauders, myself, and Mr. and Mrs. Potter piled into the magically expanded Mercedes.

"Mum! But the roof down!" James requested, acting like a little child.

"What’s the magic word?" Mrs. Potter asked, scolding her son.

"Please?" James begged.

She laughed at her son’s antics, then Mrs. Potter lowered the roof and the warm summer wind whipped in our faces as we enjoyed the rare London sun. We had to drive on the highway for an hour before we reached James house.

Of course, there was no shortage of entertainment. We waved at cars, played the letter game, and scared the life out of Mrs. Potter with stories of our many escapades. I sat back, for a few minutes during it all, hardly believing that it had been an entire year since last summer. It felt like hardly any time at all, and all of a sudden, a new two months of love and fun were here.

We pulled into the driveway of the magnificent manor. Thirteen bedrooms, seven full baths, and numerous other rooms (including many secret ones), all fit into three stories. And of course, James’ secret (or, not so much) hide-away on the fourth floor, the attic.

We arrived to a Daily Prophet with a blaring headline. It read: Lord Voldemort Strikes Again.

Mr. Potter scanned the article, which had recapped previous attacks. But a new piece of information hit circulation. "People are starting to call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; they fear him so much that even his name instills terror in people.

"Remember, kids; fear of a name only increases fear of a thing itself." We nodded obediently.

"Dad?" Sirius asked. "Could we take that paper."

Mr. Potter smiled affectionately at him. "Of course."

Sirius grabbed the paper and motioned for us to follow. It was dark, and Sirius led us out the backdoor the Potter’s expansive property. The lush green grass was moist and we all sat in a circle, as Sirius had instructed us to.

Sirius put the paper in the middle of the circle and whipped out his wand. I had forgotten; he was of age, and could do magic. Not that it would have stopped him if he wasn’t. "Incendio Amplus."

I raised my eyebrows as Sirius said the incantation. He had used it once before. I waited a moment, and still couldn’t help but gasp as huge flames erupted around the newspaper.

"This is what I think of you, Voldemort," Sirius spat, looking angrily down at the paper. "You can just kiss my slightly hairy, pale arse."

We all laughed at Sirius' antics, but his face was serious. "I’m serious guys, I can feel it; this guy is going to cause some big problems. But we have to be above it."

We nodded. Somewhere, under our carefree, immature selves, we knew the severity of the situation. And we were just going to have a party all over it.


Chapter 20: You're the Death of Me
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Honey, honey, honey you're the death of me
Won't stop holding my hands down
Baby, baby, baby you'll never let me
-The Hush Sound

 

I groaned as the bright sunlight hit my eyes. It was far sunnier and hotter in Australia than it was in the U.K. By the intensity of the light, I thought it might be around ten in the morning, give or take an hour. I sat up as I realized that a tapping on the window was the cause of my rousing.

I looked around the large room to see Sirius, Peter and Remus each sleeping soundly in their beds. James was asleep on one of the desks in the room; I made a mental note to ask him about it when I woke him up. I opened the window and the owl flew in, dropping a note in my hands on it way to the perch at the far end of the room. It took a quick drink and was on its way quickly.

I looked down at the letter. In semi-neat, scrawling handwriting, was my name. I had received enough letters by that point to know that Stephen had written me.

Good job waking me up, Stephen, I thought.

I unrolled the letter and read:

Dear Anna,

Good morning! At the time I’ve sent this it should get to you at about ten, one morning or another. Goodness knows you lot need a wake-up call or you’ll sleep through the day.

How are you? I miss you far more than I can show in a letter.

I groaned. Was it terribly bad that I didn’t seem to miss him as much as he missed me?

We should be back in about a week, and I hope you’ll stay with me for a day. I miss my girlfriend.
I cringed with I read the word ‘girlfriend.’ I painfully wondered why I didn’t excite when I read it.

Say hi to the Marauders for me.

With Love,

Stephen

With love? With love!? Oh, Godric! He signed the letter with love!

"You look tense."

I nearly jumped out of my skin and certainly let out a yelp when I heard the deep voice speak. I spun around to see Remus standing behind me, with a small smile on his face.

"Godric! Remus you scared the living shit out of me!" My hand was clutched to my heart, feeling the rapid pulse.

He laughed. "Sorry, Anna. I woke up when I heard the owl, and you look rather distressed."

"Well, I’m not," I assured him. Remus gave me this scrutinizing look, much like the one that Dumbledore was known to give just before he showed knowledge of some information that he really shouldn’t know.

"Yes, you are." It wasn’t a question. I contemplated yelling at him, and telling him that he couldn’t know what I was feeling. The problem was, he was correct.

"Come on," he urged. "You’ve talked to me about your guy problems before."

I looked at him, wide-eyed. He knew way too much. "How did you-"

He nodded towards the letter.

"Ah." I looked down at the floor.

"I like Stephen, I really do; you’ve even seen how much!" Remus nodded as I tried to defend my feelings. "But I . . . I always feel as if something is off, as if something is missing. I don’t know if . . . If I like him as much as I used to, ever since he admitted he liked me."

Remus smirked. I could not believe it. He smirked! "Let a sleeping dragon lie," was the only advice that Remus gave before he turned and left the room. I stood stunned. How could he give that kind of advice.

"That’s crap!" I yelled after him. Remus continued walking, ignoring my cry. I looked over to the table where James was stirring. He rolled over . . . Right off the table.

"Ahhhh!" he screamed and he hit the carpet. "Whaz goin on?" he asked groggily, trying (and failing) to stand up.

"Go back to sleep, you idiot," I told him.

He nodded and put his head to the ground, falling asleep immediately.

___

I had decided to forgive Remus for his unhelpfulness. "So where are you guys going for tonight?"

Remus, more pale and sickly than usual, shrugged. "Eh, who knows. The outback is great for this sort of thing, apparently."

"Okay," I said. I grabbed the Marauders in a giant group hug before taking some floo powder from a crystal vase on top of the marble fireplace. " See you guys tomorrow. Three-hundred, Marks Street."

The green flames danced in my eyes and I was jerked around the wide fireplace. I knocked my head rather hard, before tumbling out of the fireplace onto a wood floor.

"Of course you wouldn’t come out on your feet," said a familiar voice.

I looked up to see Stephen looking down and smiling at me. I wanted to like him, and to smile back honestly, but, the smile was forced.

"Stephen!" I jumped up enthusiastically and kissed him quickly on the lips.

"Have you missed me?" he asked. Inwardly, I groaned. I felt as if he knew that I was doubting my previously strong feelings for him, and was trying to pry the truth out of me.

"Only a lifetime’s worth of missing," I told him, burying my head in his neck. I sighed, wishing that I could tell him that something was up; something in me could not do it. I credited the feeling to my strong friendship with him. Why? Because that's what people do to make themselves feel better about themselves.

"Your bags are already in your room," he told me, and put his hand on the small of my back, leading me upstairs. "D’you want to go swimming?"

"Yes!" I said excitedly, glad for an activity to take my mind off my thoughts, and the detachment that I was already feeling; rarely was I away from the Marauders so long.

Stephen left the room as I pulled out my bathing suit and quickly stripped off my jeans, t-shirt, underwear and bra. I pulled on the bright purple two-piece and sprinted out of the room. I stopped and backtracked a bit when I noticed Stephen stood outside my door waiting.

"Shall we?" he asked, he put his arm over me and his warm palm rested on my shoulder.

"We shall," I answered, pulling up my bathing suit top. I had trouble find tops in my size (which was larger than I would have liked), and it was a bit small.

"Leave it like that," Stephen whispered into my ear. I couldn’t help but laugh and think about how much he’d get beaten up by my brother if he had been here. Or the Marauders, for that matter.

Stephen discreetly slid his hand from my shoulder to that it was resting lightly on my chest. I turned to him and raised my eyebrows at him in a mocking way - he winked in return. 

We got outside and there was a beautiful, clear lake in the back, and a large dock attached. I detached myself from Stephen and sprinted across the remainder of the grass and dove clumsily off the dock, holding my nose so that I did not get water up my nose. Because that would be uncomfortable.

Stephen jumped in after me, and made a big splash. I laughed and dunked him under the water. He came back up and hugged me from behind, but refused any horseplay when I asked him.

"I wouldn’t want to accidentally hurt you," he explained. I frowned; the Marauders never cared for my safety. Well, actually, that was untrue; they did not, however, refuse to let me have my fun.

Later, at dinner, Stephen’s parents amused me with lively banter that never seemed present at my house. Stephen and I joined in whenever we could; his parents were outrageously intelligent, and both of us had trouble keeping up with them.

Later, they sat with us, discussing with Stephen a few of the current political matters of the Wizarding world. It amazed me how much Stephen knew about what was going on; I had never gotten that impression of him at Hogwarts. I hung back, and listened in intervals. This sort of thing did not interest me that much. Actually, I take that back - it did not interest me at all!

A kid at heart (forever I would be,) I didn’t enjoy those kind of discussions, seeing as I would much rather go mud-sliding or play Quidditch.

Eventually, Stephen’s parents went to sleep, after Stephen and I had separated and I had gone to the guest room to sleep. As kind as they were, Stephen’s parents were not very trusting. I was just dozing when I heard a soft knock on my door - Stephen wanted to me to meet him in the basement in ten minutes.

I chuckled, got up, and hung around in the basement for a little while before Stephen came down. He smirked at me, and without words, lightly pushed me down on coach I was lounging on. He lay down, partly on top of me, and we began to kiss. After a while I found his tongue in my mouth and his hands in various places around my body.

It was likely an hour when Stephen and I finally stopped snogging. I had begun to feel . . .  not uncomfortable, but fidgety. Partly because of the nature of the activities (I wasn’t so used to doing things like that; nor did I find it as enjoyable as some,) but more so because of who they were with. I felt rather sad as I bade Stephen goodnight because I knew that I didn't really like him as much as I once had.

But I decided, later that night, as I lay awake, that I would not break up with Stephen. He would be leaving in a month anyway; he had never done anything wrong to me. I would just 'let a sleeping dragon lie.'

Chapter 21: It's An Endless Summer (We Wish)
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It's an endless summer
I can feel the butterflies, leading me through it
Take my heart, I'll take your hand
-Plain White T's



"James! Peter! Remus! Sirius!" I shouted, after I had stumbled into the kitchen of the house the Potters had rented in Australia. I ran through the house, yelling each of the Marauders names, hoping someone would respond.

Suddenly, I ran into someone.

"Yo!" Sirius said cheerily, and I paused, not sure I had heard him right.

"Yo?"

"Yup," he replied. We both stared at each other for a bit, before breaking down into fits of laughter.

"Where the hell did you hear that?" I asked, holding my stomach, which hurt from laughing. It most likely wasn’t as funny as we found it, but what can I say?

"Dunno," he answered. "Probably all that TV we watched last time at your house. It’s corrupted me, it has."

He paused for a bit, then got a funny look on his face. "How did things go with Stephen?"

Something in his voice told me that he knew more than he should. "Damn, Remus," I muttered.

Sirius shook his head. "Don’t get mad at him, I practically threatened him to tell me."

I shrugged. "It went as well as that sort of thing can go. I think it was a rather good thing that this happened; if we had just stayed friends, and then he’d moved, I think it would have been far more devastating to me."

"You, devastated? I doubt that. The only way that would happen is if someone removed the words ‘fun’ or ‘food’ from the dictionary."

I just chuckled and shook my head at him, when I was struck, quite randomly, by a thought. "Oh! Sirius! Guess what I learned to do while you were all off frolicking in the Australian Outback!"

"What?"

"I learned to fly!" I ran out of the house to the front yard, where there was the most perfect tree to climb. It was nearly seventy feet tall, and had thick branches escalating all the way to the top.

I jumped (slightly ungracefully) and grabbed the bottom-most one. I climbed up another few branches and looked to the ground, wobbling unsteadily, a huge grin on my face. I was probably ten feet up.

Sirius had run out after me. "Don’t jump, you dolt! You can’t fly and you know it!"

"Stop crushing my dreams!" I yelled at him, and I took off. I imagine it must have looked like it does in the cartoons, because I really did stay suspended in air for a little while, running comically in midair. Eventually, however, gravity won out; and down I came.

"You idiot!" Sirius cried, as he rushed out to where I was about to land.

In the nick of time, Sirius appeared below me, and I came crashing down onto him heavily. I landed right in his arms and at first I thought he was going to stay standing. But, he buckled under the force as we went down together.

Of course I found the entire situation hilarious and began to laugh, rolling around in the grass and dirt next to him.

"You’re going to kill yourself one day, you know," Sirius said angrily, but I knew he didn’t mean it because he was never angry with me. Before long, he began to laugh as well.

I shrugged. "Well as long as you come to my funeral . . ."

We lay on the grass for a while, far too lazy and weakened from laughter to get up. The comfy, well-cared-for grass was soft and felt good on my bare feet and in my fingers. The freshly cut smell filled my nostrils and I breathed deeply, enjoying the momentary peace.

"How about we go flying for real, like, on a broom?" Sirius suggested suddenly.

I rolled away from where I was lying against Sirius and pushed myself up to stand. "Well, if you insist."

Jumping up, he put his arm around my shoulder and steered me towards the beach house. It was quite a nice place; with the front of it bordered by a huge lawn of soft, green grass, and the back with a little verandah that led onto the shore, with its hot white sand and the warm ocean lapping in tiny waves. All of our brooms (Remus, Peter, Sirius, James, myself, and James’ parents) were lined up against the wall out the back, and Sirius and I quickly grabbed our respective brooms.

He winked at me quickly before jumping onto his broom and rising up into the air. I hopped on mine and raced up to him, eager not to miss out. "Want to have a game of catch?" he asked, as the Quaffle-shaped ball that sat at the back door suddenly appeared in his hands.

Grinning, I flew backwards quickly before throwing my hands up and shouting back, "I’m open!"

The ball was thrown effortlessly back and forth for quite a while after that, as we dove and swerved through the air. There were several fantastic catches, including one by Sirius when he was no more than a foot from the ground, until I made a particularly haywire throw and the ball, travelling rather fast, hit Sirius squarely in the head.

He jerked backwards and tipped dangerously off the edge of the broom, clutching his head.

"Bloody hell!" he cried

"Oh, shit!" I flew over to Sirius and saw an angry red mark straight in the middle of his forehead. It looked painful. "Erm, sorry?"

He rolled his eyes and hit me on the back of my head. "How do you like it?" he asked, and I pouted immaturely.

He started laughing and began to fly towards the ground. I followed and figured that the least I could do was get him some ice.

I touched the ground and tipped my broom up against the house once again. I banged the door open loudly and made my way into the kitchen, where I went over to the freezer that belonged to the Muggles we had rented the house off of. I quickly filled a bag with ice and ran back out.

Sirius was sitting in one of the beach chairs by the water and was leaning back with his hand on his head. I came up next to him and dangled the bag of ice teasingly above his head. Then I smiled, enjoying the fact that all of a sudden he was below me.

"I’m taller than you," I informed him knowingly.

He stood up and softly pushed me backwards by my shoulders, putting his hands on his hips. "Are you now?"

Without hesitation, I climbed up and stood on the chair he had just vacated. "Yeah, I’d like to think I am."

He shook his head. "You know, it’s really sad that even standing on a chair you’re not as tall as me." He jumped up onto the small table next to the chair, flaunting his height. To prove it even more, he then proceeded to jump down, pick me up as if I weighed nothing, and flip me over his shoulder.

"Let me down, you twit!" I said, unable to keep a serious voice as I laughed, because in actuality I couldn’t care less whether he put me down or not. In fact, I kind of liked being carried everywhere; I trusted Sirius not to drop me. He ran into the house, my feet into knocking into things as we went, and the bag of ice (that I had gotten for him out of the kindness in my heart) was flung from my hands and slid into a wall.

I screamed as Sirius lifted me and threw me onto the couch. I cringed into the corner and attempted to defend myself with a pillow as he pounced on top of me.

"Ugh," I groaned. "How much do you weigh?" I asked him as well as I could while muffled by the protective pillow. "I think you punctured my lungs."

He only laughed. In faux-anger I grabbed his shoulders and pushed him off the couch, but he grabbed onto my waist and we went toppling over together. He flipped me over so that I was trapped on my back. Sirius stood up and rested his foot on my stomach. He laughed and looked down at me triumphantly. "Looks like I’ve won. I should be giving you lessons on how to beat people."

I raised my eyebrows, and gave a sly smile. "Not really . . . Lesson One: Always catch your enemy off guard."

Before Sirius knew what had happened I had pulled out his feet out from under him in one swipe of my arm and he came crashing towards the ground. I rolled out of the way and knocked my head on the glass coffee table. "Ow," I groaned.

"Oh yeah? Lesson Two: Always take advantage of the enemy when she’s down." Sirius scurried backwards and pinned me to the ground by my shoulders.

"Lesson Three: Take advantage of your enemy’s anatomy." I aimed a kicked at Sirius groin but honest fear appeared on his face and he let go of my shoulders quickly so that he could dodge it.

"That’s not something to even joke about, Anastasia," he told me, out-of-breath, a strange look on his face. He was actually scared of me.

I found this incredibly funny, but Sirius didn’t think it was.

"What? You don’t think it’s funny that I find something funny that you don’t find funny?" I asked simply.

"Even if that made sense, I still wouldn’t listen to you," he said, then an evil look replaced the recent one of fear. "Lesson Four: Go in for the final kill when your enemies distracted." Sirius dove back of top of me. His hands pinned my shoulders down once again and he held my legs down with his own as he sat on me. "Now, I really win."

He was so heavy I knew I couldn’t move, but refused to admit that he won. So I just lay there quietly, glaring at him. His gorgeous bright, grey eyes smiled at me, and I knew my own hazel eyes betrayed the fun I was having, even I was going for the angry look. Sirius leaned in a bit, smirking even more as he stared intently into my eyes, his reflected in mine.

I felt a smile begin to crack on my face, and bit my lips together in an effort to keep it from forming. I couldn’t move any part of my body, but if I could have, I decided that I would have head-butted him.

Sirius leaned in more again. The smirk was still on his face and his grey eyes had lightened even more, as they tended to when he was scheming. He reached up and brushed a few strands of hair that had been lying across my face in an annoying way.

His face was only a few inches from mine now, and I smirked back at him, lightly biting the corner of my lip as he got closer. Randomly, a thought ran through my head. I suspected he was about to bite my nose off.

"Hey! We’re back!"

Sirius and I jumped apart to see James, Peter, and Remus standing in the door way, laden with bags. Mr. and Mrs. Potter followed, levitating several more.

"We have food!" yelled James. The other two boys cheered and continued farther into the kitchen to put the bags down.

I jumped up, the thought of food exciting me, and ran towards the kitchen, growling at Sirius as he passed me. I skidded into the kitchen just after him and watched him dive bomb the glass kitchen table. Mrs. Potter, always aware, cast a quick spell and levitated Sirius before he hit the table.

"You’re mad!" she yelled at him, though she was laughing far more than she was angry.

"But I was hungry!" Sirius whined, who was still chilling up in the air, looking as though he was lounging on some kind of invisible recliner. Mrs. Potter lowered her wand and rolled her eyes as Sirius felt softly into a heap on the ground. "You’re always hungry, Sirius."

"You’re an idiot, mate," James informed him, sitting down and ripping open a bag of crisps so that they went flying everywhere.

____

"Now, let me know if my sons are misbehaving," Mrs. Potter informed my mother, as we all stood around the fireplace in my living room. "They can be a tad immature sometimes."

We had stayed in Australia for a week, and then decided that we could give Mr. And Mrs. Potter some peace and quiet. Peter had returned home to visit his family for a few weeks; for undisclosed reasons we were never allowed to visit his house during the summer.

Just then, Jason, who was an established Healer and well into his twenties (may I remind you,) ran out of the kitchen brandishing a bright green light that was coming out of the tip of his wand like a sword. He made lots of whooshing noises as sound-effects, and stopped moving as the green light tipped dangerously close to the top of our mother’s head.

"Oh no, they’ll fit right in," my mother exclaimed, laughing. I had noticed that she loosened up a bit since last summer. I was very excited.

Jason jumped around a bit more, then ran back into the kitchen and accidentally knocked a vase off the granite island in the middle of the room. He quickly repaired it with a bit of a guilty look as everyone, including Mrs. Potter, stared at him in silence, clearly thinking he was mad.

Jason retracted the green beam of light into his wand and glared at us. "What? You’re all just jealous that I saw the greatest movie ever and you didn’t." Jason waved his wand again, and the green light reappeared. Leaving us utterly confused, he bounced out of the room quickly, performing complicated patterns with his strange little glowing weapon.

I ran after him into the next room. "Wait! Take us!"

"Why should I?" asked Jason, turning around with his hand on the door knob, the wand now stuck in his belt like a sword ready for use.

"Because we’re freaking awesome," I responded. I might as well use the truth.

Sirius, Remus, and James had joined me in the next room. Jason stopped, his hand stroking his chin, contemplating my request. "Well, alright. But only because I really want to see the movie again."

We all cheered. "To the CJ!" cried James. In a stampede, we raced back into the kitchen, and, after a quick goodbye to Mrs. Potter and my mother, we charged down the stairs and piled into Jason’s Jeep.

Jason quickly started the car and backed out of the driveway, the revving motor exciting me as it did every time, like we were starting off on a brand new adventure.

Sirius, thinking it would be funny, put his hands over Jason’s eyes, but when Jason growled at Sirius he quickly retracted them. "You think this thing drives itself? Idiot." Jason told him off.

"Just kidding. Not that it actually does drive itself, but . . ."

Luckily, for the rest of the ride, Sirius refrained from making any stupid moves that could potentially make all of us dead.

We pulled up in front of the theatre a short time later, and I eyed the keys the Jason pulled out of the ignition after he had parked the Jeep. "I get to drive in two years!" I yelled excitedly, as we all hopped out. "Which means I’ll be eighteen in two years! Which isn’t quite as exciting as being seventeen and of age, but still . . ."

"Why drive when you can ride a broomstick?" James asked, ever the wizard. "It’s way more dangerous."

"But I want to drive the CJ," I whined, then noticed we were approaching the revolving doors.

Ooo, revolving doors……

"Yay!" shouted Sirius. He ran towards the doors and began to circle his way around, bouncing up and down like a kid on a ride. Remus jumped into a different compartment to copy him, and I slid into the one next to him a moment later. Lastly, James and Jason hopped into the remaining section of door.

A good three minutes of chasing our own tails later, the manager of the theatre, wearing a red vest over her white button-up shirt, stormed over. "All five of you! Get out of there, before I throw you out of the theatre!"

We quickly got out, eager to get away from the scary lady and see the movie. Jason approached the ticket window. "Six tickets to Star Wars, please," he said, taking out a few pound notes. "Wait, I lied. Just five." The old lady behind the glass gave an annoyed look, before pushing a large red button five times, and handing a stream of tickets to Jason as he gave her the money.

"Come on," said Jason, beckoning us to follow him into the next room. "I’m hungry." We pushed through the glass doors and arrived at the snack bar.

Sirius’ eyes lit up. "Holy fuck!" he shouted. "Look at all of this; it’s a like a Muggle Honeydukes!"

I shook my head and hit him on the backside of the head. "You idiot, no one knows what either of those things are. Not to mention there are kids around."

Sirius looked around and ducked his head on shame. He openly apologized to the disgruntled parents. "Jason," he whispered. "Can we pretty pretty please buy everything?"

It took quite a bit to convince Jason that Sirius was, well, serious. But once we did, Jason was all for the idea. Behind the counter was a bored looking young girl of about sixteen or seventeen. "We’d like one of everything please," I told her.

She gave me a dirty look and turned back to her register, wiping something off of one of the countertops absently. "Let me know when you’re really getting something."

"Excuse me. I was serious."

"No, I was," Sirius whispered, next to me.

I hit him on the back of the head again. "Hello?"

"What do you want?" snarled the disgruntled girl, spinning around.

"Everything!" I told her again.

"Go take the mickey out of someone else," the blonde told me angrily.

Jason stepped in. "She’s serious, miss."

"No, I am!" Sirius retorted, louder. This time it was Jason who hit him, much harder than I had. Sirius groaned and clutched the back of his head.

The girl still looked sceptical and I was getting quite frustrated with her. The movie was already beginning, not that we’d miss anything but previews. But still.

After Jason had finally convinced the girl that we wanted everything, and handed over quite a bit of money, we each had our arms overfilling with unhealthy snacks.

Finally ready to see the movie, we quickly hobbled down the corridor to the farthest theatre in the building, Sirius dropping a bag of Mars Bars on the way. He kicked them the remainder of the way. When we got to the door I turned and rammed into it with my back, holding it open as we made our way in. There was no one else in the dark room.

"The movie’s been out for quite some time now," Jason informed us as he set all the drinks down in the cup-holders. "Most people have seen it."

Placing the food down in the seats surrounding us, we eventually picked good spots right in the middle row. And, after we had settled into our large, comfy seats, the most epic movie any of us had ever seen began.

____

Some two hours and some odd minutes later, the lights in the theatre clicked on and film stopped rolling.

I looked around the theatre, blinking my eyes a little to get used to the sudden bright light now that I had left the enthralling, futuristic world of Star Wars, and returned to reality.

"That. Was. Awesome!"

"Oh Godric, was it!" Sirius agreed enthusiastically. Then he grinned. "Though I have to say, even the fact that Muggles can get such a giant picture to talk is incredible!"

"It’s called a movie, Sirius," Remus informed him.

"Yeah, it’s called a movie, Sirius," James mimicked mockingly, plunging his hand into the still-full bucket of popcorn.

"You didn’t even know that," Jason said, as he grabbed some of the garbage we had created and threw it out in the nearby rubbish bins. We had done a fair job of eating all the junk and were all extremely full; although to be fair, most of it went into the garbage disposal known as Sirius Black. After the amount we had bought, we, of course, still had some food left over. But I knew it wouldn’t last long once we brought it home.

"Okay, I’m bored now," I said, as we left the theatre a few minutes later. "Let’s watch it again!"

"No! Let’s go eat," Sirius suggested, throwing some popcorn in his mouth.

We all stopped in front of the CJ, and looked at Sirius incredulously.

Then a smile formed on my face.

"Okay!"


A/N: The world of Star Wars is not mine. Nor do I live in it. (Sadly.) Thanks to wheresmyedward for looking over this chapter, giving advice, and fixing up a few things. :D

A/N2: I'm very proud of myself for restraining and not putting up this chapter immediately. But the good news is since I'm spacing a few days in between, that's most likely the longest you guys will have to wait. (Incase I have brain spasms, writer's block, and run out of sequential chapters all in one week.)



Chapter 22: You Were The Ones Who Sat Through Nights
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You were the one who sat through nights
. . .
And I thank you for the love you gave to me
Wherever you go, I will be waiting
-Amber Pacific


"Don’t worry, Anna; we’ll be fine."

It’s easier, now that Anna knows about my lycanthropy, I thought, as an unexpected feeling of relief washed through me. I had never realized how much it bothered me that Anna, one of my best friends, didn’t know everything about me.

"Did I ever say I was worried?" she retorted, kicking her feet up on the couch and leaning back to watch some television; Sirius, James and I were going to be making a journey to the Shrieking Shack for my transformation.

"Anastasia’s never worried," Sirius said. It was true; the fact that she was never prissy or fussy was one of the things us four guys loved about her. I don’t think we could have handled it if she was a real girl.

"Yeah Anastasia’s never worried," she mimicked, grinning stupidly.

I sighed. Those two were like little kids, and probably would be forever. "Alright guys, let’s get going before it gets dark."

We said goodbye to Anna before I told my mother I was going to leave for my transformation.

I heard James yawn and say, "We’re rather tired, Mrs. Lupin, I think we’re going to head to bed."

Wow, that was original.

I waited outside behind a bush for a few minutes, before I saw them tiptoeing out the back door. I quickly looked down at my watch; it was eight o’clock. We’d all passed our Apparation tests, so we decided to apparate just beyond Hogsmeade.

"Try not leave an eyebrow behind again, Sirius," James joked.

Sirius glared. His not-so-great Apparation abilities were a touchy subject with him.

"Here we go," I said, before turning on the spot and landing in front of a large black gate a few moments later. James and Sirius landed beside me a moment later, all stumbling a little.

"Come on," I said, almost excitedly, trying to enjoy these last few moments.

These days, our little trips into the Shrieking Shack had become almost fun, well, until the transformation of course. But on our way through the village, we always messed around, easily fending off the knowledge of what would come in an hours time.

We stopped quickly into Honeyduke’s and Sirius bought some chocolate before carefully placing it in his pack.

Our liveliness died down slightly, as it always did when the sun began to set overhead, and the darkness began to creep from the shadows; it foretold the night we were about to have. The Shrieking Shack became visible and within five minutes we arrived at the gate. We looked around, quickly, to make sure no one was watching.

James and Sirius slipped past the gate, me trailing behind just slightly, my feet lagging as I walked to my prison for the night. We walked another hundred or so meters, and, with a sigh of acceptance, entered the supposedly haunted building. The outside looked quite decrepit, but the inside was something we ourselves had fixed up.

Despite the shacks primary reason for being here, we had turned it into a little spot for us to hang out when we felt like it. We had all grown to love it, with the exception of nights like this. Sirius set his pack down in a corner and crashed onto the crimson, velvet couch. I sat down on the identical couch across from him. James took up the remaining two armchairs for himself. (The other was for the normally present Peter.)

"Damn, I’m tired," said Sirius, stretching out with a yawn.

"Don’t fall asleep," I advised him. "You might not wake up."

"Ah, wise advice from a wise boy."

"I’m not a man, Sirius?" I queried. He was setting himself up.

"Definitely not," he replied. I doubted he knew what my response was going to be. The sad part was that we had held similar conversations multiple times before.

I paused for effect,. "Really? Because I know quite a few girls who would beg to differ."

The arrogant smirk fell from Sirius’ face.

"Just because I don’t sleep around . . ." Sirius taunted, the smirk back already.

"Eh, I think you’re jealous, mate," I responded, waving off his attempted insult.

"I agree with Remus," James said.

"Thanks, Prongs," I said with a righteous nod.

"No problem, Moony," he said, laughing at Sirius’ expression.

"Well I don’t!" Sirius reinforced his words. "Besides, I don’t need that experience because the gir-"

Sirius’ words were cut off as a jolt of pain shot through my body and, unable to contain it, I cried out.

"Shit," Sirius said. I watched through slightly hazy eyes as Sirius and James transformed.

I cried out again as I felt all the parts of my body extend, as if every piece of me was being stretched and twisted to it’s limit. I dropped to all fours and rolled onto my back in pain. And once again I felt my bones growing and snapping, making way for new ones.

It was a minute that felt like a lifetime for me.

When I opened my eyes again, I was no longer Remus Lupin. I was a werewolf - the real Moony. I looked upon the animals in front of me, a large shaggy black dog and a huge stag. They were no longer my friends. The dog suddenly took off through a corridor and with an inhuman growl I followed. It was easy for me to keep up with it.

I saw the shine of the moon through an opening and I felt a shudder through me, its sight empowering me. I could still think properly, albeit from a werewolf’s perspective, but that never lasted long. Before long my mind would give over to the animal instincts and everything would become blurred and unclear until morning, like a dream. But far more like a nightmare.

I put on a burst of speed and shot through the opening with a howl, before being knocked harshly aside. I whimpered as a felt blood gush from my head, and my vision became splotchy. I saw the dog run towards me as everything became muddled and I lost consciousness.

___

 
"Ugh."

My head throbbed painfully and I lifted my hand to the source. My hair was matted with blood.

"He’s awake!" I heard a familiar voice yell from next to me. The sound vibrated through my mind violently.

"Sirius, always sensitive to the weak, you are," I mumbled.

"He’s talking!" he yelled again. I tried laughing at Sirius’ tactlessness, but stopped immediately at the searing pain in my ribs.

I heard foot steps and opened my eyes a slight bit to see James standing above me. "Well, that was a new way to spend full moon, mate. Sirius heard something outside while you were transforming and wentto go check it out, and you followed. Then you got knocked by the Whomping Willow. You completely passed out."

"I see," was all I could say. I was still gathering my thoughts.

"Scourgify," James said. He jerked his wand upwards and I watched the grime disappear from my skin. I felt the back of my head; the blood was gone. "You’re kind of bruised up, mate, but I don’t know how much I can do about that. You had a few broken bones that I’ve already fixed. Do you think you can Apparate?"

"Probably not," I admitted reluctantly.

"Then grab onto my arm; we’ve got to get back before your mom notices we’ve gone."

I nodded, and James helped me up to a standing position. With his support, I stood up and soon I felt a strong compression on my chest. I gasped as we landed, then stumbled. James and Sirius held me upright, and we quietly snuck into my house. We had just gotten into my room, and quietly closed to door behind us, when there was the sound of footsteps. James shoved me haphazardly onto my bed, and the Marauders each dove into their sleeping bags, which were placed on the floor next to my bed.

The door opened and I slowed my breath to make it sound like I was sleeping.

"Relax, you nutters, it’s only me."

We all gave a simultaneous sigh of relief as we looked up to see Anna. Her long, dark hair was tousled and she had dark circles under her eyes.

"I hope you didn’t stay up all night worrying about us?" I asked.

"Of course not; you’re starting to sound as full of yourself as Sirius does. I was up all night watching movies. I almost left to go to the theatre and see Star Wars again, but I decided not to.

"Speaking of which, I’m tired," she added, looking thoughtful as if suddenly realizing a night without sleep could result in fatigue. I grinned.

Anna crossed the room and draped herself over my armchair. She shifted and moved constantly for nearly a minute before she stopped.

"You can’t be comfortable like that," Sirius said.

"Oh, but I am." Nothing else was said.

"Morning, you lot," I said sleepily, closing my eyes.

"Morning," they all mumbled back.


A/N: Yay! Remus' POV! First off, I'd like to give a thanks to me beta-like chapter looker-over, wheresmyedward. Completely incredible. :D

A/N2: I know updates are coming slower, but, I'm trying to give them some space so I have time to write the chapters. Hope you guys all understand. :D



Chapter 23: You Know You're Everything to Me
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Your laugh is a disease

. . .
You know you're everything to me
...
Tear down your defenses,


Till there's nothing there but me

-Goo Goo Dolls



I arrived in the Leaky Cauldron by Floo just in time to see Anastasia pick herself up off the ground. Go figure.

"You’re going to accidentally blow up the world one day," I told her, as she dusted herself off.

"Let’s hope not," she said seriously. "Then there’d be no more food."

"Wouldn’t matter if you weren’t there to eat it," I remarked.

She paused for a few seconds, probably trying to think of an acceptable comeback. "Shut up."

Yeah, Anastasia. Real good one.

"Are you two bickering already?" Remus asked, stepping through the fire, and landing with a grace Anastasia severely lacked.

"Yes."

"No."

Anastasia laughed.

Light, care-free, airy. I had always thought that a laugh could tell a lot about a person. Anastasia’s said, quite plainly, that she lived life how it should be lived. Filled with fun, and enjoying every bit of it. I loved listening to her laugh; it always made me feel happy.

James stepped through the fire a few seconds after Remus. "Are they bickering already?" He turned to Remus.

Remus nodded sadly.

We looked around the pub. It was fairly empty; mostly filled with middle-aged Wizards who stopped to have a drink on the way home from work.

"Drinks!" Anastasia yelled suddenly, jumping up a foot from the ground and taking off towards Tom, the barman, who had been sitting calmly on a stool until he spotted her. His eyes widened in alarm. Just slightly.

I wasn’t far behind her.

"Three fire whiskeys, and a butterbeer," I asked, before Anastasia could order something.

"Who’s the butterbeer for?" she asked, glaring at me from more than a foot below my sight line.

"You?"

I shook my head. "No. You."

She chose that moment to make an undistinguishable noise, halfway between a laugh, a yawn and possibly a snort. "Well, that was. . . odd," I said, smiling at how strange she was.

Remus nudged me (rather hard, I might add) and smirked at me. I almost rolled my eyes at him. What is with this bloke and smirking? I wondered.

Before I could inquire as to the uncalled for pain he kept causing me in my ribs, Anastasia nudged me, her mind back to the subject. "So why can’t I have firewhiskey?" she asked, in an unnecessary whisper.

"Because you’re not of age," I whispered back.

"Technically there’s no age you have to be to drink firewhiskey. And since when has that stopped us before?"

I looked at her with an unreadable visage. "I don’t care; you’re not getting smashed."

"But I’m not going to get smashed, I don’t even like getting smashed." she complained, louder than her previous whisper. She listed off the reasons on her fingers. "It’s no fun; it’s embarrassing and potentially dangerous, well at least for the people around us. And always painful. Not to mention, I can’t even remember the stupid things we do when we’re out of it that much. I much rather have memories of my stupidity."

She was such an oddball. "How responsible of you?" I asked, unsure of what exactly she was proving.

She shook her head. "Let’s not go with that."

Anastasia never was the responsible type.

"Three firewhiskey's and a butterbeer," Tom said. He smiled at us with his ever toothless grin. I handed him some change and we each grabbed our drink and went to sit down at a table.

Anna pounded on the table. "We’re getting ice cream after this, right?" she prodded.

Her voice was so much like her laugh. Always upbeat.

"No," James said.

"Liar," she spat, then busied herself with downing half her butterbeer.

I attempted something similar with my firewhiskey, but I nearly screamed when most of the glass of firewhiskey skimmed the walls of my throat, burning them, and my eyes watered just a tiny bit. I decided against doing that again. Ever.

"Awww, is da poor baby Siwius cwying?"

I looked over at Anastasia, who was sitting there, innocently fluttering her long eyelashes at me.

"Don’t even answer that, Sirius," Remus advised. "You two will just get into a fight again."

We all sat in silence for a while, busy with our drinks.

"I won," Anastasia whispered into my ear, grinning.

I jumped up from my seat, outraged. "She’s mocking me!"

"And you’re making a scene!" Remus complained, at a much lower volume.

"Alright, I think it’s time to go." James was standing, and looking around the pub. I quickly followed his lead as I noticed how many stares we were attracting.

Remus quickly obliged. "Agreed."

Anastasia of course had to then be practically dragged out of the pub - she just loved making a scene.

Luckily for us, she turned compliant once we told her that we were going to find ice cream. In fact, she ran ahead of us – only to be stopped within moments. "Guys," she said impatiently, jumping from side to side on the spot while she waited. "I don’t have my wand. Hurry your arses up and make the gateway open."

I smiled and came up next to her. I pulled my wand out and tapped the bricks on the wall in front of us. The red bricks seemed to fold away into midair as the gateway to Diagon Alley opened up.

"Yippee!" Anastasia cried, and began to skip and spin down the wide, gravel walkway. Occasionally, she would stumble and regain her balance, before going off once again. Sometimes, she was just too much for her own good.

Maybe that’s what makes her so magnetic,
I reasoned with myself.

Remus turned towards me and nudged me. Again. He threw a glance at Anastasia, then back at me, and grinned. At that point, I decided that we would need to work on his subtlety.

I shrugged and made a face, pretending I was clueless as to what he was suggesting.

He whispered to me, so that only James and I could hear, "I’ve known you for six bloody years; don’t you think I can tell when something’s up? Besides, you gave yourself away at the Shack last week. Don’t think we don’t know what you were going to say?"

I looked down. Damn. "I didn’t mean it like that! Well, I did. But. . . It was kind of a . . . test, of sorts. To see what I was really thinking. I’m not even sure of what I feel anymore." And it was true. After being best friends with someone for five years, it’s hard to think straight when you suddenly started to feel this way. Especially this way. Especially with Anastasia.

"You do realize," James said, as Anastasia told us to hurry up and twirled ungracefully through the door into the ice cream parlor, "that you just defended yourself for something you never said."

He winked, then he and Remus sped up their walk a bit and left me to die. Well, not literally. But still, to think about a few things. 

Maybe you don’t like her. Maybe you’re making it all up,
I told my mind hopefully.

But how could it not be? 

It’s not like you’ve been trying to have these feelings,
I countered. So why do you still have them?

Maybe, oh I don’t know, because you like her?

But are you sure?

Well of course not. Why would you be arguing with me if you were?

Because, you know, if you decide that it is true, it could mean death. And possible severing of arms for being such an idiot. 

 "Stop being such a pessimist," I said loudly, annoyed. The arguing had been no help. I jumped and nearly screamed when a large hand clamped on my shoulder.

"All right there, Sirius?"

I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard Hagrid’s thick tones.

"Yeah, I think so. I’ve got to be going though, sorry! See you at Hogwarts!"

I gave him a wave and hurried after my companions into Florean Fortescue’s.

James, Remus and Anastasia had already ordered and received three huge dark chocolate sundaes. "The same, please, with extra nuts!" I called to Mr. Fortescue. He gave a smile and a nod (we were regulars here, thanks to Anastasia) and went to fix it.

I sat down with them at a table and waited.

"Wasa twok s lang?" Anastasia said, her full with chocolaty goodness.

"Umm . . . yes?"

Anastasia swallowed and smirked. "That’s not the correct answer. I said, What took so long?"

For a moment, I thought about telling her that I was just thinking. But that led to questions. And questions led to confessions. And I realized that if I wasn’t even sure yet, I certainly shouldn’t let Anastasia know about it. Not for a long time, anyway. "I saw Hagrid."

Well, it was partially true. And it was better than telling Anastasia about what really took me so long. That I was finally figuring out I. . . I. . .
 
Fuck, I chided myself. I can’t even admit it inside my mind. Okay, you have to do this now. If you say, maybe you’ll finally accept it’s true.

I like Anastasia.

Remus nudged me again, and I gave a sound of exasperation. "Dammit, Remus, what is it with you and nudging me? Is it pass the nudge day? Should I nudge James now? Because I think I’m getting a bruise."

Remus was shaking with what I could only assume was unreleased laughter. "Er, no. I was just going to say that Anna’s been trying to get your attention for nearly a minute now."

"Oh. Right, right," I mumbled. "Yes?"

"Your ice cream’s sitting there waiting."

I nodded, thankful at a chance to get up from the table and breath properly . I took my time searching through my pocket for a sickle and paid for the sundae. I sat back down and took a bite. My eyes glazed over in indulgence.

"Damn. It’s like a -"

"Fucking explosion in your mouth! We know!"

I hung my head. "Aww, don’t be sad," Anastasia got up and put her arms around me. "We’re just kidding. Promise."

I was about to smile gratefully, when she wiped her hand across my face - she had covered my face in chocolate.

James and Remus were cracking up, and Anastasia had her superior little smile on - the one that she always wore when she broke a rule, or bested someone. All of her teeth shown brightly.

I thought about my situation. I thought about Anastasia. And then I thought, What would Anastasia do?

But I barely had a chance to think about that particular question before Remus grabbed my arm roughly. "We’ll be right back."

I thought we’d be going for a nice little walk, so everyone could mock my chocolate face. (I hadn't thought to bring out my wand, and no one had offered to, either.)

He stopped me right outside the door, and quickly looked into one of the windows before facing me again.

"You know Anastasia; you know what she’s like. What you don’t know, is what she’s told me."

I tried to comprehend his words, to no avail. I was confused. "Huh?"

"Don’t tell her you like her," he advised.

I didn’t even bother arguing with him. "Why?" I asked.

He took a deep breath. "Remember Aaron, Stephen?" I nodded. "She liked them both. Until they told her she liked them back."

I couldn’t see what this had to do with me. "And . . .?"

Remus sighed and rolled his eyes. He obviously thought I was an idiot - which I was, so, no arguments there. "So, I know you’re still figuring out exactly how you feel about her, but when you do, don’t say anything to her. She doesn’t like anything serious-"

"Except for me!" I butted in. Ah, I love those jokes. They never get old.

Remus hit me hard in the arm (he was getting rather violent these days) before continuing. "You know she doesn’t like being held down. And if you tell her you like her, you’re going to ruin five years of friendship. You might be a seventeen-year-old dude, but she’s just a kid, Sirius; she’s not ready for something like that yet."

I frowned, still thinking, and Remus sighed. "Just think about it." He pulled out his wand and pointed it at my face. "Scourgify." And then walked away.

He left me standing there, with only my thoughts, and a clean face. 

Damn, there's still chocolate up my nose. 



A/N: Thanks so much to wheresmyedward for a bunch of help on this chapter! (A lot of thanks.)

A/N2: I'm so, so sorry. I don't think I've ever had a longer space between updates on this story, even when I had to wait for the queue. This should be the last terrible wait though - the next chapter is the last one for a while that I actually have to write; after that, there's at least ten that are already done.



Chapter 24: I Can't Breathe When I'm Around Her
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I can't breathe when I'm around her
I'll wait here everyday, in case she'll scratch the surface
She'll never notice
-the academy Is...



"Yo! Pete! How’s it hanging?" Sirius bounded up to Peter, who had just walked in through James’ front door.

There was one week until school started again, and Peter had finally been relinquished from the clutches of his over-protective mother.

Peter’s face reddened and he looked down. "Bloody mum, always driving me crazy."

"Don’t sweat it, Pete," James said, and threw his arm around Peter’s shoulder. "We’ve all got parental issues at one point or another.

I glanced at Sirius and saw a dark look cross his face. Anna narrowed her eyes in Sirius’ direction, and hopped up from the armchair she was sitting on to whisper something in Sirius’ ear. They had a hushed conversation for a few moments before Anna grabbed his wrist and dragged him out of the room.

"How long do you give them ‘till they start shagging?" I asked with a smirk.

"Seven minutes," Peter said.

I burst out laughing. "No. I meant it more as a ‘how long will it take for Anna to start liking him, and then, how long will Sirius be able to pretend that he doesn’t actually like her?’"

James nodded sagely, put poor Peter just looked confused, and I realized that he had been missing during several enlightening moments over the holidays. "Ah, there are some things we should perhaps fill you in on. . ."

"Well, now that that’s taken care of." Anna reentered the room looking quite satisfied, and Sirius looked decidedly less glum.

I closed my eyes, willing myself patience. "I will refrain from making awkward sexual jokes, I will refrain from making awkward sexual jokes," I repeated under my breath.

"Say something, Moony?" Sirius asked, raising his eyebrow’s daringly.

"Nothing, dear Padfoot," I assured him.

We sat in silence for a bit. James and Peter were on opposite ends of the couch and I sat on an armchair across from them. Sirius and Anna sat together on the smaller couch, and I couldn’t help but notice that they were sitting rather close. I gave a slight smirk.

"Supper’s ready, dears," Mrs. Potter poked her head into the room and smiled. "You lot hungry?"

Anna jumped up with a grin. "Always, Mrs. Potter."

She sped out after the older woman, chatting away.

"Damn," Sirius said, rolling his eyes. "I swear if that girl had no one else to talk to she’d probably start blabbering on to trees."

James shrugged. "Nah, she just talks to herself instead; probably has lots of self - reflecting time, that one."

He seemed ready to go on, but Peter interrupted, quick to catch up. "So, Sirius. I heard you might fancy a certain someone."

Sirius looked from Peter, to James, to myself. "I might . . .

There was silence and we all looked skeptical.

"Okay, I absolutely bloody do."

We were all shocked to speechlessness. I couldn’t speak for Peter or James, but I had certainly not expected him to come to terms with it so quickly.

"You know," James teased. "That you’re practically in love with a boy?"

"Nuh-uh," Peter cut in, defended Sirius’ sexual orientation before he could. "She got the long hair and all the girl . . . bits and stuff."

Sirius let out a short, tense, bark-like laugh. "Okay, Conversation over now," he burst out, beginning to head into the kitchen for dinner. I noticed how similar he was to James in the way he ran a hand through his hair, until he shook out his hair in a manner much like someone else. I grinned.

"You know," I told Sirius conversationally. "Anna does the same thing with her hair."

Sirius gave a slight frown of confusion and looked inquisitively at me. "Huh?"

"You know," I continued. "She mucks it all up with her hand then shakes her head out."

Sirius groaned. "I don’t want to talk about this," he claimed, and quickly fled past us. In an undertone only I could hear he quickly said to me, "Remus, I need to talk to you later."

I gave a discreet nod as Sirius continued his fast-paced escape to the kitchen.

___

Dinner was a hilarious affair. Mr. and Mrs. Potter sat next to each other, and across from James. "So we can keep an eye on him," Mrs. Potter explained.

Anna sat in between me and Sirius; I sat next to James, and Peter was on James’ other side.

"Pass the butter, please," Anna said, she was reaching her hand for it, but couldn’t quite reach. Sirius grabbed it and handed it to her; their hands briefly touched and he convulsed.

Anna gave him a funny look. "Alright there, Sirius? Wouldn’t want you have a seizure on us now."

He nodded. "Er, yes, it was a . . . Sneeze! I sneezed!"

I decided not to mention that he forgot the ‘achoo.’

We continued with light banter all around the table, until, about fifteen minutes into the main course, Mrs. Potter smiled, put down her fork and said, "So, who has a special someone?"

Anna snorted, James’ eyes glazed over, and Sirius was so shocked that he began to choke on his turkey. This, of course, caused me to laugh. I purposefully knocked my knife under the table so I could finish my laugh-attack away from everyone.

Anna was patting Sirius on the back. "Man, this is just about the smoothest you’ve ever been. I wish your fan club could’ve seen this."

However, Mrs. Potter was not about to be deterred. "Anyone?"

James smiled. It was remarkably similar to his mum’s. "Well, you know me, mum. I’ve still got Lily on the brain. Except that, now, she doesn’t hate my guts!"

Mrs. Potter congratulated her son, while Mr. Potter tried to cover his laughter behind his hand.

"Anna had two special someones this year," I said. As much as I loved to see Sirius squirm, there would be a problem if we couldn’t distract Mrs. Potter from asking him.

"Really, dear?"

"Well, I’d hardly call them special," Anna said, in a voice so nonchalant, that it didn’t leave any doubt that she was telling the complete and entire truth. "But, yes, I did date two guys."

"And what happened to those guys, Anna?" I asked. I averted my eyes from hers; I was sure that she’d kill me later, but at the moment, all I was thinking about was keeping the conversation from drifting to Sirius.

"Well, I found that I didn’t like those guys as much as I thought I did. But, I just, you know, don’t talk to one of them anymore; the other one moved to Antarctica."

Mrs. Potter was obviously amused. Whether by the story, or by our antics, I couldn’t tell.

And then, she rounded on me. Sirius was going to have to be very, very, very, grateful. "What about you, Remus?"

I quickly searched my mind for an answer that didn’t include the words ‘I usually just sleep around.’ "Well, you see, I-"

"Oh, he doesn’t really have someone special. He just sl-" I had my hand over Anna’s mouth so quickly that it probably looked like I had slapped her. Her eyes were boring into mine, but I didn’t take my hand away, even when she bit me.

It all seemed well and fine until Anna licked my hand. Now, that was not something I could take. (Though I’m sure Sirius wouldn’t have minded . . .)

"You licked me!" I cried, jumping up from my seat.

"You had your hand over my mouth!" she yelled back.

"Well you were going to say something very idiotic and incriminating!"

"Well you - you - you. . ."

Ah, success.

"Oh, shut up," Anna sat back down and continued eating. Anyone else of course, would have stormed away - not Anna.

I furiously wiped the spot on my hand where she had licked me and then began to eat again, myself.

I chanced a look up at Mr. and Mrs. Potter; both had very amused and amazed looks on their face. "So, who’d like dessert?"

Mission complete.

–––

I heard a knock on the door and knew it was Sirius. "Come in."

He walked silently over the pale, off-white carpet, before sitting himself down next to me. (Two boys can do that sort of thing when they’re sexually comfortable enough, you know.)

I waited for Sirius to start, but he seemed at a loss for words. He just sat there, staring at the floor.

"Why didn’t you ask Prongs for help?" I began, trying to make him talk. While it was common knowledge that we were all best mates, everyone knew James and Sirius shared a bond deeper than the rest of us. They were closer than brothers.

Again, Sirius didn’t speak. Finally, he sighed and said, "Because Anastasia doesn’t up and tell Prongs all the problems she tells you. Why doesn’t she tell all of us?"

I shrugged. "Because she’s Anna; I’ve long since given up trying to understand her."

He sat and played with the edge of the blanket, then, he looked up at me. I visibly recoiled from his gaze. There was something there, something so strong and painful, that it gave me the feeling of pure torment. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a reflection of what Sirius was feeling at the moment.

Godric, where is Anna when you need her?


"Why have I just figured it out now?"

I didn’t need Sirius to tell me that he’d come to full realization that he liked Anna, that much I could deduce on my own.

There he goes again - asking me questions I don’t bloody know the answer to,
I grumbled inside my head. It was something he had always done, ever since First year.

I heaved a sigh of acceptance. They always thought I was smarter than I was. He really ought have been paying me for all the psychiatric work I was doing lately. "Well, when did you start to notice?"

"‘Dunno," he mumbled. "It must’ve been the day after full moon. She’d just come home from Stephen’s and . . ." He trailed off and didn’t seem to have plans for continuing.

"You can’t leave me in the dark, Sirius."

"We almost kissed," he admitted. "Well, at least, I thought we did. I doubt Anastasia even realized it; she’s so fucking oblivious to everything." I nodded, rolling my eyes. Yeah, that was Anna.

Sirius continued, throwing his hands up in the air in exasperation. "I don’t even know what it was! One minute we were wrestling and taking the mickey out of each other, and the next, I was leaning in for the kiss. Anastasia probably thought I was going to bite her nose off or something like that."

She would think that,
I thought.

"I just don’t know, Remus. One minute, she’s Anastasia - our friend who barely counts as a girl - the next, she’s got this bloody gorgeous, long hair, those eyes that could make me do whatever she wanted just as much as an imperius curse, and this unstoppable personality. Not that she hasn’t always had the last one, but . . ."

Sirius groaned and ran his hands through his hair. Again.

"Dammit! What is this, Remus?!"

I nodded sagely. If I had a beard, I would have stroked it. "It’s love, my dear boy." I said simply.

Sirius made an indistinct noise and shook his head. I could hardly blame the poor bloke. I mean, he had just figured out that he liked her, had no clue why, and there I was to help confuse him even more.

"Sorry. Not such a helpful comment?"

Sirius made another protesting noise. He was quiet for a bit before he mumbled something I couldn’t quite make out.

"Didn’t quite catch that," I prodded him.

He sighed, and looked away from me, staring resolutely out the window. "There’s, uh . . . Lots of sexual tension."

And, in a truly me-like fashion, all of the facts I knew came rushing together to help out a fellow Marauder in need. This needed to be dealt with. I was already imagining the consequences. "Only on your part, mate. Just try to forget about it, Padfoot. Anna will not be coddled, flirted with, or tolerate you jumping every time you come within seven feet of her."

I suddenly came to a conclusion. "Yes. The best thing you can do is go on with life as you normally do and pretend you don’t feel this towards her whatsoever."


When he and I had finally soaked it all in, we were sitting in silence once more. I decided to give him one last piece of advice before I kicked him out; I was quite tired. All this mental coaching was hard work.

"Well Sirius, I’ll say one last thing. Unfortunately for you, you’ve just gone and done something really, really stupid. You’ve fallen in love with just about the only girl who won’t fall back. All those lists that girls make about what would send them head of heels; all the things you’ve been trained to know by heart, will not apply here."

Sirius looked up at me. He appeared to be paying rapt attention.

"On the bright side, however," I said, hoping to lift his spirits a little, "You have also got someone incredibly easier to work with than the rest of the bloody girls around here." I grumbled, thinking of my own past experiences with the opposite sex. "Fact is, the only thing Anna wants out of life is fun, and we already know that you can give that to her."

Sirius nodded, and seemed to get the point that the conversation was over. He embraced me in a quick man-hug (after all, sexual confidence only goes so far before it becomes weird no matter what) and left. Before he closed the door, I yelled after him for good measure, "And when I say fun, I don’t mean it like that!"


A/N: Again, I'm so terribly sorry for the long wait I had between chapters 23 and 24. Hopefully, this quick update made up for it. :D

A/N2: Much love to my beta-like, editor, idea bouncer - wheresmyedward. Whom, without, I would have never written a dinner part to this chapter.

A/N3: Just a question, any TAI fans out there? Their new song just came out, and I knew the lyrics would be completely perfect. Sorry, couldn't help it. :D



Chapter 25: Let That Ego Go
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This is a seasonal affair
So be there or be square
And the invitation said so
So just let that ego go
-Cute is What We Aim For

 


I felt so happy that I could skip. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. Once I had gotten onto Platform nine and three-quarters, I left my trolley to the side and skipped happily around the platform. Sirius and James joined me; Peter soon after. Remus stood to the side looking at us with a small, slightly condescending, smile on his face.

Finally, he sighed and joined us. How could he not? We were finally going back to school. The place of no rules (at least, the place where you could break the rules,) the place of the greatest food that was ever made, and the place of utter fun and surprise. I suppose it was the place of work as well, but let’s be honest, no one really cared about that.

"Seventh year! Boo ya!" yelled Sirius dramatically, and he ran, fell to his knees, and slid about two meters across the polished marble.

The girls around clapped at Sirius’s spectacle, batting their eyelashes. Wait. I was a girl too, shouldn’t I have been clapping and congratulating him in high-pitched squeals?

Nah.

As compensation for my lack of squeal, though, I leap-frogged over him, and consequently fell flat on my face. I was about a foot away from a pair of shoes. Still on the ground, my eyes travelled up to see a guy. The only thing I knew was that I had never seen him before; not that that meant much, anyway. Despite the fact that I was constantly with the most well-known group of people in school, I knew barely anyone.

Ignoring the boy with the shoes, I got up, dusted myself off, and rolled my neck around once or twice. I walked back over to my snickering friends casually, as if nothing had happened, a huge grin on my face. I stuck my tongue out at them before wheeling my trolley over to the train and hoisting the baggage up onto it.

"So did you see that new kid?" Sirius, asked, lifting his baggage onto the train as well.

I looked at him. "Shouldn’t you know by now that I wouldn’t know a new kid from an old one?"

Sirius nodded. "Yeah, I should have figured. But, anyway, he was the kid you landed in front of after your graceful uh. . . thing."

I scowled at him. "Thanks a bunch, Sirius."

"No problem, love."

James, Remus and Peter caught up shortly after and we all left to find a compartment.

"Wait," I demanded, stopping on our journey to find a compartment. "Since when does Hogwarts just take new kids?"

"Wasn’t your brother a new kid?" Sirius asked, after a slight pause to think.

"Well, oh. Yeah, actually he was. I guess what I meant was that it just doesn’t happen too often."

"And isn’t Stephen going to be a new kid in his school?" asked James.

I nodded. "Oh, yeah, I guess that’s true, too." Deciding to ignore the fact that I had been proved wrong (because that is something I could never admit,) I rounded on James. "Don’t you have somewhere to be, Mr. Responsibility?"

James quickly muttered something about ‘Head Boy’ and ‘meeting,’ before turning around and walking briskly away.

"You okay?" Sirius asked, putting an arm around my shoulder as Remus lead the way to find a compartment. I guessed he was referring to Stephen.

"Yeah," I said, and shoved his arm off my shoulder. I was being more than honest. "As long as you don’t go all mushy on me; cause then I would have to kill you. That would make me sad."

Sirius held his hands up in a surrendering gesture. We saw Remus up ahead and followed him into the compartment. I breathed in the familiarity. The preserved smell of leather engulfed the compartment, with a hint of fresh air coming in from the open window. However, there was something very unfamiliar about this compartment. A person.

"What’s your name, mate?" Sirius said, going up to the kid (who I realized was the new kid who had been the topic of conversation just a few minutes previous) and repeatedly tapping him rather hard on the shoulder.

"Chill, Padfoot," Remus advised, removing his friends hand from the abnormally quiet kid’s shoulder.

He turned casually, and looked at Sirius impassively. "Darren," he said.

"Nice to meet you," Remus said politely, and Sirius nodded in greeting.

"Welcome to Hogwarts, except, well this isn’t really Hogwarts." James gestured around the compartment.

"Weren’t you supposed to have gone somewhere?" I asked James, noticing his reappearance and neglecting to greet Darren.

"Oh, yeah. Well, I was bored and came back. I’ll just be going now." For the second time, we watched James turn and leave us in a rush. I watched his retreating back. Strange boy.

"Yeah, welcome to Hogwarts," Peter added.

I turned and looked Darren up and down. He struck me immediately as a mature person; not only his looks, but his attitude and posture was similar to someone who had already graduated and was into "the real world." In no way could I see him being fun, but, damn; he was handsome.

I nodded in a way similar to Sirius, then introduced my self as well as the Marauders.

"They pretty much own the school," I added, rolling my eyes.

"Don’t let Lily hear you say that," James warned, stepping into the compartment. "She’ll think I told you to say it."

I looked at him and sighed. "Seriously, James? Did you come back again?"

He nodded. "I decided since I’m never on time for anything, that this shouldn’t be any different."

"You do know that Lily’s the Head Girl, right, mate? And that you were already late anyway?" Remus asked.

"Of course," James replied, getting a giddy look on his face. I doubted he heard past the word Lily, and he remained in the compartment. He’s so thick sometimes, I thought, shaking my head.

I draped myself over one of the red leather benches, leaving room enough only for two people on the opposite seat next to the new kid.

Remus and James took seats next to Darren, leaving Peter and Sirius to make me get up.

"I’m not sitting on you," Sirius warned me.

"Okay?" I answered, wondering how this was incentive for me to move. "Then sit on the floor, because I’m not getting up."

Sirius looked at me defiantly, and I closed my eyes, resting. It wasn’t even ten seconds later that a pair of strong hands pushed my off the seat and I fell in a heap on the ground. Sirius looked down at me triumphantly and took a seat, and Peter clapped for Sirius and sat down next to him as well. I stayed on the ground, leaning against Sirius’s legs, too lazy to get up.

Instead, I watched Remus and James attempt at conversing with Darren. Even Remus seemed to have trouble with him. Darren brought up Voldemort; he seemed to think it was a great topic, and worthy of some real conversation, too. I quickly got up and left the compartment. Voldemort was not my favorite subject of conversation, too serious for me. I was not afraid of Voldemort, but I knew I had reason to be. I had long before that decided I was not going to grow up before my time, and I had a feeling that Voldemort (and thinking about him) would speed up the process.

I took a walk down the train, which had begun to move, and luckily found the lunch trolley. I had left most of my money in the compartment, but had a few sickles in my back pocket and bought a couple of pumpkin pasties.

It was probably fifteen minutes after I had left that I returned to the compartment to see Sirius, Remus and James missing. Peter remained, and kept shooting nervous glances over at Darren, who had pulled out a copy of the Daily Prophet and was reading.

"Sirius went looking for you," Peter said quietly. I nodded at him and sat down on Darren’s seat, up against the window, rather than closest to the door, as he was.

A few minutes later, Sirius returned to the compartment. "Er, James and Remus are doing their responsible duties," Sirius informed me. I assumed he meant that James was trying to impress Lily as Head Boy, and Remus just being his Prefectly self.

A moments silence passed, and then. . . "Word association!" Sirius yelled suddenly, earning another strange glance from Darren.

We spent the rest of the train ride eating (after the trolley visited our compartment we purchased even more sweets) and yelling out random words that came to our heads after hearing a previous one. Peter played as well, and we were soon joined by James and Remus.

Darren never left the compartment, but he kept his head in his newspaper, or else was staring absently out the window. I kept glancing at him every once in a while; I couldn’t help it, he was that all-too-noticeable sort of attractive.

Kind of how Sirius is for all the girls of Hogwarts,  I reasoned.

A voice sounded over the loud-speaker, I realized that only Remus and James had put their robes on. I quickly dug through my trunk to get mine out, and threw them on over the jeans and t-shirt that I was wearing. Sirius and Peter did the same. Darren didn’t until the train began slowing down; he was, it seemed, in no rush.

The train finally pulled to a complete stop, and the Marauders and I dove out of the compartment, making a mad dash to the doors. What would be our last race to the horseless carriages was unspoken. We’d been doing it since my Second year, their Third. I tried not to think about the fact that it was the last race, it was way too depressing, and instead focused all my energy on winning. Of course, I did not win, but I did get to the carriage a lot faster than Peter.

"Don’t worry," Sirius consoled me. "It’s hard to be as awesome as we are."

I stuck my tongue out at him and pushed him out of the way, taking his seat. "And that’s what you get for being an arse."

"Oh, fuck off," he said, and he pulled himself up and climbed into the carriage. James jumped up next, followed by Remus, and Peter finally huffed his way over.

"This is going to be one hell of a year," James said grinning, as he closed the door, and the carriage rolled off towards the school.

___

The Marauders had not set off their annual prank at the start of term feast. There were whispers practically everywhere along the table from students wondering what was going on. That’s how regular it was.

Unbeknownst to the gossipers, they had confided to me, as we stuffed our faces with food with usual, that they were postponing it.

"This is our last year, our last start of term prank!" Sirius had cried, through a mouthful of chicken. "This has to be flawless."

I had nodded and stuffed my mouth with some chicken as well. I didn’t offer to help; as much as I helped them on other pranks (even other start of term pranks,) this was their thing. The Marauders’ thing, and it was their last shot at it.

It was the end of dinner, when we were all heading up to the common room, that Evans came and placed her hand on James shoulder. I wanted to growl at her and make her go away; no one toyed with James’ heart like she did and got away with it. "No prank this year, Potter?"

"There will be, Lily, love, just wait."

Evans scowled; it seemed like she had been - well, her emotion was hard to describe. Kind of like she had been hoping that James and his friends weren’t planning a prank so she could congratulate him on his maturity.

Psh. Maturity. I wondered what it was with all those mature people gracing our presence that night.

"There’s always a prank, Evans," I informed the glaring girl. I looked at her as she glared back at me. I hadn’t seen her since early in the summer; she had grown her hair out, and when she whipped her head back in indignation, her hair moved, and looked like she had not used an entire bottle of Magical Meaver’s Magic Spray in one go. Her face was no longer angular, but slightly rounded. (Which meant that she had decided that food was one of lifes necessities.) She was overall not a completely sucky version of a human being anymore.

I nodded in approval "Keep going, Evans. Just a little further and you might be worthy of a real conversation with James." I patted her gingerly on the shoulder before strutting off.

Evans didn’t react in any way that I could see or hear, so I took it as a good sign. Maybe she finally was changing.

I got up to the boys’ dormitories, and was pleasantly surprised to see my stuff already waiting there for me, in front of the bed that I had slept on most of the previous year.


Dumbledore never misses a trick, I thought.

"I’m tired," I announced to the Marauders, who were arriving in the room and plopping down on their own beds.

Laying down on my favorite bed in the entire world, I closed my eyes. Uncharacteristically, I was asleep in minutes.

–––

"Wake up," I heard. I opened my eyes to see a blurry Remus. "It’s time for you to get your arse out of bed and get ready for classes."

I grumbled and groaned, but obediently got up got ready. As an afterthought, I jabbed my wand at the dark circles under my eyes. I had never thought to do anything about them (they came with lack of sleep) until James asked if I had gotten into a fight recently.

I dug through my trunk (only to find that my clothes were all the way at the bottom) and yanked them out after a fair bit of tugging. I neglected my skirt, and stole a pair of Sirius’ far too big pants instead; I changed in the bathroom, after kicking James out.

I looked at the clock as I grabbed my pack. "Come on, you lot, we’re late enough as it is."

Luckily, our secret passageway brought us to breakfast only a little bit late, and the Marauders and I always were good at eating fast. McGonagall was looking slightly appalled; I guessed it was at our eating habits. She handed us our schedules and hurried away rather quickly.

"Just great," I muttered, as I looked it over. "Double Transfiguration, Monday morning, with the Ravenclaws. Nasty, arrogant bunch of pricks."

"You’re arrogant, and sometimes nasty and prick-like," Sirius pointed out, right before gulping down an entire goblet of pumpkin juice.

"Yes," I agreed. "But I make it entertaining."

He shrugged; I laughed at him. He couldn’t argue with me there.

After our lovely breakfast, I bid the Marauders a tearful good-bye as they set off to their Seventh year N.E.W.T. Potions class, minus Peter, who went to Divination instead. The boy must have had some talent if he was able to pass the Divination O.W.L.; i aplauded him.

I arrived in McGonagall’s classroom, pulling up Sirius’ pants, which certainly did not fit around my waist, nor were they short enough for my leg. I took a seat towards the back of the classroom and kicked my feet up on the desk. I always did hate the classes part of Hogwarts; I wasn’t in any classes with my best friends.

Of course, I must admit, it made it slightly more interesting when Darren came and sat next to me. I tipped back in my chair, counting marks on the ceiling (I made it to seven before I became bored,) and could have sworn that I saw Darren cast a look my way. I smirked to myself; of course he was looking at me. Although I didn’t cake my face with make-up or mess with my hair, I was a good-looking person.

Not that I’m conceited or arrogant or anything else like that.

McGonagall came in and started the lesson. Darren paid rapt attention, but did not take down any notes. I didn’t either, and simply made up schemes in my mind of how the Marauders prank could end up.

"Miss Xanthis!"

I jerked my feet from the desk that they had been propped up on and promptly fell out of the chair. "Yes?"

"First of all, Miss Xanthis, that would be the third time I’ve called your name. Second, I would ask you to remove your feet from the desk, but I see you’ve already done so." At this, Minnie’s lips seemed to grow thinner, but also curve slightly upward. Very, very slightly. "Lastly, I would love to know, Miss Xanthis, why you are not adhering to the school dress code."

I looked down at my shirt, my loosely done tie, and the uniform black shoes that I wore. On top of this I wore my red and gold trimmed, black robe. Unbuttoned, of course. Oh, the pants. "Actually, Professor, I believe you’ll find these are part of the uniform."

"For the boys!" McGonagall said strongly.

"But," I said, "I just love being in Sirius’ pants."

I couldn’t help myself.

Most of the class snickered, but a few laughed outright. McGonagall’s face looked close to bursting - it slightly resembled a red, thin balloon. It was impossible for me to tell whether this was in anger, or her trying to withhold her laughter.

"Miss Xanthis." Minnie sounded exasperated at this point. I almost felt bad.

"I’ll pay attention," I gave in.

She shook her head in a disbelieving manner. "I’m sure you will."

___

"Miss Xanthis!" It was one week after what everyone likes to refer to as the ‘Anna likes to be in Sirius’ pants incident’ (original lot, aren’t they?) and I had refused to wear a skirt to class each day. Technically, McGonagall could not get me in trouble, because pants were part of the uniform. I had even shrunk them especially for Minnie, so she didn’t have to worry her tight-haired head about me losing my bottoms.

"Yes?" I asked sweetly, taking my seat and getting ready to defend my pants.

"Please grab Mister Wood and come to the front of the room."

I looked over to Darren, whose last name was Wood, and nodded towards the front of the room. He got up and followed me to our Transfiguration Professor.

"Miss Xanthis," McGonagall started, as we approached her. "Mister Wood was formerly in a curriculum that is not consistent with the one at Hogwarts. In other words, the students at Hogwarts have learned some things that he has not.

"I’d fancy you to be a good student in this class if you could just apply yourself. Therefore, I am assigning you to catch Mister Wood up on all that he has not learned; I am assigning Mister Wood to teach you to apply yourself."

I did not like the sound of that. Actually, I did, kind of. My first thoughts were that I could spend for time with Darren, who I had found out was quite funny. He reminded me a bit a Sirius; he had girls following him everywhere and had a hilarious, slightly perverted sense of humor.

If only he was fortunate enough to act like he was five, I thought sadly. He'd be the perfect dude.

I nodded and shrugged, and Darren did the same. McGonagall sent us back to our seats and started class. Ten minutes in, I kicked my feet up and tilted my head back, only half listening to the Professor. It had not been thirty seconds of relaxation before I was poked sharply in the side.

I inhaled quickly at the dull pain and looked over to see Darren smirking at me and twirling his quill in his hands. I stuck my tongue out at him, as I was immaturely apt to do, and faced Professor McGonagall.

As I made a painful attempt at listening to McGonagall’s lecture, I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

__

"Well, since I’m pretty much going to be spending my entire way too much time with this kid, tell me some stuff about him," I demanded of the Marauders one night as we each lay on our respective beds, eating chocolate and other candy.

"That doesn’t even make sense," Remus pointed out. "My entire way too much time?"

I rolled my eyes at him for being stupid - of course it made sense - and waited for someone to answer. I knew that they knew what I was asking, and the Marauders, being popular and considerably more social than myself, knew everything about everyone.

"Well," said Sirius, smirking. "He’s here because he got kicked out of his old school."

I looked at Sirius questionably, and he launched full into the story. "Darren used to go to this extremely selective school in Iceland. They’re very concerned with their reputation at the school, St. John’s Academy of Magic, I believe it is. The fact that he was in that school at all is incredible, it’s a prestigious school and-"

"I thought Hogwarts was the best magic school, with the best reputation?" I interrupted. Sirius looked only slightly disgruntled.

"It is," he confirmed. "But it’s just one of those schools where it’s so expensive to attend, that everyone assumes it’s so wonderful. Actually, I almost got sent there . . . That’s beside the point."

I nodded, understanding it. I almost wanted to laugh; it was so odd to hear Sirius so knowledgeable about something that didn’t have to do with mischief.

James decided to finish. "Anyway, word tells (word being Darren himself) that he was kicked out of his old school because he got caught shagging someone in one of the empty classrooms."

I almost laughed. That had happened, not quite often, but enough times at Hogwarts. "So why did he get kicked out for something like that?"

"Reputation of the school," Remus answered simply.

I wanted to laugh. No wonder the kid was so calm and cool; he was probably more arrogant than all of the Marauders put together. Plus myself. "This is going to be entertaining," I said with a laugh.

"Well, McGonagall wanted me to start catching him up this weekend. However, I told her that I might not be able to; when’s tryouts, Captain?" I asked, directing the question at James.

"Saturday," he answered. "Nine in the morning."

I sighed dramatically. "Okay," I said, "But just remember that it’s your fault when I die from lack-of-sleep and fall off my broom and break my neck."

___

I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and yawned. "James I’m going to kill you," I growled to him as I hopped onto my Silver Arrow and took off into the air. I was very proud of my broom. It was the newest model out, just last year.

However, as I rose into the air, Beater’s bat clutched tightly in my hand, I caught a glimpse of the Nimbus 1000. I took in my breath sharply. I couldn’t quite make out the owner of the broom, but they must have had their connections; the Nimbus was not supposed to be on the market until next summer.

"Look, look, look," I whispered excitedly to Sirius as he rose up next to me. I pointed wildly at the broom.

He caught sight, and his eyes widened a little. Then he began to chuckle. "You’ll never guess who’s holding it."

I looked at him, my head cocked to the side.

"Darren."

I shook my head, laughing. "Go figure."

Sirius and I snapped to attention when we heard James’ authoritative voice ring out over the Quidditch pitch at a voice much louder than his normal one. The paying attention did not last long of course, but at least we tried. "Now. All of you trying out should know that we are looking for a Seeker, and a Keeper. Know what position it is that you are trying out for, please.

"Now, anyone who has played Quidditch before, step over to the left, those who haven’t, get on your brooms and do a few laps around the pitch."

I was impressed with James’ authority. But I soon forgot as I watched the jerky, spastic flying of the mostly younger Gryffindor students who were trying out. I was not one to judge or look down upon, but, in all honesty, it was quite funny.

Within an hour, James had weeded out the bad players, and had only three candidates for each position left; three for Seeker, three for Keeper. I wondered briefly if Stephen was trying out for Keeper at his new school, as he had planned to do here.

"Oi, Darren! Get on your broom and fly up to the goals; we’re gonna see what some old fashioned talent can do against your fancy new broom!"

Chapter 26: You Decided To Let Love In
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The moment you decided to let love in
. . .

That's all we need to say
I'll take my chances while
You take your time

-Goo Goo Dolls
 

I watched as Darren Wood rose into the air. I envied his broom; my family was just as powerful and well off as his, they just had different connections. I tried to rid my head of these thoughts, deciding that it would be bad to be thinking of things like that when I made my decision.

I caught a glimpse of Anna, as I yelled to her and Sirius to go and do a few drills. She was watching him in a very inconspicuous way.

Him being Darren, not Sirius. I sighed. 

This is not going to end well for either of my mates, I decided.

Again, I turned my mind away from other thoughts, and watched the speed of the Nimbus 1000 as Darren sped towards the three goal posts. He was trying out for Keeper. I pulled my other two Chasers and instructed them.

"Go as hard as you can. Don’t hold back; we need to see what this dude is really capable off."

Dude? I thought, as I flew upwards in between my two team mates, holding the large, red Quaffle. Anna must be rubbing off on me.I nodded at Darren, and he nodded back, confirming the start. The first shot I took at him was a rather mean and fast side-arm, considering that he hadn’t had all that much time to warm up, and we both knew it. But from the moment his fingers closed securely around the ball, I could feel it in my gut that Darren would be our Keeper.

I still had to give the other two candidates (who were considerably good players) a shot, but it soon became clear they were nothing compared to Darren. At the risk of sounding creepy, I was beginning to think him coming to the school was possibly the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. (Besides, of course, Lily kissing me.)

I took him aside, after I had seen the other two and told him that I already knew he was it. I asked him to join us up in the air, as part of the team. I looked briefly at my watch as I rose back into the air to begin try-outs for Seeker. It was just after eleven and I glanced at my watch regularly as the minutes ticked by; I needed to meet Lily in less than an hour to discuss Head things.

For Seeker, I eventually settled on a rather scrawny Fourth year. Of course, as Seekers go, scrawny was good; he had quite a good eye as well. As the newly formed Gryffindor Quidditch team, captained by myself, trudged off to the locker rooms; I plotted how I would unveil my new training tactics. I already knew that they would probably not go down well. We were going to win this year, without a doubt.

I took a quick shower and rushed to get dressed. I thrust my broom into Sirius’ hands, quickly telling him to, "Lock it up safe with the rest," as I made a mad rush to meet Lily in the library. I arrived just in time, red faced and slightly out of breath. I knew that Lily would not have minded had a been a little late (she had become far more tolerant of me as of late) but I knew I would be further into her good books if I was on time.

I saw her shoulder-length, striking red hair, and waved giddily. I quickly ran my hand through my hair; I saw her frown slightly, but she was smiling soon again. Her straight, white teeth made me want to smile too.

"Hey," I told Lily breathlessly, and took a seat across from her.

"Hey," she said. I sighed as her soft, sweet voice hit my ears. In the past year, Lily’s transformation had caused me to be even more fascinated by her.

"So," Lily began, jumping straight to our important duties. "It’s the middle of September, and I think that we should have a Hogsmeade visit towards the end of the month. I know that it’s short notice, but these don’t seem to require much planning?"

Lily’s tone made me realize that she was asking my opinion. Lily Evans wanted my input on something?

"James?" she prodded.

I quickly came out of my shock. "I agree completely," I told her. "I think we should have at least one a month, maybe the third Saturday of every month, so that people can plan ahead?"

"That’s a good idea." Lily made a couple of notes on a small scroll of parchment.

I, James Potter, had a good idea! Lily seemed to be happy with my plan, so I tried pushing my luck with another idea that had been bouncing around in my head. "What about having – well not really a ball - but like, a party, in the Great Hall?"

"No." Nope, I was wrong. No luck whatsoever.

I decided to push the idea. "Well, it could be an inter-house sort of thing," I said grudgingly, thinking of those damn Slytherins.

"No. Whenever you and your friends have parties, there’s always drunkeness. Sirius and Xanthis almost killed themselves last time there was a party. And don’t give me some crap about there being teachers; someone would still spike the punch and-"

"Okay, Lily, forget I mentioned it." I tried not to sound whiny or sarcastic, knowing that it would upset her, but sincere.

Lily however did not seem to want to let it go. "I bet you think I’m a right fun-sucker now, don’t you?"

"Not at all," I told her with complete honesty. Lily’s need for complete order only served to make me more attracted to her, odd as it seemed.

"Well I’ll show you," Lily whispered dangerously. Her face was turning a light pink color, spreading across her cheeks and framing her scattered freckles. "Let’s have a huge party this year. I’ll go see what the Headmaster thinks."

Lily stood up quickly, and pushed her chair off, before walking briskly out of the library. I was left sitting in shock at the table with Lily’s neatly written notes in front of me. I had just been honest after all, all I had done was a put an idea out there, if she didn’t like it, it was fine. I hadn’t meant to provoke a reaction like that out of Lily; I hoped that she wouldn’t be angry with me when she returned.

I leaned back in the uncomfortable chairs and observed my surroundings. A few Hufflepuffs were studying with double the number of Ravenclaws in the corner. An older student seemed to be teaching a younger one in another. At one table, four Slytherins were huddled extremely close together and discussing things secretly. 

Damn Slytherins, I thought again. They ruin everything. Even this party idea with Lily. 

They hadn’t done anything yet, but I knew they would.

I tapped my foot nervously and ran my hand through my hair. I watched the library doors intently, and time seemed to stretch on for hours. I finally saw Lily return, all though it was only about ten minutes after she left. She had a much more relaxed look on her face.

"Well," she said, as she neared me, and I noticed she was smiling. "Professor Dumbledore said he thought an inter-house party would be a grand idea. Sorry I snapped at you before, James. Anyway-"

I barely registered her apology. This was my chance; it was a bad idea, but my feelings overrode my rationality.

"Lily, will you go with me, to the party. As my date?"

I had interuppted her in the middle of a sentence. A bad start to it all. True, we had become friends, and I had not asked her out once since the end of Sixth year.

Lily looked at me; she seemed at bit confused. At first I wondered whether the words hadn’t accidentally come out in a different language. Then, I saw something in her eyes; it was the same look that she always got in them when I asked her out - except - this time was something different. Something in her body language wasn’t so rigid, and her hand wasn’t so near the pocket of her robes; like she wasn’t about to whip out her wand and hex the brains out of me.

Time slowed down and I felt like I was going to be sick. I had always handled Lily’s rejections in stride and with confidence; something about this time felt like it would be a death sentence, and the last time I would ever ask her out.

And I was right.

"Yes."

At first, I didn’t react. Then I began to feel sick. Wait a second. What the hell had she just said?

"Yes!?"

Lily’s still red face smiled shyly. "Yes, James."

I passed out cold.

___
 

"Hey, numb nuts, wake up!" I knew the loud voice to be Anna.

"Quiet down immediately, Miss Xanthis, or I will forcibly remove you from this infirmary." I chuckled lightly when I heard Madam Pomfrey’s sharp tongue.

I slowly opened my eyes. I was in the hospital wing, but didn’t feel any pain. I gasped when I looked to my right and saw Lily standing there smiling. And then I remembered.

"Godric, you scared me James. I thought you’d had an extremely early-in-life heart attack," Lily said, smiling brightly.

"Good to know the prospect of my death makes you smile," I joked as I sat up and got out of the hospital cot. I had been in the infirmary many times before, and I had learned that the only way to get out in a timely fashion without Madam Pomfrey fussing over you eternally, was to get up and leave as soon as possible. I walked casually out of the hospital wing with Lily at my side (who seemed to be holding back some sort of comment;) Sirius and Anna brought up the rear.

Remus rushed up to us just outside the doors; we hadn’t even gotten a chance to properly close them yet when he nearly collided with us.

"It’s time," he whispered into my ear. I looked apologetically at Lily and nodded at Sirius. He came rushing up to me and Remus, and the three of us left in a hurry. We had a prank to pull.

"Any idea what’s up?" I heard Lily ask Anna as we ran out.

"No idea."

Sirius laughed; I was thankful that Anna didn’t spill our secret. She knew that we knew that she knew that we were going to set off our prank. She also knew that I didn’t want Lily to know. So she was good and kept the secret. I reminded myself to get her some chocolate later. I mean, it was a lot of knowing for one person, especially Anna.

We met up with Peter as he ran out of the library just in time, with Madam Pince on his heels. She stopped before she left the library though; we all liked to believe that she’d melt into a puddle if she did, as if an invisible line was painted across the entrance she couldn’t cross over.

"Guys, guys, it’s all set," Peter gasped, trying to regain his breath, and cringing from the shouts that the middle-aged librarian sent his way.

"You rock my world, Peter," Sirius said, clapping our friend on the shoulder. Peter beamed.

"Okay, we’ve got to have an alibi. It’s our last start-of-term prank; it would just make it all even better if they couldn’t frame us for it. They’d all know it was us anyway." I ruffled my hair unconsciously.

"I can’t believe this is our last year," Sirius said. I looked over at my best mate. He looked excited, but there was definitely a touch of sadness under his eyes. I sort of wished Anna was there; I was sure she’d be able to fix that in a jiffy.

"Yeah," Remus said, looking slightly nostalgic. Then, getting back on topic, he added, "You know, we will be lucky if this even works."

It was nearly ten o’clock. At eleven, everyone would be soundly in their common rooms. There was no one patrolling tonight. Being Head Boy had it’s advantages, I had to admit; I had scheduled all the patrolling students so that no one was patrolling tonight, besides Lily and I. (I’d just have to work my magic and talk Lily out of it.)

"Come on, in here." Sirius grabbed each of us by our robes and dragged us into a dark classroom. "Alright, we’ve got to make sure there’s no one out in the hallways; we want this to be funny, not dangerous."

Peter pulled the map out of the pocket of his robes and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good."

I smirked, as I often did when I heard that phrase. The idea for a password had been Remus’ idea, and it hadn’t failed us yet.

"Okay," the small, mousy boy said, as he scanned the map. "There’s two people up in the right-wing of the seventh floor, and a few people in the kitchens. But other than that there’s no one."

"Okay," I said. "I’ll seal all the doors. Sirius and Remus, you guys take care of the people out of bed."

They nodded. "Pete, come help me."

He jumped up, probably surprised that we had asked for his help. Sometimes, regretfully, we neglected him; it was just that he wasn’t always as quick as us other three Marauders.

I instructed him on the incantation and the wand movements. Together, we practiced conducting the spell just as the two-way mirror (Sirius held the other) warmed in my pocket. I nodded at Pete and took out the mirror.

"Alright, mate, the coast is clear," Sirius told me.

I nodded towards Pete, and this time, we did the spell for real.

"Check the door nearest you; see if it’s sealed."

The mirror went black, and I assumed that the mirror had gone into Sirius pocket. Soon after it was out again. As Sirius informed me that, "It was completely locked." I saw Remus waving wildly and jumping up and down in the background.

Sirius rolled his eyes and sighed. "Remus says ‘hi.’"

I broke the connection for the mirror and stuck it back in my pocket. Peter was sitting in the teacher’s armchair, and I perched myself on a desk. The room was quiet as we waited for Remus and Sirius to return.

"Yo!" Sirius burst into the classroom. He walked over to the Marauders’ Map, which was spread open on a desk. He made one last sweeping glance of the map. "Alright, there’s no one out. Let’s get this done."

"Are you sure we can do this?" Peter asked nervously, as he brought out his wand.

"Of course," Remus said. "It’s a simple modification of the Aquamenti charm that we used for last years prank."

I contemplated. "You don’t think this is too similar to last years prank, do you? I’d hate for this last one to suck."

Sirius shook his head and let loose his bark-like laughter. "Not a fucking chance. Let’s do this shit."


A/N: Holy crap! Just got back from Warped Tour! (Anyone else go? Completely incredible, eh?) Anyways, the reason I'm telling you all this - I would like to dedicate this chapter to the random dude who saved my life. (Being squishered by four people who are all bigger than you is not fun or a good idea.) Well, we were in a pit so I didn't get a chance to properly thank him. So, thanks, random dude.

A/N2: This is going out to wheresmyedward, who helps me fill in all the little nooks and crannies in my chapters. Yeah, she's pretty incredible.


Chapter 27: I'm Talking About Change
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I'm talking about change
You really want to see the way
But if you want to see
Then you need to settle down
-The Cab


"This is the most boring thing I’ve ever done," I complained, getting off the plush, red couch and walking over to the window. I opened it and dramatically cried. "This is the end of me! I can’t take it anymore." I sobbed dramatically. "I can’t go on!"

My body was half-way out the window before I was jerked back inside by my sleeve. "Get in here, you immature idiot."

The unfortunate part was that the ‘immature idiot’ part was not a compliment, at least, not coming from Darren. I was supposed to have been helping him learn things and applying myself; I may have been failing slightly.

"Come on, I may be absolutely brilliant, but I can’t teach myself mammal transfiguration," Darren pointed out as he lightly pushed me back onto the couch.

I grumbled and threw the textbook at him.

"Hey, no violence over there," Sirius yelled from across the room.

"Fine," I grumbled, taking the book back from Darren who handed it nicely to me. "Mammal to mammal transfigurations are often regarded as some of the most difficult magic. This is because. . . . "

Darren looked at me, exasperated, and I threw up my hands in the air. "I’m sorry. I just can’t do it!"

To prove this, I put the book down and got up and stood on the couch, and began bouncing up and down, jumping around a bit. A grin formed on my face. This was so much more fun. Unfortunately I was so preoccupied with bouncing that I barely registered Darren pulling out his wand and flicking it side to side.

But this became all too apparent when I came down on the cushion and rebounded about a metre and a half too high into the air. Flying upwards with unexpected momentum, I smashed my head on the smooth white ceiling, before falling back down and onto the hard floor right next to a solid glass table.

"Shit!" Darren said. He jumped up and leaned over me. "You alright?"

"Just peachy," I groaned, rubbing my head. "Dude, what did you do?"

"I made a bouncy cushion."

"No shit."

Sirius, by this time, had wandered over. "Dude, what did you do?"

"You know, Anna just asked me the same question." Darren commented with raised eyebrows.

Sirius turned to me, expecting an answer.

I rolled my eyes at him, as if it were obvious. "He made a bouncy cushion."

Sirius shook his head.

"Alright, that’s it. I give up," I said, rolling over. "We’ll try again tomorrow. G’night."

I stumbled up to my feet, and trudged up to the Seventh year boys’ (plus me) dormitory on a very tender right ankle that cracked and clicked unnaturally every time I stepped on it. "Ow," I muttered.

By the time I got to the top of the spiraling staircase I was practically crawling. I crashed onto my bed and closed my eyes until I heard the door open and shut once again. "How’d it go?" I asked immediately, wondering about the prank.

"Good, I think," Sirius replied, and he lay on his bed, directly next to mine. He was quiet for a short while. "How’d studying go?"

I did not hear Sirius; I was already asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I rolled out of bed, and cried out in pain as soon as my right foot hit the ground. I crumbled to the ground and hugged my ankle.

"Something wrong, love?" Sirius asked, appearing above me immediately. Talk about fast reaction.

I nodded, pouting my lip. "Besides from the fact that my ankle feels like it’s been trampled on by a horde of centaurs, there’s also the fact that you’re bright and early and awake at-" I checked the clock at my bedside, "seven in the morning!" I said, outraged. That was an hour earlier than we usually woke up. "So, why am I awake!?" I asked..

"Well," Sirius answered, bringing out his wand and performing a quick spell on my ankle (I sighed in relief as the pressure and pain went away.) "I wanted to be awake to see the effects of our prank, and to make sure you don’t walk into it."

"Oh," I said, getting up. Fair enough.

Sirius nodded. "Well, I’ve got to go find my fellow Marauders. But, whatever you do, don’t be the first one to step out of the common room this morning."

I looked questioningly at Sirius but took his advice. You always took Sirius’s advice when it came to such things.

And that was precisely the reason, why an hour later as I was lying on the couch, and Darren went to leave the common room, I said simply "Wouldn’t do that if I were you."

He turned around to look at me, confused. "Why not?"

I shook my head. "Don’t actually know; Sirius told me."

Apparently Sirius was a force to be reckoned with, because Darren came and sat next to me on the couch. "Last night, after you went to bed, I read that chapter on the mammals; I think I’ve got it."

I nodded, wondering how to respond to this. "Good?"

"Yeah, good. It means you don’t have to teach me, just help me perfect it."

I nodded again, still not positive that this was a good thing or a bad thing. "Uh, Yay?"

"Yes, yay," he replied, rolling his eyes.

I was about to ask if he wanted to try it out now when an ear-splitting squeal was heard from just outside the portrait of the Fat Lady, in the corridor. I jumped up, Darren on my trail, and we ran to the portrait. I looked outside to see one of the older Gryffindor girls (who else could scream that high, besides any of the Marauders, of course) floating in a pool of water. Upon further inspection, after I stuck my head out into the corridor, I saw that the entire Seventh floor was filled, at least two metres up, with clean, clear water.

"Holy shit," I heard Darren whisper behind me.

"That’s my Marauders," I told him in an undertone. "Well, ready for a swim?"

Darren looked at me incredulously, as I levitated my bag of books onto the staircase (which was the only thing that did not appear to be covered in water) down the corridor before pocketing my wand and jumping into the water. "CANNONBALL!"

The water splashed around me and I swam the down a hundred meters to where the entrance to one of the most convenient secret corridors in the school was. I tapped the intricate portrait of a flower vase seven times, and it swung open immediately.

I pulled myself up before levitating my books back to me. I crawled completely into the passageway and found myself just outside the Great Hall in a minute. This area, too, was completely covered in deep water. I left my books safe and dry in the passage and swam quickly to the Great Hall. The doors were ajar, but there was no water flowing in. Leave it to the Marauders to leave the place with the food completely dry. I noticed only four other people in the Great Hall. How convenient.

"This might possibly be the greatest prank ever thought up," I congratulated the Marauders as I came and sat next to them, grinning wide. I quickly gestured to my soaking wet self. "Someone want to help?"

Remus smirked and pulled out his wand and did some fancy, non-verbal spell. I was dry in less than a minutes time.

"How long do you think it’ll be before McGonagall gets herself down here and eats us alive?" Sirius asked, tucking in to some bacon.

"I’d give her seven minutes," I said.

I overestimated. Only a minute later (she was getting better reaction times these days) found a sopping wet, extremely angry looking McGonagall stomping towards us from the doors of the Great Hall. I ducked under the table; I had honestly never seen McGonagall that angry before. And that included the time that the Marauders flew her flannel underwear from a flagpole.

She arrived in front of the four troublesome boys and stumbled over her words for nearly a minute. "Trouble- stup-idiot . . . water-ma-ma-ma."

I was sincerely afraid that dear Minnie would explode. It was quite possible that she would have, had Lily Evans not entered the Great Hall at that minute. She quickly dried herself off, then started towards us in a confident stride.

"James Potter!"

Come on, Evans, I thought. Once you yell at them they’ll have no chance of an alibi.
"You left your work in the common room last night; I figured you’d want me to bring it to, after all that hard work."

James looked as confused as I felt. We all knew that he had not done any work last night.

"Sirius, Remus, Peter; you guys as well. I’ve got all of your essays too."

"You mean, these boys were doing their assignments last night?" the red-faced McGonagall finally spoke, finding her voice.

Evans nodded in affirmation. "Yup. Straight from seven to past midnight; i was helping them all out in Charms."

Every single person in the Great Hall knew who was responsible for that prank; but with the essays as proof, and Evans as their alibi, Minnie could not prove that the Marauders were behind it. They had outsmarted her, plain and simple. McGonagall glared at everyone (including me, where I was still trying to hide under the table) before stomping off towards the High Table, where Dumbledore had just appeared at from a side door. He was dripping wet and had a huge grin on his face. Typical.

"I can’t believe it," I whispered excitedly, coming out from my hiding spot and bumping my head on the table in the process. "Your best prank ever, and you’re not even getting in trouble for it."

None of the Marauders said anything, but looked expectantly at me and Evans. I pretended to play innocent, but they continued staring, and finally I groaned, turning towards the person who I reluctantly admitted was the saviour of the prank. I smirked, knowing that before Evans would sit even slightly well in my books, she had to pass a final test.

Placing a casual look on my face, I held out my hand. She smiled at me and went to take it, but I pulled it back suddenly as if thinking of something and spit on it. 

You know how boys always do that spitting handshake?

I put my hand back out to Evans. All of a sudden, her look of content turned to disgust. If Evans could get past her disgust with my spit, then she was worthy of taking James to the party (which I was very excited about), and, possibly, me calling her by something other than her last name.

Evans cringed and closed her eyes as she reached out her hand once again. (But not before spitting on her own hand to even the playing field.)

She gingerly took mine for barely a second before letting go and wiping her hand on her robes. I smirked at her once again. "What’s happenin’, Lily?"


A/N: So, after one of my lovely reviewers asked me, I decided to give you all a mental picture of Darren, just in case you haven't yet created one yourself. Darren looks like a bit of a cross between Heath Ledger (in Ten Things I Hate About You, not as the Joker) and Hayden Christianson (in Star Wars: Episode III.) Just in case anyone was curious.

A/N2: Sorry 'bout the long wait again; I know the chapter's a bit short, but the next one is really really long, so hopefully that'll make up for it. I'm going to be away for a week; it'd be totally awesome to come home to a bunch of reviews, and maybe a question or two on my Meet the Author. *hint, hint* *wink, wink* 

A/N3: As always, thanking the lovely wheresmyedward.



Chapter 28: Between the Lines of Love
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 A/N: As an addiotional warning to the ones already posted with the story (as well as a Mature rating) I'm warning my readers that there is a fairly sexual scene in this chapter. It's not excplicit at all, more of an implication than anything else. However, I felt the need to put a warning out there.

A/N2: Also, please remember that this chapter streches the length of about a month or two. It was originally two chapters, so take into consideration that this isn't over the course of just a week. Alright, enjoy! :D





Stay for a moment and
I promise that I will be different
. . .
Between the lines of love

-We The Kings


"Yes. Yes! YES!" Darren cried. "You did it!"

I brushed the hair back from my face, and sat back with a huff, frustrated.

"You did it!" he yelled again, somehow with even more sarcasm than last time. "That’s three sentences in a row!"

"And my brain is fried," I informed him. Darren had perfected all of the lessons that he hadn’t learned at his other school; however, I was still have trouble grasping the concept of an attention span.

He shook his head. I couldn’t tell whether he was laughing at me in amusement or pity. I never could tell with him. It was one of the things that irked me about spending quite so much time with him.

"Alright," I said. "After that incredible progress, I say it’s time to head to practice."

Darren looked at his watch and nodded. "Sounds about right."

I breathed a sigh of relief and ran upstairs, quickly changing into my practice robes. I was back downstairs and waiting at the portrait hole before Darren returned.

He finally came down several minutes after I had arrived. "Man, what is it with you and Sirius? You’re both such girls," I complained.

"But I’m the hotter girl," said someone from behind. We turned, and saw Sirius looming behind us.

"‘Ello!"

"Hey, Sirius," I replied, slowing my stride a bit so I was walking in line with him. Darren did the same. "You on your way to practice, too?"

"We have practice?" Sirius stopped walking and paused. "Shit." He then proceeded to spin around and run extremely fast back to the common room. I began to laugh. 

"Should we wait for him?" Darren asked.

"And risk getting our heads cut off by James? Not on Sirius’ life."

When we finally got our brooms from the shed and arrived on the pitch, everyone was there. (Save for Sirius, whose shouts could be faintly heard as they echoed through the castle, getting louder and louder with each passing second.) James looked slightly annoyed. "Well, we’re just going to have to wait for that git to get his arse down here, then we can start."

About a minute later Sirius burst onto the pitch, his Quidditch robes only half done up. "I’m here!" he cried.

"I noticed, Black!" James sounded angry, and the entire team gave him a funny look because of it. He was never angry.

Sirius looked down right petrified.

"Hehe," James tittered. "Just kidding. Alright, let’s get this going quick! To start, I want everyone to do a nice, easy six laps around the pitch."

We all went to mount our brooms, eager to get into the air. It was an easy request, something to get us all warmed up for the first practice of the season.

Then the bomb was dropped. "No, you lot; get off your brooms. I meant running."

Although the following minutes were very blurred, I vaguely remember tackling James, rolling around in tears, and being slapped across the face by Sirius, before begrudgingly running that six laps. I was not a bad runner and I finished somewhere in the middle, but just the fact that we had to run was enough to upset my mental health.

Everyone collapsed onto the ground of the pitch- when we finally finished - back at the base of the goals, panting and sweating. We gasped to each other, none too used to running, how we couldn’t wait to get into the air and start the real practice. James looked almost timid and afraid as he approached us.

"Ahem, er, now it’s time for push-ups?"

This time, everyone attacked James. Except Darren, who was, apparently, too mature. Psh, maturity - how overrated.

"And my beaters . . . Do double!" James managed to say through the tangle of arms and legs. The Beaters of course meant me and Sirius; and as we finally stomped away to do fifty push-ups, we decided that James had done this personally to spite us.

"Or maybe he just figured you guys should do more since you’re Beaters, and need more upper-body strength," Darren, who was nearby (doing his stupid twenty-five) suggested.

Sirius and I gave him simultaneous looks, that clearly said what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about? It was one we wore often when people pointed out annoyingly logical things.

Despite the already difficult start, as we all met again in the center of the field, James was not done. We had to warm up for the next half-hour before the bastard even let us near our brooms. The practice, which totalled three hours, was long and gruelling, and ended in the near death of James.

We tried to drown him in the shower.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

Ah well, there’s always next practice.

–––

"Okay." He sounded exasperated now. "Five sentences; McGonagall would be proud."

"You know what, Mr. I’m-So-Freakin-Cool? I don’t want your help anymore; go find something else to do." I slammed the Transfiguration book shut and crossed my arms, looking determinately away from Darren. I couldn’t tell whether I was angry because of his superior attitude, or I was laughing internally because of it.

Darren and mine’s relationship was quite confusing. I looked at it as a sort of love and hate thing; I could barely stand the kid, but after I got to know him, it was all I could do to not want to spend every waking moment in his presence. He was like a fucking drug.

"Fine! Maybe I will!" He said, rolling his eyes sarcastically. "Besides, I could think of a thousand things I’d rather be doing right now; I could be planning a costume party, or buying a pony or combing my hair-"

Just like Sirius,
I thought with a smirk.

"What’s so funny?" he asked.

I smirked even wider. "Nothing."

He looked straight at me, staring me down, and I returned his inquisitive gaze. It had been nearly a minute (which was a record for me) until I become so bored and frustrated that I was going to have to jump up and run around for a bit or something to amuse myself.

Just as I made to move, however, Darren stopped me. He got up from his spot on the couch, and my hair fell back from my face as Darren leaned on top of me. I gasped, and tried to keep up with him as he moved his lips against mine; it was quite obvious that he knew what he was doing, and I did not.

However, he didn’t seem to mind that I lacked all the experience that he had, and I certainly didn’t mind that the boy that I had grown rather fond of (who just happened to be incredibly good-looking) was snogging me.

"Holy shit! How many times are we going to walk in on you, Anna?"

James and Sirius had arrived.

I’d never seen Darren move that fast in the entire time that I had known him, even during Quidditch try-outs. Of course, no matter how hard we tried to hide it, our hair was messed up, and I’m quite sure that my face had turned bright red. Darren’s remained indifferent, except for a slightly smug look.

"Er? Well, this would be the second time, if I’m correct?" I decided to play it cool.

"Yeah, it would be," James conceded.

"Wow, Anastasia, you’re just a regular whore, aren’t you?" Sirius teased.

I snarled at him. "Not really." I glared at the boys until they left (in a fit of laughter, of course.) Only myself and Darren remained in the common room.

So I sat there for a few minutes, waiting for Darren to make some kind of serious comment that would make me never want to kiss him again. It always worked that way. But, to my astonishment (and intense relief) he just stared placidly back at me. Excellent. This time, I initiated the kiss. I draped my body along the length of his and pushed his head lightly back into the pillows.

Hey, this is pretty cool.


And then, the penny dropped. Wait. Remember who this is? Darren. Yes, that’s right; Darren, the kid who got kicked out of his old school for shagging some girl in a classroom. Does that sound like fun to you?

Then, another voice in the back of my head kicked in. The devil, if you will. So, what do you care? You just said it yourself, this is pretty cool. Besides, he’s good-looking, you’re good-looking, he’s smart, you’re smart(ish); you two deserve each other. 

Arrogant whore,
the sensible side of my brain argued back.

I, the conscious Anastasia, chose to ignore both of these voices. Too much thinking, I decided. It’s always better to have fun while you can.

So about five minutes after we had begun to snog for the second time, I pulled away. The initial 'sparkle' (for lack of better word to describe the excited sensation) had faded. "Well, that was a nice little break, why don’t we see what my attention span has learned?"

___

Darren and I had become something very different from any relationship I’d had before; similar to what Stephen and I had been before he’d gone and dropped the ‘L- bomb (also known as ‘I like you’) . . .  Except with more snogging and being felt up. 

But, Darren didn’t do anything of the 'L-bomb' sort. I could just go on liking him (and snogging him) in peace.

I had never said anything to the Marauders about it (because that would have been acknowledging it,) but they figured out what was going on rather quickly.

"I think you should watch out for yourself," James told me, one day as we were all getting ready to go to sleep.

"Me too," Peter added.

"I think you should stop doing whatever it is you’re doing with this guy," Sirius advised.

"I think you have Philophobia," Remus said thoughtfully.

Everyone’s response had made sense (even if Sirius’ was a bit snarky) except Remus’. That was a change.

"Huh?" I asked. "What does Philophobia mean?"

"It’s the fear of love, or, being in love," Remus explained.

It had caught me completely off guard; whatever I had been expecting Remus to say, that hadn’t been it. I didn’t know what to say to it, so I sidetracked. "I love you guys."

Remus smirked, and chuckled lightly. "Not what I meant, and you know it."

"You know what, guys? I’m kind of tired; I think I’m going to go to sleep." With that, I lay down with my head on my pillow, pulled the blankets over my head, and shut my eyes tight.

Maybe you’re doing this because you know he’s right,
a voice in the back of my head told me.

Damn, you seem to be showing up quite a lot lately, hmm?


Well, you’ll be needing some extra guidance in the coming months. I can tell, the annoying voice responded.

Who or what the hell are you anyways?
I asked myself. Or, rather, the voice inside of myself.

Well, for a normal person, I’m kind of like a conscience. But for you, since you lack one, I’m more like your ego - I’m the one whose been making you so cocky these years. But, occasionally, like now, I give you advice and shit.


"Get out of my head, dammit," I whispered.

Ha, not a chance,
the voice replied. However, it had quieted for the night, and I was able to fall asleep quickly enough.

___

"Well hello there, fancy meeting you here," I said coyly to Darren, as I pushed aside a tapestry on the fourth floor and found myself in a narrow passageway with Darren.

"Hello to you too, miss." He stepped closer to me. "How are you this fine day?"

"Not bad, and yourself?" I stepped closer to him again and grinned.

"Pretty bored, but hopefully not for long."

"I know just what we can do to remedy that." Darren, who had been leaning into me, ended up face-first with the wall; I had already taken off and was through the tapestry.

"Come on!" I called impatiently to him. It of course, never registered with me that Darren’s idea of fun was a little different from mine.

"Where are we going?" he asked, as he appeared out from behind the tapestry. If he was frustrated, he didn’t show it.

"You’ll see!" I yelled loudly as I sped down the stairs, then waited impatiently for the next staircase to arrive.

We arrived outside after getting yelled at by McGonagall only once. "Are we there yet?" A little irritation had creeped into his voice by that point. Not that I had noticed.

"Almost. Come on, move that lazy arse of yours!"

I ran around the corner of the school and through a dense area of trees. But after a hundred meters of trees, there was the most beautiful meadow, with a giant hill rising out of it, just begging for me to roll down it.

"We’re going to roll down the hill!" I announced proudly.

"You’re absolutely mad, you are," Darren claimed, sprinting to finally catch up with me at the top.

"But that’s what makes me so wonderful," I explained.

Darren said something that I couldn’t make out; I had already lain straight out on the grassy hill and had begun rolling down. I laughed happily and shrilly as I gained speed and lost control of where I was going. At that point, I just depended on fate to make sure I didn’t fall in any gaping giant holes.

I was nearing the bottom when I heard Darren’s deep laughter behind me. I smiled to myself; rarely did he laugh, and never as veracious-sounding as that. I came to a stop and lay on the ground, still shaking with laughter. Darren was still laughing as he rolled to the bottom, over me, and came to a stop on my other side. He flipped his light brown hair out of his face and his cheeks were tinged with a light pink.

"So it is possible for you to have fun," I teased him.

"I have fun all the time," he claimed, "just not in the same way as you do." He winked suggestively.

I shook my head at his forwardness. "Well, personally, I like my way better." Then again, the boy had rolled down the hill with me. And he looked cute with tousled hair. "But since you were kind enough to entertain me, I’ll entertain you."

I rolled over on top of Darren and straddled my legs around his waist. I lowered my face to his neck and trailed kisses from his exposed collarbone all the way to his chin. All the while, his hands trailed lightly up and down my back.

Aaron and I had never kissed more than a peck. Stephen was the first guy I really snogged, but we only did that once or twice. I wasn’t even a moderate kisser when Darren and I began our ‘thing’ but within a few weeks, Darren’s experience, and constant need for physical attention, had made me quite a good one. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Darren and I rolled around in the grass for a bit, our lips never disconnecting. I finally broke off the kiss only to throw back my head in laughter. It was definitely de-ja-vu.

Darren made a face; I couldn’t tell what emotion was running through his mind.

"I’m sorry," I said, fighting through the laughter. "I just - it just - this is so funny."

I calmed down a bit. "You can probably tell that I’m not too good at this."

Darren smirked. "Well I’ve made quite a bit of progress with you already, I’m sure I can make a bit more."

He rolled over once more so that I was under him, and began to kiss me again, unbuttoning a few of the buttons on the bottom of my white shirt (which now had a few grass stains on it,) and then sliding his hands under.

I didn’t want to crush Darren’s hopes; but at the same time, I doubted he’d be able to change my ways. However, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the tingly feeling my skin got as his hand touched my bare skin.

But after nearly another five minutes of snogging (during which the rest of the buttons on my shirt had someone come undone) I grew bored. I quickly withdrew my lips from his, but didn’t remove his hand from my breast. "I’m bored," I told him.

He shook his head at me. "You’re one in a million."

"Are you kidding me? I find that insulting; I’m one in, like, seventy billion." I smiled at him, and shifted slightly under him so that his weight was not crushing my leg.

"There’s not even seventy billion people in the entire world," he informed me. Darren, always the logical one.

"That just proves how freakin’ awesome I am."

"Of course," he said, finally getting up. I couldn’t tell whether he was agreeing with me, or just humouring me.

I stood up as well, and began to button my shirt. I decided that my tie, which had been lost somewhere between the rolling down the hill and the snogging, was not worth going to look for.

"Want to go for a swim?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said. "Actually I would."

Without warning him, I took off, running as fast as I could. Ever since James had started every practice with his warm-ups from hell, my running abilities had improved. Besides, I found running much more enjoyable when I was using it to get somewhere fun.

Within a few minutes, I had reached the lake, with Darren right behind me. I saw the Marauders splashing around in the lake. "Oi!" I yelled.

They all waved wildly and beckoned for me and Darren to come in. I stood for a moment, thoughtfully, before deciding that swimming in my underwear would be alright. I quickly shed my robes, the pants, and my shirt. Then, standing in a black bra and rainbow polka-dotted underwear, I jumped into the lake, making a huge splash.

"Come on! Mr. I-have-a-painfully-large-stick-in-my-ass!" I yelled to Darren, who looked at the water with some apprehension.

"I’m coming, I’m coming," he soothed. I was already making my way towards the Marauders, and only partially registered his response.

I swam out a little further until I was surrounded by James, Peter, Sirius and Remus. "Hey, you lot, enjoying a nice swim?"

Sirius nodded very rigidly and quietly (a rare occurrence) and the other three boys did not answer, but burst out in laughter.

"Something funny?" I asked.

Remus nodded but did not elaborate. (He did, however, continue laughing.)

Deciding that the Marauders were not in a mood to entertain, I looked back to the shore. "Get in! Or I’ll come pull you in!"

"I’ll need something in return!" he shouted back, laughing as he began to pull his robes off.

"Whatever!" I yelled back indifferently, but my mind was questioning what it was exactly that he meant.

You know what he wants.


And just like that, the voice that had haunted my brain a few nights previous was back.

Go away. I tried to chase the nagging pest away.

No! Not until you acknowledge that this guy wants something.

I know what he wants, I finally admitted to the stupid, bloody conscience-like being.
 
I could practically hear the voice smirk. If you could hear such things, that is. Or if the voice even existed. Well, as long as you know.

Then I was left alone, only with the Marauders, Darren (who had stripped to his boxers and jumped into the lake) and my imagination. Quite possibly, I was better off without the imagination at the moment, too.

___

"Darren, ouch. That hurts; if it’s supposed to feel good, it doesn’t."

Darren and I were laying on his bed, him on top of me, and his hands were mashing into my chest in quite an uncomfortable way.

Long ago, my original fascination with Darren had diminished. Now, all that was left was his undeterminable emotion and my unstable brain. I wasn’t quite as into all of the physical stuff that he was, but it was still nice to be able to bond with someone who felt the same way I did about serious relationships.

Both of us would just prefer not to have one.

"Alright, then," Darren said. He had pulled back from the kiss that we’d been sharing, and had a devious look on his face. "I’ll give you something that does feel good.

"Oh, Godric," I groaned.

He gave me the look that he seemed to reserve for whenever I expressed disinterest and indifference in all of his sexual ploys. I smirked at him, and he rolled his eyes. (This smirking and eye-rolling was a very common occurrence between the both of us.)

His hands travelled to the button of my jeans, and my eyes followed his hands. Whatever he was about to do, I didn’t know how I felt about it.

He unbuttoned the button and reached for the zipper of my jeans. He looked up. "Do you trust me?"

I shook my head. "Not at all."

He nodded. It took him five slow minutes to get my pants off, leaving me laying on the bed in my shirt and underwear. Five long, boring minutes. This is what the normal people would call seducing, usually it’s pretty well-liked. You know, most of the girls in this school want to be in his pants so badly.

Well, I’m not most girls. 

I had long since gotten used to the voice in the back of my head that saw fit to pop in whenever.

Duh,
the voice said. I figured that if it had belonged to a person, said person would be rolling their eyes. So, how do you feel about Darren taking your pants off?

I shook my head, not realizing that I actually did it.

"Something wrong," Darren asked, leaning back over me.

"Nope." Only that I’m beginning to not be able to differentiate between the voice in my head and real life.

Darren began to snog me again, moving his lips against mine in quite the predictable way. It finally registered in my mind that Darren had not bothered to remove his own pants, although I did register Darren's hand sliding down my body. All the while, he kept on snogging me.

And then it clicked in my head what Darren was going to do. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard that little voice laughing.

Shut up,
I told it.

––– 

He’ll be expecting reciprocation,
the back of my voice prodded me later that day.

I knocked the heel of my hand into my temple to try and shut it up. I know - It doesn’t matter too much right now, as long as I find the Marauders and get some stupid, non-sexual fun into my system. Godric, how do some girls live for that stuff?!

I spotted James and Remus come in through the portrait whole. "Guys," I whined. "I’m bored. The whole thing with Darren has lost its fun."

"We’re sorry," Remus said. "Wh-"

"Speak for yourself," James muttered.

Remus continued. "Why don’t you hang with Sirius more often, instead?"

I failed to pick up on what Remus was implying. "I do."

"You do what?" Speak of the devil; Sirius had appeared behind me.

"I’m with you a lot of the time."

Sirius nodded. "Aye, she is."

"Aye? Like a pirate?" I asked. I may or may not have convinced myself that I was a pirate.

Before he could answer, I burst. "Pirate! Oh! I have an idea! A fun idea! Fun!"

I jumped up and ran out of the common room. The footsteps behind me told me that either the Marauders were following, or possibly an angry mob. More likely the Marauders.

When I reached the top of the staircase, I stood excitedly, looking around. Slowly, my excitement quieted; I had forgotten all about my idea, all I remembered was that it had something to do with pirates. Aye.

"Oh, bugger this," I grumbled, and stalked back off to the common room. Thoughts raced through my head at lightning speed; everything was being analyzed. I stopped for a moment to think.

No,
I told myself. Over analyzation is a job for all the others girls, not you.

I hadn’t realized that I’d stopped walked until someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see a smiling Sirius behind me.

"Penny for your thoughts?" he asked.

I shook my head.

He frowned. "Well, that’s not fair. I seem to remember a certain night about a month or two ago where you practically threatened me to tell you about my personal issues."

It took me a while to figure out he was referring to the time at James’ house, when I had asked him quite nicely (possibly accompanied by a few threats) to explain what exactly it was that gave him so much family angst.

Once I did, I tried to stutter my way out of it. "T-totally different . . . N-not the s-same at all."

Sirius just continued to stare at me in that way he always did - like he had a secret that I was dying to know. The trouble was, I couldn’t fathom what it could be.

"Alright," I finally consented. "I suppose it’s just Darren. At first, he was fun, and now he’s just downright annoying."

"So why don’t you break up with him?" Sirius suggested, as if it should have been obvious.

I shrugged, and marveled at the conversation I was having with Sirius. Usually, this type of thing was reserved for Remus. "Well, because, frankly, we’re not even together."

Sirius looked contemplative. "And you can’t just stop spending time with him?"

I shook my head. "It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that I’m bored with him. And I can’t quite go from spending a bunch of time with someone to no time, without some obvious reason."

I looked to Sirius for some sort of good advice; I knew he was chock full of it . . . Somewhere.

"Well," he said, sounding unsure whether he should continue or not. "I may have an idea . . ."

–––

"I’m still not sure how this is going to help Darren become either a) more fun, b) less annoying, or c) just ignore me completely." I was addressing Sirius, but standing very, very close to Remus in the middle of the common room. There were lots of people about.

I don't even think I want him to ignore me completely.

"Because," Sirius began in a tone that made it apparent he thought I should have known. "He’ll see that you’ve got other things to entertain you besides him, and shape himself up a bit."

Remus, who may or may not have been trying to get himself heard for quite a while, finally resorted to physical blows to grab mine and Sirius’ attention. "I think," he said, after we’d looked at him. "That Sirius should kiss you instead of me; the two of you make a much more believable couple than me and Anna."

I shrugged. It was neither here nor there; both were my best mates. But, Remus did have a point. I spent a fairly larger amount of time with Sirius than Remus.

Sirius hit Remus in the back of the head rather sharply (though I couldn’t imagine why,) before agreeing to do the switch.

"Alright, so now, all we do is wait; he’ll come back to the common room eventually."

We stood idly chatting, for nearly fifteen minutes. "Sod this!" I finally yelled. Then, at a much lower volume, "I’m not waiting an hour for him to come." Then, I stomped away to a secluded corner of the common room to sit and brood. Sirius or Remus could have easily followed me, but probably thought it was safer not to. They were right.

I was quite angry. No boy (save any of the Marauders) was worth this much time and effort, whether it was negative or positive.

Why do I even deal with him anymore? I wondered.

Because you know just about every girl in the school wants him, and, whether the two of you admit it or not, you have him.


Well, it does make me feel a bit superior, I admitted to myself.

Well if it’s the feeling of having what everyone wants you’re going for, why not going for Sirius?

A third, suspiciously Remus-sounding voice had popped into my head.

First of all,
I thought, addressing the rebelling parts of my brain, it is not a superiority complex. And, even if it was - Sirius? I couldn’t possibly . . .

Ah, yes. But even you have admitted that Sirius was rather good-looking.
 
Go away, Remus. Go back to your own head.


I growled. I hoped that it was only in my head, and not out loud.

What does it matter? You’d have to be blind not to notice that Sirius it good-looking; it doesn’t mean I have to up and snog him just for the fun of it.


"Conversation over," I muttered darkly to myself. The only way to keep the bloody voices out was to talk out loud. And, even then, there was no guarantee.

"Safe to approach?" I looked over to see Sirius coming towards me tentatively. Clutched in his hand was a small shaving razor and he seemed to be ready to ward me off with it, if need be.

I snorted at the sight. "Yeah, yeah." I obliged him to come within my little sanctuary. I already conveniently forgotten about the little Remus voice inside my head, as well as what it had said. "Hey, do you know when that party thing is?"

Sirius nodded. "Yeah, I think Lily and James planned it November . . . Seventeenth, was it? Yeah, that’s it."

I nodded. "Alright, so three weeks. I hope they’re making this entertaining."

At this point, Sirius had come to sit next to me on the floor where I had settled myself. "I heard they’re having some band come, and, there’s going to be food."

I smiled. "Well, that settles it - I’m excited for Halloween."

"What the hell does one have to do with the other?"

"Nothing."

We sat in silence for a bit, before Sirius pointed to the opposite corner of the common room. "Look, Remus is chatting up some chick."

"Really?" I said lazily. "What else is new?"

"Well," Sirius reasoned, "this is fairly big news. It’s the first girl he’s chatted up all year; so it’ll be his first conquest of his seventh, and final year at Hogwarts."

I shook my head as I leaned over to get a bit of a look at the girl Remus was talking to. Surprisingly, I recognized her.

So did Sirius. "Hey, I know her. She’s in the year below you," he said.

"Yeah." I nodded in recognition. I was almost positive that her name was Nymphadora. She was tall, blond and leggy - basically, the envy of all the girls who bleached their hair and dieted and strived towards that impossible level of perfection. Other than that, I knew nothing about her.

"I think we should go introduce ourselves," Sirius said, waggling his eyebrows in a suggestive way.

I laughed; I already knew that Sirius’ idea of introducing himself meant doing something utterly ridiculous and cutting Remus’ chances of ‘getting some.’ Of course, I agreed.

Sirius stood up and then helped me up. I quickly followed Sirius across the common room; I saw Remus’ eyes widen as we neared.

"Hello!" Sirius voice boomed. "Peachy to see you, Remus." Then, he turned to Remus’ friend. "Hello, I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of meeting, I’m Sirius Black."

"Nymphadora Amherst," she said politely. Ooo, she had manners.

"I’m Anna," I said, cutting in before Sirius could continue. "Xanthis," I added as an afterthought.

"Nice to meet you," she said. "Xanthis. That’s Greek, am I right?"

I smiled warmly. Something about the younger girl was really entertaining me. "Yeah, how’d you know?"

"Oh, well, my mother’s family is Greek, so I’ve got an ear for Greek names."

I nodded, still smiling, and chanced a look at Remus. His expression was no longer scandalized, but unreadable.

"Well, I’m sorry to bother you," I said, taking Sirius by the wrist and beginning to walk away. "Very nice to meet you."

I dragged Sirius all the way up to the our dormitory, and as soon as I let go of his wrist, he began to whine. "How come you didn’t let me talk with her some more?"

"Because, she was actually a nice, sweet person. Not like the ones that Remus normally talks to."

Siris scoffed, laying down on his bed. "Whatever, you’re boring."

"I beg to differ," I said, before pouncing on him and beginning the tickle-attack.

Sirius was as ticklish as a little girl. He let out a high-pitched scream before he began to laugh non-stop. Sirius was just beginning to turn it around on me when James burst into the room. All action stopped.

James stood stock still, right where he had been when he opened the door; Sirius quickly took his hands from my sides, and I just looked in on the scene, obviously missing something.

Then, James smirked in a very Sirius-like manner. "So you finally-"

"Tickle-attack," Sirius butted in, before James could finish his sentence.

No one said anything for a while, and I began to feel like I’d been missing something.

"Anyway," James continued, before I could ask. "The reason I’ve come bursting up here is good news. I’ve just got an owl from mum, and she said we can finally come to the Christmas ball!"

I let loose a cry of joy and rolled out from under Sirius. I landed on the floor and began the victory dance. The Christmas ball was always held by the Potters - it was attended by the majority of the English Ministry and their children. Occasionally, there would be someone foreign.

Up until that year we were never allowed to attend. ‘You’re not of age,’ Mrs. Potter had always said. It didn’t matter that the stiff-wads from the Ministry always brought children younger than us, it was her strict rule.

Then, a thought struck me. "James, I’m not of age; am I still allowed to go?"

"Of course," James said, as if it had been stupid of me to doubt it at all. (Which, I suppose, it had.) "But she did say that you’ve got to be on your best behaviour; then she drew a little winking face next to that sentence."

"Brilliant!" I said, jumping up. "I don’t suppose I can go in jeans?"

James snorted. "Hardly. But she said that none of us need to worry about getting dress robes. She’s going to take care of it all when we arrive."

"This is going to be so bloody brilliant!" I jumped up and ran out of the room to tell Remus the most exciting news we’d gotten since . . . well . . . a really long time.


A/N3: Thanks to the lovely wheresmyedward that helped me a bunch on this chapter - was sort of unsure, and still am, but I'm hoping it's up to all of your standards. The next chapter should come fairly quicker than this one did. Much love to you all!


Chapter 29: Trying Not to Moan
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And she's trying not to moan

. . .

The parking lot, why not?

It's so cool when you're on top.
-Lustra



"Well, well, James. I have to say, you’re looking mighty sharp."

His dark jeans and black button up shirt went very together very nicely and he was the picture of put-together, as long as he remembered to put on shoes. It was not a look we saw often.

Today was November seventeenth. Also known as the day of the ‘Inter-house Relations Party.’ Or whatever fancy name they were calling it.

I tore from our dorm, thundering down the stairs and jumped onto the couch, waiting for the boys to come down. In a rare turn of events, a girl was ready before the boys. Then again, I probably didn’t count. Despite myself, I was excited; the word ‘party’ always coincided with the word ‘fun.’

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Lily, sitting on the armchair in the corner of the room, nervously tapping her feet. I wondered what she was thinking. So of course, I walked straight over. I never did get the whole think part of "think before you act."

"Lily, darling. Excited?"

"What’s it to you?" she asked warily.

"I’m taking a survey?" I tried.

She sighed and shook her head. "Just leave me alone, will you? I’m trying not to make a big deal out of this."

Run, Anna. Run now! You know what happens next
, I told myself. One minute, she’s innocently trying to get away from you - the next - she’s pouring her heart out to you. Run. Dammit, girl, I said RUN!

I turned to walk away quickly, but then I heard a quiet, slightly desperate voice say, "Oh, Anna, I’m really, really nervous."

Fuck Fuckity Fuck.

I attempted a smile and turned back around. "Why? It’s James; he’s already madly in love with you, and I doubt you could change that."

"Well, er, I don’t really . . . Have much . . . Experience . . ." Lily trailed off for the third time. She didn’t continue, just continued to look around the room anxiously, at anything but my questioning eyes.

"With guys?"

Lily nodded.

I smiled. I couldn’t help it. Lily looked like such a little lost puppy. "Well, James isn’t exactly Casanova, is he? I mean - he’s been holding out for you all the while. I don’t think he’s ever done anything more than snogged a girl."

She looked away, pawed at her hair, and mumbled something I couldn’t hear.

"Hmm?" I prodded.

"Well, I’ve never exactlykissed a guy," Lily admitted.

I sighed. I was getting rather fidgety. "Look, James won’t care." I said, rolling my eyes a little at her worried expression. Realising I wasn’t being very assuring, I added in a quieter and what I hoped was a more encouraging voice, "Trust me. He won’t."

Lily didn’t say anything, but just nodded and gave me a small ‘okay, you’re free to go’ smile. I turned back and stuck my head up the boys’ staircase. "Move your arses, you women!"

A few seconds later, a stampede came down the stairs. Remus came first, barrelling down, before vaulting over the back of the couch and sitting calmly down. I ignored his behaviour, having adjusted to such oddities many years ago.

Peter followed, stampeding down yet with surprising grace; his not so slender bodily proportions, combined with his awkwardness, did not exactly lead one to think of the word graceful when describing him.

James came next. He was prancing rather speedily down the stairs. He jumped, landing catlike at the bottom, and glanced around wildly, like an animal looking for it's prey. He spotted Lily, and jumped to attention. Suavely (and exhibiting none of the qualities that were so evident mere seconds before) he extracted a flower from his pocket, smoothed down his shirt, and walked slowly over to Lily.

They exchanged a few quiet words before I heard Lily’s amused voice say, "You’ve gotten me a Lily, how . . . Unoriginal." She stopped, and then added. "Yet, incredibly thoughtful and sweet."

Gag.

A few minutes after James had landed, Sirius came swaggering down the staircase at a much slower speed than the others.

"Why so casual?" I asked Sirius, noticing his less frenzied attitude.

"Because I’m just bloody fantastic?" Sirius waggled his eyebrows. "Actually that’s just a fact, not a reason. Probably because I don’t have a girl I am so dreadfully eager to impress. James has Lily. Pete is just . . . Well, he’s just Pete. And Remus, go figure, is waiting for his new lady friend.

"Who, by the way, he has not shagged yet," Sirius added in an undertone.

"Impressive," I said, nodding. "Well, since I have no one to accompany me to this party, would you like to be my escort?"

"No Darren?" he queried, and offered me his arm.

I took it and skipped excitedly as we, naturally, began to circle the common room in a dramatic fashion. "No, Sirius. I told you, we don’t do this sort of thing; too much like a real couple."

He shrugged.

"Alright, I’m tired out we; can stop now," I said, I threaded my arm out from Sirius and collapsed on the couch next to Remus. "Hi."

Remus looked at me; his face was a cross between nervous and exasperated. He made some low noise that seemed to come from deep inside his spleen. I chose not to further the conversation.

Peter was soon joined by a Fifth year girl whose name or face I did not know. Lily and James soon came over and joined our group around the fire. Remus still sat nervously.

"She’s standing me up, I just know it," Remus said. He was biting his nails; that was a habit he had given up long ago.

I grabbed his hand and yanked it from his mouth. "First of all, Remus, she’s too nice and sweet to do that. Second of all . . . She’s coming down right now."

And she was indeed. She was casually walking down the staircase that led from the girls’ dormitories. She was dressed in a nice, denim skirt (at a decent length, too) and a light pink button up shirt. I looked down at my own attire and felt under-dressed. I wore an old pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt. (As opposed to a not clean one.)

However, I felt much better (and suppressed a laugh) when the very calm and collected girl tripped, royally, before stumbling her way back to a stand.

"H-hi," Remus stuttered.

Nymphadora, or, Dora, as she liked to be called, smiled at Remus. "There’s nothing to be nervous about. Ready to go?"

Remus tentatively slipped his arm around Dora’s waist and the couple led the rest of our group out of the common room. Peter made small talk with his date; Lily and James walked next to each other, their hands occasionally brushing.

Me and Sirius, of course, were the odd ones out. I had jumped on his back and refused to come back down until we had entered the Great Hall, where the party was taking place. Luckily for me, Sirius was on the larger and stronger side. That wasn’t to say that he didn’t almost fall on the stairs and send us tumbling to our deaths, but still, we got there in the end.

"Wow," I said, when we entered the Great Hall. Adressing Lily and James, "You two’ve outdone yourselves."

The Great Hall did indeed look like an inter-house party. Streamers of red, green, blue, and yellow intertwined. Bursts of polychromatic confetti periodically burst from seemingly mid-air, showering the students and teachers.

Rather than four house tables, there were none, just a large table in the middle of the hall, covered in food. The walls of the Great Hall were lined with chairs, for those who would rather not stand for the entire few hours.

"Yes!" I cried, running towards the table.

"She’s such a dumbarse," I heard James say as I sped away, then he chuckled. "So is he."

I glanced back to see Sirius on my tail.

"Food, food, food," Sirius said, as he grabbed one of the white, glass plates and piled pretty much everything on there. Including mushrooms, and Sirius hates mushrooms.

After about ten minutes, I grabbed Sirius’ wrist and dragged him away. "But the food!" he cried.

"Yes, but there’s dancing too, and you’re going to dance with me."

We stood for a little while in the middle of the dance floor, listening to the beat of the music. I hummed to the beat of the music, randomly bouncing to the tune. Within a minute, I was wildly dancing.

"Ha. Look at Anna go."

"She could beat Tabitha in a dance-off, I bet."

"Are you kidding me? She obviously has no idea what she’s doing."

"She’s going to pass out."

I barely registered each comment around me, but kept moving and spinning all the way to where the rest of my posse were. "Hey, you guys, I want to see you in the middle of the dance floor in exactly seven minutes.

I winked over at the red-head standing, a little more at ease now, next to James. "That means you, too, Evans."

___

"Jeez, Anna, I didn’t know you had it in you."

I smiled proudly at Remus’ comment; I had just won in a dance-off against the Slytherin Seventh year. Tabitha Crowes; renowned dancer. Of course, slightly off balance with my final wild move that topped off my dance; I fell over, hit my head, and passed out.

"Yeah, I think that spinning on my head really nailed it for me." Of course, it had hurt a bit, but that was the price of victory.

We all collapsed around the fire; despite the sweat we had worked up from dancing, the common room was quite chilly. I looked around at the people surrounding me. Sirius, James, Remus and Peter had been my best friends since practically forever; but tonight we had Lily and Dora too. It was nice.


A/N: Hey y'all. Sorry that the chapter title and song lyrics don't quite make sense with the chapter. I had to edit it up a little bit - it's a bit shorter (and less funny that the original) but you can just pretend it never happened and go on to the next chapter. :)

A/N2: Well, this is likely the last chapter that I will post before I go back to school. Luckily for all of you, I'm lazy and procrastinating, so the heavy load of school work shouldn't slow updates any more than they already are.

A/N4: Thanks and much love to wheresmyedward who never fails to make my chapters better! :D



Chapter 30: So Far From Innocence/Seen Your Path on Home
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You've come so far from innocence
Provided all the consequence
Only what does it matter now?
...
In the trust you've seen your path on home
-Coheed and Cambria



"Oh, Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree . . . guys, what’s the next word?"

Sirius was trying to sing us into the Christmas spirit after he had woken (at an outrageously early hour, I might add) and discovered that it was December. However, we didn’t need it; we were already stoked. Infact, Sirius’ pitiful voice put a little damper on our excitement.

I tried to smother his voice by placing a pillow on my head, but to no avail. "Sirius," I heard James groan. "You do realize that it is only the first of December, yeah?"

"Of course! Which means it’s officially the Christmas season!" His chipper voice felt sort of like a stiletto in my ear. A very pointy, tall stiletto. That punctured my brain. And went out the other ear.

For nearly ten minutes, I listened to each of the Marauders try to argue Sirius back into his bed; they all failed. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore; I leapt from my bed and jumped directly onto his back, clinging tightly to him as he struggled to stay standing. Once I knew that we wouldn’t be falling to our death, I began to pummel him. "Go to sleep. Go to sleep! GO TO SLEEP!"

Eventually, I removed myself from his back, and stormed back over to my bed where I once again snuggled under the warm covers and fell asleep in just under a minute.

___

"You know Dasher, and-"

Sirius’ second bout of yuletide singing (approximately two hours later) was cut short by James tackling his mate. Luckily for us, this had much more of an effect than me tackling him. We weren’t bothered for the rest of the morning.

Around noon, we all finally agreed that it would be good to bundle up and get out in the snow for a while. I layered myself up with scarves and gloves. And, of course, my favorite wool hat with the ear flaps. It was furry. It never failed to make me smile whenever I put it on.

We made our way down to the common room, with intentions of getting some lunch before heading outside, and I spotted Darren.

"Care for a little snow-time fun?" I called to him. "There’s some hot chocolate in it for you."

"Tempting," he said, in an extremely mocking tone that made me frown. "But I think I’ll stay inside."

I sneered at him. "Well if you wanted to chill in here with a stick up your arse, all you had to do was say so."

I ran to catch up with the Marauders, who were just out the portrait hole, and we left for the Great Hall. After a quick lunch, we headed out into the blizzard with warm, yummy food in our stomachs.

We built up snow forts (Muggle style, it didn’t count as a snow ball war if you used magic) and were just about to call ‘Fire’ when we saw someone walking towards us.

"No," I said quietly to myself, when I thought I had identified the intruder. "It can’t be."

But it was. Darren was dressed in a painfully light winter coat, and gloves. (This was in addition to his clothes, of course; he wasn’t running around pantsless.)

The Marauders all watched, wide-eyed, as he walked over to me. Evidently, they were as shocked as I was.

"I’m here for the snow ball fight?"

"Try a full-out war; it’s all or nothing, buddy. You sure you’re ready?" I challenged.

"You gave my kind of fun a try," he said. "I reckon it’s time that I give yours a try."

Darren’s rosy cheeks and red nose - in addition to the hat he had just pulled out of his pocket and placed on his head - gave him the impression of an innocent. "You’re dead," I told him. "You can share my fort, since you won’t have time to make your own."

I stood up with my hands in the air, so the Marauders knew we weren’t playing yet. I quickly explained what we were doing and ducked back down.

"Be careful out there," I warned Darren. "These guys don’t do the mercy rule."

"FIRE!" I heard.

I jumped up, snowballs already in my hand, and darted from the safety of my fort. I ran wildly, dodging the fast, pelting snowballs that whizzed at me. A painfully large one hit me square in the back just as I dove into the cover of a large willow tree. (Not the Whomping Willow; I had had enough experiences with that tree to know to keep my distance whenever my brain was working properly.)

One of the most surprising moments of my life happened that day; I actually witnessed, with my own eyes, Darren having fun with something that did not involve sex or other grown-up things.(This is excluding the rolling-down-the-hill incident; it didn’t quite count.) He wildly threw snowballs, ducking and covering at the appropriate times, and smiled enough that I thought his face would crack. I even thought I had heard some sort of wild Indian call, but it could have been Sirius.

An hour later, covered in a chilly combination of sweat and melted snow, I collapsed beside Darren. "Tell me the truth," I demanded. "Did you have fun?"

He looked at me, in the eyes and said, "Yes."

I nuzzled my face into his neck for a moment, before moving to kiss him and rolling over so that I was on top of him. The Marauders had already gone inside (on Remus’ insistence) and we were in a section of the grounds so secluded, that no one ever went there. (It was a finding of the Marauders, of course.)

I looked at him, seriously. "This is thanks for keeping an open mind." I bent my head down and kissed him for a little while, before lifting my head and smiling coyly at him. "Now, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve got a little bit of a debt to pay off."

–––

It was nearly a week later, around one in the morning, when I was sneaking out of the dormitory to meet Darren in the Astronomy tower.

I saw just stepping through the threshold when Sirius’ sleepy voice said, "Where goin’?"

"To slay a dragon," I said quietly. That answer might satisfy a sleepy Sirius, but if any of the other guys woke up they would question it.

"Oh." I heard his head hit the pillow again. "Don’t get burned."

What a dumbarse, I thought, smiling.

I quietly tiptoed my way down the stairs and through the rest of the common room. A few people remained, but no one thought anything of it as I quickly passed by. As I jumped out of the portrait hole and landed in the corridor, I thought that I might’ve wanted to take James’ cloak.

"Oh, well, too late now," I told myself.

Because I was just an awesome, stealthy sort of person (psh, yeah right) I only ran into one suit of arms on my way. Luckily, the Marauders had found a secret passageway just nearby that Filch did not know about. How convenient.

Luckily, the staircase to the tower was right at the end of the Seventh floor corridor. I quickly climbed up it and went out to sit on the balcony. If Darren was already there, I didn’t know it, so I lay down on the freezing stone (bundled up in a blanket of course) and closed my eyes. It was probably five minutes later when Darren tapped me on the shoulder.

"I’m cold," I informed him, sitting up and wrapping the blanket tightly around me.

Darren took the blanket from my clutches and spread it out under me before placing himself on top of me. He did all of this in a matter of five or ten seconds. "I know something we can do about that."

I pushed him off almost immediately. "Dude. Seriously?"

Darren sat back up and looked confusedly at me. I saw a small shiver run through him. "It’s one o’clock in the fucking morning! It’s less than zero degrees outside! And you brought me out here just so you can have a nice shag!?"

I wasn’t angry. Honest. I was just completely shocked. So I took a deep breath and shared my blanket with him, wrapping it around his shoulders. "Darren, if you wanted to do something like that, couldn’t it have been done in a somewhat warmer place, at a slightly earlier time?

"Now come on, let’s go get some hot chocolate, and maybe we can go ice-skating, or rolling down a frozen hill or-"

"Bloody hell!" Darren’s voice was a deep imitation of what mine had been a minute earlier. However, I doubt his was because of shock; he actually sounded angry. "What is the matter with you?

"You’re most certainly the only girl I know who wouldn’t want to come up to the astronomy tower on a freezing night and make some heat of her own. No! You’d rather sneak down to the kitchens and get some hot chocolate, before taking a nice moonlit stroll while doing some immature, childish version of having fun!"

I sat on the ground staring at him. I decided it would be better to let him release all his pent up energy; it wasn’t healthy.

"You’re six-fucking-teen! Now is the time that you snog and shag and do all that fun shit! But no! You just want to run around like a little six-year-old and play hide-and-seek with your arrogant, six-year-old buddies.

"You just can’t grow up, can you? How is anyone supposed to spend time with you when they have to deal with that?!"

Darren was breathing heavily, and certainly was not finished. I felt rather like I was watching a movie; a really cold movie. I pulled my blanket closer as the wind whipped at me.

"You’re unbearable! The way that you just prance around like a child, having fun with the most simple things!

"Not all of us can fucking do that! Not everyone’s lives are just so careless that they can do whatever it is that they want and just be that happy! . . . You don’t think I wish I could do that? How much would I fucking love to just roll down a hill on a daily basis, smile and think ‘Oh, golly gee that was fun!’ You don’t think I want to be able to!?"

I gave a small smile. Ha, everyone wants to roll down a hill . . . And I do not say ‘golly gee.’

"You’re such an incredible person - you completely amaze me. Despite everything that goes on around you, you’re completely uncorrupted; just this little child amidst a dark world. Holy crap, I’ve never met someone who frustrates me so much, and turns me on at the same time."

Hehe, I turn him on.

I waited I few seconds to make sure that Darren had completed his rant. "Do me a favor, could you sum that up in a couple words?"

"I love you."

I nodded, trying to keep everything at bay of the analytical part of my brain. I got up from where I was sitting and stood in front of Darren. I wasn’t nearly as tall as him, but he seemed to be quite shrunken without his ego.

"Well, you obviously seem to realize that I’m not normal; that’s something I could have told you quite a while ago. You should also probably know that I’m not the kind of person that’s going to sit there and try to figure out how much you like me, or what I’m doing wrong."

I shrugged almost guiltily. "I’m just too busy having fun. You need someone who thinks like you, who is going to be able to pay attention to you; and quite honestly, I can’t. Darren; almost every girl in school wants to jump your bones, it’s not going to be hard for you."

I stood on my tiptoes to give him a hug and a kiss on the cheek - always have to keep things good-natured - then turned away and left the tower.

And it’s done, I thought with a sigh. It was almost as if this invisible weight was lifted off my shoulders (how original) and I felt content to wash my mind of all the things I had done with Darren. Many things I wasn’t proud of - many things that went against my way of life.

As I walked back to the common room, my head seemed oddly quiet; perhaps it was the absence of the ever present voice. However, even as I got back to the common room and settled into my bed, I couldn’t help but think that it wasn’t quite the last of my so called conscience.


A/N: In honor of the hell I am officially going through in my AP classes, you guys get a new chapter. I decided that to un-stress myself, putting up a new chapter would be nice, however I found that the entire thing was screwed up because of the lovely italics. In  all, it took me 20 minutes to get the whole thing up. But I know that once I hit the save chapter button, I'm going to feel very good about myself.

A/N2: Thank you, wheresmyedward, for being incredibly, freakin awesome! Hells yeah!


Chapter 31: It's a Revolution, Throw Your Hands Up
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Somebody else gets what you wanted again
You know it's all the same, another time and place
Repeating history, and your getting sick of it
. . .
 
It's a revolution, throw your hands up


-Taylor Swift
 

"Mrs. Potter!" I yelled as I burst through the door of the Manor. I dropped my bag and ran towards James’ mum, engulfing her in a hug.

The older, grey woman chuckled.

"You know," said James from behind me. "If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were just friends with me so that you got a chance to hang out with my mum."

"And how do you know for sure?"

James’ face looked doubtful for a moment, before he realized that I had been kidding. Then, he gave his mum a hug; he was roughly pushed aside by Sirius, who wanted his share of love. "Mum!" he cried.

"Sirius, dear," she laughed. "Are you lot excited for the party?"

"You know it!" I shouted. I had picked up my bag from the doorway and slung it over my shoulder, preparing to take it up to my room.

She smiled, then beckoned us into the kitchen where she offered us cookies. Snickerdoodle cookies.

"Fuck, yes!" Sirius shouted, when he saw the cookies.

Remus, always the gentleman in front of adults, hit his mate in the back of the head.

"It’s quite alright, Sirius," Mrs. Potter said, looking at her surrogate son with a smile. "You were obviously quite excited."

"Yes, exactly," Sirius agreed, sticking his tongue petulantly at Remus. "I was just excited."

Mrs. Potter found the antics of her guests (and sons) quite hilarious and laughed. She was quite possibly the coolest adult I knew. After placing a pitcher of iced lemonade on the table, she addressed us again. "I told you all we’d be taking care of your attire for the party; and as the hosts, you all need to be looking your best. The party is in a week; so in four days, one of my friends will be coming to get you lot fitted. She’s an expert at dress, and she’ll make sure you’re all looking perfect."

Urgh. I hated being fitted for robes.

Mrs. Potter quickly fetched more cookies, as it was obvious that the plate she had given us would not last long.

Placing the platter on the table, she gave a small crooked smile. "Sirius, dear, please take those cookies out of your pants. Could you not have found a better place for them?"

___

A lady with very, very tight hair stepped into Potter Mansion four days later. At first glance, her regal manner had intimidated me, but despite this she had a smile on her face, which made me reserve my judgement. She had a quick conversation with Mrs. Potter before whipping out her wand and producing a measuring tape from no where.

The Marauders and I left the room; we would need to entertain ourselves until it was our turn to be tortured with the long, numbered tape.

But it was barely ten minutes later when the two elder women found us. "I would like to do the boys first, if you all don’t mind," she said in a heavy Irish brogue. She walked away, and the Marauders, after a few confused glances to each other, all followed the woman.

That left me with Mrs. Potter. Oh, dear, I thought. As much as I loved James’ mum, she loved to hear the scoop on everything.

"Dear, how are things at Hogwarts these days? Quite as scandalous as they were back in my day?"

I chuckled to myself, trying to imagine the loving, wholesome Mrs. Potter being scandalous. "It depends who you ask, I suppose," I answered, smiling.

We talked about how everyone was doing in school for quite a while. Then, I heard quite the surprising statement come from Mrs. Potter. "I hear Remus is quite the Casanova."

I couldn’t help the bout of laughter that came next. After I had calmed down, I decided to divulge some information. "That time at dinner, last summer, when Remus was acting so odd; it was because he was trying to keep that information from you and Mr. Potter. I suppose he likes to think himself an innocent little kid."

"And what about you, Anna?" Mrs. Potter continued before I could redirect the conversation where I wanted it to go. "I know you don’t talk to those two boys you told us about, but four months is plenty of time to find a new special someone, eh?"

I never doubted that I would tell Mrs. Potter the truth. "Well, there was this one boy; he was new this year. I liked him quite a bit, but it turned out that he wanted a serious relationship. (With no relation to your adopted son, of course.) But, anyway, I couldn’t quite agree with him."

"Of course, dear," she said, pulling about her wand and lazily waving it. I saw many of the crystal statues around the room begin to clean themselves. "It’s always hard to commit yourself to someone when you like another."

Had I been drinking something, I surely would have spluttered and choked. "And what’s that supposed to mean?"

She looked at me sort of funny. "Oh, have you not realized it yet?"

"Realized what?" I said suspiciously, getting quite curious. The boys had been gone for nearly an hour, and I hope they didn’t find their way back before I got whatever it was that Mrs. Potter was hinting at.

She seemed to be thinking about something. "Well, sometimes, love is right in front of our faces."

My first (quite illogical) thought was that she was talking about James. Me? Like James? Hardly. Then, a little birdie in the back of my mind reminded me that she knew about Lily and James. My second thought was that she meant Peter; however that was just ridiculous. Everyone knew Peter wasn't all that attractive, and everyone also knew that I was fairly shallow when it came to looks; I figured that the information had got back to James’ Mum. Everything always did.

After I realized how unrealistic my first two thoughts were, I thought of Remus. I mean, it was quite plausible; he was the one I always went to with a problem. Surely Mrs. Potter, who, at times, seemed as perceptive as Dumbledore, would have picked up on it.

No, no. I think she means Sirius. And you do too.

Hahaha. Ha. It was a ridiculous thought. As it happened, such a notion had already gone through my mind before this when other allusions were made by people, but I had accepted the possibility of my liking Sirius as downright ludicrous. It just wasn’t something that could possibly happen.

"I don’t think I know what you mean, Mrs. Potter."

Her eyes were searching my face. "Oh, I think you do, Anastasia."

Anastasia. It was something that only Sirius called me. And, occasionally, my mother, when she was exceptionally angry with me. It had never occurred to me that there was anything odd about it; but I couldn’t quite bring myself around to her way of thinking. Honestly, I loved Mrs Potter, but she was obviously mistaken greatly when it came to some things.

She smiled warmly at me before standing up and motioning towards the door across the hall; it opened to reveal the fitting lady woman and the Marauders. "Well, I believe you’re next, dear."

As I walked away, I distinctly heard her say, very quietly and under her breath, "Any day now."

I walked through the doorway, past the smiling woman, and sat down on the lounge chair. I looked around; I was in a room that I did not recognize. The multitudes of formal clothes led me to think that it was at one time a room, but, converted into an overly large closet of some sort.

"I’m Roberta," said the woman, bringing me from my observations.

"Anna," I told her pleasantly.

I felt quite comfortable as silence fell and Roberta rummaged through her bag. She procured a large, new looking book.

"Mrs. Potter did say you’d be a challenge, and I have to say I’m quite excited for this."

I hoped fervently that she was talking about the fitting at the moment, not something else, like the plot of my murder or something. "Er, what’s exciting?"

"Finding the perfect style for you. Now, Mrs. Potter mentioned that you don’t like wearing robes; how do you feel about a dress?

I shrugged my shoulders vaguely, having never worn one. They seemed like rather impractical things.

"Well, if you have no problem with it, I think this would be a great time to try it."

"Oh, er, alright," I said.

Holy crap, what is going to happen to me? I wondered.

"Just one thing," I interrupted, as Roberta began to take my measurements, a sudden whim taking over. "I have to, no, I need to, prove to these boys that I’m a girl. I don’t know if you spoke to them; but they are under the impression that I’m practically male. I want to blow them away. I want to be so hot that can never again deny that I am indeed a girl."

Roberta smiled, and got to work on the measurements. "That’s my job, dear." I grinned. Maybe this dress idea wasn’t going to turn out so bad after all.

She quickly jotted down all the measurements on a scroll of parchment, and then studied them.

"Well, my dear, congratulations, you’ve got a lovely figure."

Roberta smiled. "I assume you want to, er, not hang out of your dress?" She gesture to what I (and most normal people) considered my overly large chest. 

I nodded. "Yes, that would make me quite happy."

"Alright, then I think we’ll go with a strapless. Less of a chance that happening," she decided, noting on her parchment again.

"Excellent," I said, straightening up, and a bit happier with myself.

"Now, if you want to highlight your better parts, I’m thinking with should go with a more full skirt? It’ll show off your waist?"

"Sure," I agreed. This dress thing wasn’t turning out so bad after all. The way Roberta was making it sound, I might want to wear a dress all the time!

"Alright," she said, writing something down again. She briefly looked up and gasped. "Goodness, gracious! That ring you have; it’s beautiful!"

I looked down and smiled. It was the ring from Sirius; I never took it off. The ruby still shined, and I did my best to keep to silver ring and gold carvings clean and shiny.

"Thank you; the boys have them too. It’s our thing."

But Roberta did not appear to be listening. She was mumbling to herself. "Yes, yes, that’ll be it."

___

"Careful not to get my hair, Mrs. Potter." It was the night of the party; and it was approaching the start, having already spent several pain-staking hours getting ready. It was time-wasting, this business of "looking good."

My wild hair had been tamed to loose curls and was done in a very intricate, time consuming up-do; compliments of my new look were to Mrs Potter, who was helping me slip on my dress without ruining the precious hair.

I felt ridiculously short next to Mrs. Potter; she was already quite tall, and was wearing heels in addition to her height. Of course, it was my own fault, I suppose; I had downright refused to wear the damned things. Walking death traps if you ask me.

Mrs Potter grinned as she finally zipped up the back, standing back to take in how I looked. "You’re all ready, dear. I’m sure you’ll knock those boys dead." With a wink, she quickly departed from my room with her own last minute preparations to take care of.

I looked in the full length mirror and, despite myself, grinned. I was never the pretty girl or the fancy girl or even the makes-the-slightest-effort-to-look-nice girl. Perhaps if I didn’t have quite the ego that I did, I may not have been as excited as I was. But that night, I could not help to notice that I looked absolutely gorgeous. 

Not to toot my own horn, or anything.

Looking in the mirror again I even considered making the slightest efforts in the morning to just look a fraction of this.


The subtle touches of makeup made my face look softer, and my hair framed my face nicely for once, rather than curling all over. But it was definitely the dress that brought it all together. Roberta certainly deserved some sort of award.

The torso of my dress was a bright, flaming red that fit snugly around my body. It was trimmed with silver, and also had a bit of shimmer to it. The skirt, was a stroke of pure genius in itself. Underneath the dress, I wore a hoop skirt that made the shiny, gold taffeta puff out even farther. The overall effect was stunning. And Roberta’s incredible mind thought the whole thing up, after only a glance at my ring.

I was just about the leave the room when Mrs. Potter burst in. "I nearly forgot, I have something for you. I want you to keep it and I won’t take no for an answer; it’s a thank you for being such a good influence on my two sons and for Christmas as well, I suppose."

Mrs. Potter opened the black velvet box to reveal the most stunning piece of jewellery I had ever seen, a thin, silver necklace with a chain that held a row of rubies surrounded by small, bright diamonds in the centre. There was even a matching set of earrings.

"Now, I know you won’t wear these often, but when you do, I want you to think of me." I threw my arms around Mrs. Potter (being especially careful not to wrinkle her new, teal dress robes) and thanked her profusely. They were beautiful.

"Not at all, dear. Now let me help you put these on."

In a few minutes, I was ready to go. I followed Mrs. Potter out of the room, to the top of the staircase, where she quickly, gracefully travelled down.

Oh, crap, a staircase; I’ll trip.


Oh, wow, a staircase. God, how cheesy. 

Everyone knew that a staircase entrance into a party was so overdone. "Well, not much you can do about it now," I quickly reassured myself.

The party had just begun a minute ago, but everyone was astonishingly on time. It was quite unsettling. Not to mention, it meant that more people would be able to see my spectacular fall.

I tentatively placed a foot on the marble step below me, and slowly began my descent.

One foot. The other foot. One foot. Other foot. Slowly now, Anna.

Bloody hell, I’d just like to run down these. Or slide down the banister.My feet jerked towards the edge, where the thick banister called to me; it needed someone to slide down it.

No! my mind cried. You need to be sophisticated and well-mannered for one night! Is that too much to ask?

Yes. 

I groaned out loud, but almost cried with relief when I realized I had reached the bottom of the staircase without tripping.

Yes! Score one for Anna! Zip for the stairs!

I casually leaned against the end of the banister, scanning the room for my Marauders, or anyone else I knew, for that matter.

I was just about to ask Mr. Potter if he had seen them, when I heard a voice (unmistakably Sirius’) from behind me.

"Holy. Fuck. Who are you and what have you done with Anastasia?"

I was smirking before Sirius had finished talking. I turned slowly around to face him, purposely letting him get a good look at everything that was my incredible goodlooks.

Ooo, showing off for Sirius?

Hardly, I argued.

I resumed my casual, leaning stance and watched the jaws of all four Marauders drop down to the ground. "Still think I’m not a girl?"

Sirius seemed to have lost control of his head; it lolled around as if there were no muscles in his neck. I watched (in much satisfaction) as his eye travelled from my hair, to my shiny jewellery, to my unconventional attire, and finally, to my face. Sirius’ bright grey eyes leered into mine for a few seconds before he looked away.

He seemed to be about to say something, when Mrs. Potter grabbed my arm. "Roberta says that these are for you," said the frenzied host, thrusting a pair of gold, elbow-length gloves into my hands. "Oh, and I believe there’s someone here that knows your mother."

She dragged me across the ballroom as I struggled to pull the gloves on. She finally stopped in front of a man in black dress robes. It took me a moment to recognize him as the Greek Minister for Magic.

"Your mother was a fine witch, Miss Xanthis" he told me with a heavy accent, extending his hand. "Anastasia, is it?"

"Yes, sir," I said. "It’s a pleasure to meet you."

He smiled. "Of course a child of your mother’s would have impeccable manners."

Psh. If only he knew.

"I believe you’re about my son’s age. I hope you wouldn’t mind being introduced; unfortunately for him, I’ve brought him here tonight, and he doesn’t know anyone."

"It’d be my pleasure." I obliged to be led across the room once again. This time I was halted in front of a boy with a remarkable likeness to Sirius. In fact, he could have been his twin, if not for his hair being slightly shorter, and his tan being far darker.

"This is my son, Damokles.

"And this is Anastasia." The boy, who I could not take my eyes off of, took the hand I had intended for him to shake and planted a soft kiss on it.

"Pleasure to meet you. And, please, call me Damon." His accent was similar to his father’s, but perhaps not quite as strong.

"You know, I think you’d love to meet my friends." I nearly grabbed his hand and ran off, but decided that proper thing to do would be to point him away and follow. I was shocked when he put his hand in the middle of my back and softly directed me where I had pointed him.

When we reached them, I grabbed Sirius’ shoulder and spun him around to face me.

"Damon, meet your twin; Sirius."

"Holy shit, you look like me!" Sirius cried. Luckily, the noise of the crowd drowned out his proclamation to anyone not in the immediate vicinity. Otherwise, there was a good chance that his head would be cut off by Mrs. Potter.

"I beg to differ. I’m far more good-looking than you."

"Holy shit, you sound like me!" Sirius burst. I hit him on the back of the head.

"Well, I believe it’s time to get something to eat," Damon said, gesturing towards a table across the room. Sitting on top of a crisp, white table cloth, was heaps of appetizers to tide the guests’ hunger until we were all brought into the dining room to have dinner.

"Holy shit, you think like me!"

"Wow," I marveled. "It’s like you speak our language or something."

"Are you sure you can eat, Anna?" James questioned.

"Why couldn’t I?" I retorted. Of course, I’d have to be extra careful not to spill something, but there was always scourgify for accidents.

"Well, I assumed that dressing like I girl meant you had to eat like one as well, meaning, not at all," he teased.

Despite James’ idiocy, I picked up a plate and put some food on it.

"Do you not normally dress like this?" Damon questioned.

Sirius snorted with laughter, and the food that he had shoved in his mouth sprayed out on James.

"Watch it!" he cried, wiping his glasses clean and fixing his dress robes with a quick ‘Scourgify.’

"I’ll take that as a no," Damon smirked, following Sirius to one of the small tables placed around the larger one.

"It’s a safe bet," I told him.

"Sounds like my kind of girl," he said, raising his eyebrows suggestively at me.

I mulled it over in my mind. He was really, really, really ridiculously good-looking, and funny to boot.

"Do I sense a random hook-up in the near future?" Remus muttered discreetly into my ear.

"Too early to tell," I whispered back out of the corner of my mouth, so that no one would notice our potentially incriminating conversation.

We ate and made small talk, as those you just meet are wont to do. I sat, contributing and tapping my foot when Damon stood up and extended his hand to me. "Care to dance?"

I looked around; very few people were dancing, and those who were, were doing so very stiffly. "To this?"

"Not one for the waltz, eh? I’m sure we can change that." Damon obviously did not plan on taking no for an answer; he grasped his hand in mine and led me out to the dance floor. He lifted my hands to his shoulders, and placed his own loosely around my waist. "And now . . . We step. Follow my lead."

I looked down at his feet and tried to imitate the pattern that he was moving in. "Always look up," he whispered into my ear.

So I looked up and saw him smiling down at me.

Godric, he’s hot, I thought.

And he looks just like Sirius, said a suspicious sounding voice in the back of my head. It sounded just like Mrs. Potter . . . And, come to think of it, Remus as well. I hadn’t known that Remus’ voice was quite that high-pitched.

Dammit, I’ve got enough voices of my own without other peoples as well!

"Something wrong, Anna?" asked Damon; he looked concerned. I suppose the look on my face might have appeared frustrated.

"Oh, nothing. I just have a few voices in the back of my head that make me look like a complete loon . . . Especially when I tell people about them," I answered. I figured I might as well not pretend I didn’t have ten people living inside of me; anyone that I was potentially going to be involved with deserved to know.

He pushed a loose curl behind my ear. Psh, how cliché. "Ah, yes. Extra voices do always seem to cause a problem, eh?"

He twirled me around, and I tried to keep up with his rapid, obviously trained dancing. "Yeah, but they can be good company too."

"You are a very interesting girl, Anna. Not like one I’ve met before." He brought his head close to mine and ducked down. He planted a soft kiss on my neck.

"I never aim to impress, it just happens."

"And that’s why you interest me," he said, leaning his head down so that our foreheads touched. "I barely know you, and I can tell you’ve got a lot of spirit."

Before I could reply, a shrill bell rang throughout the ballroom, and Mr. Potter’s amplified voice called, "Dinner is served."

Dinner was a long, boring affair; however it had an upside. The food was nothing short of incredible, not that I was able to stuff myself as per usual, because the dress kept everything tucked in tightly.

"This is miserable," I muttered to James, as we left the dining hall ahead of the adults. (For whatever reason, adults always felt the need to stay behind and discuss the sordid affairs of the world.) "Why is that for the past five years we’ve wanted nothing more than to be allowed to come, and now we don’t want to be here?"

"Speak for yourself," Sirius spoke. "I’m quite enjoying this view." He looked nastily towards Damon as he said this.

Damon raised his eyebrows in a challenging way, but I was still in the dark. "‘Scuse me, but, what view?"

"The view of you, darling, you’re gorgeous," Damon interrupted, before Sirius could say anything.

With another glare toward his near-twin, Sirius concurred, "Well, he is right - I’ve got to give him that."

"So I’m just nothing to look at any other day? Really? But now, I’m something special!" I glared at Sirius in a very offended way and turned slightly from him.

Damon looked alarmed. "I’m sure that’s not what he meant-"

"Oh, don’t worry, Damokles, she doesn’t mean it," Sirius explained.

"Oh, and you would know this how?" Damon challenged him. Sirius, of course, was right; but the two boy’s conversation confused me slightly. What was going on here? None of the others seemed lost.

"Because I’ve known her a hell of a lot longer than you have, buddy."

"Alright, let’s not argue," Remus said. He was looking wearily at the two look-a-likes. "We don’t want the adults coming out here and ruining our fun."

"What fun, Remus?" I asked. I would certainly have loved to see the fun he was talking about.

He brought out something from behind his back. A bottle of Odgen’s Olde Firewhiskey! "This fun."

___

"That’s quite impressive, I must say." I had downed two whole glasses of the Firewhisky, I was merely a little tipsy. It seemed to impress Damon.

"Most ladies don’t hold their liquor as well as you do," he explained.

"Ah, well, I was trained by the best." I gestured to the Marauders, who surrounded me. "However, this is where I stop; getting drunk, especially tonight, feels like an extremely bad idea."

"I agree," said Sirius. "None of our antics tonight."

"Antics?" Damon questioned.

Then, Remus, who was more or less the guardian of a drunken Sirius or I, explained to Damon what happens when we drink irresponsibly.

"Sounds like a great time," Damon said, pouring himself another glass of the potent liquor.

"It is," Sirius admitted. "Until you wake up the next morning and realize what an arse you’ve made of yourself." I voiced my agreement.

"Hey," I said, in need of entertaining myself. "What do you say we give Damon a tour of the house?"

James thought it was as good an idea as any, so Remus grabbed the bottle of Firewhiskey, and we all started up the staircase. (Again, I was being especially careful not to trip.)

"It’s probably a good idea we left before the adults came, anyway," Peter suggested. "I mean, I wouldn’t want to be under the wrath of Mrs. Potter."

Damon nodded in agreement. "My father would positively kill me if I embarrassed him like that."

"I’ll just hide this back in my room," Remus said, before dashing off.

"Well, since Moony’s going to his room, why not start there?" Sirius suggested. However, once we got there, the tour never continued. We were all far too lazy and dressed up to trudge around the entire expanse of Potter Mansion. It wasn’t exactly a little cottage in the woods.

We were just getting into an entertaining game of Word Association when Damon said, "I’d love to see your room, Anna."

Sirius jumped up. "Alright, we’ll all go hang there; it’s a bit smaller than Remus’, though."

"Oh, that’s alright," said Damon, already grabbing my hand and leading me to the door. "I certainly don’t want to interrupt your game."

He closed to door behind us, and gestured for me to lead the way. "You know," I told him. "Being snarky with my best mate is not the best way to get some."

"Please don’t think I was being snarky," he said earnestly. "Just competitive."

"What exactly do you mean by that?" I wondered aloud.

He looked over at me from the side, and seemed to be sizing me up. "If you don’t know, I can’t tell you."

It never occurred to me to press the situation. "Alright. Oh, it’s right here."

I gestured to a dark, oak door to his left and he turned the knob and stepped in.

He took a quick look around. "It’s not pink," he observed. Then, he crossed the room, and spread himself out on my bed.

"Really?" I said sarcastically. "I hadn’t noticed. So, you live in Greece?"

Damon beckoned for me to join him on the bed. "During the summer, yes, and during Holidays. But the school I go to is Durmstrang; my father doesn’t like how they teach, but the school is much bigger than the one in Greece. I have to agree with him."

I sat next to him, being very cautious of my dress. "So that makes you my arch enemy, eh?"

He shook his head. "Not unless they decide to have the Triwizard Tournament again."

"You just have to say that - if you didn’t, there’d be no snogging any time tonight."

For someone who doesn’t like to snog, you sure sound like you do.


Thank you, nagging voice, for that insight. Now, if you were any kind of proper, smart nagging voice; you’d know that I am flirting, which is fun!

Whatever you want to call it, dear.

"Damn voices," I muttered.

"Something wrong?" asked Damon; he was clearly amused.

"Oh, nothing," I insisted. "Just a lovely little argument going on inside my head."

"Ah, nothing out of the norm."

"Not at all." I smiled.

For the first time in my life, I had met someone who got me as well as the Marauders, even if he did lack that special spark of legal insanity that they all possessed.

The lack of sanity diagnosis that I had given was proven just a moment later.

"Ai-ai-ai-ai-ai-yiah!" Sirius barged into my bedroom and leapt nearly three meters. He then proceeded to sprint across the rest of the room and dive in between me and Damon; in all honestly, there wasn’t much room at all, so he landed on our laps.

"Shit, man!" Damon jumped in anger.

"Sirius, what the hell was that?" I wasn’t angry like Damon was, just a little frustrated at him being such a prat.

"My Indian yell," he answered proudly. However his tone of voice changed immediately. "You know, Anna, I’m wondering how Darren would be feeling about this little match up."

"Sirius!" I yelled once again, and his smiling face sobered instantly.

"Nothing, I just think that maybe you and Damon shouldn’t get up to anything, when you and Darren broke up not too long ago."

By this point, I had stood up, and was looking threateningly down at Sirius. "We were never together," I tersely informed him. "As you already know."

"Then maybe you guys shouldn’t have done certain th-" Sirius cut off immediately when I knocked him in the back of the head, hard, as opposed to the usual teasing smack. He groaned and brought his hand to the back of his head.

I sighed and turned to Damon. "Why don’t you go hang with the guys; I think I need to talk to Sirius."

Damon nodded and quickly left the room. It left me and Sirius starting each other down.

"Why him?" Sirius finally asked. "You just met him."

"Sirius! Now is not your turn to talk! What the hell is wrong with you, making me out to be some sort of . . . sort of . . ." I trailed off, not being able to figure out exactly what it was that Sirius had insinuated I was.

"I just thought that you shouldn’t be doing some things with a guy you’ve barely met, and thought that I should stop it!"

"Well that’s the point, isn’t it? I’ve just met him!" I told him. "Come on, you’ve had to have picked up on it by now - I’m not good with the commitment shit. So, I happened to find an incredible looking guy who was looking for a snog. "

Sirius made a disbelieving noise. "Well if you’re going to snog him, you might as well, might as well snog . . . me! . . . Or something ridiculous like that."

And like that, my lips were on Sirius’ and I was forcefully pushing him across the room until his back hit the wall.

This’ll prove I can just kiss anyone I want, I thought. 

Hehehehe.

What the hell? Remus!?!? Are you back again? You’ve already gotten what you wanted!

Just here to gloat.


I argued with the voice that did not belong in my head. I’ll have you know this is not a time for you to gloat - I’m kissing Sirius to prove that who I snog doesn’t matter, not because I like him. In fact . . . This is a bit disconcerting.


At some point during my interior monologue, Sirius had taken control and turned so that it was my back against the wall. Well, kissing wise, he was no Darren, but he wasn’t half bad.

Sirius pulled back and was breathing heavily. "Holy shit, that Darren kid must’ve done something; you’re way better than the last time we kissed."

Sirius was referencing one time during truth or dare. "You aren’t," I retorted.

"Touche," he said, letting go of me. However, he didn’t back away; his largeness pressed me flat against the wall. I wondered why he hadn’t moved, but couldn’t honestly say that where he was bothering me.

"You still going to get into any shenanigans with that Damon bloke?"

I shrugged.

"Because then they would be cruel and tragic shenanigans, not the cheeky, fun shenanigans that we just had. In fact, they would be evil shenanigans."

"Say the word shenanigans again . . ." I warmed. Sirius just smirked.

"Shenanigans."

I went to dive on top of him for a tickle attack, when I realized that my dress would be potentially ruined. Screw it, I thought.

I dove on top of Sirius and tortured him until he screamed for mercy. When he did, I calmly climbed off of him, readjusted any part of me that had been knocked askew, and started towards the door. "I believe there are people looking for us. Now, stop being a prat."

Sirius trailed after me and we went back to Remus’ room where we found only Peter, whose short, stubby legs were sticking out from under the bed. When he managed to wiggle himself out from under, he stood up and explained, "Hide-and-seek."

"Boo!" I heard someone shout; I screamed and nearly jumped to the ceiling. (Had I been taller, it might have been possible.)

I spun around and saw Remus in a fit of giggles. "Hilarious,," I spat.

Damon game out from behind one of the curtains. "Everything better?" he asked.

I looked at Sirius and fought the urge to laugh. "All better."

"Good," he answered. "Now, if I’m not mistaken, I hear much faster music. Care to dance?"

"Psh. I always care to dance. Like, this one time, at Hogwarts . . ." And I proceeded to tell him (and recount to the Marauders, even though they had been there) about the time at the party when I had dominated.

When we arrived back in the ball room, nobody had seemed to notice our absence. So, Damon and I took a spot of the dance floor, followed by Sirius and Remus, (who made just the cutest couple) and, James and Peter.

The song that was being played wasn’t quite loud enough, or fast enough, for me to break out my death defying dance moves, but it was enough to get me moving.

"You know," Damon said as he watched my feet and tried to keep up. "Sirius isn’t that bad of a guy."

"I know that, duh," I said, panting a little bit from my constant movement, "he’s my best mate."

"No, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, you think he’s being a prat at the moment, but he’s not; he’s just being jealous."

It didn’t occur to me that Damon was treading on dangerous waters; in fact, I was hardly listening. "Meaning?"

"Meaning that he likes you, and he didn’t want me snogging you."

"That absurd," I told him. I didn’t even stop dancing; that’s how ludicrous I felt Damon’s proclamation to be.

"Oh yeah?" Damon stop dancing, and started to pull me away, it took me a few seconds to get my feet used to the fact that I wasn’t dancing anymore. Damon didn’t stop until we were located in a secluded little corner, just up the stairs. "Now, it’ll take about a minute for Sirius to realize you’re gone, and then about a minute later he’ll come thundering up the stairs. When we hear footsteps, we’ll start to snog, and his reaction will prove that he likes you."

I decided that I would play along to Damon’s mad little game. But, about two minutes later, I did indeed hear footsteps. So, Damon and I went at it.

"Oh, sorry!" I stopped dead, mid-snog. That voice did not belong to Sirius. It was much more feminine sounding, and familiar at that. Praying that it wasn’t who I thought it, was, I slowly opened my eyes.

Oh, fuck.

"Uh Hi. . . Mrs. Potter."

The good news was that she didn’t look angry. In fact, she just looked amused.

"Pardon me," she said, then continued past us. Damon I watched her until she turned into a different corridor. The turn was simultaneous with a burst of laughter.

I rounded on Damon, laughing. "You idiot!"

He was laughing as well. "Well how was I supposed to know?!"

We laughed for a good five minutes before we composed ourselves. "You know, Anna, I think I’ve just made a really good friend."

"I’ll agree to that Mr. Theophilus." It’s so funny how a mindset can change so quickly, I marveled.

I put my arm around his shoulder and we walked down the stairs together.

___

"Write," I demanded.

"Promise," Damon said, as he and is father walked towards the large fireplace. It was nearly two in the morning, and they were one of the last guests still at the party.

"I’m serious," I told him. ("No, I am!" echoed from behind me, and I stifled a smirk) "If you don’t, I’ll have my owl come peck your eyes out. Got it?"

"Well, I was planning on not writing you, but after that . . ." he joked.

I waved as he spun away.

"Bloke’s pretty alright," Sirius decided. Damon had told me not to tell Sirius what happened, on account of the fact that Sirius liked me. I didn’t exactly believe Damon, but I agreed to humour him.

Completely exhausted, I demanded to be carried up the stairs. Sirius obliged and threw me over his shoulder, before stumbling around a bit. "Shit, Anastasia! I can’t see; your bloody dress is in my eyes!"

"Well why don’t I just take it off then?"

"Because then you’d be naked," James pointed out.

Even though I had no intentions of taking the dress off, I decided to argue my point. "Nuh-uh! I’ve got a bra, and underwear, and a bloody annoying petty-coat under this."

"What’s a petty-coat?" It was Remus who asked.

"Well, I don’t actually know; it’s what the Roberta lady called it." I lifted up the bottom of the dress to show the white, hoopy thing to the Marauders. "It makes the skirt bigger."

A simultaneous, "Ohhh," rang throughout the Marauders.

At the top of the stairs, we all split up so that we could get changed into more comfortable clothes. My entire body sighed in relief after I had gotten all the discomforts of my body and changed into a pair of red flannel pajama pants and a t-shirt.

I bounded out of my room and barged into each of the boys’ rooms, looking for where they had congregated. No one was in any of them; I finally found the boys on the third floor, in a large spare bedroom.

Sirius burst out laughing at the sight of me. "It’s quite hilarious," he explained. "To see you wearing your regular pajamas with the fancy hair and make-up."

"I was too lazy to undo it all," I countered. However, I did take my hair out of the fancy bun, and let the long curls fall over my shoulders.

"You’re very pretty," Sirius said with uncharacteristic kindness.

I laughed. "Tell me something I don’t know."

"You’re sitting in dog shit."

"Sirius, you dumbarse, that only works when the person is actually sitting in dog shit."

"My mistake," he said, and we all burst out laughing. We seemed to do that a lot; it was, of course, in our nature.

The door opened and interrupted our giggle-fest. "You lot are impossible to find," Mrs. Potter claimed, as she entered the room and sat down on the bed next to us. "I’ll have Sally bring up some hot cocoa and cookies, if you’d like?"

Being ourselves, we enthusiastically agreed. She laughed at our response and left the room - I’m almost positive that she winked at me before walking out.

The boys seemed to think so to. "What was that wink about?" James asked.

I thought about what Damon had told me. "I have no idea."

A minute later, there were unlimited cookies and cocoa at our dispense. "This is how it should be forever," I decided.

"Here, here!" Sirius loudly agreed.

"To never leaving each other," said James.

"To friendship for ever," added Remus.

"To never being alone," Peter put in.

"To always having fun," Sirius claimed.

"To living each day like it’s our last," I told them. "Just as we do now."

 


A/N: Kudos to the person that can pick up on the movie that I took as inspiration for a small part of this chapter. If you’ve seen the movie, you know. And there’s also two other movies I snuck in there, a bit more subtle though. ;) Super kudos to the person who gets all three.

A/N2: And, as always, a huge thanks to the lovely wheresmyedward.



Chapter 32: I Love All the Things You Do
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I got no regret right now (I’m feeling this)
The air is so cold and low (I’m feeling this)
Let me go in her room (I’m feeling this)
...
I love all the things you do
- blink-182



Anastasia was acting strange. Stranger than usual, that is.

Normal would have been Anastasia simply yelling loudly, running about and making a commotion. However, on the first day of term after we got back from Christmas holidays, she refused to put on her school uniform and, instead, went to class in a furry chicken costume.

I kid you not - where she even got that costume I will never know. But she wore it, and word had it that Minnie flipped her lid. Now, had she given the slightest reason for the costume, I would have dismissed it as Anastasia being herself, but she refused to give an explanation or take off the costume. I sometimes wondered how she took it off to use the loo.

"Sirius I need help with the zipper." After three days, Anastasia finally decided to take the costume off. I pulled the zipper down for her and it exposed the back of her rainbow polka-dotted bra.

Hey, that matches the underwear she was wearing that day at the lake . . . Oh, crap,
I thought. Cold shower. Think cold shower.


The thought was involuntary, I swear. Not on purpose.

Anastasia grabbed a handful of clothes from her trunk and traipsed into the bathroom with her costume hanging halfway off her.

Godric,
I thought as she closed the door to the bathroom. Has she got to run around half naked?


I lounged on my four-poster with my parchment, a self-inking quill, distracting myself with trying to think of what to write for the essay that Slughorn had set on illegal potions.

"Sirius!" I heard again.

"Yeah?" I answered.

"I think I broke the shower!"

I got up, shaking my head at Anastasia’s idiocy. I barged into the bathroom and nearly choked. Anastasia was standing there, wrapped in an incredibly small white towel. And that’s it.

"Fix," she demanded. Obviously, Anastasia didn’t see anything wrong with the picture.

"Er, okay." I poked the showerhead - nothing happened. I turned the knob and tried to get the water to run, but it didn’t. I growled. "Okay, Mr. Shower, you’re going down."

It took me nearly ten minutes to figure out that someone had shut off the water pressure.

"Thank you muchly."

I smiled at the wall near Anastasia, avoiding her eyes and body. It was a great body - all short (but not too short - she was short in an adorable way) and curvy and smooth and gorgeous and tan(ish) and all those wonderful things. I walked quickly towards the door and shut Anastasia in the bathroom again. I heard the muffled sound of the shower door closing; it took every ounce of my willpower not to jump in there with her.

I went back to my bed and settled in front of my work. After fifteen minutes of absolutely no progress, simply staring at the curtain of my bed in a trance, Remus walked into the dorm. "What did she do now?"

I suppose my face must have betrayed the mood I was in. "She asked me to fix the shower," I said quietly, hoping that she couldn’t hear from the bathroom. "She was in a towel." I shuddered as the compulsion to join her once again went through me. "Only a towel."

He laughed. "Don’t you miss the days that you could see Anna in a towel and think nothing of it? You know, I don’t really seem to have the problem with it that you do."

"Screw you," I said, and flipped him off for good measure. Then, in a much nicer voice, I said, "Want to write my essay for me?"

"No," Remus replied. "But I do want to give you some advice."

"Yes, yes, yes, I know," I drilled. "Don’t tell Anastasia, she won’t react well. Yes, I still remember chocolate up my nose quite clearly."

"Yes," Remus said, sitting down next to me. Uncomfortably close. If I hadn’t know his track record with girls, I might have made an assumption about his sexual orientation. "And no.

"Because now there’s more information. We know that Anna loves to flirt. How do we know this? Damon told me; that’s how I know. We know that Anna loves anything ‘no strings attached.’"

I interrupted him. Before I could let Remus get too far into his plan, I needed to clear up a few things. "Mate, listen. There’s a certain way this thing has got to go - if it goes." In any other circumstance, I would have jumped up to increase the dramatic effect of my speech. But, somehow, when I was talking about Anastasia, I didn’t feel the need to overdramatize. It was already very dramatic. 

"If you don’t think I’ve tried to talk myself out of liking her, boy, have I. I spent quite a long time denying, and then some more time trying to talk myself out of it. Newsflash: it hasn’t worked. And if you think that I could tolerate one of Anastasia’s half-arsed, pseudo relationships, then you have no idea how - how . . . In love with her, I am."

"Woah, man. Don’t even think about telling her that."

I considered throttling one of my best mates, but decided that in the long run, he helped more than he hurt. "Thanks, mate. Thanks."

–––

I seemed to have a talent for walking in on people. I’d been doing it since my first year, but more recently I’ve moved on to walking in on people that I know. I’d walked in on Anastasia twice in less than a year, and then James and Lily.

They were snogging like no one could ever see Lily Evans doing. I mean, there were roaming hands, groping, and most definitely some tongue action. Not exactly how one would expect their Head Boy and Girl to work together. I thanked God that Lily did not believe in sex before marriage, otherwise, I would have been awaiting the news of me being named Uncle Sirius.

Anastasia, at least, seemed to be put off relationships more than usual. She outright refused to snog anyone for fear that it would turn into something like it had with Darren.

"Dude, seriously, snogging is so not worth it. I mean, it’s not even all that fun past five minutes. No sir, I’d much rather be doing something stupid and potentially dangerous for myself and those around me," she told me, as we snuck down to the kitchens one January night. Anastasia had ‘the munchies’ as we all liked to call them. For some reason we (as in the Marauders and Anastasia) were almost constantly plagued by these.

"You know," I advised her. "You should get some female friends."

Her response. "Eww. Why?"

"Because if you keep eating like us boys, then you will get fat."

She stuck her tongue out at me. "I resent that. Besides, I could never let myself get fat; if I did, I wouldn’t be able to run away from the scene of the crime, which would mean I would get caught, which would mean I would get in trouble, which would mean that I couldn’t have fun, which would mean that I’d be depressed, which would mean that-"

"Bloody hell, woman! Will you shut your trap?" I threw up my hands exasperatedly, fighting back a smile and rolling my eyes. Like that would ever happen.

"Which would mean that I would try to kill myself, which would mean that I could be potentially dead, which would mean that I could no longer eat, which would mean that I’d be a really hungry dead person, which would mean-"

"Shut it," I whispered urgently all of a sudden. "I think I hear something."

We had nearly made it to the kitchens; being caught at that point would be entirely frustrating.

Around the corner were hushed voices, and other noises. Still under the cloak, we tentatively peered around the corner.

"Godric’s smelly old socks! Not-a-bloody-gain!"

We had run into a very, very, passionate Remus and Dora. They were snogging, and moving against each other in a way that would need very vulgar words to describe. Definitely not proper for anywhere but the confines of a secluded dormitory, that’s for sure.

"That right there . . .  Remus is sort of like an un-neutered alpha dog . . . With clothing . . . And turned the wrong way," Anastasia said, in that innocently blunt way of hers.

I nodded in agreement, then, tried to figure out how to get into the kitchens. Had they been up against a wall, it would have been easy to sneak past them - they surely wouldn’t have noticed anything. However, they had chosen a spot right against the portrait of the fruit; there was no other way into the kitchens.

"I don’t know how we’re getting in," I admitted.

"That’s okay," Anastasia said, turning away. "The munchies’ have been temporarily killed by the site of that."

"True."

___

I was sitting (innocently) at a desk in the Gryffindor common room; the month of January was just coming to a close and my analysis of human transfiguration was due. I had concentrated the essay on animagi; I figured that it would be quite easy, considering that I was one.

I had rounded off a nice two feet when I was interrupted.

"My, my, my. Well, may I say that you’re looking even finer than last year?"

I looked up to see someone that I hadn’t spoken with for quite a while: Alex. She was no longer friends with Lily, so we weren’t even connected by that. In fact, I hadn’t spoken with her since Anastasia punched her lights out the previous year. Not that I was complaining.

"No, you may not," I told her. I pulled out my wand so I could more quickly dry the ink on the parchment; I wanted to make a quick exit.

"Well, pardon me if I don’t listen," she said coyly, running her hands through her blonde hair. She had grown it out from it’s short cut. It was still annoyingly light and shiny. Hair was only allowed to be shiny if it was dark.

Like Anastasia’s, I reasoned.

"You’re not pardoned," I replied, rolling up my parchment and abandoning my quill and ink on the desk; the loss of those supplies was a small price to pay for a quick exit. "And you’re even more of a tart than I remember you being. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a roommate to shag."

Ha,
I thought. Mindgames.


I left a scandalized looking Alex standing stock still, and I turned away to walk up to my dormitory. Before I disappeared, a thought occurred to me. I turned back and said one more thing to her, just to clear up any misunderstanding that there may have been. "Oh, and it’s not one of the guys."

___

"You told her what?!" James seemed scandalized by the scene with Alex, mere minutes before.

"That I had a roommate to shag. Oh, and that it wasn’t one of the guys." I felt the need to clear that detail to James as well; I wouldn’t have wanted him thinking that I alluded to Alex and me and one of my male roommates were about to engage in . . . Well, that.
"You don’t think that Anastasia will be angry; do you?" I asked nervously, suddenly concerned what she might think of all this.

"Of course not!" James assured me, who had moved past the shock and now found the whole thing hilarious. "It is Anna, after all."

A moment after that, Anastasia herself burst into the dormitory. She looked slightly put-out. "I’m not a whore because I sleep up in the dorm with you guys, am I? I mean, even Dumbledore knows and he hasn’t done anything about it and -"

I had the urge to laugh, but decided not to; if Anastasia was doubting herself in any way, there was a problem. "Of course not! What gave you that idea."

"Fucking Alex," she grumbled, as she slung her bag to the edge of the bed. I tried to remember why she was out so late that particular night; I hoped she hadn’t been snogging anyone.

"You fucked Alex?" James asked, a tad too excitedly for it to be entirely fake. Which probably meant that he actually thought that Anastasia and Alex . . . 

"No." She didn’t even pretend to be angry with James. Instead, she burst out laughing, but quickly sobered up.

I was about to console her, and ask why the hell she had even listened to the slut, when she burst out with, "You know what? I have no idea what I was thinking! Sorry, boys, I’ve got to go take care of something."

And before we could say anything to stop her, Anastasia had turned and left the dormitory. "I think it’s safer for us if we don’t go after her," James advised.

I agreed.

Anastasia returned about a minute later, looking much more content than she had before. "Don’t ask, and I won’t have to tell," she advised.

I put my hands up in a surrendering gesture; something told me I really, really didn’t want to know. However, I did need to ask one question. "Why were you so worried that people thought you might be a whore?"

Anastasia, who had gone into the bathroom to change, left the door partially open so that we could still talk. "Well, it’s not what other people thought-" Anastasia came out of the bathroom and tossed her uniform aside. "I was worried that you guys might’ve thought it; cause I love you guys and I totally wouldn’t want to look like a whore to you."

She walked back out, and I got up and slapped her lightly across the face, rolling my eyes like she was idiot. "Well . . . That should answer your question. Good night, love."


A/N: I'd like to take up this little space in the authors note to let you all know that I am started a new story directly related to this one. It's basically a different view on Anastasia. More info to come as the time of publishing comes closer.

A/N2: Wow, that was quite some scare. When I first came to the site after it crashed, I nearly cried when I saw nothing. Huge thanks to all the big head-honchos at the site that got this thing up and running again so fast. We all owe you a bunch.

A/N3: This chapter is dedicated to Travis Barker, hoping he makes a quick recovery.


A/N4: I also want to give a shout-out to my awesome beta, and to all of my reviewers and those who favorited me. Even though about 400 reviews have disppeared off the  map, I appreciate every single review that I have gotten, and thank you all for taking the time to write them. :D


Chapter 33: Take It Easy, Baby
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A/N: Just a little pre-A/N here. Wanted to give a thanks to wheresmyedward for all her lovely help. Also, to let everyone know that the author's note at the end of this chapter will only contain information about the new story I'm writing, to coicide with this one. If it doesn't catch your interest, then I just want to save you from reading the huge A/N at the bottom. Happy reading. :D




Been Dazed and Confused for so long it's not true.
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you.
Lots of people talk and few of them know


. . .

Take it easy baby, let them say what they will.

-Led Zeppelin



"The guys say hi! The guys say hi!" Sirius was sitting next to me, shouting in my ear as I tried to write a letter to Damon. He had kept true to his word and as soon as I arrived at Hogwarts after Christmas holiday, I had received a letter from him.

It inspired me to wear a chicken suit for three straight days afterwards.

Ha. Long story. Trust me.

Anyway, it had been quite difficult to take a pee.

"Okay, okay," I told him, rolling my eyes. "Have I got to sedate you?"

"Nuh-uh," Sirius protested, calming himself and settling for adding commentary throughout the rest of my writing.

I waited for the ink to dry before I rolled the parchment up and tied a string around it. I put my slippers on and pulled my fuzzy red robe more tightly around myself. "Now I’ve got to take this to the owlery," I explained to Sirius. "Can you behave like a six-year-old while I’m gone?"

Sirius, quite adorably I might add, nodded eagerly much like a puppy, jumped up, and zoomed away in a matter of seconds.

"Well, alright," I chuckled to myself.

With the letter grasped loosely in my hands, I set off for the long trek to the owlery. Luckily, I had handy connections with the Marauders; and they happened to know every single passageway in the school. It was a good thing, because I was not keen on walking outside in the freezing snow, at ten o’clock in the morning. On a Saturday, no less.

So, after walking through a passageway (with a particularly low ceiling, seeing as anyone even the slightest bit taller than me would have had to crouch) I had arrived at the poop-covered bird hotel. At least, that is what I liked to call it.

I called to my owl and was quite pleased when she came flying happily down. She had been moody the past week or so; probably PMS.

"That-a-girl. Good. Now, I need you to take this to Damon, alright? And have a good rest once you get there." A hoot, an affectionate nibble at my finger, and she was gone.

I turned to leave the owlery, contemplating the bad choice of shoe-wear, when I nearly got a heart attack. Someone had been standing directly behind me. Darren.

"What’s going on, Darren?" I asked. Something in the way that he was looking at me made me feel as if Darren being here wasn’t quite a coincidence.

"I wanted to . . . apologize," he said finally.

"For what?" I responded. I had no problem continuing my talk with Darren, however, I began to walk; being in the owlery for too long was not something that made me particularly happy.

"Because I said some pretty mean things when I didn’t really mean them. And I understand that someone like you and someone like me never really could work out; I just wanted you to know that I knew that."

I began to nod but Darren wasn’t quite finished. "And I want to still be your friend. I want you to teach me how to have fun - your kind."

I laughed at the professional manner that Darren was going about his apology and proposal. "Alright, but we’re going to have to start by taking that proverbial stick out of your arse. Or do I have to reach down there and do it for you? Because I’m not really into that sort of thing."

He laughed along with me before saying, "That’s alright, I think I can do it myself; that might even be a little too kinky for me to handle." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and I congratulated him; he was actually joking about something, even if it was slightly sexual. Everyone’s still got to start somewhere.

"Just one question," I prompted, as I directed him towards the secret passage that I had taken to get to the owlery. "Did you really get thrown out of your old school for shagging some girl in a empty classroom?"

He shook his head, but was most definitely hiding a smile. "Nope, you’ve got your facts wrong," he explained, as if he would have expected better of me. "It wasn’t empty. It was a closet in the back of the classroom. The professor heard some, er . . . noises, and went back to check and there we were."

I had started laughing somewhere around the second sentence he had spoken, and didn’t intend on stopping for quite some time. However, I did manage to choke out, "You never cease to amaze me, mate. Let’s keep it that way."

___

By the second week in February, we had all become accustomed to knocking on the dormitory door before entering. (Sometimes, regrettable for myself, I forgot.)

Remus and Dora weren’t shagging, but you could always count on an eyeful of something or another if you were unlucky enough to walk in on them. Lily and James weren’t quite as painful to the eyes, but Lily would get uncomfortable if any of us walked in on her and James snogging, so we tried to avoid it. Peter had a bad habit of shagging girls in other houses, and somehow, getting them up to our dorm. And while his number wasn’t quite up there with Remus’, if the lovable werewolf kept up his bit with Dora, then Pete would soon surpass him. It was a slightly creepy thought.

It felt as if Sirius and I were the odd ones out.

"You know," I joked one day, after we had knocked on the dormitory door and heard a pleasured moan in response, "maybe we should just shag up a storm in there one day, just so we’re not feeling so left out."

It felt oddly strange, coming out of my mouth. I had always made cracks (for the past two or three years) about me and Sirius’ potential sexual relationship. It was always hilarious for us and uncomfortable for others. However, that was the first time in my memory that it was uncomfortable to me. 

Holy fuck, thought to myself. What’s going on here?


That’s nothing it’s just-

Oh, so you’re back are you? I grumbled. The voice (which had gone on vacation after Darren and I were no longer involved, not counting that whole bit at the Christmas party) had come back.

Of course! I love it here! Just can’t stay away! It's so nicely decorated!

I was snapped back to reality when I heard Sirius voice jokingly agree, "Definitely. We’ll get down ‘till the sun comes up."

"Don’t you mean go down?" I couldn’t help but laugh - I thought I was extremely clever.

Sirius brought the conversation to a drastic U-turn. "Honestly, do they really have to go up there and take over the dorm all the time? What if I needed to have a pee really badly and couldn’t make it to any of the other loos in school? Or what if there was a raging, man-eating bear on the loose and you needed your wand?"

"Well then I suggest that you start carrying around a little glass jar and I remember to keep my wand with me at all times," I advised.

"Smartarse," Sirius snapped. "But really, I think we should make our own dorm; we’ll need a place to chill when they’re all making use of the sex-room up there. Seriously! (With no relation to myself.) It’s going to have a permanent smell up there."

"Come on, you idiot, let’s go." I started pulling Sirius into the seventh-floor corridor; he was compliant and didn’t complain. "Good little boy," I praised.

I walked a bit more and come to a stop in front of the (potential) Room of Requirement. "I need a place where Sirius and I can chill while ours is being used for dirty things." I repeated this three times before a small, black door popped up in front of us.

I stepped tentatively into the room and gave it a once-over. It passed.

It looked quite a great deal smaller than the common room in Gryffindor tower; however, this was for two people. There were two large, red couches, placed directly to the side of the other. There were two, small-ish bookcases on either side of the fireplace. The smallish bookcases, were, however, not filled with books.

After further investigation, we found that the couches pulled out into beds. "That’s convenient," I remarked. "Hmm. . . which one will I choose? This is such a difficult decision. The left, or the right?"

I looked back and forth between the identical couches for a while. "Well, fuck that. I’ll never decide! You pick, Sirius."

"I dunno," Sirius answered. "You’re the lady, you pick."

He thought for a moment. "Wait, I take that back. You’re Anastasia. You pick."

"Shut up, dumbarse!" I yelled at him, though I found his comment amusing, and quite typical. "I don’t know! How am I supposed to choose? Left bed/couch versus right bed/couch. This is like WWE Smackdown."

"What’s a WWE Smackdown?" Sirius questioned.

"This." I jumped up and latched my arms and Sirius’ neck trying to bring him down to the ground; I was failing miserably. I reluctantly decided to explain verbally. I let go of his neck and said, "If we were both, like, three-hundred pounds, totally buff, bald and disgustingly tattooed, then us wrestling would be a WWE Smackdown."

Pausing, I grinned, clarifying. "Someone also has to whack a chair over someone elses head."

"Oh," he said, "Sounds interesting. Hey, let’s just alternate and switch. That way, no one has to pick!"

"Okay!" I said brightly. "What a brilliant solution! We should put the beds back into couches. It’s a bad sign for the future if we’re already preparing for an overnight here."

"Agreed." Sirius nodded. "Now, can we try that WWE thingy?"

___

 

"Today is the day that we begin study human-to-animal transfiguration. We will continue to study this particularly precise and difficult branch of magic into your Seventh year. . ."

I stopped listening to Minnie at that point; after all, my best mates were all animagi - I hardly needed to hear the detailed history of it. Instead, I thought of the letter I had received from Damon at breakfast. Sirius had long since decided he didn’t hate the bloke, and had excitedly ripped the letter from my hands before I could read it. However, he eventually gave it back, and I read it as I walked up to class.

It read:

Dear Anna (and Remus, and James, and Peter, and Sirius),


I hope you are all feeling fantastic and not learning too much, because that would be a pity. Speaking of learning - I am no longer attending Durmstrang. Before this term started up, my Father made a last minute decision to send me to a school closer to home. As Voldemort grows stronger, it appears he has many allies in my old school. Anastasia, guys – don’t trust anyone outside your little group; your best friends are the most important people you can get in times like this.

On a much, much happier note; I have a girlfriend! She’s beautiful. Long brown hair, very tall and graceful. She didn’t speak English, so when I transferred here I started teaching her, and that’s how I got to know her. It’s quite wonderful, liking someone this much; you should all try it some time. Anna - that last comment may or may not have been intended for you. You can’t see me, but I am now winking.

I have a proposal for you - all of you. This may seem a bit far in advance, but I’m going to throw it out there, just for fun. When I turn eighteen (my Muggle-born father doesn’t follow the magical ‘coming of age’) instead of receiving the customary watch, I get a villa on the beach. I’m quite excited for this, personally. Now, I don’t turn eighteen until next, next August - by that time, you boys will be out of school and Anna will have just graduated - but I want you guys to visit me that summer.

It can be just us for a while (something tells me we won’t have any troubles entertaining ourselves) and then I think I’m going to invite a few more people and we can have a wild, raging party. I won’t be able to rest in peace until I’ve seen Sirius and Anna drunk and stupid . . . Sorry guys.

I’ve actually got to run - school here is surprisingly more difficult than it was at Durmstrang. I’ve got an essay to write. Write back soon, or I’ll send Bertha (the owl) back to peck your eyes out.

Sincerely,

Mr. Write-back-before-your-eyes-get-pecked-out (Damon)


"Well . . . That’s a pleasant thought," I had remarked to Sirius, before we had gone separate ways before class.
 
I should use this time to write back; maybe I can even fool Minnie into thinking that I’m taking notes . . . Yeah right. I laughed at my own stupid suggestion.

So I took out some parchment, an ink bottle, and a quill, not really caring to be discreet. I was nearly shocked out of my shoes when I felt a sharp quill tip jab into my side. I looked to my left and saw Darren sitting innocently in his seat. I flicked a bit of parchment at him before beginning to write.

Dear Damon,

Unfortunately, the lovely Marauders cannot be here while I write this letter, because I’m writing it in class. Yes, I know I’m bad - maybe you should punish me? Anyway, all inappropriate sexual comments aside, this is how I spend my time in class.

I want to hear all about the girl that you’ve met. I might know her from when I was younger; believe it or not, before I moved here, I had lots of friends. Now I’m content to hang out with the guys and not have boyfriends. I can just live vicariously through others . . . like you! Oh, and don’t think your little comment about liking someone a lot was lost on me; I’m fully aware of what you’re implying, you, you - well, let’s just say that a certain, offending word that starts with a ‘B’ would totally be in place of this extra long, explanatory sentence if I wasn’t feeling particularly virtuous today.

I’m very glad to hear that you’re out of Durmstrang - it’s a very, very bad place. Actually I don’t know that for sure because I’ve never been there, but I trust your judgement. I hope you’re enjoying your new school, and I commend you on your patience; I highly doubt I could ever teach someone how to speak a language.

Dude! Villa on a fucking Greek beach!?!? What do you think our answer is? I don’t even have to ask the guys; I’m sure they’ll be all for it. Oh, and you should probably know that Sirius and I have cut back on our drunken activities; they’re bad. However, for you, I’m sure neither of us will mind downing a bit of Firewhiskey. Mmm, love that stuff.

So, I’m going to have to dash now, as terribly I have nothing else to say, because Hogwarts is so damn dreadfully uneventful. Ta!

Love and danger,

Anna (and we can just pretend that the guys helped me write this)


 
In my mind, I grumbled about the un-eventfulness of Hogwarts. To provide further distraction from boring classwork, I then went on to grumble to Darren about it. It certainly was nice to have a friend in class, since it kept me slightly more entertained.

"Miss Xanthis! I have long since given up on hopes of you paying attention in this class; however, I would like you not to distract your classmates!" Professor McGonagall said sharply, then continued her lecture without missing a beat.
 
That takes some talent, I admitted to myself. Now . . . When is lunch?

___


"Did you ever read Romeo and Juliet?"

I turned to look at Sirius, who was lounging with his feet up on the desk I was working at. It was March; the teachers had been continually warning us that exams were close, and I was trying to study. The keyword here being trying. Still, it wasn’t my fault Sirius was distracting me so effectively.

"You mean the play about the bitchy, whiny, emotionally flighty, clingy teenagers?" Yes, I had read it. No, I did not like it.

"I’ll take that as a yes," he answered. "So why did you dislike it so much?"

"Besides the fact that the characters are incredibly shallow-"

"So are you," Sirius interrupted.

" - They’re just plain annoying."

From Sirius’ general response to everything I had to say about the play, I gathered that he had liked it. I wondered why. "And why do you like it so much?"

He took his feet down from the desk and almost looked at bit serious. (However, he looked very, very Sirius. God, that joke is getting old.) "I think it’s kind of amazing that two people could love each other so much that they would rather die than be without the other."

I crinkled my nose at his response. "You’ve got to be kidding me." Perhaps my disgust at Sirius’ opinion sounded a little more harsh than I intended; he looked a bit taken aback.

"Not at all. Why do you ask?"

"Because that’s totally stupid - it’s part of the reason why they’re both so annoying. I mean, they had a complete emotional collapse when they thought the other one was dead; way too clingy too another person. It’s just so pitiful. I mean really you don't kill yourself because the guy you met four days ago and shagged once is dead."

A funny look had settled itself onto Sirius’ face. When I set my mind to it, I could almost always decipher what someone was thinking from their expression. This however, was one of the few exceptions.

"So you don’t think there’s anyone that you couldn’t live without?" Sirius questioned. His voice matched the look on his face.

"Not to the point where I’d kill myself. Or do some other sort of rash, withdrawal type of thing where I pretend my heart has turned into a big black whole and there's no purpose in life anymore."

First, Sirius frowned at me, and then laughed. But it wasn’t an amused sort of laugh. It was simply one of disbelief. "You have a cold, cold heart, Anastasia." Then he got up and left.

What the hell was that all about? I wondered

I know! I know! I know!

I would have known that Greek accent anywhere.

Damon! Why are you inside my head now!? First Remus, then Mrs. Potter, and now you?


We all know what’s best for you, chuckled Damon’s voice. More than you do, anyway.

Well, can you go away? I’ve got some work to do. I was getting slightly annoyed.

You have no intention of doing that homework. Besides, didn’t you hear me?


Hear from you? Yes, I sent my letter over a week ago thank yo - I stopped. I needed to remind myself that the Damon inside my head was a figment of my imagination; not the real one.

I'm not talking about that! I know why Sirius was acting funny!

I decided to humour the voice . . . Maybe it would go away.

Why, then?

Because he would totally kill himself if you died!

What!? I gave a quick glance around the room - for a moment I was afraid I had shouted that out loud instead of inside my head. He would never! He has James, Remus and Peter! James is his best friend!

And for that he’s lucky. Damon’s voice sounded exasperated now, and slightly less like Damon’s. They would be the ones who would keep him going - not that he wouldn’t be devastated. But to be completely honest, I think Sirius is a little upset that you wouldn’t react the same way with him. 

I hardly think Sirius wants me to kill myself,
I reasoned with the voice, which no longer sounded like Damon at all. In fact, it sounded rather like Sirius himself.

I don’t.
Yep, it was Sirius. It's just a little wounding to the ego that, you know, that maybe you don't love me as much as I love you.


With a frustrated growl I tore myself from my mind. Leaving my books on the desk, I stalked off to the hospital wing. Hopefully, Madam Pomfrey had something to help get rid of voices.

___

 

A week passed to find us sitting in the Great Hall, eating breakfast. (With the exception of Remus, who was sleeping in the hospital wing. Yesterday had been full moon.)

"You never told me you had voices that talked to you," James said randomly.

I paused with a forkful of food halfway to my mouth, blanching. "How do you know about the voices?"

"When we went to see Remus this morning, Madam Pomfrey asked us to ask you if the voices were gone."

I dropped my fork with a ‘clank.’ Madam Pomfrey was such a traitor.

"They’re not voices, per se," I explained. "Not the crazy people kind - I’m fully aware that they’re in my head, and made up. But, sometimes when I get to arguing with myself it gets a little… overwhelming."

"Oh," James said. "I get that all the time."

"Not like this, I’ll bet." I put my head down on the table, thankful that Sirius had skipped over to the Hufflepuff table to say a quick word to someone. I wasn’t sure if I could have kept up the charade while he was watching. Not while the incident from last week was still fresh on my mind.

"Hey, Darren," I called as he passed by on his way down the table.

He smiled back and tilted his head towards me. I heard a growl from behind me and turned around to see Sirius. Ever since the game of taboo when I had implied things about me and Darren, Sirius had been growing particularly hostile.

"I thought you were done with that bloke." If his actions hadn’t been indicative enough of his opinion of Darren, his voice sure was.

"I’m done with the snogging and stuff." I tried not to put too much emphasis on the ‘and stuff.’ "But we’re friends now."

"Well I don’t like it," Sirius’ childish petulance was shining through. I was glad; it had been noticeably scarce over the past few months.

"Well I don’t like you," I retorted.

"Yes you do."

Yes, you do.

I nearly jumped out of my seat. Not because Sirius’ voice and the voice in my head were simultaneous. No. But because the voice in my head belonged not to Remus, not to Damon, not to Mrs. Potter, and certainly not to Sirius. It belonged to me.


A/N2: Fun chapter, eh? Anyways, here's some more information about the new story I'm writing.

It'll be a short story; it's working title is, Anastasia, and the main character is one of Anna's old dorm-mates. Let's say it's quite a different view on Anna. This girl is not her biggest fan, to say it nicely. This story is mostly targeted to those who didn't really like Anna, or people who just want to see how other people portray her. 

I'm not realeasing it until it's all, completely finished. When it is, I'll be adding a new chapter every other day, so the entire story should be up fairly quickly. It'll probably hover somewhere from 10-15 chapters. Just a little more info because I'm having trouble coming up with a summary but still want to give you some info:

Bria Carol is your average girl. She's average looking, average sized, average grades. But Anastasia keeps besting her, keeps getting exactly what she wants. This is basically Bria's struggle with Anastasia and trying to come out on top through their Hogwarts years.



Chapter 34: I'll Have You Know I'm Scared to Death
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I'll have you know I'm scared to death
. . .
Now I'm hoping just a little bit stronger
Hold me up just a little bit longer


I'll be fine, I swear
-Mayday Parade

 

Understandably it took me a few seconds to recover from that. 

Shit, I need to think about all of this. Now.

"Er, I think I’m gonna be sick guys," I threw my hand up to my mouth and sprinted out of the Great Hall, making a show about it.

However, once I was out, I didn’t head for the loo, but for the outside. I kept running until I reached that secret spot that the Marauders and I had found one day, four years earlier.

___

"I’m so done with this; I want to go back," I complained. The Marauders (a year older than me, Third years) had done some exploring around the grounds. They said that there was reason to believe that just a bit further, there was a secret little field that no one knew about it. "How do you even know that no one knows about it if you do?"

"Patience, young grasshopper," Sirius said, in an annoyingly superior way.

"Just shut your trap, will you?" I angrily followed the older boys through the grounds. We had long since left the rolling green hills that everyone played on, and were making our way through an area with grass that was up to my waist.

"I’m going to go back," I warned. "And then I’ll lock you all out of your dormitory."

"You’re not talented enough for that," James said, brushing off my threat. "And you couldn’t find your way back at this point - you’ll get lost."

"I can see the castle, you dimwit." I was about to hurl more insults at the Marauders when Remus abruptly stopped in front of a tree. He ran his hand down it once or twice. "This is it, guys. Right beyond this tree is our new safe haven. The only limitations; if someone is looking for anyone inside this area, it becomes visible to them."

 

I nearly growled. I hadn’t quite perfected it yet, though. "And what is the whole point of this place? We already have the Room of Requirement."

Remus nodded. "Yes, but there’s something about this place that’s a little more . . . Ours."

"Yeah, yeah, I agree," Sirius said, collapsing into the grass.

Peter nodded eagerly and James agreed as well. "Well," I groaned. "I suppose it is sort of cool."

"Besides," Remus interjected. "It’s a great spot to take girls, or in your case, boys."

Already, at only thirteen, Remus was such a whore. Sirius, James, Peter and I had a bet on when he would first have sex. Remus didn’t know we had a bet.

"Okay, okay, I get the idea." I lay down next to James and stared up at the sky.

"One day, Anastasia," James said. "You’ll be way less angry at the world (for whatever it is you’re angry at) and you’ll come to be insane. Just like us."

"Praise Godric the day that comes," Sirius said.

I whacked him upside the head. "I heard that."

However, we all couldn’t help but laugh.

___

 

I remembered the little angry child that I had been until the beginning of Third year. I was lucky that the Marauders saw something in me that I hadn’t, or else I still might have been bitter. In fact, it was Sirius that had finally convinced me to grow down.

___

"Anastasia, do you always have to mope around?" Sirius whined.


"I’m not moping," I insisted. "This is my naturalness."

Sirius shook his head and scooted a little closer me. We were sharing a compartment on the train; James, Remus and Peter had all disappeared. "Yes, you are. And no, it’s not.

"I know you. Anastasia, when we first met you more than two years ago, you were this naive little child who didn’t have a care in the world; we managed to corrupt you. And we’re quite proud of ourselves, by the way. But at what point did you decide to be angry at everything that moves!"

At the precise moment, I had kicked my leg into the trunk that stood a foot away from us. "Stupid trunk!"

"And things that don’t move," Sirius amended, in an exasperated tone. I finally gave in. "I don’t know," I whined. "But everyday that I wake up, I just start out the day with the need to punch things, and the day gets worse from there."

Sirius, who was taking advantage of the empty compartment, had jumped up and was exuberantly acting out all of his emotions and ideas. "Then don’t start out the day like that! Try this: Everyday, when you get up, think, ‘What a glorious day! What kind of fun mischief will I get up to today?’!"

He sat back down at wouldn’t take his eyes off me. I felt a bit self-conscious. "I know it sounds dumb, and I know it sounds simple. But, please, Anastasia; try it."

I looked at Sirius and those pleading eyes. "Okay, but only for you."

___ 

Okay, so Sirius had been the reason that I was no longer a whiny, slightly-angry/depressed preteen. So what? What did that mean anyway? He helped me through a rough patch - no biggy.

Except that it was.

___

"Who the hell are you and what have you done with Anastasia?" James panted as me and the Marauders raced down the corridor. The night that Sirius had given me his advice, I tried it. And, shock of all shockers, it had worked. I felt empowered, I felt like I had to do something with my new found joy and immaturity.


I felt the need to steal Professor McGonagall’s knickers and run away while making a ruckus.

"A little birdie came and talked to me," I explained, clutching a stich in my side and struggling to keep up with the faster, taller boys. "I decided that life is lovely, and should be treated as such."

"Does that mean you’re going to join us in acting like we’re two and have fun for the rest of your life?" Sirius asked excitedly. We shared a secret glance.

"Yes, yes it does," I concurred.

___


I didn’t even realize that I had fallen asleep in the soft grass until I woke up and it was nearly dusk out. "Well, this can’t be good," I decided. I was about to hop up and make my way back to the castle when I remembered the reason that I had left earlier that day.

"How fucked up has my life become?" I asked myself.

Not as much as you think.

I swear on Godric Gryffindor’s soul, I almost strangled myself, when I realized it was the same, traitorous, voice from this morning.

Hey, hey, hey! Will you stop going mental? Look at yourself! You’re like a more grown up, less depressed, more perverted version of what you were three or four years ago! That’s bad.


And in a rush of realization (as corny and overused as that sounds) I threw myself to the ground. Was the little bitch of a voice in my head right? What I just as bad as I was then? 

Just think about it,
the voice urged. Think about how different you were less than two years ago.


Completely oblivious to the outer world, I was once against lost in my nostalgia.

___

Cupcakes.

Chocolate fudge frosted, confetti cake. "Crrrupciiisss!" I said, demonstrating to James and Sirius what the word cupcake sounds like when cupcakes are shoved in ones mouth. There was no mirror in the kitchen, but I assumed that I had chocolate and cake crumbs all over my face since I had shoved the entire cupcake into my mouth at once.

James shook his head in mock disgust. "There is no way that you are a girl.

"And you are definitely a dog," he told Sirius after the tall boy had repeated exactly what I had done.

"Thank you," we replied simultaneously.

We all laughed for a bit and then I reached for another cupcake.

"Don’t touch that cupcake!" I looked at Sirius with a confused expression. He had his hand reaching out to me in an overly-dramatic way, even though he could have easily taken it from me. "Don’t do it!"

Slowly, painfully slowly, I lifted the delicious cupcake to my mouth and stuck my tongue out. I put my tongue on the cupcake and licked just the tiniest bit of icing, off, I continued and then -


"No! Stop it! Bob doesn’t like that!"

I stopped in shock. "Bob? Bob doesn’t like it?"


Sirius nodded.


I looked at him. "Please tell me that you did not name this cupcake Bob."


He shook his head. "Thank God-"

"That’s not Bob, that’s Bob’s girlfriend."

I couldn’t take it anymore. I burst out laughing. "So where is Bob then?"

Sirius picked the biggest cupcake off the plate and held it up. I took the cupcake I had licked all over and smashed it into ‘Bob.’ "Look!" I shouted. "They’re making out!"

"Oh. My. Goodness." Remus had just walked into the room and stood next to James. "Please tell me that they’re kidding."

James shook his head sadly. "Nope. But console yourself; she’s probably just drugged up."

I pushed the giant vase of flowers that rested on the island counter in the middle of the kitchen aside. There stood Remus with a giant smile on his face. I was prepared to leap into his arms in way of greeting, but Sirius beat me to it.

"Remy!"

"Merlin," whispered Remus as Sirius dive-bombed into Remus’ arms. My eyes widened in shock when Remus caught Sirius with little difficulty and massive muscles bulged out of his t-shirt. I could have sworn that they had just been skinny little sticks a few moments ago. He held onto Sirius for a moment as Sirius leaned up and kissed him on the cheek. Within nanoseconds of that, Remus dropped Sirius down onto his butt.

"You know, mate," Remus said, as he shifted his duffel bag from his shoulder to the floor. "That was just creepy. And so what that whole cupcake thing."

"I’m creepy," I piped up in a small voice. "And intimidating."

"Yes, of course, because all people who are five feet are intimidating."


___

I shook my head, making the memory float away. 

Now think more recently,
I was prodded. The past year, maybe?

___

"So it is possible for you to have fun," I teased Darren.

"I have fun all the time," he claimed, "just not in the same way as you do." He winked suggestively.

I shook my head at his forwardness. "Well, personally, I like my way better." Then again, the boy had rolled down the hill with me. And he looked cute with tousled hair. "But since you were kind enough to entertain me, I’ll entertain you."

I rolled over on top of Darren and straddled my legs around his waist. I lowered my face to his neck and trailed kisses from his exposed collarbone all the way to his chin. All the while, his hands trailed lightly up and down my back.

Aaron and I had never kissed more than a peck. Stephen was the first guy I really snogged, but we only did that once or twice. I wasn’t even a moderate kisser when Darren and I begun our ‘thing’ but within a few weeks, Darren’s experience, and constant need for physical attention, had made me quite a good one. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

___


"So?" I had progressed to arguing with my voice from the outside. "That’s one point in time out of how many? I bet I could think of another that wasn’t like that!"

No point in getting worked up about it, my inner voice coaxed, probably trying to stop myself having a breakdown. All I’m saying is that you’re not who you were.


"What do you want me to do about it?" I whined. 

Whatever you think is right.

"I don’t know anymore," I admitted. My voice squeaked.

Anna. I’ve been living (quite dormant, up until recently) inside of you since you were born. You work best if you’re not thinking so hard. Try it.


"Try it." The words brought back, with a gasp, the whole reason that I had fled my best mates.

Don’t think, you dimwit. Go with the flow.


"Right, go with the flow."

I planned on staying for a little while longer, just to rid my head of more thoughts, when I heard someone call my name. "Anastasia?"

And again. "Anastasia? There’s no point hiding, I can see you."

With a sigh, I slowly got up and walked to Sirius. I looked at him and said, "Don’t ask, so I don’t have to tell. Just doing a little soul searching."

I was about to throw my arm over his shoulder and continue up to the castle, but I decided to try something.

Remember, go with the flow,
I was reminded.

"Sirius, I want to try something. It means absolutely nothing at all, but I want to see what happens." He looked confused (when did he not) but nodded.

And for the second time in three months, I stepped up to Sirius and gave him a kiss. Nothing too serious; just a few seconds of his soft lips on mine. I stepped back and looked up at Sirius, I felt like I was contemplating the kiss, but no thoughts went through my head.

"I’m kind of tired," I told him. "Shall we?"

He nodded, seeming to have already forgotten the odd event that transpired only moments earlier. He slipped his arm around my waist and let me rest my head on his arm. (My head didn’t quite reach his shoulder - stupid tall kid.)

"I’m a little confused right now, Sirius," I explained. "But I’m working it all out. Just like you told me all those years ago, I just have to try it."

"Try what?"

"I don't know for sure yet."

A/N: I apologize for the potentially larger number of mistakes in this chapter; my beta has not looked through it, and I've only skimmed it once in my hurry to post this before I had to left.

A/N2: "Anastasia" Update: I've written three or four chapters (they're merged so I can't exactly tell.) What that means is that I'm now well in Anatasia's fifth year. This story, I think, will go through Anastasia's Seventh year. Hede warning now: It will contain spoilers for this story; as I will not have reached Anna's Seventh year (in this story) by the time that "Antastasia" is posted, I advice you to put off reading if you don't want those hints at what will be happening.



Chapter 35: The Candles Are Lit
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Step in and you can lock the door
The candles are lit and the clothes on the floor
. . .
You feel like you're making a big mistake
You should've waited
-Boys Like Girls


It took me only about a month or two to be accustomed to having a boyfriend. Oh, did I like the sound of that; even if it was James Potter. Actually, I shouldn’t say that. James was the best boyfriend I could have asked for.

Unlike Anna (though don’t take this comment as a lingering hatred for her, as there is none) I actually wanted a real relationship. She may have gotten by on snogging and otherwise acting like friends, but I needed someone to open doors for me, to pull out my chair, and tell me I was the most beautiful person he had ever seen.

James did exactly that. He always listened to what I had to say as if it was the most interesting thing in the world. He was surprisingly perceptive; I made a comment about how I was craving some chocolate pudding, the next day, there’d be some waiting for me at lunch. And most importantly of all, he never pushed my boundaries.

He accepted the fact that I had my morals to stick to, and I wasn’t readily going to give them up. While his hands roamed, I could tell that he was always being careful not to place them too low, always careful not to twist me the wrong way as we rolled over for fear of breaking me.

However, with the arrival of mid-January, I became curious.

What was sex life? Was it truly something I wanted to wait for? What exactly did I think was so wrong about it before marriage?

And I knew that James would never be the one to start it. I knew that if we got married, and I didn’t give the slightest indication that I was planning on making my way past the snogging and groping, the James wouldn’t even suggest it. (Well, at least to a point.)

And it rather made me want to try it some more.

So, one day, I had brought it up. Had I been a more bold person, I might have let my hands to the talking; however that was not my style. "James, I’ve been thinking. . . You must be getting tired of all this snogging."

Smiling sweetly with his glasses askew, James rolled over and looked at me. "Never with you, love."

I sighed. Perhaps this would be more difficult than I thought. After all, James was a bit thick. "No, I mean, wouldn’t like to try something . . . new?"

"And why would I want to do that?" The nonchalant tone of his voice made it apparent that he didn’t think I was quite as serious as I was.

"Just a thought," I said, sighing. Thickhead.

"A silly one," he concurred, putting his arm around my shoulder. Instead of beginning to snog again, he gently guided my head towards his chest and began to stroke my hair.

Whenever I began to doubt James’ suitability for me, it was always moments like that, that would make me remember.

___

A few days later, I was accosted by a wild, rampaging Anna. Well, maybe not wild and rampaging, but it was Anna.

It was rather late at night, and I was curled up on the couch, studying for my N.E.W.Ts. They weren’t for months, but just because I had a boyfriend didn’t mean that I was going to slack off. Sue me.

Just the manner in which Anna approached me (in that oh-so-subtle way of hers) tipped me off that she was going to lecture me. I often felt silly, being lectured and given advice by someone younger than me. And it wasn’t even as if she was mature, and seemed older. She was as immature as a Third year, and they were the worst!

"Don’t even think about doing anything with those hands, or James’, for that matter."

Being my perceptive self, I caught on immediately. "So the bugger did know what I was talking about the other day!"

Anna just shrugged and looked back at me with a look that plainly said ‘yes, you are quite the genius.’

"Listen," Anna said, before I had a time to argue about James and his damned ways. "I’ve just had some coffee and I’ve got to pee so badly right now, so we’re going to have to make this quick."

Unfortunately, no matter how perceptive I was, I couldn’t have guessed what was going to come next.

"Lily, I really don’t think you should get it on with James quite yet."

I was appalled. Who did Anna think she was, telling me what I should and shouldn’t do. Not to mention, she was being quite the hypocrite! And, she was younger than me! I voiced all of these thoughts to Anna.

She sighed and sat down. (She hadn’t been sitting before.) "And that’s all true," she admitted. The slightly defeated tone in her voice surprised me; it was one I had never heard before. I looked over at the younger girl and realized that she looked awfully tired and worn out. Somehow, older. Maybe it was just the slightly mature subject matter that gave her the appearance; I couldn’t be sure.

"So then. . . " I trailed off, hoping that Anna would elaborate.

"Of course you’re going to do what you want," Anna said. "I would never even dream of telling otherwise. I just . . . I just . . . Wow, this is going to be way harder than I thought."

She took a deep breath and turned to face me; she had been staring blankly out the window before, watching the snow fall.

"Okay, I’m going to tell you a little story, okay?"

I neglected to tell Anna that she said ‘okay’ twice. It was a fairly trivial matter. I nodded.

"Okay. One day, there was a girl. Her name was . . . Claire. Right? So Claire was seven years old, and the boy next door kissed her. It was shocking, but she found that she liked it very, very much. By the time she finally got to Hogwarts, she had already become a pro at snogging.

"She ran around doing all these things to guys, and having things done to her. Then, in Third year, she and some guy got down and dirty. Now, Claire was a very nice girl, but by the time she graduated, she had soooo many guys under her belt. However, no one saw anything wrong; it was just the way that she was."

I was entertained by the careful way that Anna was treading around the edges of the story. I had a feeling that the story she was telling me was true to some extent.

Anna continued. "Around the same time, there was a girl named, er, Alicia. Now, Alicia wasn’t quite like Claire; she never got that early start. She didn’t go around snogging or doing other things with guys until she was a bit older. But when she did, no one really saw anything wrong with it; she didn’t see it as a big deal, so they didn’t either.

"And then, there was Hannah. Now, Hannah was quite a shy girl. She was kind of sheltered as well, but she knew things. She knew that she wasn’t going to have sex before she got married, and she would be going with a guy for quite a long time before she did anything besides snog him. It was just her morals; the type of girl that she wanted to be."

‘Alicia’ and ‘Hannah’ seemed quite familiar. Anna and myself . . . possibly? Yes. And, as much as Remus would kill Anna if he knew, it seemed to be that ‘Claire’ was him. Through the pointed way that she was telling the story, I thought that I was probably have supposed to figure it out.

Sorry Remus, I thought, even though he’d never know what I’d thought, or what Anna had said. 

"Then, one day, Hannah met a boy; she loved this boy a lot, everyone could tell. They were practically each others’ lives. Hannah knew she trusted the boy, so the longer the relationship went on, the more Hannah’s morals disintegrated, and the more she ignored that things that she had previously believed so strongly in. So, Hannah shagged the boy. They grew up to get married and have a bunch of gorgeous children. However, Alicia and Hannah were fairly good friends."

I put up my finger; I was going to interrupt Anna and tell her that I knew the story was centered around us, me specifically, but she waved me off and continued with her almost-truth.

"Alicia was a year younger than Hannah and had sort of looked up to the girl. They disagreed about many things, however Alicia thought that Hannah’s morals were the most incredible thing in the world - something to really be admired. She thought that virtue was a nice thing, it was a courageous thing to do in that time, and it really showed character. Although she would never had admitted it, Alicia thought that Hannah was sort of cool."

Here, Anna paused and gave me a direct look. I wasn’t sure how to interpret it, so I motioned for her to go on.

"After Hannah and that boy had shagged, Hannah very much regretted it. She had spent all her life living by those morals, only to have had them crumble in a few months. Her regret was deepened by Alicia who expressed her feelings to Hannah.

 

"I mean! It wasn't the worst decision she made, and, er . . . Her life wasn't ruined or anything, but, uh, she regretted it." She didn't seem to want to offend me or discourage me, no matter what choice I made. 

Anna stopped and I waited for her to continue. She didn’t; the story was over. Anna got up and walked behind that couch, I remained sitting. She started walking away when she spoke, as if trying to make a quick getaway.

"Lily, it’s more than up to you if you want to do those things, I just want to let you know that I think the fact that you have morals is the coolest thing in the world, and I sort of wish I was like you. I think you’ll regret it once you’ve done something. Right, so I’m just going to go pee now, and if anyone asked, I never said any of that to you."

Anna took off up the stairs before I could have even gotten a word in edgewise. However, I did need one question answered. "Who was Claire?" I yelled up the staircase.

I heard a muffled sound of laughter and heard Anna say, very quietly and discreetly. "Exactly who you think it is."


A/N: I wrote this chapter on a whim one day - dedicated to my lovely older sister, and everything else. Stick your morals. (Unless, of course, you have none. Then, just be sure to not do anything else stupid.)
A/N2: A short, intermitent filler chapter. I wrote it, wasn't going to post it, and decided to anyways, since it gives a little bit more to the Anna/Lily relationship. However, since this is a filler/not that special chapter, the next one is going to follow in less than a week. Tuesday or Thursday, look out for a new chapter. (Sirius' POV. Yay!)


Chapter 36: What I Like About You (Everything)
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What I like about you


You really know how to dance
When you go up, down, jump around


Think about true romance, yeah

- The Romantics


"Where’s Anna?" James asked. It was one of the few moments that it was safe to chill in the Gryffindor boys’ Seventh year dorm. We were all lounging and doing our schoolwork (cough, cough.)

"Dunno," I answered. "But she was rather pissed this morning - maybe she’s gone to finish her plot against the world. We should probably sedate her."

"Oh, calm down, she’ll be fine in a week," Remus replied, his voice laced with implications.

I considered what he was trying to convey. "D’you mean . . ."

"Well, she is a girl. It’s got to happen, doesn’t it?"

"But doesn’t that mean, one week, twelve times a year, for however many years Anastasia is going to live - she could totally have a fully-working plan to destroy the world by then." I couldn’t let my mates ignore the facts.

"I’m uncomfortable with this conversation," Peter admitted, throwing his hands into the air in an odd sort of way.

"What conversation?" I’m sure that all of us got severe whiplash as Anastasia stepped in through the door and interrupted.

"The one about you, your period, and your plot to takeover the world," James said, as he lazily flipped a page in the book he was pretending to read.

"Dude!" Peter, Remus and I all yelled. I got up and whacked James.

But Anastasia didn’t get upset. Instead, she started laughing. "Well,I don’t have a plot to kill the world - haven’t since Second year.

"Now if we could stop talking about the ways in which my body betrays me, I’d be super excited." She threw her bag down against the wall and something inside made a crashing sound.

"Oops."

___

"The noises coming from that dormitory are very disturbing," Anastasia whined. She was slumped against the wall next to the door.

"Then why are we here?" I thought I should remind Anastasia that we had a perfectly good dormitory to be in that didn’t involve ten different kinds of sex. So I did.

"Because," she answered. "I’m a dumbarse and forgot my wand."

"Borrow mine, then," I offered, grabbing her wrist and dragging her away. "That’s Remus and Dora in there, and that means whatever sort of noises she’s making have been induced by a tongue.

"Ow!" I cried and grasped at the middle of my back. I turned around to see Anastasia looking short, angry, and disgusted.

"Ew! Come on, now! We don't need to be thinking of Remus that way!"

"Sorry, just stating the facts," I told her.

"I don’t care, I’m trying to uncorrupt my mind." She sat down on the couch in a huff.

The wind was knocked out of me. "Are you for serious? You, Anastasia Xanthis, be uncorrupted and non-perverted?"

Anastasia pouted, and the childish way that she curled in a ball and hugged her knees made her appear quite young. "I did a lot of thinking when I . . . went on vacation that day. This is not how I want to be. Sexual thoughts leads to sex, sex leads to kids, and kids lead to grown-ups. Sirius, I’m not ready to be a grown-up yet."

I didn’t say anything; the topic of Anastasia’s little excursion that day was strictly prohibited. We were all (especially me and Anastasia) in an unspoken agreement to not talk about it. However, before I could continue not saying any, a clap of thunder, a bolt of lighting, and a the sound of torrential downpour hit outside.

Anastasia jumped up and ran to the window, everything else forgotten. "Let’s go!" she cried.

"Where?" I yelled after her, following her across the common room, jumping over various obstacles. (Ie: couches, tables, books, people.)

"You’ll see!"

I wondered where we could be going on a Friday night, at eleven o’clock. To do something fun, of course.


Anastasia showed quite a lot of endurance (endurance. hmm. . .) by not stopping once as she ran all the way down to the kitchens. She got in and out of less than a minute, carrying a huge tub of ice cream and a spoon.

"Don’t be an idiot, Anastasia! Whatever you’re going to do, think again. We haven’t got the cloak or the map, we’re bound to get caught anywhere inside this castle." I sounded too mature for even my own ears. I proceeded to slap some sense into myself.

"I never said we were going to be anywhere in the castle," she whispered, and took off towards the front doors. She quietly checked for Filch or any teachers before motioning me to follow and darting out from behind a suit of armor. She eased the door open and crept out; I shut it behind us.

We sat quietly on the steps (which were dry and covered by an awning) and Anastasia ate her ice cream. It was chocolate, and it looked awfully good. So, I stole her spoon and ate a large quantity of her ice cream in one bite.

"Give it back," she urged, trying to grab the chocolate-covered spoon from me.

"Not a chance."

"Fine." And in a truly Anastasia-like fashion, she plunged her hand into the ice cream and ate it out of her palm. "Don't worry - my hands are clean." By the time she had extracted the last bits of ice cream from the corners (five minutes later,) her face, hands and arms (up to her elbows) were covered in ice cream.

Anastasia looked up at me, and I knew, even in the dark, that I didn’t like the look in her eye. Next thing I knew, I was being jumped. Anastasia shoved her hands up my shirt, and ran the stickiness all over my stomach and back. She rubbed her face (which was also covered in sticky chocolate) all over mine.

I couldn’t take it anymore. It was sticky and ticklish. "Get off me, you sticky nutter!"

For someone as small as she, it was quite a task to throw her off. However, once I did, I got up and ran around the grounds. Anastasia might have been fast, but she was only a girl, and I was way faster. She finally stopped, and I thought that she must have given up the chase. So I walked towards Anastasia just in time to hear her say quietly, "I want it to be like this for the rest of my life. Dumbledore’s more than a hundred years old, and he’s still alive and kickin’. Why can’t I be?"

I wasn’t sure whether she was talking to me or herself, but I decided to answer anyway. "You can be."

Anastasia opened her mouth, then after a moment closed it. "You know it!

"Come on!" She took off towards the Forbidden Forest; I could barely see anything, it was all shrouded in darkness. I was taken off guard when I heard a joyful yell and the sound of splattering mud. Anastasia came sprinting back into my range of sight.

"Are you coming or not? Hello! Mud-sliding! Oh, I want to try something. Be ready with your wand in case I end up broken."

I watched in amusement and apprehensively as Anastasia backed up, then ran full speed forward. She jumped, and I was shocked out of my wits when she began to flip forward. Her feet hit the ground, but at the last second shot out from under her.

"Oww," she moaned. "My butt bone."

"What the fuck was that," I wondered in amazement.

Anastasia slowly stood up and shifted her hips a little bit. "When I was younger, I used to do a bunch of Muggle sports, and my favorite was gymnastics. I just wanted to see if I could still do it. I suppose a rainy, muddy night wasn’t the right time to try it."

I nodded thoughtfully. "Probably not."

"However," she continued, most likely not having heard anything I said, "it’s time to dance."

And Anastasia proceeded to dance, disco style. Although after half a minute or so she howled in pain and clutched her tail-bone.

"That’s what you get for being a dumbarse," I told her.

"You’re just jealous of my skills," she insisted, plopping down in the mud. Why to insane child sat in the mud, I do not know.

"You know," I began thoughtfully. "All of the girls that I’ve known have always wanted to be kissed in the rain. I must say that you’re the only one who insists on mud-sliding, dancing, attempting things you haven’t done in years, and hurting yourself."

"What can I say," Anastasia responded, in her usual playful manner. Then, she stood up, walked over to me and put her (muddy) hands on my shoulders. "But, I wouldn’t mind being kissed either."


Chapter 37: I'll Confess, Tonight You're All That's On My Mind
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I'll confess tonight you’re all that’s on my mind
I know these roof top nights could last forever
We watched the seasons change we saw the distance pull us away,
From all we shared together
-Parade the Day



Holy fuck. What the fuck? Dude, what the fuck!?

What did I just do?



Being the brave soul that I was, I chanced a look at Sirius. He looked at me like he was seriously contemplating what to say or do.

I shouldn’t have said it, I shouldn’t have said it. I was completely panicking on the inside, and calm and collected on the outside. I don’t even know if I like him for sure! What the hell is wrong with you, Anna?!

Calm down, I tried to reassure myself. You don’t even know if Sirius knows that you were talking about him. For all he knows, you were just speaking in general terms.

I tried not to squeak. Calm!

And then, before I knew what was happening, Sirius was falling backwards into the mud, because I had pushed him, because I had pretty much jumped on top of him. He recoiled a bit when we hit the ground, but didn’t stop kissing me. For that, I was glad.

But of course, after a few minutes, it had lost its original spark. I pulled away from Sirius’ mouth, however, did not roll off of him, nor did I disentangle my legs from his. 

"Okay, I’ve got a few things to say." Wow, did I sound breathless. 

Holy crap, I realized with a jolt. Where the fuck did the voice go?

Right here.

Lovely.


"Go ahead," Sirius prompted. He sounded even more breathless than I was it; it kind of made me want to snog him again.

"Okay. Sirius, I think I like you. You’re a dumbarse, and you’re also just plain dumb, but I think I like you, and I definitely want to do this again some time.

"Oh, and give me a minute before you say something, I want to make sure that nothing’s changed."

What tact.


Shut up, you stupid voice. I just told my best mate that I like him, I can be as tactless as I want to.


"Okay, you can talk now."

"You sure?" he said. I felt his muddy hand reach up and run over my hair.

"Yeah."

"Okay. Now you’re really sure? Because I know how you are. . ."

"Sirius," I threatened. "I swear on Godric Gryffindor’s grave that if you do not say something within the next seventeen seconds, then . . . then . . . then something bad will happen!"

"Ooo, I feel threatened."

"Eleven!"

"Okay, okay. Anastasia, I really, really, really like you. I’ve liked you since the summer, and . . . yeah, that’s pretty much it."

I didn’t say anything, just stood, (probably awkwardly,) thinking.

"Er, Anasta-" Sirius began to talk, but I cut him off.

"Shh!" I put my pointer finger up to my lips and scrunched my eyebrows. Then, taking a deep breath, I sat back down in a shallow puddle of mud and looked serenely at the green hills.

"Anastasia?" Sirius said, sitting up so that he was at my level. "May I ask what it is that you’re doing?"

"Trying to see if my really bad emotional skills kick in and all of a sudden I don’t like you because you like me."

"And are they?"

I thought about it for a moment more. "No, actually. Sweet."

We sat in silence for a little while. "Now what?" Sirius finally said.

Crap,
I moaned. Awkward.


I decided to go with the truth. "Dude, this just got really awkward. That’s why I shouldn’t have said anything."

"Hey, hey," Sirius interrupted, before I could go any further, or drown myself in mud. "Nothing will change. Just, occasionally, we’ll have a snog or two. Like once a week, or whatever. Or once a day, or whenever you feel like it."

I smiled on the inside and the outside. "You have no idea how good that sounds. Right, so . . . Now what?"

Sirius shrugged. "I don’t know, actually, but something tells me we would have had this same dilemma with or without that moment."

"Why don’t we finish that mud-sliding?" I suggested.

"’Kay."

___

"That was freaking awesome," I whispered excitedly, as we crept back into the castle.

"Shut up, Anastasia. We’re sneaking into the castle ridiculously late, tracking mud all over Filch’s floor, and we both already have more detentions than we can count."

"Fine." I pouted and gave a great push to Sirius’ back; he went flying through the tapestry and into the passageway.

I kept purposefully bumping into his back and annoying him as we made our way up the slant.

"Will, you stop it, you annoying little twerp?" he nearly yelled, and he wheeled around to face me. For a split second, I thought that all my annoying tendencies had finally gotten to him; but then he laughed and picked me up.

"There," he said, "Problem solved."

We soon emerged onto the Seventh floor. After a quick once over, we sprinted across the corridor and through the fat lady ("Pomegranate!") and collapsed on the common room floor.

"We’re pretty awesome," I admitted, rolling over, and spreading more mud across the floor; I felt slightly bad for the house elves, but not exactly enough to clean up the mess myself.

"I must agree," Sirius said. We lay in silence for a moment, all awkwardness forgotten. "I wonder if we could resurrect Bob again. For the second time."

We were both able to hold in our laughter for a good ten seconds, but as soon as we made eye contact, we could no longer hold in it. It felt as if things were back to how they used to be, if only for a few moments.

"Let’s do it," I said. I was suddenly racing with energy, as if someone had lit a fire in me.

"What do you say we wait until we go back to your house, for old times’ sake. We can even invite Jason."

I smiled, thinking of my older brother; a kid at heart, just like us. He would definitely want to be in on the festivities.

"You’re right," I agreed. "Besides, what would we do without James to lock me out of the house, and Remus to diagnose us with mental conditions?"

"We wouldn’t be anywhere," Sirius said earnestly. "I’m not a Marauder for no reason, and our dorm isn’t called the ‘Marauders and Anastasia dorm’ for nothing."

I smiled and rolled over again, my sopping, muddy clothes making a ‘squish’ as I did so.

"Dude, I’ve got to shower," I said, slowly getting up.

You should invite him to join you.

"No! I shouldn’t!"

Sirius gave me an odd look (brief, though, considering how often I did odd things.) I realized I once again talked to myself outloud.

"Whoops, damn voices telling me things," I confessed.

Sirius laughed and threw a muddy arm over my muddy shower. "What are they saying this time?"

"Well, one of them is telling me that I should invite you to shower with me, and I was disagreeing with it." I hadn’t exactly realized what I said; however, I doubt it would have changed which words came out of my mouth if I had. "I’m going to listen to the one that talked out loud, just so you know."

Sirius was smirking at me. It was the look that someone gives another person when trying to ask ‘what the hell am I going to do with you?’

Still not exactly comprehending that my mind was not exactly the safe haven that most people had, I skipped off towards the shower, desperately needing to get the mud out of my hair before it dried. Otherwise, my waist-length locks might have ended up quite cropped.

–––

"Holy shit! Anna, wake the hell up!" I mumbled incoherently and weakly swiped at whoever was interrupting my beauty sleep.

"Anna! How the hell could you not wake us up to tell us that you and Sirius bloody snogged!"

Obviously it was James speaking, the dumbarse.

"I want to go to sleep," I mumbled, pulling the warm blanket back over my head to keep out the cold and sunlight.

"This is more important that sleep!" he insisted, yanking the blanket back. I squealed at an impressing high pitch and the blanket was back in three seconds flat.

"Warm," I mumbled, smiling.

"Anna," he groaned.

Sighing and keeping the blanket wrapped tightly around me, I begrudgingly pushed myself to a sitting position. "What do you want, bane of my existence?"

"You and Sirius snogged! Snog! Lips, tongue, hands. Bloody snog!"

"Yes."

"And you went to sleep without waking us up to tell about it!"

"Yes."

"And do did Sirius!"

"Er . . . did he? I don’t know, I must’ve been asleep by then."

James sat there, the look on his face making him look more daft than usual.

Silence.

Silence in response.

"You idiot!" James then proceeded to pummel me with pillows. I didn’t see the big deal, really. Sirius and I had an eventful night, I wanted to sleep, and dear James got to hear about it anyway.

"Hey, what did she do to you?" I was pleasantly surprised when I smile appeared on my face at only the sound of his voice.

"Ooo, it’s the boyfriend," James cooed.

"Not the boyfriend," Sirius quickly corrected. His voice sounded oddly strained as he said. "We’re just . . . casually dating, I think is the phrase for it?"

I smiled and nodded. I leaned over and whispered in James ear, "I think I like him."

I supposed that my comment could have been mildly funny, but James obviously thought it was excruciatingly so.

Sirius looked on in amusement. "What did you tell him?"

I smiled playfully and shrugged. "He can tell you."

So, still chuckling, James hopped off the bed and whispered something in Sirius’ ear. Sirius’ face immediately frowned. "You hate me and never want anything to do with me ever again? And I’m a horrible kisser?"

"James!" I protested.

"Okay, okay. Kidding. She really said, ‘I think I like him.’"

"Let me tell you a secret," Sirius said, then crossed the room. Pulling lightly at my (messy morning) hair, he told me, "I think I like you, too."

"Well it’s settled then! I’ve come up with a name; you two are officially the ‘Mutual Casual Daters.’"


A/N: So, I hope you're all happy. The big IT has happened. Yet, there's still so many more chapters until their story is completely told. So . . . What happens next????


Chapter 38: The Best Of Us Can Find Happiness
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I don't care what you think,
'Cuz as long as it's about me
The best of us can find happiness
In misery
-Fall Out Boy



"James," I groaned, as I tied my now waist-length hair up. "James." Louder that time.

"What do you want, bane of my existence?"

"To get in the air, you maniacal, push-up crazed captain." I picked my broom up from the ground and straddled it.

"Go, then. I’ll get practice started."

I kicked hard off the ground and the chilly just-done-with-March air whipped my face. Sirius rose into the air directly after me.

"Forget something?" He held up my beater’s bat, smirking.

"Oh, yeah."

He tossed it two me from two meters away and I had to quickly pull into a dive in order to save it from hitting James in the head. That totally would not have gone over well. No, sir, not well at all.

"Good job, doofus," I said quietly, as he whizzed by, hoping James wouldn’t know something was almost amiss.

He stuck his tongue out at me and turned around. "Shall we?"

"Let them loose!" I yelled to James. The captain, who was currently being accosted by the remaining four members of the team threw a distracted glance towards me and Sirius before kicking the chest that held the Bludgers. It popped open and the raging balls flew out.

We weren’t up there long before flashes of blue and bronze caught my eye. I looked down towards the ground to see the entire Ravenclaw team, fully clothed for a game, marching towards James. I heard a whistle and saw James motion for us to touch down.

"Alright, team," he started, as we all reached the ground and surrounded him. "I hadn’t told you lot, but we’re having a scrimmage against Ravenclaw. I know we’re not all dressed for it, but, whatever."

That was an understatement. I looked from the Ravenclaw’s shiny robes (if Quidditch robes can be shiny) towards the Gryffindor attire. The team was in various states of dress, and it was all sweatpants, shorts, and t-shirts.

No one seemed to have any real objections, so James called excitedly, "Alright, guys, into the air! Let’s go!"

I hopped back onto my broom and pushed off. "Stupid Ravenclaws," I grumbled, as we rose higher into the air.

"Stop complaining," Sirius told me. "And don’t choke up on your bat so much."

I loosened the grip on my bat and kept my mouth shut; I’d just have to bother Sirius later, but at the moment, winning was important. Because we were against the stupid Ravenclaws.

I checked my hair quickly, to make sure that it was securely out of my face before flying into the middle of the field, where everyone was congregated.

"Everyone ready?" asked the Ravenclaw captain. I think he might’ve been a Fifth year.

Everyone nodded, so he signalled down to someone on the ground, who released the Snitch, the two Bludgers, and threw the Quaffle into the air. Sirius and I flew into opposite directions, each taking off after a different bludger, and racing against the wind with a Ravenclaw counterpart.

The other Beater got to the Bludger before I could and whacked it towards James, who had the Quaffle. Knowing that James would tear my skull apart if I let a Bludger hit him might have been some of my inspiration; I sped away, faster than the Bludger, in time to send it flying away from him.

"Close one," Sirius yelled, as he flew past me, hit bat raised, chasing another Bludger.

The scrimmage continued for at least an hour in that manner; both sides had scored points, but I had never been good at Maths. Watching the air for Bludgers, I flew over to visit Darren.

"Score?" I questioned as I circled the goal posts.

"We’re up by ten."

"Thanks, mate." I flew away towards the other end of the pitch. I flew in circles around our Chasers, concentrating on whoever had the Quaffle at the moment. It was a good strategy: Sirius was like the Offense, and I was like the Defense.

James had the Quaffle and was making his way towards the Ravenclaw goalposts; I stop circling him, but kept close by. Then, before I realized what was happening, my thick, long hair flew out of the hold of its tie. The bitter, fast wind kept me from getting control of it. As I frantically tried to push my hair out of my face and tie it back up, I neglected my fifth sense: Sight.

A metallic ‘clonk’ vibrated throughout the entire pitch as my face connected with the hard metal of the left-most goal post.

"Oww," I whimpered, as I slid down the post, clutching my face. However, I quickly regained control of my broom and flew back up. With one hand I held the broom and with the other I felt my face.

Warm and sticky. I took my hand away. Red. And not to mention, something about the arrangement of my nose felt off, and it hurt.

I flew back towards James, ready to re-assume my position, despite the conditions of my face, and the fact that I could no longer breath through my nose.

When I reached the band of Chasers, I saw James gasp. I made a motion with my hand for him to disregard my face at the moment. We couldn’t give up the game. At least, not to that snobby bunch of bookworms.

The game continued for another half an hour. It was an eventful half hour:

Sirius nearly fell off his broom at the sight of me. My hair came loose (again) and a Bludger skimmed the tip of my nose, causing further pain and misalignment. The blood on my face froze. Our lovely Seeker, Joe, caught the Snitch.

When the match had finally ended, I wasn’t even in the mood for our victory lap. And I was ALWAYS in the mood for a victory lap. Even when we didn’t win.

James didn’t waste any time; as soon as we had made it to the safety and warmth of the changing room, he attacked.

"ANNA! What the bloody hell is wrong with you?! Have you not seen your face?"

I tried to sneer at him, but it only caused me great amounts of pain. "Yes, I have. I happen to think it’s quite lovely. So does Sirius, I think."

"Not at the moment, love."

For the first time, I caught sight of my reflection of the mirror. Okay, so I was a mess. The entire bottom half of my face was caked with blood, and so was my left cheek, because that was the direction that my nose had broken. The nose was almost entirely sideways.

Definitely not looking my best.

"Tell me, Anna, how can you crash into the goal post, and then get hit by a Bludger?"

I sat down and began to carefully pull off my t-shirt; if I hit my nose even the slightest bit I would scream in pain.

"Well you see," I began to explain. "My hair escaped."

"Your hair?" James asked.

"Yes," I confirmed.

‘That’s it," James growled.

James stormed across the white-tiled floor and grabbed me by the bottom of my hair. "You’re losing it! No more hair for Anna!"

"What?!" I cried. "You can’t do that! It’s my hair!"

"And it’s interfering with your abilities. Now, hold still, or you might loose an ear."

But I refused to hold still. Where did James get off telling me I had to cut my hair. And why were none of my teammates backing me up?

"Anastasia." This time it was Sirius talking. "James is right; it’s dangerous."

I twisted and writhed in James’ strong grip, but couldn’t escape. "I don’t care! If you cut it, I’ll be dangerous too!"

"Come on, Anna, don’t make me jinx you." It was Darren that time.

"You lot are a bloody conspiracy!" I should have just stopped moving, but I had to maintain my stance.

Next thing I knew, I couldn’t move.

Bloody, mother-fucking dipshits.


Hey! Mind your language.

Shut. Up.

"Sorry, Anna," James said, and he almost did sound regretful. "But this is for your own good."

And I all of a sudden felt a surprising weight lift from my head. "Oh, dear Godric," I whispered.

"And while I’m at it," he muttered.

He swished his wand a few more times; a pleasant warming sensation surrounded my nose. When it disappeared, I reached up to my face. The blood was gone, and my nose seemed to be realigned.

I was busy being excited by the return of my face, when I remembered. "Give me a mirror," I growled.

James bit his lip and shook his head.

"Give me a bloody mirror, bitch!"

It was Sirius who reacted to my angry cry; he led me through the locker room to the one mirror inside.

I stopped dead. There were no words.

I heard someone creep up behind me. "Anna? I’m really sorry, I took off a little more then I meant to . . ."

I turned slowly, in a very cliche manner, to face James, who was cowering. I stood still, trying to put my words together in a way that best expressed how dead James was going to be when I regained the ability to pummel him.

"It looks good," Sirius spoke up. "I mean, really good." The earnest way in which he said this made me believe him, but I still couldn’t forgive James for what he did.

My hair. My gorgeous, long, black hair that hung to my waist was now cropped to just above my shoulders, and nearly a foot of it was lying on the ground where I had stood a minute previous.

"Let’s see you run your hand through this!" I finally said. More like yelled.

I grabbed James’ hair (which curled just around his chin) and sliced my wand through the air. His hair fell of in a manner similar to mine, except that all that was on his head was a short buzz. Barely a millimetre of hair was left.

James’ hand shot across his head, and he growled in anger.

"How do you like that?" I yelled. At that point, the loss of my hair didn’t bother me anymore; I tended to get over things quickly. However, arguments were fun, and I was just getting in this one.

James was angry. And I didn’t quite trust him not to bald me. I dove behind Sirius as James raised his wand.

"Woah!" Sirius cried, clutching his own fairly long locks with his hands. "Don’t even think about it, James. You’ll be missing out on some great life experiences after I kill you."

Knowing Sirius, this was not an empty threat, and even the angry James could see that. He lowered his wand, and instead, growled at me from in front of Sirius.

"Calm down, you lot." Although the rest of the team had cleared out for their own safety, Darren had remained to see the tussle. "No need to get testy."

"Easy for you to say," I spat, sitting down heavily on one of the wooden benches. "Stupid shithead didn’t just cut off your hair."

"I didn’t cut off all of it," James defended, though it sounded very condescending.

"I did." I smirked at him, triumphant. Although, as James glared back at me, I knew I’d need Remus’ knowledge of obscure spells. Looking for: A spell to protect my hair during the night from my psycho male roommate.

"So can I."

James and I were now face to face. Or rather, face to shoulders, as I was dreadfully short.

I sighed, and for once, walked away from a fight. I was far too drained to deal with his antics at the moment, and collapsed onto Sirius, who was lounging on a bench. He didn’t object, so I lay their, touching my new, short hair. Every time I ran my hand through it, I expected it to be longer, but my hand would fall through before I even reached my shoulders.

"That was the last of my femineminimity," I claimed.

"Your what?" Darren, James and Sirius asked.

"My femineminimity." Wasn’t it obvious?

"Do you mean the last of your feminine traits?" Darren asked slowly, as if he could scarcely believe that my brain was so small in size.

"Yeah, that."

And, being the idiots we are, we finally found the humor in the situation. We laughed for quite a bit, and just as we were calming down, James burst out laughing again.

"Now what?" I asked, finally getting my breath back.

"D’you realize," he tried, choking. "That your hair is shorter than Sirius’?"

And indeed it was. The tips of hair brushed the top of his shoulders, and mine wasn’t quite as long. Well, it was quite humorous, seeing as we always teased Sirius for being the most feminine one, but no one seemed to laugh as much as James. But that was always the case; he always laughed the loudest and the longest. 


A/N: Well, here it is - the birthday chapter. It's still a little bit before my birthday, but I think it still counts, yeah? And of course, I wouldn't mind a birthday review. ;)

A/N2: The chapter's a bit fillerly but it's a transition into a James POV (which I think you're all going to like.) Besides, I think this chapter was at least a little humourous. Right? :D


Chapter 39: You Could Break Me Apart
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I got my hands in my pocket and my head in a cloud
This is how I do


When I think about you
I never thought that you could break me apart

-Boys Like Girls


Two of my best mates in the entire world were going out. So, they wouldn’t admit it, really. But! Technically, they were. What reason was there for me to be not excited?

Well . . . There was one, and it was Anna’s reputation. Not a whoreish type of reputation but her reputation for not being able to stay with guys for very long. I had a suspicion that Anna would bound from this relationship unscathed. Sirius - not so much.

But that problem was in the future. In the present, Anna had Sirius, I had Lily, Remus had Dora, and Peter had whoever he fancied at the moment. At my tally, three more shags (with different girls, of course,) and he’d be passed Remus.

I was sitting with Lily on the couch in the common room, lightly stroking her hand, when Sirius burst in.

"Mate!" he shouted, sprinting up the staircase and vaulting over a chess table, knocking over two First years’ game in the process. "Mate!" he cried again.

His frantic tone concerned me. It could be any of the three things:

One, Anna decided that she wasn’t over the fact that I cut her hair and was thirty-three seconds away from bursting into the common room and killing me.

Two, a Dumbledore and McGonagall sex tape had been found.

Three, Severus Snape took a bath - and washed!

"Mate! Dude! Snape hanging from the flag-pole!"

Okay, I was close.

It would be the perfect opportunity to torture old Snapey-poo, Godric, did I know it; but I’d gone cold turkey since Lily. I hadn’t said a mean thing to him since I had gotten Lily to finally go out with me. She could get me to do whatever she wanted to.

Yeah, I was whipped.

"James, this is our last chance; we’re fucking Seventh years!" Sirius was begging me. It was odd. "Who knows the next time we’ll have the chance to put that shithead Death Eater in his place?"

Over time, I had forgotten why we always tortured Snape. He seemed, to me, harmless enough, other than his being greasy. But Sirius reminded me; we had our reasons. We hated Snape because he knew more dark magic as a First year, than most Seventh years even learned about. We hated Snape because he called Lily a Mudblood. We hated Snape because he reeked of Voldemort, and his Death Eater posse.

So, I had to agree with Sirius. I needed closure, Sirius needed closure, and Remus and Peter probably did too.

I turned to Lily and put on my best begging face. "Please, Lily? I know you just think that we’re heartless jerks, but we have our reasons. Lily, I’ve grown up for you, and I’m a better person for it. But, Lily, you’ve grown up for me, too.

"Please, Lily, please. Just let me go teach Snape one more lesson."

Lily looked at me, her face not betraying her thoughts. It was a good sign, I suppose. Usually, when she was getting ready to scream at me, she looked angry. "All right, I guess it’s okay if you guys go play Quidditch. But remember, I don’t really like it, so don’t bother telling me about it when you get back." Lily then picked up her book from the end table and began to read.

"But we’re not going to-" I began to say; we were torturing Snape not playing Quidditch.

"Come on, mate," Sirius interrupted. He grabbed me on the arm and dragged me away. Once Lily could no longer hear us, he said, "You dumbarse! She was pretending to be oblivious so she wouldn’t feel like a bad person since she said you could go torture Snape! Duh!"

The day Sirius was smarter than me was a sad, sad day. "Right . . . Okay, let’s go!"

We jumped out of the portrait hole, landing cat-like in the corridor, before taking off through our favorite passageway. About half-way through, a high-impact collision occurred.

"Bloody, hell, Sirius, you’re like running into a fucking rock." Anna, of course.

"Not now, love, this is important. We’ve got to go torture Snivellus. Hey, d’ya want to come?"

I didn’t hear anything, but I assumed Anna shook her head. "No, Sirius. This is just like the start-of-term prank this year; torturing Snape-a-doodle is your guys’ thing. But, I will come along to watch. Come on, let’s go."

So, we all gathered our bearings and once again continued through the tunnel. We burst into the Entrance Hall after another half a minute and hurried out to the courtyard. That’s when a thought occurred to me. "Mate, since when do we have a flag pole?"

Sirius looked craftily around, before grabbing Anna and me by our collars and dragging us close to him. "Since I needed a place to put Snivelly. I confess, it was I who conjured a flag pole and levitated Snape onto it. But let’s not go bragging about this, alright? No one knows it was me."

And with that, he released us and we continued forward to the crowd that surrounded the newly erected flag pole. I looked up to see Snape dangling by his robes; I wondered how they weren’t ripping.

Of course, once I caught sight of Snivelly’s underpants, I couldn’t help but yell up to him. "Well, this is a sight better than last time, Snivellus. At least your pants are white this time!"

And, as if it were injected straight into my heart, a burst of guilt shot through me. 

Crap, Lily’s getting to me!


I tried to ignore the fact, but I found that I couldn’t. All I could concentrate on was the burning hatred in Snape’s eyes as he swung his arms furiously; not that it would do him any good, all the way up there.

Tp my left, Sirius was enjoying the scene somewhat, but it wasn’t like he had anything to stop him. To my right, the object of Sirius’ affections seemed to find more amusement in the situation than he did.

Of course, I couldn’t be the one to admit that, perhaps, this torturing Snape didn’t give me the pleasure that it used to - the slimy git. I tried to think of all the bad things that Snape did to make myself feel better; it did nothing to quench my guilt.

I turned to Sirius just as he turned to me. We seemed to be communicating with our eyes, the same thoughts. We both opened our mouths to speak when Remus and Peter ran onto the scene.

"You idiots, gone back to torturing Snape now, have we?" Despite his tone, Remus couldn’t totally conceal his smirk.

"Umm, well . . ." I trailed off in an unexcited tone. Sirius answered similarly.

I looked around and noticed that Anna had drifted away. She obviously had no conscience and so sense of growing up. Well, that much we knew.

Remus nodded. "You guys don’t have to say anything," he comforted Sirius and I. With a skilled wave of his wand, Snape was slowly lowered to the ground. After he was safely on the grass, Remus vanished the flag pole.

Snape stalked angrily over to us. "Black. Potter," he spat. "I know it was you."

"I don’t know what you’re talking about," Sirius insisted, before I could claim our innocence.

Snape laughed. It was cold and raspy. "Wouldn’t you like me to believe that-"

"Let them alone!" I voice far more high-pitched than any of those involved in the conversation brought our attention back to Anna. Doesn’t the attention always turn to her, somehow?

"This doesn’t concern you, Xanthis, or does it?"

"It doesn’t, but what does concern me is your deadly pale skin. Ever consider going out in the sun once in a while? I’m sure whoever got you out here was only trying to do you a favor. Now, if you don’t mind, me and my mates have got some Quidditch to play

"Come on, lads."

She threw her arms around all of ours shoulders (well, she tried) and steered us towards the Quidditch pitch.

Snape didn’t follow. He was likely to stunned by the loud outburst from such a small person. Or he was going back to try some voodoo curse on all of us. It was a 50-50 chance there.

"You poor, poor souls," Anna tsked, as she sat down, discontinuing our quest for Quidditch.

"And what do you mean by that?" I asked defensively, unconsciously running a hand over my new, buzzed haircut, and shuddering at the lack of hair.

"You’ve all got a conscience now. Shame. Well, let’s go tell Lily the bad news, shall we?" She hopped up and started off towards the castle once more.

___

"Lily, darling, how are you this fine evening?" I asked her as I dove onto the couch, landing softly on top of her.

"Just great, before you decided to get your bull of a self on top of me and crush me."

"My apologies, fair lady," I said, and rolled off, sitting next to her instead.

For the next half hour, I sat beside her, stroking her hair as she read. Occasionally, I caught her sneaking a glance up at me. It made me smile to think that Lily Evans was pausing to look up at me, James Potter.

On impulse I took her bookmark off the table, placed it in her book and took it from her hands. I set the large thing down on the table before us and turned to face Lily, taking her hands in mine.

"It’s been a while since we’ve been together, hasn’t it, Lily? ‘Round half a year now, right?"

"Yes," she answered suspiciously. She flicked her shiny, straight locks out of her face when it got into her eyes.

"Er, well, I’ve been thinking . . . That’s pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?"

"I would," she answered. Again, suspicious.

"Well, then if I may me so bold, m’lady . . ."

"You may," she encouraged. This time her tone was more soft, more welcoming, more knowing of what I was about to say.

"I love you."

As prepared as I had thought she was, Lily still seemed to be caught in unawares. She let out a small gasp, but the faint squeeze of my hand reassured me that I had done fine.

Leaning forward, she nuzzled her head into my neck before whispering, "I love you, too."

She looked up and me, and I looked down at her. We both smiled. And then - we burst out laughing.

"My God, I never thought I’d hear those words!" I cried through the laughter.

"And I was sure as hell that I’d never say them," she countered.

We were falling over each other in laughter, and the few other inhabitants of the common room looked at us strangely. But it didn’t matter. Because I was in love with Lily Evans, and she was in love with me back. 


A/N: To my lovely readers - today, you will get two chapters in one day! Gasp! I know - I haven't done that in forever! However, these two chapters were originally written as one, only they flow much better as two. As such, you will get two, count them, two! chapters from James' POV in a row! Isn't that exciting? The next chapter is to follow in a matter on hours.





Chapter 40: She Steals the Spotlight
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She steals the spotlight
Knocks [him] off [his] feet 
She's enough to start a landslide
Just a walkin' down the street
-AC/DC
 

It was a lovely day, splendid, in fact. Just splendid! Perhaps my chipper mood had something to do with the occurrence between Lily and I the day before. I doubted that high would wear off for a while.

The Marauders, Lily and Anna were all running around on the grounds. Anna had convinced Lily to come frolic with us. It was a tradition. The first sunny, non-wet, non-snowy day after winter, we would frolic. It was always a blast.

I burst from my reverie and dashed after Lily, who was chasing Remus. I caught her easily, and pinched her bum.

"James!" she protested trying to wiggle free of my hold.

"I can’t help it, Lily, your bum just looks that good in those jeans." She giggled and knocked me in the side (lightly, of course, Lily’s goal in life was no longer to cause me as much pain as possible.)

Sirius had Anna thrown over his shoulder, and she was beating his back in protest as he let her slip further and further towards the ground. I suppose he should have seen what was coming; I know I did.

"Oww!" he cried, dropping Anna. She put her hands out and rolled when she hit the ground, standing up and demanding applause.

"Oww!" he repeated, at a louder volume, expecting some sort of reaction.

"Tell me you didn’t expect that," Anna drawled, crossing her arms in front of Sirius. "Your bum was right in front of my face, and you know my tendency to bite things."

"You might want to ditch that habit before you guys . . ." Remus offered, as he ran by the pair. Leave it to Remus to turn Anna’s innocent comment into innuendo. Not that Anna or Sirius couldn’t have done it themselves, of course.

"Git! . . . I don't bite that!" Anna claimed, before taking off after Remus, and leaping onto his back.

I caught Sirius’ eye, before his eyes quickly averted to Anna. Or her backside. Either one. I laughed and followed Sirius’ gaze. One could not deny it; Anna had a body. And not just a good body, a really good body. However, my observation was nothing more than that, an observation. And maybe a little appreciation. 

Anna was Anna. I had never been attracted to her, thank Godric now that we knew Sirius fancied the pants off of her. Not literally, yet, but it was only a matter of time.

In fact, just a few days previous, I had, had a conversation with Darren. A conversation that would never, ever, be allowed to reach Sirius’ ears.

___


"Alright, hit the showers!" I cried. My team touched the ground, and all threw their brooms aside in an irritated manner as they stormed off to the changing rooms.

Only Darren didn’t express that supremely angry emotion. Admittedly, though, he didn’t often express any emotion. Since he seemed the least hostile of my companions at the moment, I decided to engage him in conversation.

"That wasn’t so bad, was it, mate?" I asked him, as I slowed my pace to match his more leisurely one.

"I didn’t think so," he admitted. "But from the look on Anna’s face she was ready to kill you."

"Well, Anna’s Anna," I said, dismissing his statement.

"She sure is," he concurred.

I mentally smacked myself in the head; Darren was obviously not over Anna, and apparently, it was going to be my burden to bear.

Then, the blow I was waiting for hit. "Mate, I can trust you, right?"

"Of course," I answered, though I wished I had some other option. I didn’t want the burden of having to keep this conversation from Sirius, which, I knew that I would.

"Okay," he breathed. It was almost humorous to see Darren this worked up about something. Actually, it was very humorous. "It’s Anna, mate. I’m over her, but I can’t stop thinking about her."

"Then you’re not really over her are you, then?" I was walking with Darren around the pitch, hoping the others would think we were just talking Quidditch plays. I couldn’t lead him into the changing rooms, where both Anna and Sirius were.

"No, I am," he insisted. "What I mean is that I can’t stop thinking about her
like that," he clarified.

"Oh," I realized. "like that." Darren nodded.

"Well, you’re talking to the wrong person. I’ve never thought of her like that."

"One of the few, mate," Darren groaned. "Nearly every bloke I’ve talked to has made at least one comment about her. She’s bloody gorgeous and doesn’t even know it."

I begged to differ. "Oh, trust me, she knows it."

Darren shrugged. "Well, obviously, with that ego. But I mean she doesn’t realize every bloke fantasizes about her at one time or another."

"You’re right about that," I said, laughing. "If she did, she’d hardly settle for Sirius."

I trusted Darren to know I was kidding, he seemed to. "I mean, honestly. What sixteen year old girl has a body like that and uses it for all the wrong reasons. Have you ever watched her walk? She slouches, drags her feet - she walks like a boy.

"Any self-respecting girl would swish her hips, push out her chest."

"You seem to forget," I interjected, "that Anna isn’t self-respecting. She’s self-worshiping."

That got a laugh out of Darren, at least. It seemed that the conversation was over; there was no need to continue our laps around the pitch. So, instead, we cut across and made our way to the changing rooms to join the rest of the team.

"Thanks for listening, mate," Darren said, clapping me on the shoulder. "Maybe now that I’ve actually said something, I’ll start noticing other girls. Real girls." He laughed at his own little cleverness. Though how clever, I wasn’t sure, seeing as we had all made an ‘Anna’s-not-a-real-girl’ comment before.

"Just don’t let Anna hear you say that, mate. She’ll threaten to prove that she is, and Sirius might go mad."

With one last laugh at our friends expense, we headed inside, pretending like the entire exchange had never happened.

___



Yeah, so, pretty much, Sirius could never find out.



A/N: Wow, I did such a good job being a spaz that I forgot to post the second chapter. Whoops. Okay, so a few hours turned into like 10ish? To make up for that, I'm going to post sometime before next Sunday, making it less than a week. Better? I hope so.  :D


Chapter 41: Just When You Think That You're In Control - Here It Goes Again
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Just when you think that you're in control,
Just when you think that you've got a hold,
Just when you get on a roll,
Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again.
-Ok Go



"So," Lily said, as she sat beside me on the couch; I had one of my schools books out and was pretending to read. "What has ‘Alicia’ been getting up to lately?"

"Why don’t you go ask your boyfriend’s dumbarse best mate," I snapped.

Lily seemed shock. "You are Sirius fighting? I didn’t think you guys did that."

And then it was my turn to smile. "Not fighting, exactly. But, if Sirius comes down here in a few minutes and seems out of sorts, hide my fit of laugher, please."

Lily looked at my funny, but sure enough, Sirius stumbled down the staircase a few minutes later.

"Quick, hide me," I whispered.

Lily was always good at thinking fast; she whipped out her wand and cast a disillusionment spell on my. I could tell by icy cold feeling that trickled down my body; also by the fact that my body blended into everything.

Sirius clumsily made his way over to us, where Lily kept a straight face and played it like I wasn’t sitting directly next to her.

"Seen Anastasia?" Sirius asked distractedly.

"No, why do you ask?" Lily said. If Sirius was in his best shape, he certainly would have been able to tell that something was up. But he was out of it, and Lily knew it.

Sirius mumbled incoherently.

"What was that? I couldn’t hear you, sorry."

"Bloody little git," he sighed, ambling I away.

I jumped up, still faux-invisible. "Hey! I resent that!" I bounded over to Sirius and jabbed him in the shoulder.

"Hay is for horses!"

Lily, Sirius and I all forgot what we were doing to glance across the common room at Remus. It was hard to believe that the idiot was the most mature of our friends. (Besides Lily, seeing as I was beginning to count her as one.)

Taking advantage of his further lapse of attention, I rapped Sirius in the back of his head with my knuckles.

"Will you stop it!? Haven’t you tortured me enough for one day?" he pled.

"You’re right," I agreed. "Why don’t I make it up to you?"

I grabbed a still-confused Sirius by the wrist and led him towards the staircase. We were followed by Lily’s comment. "That’s Alicia." And Remus’ wolf whistles. Of course, from any of the Marauders, that kind of tact (or lack-there-of) was to be expected.

"Huh?" he asked, and I forcefully pushed him backwards onto the bed.

I just smiled and bit my lower lip. "I’m going to make it up to you."

Sirius finally snapped back his senses and realized what the hell I was talking about. "Oh?"

I smiled suggestively, before slowly backing through the room, to my dresser. I pulled open my top draw and grabbed something out of it, all the while looking at Sirius. I put it quickly behind my back before Sirius could see and slowly made my way back to him.

Sirius was quite a picture; now that he knew what was going on he, looked quite smug, and was lounging on the bed like it was a beach chair. I jumped up on the bed and straddled him.

And for the second time that day, I played a joke on poor, ol’ Sirius. I pulled the chocolate bar out from behind my back. "Here take a bite; it’ll make everything better."

I held the bar out to him and he looked at me with incredulity. "What?" I asked, my own mouth full of chocolate. "Not what you were expecting?"

Sirius was, at that point, looking at me with the most confused, lost face I had ever seen him make. (Except that time that McGonagall told him that classes were going to be held under the lake; he trudged back to the castle an hour later, soaking wet, claiming that he couldn’t find anyone.)

I sighed and decided to have pity on the poor guy. "Kidding," I said, before throwing the chocolate bar aside.

–––

"So, D-boy really never made you . . . you know?"

Sirius was treading after me as we made our way down to the Great Hall for dinner and I rounded on him, causing him to bump into me and knock both of us over. We landed (not very softly, I might add) on the marble floor of the castle.

"Oi, Black! Get off your girlfriend and go get a room!" Sirius practically jumped off of me and we both looked to the left to see someone calling to Sirius. I guess Sirius knew him, because he flipped said person off; but I didn’t know who it was.

"The nerve of some people," Sirius huffed good-naturedly, dusting himself off. "Can’t accept that I happen to have the worlds’ clumsiest person as my best mate."

"Oh, shut up. And, if you mention that thing one more time I will personally castrate you and shut you up by stuffing your-"

"Okay!" Sirius shouted, covering my mouth with his hand and pushing me forwards. "I get the idea."

We got to the Great Hall without further incident and walked through to the Gryffindor table Sirius plopped himself down in an open seat and invited me to join him. "Sitting?" he questioned.

"Nah, maybe in a bit. I’m actually going to go bother Darren for a while." And I turned and skipped off, back up the table. Behind me, I heard Sirius’ disappointed sigh, but didn’t think of anything until James brought it up later on that night.

Sirius had gone out to find Pete; he’d gone missing again, as he sometimes did. We suspected him to be in the Room of Requirement with some bird, but Sirius wanted to check. He couldn’t have one of his best mates in trouble.

As soon as Sirius’ footsteps disappeared, James exploded. "What the hell do you think you’re playing at?"

Remus, not usually one to seek conflict, disappeared under his large book.

"Er, I was brushing my teeth," I explained, slightly muffled by the toothpaste. I indicated the minty freshness of my mouth and the froth on the toothbrush.

"I don’t. Mean. With. Your teeth."

"Oh."

James waited for me to explain ‘what I was playing at,’ but I couldn’t, as I wasn’t really sure what he was referring to.

"Sirius!" he yelled, finally.

"What about him?" By that time, I had finished brushing my teeth, and had rinsed my toothbrush, and taken a seat on James’ bed.

"Are you really that thick, Anna, or are you just pretending?"

"Well, I must really be this thick, because I have no idea what you’re talking about!" James was starting to annoy me at the point. He was already on the line because of the whole hair going bye-bye incident a two weeks earlier, and he was pushing the boundaries.

"Anna! What you’re doing is killing him! What you’re doing, how you are! He loves that about you, but it’s tearing him apart!"

I cast a glance at Remus, hoping he’d help me, but by that point, he had stopped trying to hide behind his book, and actually climbed under his bed in attempt to be left out of the argument.

As much as I wanted to hit James for being cryptic and unhelpful, I decided to cut him some slack. He only got defensive and angry when one of his best mates was being hurt, and apparently I was doing the hurting.

"James, I’m listening, but you have to explain yourself better."

James took a deep breath, and Remus came back out from under the bed. James put his hand on my shoulder in a friendly way; I suppose he was trying to let me know that he no longer wanted to break my bones.

"Anna, you and Sirius like each other, that much is obvious." I shrugged. "Okay, let’s put it this way. You love Sirius as a friend, and totally wouldn’t mind snogging and or shagging and whatnot, right?"

I nodded that time, James hit the nail right on the head. "Okay, and that’s how you know that you like someone. Now, you don’t usually do that conventional relationship thing. Sirius, however, does. And the facts are that you guys aren’t good for each other.

"Do you know that Sirius has tried to hold your hand and total of seventeen times in the last week? He either gets your hand and you wriggle free, or you just keep swinging it so he can’t grab, walking about like ‘oh, this isn’t my boyfriend beside me, just my best mate who I sometimes snog.’"

I tried not to laugh, as this was obviously very Sirius (and serious, too, I guess,) but I couldn’t help it. The way that James put it was just so funny.

I quickly straightened my face and tried to digest what James was telling me. "So, James. You’re basically telling me that Sirius wants an actual relationship? Like commitment, and that shit?"

James sighed. He probably wanted to hit me; I’m glad he decided not to. "Anna. A long time ago, Sirius told us that as much as he liked you, he could never go with you and one of your, and I quote, ‘half-arsed relationships.’ But he obviously likes you enough to go back on that. He’s made a sacrifice for you, maybe you should try making one for him?"

Before I could respond, we heard two sets of footsteps (that resembled a heard of elephants) coming up the stairs. James threw himself under the covers and pretended to be asleep, Remus quickly picked up his book and resumed his reading, and I threw myself onto my four-poster, misjudging the distance and smacking my head into the bed as soon as the door opened and Sirius and Peter walked you.

"Oww," I moaned.

"You dumbarse," Sirius scolded, with a smile on his face. I clutched my head and rolled over. 

Damn! Who knew that wood was so hard? Haha. Wood. Hard. Ha.


I managed to keep myself from laughing out loud and having to explain, which was a good thing, seeing as my mind had more important thing than whether or not wood was hard.

Haha, wood is hard. Woah! Darren’s last name is Wood . . .


No, Anna! Stop! Uncorrupt! Uncorrupt!


I rubbed my temples, trying to make both my terribly perverted voice, and my sensible one merge into a nice moderate, helpful voice, that would love me enough to help me figure out what to do about Sirius.

"Blimey, I’m tired." Sirius yawned and hoped into his bed next to mind. Over a bit, Peter climbed into his own bed. Sirius picked up his wand and turned off all the lamps around the room.

"G’night," he said sleepily. We all chorused back in a similar manner, but I was far from sleep. I had much too much to work out for myself. 

So, what to do, what to do? Do we even believe James?


Well, if he was lying, he was pretty believable. Besides, why would he lie about something like that? He wouldn’t and that’s why this whole thing is such a big problem; because it means that you and Sirius really do want something different. I think the question you need to ask yourself is: How much do you love him?

So much! I answered myself.

So much that you’d be willing to give up your apparent freedom for him?


And that’s where I fell into a rut. I had never exactly been in a real relationship before. Well, besides Aaron, and that certainly didn’t turn out well.

I loved Sirius, so much. I could easily spend the rest of my life with him, I reasoned. But the question was: Could I really?

There’s nothing to lose in trying, right?


. . . Easy for you to say.


But after everything that Sirius had done for me (apparently, more than I had previously known,) I could surely do something for him. And before I could reason myself out of it, I rolled out of my bed (still wrapped in my blanket, of course,) and temporarily crawled into Sirius’.

"Sirius," I whispered. "Are you awake?"

He grumbled a bit and rolled over to face me. "Yes, love, I’m awake. And do you know that you whisper bloody loud?"

"Sorry," I whispered again, trying to be more quiet.

"What do you want?" he asked, but not in a mean or annoyed way.

"I want to be your girlfriend," I choked out. "The real kind, not the ‘Mutual Casual Daters’ kind."

What the hell am I getting myself into?
I wondered, as Sirius’ mouth dropped open and he grabbed my hands excitedly.

"Really? For real?"

"Yeah," I managed to say. "For real."

Sirius still holding my hands, kissed me quickly and began to stroke my hair. Despite that fact that I did the impossible, (a.k.a. put myself in a relationship with comittment,) the Sirius’ melodic petting put me at ease enough to relax and fall asleep.

But not before I could think, Here we go, again.

 


Chapter 42: How Much I Care, How Bad You Are
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A/N: Hello, everyone! I'm so so so sorry that it took so long to get this chapter up - and I'm not even fully happy with it! Perhaps because these next few chapters are so crucial, it's hard to feel good about them. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy this (at least a little.) Merry Christmas/Christmas Eve to those who celebrate it, and Happy Holidays to everyone who does not. :D




Uninvited, no one knows
How much I care, how bad you are,
How good we’d be
-the Academy Is...



"Godric, Anna! We just spent a quarter of an hour yesterday arguing with some bloke because he said you were a whore; and now you’re just going to go prove him right!?"

I was caught between a groan and a laugh. Of course, James would assume that since Anastasia and I were in the same bed, that we shagged; it was just so James. On the other hand, he just insulted my girlfriend and that is not cool . . . But it was funny . . .

Before I could decide how react, Anastasia grumbled into her pillow next to me.

"What was that, whore?" Well, at least I could tell at that point that James was kidding.

"We dmph faa."

"One more time?" James taunted.

"We didn’t fuck!" she screamed, then kicked James (who had knelt next to her) and turned over to go back to sleep.

"Yeesh, Sirius, your bed-buddy is cranky in the morning."

I smirked, rolling out of the bed (How the hell did we both fit?) and said, "You say that like we haven’t know this for the past six years."

James shrugged. "Come on, mate. Remus and Peter are waiting in the common room; it’s time for breakfast."

I looked back to Anastasia, wondering if we should wake her. She’d be angry if she missed breakfast. James pushed me along, and as if he had read my mind, he said, "She’ll be even angrier if we wake her up."

It was true. So James and I met with our partners-in-crime and made our way down to the Great Hall. "So, what did you lot do last night?"

"Snogged a girl," Peter said, nonchalantly.

And I muttered under my breath about how, "I went to find the dunderhead that snogged a girl behind a tapestry across from Filches office." Everyone heard and laughed.

"Hid under my bed," Remus said, as if there wasn’t anything weird about that. Of course, being us, there wasn’t.

"Threatened someone." James, what a dumbarse. He would do that.

Of course, none of those activities were out of the ordinary for us.

But mine was!

"Sounds very nice, gentleman, but nothing compared to my night, I’m afraid."

"Oh, yeah? What did you do?" James asked. He had a funny look on his face, that I couldn’t place. Ooo, that rhymes.

"Anastasia’s my girlfriend!" I cried, unable to contain my joy in a normal matter. Then, displaying talent that neither the Marauders, nor myself knew I had, I ran up a wall, and flipped back to my feet.

The Marauders and others in the Entrance Hall looked at my oddly. Then, James, Remus and Peter broke out into wild, raging, congratulatory applause. Everyone else went back to their business.

"Mate! Dude! Mate! Dude! Mate!!!" James was jumping for joy (literally.) It felt nice to have such supportive friends.

"You didn’t . . . Ask her, did you?" Remus said. Leave it to Remus to come to the worst conclusion possible.

"Of course not." Remus looked relieved. "Come on, that would be suicide; it was actually Anastasia who decided it."

"That’s awesome, mate!" Remus patted me on the back.

Psh, like I needed their congratulations - I already knew how lucky I was. I had done what no one else had done before. Twice . . . Haha.

I didn’t think anything of the way that Remus was silently beating James up with his eyes.

During breakfast, I recounted the thrilling story of Anastasia’s profession of her love for me. Well . . . it wasn’t quite that, but knowing Anastasia, what she did is damn near close enough.

It was nearing ten o’clock when James dragged me by my collar; it was time for Quidditch practice. I told Remus to follow us back up to the dorm with something for Anastasia to eat; it wouldn’t be the first time that she chained herself to her bed in avoidance of practice because she hadn’t eaten.

"Move your arse!" James shouted, as he thundered up the stairs and kicked down the door. It wasn’t until the weak, wooden door was off its hinges and in splinters on the floor that James realized what he had done.

"Now, was that really necessary?" I asked, gesturing towards the mess.

"What the bloody hell is going on?" Well, at least Anastasia had woken up.

"Dumbarse broke the door."

"It’s time for practice," James explained, navigating around the shattered wood towards his trunk.

"Remus is bringing you food," I offered, before Anastasia could break out the chains and threaten.

She shrugged. "Ooo, goody." She groaned and rolled off the bed, (my bed!) dropping to her hands and knees. "Ow." She then stood up and began to search around the room.

"Aha!" A few minutes later Anatasia stood up holding a pair of black shorts and an eye-piecingly bright blue t-shirt.

"Alright, well put it on and let’s get a move on," I stressed.

She shrugged and skipped into the bathroom. A minute later her pajamas came flying out the door, and she came flying out a moment later. "Let’s go!" Anastasia jumped on my back and I caught her easily. "Are we going or not?"

"Forgetting something?" I asked, gesturing to her broom, that sat, forgotten in a corner.

She cocked her head sideways, like a dog is sometimes apt to do. "Oh, right. I forgot about that."

"Bloody mess, forgetting about her broom during Quidditch practice," I mumbled

She didn’t hit me, but did attempt to squeeze the breath out of me, I think. "James, will you get me the broom, pretty please, bestest mate?"

"What about me?" I asked indignantly as James sauntered off to pick the broom up for Anastasia.

"Eh, you’re okay."

"Really, now?" Without warning, I threw her off my back and onto the bed, pounced on top of her, and began to tickle her. She squirmed and screamed (most people would think she was having a seizure) and thrashed.

"Come on, guys! I don’t want to see that!" Remus had just walked into the room and was looking at us with a disgusted look on his face.

James’ face was just frustrated. "Can we get to practice, now?"

"Sorry, el capitain!" Anastasia yelled, springing up and bouncing on the bed. With a war cry, she sprung from the bed, flipped forwards once, and grabbed her broom from James; she marched out of the dorm before any of the rest of us. A few seconds later she stuck her head back in. "And that was without a single spot of breakfast."

"Your girlfriends a nutter," James told me, as we heard a crash outside, and serious of bumps.

"Yeah, maybe you should go walk with her and grab her hand to make sure she doesn’t kill herself."

Remus didn’t have to tell me twice. I was down the stairs and helping Anastasia up before I could consider what I was doing - Anastasia wasn’t exactly the most selfless person in the world, so I didn’t even entertain the possibility that Anastasia wasn’t totally thinking of what she wanted when she asked.

I offered my hand to help her up, and she took it; I pulled her up from the ground, rather roughly, and let go of her hand, sending her catapulting across the common room with the force. "Shit!"

"Nice job, Sirius," she teased.

I laughed. "Thank you." And without asking her, I grabbed her hand; she didn’t let go, and I took that as a good sign.

We held hands all the way to the Quidditch field; we were followed by James and Darren who would intermittently make ‘awwing’ noises. We all herded into the changing rooms and got into our practice kits before hurrying out to the field; James was being particularly nazi-captain today. I pecked Anastasia quickly on the lips before kicking off into the air - it felt nice to have those special, couple sorts of things to do.

Later that day, as Anastasia showered, and the pounding water made her deaf to our conversation, James decided it would be a great time to torture me.

"So, you both seem to be getting on pretty well," he said, nudging me in the ribs.

"Yes, we are . . . But we’ve been getting on that great for how many years now?"

"Six years, eight months," Remus interjected.

"Yeah, well, like I said, things are looking good." James had that look in that eye; that one when that all of us Marauders knew so well - he had something else to say.

"What else did you want to say, Prongs?" I said, using the endearing nickname.

"I think you should get her a t-shirt that says ‘I love Sirius relationships!’ What do you think?"

I flicked my wand lazily at my best mate, and he was suspended by his ankle within seconds.

Just then, the bathroom door opened, and Anastasia stepped out. She took one look at James and said, "I don’t even want to know."

Yeah, I couldn’t help but think. You don’t.
___

Three days later, things were still running smoothly.

I would walk Anastasia to class, kiss her, and then tag after the Marauders on the way to our class. At dinner time, I’d sit near the Marauders, next to Anastasia. Sometimes, she’d even let me hold her hand while we ate.

She seemed content enough to let me treat her like a princess, albeit she was perhaps a little more stiff than usual.

I suppose I should have stopped myself then; I should have known something was wrong from the minute that I felt it. If I was discontent with that relationship, there was no way in hell that Anastasia was enjoying it.


A/N2: Any readers who are new to this story, or old readers who care (seeing as this will slightly effect the story’s outcome) the beginning of the story (the little bolded section at the top of the first chapter - where Sirius gets taken away and Anna and Dumbledore talk) has been slightly altered. Originally, Sirius was said to be Anna’s fiancé, however, now, he is just mentioned to be her best friend. As you can see, that is a big difference. And I felt the need to point that out.

A/N3: To my wonderful readers - as you can tell from the above A/N, minor rewrites have begun. In fact, chapters one through eighteen have been edited. and Anna And to those who pay attention to details, you’ll find that in the second chapter I’ve edited it so that Anna no long has "a feeling" about Peter. I had planned to follow it up with a subplot, but that never went through, and now it just feels like a comment left hanging. So, to those of you who have been kind enough to point out some of my grammatical errors and such, this should clean the chapters up a bit and make them more readable.

A/N4: For those of you that have been wondering about Anastasia, the writing process has come to a minor halt as I work out some of the details. However, this story will tentatively begin posting at the end of January - possibly sooner of later depending on the circumstances.


A/N5: Thanks to robleschick for the idea about the ‘I Love Sirius relationships!’ t-shirt. :D


Chapter 43: If I Ever Start To Think Straight ( . . . Yeah Right)
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And I'll always be just so inviting.
If I ever start to think straight,
This heart will start a riot in me
-Paramore




Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. Let go!

Sirius and I were walking down the hallway towards my potions class; the Marauders were a few metres ahead of us, giving us our ‘privacy.’

What the fuck!? How many people do you know that need privacy to walk down a fucking corridor!?

Okay, Anna, calm down. This is all your doing - remember that. See what happens when you do selfless things? Best just to avoid it all . . .


"I’ll see you after class, love." Siris bent down (and I still marvelled that a person could bend down quite that much) and kissed me. I stood, letting him.

I gave a small little wave as he dashed off to catch up with the Marauders.

And with a groan, I turned towards the Potions door. It was ratty, old - probably hadn’t been replaced in a hundred years. Of course, with magic, I suppose you don’t have to. And then, I just had one of those surges of frustration; you know, when you’re perfectly fine one minute, and the next, you just have to kick something?

Well, the door was my something. I jabbed my foot in the middle of the door and it burst open. It thankfully didn’t break, but the crashing noise it made as it slammed into the dungeon wall brought the whole classes’ attention to me.

"Miss Xanthis, will you please refrain from beating up my classroom?" I wasn’t exactly what someone would call Ol’ Sluggy’s favorite student. But, my mother was fairly high up in the Ministry, so I still got to be part of the illustrious ‘Slug Club,’ which was certainly not illustrious.

"Sorry." I dragged my feet across the stone floor and collapsed onto the seat next to Darren.

"Oh, the perils of those in real relationships - wasn’t it so much more fun when you were with me, and we just fooled around?" Darren smirked at me, and we both set off to our favourite activity; ignoring the teacher.

"Do I look like I’m in the mood?"

"Just saying."

I rested my chin on my hand, my eyes sliding out of focus as I pretended to look at the board, and tried to ignore Darren.

"Can’t even last three days?"

Ignore him. Ignore him. Ignore him.


"Too much for Anna to handle?"

Must. Not. Hit.


"Sirius not kinky enough for you?"

And Darren had crossed the line. Ignoring the rest of the class, I whipped out my wand, thought, Levicorpus! And looked on in amusement as Darren was suspended by his ankle and let out a scream.

I jumped up snarled at him. "You think you’re so special? Just go find Sirius and ask him why he’s better than you - I think you’ll be entertained by the answer."

"Miss Xanthis! Take that spell off Mr. Wood immediately, or I will be forced to send you to the Headmaster!"

I considered not letting Darren down, and then escorting myself out of the classroom under the pretense of seeing Dumbledore, but in the end I was too lazy to traipse around the school, and let Darren crash to the floor.

"Miss Xathis, this is the second time today I’ve had to address you. Please refrain from further disrupting my class today," Slughorn lectured.

I heaved a sigh and sat quietly through the rest of the lecture. When the bell sounded throughout the school and I left the dungeons, Darren trailed after me.

"Anna? Listen - I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to get at you like that. I guess I didn’t realize that you were actually having issues with the whole thing."

I turned to Darren and let my head fall onto his chest. "Why is my brain so messed up?"

"Uhhh." Darren had no legitimate response.

"Why does nothing I do work out?" I whined.

Darren was tentative, as if he was worried about treading dangerous waters again. " . . . Maybe because you don’t want it to work out?"

"What are you talking about? Of course -"

"Don’t try to fool us, Anna. The only one who can’t see past your little declaration of love is Sirius; everyone else knows that it’s not what you want."

I looked at the ground, feeling guilty. "I don’t know what you’re -"

"Anna, you asked for my help, don’t turn it down." I stayed silent. "Maybe if you stopped trying to be miserable, then you wouldn’t be miserable."

His idea made sense in theory, but I knew that it wouldn’t work applied to me. I was just not comfortable with this relationship stuff; I couldn’t sacrifice my entire self for a relationship. Selfish? Maybe - but it was what it was.

Who was Darren to be giving me relationship advice anyway? He was probably as bad as I was.

I sighed and lifted my head from his chest. "Whatever." I started walking towards the Great Hall, where I would meet up with the Marauders. Today, I would probably not let Sirius hold my hand during lunch because of the whole state that the relationship had put me in.

But when I got to the Entrance Hall, my feet didn’t carry me towards the Great Hall. Instead, I found myself making my way outside. "Tell them I went . . . Somewhere!" I called to Darren as I picked up the pace of my walk.

I wasn’t aware of where I wanted to go, just aimless walking. However, I should have expected that I would end up exactly where I did the last time I had a problem. I couldn’t believe it was nearly four months earlier when I had burst from the hall because I realized I might like Sirius.

I collapsed against a big oak tree in the magical little area.

What the hell happened? I liked him! I love him! . . . As a friend, at least. I liked Darren, too. And Stephen! And Aaron! What the hell is wrong with me?

What got programmed wrong when I was born?

A lot of things, apparently.


Luckily the air outside wasn’t as chilled as is was months previous; that was a good thing. Something told me I wouldn’t feel sorted out for a while.

Alright, you stupid shit-head voice, where are you? You were all ‘Oh, I’m here to help cause I’m so fucking smart.’ Well, where are you now, huh?!

Right here.


At that moment, I wanted to strangle the voice, and almost did. I refrained, however, because to do that, I would have had to strangle myself as well. Which would have been bad.

Well what’s wrong with me, then, hmm? This is your chance - show off your smarts.
I waited for what was, perhaps, the more sensible part of my psyche to help.

Don’t keep leading Sirius on - he deserves better than you.

Wow, that’s not hostile at all.

It’s true.

I know that! Don’t push me!
On the outside, I had my hands massaging my temples; it looked like, perhaps, I had a headache - on the inside, it was a bloody Civil War.

 

A/N: To my lovely readers - I feel like one announcement I made last time came out the wrong way. I told you all that I had changed the status of the relationship between Sirius and Anna in the beginning of the story, and after numerous concerned readers expressed their discontent, I feel like I should explain it a little more, because it’s not exactly what it seems.

When I first started writing this (nearly a year ago, now) the story was maybe going to get to twenty or thirty chapters, and the chapters all resembled the first few, where they just ran around and had fun.

But then the characters started to develop, and the story began to write itself - I like to skip around when I write, so I've had the first few chapters of Anna's 7th year for a while - the other day, I had to scrap every single chapter because it no longer fit with the story.

The change I made in the first chapter isn't exactly reflective of the stories end - only that it has become more ambiguous to me. Where I used to know exactly how it would end, I now only have a basic idea.

I hope this has eased some of your minds about the whole thing, and I’m sorry that I got the wrong message across - that would totally have defeated the purpose of the edit.

A/N2: And there’s a little insight into Anna’s mess of a brain. Because I’ve had a burst of writing, the next chapter is coming along nicely. I’ll probably update even one more time before I go back to classes! :D (So look for the next chapter next Saturday or Sunday.)


Chapter 44: You Think You're On Top Of The World (Anna, Can't You Ever Not Screw Something Up?)
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You think you're on top of the world
When all the eyes are on you
Just wait until your heart breaks

-New Found Glory

It had taken me quite a while to sort myself out. Let’s just say that the Marauders (especially Sirius) made quite a deal out of it when I finally moseyed back to the dorm around midnight.

But it didn’t matter, because I had myself figured out. Or, at least enough to deal with the problem at hand.

I was immature; it was something I had always known, but what I hadn’t realized was that it probably effected my outlook on relationships. I was the type of person that just shouldn’t be in one, until I was older, at least.

So I had to do the right thing; I had to end it with Sirius. The only thing left to figure out was when and how to do it.

___

Sirius was walking me to Potions again. The way our fingers laced together felt so forced and unnatural, as it did every time we walked to class in that manner. It was a far cry from those times when Sirius and I had been lounging together and he had grabbed my hand and stroked it. So similar, yet so different.

He kissed me goodbye, but this time I did not burst angrily into the dungeon, or threaten Darren.

We did, however, hold our customary ‘ignore-Ol’Slugy’ conversation.

"So . . . I asked Sirius why you guys decided he was better than me . . ."

Awkward. Yet funny.


"Was he lying?" The amused look on Darren’s face entertained me.

Laughing, I answered. "Nope."

His eyes widened. "Really?!"

I nodded and laughed some more.

"Miss Xanthis, please be quiet."

Slughorn’s interjections into our conversations were normal, and easily ignorable.

"Oh, well, I’m sorry about that, then. I suppose it wasn’t as . . . enjoyable . . . as it was supposed to be.

"So . . . Did you and Sirius get up to anything yet?"

There was a scraping of stools around us; our classmates were all getting up and heading towards the storage cabinet in the back. "I guess we’re supposed to be doing something," I observed.

Darren glanced quickly at the blackboard. "Yeah." He began setting up the cauldron as I went to get the ingredients. In ten minutes, we had our potion coming along nicely, and Darren decided that it would be a good time to restart the interrogation. "So . . . Have you?"

"Have I what?" I skirted the question, not for any particular reason, other than my own entertainment.

"Have you done anything with Sirius?" he asked. He started to stir the potion counter-clockwise; I could see him mouthing numbers to himself.

"Yes. I’ve walked with Sirius, talked with Sirius, pretended to study with Sirius -"

"Not like that!"

"What’s it to you?" Darren was getting visibly frustrated with me, as he sometimes tended to.

"Come on, I’m curious, will you just tell me?!"

Translation: I’m a boy, and because me and you did stuff, Sirius is automatically my competition, so I need to know where I stand. And, no, it doesn’t matter than we’re not going out anymore and don’t want to do each other.

"Some stuff," I said, answering him in a non-specific way.

"What stuff?"

I made a crass hand-gesture.

"Ah. So your and Sirius' fun was mutal, eh?"

I looked down at the bubbling, vibrant purple potion. "Pester me again, and you’ll find that this purple potion is way more harmful than it looks."

Darren sobered up and we had a light, non-Sirius related banter for the remainder of the double.

The bell rang and we cleaned up quickly. As we made our way to the Great Hall, Darren advised me, "Make sure you get a little more fun in before you break up with him. It only makes sense."

I hit him as we stepped through the doors and into the blazing chatter of students.

"You suck," I spat.

I marched over to Sirius. "Hit Darren for me, will you?" I asked him, smiling. "And tell him that I already have. And I was."

"Any particular reason?"

I shrugged. "Nah, just because." Sirius reached across the table, where Darren had situated himself, and hit Darren over the head, much harder than I would have.

Darren mouthed something at me - I wasn’t sure exactly what he was trying to say, but I’m sure it wasn’t exactly complimentary.

I just laughed and leaned my head against Sirius’ shoulder. That, at least, felt more natural than holding his hand while I ate, which was just an awkward way to eat. After a while, though, my neck began to hurt, and I had pick my head up and roll my neck a bit. But I could take the pain, because everything felt better - at least temporarily.

Maybe I could deal with this . . .

Then he grabbed my hand.

. . . Well . . . Maybe if he’d stop grabbing my hand.


"Come on," I groaned. "It needs to be tomorrow morning."

"May I ask why?" Sirius asked, stuffing his face.

"Because I really want french toast."

At that point, James leaned over to Sirius and said (in a very not-so-whispery-whisper,) "Your girlfriends a nutter!"

I stood up, leaned around Sirius and shouted, "We know!"

James put his hands up in a surrendering gesture. "Yikes. Someone’s cranky."

I sighed. "I don’t feel like going to class-"

"You complain a lot," Sirius pointed out.

I shrugged. "You obviously don’t care."

"That’s true."

"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted," I threw a glance at Sirius. "I don’t want to go to class today."

"What a coincidence," said Sirius. He jumped up and left his food unfinished, then pulled me up with him. "Because I don’t either."

Ooo la la. What suggestive language . . .

"I know a few things that are far more entertaining then going to class."

"I’d love to hear them," Sirius claimed, leading me out of the hall by my hand.

"Well . . ." I began.

___

Okay, so what?! I argued with myself. So, I followed Darren’s advice. Does that make me a bad person?

Not at all!

Good - at least one voice in this head loves me.


Sirius and I were actually not holding hands, for once, as we made our way down to the Great Hall. We had neglected to tend the rest of our afternoon classes, and instead spent a few hours in each others company.

They were nice hours.

Instead of grasping my hand, Sirius had his arm thrown casually around my waist. It was sort of nice, actually. Like when I leaned my head on his shoulder.

However, we never made it to the Great Hall. Our progress was halted just outside the doors, by none other than Professor Minerva McGonagall, dragging a guilty looking James by the ear.

"Prongs," Sirius groaned, drawing out the ‘o’ sound in a whining manner. "What did you do?"

"Why don’t you tell them, Mr. Potter," Minnie suggested, while glaring daggers at Sirius and I.

"She’s scary," I whispered in his ear. Sirius didn’t really respond.

"Er." James stood awkwardly, trying to dig a hole in the stone floor with his toe. "Well, today . . . . Minnie - I mean Professor McGonagall said, ‘Where is Sirius.’ And, naturally this was directed at me and the Marauders, because, you know, we’re your best mates.

"And so I said, ‘Well, I’m not sure, but I know that Anna has his pants.’ I totally meant in the way that she was wearing them, but Minnie took it otherwise, and now we’re here to yell at you.’

I figured that as long as we were in trouble anyway, I might as well correct James on his mistake; I went to tell James that I had Sirius’ pants in both senses of the word, but my better half caught on and slapped his hand over my mouth before I could incriminate us anymore.

"Now," McGonagall pushed forward, ignoring what had just transpired between me and Sirius. "Normally, I would not take Mr. Potter seriously-"

"Because he’s not Sirius," Sirius mumbled.

McGonagall refused to acknowledge Sirius’ comment. "However, upon further investigation, neither of you were at any of your afternoon lessons. Now, if either of you have any explanations I would like to hear them now." She stood with her hands on her hips and her lips pursed, daring either of us to try and stumble our way through a fake explanation.

"Actually, Professor, we do have an explanation," I said. I needed a way to buy us time - and I needed it fast. "It’s just, it has to do with-" I lowered my voice substantially. "Quidditch, and I don’t really think we should be talking about it out in the open."

Professor McGonagall looked skeptical, but everyone knew that McGonagall was secretly, discreetly consumed with obsession for winning the Quidditch Cup each year. She looked quickly around, then led us away to her office, up a floor.

"Well what is it? Tell me your excuse for why you both missed all of your afternoon classes, without the team captain, and why this did not involve Mr. Black’s pants."

"Well," I began.

Alright, make it up as you go along; if you’re lucky, your dumbarse boyfriend might contribute a little. . .


"Okay, so you know how we lost that game to Hufflepuff back in November?"

McGonagall nodded.

"Well, me and Sirius hatched a plan - we need to beat Ravenclaw by one-hundred points for the championship - that’s it."

I was at a crossroads; I had no idea what to say next.

"So why is it that the captain of the Gryffindor team didn’t decide to skip all his classes, too?"

"I can answer that," James interjected. I had almost forgotten that he was here. "I didn’t want to risk being taken out of the match. I know, it’s hard to believe I, James Potter, would fear trouble. But if there’s one thing I take seriously, it’s Quidditch."

Phew, that was a close one.


Minnie seemed to accept James’ story, at least. But that still didn’t explain all that planning Sirius and I had done.

I was about the attempt to stutter my way through an explanation when Sirius jumped up. "I have the plans in my dorm! Can I go get them?"

McGonagall allowed him to.

He came crashing into the room, breathless, ten minutes later and brandishing a long scroll of parchment excitedly in the air.

"Here they are!" Sirius slapped the parchment down on the Professor’s desk and had a quiet conversation with her.

A while later, McGonagall stood up and she and Sirius walked over. Then, Minnie apologized. "Miss Xanthis, Mr. Black, I’m very sorry for those accusations." She did not sound happy at all about the whole apologizing thing . . . Couldn’t say I blamed her. "It appears that Mr. Potter’s idiocy caused a slight misunderstanding."

She turned (without scolding James) and left the room. I heard her heels click down the hallway, then stop. They started again and a few moments later McGonagall’s smiling head appeared around the doorway. "That plan is brilliant; you lot have to win."

___

"So tell me, Sirius, how the hell did you manage to work that out?" It was five minutes after the whole ‘Sirius-and-Anna-almost-got-busted-for-doing-sexual-things-instead-of-going-to-class," incident.

"Well I had the two-way mirror," Sirius explained.

"And I had the other," Remus added. "He called me on it-"

"And, well, you know how Moony is with strategy, so I asked him and Pete to whip something up real quick - and he did! And McGonagall thought it was brilliant. And that’s the end of the story."

"That was brilliant!" I praised.

"You thinking it up in the first place was brilliant," he complimented.

I stopped. "Okay, enough mushy, gushy compliments for now. Let’s eat!" 

Stupid, stupid, stupid, crap compliments. Who wants to be gushed over anyway?

‘Not I,’ said the Anna.
 

I shook my head rapidly. I really have to stop talking to myself.
___

"So, did you get your reciprocation?"

I pulled my wand swiftly out of my pocket and was about to curse Darren, but at the moment, Slughorn walked by. The past week, the walrus of a teacher had been getting rather frustrated with me, so I decided not to test his nerves. I put the wand slowly away, counting to ten, and then concentrated all of my efforts on the potion.

"Aww, come on, I’m curious."

Fine . . . You want to know? I’ll tell you.


"Actually, yes. I did . . . And it was much nicer this time."

Aha. I had thought that, that would shut him up, and it did.

However, being Darren, you couldn’t shut him up for long. "So, when are you breaking up with him?"

"Why, going to catch him on the rebound?" I snapped. "Going to try swinging the other way?"

I he put his hand over his heart and pouted in a faux-hurt way. "Ouch, Anna. Why don’t you twist the knife a little more?"

"Well, sorry if I’m not looking forward to breaking up with my best friend, who, in actuality, I really shouldn’t be going out with anyway."

"So . . ." he said, suddenly much nicer. "You’re going to go through with it?"

I groaned and let my head fall harshly to the table. It hurt a bit, but it made me feel better all the same. Of course, it didn’t occur to me, that, maybe I shouldn’t be putting my head where numerous potions had been spilt over the past thousand years.

"Yeah." I was shockingly depressed about the fact - that confused me. "But now I’m worried that if I break up with him I’ll regret it right after."

Wait . . . I didn’t mean to say that . . .


Darren scrunched his eyebrows in a thoughtful manner.

Before he could speak, I interrupted, "You know, you’re really cute when you scrunch your eyebrows like that."

I definitely didn’t mean to say that.



Now Darren’s face betrayed shock, and, of course, a little bit of arrogance at my claim.

And it was bad. Now that my brain was on the subject . . . It just kept going.

"You know," I went on, in a voice perkily unfit way for the situation, "When we were fooling around, there were so many times that I felt like just jumping your bones right there. And I didn’t . . . Not sure why, now that I’m looking back on it, but, maybe-"

Darren threw his hand over my mouth. "I don’t need to hear this, what the hell is wrong with you!?"

Then, as he pulled his hand away from my face he examined something on his hands. He ran his hand across my cheek again. "Uh-oh."

"Your hand is really, really rough," I pointed out. "You should get something for that dry skin."

"Uh-oh," he repeated, swiping his hand across the black, wooden table we were sitting at. "Oh, no." And then he ran his hands through his hair as people in distress tend to do.

"You know," I trilled, "you were so much cuter when your hair was longer; you should grow it out."

"Anna, shut up! We have a problem! I think there was remnants of a few potions on that table - and one of them is Veritaserum!"

Oh, well I suppose this explains the babbling like an idiot - not that I don’t do that normally, but this is a different kind of babbling.


. . . This could be a problem.


"Shit!"

"Okay, calm down," Darren warned, being uncharacteristically helpful. "We have to keep you from blurting out any deep, dark secrets that you have that none of us want to know."

"I have nothing to hide," I told Darren.

"You want Sirius to know what you’re thinking?"

"I’m going to tell him anyway," I explained.

"Do you want to end up telling him things you don’t even know you’re thinking!?"

Wow . . . That could be dangerous. You know how volatile your mind is, Anna.


" . . . That would be bad," I admitted.

"Exactly," Darren exclaimed.

"So what do we do?" I said frantically, completely ignoring the instructions that Slughorn was giving on the potion we were to be completing the next time we had double.

"Uh," Darren stuttered around, thinking. "I know! First I’ve got to take a swipe of this table; we don’t know what other potions are all over this thing."

"How do you reverse the effects of Veritaserum? It’s probably a bad idea if I meet up with Sirius while I’m still on this stuff. We might both end up learning stuff about me."

Darren riffled discreetly through his back before extracting a clean scrap of parchment. He swiped it over the desk in the spot I had lain my head earlier, folded it up, and put it in his pocket. "Anna, we don’t know what other dangerous potions have spilt here; we have bigger problems than you babbling like an idiot."

"You know," I blurted, "you always had a stick up your arse."

"Go cry about it to Sirius," he drawled.

"Maybe I will. He’s so cool, I like him so much." Well, see, my thoughts were exactly as I had thought they were; I like Sirius. Nothing more.

By that point, Darren seemed to be ignoring me. I couldn’t exactly blame him, though, I probably wasn’t the best companion at the moment. Under his breath, he muttered, "Come on, bell. Come on, bell. Ring."

And it did. When the bell rang, he grabbed my wrist and dragged me roughly from the dungeon. He didn’t tell me where we were going or why, but I didn’t ask, on the chance that he would become frustrated and no longer want to help me. Which would suck.

Instead of taking me up the stairs that would lead to the Entrance Hall, he pulled me around a corner I had never been before. There were a series of doors that looked exactly like the one to that lead to the classroom; old, decrepit, liable to fall apart easily. Perhaps, even more so. "Come on," he urged.

He pulled me into the first door we came to. My hands flew to my ears as the door creaked. It was a high-pitched, unpleasant sound. My first thought was that we were back in the classroom, but then I realized that we weren’t. The cauldrons and desks in this room were far more dusty, and the room had an overall unused feeling to it.

"Okay, Anna, sit here and try to not spill all your secrets out. I won’t talk to you, seeing as that triggers it. Do you think you can sit quietly here for an hour or so while I analyze these potions?"

"No, Mr. Smart Guy." I couldn’t have lied if I tried. Besides, Darren should have known better.

Darren heaved a sigh. "Well, then. Anna, I’m sorry, but this is for your own good."

"Noooooooooooooo!" I cried, just as Darren flourished his wand. The rest of my cry was cut off; Darren had used a silencing charm on me . . . Stupid little bitch.

I spent the hour twiddling my thumbs (surprisingly entertaining,) pacing the dungeon, and hovering over Darren’s shoulder. It annoyed him a lot.

"Okay, wow." The strip of parchment that Darren had dropped into the cauldron a half hour earlier was now covered in different blotches of color. "Okay, well, on that table that you decided to inhale," Darren paused, presumably to mutter to himself about what an idiot I was, "was some Veritaserum, some sort of memory-disabling potion, a Swelling Solution, and Euphoria."

"What’s Euphoria? And why isn’t my face swelling? And why isn’t my memory disabling, and why-"

"Anna! Shut up!"

"Sorry."

"Look, Anna, I don’t know why your face isn’t swelling and why your memory is still working. And I can’t even tell if the Euphoria has had any effect because that’s just how you always are and I’m not exactly sure when the Veritaserum is going to wear off, because I don’t even know how much you inhaled. I didn’t even know you could get the effects of Veritaserum from inhalation."

"You worry a lot," I chided. "Come on, we’re missing, uhhh - wait, I don’t care what class we’re missing. What am I talking about? Ha!" I laughed.

I leaned back on a desk and was careful not to put my face on it. Despite my aloof outlook on the situation, I wasn’t exactly eager to have other unidentified potions swirling around my lungs.

We sat around for another half hour before Darren turned to me and said, "Okay, Anna, I’m going to test you and see if you’ve still got the Veritaserum effects."

"Okie dokie."

"So, Anna what do you think of Sirius?"

I like him. I like him a lot. He’s probably one of my favorite people.
"I love him. And I couldn’t live without him."

Darren’s eyes widened and his mouth opened in shock. My eyes widened and my mouth opened in shock.

A shocked cry burst from my lips, "Oh my-" And then I stopped. My eyes slid in and out of focus and a shock ran through my body.

Suddenly, I couldn’t remember what I had been about to say. "Uh, Darren? Why are we in an empty dungeon? Shouldn’t we be in class, or something?"

Darren cast a terrified look back to a cauldron and piece of colored parchment . . . Why did he have those. He turned back to me. "Holy shit."

"Listen, I don’t know what we’re doing here, but I’ve really got to go talk to Sirius." I got up and swung my bag over my shoulder."

"Wait!" Darren yelled, jumping up and grabbing my shoulder. "You can’t go see Sirius! You don’t know if the Veritaserum is still working!"

I looked at Darren as if he was crazy. "What Veritaserum?"

Darren looked horrified as I turned around and determinedly made my way out of the dungeon; I was going to find Sirius, explain that I can’t be with him, as much as I like him - it wouldn’t be fair to either of us.

I swung the door open, smiling, because despite that fact that I was about to break up with my best friend, I had a good feeling about something. I just couldn’t place my finger on what it was . . .

I barely even noticed Darren whispering to himself, "This is going to be one wild ride."


A/N: Leave it to Anna to screw things up, eh? Haha, well the next chapter will be from Remus' POV. I mean, it just wouldn't be right if Anna screwed up and someone didn't at least try to stop it, right? Oh, and you'll probably find Darren hanging around a lot more - I've decided that I like him quite a bit, so he'll be here for a while.



Chapter 45: This Has Been Said So Many Times
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This has been said so many times that I'm not sure if it matters
But we never stood a chance
And I'm not sure if it matters
(your secret's out)
-Fall Out Boy

 

"Dude, I think we’ve got a problem." Darren had discreetly pulled me away from the other Marauders as soon as class ended. We walked a few metres behind them and Darren constantly threw glances their way, as if waiting for something.

"Well, out with it, mate."

"Okay, how can I say this without it sounding weird . . ."

Darren again glanced towards the Marauders and then back to me. I’m sorry to say I had a very Anna-esque moment and jumped to an irrational conclusion. "Oh my god! You’ve gone gay and are in love with one of the Marauders!?"

Then Darren did that thing were your face spasms in shock because someone has just said something incredibly stupid. "Seriously?! You’re the second person to accuse me of that today!"

"Wait, you’re right. That’s ridiculous, I mean, you are Darren . . . Wait, so, what’s the problem?"

"Anna inhaled a bunch of old, possibly unfinished potions in class. There was some Veritaserum, some sort of memory-disabling potion, a Swelling Solution, and some Euphoria," Darren explained.

"So what? Anna will blab all her secrets that we already know and continue on as usual." I didn’t get what the big fuss was; Anna did dumb things like that all the time.

"Well, she said something." Darren looked nervous. My mind tried to be Anna again and jump to conclusions (ie- Anna confessed her love for Darren, Anna was secretly an evil terrorist set on keeping all Hogwarts students captive) but I kept it reigned in.

"What did she say?" I said carefully. I followed Darren’s gaze, once again, the Sirius, James and Peter, ahead of us.

"Well, she said that she loved Sirius. That she loved him."

Oh my god!

I felt like running up the wall and flipping like that time that Sirius did when he told us that Anna was finally his girlfriend.

"But-"

"Ssh! Don’t tell me the butt! I don’t want to know! I don’t want to! Everything is perfect in happy-go-lucky-land and we’re all going to live happily every after."

Darren rolled his eyes. "Remus, shut up. Like I was saying, but, now she doesn’t remember that she said it - her mind totally just lost the past hour! And now she loves Sirius and doesn’t know it, and is about to go break up with him! We’ve got to stop her!"

I laughed at Darren - he was so different than he’d been a year earlier when we first met him. Over the past ten or so months, he’d adopted some of our frantic tendencies, and some of our nice ones to. Yeah, we had a couple of those.

At the moment, Darren was frantic and nice. Even though he’d been with Anna before, he was looking out for her best interests. It was kind of sweet, actually.

As my thoughts flew from Darren to Sirius and Anna, I knew this was what we had all been waiting for. We, being everyone who was afraid that Anna was going to break Sirius’ heart. And now, all we had to do was tell Anna what she said and it was a sure thing that-

My thought process was interrupted when Darren decided to explain himself further. "Remus, I don’t think you get it! I asked her what she thought of Sirius, you know, to check if the Veritaserum was still working - and then she said that she loved him. And then! - she had this shocked horrified look on her face, before it went blank; and then she couldn’t remember anything. Not what she said, not what she did, not even that she had, had any incident with a bunch of potions.

"Remus, she didn’t even know that she loved him! Her mind’s a mess! Why are we letting her run loose?!"

Of course Anna’s mind was a mess, how could Darren not have known that? At least now I understood why Darren was constantly looking at the Marauders, who were still pleasantly oblivious a few feet in front of us.

"Remus," Darren whined. "We’ve got to stop her - she’ll hate us forever if she ever finds out we didn’t tell her. You know how bad she wants this relationship to work."

Darren was right; if we told Anna, maybe she would actually realize it for herself. And then, a horrible thought occurred to me . . . What if she didn’t? 

Oh, shit. That would be bad.


And from that moment, I knew that we couldn’t tell Anna. I told Darren so. "Darren, we can’t. What if she doesn’t realize that what we’re saying is true? What if she stays with Sirius but doesn’t really want to?"

"But she loves him," Darren protested.

"Come on, man. You should know her mind by now! Just because we tell her doesn’t mean she’ll realize it for herself. They way I see it, it could end up two ways . . .

"Scenario One: We tell Anna, and in her attempts to stay with Sirius, she’s unhappy. She believes us, and knows that she’ll love him forever deep down, but she still can’t feel it for herself. Sirius is now devastated, because Anna’s wild, youthful ways have driven her away from him because of their marriage. Now, fast forward ten years . . ."

___

Anna sighed again, pushing the thoughts of Sirius and their three-year-old daughter out of her mind. It was certainly not what she wanted to think about. "You’re right. Let’s go!"

Robert escorted her down to the party, where their team was mingling with a few locals. There was a language barrier, but no one needed to explain that there was a party going on, that was in plain sight.

Anna smirked and urged, "Let’s get smashed. Apparently, I’m just a riot when I’m smashed."

Robert chuckled and ordered a round of firewhiskey for them. Within the hour, Anna and Robert were both sufficiently tipsy. Anna, out of old habits, tried to climb onto Robert’s shoulders, as she used to do with Sirius. However, he wasn’t expecting it and the two came crashing to the ground.

Through all the noise and hype, no one noticed. Luckily, neither were hurt. In fact, they both burst out laughing as they stumbled to their feet. "We should go, Anna, we’re a danger to ourselves and others."

Anna shrugged and giggled as she stumbled up the steps in front of Robert, who was quick to catch her every time she fell. Robert followed her to her hotel room, making sure she made it okay, and then went inside after her. Anna collapsed onto the bed in a fit of giggles. "Oh, boy, are we going to have a hangover tomorrow. Won’t it be fun?"

"Of course, until Captain sees us; then he’ll kick our arses." Robert sat down on the bed next to Anna and draped his arm over her shoulder.

"Well at least we’re having fun now." Anna leaned back so that her head was resting gently on the headboard.

Robert stared at Anna while she closed her eyes for a few moments. Her pink lips, her happy, rosy cheeks, and the dark hair that fell in curls just below her shoulders. Then, Anna opened her eyes, and Robert found himself face-to-face with her glittering, hazel jewels.

And suddenly, after three years of knowing Anna, he found that he could no longer contain it. In a fit of lust, he threw himself on top of her and began to kiss her. Anna found herself getting into the kiss. In fact, she hadn’t kissed someone like this since . . . Since those early days with Sirius, before she had made the mistake of agreeing to be his girlfriend.

In the back of her mind, behind the firewhiskey and displeasure with the life she led when she was not playing Quidditch, Sirius called out to her, and Anna found herself pulling away from Robert’s warmth.

"Robert, I - I can’t. I can’t do this to Sirius - I love him . . . I think."

Robert, instead of pushing Anna into something she didn’t want to do, decided to put it in perspective for her so that she would want to.

"You’re not happy, Anna. Anyone can see that, as plain as day. Someone like you cant’ be with only one person; it’s just not in your nature. Besides, you’re not going to tell me that you haven’t done this before."

"Done what?" Anna responded evasively.

"Cheated."

Anna couldn’t lie. She had before. Not too many times, but just enough so that her heart was sometimes eaten away with guilt. But she couldn’t help it. With Sirius, everything was forced. He was no longer her best friend as he once was.

Anna had never exactly been a selfless person. In fact, the last time she was, was when she agreed to go out with Sirius . . . And that surely didn’t end well.

She needed no more convincing from Robert. She pounced on top of him, and hoped to Godric she would still remember this exciting night in the morning.

Meanwhile, back in England . . .

Sirius smiled at his babbling, three-year-old daughter, Anastasia. He had insisted on naming the daughter after his wife, and she had conceded. But he quickly put Anastasia in her crib and tucked her away, because thinking about his wife wasn’t always happy thoughts.

He loved her, he still did, with all his heart.

But he knew that she didn’t love him. At least, not as much as she needed to.

One day, Anna had run up to him, excitedly claiming her love for him. But within the month, things had gone sour. However, Anna held out, and the longer she held out, the worse things got. She’d be in pain when she was around him, and confused when she wasn’t.

Then, five years ago, they had gotten married. Anna’s hesitation to say ‘I do,’ was something Sirius had expected. It was shocking, and unsettling, when she agreed so readily to be married.

His thoughts were interrupted as an owl tapped on the window outside of the kitchen where he had been sitting, slowly sipping a butterbeer.

He got the letter, saw that it was from Anna, and put it aside for later. He was already downtrodden; there was no need to read Anna’s unhappy, unenthusiastic letter and bring him down more.

She was with her Quidditch team; he knew that she was happy there, and it hurt quite a bit. He tried desperately not to think about what Anna might be doing at the moment, and lay down on the couch. He shut his eyes tight, trying to sleep. But sleep didn’t often come for Sirius. Too many times, he found himself plagued by the memories of Anna before they were together. Far more happy, far more carefree, far more Anastasia. Eventually, he drifted off into a sleep, plagued with the same commiserating thoughts.___

"Now," I further explained. "There’s Scenario Two: We let Anna break up with Sirius, and any rift between the two is quickly fixed. Anna and Sirius date around for a little while, before they both see that they really don’t want to. So, they stay single together, and they’re both extremely happy. Now, fast forward ten years . . ."

___

"And that’s a nasty Bludger, sent by Black, right into Greengrass’ arm, just as he’s about to catch the Snitch!" It was Wimbourne versus Ireland, and the Wasps were dominating, thanks to the incredible tag-team Beaters - Sirius Black, and Anna Xanthis.


"Bludger’s coming back towards Black, and, what’s this? He sends it towards his fellow Beater, Xanthis!? She sends it back! Back and forth! Here we go, people, it’s Black and Xanthis, up to their trickery again. Each match, they’ve got some new little skill and - Oh gosh! Here comes the other Bludger!

"And look at that! They’ve got that one in the mix, too! Would you look at that, people? Wimbourne’s tag-team Beaters have single handedly removed all the Bludger’s from play."

Anna smirked at Sirius from ten metres away, where she was playing ‘catch’ with Sirius. It was a distracting little piece of work they had come up with last practice. No one would even notice when their Seeker found the Snitch, which, she undoubtably would.

And that was proven a moment later when the commentator shouted, "And it’s all over now, folks! Swan’s got the Snitch!" 

"Victory lap!" Sirius attempted to scream over the roar of the crowd. Though no one heard, everyone got into formation; it was a customary thing for them to do after a victory, a tradition that he and Anna had taken from their days at Hogwarts.


After their victory lap, they all touched down and trotted over to the changing rooms. "That was incredible, if I do say myself," Anna bragged, as she slipped off all but her bra and underwear, then wrapped a towel around herself. She and her fellow girl teammate, Emilia Swan, were far too used to their boy teammates to give much of a care of their state of dress.

"I agree completely," Sirius said, likewise, with a towel wrapped around his waist.

Man, Anna thought, he’s still as fit as he was ten years ago.

With a pair of sandals on her feet, she walked over to the row of seven showers and slipped into the first one. Anna laughed to herself as she pulled the curtain shut; no matter how much earlier she got into a shower than her teammates, she was always the last one out.


As he walked by Anna’s shower, the team’s Captain, tapped on the curtain to get Anna’s attention, and then informed her that, "Party’s at the Leaky Cauldron in two hours. Plan to be there an hour from now; maybe you’ll get there on time."

Right. Me on time, Anna thought.

A half hour later, Anna turned the scalding hot water off. Two her own surprise, there was still a shower running.

"Yo?" she inquired.

"It’s me." It was Sirius. And he was next to her, in a shower. And that meant he had no clothes on. And I have no clothes on, Anna reasoned.

Over the years, after Anna broke up with Sirius, she still harbored a lust for him. How could she not? He was good-looking, funny, always stuck with her. He was like her second half.


Yeah, I pretty much love him, she thought nonchalantly.

"Holy shit!" Anna cried in shock.

"What is it? Is there a spider I need to come kill? ‘Cause I’m not going do it; you’re going to have to find someone else to do it." Sirius voice trembled slightly; he was afraid of spiders just as much as Anna was.

"No, I just figured out that I love you. A lot," she blurted out.Jeese, what tact, Anna, she though to herself.

The water in Sirius’ shower turned off. "What?"

"I said that I love you. A lot." Anna’s voice broke in a sort of trepidation. She heard a towel flourish and the bumpy sound of a curtain being open. Anna was quick to grab her own towel and wrap it around herself."You love me?" Sirius opened the curtain to Anna’s shower.

Anna bit her lip and nodded. "A long time ago," she began to explain. "A wise, wise person told me that if you love someone like a best friend, and want to jump their bones at the same time, then you love them. And, dude, I totally want to jump your bones right now."

Sirius smirked and pulled his towel down at the same time he grabbed Anna’s. "I’ll gladly oblige to that."

___

Darren stood, looking at Remus oddly as he finished his story. "So . . . What happens to Sirius an Anna in the second story?"

I thought for a moment. "They were both late to the party." I smirked. "But that’s not the point. Did you get it? We can’t force them together; both of them will be miserable. We have to it happen on it’s own."

Darren nodded. "I suppose you’re right." He messed up his hair a bit. "Okay, so, now we’re just going to pretend that I didn’t show any sort of concern at all and was totally cool. Okay?"

I shook my head at Darren’s stupidity, however funny I found it. "Yeah, alright."

I was walking forwards, not paying much attention to anything, when Darren gasped. I looked ahead to the Marauders to see Anna with her hand on Sirius’ shoulder.

So much for Darren playing it cool
, I thought.

James and Peter kept walking, so did me and Darren. As we walked past Sirius and Anna, who were stopped, we were in just the perfect place to hear, "Listen, Sirius. I can’t do this anymore; I think we need to go back to being best friends."

A/N: Well, it's all over now folks. (The relationship, not the story.) However, we're not quite done with that pair yet. Tune in next chapter to hear Sirius' POV.

A/N2: Well . . . I wasn't planning on updating until next Friday, but then  me and pretty much the rest of the Northeast got a snowday - so I was so overjoyed that I updated! Yaaaaaay!

A/N3: Oh, and if there are any TDA banner-makers with a little extra time on their hands, please, contact me in a review - I would love a new banner! :D


Chapter 46: We Know It's Never Simple, Never Easy
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And we know it’s never simple,
Never easy.
Never a clean break, noone here to save me.
You’re the only thing I know like the back of my hand
-Taylor Swift


 

"Listen, Sirius. I can’t do this anymore; I think we need to go back to being best friends."

Wow, I totally wasn’t expecting that.

Yes, you were, you dumbarse.

Woah! Holy shit! Who are you, and what are you doing in my head?

I’m you.

Oh . . . So this is what it’s like being Anastasia . . .

Focus! She’s breaking up with you!

Right . . .


I looked down at Anastasia, who was shifting uncomfortably in front of me. She didn’t look happy with what she was doing.

Say something!

"I’m completely okay with that."

She smiled hugely. In fact, I hadn’t seen her smile like that in quite a while.

Just about a week, I think.

"Really? Oh, thank Godric!" Anastasia threw her arms around me and nuzzled her face into my chest, which was as high as it would go. "Sirius, I really, really like you, but I don’t think I’m ready for this whole relationship thing, not with anyone."

"I had a feeling," I admitted.

"Oh, I’m so glad you’re not upset! Come on, I’ll give you a ride to class." She crouched down in front of me, waiting for me to jump on her back; the nutter wanted to give me a piggy-back ride.

I kicked her lightly on the bum to get her to start walking again. "Do you know that I have now sprouted to over two meters? Do you realize that you’re barely one and a half? Do you realize that in American dimensions, that at 6’7", I am one foot and five inches taller than you?"

"So?" Anastasia protested. "I’m strong, I can hold you!"

We stopped outside her History of Magic Classroom. I pushed her inside. "Go to class!"

She stuck her tongue out at me as she skipped into to class.

Well, that went better than I would have thought.

Honestly, what could you have expected? It’s Anastasia.

True, I suppose.


I kept up a pleasantly slow pace. I was in no real hurry to arrive to Potions on time. It was a dreadful class, anyway. I had completely lost site of the Marauders and Darren; I wondered if they had known Anastasia was going to break up with me.

Does it matter? It’s all over now.

So . . . What does that mean, really? Does it mean that things have to get awkward between us?


No, I decided, as I pushed open the door to potions and took my seat next to Peter just as Slughorn began class. No, not at all.

But maybe Anastasia thinks so? I mean, she’s always been rather weird about all her past boyfriends.

But none of them have been you, have they?

Do you really want to take that chance?


I shook my head, trying to rid it of the constant chatter. I felt so bad for Anastasia at the moment; voices were horrible.

"Sirius, pay attention." Peter whacked me on the shoulder.

"Woah, sorry, mate. I guess I’m just a little thoughtful; Anastasia and I didn’t work out." I got up and followed Pete to the ingredient stores in the back of the room.

"Yeah, we figured. We’re all still sleeping in the same dorm, though, right? No divorces?"

I laughed with Pete. "Nope, we’re all good."

___

How the hell is it that I ended up falling in love with the biggest mess in the world? Tell me, how?

___

To tease, or not to tease, that is the question.

"You alright, mate?" Anastasia tapped me and broke me from the argument I was having with myself; was it okay go on demeaning and teasing her as I always did?

"Yeah, I’m fine, I just think that some of your voices went on vacation and came to live in my head."

At this, Anna burst out laughing. Of course, she’d think it was funny when it was no longer her problem. "You know, that makes sense, there’s not too much going on in my head right now."

And then I decided that it was okay to go on as normal, at least for the moment. "You never have anything going on in that head."

Anastasia made a face at me. "Mummy says I’m brilliant."

"Of course you are," I humoured her and pat her on the shoulder.

"I am," she insisted, and leaned her head on my shoulder.

So . . . Does this mean Anastasia’s really okay with everything?

Dude, it’s just easier when you don’t think with her. You’ve been friends for so long, and the best thing for both of you to do is not try too hard.


However, I still couldn’t get to the urge to distance myself from Anastasia to go away. As much as I wanted to be near her, I couldn’t banish the thought that she didn’t want to be near me.

As we all tucked ourselves into bed later that night, everything seemed to be normal. As normal, even, as they were before Anastasia and I became ‘Mutual Casual Daters,’ perhaps even more-so.

The situation had finally, just about convinced me that everything was fine. So, I was a little hung up on the thing; sue me. I shifted in my bed, trying to get comfortable, and I found myself facing Remus’ bed. It brought me back to what he had said each time Anastasia ended whatever it was that she had with all her former boys.

"She really didn’t want anything more to do with Aaron," Remus had explained.

Well, I hardly even remembered Aaron. He obviously wasn’t important, so maybe he’s not the best comparison.

"In the end, it didn’t matter how good of a friend Stephen was to her, being around him afterwards made her uncomfortable," Remus had confided to me, when I had asked for anything he may have learned, either from his observance, or what Anastasia had told him.

She and Stephen had been really good friends; if she didn’t want to talk to him after it was all over, would she want to talk to me now that we’re all over? Does it matter that she already has talked to me?

"Being with Darren was just too much work for her."

But then, after a little while, they became friends. Maybe, that’s what I’d do; give Anastasia her space for a bit, and then slowly get things back to normal.

Oh, fuck, I don’t know what to do.

And then it hit me - Jason! Jason! Jason! Jason!

I quickly got out a quill and some parchment and scribbled out my thoughts.

Dear Jason,

Shit. Your sister fucked me over good. Not fucked in the shagging sense of the word, but in the mess with my mind sense of the word. Just thought that I’d let you know so that you didn’t come after me with some deadly weapon or something.

Dude, I’ve been crazy for her since the summer. And she liked me. Me! I never thought she would, considering she’d snogged just about everyone but me. Then, she says she does! And in a month, her psychotic brain ends up messing with both of us.

I love her, as my best mate and as someone that I actually love. I’ m trying to give her some breathing room; I figure she doesn’t really want to be around me too much now. That’s how it was with Aaron and Stephen and Darren. I can’t stand being apart from her, it’s like she’s what keeps me sane. It’s like she’s the heart that makes the brain work. (For the obvious reasons, I’m the brain and not her; she talks about her voices all the time, and I know I wouldn’t want voices. So I’m the brain . . . Except that now, I have voices too . . .)

I’m so angry; I think I pushed her into breaking-up with me. We were ‘casually dating’ for almost a month, and she saw how hard that was for me. So we actually became ‘boyfriend and girlfriend.’ And a week later, we were done.

She still likes me somewhere deep down, Jason, I know it. I still want to be here for her when she realizes it, because I know she will. You might be wondering why I chose to write you instead of anyone else. Well, dude, I feel like you’re kind of the big brother to all of us, the big brother none of us (besides Anastasia) have. This isn’t the kind of thing you ask for advice on from your friend, regardless of how awesome they are at giving advice. (Ie: Remus.)

I’m not really sure what I’m asking from you; maybe just some reassurance that I’m not completely deranged, and that some things are worth waiting for. Anyway, I hope you’re well.

Sirius


 

A/N: Wow, why is it that whenever I write Sirius it seems that Taylor Swift’s lyrics fit him. Man, he’s such a girl. :D

Chapter 47: I Could Have Died With You
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Light that smoke, yeah, one for giving up on me
And one just cause they’ll kill you sooner than my expectations
To my favorite liar, to my favorite scar (to my favorite scar):
"I could have died with you"
-Fall Out Boy



"Sometimes, I just want to throttle that idiot."

Ever since Sirius and I decided that we weren’t going to be together anymore, the arsehole decided that it would be a good idea to ignore me . . . Or at least, that’s the impression I got.

Sure, we’d hang out sometimes - I mean, how could be not? We were friends with the same people, lived in the same, small space, we were friends; it would be impossible to completely ignore me. What I mean is, there was no severe goofing off like there used to be.

As the weather got warmer, we began to spend our afternoons outside in the lake, as opposed to inside. But Sirius, the dumbarse, stayed as far away as possible while still remaining in the little section that the Marauders and I were in. As it got closer to the end of the school year, we got fidgety, and more likely to go on midnight adventures. But I had to pester James for a majority of the time, because Sirius made a whole, big show about standing on the opposite side of the little line we formed.

It was halfway through the month of May and we were all sitting in the Great Hall, eating lunch on a particularly lazy Saturday.

"What was that, Anna?" Remus asked.

"Wha?"

"Something about ‘that idiot?’"

"Just your dumbarse friend," I answered, not giving any further information.

"Sirius?" Remus always did have a knack for reading my mind - I suppose it wasn’t exactly hard - I was pretty much an open book. "Do you want to talk about it?"

I shook my head vehemently.

"You’re a girl, Anna; aren’t you supposed to like talking about your feelings?"

I raised my eyebrows and curled my lip at Remus. He shrugged, and must have gotten the message.

"Why don’t you ask Sirius?" I snapped. "I’m sure she’d love to talk about her feelings."

"Anna, stop talking. Your bad mood is throwing off my vibe."

"Fine!" I got up without finishing my lunch and stormed off to the dorm.

"Oh, come on, Anna!" Remus called after me. "I was kidding!"

I ignored him and kept walking. Okay, so maybe I was in a little bit of a bad mood, but how could I not be? One of my best friends was ignoring me for a completely illegitimate reason.

I was storming past a long row of Suits of Armor when I sneezed violently.

"Bless you," said one of the Suits.

"Thank you," I replied. 

Sad, isn’t it, that the Suit of Armor pays more attention to me than my best friend! Stupid, bloody cad . . .

I grumbled about Sirius all the way up to my dormitory, where I sat down on my bed and grumbled some more. I suppose Remus must have told the boys to avoid the dorm at all costs, because between the entire span between lunch and dinner, not a single person came up.

I considered skipping dinner, just to show Sirius how angry I was, but then I decided that that was just ludicrous; I couldn’t skip dinner!

So, instead, I made a whole fuss of stomping into the Great Hall and sitting as far away from Sirius as I could without sitting away from our little group.

"Pass the butter, Anastasia?" Sirius asked. 

Be a nice little girl and pass Sirius the butter. Maybe he’ll stop being such a twat if you do.


I reached for the butter.

Are you kidding me!?!? Tell me how the hell that makes sense? He’ll stop making things awkward if you pass him the butter? Seriously?! Where do you get your logic, woman?

I kept reaching for the butter, thinking I’d still want the butter if the situation were reversed. And then, the devil on my shoulder chimed in -

Throw it, throw it, throw it,
it chanted in my ear.

Of course, being the little angel that I was, I didn’t listen to the devil, and politely passed Sirius the butter.

Yeah, right.

Instead, I pulled back my arm, and chucked it at his face. It hit him right across the nose. I thanked Sirius in my head for having helped me with my aim a couple of years ago.

"Er, thanks," he said monotonously.

I resisted the urge to get up and storm away; I hadn’t finished lunch earlier and I was extremely hungry. I remained sitting and chatted with James until dinner was over.

We got up, and began to make our way towards the dorm when I remembered. "Oh, damn, I have a detention."

"What for?" Sirius asked.

Oh, now he’s talking to me.


"Me and Darren got busted for doodling in class," I announced to the Marauders. "It was a masterpiece; very elaborate, moving. It was Slughorn growing larger, and larger because of too much crystallized pineapple. I suppose he took it offensively.

"I’ve got to run, Slughorn’s going to have a cow if I’m late. God knows he’s the size of one." I ran off, leaving the boys to the suspiciously quiet conversation that ensued as soon as I left.

___

It was nearly midnight when Darren and I finished alphabetizing the potion recipes in Slughorn’s office. It wasn’t so terrible; Darren was sure as hell entertaining. But still, my back hurt from so much bending over and my neck felt sore, as well.

I walked into the dorm, admittedly in a better mood than I had been earlier. I got even happier when I opened the door to see a raging pillow fight going on. Nothing made me happier than pillow fights.

Actually, that’s a lie. It might be more accurate to say that very few things make me more happy than pillow fights. Yeah, that’s it.

"Come on, Anastasia! Grab your fucking pillow, and let’s go!"

Sometimes that boy just made no sense to me.

But, despite, Sirius’ erratic behavior, it seemed that he was going to start talking to me again, and the thought made me happy. I grabbed a pillow and let loose a war cry and I jumped from my bed to Sirius’ and whacked him roughly in the back. There were barely a second in between that jump, and the one I attempted from Sirius’ bed to Remus’.

However, I’m sad to say that one didn’t go as well. I kinda sorta jumped a little too high and hit my head on the ceiling.

I clutched my head and fell down to Remus’ bed, bounced off of that, and hit the floor.

"Oww," I groaned.

"Dumbarse," I heard Sirius whisper as he jumped down from his own bed next to me. Soon I had all the Marauders circled around me.

"Anna, are you okay?" Remus asked.

I opened my eyes and saw cross-eyed. I tried to shake my head but that just made me dizzy.

Damn, another concussion.

"Guys, I think I’ve got another concussion." I kept my eyes tightly shut.

I heard a sigh; it was probably Remus. "Peter, do me a favor and get me that giant Healing book from under my bed?"

I heard someone get up a scuttle away. A minute later, Peter was back. "Thanks." I could hear Remus open the book and flip through the pages. "Aha!

"Caput capitis rememdium." My head felt oddly cold after Remus cast the spell, but I was familiar with it. It was probably the tenth time since I came to Hogwarts that I had gotten a concussion. "Alright, Anna, you know the drill. Stay there for about ten minutes and then get up.

"Who’s staying up tonight to make sure dumbarse doesn’t die?"

"I’ll do it," Sirius volunteered immediately.

I was so going to grill him about his weird behavior after everything was totally back to normal.

Ten minutes later, I was still feeling fine, and allowed Sirius to help me up. I downright refused to let him walk me to my bed; he’d be crossing the line there.

"Okay, now remember," Sirius told me, as he climbed into his own bed. "When I wake you up every hour, don’t bite my head off. I’m only doing it to make sure that you don’t fall asleep and never wake up."

"Got it," I mumbled.

I fell asleep quickly; Sirius stuck to his word and woke me up - consistently - every hour. It was probably four-thirty when he woke me up far too early, according to his schedule. "Why did you wake me up again?" I growled into my pillow.

"You were having some kind of coughing fit." He sounded nervous. "Are you okay?"

"Yes, I’m fine. I didn’t even know it. Now can you please let me go back to sleep?"

Sirius scoffed. "Touchy, touchy. Fine, next time you’re about to die of a coughing fit, I won’t wake you up."

I wasn’t even sure whether to believe him or not.

–––

Three days later, most signs pointed to Sirius getting back to normal. We were goofing off again. He’d stay near when I swam, he’d walk next to me as we went about our adventures around the castle.

The only thing he seemed to be refusing to do was touch me. Obviously not in the way he had when we were together, but at all. There was no picking up, no piggy-back riding, no arm around my shoulders and no pinky swears. There was no grabbing my hand in excitement to lead me somewhere, and no back massages, even when my back was extra sore.

There were, however, a few high-fives.

But, despite all that, I suppose I couldn’t blame Sirius. Maybe he found the situation awkward? Somehow, him being Sirius, and all, I doubted that. But questioning had to wait for a different time. Because, at the same time, most signs pointed to the fact that I was getting sick.

The next night after my concussion, Sirius woke me twice more because I had a coughing fit. That day, I sneezed at least once per class.

The night after that, Sirius woke me twice, so did Remus.

By the third night, the Marauders all woke me at least once, and were threatening to brew a potion to keep me awake; my coughing fits were disturbing their sleep.

Regardless of the little-sleeping nights and sneezing days, I was still able to function fully. I trained hard in Quidditch practice (because there was no other option when Nazi-James was your Quidditch captain,) I kept up with my work (well, at least as much as I always did,) and complained no more or less than I usually did.

Unfortunately for myself, a few more days brought not as much luck. I was barely making it through my classes awake, the Marauders had ceased to be annoyed with my problem, and were now concerned. Even James let me off of Quidditch practice.

One day, McGonagall kept me after class. "Miss Xanthis, are you alright?"

"Yes, I’m fine," I rasped, trying not to aggravate my sore throat. "I’ve just got a little cold."

"Well . . . Why don’t you go up to Madam Pomfrey for a Pepper Up Potion?" It was kind of humourous, even in my sickly state, to see McGonagall concerned.

"Of course, I’ll go straight away," I assured her. McGonagall looked pleased with herself as I left the classroom.

I, of course, had no intentions of going. Everyone knew that Madam Pomfrey kept you in the Hospital Wing, on average, a week longer than you needed to be there. And my timetable was in no state to have a stay in the Hospital. The Quidditch championship was fast approaching (two weeks and counting) and there were exams soon. If I wasn’t going to study on my own, I was going to make at least a tiny effort to pay attention during class.

It was dinner time, and though I didn’t feel at all like eating, I trudged down to the Great Hall; I hadn’t eaten all day, and would probably pass out if I didn’t get something in me.

The Marauders were all pushing food on me (such worry-warts) but nothing was appetizing to me at all. I eventually settled with a little bit of chicken and some bread. It didn’t even taste right, my nose and tastebuds were so messed up.

Later that night, as we were all getting into bed, I felt my stomach heave. "Shit," I mumbled and ran into the bathroom with my hand clasped tightly over my mouth. I shut the door behind me, and locked out the Marauders, who I knew would attempt to follow me in and try to be all helpful. You know, that crap.

I threw myself to my knees in front of the toilet and hurled the entire contents of my stomach out.

"Ugh," I groaned.

I brushed my teeth, trying desperately to get the disgusting taste out of my mouth. When all I could taste was minty freshness, I rinsed off my toothbrush. I briefly considered sleeping on the bathroom rug, just in case, but decided against it for two reasons.

One: I was pretty sure I had emptied the entire contents of my stomach.

Two: I had no idea when the last time that rug was cleaned was. And I was afraid to ask.

Despite the miserable state I was in, I fell asleep rather quickly. By that point my coughing fits had become so violent that I would wake myself up. It was around six in the morning when I woke up to the Marauders talking quietly and dressing for class.

"Do me a favor," I whispered, because, at that point, nothing besides I whisper was at all comfortable, "and tell all the Professors that I’m dying and am not coming to class today; I expect a well attended funeral and I want everyone wearing orange. Except the Slytherins, who can wear red and gold, and the Ravenclaws, who can kiss my arse."

Yes, I did still crack a joke, even within an inch of my deathbed.

James nodded. "Sure thing, Anna. And we’ll all be up to check on you and make sure you’re not dead."

"I’d kiss you all but then you might end up like me, too. And I promise, if you guys ever get deathly ill I’ll return all the favors."

They all finished getting ready and left me alone to wallow in my illness.

Fuck, do I hate being sick.


A/N: Grrrr! You readers always seem to luck out when I'm in a bad mood - posting chapters makes me happier. But you know, this time it's not even working. Sucks for me, good for you, I suppose. I hate being a bad mood; it makes me not happy.
Anyways, now that I've ranted to you for a sufficient amount of time . . . 

PS: The next chapter is my favorite in a while.


Chapter 48: I Never Thought That You Could Break Me Apart - You Caught Me Off Guard (Darren Has Tact)
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I never thought that you could break me apart
I keep a sinister smile and a hole in my heart
You want to get inside, t
hen you can get in line
-Boys Like Girls


Cause you caught me off guard -

"Anna?"

I looked from my stationary position on my bed to the door; Darren had walked in.

"You dead yet?" he asked.

After nearly half a minute of a hacking cough, I rasped, "No."

He smiled and sat down on the edge of my bed. "Good. Because I need to talk, and you’re the only person I trust not to go blabbing it everywhere. Unless, of course, you’re drunk; we’ll just have to prevent that."

I had a feeling that whatever Darren was going to tell me, he had purposely waited until I was almost completely incapacitated to do so.

"What dumb thing have you done now?" I whispered, because any volume louder than that would have seared my throat.

"Er, well, not now exactly. More like a few years ago. . ."

"Come on, Darren, out with it," I urged him to talk. If had had the strength to sit up, I would have hit him, probably.

"Well, I just found out; I feel horrible and I’ve got to tell someone. I didn’t mean to do it, I swear-"

Irrational thoughts were my specialty. Stupidity was another. So I didn’t shock myself when I said (at a painful volume,) "Dear God, Darren. Who did you kill?"

I realized how stupid my accusation was when Darren fell off the bed laughing; it was quite difficult to get that kid to laugh so hard. Then, he immediately sobered. I guess his announcement wasn’t something to laugh at.

"Well, you see," he began. "Not that this has anything to do with you (as I’ve already said) but, I have a. . ."

"A what?" I was cranky, sick and tired. Darren was playing mindgames and I was not happy.

"A kid."

"A kid. As in a baby lamb?"

"No, a baby goat," he corrected.

I was going to fully throttle the boy when I recovered. "You woke me up and put me through all this anticipation to tell me that you have a baby goat?"

Darren laughed again. "Oh, no. I guess I should have been a little clearer, seeing as I’m talking to you, Anna. A kid is another word for a baby goat. But I have a different kind of kid; the human kind."

"Oh." Not exactly what I had been expecting from him.

Silence from both parties.

"Well . . . how old is he?" I asked. Darren looked a little uncomfortable (which was an extremely rare occurrence with him.) I decided to help the poor bloke out.

He looked relieved that I hadn’t had a blow up sort of reaction. Even if I had been scandalized by the fact that he had a kid, I couldn’t have made a scene in the state I was in.

"He’s going to be two at the end of May. In a few weeks."

I did the math. "Wow . . . so you knocked up some bird in your Fourth year?"

Darren rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Has anyone ever told you, Anna, that you are far more like a guy than a girl?"

"Yes, and I can never understand why."

"Of course not."

The silence resumed, but it was no longer awkward. "Listen, Anna. His mother’s just told me about him; finally gathered up the courage. She wants me to raise him and I’ve told her that I would as soon as I’m out of Hogwarts; meanwhile, my mother was more than willing to take care of him.

"But as his father, I need to pick his godmother . . . I want you to be Oliver’s godmother."

Stupid Darren. This was not the sort of news to break to someone when they were sick. I brushed my sweaty hair from my overly warm forehead. I couldn’t even properly appreciate, so I had to question it. "Me?"

"Well who else would it be?" Darren asked, as if I was the obvious choice. "No one here knows me as well, or accepts me as well as you do."

My head was pounding and I was growing sleepy. "Alright then, nighty night."

I felt a weight lift from the edge of my mattress and heard footsteps as Darren walked to the door.

"Nighty night, you delusional nutter."

___

I woke up to darkness and pain.

It took me a little while to figure out that I had fallen out of my bed, tangled in a way that was evidence of my fitful sleep. I moaned, and the vibrations hurt my throat more than talking had earlier. Every part of my body felt extra heavy, and I shivered from the chilliness of the dorm room.

"Anastasia, are you alright?"

I looked up and saw Sirius through my blurred vision.

"Meh." I wasn’t well enough to formulate a coherent response.

"Groan once for yes, twice for no, and three times for ‘I have no fucking idea.’"

I groaned three times, and felt quite foolish doing so. I laughed, or I tried to. It sounded more like a barking seal, and felt like rough concrete scraping against the raw inside of my throat.

I felt Sirius’ warm hands burn against my shivering back as he sat me up. "Well, at least you’re feeling too ill to make a bunch of noise and wake the guys up. And now you can’t even talk enough to yell at me for this . . . Ha!"

I tried to lift my arm to hit him, but I could barely lift it to my shoulder, I felt so weak.

"Anastasia, please let me take you to Pomfrey, I think-"

"No." The effort it took me to whisper that at the lowest volume felt like I had screamed at the top of my lungs.

Sirius sighed. "If I help, can you stand up?" he asked, already resigned to the fact that I would not go to Madam Pomfrey; she would never let me out, and in this state, I couldn’t even crawl myself out.

I shrugged, at great pain to my shoulders. At the moment, my legs were complete jello; the only way I was walking was if Sirius held ninety-nine percent of my weight, and did the walking for me. However, he did me one better; he scooped my up from under my knees and carried me into the bathroom, where he set me on the floor near the shower.

"When I was sick a couple summers ago," he explained, "Mrs. Potter ran hot water and it made it easier for me to breath." He turned the knob of the shower and kept his hand under it until it was a sufficiently scalding temperature.

The bathroom began to fill with steam, and although I wasn’t breathing easier, the warmth was a welcome climate as opposed to the shivering chills that I had been having for the past week.

The warmth made me very drowsy, and Sirius’ lap looked like a very comfortable pillow. He had taken a seat next to me and I adjusted myself carefully so that his leg made a good pillow.

I tried to concentrate on how tired I was, and how comfortable I was at that moment, and I fell asleep.

When I woke up later on, I knew I was getting better. My entire body had the achy soreness next-morning feel. Whenever I hurt one part of my body or another, I would go to sleep, wake up in the morning, and the injury would feel worse; but it was how I knew I was getting better.

That’s how I felt when I woke up. And much warmer than I had in the past few days. But I soon discovered that it was because Sirius (still my pillow) was warm. He was still asleep, and I took advantage of this to watch him.

When I killed our relationship earlier that month (after only a month of it) things got quite awkward - totally Sirius’ fault. They were slowly getting back to normal, but last night was the real reappearance of the Sirius . . . Hooray!

I sort of wondered what the hell was wrong with me; Sirius was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.

Dumbarse, dumbarse, dumbarse,
I chanted inside my mind.

But you know it’s for the best. . .


What the hell!? Stupid voice! You don’t even have any real opinions, do you? Just go against everything I say! 

Before I could continue to argue with myself, Sirius stirred. But he simply readjusted himself and settled down again.

It was just wrong; it wasn’t how things were supposed to be. Sirius and I were best friends forever, and we had the rings to prove it. 

Dude, what happend? I wondered. I mean, it’s not as if I’m devastated that me and Sirius aren’t ‘together’ but it’s kind of tearing me apart that we’re not best mates anymore.

Instead of dwelling on it, a shifted a bit so that my head lay in the little crook that his calf and thigh created; it was quite comfortable. Sirius was like a blanket, except that he was under me.

Hehe. Under me. That sounds perverted. . . Hehe.


Well, obviously I was getting better if I could think about things other than wanting to die, however, I had a strange feeling that as soon as Sirius woke up, things would be awkward again. So I stayed where I was and pretended to be asleep.

Nearly a half an hour later, Sirius finally woke up. I could feel him shift and move, and heard him groan as his neck cracked. I heard a small, muffled gasp, and assumed that Sirius realized where he was, and remembered what he did last night. I was quite shocked when, rather than gently placing my head down on a fluffy towel and making his getaway, he began to stroke my hair; that had always been his sign that he would rather cuddle than run around and do something stupid, or something sexual.

I kept my breathing slow and even; just enough so that it wasn’t an obvious fake, and not so fast that he would know I was awake. I tried to keep my expression passive, but a small smile would be okay. Sometimes people smiled in their sleep; I’m sure I did.

Not for the first time in a while, I wished that things were back to how they had been at the start of my Fifth year. It was the prime of all of our lives; stupidity, being without commitment, fun. However, it was the first time that it occurred to me that, maybe, we couldn’t be like that again.

Since then, we’d all had things go on in our lives that changed who we were; even if it wasn’t someone as dumb and powerful as Voldemort, someone had the power to change our lives. For me, maybe it was Stephen. It could’ve been Aaron. It was quite possibly Darren. Or, it could even have been Sirius.

But then again, who said it was a boyfriend that had done it? Maybe it wasn’t.

My head was spinning as I tried to piece together the puzzle inside my head; I felt like I was one piece short of figuring out one of life’s greatest mysteries: growing up. And hopefully, how to avoid it.

Just as my eyelids were getting heavy again, and tickle in my lungs caused a long, painful cough. I felt Sirius jerk under me and his hands shot to my back, quickly sitting me up.

"Are you okay?" he asked, as I was finishing up my coughing fit.

"Yeah." Wow, my voice was raspy and boyish.

"You sound horrible," he informed me. "And you don’t look too great right now either."

"Thank you, Sirius," I croaked, "for telling me everything I already knew.

"What time is it?"

Sirius carefully guided my back against the wall; he made sure I was still sitting up before rolling over and pushing himself to a stand. He looked pretty adorable, with his dark, shaggy hair sticking up to the sides.

"I’ll check and be right back."

I smiled at his back as he dragged himself out of the room.

"It’s nearly noon," he told me, standing in the doorway. "Do you want me to go so you can shower? No offense meant, love, but you need it. You look like you died or something."

I smirked at him, thinking if, maybe it had been a month earlier, he wouldn’t have offered to leave . . .

"Er, yeah, that’ll be a good idea. But, if you hear any crashes, or I’m not out in a half an hour, I’ve passed out and need rescuing."

He threw me a towel from the linen closet and said, "I’ll be listening."

He shut the door behind him; as he left and I flung the towel over the edge of the glass door. I turned on the water so that it was hot, hot, hot. I waited a minute for it to heat, and then stepped under the pounding water.

After standing for a few moments, I sat down on the still-cold tiles, too weak to stay standing for an extended period of time. For ten minutes I stayed just like that. The hot water felt good on my soreness.

Deciding that I was in no state to actually be clean, I neglected the bar of soap and shampoo and turned the water off. I wrapped the towel around me and stepped out of the shower.

The room was steamy and warm, and I was dreading leaving it’s comfort. I debated whether or not I should just ask Sirius to get me some clothes, (I knew he’d be out there listening for any crashes, despite the joking manner of our conversation.) In the end, I braved the cold and went out to get them for myself. Of course, that was after I took five more towels to make sure ever in of my still-wet body was protected from the harsh cold.

I opened the door, stole out of the bathroom, grabbed the nearest pair of sweats I could find and raced back into the comforting warmth. I changed quickly, and after basking in the lovely humidity for ten minutes, I stepped back into the dormitory and dove quickly under the blankets.

"You alright?" Sirius asked, laughed as he turned a page in his magazine. (Witch Weekly; I’d have to remember to tease him for that when I was feeling more up to it, and less grateful.)

"Just c-c-cold," I answered, my chattering teeth enforcing the truth of my statement.

Sirius pulled the topmost cover from his own bed, came over and draped it over me. "Here," he offered. "I’d bet anything you need it more than I do right now."

"Thanks," I told him, smiling. "Believe it or not, I’m dead tired. I think I’m going to go back to sleep."

"Should I wake you for dinner?" he asked, going back to his own bed, to my left.

"Er. . ." I took a few moments to mull it over, thinking of the mess I had spewed a few days previous.

Before I had a chance to make up my mind, Sirius said, "I’ll wake you, then you can decide how you feel."

"Yeah, good, thanks." I yawned a second later and was out like a light the minute after that.

It was dark when I next awoke. I felt better than I had in nearly a week. Not quite perfect, but definitely well enough to stand on my own two feet. So I put it to the test, and hobbled over to Sirius’ bed, a whopping meter from my own. I shook him lightly.

"Mmph?"

"Sirius, Sirius," I whispered.

"Mmph?" he said again.

"Why didn’t you wake me up?"

Still not opening his eyes, and barely acknowledging my existence, he mumbled, "I tried, and so did you - to decapitate me."

He sounded particularly grumpy, so I decided to go lay back down. The problem was, I wasn’t at all tired, and there was no one to entertain me.

But those were only the underlying problems. The real problem was me being left alone with my thoughts. I shut my eyes and tried to relax my body to sleep; sleeping sixty-nine of past seventy-two hours left me rather awake.

Well, hello there! Had a nice sick day or two?


There were certain times when I believed that my voice was actually a separate being from myself, rather than generated from my own mind. Sometimes, it was just so out of touch with my conscious self.

Why don’t you just cut to the chase?
I chided. We all know that you’re not hear to ask my about how I’m doing.

There were also certain times when I wondered how severely mental I was. This was one of them.

You regret it.


Regret being sick? Yes, I do - it wasn't all that pleasant.

I was at least thankful that only one of my voices was accosting me. It could have been Remus, or Sirius, or James, or one of the other seven voices that lived inside my head.

Not what I meant. If you want to play mind games then talk to one of the stupider voices inside your head. Ooo, I know, you can just talk to your conscious self. BURN!

I rolled over so that my head was buried in my pillow and screamed. My mind was wide awake, but my body was already so worn out. I wanted to know what was so wrong with me that my mind was fighting itself and slowly breaking down my mentality. I wanted to know why I couldn’t stop it. And I wanted to know why the hell I was dissing myself.

And I didn’t know what to do about it. I felt like I couldn’t go to Remus for this, I certainly couldn’t talk to Sirius, and James was never any help. I could ask Damon, only I had a feeling in my gut that there was nothing that he could do.

And then I thought: Jason! 

I grabbed my wand from my bedside table and whispered, "Lumos." I proceeded to rummage around in the trunk at the foot of my bed. I pulled out of crumpled piece of parchment and a Self-Inking quill with a bent feather. Then, using my legs as a desk I wrote:

Dear Jason,

I need help. Shut up, I know you’re laughing. I have voices in my head; not the haunting ones. But that’s not what I needed help with, I just figured I’d include that because you’ll get a kick out of it.

What I really need help with is Sirius. You know we’re best mates, and you know we dated for a month, but I’m going crazy. We’ve always been best mates, but after we broke-up things got weird. For the past week I was so sick that I wanted to die, and he took care of me. Jason, I love him so much, but I’m not sure in which way.

I mean, I know I still like him, because I was doing so great when we were just fooling around  Wait . . . that could be a bad idea . . . How about -

before we were official. But I know Sirius, and I know he needs that traditional relationship. You know, the hand-holding in the corridors, the sitting next to at meal times, the gooey stuff. So I took a leap from my own better judgement and we did that. Jason, I thought I was going to kill myself. (Well, not really since I enjoy life far too much, but you get the point.) Every second I spent with him felt forced, so I had to stop it.

I’ve never exactly been one for romance (and I know you can identify with me there) so I don’t know how to figure out my emotions - I can’t exactly say I want to, either. But I want my best mate back so badly; I can’t be with him again, it wouldn’t be good for either of us. But with that, I don’t know whether I’m going to want to be with him in the future, and if he’ll still want me then.

I’m sure that I sound terribly adolescent now (as opposed to sounding like a seven-year-old little kid, as I should) but that’s how I feel at the moment. Actually, how I’ve felt since my Sixth year began. Maybe I’ll go yell at Darren later on for screwing me up. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.

Well, dear brother, I’ve got to go. Actually, I don’t have to go, seeing as no one’s awake and there’s no way I’ll get to sleep, but I don’t want to continue with this nonsense. I’ll see you this summer!

Love,

Your mentally and emotionally challenged sister (Anna, just in case you couldn’t guess)

I sealed the letter quickly in an envelope and dashed up to the owlery. I tied the letter to my owl’s leg (the one I had received from my brother the previous Christmas) and sent him off. His name was Han Solo . . . Three guesses why. 

As I made my way back to the common room, I marveled at how easy it was to sneak around the school when you weren’t being loud and obnoxious.

I quietly awoke the Fat Lady and was just about to climb back into the Portrait whole when I heard a sharp, "Miss Xanthis."

"Shit."

"Just kidding - it’s only me." I was relieved to look over and see the faint outline of Lily. Funny; a year ago I certainly wouldn’t have been relieved to see her. "You’re feeling better, I see?"

 "Much," I replied, as we headed into the common room, as to not further annoy the irrate portrait. "I’ve slept for far to long. Needed to burn off some energy. What has you awake at this time of night?"

"Studying." Typical. "I’m getting rather nervous with the N.E.W.T.s coming up."

"Well," I replied. "I’m not exactly the person to go to for studying troubles; you might want to take that up with Remus."

"I’d hardly ask for your help when it comes to school. No offense meant, of course." Lily’s playful humor made me proud of the monster I had worked with the Marauders to create.

We sat in silence for a little while. I could tell that Lily was drifting off, but I was nowhere near sleep. I let her be, not needing to be entertained for once, as I stared into the dying fire and awaited Jason’s reply.

I sighed. This is going to be a long month.


A/N: Grumble grumble. Growl growl. Stupid red. Stupid shitty ref . . . Well now that I'm done grumbling, I'm sure you can all guess why you're getting a new chapter - a combination of the stupid ref, and the fact that I just LOVE this chapter so much. 
Defientely one of my all time favorites.


 PS - Sorry if the spacing is a bit funny in this chapter; I tried my best.

A/N2:  I spawned an idea off of one of my lovely reviewers - each chapter, I'm going to include a few random facts about some characters, that you probably won't learn in the story. It only seems fitting that we start with Anna -

Anna: Her favorite outfit is a pair of grey, boys sweatpants, paired with her worn-out AC/DC t-shirt. This outfit may or may not be worn with socks.

Lily: Her eating problem in the beginning of the story was originally brought on by competition with her sister. 


 


Chapter 49: So What Did You Think I Would Say?
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Just talk yourself up
And tear yourself down
. . .
So what did you think I would say?
No you can't run away, no you can't run away
-Paramore



"Anna! You’ve got mail!"

I snatched the letter adorned with Jason’s untidy scrawl (so similar to my own) before any of the boys could get their hands on it. No need for any of them to know my inner conflict.

Dear Anna,

You need a shrink. Seriously. It’s a good investment.

I don’t know what the hell to do - I honestly don’t know why you thought that writing me could possibly be a good idea. I mean, honestly! Couldn’t you just be a normal teenage girl whose only problem is that she loves to many guys, and her eggo is accidentally prego?

And . . . Things probably aren’t awkward - you just think they are. Sirius probably thinks that you don’t want to be around him because that’s how you were with all the other guys, yeah?

You know, I bet that Sirius is writing a letter just like yours to someone . . . But that doesn’t mean you don’t need help. Go talk to Remus, maybe, isn’t he good at this sort of stuff. Don’t you have ANY girl friends?

See you in a few,

Your-much-smarter-than-you-brother (Jason)

Wow, Jason, just so helpful!

Sarcasm.

"Who’s it from?" James asked, trying to read it over my shoulder.

"It’s from Jason," I said, casually folding the letter and putting it away, in a practised, discreet manner. "He’s just being an older brother, curious and protective and stuff - and he said he’s excited to see us all this summer."

"Yeah, he fucking should be!" Sirius cried, jumping up. "It’s going to be awesome!

Then, louder, "Only one month ‘till summer! Fuck yeah!"

"Mr. Black!"

We all hid our laughter as Sirius looked sheepishly towards McGonagall.

"Whoops."

"Detention!"

No further explanation was needed; Sirius often got in trouble for profane outbursts. We all did occasionally, but Sirius definitely took the cake. At the moment, he had his fingers out and was counting on them.

"James! I’ve got you by five now!"

James stuck his tongue out at Sirius. "Oh yeah?"

"Oi! You lot!" James shouted to no one in particular. A new faces turned towards him. Far many more did so after he ripped his robes and uniform off in one fluid motion and began to parade on top of the Gryffindor table in only his red, Quaffle boxers and his fancy shoes.

James continued to strut his stuff, waiting for McGonagall to look up at the sound of the racious chatter. Well, he didn’t have to wait long. Half a minute later, Minnie looked up, annoyed. The volume in the Great Hall was set to ‘really loud.’ Within another half a minute, she found the source of the noise.

"James Potter! Detention for the next week! I don’t want to hear ANY excuses!"

And she didn’t, in fact, James was ecstatic. I laughed when I caught sight of Sirius’ distraut face - they were tied.

"Burn! Oh snap! In your face! Don’t make me snap my fingers in a z-formation!" James got all up in Sirius’ grill.

Sirius decked him and got another detention. Oh, happy days!

___

Dear Anna,


Ha! I bloody told you so! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! You like Sirius! And he likes you! (Well, that part was obvious.) I’m fucking brilliant; no, I’m not brilliant, I’m a seer! Wait . . . I think I’d rather be brilliant.

Anyways. Ha! I’m awesome. By the way, just giving you a happy, one year and one month(ish) notice of our bash on the beach! I also would like to remind you (and the guys) that my birthday is in September and I expect to be completely lavished in gifts.

Seeing as I have a bunch of essays to do, and don’t have anything else to say now that I’ve rubbed it in your face that I was right and you were wrong, I’m going to run.

From,

Mr. I-was-so-right-all-along-and-you-weren’t (Aka - Damon)

Wow, Damon. Great job; your letter’s just a little too late. I wrote him back and informed him of the current situation.

Take that, Mr. Bloody ego,
I thought smugly.

I rolled up the letter and tucked it away in my pocket to send later; at the moment, I needed to rush; the Marauders were playing an impromptu game of Quidditch and had gotten Lily to join. Naturally, I needed to be there to witness that.

"Yo! Wait up!" I cried, leaping out of the portrait hole and racing after their retreating backs. They stopped and waited for me to catch up. I caught Lily’s eye and could see that she was not happy about the events to take place - not at all.

"Don’t worry, Lily dearest, we won’t let you fall." I then excitedly ran down the corridor, cackling.

___

"Who knew that Lily Evans could play Quidditch . . . ish." This was probably the seventieth jab that me or Sirius had taken at her since we’d trudged off the muddy Quidditch field an hour before. It had started raining on us as we played; they all blamed it on me, so I tripped them and they fell in the mud.

But despite our teasing manner, we weren’t lying. Lily had actually made a fair Chaser.

We had spent the past hour sitting on the stone steps outside the front doors - Filch refused to let us back into the school until all the mud had washed from us, and being the brilliant group of youngsters we were, no one had brought a wand. Like I said, brilliant youngsters.

Eventually we were all soaked (but clean) and Filch grudgingly let us back into the castle. This was also in part by Lily and James threatening to tell Dumbledore; I tell you, that Head Boy and Head Girl thing might have something to it . . . All that power.

We were all laughing on our way up to the common room when we hit a particularly drafty part of the castle. (The fourth floor; it was Peeves’ favourite hangout and he loved to open all the windows and freeze the inhabitants to death.) Lily shivered. "Gosh, I need a warm shower. Bad."

"Shall I join you, love,?" James offered.

"I know! We can all join! It’ll be a shower party!" I cried excitedly. One of the portraits shushed me, and told me to use my ‘inside voice.’ It also told me that shower parties were extremely inappropriate.

"Yeah!" cried Sirius. "It’ll be like a mini-orgy, without all the drugs and crap!"

The look that Lily was giving us (perhaps, she didn’t know that we were kidding) was enough to send me into a fit of laughter.

"Actually, that’s a good idea," James put in. "We could all wear swim suits and - Oh! Let’s go to the Prefects’ bathroom and swim around in the giant tub!"

We all got excited at that. Peter was particularly enthusiastic. "Yipee!"

By then, we were all so excited that we were running through the castle in excitement to get to our dorms and collect our suits and get into the pool/bathtub/giant bowl of fun. When we got to the common room, everyone but me and Sirius ran up to get their stuff. Sirius and I had gone swimming in the lake earlier that day, and our wet swim suits were draped across the glass table in the common room, because we hadn’t found a space in the dorm to put it.

By the end of May, our dorm tended to be rather messy. Well . . . rather messy is sort of an understatement.

We were about to race up to the door so we could change (because stripping down in the common room is socially unacceptable) when I realized this was my chance. I grabbed Sirius shirttails and held him back. "You," I said threateningly.

"Me?"

"Yes, you."

Sirius looked confused. "What’ve I done now?"

"When we broke up, you stopped talking to me. What was the deal, man?" I plunged right into my question, not stopping to consider whether it was something that was really all that smart or not. Not that it mattered.

"Oh, you noticed?"

I look at how incredulously. "Seriously? There was nothing Sirius about those few weeks!" I took a break from my rant to explain which meaning or ‘Sirius’ or ‘serious’ had been used were in the sentence. "Was it really that weird for you?"

"No," Sirius said, as if it should have been obvious. Well, sorry that you ignoring me didn’t make me think you were madly in love with me, or something. Sheesh. "I was doing it for your benefit?"

I suppose I must have looked at him weird, because he further explained, "You know how you’re all weird about your boyfriends after you doing that ‘not together anymore’ thingy with them. I thought it’d be the same with me."

"But you’re Sirius," I told him. "Sirius, my best mate. Besides, Darren’s one of my best friends now, and I’m really starting to miss Stephen; traipsing around the castle with him was fun. And Aaron, well, Aaron was just Aaron.

"So we’re clear on this, now?" I assumed. "You ignore me ever again and you’ll get a swift kick up the arse."

Sirius looked put off by the threat. "Definitely never ignoring you again. I swear."

I nodded, smiling and glad that the little problem had been cleared up. "Good, now let’s go break some rules."

 
A/N:
James - loves Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5
Darren - hit a "home-run" in his Third year. (Ooo, I see we've got another Remus on our hands.)
Sirius - his first kiss was in his Fourth year, during Truth or Dare (the most Godly of games.)
Anna -  is a size 6 or 8 (American) or a size 10 or 12 (UK and Austrailian.)


A/N2: Woohooo! Guess what! By the time the next chapter is uploaded (sometime next week, most probably. . . Tuesday?) I will have a surprise for you all! Not to do with the story, but kind of related . . . Perri already knows . . . :D

A/N3: Hmm, that chapter is shorter than I remembered. Anyways, wow, I just had a scare. I recently moved my fanfiction writings onto a USB (this is actually one of my secret guilty pleasures and that makes it easier to keep it like that) and for one terrified moment, as I went to plug it into my computer and get the chapter off of it, I couldn't find it. Now, I'm terrible with loosing things, so it's terrifying. I'm definetely going to have to find it a special home . . . 

A/N4: Does anyone ever remember me giving Damon a last name? I'm writing down all the character info (you know, so I don't accidentally change something) and I can't remember whether he had a last name or not.



Chapter 50: All That Glitters Is Gold
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Hey now you're an All Star get your game on, go play
Hey now you're a Rock Star get the show on get paid
And all that glitters is gold
Only shooting stars break the mold
-Smash Mouth


"Anna, I swear to Godric, if you don’t get up I will send a giant spider out to get you." It was the fifth time that Sirius had woken me up; I’d gone to sleep after each time. Usually Sirius didn’t resort to threats until about the seventh time, but I suppose the fact that the Quidditch championship was today got him going a little earlier.

Now, a giant spider was a pretty severe threat to throw at me, even if I was soon going to miss the match. Usually, I didn’t put much stock in Sirius’ threats, but this giant spider thing was a little too scary for me to take a chance.

I groaned and sat up, pawing the hair our of my face and rubbing my eyes, which downright refused to open. "I’m up, I’m up," I mumbled.

"You’re not up until you’ve gotten out of bed, and thrown yourself in the shower . . . And even then you fall asleep in there sometimes. So I’m not letting up until you’re dressed in your Quidditch kit and thrilled to be alive on this fine day."

I grumbled at Sirius some more as I slid out from between my sheets and stumbled my way to the bathroom. My still mostly-closed eyes made it a difficult task, and I bumped into the doorframe in my efforts.

I heard Sirius laugh behind me; he was so dead when I could see.

Once I was in the shower, though, my sour mood improved. Rather then wanting to pummel Sirius, I was dying to get out on the pitch and kick Ravenclaws’ arses. Stupid pricks.

By the time I was out of the shower, dressed, and with my hair all dried, I was downright flying.

"Come on!" I cried, bursting out of the bathroom. "Let’s go kick some Ravenclaw arse!"

I flew out of the dorm, neglecting to wait for Sirius and assuming he’d follow me. (Which he did.) I was still thrilled by the time I had gotten through the castle and down to the pitch.

Even James chastising me ("Anna! You were almost late!") couldn’t bring me down. I only swung my leg over my broom and rose up into the air beside Sirius.

"Remember the plan?" I asked him.

"Of course. I’m a bit more concerned about you forgetting it, to be honest."

I stuck my tongue out at Sirius and said, "Alright, this is it, man." He nodded resolutely and we flew over to join the rest of the team who were hovering in a semi-circle around Madam Hooch. Raven-prick made up the other half of the circle.

Sometimes, Madam Hooch’s yellow eyes scared me; I tried to avoid looking at them. As she bobbed slightly up and down, she spun, glaring at all of us. "Now, I want a nice clean game, out of all of you lot." And then, she had the nerve to stare at me. Me!

Now, why the hell would I ever play a dirty game of Quidditch against Raven-prick?! They’re so lame that we could beat them going easy on them!

I rolled my eyes at Hooch and she glared sternly back. I heaved a sigh and nodded, with my eyes cast downward - whatever it took to get the game going.

"Ready? Go!" Hooch’s whistle echoed shrilly around the pitch and the roar of the crowd went up ten-fold. The large, red Quaffle was falling quickly, and James secured it tightly in his arms.

Alright! I thought.

I watched in excitement as James twirled and swirled in and out of and in between all of the Raven-pricks. It was brilliant, to see the looks on their faces as James magically was way fucking faster than them.

It wasn’t quite magic . . . But it was Darren; he had leant his Nimbus to James. (Who had collapsed to the ground when Darren offered it up.)

Anyways . . . James had made his way to the Raven-prick goals and scored to the raucous cheering of the Gryffindors before anyone had even noticed what was going on.

A second later, the Quaffle was back in his hands. After throwing the Quaffle through the goal, James flew through right after it and caught the Quaffle on its fall to the ground. That boy was on-fucking-fire.

"What!? He can’t do that! Call that, ref!" I heard the Ravenclaw Keeper screech. "That’s against the rules."

I flew up next to him. "Actually, Mr. Raven-prick Keeper, you’ll find that it’s not! Nothing like that is even mentioned in the rulebook, and therefore, it’s legal! So shut your trap, and start to cry, because James just scored another goal! Woo-hoooo!"

Yeah, I was pretty much the best distraction ever.

Throughout the course of the game, James really, really proved himself; it totally made me want to buy him that broom because he was fucking fantastic on it. I noticed a particularly official looking dude in the crowd with the Professors; I hoped he was hear to watch James be incredible and offer him a place on some famous Quidditch team.

It was seventy to ten (us, obviously) when James gave me and Sirius the signal. We flew around, somewhere in the vicinity of each other. I smirked as a Bludger bulleted towards me. I shifted the angle I was at a bit, and prepared for the incoming.

It neared and I pulled my bat back only a little; it didn’t have to go that far.

My arms reverberated with shock upon the Bludger’s contact with the bat, and with a little twitch of my arms, I sent it flying towards Sirius. For the next few minutes, we mostly hovered and occasionally moved around the pitch a little, playing with the Bludger, and sending it back and forth between us.

It seemed that only a few people had noticed. Not even Peter, the commentator, had noticed. (What a surprise.)

However, I saw the second Bludger in play heading towards us; it’d be pretty hard to ignore the fact that there were no longer any lethal, flying balls zooming around the pitch. Hopefully we’d get the timing right, otherwise it would be messy.

I watched the Bludger Sirius and I had bounce of my bat towards Sirius, with the second one aimed at him as well. Whoops.

I quickly livened up and sped after the Bludger I had hit. I nipped right in front of Sirius and got the second one out of his way.

Yes!

With the situation back under control, Sirius and I hit the Bludgers back and forth to each other. (Trust me, did that take a lot of practice.) And finally, people were beginning to notice.

"And would you look at that!" Pete’s voices echoed throughout the pitch. "Gryffindor beaters Anna Xanthis and Sirius Black are playing with the Bludgers."

And playing we were; it was great fun.

Once Peter had called attention to our little scheme, there was no hiding it. Almost all of the crowd had scanned the pitch, trying to find the game we were playing. There were exclamations of anger and profanity (very refined profanity, of course) from the Raven-prick and their supporters. As Sirius and I travelled past the professors’ box, I caught sight Dumbledore’s smiling, thoughtful expression, and Minnie’s uncharacteristically devilish smile.

But she had all the right to be excited and devilish; this was the plan that Remus had cooked up that she had seen.

Muahaha.

Sirius and I, in our own little game, didn’t even notice the roar from the scarlet and gold supporters. Darren flew over to us and knocked me in the shoulder. "Pay attention, you two! We won!"

"We won!?!"

Woo-hoooooo! We won! We won! We won! We won!

"By how many?" Sirius asked cautiously. Oh, crap. I had forgotten; we needed to beat Ravenclaw by one-hundred points, otherwise we took second place to Hufflepuff in the Quidditch cup.

Darren smirked. "One-hundred."

"Fuck yeah! Woo-hoo!" Sirius cried, jumping in the air and pumping his fist. McGonagall was obviously ecstatic as well; she had been right near us in the stands at the moment of Sirius’ profane outburst, and said nothing at all.

"Yeah, we’re pretty fucking awesome," I agreed. "Now, shall we take our victory lap?"

Sirius motioned Darren and I towards the middle of the pitch. "We shall!"

We all smiled and headed towards the congo line of Gryffindor Quidditch players that had formed.

"First: Hogwarts. Next: the world!"



A/N2: Well, I hope you guys
loved the new surprise; the new banner, just in case you lot are as unobservant as I am. :D And, since I love you guys so so so so much, I’m going to give you an extra surprise too! When Polychromatic is all finished, there will be a sequel. It’ll take place in the Hogwarts Era. And then, when that one is finished, there will be yet another sequel in the Next-Gen Era. Doesn’t that sound fun?

A/N4: Yaaaaay! 50 chapters!



Chapter 51: I Never Want to Let You Down or Have You Go
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Well if you wanted honesty, that's all you had to say.
I never want to let you down or have you go, it's better off this way.
. . .
I’m not okay, you wear me out
-My Chemical Romance

 

N.E.W.T.s. Nobody liked them, and nobody should. Because they sucked. Not that they were particularly hard - not at all - but they were annoying.

I had just finished my Potions N.E.W.T. and was waiting for them to get the House tables back up in the Great Hall; I was hungry. "It’ll be a little while, boys," McGonagall assured me and the Marauders, when she noticed us standing impatiently. "Find something to entertain yourselves."

James went off to find Lily, Remus decided to skip off and collect Dora from her Potions lesson, and Pete made his way over to the Hufflepuff table, where one of the girls he had fancied (and slept with) a while back was eyeing him flirtatiously.

So I decided to go get Anastasia, because if there was food and we didn’t tell her about it, she’d be murderous.

I took a pleasant stroll around the castle until I found myself outside of her Transfiguration class, waiting for it to let out. I groaned to myself as the one and only Slytherin git who I could no longer torture without having a guilty conscience arrived.

I was perfectly content to completely ignore him, but Snape wasn’t so much.

"So, Black, waiting for your girlfriend? Oh, wait she’s not your girlfriend anymore, is she? My mistake." He smirked nastily, asking for me to return the favor.

However, I rose above him (for once) and said nothing. He continued. "What? Trying to win her back? Miss all that time she spends on her ba-"

I dove at Snape and we crashed down to the ground together. I was quite a bit taller than him. He was short; maybe twenty centimetres taller than Anastasia herself. I heard him grunt under the pressure of being pinned down by me; I wasn’t exactly pixie-sized.

I had thought I was above him, but I suppose Snape’s insinuations about Anastasia got me a bit angry, to say the least. I found myself saying something that I didn’t even really think. "I shouldn’t have told James about the whole ‘Remus’ incident last year," I snarled. "I should have let Remus get you."

I didn’t even really think that; as much as I hated Snape I didn’t exactly wish for him to be mauled by a werewolf. Even aside from the guilt Remus would have had; knowing the torture being a werewolf was, I would wish the fate on almost no one.

Then the bell rang and brought me back to my thoughts; I jumped off of him and we both clambered to our feet. He seemed just as eager as I was for no one to know what had just transpired. A silent meeting of our eyes was also a promise that the incident would go unmentioned.

Anastasia and Darren walked out of the classroom, talking animatedly. I rushed up to them excitedly, already forgetting about the dramatic little moment Snivellus and I had had. "Guys, come on! The exam’s over. There’s food!"

Anastasia’s eyes lit up in excitement and she took off down the corridor, completely forgetting about me and Darren.

"Bird’s a nutter," Darren observed.

"Don’t I know it."

___

"No more N.E.W.T.s! No more N.E.W.T.s! No more N.E.W.T.s!" I burst through the front doors of Hogwarts, shortly followed by James, Peter and Remus. Anastasia walked out dejectedly after us.

"Speak for yourself," she grumbled. "I still have a Transfiguration exam this year, and all of my N.E.W.Ts next year."

"Don’t worry, Anna, your exam is this afternoon," Remus said, in what was probably supposed to be an assuring voice. "When you’re all done with that, you come meet us out here so we can celebrate."

She sneered at Remus, and hung out with us until about noon, when she jumped up and ran away, screaming about how she was late for another Transfiguration exam. I laughed at the flashback from the year before, when we had all been awaken by a frantic, late Anastasia and groggily followed her to her Transfiguration O.W.L. that us guys had taken the year previous. Yeah, we were that stupid.

"So, how are you holding up?" Remus had scooted over next to me after James and Peter got up and ran off into the distance to meet up with Lily and one of her friends.

"About what? The N.E.W.T.s? I’m fine - you know I’m not one of those stress cases."

"Not what I meant."

I took a little while to answer; I looked out onto the grounds, where green hills rolled, and my eyes met the spot where Anastasia first kissed me a few months or so back. It was next to a little creek that ran along the edge of the forest, and was less heavily invaded by trees than any other area on the grounds.

"I’m fine," I answered truthfully. "I mean, even I could tell that it wasn’t working. It felt weird to me, so I can’t imagine what it felt like to her."

Remus nodded knowingly. "You know, she hasn’t even come to me to talk about; she usually does when she’s all done with a bloke. It probably means that she’s as broken up about this as you are."

I jumped up. "I’m not broken up about this!" I defended myself loudly.

Remus smirked. "I’ll ignore the unnecessary reaction to my claim, but besides, that’s not what I meant. I meant that she probably wants to be with you too, but she just can’t."

I’m not broken up about his.


And, honestly, I wasn’t. I knew that it was better for both of us like this, and it wasn’t like anything was at all different than it was before we were together.

I shrugged and let my eyes scan the area again.

Remus looked particularly sage at the moment, when my eyes landed back on him. "You still love her." It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. I could have vehemently denied, but Remus would have known better - he was just good like that.

"Don’t tell her," I pleaded.

Remus scoffed. "I’m appalled that you think I’d be that stupid, Sirius. Who do you think I am? James?"

"Sorry, mate," I apologized. To compare someone to James was extremely offensive, just, no one would admit it when James was around - the kid thought quite a bit of himself. Of course, that's not to say I didn't love James; I'd probably marry the bloke if that sort of thing was legal.

Of course, you say that like you don’t think quite a bit about yourself.


Oh, have I mentioned, the voices became rather permanent? I suppose they’re not as bad as Anastasia’s (God help her, having to listen to her own mind revolting on her,) but they were still nothing to shake at.

At last, one of my mates (besides Jason) saw fit to give me the hope I needed. "Mate, she’ll come to her senses. She loves you; I just know it. But she’s Anna, she might just need a little while to figure it out."

I looked at Remus. Sometimes, I could hardly believe that I was quite so lucky to have Remus as one of my best mates.

I embraced him in a quick man-hug, just as the castle doors burst open. (As fast as doors quite as large and heavy as those can burst, anyway.)

"Fucking finished!" Anastasia screamed, leaping across the threshold.

"Hooray!" I cried, throwing my hands in the air.

"I did it! I did it! I did it!" Anastasia chanted, and she spun in circles doing a victory dance of sorts. With a little scream of surprise, she crashed down to the grass below. "And I am never writing another essay again!"

 "Have fun explaining that to McGonagall." I joined her, laying down on the grass and followed her gaze up to the (for once) cloudless sky.

"I’ll have you know," she told me in a very haughty tone, "that I am brilliant, and anything I say, Minnie will totally agree with."

"You keep telling yourself that." Sometimes, I thought it might be nice to live in Anastasia’s delusional little world; I think she really believed all that stuff she was telling herself.

We were silent for a little while, and my frolicking brethren and peers finally brought me to the realization that , well, we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

And what I mean by that - we were hardly Hogwarts students anymore. All our tests, all our learning was done. Our comfortable, albeit a little hectic and eccentric sometimes (from all the tornadoes, of course) little home got thrown up twirled in the air and landed in Munchkinland.

I continued to lay next to my best mate, but my thoughts were hardly on the clouds above our heads, as I totally believed hers were. I looked over at Anastasia (I did this occasionally - she never noticed) and with a hitch in my breathing, realised that there were quite a few buttons on her blouse un-done.

Oh, Anastasia, why must you torture me so? Cruel, cruel fate . . .


The gentle rise-and-fall motion of her chest made me want to scream . . . and touch Anastasia in ways that were far too inappropriate for one mate to touch another.

Pretend she’s a boy, I urged myself. 

Boys don’t have boobs that nice.


I’m trying to help; just do it.


"Wanna go for a walk?" I jumped up, checking, ehem, certain spots before doing so.

"Yeah," Anastasia agreed, standing up as well. "I was actually just going to ask if you wanted to."

So we walked, presumably headed towards her favorite spot - the meadow, complete with a giant hill. It was slightly painful to look at her, because she had a springy bounce in her step, that made her so happy and appealing and . . . bouncy.

Now, I suppose this little internal struggle is making you think that I regret the break-up. I totally don’t, just for the record. Even I noticed that it wasn’t working; it was definitely for the best. But you know that part of the break-up, long after the initial sting is over, and you still really, really want to jump the other persons bones, just for old times sake? (Or for first times sake, in our case.)

Yeah. That’s where I was right now.

And it was painful.

So I ran after Anastasia and her skips until we got all the way up the hill. Running after her wasn’t too great of an idea; I got far too good a view of her arse than I needed. But, I suppose I should just be thankful that she’s in my pants (haha) and not in a skirt. Because that would have been bad. Very, very bad.

So I tried not to think about said very bad things, and have fun instead. Because, trust me, rolling down the hill was fun.

In preparation for my grand roll, I backed up, and started at a run. Now, I suppose there’s the traditional way to roll down a hill, but there’s also more inventive ways, such as backward and forward rolls, to name a couple.

The forward roll was a specialty of mine. I had the perfect physics formula to ensure smooth rolling, rather than the arse-bumping painfulness that most others felt. The Marauders and Anastasia and I decided that it had to do with my large bodily proportions.

I could hear Anastasia screaming in joy -

I wouldn’t mind to hear her screaming in another way -


- as she rolled down the hill in front of me. Her squeals slowly transitioned into laughter as she came to a stop.

I however, wasn’t anywhere near slowing down. I always managed to pick up so much speed, and poor, poor Anastasia didn’t have enough whits about her just yet to move, and I rolled right over her. Well, that sure slowed me down.

"Ugh, you fat lard!" she crawled over to where I had stopped a few meters behond her and whacked me hard in the shoulder, then jumped on top of me.

"You’re not so light yourself," I taunted.

Anastasia continued to sit on me and crossed her arms in a huff. "Well, I hope you’re happy, Sirius Black. Now I’m going to have to exercise, and go and a diet, and not eat, and whine about how fat I am."

I didn’t even have to look at her face to know she was joking; it was one of the things that made it so easy to be in love with her.

Best not to think such things, lest they accidentally slip out . . .


Can’t help it, mate.

Yes you can! Come on, you woman! Get over her!

I tuned out the hostile sounds of my masculine brain and smiled.

"What are you smiling about?" Anastasia was peering suspiciously at me.

"Your face," I said in an insulting manner.

"My face is gorgeous."

If you only knew!


"What do you say we -"

No, you dumbarse! No swimming! Don’t you dare suggest that! Don’t you remember what happened last time . . . ?


"Get something to eat? Sounds like a completely ace idea."

Saved by Anastasia’s raucous appetite. Praise whatever deity built her with the mind and stomach of a bloke.


 

A/N: Like the new banner? To check out an alternate version by the same artist, visit my account on the forums. To see another alternate version (by maraudermiss) check out my author’s page here. :D

A/N2: Hey all. So, I was sitting around the other day wondering, are there any guys that read this story? I know that HP fanfiction is predominantly female (as is fanfiction in general, I think?) So, if you’re a guy out there and reading this, I’m kinda interested to know what you think. :D

A/N3: Whoopsies! I forgot to put up the Fun Facts last update. Well, here’s some fun ones. :D

Anna: Likes to not wear underwear whenever she can get away with it. (She finds it more comfortable.) However, she usually cannot. So, she has a collection of over thirty colorful, patterned knickers. This includes two sets of days of the week underwear.

Darren: his mother is a Muggle-born and a Pediatric Healer and his father plays the position of Seeker on the Wimbourne Wasps.

Remus: has never gotten drunk, nor does he plan to.

Sirius: before Alex, he never actually liked a girl.

James: is 6 feet tall in American measurements. That makes him 7 inches shorter than Sirius. He’s also considerably scrawnier. (But in a cute way, of course.) :D

A/N4: I love long A/Ns. They always make me smile. Anyways, I thought I’d just update everyone who’s wondering how long this story’s going to be. I just outlined the summer of ‘78; there’s four chapters, and the fifth chapter is September 1st. Before, summer, there’s two more chapters. Just updating. :D




Chapter 52: Tomorrow Will Shine Again Golden
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Tonight we forget everything
And we stay the night
. . .
That today I know that tomorrow will shine again golden
And bring our hearts back home
-Mayday Parade




"Tell me the story again," Anastasia urged.

We were all lounging in the same position. Our heads at the feet of our beds, and our ankles crossed in the air at the headboards of our four-posters. Remus had used to extra-special magic powers to push all the beds into the middle of the room, so we were all close to each other on our last night together.

Yes, that’s right; it was the day before the last day of Hogwarts. (For us Seventh years, at least.)

"Do you really have to hear it again?" Pete groaned. "Anna, we tell you that story every year."

She rolled her eyes at Pete, extra-smiley. "Of course I have to hear it again! Especially since this is your last fucking day! It’s like the reverse!"

We all sighed, shaking our heads at the over-excited nutter. "Alright, guys, I’ve got this," I claimed.

And I launched into the epic tale of how the Marauders and I met.

"So, we all started out as a bunch of misfits . . ."

___

James Potter, haughty and eleven years old, arrived at Platform nine and three-quarters with his parents. He stepped onto the platform and casually surveyed the goings-on, pretending that he wasn’t impressed out of his mind.

"Come on, James," his father nudged him in the back with a knowing smile. "You’ve got seven years to take a gander at all of this; we need you on the train in time."

James attempted to stutter that, no, he hadn’t been completely impressed, but realized it was futile. His dad seemed to know everything. James tried to ignore the people that gaped at him and his parents as they walked by. You see, in the Wizarding World, James’ parents were kind of a big deal. They were co-departmental heads of the Magical Law-Enforcement Branch at the Ministry of Magic; the Aurors.

Of course, he found himself gaping in a very similar manner as he passed a familiar face - Mrs. Black. He knew her well from the pictures and talk around the dinner table. She was scolding a young boy, who must have been her son.

James walked by, in unawares about just what kind of chastising the boy was receiving.

"Now, your father an I expect you to be in Slytherin." The woman’s voice was not harsh. However, it was rather condescending and derisive.

"Yes, mum," the boy replied robotically.

"And make friends with the
right kind of people, not the wrong sort."

"Yes, mum," he repeated.

"Good," the greying, regal woman replied, satisfied.

A few meters over, young Peter Pettigrew was being fawned over by his slightly over-protective, single mother.

"Now, Peter, are you sure you’ve got everything?"

"Yes, Mum," he assured his mother. "I know I’ve got everything."

"Are you positive?"

"Yes!" he asserted, becoming annoyed.


"Don’t take that tone with my, mister," his mothered warned.

Peter sighed; that sort of thing happened a lot.

"Now, have you packed enough underwear?"

"Mum!" Peter cried, before groaning and dragging his eyes away from his mother and to the entrance of the platform, where a small boy was hurrying onto the platform.

Running late, something that never happened to Remus Lupin, was happening to him at that moment. He and his parents nervously rushed onto the platform, with only five minutes to say their goodbyes and get Remus on the train.

Remus was never late, you see, but coming to Hogwarts was a last minute decision. Very last minute.

Remus’ mother put her arms around her nervous son. "Remember, honey, you’re worth just as much as any of your classmates," she assured him. "More, because you’re so strong."

"Not too many shenanigans, son," his dad advised, gripping his shoulders in a fatherly sort of way once his mother let go. "Only a few; remember the limb that Dumbledore has gone out on for you."

"I remember," he mumbled.

"Alright, son. We love you." His parents embraced him in a quick hug, and sent him off onto the train.

___



Anastasia was bouncing up and down giddily. It really never ceased to amaze me how easily she was entertained.

"Now, despite my parents’ near celebrity status, I wasn’t instantly popular. In fact, everyone was too intimidated to talk to me . . ."

___


The train ride had been a rather miserable one for James. He had spent the majority of his time roaming the halls, being gaped at. If it wasn’t that, he was hiding out in the loo so it didn’t appear that he passed any of compartments too often; it wouldn’t do to have people know that he couldn’t find a seat.

None of the students his age had invited him to sit with them; they had all rushed past James in a nervous sort of way. And he certainly hadn’t expected any open invites from the older students. However, his lack of compartment was partially his fault as well, he admitted to himself. Despite his slight arrogant nature, James wasn’t exactly brilliant at going up and talking to complete strangers.

He had looked for the kind red-headed girl that he had spoken to on the platform much earlier; he felt perfectly comfortable asking to sit with her. But, to James’ dismay, he couldn’t find her sweet smiling face again.

James was thrilled when a voice sounded throughout the train, saying that it would be arriving at Hogsmeade station in ten minutes time. He had already changed into his school robes (during his one of many trips to the loo.)

When the train came to a complete stop, and the doors were pulled open, he leapt excitedly off the train. James never was good at being cooped up for long periods of time.



"Firs’ years, over here!" James turned to the sound of the gruff voice. It emanated from a particularly large man. James was fairly sure that he was the Groundskeeper of Hogwarts, and that his name was Hagrid; he had come to visit for dinner once when James was a bit younger.

"James Potter!" Hagrid boomed, when he caught sight of James. "Good ter see yer, lad!"

"Er, good to see you to?" James was standing next to the giant man, feeling very short, and slightly intimidated.

"That’s m’boy!" boomed Hagrid. "Now, hurry up an’ get in one o’ these boats!’ He gestured one extremely large, slightly grimy hand towards fifty-or-so small row-boats (sans oars) floating in the dark lake before him.

James shrugged and climbed into a boat, hoping that this grand feast he had heard about would be better than the train ride.

It turned out that it was, but only because of the food. All James could recall from that few hours time, was the sorting hat speaking to him.

"So, you’re a Potter man?"

"Er, yes?" James thought.

"The Potters have been coming to Hogwarts since it’s beginning nearly one thousand years ago," the hat informed James.

"Okay?"

"You’ve got lots of heart kid." The slightly senile hat changed subjects without warning.

"Thanks?" James was far to confused at the moment to form more than one word responses to the sorting hat’s claims.

"Yeah, yeah. There’s no question where you’re going, kiddo. GRYFFINDOR!"

___


"If my first day was unpleasant, then Sirius’ was far, far worse."

___

Sirius, already towering over most of his classmates, walked cautiously through the corridors of the moving train.

Instead he walked up and down until he found one compartment that had a lone girl sitting in it. He knocked quietly, and when the red-head looked up and smiled, he pushed the door open.

"Hi. D’you mind if I sit here?" Sirius asked, gesturing around the compartment.

"Not at all; it’s fine." She smiled at him as he collapsed onto the seat across from her. "I’m Lily Evans."

"Sirius Black." He smiled winningly.
His mother had, of course, suggested that he go find his cousins and sit with them, but he had no desire whatsoever to do that.

Mother dearest would not approve of this, he thought smugly. She’s almost surely not a Pureblood, or Half-blood either.

"Are you a Muggle-born?"

"Yes . . . Is that a problem?"

"No, no, not at all," he assured her. "Just wondering."

She smiled again as he leaned back in his seat and looked out the window. He dozed off for a while, and when he woke, the compartment door was open and Lily was gone.

Must have gone to the loo, he thought.

Sirius was about to close his eyes again when he heard something out in the corridor. He hopped up and saw a bunch of older students (ugh, one of them was his cousin) cornering Lily.

"Let her alone, guys!" he yelled running up to Lily.

Sirius glared at his rather vindictive, snobby cousin - Narcissa, whose waist was encircled the arm of her Seventh year, Head Boy boyfriend - Lucius Malfoy.

"Can’t do that, I’m afraid, dear cousin, she's a Mudblood," Narcissa said flightily, laughing as Lily cringed and tried to shrink away into the wall.

"That’s no reason to hurt her!"

"What did you say?" This time it was not Narcissa’s vicious reply, but some other student he didn’t know. This boy, however, undoubtably knew him.

"That that’s no reason to hurt her?"

"You’re not going blood traitor on us, are you, Sirius?" Narcissa taunted. "I always expected it from Regulus, but not you."

Sirius resisted the urge to hit her (he surely could have done some damage too; he was as tall as she was) and instead grabbed Lily roughly by the arm, knowing that as he dragged her away, his cousin and her friends wouldn’t come after him. He knew they would write his mother, however.

A small price to pay, he reasoned. This girl was so nice; I can’t let them hurt her.

He pulled her roughly back into the compartment and shut the door tight. "Are you alright?"

Lily nodded shakily. "I was just on my way back from the loo and they cornered me. I don’t even know how they knew I was a Muggle-born."

"Trust me, they always know."

Sirius and Lily were silent for a few moments. "Sirius, what’s a Mudblood?"

"It’s a really nasty way of saying ‘Muggle-born.’ I’ve personally never cared for it, but my family just loves it."

More silence.

"Sirius, I don’t mean to sound rude but . . . Are your family bad people?"


"I don’t know, Lily. I don’t know."

The remainder of the ride was pleasant enough, with a slightly strained atmosphere, due to the events that had transpired in the corridor.

Sirius sat with Lily on the boat ride across the lake. He marveled at the castle’s beauty.


And to think, this is my home for the next seven years. The thought brought a smile to Sirius’ young, handsome face.

In their lives, all people have that one, defining moment that changes the entire rest of their lives. For Sirius, that moment was the sorting ceremony. He had clambered atop the three-legged stool and sat patiently, waiting to be sorted.

"Black, is it?"

"Yes," he thought. His mother had explained the whole ordeal of sorting to him; he had known what was coming and how to react.

"I presume you want to be in Slytherin, then," the hat guessed. "But . . . Your mind is far less hostile than your forefathers and such."


 

Oh, dear sweet Salazar, Godric, Helga and Rowena. What have I just done?

He sat quietly and tried not to bother his housemates during the feast. A few people attempted to talk with him, but the chatter was extremely uncomfortable. Others did not hide their contempt at having a Black in the flawless Gryffindor house.

In fact, one Fifth year even went as far to deter Sirius in his path to the common room after the feast.

"Hey, mate. Mate!" Sirius looked around in curiosity before finally realizing that the older student was talking to him. "Yeah, you!" He walked up to Sirius and put a friendly arm on his shoulder.

"Hey, listen, I just want to apologize for some of the stiffs in this house. They’ll just take a little while to get used to having a Black in the house."

"Er, thanks," Sirius said, smiling. He looked ahead to see that his fellow First years (and the two prefects that had been leading them) had disappeared. "Umm, d’you think I can follow you to the common room, I’ve lost everyone."

The Fifth year smiled again, but in a far more malicious way. "Oh, I don’t think you’ll be able to do that."

Five minutes later found Sirius, hung from a torch-holder on the wall by his pants (sans torch, of course) kicking and thrashing and screaming, hoping that someone would find him.

It was nearly another ten minutes before some kind soul from Hufflepuff happened to pass by and help him.



So the Gryffindors hate me, the Slytherins hate me, and I don’t give a fuck about Ravenclaw . . . I’m so transferring to Hufflepuff.

___

 

"And poor Peter kept getting ignored," I narrated.

___


Peter was on the train and trying to find a seat a minute before it began to move. Old students and new students alike moved quickly up and down the corridors, trying to meet up with friends, or find something they had dropped earlier.

Peter chanced at getting help from one of them. He poked one rather slow moving student in the side. " ’Scuse me, d’you think you could help me?" The girl simply brushed past him.


 

Must not have felt the tap, Peter reasoned.

He ran up to another boy, hoping this one could help him. He tapped kid on the shoulder, a little harder than he had tapped the last girl. "Can you help me, please?" he asked timidly.

"What do you want, kid?" the guy had been talking to someone and looked rather annoyed at being interrupted.

"Er, I was hoping you could help me find a compartment. I don’t know what to do."

"Just look around, kid," the boy answered dismissively, "I’m sure someone’ll let you sit with them."

Peter whimpered and scampered off down the train.

He spent the majority of his ride (unbeknownst) in the same way that his soon-to-be-friend, James, did. His first evening in the castle was no better; worried about the attention that First years got when they went and sat up the school, Peter swayed nervously in line, dreading when it was his turn.

"Pettigrew, Peter." However, when his name was called, he was slightly shocked (and also a little hurt) that not a single pair of eyes spared a glance towards the stout, nervous First year.

"Hello, dear."

Peter jumped in his seat and didn’t respond; he neither knew how to, nor wanted to. The hat was intimidating.

"I’m not that intimidating. Relax, I’m only a voice in your head; I’m meant to see your mind and find out where you best belong. Weren’t you listening to the song."

"Sorry, er, no," Peter thought, feeling foolish.

"Ah, well, that is often the case. Now, onto the sorting. You are a very timid boy, Peter Pettigrew. However, I see a thirst to prove that you have worth. In between all that, I sense a fierce loyalty to all you care about, even if it is for your own personal comfort and gain. I also believe that you have a need to be well-liked and recepted."

"So, that sounds a bit like Slytherin?"  Peter’s mother had explained the general characteristics of the houses before she sent him off into the world.

He had rather been hoping to get Gryffindor. I could never be a Gryffindor; who was I kidding?

"Sometimes, a Gryffindor is a Gryffindor simply because they’re strong enough to be one."

"I’m not strong enough," Peter lamented.

"You could be," the hat said.

"I want to be. I want to shock everyone. I want to be the Gryffindor hero."

 "A true hero is always a hero by accident." A warning voice reverberated throughout Peter’s head.

Peter thought nothing in particular; only of how much he wanted to be in Gryffindor, now that he knew he could.

"And so it shall be - GRYFFINDOR!"

___


"And poor, poor Remus had the opposite problem that Peter did. As much as people tried to talk to him, he was far too fearful and reserved to respond."

___


Remus, after leaving his trunk in the corner of the Hogwarts Express where many of the other students seemed to, took a leisurely stroll down the corridor of the slowly moving train. He was perfectly content to wander alone; Remus had only a few friends back home, none of whom knew of his true identity as a wizard, or his lycanthropy.

He ambled slowly, before deciding to stop and lean against an empty stretch of wall; for whatever reason, there were no compartment doors.

"You need help, mate?" Remus looked up (he’d been staring at a small black dot on the floor) to see a concerned looking older student.

"Er, no, thanks. I’m a-alright," Remus stuttered nervously.


He can tell; he can tell! I just know it! I’m busted! The train will turn around, and there will be chaos because there’s an eleven-year-old werewolf on the train, Remus thought frantically.

"Alright." The boy seemed friendly enough. "Just search me out if you need help." He smiled some more and continued on his way.
 

Phew, that was a close one.

Remus decided that standing there, in the middle of the corridor, would have an adverse effect on his desire to stay unnoticeable. He walked about a bit more, peeking into the compartments, looking for a particularly spacey or daft looking group; he couldn’t risk some perceptive bird or bloke figuring out the secret that he was harboring.

He ended up sitting quietly with a chatty group of girls.

"What’s your name?" One asked excitedly.

"Remus," he replied politely.

"I’m Sophie," she offered, smiling. He nodded with a small smile, if only so that he didn’t appear rude.

Over the course of the six hour train ride, Remus dodged questions, and when he couldn’t, made as many one-word answers as possible. It wasn’t that he was an anti-social kid, he was just, maybe, a little bit paranoid.

He hopped inconspicuously off the train when the time came and immediately gravitated towards Hagrid, Hogwarts’ Groundskeeper, whom he’d met when he visited the school with his parents and Professor Dumbledore over the summer holiday.

"Hello, Hagrid." Remus tugged shyly at the large man’s tailcoats.

"Why, hullo there, Remus! How’re you?"

"Alright," he answered, looking down. "Erm, what am I supposed to do?"

"Go find some friends and ride in the boat with ‘em. All Firs’ years have to cross the lake."

Remus looked down at the ground; he didn’t want to have to find some friends. There was too much of a chance that they’d find out his secret and blow his chances at having a real life. However, he realized that he couldn’t ride with Hagrid even if he’d wanted too. Hagrid would barely fit in those tiny rowboats, let alone with another person.

So, Remus sighed and hopped into the first empty boat that he could see. He was joined by two other boys, both looking fairly shy as well. Remus was thankful that none of them said anything. Even if he had had something to say, the view of the castle, reflecting in the dark lake was enough to silence him.


It’s beautiful, he thought. And the realization that he was finally at Hogwarts, finally able to lead a normal (ish) life set in. I can’t screw this up; no one can find out.

Remus’ subdued nature seemed to emanate from everyone, once they arrived into the Great Hall a bit later. Each and every First Year was nervous and fidgety. Remus bounced uneasily from one foot to the other as he waited for -

"Lupin, Remus."


 

Alright, calm down. No one’s staring at you. Don’t worry.

He took a deep breath as he made his way to the stool in front of the entire student body. An entire student body that had the potential to find out that he was a werewolf.

He choked on his own air has he sat down on the stool and the Professor slid the sorting hat over his head. 

"A werewolf!" 

Remus made to cry out; to assure his peers that the hat was lying, before he realized that no one had heard. Only he had.

"Er, how did you know?"

"Because it is the only thought going through your head right now. I can’t even sort you properly."

Remus took a breath and tried to relax his mind.

"Or . . . Can I?

"I remember Dumbledore talking about you, I think. First werewolf to attend Hogwarts. Ever. They’re planted some Whomping Willow tree, for yours and other students’ safety. They’ve gone through plenty of measures to assure that this secret doesn’t leak.


"Really? Remus sighed in relief. "That’s good news."

"Yes, yes. Now, where to put you? You’re certainly a brilliant one - your fierce hunger for knowledge can certainly be satisfied by your Ravenclaw brethren. Or, perhaps Hufflepuff, where your friends will accept you as they are, and you , in turn - never judgmental - will do the same for them.

"But, no. Where you truly belong is in Gryffindor. Where someone like you - so terrified, yet facing your worst fear for something that matters more - belongs."

"Oh, I don’t know, I really liked the sound of Hufflepuff -"

"In Gryffindor, you will make great friends. Not only Hufflepuffs are loyal . . ."

"Yes, I understand, but, really -"

"GRYFFINDOR!"


 

Oh, bugger, Remus thought.

___


 

Anastasia was smiling giddily, as she always did when one of us would narrate the story of how we met to her. She found it as exciting the first time as she did this time. So child-like in the way she was entertained.

"Finish it! Finish it!" she demanded, bouncing excitedly on her bed.

"Alright, calm down. We don’t need a hole in the ceiling." I cleared my throat and launched into the epic finale.

___


Peter, Remus and James (the only male, Gryffindor First years, besides Sirius Black, who had mysteriously disappeared) were shown into their dormitory by the particularly kind Prefect.

"Now, don’t hesitate to ask me, or Marietta if you have any questions. We’re always here to help. Everyone else . . . Not so much."

He had given a small wave, before calling down the steps to his female counterpart. He and Marietta had decided to wait a bit before informing the Headmaster that the Black boy had gone missing; perhaps, he was just lost. And neither of the pair was one to judge.

"Er, hi. I’m James," he offered his hand bravely to Peter and Remus, both rather timid.

"Peter." He smiled for the first time since he had left home. James seemed plenty nice, and wasn’t ignoring him as everyone else had that day.

The other boy looked shyly towards the ground. A particularly observant person might have thought that he was hiding something. However, the two eleven-year-old boys that surrounded him just thought him nervous. "Remus," he mumbled towards the floor.

"Remus, ol’ chap, buck up! We’re all friends here," James said, taking back some of the natural charisma that had deserted him earlier that day.

"I’ve just had such a . . . not so great day; I don’t always react well with people."

Peter snorted. "People don’t always react well with me."

"A combination of the both, lads," James said of himself.

The trio smiled at each other; they were a little group of misfits.

James was just about to say something when the dormitory door slammed open, and Sirius Black - handsome devil, suave debonair extraordinare, in all his shining glory -"

___


"Sirius!" I yelled, whacking my mate over the head. "My story; stop adding your own commentary!

"As I was saying . . ."

___

James was just about to say something when the dormitory slammed open, and Sirius Black stormed inside, muttering.

"What are you looking at?" he snapped.

"Look, mate," James said, and not in a mean way. "If you don’t want to be here, then ask Dumbledore if you can switch houses."

Sirius’ angry face softened immediately. "I’m sorry." His tone was entirely different than it had been a few moments before. "I’m just not in such a great mood. Apparently, Gryffindor doesn’t want a Black amongst their ranks; some fucking dumbarse Fifth year hung me by my robes from the wall, and I was hanging there for fifteen minutes before some nice Hufflepuff let me down. Sorry if I’m not in a great mood."

James’ face lit up. "That’s perfect! You can join us! We’re a bunch of misfits as well! None of us have had the greatest first day . . ."

"You’re okay hanging with a Black?" Sirius inquired, barely daring to believe it.

James smiled widely. "Don’t knock it ‘till you try it, eh?"

Sirius nodded. "Never a truer statement."

"Come on, mates." James beckoned this new friends to the center of the room. He put his hand into the middle of the circle they made, and encouraged Peter, Remus, and Sirius to do the same. "Here’s to friendship. And I christen us, the, er . . ."

"The Misfits!" Remus cried excitedly.

"Huzzah!"

___


"And the rest," I finished smoothly, "is history. Everyone knows that we gained the reputation as the coolest kids (Third year and below) in school. And we were nick-named the Marauders after people realized our aptitude for getting into trouble.

"And then we met you. And then we found out Remus was a werewolf and didn’t totally abandon him like he thought we would. And then Remus did it. And then Pete did it. And then we spent the summer with Anna - and then the rest was history - again. ‘Cause now we’re just how we’re supposed to be; always together, and completely inseperable."

"Amen, brother!" Anna cried.

"Amen," everyone chorused.

 
A/N3: On a more plot related note - next chapter is Graduation, and the official last day of Hogwarts for the Maraudes. But, never fear! Damon and Darren are coming to visit over the summer. Sounds fun, eh? :D

A/N4: Fun facts! Yaaaaay!

Anna: wanted to be Mary Poppins when she was seven.

Darren: has a younger sisters and two younger brothers.

James: has mad poker skills. (Mad, in the case meaning awesome, for all you non-New Yorkers out there.)


Sirius: did not start the severe hatred of his family until his Third year.


Chapter 53: This is Your Night (Smile, 'Cause You'll Go Out in Style)
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You can't turn back

Because this road is all you'll ever have.
. . .
And oh oh open wide, 'cause this is your night.
So smile, 'cause you'll go out in style.
-Paramore


 

"You guys aren’t leaving; it’s not true." The Marauders awoke, on the morning of their graduation, to a distressed and decidedly emotional me. I was not normally an emotional person. This, however was an exception.

"Humph?" Sirius rolled over in the little space he had and looked at me through bleary eyes.

"I said you guys aren’t leaving." My voice squeaked a bit as I persistently kept any negative emotion out of my voice and mind.

"Yeah we are," said Peter.

I threw my hands in the air in frustration and stormed into the bathroom. I attempted a quick shower to calm me down, but all I succeeded in was getting clean.

When I exited the bathroom, none of the Marauders were still in the room. Despite how odd I found this, I ignored it. I went to my trunk, before pulling out a set of clean, scarlet dress robes. I dropped the red towel that I was holding around myself, before pulling my underwear, bra, and then the robes on.

An instant later I was on my way to the common room. I glanced at my watch and saw that it was nearly ten o’clock; that was when the ceremony began. I hurried my way out to the grounds and searched out Mr. And Mrs. Potter in the crowd. They were sitting next to Mr. And Mrs. Lupin, as well as a person that I could only assume (by the striking resemblance) to be Peter’s mother.

I sat down next to Mrs. Potter. "Hello, dear! How are you?"

"I’m great Mrs. Potter," I replied, smiling. "Just a bit upset that they won’t be back next year."

She placed a comforting hand on my back. "The ones we truly love, never really leave us. A wise man said that once."

"Yeah, and the force will always be with you. All of you." I jerked my head quickly around to see Jason coming to sit next to me. I threw my arms around him in a hug.

"What are you doing here?" I asked.

"I had to see all my Jedi friends graduate from Hogwarts, didn’t I?"

I laughed and shook my head at my brother. "Oh, did you hear they’re making a second one?" he asked. "It’s not out for a couple of years," he said sadly.

"That’s okay," I replied. "For the Jedi, I can wait."

Whether or not he was going to reply, he was stopped when a hush fell over the crowd. We looked forward to see McGonagall and Dumbledore standing there in matching, blue navy robes.

"Soul mates," I whispered to Jason from the corner of my mouth. I heard him smother his laughter.

As Dumbledore and Minnie made the final preparations to begin the ceremony, I scanned the crowd. Robes of all different colors worn by people who sat in uncomfortable plastic chairs. I wondered if the parents of Muggle-borns were permitted to come.

Dumbledore’s powerful voice immediately caught everyones’ attention. "If everyone doesn’t mind, we will now begin the ‘Moving On’ ceremony; let us all stand for a moment, and honor these bright young students."

I stood up quickly and tried to get a look at the some hundred or so students gathered near the makeshift stage. I couldn’t find my Marauders, but I was sure they all looked smart in their black dress robes. Dumbledore made a motion with his hands and we all sat down.

"These students, the Seventh years of 1978, are entering the world in a time of increasing darkness and despair. However, it is with hope that I send these students from Hogwarts; no longer within the confines of their Houses, I hope that they reach beyond their rivalries to turn these times away from darkness."

Dumbledore stopped speaking and Professor McGonagall stepped forward. "I have taught each and every one of these students from the time that they were eleven years old; all of them are capable of changing the world. For the better or the worse - that is their choice. On that last note, we wish to begin the ceremony."

In a manner very similar to the sorting of the First years, the graduating students were called up. Sirius was first.

"Black, Sirius."

Sirius’ bright white smile radiated into the crowd. His plain black robes swished around his tall, burly frame as he climbed the stairs and crossed the stage to where the Headmaster and Deputy Headmistress were. First, he shook Dumbledore’s hand. Then, he accepted the rolled diploma from Professor McGonagall.

Before leaving the platform and beginning the congregation on the other side, Sirius did something that surprised all of us. He practically jumped McGonagall as he engulfed her in a hug.

His surprisingly choked voice said, "I’m going to miss you, Minnie."

McGonagall couldn’t help but smile. Her voice was rather watery as well as she released one of the most troublesome students she’d ever had. "Go on, Mr. Black."

He looked out into the crowd, and waved wildly at the group I was sitting with. I laughed and found that I myself was close to tears. Happy tears, sad tears; what ever kind of tears they were, they were foreign to me. But it didn’t matter because I was close to them, not at them.

I tuned out most of the ceremony; I didn’t know the people in my own year, let alone the year above me, but a flash of red caught my attention. I saw Lily stride across the platform. Her tall, elegant figure was nothing like it had been a two years previous.

It’s amazing how such little time can change a person, I thought.

She accepted her diploma with a smile and a hug to both Professors.

I watched in pride as my three other Marauders moved up from their childhood days. As James walked down the steps to congregate with the other no-longer-students, I realized that I was the only one of our group left. I tried to ignore it.

As the last student was handed her diploma, the crowd burst out into loud cheers. Then, unsuspected by even me, something happened. The dark, wooden stage that McGonagall and Dumbledore still stood on became washed in a bright orange. On each corner of the stage, a large bundle of balloons appeared. Streamers hung in the air, attached to nothing. Confetti fell. Above all the commotion was a large banner that read:

We’re going out in style.

I smiled. It was good to know that Sirius, James, Remus and Peter hadn’t quite exhausted their love for pranks.

Dumbledore smiled at the change of scenery around him. "Now, after that lovely display," he began in his usual calm voice, "I would like to introduce this years Head Boy and Girl; James Potter and Lily Evans."

Polite clapping began as Lily and James re-ascended the stairs. They stood awkwardly before the podium. Lily cleared her throat, and James ran a hand through his hair.

"Well," Lily began. "I suppose there is no other way to start this speech than: This has been quite an interesting year."

James nodded in affirmation. "That it has. Now, Lily and I spent hours trying to come up with a speech today; I’ll have you all know that we couldn’t come up with one. There’s no real way to put this year into words."

Lily took over again. "We’ve been with these guys and girls since we were eleven years old; some knew each other even longer.

"It’s been a long, hard road, but I know that I came out for the better. I can say that for my counter-part, here, as well. I can’t speak for everyone, but I bet most of our classmates have, too."

Lily paused and I saw James cast an eye towards his classmates. I couldn’t help but notice that every single one (Slytherins and all) gazed at the Heads in respect.

I saw James’ chest heave upwards as he took a breath. "At this point, Lily and I would like to invite each and every single Seventh year onto the stage; this may me our speech, but this year is all of ours."

I smiled to myself; how noble of James.

In a true, child-like fashion, the staircase leading to the platform was crowded and slow-moving. Everyone pushed a bit, even though they were going to the same place. Of course, it was not my place to call their behavior child-like; I would have been the one trying to crowd surf to the front.

Once everyone was situated on the stage behind James and Lily, the Marauder continued. "We’re all going to do great things, whether we’re a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, or a Slytherin." I heard the pain in James’ voice as he associated the Slytherin house with goodness. I figured he was thinking of Snape, specifically.

I could see Lily’s eyes brighten as she beamed at James, even though I sat in the third row back. "In this last year, I made a lot of friends; I opened up my eyes to my faults, and learned to overlook the faults of others. It took a very unexpected person to show me that I was going about my life all wrong." Lily’s eyes connected with mine. She nodded in my direction and I smiled back. I was quite content with myself at the moment; I had made it into the speech.

See, you are awesome, I told myself. Even Lily Evans said so, and everyone knows how high her standards are.

"When I came to this school," Lily continued. "I didn’t know a single person, or a single drop of magic. Now, I’ve got the best friends anyone could ask for, and I feel ready to conquer the world . . . Not that I would, of course."

James put an arm around Lily’s shoulder before speaking. "Hogwarts has been the greatest years of my life; I know that not everyone will agree with me, but I hope that everyone can at least find something about their years here that they like. I know that I’ve made memories to last a lifetime."

James looked back into the crowd of students. I watched his face. He was either about to do something very unpleasant, or puke all over the stage. I earnestly hoped it was the former, rather than the latter.

"To a certain someone that I won’t name specifically, you know who you are; this is my formal apology to you. I’ve been an arse the entire time we’ve been at Hogwarts. I can’t say that I want to apologize to you; what I am saying is that I’ve grown enough as a person to realize that I was wrong. I hope you’ve grown enough to accept it."

"Nooooooooooooo!" Everyone in attendance turned the attention to the left-most area of the stage. Sirius had dropped to his knees and had his head in his hands. "No, Prongs! No! You bloody, grown-up fool!" Well, it seemed that Sirius knew who James was talking about.

I burst out into laughter. No one else, however, seemed to find it as quite as funny as I did. In fact, Jason, the Potters, and the Lupins were the only people laughing, besides me. And they were doing so very discreetly. Everyone else seemed to have rather large sticks shoved up their arses. And Dumbledore was chuckling, as well, but he always seemed to laugh whenever the Marauders were concerned; therefore, he was just assumed to be part of that group.

McGonagall loudly cleared her throat, and scolded Sirius. After a minute or so more, order returned.

"As I was saying," James said. "I know that we have all grown as people, and now we are going out into the real world."

"Some of us are moving on to fight against this rising threat, Lord Voldemort. Others of us, will move on to fight with him," Lily interjected.

I frowned. Why did everything seem to lead back to bloody Voldemort? Good job, Lily.

"All I know," said Lily, who was obviously beginning to cry. "Is that I’m going to miss this place."

James patted her lightly on the back and took over for the final time. "We are the Hogwarts Seventh years of 1978. We will change this world." He paused. "Why?" He paused again, probably for dramatic effect. "Because we are bright young things, and we aim to impress."


A/N: I want to credit the author ‘Kahlan’ for the last line (We are the bright young things, and we aim to impress) I used here. It was the title of a fic that she wrote. (It’s quite good, by the way, and I totally recommend it for you guys that have some time on your hands.)

A/N2: There you have it; the Marauders (and Lily) have graduated. But never fear; this story is very, very far from being over. We’ve still got quiiiiiite a ways to go. :D Yay!


A/N3: Yaaaay! Fun facts! And trust me, today, they are especially fun. :D

Remus: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 11

Peter: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 9

Darren: tally of the girls he’s shagged - 7 (However, as a side note, he is much less cavalier about his hook-ups than Remus or Peter.)

Anna: bra size - 34DD (I believe in the UK, this would be equal to a 34E.)

Lily: bra size - 34B

Sirius: bra size - just kidding. :D



I couldn’t resist; he’s just such a girl.


A/N4: Tons and tons of thanks to DefyingBoundaries, who’s totally helped me pick out the perfect picture for Darren’s POV chapter image! :D (Yay! Getting closer . . . )

A/N5: I just wanted to thank you all especially much today, both for the consolations about my shoulder (which is getting increasingly better after surgery) and for the support you guys have given me through this story. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I've never gotten this far in a story before, and I know it's all the love and stuff you guys have given the story that's kept pushing me with it. So, I wanted to thank you guys for that. And since I love all you so so so so so, here's your Valentine's Day Present! Happy Valentines Day!





Chapter 54: I Know I'll Never Die Alone Because of All of You
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I know I'll never die alone because of all of you
Our time is fleeting so we take control
. . .
But right now I want to watch the tide roll in
with my best friends
-All Time Low



“Uh-huh! Mhm! It’s time to paaaaartay!” James burst excitedly into his house and the remainder of us Marauders (and Anna, of course) trampled in after him.

“Alright, party animals, let’s not break anything.” Mum said, smiling, but uncharacteristically weary greeted us. She looked so fragile I was afraid to squeeze her as usual.

So I settled for a tentative hug. “What’s the matter?” she asked, as I pulled cautiously away. “Afraid I’m going to break?”

“You just look so fragile,” I explained. Anastasia, who stood beside me looking on in concern, nodded concurrently.

“Don’t worry about me, I’m just a bit tired.” I simply nodded and didn’t protest, however, I didn’t actually believe her; I was worried about Mum.

“I’ve got fresh cookies in the kitchen, loves.” Well, as much as I loved Mum (and I did, so don’t question me) cookies were enough to distract me from my worries, at least temporarily. I raced (on even footing with James, Remus, Sirius, Anastasia and Peter) through the bottom floor of the house to get to the marble-tiled kitchen. I saw the long cherry wood table, where upon sat a plate of fresh cookies. I could tell they were fresh because I could smell them. And they smelled so good.

We dove into the cookies and looked up in surprise as the doorbell rung.

“Who’s coming?” I asked James.

He shrugged. “Dunno . . . Must be for Mum.”

Dainty footsteps echoed throughout the house. There was talking in low voices, and then the footsteps made their way back towards the kitchen; this time, there was another set of heavy falls.

In the doorway appeared Damon.

“Damon!” Next to me, Anastasia left her half finished cookie on the table and jumped into Damon’s arms. Man, it really was a good thing that all her friends are blokes; she has such an enthusiastic way of greeting people and I don’t think girls would be able to catch her as well.

“Well hello to you, too, Anna.” He spun her around once and put her on the ground. “What’s up, mates?”

We all greeted him enthusiastically (not Anastasia’s kind of enthusiasm, though) and didn’t even need to invite him over to have a cookie, he did so himself. I couldn’t blame him, though, just the smell of the cookies was enough to make you have a your brain explode.

“So, who else is psyched for next summer?” Anastasia mumbled, who threw her hand up to cover her mouth as a few cookie crumbs tumbled out.

“Ooo! Me! Me! Me!” I jumped excitedly up and down, waving my hands in the air. The rest of the Marauders and Damon acted equally enthusiastically. Yeah, we’re a pretty excitable group.

We had the cookies finished in less than five minutes (’cause we’re just good like that) and were about to retire into the common room when the doorbell rang again.

“Now, who could that be?” Mum twittered, in a tone of voice that would make one think she knew exactly who that could be.

This time, we all rushed behind her to the door and watched eagerly as she unlocked the door and pulled it open.

“Darren!” Anastasia cried. I was pleased to see that she didn’t jump Darren the way she had Damon . . . Though I suppose it might’ve had something to do with the fact that she’d seen him just a few hours ago.

“Mrs. Potter, how did you get everyone here?” Remus asked incredulously. “How’d you even know to get everyone?”

“What are you talking about, dear? Everyone’s not here-” As if on cue, the doorbell rang once again. This time, I didn’t even wait for Mum to open the front door - I ripped it open myself.

“Jason!” I squealed. I jumped into his arms, much like Anastasia had assaulted Damon earlier.

Jason groaned as he caught me in his arms. He raised his eyebrow as he looked down at me, and I smiled cheesily back up at him. Now, Jason must have been quite strong. He was shorter than me, by about four inches, and I out-weighed him by more than forty pounds.

“You are such an idiot.” Jason dropped me unceremoniously to the ground. But let me assure you, it was out of love. Definitely out of love.

Once I had jumped up and dusted myself off, and we were all congregated peacefully in the foyer, Peter asked excitedly, “Now is everyone here?”

“Not quite . . .” Mum was smirking; it was funny to see her looking so devious.

We all watched the door in anticipation. It was nearly five minutes before the doorbell rung for the final time, and when it did, everyone jumped in excitement. This time it was James who ripped the door open. Lo and behold, who should be standing there but Lily Evans, in all her tall, ginger glory.

“Lily!” James yelled excitedly. I could read his mind; he was about to jump into her arms. (It was a trait that James, Anastasia, and I shared.)

I grabbed the collar of his shirt and held him back. He made a strangled, chocking sort of noise. “Mate, you can’t jump on her, she’s not that big.”

James looked at Lily, and then back to me. “Oh . . . Right.”

We spent five minutes having a big, loving reunion (even though most of us had seen each other only hours ago) before Mum interjected. “So, James, do you know what today is?”

He screwed up his face in his “thinking face.” We all had one; it was a crucial part of being a Maruader. Anastasia had one too, even though she wasn’t a Marauder. I guess living with us for two years means you pick up some of our odd habits. “Umm, I have no idea.” He looked around to the rest of us for a clue. No one had any idea. Typical.

“It’s Friday, duh!”

Mum came over and patted my shoulder. “Good, dear, but I meant today, as in an event. Not the day.”

“Oh.” My triumphant smile drooped and I looked down at the ground.

“The Muggle carnival is in town, James!” Mum explained.

“Yipee!” Beside me, my mate James, well, he got a bit excited. He jumped up, began spinning, and knocked Anastasia over. Who then jumped up and became angry and hit James (very prone to Muggle violence, that one.) Then James stumbled backwards into Peter, who caught him, and threw him back; James fell into Jason, who hit James for falling on him (that violence thing must run in the family.) It looked like a fight was about to break out when Mum cast a Shield charm between us all.

“Just to be safe.” She smiled. “Anyway, I brought all you lot here because I thought you’d enjoy it; Jim and I used to take James every year. It was so much fun.” Jim was Mr. Potter - short for James. So, technically, our Jamesie is a Junior. But he doesn’t like to be reminded of it . . .

“That’s true,” James piped up.

“So what do you lot say?” Mum questioned.

“I say . . . What the hell are we standing around here for? Let’s go!" Anastasia jumped up (she’d been sitting on the floor inside her little Shield bubble) and attempted to make her way towards the front door, unfortunately forgetting her bubble. It was quite funny to watch, actually. Anastasia rebounded off the side of the bubble, which made a hollow sound when her head hit it (coincidentally, the bubble was not soft like a bubble, nor did it pop) and she flew backwards, jammed her back against the other end of the bubble and sunk to the floor.

“Anna, are you okay!?” Remus cried. He also stayed still. He was one of the few; most of us were dumb enough to try to dive and reach her . . . We ended up in similar situations.

She gasped and reached her arm upwards.

“Oh my god! She’s going to die!” James cried irrationally. I rolled my eyes, and secretly hoped that I was right when I called him irrational.

She shook her head insistently and continued gasping.

“Someone help her!”

“Can’t . . . breath . . . wind . . . out.”

“She’s got the wind knocked out of her,” Lily explained.

“Well someone help her!” James cried. “I can’t! I’m stuck in this stupid bubble, Mum!”

Little did James realize, we’d all been free of our bubble jails for quite some time.

It took us five minutes to clear up the mess we’d made of our mental platforms and restore order to everything. However, once we had, we were all psyched and ready to go.

Mum ushered us all outside and into the car (yeah, she and Dad had a car, for important Auror things they sometimes had to do.) She sat in the driver’s seat, Jason sat next to her, and the rest of us eight were crammed into the two back rows. Mum placed the key in the ignition-

I’d love to put my key in Anastasia’s ignition-

No! Bad mind! Stop! Down, boy!

- and turned it and the car started.

She heaved a sigh and turned around to face us all. “Now, I’m going to not assume that you all are mature, responsible adults, because that episode back there tells me that would be a very foolish thing to do.

“Remember, you all need to behave in a semi-civilized manner. You also need to remember that you will be surrounded entirely by Muggles. That means no magic unless it is absolutely necessary, or done in a discreet manner, and let’s be honest, I don’t think you lot know what discreet means.”

She smiled all through the lecture she was giving us, then waited for our nods. We nodded. “Good.” She turned to Jason. “That goes for you too; Godric knows you’re only an overgrown teenager.”

Jason smirked to himself and us as Mum put the car into drive and pulled out onto the road. It was a fairly short drive, but it may have only seemed that way because of the company. There was no way you could put me, James, Remus, Peter, Lily, Anastasia, Damon, Darren, and Jason in a car and not expect fun. I just feel a bit bad for Mum . . . I think she may’ve been permanently scarred from the experience.

“Alright, I’m going to ignore that obvious facts and assume that you lot are at least mature enough to handle an evening at the fair alone, with all the instruction I’ve given you. Merlin and Godric be with your dumb, loving souls today.” She blew us a kiss from the window after we all piled out and took off once again. You just got to love Mum.

We stood there, an awkwardly mixed group, waiting for someone to take charge and decide what to do first.

“Oh! Hey, you lot don’t all know each other!” Peter cried in realization.

“Hey, that’s right.” Chatter broke out amongst our group until Remus called everyone to order and then introduced our new-comers.

We stood awkwardly once again, in a clump, looking around in wonder at what we saw.

Lot’s of booths, lined up in a row, with a red and white striped tarp covering them all. Scattered strategically around the area were these little metal carts, that upon further inspection sold you food. Inside the aforementioned booths were rather scary looking people that yelled at you to come play fun games. So we did.

On the outskirts of the lot were these big metal contraptions . . . rides, James called them. People waited excitedly in line to get inside these, and then all you heard were screams. It made me really, really scared.

Anastasia watched one of those metal machines with interest. This one let in only two people at a time. The next two in line jumped around nervously, as they listened to the screams from the pair that were on the ride. I watched as the ride (which was a rickety metal car on a loop) went around and around, bringing the people up, turning them upside down, and then letting them fall on the curve back down . . . Only to repeat the death-defying process.

“I wanna go on that,” Anastasia claimed, her voice filled with wonder and amazement.
                                               
“You’re fucking insane! Good luck finding someone who wants to go with you.”

Anastasia raised both her eyebrows (it was hilariously endearing that she couldn’t raise a single one) at me and gestured towards the long line of people that were waiting for the particularly deadly looking deathtrap that she wanted to get on. “Lot’s of people who would love to go with me. I’m sure if I flashed any one of those blokes I’d have a ride partner.”

It stirred up a bit of jealousy inside of me. If I hadn’t known Anastasia better, I would have accused her of doing that on purpose. But she was Anastasia, and way too oblivious to do something like that. “No, that’s alright, I’ll go with you.”

“Yipee!” She jumped up and down, clapping. She fled to where the remainder of our group was standing, off to the side. I tore my eyes away from her bottom as I watched her run; but it was really hard - she was wearing these short denim cut-offs and I kind of couldn’t help but stare . . .

“Who else is coming with us?” Anastasia was still jumping excitedly up and down when I caught up with her. She was pointing excitedly at the deathtrap and trying to get everyone else excited about riding it. Lily counted herself in, as well as James. Jason did too, probably only so that he wouldn’t be outdone by his baby sister.

“Well, I need someone to ride with me,” he whined.

“I’ll do it,” Darren volunteered. Yeah, he would, ‘cause he’s got to be all macho. But he’d surely be screaming the loudest when that thing went upside down.

Yeah, Darren, we’re all on to you.

Don’t get me wrong - Darren’s a great bloke. But that didn’t make it all less true.

We all made a bee-line for the line (me doing so rather reluctantly) when James put his hands out to stop us. “Hold it; we need tickets.”

“Tickets?”

“Why tickets?”

“Tickets?”

We stood, jabbering on about tickets as James sprinted away to get them. Far away, standing by one of the metal vendors was Remus, Peter and Damon. Remus and Damon seemed to be arguing and Peter was smiling and stuffing fluffy blue and pink stuff into his mouth. Remus stomped his foot and stormed away with his arms crossed across his chest. Damon threw his arms in frustration and followed angrily. Peter stayed, happily oblivious. Eventually, he realized he was alone and ran to catch up with his mates.

“I want to ride,” Remus insisted, after he got to us. “And Damon won’t ride with me.”

“Fine, you baby,” Damon gasped, having caught up.

“What’s going on; what did I miss?” Peter’s mouth was blue and sticky and he was clutching at his chest when he arrived a bit after Remus and Damon. Ahh, Pete, how I love thee.

“Remus and Damon are gonna ride the big scary deathtrap, too,” I explained.

“Aww, I’m going to be the only one not riding,” he whined. “Alright, I’ll ride too.”

“Whoooo!” Anastasia, who was nearby, expressed her joy.

“We’ve got an odd number,” Remus pointed out.

“I’ll ride again!” Anastasia cried excitedly.

I shook my head. Nutter!

James came running back with the tickets before I could profess my thoughts out loud.

“I’ve got them! Let’s go!” He waved his arm excitedly towards the ever-growing line and we followed him in a stampede.

Because I was riding with Anastasia, I was forced to stand next to her in line. Let me fucking tell you, that is something I will never, ever do again.

If we all thought she got bored during regular activities, standing around in line with nothing to do was one thousand million bajillion times worse.

Fuck!

“Sirius,” she whined. “Sirius, I’m bored, entertain me.” She played the drums on my back. “Sirius ” She sat on the ground and played the drums on my feet. “I’m bored.” She pulled at my hair for a while, twisting it in knots and trying to braid it. “Really bored.” She bit my ear. (Can’t say I didn’t enjoy that last one at least a little bit . . .)

And that was only ten minutes worth of waiting. Multiply that by three and that’s what I went through to get to the front of the line.

“Oh, Sirius, I’m so excited! I’ve never been on this ride before.”

I looked upwards, and had to squint a bit because of the sun. But I didn’t need to see what was happening to know. I heard an ominous screeching sound and the terrified screams of the two kids our age that had been in line before us.

I put my hands on Anastasia’s shoulders and looked at her very seriously. “Now, Anastasia. I ask you not to think any less of me if I should: a) scream like a little girl, b) piss my pants, or c) scream ‘Stop the ride! Stop the ride!’”

She laughed and buried her face into my chest. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”

I glanced down at her, all little and stuff, and somehow doubted that very much. Yet, she was Anastasia, and she never ceased to amaze me.

The ride came to a stop and the two girls that had gotten in earlier stepped clumsily and wobbly out. They looked a bit disoriented, and not pleased at all.

“Tickets?” I looked up at the man who had asked. He had a mass of unruly gray hair, and his blue, denim jumpsuit was stained. A cigarette hung out of his mouth and his yellow, rotten teeth showed when he spoke.

Ewwwwww.

I handed him mine and Anastasia’s tickets and pushed lightly on her back, indicating her to get the hell away from the scary man that was staring at her chest area in a not-so-subtle and not-so-nice way.

I gave him the death as I followed Anastasia into the cart. He didn’t see me though, he was too busy pressing some buttons.

The metal screeched as Anastasia, ahead of me, slid the door open. She waited for me to climb in and straddle the seat before she did so in front of me. I suppose that makes sense, the little person in front, but, Merlin, did there have to be straddling involved?

I will keep my thoughts appropriate.

I will keep my thoughts appropriate.

I will keep my thoughts appropriate.


I glanced nervously down at myself.

I will keep my thoughts and body parts appropriate.

The scary man came and shut us in and locked the door. The little box we were in was very, very cramped. I suppose it could have been just me, being so large and all.

It occurred to me only then, as I heard the whirring of an engine starting, that there were no seatbelts.

Bloody hell! We’re going upside-down and there are no bloody seatbelts!?


I looked quickly at Anastasia to see what she was doing. Her hands gripped the bars of the door tightly. Her knuckles were white . . . Maybe she was a little more afraid than she let on.

As the metal screeched and the rickety car began it’s ascent up the loop, it occurred to me that this could be a really fun ride, if it were properly put together, and had seatbelts, and a far less creepy operator. I instinctively grabbed Anastasia around the middle, to protect her from whatever evils were about to befall us.

And then, we began to go upside down. “Oh fuck! Oh bloody fuck! Holy fucking shit, I’m going to die!” The surprisingly distressed cry came from Anastasia.

Uh-oh, who’s going to be the brave one now?

And then we were completely upside down, and then we were falling with the force of gravity and the machine, which caused us - me and Anastasia, both - to scream like little girls.

Fuck, fuck fuck! I’m going to die, die die!

The loops continued, as did our cries of terror.

Finally, the ride jerked to a stop. Anastasia’s unsteady hands fumbled with the lock on the door . . . I was surprised there was even a lock.

Neither of us said anything as we stumbled through the exit gate, but I made sure to have my hands strategically shielding certain places on Anastasia’s body from the view of creepy operator men. We were standing off to the side, watching Lily and James getting into the deadly little box. We still said nothing.

Finally, after the car had begun it’s way up to the top, Anastasia said, “So that’s why you lot never think any of my ideas are good.”

I nodded. “Yup.”

She sighed and shook her head, and we began to make our way around the gate so that we could get back to our friends. “It really looked like fun. You know, I remember this one time, Dad took us to an Amusement Park, because Mum had gotten really upset with us all and took off for a day. Dad didn’t know what else to do, so he brought us there.

“And we rode roller coaster, and merry-go-rounds and I had such a great time. I got this really fun feeling in my tummy on the rides, and that’s how I knew I was having fun, no matter how scared I was . . . Let’s just say I didn’t get the fun feeling in my tummy on that ride. I more thought I was going to fall out of that thing and die. Honestly, never again . . .”

What in the name of Merlin is a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round?

I laughed and unconsciously threw my arm around Anastasia’s waist as we walked. “Should we warm them?” I asked.

“Nope.”

I laughed. “That’s what I thought. Say, d’you want to get something to eat.”

Anastasia nodded excitedly. “Yeah  They have the best types of foods at these places.” She began to chatter excitedly and number off on her hands all the foods she’d eaten when she went to the Amusement Park with her father and brother.

I doubted Anastasia was paying the slightest bit of attention, so I directed her over towards an area particularly dense with metal carts.

“Stop!”

I stopped short and stumbled forward, only to be caught by Anastasia.

I smirked. “Stronger than you look.”

“That’s what they say.”

“. . . So, why did we stop?”

“Oh, right.” Anastasia smiled as we got back on topic. “Slushies.”

“Slushies?”

“Slushies.”

She rooted through the pockets of her too-small-for-my-sanity shorts and pulled out a few muggle notes. “Convenient. I didn’t even know I had those in there.” She skipped the metre or so to the metal cart. Inside was a bored looking girl dressed in a red, blue, and purple striped shirt.

“Can I help you?”

Anastasia tried to peer over the counter, but was barely tall enough; I stepped in, heroically.

“Umm, what is it?” I asked discreetly, trying to get the gist of what I was ordering without appearing obvious.

“Order me a red, and order your favourite color, er flavor,” she instructed me.

“Er, can I have a red, and . . .” I pondered what my favourite flavor was. I would have liked to take my time deciding, buy I felt very pressured. Inside the tiny cart, I saw another person drinking a blue. “A blue.”

“Do you want that red to be a strawberry or a cherry? And what sizes?”

“Strawberry or cherry? And what size?” I asked my partner-in-crime.

She contemplated seriously, and for quite a while too. “Cherry. And a medium.”

I turned to the girl, who looked quite annoyed at the moment and said, “Cherry, and a medium. The blue one is a large, please.”

She snapped her bubble-gum and turned around to talk to the other dude again. I looked back down to Anastasia. “That was terrible,” I cried dramatically.

“Man up, you big baby,” she jeered, laughing. I noticed for the first time that our arms were around each others’ waists.

“Two pounds.” The girl had the two ‘slushies’ on the counter and held her hand out to receive the money. Anastasia pulled two crumpled pound notes out of her pocket and gave them to me. I gave them to the girl who then waved us off.

I handed Anastasia her cherry slushie and she slurped happily away, smiling all the while. I looked apprehensively at mine. “It’s nice, try it,” she urged me. I put my lips to the straw, and what came out of it was pure wonderfulness. It was like sugar, except it had a flavour.

“What is this?” I cried excitedly.

“That’s a blue raspberry slushie.”

“But raspberries aren’t blue . . . Are they?”

Anastasia shrugged. “It tastes good. Does it matter?”

“Nope." So we walked around the carnival, a each with a slushie in one had, and the other arm around the other’s waist.

We finished our slushies around the same time (even though mine was bigger, my food intake rate was always faster than hers) and were about to head back to our friends when Anastasia cried out in excitement again.

“What is it now?” I asked. If it was any more food suggestions, I would most certainly be listening. If it got me another new lovely thing like the slushie, I was all in.

“Fried dough!” she cried. She grabbed my hand (Oh my god!) and pulled me away again towards a metal cart.

She stopped just before hitting the thing and jumped up, ordering, “One fried dough, please.” I suppose jumping was a better alternative to the catastrophic event of me ordering stuff.

The bloke inside laughed at her good-naturedly and told someone that he needed, “One fried dough.”

Instead of turning away from us like a good, sensible person would do, he stayed towards us and engaged Anastasia in conversation. “So, I’ve never seen you around town; do you live here?”

It took Anastasia quite a while to figure out that he was talking to her. In fact, it wasn’t until I nudged her and pointed towards the bloke that she noticed.

“What, oh, er no. I go away to school and I live quite a ways from here. I’m visiting some friends for a while.”

The kid smiled and nodded. He was flirting with Anastasia. Flirting, god dammit  And he was handsome too  He had soft-looking blonde hair, and bright blue eyes, and his skin was golden-tanned.

Woah . . . If anyone else ever heard my thoughts, well, my masculinity would definitely be questioned.

Careful, Sirius. Keep your thoughts on your side of the swing.

I was only trying to judge the competition, I justified to myself.

Stop  That’s not competition, because you’re not after Anastasia, remember?

Right . . .


I jumped back to reality and realized with a jolt that I had missed a large part of the conversation.

But a quick observation told me that Anastasia wasn’t really into it.

Yay!

“That’s one pound.” The other bloke that wasn’t busy chatting up Anastasia brought the fried dough (covered in powdery white stuff) on a plate and held it out to me. Anastasia quickly fumbled with her money and handed yet another crumpled bill over.

“So, maybe I’ll see you around?”  The bloke asked, as we made to leave.

Anastasia nodded and smiled a bit before we turned around left.

“Okay, now, Anastasia, I’m going to grab your arse, don’t get freaked out.” And I did.

Ah, yes, it feels just like I remember
. I smiled to myself.

We both threw a casual glance over our shoulders at the chatty bloke; his face was quite priceless.

And we broke into a fit of laughter as we ran away excitedly.

“So,” I began, after we had settled down on a bench a few minutes later, eating our fried dough. (The powdery white stuff turned out to be sugar, except it was all fine and powdery - go figure.) “Not so into that guy?”

“Yeah, blonds aren’t really my thing,” Anastasia said, laughing.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I agreed.

She popped a piece of dough into her mouth and got a bunch of powered sugar on and around her mouth. I had to use nearly all the self-restraint I possessed to not kiss it off. “Didn’t you date Alex?”

“Yeah, well, she’s the reason.” Anastasia laughed and let her head droop to my shoulder.

“Tired?” I asked. She nodded. I looked down at my watch and was shocked to find that almost three hours had passed since we had gotten to the carnival. Not to mention we had ridden home on the train today - it was nearly eleven o’clock, and it had been a fairly busy day.

I hadn’t even noticed that I was finishing the dough all myself; Anastasia had fallen asleep on my shoulder. She was so adorable when she was sleeping. I definitely just wanted to sit there and watch her sleep, but we needed to find the others and get going. I gently shook her awake.

“Anastasia, get up.” She scrunched her face at the awakening and rubbed her eyes a bit.

She mumbled and stood up before stumbling and falling back onto the bench.

“I meant wake up, not get up. Dumbarse.” Anastasia sleepily swatted at the air around my face. I kissed her on the top of her head. “But don’t worry, you’re my dumbarse.”

In another minute, she was fit to stand and walk. I had my arm around her waist to keep her going and steady. I was going to take us to the entrance. I figured that the rest of our crew would be there eventually, so it was the best place to wait. But I got distracted on the way.

“Anastasia, what’s a ‘Big Wheel?’”

She looked up and followed my gaze, still groggy. “Oh, the ‘Big Wheel.’ It’s what they decided to call that Ferris Wheel. A Ferris Wheel is just this thing that you get in and it goes around. It’s another one of your ‘metal deathtraps.’”

“Well, this one doesn’t look as deathytrappy.” I looked in my pocket and found the two extra tickets James had given me. “Look, I have enough tickets for us; let’s go on.” I pulled on Anastasia, but she stayed rooted to that spot.

“Come on ” I urged.

“Nah, I don’t think so.” Anastasia no longer looked groggy, but wary, as she glanced at the ‘Big Wheel.’ In fact, it was the same way I had looked at her choice of deathtrap. Was it . . . Could it be . . . Anastasia Xanthis was afraid of something!? (Besides spiders, that is.)

“You’re afraid,” I accused.

“Am not!” she insisted. The indignance in her voice couldn’t hide what I knew was there.

“Don’t even bother trying, Anastasia. I know you better than you do.”

She snorted in a very ‘as if’ manner and crossed her arms petulantly. “I’m not going.”

“You owe me.”

She scrunched her face angrily. “Fine.” She stormed past me and into line.

I laughed. If there was one thing that girl was guaranteed to make me do, it was laugh.

And make your thoughts run wildly inappropriate.


Yeah . . . that too.

Anastasia didn’t say anything as we waited to get on the ride. The line was admittedly shorter, but I didn’t even hear a peep out of her.

She silently got onto the bench as I handed the operator the tickets. This one was creepy and similar looking to the other creepy operator, but at least had to decency to not stare at Anastasia. She sat rigidly, leaning against the cold metal side and jumped at the loud ‘clang’ that the lapbar made as it fell into place.

“Now tell me,” I requested, as the operator walked away to start the ride, “how you’re afraid of this and not that.” I gestured to the deathtrap we’d ridden earlier, that was lit up in the distance.

“I’m not afraid,” Anastasia insisted, speaking for the first time in ten minutes or so.

“Then what?” I challenged. “What are you if you’re not afraid.”

“I’m . . . disinclined to enjoy . . . heights.”

“So, you’re afraid of heights?”

“I’m not afraid!” she cried angrily, and whacked me on the shoulder. However, she stopped immediately when the cart/bench type thing we were on began to rock. I looked over the edge and saw that we weren’t even that high up; the guy had to continually stop the thing so that he could unload and load people for the next ride.

Oh, poor Anastasia. We’re going to stop at the top.


“Okay, okay.” I decided I didn’t want to stress her any further. “So, if you’re disinclined to enjoy heights, why are you okay on a broomstick?”

She shrugged. “I dunno, it’s different, I suppose. I guess I like heights, just not this kind.”

Anastasia jerked as the ride started up again, only to stop a few seconds later. Her breathing became more ragged as she looked down. To her credit, we were getting quite high at that point.

I grabbed her hand (I’ll admit I was taking advantage of her rather distressed state) and moving my fingers in a calming, circular motion. She let me for nearly ten seconds before jerking her hand away. “I don’t need to be calmed down.”

I put my hands up in surrender. “Alright, alright. No need to get feisty.”

Oh, my dear, how entertaining thee are.


She rested her head on my shoulder and we chatted like the whole episode hadn’t happened. That was, until the ride stopped and we were stop right at the tippy top.

“Oh, Godric,” Anastasia groaned, and threw her head into my lap.

It was my turn to jump.

Oh. Oh, fuck. Anastasia! Come on! Get your head out of there! You’ve giving my brain ideas! Stop!

Admittedly, I’d had aspirations that our relationship would eventually lead to us in a position very similar to this . . . (I’m a guy, so sue me.) And they'd happened. And now this was just bringing back memories. Memories that did not need to be remembered in the middle of a carnival.

I picked her head up out of my lap and squeezed her face between my hands so that here face resembled one of those funny fishies. “Now, you listen to me. You’re Anastasia-fucking-Xanthis! You’re not disinclined to enjoy anything. Except spiders, which you’re afraid of, and therefore don’t enjoy at all . . . But that’s it! Now! You’re going to enjoy this ‘Big Wheel’ ride. Okay?”

And she smiled. Thank Merlin, she smiled. “Okay.”

She slipped her hand into mine and laced her fingers. She then caught my eye. “Just in case.”

The ride was much more enjoyable after the man had loaded all the passengers. It was a smooth ride, and we went around quite a few times, before the Ferris Wheel slowed down and finally came to a stop.

“Enjoy your ride?” the man asked, taking his cigar (much worse smelling than the cigarettes) out of his mouth, and blowing a smoke-ring.

“Yes, thank you for asking,” Anastasia answered. And the best part was that she looked like she meant it.

As we walked down the exit ramp, I noticed the familiar, sleepy look in her eye.

“I’m tired, Sirius. Carry me?” she asked. And she - looking all cute in her short-shorts, t-shirt and my too-big denim jacket - got me to say yes. Not that I wouldn’t have anyway, but that just made me smile even more as I scooped her up under her knees.

As I started again towards the entrance to meet everybody, Anastasia threw her arms around my neck, presumably to make it easier for me to carry her, but she was as light as a feather to me. (That was, of course, probably owed to my crazy insane strength and size, seeing as she was a girl and not a feather, but you know . . . )

It took a few minutes to cross the fairgrounds, but I caught sight of everyone right away. We were quite a rambunctious group.

Jason had Remus balanced on his shoulders, and the latter was trying to touch the arching, red and white sign that read ‘Carnival.’ James had Lily pinned against a tree and was snogging her in a way far too grotesque for public, and intermittently pausing to tickle her.

Damon, Darren and Peter had formed a circle and were playing with . . .Something.

Fuck, are those action figures?

And every one of them was yelling loudly and excitedly. (Except for Lily and James, of course. And even Lily contributed to the noise with her shreaks of laughter when James paused to tickle her.)

Anastasia was mumbling something sleepily and incoherently. “Loud . . . dumbarses . . . tired.”

Remus, up high and all, was the first to spot us. “Crap! Is Anna okay?”

I was confused - of course she was okay - until I remembered that I was carrying her. Remus caught everyone else’s attention and they all dropped what they were doing and made their way over to us.

“Oh, yeah, she just got tired so I carried her.”

Remus shook his head despairingly at me. “He spoils you, Anna.”

She laughed sleepily from my arms. “Yeah, I know. It’s one of the reasons I keep him around.”
   
We all laughed until Jason assumed his ‘big brother’ role. “Where did you disappear to all day?”

“Oh, well, we were on our way back to you after we got off that bloody death trap and Anastasia got distracted by the slushies.”

“Sure, blame it on me,” she mumbled, half-smiling.

“Well, it was your fault.

“Anyway,” I continued. “We kept meaning to find you guys and then we kept getting distracted again. You know how that is with us.”

They all nodded. Because they all did know. Everybody knew.

Everyone was a bit more subdued now, and James and Lily even had the sense to look abashed at their activities.

“Does anyone know when Mum is coming to get us?” I asked, thinking I may have missed the information while me and Anastasia were away frolicking.

“Nope,” Peter replied, smiling happily as he was munching on the fluffy blue and pink stuff. (Again.)

“But we’re hoping she hasn’t forgotten about us,” James put in.

We all sat in a big group on the grass by the entrance, so we had a good view of the cars pulling up. We all kept an eye out for Mum’s Jag. 


“I see her!” Lily cried excitedly. We all cheered, including Anastasia, who was half-dozing with her head in my lap. Everyone clambered to their feet and I picked Anastasia up again, without being asked. We noisily made our way towards the car and the doors were open and waiting for us when we got there. It occurred to me for the first time, as we all climbed in again, that there was definitely some magic on this car - no way should it be able to hold ten people.

The thought fled from my mind as we began to drive again. Anastasia had curled up in my lap, and all her dozing was making me tired as well. I think everyone was fairly worn out, and it’s safe to say that the ride home was much more quiet than the ride there.

I was woken from my slumber by the car jerking to a stop. I looked sleepily around through half-closed eyes and saw that we were back home. Anastasia was breathing deeply - actually sleeping now, no longer dozing - and I didn’t have the heart to wake her up. (Well, yes, I did; I’d done it before. I just chose not to at that moment.)

Mum turned off the ignition and began to gently shake all us kids (and Jason, who really should be included in the ‘kids.’) But I stopped her before she could awaken Anastasia. As everyone sleepily climbed from the car (James offered to carry Lily up to the house, which she agreed to) I could hear Mum humming to herself.

We all stumbled up towards the mansion. Haha, we probably look like a pack of zombies . . . Wait, do zombies travel in packs? There were no lights on outside, except for the small bit of light that Mum gave us from the tip of her wand, and when we stepped into the house, Mum only dimmed the lights. For that I’m sure we were all grateful, because everyone knows that the equivalent to hell is having someone turn the lights on when you’ve just woken up.

We all expressed tired excitement when we saw that Mum had set up loads of blankets on the floor for us to sleep; no need to climb stairs. We all collapsed onto the piles of bedclothes. With the amount of padding there was, it was nearly as comfortable as a bed. We all mumbled goodnights to each other and gave up one layer of cushioning to make for blankets.

I wonder where Mum got enough blankets for all nine of us?
I thought.

However, the question didn’t matter, because I was dead tired. I had set Anastasia down next to me and she refused to let go; I was her over-sized, live teddy bear.

She planted a sleepy kiss on my nose, and mumbled, “Night . . . love you, guys.” Before her deep, rhythmic breathing commenced again. Her breath was sweet - like cherry and sugar. The continuous, steady sound was quickly lulling me back to sleep. Before I could catch the elusive devil that was sleep, Jason nudged my shoulder.

“Did you take my advice, mate?” he asked.

I smiled, knowing immediately what he was talking about. “Yeah, I only hope it works . . . Let’s just say, I don’t know how much longer I can deal with being only her friend.”

“Just give it a little while,”Jason encouraged me. “Let her start it again, because she definitely will.”
                   
I smiled gratefully, and then I couldn’t help but tease my pseudo-older brother a bit. “Don’t you feel a bit foolish, hanging around with a bunch of teenagers?”

Jason laughed quietly. “On the contrary, it makes me feel good about myself. It means a don’t take myself too seriously. That’s a concept you lot should be pretty familiar with.”

“Too right,” I agreed. We shared a bit of hushed laughter before quiet fell between us. I turned to Anastasia again and threw my arm around her shoulder.

I might as well take advantage of the situation, yeah?

I kissed her lightly on her forehead, before resting my head near hers and letting her soft, slow breathing lull me to sleep.
                                       

A/N: For those on the metric . . . 4 inches is equal to about 10 cm and 30 pounds is 15 kg, give or take.          

A/N3: I think this is the longest chapter yet. :D Ah, I miss these long chapters. They make me smile a lot. I love writing long chapters. And reading them. And writing them. Pardon me, it’s about three in the morning and my medicine is telling me to go to sleep, but the creative burst I’m on is telling me not to. Damn, these always hit me at the worst of times. But this time, it hit me so nicely, that I actually enjoyed writing Sirius’ POV, something that is usually my least favorite POV to write. Anyways, I hope you all have enjoyed this chapter as much as I did. :D

A/N4: I would like to dedicate this chapter to Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, Mayday Parade and All Time Low, whose music was playing pretty much the entire time I was writing this chapter, and always makes me smile. Smile smile smile smile smile smile smile. :D   

A/N5: Waaaaah! Now I have more formatting problems. My computer decided to die on me, so we had to give it to the computer guy who fixed it up and but Firefox on my computer instead of Explorer. And now my formatting problems are worse! All my special text (like italics and bold) are gone and I have to fix them again. And it could totally be okay, except that all of my exclamation points are gone and I have to go back and put them in. Have you ever noticed how excited the Marauders and Anna always are? I totally didn't until I had to go back and put in exclamation points, and oh boy, I think I'm going to have to download Explorer again, because this is terrible! Okie dokie, I'm done ranting now. :D So if there are only lovely, strange spaces throughout the chapter they were probably supposed to be exclamation points.







Chapter 55: Two Hints Lust (Three Hints Guilt)
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



Two hints lust then I mix some charm with a dash of wits.
Add some good looks and then,
Close the door and dim the lights.
(This will finally be the night)
-The Audition



“Mum, we’re peacing out!” James called, as each of us levitated our trunks towards the front door.

We’d stayed at James’ house for a good two weeks after that day at the fair. Jason was gone the next morning before the rest of us woke up - work, I suppose. Lily had stayed for a week before returning home to spend some time with her parents. Darren had gone home as well, and planned to meet up with us again at my house. And Damon - good ol’ Damon - stuck with us.

“James, honey, be careful. And Anna, dear, be sure you don’t get off in the wrong house again.”

Of course, you have to bring that up, Mrs. Potter,
I thought.

After we'd woken up and found Jason gone those two weeks ago, I had flooed home with my trunk and tried to come back with a small bag . . . Let’s just say it took me two tries to get back to the Potters. Luckily the house that I ended up in first had a very nice, understanding family living in it. They gave me a few cookies to take for the road. Like I said - very nice.

“I will, Mrs. Potter,” I promised and squeezed her happily around the middle. I tried to be gentle, though, as she was still looking rather fragile.

“Come on, let’s go!” Pete cried excitedly. “I love Anna’s house! It’s so much fun!”

“You just like it because they have tubs of chocolate frosting that you’re allowed to just sit around and eat,” Remus pointed out.

Pete was quite for a few moments. “. . . So?”

Remus laughed and shook his head and motioned for as all to come. I waved happily and excitedly at Mrs. Potter as I handed my dufflebag to Damon, who stood next to me.

Oh, Damon. Last night . . . Last night . . .

___

It was nearly four in the morning, and the boys were already asleep. I'd spent an entire hour trying to entertain myself, and was extremely unsuccessful.

Darren was snoring loudly next to me. I jabbed him in the shoulder with my elbow. He didn’t respond. I hit him a few more time before he snorted and sprung up to sitting position. “Waz goin’ on? Who’s attacking? Those damn pythons again? Alright, I’ll get my gun.”

“Darren, pssst! Darren! Wake-up!”

He groaned and shifted around so he was facing me. “Anna. Dear God, what do you want from me?”

“I’m bored.”

He hit me. And said nothing.

“Ugh, fine.” I went around the circle and hit each of the Marauders like I had whacked Darren. (Remus, Sirius, Peter, and James - in that order.) None of them woke up. It was quite upsetting. I had made nearly an entire circle by the time I made it to Damon. (Who was lying spread eagle on top of the blankets with his arm draped over Darren.)

“Damon. Daaaamooooon.”

He groaned in response; out of all the boys, he was easily the easiest to wake.

“Good morning, Mr. Damon! I’m bored.”

“Anna, what is wrong with you?”

“Lot’s of things . . . Now sit up, Greek boy; I need entertaining ”

To my surprise (and excitement) he did.

“Now if only this lump would move,” I said, gesturing to Darren, who was once again snoring away.

“I’ll take care of this,” Damon offered. He was still very disoriented, so when he went to turn Darren over into the spot where I had been laying before, he turned over the wrong person. James was flipped onto Peter instead . . . Poor saps didn’t even notice.

“Ah, perfect  A space for moi to lay down.” I put my hands out in front of my to catch myself as I fell to my stomach. I had learned the hard way that when you’re a girl, falling on your front side hurts a bit.

“I’m so excited that you woke up, dude. Sirius is usually the only one who’ll entertain me when I’m bored in the middle of the night, and he just refused to wake up.”

“You’re just so needy, aren’t you?” he joked.

Uhhh, I hope not.

“So . . . Tell me your life story, Damon. I’m bored and I love stories.”

“Has anyone ever called you a nutter before?”

“I stopped counting when I turned fifteen.”

Damon smiled. “Well, fair enough, then. But it’s quite long and boring.”

“You just don’t feel like pulling it all together,” I accused him. “Alright, then. Whatever happened to that girl that you were dating?”

“I dropped her - not literally, of course - I mean I broke up with her. She got rather clingy.”

I could see only the outlines of Damon’s reminiscent face in the dark, and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

“What? What’s so funny?”

“You. You’re probably the only bloke that I’m friends with that isn’t a total girl. You know how Sirius is your twin? Well, we must’ve been wrong, because he is quite possibly the biggest girl I know.”

“What can I say? I’m a very manly man.”

“You’re also a very creepy man.”

He shrugged. “Eh. Yeah, that too.”

We were both lying on top of the blankets, facing each other. Somehow, our hands had gotten rather close and were touching.

“You have the nicest eyes,” Damon said out of no where.

Now, normally, I would have been fairly complimented. But under the circumstances, (there was no way one could see in the really dark without night vision goggles,) I had to call him out on bullshit.

“Because you can see them and all, right?” I taunted.

“Whoops. I guess lines don’t work all the time.”

Damon was trying to use a line on me?

“Were you trying to use a line on me? ”

“Yeah . . . So?”

I - I suppose he’s right. I mean, we hooked up last time, on Christmas, right? Why am I really that shocked that he’s working on it again?

“Nothing, I suppose.” I moved my hand that was touching Damon’s a little bit closer against him.

Oh, sure, just ignore every blatant feeling in your head and hook up with Damon - again.

Oh, dear. I was going to be confusing myself again.
What blatant feelings? Boredom? Won’t that be cured by hooking up with Damon?

Merlin and Godric, you’re rather thick sometimes.

Yes, thank you.

While the voices inside my head were raging at each other, Damon had inched a bit closer to me. And I had gotten a bit nearer to him in return.

Well, explain, then, dammit, if you’re so smart.

Fine! Thought about Sirius lately?

A few months ago, I would not have caught onto the underlying motives of the question. However, after having dealt with the more mental part of my brain for a good year or so, I was beginning to catch on more quickly.

I haven’t, as a matter of fact. I thought we’d decided that that whole thing wasn’t going to work.

No, that’s what you decided.

We’re the same bloody person!

The voices inside my head made me want to scream. At the same time, Damon’s fingers were lightly trailing up and down my arm and around my shoulder.

You know what . . . I know how to shut you up.

So, I cut the pleasantries with Damon. I started snogging him with no prelude. At first, it was a fairly innocent kiss, just his lips playing with mine. It was, however, enough to shut up the voice in the back of my head.

But soon, I started getting quite into the snog that we were having. I didn’t even think about how the sixteen year old me would have beaten up the seventeen year old me. I hardly had time to admonish myself to succumbing to the fingerholds of kissing and sex-stuff over the past year-

-because I was too busy clashing my lips and tongue against Damon’s. I slid one of my legs through his and hooked it around to give myself more balance as I sat up and caged him down with an arm on each side of him.

“Anna, Anna,” he said breathlessly as I took a break from his mouth and kissed up and down the side of his face. “This is such a bad idea.”

“Bad idea is my middle name,” I told him, as I went back to kissing him.

He rolled carefully and quietly so that he was atop of me now, and kissed my neck gently. With practised, roaming hands, he toyed with the lines of indecency. I was in for a bit of a surprise when Damon (like Sirius) was
also able to accomplish what Darren had not been. Of course, that set me off laughing, and if anything was enough to end a kiss, laughter was.


At a later date it would occur to me how mental it was for Damon and I to get quite so into it lying next to my best friends. But at the moment it was no concern.


It was a few minutes later when I was able to stop laughing. I didn’t explain to Damon (who hadn’t noticed, and wasn’t going to be informed) what had got me laughing, or what exactly I was laughing about - only that I was having a feeling of deja vu.

“But that was
quite an entertaining kiss,” I admitted.

“Yup - we barely snogged at all last Christmas - see what you were missing?”

I laughed again (probably for the billionth time that past hour or so) and told Damon good night, before rolling over and being lulled into sleep with almost no thoughts in my head.

But sleep eluded me once again. I was crossing the threshold of sleep when I remembered - Sirius. And for whatever, God-forsaken reason, I felt guilty.

There’s no reason to, I assured myself. Beside me, I could tell that Damon had fallen back asleep; his slow, quiet breathing clued me in.

You can snog whomever you like. You and Sirius are not together. Nor do you want to be.

Or do you?

Oh, shut up.
___               

Yeah, so, we’d gone at it with Darren and the Marauders sleepily oblivious surrounding us. Damon and I smiled pleasantly at each other as we stood before the fireplace.

I waited until all the boys Flooed to my house, and then grabbed a small handful of powder for myself.

“17 Marks Place!” I tucked my elbows in and prepared for the majorly spinny ride. I’d gotten quite good at keeping my eyes open while Flooing and not puking. Very few people could master that - I could.

“Home sweet home!” I shouted happily as I stumbled into my kitchen. “Daddy!” I ran and threw my arms around him. “I haven’t seen you in forever!”

It was true; I hadn’t seen him since the previous summer, and even then I rarely saw him during the day. He looked older. I mean, his hair had always been gray (apparently he’d starting greying as soon as Jason was born,) but his face was always unlined. I saw extra creases in his face as he smiled at me.

Jeese, what is it with all these parents looking older?


“Anna, honey, how are you?”

“Happy!” I answered.

“Atta girl.” He kissed me on the forehead asked, “Weren’t your mates supposed to come, too?”

I scrunched up my face in confusion. “Did they not come?”

He shook his head.

I smacked my palm against my forehead and sighed. “Godric! Finally, I don’t get lost, and now they do . . . Alright, time to call up the neighbours.”

I was reaching for the red, rotary phone when I heard a crash and a large amount of coughing. I turned around to see James sprawled on the kitchen floor, on top of one of the overturned kitchen chairs. And covered in lots of soot.

“Er, James?”

He coughed a bit and then looked up and smiled. “Sorry, dude. Well, okay, so, Pete went first, and he ended up saying ‘17 Starks Place’ and we didn’t know where he went. So Remus followed him because Pete would totally get lost, and, well, you know how me and Sirius just usually follow Remus wherever he goes - oomf ”

James’ body convulsed and Sirius landed on top of him.

“Ugh, Sir-irius - can’t - breath.”

“Oh, right.” Sirius smiled and rolled off of James.

They were laying, spread-eagle next to each other on the floor when Damon came through the fireplace and stepped on James’ back.

He groaned again and tried to kick Damon, who tripped over his leg and fell to the floor.

My Dad turned to me and asked, “Does this sort of thing always happen?”

“Oh, yes,” I assured him.

“Alright.” He smiled, waved to the boys, and walked out of the room while sorting through some mail.

“Where’re the other two dumbarses?” I asked as James stood up and righted the chair he had knocked over.

“Well,” Sirius drawled. “I’m sure James told you that we ended up at 17 Starks Place, right? Well . . . What word do you know that sounds kind of like 'starks?’”

I thought. “Uhhh. Marks? Parks? Blarks? Crarks? I don’t know?”

“Starkers!”

I put on my ‘thinking face.’ “So . . . You three ended up in a strip club?”

“Exactly!” Sirius cried jumping up excitedly. “Wait, you actually got that - I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Wow, that’s hilarious!” I said. And it was hilarious. The Marauders in a strip club, even if it was only for a few minutes. Oh, the havoc that must have gone on.

“And Remus and Peter are still there because . . .?” I prompted.

“Because, they’re Remus and Peter, duh!” James answered. “Oh, poor Darren is going to be so upset that he missed this.”

I nodded and thought of Darren’s devastated face when we broke the news to him. “Yeah, true. Well, let’s split and find something fun to do.”

“Should we wait for them?” Damon asked.

I waved him off. “Nah, they’ll be a while.”

Damon shrugged and the three boys followed me into the common room, where I crashed onto the couch. “So what’s there to do around here?”

I went to answer, but Sirius beat me to it. “Well, usually we watch movies, or eat, or make cupcakes, or go to the beach.”

I was about to say something when Jason Apparated into the room. He landed softly on the dark, wine-colored rug that sat in the center. The loud crack that accompanied his Apparation made me jump a mile into the air.                       

Jason laughed at me. “So, I heard someone say, ‘we watch movies,’ did I not?”

Sirius nodded.

“Well, lookie what I have here . . .” He was holding something behind his back, and Sirius jumped up to look. Jason turned in a circle, as Sirius followed his motions, trying to get a look at whatever was making Jason so excited.

“Will you just show me already?” Sirius whined, sitting dejectedly down by Jason’s feet, pouting.
                               
Jason smirked. “Well . . . Okay.” He pulled a medium-sized, rectangular box out from behind his back, and it took me a few moments to recognize it as a VHS case. It took a few more moments for my eyes to focus on what was on the case.

“Oh my god! It’s Star Wars!” Sirius, James and I shouted in unison.

Jason took a step back and looked at us apprehensively. “You guys spend way too much time together.”

“Yes, yes, yes, we know,” Sirius we assured him. “Hand it over, already!”

Jason laughed, and threw it to James without warning, who caught it anyway.

Jason nodded appreciatively. “Chaser reflexes.”

Sirius was impatiently waiting for Jason and James to end their little episode. “I want to watch Star Wars! Put it on!”

James raised an eyebrow. “Me? How the hell am I supposed to know how to do it?” He tossed it back to Jason and asked him to put it on for us.

We all sat around excitedly as Jason took the videotape and put it into the player for us.

“What is-” Damon began to ask.

“Don’t question, just watch,” I demanded.

Two hours later, Damon was just as much of a Star Wars nut as we were.

“That was awesome!” he cried.

“’Round these parts, you’d say ‘bloody brilliant’,” Sirius explained.

“That was bloody brilliant!” Damon yelled.

Sirius nodded. “Alright, I’m bored, I’m going to go explore.”

Damon sat, draped on the couch, spluttering and protesting as Sirius transformed into his Animagus form and took off.

Jason, who was still in the room, cast a look at where Sirius had been perched on an armchair a few moments earlier, to the archway he had leapt out of a few seconds ago. “I’m not even going to ask.” He Apparated (Godric, I wish I knew where that boy goes to all the time.) and the room was quiet.

I turned to Damon, ready to explain everything to him; the werewolf, the rat, the stag, the dog, the Shrieking Shack, the everything. And then I thought of Remus, and his four-year reluctance to tell me - perhaps he’d rather be there when all that explaining happened. I decided to talk it over with Remus later on.

“Er, want to go find him?” I suggested.

Damon just looked at me, still confused, and stood up. “I’m just going to follow you.”

We left James, asleep on the couch, and walked into the kitchen, where Sirius was waiting patiently - his tongue hanging out happily - for someone to open the glass door for him.

“If we let you out to explore will you promise to come back before it gets totally dark?” I asked Sirius. A quick glance outside told me he’d have a half hour or so before it became dark, as dusk was just beginning.

When will the other dumbarses be back?


Padfoot (as we all liked to refer to Sirius when he was transformed) shook his head up and down and pawed lightly at the door before jumping up and slobbering kisses all over my face.

“Oh, gross! Sirius, will you get down?” I laughed and complained when Sirius jumped. The huge dog (definitely bigger than me, and approaching the size of a small bear) sat down and whimpered at the door.

“Alright, stop whining.. No ticks; we’re not picking them off you later!” I yelled at Sirius as he bounded out the door. I was sure we’d be picking ticks off of him later. “Want to see the rest of the house?” I asked Damon, after I had slid the door closed.

“Erm, sure, but I was wondering if you could-”

“Explain?” I guesses. He nodded. “Later. It’s a bit complicated and I’d like to get all the guys involved, since they are all involved.”

“Alright then,” Damon agreed. “Let’s see the rest of the house.”

So I led him through the downstairs. I showed him the loo that was in the corridor. I showed him the second common room (the one that was full of fancy furniture - no one ever went into it) and the dining room that was adjacent to the kitchen. I led him down to the basement, which had been done-over since last summer. I was surprised to see that most of the boxes had been moved to the corner so that an old couch could sit opposite to the television that used to sit in the common room.

I was excited to find a deep freeze filled with popsicles and frozen pizza. And when I say excited, I mean absolutely thrilled. Damon didn’t see what was so special; I told him it was because he’d never had frozen pizza or a popsicle before, and therefore, he was a deprived child.

I tried to explain frozen pizza to Damon as we climbed two sets of stairs so that we were on the second floor. I briefly pointed out my parents room, Jason’s old room, my bedroom, and the guest bedroom.

“That’s probably where you’ll be staying, but maybe not. You guys will probably get tired of stepping on each other and go to Jason’s room or something; it’s pretty small and there’s, like, a bazillion of you.” Damon followed me into the room, and I gestured to the larger bed, and the four cots that were crammed around the perimeter of the room.

“I’m tired,” I claimed, and dive-bombed the largest bed. I figured that jumping onto one of the cots could have ended badly.

“Me too. Jeese, hanging out with you lot is tiring work.” Damon laughed and lay down next to me.

“Yeah, well, you get used to it. It’s also a bit easier for us since we’re ninety percent water and ten percent chocolate. And chocolate has quite a bit of caffeine in it, you know.”

Damon laughed, and when he flipped over to his side and winked at me.

“Has anyone told you that you have the nicest eyes?”

I laughed.

“They always just look so life-like and happy.”

I smiled. I always took pride in my happiness. “Yeah, don’t they?”

“And you’re always smiling,” he pointed out.

“I’d like to think that helps balance out my bad traits.”

“Bad traits? Like what?” Damon questioned.

“Umm . . . I dunno, you’d have to ask someone else, because I’m under the impression that I’m absolutely perfect,” I said earnestly. It came off a bit as a joke, but it wasn’t really one.

Damon laughed, and before I knew what happening, he had kissed me lightly on the lips. And it didn’t even take ten seconds for our escapade to escalate to what it had been last night.

Once he kissed me, the rational part of my brain had turned off. I no longer remembered that I was in my house, where it was possible for either of my parents, my mates, and my brother to walk in. It was barely any time at all before I had rolled over and straddled my legs around his waist. My hands ran through his hair and over his shoulders.

It was then that my mind began returning to me, and I remembered that guilt that had robbed me of an extra half an hour of sleep the previous night. But my instinct told me to keep going. Damon’s hand traveled from my back to my shoulders and -

“Bloody hell!"

Damon sprang off of me faster than the kangaroos that the Marauders and I had played with in Australia the previous summer. My head snapped towards the door to see Peter standing, shell-shocked, with Remus behind him, also looking rather gob-smacked.

Remus muttered something to Peter, who nodded. No one took their eyes off of me and Damon (who had long since moved as far away from me as possible while still remaining on the bed.)

“Well, this is a bit awkward.”

“Yeah, just a bit,” Remus agreed.

The four of us stayed stock still in a silent battle when Sirius appeared behind Peter and Remus.  “What’s going on? Oh, and don’t worry, Anastasia, I’ve already checked myself for ticks.”

I waited for someone to explain to Sirius what they had caught me and Damon doing; no one did and I was rather surprised. However, I didn’t feel like explaining myself, because guilt was too busy raging through my blood and poisoning me as quickly as a Basilisk’s venom.

“I’m sure you did,” I said sarcastically. “But someone’s going to double-check before you sit on the furniture and let those creepy creatures get everywhere.”

He frowned and nodded. It wasn’t like he hadn’t told us that before, and we’d woken up to those damn little blood suckers on someone else. We had to completely hose down the entire guest room because of that lovable, damned dog.

“We’ll just make the sleepy head do it,” I decided. “Sirius, go wake up James.”

He grumbled and mumbled as he left the room. “Almost makes running around not fun at all.”

Peter and Remus walked, still amazed and dead silent, into the room so that they were near me and Damon.

“What the hell was that?” Peter exploded. “When did you two get together?”

“We’re not,” I answered simply.

“So what are you doing together, if you guys aren’t together?” It was Remus, this time.

Crap, he sounds angry.                    

“What the hell are you doing, asking me that? Coming from you, Remus.”

Crap, again. I always made it a point not to taunt Remus about his one-night-stands and random hookups. He never made fun of my sometimes deranged actions, so I returned the favor.

I just looked at the ground, not saying anything, and I didn’t even have time to brace myself. Remus grabbed my arm, nearly pulling my shoulder out of it’s socket and marched me into the hallway, where were could keep our conversation private from Damon and Pete.

“What are you doing together?” he repeated.

“I dunno,” I mumbled. “It just seemed like a fun idea at the time . . .”

Remus took in a deep breath. He shook his blond hair out of his face and I watched the dark scar next to his eye lighten; it always got a bit more prominent when he was stressed and angry. “Sorry,” he apologized. “And I really am. Sometimes I just forgot that you and Sirius aren’t together anymore. And, you know . . .”

Remus looked so guilty. And there was no reason for it. Sure, I suppose he overreacted a bit with his anger, but it wasn’t like I was scarred because of it. He only reacted in his own special way.

“Listen, I don’t need a lecture from your, Remus. I feel guilty enough as it is.” I looked down at the ground and ran my big toe up and now the glossy, wood floor.

“Why-”

“Please don’t ask, Remus. I don’t know why, and I don’t want to talk about it either.”

He smiled. “Fair enough. You have fun with Damon this summer. Just - just be careful where you guys decide to snog like that with the door unlocked, alright?”

I nodded before I stuck my head back into the bedroom. “Now, who wants cupcakes?”

There was a clap of thunder outside, synonymous with the loud, crashing sound made by stampeding, teenage boys.

“Watch out!” I called downstairs. “Cupcake-deprived, raving lunatics on the loose.”  I waited until the three boys had sped past me and started down the stairs before I slid down the banister myself.

I caught up with the guys as they tried to push and shove their way through the door that led to the kitchen. I gave Damon and playful, flirtatious tap in the bum. He turned around and winked at me before pushing the rest of the guys through the door. They fell in a pile at my Dad’s feet.

“You lot again, eh?”

Remus looked up at my Dad’s smirking face sheepishly. “Sorry, Mr. Xanthis. We were going to make some cupcakes and got a bit overexcited.”

He nodded. “Yes, I know.” Then gestured to Sirius and James. James' entire top half was covered in powder and Sirius had a streak of chocolate frosting running from his knee to his shoulder. They had already started making the cupcake batter; Sirius held down the large, metal mixing bowl and James stirred the wooden spoon vigorously, sending bits of batter all over the kitchen. “So have Sirius and James, apparently. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to head upstairs before I end up looking like either one of those two.”

He smiled pleasantly and stepped over the pile of boys. The door swung closed as Peter, Damon and Remus scrambled to their feet.

“And your Dad doesn’t care that you guys make a total mess?” Damon asked, as Remus and Peter scrambled over to their fellow Marauders to take the frosting tub out of Sirius’ posession.

I shrugged. “Not really, as long as we clean up after ourselves. My Mum isn’t quite that lenient, but she’s away for the next few days, so it’s one big party now.”

“Sounds cool-” Damon was cut off as James pushed him out of the way to get to me. It took me a few seconds to realize what was going on; I was being locked out of my house again, this time in the rain. James’ battery, chocolatey hands pushed my back through my house. I clung to the door frame of the kitchen for dear life as he attempered to push me into the corridor.

“No!” I cried, as I lost my grip and found myself being pushed along the corridor. With no other options left, I threw myself to the ground and attempted to grab onto whatever I could find. But, alas, James picked me up. I kicked and squirmed and attempted to make myself heavier, but to no avail.

Really, Anna, you’re a failure. James isn’t even that strong and he can carry you? What the hell’s wrong with you - can’t even properly squiggle out of sometimes arms!

But to my excitement, I managed to break free of his hold just as we reached the front door. I immediately curled up into a fetal position and refused to let him grab me again.

James sighed. “Sirius!” he bellowed.

Psh. Of course.

“Come on, James! That’s playing dirty! Sirius could probably pick up the Hogwarts Express and carry it outside if he wanted to!”

James smirked as Sirius sauntered from the kitchen and scooped me up into his arms like nothing. “I know.”

I thrashed in Sirius’ arms, as he carried me from the safety of the porch overhang and dropped me on the wet, soggy grass. He sprinted back into the house before I could even get up, and then spent the next five minutes making faces at me from the window.

Of course, I flipped him off. Oh, those boys are so dead.


A/N: Ta-da! Chapter 55! Also known as the anniversary chapter! Yaaay! I’m a bit disappointed with this chapter - no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get this to work the way I wanted . . .  Oh well, it’s definitely better than the first few versions of it I had. So, I know I’m two days late for the 2/28, one-year anniversary (which makes me slightly angry and frustrated)  however, I was partying Saturday night, and as I went to post the chapter last night, those stupid formatting problems struck again, and I spent nearly twenty minutes reading through and putting all the exclamations and italics in. Then, when I hit submit, my HPFF session had timed out, and I was too disheartened to do it all again in one night.  So, I hope you guys enjoyed this chapter and Anna's random hook-ups/guilt.

A/N2: Fun Facts

James: When he was born, his Mum was 101 and his Dad was 107. (Old, it seems, but JK said that James’ parents were old by Wizarding Standards when they died, which was sometime before James did. And seeing as Dumbledore is about 150, I figured that was a good age.) Despite his parents’ actual age, they appear to be in their 50s.

Remus: Has developed a fool-proof method of contraception.

Anna: Has, in the past, considered becoming a Journalist, a History of Magic Professor, a Healer, and a Professional Quidditch player.

Lily: Used to want to die her hair brown.

Anna: Never received ‘The Talk’ from her parents - her father never tried, and she cut her mother off every time she tried.

A/N3: Oh, and also in honor of Polychromatic's one-year anniversary, I will finally be updating the summary. (Sometime within the next week days when I have less essays to write and exams to study for.)

A/N4: And thanks to everyone (though you probably won't end up reading this) who pointed out all the places where I accidentally said Darren where I meant Damon, and things like that. My brain got a bit confused when I was writing this (originally, they were both in this chapter) and I thought I caught and fixed all those errors when I looked over this . . . Obviously not. :D




Chapter 56: I Left My Conscience (Stupid Conscience)
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Darren's POV

To the love, I left my conscience pressed
Between the pages of the Bible in the drawer
"What did it ever do for me" I say (I say, I say, I say)
-Fall Out Boy



I loved being at James’ and Anna’s houses. It was awesome. There was always something going on.

At James’ house, some well-known person or another was paying a visit, or you’d walk into a room and unexpectedly find Lily and James romping. Either that or Mr. and Mrs. Potter would have some sort of family game night cooked up; that was always fun.

At Anna’s house, well, her Dad was an absolute riot. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say his nonchalant, ‘I-don’t-give-a-shit’ attitude was a result of him dipping into the stuff a bit.

Hell, who knows - maybe I
don’t know any better.

Anyways, there was her Dad, and her Mum, who got worked up so easily; it was funny to watch her explode. And, of course, there was Jason, the twenty-something older brother that was debatably more immature than Anna herself.

Ah, yes. I do believe I like it here.

It was one o’clock in the afternoon and the start of July when I yawned appreciatively of my good sleep and rolled right off my cot. I groaned at the rude awakening.

“Wake up, dumbarse! We’re going to the beach!”

Ah, and who could forget the beach. I’d never been to one before the two weeks we’d spent at Anna’s house. “Where are the guys?” I wondered aloud, observing the room and noticing not a single sleeping body.

“Damon had to go home for the weekend and the Marauders are . . .” The long pause pretty much told me that whatever came out of Anna’s mouth would be a complete, and total lie. “Learning how to fly!”

“Learning how to fly,” I repeated, unable to believe that Anna could come up with an excuse quite as ridiculous and lame as that.

“Yup. Now get your suit on - we’re going!” She turned around and left the room, shutting the door for me on the way out. I heard the muffled sound of her own door closing.

I hummed to myself as I pulled my pair of swim trunks out of my trunk and quickly changed into them. I threw a casual, collared shirt on and slipped my feet into my sandals before heading out into the hallway to wait for Anna. (For once, it was me waiting for her.)

She bounded out of her room a minute after me, and I had to avert my eyes at first, and mentally prepare myself to look back at her. She had on a bright, red bikini top (that was, quite honestly, most likely made for someone of a smaller chest size than her) and the white sarong that was tied around her waist exposed a bit of black, which I could only assume was the swim suit bottom.

Oh, dear. In the history of bad ideas, going to the beach with Anna - alone - is definitely up there somewhere near Nuclear warfare.

“Ready?” she asked, adjusting the half-skirt in a way that made even more of her leg visible.

I nodded, and started down the stairs before Anna could get in front of me. If I had to watch her from behind while she walked at the moment, well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be good.

When we got down the stairs, I made my way to the kitchen, where Anna met me a few moments later, dragging her giant beach bag on the ground behind her. She stopped when she reached the door that led to the basement, and glared angrily at the bag.

“Fuck this!” she yelled, and grabbed only two towels and the volleyball out of the bag. “Is Jason here?” she asked me, after she had kicked the bag out of her way.

I shrugged. “I dunno.”

“Jason!” she screeched. Damn. For such a little girl, she makes a lot of noise.

There was no answer.

“Good.” She dropped the ball and the towels and picked up one of the kitchen chairs. “Go to the sink,” she demanded.

Nutter, I thought, before complying. “Now take three steps.” So I did.

She carried the chair over to where I was standing and hopped up on top of it. “Still. Can’t. Reach.”

She jumped down, glaring at the chair and told me to climb up onto it and tap the ceiling three times. I did, and to my surprise, a small square of the ceiling popped open on a hinge. “Now feel around up there until you feel keys.” I did so, and smiled triumphantly when my fingers hit cold metal. I pulled them out and Anna smiled excitedly.

“Good. Good. Now just close that and I’ll put the chair back and then we’ve got to leave.”

Anna quickly dragged the chair back to the table and grabbed the keys from me. I picked up the towels and the volleyball and followed her as she charged noisily down the stairs. We walked quickly through the basement until we got the garage, where the Jeep CJ stood.

“Yes,” Anna whispered. She turned to me as she pulled open the garage door and said, “I was worried that Jason was going to take it somewhere. My whole family’s been extra cautious ever since I took the car for a little joyride a couple of summers ago. It was completely harmless - I swear.”

I bet it was
. “Nothing’s ever harmless with you,” I pointed out.

She shrugged and swung herself into the driver’s seat. I cautiously hopped into the passenger seat and buckled my seatbelt. Merlin knew I would need that things help. “Do you even know how to drive this thing?” I asked, as Anna started up the car.

“Didn’t I just tell you I’ve driven it before?” Anna replied, as she checked her mirrors and judged her angles.

“That doesn’t mean you actually know what you’re doing,” I pointed out. I was praying that there would be no crashes today; the CJ had no doors - nothing to protect us from the perils of Anna’s potentially bad driving skills.

“Calm down. Gosh, Darren, when did you become such a worry wart?”

“It’s your fault,” I accused, as I shut my eyes tightly; Anna was backing out of the garage - a feat that I did not trust her with. “You and the Marauders; you lot made me go soft.”

And it was true! I hadn’t slept with a single girl the past year, the only person (besides Anna) that I’d snogged all year was some Fifth year Hufflepuff named Maria - and then I had to stop because I barely knew her and it made me feel bad.

I mean - what the hell!? Seriously!

I hadn’t realized I’d been holding my breath until I started to feel extremely dizzy, and bright, white lights flashed under my closed eyelids. I let go of the breath I was holding and gasped for air. But my eyes had opened to a pleasant surprise, Anna had managed to back up, and then put the car into drive without crashing.

“Alright, this is good . . . No one’s dead yet.”

I probably just spoke too soon . . .

Shortly after, I had reason to believe that I was right. As soon as Anna pulled out of her driveway, she slammed on the gas and started propelling the car (which really isn’t all the aerodynamic, and probably wasn’t exactly meant as a race car) forward at an increasingly fast speed.

“Anna. Anna! Don’t you think you should slow the car down a bit?”

She shook her head vigorously, with a maniacal grin on her face. “Nope. Slowing the car down is for lame-os!”

Merlin, help us.
   

___

By some amazement, we’d managed to entertain ourselves at the beach for seven hours. Honestly, I never would have believed that I’d be able to spend seven hours in one spot with a bloody gorgeous girl like Anna and not snog and/or shag her. I amaze myself sometimes.

Granted, I had to try and drown myself in the salty, tangy water when she took of her sarong, dove into the waves, and then traipsed back to me soaking wet like nothing had happened.

Merlin, how have the Marauders been friends with her for all these years and not jumped her bones?

Of course, Anna’s tactlessness had rubbed off on me, so I asked her that same question.

I think she thought I was joking. But, she laughed and answered, “I wasn’t always this hot, trust me.”

I found it hard to believe. “Is there photographic evidence of that?”

“Oh, yes,” she answered, lying out on her stomach in the sand. “But there’s no way you’ll get to see it. Ask the guys, if you really want to know. They’re always brutally honest like that.”

As my eyes traveled down the side of her body - from her thick, black, curly hair, to her ample chest, down her shining, tan back, over her curvy bum and down her legs - I still couldn’t believe that, at one time, Anna didn’t have that body that was built for sin.

If only she’d use it . . .

“I was like the ugly duckling that turned into the swan,” Anna explained. I suppose, though, I had to believe Anna when she said it.

I mean, she obviously thinks a lot of herself, so, why would she lie?

“Come on,” Anna urged, jumping back up. “Let’s go in the water!”

“Didn’t you just come from there?” I asked, groaning, as she tugged at my wrist.

“Yes, but I’m not ready to nap yet and I can’t just lay around.”

I surveyed the beach as Anna pulled me along the sand. Almost all the girls at the beach were doing exactly that - lying around. Not moving, not making it unbearable for me to watch as certain body parts that called the upper torso area home bounced up and down.

Anna let go of my wrist as she pounded over the last bits of wet sand and splashed into the wavy water again. “Come on!” she called. “Get in!”

I shook my head. “It’s going to take me a while - it’s cold.”

“Get your arse over here, lame-o!” she shouted, before diving under the water again.

She really likes to call me that, doesn’t she? 
                          

I grumbled and shivered my way through the water until I reached Anna. “Anyone ever tell you that you catch more flies with honey?”

“Nope.” She waded farther out into the water, and I was temporarily saved from having to ignore the sight of her body. Not that looking at her from the neck up wasn’t something - her Mediterranean skin had a crisp, summer tan; her cheeks and nose were slightly sun burnt, and therefore even more rosy than usual.

And that’s how the majority of the afternoon went - Anna being her oblivious self, and me trying to keep my mind out of the gutter. (And, of course, failing miserably.)

We were lying out on the sand, watching the sunset, as Anna had insisted. “I’ve never been here this late before; I want to watch it.” So we were next to each other, on our backs. I had to admit, the sunset was rather nice-looking.

The dark bluish water looked black in the light, and layers of orange and red adorned the sky as the glowing ball of sun sunk lower into the horizon.

“So, I heard you and Damon having been hooking up,” I brought up, for lack of better thing to talk about. I’d been meaning to ask her about it eventually, and now seemed as good a time as any.

“Yup.”

Maybe she doesn’t want to talk about it . . . What am I saying? She’s Anna - of course she doesn’t want to talk about it.

“Any reason?”

“Nope. We snogged once for a bit last Christmas, and he’s rather good-looking, and I’m attracted to him, so it seemed like a good a thing as any to do.”

I laughed, I couldn’t help it; Anna was starting to sound like me. It was like we’d switched roles.

“Man, I wish you were this loose with your morals back when we were hooking up.”

Anna laughed; I was glad. As soon as it had come out of my mouth, I had worried that Anna might’ve been weirded out by it. But I should have known better; Anna is the one who does the weirding out. “Do you?” she asked.

“Er . . . Is this a trick question?”

“I dunno. It depends on your answer.”

Where is that nutter going with this?

“Um, yes?”

“Then how about we make up for it now?”

Woah . . . Wooaaaah!


“Woaaahh!” I jumped up, forgetting that Anna had forbid me from getting up until the sun was completely set. I backed up a meter from Anna and pointed my finger accusingly at her. “What the hell!? Who are you - and why have you stolen my personality?!”

Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!

“I haven’t stolen your personality, I’m just . . . Having a little summer fun, being a little bit bad, and snogging all the blokes I think are attractive.”

Then snog Sirius! Sirius! You’re in love with the bloody fellow!

                                       
I resisted the urge with every fiber of my being, to tell Anna what she had said those few months ago.

Dammit! Keeping a secret from the person who really should be the one to know it is so difficult!


But I had to keep cool; I had to play my part . . . And if playing my part involved snogging a bloody gorgeous girl, well, then I’d just have to take one for the team.

“Fair enough.” I sauntered forward, so that I no longer looked like I was afraid of Anna and the alien that had possessed her brain. I dropped to my knees and crawled forward to Anna, running my hands over her smooth, soft stomach before lowering my head to hers.

Her skin is so soft. Why are girls always so soft, dammit!?

My lips had barely touched her for a second before I had to pull away. The guilt of snogging some girl when she was in love with another bloke (albeit she didn’t know) was immense.

But I covered for it really well. “Didn’t you want to get the CJ home before your parents and Jason came home?”

“Crap!” she cried, quickly snatching the towels from the sand. I grabbed the volleyball that lay forgotten, a few meters away, and followed her frantically paced run to the car.

Running on sand was quite difficult, I learned. But once we got to the pavement, it was easier. We both raced through the parking lot (not worrying about other cars hitting us - we were one of the few left at the beach, as it was nearing nine o’clock) towards the Jeep.

When we got there, Anna threw our stuff in the backseat and pulled the key out from under the front seat, where she had hid it, not wanting to have to worry about losing it.

She jumped into the car, started it quickly, and slammed the car into reverse. Once we were turned around, she put the car in drive and pealed away. “What time is it?” she asked nervously.

“Eight fifty-five,” I answered, looking at the clock on the dashboard.

“Shit,” she muttered, uncharacteristically stressed.

“Any reason you’re freaking out over this?” I asked. Being Anna, I was sure that she’d gotten in trouble loads of time.

“My parents think I’m an angel,” she answered.

I laughed. Wow. Not expecting that.

“Are you shitting me?” I asked. “Don’t you get, like, a minimum of one detention per week?”

“Yeah,” she said, smiling fondly. “But no one ever owls home. And I never mess around like that when I’m home, so they’re all under the impression that I’m completely innocent.”

“So they’re also completely unaware of your sexual past with me, Damon and Sirius.”

This got an outright laugh out of her. “Yeah, that’s right.” She paused for a bit, and slowed the car down to a reasonable speed as she turned into the neighborhood of houses that she lived in. “Thanks for that, Darren. Got me calmed down a bit.”

I nodded. “No problem.

“Holy crap, watch out!”

“What!?” Anna cried and slammed on the breaks, stopping he car short and throwing us forward a bit.

Thank God for seatbelts.


She looked frantically around, wondering what it was that could have gotten me to shout that.

But I was just messing with her. “Ah, nothing. Just playing.” She spent a subsequent minute pounding me, before getting the car moving forward again.

“Eight, fifty-nine,” she said appreciatively, as she pulled into the garage and turned the car off. She sat back and sighed heavily and contently for a moment before rushing me out of the car. “Hurry!”

We stampeded back through the basement and up the stairs. Anna didn’t even have to tell me; I counted out the steps from the sink and she dragged the chair over. I popped up quickly, tapped the ceiling three time, and threw the keys back into their hiding spot just as we heard the garage door open.

Anna jumped. “Hurry, hurry! That’s my Dad! My Mum and brother will be Flooing in any minute!”

I jumped off the chair and replaced it at the kitchen table. We heard footsteps coming from behind the door.

“Act natural!” Anna cried, running off across the kitchen and into the pantry.

“Natural? How the hell do I do that?”

Anna was back over to me in a second and before I knew what was going on, there was a large smattering of chocolate frosting across my face. When Anna’s dad opened the door and walked into the kitchen a moment later, I was looking at Anna like she was a complete nutter, and said nutter was licking the chocolate off her hands.

Her dad smiled and continued through the kitchen, into the common room. “Yep, everything seems to be in order here.”

I laughed and we collapsed into a fit of laughter behind the counter. Anna offered me the tub of chocolate frosting and I dipped one of my own fingers into the mess. “That was close,” she said.

“Forget something?” Anna screamed, jumped up and hit her head on the counter.

“Ugh,” she muttered clutching her head, and glaring at Jason, who was hovering over us. “How the fuck did you get in here so quietly.”

“A lady never asks, a Jedi never tells. Now, I’ll ask again - did you forget something?” This time, he dangled something over our heads. I had to quickly cover my eyes as something sand rained down upon us.

Ohhh, crap.


Jason was holding the two towels and the volleyball that we had foolishly left in the back of the CJ.

“Psh. And you thought I wouldn’t know if you took that car.”

“Whoopsie.” Anna shrugged and continued eating the frosting.

“You’re lucky that you didn’t damage that car, Anna; you’re not even allowed to drive!”

Anna waved him off. “Rules, rules. What are these rules you speak of? Besides . . . If anything had happened to me and Darren, our magic could have taken care of any Muggle mess I made.”

Jason shook his head. “You never learn, do you?

“Now . . . Hand over that frosting.”

–––

I’d changed into a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and was lounging on the big bed in the guest room in Anna’s house.

If I go to snog Anna, she’d let me . . . Do I want to snog Anna?

No, no
, I assured myself. You don’t like her; you just think she’s bloody hot.
That has never stopped you before.

And that was the first time a second voice was heard in the back of my head.

But this is Anna, she’s different. And she loves Sirius, and Sirius loves her. Just because she doesn’t know that she loves Sirius is no reason to take advantage of the situation!

. . .Or is it!

I chastised the part of my brain that most resembled my old self, and remembered a time from almost a year ago.

___

Anna and I were snogging on my bed. Anna had gotten drastically better at snogging since we’d first hooked up. It had been a bit frustrating at first, having to mold her kissing abilities and teach her, but it had actually become rather fun, and witnessing the fine job I had done was extremely rewarding.

I was also pleasantly shocked at the little quirks of snogging that Anna had developed. She had this thing that she liked to do with her nose - whenever she wasn’t busy with her lips, she would nuzzle my neck or the side of my face, and then slowly trail it up and down. I don’t know where she came up with it, but it always got me going.

"Darren, ouch. That hurts; if it’s supposed to feel good, it doesn’t."

Okay, so, maybe Anna wasn’t in the mood for being felt up at the moment; I’d do her one better.

I pulled back from the kiss and took my hands off her chest. “Alright, then,” I said, smirking. “I’ll give you something that does feel good.”

And I would - I knew from my countless escapades with other girls that you had to round all the bases before you could get to home plate.



“Oh, Godric,” she groaned. I raised my eyebrows at her; I did have to admit, her lack of enthusiasm at some of my sexual ploys was a bit frustrating. Honestly, I’d shagged girls on the first date before; I’d been working on Anna for a good month or two and we weren't even close to that yet.


Okay, so, maybe I move a bit fast - so what?

She smirked at me. I rolled my eyes.



Well, whatever you feel like doing, Anna, you better figure it out fast, I thought.

My hands traveled up her thighs, groping gently in all the right spots, before my fingers came to a rest at the button of her jeans. I saw her eyes travel down to my hands; I briefly wondered what exactly it was she thought I was going to do.

“Do you trust me?”

She shook her head. “Not at all.”



Well, I can’t say I expected any different.

However, Anna made no move to stop me as I unbuttoned her jeans and slowly pulled them off, kissing down her leg, in a practiced, perfected manner.


___

Up until recently, I hadn’t become a total wimp with a guilt-ridden conscious. I could play the same moves on Anna that I could on all the other girls that never mattered.

But, unfortunately, Anna did matter. That thought, at least, made me feel a bit better. As I contemplated how to best approach her, I knew that I would have no trouble accomplishing what I was (at that time, all those months ago) unable to. I was sure that the new, sexed-up Anna would have no troubles getting into it as she had before.

Direct approach is the best, I decided. As I walked out of my room, I pushed aside my guilt towards Sirius. This is to not arouse any suspicion in Anna; you can’t let her know what she or Sirius really thinks, I told myself. It was a pitiful attempt at abating some of my monstrous guilt, but even the guilt wasn’t enough to overpower my male fantasies.       

Because when I say, ‘Anna’s body was built for sin,’ I sure as hell mean it.

I opened the door to Anna’s room and jumped back, covering my eyes for decency purposes.

Decency purposes - what the hell?! This is when you jump her! Come on, Darren! I know you’re still in there somewhere!

Anna was standing with her back to me, but I still got a lovely view of her black, lacy panties, that cut off at a tantalizing angle, while still being decent enough to cover a good amount of her backside

Black lace panties . . . How un-Anna of her.

“Oh, shit!” we said at the same time. I closed the door quickly and Anna threw a plain white t-shirt over her head before opening the door again.

“Sorry ‘bout that,” Anna said, smiling as if I hadn’t just opened the door on her, mostly naked. “But it’s not like it’s anything you haven’t seen before, right?”

I laughed, immediately at ease because Anna was. Her ‘devil-may-care’ attitude about the potentially awkward situation made me remember that, somewhere, Anna was still down there, no matter how disguised by intentions of snogs and sex she was.

“Anna, can we talk?” I asked her.

“Sure,” she replied. “Let me just put some pants on and I’ll meet you in your room.”

I laughed again. Leave it to Anna to bring humor to an awkward situation.

Thank Merlin she is who she is.

I closed the door and sat down on the big bed, seeing as the Marauders were (quite suspiciously) absent. I made a note to ask Anna about it later on - it was obvious that she knew exactly where they were.

A few seconds later, Anna walked in and sat down on the bed with me, with her legs crossed, Indian-style. She looked at me, her hazel eyes waiting patiently for me to start talking. She was biting on her lower lip a bit and her eyebrows were scrunched up.

I worked over what I was going to say in my head a few times; the best way to confront Anna about her completely out-of-character behavior. “What the hell is wrong with you!?”

Okay . . . Not exactly how that was supposed to come out . . .

She looked a bit taken aback by my harshness; I don’t blame her - I would have been too. But then, she played dumb. “I don’t know what you mea-”   

“Don’t even try it, Anna. You know exactly what the hell I mean. I’m not Sirius or James - you can’t trick me that easily.

“Anna, you know something’s up just as much as I do. And Remus does. And Pete does. And James does. You’re lucky no one’s told Sirius; he’d pummel Damon!”

She cast her eyes downward and I followed her gaze to a rut in the wooden floor. (The small part of it that was visible and uncovered by a trunk, bag or article of clothing.)

Well, at least she’s not denying it anymore . . .


“I know.” A-ha! She’s admitted it!


“So what’s the deal?” I asked. The amount of concern in my voice was pitiful; I’d have to remember to get my hands on a time turner, so I could go back in time and pick a fight with myself from a few years ago; I’d make sure my younger self won.

“I dunno. I’m . . . confused, I guess,” she answered, not taking her eyes off the floor. It weirded me out to see Anna in a mood like that. “I feel a bit like there’s something that I don’t know. You know, something that’s hidden under a rock in the back of my mind, and it’s nagging at me.”

I resisted that overwhelming urge to smack myself in the forehead. Isn’t it just perfect; Anna knows there’s something that she knows that she doesn’t know! . . . Oh, crap, now I sound like Anna!

“You’ll figure it out eventually,” I assured her. And then, I found myself submitting to torture. “If it’ll make you feel better, you can make me sit through Star Wars tonight. And I can go introduce you to Oliver tomorrow, before or after the Marauders get back from learning how to fly.”

Yeah, learning how to fly - what a load of crap.


“Really?!” Anna got excited again.

Phew . . . Mission accomplished.


I nodded. “Yeah.”

“Yes!” she cried, and ran excitedly out of the room and down the stairs.

Darren, my man, you are a sad, sad little person. Let me recap. Mistakes you made today: 1) turned down a snog with Anna. 2) walked out of the room and covered your eyes when you accidentally walked in on her mostly naked. 3) felt guilty and consequently talked about Anna’s feelings - though that was probably as painful for her as it was for you. 4) You just submitted yourself to two hours of the force, dumbarse.



A/N: Wooo! Darren POV! Isn’t it exciting (and slightly disturbing) to see the world the way Darren does? I had lots of fun writing this one, naturally, and can’t wait until I do it again. :D

A/N2: On another note, I’ve decided that this trilogy of stories (Polychromatic, and its two, eventual sequels) needs a name. You know, this could be Part I on the . . .  whatever it’s going to be called trilogy. It makes it sound all epic and cool, you know? 
                   
A/N3: I want to give an awesome thanks to The Arethusa Got Lucky, who mostly wrote my entire new, Anniversary summary. :D And also many thanks to Tara.Seanan, who  is helping me look of this and subsequent chapters. :D

A/N4: Fun facts! Hoorrraaaay! (And, in honor of this Darren and Anna chapter, the Fun Facts section is dedicated to them today.)

Anna: Fears having kids because she is afraid that she will accidentally set them on fire.

Darren: Can play the guitar and drums - there is a recording studio in his house for no reason whatsoever.

Anna: Can whistle every 1 out of every 10 times she tries.

Darren: The mother of Oliver is named Kara O’Neil.
                                   
A/N5: So, did anyone else recognize a familiar scene? It’s the Anna/Darren scene where Anna and Darren . . . get up to stuff for the first time - except from Darren’s POV!

A/N6: I just want to thank every single person who has taken the time to review this story - just as I posted this chapter, I noticed that Polychromatic has 1000 reviews. Guys, it means so much to me that you all are liking this story, and keep reading and reviewing long enough to get me to 1000-freakin-reviews. So thank you!



Chapter 57: All My Walls Come Down
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You speak and it's like a song
And just like that all my walls come down
. . .
Love you save me like nobody else
-Jessica Simpson



Dear Remus,

Surprise! I bet you weren’t expecting a letter from me, were you? But I have a surprise! (That would be another surprise, in addition to getting this letter.)

I’m coming back! Yes, I know - cue the fanfare and parade.

But, all puns and jokes aside, I am coming back this year. I decided that I had to tell somebody, but I mostly want it to be a surprise, so I had to decide who the best secret keeper would be . . . And it would, quite obviously, be you.

So, I’ve got to go, as I’ve got to finish some last minute packing and help my parents out a bit.

I’m assuming that you and the rest of the guys’ll see Anna off on the First . . . See you then!

Stephen


I hit my hand to my forehead. It wasn’t as if I wasn’t excited that Stephen was coming back; it was quite exciting news, actually, to have a bit of the past come back. However, it was exactly what Anna didn’t need at the moment.

Anna and Damon had hooked up at least seven times throughout the month and a half or so that we were all together, and Darren had told me that Anna tried him as well. I laughed, of course, when he told me; it was hilarious to see Darren - the hardcore man-whore - tell me about how he had to literally talk Anna out of hooking up with him.

But it was also very upsetting, because something was wrong with Anna. And, like I’d said, the last thing Anna needed was another former flame to come back.

But, that was towards the bottom of my mental ‘Top-Ten-Things-To-Worry-About’ list, because I was busy getting ready for a date with Dora when Stephen’s owl arrived.

I don’t have time for this right now, I thought. Hmmm . . .


I turned to the owl and held out two shirts; one was white and blue striped and the other one was a light, mint green. “Which one do you think is better? Hoot once for the blue and hoot twice for the green.”

The owl hooted once. “Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.”

I threw it on and pulled my jeans up quickly when I saw the time. I had to meet Dora at the Leaky Cauldron in five minutes. Anna and the Marauders, who were also staying at my house (Damon and Darren had returned to their respective homes) were still sleeping soundly, at eleven o’clock in the morning.

Not that I blamed them, of course. If it hadn’t been for Dora’s insistence to meet me at the atrociously early hour, I would still be sleeping as well. But, as it was, I wasn’t sleeping, so I had to make the best of my early, early hours.

“Good bye, Mum!” I called, as I started the fire and picked up the jar of Floo powder. “Make sure you get them all up and tell them to meet me at Florean’s at three!”

I threw some Floo powder into the Fireplace and the previously red and orange flickering flames turned to a bright, solid green. “The Leaky Cauldron!” I shouted, stepping into the tickling flames.

The first thing I saw when I arrived in the Leaky Cauldron, half a minute later, was Dora sitting, looking particularly bored at one of the uneven wooden tables. I couldn’t help but laugh as the elbow she rested on the table came out from her under and her head fell to the table.

She whipped around, probably to tell off whoever had been laughing at her, but her grimace turned up-side down when she saw me. “Remus!” She sat up a little straighter, smiled a little brighter, and played with her hands a little bit more.

I bent down and kissed her on the cheek; I may have shagged quite a few girls, but I was in favour of private displays of affection. (However, my level of affection for said girls was debatable.)

Dora, however, had completely won me over.

“Remus, I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve seen you all summer! I read your letter - it really sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun.”

I nodded. “We are. You know . . . I think we’re going back to Anna’s house for the last few days before school starts again - I’m sure no one would mind if you showed up for a day and came to the beach with us.”

She smiled. “I’d love that.”

We sat in silence for a moment; it wasn’t awkward, just a patterned break in conversation. “So, have you ordered anything yet?”

She shook her head. “I was waiting for you.” Then, she made to get up from her chair.

I got up and placed my hand lightly on her shoulder to stop her. “That’s nonsense. Just tell me what you want and I’ll order it.”

“What a gentleman,” she said, winking at me. After she told me what she wanted, and I walked away towards Tom, the bartender, to place the orders, I could have sworn I heard her say, “But you’re not like that when we’re alone, are you?”

Very true, I thought. I’m not a gentleman at all.

For the next half hour or so, we chatted and laughed and sipped our drips. (I had a fire whiskey; she had a butterbeer.) But at that point, I decided it would be nice to roam around Diagon Alley for a bit.

I got up from the table, pushed my chair in, and walked over to Dora. I had learned the hard way that she did not like having her chair pulled out when she was already in it. However, I stood by, expecting some sort of complication, and I got one. She pushed her chair back, stood up, accidentally putting one foot on top of the other, and found herself heading towards the ground. But I caught her.

Fanfare! Hooray for Remus!

“Thanks.” She smiled.

I returned her smile, and grasped her hand before leading her out the backdoor and into Diagon Alley. We walked leisurely down the street for a while, waiting to find a shop that struck out fancy, when Dora said, “So . . . It’s going to be rather different with you not at Hogwarts next year.”

Uh-oh. This doesn’t sound good?

“I mean, you’ll probably be off becoming Minister for Magic, and I’ll just be a Sixth year . . .” Dora continued to talk, but it was one of the only times I ever turned her out; I was too concerned with my own conflicted thoughts.

Minister for Magic . . . Hardly. Not for a werewolf - no, sir. She obviously doesn’t know what she’s talking about . . .


But it’s not like she knows that, I argued with myself.

Oh. Right.

Maybe you should tell her? I mean, you guys have been together for a while now.

Sure as hell longer than you’ve been with any other girl,
my mind taunted.

Shut up.


“. . . So what do you think, Remus?”

Oh, fuck.


“Er, about what, again?”

Dora sighed and rolled her eyes. “You weren’t listening to me, were you?”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I apologized quickly. “I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”

She nodded understandingly. “Me too, and that’s why I needed your opinion on this!”

“On what?” I asked eagerly, hoping that my wanting to help would put me quickly back in Dora’s good graces.

She shook her head. “You go first - if you’ve got something on your mind, I want to hear about it.”

And in a horrible turn of events, I was forced to quickly decide whether or not I could tell Dora my secret without her running away in fear.

It took you four years to tell Anna - do you really think you could tell Dora? You’ve barely know her for a year.

I’m much different that I was two years ago.

True . . . True.           


“Uh . . . Er . . .”

Quick, Remus, if you’re going to do something, you need to do it now!

. . . No . . . No. I can do this.


“Dora, maybe we should sit down?” I gestured towards a bench that was nearby to where we were standing. Dora scrunched her eyebrows and looked at me; she looked rather upset - I couldn’t imagine why.

You’re making it sound like you’re breaking up with her, dumbarse.

Oh. Ohhhh.


Regardless, she followed me to the bench and sat down across from me. I took one of Dora’s hands in mine and looked pleadingly into her eyes.

Here’s to hoping that Dora isn’t too good to be true.

“I have something to tell you. I was rather hoping I wouldn’t have to. But . . . At this point, I’m way too far in to back out. Dora, I love you, and I need to tell you my secret.”

It was the first time I’d told Dora that I loved her.

She went to open her mouth and say something, but I cut her off. “Hold off on whatever you have to say for just a minute; I’ve got to tell you before I back out.” Still holding her hand - though more tightly than before, and admittedly probably more painful for Dora - I looked discreetly around to make sure no one would hear my proclamation.

“I love you Dora; you’re definitely different than any other girl I’ve been with . . . Mostly because I haven’t actually been with you,” I stumbled around. It wasn’t coming out quite like I had hoped. Rather than making it sound good, I was just reiterating my former Casanova tendencies. “Anyway, my point is - I love you, and because of that, I have to go against my better judgement and tell you something . . .

“I’m a werewolf,” I whispered.

Dora gasped.

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.  Just blew it - oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.


She continued to look at me, her thick, blonde eyelashes fluttering over her bright blue eyes.

“I . . . I . . . I . . .” she stuttered.

Now what do I do? I was about to walk cowardly away. Dejectedly, I said, “Alright, well, I’ll just be goi-”

“Don’t!” she cried, putting her hand on my shoulder and keeping me seated on the bench.

Don’t? Don’t go? Why not?


I waited for Dora to say something. Instead, we just ended up sitting quietly for a minute.

“Do you hate me?” I finally asked, when Dora did nothing but look down at her hands and pick at her nails.

“No,” she said slowly. “You can’t help what you are, am I right? But . . . I dunno, it’s just a lot to take in, you know?”

I nodded. “Tell me about it.”

We sat in silence for a bit, and I was shocked when Dora threw her arms around my shoulders and refused to let go.

“Er, Dora?”

“Shh!”

She finally released me from her clutches (not that I was complaining) and said, “Remus, I love you, too.”

I don’t know about Dora, but in my head, there were fricking fireworks going off. I don’t know if it was the thrill of actually loving a girl, but something got me so joyful.

Up until I had met Dora, I slept around. A lot. I can admit that.

There was no real reason why I did it; I suppose I just started young, and kept up with tradition. But I knew Dora was a keeper; we hadn’t even done it (or planned on it) and I loved to be in her presence.

She loved me for me - horrible, terrible, hairy disease and all. She loved me even though I was the worst I could possibly be - Dora made me feel wonderful.

She was calm, cool and collected, despite a clumsiness that could rival Anna’s. She was nice. She liked my friends. And, of course, she was something to look at, as well.

Tall and lean - like a dancer’s body - with the brightest, tousled, wavy blonde hair I’d ever seen. When we finally did shag, it would certainly be a treat for my eyes.

I dove on Dora and kissed her excitedly and quickly.

She pulled away, laughing, after a few seconds. “And to think, I thought you were going to break up with me.

“And now, Remus, it’s my turn to share a secret with you.”

Secret? Crap. I hate secrets.

“You ready?” she asked.

I nodded fearfully as she stood up.

Oh, crap. Why does she need to stand up? Please, tell me she’s not a closet- axe murderer!

“You sure?”

I forced my head to go up and down and never took my eyes off of Dora’s.

“Okay.”

I blinked for only a second, and did a quick double-take.

“Holy fucking shit!”

Before me stood, not Dora, but some other, strange person.

She had long, mousy brown, straight hair. She shrunk a good amount, as well; if Dora was standing next to Anna, she probably would have had a good four or five centimetres on her. Her lean body had taken a more average size, and her narrow hips gave her a rather rectangular body shape, overall.

“What the hell, Dora?”

“I’m a Metamorphmagus.”

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that.


I looked at the new Dora, and thought back to the old one.

“So . . . Which one is the real you?” I asked.

Dora quickly morphed back into her familiar form. “This one,” she indicated the tall, leggy blonde that I had come to know and love. (Not that, of course, a change in her appearance would have changed the way I felt for her.)

“What I was before is usually the state that I take on when I get depressed, for whatever the reason happens to be, you know?”

“Thank you for telling me,” I said earnestly, “but, why did you keep it a secret? It’s not some terrible, foreboding condition.”

She shrugged. “I dunno. I usually just don’t tell anybody about it.”

“But it’s such a cool trick,” I protested. “You were born with one of the coolest magical abilities! Show it off, dammit!”

She laughed and smiled. “Alright, then. I’ll take you advi-”

“Oi! Moony!”

Cue the completely mental best mates.

I looked up to see Sirius galloping (yes, galloping) towards me, with Anna clinging tightly to his back. A bit further behind was James, with Peter on his back. Now, James was a skinny kid - there was a good chance Pete outweighed him; it was a funny sight to see.

“Hey, you lot!” Dora said brightly, turning around to wave to the complete and total dumbarses that were my mates.

They waved enthusiastically and James and Sirius seemed to simultaneously skid to a stop in front of us; then, in a perfectly synchronised motion, Peter and Anna jumped off of the respective backs to land in the middle of the other pair.

We all stood quietly for a moments; apparently, no one had anything to say.

But Dora did. “Hey, guys! Guess what I can do!” This time, Dora transformed, not into the same person she had before, but different. She grew a little shorter, but not much. Her long, blonde hair retracted into her head and became a bright, turquoise blue color. Her nose grew wider, and her eyes grew smaller.

Anna, Sirius, James and Peter were speechless. All four stood wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the not-Dora in front of them.

“Holy hell, you’re a Metamorphmagus!” cried Peter.

Dora smiled sheepishly and shrugged excitedly.

“Ohh, so that’s how you did that,” Anna marvelled.

I looked oddly at her - could she really not have figured that out?  “Did anyone ever tell you that you’re a complete and utter idiot?”

She nodded. No further explanation.

“It was a rhetorical question,” I pointed out.

“Well, I answer those all the time.”

I decided to end my conversation with dear Anna there; further continuation may have resulted in loss of brain cells on my part.

When no one had any better suggestions, Sirius piped up, “Hey, why don’t we go get our school stu-” Pause. “Oh my God! We’re not going back!”

I half expected Sirius to drop to the ground on the spot and break out into tears. I was quite proud of him that he didn’t.

Anna punched him in the arm. “Stop reminding me!”

“Hey, we’re just as upset about it as you are,” Sirius defended himself.

“Really? Because you don’t have to go back to school all by yourself and-”

“You have Darren!” he cried.

Dora glanced sideways at me and nodded (not-so-discreetly) towards the dynamic duo - currently a few steps away from a real argument.

“Why don’t we go to Florean’s?” she quickly and deftly suggested.

Anna and Sirius immediately stopped fighting, and after mumbled and quick apologies, we were all walking off down the alley.

“You know,” Anna began. “The only thing I don’t like about this place is that it’s in an alley.”

Help. Help. Loss . . . of . . . brain . . . cells.

“Anna,” James said slowly, his unspoken thoughts seeming to echo my own. “We’re in Diagon Alley. Do you not realize this?”

“Oh, I do. I just think this whole area would be so much nicer if there were trees and grass. The only place around here like that is Florean’s.”

James gave her that ‘you’re a total dumbarse’ look. But he didn’t say anything. We’d all learned not to question Anna; she had her own brand of insane thoughts.
                   
“Oh, shit, Anna! Look out!” And then there was Anna, sprawled on the rocky pavement.

I should have known that wasn’t the end of it.

Dora tripped over Anna and landed on top of her with a cry of surprise.

Both were too doubled-up in laughter to roll off of each other.

“You know,” Pete whispered to me, out of the corner of his mouth. “This could turn into some pretty hot girl-on-girl action.”

I hit him. So did Sirius. James gave him a high-five, the stupid tosser.
___

“So, Remus, anything interesting happen today?” It was not the first time in my life that I wondered whether or not Anna was really more observant than she let on. However, I always shot down the idea.

Hmm . . . Stephen’s letter, me telling Dora I get really hairy and angry once a month and run around all deadly-like, Pete implying that you and Dora would make a hot lesbian couple. Nope, just a normal day for the Marauders.


However, I knew that two out of those three were quite a big deal. And one was a secret. So that left me with only one topic of conversation.

So I went on to explain how I had finally told Dora about my ‘furry little problem.’

“I’m proud of you, mate,” Anna said.

Oddly uncharacteristic.


However, I appreciate the sentiment.

“Me too, Moony,” James added in. Sirius and Peter echoed the first two, and somehow, we all found ourselves in a giant group hug.

“I love you guys,” Anna said, though it came out rather muffled as her face was squashed into my back. “I know I’m not always the best mate to you guys, but I love you all so much.”

“I love you guys, too,” Pete said. “Who would’ve thought a group of outcasts like us could end up so happy?”

“Aww, man, this is going to be one big tear fest,” Sirius whined. We were all still in that giant hug, but over the course of half a minute, we’d fallen over, and were now more like a pile on the floor than a hug.

“You guys are awesome!” James cried.

“I love you guys, man!” I added in, not even caring that I was on the bottom of a body pile that probably totalled more than forty stone.

Nothing says love like a hug.
                   

A/N: So, I was wondering, as Polychromatic rounds the final corner to the finish (though, in actually, we’ve still got a bit to go - I just like all this done ahead of time,) if anyone was interesting in helping me with some graphics. I’ll need a banner, and if you want to volunteer, I’ve got some pictures and ideas. I’d also really appreciate it if maybe you’ve made quite a few graphics before, and really know your way around Photoshop (or whatever program you use.) I’ll also need some chapter images for the sequel, and I’ve got pictures for those too. Usually, I make my own chapter images, but my computer crapped out on me, and until I get a new one, I can’t reload the program onto it.
   
A/N2: Any video editing buffs out there? I was curious and interested in making a trailer for Polychromatic to put on YouTube (I’ve seen those before.) Right, so as I was saying, anyone who’s kinda familiar with video editing - is there a good, fairly simple software I could work with? Also, where do I find video clips? Thanks mucho for any help. :D

A/N3: The next chapter marks the first day (September 1st) of Anna’s Seventh year at Hogwarts. What surprises await them, I wonder? . . . We already know. ;)       

A/N4: You guys are awesome. :D


A/N5: Fun Facts - one of the last ones before they're all done!

Darren: Darren is fond of Muggle contraception as opposed to the spells that Wizards have come up with.

Anna: When she was eleven, she found a stack of Playboys under her brothers bed.

Sirius: His favorite scent is vanilla - Anna has charmed herself to constantly smell like vanilla; the two have no connection.

James: Can play piano, cello, bassoon, and the harp.

Remus: Has walked in on his parents having sex five different times throughout his life.

Lily: Cannot fall asleep without some kind of noise - at home, she sleeps with an overhead fan on. At Hogwarts, she sleeps with the window open so she can hear wind and crickets.

Anna: Wanted to die her hair purple for a month during her Fourth year.

A/N6: Sorry about the terrible choice in music for this chapter - I had a flash from the past and it just kinda fit with the chapter. I also am sorry about all the people I just offended by calling it a 'terrible choice in music.' ;D





Chapter 58: Summer Gone/Month of Tears
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]



And I was right there beside him all summer long
And then the time we woke up to find that summer gone
. . .
September saw a month of tears
-Taylor Swift



“Anastasia! Anastasia, dammit! You have to let go!”

No, no I didn’t. I didn’t have to let go at all.

“Off!”

Yet, Sirius kept insisting that I did.

“Anna, you really should stop.”

Great, now Remus is on his side too.

“Let go of him, Anna,” Pete advised.

“Anna, you cannot hold onto Sirius’ leg. This will not magically make him follow you to Hogwarts.”

Fine! You’re all bloody against me! I hate you all!


However, since they all were against me, I let go of Sirius’ leg; I refused to get up from the ground, though, and remained lying on the hard ground.

“Anna, get up.”

“No!” I sat up and crossed my arms over my chest, pouting.

“Anna, stop acting like you’re five.”

“No!” I pulled my arms in tighter and stuck my bottom lip out further.

“We’ll leave," he threatened.

I glared at him. “I don’t care. I’m going to be upset and pout.”

“Fine.”

He beckoned towards the gate of the platform and the rest of the Marauders went to follow him.

Dammit. I really do know how to dig myself into a hole, don’t I?        

“No, please come back,” I whined. Sirius turned around and smirked; he seemed to be quite enjoying the whole thing. James, meanwhile, seemed to be off in a different land. Pete was glancing around the platform and eyeing the older girls appreciatively, and Remus’ eyes were darting around, as if he was looking for someone in particular.

I sighed, and stood up, stomping my foot angrily; as long as Sirius knew I was still angry, I was willing to pretend to be slightly grown-up.   

All of a sudden Remus jumped into the air and spazzed in a very seizure-like manner. He ran over to me and spun me around so that I was facing the train, rather than the barrier.

“Remus, what’s going-”

“Oi! You lot! Come stand over here with me!” he called at the just-as-confused-as-me remaining Marauders. James, Pete and Sirius looked confused, (when did they not?) but took their places next to Remus anyway. Sirius, after a few seconds jumped and spazzed in a way quite similar to how Remus had a few moments few, though he looked rather surprised, as well.

“Oh my-”

“Shut up!” Remus threw his hand over Sirius’ mouth. Sirius looked curiously at Remus, and by that point in time, I was just about curious enough to turn around and-

“No!” Remus grabbed my shoulder, stopping me as I had begun to turn back towards the barrier.

“Why?” I asked. “Who’s there that I can’t see?”

“No one,” Remus answered quickly, though he still threw a glance over my shoulder at something behind me. “I just . . . Wanted to show you my new dance.”

And so, Remus began to disco. No, I’m not kidding. He’s that much of a creep.

But, it wouldn’t be the first time that he threw himself down on the tracks in order to keep someone else’s secret.

I was about to ask Remus what the hell was going on when a freezing cold pair of hands clapped over my eyes. I let out a high-pitched shriek in response.

Don’t judge me . . . I was caught off-guard.

“Guess who!” That wasn’t going to be very difficult. The voice, an obviously-fake, high falsetto had to belong to someone I talked to, and that narrowed it down quite a bit.

My first (and only) guess was Darren, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t him. His hands were softer than those covering my eyes . . . I would know.

Damon? No, he was in Greece.

Jason? No, he was saving peoples’ lives.

Lily? Well . . . No, but I had no idea where the hell she was.

And then, I was out.

“I give up. Tell me.”

“No.” The owner of the voice kept up with the falsetto.

“Yes. Please. I don’t like guessing games.”

“I remember.”

Damn you! Tell me who you are, now!


“Remus!” I whined. I knew he knew who it was. “Sirius? James? Pete?” I knew they did as well. Apparently, they were all in on something and I wasn’t.

“Not saying.”

Hmph. Fine.

“It's God,” I joked.

“Hey, you’re right!” the voice said. Except that this time, it wasn’t that falsetto. And the voice was quite familiar. Almost like I knew it in a distant memory . . .

“Tell me!” I demanded.

“Fine.” The person uncovered my eyes and spun me around. “Surprise!”

And standing in front of me was an old friend. The first person I really talked to other than the Marauders, my first real snog, you know, that old hate.

“Shit! Stephen! What the hell are you doing here, man?!” I was excited. I was thrilled. I now had two (and half, if you counted Dora) friends with me at Hogwarts this year.

Through my excitement and the year apart, the awkwardness that had set in during the last few weeks of me and Stephen’s relationship was gone.

“I convinced my parents to let me come back for Seventh year, after I promised to go back and help them out next September.”

“That’s fucking awesome!” I cried, throwing my arms excitedly around his neck; he was taller than I remembered . . . Probably somewhere around the same height as James.

The hustle and bustle around our happy little group increased. It was ten-fifty, and the train was soon to be departing.

Of course, all good things end, and my temporary excitement of seeing Stephen again was overpowered by the thought of me not seeing my boys for a whole long time.

“They’re not coming back this year,” I whined to Stephen.

His hair was longer, and a little bit darker, probably from the lack of sunlight he got in the ice-box they call a continent. His skin was far more pale and fluorescent-looking.    

“Oh, stop whining.”

Dammit, why are all boys always on the same side?


“Now, grab your stuff. Knowing you, you’ll trip and fall and then we won’t get a compartment on time, so we have to start early.”

I stuck my tongue out at him. Stupid twat thinks he can come back from penguin-land and start insulting me again, right away. No, sir, that’s a privilege; you have to earn it.   

So I kicked him in the bum (really hard) as he was walking. I won.

But then my foot missed the ground when I went to put it back down. I fell on my face. Fuck my life.

No one came to my rescue - typical.

Sirius, however, did pick up my trunk and start off towards the train.

“And that’s what you get for kicking me,” Stephen taunted.

I stuck my tongue out at him and hoisted up my jeans, which were a little too big and liked to slide down my bum.

“Has anyone seen Darren?” I asked.

James and Pete had sped ahead to walk in line with Sirius, but Remus, who had hung behind, shook his head. “Who’s Darren?” Stephen asked.

Wow, I forgot how much this kid missed.

“You’ll meet him later,” I promised.

The whistle blew; five minutes.

“Hurry up!” Sirius called, before lifting my trunk onto the train and climbing in after it.

I pouted and quickened my pace. A minute later, I was walking through the corridors for Stephen and the Marauders. A minute after that, we were settling into the compartment. A minute after that, Stephen and I were lounging and the Marauders were crowded in the doorway, saying goodbye.

It was two minutes before the train departed, and I was nearly bawling. “I’m going to miss you guys so much!” I tried to hug all four of them at the same time . . . It didn’t work out too well.

“Anna, we’ve got to go,” Remus reasoned, as the last-minute bell sounded. “We can’t be on this train when it leaves.”

My face was stuck in a permanent frown as I watched their backs walk quickly down the corridor. Sirius was the last to go, waving sadly. They had just hopped off the train, when I couldn’t take it anymore. “Wait!” I shouted. I sprinted down the corridor in less than ten seconds and leapt straight from the edge of the train into Sirius’ arms.

Luckily, he’d been expecting some sort of stupid move on my part, and caught me soundly.

“I’m going to miss you,” I mumbled quietly into his shoulder. “. . . You’re my best friend.”

Sirius held me tightly. “Oh, shut up, Anastasia. Unlike you, some of us have feelings; I might cry.”

Truth be told, I was right about to cross my own threshold of waterworks.

But I didn’t know how to deal with that sort of thing. From my first train ride to Hogwarts, the Marauders were always there. And in the past few years, Sirius had been there for me more than anyone else.

I was going to miss his long, swishy black hair. And his bright grey eyes, and his unrealistically white teeth that I got to see every time he laughed. (Which was often.)

I was going to miss the person that I could mess around with, and I was going to miss the person who always caught me when I fell. (That was partially literal, right there.)

Hell, I was just going to miss every single bit of him.

“I love you, man.”

“I love you to, nutter.”

The final whistle blew, and the train began to move very slowly. I couldn’t hold onto him anymore. I tried, trust me, but he tore me off of him and put me on the train.

I stuck my head out the doorway until I could no longer see Sirius, or any of my other best mates crowded behind him.

Sad and dejected, I walked back to the compartment.

Stephen was flipping through the Daily Prophet when I walked in. He was about to say something when the sliding glass door burst open a second time.

“What’s up, my peeps!”

Godric, Darren. You are the biggest creep I have ever met.

Stephen was staring oddly at the newcomer.

“This,” I informed Stephen. “Is Darren.”

They nodded at each other (in that ‘manly’ way) and Darren tossed his trunk into the corner of the compartment.

“Did you see that Fifth year, Dani? She got hot over the summer . . . This is going to be a fun year.” Leave it to Darren. The first thing he says would be an allusion to sex.

Stephen spared Darren an amused glance. Perhaps it was that sentence that warmed Stephen up to Darren. (Perhaps he thought he was kidding.) Whatever the circumstance, Stephen clapped him on the back and said, “This is going to be a fun year.”

Psh! Fuck that!


A/N: Wow, that was quite possibly the longest wait between updates I've had in a while. Anyways,  I hit a little creative bump in the road with this chapter, and I pretty much forced it out of my brain. However, the next chapter is getting to be quite long, and features Bria, who is the protagonist of the parter story to Polychromatic that I mentioned a while back. But, again, sorry for the wait. The good news is that I got to do a bit of future writing, and I've written a fairly large bit (about 10,000 words) of Technicolor, which is the third story in the series. :D

A/N2: Oh! I feel terrible! I completely forgot to credit Tara.Seanan, who has  betaed the last two chapters (Darren's POV and Remus' POV.) However, I never got around to getting this one looked over because the wait was so long and I just needed this piece of crap posted so I could look beyond.


A/N3: A million thanks to everyone - partially because you guys totally freakin deserve it, and partially because I'm just in the best mood I've been in a good couple of months. :D

A/N4: On a funny note, I think this is the first time I've done a Taylor Swift song for a not-Sirius POV. :D (Though using Jessica Simpson for Remus was a tad mean.) :D

Chapter 59: Your Teacher Preaches Class Like You're Some Kind of Jerk (Professor Twitchy)
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But your teacher preaches class like you're some kind of jerk
You gotta fight for your right to party
-Beastie Boys


“To never leaving each other,” said James.
“To friendship for ever,” added Remus.
“To never being alone,” Peter put in.
“To always having fun,” Sirius claimed.
“To living each day like it’s our last; to never growing up” I told them. “Just as we do now.”


Each of our proclamations had reflected what we most needed.

For James, who wasn’t really as strong as he made himself out to be, he needed his friends and family to surround him.

For Remus, who never really thought he’d be able to make friends, knowing that we were there was important.

For Pete - the underdog, the guy who sometimes got shoved under the carpet - knowing that he’d always have someone to back him up and stand up for him made him light up.   

Sirius was like me in the aspect that his life revolved around, first and foremost, having fun; as long as we were together, we could.

And me, finally. If I ever passed on a challenge, ever had any regrets, or ever grew up, I just wasn’t living life how it should be lived.

And even though the Marauders, the dumbarses, had already broken their promise and left Hogwarts to grow up, I knew that we’d all be okay. However, that didn’t stop me from being completely miserable the first day back.

“Anna, stop whining. You saw them seven hours ago,” Darren pointed out.

“Yeah, and you have us,” Stephen said.

“You know I love you guys,” I told them earnestly, “it’s just that Hogwarts isn’t the same without the Marauders.”

Even the boys couldn’t argue with me there. I went back to my food, pushing it around my plate a bit and taking a bite every once in a while. I saw Dora, down the table and motioned for her to join us.

“Had a good few weeks?” I asked her, as she neared.

She nodded excitedly. “Yep. Mum took me to Greece; it’s gorgeous there.”

“Isn’t it?” I said. The hum-drum conversation was going to end in five. . .four. . . three . . . two . . .

“So, how’s Remus?”

Yeah, I’m that good.

“He’s great, and he’s asked me to say hi; and he said he’d probably visit soon.”

“Oh, well that’s nice.” Dora’s nonchalant attitude didn’t fool me, no, sir, I was far too perceptive for that.

“Yes, it is,” I conceded. “Man, you should have come to visit my house over the summer; it would have been fun to go to the beach with you . . . Well, I’ll let you get back to your friends, they’re looking a little impatient.” And they were - across the table, her posse was sending angry, impatient glances towards us.

She gave me a little wave and headed back towards her friends. “Wow, Anna, when did you make hot friends?” Stephen waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“What, you mean the Marauders aren’t hot?”

Stephen laughed. “Well, I’ll admit that Remus is something, but the rest of them . . .”

Even Darren laughed at this, but the little twinge of nostalgia dampened my mood.

“Hey, I’ll see you guys later,” I told Darren and Stephen (who were quickly becoming buddy-buddy) and decided to head up towards the common room. However, once I left the Great Hall, I was faced with A dilemma. I no longer had a dorm.

My Marauders were gone. I certainly couldn’t go back to my old, old dorm. And rooming with Darren, Stephen, and the rest of the Gryffindor boys seemed much more slutty and much less platonic than it had with the Marauders.

As you can see, I was at a crossroad. I was still pondering my problem when a smooth, buoyant voice called, “Oi, did you miss me?”

“Sirius!” I cried. I spun around to face Sirius, who was waiting for me with his arms spread wide open. I leaped into his arms and clung tightly to his neck.

He laughed and held tight. “Didn’t you just see me, like, a few hours ago?”

“Yes, yes, yes and I missed you so, so, so much!” I still held on to Sirius.

After half a minute of me not letting go, Sirius forcibly removed me from himself. “What are you doing here?” I asked excitedly. “Did you fail and have to come back for another year?” The idea of Sirius failing a class had never gotten me so excited. “Did you bring the guys with you?”

“Full moon, no, and yes.”

For the first time, I looked outside and noticed that it was indeed full moon. “So you guys are going back to the Shrieking Shack?”       

He nodded. “James and Peter are handling Remus for now; I told them I’d meet them. I just couldn’t be so close without coming to say ‘hi’ to my favourite little Seventh year.”

I grinned hugely. “Yeah, I am pretty awesome, aren’t I? Oh, so you wouldn’t believe it! Darren and Stephen are friends!”

Sirius looked at me funny. “Actually, I totally do believe it.”

I was kind of disappointed that Sirius had expected this and I hadn’t.

“ . . . Oh . . . So did you know that I no longer have anywhere to sleep?”

Sirius’ mouth opened in amused shock. “Oh, yeah! I completely forgot! Haha, what’re you going to do now? Maybe you could try moving back into your old dorm?”

“Are you fucking kidding me? Fat fucking chance!” My mind briefly travelled back to the time that I had lived there, and the girl I had been best friends with for, like, a day. (Admittedly, maybe a few weeks.) But I hadn’t exactly left on the best of terms, and moving back there wasn’t an option.

“Hold on a tick! Where’s my stuff?”

Sirius looked curiously at me. “My stuff,” I repeated. “Dumbledore had it sent up to your dorm last year, so where the hell is it now?”

“Oh,” Sirius shrugged. “I dunno, why don’t you go ask Dumbles; maybe it’ll solve the age old question of where you’re going to crash for the rest of the year.”

“Come with?” I asked, making my way back towards the Great Hall.

Sirius glanced quickly at his watch and pulled a face. “Yeah, why the hell not? I’ve got a few rounds to make anyway.”

We entered the Great Hall again and Sirius was immediately dragged from my side by excited old friends who hadn’t seen him in a while. I nudged Darren and Stephen on my way past them and pointed Sirius out, before continuing towards Dumbledore.

I interrupted the conversation that the Headmaster was having with Minnie. “’Scuse me, professor. Erm, where’s my stuff?”

“Pardon, Miss Xanthis?” he turned away from Minnie and looked inquisitively at me.   

Damn, that’s a cool fricking eye color, I thought, when I looked at Dumbledore’s shockingly blue eyes.

“Erm, my stuff. Last year it was in the Marauders' dorm, and this year, well, it’s not.”   

“Ah, yes, you do seem to have a dilemma. I decided, Miss Xanthis, that since you’ve already broken a fair share of rules over the years, a few more couldn’t hurt. I’ve had the house elves leave your belongings in the common room; it’s up to your where you’d like to stay.”

“Er, thank you, professor.”

Okay, well, that’s good, now I’ve just got to go collect Sirius and -

“Miss Xanthis?” I turned around to face Dumbledore once again. “Sometimes it’s best to do what we don’t want to.”

I smiled nervously and nodded before turning around again. What is that old coot on about now?

I headed back over to Darren and Stephen, where they were having a chin wag with Sirius.

Sirius saw me coming and smiled brilliantly at me. “I’ve got to go, love, but I’ll visit soon, alright?” I nodded and buried my face in his chest, hugging him tight.

“Don’t go,” I mumbled. “I miss you lots.”

“I’ve got to go.” He gently removed my arms that had been clasped tightly around him. “James’ll be completely knackered by the time I get there.”

I pouted and bid him goodbye.

When Sirius was completely out of the Great Hall, Darren rounded on me immediately. “You still fancy him!”

“I do not!” It was my immediate reaction; his conclusion in no way reflected the truth. In fact, I didn’t even know what the truth was. But the truth had to wait -

“Wait! . . . Still?! What the bloody hell have I missed while I was gone?” Stephen cried, looking wildly and confusedly from me to Darren.

“A lot, my friend, quite a lot.” Darren answered, throwing his arm over his new mate’s shoulder.                                       
___

“Holy crap! I can’t believe I missed all that!” Darren, Stephen and I were all lounging around in the common room. It was two in the morning, and we’d finally gotten done recapping the past year. Luckily, Darren left out all the gory details of my relationships with him and Sirius. Good thing, too; his bollocks were on the line.

Not that Darren didn’t explain in further detail as soon as they scampered up to the dorm - I’m sure he did - but he was at least sensible enough not to do it in front of me.

So, by two in the morning, I still had no place to sleep. I declined Darren and Stephen’s invitation to retreat up to the dorm with them, and decided to zonk out on the couch for the night.

Darren and Stephen shook me awake next morning. I woke up to near silence, except for the two twats who decided to wake me up at five in the morning. Five!

“Why the hell are you awake? And why the hell did you have to wake me up?” I groaned, punching the air around me ‘cause I couldn’t see their faces through my bleary eyes.

“What’s got you so narked?” Darren asked. I could tell he was smirking, even though I could barely see the contours of his face. I just knew it.

“Because you told me that it’s five in the morning! Bloody five! And it’s not even a fucking school day!”

Darren and Stephen giggled like schools girls.

“Oh, bugger it.” I grabbed the blanket I had slept with last night and stomped up the staircase to the Seventh year girls’ dormitory. I quietly opened the door and tiptoed in before collapsing on the fluffy white carpet in the middle of the room, wrapped in my blanket.

I was lying with my eyes closed, trying to sleep, when I heard a creaking from one of the beds surrounding me.

“Shit,” I whispered, and quickly rolled under the nearest bed. I lay there silently until the unnerving sound proved only to be someone tossing in their sleep. However, I stayed under, just to be sure. Soon enough, I had fallen asleep.

It was far more bright and loud in the room when I awoke the second time. It took me quite a bit to figure out where I was. Luckily, the bed clothes hung over and covered anything under the bed, specifically, me.

Bugger, now I’ve got to wait until they all leave, I thought. Well, at least I finished sleeping.

However, it proved to be a very interesting hour or so.

“So, Bria, did you see who’s back?” asked one of my former dorm mates. I chanced a peak out from under the bed, and identified her bleach blond head as Connie.

Two squeals from above let me know that Gryffindor’s resident gossips were in the house; Alice and Elena.

“Do you mean Stephen?” I could only conclude that the dismissive answer came from the lip gloss-caked mouth of Bria, my one-week-long best friend from First year.

Ooo, so she likes Stephen, does she?


“No, I mean Mickey Mouse.” Connie’s sarcasm amused me. She definitely was not that sarcastic when she was still my roommate.       

I heard Bria scoff. “Yes, I saw that he was back.” A long pause. “He was hanging with Darren-”

Bria was cut off by a shrill pair of giggles from Alice and Elena.

“-and Anastasia.” She said my name with such distain that I wanted to laugh. I refrained, however, because that probably would have given me away.

So, she hates me, does she? I wonder why . . .

“Well, I can’t tell you that you hate her at all,” Connie remarked. Sarcasm again. I heard a clinking sound; it sounded like two ink bottles falling into a bag. 

“I don’t hate her,” Bria replied snootily. “I just strongly dislike her, and her goddamn arrogance . . . Pardon my French. And what about her chest? It’s the size of Europe; she’s such a whore . . . Pardon my French, again.”

Pardon her French? Pardon my foot up her arse!

I could practically feel Connie rolling her eyes; I couldn’t tell for sure, but I would’ve bet one-thousand galleons on it.

It was silent for a few minutes until I heard a shrill voice say, “Has anyone seen my pink thong? That cute little one with all the pink hearts and the white pom-pom on the back?”

And I couldn’t take it anymore. There was no way I could hear about Alice’s (or Elena’s - I couldn’t distinguish between the two) pink-hearted, white-pom-pommed thong and not laugh.

It was a quick, quiet little snort of laughter, but it put Connie on the radar.

“What was that?” she said sharply. The rest of the girls in the room went quiet.

Oh, shit. It’s okay, you’re not caught yet . . . Maybe they won’t look under the bed.

“I think it came from under your bed, Connie.”

Damn whoever just suggested looking under Connie’s bed!

Quick search your pockets! Find your wand!


I thrust my hand into the pocket of my sweats and found something soft, squishy, and wrapped in plastic.

A dungbomb!


I heard someone drop to their knees very close by.

Okay . . . Here goes!


I chucked the dungbomb, praying to Godric that it caused a sufficient distraction - it did.

It ended up hitting whoever had gone to look under the bed; I don’t know who, I was too intent on getting out. Four shrill screams filled the room, and cries of disgust.

I had to hold my nose to keep from gagging; the dungbomb must have been rather old; it was particularly potent.

Despite the nauseating smell, I stayed hidden under Connie’s bed until I heard the bathroom door slam. Then, I quickly scrambled out from under the bed and shot across the room to the door. From inside the bathroom, I could still hear whining and cries of disgust. I was about to burst out of the room and down the stairs when my stomach convulsed.

Oh, fuck.

I puked all over the floor.

Ugh, gross.

Apparently, I was a mean person. However, I must not’ve been as mean as Bria seemed to think. Before I continued my get-away, I cleaned up the disgusting mess of digested food. After all evidence of my stay in the room was gone, I split and closed the door tightly behind me.

I took a deep breath, and sighed.

Wow. I sure dodged a bullet there . . . Eww . . . I need a shower.


As I was trotting down the stairs (with intentions of breaking into Darren’s and Stephen’s dorm - decency be damned) when it occurred to me that the smart person’s way of getting the remainder of my sleep would have been to go to Dora’s dormitory.

Well, you never were exactly a smart one, were you, Anna?

No, sir.


I smiled to myself as I burst into the boys’ dormitory. Luckily, there was no one in there.

I skipped happily into the bathroom and stripped down before jumping in the shower.

Ha. Haha. Ha. I think I like it when people hate me.

Yeah, I agree; it’s fun.


The slippery bar of soap shot out of my hand, rebounded against the tiled wall and hit me in the head.

Holy crap! You agree? It’s a fricking miracle!

However, the rest of my conversation with myself was cut short when the bathroom door burst open.

It was Darren, standing, with his hand still on the door knob, and completely shocked.

This happens way too often.

“Shit!” he cried, and slammed the door shut.

I sighed, sniffed myself once (to make sure the scent of the dungbomb was completely gone) and stepped out of the shower, onto the soft, red rug. I quickly conjured up a toothbrush and got rid of the vomit taste in my mouth, before I pulling a towel from the towel rack, wrapped it around myself, and stepped out into the dormitory.

Poor Darren was curled up on his bed, waiting for me to walk out. Stephen was sprawled out on the floor, laughing his arse off.

“This happens way too often,” I remarked, laughing.

Darren immediately came out of the little fetal position he had created. “Oh, thank God you’re laughing; I thought you’d not take it quite this well, seeing as it’s almost happened before, and all.”

From the floor, Stephen gave a particularly loud hoot.

“Hey, who’re you talking to? Me! There’s way more important things to worry about. Now, scram, so I can put - oh, crap! I have no clothes. Who wants to donate to the ‘Anna needs clothes fund?’”

Stephen was no help; either he found the situation that amusing, or some other funny thing had happened, and Darren and I missed it.

Darren got up, and leisurely walked towards his trunk, before pulling out a pair of pants, a shirt, and a tie.

Well, if there’s one thing about him that hasn’t changed, it’s the way he walks.

He always took his time, and walked in a calm, collected manner. It was one of the only semblances of his old self. Once I had the clothes in my hand, Darren practically had to drag Stephen out of the room; he couldn’t walk - he was still laughing.       

I quickly dressed and threw the towel across the room; not my room, not my problem. By the time I got down to the common room, found my shoes, and put them on, Stephen had finally stopped laughing.

“Are you ready to come back to the big kids world now?” I asked the red-faced, smiling boy.
                       
He seemed to have glued his mouth shut, and slowly moved his head up and down. However, with another glance at me and D