[A/N: Here tis! The next installment. (: A few notes.. It's Claire's point of view this time, of course. And.. I refuse to treat Peter Pettigrew badly in my story. I don't like him either, but that doesn't mean I'm going to shun him or have the characters shun him. Anyways, I hope you like it!]
You and A Promise
Chapter Five : Mockery
So I spent the rest of the train ride with Black's friends, who were relatively agreeable, which I found to be quite a surprise. I don't know why, but I guess I expected them to be the same as Sirius himself. Sometimes it's nice to be proven wrong. Well…in this case.
They spent most of the time reliving old pranks they pulled and telling them to me in the outmost detail. To be perfectly truthful, they were quite impressive. And they gave me ideas for later. Not like I was taking notes or anything…
I enjoyed myself immensely, particularly when the conversation turned towards the greatness that is Quidditch, and I also enjoyed watching Sirius sulk in a corner of the compartment.
And sulk he did. He huffed, scoffed, and brooded while facing the window almost the entire time, only leaving to grab some sweets from a lady who pushed a cart around.
Now, I'm pretty sure you know Sirius' friends, and quite well, so I won't go into descriptions, names, and whatnot. I could easily tell they were some of the most popular blokes in school; let's just say our compartment received an amount of visits from girls.
"There is no way Chad Livingston is going to get the Chudley Cannons into the Cup," I told James after a third group of girls had made their exit.
Remus nodded his support, but kept his mouth full of sweets. He swallowed and replied, "They've lost too many games. They'd need a miracle to even think about it."
"Exactly!" I exclaimed, throwing my arms up. "Remus, will you knock some sense into him?"
James chuckled and shook his head. "No, Claire, what you don't understand is…" He got a misty look in his eye and pounded his chest with a fist. "You don't have the faith."
And it was a little quiet for a while.
That is, until the rest of us started laughing rather loudly as he blushed. Even Sirius took a second out of his brooding to crack a little smile.
"I'll live without the 'Faith,' if that's alright with you, James," Peter said, wiping the tears from his eyes. The rest of us nodded in agreement, a statement that we were, well, just fine without the Faith.
The conversation continued as I told them I'd return. I slid the compartment open and shut and began walking down the hallway of the train. I passed all the other compartments on my way to the bathroom, watching as students of every year laughed, ate, talked.
On my way back, I didn't look into the windows of other compartments; instead I kept my eyes on the hallway in front of me, but for some reason, I didn't see Lucius walk towards me.
And it happened, you know, that slowness that happens when you pass by someone without taking your eyes off of them. Anyways, it happened. But he stopped a second before I would have passed him, and somehow my feet stopped too.
"Regulus is waiting for you," he stated plainly, and I wanted to hit him for it. But I couldn't and I couldn't say anything either. A million sarcastic remarks ran through my head, but I had a feeling I shouldn't say any of them.
So instead, I blurted out, "Where?" Stupid, stupid!
He smiled, which made me want to hit him even more, and said, "Six compartments from the front." And he continued walking.
"Why me?" I whined under my breath and continued walking, in the opposite direction.
Regulus' compartment was two away from Sirius' and it seemed too entirely close for comfort. I put my head down and opened the door to reveal a compartment full of Slytherins. Regulus was sitting among them, and he waved for me to come in and sit.
A few more 'Why me's' flitted through my head as I say down next to these absolutely disgusting boys and I plastered on a smile while greeting Regulus.
"Claire, darling, how are you?" Regulus replied, obviously possessing a little more backbone while surrounded by this lot.
"Wonderful, Regulus, darling. How are you?" My comment generated a few chuckles from his friends.
He sighed happily. "To tell you the truth, I'm quite excited. And I'm sure you'll be just the addition to get our plan in motion, am I right?" I smiled, but said nothing. "I'll be in contact with you throughout the year, but as of now… enjoy your new school."
I stood up, taking this as my leave. "Why, thank you, Regulus. I'm almost positive I will." I made my way through the boys' legs and arms and out of the compartment. I stood in the hallway for a while, leaning against the glass of the windows facing outside, not just ready to rejoin Sirius' friends.
This can't have been the reason my parents sent me to Hogwarts. How could they even think of doing something like this? It seemed so shallow, so incredibly stupid…
"What do you think you're doing?" a voice yelled at me, startling me so bad I jumped.
It was Sirius. And I panicked.
"W—what?" I managed to get out.
"What do you mean 'what'?" he continued to yell. He gestured to his own compartment, and not the Slytherins'. My heart stopped beating at a thousand kilometers a second.
I stood up straight and replied, "I was simply talking to your lovely friends."
"More like flirting with my mates!" If he wasn't going to stop yelling, we'd soon gather another large crowd…
I frowned, and in my innocent voice, asked, "Now why would I ever do that?"
He was fuming. Really. It was hilarious. "Oh, I don't know! Maybe because you like to torture me? Completely and indefinitely like to wreak havoc? You're miserable and unhappy unless I'm suffering?"
I was going to laugh in his face, but I chose instead to reply. "Where would you ever get an idea like that?" I asked quite seriously.
He stared at me for a while, his mouth hanging open, and then you know what he did?
Turned around and walked back into the compartment. Left. I practically skipped in after him.
Once I entered the compartment, the boys fell silent, and that, my friends, is when you know someone had just been talking about you.
Each had a look of sheer guilt on their face, and as I resumed my seat, Sirius returned to his window to brood some more. I wondered whether to call them on it or say something else, but the train had begun slowing down, signaling a rise of everyone in the train.
I sighed and started pulling a sweater over my head, and my school robes. James bowed me out of the compartment and followed after, and the others walked out after us. The hallways was now crammed with students who wanted to get out, pushing and shoving and yelling as the line slowly moved.
We finally got out, and I stood looking at the enormous castle that was Hogwarts.
"Pretty nice, huh?" Peter asked, nudging me in the arm.
"Mmmm," was my reply.
- - - - - -
My face burned as I put my head down and walked towards the group of scarlet and gold clad students cheering and pounding on their table. I ignored the stares from the Slytherin table, and even James waving for me to join him and the rest of his friends. And I even tried to ignore Sirius' blank face as I sat with them.
I don't even want to think about what my father will do when he finds out.
After the Sorting was over and the food had appeared, the hall erupted in clattering plates and conversation.
"Smashing job, getting into Gryffindor," James told me while spooning meat onto his plate.
"What? Oh… thanks, James," I replied.
He smiled and waved it off. "So this year…" he began, and the others leaned towards him, including me, I found. "Best prank ever." He paused between words for effect.
"Definitely," Peter piped in.
"But," he paused, and we all leaned in closer. "I just haven't thought of it, yet."
I sat back, rolling my eyes. Then my eyes fell on the giant plate of mashed potatoes. And Sirius' currently empty seat.
I hastily grabbed the plate and scooped a large portion of mashed potatoes in my hand. Of course, the boys gave me quizzical looks, but I cast them off. I placed my hand under the table and waited.
How long does it take for someone to get back from having "a talk" with Dumbledore anyway?
A while later, he was walking back towards the table, looking somewhat pleased with himself, which got me even more excited. When he got closer, he determinedly kept his eyes away from me, which I was hoping for, and smiled at James.
He was five seconds away from sitting, three seconds, one second.
He sat in that big pile of mashed potatoes easy. He winced and jumped up, the mashy, potatoey, greatness dripping off his robes in glory. I licked the potatoes off of my fingers in pure satisfaction. Sirius glared at me.
"Mm… buttery," I remarked, still licking my fingers.
I was waiting for yelling, screaming, anything. But I didn't get a reaction. A hall full of thousands of students to watch, but he didn't say anything. He looked at me for two seconds, turned around, and walked out of the hall while taking off his school robes.
I had won, of course, but I swear to Merlin—and I don't understand why—but I didn't feel like I did at all.
Why didn't he yell? Why didn't he throw some insults at my face? Maybe he was trying something new… mind games possibly?
Two could play at that game. That arrogant git had another thing coming if he thought he was going to show me up.
"That was nothing short of brilliant," James exclaimed through fits of laughter, snapping me out of my thoughts.
I turned my head away from the aisle between tables to look at him. "Yeah," I said, uncertainly.
"Oh, yeah. Brilliant," he replied, and returned to his food, still laughing. [ 1/7/07 - I hope you liked it! (: Happy New Year everyone!