Step One: It Doesn’t Always Have To Go As Planned
“She walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
Just like shes walking on a wire in the circus…”
, Counting Crows
By the time I’m walking down to breakfast, I’ve fully formulated my plan for revenge on Sirius. I’m not about to let him think he can mess with me like that and get away with it, and this plan is so perfect…
“Hey Meggie! Lily! Wait up!” I call after them as I trip down the stairs.
They look at me suspiciously as I stand back up and catch up with them.
“Don’t just sit there looking at me like I have 6 heads, let’s go down to breakfast!”
“So you’re not angry at me anymore?” Meggie asks cautiously.
“Angry at you? When was I ever angry at you?! Maybe you had a bad dream or something, Meggie,” I say in my most convincing tone, and she looks like she might be considering it.
“I’m not angry at you, Meggie!” I interrupt, sounding appalled by her accusations. I should really take up acting, I’m getting pretty good at this. “So, have you two heard about the Hogsmeade trip this weekend? Should be pretty exciting, huh?”
Meggie and Lily look at eachother and shrug.
“Either of you thinking about asking anyone?” I continue, pretending as if this is my major concern at the moment. Really, I’m concentrating on what I need to do, step by step. Convincing Meggie and Lily that I’m really not angry is just step one, and as angry as I really am at Meggie, I’m even more pissed off at Sirius.
“Nah,” Meggie and Lily both say at the same time, and we all start laughing.
“So what about you, Aria? Gonna ask Sirius?” Meggie asks me with a teasing smile. Wow, are they like following my script? This is going perfectly.
“Sirius? What?” I pretend to be entirely confused, “no, I’m not asking him. I AM asking somebody, but you’re going to have to wait to find out.”
“Not Sirius?” Meggie asks me, looking befuddled.
“Well then who?” Lily chimes in.
“I already said, I’m not telling you. You have to wait and find out,” I smile at them and they look extremely disappointed by my answer.
“Oh come on, Aria,” Meggie pleads.
“Please?” Lily asks politely.
“Nope,” I grin fiendishly, “but you won’t have to wait very long to find out.”
And with that, we enter the Great Hall, where almost everyone is already seated and eating breakfast. It only takes me a moment to spot the people I’m looking for, they’re huddled at the end of the table closest to the staff table.
“Come on, you two! Hurry it up!” I call to Meggie and Lily and begin to walk the fastest that I can without drawing too much attention to myself-towards the group of four self-proclaimed “marauders”.
“Aria!” Lily calls after me.
“What’s with the rush?” Meggie struggles to keep up with me, and matches my pace by going into a sort of awkward kind of jog-the kind of thing I’m known for trying to do and then falling over.
I smile mischieviously at them, deciding it would be best not to respond.
We’re getting closer.
The four heads rise up from their breakfast and look confusedly at me, all except for a certain Sirius Black, who grins smugly and takes another sip of his pumpkin juice. Oh, how I’d like to just hex him right now . . . that would wipe that stupid, hateful grin off of his hideous face . . .
No, stick to the plan, Aria.
The steps of my flawless plan quickly smother my mind, and I lose myself to my doubts.
Will they fall for it? What happens if they don’t? What if I can’t do it?
Suddenly my flawless plan looks like it could never work.
2 and a half feet . . .
Sirius keeps grinning at me in that stupid, smug way. I do my best to keep myself from glaring back, and lose my footing.
With a swift thud, I trip over my own feet and fall to the ground.
Like some kind of terrible action movie, everything around me seems to begin to move in slow motion. Sirius rushes to his feet, his smug grin replaced by an expression that could only be described as-concern? What? Where did that come from? James stifles a laugh. Peter sits and watches with his mouth in a little “o”, looking like some kind of disturbing deer caught in the headlights of a massive truck. Remus is suddenly at my side, looking even more concerned than Sirius.
“Aria!” Meggie and Lily are standing above me, looking slightly embarrassed.
“What?” I mumble angrily at them. Why was everyone making such a big deal? I fall like 6 times a day, why is everyone staring at me? My thoughts begin to blur, my head feels a little sore-but it’s not as if I’m bleeding all over the place. In fact, I bet I could stand up right now.
I lift my head up carefully, it only makes me feel a little bit dizzy. I push the palms of my hands against the cold stone floor and shift my weight onto my legs. With a shudder of pain I fall back onto the hard ground. My ankle burns and sharp twinges of pain continue to radiate from it.
“Aria? Are you alright?” Remus asks and lifts my head into his warm hands. Such warm hands . . .
I try to tell him that yes, I’m fine. But the words just wont move out of my mouth. Instead, I look over to where Sirius is standing, the overly concerned expression gone and replaced by something looks like it might be anger. Or frustration. No, that’s not it. But then what is it?
“Somebody get Madame Pomfrey!” Remus yells from beside me, distress in his voice.
I hear a sudden bustling of people, and the world seems to return to its usual pace.
“It’s alright, dear, you can sleep now,” a soothing female voice comes from beside me. When did that get there? I only have a few seconds to think before a deep black curtain seems to fall all around me, and my mind drifts off into something short of peaceful sleep.
Have you ever woken up and forgotten where you are and how you got there? And then, like a wave of color and bright light, you remember? Has that remembering made you very, very angry with yourself? Have you ever woken up and wished that you had woken up somebody else?
Okay, maybe it’s just me, then.
“Ah, she’s awake,” an all-too bubbly, thick woman’s voice speaks.
Before I have a chance to guess who it is, Madame Pomfrey is hovering over me, a potion bottle in her hand.
“How’s that ankle doing, dear? And your head? You took quite a fall, you know. What did you trip over?” the bubbly voice continues, and I narrow my eyes, concentrating hard on forming words.
“I’m feeling. . .fine” I mumble, “I didn’t . . . trip . . . over anything. Just fell.”
I listen distractedly to her rantings about my various injuries, none of which seem to be very serious. They’ll just take a day or less to recover with some spells. Nothing serious. Serious. Sirius. Just like that, my anger springs out of its hiding place somewhere in the back of my mind. How could I have been so stupid? So clumsy? Now I’ve completely destroyed all my chances of getting back at Sirius. My plan is completely destroyed, and all because I can’t walk a short distance without falling all over myself.
“Miss Falba? Did you hear me?”
“Um, yeah,” I struggle to remember what she said, but I hadn’t been listening, “um, no, actually. What did you say?” My voice sounds a bit weaker than usual, but I’m surprised by how easy it is to talk.
“I asked you if you were up to having visitors, they’ve been waiting ever since you came here. I told them it might be an hour or two before you woke up, but they didn’t care.”
“Um, who are these visitors?” I ask apprehensively.
“There’s a Miss Evans, Miss McKin, Mr Lupin, and Mr Black,” she recites, counting them off on her fingers.
“Well, then I suppose I’m up for some visitors,” I smile genuinely and hoist myself up into a rather awkward sitting position. Maybe my plan isn’t so messed up after all. . .
Soon Madame Pomfrey is leading them into the bright, clean room. Remus, Meggie, and Lily are in the lead with Sirius behind them, who is looking quite indifferent.
“How’re you feeling?” Lily asks with kind concern and I can feel everyone’s eyes crawling over me, inspecting and evaluating.
“Fine,” I smile forcedly, “well, you know you expected to see me like this sooner or later what with how clumsy I am. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened earlier.”
They all chuckle pitifully at me except for Sirius, who stands off to the side in an awkward sort of way.
“I didn’t make too much of a scene, did I?” I ask cautiously, knowing that right now people are probably running rampant through the halls gossping about the stange albino girl who tripped over nothing during breakfast and had to be put in the hospital wing. As if they don’t already think I’m strange enough.
Sirius chuckles blandly from his corner and I glare angrily at him, my anger returning, more vicious than ever. I want to do this now and I want to make him suffer. All I can think about is making that smug smirk fall, make it crash into a million pieces.
Everyone else looks at me with reluctant faces, and I can tell what that means.
“That bad, huh?” I find that I’m actually not that bothered by the fact that I’m the school gossip. Right now, all I really care about is getting my revenge on Sirius.
“Remus?” I ask in a shy voice, the kind that girls in movies always use when they talk to guys. The kind of voice I don’t use. The kind of thing that anyone who knows me will be able to spot that I’m faking.
Surprisingly, none of them look startled or curious, in fact they all look pretty much the same. Sirius looks just as stupid as ever, just sitting there with that ridiculous self-satisfied grin on his face. Remus is the only one who looks slightly curious, he looks at me, his kind brown eyes holding a twinge of expectance.
“Thanks. A lot. It was really great of you to do that for me,” this part is easier to act sincere, since I really am thankful for him.
“No problem,” he tells me, looking a bit-let down? Oh no. I begin to worry about my plan. Do I really want to go through with this? Will getting revenge on Sirius be worth it if I injure Remus in the process? I steal a glance at Sirius, and catch a glimpse of just the thing that I wanted to see. The smirk is faded slightly, and a wary expression is strewn across his face, an emotion that thoroughly doesn’t suit him.
“Well, that’s actually not all I wanted to tell you,” I say, hoping I’m as good at acting as I think, “I also wanted to, um, ask you something.”
Both his and Sirius’s eyes flash urgently onto mine, one making discouraging me and the other making me desire more than ever to go through with this. Meggie and Lily merely look curious, and faintly surprised.
“Um, I was just wondering, If you would like to go to Hogsmeade with me?”
each word seems to echoe in the large room, and everyone’s eyes seem to be set upon me now. I think even the portraits on the walls are staring at me.
“But aren’t you, um, going out with Sirius?” Remus asks shyly, and I pretend like that accusation is completely ridiculous.
“What?! Of course not!” Sirius seems to be turning a nice shade of green, and I smile unintentionally.
“Then, yes, I’d definitely like to go to Hogsmeade with you, but I think we ought to check with Madame Pomfrey to make sure you’ll be healthy enough to go,” he’s smiling like a small child who’s been given extra dessert, and I can’t help but feel a bit of guilt.
“Madame Pomfrey?” I call shakily, not entirely sure why my voice is suddenly unsteady, “will I be better in time for the trip to Hogsmeade?”
Madame Pomfrey scurries over to my bed and looks me over, “you know what, dear? I think you’ll be ready to go before the end of the day.” She walks away with a large grin on her face, and I look over everyone else in the room.
Meggie is staring at me with her head tilted to the side, as if she’s trying to figure out some sort of a confusing math problem. Lily is looking blankly at me, her face practically void of expression except for a faint little smile curling up the edges of her mouth. Remus is staring happily at me, and his contentment seems to bring about a fresh wave of guilt, and I move on to the last person. Sirius. He’s the only one not looking at me, instead he’s looking at Remus. His expression looks like it might be anger, but there seems to be something a bit different than anger-jealousy? I can feel my grin widen maliciously, but I don’t care, I know I’ve done my job. I’ve succeded.
Step one of plan Revenge On Black is completed.
Okay, so I wrote half of this with a fever and the other half at like 11 at night. Yeah, I know, I need to stop getting sick and I need to stop writing when I'm sick. So I got a little more than halfway before I actually realized that I had accidentally made it a smidge similar to Mourning And Knight, so if you notice that, I apologize. Apparently when I have a fever my brain doesn't work as well as usual (well, imagine that!) I know, its bad. I'm really and truly sorry, and this is my least favorite chapter so far. I PROMISE my next one will be WAY better. I'm gonna make up for it. I SWEAR. Well, reviewing is, as always, adored. Thanks for reading!