Chapter 1 : A Deal with Sirius Black?
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It was February tenth, and in Kelsey’s opinion, one of the days leading up to the worst day of the year. As a seventh-year, it was her duty to unwillingly keep up a good appearance for the rest of the school on this day, or so Lily said. Repeatedly. Over and over until Kelsey got sick of it and nearly chucked Lily’s bag out the window. She had almost done it, and would have pulled it off if James Potter hadn’t stepped in and stopped her. James. Ugh. Just thinking of him made Kelsey want to throw up. She had liked him, for years and years and years, since she first laid eyes on him in first-year. Lily had admonished her, saying she was only eleven, but Kelsey hadn’t listened. She had developed a harmless crush into an obsession, which involved joining the group the followed James and his best friend, Sirius Black, everywhere they went. Then her dreams had been crushed when Lily had finally agreed to go out with James, and the rest was history. Now she got a nauseous feeling in her stomach every time Lily kissed James when she thought no one was looking.
Kelsey was over James. Completely.
“Miss Spencer!” squeaked a voice shrilly, jerking Kelsey out of her not-so-peaceful reverie. It was Professor Flitwick, standing a little less than menacingly over Kelsey’s messy desk. He was studying the clip of parchment she had been doodling on for the past two days. On it repeatedly was James’s name. Kelsey prayed silently that Professor Flitwick would rip it up instead of sharing it with the class. Even Lily and James had torn their eyes away from each other to stare at Kelsey and Professor Flitwick, the latter scanning the scrap suspiciously.
While Kelsey bit her lip, trying to figure out what she should tell him (she had considered trying to bully him into giving the note back; after all, she was about two heads taller than he was), the bell rang, dismissing the gawking class. Kelsey grabbed the note out of his hands, ripped it up, and threw them away, uttering a hurried apology in his general direction. He tried to stop her, but she made sure that a crowd of second- and third-years separated them before she slowed down.
“That was smooth,” said Lily from behind her. Her long red hair flowed down her back, making it clear to Kelsey why James Potter had picked Lily over her. She looked elegant, like a princess, even when she hadn’t showered and her hair was in tangles. Kelsey, on the other hand, was a different story. Her hair had to be pampered constantly if she wanted it to look barely decent. It was a dull brown, according to Kelsey. Completely boring, just like everything about her life. It really got frustrating after a while, having a best friend with a perfect life and the cutest boyfriend ever, while she was a nobody, a follower of crowds, a dull, boring nothing.
“Thanks,” said Kelsey sarcastically. “I was hoping you wouldn’t notice. You were kind of…preoccupied.”
Lily looked slightly put out. “I was paying attention. I always pay attention.”
Lily sighed. “Kelsey, are you still jealous?”
“Jealous? Who, me?” asked Kelsey, pretending to wring an invisible person’s neck behind her back. “Of course not. I got over what’s-his-name.”
“His name is James,” said Lily.
Kelsey gritted her teeth. “Yes, him.”
“If you’re jealous—”
“I’m not jealous.”
“Oh. All right, then.”
The two girls reached the Gryffindor common room. When they entered, Lily was hailed with a chorus of cheers from the students, even the ones she didn’t know but knew her because she was Head Girl. James Potter was Head Boy. Kelsey just wanted to hit something.
“It’s strange how people know who I am because I’m Head Girl,” said Lily.
It’s partly because you’re James Potter’s girlfriend, Lily! Wake up! Kelsey thought to herself. Aloud she said, “It is.”
The afternoon passed normally, with dinner and then the common room again. Lily turned in early, as usual, so Kelsey was left alone in the common room before the crackling fire, her notepad and a quill in hand.
“Lily? Lily? Where did Lily go?” asked James Potter suddenly, bounding up to Kelsey. Kelsey looked up at him, his deep brown eyes, and his mussed jet-black hair sticking up in every direction it found suitable. His eyes were concerned, and his mouth was hanging half-open, like it was whenever he couldn’t find Lily. He really did love her, and Kelsey knew it. He went berserk from insanity if he wasn’t near her. “Do you know where Lily went, Kelsey?”
Kelsey sighed, and bit her tongue so hard she tasted blood. “Yeah, she went upstairs to bed. And I wouldn’t recommend that,” she said, as James started toward the girl’s staircase. “Do you remember the last time you tried that?” James grimaced. He had tried to go up to see Lily once before, a couple weeks ago, and with an enormous grating sound, the stairs had transformed into a gigantic slide that promptly deposited him on the floor in a crumpled heap, still without Lily. Kelsey was trying to come to terms with that saddened, discouraged look on his face whenever he was not by her side. “Do you want me to take a message up to her or something?”
James’s face brightened. “You’d do that for me?”
When he perked up like that, and had that ecstatic look in his eyes, it was impossible to refuse any favor James Potter requested. So Kelsey left her notepad on the sofa and climbed the stairs three at a time to deliver the message: “Come down, Lily, but if not, good night and I love you, love James.” So Kelsey had to follow Lily back down the stairs, nearly tripping on her heels because she wasn’t watching where she was going.
“Sirius Black! Move it!” yelled Lily when Kelsey was halfway down the stairs. Kelsey had stopped, tired of waiting for Lily to move, and now Lily was in the common room, yelling at the couch. Kelsey groaned and went to see what was the matter. The “matter” was a well-built boy with dark hair that draped smoothly over his eyes named Sirius Black. He grinned good-naturedly up at Lily and James, who wanted to sit on the sofa instead of stand in a corner like usual.
“I don’t think you want this couch, Evans,” he said casually, raising an eyebrow at James. “I happen to be occupying it as of now.”
“Fine. We’ll go somewhere else,” said James, half-annoyed. He moved himself and Lily over to their regular corner. Kelsey considered going up to bed when she remembered her notepad, which she had left on the sofa. She went back to get it, but in its place was the ever-present, ever-annoying Sirius. “Sirius, have you seen a notepad?”
“Yellow?” he asked.
“Lined? With scribbles all over it? Your name in big purple letters at the top? The one you usually keep under lock and key?”
“Yes, that one! Now hand it over!”
“Nope, haven’t seen it.”
Kelsey rattled a sigh around in her throat. “Sirius, give me my notepad or I’ll tell McGonagall who really turned all the Slytherins’ shorts pink!”
Sirius seemed genuinely alarmed at this, as this had been his best, most concealed prank to date. “All right, all right, I picked up your notepad. But there’s some interesting things on here…”
Panic seized at Kelsey’s heart. He had read her notepad. She was dead, a definite social outcast for life. Sirius Black knew she wasn’t over James. In fact, she doubted he ever knew about the crush in the first place. “You read my notepad? That’s my private property, Sirius! Now McGonagall is going to know for sure!”
“No, wait!” said Sirius, leaping up and grabbing her arm. “You don’t have to do that. I know about your little…jealousy.” He glanced over meaningfully at James and Lily, who were lip locked, and then back at Kelsey.
“I’m not jealous!” she protested lamely.
Sirius held up her notepad. “What’s this here? Ah, yes… ‘I can’t believe I’m jealous of Lily, but I am. And I have been since she started dating James. He won’t leave my mind ever. I can’t seem to get over him. Why won’t he leave me alone?’ Then a whole bunch of sad faces and the word ‘James’ with holes punched in it.” He grinned. “I’d called that jealous.”
Kelsey was at a loss for words. This was outrageous. Her mouth couldn’t even form words. It just hung there, opening and closing like the one on a fish out of water. “Ha…how…you…I…da…”
“And then this page is really interesting. ‘Valentine’s Day is for saps like Lily and James who have nothing better to do than stare in each other’s eyes all day long. It was made for them. It was invented for them. I don’t see why they have to include me in it. It was just made to make everyone who doesn’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend feel horrible, and I hate to say that it’s working.’” Sirius looked at her, his hair veiling most of his face. “Not jealous?”
“Sirius!” Kelsey screeched. The majority of the common room stared directly at her after such an outburst, which she hadn’t been prudent enough to contain. She turned most of them around with her patented icy stares, and then turned back to Sirius. “I don’t believe you read my notepad. That’s my personal property, and you’re invading it!” She snatched at it, but he held it high above his head, which was just above her arm reach. “Give it back!” she yelled, not bothering to turn the spectators around again.
“I can help you.”
Kelsey stopped hopping up and down like a wounded flamingo and looked at him. “What?”
“I said, I can help you,” he repeated calmly.
Kelsey paused. This was Sirius Black she was speaking to. Then again, she could use any of the help she could get. “Tell me quick, or McGonagall gets your secret diary.”
She could see the sudden fear strike as Sirius’s pupils dilated quickly like a cat’s. “I’m just about to! Calm down, Kelsey, you’re too uptight.”
She nearly exploded on him then and there. “Uptight? UPTIGHT! So now I’m UPTIGHT?”
“No. You’ve always been uptight.”
“Fine! Here I go to McGonagall, being UPTIGHT!” Kelsey screeched, dodging him and hurrying toward the portrait hole. She swung it open with such force that the door banged against the wall and the Fat Lady could be heard crying, “Ouch!” Then she hurtled up the hallway toward McGonagall’s office, Sirius hot on her heels. “Go away, Sirius!” she cried at him. “You are so annoying!”
“I said I could help,” he told her again, nearly tripping over his own feet trying to keep up with her. “Don’t you want to hear what I have to say?”
“No!” Kelsey told him hotly. “I want you to leave me alone so I can tell McGonagall.”
“You want James to ask you out, don’t you?”
“No! I want to get you in trouble!” He sidestepped in front of her, blocking her path. “Now get out of my way before I curse you, Sirius Black!”
“You wouldn’t do that, Spencer,” he said, smiling wryly. “You’re friends with Lily Evans, and everyone knows that you two are the least rule breakers ever.”
“Lily may be, but I’m not. If you weren’t paying attention in Charms today, then you didn’t see me almost get detention from Flitwick, and he always saves his on you and your Marauders.” Kelsey whipped out her wand and aimed it at the tip of Sirius’s nose. “Now move or I’ll hex you.”
Sirius crossed his eyes, looking at the end of the wand. “Kelsey Spencer, you hex me and I’ll post your notepad on the common room bulletin board.”
“I’ll make sure you’re not able to do that, Black!” yelled Kelsey, nearly in hysterics now. “Why won’t you just move?”
“Because it’s my butt on the line if I let you go to McGonagall!” Sirius was yelling too, now. “And you haven’t let me tell you my plan to get James!”
Kelsey was about to retort, but then what Sirius had said registered in her mind. “Get James? Get James how?” she said cautiously. No telling what Sirius Black had up his sleeve.
“Get James for you. Get him away from Evans. Get him to like you. Whichever you’d like. Take your pick. I’ve got a brainful of plans just waiting to be executed, Spencer.”
“But Lily would be heartbroken.”
“But you’d have James.”
Kelsey stopped for a moment, and then scoffed. “Sirius, that would be completely cruel to Lily. I couldn’t do that to my best friend!”
Sirius held up her notepad, which now had his sweaty hand marks on it. He had carried it all the way from the common room to here, wherever here was. He read it aloud, loud enough for anyone coming up the corridor to hear. “‘Lily is so lucky to have a boyfriend like James. I’d do anything to get him to like me. Anything at all. Even—oh, what’s the most ridiculous thing I can think of? Take advice from Sirius Black.”
Kelsey blanched. She had forgotten she had ever written that. The coincidence was uncanny. “Fine, Sirius. What is it that you have to tell me? Your plan, or whatever it is?”
“I say you hire a boyfriend.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Hire a boyfriend? Yeah, that gets me absolutely nowhere. Then I won’t be single, so James can’t have me. Brilliant plan, genius. Any other astounding ideas?”
“You didn’t let me finish,” said Sirius slyly. “James will be jealous.”
“Jealous? Of who? Sirius, that’s incredibly stupid. Just go away, will you?”
“No! Hear me out. Your boyfriend has to pretend to be completely enamored by you. That way, James will see what a great catch you are and dump Lily, and go out with you. It’s foolproof!”
“I wish I was foolproof. Then maybe you wouldn’t be bothering me!”
“Spencer, you are so stubborn! Are you sure you and Evans aren’t related? What could go wrong?”
“Sirius, there are a million different things that could go wrong.”
“James doesn’t fall for it.”
“Well, there’s that…”
“And besides, who would I hire?”
“Good point. Um, Remus?”
Kelsey eyed him. “Right. James will be jealous of me and Remus.”
Kelsey started up the path to McGonagall’s office. “If that’s the best you can do, Sirius, then you’re losing your touch. Now let me through to see McGonagall!”
“Wait, wait. Who else is there? Thomas?”
“Already has a girlfriend.”
“He’s dating Alice, smart one.”
“Oh, that’s right. Um…who else is there?”
Kelsey nearly exploded. “NO ONE! Now GO AWAY!”
Sirius’s face brightened, and Kelsey sped up to get away from him. Whenever he had that expression, bad things were sure to follow. Unfortunately, Sirius didn’t see it that way. “Kelsey, get back here. I had an idea as to who could be your boyfriend-for-hire!”
Kelsey didn’t want to hear it, but Sirius didn’t care. “Me!”
Kelsey stopped dead. “Sirius Black! Of all the—insane people—I don’t believe—you are the worst! James, jealous of you and me? I think you’ve been taking too much firewhiskey from the kitchen house-elves.”
“They have firewhiskey?”
“The point is, Sirius Black, that I will never ever in a million years, ever go out with you, pretend or otherwise! My God, some people are so dense. GET OUT OF MY WAY!”
“SPENCER!” Sirius yelled. “GET YOUR STUPID PRIDE OUT OF YOUR THICK HEAD! JAMES IS SECOND ONLY TO ME IN THE DATING AREA HERE AT HOGWARTS! YOU GO OUT WITH ME, HE GETS JEALOUS, AND YOU GET HIM! IT’S A PERFECT PLAN, ONLY YOU’RE TOO THICK TO REALIZE IT!”
“STOP YELLING AT ME!” Kelsey shrieked. “AND GET OUT OF MY WAY!”
“IF YOU WANT ME TO STOP YELLING AT YOU, QUIT YELLING AT ME!”
They both stopped for a second, breathing from lack of air, and then looked at each other. “You are so stubborn,” Sirius said finally, his chest heaving.
“And you are so stupid,” Kelsey retorted.
“I think you’ve got yourself a boyfriend-for-hire.”
“Sirius, haven’t we been through this already? I’m tired. You’re…bouncing off the walls. We need rest. And we can do that as soon as I go to McGonagall. I don’t need a boyfriend-for-hire. I need some peace of mind, and that never happens if you are here. So go back to the common room before I really do curse you. I pay attention in Charms more than you do, you know.”
“Ah, I wouldn’t say that.” In a flash, Sirius’s wand was in his hand and the incantation was almost complete. “Petrificus Totalus!”
Kelsey’s body seized up. She couldn’t move anything but her eyeballs. They went rolling wildly as she hit the ground, frozen.
“Now listen, and listen well, Spencer. I’m only going to say this once, so no interruptions.”
How was she supposed to interrupt? She couldn’t move her lips.
“Today is February tenth. Tomorrow is February eleventh, and three days after that is Valentine’s Day. If my plan doesn’t work and if James isn’t your boyfriend by then, I will do your homework for a month. No, the rest of the year.”
Even Sirius could see the horror in Kelsey’s eyes. She may not have been the best at paying attention, but if Sirius did her homework, she wouldn’t be able to graduate from seventh-year. “All right, fine, I’ll…I don’t know what I’ll do. But I’ll think of something.” And he performed the countercurse. Kelsey got up, trembling with rage. “Do we have a deal?” he asked, satisfied with himself.
Kelsey sighed. What choice did he have? Maybe if it didn’t work, he’d leave her alone for eternity. She took the hand that he was extending.
A/N: Can you tell where this is going? I had to get this out of my system, so...See the button down there? The one that says 'submit review'? Press it and tell me what you think!