Chapter 3 : Friday the Thirteenth
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“What does that mean?” Sirius asked her when he saw it.
“Nothing,” she answered. “I mean, nothing that I want to tell you about.”
Sirius could not be shot down. He was in too good of a mood. “Kelsey, it’s Friday the thirteenth. It’s like my Christmas. I get to pull pranks on innocent, unsuspecting bystanders and none of it can be blamed on me!”
“You’re pulling a prank?” asked Kelsey. Maybe that was what he had been talking with Remus about. “Tonight?”
He looked at her. “Tonight? No, today. All through the day, with James and Remus and Peter. You want to join in?”
“No thanks,” said Kelsey, busying herself with packing up all her things. “I think I’ll pass on the pranking. If you need me, just ask, though. I can’t turn it down, since James thinks I’m your girlfriend. Does Lily pull pranks with him?”
Sirius let out a laugh like a bark. “Lily Evans, Head Girl? She’s even more uptight than you are. She tries to get James to stop, but that’s pretty much impossible. He’s my partner in crime.” He grinned. “So are you in?” The bell rang and they left, making their way to their next class, Care of Magical Creatures.
“No. I prefer to sit on the sidelines and watch.”
Sirius shrugged. “Suit yourself. Oh boy, here comes the perfect couple.” He gestured to Lily and James, who were holding hands and grinning.
“Our plan isn’t working very well, is it?” Kelsey hissed.
“So it’s our plan now, is it?”
“Sirius! Kelsey! Have you two decided whether or not you’re coming with us tomorrow?” asked James, pulling Lily with him. She giggled, her face red. “Lily told me she asked Kelsey.”
“Oh, that’s right! I completely forgot!” said Sirius. “Yeah, she asked me, and we think it’s a great idea!”
Sirius is such a good liar, Kelsey thought quickly.
“We’ll see you there at eleven, is that all right?” said Lily, hanging off James’s arm.
“That’s fine with us, right, Kelsey?” said Sirius, taking her hand again. This time he was careful not to get their fingers tangled together. She nodded, noticing that he wasn’t really forcing his hand into hers; it was more of a mutual effort. She was really getting the hang of this pretending thing. “We can’t wait either,” he said, smiling.
“Have either of you been to Madame Puddifoot’s?” James asked. He looked perfectly content with Lily on his arm and Kelsey on Sirius’s. It was as if he expected this. Sirius promised this would work. Why isn’t it working? Kelsey thought to herself. Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day, and Sirius had given his word that their plan would be complete by the end of February fourteenth. Kelsey shook her head a little to answer James’s question, and she smiled at James, hoping he’d start to get the hint. Sirius seemed to be grimacing as he answered, “No.”
“Well, then, this’ll be a fun experience for all of us,” said James. “Care of Magical Creatures time, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Let’s head over there,” said Lily. Kelsey and Sirius followed a few paces behind them, silent. Kelsey had thoughts running through her head, and surprisingly none of them had anything to do with James Potter. Mostly they had to do with all the secrets Sirius seemed to be keeping, namely, the secret midnight escapade and the Slytherin boy he seemed to know but refused to speak of. She really wanted to find out what these secrets were, and she really didn’t know why.
“There’s Professor Kettleburn,” Sirius said finally, breaking the tense noiselessness that had engulfed him and Kelsey since Lily’s last words. “He looks excited.”
“How can you tell?” Kelsey asked. “He has a beard the size of Europe. I can barely tell if he has a mouth most of the time.”
“Fair enough. What are all those jars he has over there?”
“Ugh, the Slytherins are already here. Tell me again why Dumbledore had the brilliant idea to put the Slytherins with us in this class? We have the mouthless man and the heartless Slytherins all in one period,” Kelsey complained. “And there’s Severus Snape…oh, no, Sirius, you’re not going to…you didn’t…”
But Sirius was barely listening. Instead, his ears and eyes were perked up in the direction of the one he called Snivellus. He and James exchanged silent smirks. Sirius whipped out his wand and muttered something inaudible to anyone but Kelsey, who was close enough to him to hear the incantation. A clear beam shot out of his wand at Snape, a beam that seemed to ripple the air (Kelsey was sure it had made her look windblown), and hit he greasy-looking Slytherin seventh-year. He fell backwards, onto a patch of grass that had been removed to only have dirt, and was instantly covered in a gross, purple liquid that smelled of rotten eggs. He tried to stand up, but he slipped back down into the pool of violet goo, which burst forth in a flurry of feathers. Now he was covered in a sticky mess and the fluffy feathery stuff. James made sure Lily wasn’t looking at his wand and waved it at him. On Snape’s face appeared a beak, and where his arms had been there popped up wings. He opened his mouth to yell out, but all that issued was a loud, ear-piercing squawk. Kelsey clapped her hand to her mouth in horror.
“Mishter… ah…Shnape, is it?” asked Professor Kettleburn, his bushy moustache twitching. “Are you all right?”
Snape let out another squawk. Several of the Gryffindors backed away.
“Can shomeone pleashe take Mishter Shnape up to the hoshpital wing?” Professor Kettleburn. “I would be mosht oblished if you would…oh, thank you, Mishter Sheshkashewan, go ahead, I’ll ecshcuse you from the resht of clash.”
The pupil in question helped Snape up from the puddle of goo that all the Slytherin girls refused to get within ten meters of, and followed Snape’s hobbling form all the way back up to the castle. Sirius, James, and Remus (Peter had failed out of this class too) were doubled up with laughter, as were most of the Gryffindors. Lily and Kelsey exchanged looks, and Kelsey knew all too well what was coming up the next time Lily spoke to James in private. “Happy Friday the thirteenth, Snivelly,” Sirius laughed as Snape’s sticky, feather-covered figure disappeared.
“Well, well, all right, clash, today we will be shtudying billywigsh. They have shtingersh at the end of them, and the shtingersh can caushe levitation and giddinesh. I don’t have any antidote in my posheshion, so if you get shtung, you’ll have to go up to Madame Pomfrey and get shome. Ish everyone ready? Pair up and get shtarted.”
Lily instantly grabbed James’s arm and a jar of the billywigs, so Sirius took Kelsey’s hand and another of the jars. Kelsey took it from him and studied the insects. They were a pale blue with orange spots and stripes, and they scuttled around, bumping into one another. “Aw, they’re scared,” said Kelsey.
“They’re bugs, Kelsey,” Sirius said, rolling his eyes. “All I say is, give me a can of Harper Instant Bug-Removal Powder and let me at ‘em! But Kettleburn wants us to study them, so study them we shall.”
“All right, you get the quills, and I’ll get the paper,” said Kelsey. She produced her notepad. “Perfect. Got the quills yet?”
“Yeah, two quills, an inkpot, and an hour and a half of bug heaven. Joy. Let the little guys loose, will you?”
Kelsey unscrewed the lid and dumped the insects on a large paper towel Professor Kettleburn had given them with the jar. Sirius picked one up, giving it a mock cold stare. “What are you looking at?” he asked it, pretending to be serious.
“Sirius, stop messing around,” Kelsey ordered. She grabbed the bug away from him. Unfortunately for her, he had been holding it facing toward him, so she got the end of it. The end with the stinger.
“Ow!” Kelsey yelped, dropping it. It scurried off, leaving a trail of yellowish goo as it went. “It stung me!”
“Don’t panic! Don’t panic!” Sirius said, panicking. Almost at once, Kelsey’s fear was replaced with a light, floating feeling, like her head was detaching itself from her shoulders and drifting her away…Suddenly, there was an incredible weightlessness to her body, and no ground beneath her feet. Someone was tugging at her robes, but she was floating away in the air…
This was stupendously funny to her…she began to giggle, laughing her head off…that someone was still tugging at her foot, and she managed to wriggle free of the grasp that was keeping her from floating away to the clouds. There were voices, loud, anxious voices punctuating her blissful thoughtlessness, but it really didn’t matter…
Sirius was below her, yelling and jumping. He couldn’t believe she was floating away from him, and there was nothing he could do. Lily stood there, wringing her hands anxiously, while James stood by her, looking skyward with his mouth open. Sirius thought briefly that if it had been raining, he would have drowned. Then Sirius realized with a start that there was one spell he had learned way back in his fourth-year that could bring Kelsey back down, safely on the ground, and he wouldn’t let her fly away again. “Accio Kelsey Spencer!” he cried, brandishing his wand at the sky.
Above the crowd that had formed under her, Kelsey was jolted in the opposite direction of the clouds by something…probably a spell…she really couldn’t be sure, in her lightheaded state, what was going on down on the ground, and she couldn’t care less at the moment. But then the grip reattached itself to her ankle, and she couldn’t go up anymore. This was definitely a backwards wrench in her plans to sail to the moon.
“I’ve got her!” Sirius yelled. Lily was nearly in hysterics, and James had a comforting arm around her. “Professor Kettleburn, I have her! Someone help me!”
As the crowd watched in horror, Sirius was lifted bodily into the air underneath Kelsey. Just in time, James, who was about two inches taller than Sirius, leapt up and grabbed Kelsey’s other ankle, and Lily helped him. The three of them were hanging on for dear life, and then other Gryffindors, namely Remus, Frank Longbottom, and Alice Parsons, helped Sirius with his side. “Go up to the hoshpital wing immediately!” Professor Kettleburn ordered. “Get her up there now! Shend Madame Pomfrey my regardsh!” And the six of them ran to the castle, hanging on her ankles, occasionally gliding in the air for a few yards and then landing with a bump back on the stone-cold floors of Hogwarts.
“What happened here? What is Professor Kettleburn teaching these days?” Madame Pomfrey exclaimed when they entered the hospital wing. Snape sat up in his hospital bed, looking at the giggling Gryffindor with a smug smirk. Sirius noticed that most of his face and his greasy hair was still masked with the sticky purple stuff and feathers. “Get her near my anti-levitation bed!”
Sirius, James, Lily, Remus, Frank, and Alice moved her over to the bed in the corner. It had chains that rose into the air a little ways over the mattress, which looked like it hadn’t been used in a while. When Kelsey was near enough, Madame Pomfrey grabbed one of the chains and hooked it to Kelsey’s foot, and then she did the other one. With some effort, they got Kelsey parallel to the bed, and they chained her arms too. “You can go now…I’ve got it from here. Tell your teacher she’ll be fine, now be on your way.”
“Can I stay?” Sirius asked. “You know, make sure she’s all right?”
Madame Pomfrey pursed her lips at him, but then she sighed. “Fine, Mr. Black, but if Professor Kettleburn gets angry, the blame rests entirely on your shoulders, all right?”
“Sure,” Sirius said, flashing her one of his winning smiles. Then he turned to James and Remus, who were hanging back, waiting to see what he was doing. “You go on and tell Kettleburn I’m staying, all right? He won’t care, just as long as he has someone in the class to talk to. Stupid Friday the thirteenth…”
James, Lily, Remus, Alice, and Frank left Sirius there. Although he never really expressed it, Sirius was really concerned about Kelsey, and he thought the billywig episode in Care of Magical Creatures to be entirely his fault. “Nice going, Sirius,” he muttered to himself, forgetting that he wasn’t the only one completely conscious in the hospital wing.
“It’s a sure sign of insanity, talking to yourself, Black,” Snape spat. To Sirius’s disappointment, Madame Pomfrey had rid him of his beak. “I’d say, what goes around comes around, and that’s why your girlfriend is in the hospital wing and I’m the one about to be released.”
“Shut up, Snivelly,” Sirius retorted.
“Do us all a favor, and take your own advice,” Snape said casually, lying back down in his bed.
“Us all? Who would that be? You and all your little imaginary friends?”
Fortunately for Sirius, Madame Pomfrey entered at just that moment before Snape could retaliate. “I’ve found a spell I think will get the rest of the gunk off you, Mr. Snape,” she said, waving her wand. “Evanesco Violet Liquid!” The goo disappeared off of Snape completely, and he smiled, satisfied. “Be on your way, then. Professor Kettleburn has enough students missing as it is.” She cast an eye at Sirius, but he was staring up at Kelsey’s laughing figure. Snape left, throwing a disdainful eye at the two of them before he disappeared around the corner.
“Anything you can do for her, Madame Pomfrey?” Sirius asked.
“Of course, Black, I’m a qualified Healer,” she snapped at him. He had had plenty of run-ins with her, and she had no sympathy for anyone who had been in a cursing feud with one of the other students for the past six years. He, his friends, and Severus Snape were in the hospital wing more than any student she had ever seen, usually with the effects of the other’s curse sprouting from their ears, their nostrils, or other adverse places for a spell to be. Madame Pomfrey removed a vial of liquid from her pocket and reached up to insert its contents into Kelsey’s mouth. “I can’t reach,” she said after a few minutes of trying. “Can you give me a hand?”
“Much obliged, Madame Pomfrey.” Sirius took the vial from her, stood on his chair, and poured the antidote into her mouth. After a few seconds, when it sounded like there was an earthquake taking place in Kelsey’s stomach, Kelsey stopped giggling and landed with a thump on the hospital bed. “Kelsey! Are you all right?” Sirius exclaimed, getting a raised eyebrow from the Healer.
“Yes…I think…why am I chained to a bed? And my head hurts,” she moaned.
“Headaches. A most unfortunate side effect,” said Madame Pomfrey, shaking her head. “It should go away by about lunchtime, I believe. Would you like to stay here until then?”
“Oh…yes, please.” Then Kelsey looked around at spotted Sirius for the first time. “Sirius, what are you doing here?”
“It was me who gave you the billywig. I’m really sorry, Kelsey, I didn’t think that would happen.”
“Actually, I took it from you. It’s not your fault.”
“I still feel responsible.”
Kelsey laughed. “You, feeling responsible? That billywig sting really did get to my head…”
“No, I’m really feeling bad. It is a human trait, and I do happen to be a human, whether you care to admit it or not,” he said to her, slightly put out, since she wasn’t taking him seriously. Then again, he thought to himself, who could take someone named Sirius seriously? “You want me to stay?” he asked her.
“No, that’s all right. You go on, I’ll catch up with you at lunch.”
“You don’t want any company? I thought you wouldn’t be able to turn down your own boyfriend, Miss Spencer,” said Madame Pomfrey. “But it’s your choice.” She bustled away, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Fine, stay. I’d be bored out of my skull if you didn’t,” said Kelsey. Then she lowered her voice to a whisper. “We must be really getting good at this pretending to be dating thing, you know?”
Sirius nodded, unable to speak. It had suddenly struck him that he really didn’t want to pretend anymore.
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