Chapter 4 : Of Flying Forks
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I’ve given up all hope. My dreams have been dashed. My future in ruins. The oily pungent stench of McDonald’s garbage dump is becoming evidently more real, for that will be my home as I scavenge the trash for a crumb of McNuggets or one of those salty, gooey French fries that will stain my mouth with grease.
Oh yes. Why all this commotion? Why have I suddenly had a major spaz attack?
I got a bloody T on my potion’s assignment! A T! As in a T for Troll, as in my work was so horrible they didn’t even consider it human! I am very tempted to cry at this point in time. I am a Ravenclaw after all and if there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that Ravenclaws don’t get T’s! They don’t! It’s unheard of. Legendary even, but in the bad way of course.
I can see it now. Me, dirty and homeless in Diagon Alley selling my clipped fingernails trying to pass them off as magical remedies for ailing children. That should make Sluggie’s conscience sour with regret. Oh, whom am I kidding? That fat old lump has no conscience to speak of, he’s gone practically mad with greed. Stupid toad faced, ugly lard loving, ass licking mongrel!
So I sit there, my mouth open extremely wide while tears are threatening to spill as I gaze at the big, fat, T on my paper. Surely there’s been a mistake. So okay, I’m not the brightest student but I’m not an idiot, I’m not a troll! Surely there has been some fatal error, some sort of misunderstanding?
“Thoroughly disappointed, Ms. Marriot. It was the first time I had to give out a T.” He exclaims loudly so the whole class can hear. It’s a good thing I am nobody or else people would begin talking. Oh right. I almost forgot. I’m not a nobody anymore, rather I am the That-Girl-That-Fainted-When-Sirius-Black-Kissed-Her. Honestly? I prefer being ignored.
So now as well as being dubbed TGTFWSBKH I am now also That-Girl-That-Got-A-T-In-Potions.
As a result it was completely in my right to burst out angrily to stupid Slughorn calling him a ‘fickle worthless teacher who has a heart of stone’ and as if it couldn’t get any worse a ‘blood-sucking nerf.’
“So thanks.” I finished sarcastically. “For opening my eyes to the wonderful business of the fast food industry because with this unfair T, I am sure on my way to donning the red cap emblazoned with the letter M. But not M for McDonalds, dear sir, but M for Magical Failure. So thanks, my condolences.”
And I’m out of there before anybody can say anything and feeling sort of satisfied at the shocked expression on his face. The git.
But as soon as I’m out of there a sudden wave of regret fills me. Shit. I am shitfaced. I am so screwed. I wonder if I should just run back and apologize. Oh dear. My stupid mouth and my stupid pride, why have you failed me so? No better yet, brain, why have you deserted me? I might as well turn myself in, like a convict.
This is pathetic. I am truly pathetic.
I go to Dumbledore’s office already envisioning myself pathetically handing over my wand as he blisters at the face with rage and sends me packing home to mother.
Oh Merlin, Mom will have a fit. My poor dear, perpetually frazzled mother who cannot for the life of her, find a suitable pair of anything, earrings, stockings, shoes, socks. Dear sweet mother who accidentally mistook super glue for her eye drops, who’s favorite flavor of ice cream was coffee and jelly beans and who’s very thoughts jumped so randomly from topic to topic you wondered if she was sane.
I wondered vaguely how she would react to my expulsion at Hogwarts.
So it looks like I’m not in trouble, apparently instead of finding my wild and hurling accusations insulting and cruel, Sluggy actually found me amusing. AMUSING! According to a reliable source, Spotty Sally (the only person who will try talk to me), said that as soon as I left, the whole class had burst out in laughter. Slughorn, the mongrel, was roaring along right with them.
I know I should be happy I’m not getting expelled but I can’t bring myself to find any measurement of happiness in this situation. Dumbledore had been kind, told me gently that I should consider ‘calming down’ and a T in Potions wasn’t the end of the world and that maybe I should consider paying attention because I obviously wasn’t living up to my full potential and he would be eager to see me progress in life.
In depth right?
And get this he said that he would get me a tutor in Potions. And you want to know who my private tutor is?
Not Lily Evans or Severus Snape who are by far the best students in the class but Sirius Stupid Black. I think that as soon as Dumbledore announced this I realized how awfully clichéd my life had truly become. Come on people, it’s not exactly a secret about what goes on behind the ‘tutoring.’ Oh sure, it seems innocent enough but everyone knows that eventual benefits come hand in hand with the sodding ‘tutoring.’ Dear Lord, it’s like a freaking love fest and the last thing I need in this God forsaken world is a freaking, very attractive tutor further distracting me from my potions. Not that I am assuming anything of course. I mean there is no way in hell that I would like Sirius Black.
Oh. My. God.
My life is a cliché. I need to get out of this tutoring nonsense, pronto.
As it happens it appears that I’ve voiced these opinions out loud. Well, that’s embarrassing. Dumbledore regards me with such a twinkle in his eyes that I wonder if the stars are quite jealous. Oh, crap, I said that aloud again didn’t I?
“The twinkle, sir, in your eye. Nothing creepy of course.” I say hastily. He surveys me through his half-moon spectacles.
“So I take it you are impartial toward having Mr. Black as your tutor?” He says softly ignoring the very awkward compliment I made on his eyes; however, I acutely note that his eyes are laughing at me! Oh joy.
“Impartial would be the polite word but rest assured it’s mutual.” I reply wryly.
“Well, Ms. Marriot, you have put me into a certain predicament.” He says lightly. “Your T in potions is surprising and since you have so rarely gotten such, excuse me for saying this, awful work I will give you a choice. Receive an E or higher in the next potion assignment and you will not need a tutor but receive an A or below then you will give me no choice but to assign Black as your tutor.”
I don’t need or want any more time with Black so I promptly agree to the bargain. Losers cannot be choosers as they say. And in this part of the game I had readily lost.
He smiles at me and ushers me out the door. I take that as a dismissal.
“You know, Ms. Marriot, it is often our heart the guides us and leads us into roads we dare not travel. But it is, I think, in the end a promising journey. Take heed. Our hearts know what our minds do not.”
I am very surprised by the touch of soft sadness I hear and feel in his voice but before I can examine it further, it disappears. I quickly wonder if I had imagined it as his openly kind face once again greets me.
“Thank you, headmaster.” I say softly. And for once I feel like I’ve said enough.
“Hello.” He says cordially, stiffly.
He isn’t used to apologizing. Well how do I know automatically that Sirius Black is here to apologize to me? Well, for one it looks like there is a something stuck up his bum, a definite symbol of pre-apologies and two, he actually went out of his way to the Ravenclaw table to stand awkwardly in front of me as mash potatoes drool down my chin.
“Er… hi?” I mumble. I’ve decided that around his presence I’ll limit my vocabulary to about two words per reply. For his Majesty’s benefit of course. I'm bitter if you couldn't tell.
He’s still standing there, his face reddening over who knows what reason and his arms clamped firmly to the sides of his body with such a look of awkwardness in his face that I have to stuff more food in my mouth to keep from giggling.
I let him suffer.
“Look, I’m not very good at apologies--” I snort. He glares but continues, “I just wanted to say that I think you’re very good at conversations--” I snort again at this obvious lie. He bristles. “Well, what do you want me to say, Marriot?” He says angrily. “Because everyone knows how good you are at saying things.”
Our rather awkward exchange is being noticed, especially from the female population whose eyes are glued to Sirius’s handsome face. Their expressions are clear, What-in-the-world-is-Sirius-Black-doing-with-her.
Ladies, can’t you see the poor man is apologizing? Hah. I really want to laugh in his face.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist, Sirius. If I told you want I wanted you to say it wouldn’t be an apology would it?” I say. “Just say the truth and don’t lie about me being ‘good at conversations’.”
I look up at him expectantly and am quite surprised when he sits across from me, while shoving aside a wondering and awestruck first year.
“Well apologize.” I demand haughtily.
He opens his mouth to retaliate but I cut him off angrily.
“No, to Nessa sitting next to you.” I say gesturing to the blushing first year.
He looks sheepish for a moment and then smoothly apologizes and adds a sly wink to the stuttering first year. He turns back to me, letting loose the full power of his charm with those eyes and exquisite features.
“So where were we?” He grins and I can’t help but shudder at how lovely the word, ‘we’ sounds. Did I just say that? Excuse me while I throw up please.
“There is no ‘we’ Sirius.” I say testily. “Just yourself trying to get your arse to apologize. So do it.” I point my fork in his direction for emphasis but my grip isn’t as strong as I had thought and the fork, my fork, goes flying straight into his face. It doesn’t even register in my brain that the boy in front of me is moaning in pain and clutching his eye. And then it hits me. I stabbed Sirius Black with a fork. Oh God.
“Sirius!” I scramble over the table, knocking plates and drinks out of the way. I finally reach the short distance between us while the dreaded, blasted fork smashes to the ground. Naturally if nobody was watching us before, everybody was watching us now.
“Oi!” I hear from the Gryffindor table. I look up to see James standing there looking appalled. “What have you done to my best mate?”
“Well…erm.. you see…” I began but somebody cut me off.
“She stabbed him in the eye with her fork!” The mystery someone yelled.
“It was an accident!” I cried desperately and before anybody could respond I pulled Sirius’s free hand, the one in which wasn’t holding his eye and practically ran and dragged him with me outside of the Great Hall. Oh, it was an accident all right. Run away from the scene of the crime, you convict.
“Oh bloody hell.” I muttered darkly. “You stab their fucking prince and they go bonkers! Well, at least one good thing has come out of this; at least you know the whole school will gladly rise up against anybody that harms you Sirius.”
Sirius still manages to glare at me through his good eye.
“Right. Sorry.” I say. “Entirely inappropriate. Well, at least you can glare at me. Well, I think you’re glaring…”
Suddenly I can see the oak doors leading into the infirmary and I breathe a tiny sigh of relief. Sirius rushes ahead of me, swearing darkly.
As soon as Madame Pomphrey sees Sirius and me she rolls her eyes and sighs. “What did she do to you this time, Sirius?”
“She tried to stab me with her fork.”
“My fork slipped and hit him in the face.”
We say instantaneously. We look at each other.
“I did not stab you!”
As if sensing danger, Madame Pomphrey ushers Sirius to a nearby bed and demands him to show her his right eye. I peek over her right shoulder in a way I know she finds especially annoying. Sirius is still glaring at me. Sirius lifts up his hand and I see the damage I have done. The whites of his eyes have gone completely blood red and the area surrounding his eye has become swollen and huge. Ew.
“How many fingers am I holding?” I joke as I hold up two fingers in front of his face. He in turn lifts up one finger in my direction.
“Sirius!” Madame Pomphrey chides but then glares at me.
“Is he going to be okay?” I ask her.
“He’ll be fine. You didn’t hit any nerves. I should just give him a drop of healing potion to get rid of the swelling and I’ll brew an eye concoction for him tonight so by tomorrow morning he’ll be good as new.” She pats his shoulder in a motherly way. “It wasn’t as bad when the unicorn…” She blushes uncharacteristically and I have to stop from choking on my own spit.
“Okay then.” I say dragging out the okay. “Uncomfortable.”
“Wasn’t it you who made the unicorn charge at Sirius?” Pomphrey snaps at me and with that she storms off into her little office/apartment room thing. As soon as she is gone I promptly sit at the foot of his bed.
“To clear things up, I just want to say, I did not stab you in the eye!” I say forcefully. “You know how I am, you better than anyone actually, I’m a klutz and maybe you were cursed as a child but you always seem to be at the wrong place and the wrong time. So I’ll say sorry again like I have a million times before and I assure you all my actions in the past have been unintentional. Always.”
There is silence.
And before we know it, we’re both roaring with laughter and I can’t stop and I think I’m going to pee in my pants but oh, does it feel so good to laugh!
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