Chapter 38 : The Best Of Us Can Find Happiness
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I don't care what you think,
'Cuz as long as it's about me
The best of us can find happiness
-Fall Out Boy
"James," I groaned, as I tied my now waist-length hair up. "James." Louder that time.
"What do you want, bane of my existence?"
"To get in the air, you maniacal, push-up crazed captain." I picked my broom up from the ground and straddled it.
"Go, then. I’ll get practice started."
I kicked hard off the ground and the chilly just-done-with-March air whipped my face. Sirius rose into the air directly after me.
"Forget something?" He held up my beater’s bat, smirking.
He tossed it two me from two meters away and I had to quickly pull into a dive in order to save it from hitting James in the head. That totally would not have gone over well. No, sir, not well at all.
"Good job, doofus," I said quietly, as he whizzed by, hoping James wouldn’t know something was almost amiss.
He stuck his tongue out at me and turned around. "Shall we?"
"Let them loose!" I yelled to James. The captain, who was currently being accosted by the remaining four members of the team threw a distracted glance towards me and Sirius before kicking the chest that held the Bludgers. It popped open and the raging balls flew out.
We weren’t up there long before flashes of blue and bronze caught my eye. I looked down towards the ground to see the entire Ravenclaw team, fully clothed for a game, marching towards James. I heard a whistle and saw James motion for us to touch down.
"Alright, team," he started, as we all reached the ground and surrounded him. "I hadn’t told you lot, but we’re having a scrimmage against Ravenclaw. I know we’re not all dressed for it, but, whatever."
That was an understatement. I looked from the Ravenclaw’s shiny robes (if Quidditch robes can be shiny) towards the Gryffindor attire. The team was in various states of dress, and it was all sweatpants, shorts, and t-shirts.
No one seemed to have any real objections, so James called excitedly, "Alright, guys, into the air! Let’s go!"
I hopped back onto my broom and pushed off. "Stupid Ravenclaws," I grumbled, as we rose higher into the air.
"Stop complaining," Sirius told me. "And don’t choke up on your bat so much."
I loosened the grip on my bat and kept my mouth shut; I’d just have to bother Sirius later, but at the moment, winning was important. Because we were against the stupid Ravenclaws.
I checked my hair quickly, to make sure that it was securely out of my face before flying into the middle of the field, where everyone was congregated.
"Everyone ready?" asked the Ravenclaw captain. I think he might’ve been a Fifth year.
Everyone nodded, so he signalled down to someone on the ground, who released the Snitch, the two Bludgers, and threw the Quaffle into the air. Sirius and I flew into opposite directions, each taking off after a different bludger, and racing against the wind with a Ravenclaw counterpart.
The other Beater got to the Bludger before I could and whacked it towards James, who had the Quaffle. Knowing that James would tear my skull apart if I let a Bludger hit him might have been some of my inspiration; I sped away, faster than the Bludger, in time to send it flying away from him.
"Close one," Sirius yelled, as he flew past me, hit bat raised, chasing another Bludger.
The scrimmage continued for at least an hour in that manner; both sides had scored points, but I had never been good at Maths. Watching the air for Bludgers, I flew over to visit Darren.
"Score?" I questioned as I circled the goal posts.
"We’re up by ten."
"Thanks, mate." I flew away towards the other end of the pitch. I flew in circles around our Chasers, concentrating on whoever had the Quaffle at the moment. It was a good strategy: Sirius was like the Offense, and I was like the Defense.
James had the Quaffle and was making his way towards the Ravenclaw goalposts; I stop circling him, but kept close by. Then, before I realized what was happening, my thick, long hair flew out of the hold of its tie. The bitter, fast wind kept me from getting control of it. As I frantically tried to push my hair out of my face and tie it back up, I neglected my fifth sense: Sight.
A metallic ‘clonk’ vibrated throughout the entire pitch as my face connected with the hard metal of the left-most goal post.
"Oww," I whimpered, as I slid down the post, clutching my face. However, I quickly regained control of my broom and flew back up. With one hand I held the broom and with the other I felt my face.
Warm and sticky. I took my hand away. Red. And not to mention, something about the arrangement of my nose felt off, and it hurt.
I flew back towards James, ready to re-assume my position, despite the conditions of my face, and the fact that I could no longer breath through my nose.
When I reached the band of Chasers, I saw James gasp. I made a motion with my hand for him to disregard my face at the moment. We couldn’t give up the game. At least, not to that snobby bunch of bookworms.
The game continued for another half an hour. It was an eventful half hour:
Sirius nearly fell off his broom at the sight of me. My hair came loose (again) and a Bludger skimmed the tip of my nose, causing further pain and misalignment. The blood on my face froze. Our lovely Seeker, Joe, caught the Snitch.
When the match had finally ended, I wasn’t even in the mood for our victory lap. And I was ALWAYS in the mood for a victory lap. Even when we didn’t win.
James didn’t waste any time; as soon as we had made it to the safety and warmth of the changing room, he attacked.
"ANNA! What the bloody hell is wrong with you?! Have you not seen your face?"
I tried to sneer at him, but it only caused me great amounts of pain. "Yes, I have. I happen to think it’s quite lovely. So does Sirius, I think."
"Not at the moment, love."
For the first time, I caught sight of my reflection of the mirror. Okay, so I was a mess. The entire bottom half of my face was caked with blood, and so was my left cheek, because that was the direction that my nose had broken. The nose was almost entirely sideways.
Definitely not looking my best.
"Tell me, Anna, how can you crash into the goal post, and then get hit by a Bludger?"
I sat down and began to carefully pull off my t-shirt; if I hit my nose even the slightest bit I would scream in pain.
"Well you see," I began to explain. "My hair escaped."
"Your hair?" James asked.
"Yes," I confirmed.
‘That’s it," James growled.
James stormed across the white-tiled floor and grabbed me by the bottom of my hair. "You’re losing it! No more hair for Anna!"
"What?!" I cried. "You can’t do that! It’s my hair!"
"And it’s interfering with your abilities. Now, hold still, or you might loose an ear."
But I refused to hold still. Where did James get off telling me I had to cut my hair. And why were none of my teammates backing me up?
"Anastasia." This time it was Sirius talking. "James is right; it’s dangerous."
I twisted and writhed in James’ strong grip, but couldn’t escape. "I don’t care! If you cut it, I’ll be dangerous too!"
"Come on, Anna, don’t make me jinx you." It was Darren that time.
"You lot are a bloody conspiracy!" I should have just stopped moving, but I had to maintain my stance.
Next thing I knew, I couldn’t move.
Bloody, mother-fucking dipshits.
Hey! Mind your language.
"Sorry, Anna," James said, and he almost did sound regretful. "But this is for your own good."
And I all of a sudden felt a surprising weight lift from my head. "Oh, dear Godric," I whispered.
"And while I’m at it," he muttered.
He swished his wand a few more times; a pleasant warming sensation surrounded my nose. When it disappeared, I reached up to my face. The blood was gone, and my nose seemed to be realigned.
I was busy being excited by the return of my face, when I remembered. "Give me a mirror," I growled.
James bit his lip and shook his head.
"Give me a bloody mirror, bitch!"
It was Sirius who reacted to my angry cry; he led me through the locker room to the one mirror inside.
I stopped dead. There were no words.
I heard someone creep up behind me. "Anna? I’m really sorry, I took off a little more then I meant to . . ."
I turned slowly, in a very cliche manner, to face James, who was cowering. I stood still, trying to put my words together in a way that best expressed how dead James was going to be when I regained the ability to pummel him.
"It looks good," Sirius spoke up. "I mean, really good." The earnest way in which he said this made me believe him, but I still couldn’t forgive James for what he did.
My hair. My gorgeous, long, black hair that hung to my waist was now cropped to just above my shoulders, and nearly a foot of it was lying on the ground where I had stood a minute previous.
"Let’s see you run your hand through this!" I finally said. More like yelled.
I grabbed James’ hair (which curled just around his chin) and sliced my wand through the air. His hair fell of in a manner similar to mine, except that all that was on his head was a short buzz. Barely a millimetre of hair was left.
James’ hand shot across his head, and he growled in anger.
"How do you like that?" I yelled. At that point, the loss of my hair didn’t bother me anymore; I tended to get over things quickly. However, arguments were fun, and I was just getting in this one.
James was angry. And I didn’t quite trust him not to bald me. I dove behind Sirius as James raised his wand.
"Woah!" Sirius cried, clutching his own fairly long locks with his hands. "Don’t even think about it, James. You’ll be missing out on some great life experiences after I kill you."
Knowing Sirius, this was not an empty threat, and even the angry James could see that. He lowered his wand, and instead, growled at me from in front of Sirius.
"Calm down, you lot." Although the rest of the team had cleared out for their own safety, Darren had remained to see the tussle. "No need to get testy."
"Easy for you to say," I spat, sitting down heavily on one of the wooden benches. "Stupid shithead didn’t just cut off your hair."
"I didn’t cut off all of it," James defended, though it sounded very condescending.
"I did." I smirked at him, triumphant. Although, as James glared back at me, I knew I’d need Remus’ knowledge of obscure spells. Looking for: A spell to protect my hair during the night from my psycho male roommate.
"So can I."
James and I were now face to face. Or rather, face to shoulders, as I was dreadfully short.
I sighed, and for once, walked away from a fight. I was far too drained to deal with his antics at the moment, and collapsed onto Sirius, who was lounging on a bench. He didn’t object, so I lay their, touching my new, short hair. Every time I ran my hand through it, I expected it to be longer, but my hand would fall through before I even reached my shoulders.
"That was the last of my femineminimity," I claimed.
"Your what?" Darren, James and Sirius asked.
"My femineminimity." Wasn’t it obvious?
"Do you mean the last of your feminine traits?" Darren asked slowly, as if he could scarcely believe that my brain was so small in size.
And, being the idiots we are, we finally found the humor in the situation. We laughed for quite a bit, and just as we were calming down, James burst out laughing again.
"Now what?" I asked, finally getting my breath back.
"D’you realize," he tried, choking. "That your hair is shorter than Sirius’?"
And indeed it was. The tips of hair brushed the top of his shoulders, and mine wasn’t quite as long. Well, it was quite humorous, seeing as we always teased Sirius for being the most feminine one, but no one seemed to laugh as much as James. But that was always the case; he always laughed the loudest and the longest.
A/N: Well, here it is - the birthday chapter. It's still a little bit before my birthday, but I think it still counts, yeah? And of course, I wouldn't mind a birthday review. ;)
A/N2: The chapter's a bit fillerly but it's a transition into a James POV (which I think you're all going to like.) Besides, I think this chapter was at least a little humourous. Right? :D
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