Chapter 48 : I Never Thought That You Could Break Me Apart - You Caught Me Off Guard (Darren Has Tact)
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I never thought that you could break me apart
I keep a sinister smile and a hole in my heart
You want to get inside, then you can get in line
-Boys Like Girls
Cause you caught me off guard -
I looked from my stationary position on my bed to the door; Darren had walked in.
"You dead yet?" he asked.
After nearly half a minute of a hacking cough, I rasped, "No."
He smiled and sat down on the edge of my bed. "Good. Because I need to talk, and you’re the only person I trust not to go blabbing it everywhere. Unless, of course, you’re drunk; we’ll just have to prevent that."
I had a feeling that whatever Darren was going to tell me, he had purposely waited until I was almost completely incapacitated to do so.
"What dumb thing have you done now?" I whispered, because any volume louder than that would have seared my throat.
"Er, well, not now exactly. More like a few years ago. . ."
"Come on, Darren, out with it," I urged him to talk. If had had the strength to sit up, I would have hit him, probably.
"Well, I just found out; I feel horrible and I’ve got to tell someone. I didn’t mean to do it, I swear-"
Irrational thoughts were my specialty. Stupidity was another. So I didn’t shock myself when I said (at a painful volume,) "Dear God, Darren. Who did you kill?"
I realized how stupid my accusation was when Darren fell off the bed laughing; it was quite difficult to get that kid to laugh so hard. Then, he immediately sobered. I guess his announcement wasn’t something to laugh at.
"Well, you see," he began. "Not that this has anything to do with you (as I’ve already said) but, I have a. . ."
"A what?" I was cranky, sick and tired. Darren was playing mindgames and I was not happy.
"A kid. As in a baby lamb?"
"No, a baby goat," he corrected.
I was going to fully throttle the boy when I recovered. "You woke me up and put me through all this anticipation to tell me that you have a baby goat?"
Darren laughed again. "Oh, no. I guess I should have been a little clearer, seeing as I’m talking to you, Anna. A kid is another word for a baby goat. But I have a different kind of kid; the human kind."
"Oh." Not exactly what I had been expecting from him.
Silence from both parties.
"Well . . . how old is he?" I asked. Darren looked a little uncomfortable (which was an extremely rare occurrence with him.) I decided to help the poor bloke out.
He looked relieved that I hadn’t had a blow up sort of reaction. Even if I had been scandalized by the fact that he had a kid, I couldn’t have made a scene in the state I was in.
"He’s going to be two at the end of May. In a few weeks."
I did the math. "Wow . . . so you knocked up some bird in your Fourth year?"
Darren rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Has anyone ever told you, Anna, that you are far more like a guy than a girl?"
"Yes, and I can never understand why."
"Of course not."
The silence resumed, but it was no longer awkward. "Listen, Anna. His mother’s just told me about him; finally gathered up the courage. She wants me to raise him and I’ve told her that I would as soon as I’m out of Hogwarts; meanwhile, my mother was more than willing to take care of him.
"But as his father, I need to pick his godmother . . . I want you to be Oliver’s godmother."
Stupid Darren. This was not the sort of news to break to someone when they were sick. I brushed my sweaty hair from my overly warm forehead. I couldn’t even properly appreciate, so I had to question it. "Me?"
"Well who else would it be?" Darren asked, as if I was the obvious choice. "No one here knows me as well, or accepts me as well as you do."
My head was pounding and I was growing sleepy. "Alright then, nighty night."
I felt a weight lift from the edge of my mattress and heard footsteps as Darren walked to the door.
"Nighty night, you delusional nutter."
I woke up to darkness and pain.
It took me a little while to figure out that I had fallen out of my bed, tangled in a way that was evidence of my fitful sleep. I moaned, and the vibrations hurt my throat more than talking had earlier. Every part of my body felt extra heavy, and I shivered from the chilliness of the dorm room.
"Anastasia, are you alright?"
I looked up and saw Sirius through my blurred vision.
"Meh." I wasn’t well enough to formulate a coherent response.
"Groan once for yes, twice for no, and three times for ‘I have no fucking idea.’"
I groaned three times, and felt quite foolish doing so. I laughed, or I tried to. It sounded more like a barking seal, and felt like rough concrete scraping against the raw inside of my throat.
I felt Sirius’ warm hands burn against my shivering back as he sat me up. "Well, at least you’re feeling too ill to make a bunch of noise and wake the guys up. And now you can’t even talk enough to yell at me for this . . . Ha!"
I tried to lift my arm to hit him, but I could barely lift it to my shoulder, I felt so weak.
"Anastasia, please let me take you to Pomfrey, I think-"
"No." The effort it took me to whisper that at the lowest volume felt like I had screamed at the top of my lungs.
Sirius sighed. "If I help, can you stand up?" he asked, already resigned to the fact that I would not go to Madam Pomfrey; she would never let me out, and in this state, I couldn’t even crawl myself out.
I shrugged, at great pain to my shoulders. At the moment, my legs were complete jello; the only way I was walking was if Sirius held ninety-nine percent of my weight, and did the walking for me. However, he did me one better; he scooped my up from under my knees and carried me into the bathroom, where he set me on the floor near the shower.
"When I was sick a couple summers ago," he explained, "Mrs. Potter ran hot water and it made it easier for me to breath." He turned the knob of the shower and kept his hand under it until it was a sufficiently scalding temperature.
The bathroom began to fill with steam, and although I wasn’t breathing easier, the warmth was a welcome climate as opposed to the shivering chills that I had been having for the past week.
The warmth made me very drowsy, and Sirius’ lap looked like a very comfortable pillow. He had taken a seat next to me and I adjusted myself carefully so that his leg made a good pillow.
I tried to concentrate on how tired I was, and how comfortable I was at that moment, and I fell asleep.
When I woke up later on, I knew I was getting better. My entire body had the achy soreness next-morning feel. Whenever I hurt one part of my body or another, I would go to sleep, wake up in the morning, and the injury would feel worse; but it was how I knew I was getting better.
That’s how I felt when I woke up. And much warmer than I had in the past few days. But I soon discovered that it was because Sirius (still my pillow) was warm. He was still asleep, and I took advantage of this to watch him.
When I killed our relationship earlier that month (after only a month of it) things got quite awkward - totally Sirius’ fault. They were slowly getting back to normal, but last night was the real reappearance of the Sirius . . . Hooray!
I sort of wondered what the hell was wrong with me; Sirius was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
Dumbarse, dumbarse, dumbarse, I chanted inside my mind.
But you know it’s for the best. . .
What the hell!? Stupid voice! You don’t even have any real opinions, do you? Just go against everything I say!
Before I could continue to argue with myself, Sirius stirred. But he simply readjusted himself and settled down again.
It was just wrong; it wasn’t how things were supposed to be. Sirius and I were best friends forever, and we had the rings to prove it.
Dude, what happend? I wondered. I mean, it’s not as if I’m devastated that me and Sirius aren’t ‘together’ but it’s kind of tearing me apart that we’re not best mates anymore.
Instead of dwelling on it, a shifted a bit so that my head lay in the little crook that his calf and thigh created; it was quite comfortable. Sirius was like a blanket, except that he was under me.
Hehe. Under me. That sounds perverted. . . Hehe.
Well, obviously I was getting better if I could think about things other than wanting to die, however, I had a strange feeling that as soon as Sirius woke up, things would be awkward again. So I stayed where I was and pretended to be asleep.
Nearly a half an hour later, Sirius finally woke up. I could feel him shift and move, and heard him groan as his neck cracked. I heard a small, muffled gasp, and assumed that Sirius realized where he was, and remembered what he did last night. I was quite shocked when, rather than gently placing my head down on a fluffy towel and making his getaway, he began to stroke my hair; that had always been his sign that he would rather cuddle than run around and do something stupid, or something sexual.
I kept my breathing slow and even; just enough so that it wasn’t an obvious fake, and not so fast that he would know I was awake. I tried to keep my expression passive, but a small smile would be okay. Sometimes people smiled in their sleep; I’m sure I did.
Not for the first time in a while, I wished that things were back to how they had been at the start of my Fifth year. It was the prime of all of our lives; stupidity, being without commitment, fun. However, it was the first time that it occurred to me that, maybe, we couldn’t be like that again.
Since then, we’d all had things go on in our lives that changed who we were; even if it wasn’t someone as dumb and powerful as Voldemort, someone had the power to change our lives. For me, maybe it was Stephen. It could’ve been Aaron. It was quite possibly Darren. Or, it could even have been Sirius.
But then again, who said it was a boyfriend that had done it? Maybe it wasn’t.
My head was spinning as I tried to piece together the puzzle inside my head; I felt like I was one piece short of figuring out one of life’s greatest mysteries: growing up. And hopefully, how to avoid it.
Just as my eyelids were getting heavy again, and tickle in my lungs caused a long, painful cough. I felt Sirius jerk under me and his hands shot to my back, quickly sitting me up.
"Are you okay?" he asked, as I was finishing up my coughing fit.
"Yeah." Wow, my voice was raspy and boyish.
"You sound horrible," he informed me. "And you don’t look too great right now either."
"Thank you, Sirius," I croaked, "for telling me everything I already knew.
"What time is it?"
Sirius carefully guided my back against the wall; he made sure I was still sitting up before rolling over and pushing himself to a stand. He looked pretty adorable, with his dark, shaggy hair sticking up to the sides.
"I’ll check and be right back."
I smiled at his back as he dragged himself out of the room.
"It’s nearly noon," he told me, standing in the doorway. "Do you want me to go so you can shower? No offense meant, love, but you need it. You look like you died or something."
I smirked at him, thinking if, maybe it had been a month earlier, he wouldn’t have offered to leave . . .
"Er, yeah, that’ll be a good idea. But, if you hear any crashes, or I’m not out in a half an hour, I’ve passed out and need rescuing."
He threw me a towel from the linen closet and said, "I’ll be listening."
He shut the door behind him; as he left and I flung the towel over the edge of the glass door. I turned on the water so that it was hot, hot, hot. I waited a minute for it to heat, and then stepped under the pounding water.
After standing for a few moments, I sat down on the still-cold tiles, too weak to stay standing for an extended period of time. For ten minutes I stayed just like that. The hot water felt good on my soreness.
Deciding that I was in no state to actually be clean, I neglected the bar of soap and shampoo and turned the water off. I wrapped the towel around me and stepped out of the shower.
The room was steamy and warm, and I was dreading leaving it’s comfort. I debated whether or not I should just ask Sirius to get me some clothes, (I knew he’d be out there listening for any crashes, despite the joking manner of our conversation.) In the end, I braved the cold and went out to get them for myself. Of course, that was after I took five more towels to make sure ever in of my still-wet body was protected from the harsh cold.
I opened the door, stole out of the bathroom, grabbed the nearest pair of sweats I could find and raced back into the comforting warmth. I changed quickly, and after basking in the lovely humidity for ten minutes, I stepped back into the dormitory and dove quickly under the blankets.
"You alright?" Sirius asked, laughed as he turned a page in his magazine. (Witch Weekly; I’d have to remember to tease him for that when I was feeling more up to it, and less grateful.)
"Just c-c-cold," I answered, my chattering teeth enforcing the truth of my statement.
Sirius pulled the topmost cover from his own bed, came over and draped it over me. "Here," he offered. "I’d bet anything you need it more than I do right now."
"Thanks," I told him, smiling. "Believe it or not, I’m dead tired. I think I’m going to go back to sleep."
"Should I wake you for dinner?" he asked, going back to his own bed, to my left.
"Er. . ." I took a few moments to mull it over, thinking of the mess I had spewed a few days previous.
Before I had a chance to make up my mind, Sirius said, "I’ll wake you, then you can decide how you feel."
"Yeah, good, thanks." I yawned a second later and was out like a light the minute after that.
It was dark when I next awoke. I felt better than I had in nearly a week. Not quite perfect, but definitely well enough to stand on my own two feet. So I put it to the test, and hobbled over to Sirius’ bed, a whopping meter from my own. I shook him lightly.
"Sirius, Sirius," I whispered.
"Mmph?" he said again.
"Why didn’t you wake me up?"
Still not opening his eyes, and barely acknowledging my existence, he mumbled, "I tried, and so did you - to decapitate me."
He sounded particularly grumpy, so I decided to go lay back down. The problem was, I wasn’t at all tired, and there was no one to entertain me.
But those were only the underlying problems. The real problem was me being left alone with my thoughts. I shut my eyes and tried to relax my body to sleep; sleeping sixty-nine of past seventy-two hours left me rather awake.
Well, hello there! Had a nice sick day or two?
There were certain times when I believed that my voice was actually a separate being from myself, rather than generated from my own mind. Sometimes, it was just so out of touch with my conscious self.
Why don’t you just cut to the chase? I chided. We all know that you’re not hear to ask my about how I’m doing.
There were also certain times when I wondered how severely mental I was. This was one of them.
You regret it.
Regret being sick? Yes, I do - it wasn't all that pleasant.
I was at least thankful that only one of my voices was accosting me. It could have been Remus, or Sirius, or James, or one of the other seven voices that lived inside my head.
Not what I meant. If you want to play mind games then talk to one of the stupider voices inside your head. Ooo, I know, you can just talk to your conscious self. BURN!
I rolled over so that my head was buried in my pillow and screamed. My mind was wide awake, but my body was already so worn out. I wanted to know what was so wrong with me that my mind was fighting itself and slowly breaking down my mentality. I wanted to know why I couldn’t stop it. And I wanted to know why the hell I was dissing myself.
And I didn’t know what to do about it. I felt like I couldn’t go to Remus for this, I certainly couldn’t talk to Sirius, and James was never any help. I could ask Damon, only I had a feeling in my gut that there was nothing that he could do.
And then I thought: Jason!
I grabbed my wand from my bedside table and whispered, "Lumos." I proceeded to rummage around in the trunk at the foot of my bed. I pulled out of crumpled piece of parchment and a Self-Inking quill with a bent feather. Then, using my legs as a desk I wrote:
I need help. Shut up, I know you’re laughing. I have voices in my head; not the haunting ones. But that’s not what I needed help with, I just figured I’d include that because you’ll get a kick out of it.
What I really need help with is Sirius. You know we’re best mates, and you know we dated for a month, but I’m going crazy. We’ve always been best mates, but after we broke-up things got weird. For the past week I was so sick that I wanted to die, and he took care of me. Jason, I love him so much, but I’m not sure in which way.
I mean, I know I still like him, because I was doing so great when we were just fooling around Wait . . . that could be a bad idea . . . How about -
before we were official. But I know Sirius, and I know he needs that traditional relationship. You know, the hand-holding in the corridors, the sitting next to at meal times, the gooey stuff. So I took a leap from my own better judgement and we did that. Jason, I thought I was going to kill myself. (Well, not really since I enjoy life far too much, but you get the point.) Every second I spent with him felt forced, so I had to stop it.
I’ve never exactly been one for romance (and I know you can identify with me there) so I don’t know how to figure out my emotions - I can’t exactly say I want to, either. But I want my best mate back so badly; I can’t be with him again, it wouldn’t be good for either of us. But with that, I don’t know whether I’m going to want to be with him in the future, and if he’ll still want me then.
I’m sure that I sound terribly adolescent now (as opposed to sounding like a seven-year-old little kid, as I should) but that’s how I feel at the moment. Actually, how I’ve felt since my Sixth year began. Maybe I’ll go yell at Darren later on for screwing me up. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
Well, dear brother, I’ve got to go. Actually, I don’t have to go, seeing as no one’s awake and there’s no way I’ll get to sleep, but I don’t want to continue with this nonsense. I’ll see you this summer!
Your mentally and emotionally challenged sister (Anna, just in case you couldn’t guess)
I sealed the letter quickly in an envelope and dashed up to the owlery. I tied the letter to my owl’s leg (the one I had received from my brother the previous Christmas) and sent him off. His name was Han Solo . . . Three guesses why.
As I made my way back to the common room, I marveled at how easy it was to sneak around the school when you weren’t being loud and obnoxious.
I quietly awoke the Fat Lady and was just about to climb back into the Portrait whole when I heard a sharp, "Miss Xanthis."
"Just kidding - it’s only me." I was relieved to look over and see the faint outline of Lily. Funny; a year ago I certainly wouldn’t have been relieved to see her. "You’re feeling better, I see?"
"Much," I replied, as we headed into the common room, as to not further annoy the irrate portrait. "I’ve slept for far to long. Needed to burn off some energy. What has you awake at this time of night?"
"Studying." Typical. "I’m getting rather nervous with the N.E.W.T.s coming up."
"Well," I replied. "I’m not exactly the person to go to for studying troubles; you might want to take that up with Remus."
"I’d hardly ask for your help when it comes to school. No offense meant, of course." Lily’s playful humor made me proud of the monster I had worked with the Marauders to create.
We sat in silence for a little while. I could tell that Lily was drifting off, but I was nowhere near sleep. I let her be, not needing to be entertained for once, as I stared into the dying fire and awaited Jason’s reply.
I sighed. This is going to be a long month.
A/N: Grumble grumble. Growl growl. Stupid red. Stupid shitty ref . . . Well now that I'm done grumbling, I'm sure you can all guess why you're getting a new chapter - a combination of the stupid ref, and the fact that I just LOVE this chapter so much.
Defientely one of my all time favorites.
PS - Sorry if the spacing is a bit funny in this chapter; I tried my best.
A/N2: I spawned an idea off of one of my lovely reviewers - each chapter, I'm going to include a few random facts about some characters, that you probably won't learn in the story. It only seems fitting that we start with Anna -
Anna: Her favorite outfit is a pair of grey, boys sweatpants, paired with her worn-out AC/DC t-shirt. This outfit may or may not be worn with socks.
Lily: Her eating problem in the beginning of the story was originally brought on by competition with her sister.
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