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Chapter 54 : I Know I'll Never Die Alone Because of All of You
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I know I'll never die alone because of all of you
Our time is fleeting so we take control
. . .
But right now I want to watch the tide roll in with my best friends
-All Time Low
“Uh-huh! Mhm! It’s time to paaaaartay!” James burst excitedly into his house and the remainder of us Marauders (and Anna, of course) trampled in after him.
“Alright, party animals, let’s not break anything.” Mum said, smiling, but uncharacteristically weary greeted us. She looked so fragile I was afraid to squeeze her as usual.
So I settled for a tentative hug. “What’s the matter?” she asked, as I pulled cautiously away. “Afraid I’m going to break?”
“You just look so fragile,” I explained. Anastasia, who stood beside me looking on in concern, nodded concurrently.
“Don’t worry about me, I’m just a bit tired.” I simply nodded and didn’t protest, however, I didn’t actually believe her; I was worried about Mum.
“I’ve got fresh cookies in the kitchen, loves.” Well, as much as I loved Mum (and I did, so don’t question me) cookies were enough to distract me from my worries, at least temporarily. I raced (on even footing with James, Remus, Sirius, Anastasia and Peter) through the bottom floor of the house to get to the marble-tiled kitchen. I saw the long cherry wood table, where upon sat a plate of fresh cookies. I could tell they were fresh because I could smell them. And they smelled so good.
We dove into the cookies and looked up in surprise as the doorbell rung.
“Who’s coming?” I asked James.
He shrugged. “Dunno . . . Must be for Mum.”
Dainty footsteps echoed throughout the house. There was talking in low voices, and then the footsteps made their way back towards the kitchen; this time, there was another set of heavy falls.
In the doorway appeared Damon.
“Damon!” Next to me, Anastasia left her half finished cookie on the table and jumped into Damon’s arms. Man, it really was a good thing that all her friends are blokes; she has such an enthusiastic way of greeting people and I don’t think girls would be able to catch her as well.
“Well hello to you, too, Anna.” He spun her around once and put her on the ground. “What’s up, mates?”
We all greeted him enthusiastically (not Anastasia’s kind of enthusiasm, though) and didn’t even need to invite him over to have a cookie, he did so himself. I couldn’t blame him, though, just the smell of the cookies was enough to make you have a your brain explode.
“So, who else is psyched for next summer?” Anastasia mumbled, who threw her hand up to cover her mouth as a few cookie crumbs tumbled out.
“Ooo! Me! Me! Me!” I jumped excitedly up and down, waving my hands in the air. The rest of the Marauders and Damon acted equally enthusiastically. Yeah, we’re a pretty excitable group.
We had the cookies finished in less than five minutes (’cause we’re just good like that) and were about to retire into the common room when the doorbell rang again.
“Now, who could that be?” Mum twittered, in a tone of voice that would make one think she knew exactly who that could be.
This time, we all rushed behind her to the door and watched eagerly as she unlocked the door and pulled it open.
“Darren!” Anastasia cried. I was pleased to see that she didn’t jump Darren the way she had Damon . . . Though I suppose it might’ve had something to do with the fact that she’d seen him just a few hours ago.
“Mrs. Potter, how did you get everyone here?” Remus asked incredulously. “How’d you even know to get everyone?”
“What are you talking about, dear? Everyone’s not here-” As if on cue, the doorbell rang once again. This time, I didn’t even wait for Mum to open the front door - I ripped it open myself.
“Jason!” I squealed. I jumped into his arms, much like Anastasia had assaulted Damon earlier.
Jason groaned as he caught me in his arms. He raised his eyebrow as he looked down at me, and I smiled cheesily back up at him. Now, Jason must have been quite strong. He was shorter than me, by about four inches, and I out-weighed him by more than forty pounds.
“You are such an idiot.” Jason dropped me unceremoniously to the ground. But let me assure you, it was out of love. Definitely out of love.
Once I had jumped up and dusted myself off, and we were all congregated peacefully in the foyer, Peter asked excitedly, “Now is everyone here?”
“Not quite . . .” Mum was smirking; it was funny to see her looking so devious.
We all watched the door in anticipation. It was nearly five minutes before the doorbell rung for the final time, and when it did, everyone jumped in excitement. This time it was James who ripped the door open. Lo and behold, who should be standing there but Lily Evans, in all her tall, ginger glory.
“Lily!” James yelled excitedly. I could read his mind; he was about to jump into her arms. (It was a trait that James, Anastasia, and I shared.)
I grabbed the collar of his shirt and held him back. He made a strangled, chocking sort of noise. “Mate, you can’t jump on her, she’s not that big.”
James looked at Lily, and then back to me. “Oh . . . Right.”
We spent five minutes having a big, loving reunion (even though most of us had seen each other only hours ago) before Mum interjected. “So, James, do you know what today is?”
He screwed up his face in his “thinking face.” We all had one; it was a crucial part of being a Maruader. Anastasia had one too, even though she wasn’t a Marauder. I guess living with us for two years means you pick up some of our odd habits. “Umm, I have no idea.” He looked around to the rest of us for a clue. No one had any idea. Typical.
“It’s Friday, duh!”
Mum came over and patted my shoulder. “Good, dear, but I meant today, as in an event. Not the day.”
“Oh.” My triumphant smile drooped and I looked down at the ground.
“The Muggle carnival is in town, James!” Mum explained.
“Yipee!” Beside me, my mate James, well, he got a bit excited. He jumped up, began spinning, and knocked Anastasia over. Who then jumped up and became angry and hit James (very prone to Muggle violence, that one.) Then James stumbled backwards into Peter, who caught him, and threw him back; James fell into Jason, who hit James for falling on him (that violence thing must run in the family.) It looked like a fight was about to break out when Mum cast a Shield charm between us all.
“Just to be safe.” She smiled. “Anyway, I brought all you lot here because I thought you’d enjoy it; Jim and I used to take James every year. It was so much fun.” Jim was Mr. Potter - short for James. So, technically, our Jamesie is a Junior. But he doesn’t like to be reminded of it . . .
“That’s true,” James piped up.
“So what do you lot say?” Mum questioned.
“I say . . . What the hell are we standing around here for? Let’s go!" Anastasia jumped up (she’d been sitting on the floor inside her little Shield bubble) and attempted to make her way towards the front door, unfortunately forgetting her bubble. It was quite funny to watch, actually. Anastasia rebounded off the side of the bubble, which made a hollow sound when her head hit it (coincidentally, the bubble was not soft like a bubble, nor did it pop) and she flew backwards, jammed her back against the other end of the bubble and sunk to the floor.
“Anna, are you okay!?” Remus cried. He also stayed still. He was one of the few; most of us were dumb enough to try to dive and reach her . . . We ended up in similar situations.
She gasped and reached her arm upwards.
“Oh my god! She’s going to die!” James cried irrationally. I rolled my eyes, and secretly hoped that I was right when I called him irrational.
She shook her head insistently and continued gasping.
“Someone help her!”
“Can’t . . . breath . . . wind . . . out.”
“She’s got the wind knocked out of her,” Lily explained.
“Well someone help her!” James cried. “I can’t! I’m stuck in this stupid bubble, Mum!”
Little did James realize, we’d all been free of our bubble jails for quite some time.
It took us five minutes to clear up the mess we’d made of our mental platforms and restore order to everything. However, once we had, we were all psyched and ready to go.
Mum ushered us all outside and into the car (yeah, she and Dad had a car, for important Auror things they sometimes had to do.) She sat in the driver’s seat, Jason sat next to her, and the rest of us eight were crammed into the two back rows. Mum placed the key in the ignition-
I’d love to put my key in Anastasia’s ignition-
No! Bad mind! Stop! Down, boy!
- and turned it and the car started.
She heaved a sigh and turned around to face us all. “Now, I’m going to not assume that you all are mature, responsible adults, because that episode back there tells me that would be a very foolish thing to do.
“Remember, you all need to behave in a semi-civilized manner. You also need to remember that you will be surrounded entirely by Muggles. That means no magic unless it is absolutely necessary, or done in a discreet manner, and let’s be honest, I don’t think you lot know what discreet means.”
She smiled all through the lecture she was giving us, then waited for our nods. We nodded. “Good.” She turned to Jason. “That goes for you too; Godric knows you’re only an overgrown teenager.”
Jason smirked to himself and us as Mum put the car into drive and pulled out onto the road. It was a fairly short drive, but it may have only seemed that way because of the company. There was no way you could put me, James, Remus, Peter, Lily, Anastasia, Damon, Darren, and Jason in a car and not expect fun. I just feel a bit bad for Mum . . . I think she may’ve been permanently scarred from the experience.
“Alright, I’m going to ignore that obvious facts and assume that you lot are at least mature enough to handle an evening at the fair alone, with all the instruction I’ve given you. Merlin and Godric be with your dumb, loving souls today.” She blew us a kiss from the window after we all piled out and took off once again. You just got to love Mum.
We stood there, an awkwardly mixed group, waiting for someone to take charge and decide what to do first.
“Oh! Hey, you lot don’t all know each other!” Peter cried in realization.
“Hey, that’s right.” Chatter broke out amongst our group until Remus called everyone to order and then introduced our new-comers.
We stood awkwardly once again, in a clump, looking around in wonder at what we saw.
Lot’s of booths, lined up in a row, with a red and white striped tarp covering them all. Scattered strategically around the area were these little metal carts, that upon further inspection sold you food. Inside the aforementioned booths were rather scary looking people that yelled at you to come play fun games. So we did.
On the outskirts of the lot were these big metal contraptions . . . rides, James called them. People waited excitedly in line to get inside these, and then all you heard were screams. It made me really, really scared.
Anastasia watched one of those metal machines with interest. This one let in only two people at a time. The next two in line jumped around nervously, as they listened to the screams from the pair that were on the ride. I watched as the ride (which was a rickety metal car on a loop) went around and around, bringing the people up, turning them upside down, and then letting them fall on the curve back down . . . Only to repeat the death-defying process.
“I wanna go on that,” Anastasia claimed, her voice filled with wonder and amazement.
“You’re fucking insane! Good luck finding someone who wants to go with you.”
Anastasia raised both her eyebrows (it was hilariously endearing that she couldn’t raise a single one) at me and gestured towards the long line of people that were waiting for the particularly deadly looking deathtrap that she wanted to get on. “Lot’s of people who would love to go with me. I’m sure if I flashed any one of those blokes I’d have a ride partner.”
It stirred up a bit of jealousy inside of me. If I hadn’t known Anastasia better, I would have accused her of doing that on purpose. But she was Anastasia, and way too oblivious to do something like that. “No, that’s alright, I’ll go with you.”
“Yipee!” She jumped up and down, clapping. She fled to where the remainder of our group was standing, off to the side. I tore my eyes away from her bottom as I watched her run; but it was really hard - she was wearing these short denim cut-offs and I kind of couldn’t help but stare . . .
“Who else is coming with us?” Anastasia was still jumping excitedly up and down when I caught up with her. She was pointing excitedly at the deathtrap and trying to get everyone else excited about riding it. Lily counted herself in, as well as James. Jason did too, probably only so that he wouldn’t be outdone by his baby sister.
“Well, I need someone to ride with me,” he whined.
“I’ll do it,” Darren volunteered. Yeah, he would, ‘cause he’s got to be all macho. But he’d surely be screaming the loudest when that thing went upside down.
Yeah, Darren, we’re all on to you.
Don’t get me wrong - Darren’s a great bloke. But that didn’t make it all less true.
We all made a bee-line for the line (me doing so rather reluctantly) when James put his hands out to stop us. “Hold it; we need tickets.”
We stood, jabbering on about tickets as James sprinted away to get them. Far away, standing by one of the metal vendors was Remus, Peter and Damon. Remus and Damon seemed to be arguing and Peter was smiling and stuffing fluffy blue and pink stuff into his mouth. Remus stomped his foot and stormed away with his arms crossed across his chest. Damon threw his arms in frustration and followed angrily. Peter stayed, happily oblivious. Eventually, he realized he was alone and ran to catch up with his mates.
“I want to ride,” Remus insisted, after he got to us. “And Damon won’t ride with me.”
“Fine, you baby,” Damon gasped, having caught up.
“What’s going on; what did I miss?” Peter’s mouth was blue and sticky and he was clutching at his chest when he arrived a bit after Remus and Damon. Ahh, Pete, how I love thee.
“Remus and Damon are gonna ride the big scary deathtrap, too,” I explained.
“Aww, I’m going to be the only one not riding,” he whined. “Alright, I’ll ride too.”
“Whoooo!” Anastasia, who was nearby, expressed her joy.
“We’ve got an odd number,” Remus pointed out.
“I’ll ride again!” Anastasia cried excitedly.
I shook my head. Nutter!
James came running back with the tickets before I could profess my thoughts out loud.
“I’ve got them! Let’s go!” He waved his arm excitedly towards the ever-growing line and we followed him in a stampede.
Because I was riding with Anastasia, I was forced to stand next to her in line. Let me fucking tell you, that is something I will never, ever do again.
If we all thought she got bored during regular activities, standing around in line with nothing to do was one thousand million bajillion times worse.
“Sirius,” she whined. “Sirius, I’m bored, entertain me.” She played the drums on my back. “Sirius ” She sat on the ground and played the drums on my feet. “I’m bored.” She pulled at my hair for a while, twisting it in knots and trying to braid it. “Really bored.” She bit my ear. (Can’t say I didn’t enjoy that last one at least a little bit . . .)
And that was only ten minutes worth of waiting. Multiply that by three and that’s what I went through to get to the front of the line.
“Oh, Sirius, I’m so excited! I’ve never been on this ride before.”
I looked upwards, and had to squint a bit because of the sun. But I didn’t need to see what was happening to know. I heard an ominous screeching sound and the terrified screams of the two kids our age that had been in line before us.
I put my hands on Anastasia’s shoulders and looked at her very seriously. “Now, Anastasia. I ask you not to think any less of me if I should: a) scream like a little girl, b) piss my pants, or c) scream ‘Stop the ride! Stop the ride!’”
She laughed and buried her face into my chest. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.”
I glanced down at her, all little and stuff, and somehow doubted that very much. Yet, she was Anastasia, and she never ceased to amaze me.
The ride came to a stop and the two girls that had gotten in earlier stepped clumsily and wobbly out. They looked a bit disoriented, and not pleased at all.
“Tickets?” I looked up at the man who had asked. He had a mass of unruly gray hair, and his blue, denim jumpsuit was stained. A cigarette hung out of his mouth and his yellow, rotten teeth showed when he spoke.
I handed him mine and Anastasia’s tickets and pushed lightly on her back, indicating her to get the hell away from the scary man that was staring at her chest area in a not-so-subtle and not-so-nice way.
I gave him the death as I followed Anastasia into the cart. He didn’t see me though, he was too busy pressing some buttons.
The metal screeched as Anastasia, ahead of me, slid the door open. She waited for me to climb in and straddle the seat before she did so in front of me. I suppose that makes sense, the little person in front, but, Merlin, did there have to be straddling involved?
I will keep my thoughts appropriate.
I will keep my thoughts appropriate.
I will keep my thoughts appropriate.
I glanced nervously down at myself.
I will keep my thoughts and body parts appropriate.
The scary man came and shut us in and locked the door. The little box we were in was very, very cramped. I suppose it could have been just me, being so large and all.
It occurred to me only then, as I heard the whirring of an engine starting, that there were no seatbelts.
Bloody hell! We’re going upside-down and there are no bloody seatbelts!?
I looked quickly at Anastasia to see what she was doing. Her hands gripped the bars of the door tightly. Her knuckles were white . . . Maybe she was a little more afraid than she let on.
As the metal screeched and the rickety car began it’s ascent up the loop, it occurred to me that this could be a really fun ride, if it were properly put together, and had seatbelts, and a far less creepy operator. I instinctively grabbed Anastasia around the middle, to protect her from whatever evils were about to befall us.
And then, we began to go upside down. “Oh fuck! Oh bloody fuck! Holy fucking shit, I’m going to die!” The surprisingly distressed cry came from Anastasia.
Uh-oh, who’s going to be the brave one now?
And then we were completely upside down, and then we were falling with the force of gravity and the machine, which caused us - me and Anastasia, both - to scream like little girls.
Fuck, fuck fuck! I’m going to die, die die!
The loops continued, as did our cries of terror.
Finally, the ride jerked to a stop. Anastasia’s unsteady hands fumbled with the lock on the door . . . I was surprised there was even a lock.
Neither of us said anything as we stumbled through the exit gate, but I made sure to have my hands strategically shielding certain places on Anastasia’s body from the view of creepy operator men. We were standing off to the side, watching Lily and James getting into the deadly little box. We still said nothing.
Finally, after the car had begun it’s way up to the top, Anastasia said, “So that’s why you lot never think any of my ideas are good.”
I nodded. “Yup.”
She sighed and shook her head, and we began to make our way around the gate so that we could get back to our friends. “It really looked like fun. You know, I remember this one time, Dad took us to an Amusement Park, because Mum had gotten really upset with us all and took off for a day. Dad didn’t know what else to do, so he brought us there.
“And we rode roller coaster, and merry-go-rounds and I had such a great time. I got this really fun feeling in my tummy on the rides, and that’s how I knew I was having fun, no matter how scared I was . . . Let’s just say I didn’t get the fun feeling in my tummy on that ride. I more thought I was going to fall out of that thing and die. Honestly, never again . . .”
What in the name of Merlin is a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round?
I laughed and unconsciously threw my arm around Anastasia’s waist as we walked. “Should we warm them?” I asked.
I laughed. “That’s what I thought. Say, d’you want to get something to eat.”
Anastasia nodded excitedly. “Yeah They have the best types of foods at these places.” She began to chatter excitedly and number off on her hands all the foods she’d eaten when she went to the Amusement Park with her father and brother.
I doubted Anastasia was paying the slightest bit of attention, so I directed her over towards an area particularly dense with metal carts.
I stopped short and stumbled forward, only to be caught by Anastasia.
I smirked. “Stronger than you look.”
“That’s what they say.”
“. . . So, why did we stop?”
“Oh, right.” Anastasia smiled as we got back on topic. “Slushies.”
She rooted through the pockets of her too-small-for-my-sanity shorts and pulled out a few muggle notes. “Convenient. I didn’t even know I had those in there.” She skipped the metre or so to the metal cart. Inside was a bored looking girl dressed in a red, blue, and purple striped shirt.
“Can I help you?”
Anastasia tried to peer over the counter, but was barely tall enough; I stepped in, heroically.
“Umm, what is it?” I asked discreetly, trying to get the gist of what I was ordering without appearing obvious.
“Order me a red, and order your favourite color, er flavor,” she instructed me.
“Er, can I have a red, and . . .” I pondered what my favourite flavor was. I would have liked to take my time deciding, buy I felt very pressured. Inside the tiny cart, I saw another person drinking a blue. “A blue.”
“Do you want that red to be a strawberry or a cherry? And what sizes?”
“Strawberry or cherry? And what size?” I asked my partner-in-crime.
She contemplated seriously, and for quite a while too. “Cherry. And a medium.”
I turned to the girl, who looked quite annoyed at the moment and said, “Cherry, and a medium. The blue one is a large, please.”
She snapped her bubble-gum and turned around to talk to the other dude again. I looked back down to Anastasia. “That was terrible,” I cried dramatically.
“Man up, you big baby,” she jeered, laughing. I noticed for the first time that our arms were around each others’ waists.
“Two pounds.” The girl had the two ‘slushies’ on the counter and held her hand out to receive the money. Anastasia pulled two crumpled pound notes out of her pocket and gave them to me. I gave them to the girl who then waved us off.
I handed Anastasia her cherry slushie and she slurped happily away, smiling all the while. I looked apprehensively at mine. “It’s nice, try it,” she urged me. I put my lips to the straw, and what came out of it was pure wonderfulness. It was like sugar, except it had a flavour.
“What is this?” I cried excitedly.
“That’s a blue raspberry slushie.”
“But raspberries aren’t blue . . . Are they?”
Anastasia shrugged. “It tastes good. Does it matter?”
“Nope." So we walked around the carnival, a each with a slushie in one had, and the other arm around the other’s waist.
We finished our slushies around the same time (even though mine was bigger, my food intake rate was always faster than hers) and were about to head back to our friends when Anastasia cried out in excitement again.
“What is it now?” I asked. If it was any more food suggestions, I would most certainly be listening. If it got me another new lovely thing like the slushie, I was all in.
“Fried dough!” she cried. She grabbed my hand (Oh my god!) and pulled me away again towards a metal cart.
She stopped just before hitting the thing and jumped up, ordering, “One fried dough, please.” I suppose jumping was a better alternative to the catastrophic event of me ordering stuff.
The bloke inside laughed at her good-naturedly and told someone that he needed, “One fried dough.”
Instead of turning away from us like a good, sensible person would do, he stayed towards us and engaged Anastasia in conversation. “So, I’ve never seen you around town; do you live here?”
It took Anastasia quite a while to figure out that he was talking to her. In fact, it wasn’t until I nudged her and pointed towards the bloke that she noticed.
“What, oh, er no. I go away to school and I live quite a ways from here. I’m visiting some friends for a while.”
The kid smiled and nodded. He was flirting with Anastasia. Flirting, god dammit And he was handsome too He had soft-looking blonde hair, and bright blue eyes, and his skin was golden-tanned.
Woah . . . If anyone else ever heard my thoughts, well, my masculinity would definitely be questioned.
Careful, Sirius. Keep your thoughts on your side of the swing.
I was only trying to judge the competition, I justified to myself.
Stop That’s not competition, because you’re not after Anastasia, remember?
Right . . .
I jumped back to reality and realized with a jolt that I had missed a large part of the conversation.
But a quick observation told me that Anastasia wasn’t really into it.
“That’s one pound.” The other bloke that wasn’t busy chatting up Anastasia brought the fried dough (covered in powdery white stuff) on a plate and held it out to me. Anastasia quickly fumbled with her money and handed yet another crumpled bill over.
“So, maybe I’ll see you around?” The bloke asked, as we made to leave.
Anastasia nodded and smiled a bit before we turned around left.
“Okay, now, Anastasia, I’m going to grab your arse, don’t get freaked out.” And I did.
Ah, yes, it feels just like I remember. I smiled to myself.
We both threw a casual glance over our shoulders at the chatty bloke; his face was quite priceless.
And we broke into a fit of laughter as we ran away excitedly.
“So,” I began, after we had settled down on a bench a few minutes later, eating our fried dough. (The powdery white stuff turned out to be sugar, except it was all fine and powdery - go figure.) “Not so into that guy?”
“Yeah, blonds aren’t really my thing,” Anastasia said, laughing.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” I agreed.
She popped a piece of dough into her mouth and got a bunch of powered sugar on and around her mouth. I had to use nearly all the self-restraint I possessed to not kiss it off. “Didn’t you date Alex?”
“Yeah, well, she’s the reason.” Anastasia laughed and let her head droop to my shoulder.
“Tired?” I asked. She nodded. I looked down at my watch and was shocked to find that almost three hours had passed since we had gotten to the carnival. Not to mention we had ridden home on the train today - it was nearly eleven o’clock, and it had been a fairly busy day.
I hadn’t even noticed that I was finishing the dough all myself; Anastasia had fallen asleep on my shoulder. She was so adorable when she was sleeping. I definitely just wanted to sit there and watch her sleep, but we needed to find the others and get going. I gently shook her awake.
“Anastasia, get up.” She scrunched her face at the awakening and rubbed her eyes a bit.
She mumbled and stood up before stumbling and falling back onto the bench.
“I meant wake up, not get up. Dumbarse.” Anastasia sleepily swatted at the air around my face. I kissed her on the top of her head. “But don’t worry, you’re my dumbarse.”
In another minute, she was fit to stand and walk. I had my arm around her waist to keep her going and steady. I was going to take us to the entrance. I figured that the rest of our crew would be there eventually, so it was the best place to wait. But I got distracted on the way.
“Anastasia, what’s a ‘Big Wheel?’”
She looked up and followed my gaze, still groggy. “Oh, the ‘Big Wheel.’ It’s what they decided to call that Ferris Wheel. A Ferris Wheel is just this thing that you get in and it goes around. It’s another one of your ‘metal deathtraps.’”
“Well, this one doesn’t look as deathytrappy.” I looked in my pocket and found the two extra tickets James had given me. “Look, I have enough tickets for us; let’s go on.” I pulled on Anastasia, but she stayed rooted to that spot.
“Come on ” I urged.
“Nah, I don’t think so.” Anastasia no longer looked groggy, but wary, as she glanced at the ‘Big Wheel.’ In fact, it was the same way I had looked at her choice of deathtrap. Was it . . . Could it be . . . Anastasia Xanthis was afraid of something!? (Besides spiders, that is.)
“You’re afraid,” I accused.
“Am not!” she insisted. The indignance in her voice couldn’t hide what I knew was there.
“Don’t even bother trying, Anastasia. I know you better than you do.”
She snorted in a very ‘as if’ manner and crossed her arms petulantly. “I’m not going.”
“You owe me.”
She scrunched her face angrily. “Fine.” She stormed past me and into line.
I laughed. If there was one thing that girl was guaranteed to make me do, it was laugh.
And make your thoughts run wildly inappropriate.
Yeah . . . that too.
Anastasia didn’t say anything as we waited to get on the ride. The line was admittedly shorter, but I didn’t even hear a peep out of her.
She silently got onto the bench as I handed the operator the tickets. This one was creepy and similar looking to the other creepy operator, but at least had to decency to not stare at Anastasia. She sat rigidly, leaning against the cold metal side and jumped at the loud ‘clang’ that the lapbar made as it fell into place.
“Now tell me,” I requested, as the operator walked away to start the ride, “how you’re afraid of this and not that.” I gestured to the deathtrap we’d ridden earlier, that was lit up in the distance.
“I’m not afraid,” Anastasia insisted, speaking for the first time in ten minutes or so.
“Then what?” I challenged. “What are you if you’re not afraid.”
“I’m . . . disinclined to enjoy . . . heights.”
“So, you’re afraid of heights?”
“I’m not afraid!” she cried angrily, and whacked me on the shoulder. However, she stopped immediately when the cart/bench type thing we were on began to rock. I looked over the edge and saw that we weren’t even that high up; the guy had to continually stop the thing so that he could unload and load people for the next ride.
Oh, poor Anastasia. We’re going to stop at the top.
“Okay, okay.” I decided I didn’t want to stress her any further. “So, if you’re disinclined to enjoy heights, why are you okay on a broomstick?”
She shrugged. “I dunno, it’s different, I suppose. I guess I like heights, just not this kind.”
Anastasia jerked as the ride started up again, only to stop a few seconds later. Her breathing became more ragged as she looked down. To her credit, we were getting quite high at that point.
I grabbed her hand (I’ll admit I was taking advantage of her rather distressed state) and moving my fingers in a calming, circular motion. She let me for nearly ten seconds before jerking her hand away. “I don’t need to be calmed down.”
I put my hands up in surrender. “Alright, alright. No need to get feisty.”
Oh, my dear, how entertaining thee are.
She rested her head on my shoulder and we chatted like the whole episode hadn’t happened. That was, until the ride stopped and we were stop right at the tippy top.
“Oh, Godric,” Anastasia groaned, and threw her head into my lap.
It was my turn to jump.
Oh. Oh, fuck. Anastasia! Come on! Get your head out of there! You’ve giving my brain ideas! Stop!
Admittedly, I’d had aspirations that our relationship would eventually lead to us in a position very similar to this . . . (I’m a guy, so sue me.) And they'd happened. And now this was just bringing back memories. Memories that did not need to be remembered in the middle of a carnival.
I picked her head up out of my lap and squeezed her face between my hands so that here face resembled one of those funny fishies. “Now, you listen to me. You’re Anastasia-fucking-Xanthis! You’re not disinclined to enjoy anything. Except spiders, which you’re afraid of, and therefore don’t enjoy at all . . . But that’s it! Now! You’re going to enjoy this ‘Big Wheel’ ride. Okay?”
And she smiled. Thank Merlin, she smiled. “Okay.”
She slipped her hand into mine and laced her fingers. She then caught my eye. “Just in case.”
The ride was much more enjoyable after the man had loaded all the passengers. It was a smooth ride, and we went around quite a few times, before the Ferris Wheel slowed down and finally came to a stop.
“Enjoy your ride?” the man asked, taking his cigar (much worse smelling than the cigarettes) out of his mouth, and blowing a smoke-ring.
“Yes, thank you for asking,” Anastasia answered. And the best part was that she looked like she meant it.
As we walked down the exit ramp, I noticed the familiar, sleepy look in her eye.
“I’m tired, Sirius. Carry me?” she asked. And she - looking all cute in her short-shorts, t-shirt and my too-big denim jacket - got me to say yes. Not that I wouldn’t have anyway, but that just made me smile even more as I scooped her up under her knees.
As I started again towards the entrance to meet everybody, Anastasia threw her arms around my neck, presumably to make it easier for me to carry her, but she was as light as a feather to me. (That was, of course, probably owed to my crazy insane strength and size, seeing as she was a girl and not a feather, but you know . . . )
It took a few minutes to cross the fairgrounds, but I caught sight of everyone right away. We were quite a rambunctious group.
Jason had Remus balanced on his shoulders, and the latter was trying to touch the arching, red and white sign that read ‘Carnival.’ James had Lily pinned against a tree and was snogging her in a way far too grotesque for public, and intermittently pausing to tickle her.
Damon, Darren and Peter had formed a circle and were playing with . . .Something.
Fuck, are those action figures?
And every one of them was yelling loudly and excitedly. (Except for Lily and James, of course. And even Lily contributed to the noise with her shreaks of laughter when James paused to tickle her.)
Anastasia was mumbling something sleepily and incoherently. “Loud . . . dumbarses . . . tired.”
Remus, up high and all, was the first to spot us. “Crap! Is Anna okay?”
I was confused - of course she was okay - until I remembered that I was carrying her. Remus caught everyone else’s attention and they all dropped what they were doing and made their way over to us.
“Oh, yeah, she just got tired so I carried her.”
Remus shook his head despairingly at me. “He spoils you, Anna.”
She laughed sleepily from my arms. “Yeah, I know. It’s one of the reasons I keep him around.”
We all laughed until Jason assumed his ‘big brother’ role. “Where did you disappear to all day?”
“Oh, well, we were on our way back to you after we got off that bloody death trap and Anastasia got distracted by the slushies.”
“Sure, blame it on me,” she mumbled, half-smiling.
“Well, it was your fault.
“Anyway,” I continued. “We kept meaning to find you guys and then we kept getting distracted again. You know how that is with us.”
They all nodded. Because they all did know. Everybody knew.
Everyone was a bit more subdued now, and James and Lily even had the sense to look abashed at their activities.
“Does anyone know when Mum is coming to get us?” I asked, thinking I may have missed the information while me and Anastasia were away frolicking.
“Nope,” Peter replied, smiling happily as he was munching on the fluffy blue and pink stuff. (Again.)
“But we’re hoping she hasn’t forgotten about us,” James put in.
We all sat in a big group on the grass by the entrance, so we had a good view of the cars pulling up. We all kept an eye out for Mum’s Jag.
“I see her!” Lily cried excitedly. We all cheered, including Anastasia, who was half-dozing with her head in my lap. Everyone clambered to their feet and I picked Anastasia up again, without being asked. We noisily made our way towards the car and the doors were open and waiting for us when we got there. It occurred to me for the first time, as we all climbed in again, that there was definitely some magic on this car - no way should it be able to hold ten people.
The thought fled from my mind as we began to drive again. Anastasia had curled up in my lap, and all her dozing was making me tired as well. I think everyone was fairly worn out, and it’s safe to say that the ride home was much more quiet than the ride there.
I was woken from my slumber by the car jerking to a stop. I looked sleepily around through half-closed eyes and saw that we were back home. Anastasia was breathing deeply - actually sleeping now, no longer dozing - and I didn’t have the heart to wake her up. (Well, yes, I did; I’d done it before. I just chose not to at that moment.)
Mum turned off the ignition and began to gently shake all us kids (and Jason, who really should be included in the ‘kids.’) But I stopped her before she could awaken Anastasia. As everyone sleepily climbed from the car (James offered to carry Lily up to the house, which she agreed to) I could hear Mum humming to herself.
We all stumbled up towards the mansion. Haha, we probably look like a pack of zombies . . . Wait, do zombies travel in packs? There were no lights on outside, except for the small bit of light that Mum gave us from the tip of her wand, and when we stepped into the house, Mum only dimmed the lights. For that I’m sure we were all grateful, because everyone knows that the equivalent to hell is having someone turn the lights on when you’ve just woken up.
We all expressed tired excitement when we saw that Mum had set up loads of blankets on the floor for us to sleep; no need to climb stairs. We all collapsed onto the piles of bedclothes. With the amount of padding there was, it was nearly as comfortable as a bed. We all mumbled goodnights to each other and gave up one layer of cushioning to make for blankets.
I wonder where Mum got enough blankets for all nine of us? I thought.
However, the question didn’t matter, because I was dead tired. I had set Anastasia down next to me and she refused to let go; I was her over-sized, live teddy bear.
She planted a sleepy kiss on my nose, and mumbled, “Night . . . love you, guys.” Before her deep, rhythmic breathing commenced again. Her breath was sweet - like cherry and sugar. The continuous, steady sound was quickly lulling me back to sleep. Before I could catch the elusive devil that was sleep, Jason nudged my shoulder.
“Did you take my advice, mate?” he asked.
I smiled, knowing immediately what he was talking about. “Yeah, I only hope it works . . . Let’s just say, I don’t know how much longer I can deal with being only her friend.”
“Just give it a little while,”Jason encouraged me. “Let her start it again, because she definitely will.”
I smiled gratefully, and then I couldn’t help but tease my pseudo-older brother a bit. “Don’t you feel a bit foolish, hanging around with a bunch of teenagers?”
Jason laughed quietly. “On the contrary, it makes me feel good about myself. It means a don’t take myself too seriously. That’s a concept you lot should be pretty familiar with.”
“Too right,” I agreed. We shared a bit of hushed laughter before quiet fell between us. I turned to Anastasia again and threw my arm around her shoulder.
I might as well take advantage of the situation, yeah?
I kissed her lightly on her forehead, before resting my head near hers and letting her soft, slow breathing lull me to sleep.
A/N: For those on the metric . . . 4 inches is equal to about 10 cm and 30 pounds is 15 kg, give or take.
A/N3: I think this is the longest chapter yet. :D Ah, I miss these long chapters. They make me smile a lot. I love writing long chapters. And reading them. And writing them. Pardon me, it’s about three in the morning and my medicine is telling me to go to sleep, but the creative burst I’m on is telling me not to. Damn, these always hit me at the worst of times. But this time, it hit me so nicely, that I actually enjoyed writing Sirius’ POV, something that is usually my least favorite POV to write. Anyways, I hope you all have enjoyed this chapter as much as I did. :D
A/N4: I would like to dedicate this chapter to Taylor Swift, Fall Out Boy, Mayday Parade and All Time Low, whose music was playing pretty much the entire time I was writing this chapter, and always makes me smile. Smile smile smile smile smile smile smile. :D
A/N5: Waaaaah! Now I have more formatting problems. My computer decided to die on me, so we had to give it to the computer guy who fixed it up and but Firefox on my computer instead of Explorer. And now my formatting problems are worse! All my special text (like italics and bold) are gone and I have to fix them again. And it could totally be okay, except that all of my exclamation points are gone and I have to go back and put them in. Have you ever noticed how excited the Marauders and Anna always are? I totally didn't until I had to go back and put in exclamation points, and oh boy, I think I'm going to have to download Explorer again, because this is terrible! Okie dokie, I'm done ranting now. :D So if there are only lovely, strange spaces throughout the chapter they were probably supposed to be exclamation points.
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