Chapter 6 : Curiosity Killed the Cat...again
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I got nine lives, cat's eyes
Abusin' every one of them and running wild
AC/DC Back In Black (1980)
I honestly didn't know how I was alive still.
After all those things I had said to Melanie with half—ok maybe a quarter—of the school there...I really didn't think I'd last more than 3 hours on my own after Joey had left my side. After all, she was dating that Slytherin punk who knew other punks and they weren't the nicest bunch of punks that roamed the school. Even if she didn't recruit them, I was pretty sure she could do enough damage on her own. Nevertheless, I was alive and walking down to the library to meet with the one and only Sirius Black, hoping he was still in his "normal" mood. I didn't really have a chance to catch his expression after my vehement proclamation in the pub, so I couldn't be sure whether or not he appreciated that kind of statement from me... I mean, because of the whole ego thing. He probably didn't need me defending his honour or something like that.
I whipped around to face the voice, still being extremely paranoid about an impending doom. But it was only him. Strange, how relieving it was, when probably yesterday I would have rather faced the Slytherin punks than him.
"Hi," I replied slowly, turning back and starting again towards the now visible doors of the library, Sirius following beside me. It was nicely silent for all of fifteen seconds when I couldn't take it anymore. "Sirius, you're not mad about what I said to Melanie in the pub, are you?"
"No," he said. I looked at him, and he corrected himself. "Well I'm not exactly happy about all that, but you made her look like a complete idiot so it's all good." He ran his hand through his hair in a very Potter-like way. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "What are you staring at?"
“At you,” I heard myself say. He gave me a strange look. I shook my head and decided to expand on that comment. “It's like you're a completely different person. Transformed within a mere…three hours?”
Sirius shrugged. “I think I’m starting to see the error of my ways. I guess what I really needed was a cold blast of brutal truth. Mind you whenever I think about her and it all, I still feel pretty crappy, but I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
It was…refreshing to hear him say so much truth in two sentences, even though it was exagerrated. I smiled, “You’re not dying, Black. No need for the light and tunnel metaphor.”
“Who said anything about dying?” he asked with another smirk. “Why couldn’t I just have been lost in a dark tunnel?”
My jaw dropped. Maybe the old Sirius was better than this…this…weird one. But right now, I was just thankful that not all questions were meant to be answered. I really owed someone a huge favour for inventing rhetorical questions.
He continued. "And I wanted to say, that you are cordially invited to help out with my revenge."
It was silent for the next few minutes as we settled into a table in a far corner of the library. I had long since (aka after the Melanie incident) decided it be best not to talk much anymore. I mean, technically, the Melanie incident happened because of the Sirius incident. So, following the logic, avoid Sirius incidents = avoid Melanie incidents and the like.
"Well let's get this show on the road, yeah?" Sirius said with a grin.
I nodded, and started to flip through my textbook.
"Uh...What are you doing?"
His voiced was laced with such a sincere incredulity that I looked up in semi-shock. "Looking for useful things in a book conveniently called Useful Defenses against the Dark Arts and All Other Things, obviously."
"Because that way I don't have to talk."
Oh, was that why I was reading the textbook? I could have sworn it was because I was trying to find useful things for the project....
Well that's confusing.
A frown overcame his perfect features. "You don't want to talk to me?"
"I do, but I rather not," I said. Why did he look so....heartbroken, for a split second?
"I don't get it," Sirius stated with a shake of his head.
"You don't need to."
He looked curiously at me. "What is it with you and all your honest answers?"
I smiled innocently at him, and looked down into my book again. So he had caught on that there was something not quite...kosher about my dialogue. The minutes passed as I did not answer and he did not ask another question. Finally, mercifully, he said, "Well, I have some ideas for this duel thing..."
I breathed a silent sigh of relief and said, "Let's hear 'em, then."
He leaned back in his chair, putting his hands behind his head, and started to vocally script out an entire duel. I stared at him in shock. It was really brilliant, all the things he was saying, but half of them I had never heard of: strange curses and hexes, and even stranger defenses. He stopped after about 3 minutes, though I couldn't be sure if that was because he noticed my glazed over expression, actually had no more to say, or just ran out of air. Either way, I decided to cut in, just in case he would start all over again.
"That's really brilliant Sirius," I said, and I noted how he beamed with pride. "But I think Hackett wants to see only the stuff we've done in class."
He thought about it for a couple of seconds. "Probably, but this way is much more interesting."
"Agreed, but I don't know how to do half those things you said. Which could end up very badly indeed." At least the truth thing made it easy to admit things like that. I didn't have to ponder over the wording or work up the courage to bring myself to say things. They just flowed naturally. Though it didn't help with the after-feeling that bordered on shameful embarrassment. After all, a Ravenclaw admitting to a Marauder that they knew more than said Ravenclaw was hardly admirable.
Waving a hand dismissively, he said, "No worries, I'll teach you."
"Oi, Sirius, I'm the one who spent the last three days in class, and I'm telling you we need to include things we learned in class."
Why was he able to infuriate me so easily?
"I think he'll like my idea, and we might get extra marks for like...going beyond our scope," Sirius replied right away.
"While that may be true," because unfortunately for me it was, "Those marks we'll gain will be lost on account of deductions because we didn't include things he asked for."
"So it's all the same thing," he said in a conclusive voice, putting his hands behind his head again. Honestly, did he have to have an answer for everything? This confident know-it-all Sirius was definitely more annoying than the sulking one.
"No, because your way we're losing!" I shouted, standing up and leaning on the table like some court-room-drama lawyer. Too bad I didn't have a gavel. I always wanted to pound one of those things on the table.
Sirius stood up as well. "But we're not gaining either!"
"Do it by the book!" That gavel I was picturing was starting to have more uses than just pounding the table.
"NO!" he shouted, slapping his palm down onto the table to accent his point.
"OI! Ever heard of a thing called compromise?!" somebody yelled from a couple of tables down.
Our heads both whipped around simultaneously to stare at the perpetrator of such a ridiculously obnoxious and simple statement: a measly first year. And we must have been a sight to behold because the scrawny little first year brat gathered his books and scurried away in a mere two seconds, probably berating himself for talking like that to us.
I sat down, and Sirius did too. "He's right, you know. Simple resolution: do it my way and add in your embellishments."
He huffed. "Why can't we do it my way and in your embellishments?"
"Because the embellishments are yours! Mine is the standard version! Seriously, are you just trying to annoy me?"
I stopped in semi-shock for the nth time within the fifteen minutes. My hands automatically flew to my head and grabbed a fistful of my hair. "Oh my god, you so totally are!"
"What? I said I'm not!" Sirius defended, looking very offended at my lack of trust.
"I know what you said and I know what you meant!"
"I say what I mean and I mean what I say!"
"Haha, nice try Dr. Seuss but I can see through your lies—"
"WHO THE HELL IS DR. SEUSS?!" he yelled, his hands twitching as if seriously debating tearing out his own hair, but its perfectness must have stopped him.
Again, I froze, but this time a smile stretched over my thin-lined lips and my hands left my poor hair alone. He was just so adorable. "You really don't know, do you? Amazing."
"What in the blazes are you talking about?" Sirius asked, still sounding offended but calmed down.
"You just quoted a line from a muggle children's book written by Dr. Seuss."
He looked relieved, and oh-so-adorable. "So it's not an insult?"
"No," I replied, deciding to hold in my laugher for fear of insulting him and prolonging this shouting match. I couldn't help but grin wider though.
"YOU TWO! Out of my library this instant! How dare you yell so loudly?!" Ms. Pince yelled at us.
Sirius replied at the same time I did.
"We dare, but won't ever again since it bothers you," he said with a shrug and wink at the middle-aged librarian.
"Well if you can yell, than we can too, hypocrite," I said, ignoring the fact that Sirius was lying.
Our voices mingled and clashed and what she must have heard was some broken record version sounding something like this: Well if you dare, then we can too since it bothers you hypocrite.
That barely made sense. No wonder the poor confused dear looked so…confused…
"Get out before you both get detention," she hissed, lowering her voice.
"Right away, love," Sirius replied, this time on his own. It really was hard not to throw up right then and there at his lady-killer ways and at how that…that…old woman was blushing at something a teenager said, a glazed look overcoming her. True enough, he did possibly save us from any further trouble and bought us some escape time, but still. I walked beside him, muttering under my breath. And then I felt it. The paper cuts. I looked at him.
"Did you say something?"
"Um…no," Sirius replied, looking at me as if I were deranged. Not that I wasn't. Hmm, and he wasn't lying. "What are you on about?"
It was silent as I tried to listen around me, around the almost deserted library for the culprit. The paper cuts stung again. I turned to the left and tiptoed in the general direction without a word. My 'learn-from-your-mistakes' and 'sense-of-right-and-wrong' sectors of the brain had long since been conquered by the ESCAPE LOBES, and I had no doubt that had a large factor in my skulking around, but honestly, that expression about curiosity killing the cat had never meant much to me. Or maybe it had, just now it lost its meaning. I probably still had a couple of those nine lives left and was subconsciously intent on getting through them all, as a point of honour. Though, I was probably some mutant cat with more than nine lives, because not only had I almost certainly been through those nine already, I was definitely lacking in other cat qualities. For instance, I never landed on my feet, and I doubted any normal cat would get into the same type of trouble more than three times. Not to mention the obvious lack of fur and the tail.
"Hey where are you going? Pince said to get out," Sirius whispered into my ear, following in my tracks.
"Then why are you following me?" I hissed back at him.
"Well since when do I listen to what she says?" he replied with a widening grin. True enough. I didn't answer though. Just kept walking towards the voices which were growing louder. Sirius seemed to have finally heard them. "How did you hear them from all the way back there?"
"Um…ok there. Freak," he muttered.
And the best way to solve all this…"Shut up."
The hushed voices I had heard/sensed were now audible enough to just barely distinguish the words.
"I don't want... advantage of you...."
Ha. Overused lie number one. Stupid men. I was pretty sure nobody needed my special superpower to know what a huge lie that one was. Unless it was Remus who said it. He was that chivalrous type I could actually trust to mean it.
"No, it's ok..."
I was too busy laughing to myself (quietly) about the obvious tone of untruthfulness in that one to register that the voice sounded vaguely familiar. Sirius and I slowed down, but we were still walking towards nowhere in particular, looking for the culprits.
"But you and...broke up..."
Well that one was true at least.
"I'm over it."
Yeah, and I'm in love with Snape. An involuntary shudder passed down my spine.
"OH god, my eyes!" Sirius suddenly exclaimed though still in hushed-like tones. I turned to look at whatever it was that his eyes were being scarred for life by.
Yep, one more cat's life down. Or maybe it was just a huge chunk of my sanity that had just spontaneously self-combusted, which would be unfortunate considering I didn't exactly have much to spare. Why did I have to be so curious? That was definitely something I did not need to see. Didn't people have sense of self respect at all? I quickly averted my eyes again, and was about to get my feet moving in the other direction before they noticed us directly, or the smoke drifting up, up from our burned eyes. But then, why did that girl's hair look so familiar?
Oh my gosh.
Sirius gaped at me. The two interlocked faces abruptly broke apart and stared at me and Sirius. Sirius looked at Marcie.
"You just broke up with Remus for crying out loud!" he yelled before I even had a chance to recover from my shock.
I hushed him, fearful that the librarian would come after us again. Or maybe she was still numb. And Marcie didn't deserve his yelling at her, especially since he didn't really know what she was feeling. Then again, my obvious surprise at finding Marcie in such a situation clearly suggested that I apparently, didn't know what she was feeling either.
"Excuse me, he broke up with me," she defended. Then glared at me. "What the hell are you doing here?!"
"I didn't know it was you. We're leaving now..." I grabbed Sirius by the arm and started to sprint towards the doors, leaving Marcie and the unnamed snogger back in the depths of the library. This little excursion probably cost me two lives, or it would.
Sirius was silent, but I felt as if he was feeling betrayed, for his friend's sake. It was sort of cute, this amazing friendship the four of them had. And all jokes about their sexuality aside, I really did envy them just a little, for their loyalty and friendship. I didn't stop running until we were way past the library. Letting go of his arm, I collapsed to the floor near the wall, panting heavily. My legs were doing way too much running the past few days, and my lungs were in an even worse condition than my legs.
"I can't believe her."
I looked up at Sirius, and noticed he looked rather angry. "What?"
"It took her all of what, three days to hitch up with somebody else when Remus is—"
"Don't even start that, Sirius. Somewhere deep down, you and I both knew Remus would break up with her eventually. You have no right to be insulting her."
"Remus liked her a lot!" he yelled.
Tell me something I didn't know. "Then why did he break up with her?!"
For a second, I held my breath as I thought Sirius would finally let slip the real reason behind Remus' mysterious behaviour, but then he just sighed, and I was disappointed. This was the secret I would probably never find out, much to my dismay. "I just thought she would be different for him. They looked so...right together you know?"
I was shocked at the sudden change in his tone. So...sincere. He was starting to look like his sulky-old self again and I feared a relapse into his post-Melanie depression. Which would be a bad thing, for as much as the new Sirius got on my nerves, at least he was conscious and present enough to do some sort of work on the project. Which we really did need to get started on. Like…soon. Preferrably before another encounter with Hackett.
And then, one of those rare, enlightening and perceptive moments overcame me as I looked at him. "Don't get mad at me...but this isn't anything to do with Melanie, is it?"
This time he looked up, or rather down, at me. His eyes scared me. Maybe confronting the problem head first was not a good idea after all.
"Uh...I mean...just because you might be sort of taking out your anger at Melanie on Marcie since it might seem like the same situation to you..."
I said it so fast I don't even know how he understood what I said. But he did. If he was going to say something then he didn't get the chance because just then, Marcie came storming up the hallway looking ready to kill me, and I was fearful my life. I had never had an argument with Marcie before. Not really with anybody before, really. Except for Sirius just recently. I really hoped he didn't set off a trend. The death march echoed in my head in time to her footsteps which kept getting louder. That march never seemed to leave my mental ear ever since this blasted project. It was forever and always on the record player, just on pause sometimes.
"Were you snooping on me?!" she yelled at once.
Ooooh...how was I supposed to answer that one? I bit my lip and looked at her. She didn't look very happy at all. It seemed today really would be my day to have a cat fight. I wonder if I had any special fighting abilities, being the mutant cat I was…
"Were you snooping on me?!" Marcie yelled again. Sirius took a few steps back, but I noticed he didn't leave, just sort of looking like he was considering it though. Stupid Sirius. He should have left.
I stood up. "Yes but if I had known it was you I wouldn't have."
"What the hell does that even mean?!" she yelled, her voice getting louder.
I sighed, and replied in as calm a voice as possible, "It means exactly what it means, Marcie. I didn't know it was you—"
"Well what gave you the right to just intrude on my privacy like that?" Marcie interupted.
"Nothing. It was an accident—"
Marcie laughed a rather high pitched, mocking lough. "Accident my ass. You just wanted to make me as miserable as you are."
That was harsh. But untrue. "You don't mean that."
"Oh I do. You never wanted my relationship to work out with Remus because you were jealous!" she spat viciously. I was actually surprised at the viciousness in her voice. I had never heard such malice in her tone before. "You said from the very beginning it wouldn't work. You told me not to date him."
Malice or not, she shouldn't have said that. "Don't misconstrue my words! And since when I have been jealous of you and Remus?! I broke up with him, remember? And me telling you not to date him was exactly for this reason! I knew this would happen because in case you haven't noticed, that's what Remus does!"
"Hey!" Sirius put in defensively, but didn't bother continuing.
"I was just, and still am, trying to look out for you," I finished, trying to calm my voice which I heard was starting to waver.
But Marcie didn't seem to take that as a sufficient answer. Her eyebrows narrowed as she glared at me. "I don't need you to do that, Andy. I can take care of myself."
"Which is why you decided to make everything better by finding a quick snog when you know you're not over him yet."
Aiya...that sounded a bit brutal.
Her glare intensified. "How would you know if I'm over him or not? I said I am."
"And you'd be lying," I put in without a thought.
Yeah. I was definitely making this worse. Maybe I should just shut up and let her yell at me. Accept my fate. Be a martyr.
"How dare you accuse me of lying?! Why would I lie?!" she screeched.
"To piss me off," I muttered. It hurt to say and hear that. I vaguely wondered if that's what all this was about. Well screw matyrdom. "What, is this your revenge, Marcie? All this yelling at me and making me feel guilty...is that just to get back at me for some stupid reason that's untrue? Or is it because you're mad at yourself and I'm the one you decided to take it out on?"
"What the hell is the matter with you?! I don't need your psychoanalysis."
"Which is why I better just leave now, before I say anything else." I turned. This was what it always came to, wasn't it? Running away. Marcie seemed to have noticed too.
"Yeah, you just leave Andy. That's what you're best at. That, and saying useless stupid things. You're useless!" Marcie concluded, her voice starting to sound hoarse. She should have saved her voice for all the good it was doing me—untruthful things didn't hurt me.
"Yeah well you know what? I'm a bad friend."
My words sounded cold to my own ears as they stabbed right through me and shattered into a million pieces, painfully flowing through like shrapnel, until they finally got to the heart. The next second seemed to be in slow motion as I fully comprehended what I was saying.
I really was a bad friend.
But now was not the time to fix that. Now was the time to just walk away. Which I did. Though not in the direction of our common room. That was probably where Marcie would go. I mean, obviously. And I needed sometime away. Sirius was following me though. I knew it was him without even looking back to see.
"Thorse, wait for a second will you?!" he yelled after me. I stopped after a couple more steps, and let him catch up to me.
"Why are you following me, Black?"
"What you just said back there, about you being a bad friend…" he started, looking at me curiously, looking right into my eyes and I worried he was way too observant. "What you said, you actually meant it, didn't you?"
My jaw would have dropped if I wasn't clamping it shut to prevent the answer from shooting out.
"I mean, you didn't sound sarcastic or anything…"
"What does it matter to you?" I asked quietly.
"Well it doesn't really, but I'm intrigued. The way you said it, it sounded too real…And I could swear I saw you looked stunned and hurt at your own words...." he said slowly, almost cautiously. But I saw a twinkle in his eyes. A strange sort of glimmer. His, dare I say, slightly worried expression, was slowly turning into one of triumph, with that characteristic smirk forming on his lips as he watched me contemplate his statement.
I realized then what it all meant. I was a mystery. And he seemed bent on solving it. Too bad for me, he seemed to be doing rather well. And he knew it too. For someone who only just really met me a few days ago, he was catching on to a lot of small, usually overlooked details of my life. And every slip up I had made thus far.
"Look, I thought I already told you not to bother over my words. I say a lot of stuff without exactly thinking it through. So don't look too much into it," I said quietly.
Yeah, that was a pretty good response. It should suffice. Or so I thought, as I turned to walk in whatever direction it was I had been walking in. I didn't expect him to grab my arm and spin me back to face him. Neither was I expecting his eyes boring down onto my own.
"You're not a very good liar," Sirius stated rather bluntly.
The irony of my existence never failed to amuse me. "Ha, that’s an understatement."
Blinking confusedly and letting go of my arm, he said, "What?"
I smiled. See, I was definitely mutant. Why would I smile after just learning that I was a horrible friend and noticing that Sirius was noticing way too much about me? "I said it's an understatement."
"Are you admitting to lying, then?"
"Then how is it an understatement?"
I just smiled some more, making sure my mouth stayed shut. But why did it feel like he deserved to hear the whole truth from me? Why did I have this urge to just spill all my secrets to him? Maybe his eyes had some sort of hypnotic effect on me. His eyes, his so beautiful eyes…
He sighed. "You're way too complicated for your own good."
"And you are way too curious," I replied,
"Yeah, but curiosity doesn't kill me," Sirius answered with a chuckle, and another smirk.
But those eyes were still sparkling...like…like stars…Sirius the star…maybe that’s where the idea for his name came from...I shut my own before I would be completely transfixed, and said, "Can you please just accept the fact that sometimes I say things, and then decide to shut up? I do it for a reason and that is all you need to know."
I could feel his gaze on me, but I didn't open my eyes.
"No. But let's go. It's time to meet up with my less-brilliant counterparts," he said, and deeming it safe to finally open my eyes again, I was pleased to see him grinning. "We have some things to plan and set up if this is gonna go down on schedule tomorrow."
Well at least the cat wasn't out of the bag.
Wait. If curiosity didn't kill him. Sirius. Bah. Stupid dogs. He would get me eventually.
The cat wasn't out of the bag. Yet. I gulped, but followed him anyways.
*May'14 - Edits.
Author's Note: Sorry for the long wait, and also partially for the in-between-ess of this chapter...I know a lot doesn't happen but it's a necessary story set up chapter. Hope you liked it anyways.
PLEASE READ: For the next chapter, would you like to see a change in POV (probably to Sirius), or would you prefer to keep it with Andrea? Please let me know! Thanks.
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