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Polychromatic by HarryPotter is my LIFE
Chapter 66 : Time Makes You Bolder, Children Get Older
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 36


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Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
. . .
I'm getting older too
-Fleetwood Mac



“Anna . . . We’re not the Marauders. You can’t get away with doing stupid, idiotic things like that anymore. I thought we explained this to you.”

I sighed. Bria and I had made a truce all those months ago, but she still didn’t seem to get it. What was it? Well, it was just the mystery and aurora that was my persona; it needed to be nurtured and humoured.

But, I suppose she may have been right. Perhaps, handcuffing myself to my four-poster was a bit drastic.

But, then again, today was Graduation.

“Tell me you’re not the least bit devastated you’re leaving? These have been the best years of our lives!” I cried. I was hopping and attempting to wave my arms wildly.

Hmm. It’s a bit difficult to get over-excited when you’re chained to a bed . . .

“Maybe for you.”

Ugh. I hated when she did that. When she inadvertently blamed me for the fact that she wasn’t joyful and happy during her Hogwarts years.

“Hey, it’s not my fault; you should probably go blame the stick up your arse for that.”

Bria scoffed and turned away. Me and her often had these little spats; she had learned not to take most things I said seriously, and I had learned to tune anything I didn’t want to hear out long before I had the conflict with her.

But, with Bria getting ready in the loo, and Connie, Alice, and Elena no where to be seen, I was stuck.

I resigned myself to lying on the bed and begging Bria to get over herself and help me when she left the loo, when I heard a large crash at the door. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get up to see what it was. But the next moment, I heard a sort of ‘whoosh’ sound, and a quartet of deep voices screaming in a very girly manner.

My Marauders!

I listened hard, but I could hear no voices. About fifteen seconds later, I heard another crash at the door, and this time, it burst open, and a broom - very low to the ground, being ridden by four fairly heavy boys - sped through and crashed into Connie’s neatly made bed.

“Guys!” I cried, forgetting about my imprisonment and trying to jump up, only to receive a sharp sort of pain in my wrist.

“Shit, Anna, what did you do?” James was the first to scramble up from the pile of bodies on the floor. He pulled his wand out of his back pocket and pointed it at the pair of handcuffs on my right side, then my left, and said, “Solvo catenis.”

I heard the ‘click’ of the metal as the handcuffs fell away. I sat up, rubbing my wrists, which had taken quite a beating in the process of chaining me to my bed.

I excitedly greeted James, and Remus, and -

“Peter!!” I’d never been so happy to see that little lug of a boy.  “My Godric! Peter! What the hell happened to you!? Are you okay?  What the hell happened?!”

So, he launched into a long story about how, while he was in Albania, they’d come across a suspicious bunch of people. Peter and his group had suspected that Voldemort would get to Albania eventually, and, apparently, they had been a bit off. The suspicious people had turned out to be Death Eaters, who had captured Peter when he wandered off alone one night. He was in their captivity until another branch of the Order happened to find him there, unfortunately thinking him to be one of them.               
But, in the end, it didn’t matter, because he got home safe and sound.

It was after that whole narration that I noticed Sirius, hanging in the back, still not having said hello.

“Well, aren’t you going to say hello?”

He looked shyly at the ground. “I didn’t know if I was supposed to . . .”

“Well, you are my boyfriend, aren’t you?” I smirked.

And, then he jumped me and kissed me quickly. “I think I like this being your boyfriend thing.”

Smiling, I said, “Me too, just don’t be mushy, all right?”

“Promise.”

___

“Guys,” I said, for the first time, ever, slightly apprehensive about one of the Marauders’ ideas. “Are you sure about this? . . . The ceiling is kind of high . . .”

I was disillusioned at the moment, tied up in ropes (for the second time within a month or so - it was getting a bit old,) and Sirius was levitating me towards the Great Hall; they were going to tie me upside down to the ceiling.

“We’ll catch you,” Remus promised. “If you fall. Which you won’t.”

“If you don’t . . .” I warned, trailing off in a bit of fear.

“We will!" all four boys assured me.

“Okay, okay.” At that time, I would have had my hands up in a ‘surrender’ gesture, but I couldn’t, as I was tied up.

As we approached the doors to the Great Hall - my final Breakfast as a Hogwarts student (Lunch would be my final meal, period,) - it occurred to me that I still hadn’t packed my trunk up, and I would have to extract my belongings from all different corners of the universe.

Oh, well, I’ll get on it eventually.

The doors to the Great Hall burst open as Sirius walked through. I saw Twitchy look at the Marauders - casting an especially wary glance at the wand that Sirius had out.

Remus, James, and Peter went to sit down. Sirius stayed behind for just a moment, to levitate me, and then attach me to the ceiling. “Now, remember,” he whispered to me. “You’re going to fall for half a second before you get hooked to the ceiling. Don’t scream.”

“If you kill me, I’ll kill you twice as bad,” I threatened him.

“Be quiet or I’ll make you be quiet,” he warned.

I grumbled, but shut up. I was scared shitless as Sirius levitated me towards the ceiling.

Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit.       


Sirius, and the rest of the Great Hall below me became smaller, and smaller as I got closer, and closer to the ceiling.

Oh, shit. Oh, shit. Oh, shit.


Why the hell did I ever agree to do this?

I felt my feet tap the ceiling. Looking down at Sirius, I saw him put him finger to his lips, warning me to be quiet.

He moved his wand ever so slightly and -

Ohhhhhhh, shiiiiiiiiiit!!!

And, a half-a-second later, I stopped falling, and was firmly attached to the ceiling.

Discreetly, after glancing warily at Twitchy, Sirius gave me a thumbs up, and waved his wand once again. Then, he nonchalantly made his way over to the other Marauders, Darren, and Stephen.

The first excited gasp came a few moments after Sirius took a seat. My eyes scanned the hall until I saw a small Hufflepuff child pointing at me and jumping up and down. Slowly and surely, the remainder of the Hufflepuffs assumed the similar position. The final wave of Sirius’ wand had made me visible to the general population of Hogwarts.

Chatter got louder, and louder. A few minutes later, nearly the whole hall had noticed my presence, and I was getting increasingly wary. I was not afraid of heights, but being suspended from a ceiling, with nothing but some rope and some magic was a bit nerve-racking.

Then, I turned my attention to the Staff table, where the entire reason for us doing this prank was. And I could see that it was working. Twitchy was . . . well, she was twitching. And quite obviously fuming; pointing angrily and trembling.

However, an unexpected miracle happened - one that no one could have ever foreseen. Every other staff member completely ignored the fact that I was hanging, upside from the ceiling in the middle of the Great Hall.

And the best part of all was that Twitchy couldn’t even do a thing  On probation, she no longer had the authority to punish students.

I was there for a good ten minutes or so, watching and laughing at Twitchy who loudly yelled to her colleagues about the troublemaker hanging from the ceiling.

But everyone vehemently denied it. “I don’t see a thing,” Minnie claimed. “Perhaps you should get your head checked, Professor?”

Even Dumbledore joined in on the trickery (though that wasn’t all that shocking.) “Are you sure that’s a student, Professor? I’m certain that’s a decoration; it’s been here all year . . . Have you not noticed?”

However, after ten minutes of being upside down and having blood rush into my head, I began to get a little dizzy, and saw the black spots in my vision.

“Alright, guys  I need some help up here before my brain shuts down ”

And, once again in plain site of all of the teachers, the Marauders got me down from my terrifying captivity. I peacefully journeyed to the Gryffindor table, where I ate breakfast with a smile on my face.

Yeah, it’s great when everyone hates the same person that you do.
___

Back up in my dorm (the Marauders, once again, flew up on their broom) I was rooting around under my bed, looking for my black dress robes - the ceremony was about to start soon.

“Jason said he was bringing a girl,” I said conversationally. “You guys know anything about that?”

James, Remus, and Peter shook their heads. Sirius did, too, but then added, “Unless it was the one he mentioned in that letter . . .”

“What letter?”

Then, Sirius got that look on his face. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that says: 'Whoopsie, that wasn’t really supposed to be said out loud.’

“Umm, you know, that letter.”

“No, I don’t know . . . Which letter?” I asked faux-sweetly.

“Oh, I threw it out a couple days ago,” he said.

Oh, shame.


“No you didn’t, Sirius. It’s in your back pocket, remember?” Ah, James . . . The sad thing is, he wasn’t being traitorous to Sirius; he was really just that dumb.

I raised my eyebrows at Sirius in a way that said ‘Give me the letter, now.’ Very dangerously, of course.

In response, he cocked his head to the side and scrunched up his mouthing, leading me to believe that he was saying, ‘No, I don’t think so.’

I raised my eyebrows some more, to reiterate, ‘Give me the letter.’

Wow, that’s a lot of talking faces.       

Focus, Anna. No time for frivolous observations - you’ve got to get that letter

Right . . .


So, abandoning my quest for the dress robes, I stood up. It was all very nonchalant - I was trying to mislead Sirius; to make him believe that I was about to tackle him. (Not that it would do much, in all honesty.)

And then, I jumped onto him, and clung to the front side of him, while I frantically tried to reach my hands into his back pockets.
 
“Hey, hands off!” he cried, trying to throw me off.

“That’s not what you said a last time . . .” I trailed off.

Sirius, for whatever reason was desperately trying to keep me away from the letter, threw me down on the bed and jumped on top of me, pinning me down.

In all honestly, I felt like we were getting really into some violent foreplay, with all the Marauders watching. It was rather funny.

Said Marauders did nothing but laugh at the scene before them . . . Unhelpful little bastards.

Finally, I swiped the crinkled, folded parchment from his back pocket, ran into the bathroom, and locked myself in. Connie was in there, showering. She screamed, apparently not used to people walking in on her naked. (Which was more than I could say . . .)

“Sorry,” I apologized flippantly. “I’ve just got to read this.”

With Sirius banging loudly and yelling at me through the door, I read:

Dear Sirius,

It makes me all happy inside to know that I’m like your big brother.  Much as I love my baby sister, I only get to be all overprotective with her. I’ve always wanted a younger brother to give advice to and crap.

Hopefully I can help, and do you one better. So, man, no one knows my sister like you do. I mean, I know her pretty well, and the rest of the guys know her pretty well too. But, man, you know her the best; you can probably tell what she’s thinking better than she can. And if you think that she loves you somewhere deep down . . . You’re probably right.      

And especially if she was the one who started the whole relationship. What did all of her other relationships have in common that yours doesn’t? The bloke started it. Trust me, if Anna liked you enough to start something, then she
really liked you.

Speaking from someone who has the same sort of love and relationship problems as Anna (it must run in our family, or something, I’ll have to ask Dad), sometimes we realize things a little bit too late.

And while we’re on the subject of being a little too late - some things are worth waiting for. If you don’t really think you love Anna, then let her go. I mean, I know you love her as a friend and all, but if you’re not prepared to spend the rest of your life with her, then you probably don’t love her in the other way like you think you do. But, Sirius, if you really love her like that - your life wouldn’t be the same without her, she completes you, and all that mushy lot - then that is worth waiting for.

Between you and me, I’m seeing this one girl at work. I’d liked her all through Hogwarts, but she was only my friend. We partied together (because that’s basically all I did through school) and I watched her drunkenly snog way too many guys for my liking. And then, a month ago, I asked her to go on a date with me, and she said yes. Let’s just say this has been a pretty good month.

I can guide you, but I can’t decide for you. If you really think my dumbarse baby sister is worth waiting for, then I’m behind you one-hundred percent, and will totally help you kick the arse of any bloke who looks her way.

You know, I can
guarantee you that Anna’s writing a letter really similar to yours to someone. She’s probably just as confused as you are. So you know what you need to do? You need to be her friend, because no matter what happens, that’s at least what she wants you to be.

Mate, I wish you the best,
Jason



By the time I was finished reading, Sirius had stopped yelling. Unlocking the door, I stepped back into the dormitory. The other Marauders had conspicuously disappeared.

“Well, now I know the girl you were talking about, in the letter,” I said. “But that’s not really the important part.”

Somehow, in a very creepy, creepy fashion, the mushy, gushy stuff that I imagined Sirius must have wrote about me to Jason (judging by Jason’s response) actually made me rather happy . . . And it also made me want to kiss him.

So, I did.

So, it led into other things.

Sirius and I were in the middle of said other things when I remembered that Connie was showering just in the next room.

Do you want to know why I remembered?

Because she walked out of the aforementioned room, and into the room that me and Sirius were going at it in.

“Oh, my!”

Me and Sirius both stopped what we were doing, took a moment to disentangle ourselves, and turned to see Connie - all dolled up in make-up and her dress robes - covering her eyes with both her hands. Her mouth betrayed her horrification.

“Uh . . . Whoopsie?” I laughed. I couldn’t help it.

“Well, at least you’ve got a sense of humor about it,” Sirius reasoned, as Connie felt her way to the door, one hand still over her eyes.

As soon as Connie shut the door behind her, Sirius and I burst out laughing.

“Alright, now, help me find my dress robes.”

I hopped out of the bed, smiling widely, because that was the first time Sirius and I had been together since those first three times.

And it was even more fun.

“Aha! Found ‘em!” Sirius had extracted the robes from behind my night table. How they got there, I don’t know.

“All right, now, where did we throw the knickers?”

___

“Jason!”

I had just greeted my parents, and saw Jason walking in through the gates, with a very pretty girl on his arm.

When he saw me running towards him, he dropped the girl’s arm and ran to meet me half-way. “Hey, Munchkin! What’s going on?”

“I’m graduating!”

He released me from the hug and laughed. “Still dumb as ever, I see.”

I nodded in affirmation. “You might want to find the Marauders; they’re sitting next to Mum and Dad.”

“Okay. Oh, Anna, before you go, there’s someone I want you to meet.” He beckoned for the girl to come forward.

She was pretty; she had bright blond hair, reminiscent of Connie’s, and she was rather short, maybe a few centimeters taller than myself. She was definitely one of those people that was shy, though; you could tell just by looking at her. The way her head was tilted downward, and how she kept looking off to the side and leaning towards my brother.

“This is Stella.”

I smiled and put my hand out.  "It's very nice to meet you. I'm Anna.”

I can totally have manners when I want to . . . I just usually choose not to.

“I’m not that scary, and there’s a good chance that any story he’s told you about me . . . Is completely true,” I added.

She laughed. Oh, I am so good at putting people at ease. “Well, if those stories are true, then you get into some pretty wild things.”           

I tilted my head upwards, because that’s where all the memories were. (In my head.) “Yeah.” I smiled. “Yeah. I do.”

I was about to engage in conversation when Minnie’s voice rung throughout the ground, “Seventh years. All Seventh years please come to the stage.”

“That’s me - I’ll talk to you later.”  I skipped happily up to the stage, and took my place at the back of the queue - ‘Xanthis’ was the last surname of this bunch.

Luckily, Darren was standing just ahead of me, and I got to mess around with him while Minnie called everyone up onto the stage to get their diplomas. And an agonizing half hour later, Minnie called out, “Xanthis, Anastasia.”

As I shook Dumbledore’s hand, and took the diploma from Minnie, I said proudly, and quietly, so that just they could hear, “You know, I never was really sure that I was going to pass all my classes . . . You guys are so cool.”

Minnie smiled at me; I’m sure she was proud, as well. “Now, I would like for Miss Xanthis - our Head Girl - to remain on stage, and I would also like for our Head Boy - Seamus O’Hoolihan - to return.”

The crowd of graduated Seventh years shuffled so that Seamus could get back on stage.

“Now,” Minnie continued, “it is customary that our Head Students give a speech at the closing of the ceremony, however, Headmaster Dumbledore would like to say a few words, first.”

Seamus and I stepped to the side and allowed Dumbledore to stand right in the middle of the stage. He cleared his throat. “For many years, a Head Boy or Girl was defined by her grades, or in last year’s case, our Head Boy was defined by our Professors’ dear need to keep a certain group of students out of trouble.”

Dumbledore paused and smiled at the laughing group of boys in the back of the audience. “However, this year, our Head Students were chosen more on the grounds of what it means to be a role model in these horrific times. Bravery, kindness, optimism, and (very) occasionally, humility.”

Haha, yeah. Humility . . . Yeah, right.

“And, on that note, I leave you to be enlightened by what is - I’m sure - a very off-the-cuff speech.”

Everyone clapped for Dumbledore as he stepped back, and Seamus and I as we stepped forward.

“It’s a good thing I like to talk,” I mentioned to Seamus, under my breath.

Laughing at me, he reminded, “Just be sure you don’t talk about yourself the whole time.”

Seamus had prepared a speech; I had desperately begged him to discard it, and join me in speaking what came to my mind at the moment - life was more fun that way. He had finally agreed, just a few moments before the ceremony began.

“I’ll start.” Then, I addressed everyone else. “Hello!”

Very few people seemed quite as enthused about life as I was, at the moment. Jason was laughing at me. Stupid prick.

“Well, er, there’s not really much I can say that can top the speech that the Head Boy and Girl made last year - I mean, they got their entire class up onto the stage with them . . . And, well, I don’t just want to stand up here and talk about how much we’ve changed and all that boring stuff.”

I was rambling. But that was inevitable - I just enjoyed talking so much that I sometimes kept talking even when I had nothing to say. Seamus picked up on it, though, and interjected.

“I think what Anna, here, is trying to get at is that we don’t want to bore you to pieces with some boring speech, so, instead, we’ve prepared a slideshow.”

“We have?” I asked. It was none to my knowledge.

Seamus nodded. “I was encouraged to speak a little bit more off the cuff, and, well, that’s not my style, so instead, I went around the student body and prepared a fun little show for everyone.”

With a swish of his wand, a white backdrop fell over the back of the stage and some fun, up-beat music began to play.

‘Class of 1979’ were the first words on the screen. The next minute or so went through various photographs of everyone over the years.

I wonder who took all of these?


They were quite entertaining, actually, to see lots of people over the years.

Then, the last few minutes of the show were even more entertaining - superlatives.

Seamus interrupted the slideshow. “Now, I would like to remind everyone that most of these are joking - please, no one, especially parents, be offended.”
                               
Among others, some entertaining ones were -

‘Connie Brocklehurst - Most likely to slap a bloke for trying to look up her skirt.’

‘Darren Wood - Most likely to become a professional Playboy.’

‘Stephen Carol - Most likely to become Darren Wood’s biggest fan.’



I looked down into the crowd to see Stephen scowling - trying not to laugh - and Darren practically on the ground with laughter.

‘Bria Grant - Most likely to have a spare tube of lipstick in her bag.’


And, the funny oxymoron, ‘Seamus O’Hoolihan - Most likely to organize a spontaneous event.’

And, of course, I’m sure my mates had a hand in my own. ‘Anna Xanthis - Most likely to be found shagging Sirius Black.’

I’m sure you could imagine the cries of outrage from adults in the audience. A nervous glance at my parents enlightened me on how fearful I should be - Dad was laughing (probably taking it like a joke) and Mum was glaring daggers at Sirius. The Marauders, in the back, were laughing; they found it hilarious.

And Jason. Jason was laughing, as well. I suppose he thought it to be a joke, too. That said, he cast furtive glances towards to his left, where Sirius was sitting, the entire time. He was likely calmed a bit by the fact that the Marauders were laughing - usually a sure sign of a joke.

“Alright, that’s enough ” Minnie rushed over to me and Seamus, but whoever put the show together was smart - my superlative was the last. After mostly calming the crowd and glaring at me and my partner, Minnie sourly ordered us to finish in a conventional manner.

“But I never do things that way, Minnie!" I pointed out as she walked away.

She ignored me . . . It certainly wasn’t the first time.

“Well, the show mostly summarized what all of our seven years have been like - fun, I’m sure you can tell. But my final message to you lot: The past few years have been brewing a war. I’ve tried extremely hard to ignore it, because that’s just what I do. But it has escalated to a point at which I can no longer do that, and have been sucked into it. That’s inevitable for everyone. However, it’s important to make the best of it.”

Sometimes, in addition to rambling, I could speak fluidly. It usually happened when I really had no idea what I was saying, and everything just came to me and made perfect sense only the second before I said it.

“Just because there are bad things going on in the world, doesn’t mean there aren’t good things going on in our lives. People sometimes fail to realize that - too much work is just as bad as too much play, if not worse. Some people tell me I’m immature, that I’m ignorant, that I’m naive, that I’m apathetic . . . And they’re right. My biggest wish is that we can end this conflict with smiles on our faces. So don’t take opportunities of fun for granted - appreciate them as much as you do a saved life, because that life you’re saving, might just be yours.”

And my river of knowledge stopped flowing, so I shut up.

Seamus was looking at me oddly. Perhaps I was a bit too insightful for myself.

The audience was quiet, perhaps waiting for a continuum, but neither Seamus nor I spoke again, so they began to applaud. When it died down, I decided to make an example. I winked at Stephen and Darren. Then, I yelled loudly, “Case-and-point!”

Taking off from the farthest end of the stage, and ran and ran at the other end, where my classmates were crowded. With a leap from the stage, I dove right into the mass of people, into Stephen and Darren’s awaiting arms.

“Come on!" I yelled at Seamus. He looked nervously at Minnie and Dumbledore, who simply shrugged, before crying out in joy and jumping into a patch of miscellaneous arms next to me.

“Go ahead! Everyone try it!” I yelled excitedly, pulling a leaf out of James’ book.

Not everyone ran up onto the stage, but a fair number of people did, running around confusedly for a bit, and then jumping off in the same manner that Seamus and I had.

“Man, I really know how to start a good time,” I remarked to him.

“I do have to give you that.”

We were all in the middle of the fun festivities when a high-pitched, enraged scream came from somewhere in the midst of the staff.       

Twitchy came barreling out with her wand raised, stilling screaming incomprehensible things.

Before anyone knew what was going on, all of the participating students were frozen, some floating in the air.

Oh, it is
so time for an arse-kicking.

“Professor Tsacria!” This time, the enraged-sounding one was Minnie. She marched across the stage and whipped Twitchy’s wand right out of her hands. “I warned you once, not to use potentially dangerous magic on the students. Perhaps you have no intentions to hurt these students, but that does not negate out the fact that it is not allowed. And that is not even taking into account the fact that you are on probation, and not permitted to punish students in any form.”

She left Twitchy stuttering and spluttering. During that minute pause, she looked back to Dumbledore, who gave a short, curt nod. “Professor Tsacria, you are fired! Please, go collect your belongings. If you wish, we can have someone help you pack and escort you off the grounds.”

The entire student body (including the Marauders, and students of other ages who were in the audience, watching) broke out into wild cheers and applause.

Twitchy, clearly angered and embarrassed, fled the stage and up to the castle.

The wild cheering continued even minutes later. When it finally began to die down, I ran back up onto the stage and argued with McGonagall for a few moments about something.

In all honesty, it didn’t take very long to convince her. “Oh, all right . . . Cowabunga!”

Everyone - staff, parents, students, others - watched in amazement as Minerva McGonagall stage dove into a crowd of her students.

Clearing my throat, I brought the audience’s attention back to me. “And that is how you go out in style.”

___       

“Anna!”

It was about a half hour after the festivities ended. I had already greeted my parents, and gotten lectured by my mother for shagging Sirius. I neither fessed up, nor denied it. Usually, when I denied things, that was about the time when the shit hit the fan, and my lies were exposed. So, I saved lying for the important things.

But, the conversation (more like me severely berating him and whacking him over the head for encouraging Seamus to put that last slide up) I was having with Sirius was cut short when Bria approached me.

“Listen, I’m sorry for being pissy with you earlier, when you hand-cuffed yourself to the bed.”


I tried extremely hard not to laugh. Bria was obviously going to be the bigger person and apologize for real, so the least I could do was try not to laugh. Try really, really hard.

“Nah, it’s alright - I come to expect sensibility from you.” And it was true - I had already admitted that maybe handcuffing myself to the bed wasn’t the smartest idea; Bria was only pointing it out before I could figure it out.

However, I was confused. “Is that all?”

She shook her head. “No. Er, I know you probably won’t care at all, but I wanted to tell you that I’m moving to America . . . With Greg.”

Awww, I kind of want to smile right now.

“No . . . I do care, and, Bria, I am really happy for you. And I’m not just saying that. Considering that that whole ‘boy thing’ has been a source of you hating me, it’s good to see that I haven’t completed ruined that gender for you.”

She laughed, and put her hand out for me to shake.

I rejected the hand and pulled her into a hug, instead. Forgive and forget - that was my motto . . . Of course, that excluded that time in Fifth year when I didn’t talk to Sirius for three months. But, other than that, I just didn’t see the point in wasted energy in hating. “Keep in touch. And look me up when you come back to visit.”

She smiled and nodded. “Alright, I will.” And with a wave, she was off.

Almost immediately after Bria walked away, Connie approached me. “Did you hear about Bria and Greg?” I asked immediately.

She smiled and nodded excitedly. “It’s absolutely wonderful.”

“That it is,” I agreed. “That it is. So, I suppose I’ll be seeing more of you lately, now that you and Darren are definitely together?”

Connie responded with a tentative shrug and a nervous half-smile. Awww, she’s still shy about it.


“I suppose so.”

“You know,” I began, “You should come visit us for a few days over the summer. We’ll be partying it up at our friend Damon’s place and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you came . . . Just write us in a couple of weeks.”

Connie nodded and tossed her blond hair back. “You know what . . . I think I will.”

Behind me, I heard Sirius yelling, reminding me that my trunk lay unpacked, and that the Hogwarts Express was taking off in a mere hour - that hour included the twenty minutes or so that it took to get down there. “I’ve got to go,” I told Connie. As I began backing up, I pointed at her and demanded, “Peace.”

___

“Oh, this is so exciting.”

All four Marauders had joined me on the Hogwarts Express home. It was a pleasant surprise I hadn’t been expecting.

A bit more unpleasant was the seven people we had squeezed into a six-person compartment, one of whom took up enough space for two people. (Sirius, of course.)

But, Darren was in and out, leaving every hour-or-so to visit Connie.

Every time he bounded back into our compartment, I had to laugh. Two years ago, he surely would have spent every waking moment with his girlfriend. Not chatting away, but shagging away in some deserted compartment in the back of the train.

Oh, Darren, how far you have come.

And, for a few hours, everything felt back to normal. I had the Marauders, Stephen, and Darren by my side. I felt as if I’d get to come back to Hogwarts for another term in the fall. I’d almost managed to convince myself that I was when the train began to slow down, and I remembered that next fall, I would be working . . . Somewhere, I didn’t know. Perhaps I’d be in the Order with the Marauders. Perhaps I’d go help out in one of the shops in Diagon Alley. Perhaps, I’d take a boring, nine-to-five desk job . . . Yeah, right.

After a quick stop home to burn all my old school stuff and change my winter clothes for my summer clothes, we were on the way to Damon’s.

Apparently, the method of travel was unfortunate for James (who was inexplicably afraid of airplanes.)

Just as we were about to step out of my house and Apparate to Damon’s place, we got a letter.

Dear Anna and James and Sirius and Peter and Remus and Darren and various other friends that you’re bringing with you,

I’m sure you were just about to Apparate to my place . . . I’m sure of this because I know that none of you are smart enough to realize that you can’t do that, mainly because you don’t know where it is.



That’s when we all grumbled and shuffled in place - Damon was right. None of us had remembered.

Enclosed in this envelope are plane tickets; six for all of you, and two extra, for anyone you happen to be bringing along.       

Your plane leaves at eight in the evening; please, don’t be late. This means you, Anna.

Get going, now,
Damon



“Of course, he attacks me,” I remarked.

But no one heard me, they were all too busy fawning over the hyperventilating James.

“Oh, suck it up,” I said. “Come on, we’ve got a plane to catch.”

So, Darren, Stephen, Peter, and I walked along. Behind us, Sirius and Remus dragged a screaming and crying James.

Yup . . . This is just how things should be.

___

“No! You can’t make me! Don’t touch me!” James screamed, sounding more like a stubborn, bratty five-year-old girl than an almost-twenty-year-old.

What a dumbarse
, I marvelled.

“James, get on the plane,” Remus urged him.

“No!” At that point, he was attracting strange glances from the Muggles around him that boarded the plane with no apprehension.

“Yes.”

“No!”

“Yes!"

“No!”

“No!”

“Yes!”

“Aha!”

James, realizing that Remus tricked him, immediately shut up.

While trying to drag James onto the plane, we were confronted by one of those big, hulky, muggle security guards. “Is there a problem here?”

Remus, always thinking quickly, brought out his wand. He most likely Confunded the guard, because after his nonchalant answer of, “No, sir.” The guard simply walked away with a loopy look on his face.

James, at least, after being in the presence of those admittedly intimidating guys, agreed to be dragged along to his seat.           

We were flying First Class, compliments of Damon, in nice, cushy seats. And they gave you fancy things like champagne and food that didn’t taste like crap. Granted, it was nothing on Hogwarts, but it was edible enough.

James, the poor bloke, couldn’t even enjoy any of those wonderful things; he was too busy breathing into a brown paper bag and trying to use three different seat belts to buckle himself in.

But, too his amazement and wonder, we all made it out alive, and arrived in main area of the airport to see a man dressed in a fancy black suit, carrying a card that said, ‘Potter and Co.’

We assumed that meant us, and the man did not look surprised at all to see several rowdy, hyper teenagers come up to him. Curiously, we followed the man outside to see a big, black, stretchy car. A ‘limo’ I believe it was called.

We all piled into the limo, except James, who once again needed to be dragged. He kept shooting apprehensive glances at the driver. But, even James couldn’t deny that the limo was quite nice. Large stretch couches, and a bar stocked with drinks.

Ah, yes, this is the life.

It was possibly an hour before the car stopped. It was long dark by that time, and we couldn’t see a thing. But, when we piled out, we were greeted with bright torches and a giant bonfire on the beach, which was a mere few hundred meters from where the limo had stopped.

Directly in front of us was a nice-sized beach house. Light blue walls, with dark blue shutters and a matching roof. (That was, apparently, flat enough to party on, as there were quite a few people on top of it.)

“Welcome to Greece!”



A/N: Well, you all can thank Tara.Seanan (my incredifantabulous beta) for what you’re about to receive . . . FUN FACTS  (Many of which she came up with.) :D

Sirius: Wore a pink tutu and sang the American National anthem before a Quidditch game on a dare in his Second year.

Remus: Has still been hooking up with Dora, every time he visits Hogwarts.

Stephen: In his boredom, invented what a Muggle might call a Walkman.    

Anna: Wanted to die her hair blue - until she realized that it was the color of the Ravenclaw house, at which point in time it became her least-favorite color.

Darren: His favorite type of girl is one who hasn’t really done much . . . So long as he can make it so that she does.

(Disclaimer: Stephen did not actually invent the Walkman - it was invented by Sony.)


A/N2: Well, as much as I wanted to wait a day or two more to post this chapter, my timeline is telling me that I've got to speed things up a bit  . . . By June 30th, I've got to have the final chapter of this posted, and that means speeding up updates a bit, so you all in luck. :D

A/N3:  Oh, and, Caity Evans, if you're reading this, I'm almost finished up your chapter. :D



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