Chapter 6 : Owls and Candy
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Eugh. Did I ever mention anything about my very extensive imaginary list of people I hate? I added Audrey Williams and Evan Rosier, along with Professor Flitwick in big, fat letters, to that list the moment that stupid group of mine dumped the water on me. I was just starting to get dry, too.
I have a bloody fever since those cretins couldn’t even dry a saltine in a desert to save their lives, let alone me. My throat feels like someone took a brush of nails down to it like a pipe cleaner and I think I could fry an egg on my forehead. I refuse to go to the Hospital Wing, because the last time I was there I knocked down a whole shelf of potions when tending to Regulus, burning a large hole into whatever the mixed potions splattered on. Madame Pomfrey was livid.
The remaining hours of yesterday were absolutely horrid. Not only did my shoes squelch with every single step I took, and despite the fact that my hair was undeniably nappy and disgusting from the inability to brush it after many hours of dampness, the continuous flow of pranks just kept coming at an unnaturally smooth rate. It is beyond me as to how they figure out how to do all of this—it's like they have these dopplegangers to dart back and forth in between classes just to torment me. A whoopee cushion here. An exploding ink bottle there. Salt in my pumpkin juice. A sticking charm on my quill. My books catching fire. Spiders in my bag. As the day progressed, the worse the pranks got. I nearly fell down the stairs to my demise, all the while tripping on Mrs. Norris after having a torch explode next to me after passing by. The bloody cat wouldn’t get out of the way.
I sit down in the Great Hall to have some breakfast, seeing that on Tuesdays classes start a little later than usual for me. Still no reply from Gran, at least not yet. Normally it takes Gran more than a full twenty-four hours to write back, so I'm not too worried, at least, not yet. Her owl is fairly old, too, so it automatically takes it more than two hours to get here. The fat little bugger.
As I nibble on a piece of buttered toast, I hear the painfully recognizable, loud and obnoxious voice of Benjamin Avery talking passionately about two feet away with his usual posse of Voldemort fan boys, all of them hovering closely over today’s Prophet.
“Says here that the Dark Lord is building an army against the Ministry but they can't convict anyone against it,” Ben whispers excitedly, “Father says he’s joining, and that in no time I should join too.”
“I’d do anything for the Dark Lord,” another practically coos, “Everyone was afraid to do it, but it’s about time one of us purebloods….”
I try to tone out their stupid, overly-excited banter by chewing on bits of bacon as loudly as possible. Honestly. They all sound like a bunch of girls. Stupid, obnoxious, prepubescent girls.
“Oi, Parker,” barks Benjamin, “Pass us some toast, would you?”
I sigh and nearly throw the entire toast rack at him. I hate, hate, hate, Benjamin Avery. All 6'3” of him and his terrible Adam's apple that wiggles every time he says a vowel. Even the way he talks—it's as if he thinks everyone will listen to anything he says. The pompous little bastard.
I absolutely hate—no, abhor—Benjamin Avery with every fibre of my being.
Why, do you ask?
I’m not even going to say. It’s too stupid to even utter the reason. I think I just lost a bit of my IQ by thinking of him.
“Fanks,” he says with a mouth full of eggs.
“Don’t mention it,” I hiss. “Really.”
“By the bye, are you coming to the student rally next weekend?” he asks me after taking a swig of pumpkin juice.
Is he talking to me? He seriously has the nerve to talk to me?
“Never heard of it.” I grab a page of the Prophet left by a student early this morning to seem occupied.
“Never heard of it?” he asks in disbelief, “It's, you know, the”—he lowers his voice—“the thing.”
I don’t reply, but instead I scan a small article about a woman by the name of Margaret Pire who’s been missing for sixteen some years after being caught for scamming people for millions of galleons. There's a fairly dated picture of her. She has brown, wavy hair and a pleasant smile along with a nose that's seemingly small for her round face. Apparently she’s on the loose again. What’s with these crazy people these days? Although, I shouldn't be one to talk....
I roll my eyes, since he doesn’t seem to want to go away. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
He almost looks hurt. “You mean nobody told you?”
“Yes, nobody told me,” I snap. Way to rub it in.
Ben rummages through his bag and pulls out a emerald green piece of paper that's folded neatly into thirds. “Here,” he mutters, slipping it into my hands furtively underneath the table. “Make sure you only open it when you're in the common room. If you want to....”
I drown out his deep, guttural voice unintentionally, as I have many times before. I'm rather in awe that I got invited—albeit by Benjamin Avery, that's still a tremendous surprise. However, I'm not quite sure if I should be happy or not. I wonder if I finished that Transfiguration report....
“...And we Slytherins need to stick together, don't we?” he finishes proudly with a smirk.
“Right,” I drone, half consciously, “Erm... thanks.”
He goes away back to his little posse. Thank Merlin. I shake my head to rid myself of the trance and examine the small piece of paper underneath the table.
What's all this secrecy about? They're not planning a revolt, are they? Talk about radical.
I return to my breakfast, and can't help but overhear the whispers of Ben's cohorts.
“Why did you give her one?” hisses Rosier. Hate.
“Why not?” asks Ben. “She's a Slytherin, isn't she?” More hate.
The soporific voice of Severus Snape enters the conversation. “She could be a blood traitor for all we know. We never invite her to any of the rallies.” Greasy misfit.
A few others agree with Snape's statement.
I snort. It's like they think I can't hear them.
So along with the many parties that occur within Slytherin, I've never been invited to any of these rallies, then? I must say that I feel extremely left out, no matter how bad the things they're leaving me out of must be. I'll show them. I'll go to these idiotic rallies. I'll—
But then again, what does blood mean to me? I don't know what I am, and I'm sure there are a few half bloods in Slytherin, most of them in denial that they are such. Who knows, I could be the only muggleborn in Slytherin. But that doesn't make much sense, seeing that I was left in an orphanage in Hogsmeade. There's no way that I could be muggleborn. If I do happen to be pureblood, why would my parents abandon me like that? They would want as many little pureblood grand babies spawned by as many children as they can manage running around in their manor or something, right? The possibilities are endless. There's one reason why I pledged to never date a pureblood because for all I know he could be my cousin, or worse, my brother. A chill runs up my spine.
I don't even know what this “rally” is even about. No doubt it has something to do with Voldy-what's-his-face. I don't have much of my own opinion in the matter, but Gran says that “blood is blood no matter how magical it is” so I'm obliged to believe her. Gran herself is a half-blood, with two half-blood parents. She went to Hufflepuff ages ago, and never puts the fact that I'm in Slytherin against me. Those Hufflepuffs always have to be nice, don't they?
I hear booming laughter echo across the Great Hall, and there's only a few people who can laugh like that.
I reluctantly look at the direction where the laughter's coming from. James Potter is standing on the Gryffindor table with plates and bowls all disheveled around him, his arms wide open towards the ceiling.
“Lily Evans!” He says flamboyantly, “I LOVE YOU!” He spins around happily, which makes even more food fly off the surface.
“Potter,” I hear Lily hiss, “Get down this instant!”
Now it seems as if the whole school is turned towards the Gryffindor table. A murmur of displeasure hums throughout mine.
“That Potter,” sneers Snape from next to me to the rest of his friends, “Thinks he owns the place, doesn't he? The blood traitor.”
“Always trailing behind that mudblood like a puppy dog,” one hisses.
“And that Sirius Black,” another jeers, “Besmirching the noble Black name. The most glorified pureblood family under the Slytherins, and you'd expect him to be loyal to his own kind.” I see them all glaring towards one of the walls, where Sirius stands perpendicularly towards our table, looking nonchalant and at ease.
My eyes narrow. What's he up to? I swear I can hear him whistling.
Before I know it, the group beside me all get up and leave, most likely to go to class and on their way torment a few first years from Hufflepuff or maybe Ravenclaw. I frown at their formation passing by that just radiates evil and begin to collect my things. Making my way towards the door, I ignore the usual stares I get from various people along with the idiocy going on at the Gryffindor table. Sometimes, people are just—
Something fairly large hits the back of my head, making me stumble across the floor a few feet. I whip around quickly to find Gerald, the extremely corpulent and ancient owl of Gran laying on the floor, not moving, with a frozen look on his face. His eyes are wide open, his beak slightly agape.
...Is he dead?
Oh, gawds I hope not. Not Gerald! As much as I hate the thing, Gran would be devastated.
But he's fine. He rolls over clumsily and starts pecking at the crumbs on the floor. The bloody git.
My shoulders fall and I let out a sigh. I look up at the sea of faces that are staring at me like I have giant spider on my head. I smile uneasily, letting an uncomfortable chuckle escape from my mouth. The entire place is silent.
That stupid owl. Always making a fool out of me. It'd been better if he did die.
I reach down angrily to strangle the damn bird, and—
Where'd he go.
Oh, shit—where is he?
I look around fervently, up at the ceiling, around the tables—
I get on my knees and look under the table.
The stupid, fat bird is stuck underneath one of the benches.
“Gerry!” I hiss, looking around, hoping that no one's staring, “What the fuck are you doing?!”
His head is stretched uncomfortably trying to reach a fairly large crumb from a blueberry muffin that is merely inches away from his face. His beak snaps incessantly and he wiggles his little tongue as if it would make him go any farther, but to no avail, he's extremely and absolutely stuck.
“Screak! Screak! Screeeeeaaahhhcckkk!”
“I know, you want that crumb,” I cry, “But why didn't you just say you were hungry? I could've given you something. Has Gran forgotten to feed you?”
“Eaaack,” he caws pitifully.
Since when did I speak screech owl?
“Miss Parker,” I hear a firm voice spit from behind me.
Oh, great. It's McGonagall.
“What is this rumpus?”
Shut up, shut up, shut up.
“Miss Parker!” McGonagall yells over Gerald's cries. I grab his body and begin to pull, all the while attempting not to hurt him as much as I can. “Silence your—”
“SCRAWK! SCREEACK! SCREEK!”
He's stuck. The stupid fuckwit is fucking underneath the fucking bench. There is no fucking way to get him the fuck out except for—
The bench goes up in smoke, and I jump off to what it seems like five feet away. The whole room is silent, with the sound of Gerald's cries still echoing in my head. I look up at McGonagall. She's seething. I get up from the floor and rush towards the exploded bench. Feathers are just beginning to float back down.
I stare. Nobody says a word.
“Professor!” I cry, bending down to the floor. “You killed Gerald!” I point a shaky hand at the motionless corpse underneath the table.
I hear benches echo across the Great Hall as they scrape aside while all the students try to get a good look. A few people gasp, and fervent whispers begin to spread.
McGonagall has calmed down a little now. A few strands of hair have fallen out of her tight bun, and she is still clutching her wand tightly in her hand.
“No,” she snaps quickly, looking distant, “I only stunned him.”
I look at the faces around me, most of them bug eyed with jaws dropped, or mouths formed in perfect o's. Now that I think of it, I, along with the rest of the student body, I'm sure, have never seen McGonagall snap like that. In my six years of being here, I've seen her on the brink, but she never, and I repeat, never, has ever broken like that before. Everyone's is more surprised at McGonagall's behavior than the fact that an owl almost nearly got blown up.
“P-Professor?” I ask warily. I reach out a hand to her shoulder.
“Stay. Away. Do not. Touch.”
I step back, giving her at least three feet of clearance. Nobody says anything.
After a few seconds, she finally speaks. “Miss Parker,” she hisses through her teeth.
“No excuses!” She roars. “Detention!”
“I've had quite enough of you, young lady. Do not question my authority.” McGonagall sighs and pins back her bun neatly and adjusts her crooked half-moon spectacles on her nose. She wipes off her robes and sticks her wand back into her pocket, then looks up at everyone in a scowl.
“What are you all gawking at?” She yells at everyone. “Go to class! The lot of you!”
Benches shuffle, the last pieces of breakfast are eaten, and everyone begins to clear the room. I gather my things and take the unconscious Gerald in my hands, hastily running from the fiery glare being burnt on my back from McGonagall.
I've done it yet again.
What a delightful way to start out a morning. Holding Gerald underneath my arm almost like a quaffle, I grudgingly trudge my way towards the Hospital Wing. Great. The one place I've been trying to avoid these past few days. On my way out of the Great Hall, Professor McGonagall made me take Gerald to this cursed place, which doesn't make any sense whatsoever. She was the one who stunned Gerald. She was the one who made the ruckus worse. So naturally, she should be the one taking Gerald to the sodding Hospital Wing. To top that all off, I have a detention this Friday, which happens to be the worst day to have a detention. The bloody trollop.
I quietly snake my way into the door. Maybe if I just lay him here, Madame Pomfrey will just fix him back up and I won't have to see her at all. Just very quietly, I'll tiptoe into here, lay him on a cot and—
“Miss Parker,” Madame Pomfrey drawls from behind me. “Come to burn a hole in my floor again, or was last time sufficient enough?”
I turn gingerly with a pleasant smile plastered on my face. “Madame Pomfrey,” I greet happily, “Just a little, erm, accident happened here.” I hold up the limp body of Gerald, whose breathing is steady, but is lacking half of his feathers.
“Yes, I know,” she says gravely, shaking her head, taking gently Gerald from my hands, “Go on ahead; I'm sure he'll be fine. Don't forget your letter.”
“Oh, er, yes—thank you,” I stammer awkwardly, tying off the hot pink envelope from Gerald's leg. I'd almost forgotten about the letter.
I make my way out of the wing and pick off the seal on the little envelope. I take out the neatly folded floral stationary and begin to read the very familiar curly and fluid handwriting that only belongs to Gran. I hold my breath.
My Dear Ivy,
I am sincerely apologetic in not being able to reply to your letter, for I have been sick for quite some time and have unfortunately misplaced your first letter. It is nothing serious, just a small cold that has kept me bedridden for a few days or so. Mr. Finn, who has luckily been feeling better, is taking care of the shop without needing me and has given me time to recuperate. My memory has not been very well lately, and I had soon forgotten to write back. If I have worried you, I am very sorry. I am sure that all is well and that you are enjoying your time in that beloved school. When shall you visit? For I am eager to see your face again.
Sales have been so much better lately that Mr. Finn has bought the store a new owl. I am sorry to say that Gerald can no longer be in use for me and I cannot support two owls at a time, but I am more than happy to give old Gerald to you as an early birthday gift, for Mr. Finn would be very disappointed if I give away his kind present so soon. Although very troublesome, Gerald is a very loyal and loving owl. Use him well. Take care of yourself.
P.s. Gerry needs to be fed at least two times a day with a few snacks here and there. Cage and amenities will be sent soon enough.
Oh, bless her heart. She's alright, thank Merlin, and the shop's doing well, so that's automatically good, but...
I grimace. Gerald. I get to keep Gerald? No, I have to keep Gerald. I absolutely have no choice in the matter. And where will I get the money to buy food? And the time to take care of the fat thing? I can't give him human food, can I?
What if I set him free?
Well, no doubt he would fly right back from being too hungry....
Oh, gawds. I am in a fairly sticky wicket.
...Sticky wicket? Since when have I said that?
I sigh, partly from exhaustion and partly from relief. So Gran is going to be okay, then. Our first trip to Hogsmeade isn't until next week, but I think I can cope until then to make sure she's alright. I smile from what it seems the first time this entire year, and with a skip in my step I make my way through the corridor. You know, I feel good. Actually, I feel really great. I think my fever has gone down, and the world just seems a little... brighter.
I begin turn the corner, and right there, though I should have expected it, Sirius Black is face to face with me. Again. My stomach feels like it has fallen out of my body, and suddenly my head is spinning. The world has just gotten darker. A lot darker. His lips begin to curl up into a smirk, and there's a particular glint in his extremely (attractive) eyes that tells me to be afraid. Very afraid. That something is wrong and I should run far, far away. A chill runs up my spine.
I open my mouth to say something, but instead, Sirius pops something small into my mouth. It's candy... cherry flavored. I really do love candy, but why—
“So Ivy, tell me something,” he asks with a mischievous smile, “What do you think of me?”
I raise an eyebrow. “You're so extremely deliciously attractive that sometimes I just want to punch myself in the face or maybe throw myself spontaneously all over you, even though you scare the hair off my chest. Not that I have chest hairs, or anything. And not that I have much of a chest to begin with.... Hah. That'd be something I'd tell you if I were extremely brave or maybe stupid. But, no. I'm a cowardly, sensible young lady that's slightly in love with your bro—” I slap my hand over my mouth. Did I just say that? Did I seriously just say that?! What — how — why? My eyes widen as the smile on Sirius' face gets higher and higher. My throat suddenly feels dry and my head feels like a whirlwind has passed through it.
“What did you do to me?”
A/N: Ahh! Slight cliffhanger! Sorry if you had to wait for too long! I've been quite busy within the past three weeks. :c Anywayss, hope you like it better than I do (which isn't saying much). New characters into the story, hopefully you will see more of them to come ohoho.
Thanks you all so much for all of your faves and reviews! You all have been wayyy to kind to me. I seriously didn't expect it to be this popular. Leave a review! If you have any questions, go ahead to my Ask the Author thread.
Chapter in memoriam to my bird, who... incidentally... I may have acidentally let him fly out the door. :c Thanks to the forgotten muse for being awesome, beta-ing, etc. Check out her stories! Toodles.
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