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Chapter 10 : Enter 101
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well then...blame Chemistry! (read: sorry for being slow)
Hope you enjoy it!
I had jumped.
I can't believe I actually jumped. The only good thing, I suppose, is that Sirius caught me and I didn't land face first. That's right, he caught me. Snatched me from the air, with unnatural reflexes and apparent strength. He put me down without a word, and took out his wand, first pointing it at the trapdoor and closing off the room completely, leaving us in darkness. Then he whispered, "Lumos."
The light from the wand shone brightly around the small enclosement. I cringed, expecting to see that three headed dog. Or something. But all I saw was four walls, very roughly put together from some wood, just barely holding back the dirt from cascading and burying us alive. Ah well. Buried alive, big deal. Just another way to die at this point.
Sirius had already lit the torch hanging off said unstable wall, and had situated himself on the couch. I stared at him. He seemed to be too busy looking at the floor (aka an old rug covering more dirt) to notice.
I stared some more. He seemed to have got fed up with the lack of interesting things on the floor and looked at the wall, carefully examining each crack in the wood.
"Black," I started.
My voice echoed around the room. I'm pretty sure it sent a few more dirt clumps falling to the floor. Sirius didn't seem to notice as he was now inspecting the ceiling.
"Black, now that we are safely out of reach of the mob of Slytherins trying to kill us, would you care to explain to me what the hell is going on?!"
He still stared everywhere but at me. This was getting out of hand. And I was starting to get more and more apprehensive about our fates. Whatever he did had to have been really bad, if he, boaster extraordinaire, had trouble admitting tp it.
Patience not being one of my many unique virtues, I strode up to him, and grabbed his face, forcefully turning it towards me. Staring at him straight in the eyes, I said, "What did you do?"
Sirius seemed stunned at my bold gestures, but quickly shook out of it and my grip. He didn't look away this time, though. "I might have pulled a little prank on them."
Surprising? No, not really.
"And said prank wouldn't have anything to do with the revenge prank I expressedly said I want nothing to do with?"
"And what did it involve?" I asked, feeling my eyes narrowing.
"Er...stuff." He was very good at pulling off the shifty-eyed 'I-swear-I-didn't-do-it' look.
"Sirius! I deserve to know! You keep getting me into a worse and worse mess! I deserve to know!"
"Alright! Fine, just shut up or they'll find us," he exclaimed, waving his arms about frantically. He took a breath and looked down at the floor again, before starting to mumble something incomprehensible. "I may have...outside…lured them there…left them…in underpants..."
"Outside lured underpants," I repeated the three words I actually caught onto. "Shit, man, don't guys know how to use proper sentences?! Ones that actually explain things?!"
He looked slightly frightened, which amused me for all of two seconds, before I got back to being angry again. He seemed to have gotten the message finally. Thankfully.
"Well, I may have...you know, led them to believe...that you...well, it was me really, but you, technically..."
Maybe I had spoken too soon. More yelling then? Yes? "SIRIUS!"
"I drank some polyjuicepotionandbecameyouandledthemoutside, by which time Iturnedback tomeagainandtheyrealizeditwasallaprank, but by then I was inside the castle, andtheywere leftstandinginthecourtyardinnothingbutsaidunderpants."
"Um...what?" was all I could manage to say. Honestly, first he barely says anything understandable, and then he says it all so fast it's no better.
Sirius sighed and ran a hand through his hair, carefully avoiding my gaze, but didn't need to be told twice before explaining once again. "I stole some of your hair and chucked it into polyjuice potion, and led the Slytherin boys outside...at which time my time was up, and I was me again...I did some fancy magic and then bolted. Overall result—Slytherins stuck outside in their underpants."
Apparently, saying it slower and in fuller sentences was not helping my brain comprehend it at all. I stood there, motionless, staring at him, trying to take it all in. And then in one shot, it hit me, and I felt my previously narrowed eyes widen in shock. How could he do something like that?!
"You stole my hair?! Turned into me?! LED SLYTHERINS OUTSIDE UNDER FALSE PRETENSES?!!?!"
He must have known I was about to blow up at him, because before I was able to go into bold, he was already by my side trying to shut me up—physically and quite literally. I struggled against the hand he was trying to clamp over my mouth, but damn! He was strong.
"SHUT UP! Or they'll find us!"
"Good! Let them! Then you can explain to them that I had nothing to do with it and they can just go about killing you and leaving me alone to face all the other miseries and tragedies sure to befall me! Why did you have to include me at all?!"
"Well it's not as if I could have lured them outside! It's not my fault you're hot and half the male population of Hogwarts secretly admires you from a safe distance!"
I was stopped short once again. There were just too many thoughts and emotions trying to surface all at once, and it felt like they were wrestling with each other, each trying to win and get expressed. All (and I do mean all) the stupid voices in my head were not shutting up either. Little Voice #5 was still trying to yell something about all of this being my fault, though at this point Little Voice #2 had already blacked both of his eyes and stuffed him into a cage…and was in the process of sound proofing said cage. Ego (who had long ago shed his numerical assignment in a fit of vanity) seemed caught up with the fact that he had called me hot. #20 was up in arms and demanding to know just what he had meant by admiration from a safe distance, while #5's cousin #7 was scathingly pointing out that things did seem to randomly combust in my presence. 33 and 34 were grappling in the octagon for no apparent reason (although one of them was yelling something about slighted virtue), while #66 took the mass mayhem as an opportunity to finally start scheming out Sirius' murder. And to make it all worse, a very groggy Conscience (aka Little Voice #99) finally showed up and started to demand order, since Morality, Sense and Logic—the ones who usually ran the show—were nowhere in sight. As Conscience started to give out commands, the already sorted out 39 (who had previously been attempting to set fire to the archives) was disdainfully muttering something about a dictatorship and how Conscience ought to watch out; and remember that last time all hell broke loose and Sanity tried to get things back to normal, he was viciously mutinied upon and overthrown.
Where was Sanity anyways?
Overall result...me standing dumbstruck, eyes firmly closed, and hands woven deep into my hair (a few of the voices, I couldn't be sure which, had been hastily assigned to making sure I didn't pull my hair out). I was finally able to form a comprehensible sentence eventually, by which time Sirius had already removed his hand from my mouth and was standing a few feet away from me again.
"What...exactly...did you do?"
He really looked like he didn't want to answer that question, and I wasn't very excited to hear the answer. "Just pulled your skirt up a bit...and you know, said a few things, winked at them…stuff like that."
Oh, Morality (#1) showed up; 'bout bloody time. "Black...I swear..."
"On the bright side, they know it was a prank so they know you didn't mean any of it."
"I didn't mean any of it?! ARGH!"
Before I knew it, I tackled him. I don't know why I did, but I did. Well, actually it was probably because both Sense and Logic were still missing in the chaos that was my mind. I tackled him, and tried to punch him. Actually tried to punch him, not like last time. Unfortunately for me, he seemed more experienced in grappling and wrestling and fighting in general, so as soon as the initial shock subsided (probably about 5 seconds after we fell to the floor), I was pinned to the ground, face first, with my arms behind my back. "GET OFF ME!"
"Thorse, do not make me silence you," he hissed.
I scoffed. "What, are you going to kill me?"
"If you don't shut up, then yes!"
Too bad for him I knew it was an empty threat. "BLACK! I swear—"
But before I had anymore time to continue my oath to murder him, I was stopped by a thundering sound from up above. It sent the dirt clods falling to the floor, and the whole room seemed to be shaking. The thundering got louder, and with it, voices. Those voices. The ones which were trying to hunt us down and kill us.
"They're here somewhere! Keep looking!"
"Don't…say…a word…" Sirius whispered into my ear. Ha. As if I needed to be told something like that (#4, more commonly known as Sense, finally showed up, though looking decidedly worse for wear (something about being locked in a cellar by #66)). And Sense told me that I really didn't want to be murdered by Slytherins. Not tonight.
The footsteps above us slowed down, but didn't go away. They were walking directly above us. Most likely looking for a random trapdoor that would lead them to a hidden, sketchy and shoddy room held up with pieces of 2x4s.
I don't know how much time passed, but I was still pinned to the ground and Sirius was still sitting on top of my back. But we didn't move, didn't even make a sound. And finally, after intense minutes of silence and suspense, we heard Ian Stulit announce, "They're not here. Let's keep going."
The footsteps started to shuffle up above us, and finally thunder away in the opposite direction. We were left alone again. Just in case though, we waited a few more moments before we recommenced our yelling. Well, my yelling.
"Get off ME!" I yelled, though still in hushed tones. I blamed Sense for the obvious lack in volume.
Sirius let go and stood up after a moment, looking rather disoriented, as if wondering how I had managed to end up pinned under him.
"We better wait it out for a bit longer," Sirius said. "Maybe just a few minutes. It'll be past curfew soon anyways…"
"Great, now we're out past curfew too. If we get caught, Black…"
"We won't. Have you no faith in me?"
Sure, he might have thought I was just playing along and saying it to annoy him. But really, it was the truth. Although, I wasn't sure why I was slightly upset to hear that particular truth. It's as if something inside me did want to trust him. Which was complete rubbish considering trusting Sirius had gotten me absolutely nowhere. Hence, I did not want to trust Sirius anymore. And that was tha—
Yeah, you do want to trust him.
What? What?! Who just said that? All the voices in my head just stopped whatever they were doing, and stared. Alright you little buggers, who said that?!
It wasn't often that I talked back to the Voices, and they knew it too. For a second I thought I imagined the small but confident voice that had interrupted my train of thought, but then it spoke again.
It was me.
You can call me 101.
I Blinked. 101? I thought there were only 100 of them. What is this, some satirical, psychotic version of 101 Dalmatians? Wasn't 100 Little Voices enough?! You're new?
Ah…don't pay any attention to 101. I recognized that voice. That was Hate. He's just visiting…
Yeah, but I'll be back…
And just like that…101 was gone. And suddenly, I didn't feel upset to hear that I didn't trust Sirius, and just went back to feeling angry at him again, as the chaos in my mind resumed, as if nothing had ever happened.
Except something had happened. Something really big, and bad and unforgivable…I used underlining! In an unspoken conversation. An unspoken conversation with the voices in my head! Bloody hell. I really was going to end up at St. Mungo's, wasn't I? Is there even a cure for excessive use of stylistic devices?
"Andy? You alright?" I heard a voice say. I blinked, and saw Sirius staring at me. "Only you look a little…"
"Just thinking," I replied, saying the first thing I could think of. "Don't forget, I'm supposed to get back to the infirmary," I added, wondering if Mdm Pomfrey noticed my absence yet, and hoping this explained my lapse in behaviour.
I went back to sitting on the worn out couch and staring at the dirt clods. I had stopped wearing a watch a few months ago when the batteries to all my three of my watches died, one by one, and I was too lazy to get new ones. Much easier to forget about the time all together and rely on my internal clock. 'Course, in this situation, my internal clock told me nothing more than it's late and I should be either lying in bed by now or trying to finish the homework I had procrastinated on like the un-Ravenclaw I am.
So, without my watch, I had no idea how much time elapsed before Sirius said, "Alright, I think it's safe."
"And how do we get out? As I recall, we had to jump in…are we going to jump out too?"
Oh my gosh! I was sarcastic! He seemed to notice too as he looked at me strangely. Or maybe it was because I had raised a legitimate point (Logic, aka #3, had just been found trying to rescue cousin #5 from the sound-proofed cage). Yeah, it was definitely the fact that I had raised a very good point, because from the look on his face, it was one that he didn't seem to have a solution to.
I groaned. "Honestly, have you never hid in here before?"
"Well obviously I had! But um…last time we had a ladder…it kinda broke on our way out last time…"
"And you couldn't have thought of that before we jumped into this mess?"
"Before we jumped I was thinking how to get out of the other mess!"
"Is the ladder still here?!"
"Where else would it be?!" Sirius yelled back, pointing to one of the dark corners, where I noticed some planks lying haphazardly.
I took out my wand and pointed it at the broken ladder. "Reparo."
The pieces flew together, and I went to inspect the ladder. It seemed very unstable, but it stable enough to work.
"Genius," Sirius muttered disdainfully, already pulling the ladder towards the centre of the room, positioning it below the trap door. He started climbing up it, and I started climbing up on the other side. It took him a while to push the trapdoor open, but it did eventually slide open. He stuck his head out like a meerkat, checking to see if the coast was clear. Or at least, that's what I assumed he was doing. He climbed out, and I quickly followed.
I spent a few seconds dusting off my clothes while Sirius closed off the trapdoor again, making sure it camouflaged and was unnoticeable.
"Alright, let's go," he said, walking quickly in the general direction we had sprinted from previously, trying to escape the angry mob. I noticed he didn't grab my hand this time.
Upsetting, isn't it?
101's appearance was so flitting I barely had time to even register what he said. I shook my head. Probably I was just imagining things. A few of the voices vehemently agreed, while #2 seemed to have found some of its friends (#12, 22, 32), woken them up, and collectively suppressed all the other ones that tried to disagree with me. Which, I didn't have a problem with at all. I liked Little Voice #2 and Co., fondly known as deNile Inc.. Useful business they ran. Very useful indeed.
It was silent for all of 30 seconds (said my internal clock) when I couldn't take it anymore. "I can't believe you pulled that stupid prank…and didn't even warn me about it!"
"Oh yeah, sure, as if telling you wouldn't get me killed," Sirius scoffed.
I rounded on him. "Not telling me almost got you killed! And do you have any idea what could have happened if you weren't there to so chivalrously drag me away from the library the moment they appeared?!"
He shrugged. "Lock you in another broom cupboard?"
Oh no he didn't. He did not just go there. "You're an insensitive bastard, you know that?"
"Yeah, well, don't let my mother hear that," Sirius replied sarcastically.
"How can you joke about this?! You do realize that they will come back for us eventually, right?"
"No, they won't," he said, still not seeming to be at all bothered by the current, and in my opinion rather grim, situation. Except that he was bothered by it. I could tell. I could tell because those paper cuts were stinging me yet again. And they were more painful than usual.
Not hard to see why, obviously. Slytherins giving up a grudge? Unlikely. Slytherins giving up a grudge against Sirius Black who happened to be a Gryffindor, and a blood-traitor in their eyes?
Yeah, right. Just about as soon as I would be able to say I fancy Snape.
"Why do you lie, Black? It's not as if you can actually convince me of something so obviously untruthful."
"Yeah? Well forgive me if I prefer to be a little optimistic instead of prophesizing our demise 24/7."
“That's optimism?" I sputtered. "Since when is optimism such a huge lie? Didn’t anyone ever teach you telling lies is wrong?”
“Didn't anyone ever teach you that sometimes lies are better than the truth,” Sirius retorted.
“Please, spare me the ‘you can’t handle the truth’ spiel. I would much prefer to actually hear the truth,” I said, crossing my arms across my chest, just noticing that we had stopped walking at some point in time.
“Why are you so insistent on it?!”
“Because it drives me insane when people lie! Especially to me!” I yelled, getting madder by the second.
“Everybody lies, Thorse, and everybody has to deal with hearing lies. So why should you be any different?”
“Because no one else feels this much pain each time they’re lied to,” I said, bringing my voice down a bit. But when he only snorted and gave me a sneering glance, I raised it again, “I’m not being metaphorical…I mean actual pain!”
He didn’t say anything for a second as I bit my lip—after all, I didn’t want to give anything away. And then he said, his tone very mocking, “Don’t you lie and ‘cause other people pain’?”
“NO! I can’t lie. And even if I do cause people pain its highly unlikely it’s the same as mine but that’s all besides the point since I can’t lie.”
Ok, now I really was saying too much.
“What, it’s against your upbringing?” he scoffed.
I gave him a murderous glance but bit my lip. That question was striking way too close to home and I would not be answering it. But he in turn crossed his own arms and stared at me, “Well? Since you’re so bent on hearing the truth from others, let's hear it out of you for a change.”
Letting out a breath of relief, I said, “You hear it from me all the time.”
“Ha, yeah, and I’m a blast-ended skrewt.”
Stupid sarcasm. “I’m not lying—when I actually do say something it’s the truth! I’m not a hypocrite.”
"I find that hard to believe," he spat back.
OK, now he was just getting on my nerves. "It doesn't change the fact that what I'm telling you is true! Whether you believe it or not is your own bloody prob—"
“What are you two doing out of dorms so late?! And you, aren't you supposed to be in the infirmary?”
Damn. Did McGonagall have to show up everywhere when it was most inconvenient?
“Just coming back from a late study session in the library,” Sirius said with a shrug, carelessly throwing his hands into his pockets, though both he and McGonagall noticed my cringe as he said his excuses. She seemed to ignore Sirius’ statement and turned to me.
“Miss Thorse, care to tell me what’s going on here?”
“Five points from Ravenclaw,” she said sternly as I groaned…my housemates were going to kill me before the year was over. How many points had I lost them already within a mere week and a half? Bah, they should kill Sirius. That would really get to the root of the problem. I glanced to see Sirius looking at me strangely but her voice brought me back. “What is going on here?”
Ah, rephrased question. I took a few seconds trying to run possible sentences through my minds ear, before answering, “Sirius snuck me out of the infirmary so we could finish our DADA paper, so we were at the library at first but got a bit sidetracked and had to hide in a room which we got stuck in and now that we got out we started to argue, naturally.”
McGonagall and Sirius both blinked at me as I said it all in one breath, closing my mouth as soon as I could to stop any other truths from spilling out.
“Hide? From what?” McGonagall asked when she regained her composure from the grammatical incorrectness of my lovely run-on explanation.
I bit my lip and gave Sirius a pleading look, which he interpreted correctly.
“Professor, Andrea is just a bit tired and probably embarrassed, but that room thing…” his voice trailed off as he smirked. “Well, we weren’t really hiding from anybody.”
I was in shock, for two reasons. Well one reason really, but they branched off into two categories. One, what the hell was Sirius saying?! Forget my housemates committing murder, I would do it myself (66 had thought of a nice plan, after all). And two, OW! I think I bit my tongue off trying not to yell LIES, and those stinging inside burns weren’t helping. But as great as my shock was, I couldn’t help but smile at McGonagall’s expression. She turned to me however, still in shock, but her expression instantly changed when she saw me literally—physically and quite aggressively—trying to clamp my mouth shut with my hands…though I was trying to disguise it.
“Are you alright?” she asked, her voice losing its stern quality and taking on a more…'is-it-time-to-take-your-crazy-pill-or-should-I-just-run?' character. Which, considering it was McGonagall, was a rare occurrence. As proud as I was of my success in making her explore different tones of voice, I forced my head to nod. She turned back to Sirius, “As much as I don’t doubt you’d be up to something like that, Mr. Black, I don’t believe your story. Andrea…”
Damn. As much as I didn’t like his excuse, I had been fervently hoping it had worked.
“Andrea, who were you hiding from?” she asked, ten times more firmly than before, as if to make up for the small lapse in sternness that had occurred moments ago.
It all seemed too much to bear suddenly, and I barely had time to give Sirius an apologetic look when my mouth opened and the truth spilled, “From Slytherins looking for vengeance for a mean trick we played on them.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Mean trick?”
“Involving some magic and the cold outdoors and no clothes.”
She was silent for a moment, and probably considering Sirius’ version as the more likely for a few seconds, before she commanded, “Detention, both of you, tomorrow night. Now, back to the infirmary. And you, back to Gryffindor Tower.”
And she left the two of us alone again, Sirius glaring at me for getting them into trouble, but at the same time curiosity twinkling in his eyes.
I turned on my heel and started to walk down to the infirmary again in silence, before I heard him following. Why did he have to follow?!
You know you like it.
deNile Inc. was already on it, looking all over the place trying to find 101 and beat him to a pulp. Problem was, 101 seemed to be very talented at Hide&Seek.
“What the hell was that?!” Sirius yelled, though slightly hushed, no doubt for fear of McGonagall coming back to give us another detention for disruption of night-time silence or some other rubbish.
I didn’t answer.
“I saved our skins back there and you had to go mess it all up! You could have just agreed with me.”
“What you said was a horrible lie and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t agree with it.”
If you wanted to agree with him?
Get him! Get him NOW!
“Bollocks. If you didn’t try to prove the truth thing we were arguing about earlier we’d have tomorrow night off!”
“I wasn’t trying to prove anything! I don’t want that detention any more that you do, and I practically chewed my tongue off trying to agree with you!”
Sirius scoffed. “You are seriously demented. Live by your holy no lie commandment if you want to but don’t involve me in it. It wouldn’t hurt you to make that one lie—”
“When will you get this through your thick head…I CAN’T LIE!”
This was not a good day at all. Some part of my exhausted, overworked brain was wondering whether everything Sirius was doing right now was just to get me to confess, or whether he had had just enough of everything too.
“What do you mean you can’t lie?!” he yelled back. Judging by his anger, he definitely didn't seem to have expected a confession. This was Sirius-en-natural. No PLANNING LOBES functioning here.
“I mean I am incapable of being dishonest! And it’s not by choice either…you think I wouldn’t have made up my own excuse tonight?!”
I shut my mouth and kept it closed, very much aware of his gaze on me. Even if he hadn't set it all up to get me to confess—nay, blurt out—my secret, he was probably feeling rather smug at finally having bested me. I sped up, trying to get away from him, but he kept his pace matching mine. Finally, I couldn’t take the silence and his unbreakable gaze any longer, “What do you want?!”
“You’re telling me, that you can’t ever say something untrue?” he inquired.
I considered my chances of getting away with it all now, but I knew I had already blurted too much. That, coupled with how much Sirius had already caught on to before this fateful night, was sure to have given my secret away. I could see it in the way he was looking at me, as if slightly triumphant. Even if I tried not answering the question, my silence would do it for me. I sighed and opened my mouth, “Yes. But I don’t have to answer your questions so don’t bother asking something ridiculous. And don't bother sneaking me back in to the infirmary. At this rate, I'd make a better Marauder than you.”
I couldn't help the smirk that flitted across my face as I saw him put together what I had just said with the fact that it had to be true. Well, what did he expect? He had gotten me into the infirmary, snuck me out without a way of sneaking me back in, played a prank on Slytherins and spent the evening running away from them. How Marauderly is that?
As Sirius started to glare, I opened my mouth to say goodnight and then make a dramatic exit, except nothing came out. No words, no sound. Figures. How could I possibly say good night when this night had to be on the list of all time worst nights ever. I shut my mouth, blinked, and walked away to face the matron all on my own.
And worse. I had to face the Voices. I had to figure out who the hell was 101; how dare he just charge into my already deranged mind and decide to spew nasty, annoying and untrue comments like those?!
Author's Note II: So...? How was it? Please review, I had very mixed feelings about this chapter and rewrote it like three times, and kept adding and deleting stuff and yeah...yesterday I was procrastinating studying for exams and finally found a decent (at least, I think its decent) way to put all the little fragments I wrote together into a comprehensible chapter. So, please let me know if it was a yay or nay.
Also, I hope the "Andy vs. Voices" dialogue...as in the italics and underlines were alright to follow? Yes...? No...? Should I scrap the whole idea or carry on with it?
Thanks so much to everybody reading and reviewing! I love you guys.
Cheers! And just in case I don't get to update again soon...
HAPPY HOLIDAYS and NEW YEAR!
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