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Chapter 8 : Rule #7: Anonymous Presents Brighten All Birthdays.
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“Nichols! Hey Nichols! Wait up.”
I turned around to find the source of the voice. It was Jace, from Herbology.
“Hey Bell,” I smiled at him waiting for him to fall in step with me.
He winced, “Please, don't call me Bell, it isn't very manly.”
I laughed, “Right, well I think it's cute. Jace Bell. Has a really nice ring to it.”
“Yeah? You think it's cute eh?”
I realized where he was getting so I grinned at him impishly, “Yeah, you know, in a Bell of the ball sort of manner.”
“I see. Well not that I'm flattered but being called Jace is a lot more preferable. And, er, speaking of balls,” I raised my one eyebrow at him smirking, “Not those! The um, other kind, Quidditch balls.” He emphasized.
“Mhmm,” I smiled enjoying his apparent discomfort.
I know, I'm horrible.
But he was cute. And squirming. And I was happy. Watching his erm...squirming, if you get my drift.
What? Teenage girl with hormones standing here. Don't judge.
“Well, I heard you made the Gryffindor Quidditch team. Congratulations.” He finished finally.
“Thanks. I wasn't sure I was going to make it.” I paused to see if he would say anything. When there was nothing but silence I continued, “So, that Herbology project, huh?”
“Yeah, pretty interesting. It's going to be fun taking care of a baby plant for a term.”
“Yeah, I'm looking forward to it too. We did something similar in middle school, except it was a sack of flour.” I said.
Shit, did Salem have Middle school?
Somehow, I didn't think so.
“Um, well it was a term for first through third years at my school in America,”
“Ah, I see.”
“Hey, listen, do you have a partner? For the project that is?”
He looked at me surprised, “Um, no. I was actually here to ask you. But you beat me to it I guess.”
“That's me, always a step ahead.” Wow, could I get any more dorky?
“So, want to work together?” I asked him realizing he hadn't really given me an answer.
“Wouldn't Black mind?” This time he raised an eyebrow at me and I stopped by the doors of the Great Hall waiting for him to clarify.
“What? Sirius? Why would he mind?” I looked at confused between him and the Gryffindor table to see the person in question watching us.
“I thought- never mind. Yeah, I'd love to work with you. So, see you in Herbology?” He said, but not before throwing a wary glance at the Gryffindor table.
“Or the Quidditch pitch,” I smirked before walking to take a seat at the table and he walked to the Ravenclaw table
I noticed the girls' anticipatory looks faraway and didn't doubt they would want a word for word about my latest encounter with a certain Ravenclaw brunette.
No sooner had I taken my customary seat between Sirius and James, they pounced on me.
“ What did he want?”
“Did he ask you out?”
“Did he tell you he wants you desperately in his boudoir and tear his shirt of and declare his undying love for you?”
At the last part all of us stared at Marlene.
Man these girls didn't disappoint.
“What? It's a logical question.” She raised her chin indignantly.
I shook my head at her amused. Although I wouldn't mind being in his boudoir with his...squirming.
But I didn't tell her that. “No Marlene. He didn't ask me into his boudoir nor declare his non-existent undying love for me. He didn't ask me anything. Actually.”
And it was true, I was the one who asked him he wanted to be my baby's daddy.
The plant. Baby plant, I meant to say.
Oh shut up.
“I asked him.”
Sirius looked up at me so fast I heard his neck crick.
“You asked him out?” Mary said eyes popping out of her sockets.
I returned her wide eyed look. “No! What do you take me for? I just asked him to be my partner for the Herbology plant thing. Makes sense with us already being partners.”
“Oh.” No one said anything beyond that. There was something they weren't telling me and I hated not knowing.
“What?” I asked looking at all of them.
“Well,” Remus said from over James' other side, “Since there were eight of us, we were you know hoping to...” He trailed off but I got the gist of what he was saying.
“Oh, you guys, I am so sorry, I didn't think- Look I can just tell him I made a mistake. No biggie. He'll understand.”
“Absolutely not.” Alice sternly waved her fork at me, “You asked him and you will be his partner.”
“Yeah, one of us will team up with someone else,” Remus said just as Sirius snorted.
“Padfoot,” James said warningly.
Okay, I was beyond confused. I was in Confusedville here. Clearly I was out of the loop.
He gathered his bag and got up from the table.
“Padfoot!” Remus said after him.
“Fuck off Moony.” With that, he left.
Right, that clears that up.
“What is up with him?”
James said nothing. He took his things and followed Sirius. Peter, of course, followed.
Alice too left with Mary and Frank in tow.
Not being able to stay with the awkward silence that had suddenly fallen all around Marlene and Lily left as well.
I looked flabbergasted at Remus.
“What was that all about?”
“He's angry I told you, you know, about...”
Comprehension dawned on me.
It had been two weeks since the night in the Hospital Wing and I hadn't noticed that the other Marauder's found anything wrong with me knowing.
I was so stupid.
“Remus, I am so sorry. I shouldn't have said that you told me. Of course they'd be mad. It was always your guys' thing. I didn't mean to-”
“Kayla, don't worry, they aren't mad. It's just Sirius. He's being his brooding Black self.” Remus smiled warmly at me.
“That doesn't make it any better.” I said looking at my still full plate all appetite gone.
“It's okay. Come on, we have to get you to the Quidditch pitch or James is going to keel over with despair.” He smiled at me and pulled me up from my seat knowing that I wouldn't be eating anytime soon.
I changed into my Quidditch gear and slung Remus', since I didn't have the money to buy my own and since he didn't use it anyway, broom over my shoulder and walked onto the Quidditch pitch to find that most of the team except James was already there.
Marlene, Rachel and Michel were talking to each other under the stands and to my slight shock and extreme annoyance I saw Sirius and Andrea, the blonde, 'snogging' a few ways away from the other three.
Who were desperately trying to block out the slurping sounds being emitted by those two.
I mean really?
Making out with your fellow teammate, beater, even?
How unprofessional was that?
James came out soon after and took one glance at his best friend but said nothing.
His expression was stony and I immediately knew that practice was going to be a bitch.
“Everyone, thirty laps around the pitch. On foot.”
Sirius, finally deciding to come up for air looked at James incredulously.
“What?” Marlene yelled.
“Are you crazy? Do you want us dead before our first match?” Rachel asked.
“Start running team, or I'll make that forty.”
Everyone got into action and while I was used to running laps for Soccer, I don't think the others appreciated it much, if I was deciphering their wheezing correctly.
The blonde, yes the one Sirius was sucking face with, collapsed after two laps.
I hurried ahead of her going on my fifth lap and caught up with James.
“Hey,” I said
He only glanced at me in acknowledgment.
“Listen, I talked to Remus, and he told me you guys were, well, annoyed that I found out. But trust me, Remus didn't tell me expressly, I just kind of stumbled onto it.” I told him, not really looking at him.
James suddenly stopped mid-jog. “What in Merlin's pants made you think we were annoyed? It's fine really. Didn't seem right to lie.”
“But Sirius at dinner-”
“He'll come around.” James said shooting him a dark look across the pitch and as if Sirius could sense James, he looked up to see us talking.
“You sure? Because he seemed really-”
“He's fine. Trust me. Just him being a brooding Black. Runs in the family.” I smiled at that and began doing laps again.
“Okay...race you to the finish,” I added and started running again.
At the end of thirty laps I collapsed on the ground almost the same time as James.
“HA! I win!” He said, pounding his fist in the air.
“No! We were here at the same time. We both win.”
“Both of us can't win.”
“And why not?” I challenged him
“Because. Just because.” He said.
“That isn't a valid reason.” I turned over so I was no longer collapsed face first on the soil but looking up at the night sky.
“James doesn't need a reason to not make sense.” Sirius was now blocking my view of the sky. “He just likes to win.” He then collapsed on the ground next to me and turned his head to give me a slight smile.
I returned his smile and reached my hand out to his trying to convey that I was thankful for him not being the 'brooding Black' any more but he quickly looked away from me and moved his arm to cushion his head.
“What a night huh?” He whispered so quietly only I could hear him.
“Yeah, what a night.” I echoed him as we lay there my hand still reached out to his and his arm tucked under his head away from me.
“This is crap.” I heard Alice mutter from in front of us in Herbology.
“Agreed,” Lily his venomously from the other side.
“This is beyond crap, this is stupid!” Marlene threw her hands up in frustration.
I chuckled, “How is stupid beyond crap?”
Marlene looked at me as if noticing that slight glitch in her statement was unimportant. “It just is.”
“It's because this project is so stupid that even crap isn't an adequate expletive for it.” Jace said from beside me.
“Yeah, what he said,” Marlene gazed at Jace almost drooling. Lily, her partner, elbowed her in the ribs and Marlene looked away blushing.
We were in Herbology working on our plant, a plant which seemed to be upchucking any form of food we tried giving it.
“Why can't you magical plants just be still and normal? And eat compost manure and water? And sunlight? Stupid fucking magical moving plant wasting our time by puking all over us every two seconds.”
Yes I was talking to the too stupid to be crap plant.
Everyone with the (thank you god) exception of Professor Sprout seemed to have heard my little rant to the plant.
Hey! Rant to the plant.
That rhymes. Maybe if I fail all my classes I could become a poet.
What was that? No?
Oh well. Was worth a shot.
Sirius upon hearing my spiel let out his bark like laugh, leaned forward and said close to my ear, “I knew there was a reason I liked you Nichols.”
“So that's it then? You just like me, heh? I'm touched,” I stuck out my tongue at him to show him I was being sarcastic.
Either he didn't seem to realize it or sarcasm was completely lost on him because he stopped smiling and sat back in his seat with an inscrutable expression.
I turned back around to look at my plant frowning.
While Sirius wasn't being the 'brooding Black' anymore he had still been very standoffish lately and I wanted to know why.
Whenever I was around he would make sure to have at least one person sitting between us at all time and if by any chance we were alone, like during Potions where Slughorn assigned us as partners he was very quiet, speaking to me only when spoken to.
In fact, today's comment was the first time in days he had said anything to me voluntarily apart from the time on the Quidditch pitch.
I was so lost in my thoughts about Sirius' peculiar behavior that I didn't even notice Sprout dismiss us until Jace lightly touched my arm and said it was time to go.
I looked around to see that all my friends had already left whispering amongst them furiously and casting wary glanced in my direction.
I laughed and hoisted my backpack over my shoulder.
Jace looked between me and my friends, “Am I missing something?”
“Oh, no. Just, my friends are planning a surprise birthday party for me tonight in the Common Room.”
“Today's your birthday?”
Was it just me or was the midly surprised factor missing from his eyes?
I smiled at him, “Yep, October sixth. Officially eighteen.”
“Well, Happy Birthday then. Um...how is the party a surprise if you already know about it?” He asked confused.
“Because, no one has been able to keep anything a surprise from me in years.” I rolled my eyes. “It just hasn't happened.”
“You're saying no one has been able to surprise you in the last seventeen years.”
“Eighteen today, and there was one person, but we were eight, so that doesn't count.”
“Yes it does, it was sometime in your life wasn't it?” He teased.
“No, I was a kid. It doesn't count.”
“Whatever.” Then seeing Sirius waiting for me in the Entrance Hall he hastily added, “I guess I'll see you later.”
He walked around Sirius who gave him a cold look and disappeared up the steps.
I smiled at him as I approached, glad to be able to spend some time with him.
“So...are you the one who's supposed to be distracting me from going back to the Common Room until they set everything up?” I asked him.
Surprise flitted across his face and he smirked, “You know.”
“Bit difficult when all your friends are avoiding you.”
He scratched his neck and had the decency to look ashamed. “Yeah, about that. Sorry. We were trying to make sure you didn't find out. Obviously it didn't work. Do me a favor, act surprised when we go back up yeah?”
“Of course. Hey, are you really interested in going back into the castle?” I asked him looking out to the lake glittering with the last few remnants of sunshine before winter finally set in.
“No. Not really. What do you have in mind?” He looked at me, his gray eyes dancing with anticipation.
“Race you to the lake.” I shouted and tore off in that direction.
He stood rooted to the spot for a moment until he understood what I was saying and ran after me.
His legs were longer and he easily overcame the few feet head start I had and stopped at the edge of the lake.
I kept running at him and took my robes and shoes off leaving only my shirt and skirt on and dove into the lake.
Sirius looked at me bewildered.
“Get in!” I said to him pushing the wet hair out of my face.
“What are you doing?”
“You didn't think I was just going to race you to the lake, did you? Come in! The water's warm.”
“I um...can't swim.”
Now it was my turn to look bewildered, and hurt “Yes you can. I've seen you swim at the Potter's lake.”
Did he really not want to spend time with me that much that he was ready to make up a blatant lie?
“Well, that's different.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, “How is that any different? Water is water.”
“Yeah, but theirs doesn't have the Giant Squid in it.” He mumbled.
Then I understood and I gave a short laugh, “Sirius Black is afraid of the Giant Squid.”
“'S not funny. That thing almost tried to kill me my first year here.”
“Aw, that's choo cute. You're afraid of the Squid.”
“I hate you.” He said.
“No, you don't. Now come on. And you can be all manly and take your shirt off if you want.” Then belatedly realizing what I had said, I blushed.
He smirked, noticing my colored cheeks, “You just want to see me with my shirt off.”
I rolled my eyes at him, partially to drive away the blush, “Oh yes. Yes I do! Please Sirius, please take your shirt off so I can see you in all your manly glory!”
“Alright, if you say so. Merlin, all you had to do was ask nicely.” He said and took off his shirt keeping eye contact with me the entire time.
I knew what he was doing and I stared right back at him.
If I looked away, he would know he had gotten to me and I couldn't give him that satisfaction.
“You know, it isn't fair.” He looked down at me while I tried not to look at his bare chest because let me tell you, that was one good looking chest.
Hours of Quidditch training and working out showed on his abs and when he moved his arms, his muscles tightened and rippled.
“What isn't fair?”
“I've taken off my robes, shoes and my shirt. You've just taken of your robes and shoes.”
I widened my eyes as him comprehending his suggestion. “Fine. I'll take off my shirt too.”
“Nah, you can just take your skirt off.” He grinned at me.
I looked at him mockingly sweet, “Black?”
“Fuck you.” And I threw my sopping wet skirt at him.
He caught my skirt and tossed it aside, “Not now, babe, too many people watching. Unless you're into that sort of thing.” He waggled his eyebrows at me suggestively.
“Dick.” I muttered to him and swam away.
“You would be thinking about that.” He said and dove into the water.
“Remind me why I thought this was a good idea?” I said as he swam closer to me.
“Because you wanted to see me with my shirt off,” He grinned at me. “And because you missed me.”
“I can see you with your shirt off in the dormitory too Sirius, don't flatter yourself. But...I did miss you.” I looked at him, trying for the thousandth time, to understand the emotions in his gray eyes.
But he turned away as though looking at me burned his eyes.
He didn't say anything for a long time and I stood there, wading in the water. I suddenly had no energy for swimming.
“Why him?” He finally asked.
“Why who?” If I was confused before, it was nothing compared to how I felt right now.
“Remus. Why did you tell him about your meeting with Dumbledore?Why not-anyone else?”
“Because...because I felt he would understand best, you know? Because of his secret. I knew he would understand why I didn't want to talk about it.”
“And you didn't think I- anyone else would understand?”
His back was still turned to me and his voice was as soft as the gently blowing breeze.
I saw a long scar, still fresh, run from the length of his neck to his lower back.
“It wasn't that. Remus- Remus is like the brother I never had, Sirius.”
He looked back at me suddenly, clearly not expecting that to be my response.
“What about me?” He whispered lightly looking down. I almost didn't hear him say it.
I thought about the question for a while, not entirely sure what he was.
“You,” I swam closer and I was only a few inches away from him, “are the best friend I always wanted. The one person who I could count on to protect me and be there for me.”
We were so close that our bodies were almost touching.
I reached around behind him and ran my index finger slowly along the scar. At my touch he let out a small moan.
The sound made me shudder pleasantly, “What happened?”
“Remus, two weeks ago when...” he trailed off.
“Does it hurt?” I spoke softly too, my finger was almost to his mid-back.
He shook his head sighing and brought his forehead to touch mine, “It feels nice.”
“Why didn't you tell me?”
“You were taking care of him.”
“You should have told me.” I looked at him, and this time his eyes were filled with something else entirely.
My hand had reached the end of his scar now and I rested it there on his lower back.
A low moan escaped his lips and he grabbed my arm and held it.
“Stop.” He growled.
“Okay,” I held my breath waiting for him to say something more.
“My my, how touching. The blood traitor and his whore.”
I pulled away from Sirius and turned to look at the source of the voice to see three people emerge from the forest.
I quickly summoned my skirt and put it on underwater. I did not need to give them more reason to call me a whore.
“Bella.” Sirius hissed pushing me behind him.
“Hello cousin.” She grinned slyly, “How are you this very fine day?”
Behind her were, I could only guess, Lucius and Narcissa, if their pale blond hair and arrogant looks were any indication.
“What are you doing here?”
“Aw, now don't be like that. Can't an older cousin drop by to say hello to her younger, much loved cousin,” she smiled evilly.
“Regulus is in the castle.” Sirius said stonily.
“So I've been told.” She tilted her head to the side, “No, I'm here to see you and that pretty little doll you're hiding behind you there, of course.”
I knew what she wanted so I waded in front of Sirius, my feet slipping on the shallow lake bottom.
“Hello. Kayla Nichols. Pleased to meet you.” I said as pleasantly as I could while in front of Bellatrix LeStrange giving her the benefit of doubt.
Please to meet her, my ass.
Not pleased to meet her at all.
Sirius protectively wrapped his arm around my waist. As if I would walk closer to her than necessary voluntarily.
“Ah...so you're the new American student they keep talking about.” She said not breaking eye contact with Sirius. “Well Sirius, you've found yourself a keeper.”
Have I mentioned I don't like being ignored?
Especially when I am the topic of conversation?
No? Well I don't.
“So, Bella, how is Voldemort these days?” She had been looking at Sirius but at the mention of her precious Lord her eyes snapped onto me.
“And what do you know about the Dark Lord, little girl?” She sneered and I saw Lucius fingering his wand behind her.
Grateful that I had thought to keep my wand on me I smiled at Bellatrix.
“I know enough to know he doesn't want you wasting time with us.” I of course knew no such thing. I was hazarding a guess here. Hazard, being the key word. “I know he wants you to talk only to Regulus, Snape, Avery, Mulciber, Nott and all those other Slytherins hoping to join his merry band of Death Eaters once they leave Hogwarts and if you try anything on us, anything he hadn't planned on, he will not be very happy.”
Nervous rambling being passed of as confident retort.
Wow, I was good.
I knew I had struck a nerve with her, and maybe, just maybe I was now on her personal hit list. I had just insulted her secret lover, the Dark Lord, and told her exactly what he wanted her to do.
Jo, thank you for making Bellatrix LeStrange the most predictable character ever.
Lucius glanced around to see if there were any other students around. There weren't very many, but enough to go and notify the professors if a fight were to break out.
“Bella, that is enough. We must head back into-”
“Shut up.” Bellatrix hissed at him and whipped her head back at me glaring. “ I don't have time for you right now, but you better watch your back little girl.”
“I'm trembling.” I said sarcastically as I returned her glare steadfastly.
“You should be.” Then she got up and walked to the spot where Lucius and Narcissa had vanished into.
“Bella, Andromeda sends her love. So does your niece.” I called out to her.
Yes, I shouldn't have, but I couldn't resist taunting her.
Bellatrix looked back, murderously, “Leash her Sirius, or my wand might act of it's own accord one of these days.”
She too vanished into the Forbidden Forest.
Sirius and I swam back to the edge and dried off ourselves with a charm.
“You shouldn't have said that.” He said buttoning his shirt.
I rolled my eyes at him, “Bellatrix LeStrange does not scare me.”
His head snapped up. “Well she should and you called her LeStrange. She hasn't married LeStrange yet. How did you know?”
“Oh? Did I? Hmm...” I said looking around for my belongings.
“And you know about Andy and her daughter. I never told you any of those things. I don't even think I've ever mentioned any member of my family to you.”
“Really? How interesting.” I averted his gaze.
“How do you know all that?”
“Not now Sirius.” I mumbled.
“Why not now?” He said harshly pulling me by the elbow.
“Because you are supposed to be taking me back to the Common Room for my surprise party.”
He sighed, “Fine. But after.”
“Sure, maybe after.”
“No maybes.” He lifted my chin to make me look at him and slightly smiled, “And just for the record, I think how you handled Bella was very bad- ass.”
I laughed, “Yeah? Thanks. Means a lot coming from an over-protective fool like you.”
“I'm only over-protective for your own good. She can take you out like a fire-fly.”
“I resent that! I'm not weak, or defenseless,” I said.
“I'm not saying you are. All I'm saying is that Bella can be a bitch and now that you've gone and insulted her and her dear Dark Lord you're under her radar. Just be careful, yeah? You don't know what those Slytherins are capable of.” He said draping his arm around my shoulders.
I smiled, glad to have the familiar feel of his arm back.
“I do know what Slytherins are capable of,” I said passing a group of Slytherins on our way up to Gryffindor and among them I saw Regulus, “Good and bad.”
Sirius scoffed studiously ignoring his brother, and leading me through a secret tapestry, “There is nothing good about them Kay.”
“You don't know that.” I told him.
“Yes, I do.” He glanced back at the group we had just passed. “I know all too well.”
“Well,” I said trying to lighten the mood, “This has been the most morbidly Slytherin infested birthday I have ever had.”
Sirius' bark like laugh echoed around the empty hallway as we stood in front of the Fat Lady. “Let's change that, shall we?”
“Definitely,” I said pausing outside. “And I promise I'll act surprised.”
“Good,” he said looking at me. “And Kayla?”
“Happy Birthday,” he said and leaned forward and kissed me on my cheek. “Pumpkin patch,” he said to the Fat Lady.
The portrait hole opened and there was a loud shout of “SURPRISE!” and “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”
I laughed joyously as I saw that the entire house was assembled in the Common Room.
It was all I could do to restrain myself from tearing up. I was so wrong. I did have a family here. This proved it. And as much as I missed my old life, I had one here as well.
Lily, Mary, Alice and Marlene were the first ones to reach me for hugs. James was next, followed by Frank and Peter. Remus came after them and held me longer than any of them.I glanced at Sirius but he was busy talking to James.
Eventually he let go of me and Sirius and James led me to the middle of the room where they had placed a large cake the shape of a Quaffle.
I did not want to know where they got it from or how they had brought it here without being noticed by any of the professors.
There were exactly eighteen candles on the cake. I looked at all of them once they had quieted.
“You guys. I- this is my best birthday ever.” I said as loudly as I could without loosing control of the lump that was forming in my throat. “Thank you so much!”
“We love you Kayla, and thought you deserved it.” Alice said.
“Marry me, Kayla!” A fifth year I had never talked to shouted from the back.
I laughed as Remus and Sirius who were standing behind him both slapped the boy upside the head.
“Maybe later, baby!” I called out to even though I couldn't see him anymore ever the sea of fifty something heads.
“Well c'mon! The cake's not going to cut itself!” James shouted.
I laughed again and blew out the candles and cut the cake as everyone sang a very corny and off tune “Happy Birthday to you.”
Nearly four hours later after Lily had sent everyone from first through fifth years to their dormitory the party was in full swing with a wireless blaring the Wild Wizards, another Wizard band, and James was bringing out the Firewhiskey.
I would have to check Rosa's inventory when I go back this weekend for any missing Firewhiskey bottles.
I sat at my favorite sofa by the fireplace holding the same bottle of Butterbeer James had handed to me an hour ago.
Remus came at sat down next to me and picked the Butterbeer bottle out of my hand and replaced it with a Firewhiskey one.
I smiled at him and took a large sip of the drink. If I had to compare it to a Muggle drink I would call it a cross between Bacardi 151 and Jack Daniels.
Me? I was a pure vodka girl.
I grimaced at its taste and looked at Remus with a disgusted look.
I dislike whiskey.
I loathe Firewhiskey.
I transfigured the Firewhiskey into Vodka.
“What are you doing?” Remus asked when he saw that the dark drink had been replaced with a clear one.
“I am drinking something much better. Want to try? It's Russian.”
He took a sip and grimaced. “Tastes... different.” He finished not wanting to offend me.
“You don't have to pretend to like it, Remus. I do because...well I just do.”
“Look at you. Not even born yet and already distinguishing different alcoholic drinks.”
“Yes, like I said before, I have many talents and secrets.”
“What are you drinking? Is that water? In a Firewhiskey bottle?” Sirius asked me.
“No, it's Russian. And it is pure alcohol.” I retorted.
“Looks like water to me.” He snorted.
“Oh for fucks sake, try it if you don't believe me.”
He did so and his reaction was similar to Remus'.
Noticing us by the fireplace Lily came over and saw the drink in my hand, “Oooh, is that Vodka?”
“Yes! Finally someone who understands!” I sat up in my seat.
She shook her head, “I don't like it. I just tried it once when we went to Russia for vacation.”
I slumped back down and pouted making everyone laugh.
“You Americans sure have weird choice in drinks.” Marlene commented.
“It's Russian. And my dad's a Brit and he loves Vodka.” I told them.
“Yeah, that's because he married your mum and moved to America.” Peter, who unbeknownst to me had been present the entire time, said.
I was about to refute that claim when James came over with Alice and Frank and saw the drink in my hand and stopped in his tracks with a horrified expression on his face.
“What?” I asked him.
“Why are you drinking water from a Firewhiskey bottle?”
“For the last time, it isn't water!” I threw up my hands almost sloshing my drink on everyone present and went to walk away from the group of people I mistakenly called my friends.
“Hey! Where are you going? I was coming over to tell you that it's present giving time!”
I whirled around at the mention of presents and grinned widely.
“Aw, bless her. She looks like a five year old on Christmas morning.” Sirius said.
I stuck out my tongue at him.
“Acts like one too,” Remus chuckled.
“Shut up. What, is this pick on the birthday girl day? Where are those alleged presents?”
“Right, they're in our room. I'll go get them.”
“Mate, you're a wizard, you can just Summon them.” Frank pointed out.
“Oh yeah. Accio presents.”
Six packages flew into the Common room as people ducked out of the way to avoid being clonked in the head and landed in front of me with a resounding thud.
I tore through the wrapping of the first one like, well like a five year old on Christmas morning.
It was a magical copy of the Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion from both Lily and Alice. I had mentioned to them that they were my favorite books, well apart from Harry Potter, but I couldn't tell them that.
I thanked both of the profusely for such beautiful presents.
“The best part of these books,” Lily told me, “is that the protagonist and the man she ends up with look like the reader and her true love.”
I observed the illustrations closely and noticed my face painted as Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy was-
I snapped the book shut embarrassed at who Mr. Darcy was depicted as and blushed.
“Oooh. Who was it? Who was your Mr. Darcy?” Mary asked smiling.
“No one.” I told her without looking at anyone. “I'm going to open the next present, from...Marlene.”
They were Quidditch gloves and I was thankful for them because I was in desperate need of them for the upcoming match next weekend.
Even though I didn't have a broom.
Okay, not really. But still. Cry.
The next one was from Frank who had given me a miniature Quidditch Pitch complete with fourteen flying figures.
Mary had given me a Sneakoscope.
“You can never be too careful!” She said and I thanked her for it.
The next one was larger and it was from both Remus and Peter. It was a broomstick repair kit.
“Guys, thank you so much but, I don't even have a broom.” I told them.
“And now, for our gift to you. Padfoot, drum roll please.” James said and Sirius obliged.
He reached behind the sofa and pulled out a long package and I knew what it was before I had seen it completely.
I opened the wrapping carefully not wanting to believe what might be inside.
Once the paper was removed I gasped, looked at James and Sirius who were grinning then back at the present.
It was a Nimbus 1000.
A top of the line broom in the seventies.
And it was mine.
I was in shock. I sat there staring numbly at the broom.
Everyone was casting worried glances around.
Then as if I had just realized what was going on I jumped up and threw my arms around both of them at the same time and jumped up and down for joy making them bounce along with me.
Both of them laughed and hugged me back.
“It's a broom,” I whispered staring at it.
“Yes, it is. I couldn't let one of my Chaser's play the match on some dingy old broom now, could I?” James said ignoring Remus' “Hey, it's a good broom.”
“Thank you,” I told him then turned to Sirius. “Both of you.”
“Well try it out then!” Marlene said.
“Yes! To the Quidditch pitch!” Frank said pumping one hand in the air.
“Wait, there's another present,” said Lily pointing at the place where I had been sitting only moments ago.
“Hey, who got Kay-Kay a present without clearing it with me first?” James asked the room at large.
I looked at him one eyebrow raised, “What? Were you like the present master?”
“Actually, yes, he went around calling him self that for the last week or so.” Remus said.
I rolled my eyes at James, and bent to pick up the gold box. It didn't have a note or a name attached to it and the box was small, only the size of my palm.
I lifted the lid and gasped.
Sitting inside was the most beautiful locket I had ever seen. It was silver in the shape of a heart with intricate patterns carved into it and was attached to a thin silver chain.
I lifted the locket out of it's casing and studied it against the light.
It was simple and yet very elegant at the same time and when the light hit the locket it glinted beautifully.
“Wow, that's gorgeous.”
“Holy shit it's-”
“Is that real silver?”
“Of course it is!”
“Kayla, who is it from?”
“It doesn't say.” I replied not looking at the person who had asked the question.
I was hypnotized by the little heart shaped beauty.
“You should try it on,” Peter said.
“Hold on, we don't know who sent it. It could be cursed for all we know,” Lily, ever the voice of reason, interjected.
“She's right, it could be a trap,” said James.
“No, if it were cursed, it would have done something by now,” I said shaking my head.
“Maybe you have to put it around your neck for the curse to take effect,” said Remus.
“It isn't cursed. I know it isn't.”
“Sweetie, I know you want to think that, but maybe whoever sent it to you wants you to think the same thing.” Alice said kindly.
“Trust me, guys. It is not cursed,” I said looking at all of them before resting my eyes on Sirius, “Help me put it on?”
He stepped forward to take the locket from me and I swept my hair away from my neck so he could latch it.
“Padfoot,” James and Sirius said warningly.
Sirius rolled his eyes at them, “Will you guys lighten up? It looks fine to me. See? Nothing.” He smiled.
“Ahhh!” I screamed clutching my throat eyes wide and bending over.
“What happened?” Lily asked as everyone rushed forward and Sirius looked worried.
I stood back up laughing, “Nothing, Jesus, you people are so paranoid. Lighten up.”
“Don't do that to me!” Lily scolded me while Marlene swatted my arm and Remus looked at me worried.
“I'm fine. It isn't cursed or anything like that. You guys have serious trust issues.”
“If it isn't cursed-”
“And there's no note-”
“That means that-”
“You have a secret admirer!”
I looked at the four girls who had just finished that sentence.
“How do you do that?” Sirius asked.
“They're girls, Sirius. It's what they do.” I told him, “Now come on! I want to try out this pretty little broom.”
A/N: I felt like I was cheating my other story by posting this up first, but it was already written and I love this chapter; it's one of my favorites.
You know you've been writing fanfiction too long when you're sitting in an airplane about to take off and think about James and Sirius' reactions to sitting in an airplane. I kid you not, that was what was going through my mind as my plane took off. It kind of creeped me out.
So, Quidditch next! Yay!
I really hope I got Bellatrix right and that you guys liked her. She has always been one of the more interesting characters, and I enjoyed writing her even if only for a few seconds.
And who loves Jace right now? :D
Who hates him?
Who digs Sirius' scar? I know that scene was a bit cheesmo, but it had to be done.
I think I'll end this stupidly long note. I know you don't care much for them ;). You're all here for the story. Just one last thing, RnR! It literally makes me squeal in joy when I see I have a new review. So make a fellow human happy and drop a line in the box, yeah?
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