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Laugh it Off by ValFish
Chapter 4 : Emotional Capacities
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6

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I don’t know how long I sat on the steps outside of the Great Hall, but it must’ve been a while because I could hear people galloping down the steps.

Just bloody fantastic.

James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.

I didn’t even have a snide remark for that.

“Jesus, Elsa, you shouldn’t really sit in the middle of the steps,” said James, faking a trip over me.

“Ha ha,” I said through sniffles I had done a poor job of disguising, looking at James. “I’ll keep that in mind next time some lunatic almost runs me over.”

James raised an eyebrow. “Why are you even sitting out here? Everyone else is in Hogsmeade.”

I looked away and stared at the ground. “Why aren’t you in Hogsmeade?” I asked quietly, ignoring James’ previous question.

James smiled and then sat down next to me.

Oh bloody hell.

“I asked first,” he said with a smirk. Sirius and Remus sat next to their friend, but it seemed that Peter had been hungry enough to leave for the Great Hall.

“I, erm, well, to be honest I got stood up,” I stated, trying to sound indifferent.

James crinkled his nose. “Tough luck,” he said, then, grabbing Sirius by the arm, dragged him away into the Hall.

Remus chuckled beside me. “I suppose you’ve figured out he has the emotional capacity of a brain-dead cockroach, haven’t you?”

I smiled despite myself. “It’s a wonder that Lily doesn’t want to go out with him.”

Remus laughed. “You should join us for lunch. Although by the time we get down there they’ll probably have eaten everything.”

“Sure, why not. After all, a fat girl can’t say no to food. It’s in my DNA,” I said lightly, but frowned when I noticed Remus’ expression.

“You shouldn’t say that,” he said simply.

I shrugged. “Fat is a descriptive word. I don’t take it offensively. You wouldn’t be offended if I called you tall, would you?”

Remus sighed. “I suppose not. But still. I don’t think you’re fat.”

I snorted and got up from the steps. “I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. Besides, I can eat whatever the hell I please. If I want a pumpkin pasty, I’ll have a pasty. You know Marlene? She wouldn’t touch anything worth more than ten calories with a forty foot pole.”

“Well then, I guess we should go have some pasties,” said Remus, rising to his feet. I looked up at him. Remus was really nice. I wasn’t sure why we hadn’t been friends until apparently right now.

Anyway, it was probably just a pity invitation, but I guess I didn’t really care.
“I mean it about the tall thing, you know,” I said jokingly, staring up. “How’s the weather up there?”

“And I mean it about Sirius, James and Peter,” he laughed, running a hand through his sandy hair, “We’ll be lucky if they’ve left any celery.”

“And then I told him that he was the most handsome monkey I’d ever seen. McGonagall didn’t think it was funny.” James finished his story and I was wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. I had forgotten about the time in fourth year when James, being incredibly talented at transfiguration, had turned Severus Snape into a monkey.

“So, back to you, Elsa darling, who exactly is this boy who stood you up?” James asked, adjusting his glasses, which were still lopsided.

I avoided his gaze. “Regulus Black,” I mumbled, feeling dumber and dumber for listening to that arse in the first place.

Sirius spit out his pumpkin juice. “You had a date with my brother?” He asked, astonished.

I nodded. “Son of a bitch stood me up, but yes.”

Damn Regulus Black and his false charm.

“I told you so,” Sirius said under his breath.

I sighed. “Thank you, Sirius. I’m aware.”

James cleared his throat. “Well, this is awkward.”

“Awye Agreen,” said Peter through a mouthful of tart.

Remus rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe I have to tell you to chew with your mouth closed, Peter.”

Peter shrugged and continued eating.

“You know, I’d love to lazy about making awkward conversation, but I do believe that Remus, Peter and I have a detention to serve this afternoon, if I’m not mistaken,” said

James, getting up from the Gryffindor table.

I grinned. “How is it Remus managed detention and Sirius didn’t?”

“Charm,” said Remus and Sirius at the same time.

Peter, James and I laughed as Remus and Sirius looked at each other strangely.

“What I mean is Sirius can sweet talk his way out of anything. Especially with Professor Airhead,” Remus stated.

Sirius rolled his eyes at his friend. “Her name is Professor Airhalle, and you know it,” he said firmly.

James leaned over to Peter. “Told you he fancied her,” he said quickly.

“I do not!” Sirius exclaimed, now a tomato red.

“Well, we’re off to detention. You two should go to Hogsmeade,” said James, before quickly adding, “As friends, you know, because you both are dateless.”

Sirius shot James a death glare. “No offense, of course. Now c’mon.”

James, Remus and Peter retreated off to Airhalle’s detention, leaving Sirius and I sitting at the Gryffindor table.

“So, who stood you up? Or has the end of the world come and Sirius Black was unable to get a date?” I asked, resting my head on my elbow.

“Me, not have a date, please,” Sirius scoffed. “No, I got stood up by my own bloody girlfriend.”

I bit my tongue to avoid insulting Marlene. “Oh. Well I’d say I’m worse off than you.”

Sirius got up from the table and I followed. “No kidding. What were you thinking? My brother’s a complete tosspot, you should really have figured that out.”

“Well he’s the only one that’s ever asked,” I snapped. “Sorry, that was uncalled for,” I added as we left the relatively empty Great Hall.

“Really? I would have thought people would be lining up to ask you,” Sirius said. I wasn’t sure if it was intended to be sarcastic or not.

“I don’t appreciate you not being serious about this, you know. I’ve never been asked out,” I said, glaring.

“First off, I’m always Sirius and secondly, I don’t really believe that,” Sirius said in his defense as we left the castle and walked across the ground.

“Well, believe it. To most of the school’s male population, I’m second best to the Giant Squid,” I sighed, staring at the Black Lake. “But I guess I don’t care. Now all I want to do is strangle that brother of yours. You mind?”

Sirius snorted, “Be my guest. He’s a right prick anyways.”

“Yeah. Oh, damn.”

Marlene McKinnon was headed in our direction, her face drawn in anger and her brown eyes looked like they were going to burst from their sockets.

“SIRIUS!” Marlene screeched across the space before becoming face-to-face with Sirius.

“Just what the bloody hell are you doing with her?” She fumed, pointing directly at me.

Sirius sighed. “We’re friends, Marlene, friends talk.”

“Don’t you lie to me, Sirius Orion Black.”

That was it; I lost it. I burst out in furious laughter.

“Your initials are S.O.B!” I chocked out.

Marlene just stared at me, but I could tell Sirius was trying his damndest not to laugh.

“I’m sorry, this is so inappropriate, I’ll just leave…” I trailed off, turning around. “S.O.B., that’s a riot.”

I was squealing like a moron.

I doubt that anyone didn’t know that Sirius Black had broken up with Marlene McKinnon.

After it happened, Marlene came storming into our dormitory, so angry that she was cussing with words I didn’t even know.

Mary MacDonald, being the neutral party in our dorm, was the one who had to tell her that Sirius was an obnoxious arse.

Not that I disagree, but I certainly wasn’t going to say it to make Marlene feel better.

This is where the whole ‘people just automatically assume I’m a bitch’ would be coming from.

Ah, well, better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you’re not. Or in my case hated for what you’re not.

But that’s debatable.

“I told you, they’re only going to be off for a week or so, and then Sirius and Marlene will be back together like PB&J,” Alice said, the noticing my expression, added, “Forgive the horrible analogy.”

“Of course,” I replied, bowing. Alice and I were on our way to dinner, then she was going to meet Frank Longbottom in the library and I was going to wait behind a dark corner to hex Regulus Black.

Probably not, but a girl can dream.

“Oof! Watch where you’re going, dipshit,” Alice said as a figure with dark hair deliberately knocked her over.

“Oh, it’s you two,” Marlene McKinnon stated, standing directly in front of us, hands on her bony hips. “Come to mock me?”

I shrugged. “Love to, but I’m a tad bit hungry. Can’t just be calling people out on an empty stomach, you know.”

Marlene rolled her eyes. “Figures. Chubs has to eat before she can hold a civil conversation.”

“I highly doubt any of our conversations are civil, Marlene. Or since I’m ‘chubs’, maybe I should call you ‘bitch’.”

Alice stuck her tongue out at Marlene and we continued into the Great Hall.

I sat at my usual spot, third seat from the end, and Alice sat across from me. Mary and Lily usually sat on either side of us and James Potter did his best to sneak in next to Lily, which sometimes landed us sitting with them.

Today, for instance, James sat next to Alice (one seat away from his ‘love’) and Sirius plunked down next to Mary, Remus sat on my other side and Peter sat on James’ free side.

Sirius then decided we would have ‘teams’.

“What the bloody hell does that mean?” I asked, taking a sip of water (I’m wasn’t fond of pumpkin juice).

Sirius grinned. “Well, our obviously superior side against their inferior waste of a bench.”

Alice frowned. “I still don’t get the point.”

“That is the point. There is no point,” said Sirius, “You see, the goal is to always be on my side. For example: Mary, Elsa, Remus and I are all on the winning team. James, Peter, Lily and you are all on the losing team.”

Lily reached across the table and hit Sirius upside the head. “You’re an idiot,” she said simply, and returned to her food.

James shrugged at Sirius apologetically. “She’s got a point, mate.”

Sirius frowned.

“Don’t worry, Sirius, I think it’s a good plan,” said Mary, too flirtatiously for my liking.

Sirius smiled. “I know, I know.”

Sirius and Mary spent the entire dinner flirting back and forth. I thought I was going to blow a gasket at any minute. Not to my surprise, Remus also had a look of hatred for Sirius. I always knew he kind of had a thing for Mary.

So, I came up with a plan. An amazingly brilliant plan that was sure to work. I had to corner Remus in the corridor after dinner to explain, but I’d hoped it’d be worth the effort.

“Listen,” I said quietly, “I know you fancy Mary.”

Remus instantly blushed. “I do not,” he said indignantly.

I rolled my eyes. “Let’s be real here, Remus. I like Sirius; we all know that. You fancy Mary. We also know that. I vote we play sabotage.”

Now, the Remus everyone thinks they know would have dearly opposed this suggestion. The new, more jealous Remus, however, heartily agreed.

“Let’s do it, then. But how?”

I thought about this for a moment. I hadn’t planned that far ahead, as I was kind of counting on him to say no.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

We both stood there in thought until suddenly there was a bolt of inspiration in the form of a familiar argument between James and Lily.

“James,” we said in unison. If anyone knew how to try to make people jealous, it was James Potter.

“You know, Moony, I thought you’d never ask,” James said as the three of us walked up to Gryffindor Tower. “I was beginning to think you’d given up.”

Remus blushed and I laughed.

“But really, James, do you think it’ll work?”

James put on a look of mock astonishment. “Why Elsa, are you doubting the great James Potter? Of course it will work. Like I said, all you two have to do is go out.”

“Okay, but what do you mean by that?” I asked, clearly more confused than Remus.

“You know, go out. Hold hands, Remus here has to carry all your stuff, sit together, go to Hogsmeade. Merlin, have either of you been paying attention the past five years?”
James concluded.

“Right. So when do we start?” I asked Remus, who shrugged.

James shook his head sadly. “Tomorrow is Monday. Next Hogsmeade weekend isn’t until the end of October. So I’d say you have a week to flirt, then Remus, you ask Elsa out after class on Friday.”

So this leaves me in an awkward situation. I have to pretend to flirt, with Remus, who I barely know, and then fake go out with him. To make Sirius jealous.

I see two problems with this.

One- I like Remus okay, but really only as a friend. And I’m a horrible actress.

Two- I don’t know if Sirius even likes me.

Merlin, it’s going to be fucked up if he doesn’t.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you two in the morning,” I said to Remus and James, who nodded and retreated back down the stairs.

Half of me wanted to know what they were doing.

But sometimes with James Potter, it’s better not to know.

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