What on earth was Rowena Ravenclaw thinking when she came up with Ravenclaw Tower? Seventeen minutes. That’s how long it takes to get from the Potions dungeons to the Ravenclaw sixth year girl dorms. That’s also precisely how long my ears and brain have been assaulted by Aerona’s incessant rambling. In this case, it’s a good thing that I have a natural tendency to tune people out when I sense a rant coming on. Thank Merlin too because if not, I would’ve gone crazy within mere weeks of knowing Aerona. I swear, the constant stream of words that come barreling out of that woman’s mouth like a waterfall could get a rise out of the most peaceful, nonviolent person in the world.
We had made it back to the room mere moments earlier and the way we were currently positioned it really did look like Aerona had talked me to death. The minute I walked into the room my bag was tossed uncaringly on the floor and I fell across my bed face down, golden hair splayed out like a halo, arms and legs stretched across the bed trying to take up as much room as humanly possible for me to do. Sitting right next to my motionless body was Aerona, talking of course and completely unaware that I quite possibly might have died right next to her. Again, thank Merlin I can tune her out.
I reached out and grabbed my pillow from beside me and jammed my face into it, reveling in the soft floofiness of it and for a moment, just one moment, with my face and my long body cushioned and comforted by the heavenly soft fabric of the royal blue comforter beneath me and Aerona’s voice dulled and unclear as if she were speaking under water, I experienced peace. But like I said before, it was just for a moment. A split second later, Aerona’s hand came out of nowhere and shook me to get my attention. I groaned.
“Are you listening to me Seren?”
I turned slightly to look at her, “No, ‘Rona, no. I’m really not.” My voice came out tired, like it does when I just wake up.
Aerona pouted, a move which usually works for her considering that the Fates love and adore her and as such have given her enviously plump lips, but since I’ve seen that move so many times it has lost its effect on me. “I was just saying that it isn’t fair.” She paused. “Maybe I’m spending too much time around you and those what-do-you-call’ems you say hate you so much are starting to hate me too.”
I sat up and looked at her full in the face, “Yeah, no. That’s not possible. They love you. If anything you’re just getting collateral damage from the intensity of their hatred for me.”
“Still not fair,” she muttered.
Okay that was it. “Look ‘Rona, I’m just as unhappy about this whole unfair injustice, maybe even more so. So would you do me, your best friend ever, a huge favor?”
Her eyelids lowered as she squinted at me. “What?” she asked tentatively.
“Shut up.” I lay back down, face returning to rest on the pillow.
A smile crept up and made itself comfortable on Aerona’s face. “Sorry ‘Ren, but it’s just so ironic y’know?”
Ah irony. Yes I know irony all too well as it is the favorite modus operandi of the Fates. Aerona said something else after that but I didn’t catch it. “Sorry, what did you say? I got distracted after you mentioned irony.”
Aerona rolled her eyes, “I was saying how you completely hated him and how you’re his partner for the year.”
I groaned, “Please, don’t remind me. And just because I don’t absolutely love who he is, what he does, and the ‘perfect’ little being that you say he is and continually remind me of, doesn’t necessarily mean I completely hate him.”
As I grinned cheekily at Aerona, she fixed me with one of those stares of hers that made it obvious she didn’t believe one word that had just come out of my mouth. “Uh-huh. Still ironic though.”
“Yeah well I hate irony. Those Fates like to use it to screw around with me.” I sighed heavily. “Life’s unfair.
Aerona moved me over from behind her and fell down across my bed next to me, her hair whipping out and smacking me in the face as it formed a delicate dark halo around her head. “I hear you.”
Spitting her hair out of my mouth, I looked at Aerona as we lay in silence. She had such pretty features, enviable by most people around her, including me. She was graced with beautiful, vibrant brown hair which rivaled my golden locks, full pink lips which completely decimated and put my thinish lips to shame, and softly rounded facial features as opposed to my sharp ones. We were about the same height so I couldn’t really complain about that. Now that I thought about it, we had very similar body types. The only difference was that she was a bit curvier than I was which did nothing to raise my self-esteem. I think the one thing I can claim over her is my eyes. I’ve always been told, ever since a young age, that I have very intense eyes. I suppose it’s because of this that I made sure I knew how to use them.
I turned away from Aerona and back into my wondrous pillow. Looking at her too long is like a death sentence for anyone’s self esteem. “Hey, what class do you have after this free block?”
I felt Aerona turn her head in my direction, “What?”
Oh right, she probably couldn’t hear me with my face buried in the pillow, huh? I sighed and turned my head just enough for the corner of my mouth to be free from the confines of the glorious pillow. “What class do you have after the free block?”
“I have another free block.”
I sat up then. Envy surged through me as I eyed her incredulously. “Seriously? Lucky you. I have Magical Creatures next!”
Aerona sat up sharply, her expression mirroring mine of incredulity. “What? You seriously kept Magical Creatures? Why on Earth would you do that? I could’ve sworn you told me that all animals hated you.”
I rolled my eyes, “Psh. Details.”
“In fact, if I remember correctly, you claimed that they were ‘out to get you’ and that ‘they could be mortal enemies and they would put all that aside just to come after you.’”
I pointed at her fiercely, fire igniting and blazing brightly behind my eyes. “Look, all of that is completely beside the point.”
“Oh really, and what, pray tell, is the point?” She said smugly.
“The point is that I love animals and nothing can change that.”
“Even when they randomly attack you?”
“Hey that unicorn had some deep, deep issues that it needed to sort out.” My hand instinctively made its way behind me, rubbing my backside where the unfortunate and painful experience with the unicorn occurred.
“What about the dugbog last year?”
I frowned, “It was just sore about being taken out of its natural habitat.”
“And the jarvey? Was that ‘just sore’ too?”
“No, that overgrown rat was the one who started it! You were there. You heard what it called me!”
Aerona’s body shook with suppressed laughter. “And of course who could forget your mom’s old jobberknoll?”
I pointed at her once again, dead serious, “I swear, that thing was pure evil and was just waiting for me to be all alone before it decided to die. You know, I couldn’t hear properly for weeks after that.” Aerona wasn’t even listening by that point. Oh no. She was too busy laughing her head off at my misfortunes. “Alright! Alright so maybe I don’t have the best of luck with magical creatures, but I still love them.” Aerona nodded now, giving me her smug “Uh huh, yeah, sure, I totally believe you Madam Paranoia" look. I ignored her and continued my defense. “Besides, the normal, muggle type animals like cats and dogs seem to like me.”
“Ha! Are you kidding me? Even those ones randomly attack you.”
“One time okay,’ I said holding up one finger in her face to emphasize the entire one-ness of the incident. “It only happened one time. And it wasn’t my fault.”
“Uh huh, sure ‘Ren, you keep telling yourself that.” Aerona’s laugher once again filled the air.
That laugh was really starting to grate on my already fragile nerves. There had to be some way to stop it. The Fates couldn’t hate me that much. Crap, I probably just jinxed myself. This was going to bite me in the arse later I just know it. I felt around me, searching for something to use. Then, my hand hit something wonderfully big and soft. My pillow! Success! Grasping the pillow, I brought it over my head and full out launched it at her. Aerona went silent as the pillow smacked her in the face with a dull ‘thwack’ and toppled her over. Silence. Double Success!
My first week of working with Regulus came and went and I must say that while I still was completely unhappy about the situation, it really wasn’t as horribly soul destroying of an experience that I thought it would be. I mean sure there was pretty much no talking between us, you know except for the whole figuring out ‘who got and did what’ thing at the beginning, but it actually worked out for us. Because of this whole ‘way more work and less talk’ system we had going, by the fifth week of classes we weren’t far from the top of the class. Not only that, but I was pretty surprised by Regulus.
Ever since first year he’d always come off as the type of person that I didn’t like. Like I had said before, he was arrogant, haughty, and walked around with a ‘holier-than-thou, high-and-mighty’ air surrounding him. He always put others down and picked on those he felt were lesser than him, which was probably everyone in his mind. Not only that, but he had the typical Slytherin thing going on: the little rich, pampered brat with connections getting whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it.
This year seemed different though. I mean by no means was he completely different, but he seemed—oh what was the word for it? Toned down. Like, sure he picked on lower years and still had a major river of arrogance flowing through him, but that side usually seemed to come out only when there was a big group of people around, which happened quite often. I think ‘show off’ is the term to be used for people like that. But when it was just a few people, he seemed very quiet and deep in thought.
I still didn’t like him, but there was this new, I guess you could say, ’tolerance’ of him that I’ve picked up. Unfortunately, someone else by the name of Aerona picked up on my picking up of tolerance for Regulus, if that makes any sense.
It was a rainy Saturday, a Hogsmeade weekend. Aerona and I walked into the grey, stormy ceiling of the Great Hall. Well actually, Aerona walked in all perky and what not and I kind of stumbled in a drowsy, half awakened state, towed along behind Aerona. She was like a super energetic dog that wakes up someone in the middle of the night insisting on a walk. Except in this case it wasn’t the middle of the night. More like nine, maybe ten in the morning.
As we sat at the table across from each other, Aerona’s hands came together to form a pyramid, her eyes boring into mine over her finger tips. I suppose she was going for the intimidating boss approach. I found the best way to deal with that was to ignore her, so I resumed filling my mouth full of eggs. “So Seren,” Aerona began coldly, “I haven’t heard much complaining from you about Regulus lately.”
I lifted my eyes to look at her, mouth full to the brim with eggs with another forkful on the way in. Dear Merlin, what on earth was she getting at? “Anf?” I muffled out around the eggs. “Yor poin’”
“My point is that you used to do it all the time.”
I nodded slowly, not catching on initially, “And?”
“Is there something you’re not telling me?” A fierce fire had entered her eyes by this point.
Oh, so that’s what she was getting at. Yes, I do have unimaginably slow moments in the morning. I scoffed and rolled my eyes, swallowing my partially chewed eggs so I could set the record straight with some dignity. “Oh please ‘Rona. It’s not like I constantly watch his every move and hunt him down for the sole purpose of finding things about him to complain about.”
“Then how come you—”
“Do you have any idea how much I’ve had to do lately? What am I saying? Of course you do. You and I have the same number of classes. Not only that, but don’t forget that I have to deal with various magical creatures who are determined to either see me dead or kill me themselves for some reason completely unknown to me. Seriously, I do nothing to them. They have no reason to hate me! All I want to do is help and play with them, but no, they can’t seem to get over some preconceived notion to hate me.” I paused. “What were we talking about again?”
Aerona stared at me with suspicion, “We were talking about Regulus and yeah, I suppose. We both do have a lot on our plates.” A fork full of eggs rose to her mouth. “I still find it a bit strange that you don’t say much though.”
Okay. That did it. I let my fork clatter to my plate, hands moving to rest flat on both sides of it. “Okay Aerona. Don’t worry. Next time I see him I’ll look extra hard for something, ANYthing, to complain about. And if I don’t find anything, which would be highly unlikely, I’ll stop him just for you and say, ‘Excuse me, but do you think you could do or say something rude, obnoxious, or arrogant that I can complain about to my friend? I tell you, she has been dying to practically throw all your questionably good qualities in my face and she cannot for the life of her seem to be able to do that unless I complain about you first.’ And then you know what he’ll say? He’ll say, ‘Sure, why not? I definitely need more people to praise me and every single thing that I do.’ Then I’ll say—”
Aerona reached across the table, grabbing me with one hand and covering my mouth with the other. “Okay, Okay! Your long, sarcastic point has been made. No more talk about my suspicions about you and Reg—” She took in the threatening glare I gave her and corrected herself accordingly. “Him.”
I nodded, quite satisfied that my rant worked on her. They usually do, but I can still glean satisfaction from the fact, right? I picked up my fork to continue my so rudely interrupted meal. “Good. Now we can talk about a subject that actually matters, like that essay Slughorn assigned us last Thursday. Did you start it yet?”
Aerona looked at me like she didn’t understand what I was talking about. “What are you talking about? I already finished that essay. Why? Didn’t you?” A smug look replaced her previous one of confusion.
I countered her look with a glare. Normally I would counter her jibes with witty retorts, but for some reason nothing came to mind instantly. With these sorts of things, there’s a certain time frame of at most three seconds to begin one’s retort. That three second mark just flew by me, waving as it passed me by, so I resorted to the ever popular, “Shut up Aerona,” and continued eating, looking away from her. As I was looking away, my eyes caught on a very delicious sight by the name of Sirius Black.
That alone was enough to make me forget all the picking me that Aerona was doing lately. He passed by our table, laughing along with his friends, talking about some fun they had had the night before. Probably some prank, but to be quite honest, I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying. His smile and laugh and eyes and just about everything else about him were much better things for me to be focusing on. I would love to just—Oh gosh! He looked at me! We made eye contact! Sure it was only for a split second, but it was contact! I would totally do my happy dance right now if it didn’t make me look like such a spaz.
Unfortunately, like many of my happy moments, Aerona butted in and just had to ruin it.
“Yoo-Hoo, Seren.” She said in an annoying sing-song voice, hand waving freely in front of my face and disrupting my sightseeing. “Anyone home?”
I huffed, “I am now. I was out enjoying an amazing sight, but you went and ended that when you waved that evil hand of yours in my face.”
Aerona looked behind her, wondering what I was talking about when her eyes caught on something. She stood up quickly, “Time to go ‘Ren.”
I looked down at my plate. “But I’m almost done.” I whined. What could be so important that I had to leave this instant?
“But the carriages are here!” She grabbed my arm and tugged. Luckily her nails were trimmed today. “Come on, let’s go.”
I looked over to the carriages just in time to see Regulus entering a carriage. I slowly turned and gave her my slightly famous ‘Really?’ stare.
She smiled at me and continued tugging, “Well, what are you waiting for? Hurry up!”
“You do know that there’s not going to be any room for you in that carriage, right? They’re probably going to fill it up to hold just their little ‘gang’”
“No harm in trying, right?”
“Right! You keep telling yourself that ‘Rona.” I looked up at the ceiling and sighed at the rainy sight above me.