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Chapter 6 : A Fluffy White Ensemble and Admitting You Need Help
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Giggles. Giggles. Giggles.
That was what Megara Rivera heard as she and her fellow Gryffindors walked to the Great Hall for lunch.
For once, these giggles were not those of Sirius Black, but those of Claribel Collins and Shanti Sunrita, who had found their Double Potions period of the morning extremely hilarious.
Even More Giggles. This time they were joined by a couple of deeper sources of laughter.
Meg had very little patience for giggling, or gigglers for that matter, but she made a small exception for her best friends. After all, she had to admit to herself that the first period of the day had indeed been eventful.
Sirius had been completely obnoxious this morning, to the point of annoyance for everyone, not just the sleep deprived, raccoon-eyed Meg. Bounding around on some chocolate high, he had been partnered with Mia, who had sprinted into class late. If Mia was unhappy about her partner to begin with, that was nothing to how she felt now.
“Did you see her face?”
“I knew he was going to barf halfway through the first class.”
“She looked sooo pissed.”
“I told you, didn’t I?”
“You’d be pissed too if someone puked in your new Manolos.”
“I told you that Sirius couldn’t keep his chocolate down.”
“What the hell are Manolos?”
“Really fucking expensive shoes, that’s what they are.”
“Sorry, Miss Evans. I’ll try to keep a cleaner mouth while in the presence of your headship.”
Meg rolled her eyes at her friends banter, and the six Griffindors entered the Great Hall.
The ceiling was now a pale blue, and Meg observed that, like the weather outside, the collective mood in the Great Hall had improved enormously since the gray drizzle of the morning.
Settling in at the far end of the Gryffindor table, the group continued to revel in the comical potions class of the morning.
“I wonder when Sirius will be let out of the hospital wing?” Lily speculated.
“Oh, he’ll be let out within the hour.” James answered confidently.
“Listen to James, Lily. Out of everyone in our year, he has spent the most time in the hospital wing.” Remus said as he reached for some baked chicken.
“When you play Quidditch as hard as I do, injuries are bound to happen.” James explained, jokingly boastful.
Shanti snorted. “Oh please. You know as well as we do, James, that your Quidditch injuries only amount to about half of your hospital wing visits.”
“That is not true! I can only think of one time where–” James was cut off abruptly.
“Remember that time in fifth year when you went crashing through the window in Defense Against the Dark Arts?” Shanti asked him, as she reached to grab a dinner roll.
“Not my fault. Sirius was a dueling disaster.”
“Then there was the time when we were third years when you got caught in the trip step and ended up falling three floors.” Remus supplied.
“Again, not my fault! Sirius pushed me down the second two.”
“Oh! Remember that time last year after the Hogsmeade trip when you went running back to the castle puking your guts out,” Claribel reminisced with a smile.
“I swear! Sirius spiked my food at The Three Broomsticks! He was jealous that the new barmaid was talking more to me than to him.”
Meg rolled her eyes at this.
Lily rolled her eyes.
Claribel simply smiled placating.
Shanti snorted again.
“Stop doing that!” James said, aghast.
“Stop doing what?”
A new arrival appeared next to James. It was a rather pudgy boy. This boy was also wearing robes of red and gold, although they had stretched a bit since the owner had last worn them, the bottoms a bit tighter. He had dirty brown hair, all of which was matted to his skin, slicked with sweat.
Meg shivered with revulsion. She had never liked him. He always just seemed so damn creepy. Always following the boys around. Then following the girls around when the groups began to mesh more in their later years. How this pathetic lump of a creature ever was sorted into Gryffindor Meg would never know. Why did the marauders even befriend him in the first place? He was really nothing like the rest of them: charming, talented, intelligent, witty, and handsome. He possessed none of these qualities, yet all of them seemed to show some life-loyalty towards one another that could never possibly be broken.
Meg, on the other hand, was not so foolishly sentimental. She knew that something that seemed sure and steady could be ripped apart in a single moment, tarnished forever. She knew that there was no such thing as “life-long” when it came to bonds with other people. Her friends knew that she felt this way. Well, her girlfriends did. While they didn’t always like that she viewed human relationships as temporary and futile, they tried their best to understand and accept her for it. They knew that she wouldn’t change unless she wanted to. That was one thing that all the Griffindors seemed to have in common: stubborn, hardheadedness.
Returning her thoughts back to the boy, Meg realized that James was speaking to him.
“Wormtail! I’m not in the hospital wing that often. Am I? For non-Quidditch related reasons, of course.”
“Well. You are in there quite a bit.” The boy, Wormtail, said looking thoughtful, but hesitating, not wanting to offend.
“See,” said Shanti triumphantly, “even Peter thinks so.”
“Yeah,” said Peter, gaining some sort of weird confidence from Shanti’s statement. “I mean, after all, Prongs, you are usually the one to end up in the hospital wing after a Full–” Peter was cut off brusquely by James.
“Hey, you know what? Maybe you guys are right. I am in the hospital too much. It’ll be a new goal for the year. See if I can limit it to, maybe three trips or so? That’s probably not enough. Five trips? Five trips. That should be good. Five trips to the hospital wing for James this year. Anyone want to bet against me? Any takers?” James looked around wildly, a smile on his face but a look of panic in his eyes.
Peter looked sheepish, snapping his mouth shut. Meg noted hopefully that it looked unlikely that he would speech for the rest of the afternoon.
As for herself, Meg didn’t understand James’s sudden outburst of a rant at all. Shanti and Claribel looked equally confused. The three of them exchanged glances before looking at Lily. Lily was avoiding eye contact with any of them, choosing instead that this was the proper moment to pay full attention the chicken sandwich on her plate. Looking at Remus, Meg saw that he had stiffened his posture a bit, but it was obvious that he was trying to remain composed.
“Anyone?” James repeated exuberantly.
Lily looked up from her lunch, “I’ll take that bet, Potter.”
Meg, Shanti, and Claribel looked at one another in further confusion. Lily was taking bets?
“Ah, ye of little faith, Miss Evans?”
“I shall prove you wrong then!” James was clinging to the forced conversation.
“Ah, ye of little faith!” James repeated, lacking the ability to foster a new thought, Meg noted.
“Well,” Lily said, looking thoughtful, “I’m just looking at your track record here, James, and I find it unlikely that you’ll be able to keep yourself to a limited number of hospital trips. Besides, if you’re short come near the end of the year, I could always just push you down a couple staircases when we’re doing rounds some night.”
Completely comfortable in the situation, Lily seemed to calm the tense atmosphere with her rational explanation.
“You wouldn’t.” James said, already recovering from his previous awkwardness.
“I would.” Lily told him, sincerely. “So, how much are we betting then?” Lily leaned forward across the table, uncharacteristically batting her eyelashes subtly at James.
Flabbergasted, James managed to stutter, “Uh, um…100.”
“Galleons?” came Claribel’s shocked voice as she emerged from her state of confusion.
Lily smiled mischievously, “You’re on, Potter.”
Then she winked at him.
Lily winked at James. If Meg was confused before, it was nothing to how she felt now.
“Was that a wink?” Meg heard Shanti whisper to Claribel.
Still smiling flirtatiously, Lily reached her arm across the table towards James, “Shake?”
Mouth wide open, James looked at Lily’s hand. He looked unsure as to what to do with it.
“Shaaaake,” Lily repeated, drawing the word out while wiggling her fingers.
James slowly took her hand, and Lily pumped them up and down twice.
Lily smiled cheerfully and went back to her food.
James looked more confused than ever.
“Soooo…” Claribel looked as though she was aching to exit the awkward atmosphere now centered on the Gryffindors.
Shanti joined in, “Soooo.”
“Soooo,” Remus caroled.
“Um, so…” Claribel faded out. She rested her head in her hand.
Everyone looked down at his or her plates, picking at food that wasn’t going to be eaten.
“Excuse me?” a small girl, no older than eleven, asked the group. All turned to her, thankful for the interruption.
The girl looked alarmed at the rapt attention the seventh years were showing here. “Um,” she said, avoiding looking at anyone directly, “I’m suppose to give these the Head Boy and Head Girl.”
“That’s us,” Lily said kindly, motioning towards James and her. She alone seemed to have not been affected at all by the strange discussion and resulting awkwardness.
Lily took two rolls of parchment from the girl, who hastened away before she could even hear Lily say, “Thank you!”
Handing one over to James, Lily proceeded to open up her own envelope.
She read, “Miss Evans, I’m very happy to congratulate you on earning Head Girl. It was very well deserved. I’m hoping that you’ve had a successful morning back and are ready to embark on an exciting, and busy, new school year. I was hoping to arrange a Head meeting between myself, you, and, of course, Mr. Potter this Friday evening at seven o’clock. Please respond quickly. Sincerely, Professor Albas Dumbledore.”
“A meeting with Dumbledore?” James questioned, rising from his stupor to open his own letter.
“It would appear so.”
“Is this a normal thing? For the Headmaster to meet with the two Heads?” Claribel asked them.
“Not that I know of, “ Lily answered her as James shrugged. “Most of the time, Dumbledore only intervenes if we’d need special permission for something. Otherwise, I think he likes the students to lead the school.”
“That’s why we have Prefects and Heads,” Remus said, nodding his head as Lily spoke.
“Exactly, the system has been in affect for almost of Hogwarts History.”
James fidgeted nervously, “You don’t think that this has something to do with, well, either of us, do you?”
Shanti laughed, “James, have you committed a crime already–so early into the school year? ‘Fraid you’re going to lose the badge?” Shanti poked at the badge repeatedly to accent her point.
“No. But, well, there was the party last night.” James admitted.
Remus reasoned, “Prongs, don’t worry. Dumbledore, and most of the other teachers, like to pretend to be oblivious to most of the wrongdoings of students, as long as no one gets hurt.”
“Besides, no one gets in trouble the first day back!” Claribel told him exuberantly.
“What about that time in fifth year when Sirius grabbed the reins of the carriages and we all ended up in the forbidden forest?” Lily asked her.
Shanti laughed, “Oh my gosh, I had forgotten all about that. That was hilarious. Who had any idea that actual invisible creatures were guiding the carriages, and not just magic?”
“That was pretty awesome.” James declared, glazed look in his eyes.
“More like frightening,” Meg said, also remembering the experience. Heading toward the darkest part of the forest, hurtling into nothingness at breakneck speed was not something that she ever intended on repeating.
“Back to the letter,” said Lily, “I really don’t know what it could be about. If Dumbledore was going to be a stickler for the rules, I doubt that he would have picked a marauder for Head Boy.”
James sighed, relieved.
Lily looked pensive, “Thinking about it logically though, this must be something important for Dumbledore to be meeting with us himself.”
James stiffened in his seat again.
“James, you look a little anxious,” Claribel observed as she started to gather her books for the afternoon classes. Indeed, James had a frown on his face, some deep- set wrinkles on his forehead, and his posture was that of a fourteenth-century monk.
“Me?” James asked. “Anxious? No. Never.”
“You sure?” Claribel continued.
James ran his hand though his hair.
“Yup, he’s definitely anxious.” Lily confirmed, who was also watching James closely.
“James, if you’re really having problems with stress, I can give you the names of some good therapists.” Meg told him.
“Hey! I don’t need to see a shrink! Okay?” James answered her defiantly.
“There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you need help, mate.” Remus said calmly. “Sometimes talking is the best way to get it all out.”
“But why on earth would I want to spill my guts to some random stranger?” James asked.
“So we don’t have to listen to you.”
“Kidding, Prongs. Settle down.”
As Meg listened to the guys, she silently agreed with James. She had her fair share of experiences talking with ”shrinks”. The more accurate statement would be “trying” to talk with psychologists. Her mother had been very keen on them after everything that happened in her fifth year at Hogwarts. Meg felt like this was her mother’s attempt to avoid having Meg actually talk to her about anything rather than her mother truly wanting to help. The whole thing was stupid and had been entirely pointless in her opinion. Meg had told three successive “doctors” that nothing was wrong with her, and she gave them no further information about herself for them to dissect her any further. It had been a complete waste of her mother’s money, so Meg could at least get some enjoyment out of that fact. Lord knows her mother had enough money to keep a third-world country afloat.
“Can we stop talking about my stress levels, my psyche, and my many trips to the hospital wing and just go to class already?” James said, irritated.
“Maybe his injuries are self-inflicted!” Shane declared.
Following Shanti’s lead, Lily said, “James, hurting yourself to feel that you are in control is not the answer.”
“Hey! I earn all my injuries fair-and-square.” James defended.
“Not the best time to use that expression, mate,” Remus informed James, grinning, “but I believe we get your point.”
Very annoyed with his friends, James said, “I wish Sirius was here. He would never pick on me.”
All of them laughed.
Lily, still giggling, said, “James, first of all, that sounds so ridiculous. Second, Sirius digs on you more than any of us. Third, you just want him here so we all can tease him instead of you. And finally,” Lily paused, increasing her volume, “you’re going to have to work very hard on not saying things like this if you’re trying to rid people’s impressions on your friendship with Sirius.”
James went red with indignation.
He looked at the group, most of who were still laughing, and turned to stomp out of the Great Hall.
This caused all of the Gryffindors to laugh even more at his retreating back.
“When do you think he’ll realize that he forgot his book bag?” Remus asked with a sly grin.
Suddenly, James came marching back to the table. Without saying a word to anyone, he grabbed his bag and strode right back out of the room.
They all laughed again, even Meg, who had to cover her mouth to hide any weird sounds from escaping her. She absolutely loathed her laugh. He mother told her when she was nearly four that her laugh was ghastly and disgusting, two words a four-year-old should never know, but when you’re the child of Maleficient Rivera, these words are as common as “dolly” and “naptime” are to the average toddler.
Returning to present day, Meg gathered her things for Transfiguration as her classmates did the same.
As they exited the Great Hall, Shanti repeated for them, “I still say that boy needs to seek some serious help.”
As Mia stepped out of the shower, she inhaled deeply, letting the fresh fragrances inundate her lungs. Lavender and orange freesia dominated any other possible odors that may have been trying to permeate the room. Grabbing her towel, Mia dried herself while wringing out her hair. She had never felt so beautifully clean.
She had also never felt so…dry. Her skin was very wrinkled, Mia observed, looking at her fingers.
“Lotion,” she muttered, looking around for her own supply, but finding nothing. She saw what she thought to be Lily’s strawberry kiwi smelling lotion, but she decided that it would be best not to use it. Lily was strangely possessive of bathroom products.
Hopping across the slick floor, Mia meandered her way into the girls’ seventh-year dormitory.
Mia immediately began to move toward her own four-poster bed when she discovered that she was not alone in the room.
“Epee!” she shrieked, almost dropping her towel. Then grabbing onto it as if it was her lifeline.
There was a boy lying across her bed.
“SIRIUS ORION BLACK! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN HERE?”
Sirius made a face, “Really, love, why the middle name?”
“Because you’re a bloody fuckwit! That’s why!” Mia screeched at him.
“Calm down. It’s not like I came in here expecting you to be half-stalkers.” Sirius grinned in amusement as Mia attempted to conceal herself in Claribel’s curtains. He stretched out his arms before crossing them to rest behind his head. With his feet resting comfortably on Mia’s pillow, he looked the picture of contentment. He did not look like someone who had rained sick all over the potions classroom this morning. Mia assessed that he looked happy and healthy: two things that he did not deserve to be. Furthermore, in Mia’s opinion, he looked to be enjoying this situation far more than he should.
Enraged by his seemingly oblivious attitude, Mia picked up a shoe on the floor and threw it at Sirius. “I was in the shower!”
Sirius, who had caught the shoe with ease, looked confused. “For…three hours?”
“YES! If you can recall, someone decided to douse me in vomit this morning!”
Sirius looked sheepish.
“What? Got nothing to say to that?” Mia’s anger was reaching a boiling point.
Flipping his legs off her bed, Sirius turned to face Mia. His teeth tugged on his upper lip.
“Sorry,” he said. It was barely a whisper.
He cast he eyes down in shame before meeting hers. He looked the picture of remorse.
“Oh, no you don’t! Don’t go thinking that just because you pout that puppy-dog face of yours and look at me like that that I’m just going to automatically forgive your chocolate-eating ass.” Although her words were harsh, Mia could feel her anger ebbing away.
“I’m sorry, Mia.” The poor boy sounded like a wounded animal.
Mia sighed. She never could hold a grudge for long.
“Alright, fine. I forgive you,” she added for good measure, “you idiot.”
Sirius’s face transformed. His grey eyes lit up as he smiled, genuinely smiled, at Mia.
Mia couldn’t help but smile back.
In a darting movement, Sirius was across the room and had picked Mia up in a hug. Mia, who was caught by surprise, gasped before giggling a bit. They both chuckled as Sirius rapidly spun them around in a circle. Then, Mia remembered that the only thing between her body and a seventeen year-old boy was a towel. This piece of fabric had never seemed so thin. She cleared her throat. Sirius, seeming to realize what he was doing, put her down lightly. He took a couple of steps away from her and leaned casually against the bedpost of Claribel’s four-poster. His sparkly grey eyes were filled with mischief and…something else, Mia thought as she mirrored him, leaning against the bedpost opposite.
“You’re still stupid as fuck for eating chocolate for breakfast.” She told him, hoping to distract him from her blush, which she could feel rising up in her cheeks.
“Yeah. No more Cocoa Puffs for breakfast,” Sirius said morosely.
Mia rolled her eyes, which were looking pointedly at the ground, as she adjusted her towel. “I think you’ll survive. With some good-therapy, anything’s possible.”
“It’s going to be tough. I’ll need all the support I can get.”
“We’re all here for you, especially during your time of need.”
“Thanks. I appreciate that.”
Although their conversation had whittled into sarcasm, Sirius was still looking at Mia with that weird look in his eyes. Wanting him to stop doing that, Mia asked, “So, didn’t you have a reason why you decided to invade our inner girly sanctum? Wait a second,” Mia interrupted herself before Sirius even had time to open his mouth. “How the hell did you get in here?”
Rather than being angered, as she knew Lily would have been in the situation, Mia was truly curious as to how Sirius had managed to avoid the sliding staircase that had stumped all previous Gryffindor boys from entering the girls’ dormitories.
“Aw,” said Sirius slowly, “well, that is for me to know…and you to not.”
Mia’s jaw dropped.
“Muwhahahaha,” Sirius laughed evilly twiddling his fingertips together.
“You’re being awfully cruel to someone that you puked on earlier today.” Mia told him, pouting. She couldn’t believe that he’d actually figured it out.
“Ah, ah, ah, I’m already forgiven for that. Remember? You were there? Just three minutes ago? Anyways, I came in here because I wanted to know if you were going to go to afternoon lessons, but, seeing as it’s now almost three, I somehow doubt that will happen.”
Mia shook her head. For six years, the Marauder’s had been trying to get up into the girls’ dormitories with no success. Then today, Sirius suddenly knows how to do it…
“So, when did you figure it out?” she asked him.
“When did you lot figure out how to get up here? I’m assuming that you’ve been privy to this knowledge for quite some time now.”
Sirius refused to meet her eyes.
“Sirius,” she said reproachfully.
Sirius sighed. “Last year. James and I went for a fly after the Quidditch final and found out that we could just fly right through the window. We’ve actually never been up here since.”
Mia narrowed her eyes accusingly, not believing this last statement.
“I swear!” Sirius defended himself.
“So all you have to do is fly up here?” Mia was astonished by this complete lax in security. All they had to do was fly? The school was freaking magical, someone should have thought of this.
“Yup,” Sirius said, “I was surprised we’d never thought of it before. I suppose we’d just think that would be too easy, you know?”
Mia huffed. She was not at all happy by the new possibilities presented with the boys’ new ability to enter into their dormitory.
“Oh, calm down, love,” Sirius said, interpreting her mood correctly. “I promise to only use my powers for good…and to,” Sirius paused. Sirius’s eyes traveled from Mia’s still wet, and freezing feet, up her body to her dripping hair. “Knock before entering,” he finished.
Mia gave him a good shove.
“Out!” She ordered, pointing at the door.
Sirius obeyed, shouting as he exited, “Although I must admit, you look stunning in that fluffy white ensemble. You should wear it more often.”
AN: I am so bad. It has been forever since an update. Oh well, life passes by fast. I know. I’m Deep. Right?
Well, hope you enjoyed chapter 6! Got to learn a little more about Meg! What do you guys think of her? Also, I hope I didn’t offend anyone with all the “shrink” talk because I have nothing against “Admitting you need help” as the chapter title will suggest. There’re several things developing in this chapter! What did everyone pick up on?
LEAVE A REVIEW!!! NOW!
“please” (she says wearing Sirius’s puppy dog face)
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