Chapter 14 : Bets, Staircases and Moaning Myrtle
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When I wake up the next morning I find that Charlotte is hogging all the blankets on one side of me and Lily is about to fall off the bed on the other side of me. I laugh and push her all the way off the bed. Lily hits the ground with a thump and a loud groan that wakes Charlotte from her slumber.
“What’s going on?” She says slowly, rubbing her eyes tiredly. I grin at her and point to the side of the bed where Lily used to be. We watch as she lifts her head from the floor to where we can see it and glares at me intensely. Her green eyes narrow dangerously and I gulp. I’ve seen many Lily temper tantrums but I have been fortunate enough to never be on the receiving end of one.
“You’re on your own with this one, sister” Charlotte says before she dashes into the bathroom, locking the door behind her.
“Now, Lily, be reasonable”
“Don’t you ‘be reasonable’ me, Carrington Clarke. You’re going to get it for that one, Missy.” Yeah, I’m scared. Quick as lightning, Lily grabs a pillow off the bed and flings it at my face, muffling my shocked squeal. We grin at each other as we grab pillows and the war begins.
“Where are they?” I whine, poking at my bacon.
“They probably had Cookie bring them breakfast in Carrington’s room. Relax, Sirius, we’ll see them at some point today” Remus tells me with a smug look. He’s confident that he’ll win our bet, I’m not so sure. They wouldn’t have been doing anything that they would be afraid to tell us about would they? Surely not. Still, I don’t even like to consider that girls spend hours talking about us to each other. I’ve dated girls who are best friends, what if they compare notes? Shudder.
Lily and Charlotte finally walk into breakfast, their arms linked together and giggling madly.
“Morning, boys” Lily says brightly, sitting next to James and kissing his cheek. Charlotte greets Remus similarly and I wish for the first time the Carrington could be seen by everyone and could join us in the hall for breakfast.
“Did Carrington go down to the kitchens?” I ask the girls. Lily shakes her head.
“Nah, we already ate. Carrington said she would be where you had the snow fight if you wanted her”
“Probably trying to think of ways to end her drought” Charlotte says and the girls break into a fit of giggles.
“Or thinking of ways to put ‘nasty’ more politely” Lily gasps out and the giggles intensify. Girls are so weird sometimes.
“So, what did you girls get up to last night?” I interrupt as soon as the giggles begin to die down. Lily and Charlotte look at each other and then to me before raising their eyebrows.
“Well, we painted our nails, did our hair and then we practiced kissing on each other” Charlotte says. Peter sprays juice all over the table and James and I look at them with wide eyes. Remus just looks smug.
“Really?” I say hesitantly. Lily rolls her eyes.
“Of course not, Black. Did you actually think we would tell you what happens and what we talk about on girls’ night? That’s sacred and cannot be shared with boys. Ever.” She says, Charlotte nodding in agreement. Remus looks even more smug, if that’s even possible.
Bugger. I really need to learn to avoid betting things that I really don’t want to lose. Now I can’t kiss Carrington for a week and I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to do that. I probably shouldn’t tell Carrington that we bet on the girls and that I lost. She might get mad and I don’t want her to be mad at me.
“I’m going to go and find Carrington” I announce as I stand from the table.
“Don’t forget our wager” Remus calls as I leave, “I will know if you break it!”
I’m a lot more careful as I make my way through the dungeons to the passageway this time. The Slytherins will have returned now on the train and will probably be looking for some entertainment seeing as how classes don’t start until Monday. I may pick on Slytherins a lot, Snape in particular, but I’m not an idiot and know better than to get into a fight with them in their own territory.
I’m lucky and don’t meet anyone on the way, soon finding myself walking towards a figure, who I know to be Carrington, who is sitting on a large piece of stone among the ruins. She turns when she hears me approach and smiles at me. I grin back like an idiot and wonder how I was ever happy before I met her, that smile gets me every time. I’d be disgusted to hear James say something like that about Lily, she’s turned me into a sappy, lovesick puppy and yet I don’t seem to mind. I would’ve been horrified at that a few months ago.
“Hello” She greets and stands to kiss me. I may be a sappy lovesick puppy but I am still Sirius Black, and Sirius Black does not back down from bets, win or lose. Hence, Carrington’s kiss turns into an awkward half-hug with her face being pressed into my armpit because of her lack of height. When I pull away Carrington looks at me confusedly but seems to brush it off and takes my hand instead.
“I was just thinking about what it will be like when you all leave next year” she says sadly, leading me towards the lake.
“Don’t” I say firmly, “You’ll only make yourself upset when you know quite clearly that we will not abandon you, me especially. Just you wait, Dumbledore won’t be able to get rid of us”
“I know, I know. I was thinking that I might go to classes next year. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to have actual friends” She says wistfully.
“You had a good time with the girls then?” I ask and she grins at me.
“I like girls’ night” she tells me.
“So, what did you do?” I ask, trying to act casual, maybe I could win this bet after all? Carrington laughs and pushes me playfully.
“Oh no, you don’t. I was told specifically that it is against the rules of girls’ night to reveal to boys anything that may or may not have happened. Besides I wouldn’t tell you even if it weren’t a rule, it’s between me and the girls. I don’t ask what you boys talk about when you all get together!” I suppose she’s right. I wouldn’t tell the girls what we discussed, they definitely wouldn’t like us talking about their sex lives to each other. James probably wasn’t meant to tell that they’d shagged or something and talking about it could get him in trouble.
“Alright, I won’t ask again” I say, taking her hand again.
“I’ve never wanted to leave the castle before” Carrington sighs, “but it seems now that I know I can’t, even if I wanted to, I actually want to leave”
“Maybe we could find a cure? If you were smart enough to create the spell in the first place, maybe between you and Remus you could reverse it?” I suggest. Carrington gives me a wry smile and pats me on the arm.
“If only it was that simple” she says. I nod and look off into the distance, knowing that she’s right and there is most likely not any way to reverse what has been done. We walk back to the castle in silence, contemplating just what we are getting ourselves into and how much work we have ahead of ourselves.
After three days I am going crazy and I can tell that Carrington suspects something. Every time she leans in for a kiss I have to come up with some excuse not to kiss her and I’m starting to run out of ideas. Yesterday I told her she had really bad breath and I couldn’t kiss her until she had eaten a mint. She was that mad at me that she didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day, which in a way was a blessing because I didn’t have to control myself around her.
At the moment, Carrington is curled up next to me on the couch while the rest of us sit around trying to get homework done before Monday. Just the fact that she is touching me is driving me wild, I think I understand how she felt when I was doing it to her. I shake my head, trying to clear it and look down at my essay.
‘The Goblin Rights Act of 1855 was named after the 1985 riots. Yes.’
Okay, that makes absolutely no sense, still, I doubt Binns would notice. I let out a heavy sigh and look up, rubbing my eyes. I catch Remus’ eye and he smirks at me, leaning over to give Charlotte a kiss. I glare at him and clench my fist. Stupid Remus winning the bet and rubbing it in my face, who knew he could be so cruel? Why, Remus? Why?
Eventually, James and Lily leave for the Heads rooms and Remus, Charlotte and Peter all return to Gryffindor, leaving me alone with Carrington. I focus hard on my essay, reading through what I have written. Carrington snaps her book shut. I tense. Goblin Rights Act. Goblin Rights Act. Goblin Rights Act. Carrington tracing patterns on my back. Carrington whispering in my ear. Carrington in my lap. Oh Merlin, Carrington in my lap.
“I thought they’d never leave” She smiles at me and I gulp. “If feels like days since we have been alone”
That’s because it has, I’ve been avoiding this, trying to have someone, usually Peter, with me at all times just in case of this exact scenario.
“Yeah, about that, I’d better go as well, class tomorrow and everything” I say, quickly standing up and practically dumping Carrington on the floor in the process. I start to dash for the door when I hear an odd squeaky noise from behind me. I turn around and see Carrington still on the floor where I left her, tears running from here eyes. When our eyes meet she starts to sob and it is the worst sound I have ever heard in my life. When she cries, it’s like the castle cries with her and every sob, sniffle and cry is echoed through the room. I run to her and gather her in my arms.
“I knew this wouldn’t last, you don’t want to be with me anymore, do you?” She cries.
“Oh, Carrington. That’s not true! I do want to be with you, I never want to leave you!” I say, gently rocking her.
“You’ve been avoiding me! Don’t think I haven’t noticed and you’ve barely touched or looked at me all week. Don’t you like me anymore? Are you bored of me now?”
“I’m so sorry, Carrington! It’s not like that at all! I love you, Carrington Clarke. I love you.” I hold my breath, waiting for her reply. I have never ever said those words in my life. Ever. It’s kind of a big deal for me.
“Really?” she asks. I smile and wipe the tears from her cheeks.
“I love you too, Sirius” She says with a smile, engulfing me in a hug. “That still doesn’t explain why you have been avoiding me” She continues.
“I know, I’m sorry and it’s a really stupid reason as well. It’s just that I had this bet, well, I lost this bet with Moony and the consequences of losing meant that I couldn’t kiss or touch you for a whole month”
“A bet?” Carrington says, pulling out of the hug and holding me an arm’s length away. This is not good.
“You had me worried sick and thinking that you hated me over a stupid bet?
“I’m sorry! I thought you would be mad if I told you that I had got you involved!”
“Well guess what, I’m mad now!” She says loudly. I cringe and duck my head in shame.
“I’m sorry” I say pathetically.
“Damn straight you’re sorry!” She yells, then continues quietly, “I thought it was going to be Tom Riddle all over again”. I’m not entirely sure what she means by that.
“How can I make it up to you? Surely there must be something I can do?” I plead. Look at me, Sirius Black, pleading to a girl. How the mighty fall.
“There is something you can do actually. You can follow through with the bet, I think that would be punishment enough for making me so scared! You are not allowed to kiss me or touch me for a whole month!” Carrington finishes with a smirk.
Damn, I thought I was going to be able to get out of the bet by explain to Moony how upset Carrington was about it.
“Are you sure?” I ask.
“Very sure, now go to bed, Sirius. I’ll see you after classes tomorrow. Goodnight” She says with a squeeze of my hand.
I leave through the portrait and wander back to Gryffindor using various passageways to avoid filch and professors. At least it should be easier now that she knows, surely she will help me out by not being so sweet, sexy and Carrington-ish around me, right?
I am so screwed.
Merlin, what have I just got myself into? I was barely handling the few days that Sirius wasn’t touching me and now I have to deal with it for a whole month just to prove my point? You are an idiot, Carrington. I suppose it can be a sort of practice, for when Sirius leaves at the end of the year and we are apart for a long time. It could also be payback for when Sirius was trying to seduce me, before we got together. I think I like that idea.
Sirius Black, it’s payback time!
The next morning I hurtle into the kitchens just as they send the breakfast foods up into the hall.
“I am so sorry, Cookie!” I say to the very stern looking elf.
“Cookie is not sure it is good for Miss Carrington to be spending so much time with the students if it means Miss Carrington will not be performing her duties properly” The elf chastises.
“I know, I’m sorry, Cookie. I promise I’ll be on time again and do everything just like I used to.” I say before leaving the kitchen again.
I have decided that today will be a day of exploring just what I can do with the castle. I start with the staircases, trying to move them with my mind. The staircase I am staring at jerks back and forth a bit but does not move in exactly the way I want it to. I screw my face up and concentrate even harder, the staircase doesn’t move. I give up and wander down the empty corridor. I see a student come flying down corridor, clearly late for class, and watch as all the staircases move perfectly into place to allow him the shortest route to his class. Did I do that? I’m not sure I can control things anymore, or maybe I just can’t when I’m actually trying to. Dumbledore did say the castle was linked to the subconscious part of my brain.
I wander around the castle while the students are in class humming absently and occasionally trying my hand at whistling. When I stop to look around at where I am I am slightly disconcerted to find myself outside an old, long abandoned girls’ bathroom. It was typical, that my wanderings would bring me to the one place in the entire castle where I dare not go. Tom Riddle and all things related seem to have come back to haunt me this year when it has been so long since I even thought of it.
I stand outside and stare at the door. Inside lived a ghost by the name of Myrtle, Moaning Myrtle. Many years ago Tom Riddle gained my trust and I showed him one of the castles deepest hidden secrets, the Chamber of Secrets. I knew deep in my heart that he was bad, that I should run far away, but my infatuation with his affection prevented me from running. I could have stopped him, I knew what was happening, I even had an inkling of what was sleeping deep in the bowels of the school. I told no one because of my pride, and as a result, Myrtle died.
I went to visit her once. Just once. Her sadness engulfed and nearly drowned me, for the knowledge that I was the cause weighed me down more than anything. I never told her I was responsible, never said sorry, never went back. Yet here I am again.
“Are you going to stare at that door all day or are you going to come in?” Says Myrtle, her head suddenly sticking through the door. I yelp and jump backwards at the fright.
“Oh, I’m sorry, am I so hideous that I frightened you, am I? Well I’m sorry that I’m dead!” Myrtle screeches before retreating back into her bathroom. I push the door open and cautiously step inside.
“Hello? Myrtle? Are you still here?” I call out.
“Of course I’m still here, I’m dead aren’t I, so I have nowhere else to go” Myrtle sobs from one of the cubicles.
“I’m sorry, how insensitive of me. I understand though, I can’t leave the castle either” I say.
“You can’t?” Myrtle asks, slowly coming out from the cubical and floating towards me.
“No, I’ve been at Hogwarts for hundreds of years and I can never leave. Even if I wanted to” I tell her.
“I’ve never seen you before, why haven’t you come to see me? Nobody ever comes to see poor Moaning Myrtle” She whines before splashing into a toilet.
“I was scared, Myrtle!” I yell after her. “I was scared”.
“What of?” Myrtle asks, her eyes darting towards where I know the entrance to the chamber lies.
“I was scared of telling you,” I take a deep breath and look myrtle in the eyes, well as much as you can to a ghost, “I was scared of telling you that the reason you died was me. I’m the reason you died. I’m so sorry.” Myrtle tilts her head and continues to look at me.
“No. I distinctly remember that what killed me had big yellow eyes, and your eyes are not yellow” she says, very matter-of-factly.
“I didn’t kill you directly myrtle, that was the basilisk, but there was a boy. Do you remember him? His name was Tom Riddle and he used to frequent this bathroom quite often. I told him to come here, I told him how to let the basilisk out, that’s what killed you” I admit.
“You told him to kill me?”
“No! No! I just gave him the means to do it, and I’m so sorry, Myrtle.” Myrtle glares at me, wails and plunges into the nearest U-bend, spraying me with water.
“I suppose that was the best reaction I could hope for” I say and leave the cursed bathroom, trying my hardest not to look at the sink with the little engraved snake. Nobody would ever get entrance to the chamber ever again. I will make sure of it.
A/N: Hello, so after an insanely long time away I am attempting to start writing Carrington again. I'm finding it very difficult to find Carrington's voice again after so long so please bare with me as I try to get back into the swing of things. I apologise If this, and the next few chapters are not quite up to my usual standard!