Chapter 11 : The Phone Call
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Harry and Ginny whirled around, surprised, only to spot Sirius Black leaning against the wall they had just passed.
Sirius Black leaned against the wall, staring at the pair with amusement. He hadn’t heard much of their conversation but what he had heard had caused him to speak out loud. He did not know why he spoke, seeing as they could have been talking about anything but judging by the look on their faces, it was probably significant and they hadn’t wanted to be overheard.
Harry raised his chin slightly just as Sirius saw Ginny composing her face. He could see that she was about to retort.
“I don’t think you really need to know anything about us, Black,” she stated, glaring at him.
He chuckled. Sometimes, girls were just too predictable.
“Of course, I do,” he responded, stepping towards them, “You’re students at this school and I think I have a right to know who you actually are.”
This time, Harry took a step forward and spoke before Ginny did.
“Just forget you heard anything, Snuf- Sirius.”
Sirius turned to him, something clicking in his brain. Harry Jackson had almost called him Snuffles. His senses got more alert instantly and his brain began whirring. Why would a new student, whom he had only met this year, know about his nickname? He used it even less than he used ‘Padfoot’. Why did this teenager standing in front of him seem so freakishly familiar? His eyes observed Harry’s stance from top to bottom and he knew, deep down, that there was something he was missing.
“You talk as if you know me,” he observed.
“Who doesn’t know you?” Ginny Watson retorted, “You’re Sirius Black, the egotistical, self centred seducer, who goes around bothering people without a reason.”
His grey eyes shifted back to hers, a smile forming in them. He mentally forced himself to think, to figure out why Harry seemed so familiar. But Ginny’s voice kept on intruding his though process. Suddenly, he let out a bark of laughter, laughing at the top of his voice and at the expression of supposed anger on Ginny’s face.
“Well, you just defined me,” he told her between chuckles and then his expression morphed into a serious look as he shifted his position to face Harry, “But seriously; you talk as if I’m a familiar person to you.”
Harry blanched. Sirius had always been observant and at that particular moment, he seemed to be exercising his observation powers fully. He could see that Harry took his time in regaining his composed expression and then spoke.
“You’re not,” Harry countered, “I was just trying to be friendly.”
“Harry, I think we’ve wasted enough time here,” Ginny grabbed his arm and forced him to turn around, “Let’s go.”
Sirius watched from his spot as they walked away. He still had to test his idea. His eyes followed Harry’s movement closely, taking in his steps and the way he walked. He suddenly knew why this boy was so familiar. About five paces before they stopped in front of the Fat Lady’s portrait, Sirius made his move.
He hadn’t expected to see a reaction but he had wanted to know if it would happen again just like it had happened on the first day of school. Sure enough, Harry’s right foot paused for a tiny moment before it touched the floor. Sirius was positive that he would have missed it had he not been scrutinising so hard.
None of the two turned around to acknowledge the name but from his position, he saw them exchange an almost worried look. Smirking to himself, but actually worried inside, he turned back around, planning to find James and discuss what he had just noticed. Perhaps he would have a better theory than Sirius currently had. He wasn’t even sure he had a theory.
James Potter was climbing the staircase of a short cut on the sixth floor. It allowed him to skip the Grand Staircase and gave him time to be alone and compose himself before he had to enter the common room and appear before Evans. She had been completely ignoring him ever since he had reversed the spell on Parker but he knew that she knew it had been him who had done it. He took pleasure in the fact that he had finally done something that had not reduced her to tears but for some inexplicable reason seemed to be unable to face her after witnessing the episode between her and Parker in the Common Room.
His thoughts had slowed down his footsteps and he almost bumped into somebody before coming to a halt. Looking up from his feet, he saw Lily Evans standing in his path, her arms folded across her chest, her face blank.
“Well, well, well,” James spoke up as soon as his brain registered her presence, “This almost seems like a very familiar situation repeating itself. Only, where’s Parker? You should be making out with him here rather than just standing there idly.” His tone was extremely mocking and he knew that he shouldn’t be saying stuff like that to her. But what could he do? He was James, after all.
Her expression remained impassive even when her eyes appeared hurt.
“Why did you do it?” She asked, her voice low.
“Do what?” He pretended to not know what she was talking about.
She sighed in frustration and took a step forward.
“Why did you reverse the spell?”
He grinned. She raised her eyebrows.
“I wanted to,” he replied, casually shrugging.
Lily seemed to give in to her anger as she stepped forward.
“You can’t do things only because you want to, Potter!” She jabbed a finger in his chest. “You should have a reason for everything!”
Her touch, even though it hurt, made him freeze right where he was. When the redhead lowered her finger, after realising what she had done, his chest burned at the point where she had touched him.
“I do have a reason,” he muttered softly. He looked up from his feet only to find her standing exactly where she had stepped. Apparently, the closeness was not affecting her the way it was him. Or she was just too good at hiding it.
“And what would that be?” Her eyebrows had shot up.
This time, James felt his cheeks beginning to flush slowly. He did not want to tell her! She already had a misguided opinion of him and if he told her, she’d just assume something far from the truth again. What’s wrong with me?! I’m not scared of anyone! Opinions don’t matter to me.
Not even hers? Another voice spoke inside his brain. He shook his head, ignoring the question and met Lily’s questioning gaze.
“I wanted to do something that wouldn’t reduce you to tears for a change.”
She opened her mouth to respond but no words came out. Then she closed it only to open it again. It was clear she was trying to say something but had no idea how to voice it. Suddenly, she realised how close they were and a second later, she had stepped back, a blush creeping up her neck. James smirked.
“Evans, you’ll never change, eh?”
The solemn green eyes looked back at him seriously and forced his smile to die down. The atmosphere in the corridor changed immediately, the tension between the two so thick it could be cut with a knife. His gaze dropped down to her hands which she’d twisted together with uncertainty. He saw her take a deep breath and finally speak.
“Do you actually mean it?”
James cocked his head to the side, his eyes expressing the confusion he felt. She took another deep breath and raised her chin confidently.
“Do you actually mean it when you say that you care?” She paused. “That you care for me?”
Whatever he had expected her to ask, it wasn’t this. He was taken aback by her query, as he had never imagined that she had ever even listened to him to remember what he had said.
“Of course I do!” He responded vehemently. Her look of disbelief and doubt outraged him and now it was his turn to take a step forward; there were only a few inches of space between their bodies as Lily tried to shy away. James gripped her arms tightly, forcing her to stay where she was and meet his gaze. “I’ve meant every word I’ve ever said to you regarding my feelings. I will always mean it.”
She had lowered her eyes and despite the physical contact, he felt she was miles away from him.
“Do you believe me?” His hands put pressure onto her arms, but only lightly so as to avoid hurting her. With apparent effort, she looked up again.
Lily held his gaze for a full minute before finally nodding minutely. He exhaled, letting go of her arms and stepping back again. Automatically, his right hand rose up and messed up his hair just as he looked down at his feet. There was an awkward silence coming up.
“So..” His head was down but his eyes rose up to look at her sheepishly. “Will you go out with me?”
Her expression turned from tentative to mild surprise. Then, without any warning, Lily Evans smiled.
She only laughed in response and as she turned around and left him alone listening to her fading musical laugh. He couldn’t help but laugh along with her. After a very long time, James Potter felt genuinely happy.
Xenon could hear the ring of the phone on the other end. He listened to it intently, willing it to be picked up.
When the fifth ring ended, he got sick of waiting and cursing his step-brother, he almost ended the call. But then, there was a click on the other end.
“Hello?” The voice on the other end was breathless.
“Did you find anything?” Rudolph Xenon asked without wasting a moment.
“I’m fine, thank you. And I didn’t just run out of Hogwarts to take your call, so that’s not a problem either,” came the sarcastic reply. Then a sigh, and - “No, I didn’t find anything.”
“Where did you hear this crap anyway?”
“I read it in a book,” muttered Xenon.
“A Muggle book?” His step-brother’s voice was incredulous. “Do you actually think that Hogwarts’ Library would confirm something a Muggle book said about magic? Are you mental?”
“I don’t know anything about this, you blithering idiot! And when you’ve failed miserably at helping me, I have to do something myself, don’t I?”
“Are you kidding me?! I’ve been working my arse out here, trying to help you, you maniac!” His brother replied; his voice sounded angry now. Xenon smiled inwardly; he always managed to do that to the other boy.
“Oh yeah, and you’ve succeeded everyday!”
“Rudy - ”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Oh. Right! Because your name is Xenon, isn’t it?” His younger brother laughed. “I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you named yourself after a bloody gas!”
“You shut your mouth, you bastard!” Xenon was fuming now. Of course, why would Bassy, the freak of nature, understand his connection with the noble gas?
The laughter end on the other end died suddenly. Xenon continued.
“What? Where did your insufferable cheek go now, eh?” He snorted. “Silly little bastard.”
“Stop it. Stop it right NOW!” The younger boy’s voice was deadly serious.
“Okay, little Bassy, I will,” Xenon chuckled, enjoying himself thoroughly.
“That’s it. I’ve had enough of you stupidity, little boy. You listen to me now, you twat. Find me a way to become magical, whether possible or impossible or I will make your life worse than it already is!”
“There is NO WAY to do what you want me to do! It’s IMPOSSIBLE! And for your information, you’ve already ruined everything in my life. There’s nothing more you can do make it worse.”
“Believe me, I can.”
Xenon had to force himself to stay calm. A vein in his temple twitched dangerously as he gritted his teeth and forced one last sentence out of his mouth before he ended the call.
“Find me a way. Or just die.”
With that, he slammed the receiver down and exited the phone booth.
A/N: *Runs away and hides behind her study table* I know, I know. I took TOO long this time. I guess, I don't really have any excellent excuses; I just got lazy. Plus, I now have exams coming up so yeah, been studying a lot. Anyway, I hope that this makes up for my absence! I'm sorry for being late! Let me know what you think about this, eh?
Review please? I'll give you chocolates! =P
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