Step 7 - Mission: Impossible! Scratch that. Mission: What is possible?
“What did he want?” Tammy demanded as soon as I had reached her at the Great Hall. Brad and Neo were there too, staring at me with a certain inspection to their aura.
“N-Nothing,” I stuttered awkwardly, eyes fixated on the golden boar head bowl, which held a never-ending stream of pumpkin soup.
“You tell me, Penny!” Tammy slapped me on the arm just as I sat down next to her. I grimaced. I couldn’t tell her, not after what had happened.
“Tammy, it was nothing. He only wanted to say hello,” I mumbled, maybe unconvincingly.
Brad snorted into his pumpkin juice, “Since when did any of the Marauders want to say ‘hello’ to you?” Neo guffawed next to him, an eyebrow raised as though supporting the legitimacy of the question.
Tammy, on the other hand, had stared at me, eyes wide and mouth forming a furious opened circle frown. I thought, perhaps, she would want it closed. So I did it for her. I propped my finger under her chin and pushed upwards softly, smiling at her now that her mouth was closed.
Instead of thanking me most graciously, Tammy turned her head fiercely away from me; hands crossed tightly across her chest, something that sounded a lot like ‘hmph’ coming from her mouth.
By the time we clambered through to our common room, I’m sure Tammy and I had nothing else on our minds but sleep. Having finished all our homework in class, there really was nothing stopping us. That is, before we noted the monstrous group of gaggling girls surrounding the notice board, a bright green and red poster nailed to it, the Christmas gnome pictured on it beckoning for everyone to gather round.
Tammy, who seemed to have not wanted to look at me for the entirety of the day, marched towards the notice board. I, who only wanted to know what the fuss was, came with her. A look of disgust came across her face as she glanced at me, and I knew exactly why that was.
Look at that! A pit of slithering snakes writhed inside my stomach as I screwed up my face to the poster.
A Christmas ball! I cackled out loud, but my fits of laughter went unheard as girls started screaming and squealing with excitement. I rolled my eyes at them. I was quite glad to be avoiding such a repulsive scene. I never stayed at Hogwarts for Christmas. I always went back home, the only real place where studying and reading for copious amounts of the day was not frowned upon. I sighed longingly. Paradise.
- - -
So, it really was a wonder how I ended up staying at Hogwarts for the Christmas holidays. There I was, trunk packed and ready to leave this horrible mess of a holiday, only to find myself stopped by Professor Flitwick, who happened to be squeaking “I’m terribly sorry, Miss Huckleberry! Your name is not on the list to go home!”
My mouth wriggled up and down like a goldfish on land, “But-”
“I’m afraid you’ll have to stay here for once,” he let out a giggle, “I’ll write to your parents to let them know where you are.”
I was rooted to the spot, incapable of moving aside. That was, until Flitwick decided to levitate my trunk and me all the way back to the common room. A practical joker, he is.
Landing with a thud next to Tammy, my trunk continuing along on its merry way back to my dormitory, I stood up quickly and brushed myself down. Tammy looked at me with horror, “Why aren’t you gone?” she almost seemed to shriek.
I felt her terror. I didn’t want to be back here either. “Apparently I wasn’t put down to go home.” I frowned, sighing loudly as my plans of reading went out the window. Hardly anyone had left to go home. Rather, they decided a Christmas Ball would be much more entertaining. Why, only I could disagree.
Tammy let out a tut, as though this news disgruntled her.
It certainly disgruntled me, my dear Tammy.
- - -
Throughout the entire week leading up to the abominable Christmas ball, there had been talks of dates and love potions and Imperius curses. As expected, gaggling girls everywhere aspired to be the date of at least one of the Marauders. Here and there were talks of slipping all four of them Amortentia – the most powerful love potion, ever. Of course, I never even considered it. Love potions had been banned in my agreement with Tammy, much to my displeasure.
“What do you think I should do with my hair?” I asked Tammy, not because I actually cared but because I was only trying to strike up conversation with her.
Tammy merely grunted as she continued rolling her eyelashes around the tip of her wand.
I frowned slightly. She hadn’t talked to me for the entire previous week. Something that seemed strangely odd for Tammy to be doing. It had been quite lonely with the beginning of the holidays. Both Brad and Neo had left to go home the second they were allowed to. Oh, how I envied them.
“Do you think this dress is okay?” I asked her, pulling at the hem of my mustard yellow dress. I, personally, thought it was dreadful. Dresses, in general, were dreadful.
Again, Tammy grunted. She actually looked quite pretty; her aqua blue dress brought out her eyes and her blonde hair was in elegant tresses down her bare back.
I, on the other hand, seemed to have accentuated my hideousness. This yellow dress was not very flattering, this black eye shadow substance seems to have given both my eyes a black eye look, the red stain on my lips made it seem as though I had just recently mauled someone to death and these shoes made me walk funny.
There was a loud clunk and I looked up just in time to see Tammy’s dress whirl out of vision. She had left. Left to go down to the ball without me. I groaned. Who else would help me down the never-ending stairs I found myself atop of? The barrister certainly didn’t help me, for its surface was covered in sharp spikes of ice - courtesy of Professor Dumbledore, who seemed to think it would be funny to watch the girls of Ravenclaw suffer.
Once I did reach the Great Hall – alive, may I point out – a gasp seemed to have clogged my throat. The hall was beautiful. I couldn’t help but admire the magic behind each and every icicle, every wreath, every branch of mistletoe, every snow flake that fell from the make believe sky, every vividly green Christmas tree, every red and blue and green and yellow bauble… The list went on.
The four tables had been moved to the sides and an instant weight dropped in my stomach. I had missed dinner. I had missed it because I was unable to get down the stairs quick enough. I stifled a sob, cursing the miserable stairs to oblivion – mentally.
I hid my watery frown as I started pushing past the cluster of people in the center of the hall, staring at Dumbledore with some sort of hatred for a. setting a system of torment for us Ravenclaws, and b. not waiting for me to start dinner. I tried searching for Tammy, but alas, her distinct yellow hair was nowhere to be seen. So, I stood in the corner, watching with hate as everyone laughed and danced and talked and had a good time.
Suddenly, a husky voice found me. “Dance with me, Huckleberry,” Sirius smirked as he held out his arm, looking very suave in his black robes. I stared at him suspiciously, scrutinizing him for any potential to harm me. “Come on, I won’t bite,” he growled seductively, as I turned my back on him, cheeks blushing furiously.
He pulled on my arm, taking me away from the wonderful company of the wall. I almost attacked him with my fist as he placed a rough hand on my waist, his smirk much too pronounced on that egotistical head of his.
I felt my hands begin to sweat as he took one in his, his callus fingers grazing over the top of mine, sending shivers down my back. My heart quickened and the blood left my fingers, only to be found on the apples of my cheeks, where a bright red flush had appeared much more prominent than before.
Feeling much dizzier than I was walking down the wretched staircase from my common room in heels, everything around me seemed to be a blur. The furious whispers of girls around me went through one ear and out the other, the sniggering of boys - of all houses, though mostly Slytherin – went by without any notice, and even Remus’ intense stare didn’t rid me of the sight in front of me.
I was staring at the eyes of Sirius Black; that soft grey colour I had grown accustomed to. I stared at them, the way they had stared back at me. So this is what the immobulus spell feels like in reality. I had only read so much about them in the charms book I’d gotten for my birthday, but funnily, nothing had told me how impossibly paralysed one would feel.
Snapping back into focus, I managed to make out James and Peter behind him. James had just shoved Severus Snape out of the way, smirking at Lily as he took hold of her waist with both hands and swung her around the air, laughing as though affectionately, despite her obvious shrieking.
Beside him was Peter, dancing with a blonde haired girl named Mary MacDonald, her blue eyes squinting occasionally from the pain that had obviously erupted in her toes. A woe of Peter’s dancing.
Behind them I saw Remus, his eyes hard and his lips formed into some sort of line as he stared at me. Then, behind him, clutching his hand tightly in hers, I saw the yellow puff of hair that was Tammy’s. Tammy who had not spoken to me at all that night. Though, I wondered why… Perhaps she was hesitating now that my ten galleons was another step closer. Yes, that must be it. Of course it was.
“Look at me, don’t look at them,” Sirius whispered, obviously mistaking the fact that I had been looking at my friend rather than at the crowd that had began to stare at us, wicked laughter visible on their faces. He pulled my body closer towards his and my eyes widened.
He grinned at me, eyes still peering down at my face. “You look a sight worse than James’ arse tonight, and for you, that’s saying something.” He laughed, "What happened? Did your make up explode on you?"
My face fell - mouth open to launch into a retort - only to find it in an expression of complete astonishment as Sirius’ soft pinks lips brushed on mine, the three seconds seemed to have magnified to three hours as our lips remained joined together. I had a heart attack. I swear it.
He pulled back slightly, his breath tickling my nose slightly. Though, in a good way, not in the way it would if it had smelt.
“Now that I have all your attention,” he said very loudly, looking around at the congregating crowd of babbling babblers, all of who have frozen as though stunned. “I’d like to say this clearly,” he grinned at James before asserting the crowd once more, “Penny has not concocted some sort of love potion, neither has she put me under the Imperius curse,” he paused to let his words sink in, “leaving the only explanation to be,” he looked at me, a small smile on his face, “I’ve fallen for her.” There was a very audible gasp that resonated within the crowd. “I think I love you, Penny.”
A/N: Sorry for such a short chapter, but everyone loves cliffhangers... :D Hehe, please tell me what you all hought of this chapter since it's leading close to the end!!
What do you guys think will happen next? What did you think of Sirius? And Penny? And Tammy?!
:D I'm excited for the next chapter! Which I'm almost finished writing so it shouldn't be too long until it's up!!