Chapter 7 : Strange Behaviour
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“Watch you don’t get too much soot on the carpet,” McGonagall was sorting out her bookcase it seemed. “How was your Christmas?”
“It was great thanks, Professor,” I replied, coughing a little. “How was yours?” Just as I asked, Ava appeared in the fireplace looking pretty green.
“It was quite nice, thank-you. Now, Miss Hart,” she stopped what she was doing to face the pair of us “if you two go to Madam Pomfrey right away she should have something for the effects of the time difference.”
Yeah, our jet-lag (more like floo-lag) wasn’t to be envied let me tell you. And mixed in with the delightful side-effects of floo-powder it was like having one big hangover. “Alright, will do Professor. Thanks again,” I replied and walked out of her office, Ava trailing behind me.
“Can we just take a moment?” She asked breathlessly, collapsing against one of the walls. I nodded and sat down next to her, hanging my head over my body. After a few minutes I stood up, feeling a lot better.
“Come on, we can sleep in the dorms,” I said exasperatedly to Ava. She reluctantly obeyed and we set off to the Hospital Wing.
I was surprised to see Remus there. He was sitting on one of the beds, seemingly being assessed by Madam Pomfrey. I thought he had gone home for the holidays and since the Hogwarts Express wasn’t due until later this evening, I thought it was a little weird seeing him here.
“Hey Remus,” I called out to him. He started a little and his face was a bit strained though it was only for a second, he quickly smiled at me.
“Hi Georgie, Ava,” he nodded at Ava who was still looking half-dead. Madam Pomfrey muttered something to him and bustled off to her office.
“What happened?” I asked him. As I got closer to his face, I noticed that he looked as though he hadn’t slept in days.
“Fell off a broom back at James’… his parents thought it’d be best to send me back here and get treated,” he grinned ruefully.
“Oh Remus,” I reprimanded mockingly. “Apart from that, how was your Christmas?” I asked him.
“It was,” he paused and it seemed like he was recalling a memory- his face went from pained to pleasant in a split second, “it was quite good,” he finished on an unnerving cheerful note. “How was Australia?”
“Bloody hot, I’ll tell you that much,” Ava interrupted irritably. Both Remus and I cracked up laughing as Madam Pomfrey returned with two vials for each of us.
“Take these before you go sleep tonight and try to aim for no earlier than eight o’clock,” she instructed. “When you wake up, your body clock will have reset. Can I trust you to do this? Otherwise you will have to stay here for the night,” she was looking at us sternly.
“Oh yeah, we’ll do it… I’ll make sure Ava does,” I told her. She nodded curtly and bustled off again.
“Well I’m exhausted so I’m going to go to bed for a while until everyone gets back,” Remus said with a smile that didn’t quite reach his tired eyes.
“Right-o,” I replied as he walked out of the Hospital Wing, “see you later!”
I couldn’t help but think there was more to this ‘falling off the broom’ story than he cared to admit.
The next day I was feeling like a human again. Well I was feeling a little inhuman actually since no human feels great on a Monday morning. I caught up with Mary, Lily and Bailey at the Gryffindor table that morning.
“Look,” Bailey lowered her voice and beckoned me to come closer after we shared our Christmas adventure stories, “I don’t know what’s going on with those four… but they’re behaving very strange.”
I knew which four she was talking about and it wasn’t ABBA. Suddenly the thought of those four boofs singing ‘dancing queen’ popped up into my mind and made me explode into laughter. Since the girls are used to my own strange behaviour, they didn’t pay me any attention.
“Yeah I’ve noticed too,” Mary agreed as she put her fork down to engage in the conversation, “they’re being quieter than usual and keeping to themselves. Especially Sirius… he looks like he’s lost weight too.”
“And he’s wearing the most sour expression,” Bailey chimed in, looking right down the table where the four boys were sitting with their heads together. Sirius did look pretty miserable, I must admit.
“Yeah well I doubt this peacefulness is going to last,” Lily commented sardonically.
I didn’t say anything; something was stopping me bringing up Remus in the hospital wing. I don’t know why but I just had this feeling that something wasn’t quite right about it all. So I kept it to myself.
“And this morning I heard James call Sirius something… like ‘panfoot’ or something. Maybe it’s an inside joke,” Bailey shrugged. “I dunno… they’re just acting really, really strange.”
“They’re probably just doing it for attention and I suggest that we don’t give it to them,” Lily said loftily, buttering her toast.
Usually I would agree with her but I just couldn’t. So again, I didn’t say anything.
Since it was Monday, I had Muggle Studies first up. I walked there myself like I usually do and chatted to Andrea outside until the Professor Wilson came and unlocked the door, letting us in. I went and sat down in my usual spot where an ill-tempered looking Sirius joined me a few seconds later.
Bailey had warned me before I left the breakfast table not to talk to him too much in case he hexed me or something but, like whenever someone gives me some advice, I ignored her.
“How was your Christmas?” I asked him quietly after it was clear he wasn’t going to initiate conversation. I though I might as well just act normal, in any case. And I was insanely curious, as per usual.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said very tersely. His voice even scared me a little.
“Okay,” I said, not really knowing what else to say. If he didn’t want to talk about it, fine we won’t talk about it.
We sat in silence for about five minutes, just copying the notes off the board. It’s the first time it’s happened since we’ve been in the class together. I didn’t like it very much. He kept sighing and huffing and puffing and even though I ignored it, it was getting on my nerves.
“How was your Christmas?” He asked suddenly.
My Christmas had been wonderful- I was at the beach twice a day, I ate the most delicious food (courtesy of my Nan’s cooking), I received great presents from both sides of my family (the Muggle and the magical) and I got to see my dog. Sometimes I think I love dogs more than I love people. I really, really love dogs. Dogs are great.
But Sirius just seemed so… depressed, I just felt as though I couldn’t tell him how my Christmas really was. It’s like rubbing whatever happened to him over the holidays in his face. It would be like kicking him when he’s down and then pouring a big bucket of ice cold water on him. And then pointing and laughing at him.
“It was alright,” I replied trying carefully not to put too much emotion into it, “it was pretty quiet.” Lies. I looked at Sirius with an innocent expression on my face and was surprised to see his expression reflect something of disgust.
“Bullshit,” he muttered. Then he shook his head and rolled his eyes.
“Excuse me?” I asked, my voice dropping lower than usual. What is he calling bullshit on me for!? Plus, eye rolling is my thing.
“You just lied to my face,” he hissed to me looking very pissed off.
“Nice observation,” I commented sassily. I’m not sure where all this anger was coming from but it was sure as hell there. He looked taken aback at my comment.
“What is that supposed to mean? And I never thought you of all people would lie,” he added in a snarky voice. Too far, Sirius.
“I was just trying to be sensitive- you obviously had a shit holiday so I wasn’t going to go brag on about how great my Christmas was. That’s what people do,” I glared at him, “so I’m sorry for being tactful.” I spat out at the end.
That was an extremely tame (and quiet) outburst from my part but Sirius looked like I had just screamed bloody murder. I guess he’s never seen me lose my temper before. Not that this really counts as loosing my temper.
I stopped glaring at him and just continued to copy notes, a little more forcefully than I had before. We didn’t speak for the rest of the lesson, although I could tell that he was looking at me out of the corner of his eye. I ignored him.
“Class you’re dismissed.” I immediately threw my books into my bag and slug it over my shoulder. I just wanted to get out of there before my anger was replaced by guilt. But before I could leave the desk, a hand grabbed my arm.
“Georgie,” I stopped and turned to face Sirius, arranging my face into something fairly neutral.
“Thanks,” he said. He had a tiny smile although his eyes were looking a little sad. Oh god, here comes the guilt.
“That’s okay,” I replied softly, feeling my face relax completely. I noticed his smile move to his eyes before he turned around to walk out. But I wasn’t finished. This time it was me who grabbed his arm.
“Sirius,” I said, my eyes locking with his, “if you ever do want to talk about it… I’m all ears.”
He smiled, nodded and moved his arm a little so we were hand in hand. He squeezed my hand and then turned and walked off. As I watched him I felt butterflies and my arm and hand was tingling.
But for some reason, I just felt like crying.
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