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Chapter 18 : She's the Ghost That Keeps You Up at Night
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She's like a ghost that keeps you up all night
And she'll be a secret you can keep
"That was quite a show you four put on," Stephen said, after we had (finally) finished our Transfiguration exam.
"Thank you very much." I yawned. "Ugh, still tired."
Stephen laughed and slipped his arm around my waist. "Is that all you do? Sleep?"
"Nah," I told him, "I have fun too."
"Really? Because I know some fun activities that we could partake in?" he had a devious smile and winked at me.
"What is it with you boys and snogging. I mean, honestly! Is going for a nice dip in the lake or playing Quidditch not good enough for you?" As I said this, I was smirking, to make sure he knew I wasn’t actually ranting and throwing a fit.
Stephen stepped back and made a sweeping gesture with his arms, indicating for me to take him wherever I would. I grabbed his wrist and led him to the passage way that the Marauders and I had taken earlier that day.
Once I had pulled the tapestry back behind us, Stephen and I wasted no time. His lips were on mine within seconds and one of his hands was on the small of my back, the other on the back of my neck.
This is rather interesting, I thought to myself. And instantly, for reasons unknown to me, I had the urge to laugh. Being myself, I was unable to restrain.
Stephen, in between planting kisses on my lips, began to chuckle himself. "What - was - that- for? Am I that bad of a kisser?"
"I wouldn’t know," I answered before taking a breath and going back into the kiss.
I wasn’t quite sure how long we were there, but after a while we had stopped snogging and just sat down next to each other, talking.
"Well, I moved to Britain when I was seven; from Greece. I can still mostly speak fluent Greek, I think, and a bit of Italian, because that’s what my mother was. My mom wanted to me to learn Latin so I could know all these word origins as well, but my dad stopped her; he's always on my side, 'cause I'm his little princess." Stephen and I had gotten to talking about our childhoods.
"Well I’ve lived in this muggy country my whole life," he explained. "Not that I don’t love it," he continued. "But sometimes I just wish there was a little less rain."
I shook my head, disagreeing. "No way! If there was less rain there’d be less mud-sliding!"
Stephen nodded. "You’ve got a point there. Well since you’re so smart I think you deserve a reward."
He leaned over and planted a kiss on my cheek, then trailed them to my mouth. We once again began to snog, still on the floor, me leaning over him.
I hadn’t heard the passageway open, or the whispers that followed, but I did notice when someone tripped over my back and let out a strangled scream. Did I mention that the passageway was extremely dark?
Stephen and I jerked apart and jumped up. "Bloody hell," said whoever had tripped over me. They were on the ground a few feet away.
That was sounded so familiar. The kind of familiar that you hear every day on end. Kind of like -
"Sirius, mate! I told you watch out!"James spoke.
Sirius grumbled some more. I could see a faint outline of him getting up and brushing himself off. "What were you doing on the ground anyway."
I knew he was talking to me, but chose not to answer, and hoped he would forget that he asked.
"‘Ello, did you hear me?" Sirius asked, not angrily.
"Er, yes," I answered.
"So are you going to answer?" Sirius continued. I suppose he had cottoned on, by then, to the fact that I did not want to tell him why I was on the ground.
"We were snogging," said Stephen, speaking for the first time since we were interrupted.
"Bloody hell! Stephen, is that you?" James asked.
"We didn’t even see you on the map! James, we’re going to need to find the glitch," Sirius said. "If you were snogging An-"
Sirius stopped talking. "You were snogging Anastasia!?!"
"Um, yes?" he replied.
I briefly wondered what would happen. Last time I had had a boyfriend (though I could barely call Aaron a boyfriend) Sirius had been, well, kind of mental. I hoped he wouldn’t be this time; he and Stephen were friends.
"Congratulations, mate," Sirius said. "Well, I’m definetely writing about today in my diary - I MEAN JOURNAL!"
"You have a diary?" I looked Sirius incredulously. "I don’t even have a diary - and I’m a girl."
"No you’re not," Sirius said, laughing.
"I’ll prove it," I challenged.
"That’s okay," James intervened, "there doesn’t need to be any proving here."
We all burst into laughter. After a few minutes, we calmed down.
"How’s Remus, guys?" I asked, directing my question at Sirius, Peter and James.
"Remus is ill?" Stephen asked. He was not aware of Remus’ ‘furry little problem.’
"Er, yes," Sirius replied in a slightly forced tone of voice. "He’s in the hospital wing, but he should be better by tomorrow."
"Oh, that’s good," I said.
There were a few moments of silence. A rarity when you put Marauders, myself, and someone as jubilant as Stephen in a small enclosed space. "I’m hungry," I said, breaking the silence.
Stephen sighed. "Why do you even bother announcing it anymore? It can just be assumed."
"Because I expect to be accompanied to food by my mates," I replied.
"Shall we?" asked the voice I knew to be Sirius. We couldn’t all link arms and walk as we usually did, the passage barely being wide enough to fit to people side by side. When we emerged into the Entrance Hall from the passageway, I cringed and recoiled.
"Light," Stephen whined; it seemed he was having a similar problem.
Sirius looked at me, and then at Stephen and then began to laugh. "Well you’re just a regular old vampire aren’t you, Stephen?"
Stephen looked at the older boy questioningly.
"Well you’re not to fond of the light, and Anatasia's got this bite on her neck - and vampires bite necks."
My hand flew up to my neck, even though I wouldn’t be able to feel the love-bite. Sirius walked over and poked a spot on my neck. "Ow!" I yelled indignantly.
Sirius looked innocently at me. "Just letting you know where it was."
Stephen was smirking at me. "Hey, this is your fault," I told him.
He laughed. "I’ll gladly except responsibility for that."
I knocked him in the shoulder as Peter, James and Sirius laughed and made kissing noises. We had crossed the Entrance Hall and quickly entered the Great Hall, where the house tables had been replaced and food was sitting on the tables. I made a mad dive for the chocolate ice cream.
O.W.L.’s passed fairly quickly. Miraculously, I managed not to be late for a single one. (Besides that first one.) Considering that I hadn’t studied at all, I didn’t think I did too bad. Surely with a bit of studying I could have done better, but I was just not that kind of person.
Stephen had earned the nickname "Vamp."
"It’s because of your vampire tendencies," Sirius explained, when Stephen had inquired as to where the nickname came from.
Before anyone knew it, it was the end of the year feast. "I can’t believe it! No more quills, no more parchment, no more teachers! For a whole two months!" I stopped and looked around. "But, I have to say, I’m going to miss this place more than I want to admit."
They all (they being Sirius, Peter, James, Remus and Stephen; the usual) nodded around me. I happily skipped the rest of the way to the Great Hall, content that my best friends would catch up. I burst into the Great Hall only to have Lily Evans run straight by me in tears.
"Er, James?" I said, once he and the rest had caught up. "I think that’s your cue."
James’ eyes traveled to the retreating Lily and he immediately took off after her.
"I give them the holiday before they’re snogging up a storm," Sirius said, as we headed into the Great Hall and took our seats and the Gryffindor table. Under the table, Stephen grasped my hand.
"Ew." I cringed. "I don’t need pictures in my mind of my innocent little Jamesie contaminating his tongue on Evans’."
Sirius looked at me seriously. I thought about the irony of it in my head and could not keep a straight face. "Listen, Anastasia. I love you and I love James; but, God help me, if you mess this up for him, you’ll have hell to pay."
I smiled sweetly at him. "I’d never do that, Sirius; you should know that."
He nodded and our eyes connected in mutual understanding for a few seconds. "I know, I shouldn’t have said that."
Suddenly, being that I had barely noticed it there before, I shouted, "Food!" and leaned over numerous people in my quest to heap helpings onto my plate. I earned a glare from Alex, who was still angry with me, and from a few of the other people who didn’t care for my loud rambunctious personality in general.
"Bet I can eat more potatoes than you!" shouted Sirius, out of the blue.
"You’re on!" I shouted. Sirius should have known by then that he could not win, being that potatoes were my favorite food. Not counting desserts, of course.
Ten minutes later, I was slowing down. Sirius hadn’t stopped eating quite yet. I cursed him in my mind, then thought up an elaborate reasoning for why I hadn’t been able to beat him. It just wouldn’t have been acceptable if I lost on my own account.
After another minute or two, my stomach had no more room. I put down my spoon and sat in a huff. Disgusted, I pushed my other food away. For five minutes Sirius teased me about the fact that I hadn’t been able to beat him, and then I realized that Evans and James had still not returned.
Either Evans was being extra horrible and teary, or they had begun to do the unthinkable. In other words, bond by way of the lips. Sirius seamed to notice as well. "WHERE’S PRONGS AND EVANS?!"
Remus, ever logical, said, "Well, seeing as she doesn't hate James anymore, and neither is dating someone else, they’re probably snogging."
Evans and James arrived back just in time for Dumbledore to begin his end of the year speech. Evans’s eyes were a bit puffy, and she had permitted James to drape his arm around her shoulder.
Dumbledore cleared his throat just as Evans and James sat down. His presence commanded absolute silence. "Another year gone," he began, "any number of rules broken, meals eaten, friends made, friends lost. It seems that so much time has gone by since the beginning of this year, but the calendar disagrees.
"I would like to specifically address the Seventh years. . ."
As much as Dumbledore’s speeches usually enthralled me, my mind was other places. Like Stephen’s hand, which was craftily sneaking up my thigh. I hit him lightly on the back of his head, but then rested my chin on his shoulder to show him that I was not about to go crazy physco bitch on him.
I must have closed my eyes, because I was soon shaken awake by Sirius. I noticed that Dumbledore had stopped talking and the delicious Hogwarts food had been replaced by desserts. The time of aching stomachs (roughly ten minutes earlier) was far gone and I chipped into blocks of ice cream and placed many pastries on my plate. Next to me, Sirius’ plate looked similar.
Stephen looked on and laughed. "You two are creepily similar," he noted, laughing.
"It’s ’cause Sirius is so feminine," I claimed at the same time that Sirius said -
"That’s because Anastasia is a boy."
James, Remus and Peter joined Stephen in his laughter this time. They all agreed with Sirius, and I refused to talk to them for a minute, before my resolve broke.
Full once again, we went up to the Gryffindor common room.
"I’m going to miss this place," Sirius said, lounging back on the coach and surveying the room with a fondness of a student who would not return.
"You’re not a Seventh year yet," I reminded him.
"It’s only a matter of time," said Sirius.
I frowned. It was an upsetting thought. I wasn’t ready to grow up, but in two years I would be forced out into a real world of danger, hard-work, and bills . . . Psh, yeah right.
"Don’t remind me," I grumbled. I decided to change the subject. "Remember that time when you guys were in Third year and . . ."
I stopped and trailed off, quickly surveying the common room. Most of the school was still in the Great Hall, mingling, but James and Evans were not among them. However, neither were they with this. I pointed this out, and devilish grins popped up on all of our faces.
"Where art thou Lilith and Jamesith?" Sirius called out, in a high-pitched voice.
"Yes," Stephen added. "Where is the flower and, er, whatever James is?"
"Where is our favorite goody-two-shoes and her ever faithful sidekick; Lovesick Quidditch Boy!" I put my hand to my forehead and pretended to be looking for them.
"Please don’t kill Prongs, Evans; we’re responsible for making sure he doesn’t have to return to his parents in a matchbox. Or with an unborn son!" Remus yelled, earning laughter from everyone.
"Hey! I found them!" we all turned to Peter at the sound of his squeaky voice. He was pointing excitedly under a table, where Evans and James sat next to each other, laughing hysterically.
"Well, they’re not shagging, but they are laughing. And as everyone knows, both release endorphins." Everyone turned to Sirius, who had spawned the odd fact. He shrugged, and Evans and James crawled out from under the table.
All seven of us were quiet for a few moments. In this particular group, quiet and downtime never sat well.
"So," said James. "Considering the fact that it’s only ten o’clock, and Marauders never go to sleep before midnight, who’d like to play a rousing game of truth or dare?"
"Woot! Woot!" I shouted.
Sirius, Remus, Peter and myself got down on our knees and bowed to James. In our circle of friends, truth or dare was a very god-like game, and was heavily worshipped.
Stephen nodded his head and seemed to be amused by our antics. I got up, laughing, and stood next to him.
Evans was the only one who looked skeptical. I couldn’t blame her, though. She wasn’t exactly used to our behavior, or a game as superior as truth or dare.
"Er, well, where would we play it?" she asked. "We’d be interrupted if we played it in the common room."
I was about to suggest the Room of Requirement, but Sirius caught my eye and shook his head quickly and discreetly. I wondered if he had known what I was going to say, but kept quiet just in case.
"Our dorm, of course," said James. Gesturing to me and the Marauders.
Evan’s face grew red. "That’s against the rules! I don’t care what she does." Evans and stopped and pointed accusingly at me. "But I won’t do it!"
Before James could try to convince, her I butted in. "Get over it, Evans; live a little. Get the stick out of your arse and your nose out of the air."
She stood, looking entirely affronted, before pushing past me and marching her way up the stairs to the boy’s dormitories.
"Thanks," James whispered into my ear, as he whizzed by to catch up with Evans.
I nodded back to him. Without warning to him, I jumped up and Stephen’s back and demanded a piggy back ride. I was surprised that he didn’t fall our stumble backwards.
"It’s good to know you’ll always catch me," I told him, ruffling his hair.
"Always," he confirmed.
I smiled as James’ random (and quite badly-timed,) "Go out with me, Lily?" Could be heard echoing from staircase. Well, at least he had gone from Evans to Lily.
I, however, was going to call her Evans for quite a while.
"Hurry it up, you two lovebirds," Sirius yelled.
Stephen and I jogged the rest of the way to the Sixth year boys dorm. I sighed, and realized it would be the last time I was in this dorm while it was still the Sixth year dorm. I looked over and Evans and saw her face wrinkled up. I sniffed the air, it smelled normal, but to an outsider, I suppose, it might have reeked a bit.
We all sat down in a circle. My head in Stephen’s lap and my legs over Sirius’.
"Hold on," James said, getting up from the circle. He pulled out a black case from under his bed; it was filled with potion bottles. I knew for a fact that the Marauders had some Polyjuice Potion in there, along with other various illegal potions.
I smirked as I saw James pull out a small, corked bottle, filled with clear liquid.
"Veritaserum," Evans whispered, as James sat back down and placed the bottle into the middle of the circle.
"Okay," he said. "Lily, truth or dare?"
A/N: Wow, this is a pretty long one. I think I must have connected these two chapters. This is pretty bad, I'm exhausting my saved chapters, but I can't seem to stop posting. Oh well, think of it as a Father's Day present. Happy Father's day to everyone. :D
A/N2: Oh, and if you've got some time, why not drop by my Meet the Author topic on the forums? There's a link in on my Author's page. ;)
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