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Chapter 19 : I Make The Music Stop
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By the way, I'm looking for someone to bounce my ideas off of. Sort of like a beta, just without all the technical corrections. So, if you're interested, please let me know.
I don't mind falling down to try again,
'Cause when I get back up on my feet,
I make the music stop,
So hear me now
Evan’s eyes widened. She gulped. "Er, truth?"
James looked at her inquisitively. There were so many things he could ask her; embarrassing secrets, among others. But what Evans did not know about James was that he was quite a humane person - she would have done well to realize it. "How did it feel to break the rules, Lily?"
After taking a sip of Veritaserum, Evans answered, "Not bad at all."
James nodded, and smiled secretly at Evans. I could not see her face, or whether or not she smiled back.
Evans, who had quickly recovered her composure, turned towards me. "Truth or dare, Xanthis?"
"Dare," I said, picking up my head and feet from their respective resting places and glaring at Evans, making an attempt at intimidation.
"I dare you," Evans began, "to . . ."
She stopped, still thinking. It seemed that dears Evans could not think up a dare spectacular enough. James leaned over and whispered something in her ear.
"No fair!" shouted Remus. "It’s against the rules to help out in the production of a truth or dare!"
"It’s okay," I told him. "I think since Evans is new to all of this she can have a handicap."
The rest of the group consented, and Evans resurfaced with a devilish smile on her face. "Xanthis, I dare you to go down to the kitchens and consume a two ounce bottle of hot sauce."
I smiled at the challenge. "Not to specific, eh, Evans? Technically, I could just skip down to the kitchens, have the house elves get me a bunch of hot wings; but I won't. It'll be far more entertaining to do this dare the way it was intended."
I got up, waiting for at least two people to follow (it was the required number to make sure that the dared person did what they needed to) and headed down the stairs. A few more people had entered the common room, but not many. I decided that it would be safe to go to the kitchens, being as the teachers would still be at the feast.
I, followed by Evans and Remus, left the common room and began a leisurely stroll through our favorite dark, narrow passageway. I briefly wondered how and why the two most rule-abiding people had been sent to follow me.
We got to the kitchens quickly and without incident. After asking for it, a bottle of hot sauce was placed in front of me along with a slice of chocolate cake.
"Didn’t you just fill yourself to a disgusting point half an hour ago?" Evans asked, eyeing me with distaste as took a huge bite of cake. (Without a fork, of course, because that was the fun way.)
"Didn’t you just start eating again half a year ago?" I asked her, scathingly, jumping quickly to my own defence. Evans actually looked taken-aback and hurt by what I had said. . . Whoopsie.
I then tipped my head backwards with the mouth of the bottle in my mouth. The hot sauce wasn’t too hot, but it didn’t stop my mouth from burning up.
About halfway through the bottle I gagged; have you ever tried chugging hot sauce? It's not as fun as one would think - Remus came over with a goblet of pumpkin juice and I took a sip.
After that, it didn’t take a lot of time for the hot sauce to disappear. Once the last drop was in my stomach, Evans scowled at me, and we went back up to the dorm.
"How was it?" Sirius asked, as I sat back in between him and Stephen.
"Oww, my lips are so burnt they're going to fall off!" I replied dramatically. Then asked, "Truth or dare?"
"Dare," he responded with a scoff.
"I dare you to," I said. "Say truth the next time it’s your turn." It might not seem like such a bad dare, but to Sirius, the king of dare or double dare, it was.
Sirius stuck his tongue out at me. "Fine. Truth or dare, Stephen."
The game of truth or dare got quite entertaining after we had all warmed up. Even Lily was getting into the game; I figured she just had a mountain-sized load of stress to relieve. As if her playing the game wasn’t enough, she and James (the arrogant, bullying toe-rag) had formed an unofficial team.
Somehow, Sirius’ turn had alluded him for quite a while, and he protested loudly, "Fuck! Everyone’s got about a trillion times; I haven’t gone since that first one!" I laughed at his whiny, child-like voice, and petulant attitude.
"Okay, okay," Remus laughed at our childish friend. "Truth or dare, Sirius?"
First, he threw a dirty look in my direction, then, reluctantly said, "Truth."
Remus smirked, something that was quite uncommon for him to do. Then, he raised his eyes from the ground; the flitted from Stephen, to me, to Sirius. "What do you think of Anna?"
"I think she’s one of the best friends anyone could ask for?" Sirius looked confused as he answered Remus’ query. I was too; I couldn’t figure out why Remus would ask such a pointless question.
"That’s not what I meant," said Remus slyly. I wasn’t the most perceptive person in the world, but I could tell that Remus was up to something. "What do you think of her, meaning, how attractive is she?"
"You weirdo," I said to Remus, as Sirius began to laugh.
"I think she’s quite beautiful," Sirius admitted, smiling arrogantly in my direction.
"Tell me something I haven't known for years," I retorted. So much for me accusing Sirius of arrogance.
As Sirius and I continued laughing, I looked over at Remus, who was looking smugly between Sirius and I. I had the urge to pester him to no end and find out what was up, but I resisted. Around the circle, Peter, James and Lily all had small smiles, and Stephen looked uncomfortable. I shifted closer to him and rubbed my thumb against his hand in a reassuring way.
"Well, I guess we’re going home." The Marauders, Stephen and I (and, surprisingly, Lily) had just heaved our luggage onto the train, and were slightly uncomfortably squished into a compartment. I was perched on Stephen’s lap, trying to make more room, and Sirius had jumped onto Remus’.
That, of course, did not last long. Sirius ended up on the ground, and stayed there.
"Yeah," said Sirius. "But I daresay it won’t be long before we see each other."
James nodded. "We should go somewhere this summer, seriously."
We all agreed excitedly. Stephen tapped me on the shoulder and motioned out the door. I got up and he followed me out quickly. "Listen," he said. "This is rather hard for me to say."
I looked at his stunning blue eyes and swishy light brown hair and wanted nothing more than more him to tell me that he liked me as much as I liked him. He’d been there for me all year, and wasn’t just some passing crush; I knew it.
"I like you, a lot."
I was giddy inside. I was doing flips, and I honestly wasn’t sure whether or not I’d stay standing. I’m sure the excitement must have shown on my face, because Stephen smiled and stared laughing. "I take it that means you like me too?"
"No, not at all," I told him sarcastically.
He laughed again and swooped down on my lips for a quick kiss. "I’m not coming back to Hogwarts next year," he blurted out.
And the flips stopped. "Are you . . . Serious?"
At that moment, before Stephen could answer and say that, yes, he was serious, the compartment door slid open and James and Sirius tumbled out into the corridor. "No, I am!" Sirius protested, not getting up from the ground.
I laughed and smiled at Sirius, temporarily forgetting the problem at hand.
"Of course you are," I told him, offering him a hand to help him up. "You alright?"
"Yep," he replied, dusting himself off, thought there was no dirt on him. James pushed him back down and the two began to wrestle jokingly in the middle of the corridor.
I turned back to Stephen. He looked slightly frustrated; I supposed it was hard for him to get something like this out, and being interrupted didn’t help. After an apologetic smile from me, he went on to explain that his parents were moving to Antarctica to study the living organisms there, and that he had to go with them.
I’m sure I must have looked crestfallen, because that was how I felt. I had liked Stephen so much; the first guy I really, truly liked was being taken away from me. But my thoughts were interrupted as Sirius was thrown from James and rolled onto my foot.
"Ow, Sirius!" I yelled at him, but a smile crept it’s way onto my face.
I had moved a few feet so that my arm was around Stephen’s waist and I was planting quick kisses on his neck while I laughed at Sirius and James’ antics.
By the time we got to the Platform, hours later, I had been having so much fun that I nearly forgot the bad news that had just befallen me. I saw my parents and enthusiastically greeted them. "Mum! Dad!" I ran to them and threw my arms around their necks. (With some difficulty, seeing as my dad was rather tall, and my mum . . . Not so much.)
I was catching them up on everything that had happened during school. I quickly fetched Stephen and his parents and introduced everyone. The gathering was interrupted when Mr. and Mrs. Potter joined the party - smiling and friendly - they asked my parents if they could whisk me away to stay with them for a couple weeks in Australia.
"Well, I suppose it would be alright," my father finally agreed. I screamed in joy and hugged both my parents, both of James’ parents, and kissed Stephen quickly on the lips for good measure. The Potters graciously invited Stephen as well, but he declined; he and his family were going to spend a few weeks in Antarctica to see the environment.
"Let’s go!" cried, Sirius, who had somehow been left out of the earlier shenanigans.
Mr. Potter, an elite auror for the Ministry, had acess to just about anything, including the new Ministry cars. The four Marauders, myself, and Mr. and Mrs. Potter piled into the magically expanded Mercedes.
"Mum! But the roof down!" James requested, acting like a little child.
"What’s the magic word?" Mrs. Potter asked, scolding her son.
"Please?" James begged.
She laughed at her son’s antics, then Mrs. Potter lowered the roof and the warm summer wind whipped in our faces as we enjoyed the rare London sun. We had to drive on the highway for an hour before we reached James house.
Of course, there was no shortage of entertainment. We waved at cars, played the letter game, and scared the life out of Mrs. Potter with stories of our many escapades. I sat back, for a few minutes during it all, hardly believing that it had been an entire year since last summer. It felt like hardly any time at all, and all of a sudden, a new two months of love and fun were here.
We pulled into the driveway of the magnificent manor. Thirteen bedrooms, seven full baths, and numerous other rooms (including many secret ones), all fit into three stories. And of course, James’ secret (or, not so much) hide-away on the fourth floor, the attic.
We arrived to a Daily Prophet with a blaring headline. It read: Lord Voldemort Strikes Again.
Mr. Potter scanned the article, which had recapped previous attacks. But a new piece of information hit circulation. "People are starting to call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named; they fear him so much that even his name instills terror in people.
"Remember, kids; fear of a name only increases fear of a thing itself." We nodded obediently.
"Dad?" Sirius asked. "Could we take that paper."
Mr. Potter smiled affectionately at him. "Of course."
Sirius grabbed the paper and motioned for us to follow. It was dark, and Sirius led us out the backdoor the Potter’s expansive property. The lush green grass was moist and we all sat in a circle, as Sirius had instructed us to.
Sirius put the paper in the middle of the circle and whipped out his wand. I had forgotten; he was of age, and could do magic. Not that it would have stopped him if he wasn’t. "Incendio Amplus."
I raised my eyebrows as Sirius said the incantation. He had used it once before. I waited a moment, and still couldn’t help but gasp as huge flames erupted around the newspaper.
"This is what I think of you, Voldemort," Sirius spat, looking angrily down at the paper. "You can just kiss my slightly hairy, pale arse."
We all laughed at Sirius' antics, but his face was serious. "I’m serious guys, I can feel it; this guy is going to cause some big problems. But we have to be above it."
We nodded. Somewhere, under our carefree, immature selves, we knew the severity of the situation. And we were just going to have a party all over it.
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