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Chapter 23 : You Know You're Everything to Me
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 14|
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Your laugh is a disease
. . .
You know you're everything to me
Tear down your defenses,
Till there's nothing there but me
-Goo Goo Dolls
I arrived in the Leaky Cauldron by Floo just in time to see Anastasia pick herself up off the ground. Go figure.
"You’re going to accidentally blow up the world one day," I told her, as she dusted herself off.
"Let’s hope not," she said seriously. "Then there’d be no more food."
"Wouldn’t matter if you weren’t there to eat it," I remarked.
She paused for a few seconds, probably trying to think of an acceptable comeback. "Shut up."
Yeah, Anastasia. Real good one.
"Are you two bickering already?" Remus asked, stepping through the fire, and landing with a grace Anastasia severely lacked.
Light, care-free, airy. I had always thought that a laugh could tell a lot about a person. Anastasia’s said, quite plainly, that she lived life how it should be lived. Filled with fun, and enjoying every bit of it. I loved listening to her laugh; it always made me feel happy.
James stepped through the fire a few seconds after Remus. "Are they bickering already?" He turned to Remus.
Remus nodded sadly.
We looked around the pub. It was fairly empty; mostly filled with middle-aged Wizards who stopped to have a drink on the way home from work.
"Drinks!" Anastasia yelled suddenly, jumping up a foot from the ground and taking off towards Tom, the barman, who had been sitting calmly on a stool until he spotted her. His eyes widened in alarm. Just slightly.
I wasn’t far behind her.
"Three fire whiskeys, and a butterbeer," I asked, before Anastasia could order something.
"Who’s the butterbeer for?" she asked, glaring at me from more than a foot below my sight line.
I shook my head. "No. You."
She chose that moment to make an undistinguishable noise, halfway between a laugh, a yawn and possibly a snort. "Well, that was. . . odd," I said, smiling at how strange she was.
Remus nudged me (rather hard, I might add) and smirked at me. I almost rolled my eyes at him. What is with this bloke and smirking? I wondered.
Before I could inquire as to the uncalled for pain he kept causing me in my ribs, Anastasia nudged me, her mind back to the subject. "So why can’t I have firewhiskey?" she asked, in an unnecessary whisper.
"Because you’re not of age," I whispered back.
"Technically there’s no age you have to be to drink firewhiskey. And since when has that stopped us before?"
I looked at her with an unreadable visage. "I don’t care; you’re not getting smashed."
"But I’m not going to get smashed, I don’t even like getting smashed." she complained, louder than her previous whisper. She listed off the reasons on her fingers. "It’s no fun; it’s embarrassing and potentially dangerous, well at least for the people around us. And always painful. Not to mention, I can’t even remember the stupid things we do when we’re out of it that much. I much rather have memories of my stupidity."
She was such an oddball. "How responsible of you?" I asked, unsure of what exactly she was proving.
She shook her head. "Let’s not go with that."
Anastasia never was the responsible type.
"Three firewhiskey's and a butterbeer," Tom said. He smiled at us with his ever toothless grin. I handed him some change and we each grabbed our drink and went to sit down at a table.
Anna pounded on the table. "We’re getting ice cream after this, right?" she prodded.
Her voice was so much like her laugh. Always upbeat.
"No," James said.
"Liar," she spat, then busied herself with downing half her butterbeer.
I attempted something similar with my firewhiskey, but I nearly screamed when most of the glass of firewhiskey skimmed the walls of my throat, burning them, and my eyes watered just a tiny bit. I decided against doing that again. Ever.
"Awww, is da poor baby Siwius cwying?"
I looked over at Anastasia, who was sitting there, innocently fluttering her long eyelashes at me.
"Don’t even answer that, Sirius," Remus advised. "You two will just get into a fight again."
We all sat in silence for a while, busy with our drinks.
"I won," Anastasia whispered into my ear, grinning.
I jumped up from my seat, outraged. "She’s mocking me!"
"And you’re making a scene!" Remus complained, at a much lower volume.
"Alright, I think it’s time to go." James was standing, and looking around the pub. I quickly followed his lead as I noticed how many stares we were attracting.
Remus quickly obliged. "Agreed."
Anastasia of course had to then be practically dragged out of the pub - she just loved making a scene.
Luckily for us, she turned compliant once we told her that we were going to find ice cream. In fact, she ran ahead of us – only to be stopped within moments. "Guys," she said impatiently, jumping from side to side on the spot while she waited. "I don’t have my wand. Hurry your arses up and make the gateway open."
I smiled and came up next to her. I pulled my wand out and tapped the bricks on the wall in front of us. The red bricks seemed to fold away into midair as the gateway to Diagon Alley opened up.
"Yippee!" Anastasia cried, and began to skip and spin down the wide, gravel walkway. Occasionally, she would stumble and regain her balance, before going off once again. Sometimes, she was just too much for her own good.
Maybe that’s what makes her so magnetic, I reasoned with myself.
Remus turned towards me and nudged me. Again. He threw a glance at Anastasia, then back at me, and grinned. At that point, I decided that we would need to work on his subtlety.
I shrugged and made a face, pretending I was clueless as to what he was suggesting.
He whispered to me, so that only James and I could hear, "I’ve known you for six bloody years; don’t you think I can tell when something’s up? Besides, you gave yourself away at the Shack last week. Don’t think we don’t know what you were going to say?"
I looked down. Damn. "I didn’t mean it like that! Well, I did. But. . . It was kind of a . . . test, of sorts. To see what I was really thinking. I’m not even sure of what I feel anymore." And it was true. After being best friends with someone for five years, it’s hard to think straight when you suddenly started to feel this way. Especially this way. Especially with Anastasia.
"You do realize," James said, as Anastasia told us to hurry up and twirled ungracefully through the door into the ice cream parlor, "that you just defended yourself for something you never said."
He winked, then he and Remus sped up their walk a bit and left me to die. Well, not literally. But still, to think about a few things.
Maybe you don’t like her. Maybe you’re making it all up, I told my mind hopefully.
But how could it not be?
It’s not like you’ve been trying to have these feelings, I countered. So why do you still have them?
Maybe, oh I don’t know, because you like her?
But are you sure?
Well of course not. Why would you be arguing with me if you were?
Because, you know, if you decide that it is true, it could mean death. And possible severing of arms for being such an idiot.
"Stop being such a pessimist," I said loudly, annoyed. The arguing had been no help. I jumped and nearly screamed when a large hand clamped on my shoulder.
"All right there, Sirius?"
I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard Hagrid’s thick tones.
"Yeah, I think so. I’ve got to be going though, sorry! See you at Hogwarts!"
I gave him a wave and hurried after my companions into Florean Fortescue’s.
James, Remus and Anastasia had already ordered and received three huge dark chocolate sundaes. "The same, please, with extra nuts!" I called to Mr. Fortescue. He gave a smile and a nod (we were regulars here, thanks to Anastasia) and went to fix it.
I sat down with them at a table and waited.
"Wasa twok s lang?" Anastasia said, her full with chocolaty goodness.
"Umm . . . yes?"
Anastasia swallowed and smirked. "That’s not the correct answer. I said, What took so long?"
For a moment, I thought about telling her that I was just thinking. But that led to questions. And questions led to confessions. And I realized that if I wasn’t even sure yet, I certainly shouldn’t let Anastasia know about it. Not for a long time, anyway. "I saw Hagrid."
Well, it was partially true. And it was better than telling Anastasia about what really took me so long. That I was finally figuring out I. . . I. . .
Fuck, I chided myself. I can’t even admit it inside my mind. Okay, you have to do this now. If you say, maybe you’ll finally accept it’s true.
I like Anastasia.
Remus nudged me again, and I gave a sound of exasperation. "Dammit, Remus, what is it with you and nudging me? Is it pass the nudge day? Should I nudge James now? Because I think I’m getting a bruise."
Remus was shaking with what I could only assume was unreleased laughter. "Er, no. I was just going to say that Anna’s been trying to get your attention for nearly a minute now."
"Oh. Right, right," I mumbled. "Yes?"
"Your ice cream’s sitting there waiting."
I nodded, thankful at a chance to get up from the table and breath properly . I took my time searching through my pocket for a sickle and paid for the sundae. I sat back down and took a bite. My eyes glazed over in indulgence.
"Damn. It’s like a -"
"Fucking explosion in your mouth! We know!"
I hung my head. "Aww, don’t be sad," Anastasia got up and put her arms around me. "We’re just kidding. Promise."
I was about to smile gratefully, when she wiped her hand across my face - she had covered my face in chocolate.
James and Remus were cracking up, and Anastasia had her superior little smile on - the one that she always wore when she broke a rule, or bested someone. All of her teeth shown brightly.
I thought about my situation. I thought about Anastasia. And then I thought, What would Anastasia do?
But I barely had a chance to think about that particular question before Remus grabbed my arm roughly. "We’ll be right back."
I thought we’d be going for a nice little walk, so everyone could mock my chocolate face. (I hadn't thought to bring out my wand, and no one had offered to, either.)
He stopped me right outside the door, and quickly looked into one of the windows before facing me again.
"You know Anastasia; you know what she’s like. What you don’t know, is what she’s told me."
I tried to comprehend his words, to no avail. I was confused. "Huh?"
"Don’t tell her you like her," he advised.
I didn’t even bother arguing with him. "Why?" I asked.
He took a deep breath. "Remember Aaron, Stephen?" I nodded. "She liked them both. Until they told her she liked them back."
I couldn’t see what this had to do with me. "And . . .?"
Remus sighed and rolled his eyes. He obviously thought I was an idiot - which I was, so, no arguments there. "So, I know you’re still figuring out exactly how you feel about her, but when you do, don’t say anything to her. She doesn’t like anything serious-"
"Except for me!" I butted in. Ah, I love those jokes. They never get old.
Remus hit me hard in the arm (he was getting rather violent these days) before continuing. "You know she doesn’t like being held down. And if you tell her you like her, you’re going to ruin five years of friendship. You might be a seventeen-year-old dude, but she’s just a kid, Sirius; she’s not ready for something like that yet."
I frowned, still thinking, and Remus sighed. "Just think about it." He pulled out his wand and pointed it at my face. "Scourgify." And then walked away.
He left me standing there, with only my thoughts, and a clean face.
Damn, there's still chocolate up my nose.
A/N: Thanks so much to wheresmyedward for a bunch of help on this chapter! (A lot of thanks.)
A/N2: I'm so, so sorry. I don't think I've ever had a longer space between updates on this story, even when I had to wait for the queue. This should be the last terrible wait though - the next chapter is the last one for a while that I actually have to write; after that, there's at least ten that are already done.
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