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Chapter 33 : Take It Easy, Baby
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Been Dazed and Confused for so long it's not true.
Wanted a woman, never bargained for you.
Lots of people talk and few of them know
. . .
Take it easy baby, let them say what they will.
"The guys say hi! The guys say hi!" Sirius was sitting next to me, shouting in my ear as I tried to write a letter to Damon. He had kept true to his word and as soon as I arrived at Hogwarts after Christmas holiday, I had received a letter from him.
It inspired me to wear a chicken suit for three straight days afterwards.
Ha. Long story. Trust me.
Anyway, it had been quite difficult to take a pee.
"Okay, okay," I told him, rolling my eyes. "Have I got to sedate you?"
"Nuh-uh," Sirius protested, calming himself and settling for adding commentary throughout the rest of my writing.
I waited for the ink to dry before I rolled the parchment up and tied a string around it. I put my slippers on and pulled my fuzzy red robe more tightly around myself. "Now I’ve got to take this to the owlery," I explained to Sirius. "Can you behave like a six-year-old while I’m gone?"
Sirius, quite adorably I might add, nodded eagerly much like a puppy, jumped up, and zoomed away in a matter of seconds.
"Well, alright," I chuckled to myself.
With the letter grasped loosely in my hands, I set off for the long trek to the owlery. Luckily, I had handy connections with the Marauders; and they happened to know every single passageway in the school. It was a good thing, because I was not keen on walking outside in the freezing snow, at ten o’clock in the morning. On a Saturday, no less.
So, after walking through a passageway (with a particularly low ceiling, seeing as anyone even the slightest bit taller than me would have had to crouch) I had arrived at the poop-covered bird hotel. At least, that is what I liked to call it.
I called to my owl and was quite pleased when she came flying happily down. She had been moody the past week or so; probably PMS.
"That-a-girl. Good. Now, I need you to take this to Damon, alright? And have a good rest once you get there." A hoot, an affectionate nibble at my finger, and she was gone.
I turned to leave the owlery, contemplating the bad choice of shoe-wear, when I nearly got a heart attack. Someone had been standing directly behind me. Darren.
"What’s going on, Darren?" I asked. Something in the way that he was looking at me made me feel as if Darren being here wasn’t quite a coincidence.
"I wanted to . . . apologize," he said finally.
"For what?" I responded. I had no problem continuing my talk with Darren, however, I began to walk; being in the owlery for too long was not something that made me particularly happy.
"Because I said some pretty mean things when I didn’t really mean them. And I understand that someone like you and someone like me never really could work out; I just wanted you to know that I knew that."
I began to nod but Darren wasn’t quite finished. "And I want to still be your friend. I want you to teach me how to have fun - your kind."
I laughed at the professional manner that Darren was going about his apology and proposal. "Alright, but we’re going to have to start by taking that proverbial stick out of your arse. Or do I have to reach down there and do it for you? Because I’m not really into that sort of thing."
He laughed along with me before saying, "That’s alright, I think I can do it myself; that might even be a little too kinky for me to handle." He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and I congratulated him; he was actually joking about something, even if it was slightly sexual. Everyone’s still got to start somewhere.
"Just one question," I prompted, as I directed him towards the secret passage that I had taken to get to the owlery. "Did you really get thrown out of your old school for shagging some girl in a empty classroom?"
He shook his head, but was most definitely hiding a smile. "Nope, you’ve got your facts wrong," he explained, as if he would have expected better of me. "It wasn’t empty. It was a closet in the back of the classroom. The professor heard some, er . . . noises, and went back to check and there we were."
I had started laughing somewhere around the second sentence he had spoken, and didn’t intend on stopping for quite some time. However, I did manage to choke out, "You never cease to amaze me, mate. Let’s keep it that way."
By the second week in February, we had all become accustomed to knocking on the dormitory door before entering. (Sometimes, regrettable for myself, I forgot.)
Remus and Dora weren’t shagging, but you could always count on an eyeful of something or another if you were unlucky enough to walk in on them. Lily and James weren’t quite as painful to the eyes, but Lily would get uncomfortable if any of us walked in on her and James snogging, so we tried to avoid it. Peter had a bad habit of shagging girls in other houses, and somehow, getting them up to our dorm. And while his number wasn’t quite up there with Remus’, if the lovable werewolf kept up his bit with Dora, then Pete would soon surpass him. It was a slightly creepy thought.
It felt as if Sirius and I were the odd ones out.
"You know," I joked one day, after we had knocked on the dormitory door and heard a pleasured moan in response, "maybe we should just shag up a storm in there one day, just so we’re not feeling so left out."
It felt oddly strange, coming out of my mouth. I had always made cracks (for the past two or three years) about me and Sirius’ potential sexual relationship. It was always hilarious for us and uncomfortable for others. However, that was the first time in my memory that it was uncomfortable to me.
Holy fuck, thought to myself. What’s going on here?
That’s nothing it’s just-
Oh, so you’re back are you? I grumbled. The voice (which had gone on vacation after Darren and I were no longer involved, not counting that whole bit at the Christmas party) had come back.
Of course! I love it here! Just can’t stay away! It's so nicely decorated!
I was snapped back to reality when I heard Sirius voice jokingly agree, "Definitely. We’ll get down ‘till the sun comes up."
"Don’t you mean go down?" I couldn’t help but laugh - I thought I was extremely clever.
Sirius brought the conversation to a drastic U-turn. "Honestly, do they really have to go up there and take over the dorm all the time? What if I needed to have a pee really badly and couldn’t make it to any of the other loos in school? Or what if there was a raging, man-eating bear on the loose and you needed your wand?"
"Well then I suggest that you start carrying around a little glass jar and I remember to keep my wand with me at all times," I advised.
"Smartarse," Sirius snapped. "But really, I think we should make our own dorm; we’ll need a place to chill when they’re all making use of the sex-room up there. Seriously! (With no relation to myself.) It’s going to have a permanent smell up there."
"Come on, you idiot, let’s go." I started pulling Sirius into the seventh-floor corridor; he was compliant and didn’t complain. "Good little boy," I praised.
I walked a bit more and come to a stop in front of the (potential) Room of Requirement. "I need a place where Sirius and I can chill while ours is being used for dirty things." I repeated this three times before a small, black door popped up in front of us.
I stepped tentatively into the room and gave it a once-over. It passed.
It looked quite a great deal smaller than the common room in Gryffindor tower; however, this was for two people. There were two large, red couches, placed directly to the side of the other. There were two, small-ish bookcases on either side of the fireplace. The smallish bookcases, were, however, not filled with books.
After further investigation, we found that the couches pulled out into beds. "That’s convenient," I remarked. "Hmm. . . which one will I choose? This is such a difficult decision. The left, or the right?"
I looked back and forth between the identical couches for a while. "Well, fuck that. I’ll never decide! You pick, Sirius."
"I dunno," Sirius answered. "You’re the lady, you pick."
He thought for a moment. "Wait, I take that back. You’re Anastasia. You pick."
"Shut up, dumbarse!" I yelled at him, though I found his comment amusing, and quite typical. "I don’t know! How am I supposed to choose? Left bed/couch versus right bed/couch. This is like WWE Smackdown."
"What’s a WWE Smackdown?" Sirius questioned.
"This." I jumped up and latched my arms and Sirius’ neck trying to bring him down to the ground; I was failing miserably. I reluctantly decided to explain verbally. I let go of his neck and said, "If we were both, like, three-hundred pounds, totally buff, bald and disgustingly tattooed, then us wrestling would be a WWE Smackdown."
Pausing, I grinned, clarifying. "Someone also has to whack a chair over someone elses head."
"Oh," he said, "Sounds interesting. Hey, let’s just alternate and switch. That way, no one has to pick!"
"Okay!" I said brightly. "What a brilliant solution! We should put the beds back into couches. It’s a bad sign for the future if we’re already preparing for an overnight here."
"Agreed." Sirius nodded. "Now, can we try that WWE thingy?"
"Today is the day that we begin study human-to-animal transfiguration. We will continue to study this particularly precise and difficult branch of magic into your Seventh year. . ."
I stopped listening to Minnie at that point; after all, my best mates were all animagi - I hardly needed to hear the detailed history of it. Instead, I thought of the letter I had received from Damon at breakfast. Sirius had long since decided he didn’t hate the bloke, and had excitedly ripped the letter from my hands before I could read it. However, he eventually gave it back, and I read it as I walked up to class.
Dear Anna (and Remus, and James, and Peter, and Sirius),
I hope you are all feeling fantastic and not learning too much, because that would be a pity. Speaking of learning - I am no longer attending Durmstrang. Before this term started up, my Father made a last minute decision to send me to a school closer to home. As Voldemort grows stronger, it appears he has many allies in my old school. Anastasia, guys – don’t trust anyone outside your little group; your best friends are the most important people you can get in times like this.
On a much, much happier note; I have a girlfriend! She’s beautiful. Long brown hair, very tall and graceful. She didn’t speak English, so when I transferred here I started teaching her, and that’s how I got to know her. It’s quite wonderful, liking someone this much; you should all try it some time. Anna - that last comment may or may not have been intended for you. You can’t see me, but I am now winking.
I have a proposal for you - all of you. This may seem a bit far in advance, but I’m going to throw it out there, just for fun. When I turn eighteen (my Muggle-born father doesn’t follow the magical ‘coming of age’) instead of receiving the customary watch, I get a villa on the beach. I’m quite excited for this, personally. Now, I don’t turn eighteen until next, next August - by that time, you boys will be out of school and Anna will have just graduated - but I want you guys to visit me that summer.
It can be just us for a while (something tells me we won’t have any troubles entertaining ourselves) and then I think I’m going to invite a few more people and we can have a wild, raging party. I won’t be able to rest in peace until I’ve seen Sirius and Anna drunk and stupid . . . Sorry guys.
I’ve actually got to run - school here is surprisingly more difficult than it was at Durmstrang. I’ve got an essay to write. Write back soon, or I’ll send Bertha (the owl) back to peck your eyes out.
Mr. Write-back-before-your-eyes-get-pecked-out (Damon)
"Well . . . That’s a pleasant thought," I had remarked to Sirius, before we had gone separate ways before class.
I should use this time to write back; maybe I can even fool Minnie into thinking that I’m taking notes . . . Yeah right. I laughed at my own stupid suggestion.
So I took out some parchment, an ink bottle, and a quill, not really caring to be discreet. I was nearly shocked out of my shoes when I felt a sharp quill tip jab into my side. I looked to my left and saw Darren sitting innocently in his seat. I flicked a bit of parchment at him before beginning to write.
Unfortunately, the lovely Marauders cannot be here while I write this letter, because I’m writing it in class. Yes, I know I’m bad - maybe you should punish me? Anyway, all inappropriate sexual comments aside, this is how I spend my time in class.
I want to hear all about the girl that you’ve met. I might know her from when I was younger; believe it or not, before I moved here, I had lots of friends. Now I’m content to hang out with the guys and not have boyfriends. I can just live vicariously through others . . . like you! Oh, and don’t think your little comment about liking someone a lot was lost on me; I’m fully aware of what you’re implying, you, you - well, let’s just say that a certain, offending word that starts with a ‘B’ would totally be in place of this extra long, explanatory sentence if I wasn’t feeling particularly virtuous today.
I’m very glad to hear that you’re out of Durmstrang - it’s a very, very bad place. Actually I don’t know that for sure because I’ve never been there, but I trust your judgement. I hope you’re enjoying your new school, and I commend you on your patience; I highly doubt I could ever teach someone how to speak a language.
Dude! Villa on a fucking Greek beach!?!? What do you think our answer is? I don’t even have to ask the guys; I’m sure they’ll be all for it. Oh, and you should probably know that Sirius and I have cut back on our drunken activities; they’re bad. However, for you, I’m sure neither of us will mind downing a bit of Firewhiskey. Mmm, love that stuff.
So, I’m going to have to dash now, as terribly I have nothing else to say, because Hogwarts is so damn dreadfully uneventful. Ta!
Love and danger,
Anna (and we can just pretend that the guys helped me write this)
In my mind, I grumbled about the un-eventfulness of Hogwarts. To provide further distraction from boring classwork, I then went on to grumble to Darren about it. It certainly was nice to have a friend in class, since it kept me slightly more entertained.
"Miss Xanthis! I have long since given up on hopes of you paying attention in this class; however, I would like you not to distract your classmates!" Professor McGonagall said sharply, then continued her lecture without missing a beat.
That takes some talent, I admitted to myself. Now . . . When is lunch?
"Did you ever read Romeo and Juliet?"
I turned to look at Sirius, who was lounging with his feet up on the desk I was working at. It was March; the teachers had been continually warning us that exams were close, and I was trying to study. The keyword here being trying. Still, it wasn’t my fault Sirius was distracting me so effectively.
"You mean the play about the bitchy, whiny, emotionally flighty, clingy teenagers?" Yes, I had read it. No, I did not like it.
"I’ll take that as a yes," he answered. "So why did you dislike it so much?"
"Besides the fact that the characters are incredibly shallow-"
"So are you," Sirius interrupted.
" - They’re just plain annoying."
From Sirius’ general response to everything I had to say about the play, I gathered that he had liked it. I wondered why. "And why do you like it so much?"
He took his feet down from the desk and almost looked at bit serious. (However, he looked very, very Sirius. God, that joke is getting old.) "I think it’s kind of amazing that two people could love each other so much that they would rather die than be without the other."
I crinkled my nose at his response. "You’ve got to be kidding me." Perhaps my disgust at Sirius’ opinion sounded a little more harsh than I intended; he looked a bit taken aback.
"Not at all. Why do you ask?"
"Because that’s totally stupid - it’s part of the reason why they’re both so annoying. I mean, they had a complete emotional collapse when they thought the other one was dead; way too clingy too another person. It’s just so pitiful. I mean really you don't kill yourself because the guy you met four days ago and shagged once is dead."
A funny look had settled itself onto Sirius’ face. When I set my mind to it, I could almost always decipher what someone was thinking from their expression. This however, was one of the few exceptions.
"So you don’t think there’s anyone that you couldn’t live without?" Sirius questioned. His voice matched the look on his face.
"Not to the point where I’d kill myself. Or do some other sort of rash, withdrawal type of thing where I pretend my heart has turned into a big black whole and there's no purpose in life anymore."
First, Sirius frowned at me, and then laughed. But it wasn’t an amused sort of laugh. It was simply one of disbelief. "You have a cold, cold heart, Anastasia." Then he got up and left.
What the hell was that all about? I wondered
I know! I know! I know!
I would have known that Greek accent anywhere.
Damon! Why are you inside my head now!? First Remus, then Mrs. Potter, and now you?
We all know what’s best for you, chuckled Damon’s voice. More than you do, anyway.
Well, can you go away? I’ve got some work to do. I was getting slightly annoyed.
You have no intention of doing that homework. Besides, didn’t you hear me?
Hear from you? Yes, I sent my letter over a week ago thank yo - I stopped. I needed to remind myself that the Damon inside my head was a figment of my imagination; not the real one.
I'm not talking about that! I know why Sirius was acting funny!
I decided to humour the voice . . . Maybe it would go away.
Because he would totally kill himself if you died!
What!? I gave a quick glance around the room - for a moment I was afraid I had shouted that out loud instead of inside my head. He would never! He has James, Remus and Peter! James is his best friend!
And for that he’s lucky. Damon’s voice sounded exasperated now, and slightly less like Damon’s. They would be the ones who would keep him going - not that he wouldn’t be devastated. But to be completely honest, I think Sirius is a little upset that you wouldn’t react the same way with him.
I hardly think Sirius wants me to kill myself, I reasoned with the voice, which no longer sounded like Damon at all. In fact, it sounded rather like Sirius himself.
I don’t. Yep, it was Sirius. It's just a little wounding to the ego that, you know, that maybe you don't love me as much as I love you.
With a frustrated growl I tore myself from my mind. Leaving my books on the desk, I stalked off to the hospital wing. Hopefully, Madam Pomfrey had something to help get rid of voices.
A week passed to find us sitting in the Great Hall, eating breakfast. (With the exception of Remus, who was sleeping in the hospital wing. Yesterday had been full moon.)
"You never told me you had voices that talked to you," James said randomly.
I paused with a forkful of food halfway to my mouth, blanching. "How do you know about the voices?"
"When we went to see Remus this morning, Madam Pomfrey asked us to ask you if the voices were gone."
I dropped my fork with a ‘clank.’ Madam Pomfrey was such a traitor.
"They’re not voices, per se," I explained. "Not the crazy people kind - I’m fully aware that they’re in my head, and made up. But, sometimes when I get to arguing with myself it gets a little… overwhelming."
"Oh," James said. "I get that all the time."
"Not like this, I’ll bet." I put my head down on the table, thankful that Sirius had skipped over to the Hufflepuff table to say a quick word to someone. I wasn’t sure if I could have kept up the charade while he was watching. Not while the incident from last week was still fresh on my mind.
"Hey, Darren," I called as he passed by on his way down the table.
He smiled back and tilted his head towards me. I heard a growl from behind me and turned around to see Sirius. Ever since the game of taboo when I had implied things about me and Darren, Sirius had been growing particularly hostile.
"I thought you were done with that bloke." If his actions hadn’t been indicative enough of his opinion of Darren, his voice sure was.
"I’m done with the snogging and stuff." I tried not to put too much emphasis on the ‘and stuff.’ "But we’re friends now."
"Well I don’t like it," Sirius’ childish petulance was shining through. I was glad; it had been noticeably scarce over the past few months.
"Well I don’t like you," I retorted.
"Yes you do."
Yes, you do.
I nearly jumped out of my seat. Not because Sirius’ voice and the voice in my head were simultaneous. No. But because the voice in my head belonged not to Remus, not to Damon, not to Mrs. Potter, and certainly not to Sirius. It belonged to me.
A/N2: Fun chapter, eh? Anyways, here's some more information about the new story I'm writing.
It'll be a short story; it's working title is, Anastasia, and the main character is one of Anna's old dorm-mates. Let's say it's quite a different view on Anna. This girl is not her biggest fan, to say it nicely. This story is mostly targeted to those who didn't really like Anna, or people who just want to see how other people portray her.
I'm not realeasing it until it's all, completely finished. When it is, I'll be adding a new chapter every other day, so the entire story should be up fairly quickly. It'll probably hover somewhere from 10-15 chapters. Just a little more info because I'm having trouble coming up with a summary but still want to give you some info:
Bria Carol is your average girl. She's average looking, average sized, average grades. But Anastasia keeps besting her, keeps getting exactly what she wants. This is basically Bria's struggle with Anastasia and trying to come out on top through their Hogwarts years.
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