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Chapter 44 : You Think You're On Top Of The World (Anna, Can't You Ever Not Screw Something Up?)
| ||Rating: Mature||Chapter Reviews: 28|
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You think you're on top of the world
When all the eyes are on you
Just wait until your heart breaks
-New Found Glory
It had taken me quite a while to sort myself out. Let’s just say that the Marauders (especially Sirius) made quite a deal out of it when I finally moseyed back to the dorm around midnight.
But it didn’t matter, because I had myself figured out. Or, at least enough to deal with the problem at hand.
I was immature; it was something I had always known, but what I hadn’t realized was that it probably effected my outlook on relationships. I was the type of person that just shouldn’t be in one, until I was older, at least.
So I had to do the right thing; I had to end it with Sirius. The only thing left to figure out was when and how to do it.
Sirius was walking me to Potions again. The way our fingers laced together felt so forced and unnatural, as it did every time we walked to class in that manner. It was a far cry from those times when Sirius and I had been lounging together and he had grabbed my hand and stroked it. So similar, yet so different.
He kissed me goodbye, but this time I did not burst angrily into the dungeon, or threaten Darren.
We did, however, hold our customary ‘ignore-Ol’Slugy’ conversation.
"So . . . I asked Sirius why you guys decided he was better than me . . ."
Awkward. Yet funny.
"Was he lying?" The amused look on Darren’s face entertained me.
Laughing, I answered. "Nope."
His eyes widened. "Really?!"
I nodded and laughed some more.
"Miss Xanthis, please be quiet."
Slughorn’s interjections into our conversations were normal, and easily ignorable.
"Oh, well, I’m sorry about that, then. I suppose it wasn’t as . . . enjoyable . . . as it was supposed to be.
"So . . . Did you and Sirius get up to anything yet?"
There was a scraping of stools around us; our classmates were all getting up and heading towards the storage cabinet in the back. "I guess we’re supposed to be doing something," I observed.
Darren glanced quickly at the blackboard. "Yeah." He began setting up the cauldron as I went to get the ingredients. In ten minutes, we had our potion coming along nicely, and Darren decided that it would be a good time to restart the interrogation. "So . . . Have you?"
"Have I what?" I skirted the question, not for any particular reason, other than my own entertainment.
"Have you done anything with Sirius?" he asked. He started to stir the potion counter-clockwise; I could see him mouthing numbers to himself.
"Yes. I’ve walked with Sirius, talked with Sirius, pretended to study with Sirius -"
"Not like that!"
"What’s it to you?" Darren was getting visibly frustrated with me, as he sometimes tended to.
"Come on, I’m curious, will you just tell me?!"
Translation: I’m a boy, and because me and you did stuff, Sirius is automatically my competition, so I need to know where I stand. And, no, it doesn’t matter than we’re not going out anymore and don’t want to do each other.
"Some stuff," I said, answering him in a non-specific way.
I made a crass hand-gesture.
"Ah. So your and Sirius' fun was mutal, eh?"
I looked down at the bubbling, vibrant purple potion. "Pester me again, and you’ll find that this purple potion is way more harmful than it looks."
Darren sobered up and we had a light, non-Sirius related banter for the remainder of the double.
The bell rang and we cleaned up quickly. As we made our way to the Great Hall, Darren advised me, "Make sure you get a little more fun in before you break up with him. It only makes sense."
I hit him as we stepped through the doors and into the blazing chatter of students.
"You suck," I spat.
I marched over to Sirius. "Hit Darren for me, will you?" I asked him, smiling. "And tell him that I already have. And I was."
"Any particular reason?"
I shrugged. "Nah, just because." Sirius reached across the table, where Darren had situated himself, and hit Darren over the head, much harder than I would have.
Darren mouthed something at me - I wasn’t sure exactly what he was trying to say, but I’m sure it wasn’t exactly complimentary.
I just laughed and leaned my head against Sirius’ shoulder. That, at least, felt more natural than holding his hand while I ate, which was just an awkward way to eat. After a while, though, my neck began to hurt, and I had pick my head up and roll my neck a bit. But I could take the pain, because everything felt better - at least temporarily.
Maybe I could deal with this . . .
Then he grabbed my hand.
. . . Well . . . Maybe if he’d stop grabbing my hand.
"Come on," I groaned. "It needs to be tomorrow morning."
"May I ask why?" Sirius asked, stuffing his face.
"Because I really want french toast."
At that point, James leaned over to Sirius and said (in a very not-so-whispery-whisper,) "Your girlfriends a nutter!"
I stood up, leaned around Sirius and shouted, "We know!"
James put his hands up in a surrendering gesture. "Yikes. Someone’s cranky."
I sighed. "I don’t feel like going to class-"
"You complain a lot," Sirius pointed out.
I shrugged. "You obviously don’t care."
"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted," I threw a glance at Sirius. "I don’t want to go to class today."
"What a coincidence," said Sirius. He jumped up and left his food unfinished, then pulled me up with him. "Because I don’t either."
Ooo la la. What suggestive language . . .
"I know a few things that are far more entertaining then going to class."
"I’d love to hear them," Sirius claimed, leading me out of the hall by my hand.
"Well . . ." I began.
Okay, so what?! I argued with myself. So, I followed Darren’s advice. Does that make me a bad person?
Not at all!
Good - at least one voice in this head loves me.
Sirius and I were actually not holding hands, for once, as we made our way down to the Great Hall. We had neglected to tend the rest of our afternoon classes, and instead spent a few hours in each others company.
They were nice hours.
Instead of grasping my hand, Sirius had his arm thrown casually around my waist. It was sort of nice, actually. Like when I leaned my head on his shoulder.
However, we never made it to the Great Hall. Our progress was halted just outside the doors, by none other than Professor Minerva McGonagall, dragging a guilty looking James by the ear.
"Prongs," Sirius groaned, drawing out the ‘o’ sound in a whining manner. "What did you do?"
"Why don’t you tell them, Mr. Potter," Minnie suggested, while glaring daggers at Sirius and I.
"She’s scary," I whispered in his ear. Sirius didn’t really respond.
"Er." James stood awkwardly, trying to dig a hole in the stone floor with his toe. "Well, today . . . . Minnie - I mean Professor McGonagall said, ‘Where is Sirius.’ And, naturally this was directed at me and the Marauders, because, you know, we’re your best mates.
"And so I said, ‘Well, I’m not sure, but I know that Anna has his pants.’ I totally meant in the way that she was wearing them, but Minnie took it otherwise, and now we’re here to yell at you.’
I figured that as long as we were in trouble anyway, I might as well correct James on his mistake; I went to tell James that I had Sirius’ pants in both senses of the word, but my better half caught on and slapped his hand over my mouth before I could incriminate us anymore.
"Now," McGonagall pushed forward, ignoring what had just transpired between me and Sirius. "Normally, I would not take Mr. Potter seriously-"
"Because he’s not Sirius," Sirius mumbled.
McGonagall refused to acknowledge Sirius’ comment. "However, upon further investigation, neither of you were at any of your afternoon lessons. Now, if either of you have any explanations I would like to hear them now." She stood with her hands on her hips and her lips pursed, daring either of us to try and stumble our way through a fake explanation.
"Actually, Professor, we do have an explanation," I said. I needed a way to buy us time - and I needed it fast. "It’s just, it has to do with-" I lowered my voice substantially. "Quidditch, and I don’t really think we should be talking about it out in the open."
Professor McGonagall looked skeptical, but everyone knew that McGonagall was secretly, discreetly consumed with obsession for winning the Quidditch Cup each year. She looked quickly around, then led us away to her office, up a floor.
"Well what is it? Tell me your excuse for why you both missed all of your afternoon classes, without the team captain, and why this did not involve Mr. Black’s pants."
"Well," I began.
Alright, make it up as you go along; if you’re lucky, your dumbarse boyfriend might contribute a little. . .
"Okay, so you know how we lost that game to Hufflepuff back in November?"
"Well, me and Sirius hatched a plan - we need to beat Ravenclaw by one-hundred points for the championship - that’s it."
I was at a crossroads; I had no idea what to say next.
"So why is it that the captain of the Gryffindor team didn’t decide to skip all his classes, too?"
"I can answer that," James interjected. I had almost forgotten that he was here. "I didn’t want to risk being taken out of the match. I know, it’s hard to believe I, James Potter, would fear trouble. But if there’s one thing I take seriously, it’s Quidditch."
Phew, that was a close one.
Minnie seemed to accept James’ story, at least. But that still didn’t explain all that planning Sirius and I had done.
I was about the attempt to stutter my way through an explanation when Sirius jumped up. "I have the plans in my dorm! Can I go get them?"
McGonagall allowed him to.
He came crashing into the room, breathless, ten minutes later and brandishing a long scroll of parchment excitedly in the air.
"Here they are!" Sirius slapped the parchment down on the Professor’s desk and had a quiet conversation with her.
A while later, McGonagall stood up and she and Sirius walked over. Then, Minnie apologized. "Miss Xanthis, Mr. Black, I’m very sorry for those accusations." She did not sound happy at all about the whole apologizing thing . . . Couldn’t say I blamed her. "It appears that Mr. Potter’s idiocy caused a slight misunderstanding."
She turned (without scolding James) and left the room. I heard her heels click down the hallway, then stop. They started again and a few moments later McGonagall’s smiling head appeared around the doorway. "That plan is brilliant; you lot have to win."
"So tell me, Sirius, how the hell did you manage to work that out?" It was five minutes after the whole ‘Sirius-and-Anna-almost-got-busted-for-doing-sexual-things-instead-of-going-to-class," incident.
"Well I had the two-way mirror," Sirius explained.
"And I had the other," Remus added. "He called me on it-"
"And, well, you know how Moony is with strategy, so I asked him and Pete to whip something up real quick - and he did! And McGonagall thought it was brilliant. And that’s the end of the story."
"That was brilliant!" I praised.
"You thinking it up in the first place was brilliant," he complimented.
I stopped. "Okay, enough mushy, gushy compliments for now. Let’s eat!"
Stupid, stupid, stupid, crap compliments. Who wants to be gushed over anyway?
‘Not I,’ said the Anna.
I shook my head rapidly. I really have to stop talking to myself.
"So, did you get your reciprocation?"
I pulled my wand swiftly out of my pocket and was about to curse Darren, but at the moment, Slughorn walked by. The past week, the walrus of a teacher had been getting rather frustrated with me, so I decided not to test his nerves. I put the wand slowly away, counting to ten, and then concentrated all of my efforts on the potion.
"Aww, come on, I’m curious."
Fine . . . You want to know? I’ll tell you.
"Actually, yes. I did . . . And it was much nicer this time."
Aha. I had thought that, that would shut him up, and it did.
However, being Darren, you couldn’t shut him up for long. "So, when are you breaking up with him?"
"Why, going to catch him on the rebound?" I snapped. "Going to try swinging the other way?"
I he put his hand over his heart and pouted in a faux-hurt way. "Ouch, Anna. Why don’t you twist the knife a little more?"
"Well, sorry if I’m not looking forward to breaking up with my best friend, who, in actuality, I really shouldn’t be going out with anyway."
"So . . ." he said, suddenly much nicer. "You’re going to go through with it?"
I groaned and let my head fall harshly to the table. It hurt a bit, but it made me feel better all the same. Of course, it didn’t occur to me, that, maybe I shouldn’t be putting my head where numerous potions had been spilt over the past thousand years.
"Yeah." I was shockingly depressed about the fact - that confused me. "But now I’m worried that if I break up with him I’ll regret it right after."
Wait . . . I didn’t mean to say that . . .
Darren scrunched his eyebrows in a thoughtful manner.
Before he could speak, I interrupted, "You know, you’re really cute when you scrunch your eyebrows like that."
I definitely didn’t mean to say that.
Now Darren’s face betrayed shock, and, of course, a little bit of arrogance at my claim.
And it was bad. Now that my brain was on the subject . . . It just kept going.
"You know," I went on, in a voice perkily unfit way for the situation, "When we were fooling around, there were so many times that I felt like just jumping your bones right there. And I didn’t . . . Not sure why, now that I’m looking back on it, but, maybe-"
Darren threw his hand over my mouth. "I don’t need to hear this, what the hell is wrong with you!?"
Then, as he pulled his hand away from my face he examined something on his hands. He ran his hand across my cheek again. "Uh-oh."
"Your hand is really, really rough," I pointed out. "You should get something for that dry skin."
"Uh-oh," he repeated, swiping his hand across the black, wooden table we were sitting at. "Oh, no." And then he ran his hands through his hair as people in distress tend to do.
"You know," I trilled, "you were so much cuter when your hair was longer; you should grow it out."
"Anna, shut up! We have a problem! I think there was remnants of a few potions on that table - and one of them is Veritaserum!"
Oh, well I suppose this explains the babbling like an idiot - not that I don’t do that normally, but this is a different kind of babbling.
. . . This could be a problem.
"Okay, calm down," Darren warned, being uncharacteristically helpful. "We have to keep you from blurting out any deep, dark secrets that you have that none of us want to know."
"I have nothing to hide," I told Darren.
"You want Sirius to know what you’re thinking?"
"I’m going to tell him anyway," I explained.
"Do you want to end up telling him things you don’t even know you’re thinking!?"
Wow . . . That could be dangerous. You know how volatile your mind is, Anna.
" . . . That would be bad," I admitted.
"Exactly," Darren exclaimed.
"So what do we do?" I said frantically, completely ignoring the instructions that Slughorn was giving on the potion we were to be completing the next time we had double.
"Uh," Darren stuttered around, thinking. "I know! First I’ve got to take a swipe of this table; we don’t know what other potions are all over this thing."
"How do you reverse the effects of Veritaserum? It’s probably a bad idea if I meet up with Sirius while I’m still on this stuff. We might both end up learning stuff about me."
Darren riffled discreetly through his back before extracting a clean scrap of parchment. He swiped it over the desk in the spot I had lain my head earlier, folded it up, and put it in his pocket. "Anna, we don’t know what other dangerous potions have spilt here; we have bigger problems than you babbling like an idiot."
"You know," I blurted, "you always had a stick up your arse."
"Go cry about it to Sirius," he drawled.
"Maybe I will. He’s so cool, I like him so much." Well, see, my thoughts were exactly as I had thought they were; I like Sirius. Nothing more.
By that point, Darren seemed to be ignoring me. I couldn’t exactly blame him, though, I probably wasn’t the best companion at the moment. Under his breath, he muttered, "Come on, bell. Come on, bell. Ring."
And it did. When the bell rang, he grabbed my wrist and dragged me roughly from the dungeon. He didn’t tell me where we were going or why, but I didn’t ask, on the chance that he would become frustrated and no longer want to help me. Which would suck.
Instead of taking me up the stairs that would lead to the Entrance Hall, he pulled me around a corner I had never been before. There were a series of doors that looked exactly like the one to that lead to the classroom; old, decrepit, liable to fall apart easily. Perhaps, even more so. "Come on," he urged.
He pulled me into the first door we came to. My hands flew to my ears as the door creaked. It was a high-pitched, unpleasant sound. My first thought was that we were back in the classroom, but then I realized that we weren’t. The cauldrons and desks in this room were far more dusty, and the room had an overall unused feeling to it.
"Okay, Anna, sit here and try to not spill all your secrets out. I won’t talk to you, seeing as that triggers it. Do you think you can sit quietly here for an hour or so while I analyze these potions?"
"No, Mr. Smart Guy." I couldn’t have lied if I tried. Besides, Darren should have known better.
Darren heaved a sigh. "Well, then. Anna, I’m sorry, but this is for your own good."
"Noooooooooooooo!" I cried, just as Darren flourished his wand. The rest of my cry was cut off; Darren had used a silencing charm on me . . . Stupid little bitch.
I spent the hour twiddling my thumbs (surprisingly entertaining,) pacing the dungeon, and hovering over Darren’s shoulder. It annoyed him a lot.
"Okay, wow." The strip of parchment that Darren had dropped into the cauldron a half hour earlier was now covered in different blotches of color. "Okay, well, on that table that you decided to inhale," Darren paused, presumably to mutter to himself about what an idiot I was, "was some Veritaserum, some sort of memory-disabling potion, a Swelling Solution, and Euphoria."
"What’s Euphoria? And why isn’t my face swelling? And why isn’t my memory disabling, and why-"
"Anna! Shut up!"
"Look, Anna, I don’t know why your face isn’t swelling and why your memory is still working. And I can’t even tell if the Euphoria has had any effect because that’s just how you always are and I’m not exactly sure when the Veritaserum is going to wear off, because I don’t even know how much you inhaled. I didn’t even know you could get the effects of Veritaserum from inhalation."
"You worry a lot," I chided. "Come on, we’re missing, uhhh - wait, I don’t care what class we’re missing. What am I talking about? Ha!" I laughed.
I leaned back on a desk and was careful not to put my face on it. Despite my aloof outlook on the situation, I wasn’t exactly eager to have other unidentified potions swirling around my lungs.
We sat around for another half hour before Darren turned to me and said, "Okay, Anna, I’m going to test you and see if you’ve still got the Veritaserum effects."
"So, Anna what do you think of Sirius?"
I like him. I like him a lot. He’s probably one of my favorite people. "I love him. And I couldn’t live without him."
Darren’s eyes widened and his mouth opened in shock. My eyes widened and my mouth opened in shock.
A shocked cry burst from my lips, "Oh my-" And then I stopped. My eyes slid in and out of focus and a shock ran through my body.
Suddenly, I couldn’t remember what I had been about to say. "Uh, Darren? Why are we in an empty dungeon? Shouldn’t we be in class, or something?"
Darren cast a terrified look back to a cauldron and piece of colored parchment . . . Why did he have those. He turned back to me. "Holy shit."
"Listen, I don’t know what we’re doing here, but I’ve really got to go talk to Sirius." I got up and swung my bag over my shoulder."
"Wait!" Darren yelled, jumping up and grabbing my shoulder. "You can’t go see Sirius! You don’t know if the Veritaserum is still working!"
I looked at Darren as if he was crazy. "What Veritaserum?"
Darren looked horrified as I turned around and determinedly made my way out of the dungeon; I was going to find Sirius, explain that I can’t be with him, as much as I like him - it wouldn’t be fair to either of us.
I swung the door open, smiling, because despite that fact that I was about to break up with my best friend, I had a good feeling about something. I just couldn’t place my finger on what it was . . .
I barely even noticed Darren whispering to himself, "This is going to be one wild ride."
A/N: Leave it to Anna to screw things up, eh? Haha, well the next chapter will be from Remus' POV. I mean, it just wouldn't be right if Anna screwed up and someone didn't at least try to stop it, right? Oh, and you'll probably find Darren hanging around a lot more - I've decided that I like him quite a bit, so he'll be here for a while.
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