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Chapter 62 : Have You Seen My Mates? (Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting)
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It's getting late have you seen my [mates]
. . .
We had it with your discipline
Saturday night's alright for fighting
“Bria, get your shit off of my bed! Now!” I’d walked into my dormitory, exhausted from having Head Girl duties shoved down my throat by the (admittedly pretty cute) Head Boy. (But it doesn’t matter how cute a boy is if he drives you absolutely mad.)
Anyway, I walked into the dormitory, expecting to forgo doing my homework, as per usual, and collapse onto my bed. Instead, I came in to see various bottles of nail polish and copies of Witch Weekly.
Now, I ask you . . . Why they hell was it on my bed!?
“I’m sorry, get my what off your bed?” Bria asked, walking out of the bathroom with this mysterious green goop on her face.
“Youuuuur. Shiiiiiiit,” I enunciated.
“Sorry, I don’t speak foul language.”
“I’m sorry, let me remedy that . . .”
I breathed in deep, for it would be a long spew of words. “Get your bloody fricking damned from hell dumbarse fuckaluckadingdong shit off of my bed!”
However, I was so fired up that I didn’t wait for Bria to get over her obvious shock and remove her belongings. Instead, I brushed it all off with one swipe of my arm. “There, now it’s off.”
“Why you little-”
“Bitch? Whore? Fucker? Hoe? Dink? Other derogatory word that is too offensive to say here?”
“Any of those would work just fine,” Bria spat, before yanking at my hair.
Honestly, this girl needs some new moves.
At the moment, our usual mediator, Connie, was absent, so there was no telling how far our fight would escalate.
“Oh, good. Well, which one could I apply to you?” Then, she poked my eye. And I’m completely serious - Bria poked my eye. Did she really think that was a legitimate method of fighting?
I didn’t exactly give her a chance to answer. I gave her a nice example of what one should do to another’s eye during a fight. I gave her right eye a nice, square punch. Bria screeched and reeled backwards, clutching her face.
And I thought I had a nice example. However, that little wench could take more than I gave her credit for.
She came flying back at me, her hands waving wildly in the air. I ducked, but to the wrong side. (In my defence, my eye was watering profusely, from the vicious poke I had received.) Her sharp fingernails scratched the left side of my face, and I could feel three searing cuts.
“Hey, Bria! You know what would go really well with your eyes?”
She looked confusedly at me. “What?”
“A second black eye.” And I nailed her left eye that time.
Okay, perhaps my little attempt at humour didn’t work out perfectly, as a second black eye doesn’t go really well with her eyes . . . But that was almost extremely clever.
Three minutes later, I had Bria in a headlock, and that was when Connie walked in.
“Oh my God!” Connie yelled, and dropped the books that had been in her hands. That was rather surprising to me, as Connie was always very put together and graceful, and I had been under the impression that she’d never dropped anything in her life.
However, as time wore on in our cozy little life, the things about Connie surprised me less and less.
First, I learned that she was an extraordinary witch.
Second, I learned that she was actually quite a nice human being, with intentions of joining the Order of the Phoenix at the conclusion of her schooling. (Not that that alone could constitute being a good person - plenty of good people weren't in the Order.)
Third, I learned that Connie seemed to like boys quite the opposite of her. (As per her ex-boyfriend, Mike, and her new flirtation with Darren.)
Fourth, I learned to never let anything surprise me with that girl, as I learned new things every day.
It was a full ten seconds or so of us three staring at each other; I still had Bria in a headlock.
“Anna, let go of her, please,” Connie requested.
I did as she asked. Connie was turning out to be a friend and an ally, and I wasn’t about to ignore her request in light of some fight that Bria wanted . . . And maybe I wanted it a little too.
Bria crossed her arms over her chest and looked contemptuously at me over her shoulder.
I flopped on my bed and paid rapt attention to Connie, as she was most likely about to lecture us, and she usually finished that much quicker if we looked to be paying attention.
“Okay. Bria, Anna . . . It’s time for you two to settle your differences.”
“Fuck that,” I said.
Connie shook her head slightly, and her straight, blond locks swished around her face. “I’m serious, you two. I’ve put up with this stuff for nearly a semester, and you two are going to settle your differences.”
“I’ve got no problem with Bria here, other than the fact that her life fucking revolves around making mine miserable. I’m only fighting with her because it’s fun . . . She’s the one who seems to have a problem with me. Why is that, Bria, anyway?”
Because that’s what seemed to be going on. Bria started a conflict, and I always jumped whole-heartedly into a conflict. I really didn’t have problem with Bria; only the fact that she went out of her way to bother me.
“I’m not the one with the problem. What would give you that idea?”
And in a turn of events so strange that it signalled Armageddon, the profane outburst did not come from me. No, it came from Connie. And out of all the surprising things that I had seen with Connie over the past few months, I certainly had never expected a swear word to come out of her mouth, short of being under the Cruciatus curse. And even then, I would have expected something more along the lines of ‘crap.’
“Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit!”
Wow. Five times in only a five second period.
“Excuse me?” Bria snapped.
“Bullshit!” Connie cried again, bright red colour rising in her cheeks. “You’ve hated her since first year, and I’m not going to sit here and watch you lie to her face, whether you’re my best mate or not!” The octave of Connie’s voice had risen at least an entire scale by the time she’d finished; she was obviously quite worked up.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bria insisted, all the while shifting nervously.
“Bria.” Connie’s voice was once again calm, but had taken on a very serious - almost deadly - tone. “If you don’t explain this all to Anna, I will.”
I distantly heard Bria mutter, “Some best mate you are,” under her breath. It was obvious that Connie heard it too, because her face became amused and took on that ‘do you really want to go there?’ look.
“Fine,” Bria spat. She stomped angrily over to her bed and sat down on it before launching into her tale. “Well . . . it all started First year . . .”
“Go on,” I urged.
Bria looked to be about to explain, but instead, she burst, “You always take everything that I want!”
I sat, cross-legged on my bed, staring disbelievingly at Bria.
I always take everything she wants? I always take everything she wants?!
“I haven’t even bloody talked to you for two years!” I yelled.
“You took Sirius! You took Stephen! And everything you do is so effortless and I have to work so hard just to get noticed!” the blond girl screeched. Her blond hair, not nearly as light or neatly kept as Connie’s, seemed to be just as stressed out as she was. It was almost as if Bria’s hair became increasingly untidy with each step of the anger stairs she climbed.
“Oh, well, sorry that I do things effortlessly, but why the fuck is it my fault if you can’t?!” Seriously, was she really trying to blame me because her life sucked?
“Well, you took Sirius and Stephen!”
“I didn’t even bloody know you wanted them!” I defended myself.
“And you’re rude, and profane, and you dress like a boy!” Bria screamed, accusing me.
This girl really needs a better reason to hate me . . . I’m sure she could find one if she tried hard enough.
“Yes, I’m rude. Yes, I’m selfish. Yes, I swear more in one minute than you have in your entire life. Yes, I enjoy the comfort of pants and t-shirts that allow me a little room to move. Now, can I ask you why that makes me lucky enough to be on the receiving end of your hatred?”
I heard Connie cough lightly beside us. It was odd, I’d completely forgotten that she was there, in light of the argument and new information I was learning.
“I . . . I - I - I . . . Don’t know,” Bria admitted. “But can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t hate someone if they just effortlessly got something you wanted, and didn’t even really care for it when you worked so hard to get it? Seriously?! You let Sirius and Stephen go? . . . And Darren, I might add! Why in the world would you do that? I would have killed to be with even one of them for just a day!”
Yeah, great, just fucking go for the soft spot.
I decided to ignore that particular attack on me. “Yes, I could, because I’m not a bitchy, catty girl with half a brain, and I would know that it’s none of the other person’s fault that I’m too much of a fuck-head, dumbarse to get what I want properly!”
“Okay, Anna, easy,” Connie urged. However, I doubted she would actually enforce that. I imagined that she’d been the one to listen to Bria’s bitching and moaning over the years. Because I’m sure that if she hated me that much, for those reasons, then Connie probably had to lend an open ear quite often.
But I had no intentions of taking it easy.
“Sorry I’m better than you!” I shouted. “Sorry you’re too much of a bitch to attract any guys worth dating! Sorry I can get everything you want by rolling out of bed in the morning and putting in one-hundredth of the effort you put in! Sorry that I got to fool around with Sirius and Darren, when you didn’t!” I couldn’t have stopped even if I wanted to at that point . . . I was too riled up.
“Sorry that I-”
“Anna! Enough!” Connie yelled, this time serious, and as strong as my urge was to keep going, I obliged. She took a deep breath, and walked over in between our beds. (Yes, Bria’s bed was next to my bed . . . Not sure which dumbarse decided to do that.) “Now, Bria, I don’t care how much you hate Anna for reasons that aren’t her fault. And, Anna, I don’t care how much you love conflict, and tearing the life and soul out of whoever catches your fancy that day . . . You two are going to act civil towards each other, and call a truce, because I’m bloody tired of this.”
I smiled evilly. I’d have no problem not attacking Bria if she stayed pleasantly out of my way. I had a feeling that Bria wouldn’t have quite that easy of a time not bothering me.
“I will if she does,” I said responded petulantly.
“Well, I will if she does,” Bria said, looking contemptuously at me.
“Bria.” Connie sounded exasperated. “You’re the one who starts the conflicts. On purpose.”
“Fine, take her side!” Bria spat.
Connie sighed heavily. “I’m not on her side, Bria. But if you don’t cool it, I will be.”
Bria crossed her arms and looked determinedly away from both of us. Connie rolled her eyes and walked over to me. “Look,” she whispered. “I know you’d be the last person in the world to feel remorse, or apologize, or have anything empathy at all-”
I laughed. “Yeah, I have none of that.”
“-but please, for the sake of keeping the peace, could you please apologize to her? Even if you don’t mean it? Please?”
Of course I would. “Of course. Allies help each other out, right?”
Connie smiled and nodded. “Right.”
She went back over to her bed and I called Bria’s name loudly. She turned around. “Listen, Bria. I’m sorry that I’m rude and loud and mean and-” I paused and took a deep breath. Apologizing for all of my offensive qualities was working itself into a rant about why the hell it mattered to Bria. Deciding to skip the rest of those, I continued, “. . . Anyway, I’m sorry that I inadvertently ruined your life. So . . . I’m sorry.”
Oww, the pain.
“Don’t you think we should call a truce? I’ll try not to be a rude, life-ruining whore anymore? And you’ll try not to annoy the shit out of me?”
Well, perhaps it wasn’t the apology that Connie was looking for, but it seemed to work.
Bria nodded and stuck her hand out. “Alright. But, just tell me, please; how could you give up both of those wonderful boys?”
Oh, jeese, here we go again. “Well,” I began to explain. “I’m a little mixed up in the head, as you may or may not be able to tell. Things don’t always work right up there.” And that was the best explanation I could have given anyone, even to myself.
She nodded, and went to leave the dormitory, presumably to search out one less-annoying-than-me person, or another. Just as she had her hand on the doorknob, she turned around. “D’you think, maybe, one day you could give me some tips of how to be so chill?”
I couldn’t help but grin. Yeah, everyone does wanna be like me.
She smiled, nodded, then left. And, as soon as she did so, I collapsed onto my bed from the sheer effort being even a little bit nice.
“Thanks,” Connie said, doing the same as I had.
“No problem . . . No problem.”
“Hey, Darren, What’s up?” I walked into the Great Hall, ready to eat a delicious dinner, and greeted Darren who was already seated.
“Hey An-” Darren stopped short and gaped openly at my face. “What the hell happened to you?!”
“What?” I lifted my hand up to my cheek and felt nothing.
“Other cheek,” he cried frantically.
I lifted my hand to my other cheek. Ohhhh.
“Oh, yeah, that was Bria.”
“Yes, we had a fight.”
“Talk about it?”
I sat down next to him and reached for some food. “But I would appreciate it if you could clean me up.”
He dropped his fork immediately. “Oh, yeah, no problem.”
“What’s up with you?” I asked Darren, as he fumbled with his wand. “You’re more twitchy than usual.”
Darren stuttered for a little while without actually answering. I turned around and watched Connie glide towards us. Well, perhaps she wasn’t exactly gliding, but watching her walk compared to the way I dragged my feet across the floor, it was a fair observation.
But I immediately knew why he was so jumpy. “What’s the matter, stud?” I asked, as he waved his wand at my face. “You were much more smooth when you were with me.”
“Yeah, well you and the Marauders made me completely lame . . . It’s not my fault.”
“Yeah, you’d still have your clothes off in five seconds flat if she said she’d sleep with you, no strings attached.” Which she wouldn’t, of course, but the situation was hypothetical.
“No, no I wouldn’t!” Darren was looking angrily at me, and looked highly affronted.
Jeese, I’m just offending people left and right today . . . What’s with him, anyway?
“Okay, calm down,” I urged him, placing my hands comfortably on his shoulders.
“No, I wouldn’t,” he repeated. “I tried snogging some girl last year and I couldn’t even do that with a clean conscience . . . Besides, Connie is probably the only girl I know that’s more of a prude than Lily Evans, and I still want to be with her.”
“Then I’ll help you!” I cried excitedly. What a perfect way to start being a better person - help someone in a way that’s fun for me as well. I could just work my way into being a better person.
“Yeah! Now, act cool. Think like the old Darren used to.” And I was rather shocked by the fluid way he transformed into the old Darren. He put his elbow on the table and cupped his chin, casually chatting with me and splitting the bench.
“Hey, Darren!” Connie smiled brightly. Her cheeks flared up instantly.
He simply nodded at her, nothing else. “Not that much!” I hissed.
He quickly snapped to attention and brightened. “Hey, Connie! What’s going on?!”
That boy really can’t find a middle ground, can he?
“Nothing too much, had a little something going on up in the dorm earlier.”
Oh, and I knew Darren too well. He, like me and the Marauders, would blow this completely out of proportion, and his boyish mind would twist and contort Connie’s word until-
“Girl-on-girl action!? Did you guys snog!?”
I had no qualms at laughing loudly and obnoxiously. Connie was far more reserved.
“Connie, it’s okay. It’s funny,” I advised. “Sometimes, it’s okay not to be posh, and proper, and polite.”
She nodded slightly up and down. “Yeah . . . Yeah!” And then Connie laughed wildly, as well.
“Not quite,” I said. “More like a battle royale . . . It was between me and Bria, that’s why you had to get all the blood off my face before.”
“Oh, Anna! Your face is scarred!”
“Look! Here!” Connie pulled a mirror out of her bag and handed it to me. I checked my reflection.
“Well, I’ll be a monkey’s fucking uncle; Bria’s monster nails gave me a scar.” I ran my fingers over the slightly raised scars; I found it odd that they had scarred so quickly, but decided it must have been some characteristic of the spell Darren performed.
“Alright, whatever.” I shrugged. I went to reach for another chicken wing when the food disappeared off the tables. Frowning intensely, I willed the chicken to reappear. It didn’t, but a block of chocolate ice cream did, so I got over the missing chicken quite fast.
“Anna, I’ve got to go to the loo . . . Will you come with me?” I frowned again.
Go to the loo? Together? Why do girls always do that?
I saw Connie discreetly wink. Oh, well, if it was a winking sort of situation, then it was an entirely different story. I hopped off the bench and followed Connie’s swift walk, ducking occasionally when her bag tried to swing into my head.
By the time we got to the loo, Connie was nearly hyperventilating. “Er . . . Connie? Are you alright?”
She took a deep, steadying breath and braced herself on the porcelain sink. “I think I like Darren.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her.
“What’s so funny?” she asked, affronted.
“You know what?” I’d forgotten that Connie wasn’t part of my usual gang, and couldn’t exactly read my mind like the others could.
“That you like Darren.”
“. . . Oh.”
“So, what’s the problem with that?” I asked her.
“You know what his reputation is like!” she cried. “For goodness sakes, you dated him!”
“Didn’t you have a boyfriend, for, like, almost a year?” I asked, confused.
She nodded. “But all we did was kiss. In fact . . .” Connie paused, looking pained. “That’s why he broke up with me.”
And then it struck me. How had I ever expected Connie - sweet, innocent, hardly-ever-swears Connie - to get down and dirty with some bloke, whether or not she’d been with him for that long.
I have this theory; when someone is nervous and jittery, it takes a good five years from their age. And standing there, clutching the sink, looking apprehensively at me, Connie looked to be twelve or thirteen years old. Her blond hair, pushed back by a headband, and her rosy cheeks took another year or two, as well.
Poor, poor Connie.
“Well, Darren is quite different than he was a year ago,” I promised. I ran my hands through my hair, for lack of anything else to do with them, and tried tugging the numerous knots out. “And you can hold me to that word.
“Just go for it, Connie . . . I’ll help you.”
“Yeah?” she asked, visibly calming. (In other words, her white knuckles released their iron-grip on the sink, and blood rushed back into them.)
“Yeah,” I agreed.
“Alright.” She took a deep breath. “Alright. Let’s go.”
So, I left the loo with Connie in tow, giving her rapid-fire advice.
“Okay, now, be yourself, because Darren can see right through anyone,” I told her. “And he’s wicked smart. I mean wicked smart . . . He’d be top in our year if he ever did any work, so, don’t try to keep up with him, you’ll just end up looking stupid.”
Connie nodded quickly, seeming to file the information away in her brain.
“And above all,” I advised. “Just have fun, because Darren is a really fun guy. And he’s a good guy, too. He really helped me out this summer when I was in a bit of a rough spot, and didn't even try anything with me.”
And I’d never properly thanked him for it. Earlier in the summer, when I had come onto Darren (with lack of Damon to go off with), he vehemently refused all my advances. And I really owed him for that, because I know that if I had gone through with it, I would have hated myself once I came back to my senses a bit.
Connie looked curiously at me. I suppose that comment was a bit cryptic.
“I’ll explain later,” I promised to her.
She smiled, and I smiled encouragingly back at her as we entered the Great Hall.
“Remember,” I said, nodding at Connie.
Connie nodded timidly back, tipped her head up, and strode towards Darren.
I looked up at the Head table for a moment, to glare at Twitchy, and when I glanced back, moments, later, Darren was already laughing.
There you go, Connie, I thought proudly.
Content and (for once) not hungry, I drifted up towards the dorm. Low-and-behold, who should be there, but Bria.
“Hey,” I forced.
“Hey.” She sounded as excited as I felt.
“Listen,” I said. If I was going to make amends, I might as well go all the way. “It sucks that things haven’t always gone great for you, but I’m not the person to go looking for sympathy from. Seriously, unless you’re a fatally injured puppy lying on the side of the rode, I really couldn’t give a shit.”
Okay . . . Not exactly as friendly as I’d hoped . . .
“I’m not looking for sympathy,” Bria insisted.
I snorted (very lady-like.) “Yeah, right.
“Listen, let’s just put that behind us. That’s the least we can do, right? . . . So, did you want me to help you out or not?”
Bria grimaced, but nodded. “Yeah, alright. What do you have for me?”
I smiled. Yes, yes, yes! I win!
“Okay, the first thing you have to do is wear a pair of pants every once in a while . . .”
A week later, Connie and Darren were an item to be attending Hogsmeade together that Saturday.
It was Friday night and Connie was frantically going through her drawers, trying to find an appropriate outfit.
“Well, what about this?” she asked, pulling a skirt out of her wardrobe. It was pretty and modest (as was everything Connie owned) - white, with navy flowers, falling just below her knees - but not exactly appropriate for early February.
“Nope. What about a pair of sweatpants?” I suggested. And the look I received from Connie was one that someone who just committed treason might receive from the condemning jury.
“I don’t even own one of those,” she said with disdain.
“You might want to invest,” I suggested, throwing open the top of my trunk to reveal at least seven pairs of comfy, crumpled sweatpants. “Alright, how about a compromise? Bring out a pair of jeans.”
Connie went into a different section of her wardrobe and brought out a pair of light jeans.
“Nice,” I admitted. “Okay, how about a plain white t-shirt?”
Connie pulled out a plain white t-shirt.
“A sweater? Preferably heavy.”
Connie pulled a navy sweater off of a hanger. It didn’t look nearly warm enough for February weather, and I was rather tolerant of the cold. “It’s specially charmed to keep me warm,” Connie explained.
“Alright, good choice. Now, just add a pair of shoes, a scarf, and gloves, and you’re good to go. Casual, yet clean cut.”
Connie smiled. “Thanks, Anna . . . What are you wearing?”
I laughed. “Me? My favourite grey sweats, a t-shirt, and my big green sweater.”
“Why don’t you get at least a little dressed up for Valentines day?” the smiling blond suggested, as she lay out tomorrow’s outfit.
“Dude, I don’t even get dressed up for Christmas . . . I’m not going to put on real clothes for a holiday I’m not even celebrating.”
Connie shrugged. “Fair enough . . . At least put on a pair of jeans, though. Think about it this way - if you get into a snowball fight, and fall into the snow, your sweatpants will get soaked way faster than jeans.”
Well, I couldn’t argue with logic like that. And I appreciated Connie getting to my level.
“Fair enough,” I agreed. I laid out of pair of ratty jeans, comfortable and ripped at the knees from falling too many times. My baggy, white v-neck t-shirt was layered under my favourite, green button-up sweater.
My purple, water-proof boots would keep my feet dry and warm over a fair of fuzzy socks.
By my standards, I was ready to attend the regalest of regal parties.
A few minutes later, I skipped happily out of the dorm and up to the boys’ dorm; it was time to visit Darren.
“Yo! Darren!” I yelling, bursting into the room. I was thankful not to walk in on any naked people. It had happened before, and it really wasn’t an experience that I was hankering to repeat.
“Yup?” He was on his bed reading. I got a look at the cover, and he was reading a book entitled, ‘Discourses on the First Ten Books of Titus Livius.’ I supposed that it was a Muggle book, and probably ridiculously intricate and complicated.
“What are you and Connie doing tomorrow?” I asked bluntly. Prying, perhaps, but important in the orchestration of Operation: Connie’s Perfect First Date With Darren.
“I dunno,” he replied, folding the edge of his page and tossing it on his night stand. “I was thinking she’d enjoy that horrid, frilly place.” Darren grimaced at even the thought.
Poor, poor bloke. He’s whipped and she hasn’t even snogged him yet.
“Yeah, she’d like that,” I said.
Alright, time for more prying.
“You going to try to kiss her?” I queried, motioning for him to scoot over. Darren shuffled sideways on his bed and I popped up next to him.
“I dunno,” he answered, again.
“Don’t,” I answered immediately.
“Don’t,” I reiterated. “Something tells me that Connie is a firm believer of no kissing on the first date. And, for your information, she’d dated some bloke for months and all they did was snog.” I figured that that would be a useful thing for him to know, before he tried to pull the stunt he had with me. “So, she’s not going to be as easy as I was.”
Darren was caught somewhere between a laugh, a grimace, and a horrified face.
“What?” I asked. “Don’t think you can be with her for that long and not be able to touch?”
He nodded. “Yeah! It’s not even a matter of ‘getting some’ or not . . . I’ve gone for over a year now without sex. But I’m a very sexual person; I express my emotions through sex, and if I get attached to Connie, then I’m not sure if I’ll be able to hold out.”
Laughter. Laughter. Laughter.
I’m sure the bastards all the way down in the Slytherin common room heard me laughing, I was laughing so loud.
“‘I’m a very sexual person,’” I mocked Darren.
“Shut up,” he said, in a bored tone, rolling his eyes. “But, it’s true!”
“Well, do you like her?” I asked.
He was quite for a moment. “Yes.”
“Well, if you end up liking her enough, you’ll be able to wait,” I promised him.
He nodded. “Alright . . . Alright.”
We sat in silence for a few moments, before I bid good-bye, good-luck, and dragged my exhausted body back to my dorm.
I was still brushing my teeth as Connie climbed into bed. I quickly rinsed out my mouth and climbed into my warm bed; it was early, but I was dead tired, and welcomed sleep.
“Anna?” Connie asked, after five minutes of drowsy silence.
“Did Darren try anything on your first date?” she asked, sounding apprehensive.
“We, er, didn’t have a first date.”
Oh, boy, looks like I’m going to have to explain this.
“Huh?” Yup, I was right.
“Well, we kind of just faux-dated. Mostly we just fooled around . . . That’s how Darren was. But he’s different now, I swear,” I added, worried that I’d make Connie even more jittery and anxious than she already was.
No response from Connie. “Anna, I really like him. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it; I always seemed to be attracted to boys who are the complete opposite of me.”
“I can’t say I can relate.” And there was no way in hell that I could. I "dated" some bland faceless boy. I "dated" a friendly bloke, closeted in his interest of adult affairs and the real world. I "dated" a genius player, with very little on his mind besides sex. I couldn't even say I "dated" a somewhat clueless, but hilarious and kind foreign kid. And then I "dated" someone who was practically a child, and possibly the most compassionate and loving person ever to walk the earth.
One could say it was a diverse mix.
Quiet again, for another few minutes. “Anna?”
“Yeah?” I answered again.
“Thank you . . . I never really expected to find an ally in you, let alone a friend. I mean, think about it! I’m polished, polite, prissy, and reserved. You’re quite likely Britain’s most blunt, slightly rude, loudmouth out there. But, opposites attract, right?”
I didn’t answer, but I’d like to think that I didn’t have to. My friends had a way of reading me like an open book, and Connie was no exception.
“Bloody hell! Will you get that out of my face? I don’t want it!” Connie was trying to shove a little black purse into my hands.
“The only bag I carry is my bookbag,” I insisted. “And I’m not bringing that.”
“But you need something to put your stuff in,” Bria pointed out. It was so not fair - I was being tag-teamed by Bria and Connie.
“What do I bring to Hogsmeade? Money; that’s it! And that goes in my rain boots. End of story . . . . Besides, you’ve already gotten me in jeans, isn’t that enough for one day?”
The two girls shrugged at each other and conceded victory to me.
“Now remember, Connie,” Bria said, as we walked. “If he tries anything, hit him. And if things don’t go well, we’ll be at Three Broomsticks by noon. Until then, well, try to make sure things go well.”
“Way to make her nervous,” I whispered to Bria, as Connie’s already anxious face contorted even more.
“Oh, look, there’s Darren!” I said pointedly, as soon as I caught him in my vision. He saw us and waved happily. Connie waved shyly back. Pleasantries were exchanged between the pair, and Darren chatted briefly with Bria. (He felt about the same about her as I did.) The entire time, I glared menacingly at him. As he walked past me, at a safe distance to Connie, I quietly warned him, “Be good.”
“Hey, Anna!” I turned around to see Stephen hurrying towards me and Bria. “Oh, hey, Bria,” he said when he arrived, and she came into his view.
She looked diffidently at him, blushing light pink and twirling her dark blond hair around her finger. “Hey.”
“What are you two up to?” Stephen asked, following us as we began to make our way to the doors.
“Mind if I join?” he asked.
“Oh, not at all,” Bria trilled.
Ignoring the little tart next to me, I said, “Come on, man, you’re one of my best mates! You don’t have to ask!”
“I was hoping our company wouldn’t mind.”
I looked at Bria; while Stephen wasn’t looking, she’d pulled out her lipstick and reapplied it. She taken her hair out of the half pony-tail it was in and poofed it up with her fingers, and she’d pinched her cheeks to give them more colour. She was smiling flirtatiously at Stephen. As hard as I had tried, I hadn’t managed to train the dumbarse out of her . . . . Apparently, helping Bria would be a process.
To say the least, it was obvious that she didn’t mind his company.
I had an enjoyable conversation with Stephen on the way down to the village; it was only slightly marred by the chilly wind. Oh, and Bria.
“Guys, I’m cold.”
Well, then maybe you should have worn pants!
“Guys, the wind is making my eyes tear and my make-up run.”
Well, then maybe you should wear less make-up!
“Guys, I hate walking, are we almost there yet?”
Well, maybe you should suck it up and deal with it.
“Anna, I really want to shag Stephen . . . Will you go away for five minutes?”
. . . Just kidding about the last one, though. Despite that, she was quite possibly the most annoying walking-buddy I’d ever had.
Luckily, I was given the most perfect excuse anyone could ever ask for to get away from her for a while.
“Oh my fucking Godric! Sirius!” I broke free of the formation me and Stephen and Bria were walking in to sprint towards my absolute best mate in the world.
“Anastasia!” He held his arms out wide, waiting for his customary greeting. I leapt from the ground and straight into his arms. He closed them tightly around me and spun in circles, laughing.
If someone asked me where I felt the most safe, the most secure, the most ready to conquer to the world - the answer would be one-hundred-percent, hands down, no doubt about it in Sirius’ arms. He never dropped me without falling down himself; man, I loved that guy.
“Oh my god! I haven’t seen you in forever! It’s been, like, a month!” I still hadn’t let go of him. “I really, really miss you,” I whispered quietly. I spoke quietly, trying to hide the uncharacteristically emotional display.
“I really, really miss you, too.” Sirius was much louder in his proclamation, but he always had been better at emotions and that sort of thing.
“Take me somewhere fun?” I asked.
“Of course.” He smiled at me. “The only thing is, well, you need to get down first.”
“Oh . . . Right.”
I hopped down and leaned against his arm, instead.
“Where to, love?” he asked.
“Wherever the rest of the Marauders are!” I chose excitedly. “They are here, right?”
He looked apologetically at me, and I knew the answer even before he got a chance to say it. “James had to stay behind at headquarters, Remus doesn’t leave the clan until next week, and well, er . . . Maybe we should go to Three Broomsticks.” He paused and looked nervously at me. “I’ve got a few things to explain.”
That does not sound good.
“Hey, Rosmerta!” Sirius yelled, when we got inside the crowded pub.
“Sirius Black! Well, I’ll be. When did you get back?” Rosmerta made her way across the floor, shuffling through crowds and dancing around tables to avoid hitting anything.
“Just a few days ago,” he replied, smiling. “Rumor had it that Hogwarts had a Hogsmeade weekend, so I came by to see if I could see Anastasia.” He smiled brightly at me.
Love that smile.
My brain rang silent for a few moments.
Ignore it . . . Ignore it.
“Do you two need a table?”
“Booth, if you have one free,” I interjected, before Sirius could answer.
Sirius looked around as Rosmerta nodded, smiled, and walked away. “Anastasia, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s no where free . . . Either way, someone’s losing their place in line. Don’t you love being on the inside?”
I smiled and nodded. Yeah, it’s kinda nice to have people give you whatever you want . . . All you have to do is know the right people.
Five minutes later, Rosmerta had seated us, handed us Firewhiskeys (which Sirius couldn’t object to anymore, seeing as I was of age) and taken our food orders.
“So, what was so important to talk about?” I asked, deciding that getting the bad stuff out of the way first would be a good idea.
“Do you want to hear the bad news, the worse news, or the super-duper good news?”
“Er, I dunno.” I wasn’t good at making choices. If I started with the worse news first, then I could only go up from there. Bu,t if I started with the super-duper good news, there was the possibility that I would be so excited I was hardly register the bad news. Then, there was always the third option. I could hear the bad news first, use that to brace myself for the worse news, and finish off with a happy, super-duper good news. I couldn’t decide.
Sirius was looking morosely at me. If even just the thought of the ‘worse’ was making Sirius upset, I wasn’t sure what it would do to my fun-based brain.
“Okay, so, you know how we all went out on a mission a few months ago? And how Pete went to Albania, and no one could get in touch with anyone on that mission?”
Ugh, that tone of voice. It’s that terrible, terrible tone that gives you a knot in the put of your stomach. It’s that tone of voice that gives you shell-shock whenever you hear it.
“Well, we finally heard from someone, and Pete’s gone missing.”
I didn’t say anything.
How could this happen? He’s a fucking Marauder, for Godric’s sake! How the hell could a Marauder go missing?! They’re bloody indestructible!
“Just . . . Tell me the good news.”
Sirius knew better than to interfere with my way of coping with things. He had his way, I had my way, everyone had their way.
“Well, Lily and James have gotten engaged!”
And that was enough to make me forget (at least, temporarily) about the newly discovered mortality of the Marauders.
“Oh my goodness! That’s so exciting! My God! When?! How? Why? Oh, dear, she’s not pregnant, is she?”
Sirius looked at me oddly. “Anastasia, they don’t have sex, remember?”
“Ah, right. I remember, now . . . Right. But, oh my gosh! I can’t believe it! You see! This is what happens when you guys leave me here! You go do exciting things and I’m stuck befriending annoying people!”
Sirius laughed, probably at me, because that was how things usually went.
I spent another five minutes excitedly jumping and waiting anxiously for the food. When it came, I was brought back to reality; the prospect of the ‘bad’ news.
“So, what is it?” I asked, taking a few chips from my plate and munching.
Sirius seemed to cringe backwards as I asked. “Now, this is the ‘bad’ news. Which means it’s bad, but not the worst. But, I also think you’re going to absolutely murder me when I tell you. So, please don’t.”
“Sirius,” I sighed, shaking my head. “What did you do? And please tell me you didn’t kill anyone.”
“No, no, of course not.”
I nodded appreciatively. “Good.”
I was barely able to make out the next phrase, he said it so fast. “Well-the-guys-and-I-are-on-another-mission-We’ll-be-gone-for-three-months-We-won’t-come-back-until-the-second-of-May-and-we-can’t-have-any-contact-with-anyone-while-we’re-there.”
It took me a few moments to realize what he was saying. And when I did . . .
“Sirius!? What the hell!?”
“Aww, Anastasia, please! I asked you not murder me when I told you!” he protested, when I angrily stood up. (Which was particularly difficult, let me tell you, seeing as I was sitting in a booth.)
“Sirius,” I whined. “Why?”
“It’s for the Order,” he explained.
“Obviously,” I scoffed. I was in such a tiff at the point, that I hadn’t touched my food since Sirius broke the news to me.
I was trying to ignore it as much as I could, but it was ridiculously hard - Sirius was once again leaving me to worry and wallow about his and the guys’ safety.
“Listen, Anastasia.” He put his hand consolingly on mine, as he used to do to James, back when Lily used to constantly reject him. “This is something we have to do. I mean, we’re bloody saving the world! It’s good for the soul.”
And I laughed, because even though it was a serious (and Sirius, obviously, as I was talking to him) matter, his response was intentionally funny. Like me, Sirius never knew exactly when humour was appropriate, and when it wasn’t.
A few hours later, Sirius had talked me down out of my upsetness, at least for the moment. He walked me back up to the castle, and even stopped in to say, ‘Hi,’ to some people, before announcing that he had to leave.
I locked my arms tightly around him. “I swear, Sirius Black, if you don’t come back in exactly the state you left in, I am so kicking your arse.”
He laughed. “I promise, love.”
I watched sadly as he waved and walked towards the door. He waved back until he was almost out of site. He was just about to step outside when I couldn’t take it anymore. “Sirius!” I cried. I ran towards him again and kept him locked up in my arms for quite a long amount of time.
But I had to make up for those three months I wasn’t going to be seeing him. Three entire months away from my best mate; I honestly wondered if I would cry.
“Bye,” I whispered.
A/N: So, the other day, I was looking through my old word documents, and came across this, which I’d saved with intent to post as an A/N a really long time ago:
I’d just like to give a shout-out to WHATIF booksarecool who so totally, awesomely wrote me a poem -
Every day when I get home from school
I get on the computer instead of in the pool (its indoor-it’s cool )
I look and see a Poly. Update
I’m so happy, I blow-up-tuate
I read the chapter, good as ever
Ten out of ten, now and forever
A/N2: Well, now we all know why Bria hates Anna so much. I know, it was very undescriptive . . . Well, I was going to go into this whole big spiel, but then I decided that I would just wait until the story from Bria’s P.O.V. (which has now been named ‘Acrimony’) to explain it fully.
A/N3: I’d like to make a few shout-outs here. :D
First, to the Arethusa got Lucky, who does all my Latin translations for me. (Not that I have any in this chapter, but I have an upcoming chapter in which there was, and it reminded me of this.)
Second, to chitown4183, who helped inspire the name of this eventual series - A Few Crayons Too Short.
Third, to Tara.Seanan, who is an incredible beta, and I absolutely adore working with her.
Fourth, to Emilyinlove, who is at the moment, creating all the graphics I need for the sequel, Versicolor. All of the (incredible) chapter images are fantastic, and at the moment she’s creating a banner.
And, last but not least, to all of you - my readers and reviewers. Thank you guys so much; you are seriously the coolest people ever. Each and every one of you.
And, if there was any other particular individuals who I have left out, I sincerely apologize. My mind is ablaze with things going on in the next couple of weeks (AP exams, my prom, sister’s birthday) and I just want to thank so many people that I can’t even remember everyone I want to thank. :D
A/N4: So, guess what I learned that’s super-duper creepy. Anna’s brother is named Jason. I picked that name just for fun, and made him a Healer because it worked out in the story. But today, I was looking through names that started with J ‘cause I needed a name that started with J, and the name meanings thing said that Jason actually means healer. How wicked is that ?
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