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Chapter Three

I don’t own Harry Potter or any of the characters you recognize. I don’t own Beauty and the Beast either. LOL Also, I did write the note that ends this chapter. Its written in a kind of stanza form, but I did in fact write it.

Sorry this took so long. I just couldn't write anything I was happy with. I still think this is one of my rocky chapters, but I would like to know what you think of course! Thanks for waiting, and enjoy!

Beauty and the Beast

“Which is worse, hell or nothing?”-Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk

Nothingness scares people. It scares me. Nothingness and silence go hand in hand. Silence always makes people uncomfortable. Complete silence can last, at the most, for about a minute. Then people start shuffling their feet, whispering, attempting to rid themselves of their disquietude. Sometimes I feel as if I am part of nothing instead of part of something. Is it strange to be feeling this way? I think that I am answering questions about myself but all that ever does is uncover more uncertainty.

It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. A cliché? Of course. A truth? Completely. I think the people who really appreciate and connect to this cliché of all clichés is the people who have never truly experienced love’s avenues. I’ve watched girl’s hearts be crushed at my years at Hogwarts. I’ve seen them cry and huddle close to their friends for comfort. I pity them at first. And then I realize my true feelings. I am jealous. I am jealous of their pain. I know they have the pain they do because they loved and cared so deeply. I want to know what it feels like. I wish I could be loved by someone.

I used to watch Beauty and the Beast when I was younger over and over convinced that I was exactly like Belle. We both have brown hair, brown eyes, and we both love to read. As the years have passed, I realize that I am truly more like the Beast. He’s trapped inside himself and needs someone to love him to truly be free again. Am I really that hideous? It scares me that my answer is, no. If it isn’t my looks that are scaring people away what is it? Looks can be changed. I cannot change myself. At least I don’t think I can. Nor to I really want to.

I just want something to talk about when all the girls get together to discuss boys. They talk about kissing, relationships, ect…and I just sit there with a fake smile plastered on my face, nodding along. Well, I suppose the Beast had a happy ending, so I just might as well. I will be loved someday for my inner spirit. That’s the dream. Well, the real dream is that the charming, (well, you know…) will be the first one to realize the inner wonders that I hold…or at least believe I hold.

I looked up from the piece of paper that I was scribbling these words on at that moment to look around the Great Hall. Lunch time was pretty much over; there were very few students left at the tables. I sighed and gathered up my other books and papers and shoved them into my shoulder bag. I met up with my friend Kristen and we headed down to Potions class. It was surprisingly warm with all the simmering cauldrons were burning hotter than usual. I instantly started to daydream in the hazy heat and Slughorn’s voice started to ring through the room. I let my mind go; let it create any scene it wanted…

A foggy day with rain hissing down from the grey sky swam into my mind’s eye. I imagined myself sitting underneath a weeping willow tree, completely protected from the water that was rushing and sliding down the long arched branches. I hugged my knees to myself and smiled as a single drop or rain managed to sneak through and land on my cheek. At that moment the long leaves of my protective barrier were parted and a dripping Sirius Black stumbled in. He scanned his surroundings and his eyes landed on me.

“What are you doing out here?” he gasped, water still tricking all over his body. I gave him a small, guilty smile.

“Skipping potions to get some fresh air.” Sirius came a few steps closer and my heart started beating faster.

“You do know it’s raining?” he asked, grinning that Sirius Black grin and sitting next to me. I gulped. He had never sat next to me before; not without James a few inches away that is. We were alone.

“Is it?” I asked, jokingly. “I just thought you jumped in the lake.”

“Very funny,” he replied. “I didn’t think you were one to skip class.” He was looking right at me. He was paying attention to me, Katie Potter, for once. He was talking to me. He was thinking about me. I had to smile wider.

“Are you one to skip class?” I asked, slightly desperate for something to say.

“I’m Sirius Black,” he answered. I must have looked confused. He pointed to himself and grinned. “Doesn’t that answer your question?”

“No,” I replied. “It might surprise you to know this, Sirius, but just since you are at my house every waking moment doesn’t mean that I know anything real about you.” Sirius raised his eyebrows in surprise.

“I know everything about you,” he said, looking offended. I gave him a disbelieving look.

“No you don’t,” I answered. “What do you know about me?” Sirius opened his mouth to reply, but no sound came out. He closed it and fixed his face into a very perplexed look.

“See?” I muttered, angry that I had actually brought this fact to light. How can I have a crush on someone who has no interest in me and doesn’t even know one thing about me?

“What I do know is that you are one of the most original people I have ever met.” I turned to face him; his words seeming to hang in the air; I wouldn’t have been surprised to see them floating above his head.

“What?” I couldn’t believe such a thing could be true. Sirius shrugged and then nodded to show that he was indeed serious.

“I have never seen you be someone else here at Hogwarts. I know a lot of people and a good percentage of them always follow the crowd. They buy what everyone else buys; they say things everyone else says…but not you. You don’t care about what everyone else is doing; you only care about what you are doing. They care about being accepted not about being themselves. You’re different. And I really like that about you.”

I bit my lip. Did Sirius just say he liked me? Whoa…don’t get carried away.

“Are you serious?” I asked, realizing how dry my mouth was.

“Why, yes I am,” he replied, and then he leaned in a little closer. “In more ways than one.” I laughed and Sirius laughed along with me.

He was still close to me. I took a breath and leaned in closer and ever closer…Please…

“How many turns clockwise are needed next?” Sirius asked, rather loudly.

“Hmmm?”

“Ms. Potter? How many clockwise turns are needed next to change the potion to the nice lilac color I described so well?” I opened my eyes and stared with horror at, not Sirius, but Professor Slughorn and his fat belly standing in front of me.

I, of course, couldn’t answer such a question now. If the question had been what qualities you dream Sirius Black would like you for, I would have been just fine, but school never asks such important things.

Luckily, Kristen saved me and said a number I didn’t even hear. Slughorn said something about me needing to pay more attention but I was already lost in thoughts again.

My daydreams always seem to be things like that. Long, exaggerated scenes where Sirius doesn’t compliment my looks or proclaim an undying love for me, but simple scenes that are romantic because he likes me for being myself. Scenes that I tell myself if I am patient enough someone will come along. I do hope that it is Sirius, but some things only exist in the depths of my imagination.

It always amazes me how fast time passes when I completely zone out. I could not for the life of me tell you one thing I learned or even heard in potions that day. Even after Slughorn away from me a frustrated look on his round face, I went right back under the willow tree for more time with my dream Sirius. The next thing I knew, class was filing out the door, and I was following.

“What’s with you?” Kristen asked, her glasses sliding down her nose a bit. I shook my head and sighed.

“Nothing,” I murmured. “Just lost in myself I suppose.” Kristen has to hurry off to double period Transfiguration, but I luckily had a free period. I bid her goodbye and headed back to the Hufflepuff common room. It was still fairly empty except for a few third years who were whispering together near the window. I gave them a smile of acknowledgement and plopped on the golden couch near the fireplace. I took my bag off my shoulder and started to rummage through it to find the piece of paper I had been writing on before. I had some thoughts to finish.

I rustled around in the bag for awhile, pushing books and folders aside unable to locate the free piece of paper. I couldn’t find it. In a last desperate attempt I dumped my entire bag on the couch. The moment after I had done it I regretted my action. Quills, erasers, and ink bottles started to fall in the cracks in the couch probably never to be seen again. Deciding to worry about that later, I continued my frantic search. Where was it?

I searched through every folder and through the pages of every book in vain. Nothing. I closed my eyes realizing I must have left it in the Great Hall. I groaned. I didn’t wand people reading my private thoughts. Not that anyone would know it was me…but still. They were special to me because they brimmed with the truth of my life. The harsh truth. Tragic, but beautiful as a new friend had said his life was. I ignored the strange looks the third years were giving me and rushed back out of the common room and down to the Great Hall. Luckily, since most people were in class, there was barely anyone who saw my panicked look or me running (which can be an awkward sight.) As I rushed to enter the Great Hall I smashed into someone coming out and knocked them to the ground.

Severus Snape was sprawled on the ground in front of me, his books and everything going everywhere.

“I’m sorry,” I muttered and absentmindedly and stooped down to help him gather his belongings.

“Don’t bother,” he snapped, and pushed my hands away in an angry frustration.

“I didn’t mean to do it,” I said, slightly annoyed at his refusal to accept my apology or my help.

“That’s what people always say,” Snape said, his dark eyes flashing. “But they don’t really care. They always see me as someone to step on.” It seemed as if he was already fired up about something but was taking his anger out on me. I had to feel a little bad for the guy. Sure, he was being completely rude but I had knocked him over. One of his notebooks was close to my foot so I picked it up.

“I said I didn’t want your help Potter!” he said loudly, ripping the notebook from my hands.

“Sorry,” I muttered, glaring at him. “You know just because I knocked you over doesn’t mean you have to be a complete jerk to me. I said I was sorry and I offered to help. Relax.” Snape rose to his full height and returned my glare with one that was far more menacing.

“You want to talk about complete jerks?” he hissed. “Let’s talk about your brother.”

“Shut up,” I said automatically. Was my brother a jerk? Oh yeah. Sometimes it shocked me how mean he could actually be. I had to stand up for him though. When he tried, he could be really sweet. When he really, really tried. Snape stepped a little closer to me and stared deep in my eyes. He was about to speak, when a new voice joined in.

“Hey, back off!” Sirius and Peter were exiting the Great Hall at that very moment and were coming towards Severus and me. Sirius slid in front of me (I could smell the coconut shampoo he used in his hair) and looked at Snape. He gave Severus a little push to widen the gap between the three of us and said silkily,

“Can I help you?”

“It was nothing,” I piped up. “I knocked him over and I was helping him.”

“Why did you bother?” Sirius asked. “He doesn’t deserve it.”

“Yeah,” Peter chimed in lamely. I looked at him in surprise. Why does Peter try to play this part? Is life really so much like a play that we must all become actors to satisfy our audience?

Why do I even care what Peter does?

“It’s no big deal, leave him alone,” I said calmly.

“No I don’t think we will, right?” Sirius asked, looking at Peter.

“Yeah,” he said again. I rolled my eyes and stalked away into the Great Hall. I was not going to be responsible or involved in something so unnecessary and mean. I am NOT going to think about being with Sirius ever again. I need a new crush.

I went over to the Hufflepuff table and made my way over to wear I had been sitting. I saw a piece of paper sitting on the table and went to scoop it up.

I looked at the words upon it and gasped as I realized that they were not my words but someone else’s. My paper was gone. I read these words at lightning speed.

Sometimes I get scared that I will never truly be me.
Is it impossible to be ourselves completely?
You are never you.
I am never me.
Society has forced us, molded us into its creation.
When a man is found dead on the street
People say how sad…how tragic.
When a man walks, alive and well, we judge.
We criticize and we hurt.
We do this so we are not criticized or hurt.
When will we stop doing this to each other?
When?

-The Beast

I gasped and folded the letter and put it into the deep pocket of my robes.

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