The Ice Queen
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”
Philip K. Dick
I never really knew why I was sorted into Gryffindor. I would never consider myself brave. On the train in my first year, when people asked which house I thought I’d be in, I’d say “Ravenclaw,” like it was obvious.
I mean, Gryffindor? Hufflepuff, sure. Give me a friend and call me sweet, that’s fine. Slytherin would work as well; even as a kid, I was pretty nasty to my enemies. Ravenclaw, absolutely: I’ve always been a big reader, and I was certain that my voracious appetite for literacy would place me in that house. But no, I had to be sorted into the one house I didn’t belong in. Brave? Loyal? Um, yeah. The bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life was to pull a garden snake out of the pool filter when I was ten.
And it was a dead garden snake, ugly and smelly. Of course, I loved that kind of thing when I was that age. I was the craziest child. I remember I used to parade around the house in my fancy white Christmas dress, wearing a dress-up princess crown over my white-blond hair and pretending I was the Queen of Narnia.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the most tuned-in kid.
At the first start-of-the-year feast, when everyone was talking about their first sign of magic, I got to listen and feel like an idiot whenever anyone asked me. Here is my pretty amazing story: I was sitting in the car in front of a Panara Bread, waiting for my dad to pay and come out, my cream-cheesed bagel on the bag in my lap. I started choking on the bagel because my throat was so dry, and I wanted my water bottle, only it was down by my feet and if I leaned over I would get cream-cheese all over my new shirt. So the water was drawn to my hand.
Not the most impressive of stories.
So here I am now, on the train ride to my sixth year of Hogwarts, and instead of talking to my friends, what am I doing?
Why, looking out of the window, of course.
“Aria?” Lily calls.
I turn my face towards her and ask expectantly, “You rang?”
“Actually, I believe the term is ‘you called,’ but never-mind that.” She grins as I shake my head with an exaggerated sigh.
“Go on; what is it?”
She shrugs. “I just wanted to make sure you’re still with us. And, Meggie just asked five times what you wanted from the trolley.”
“Oh,” I say. I suppose I should mention I zone out a lot. My friends are pretty used to it by now. That is, my friends being Lily Evans and Meggie McKin. I wish I could tell you that we’ve been like sisters since our first year, but that would be lying horrifically (not that I’m opposed to lying or anything). Our first year, Lily was the girl everyone wanted to be and Meggie was the tagalong who made my life a living hell. I can’t even count the number of times I had run to my bed and sob my eyes out over something stupid she said.
When I used to complain to my mum about her during the winter holidays, back when she was still in the ‘play mother’ phase, she’d always say something along the lines of, Oh Arianna, give it a year and you’ll be the best of friends. And I would glare at her and scream something about her ruining my life (typical eleven-year-old), then storm to my room and slam the door.
And now Meggie is one of my two best friends in the world, my confidante. She’s the one I run to when I need help finishing my homework because I’ve put it off until ten minutes before it’s due; she’s the one that I tell all of my secrets to; and she’s the one that knows me inside out, probably even better than I know myself. I’m closer with Meggie than I am with Lily, oddly enough, but it’s probably because Lily’s more of the loner type. Not that she likes to go off and hide from the world or anything, but she pretty much keeps her thoughts to herself (unless they concern exams; her sister Petunia; Quidditch, which she hates because of the last topic; James Potter, the bane of her life.).
“Aria, you’re doing it again!” Lily calls in a sing-song voice. “Come back from planet Up-There!”
“Ooof!” I emit as Meggie chucks a pastry at me.
She grins, popping a few Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans into her mouth. Her dark brown eyes are flickering mischievously. “Hope you like chocolate,” she says.
“You’re kidding.” When she doesn’t answer, just smirks, I exclaim, “MEGGIE!”
She laughs. “It’s strawberry, Aria, don’t worry.”
I unwrap it and break a quarter off, then bring it up to eye level to make sure there is, in fact, strawberry filling inside. Then I take a bite. “Thank Merlin,” I say.
“I don’t get your problem with chocolate,” Lily says. She’s eating a Chocolate Frog happily. Ewww.
“Just let it go, Lily, let it go,” Meggie warns. “You don’t want to start her again.” She flashes me a grin. “Last time I think the rant was, like, five minutes, all about the evils of chocolate.”
I narrow my eyes but don’t take the bait. Instead, I throw the pastry wrapper at Lily. “Keep that stuff away from me!”
She grins. There’s chocolate around her mouth. I wince.
"How did summer go for the both of you?” she asks, wiping the back of her arm across her mouth.
Meggie glances at me expectantly.
“Oh, um,” I say. My summer? Oh, yeah, I had a blast. I’ve never had so much fun, spending three weeks lazing around and making up stories about the ‘boarding school’ I live at to appease my muggle friends. “Fine, I guess. I did the two-week long camp with Jill again. It was just as boring and even more awkward since I haven’t seen her in forever. Same old same old.”
“Well, you’re lucky,” Meggie decides. “At least you have some muggle friends to go to camp with! I spent the whole time bored out of my mind, owling you guys over and over and wishing I could do magic. Apperation would be ineradicably useful! And you know me, I would’ve tried it no matter the consequences, but no, Casey had to go and hide my wand. Isn’t she just a right git? I still don’t see why Dad likes her so much.”
Lily clucks her tongue. “Give it time, Megs. You’ll like her too.”
“Yeah, yeah.” She waves off the comment lazily, though I know that it bugs her. Her dad got remarried a year ago and she hasn’t been getting along with her new step-mum, who’s more of the old fashioned Mind-you-manners type. Pushing her evenly-cropped chin length dark brown hair from her eyes (enough adjectives for you?), she adds, “What about you, Lily?”
“I just hung out around the house, mostly. Petunia drove me to her boyfriend’s house, ’cause I was friends with his sister when we were little. But that was when we were, like, three. In elementary school she got picked on a lot, because she was so… overweight.” She took care to use the polite term; Lily’s always pretty sensitive like that.
“So,” I summarize, “I went to muggle camp with a friend who I see twice a year, Meggie was stuck with an evil overbearing step-mum, and Lily got to hang out with her fat friend from preschool.”
“Wow,” says Meggie. “We had crappy summers.”
Lily sighs. “I’m so glad to be going back to Hogwarts.”
“Even with all the work?” I ask.
“Especially with all the work! Don’t you realise that NEWTS are next year? We have to prepare for them!” Her emerald eyes narrow slightly. “You both should take notes this year; you’re going to need them and I am not letting you copy mine.”
“Psst, Aria,” Meggie says in a loud whisper. “You know she’ll let us.”
I grin and Lily sighs again, because its true.
The compartment opens and in come the Four Evils, Remus Lupin (who’s somewhat bearable), Peter Pettigrew (who really needs to get a life), Sirius Black (the second-in-command and Haughty Extraordinaire), and their ringleader James Potter (who’s okay by my watch, even if I can never tell Lily that).
“This compartment looks pretty free, let’s sit here!” Sirius says brightly. The four boys squish themselves onto the benches.
James, of course, is sandwiched in between Lily and Peter. Lily, the poor girl, is looking traumatized at his nearness and scoots closer to Meggie. I smirk until Sirius sits himself next to me.
Then I shoot him a dirty look and edge closer to the window until I can’t move any more. I haven’t gotten any father away, it doesn’t look like, otherwise he got closer.
“What’re you doing here, Potter?” Lily practically hisses.
“Sitting, quite obviously,” James says.
Peter lets out a quick giggle.
All five eyes (well, pairs of eyes, of course) turn to him.
“It was funny,” he says. His voice is high-pitched, well, more-so than a guy’s voice ought to be.
Remus rolls his eyes. “Of course it was, Wormtail, of course.”
After sitting in uncomfortable silence for a minute or two, I say, “Can you move over?”
“What?” Sirius asks.
“Can you move over? I’m feeling claustrophobic.”
“What?” he asks again, a hint of a smirk on his face.
“Move over, Black, or I’ll hex you,” I say without much vehemence. “You reek.”
And he does. He smells — not bad, maybe, but he still smells. Like ashes from a fireplace or something, and sort of like… chocolate.
I gag. He hasn’t moved.
"Move it!” I dig my elbow back into his stomach.
He yelps but scoots away, the look on his face like that of an injured dog.
I take a deep breath, filling my lungs with nice, clean, un-chocolate-ified air.
“Merlin, Miss Falba, no need to be so pushy,” he grumbles.
“No need to suffocate me either,” I say calmly.
He huffs and folds his arms, looking away from me pointedly. Across from me, I can see Meggie smirking. I pull a face and mouth, “Trade spots with me?”
She grins wider and shakes her head. Of course not; no one (in their right mind, at least) would want to be squished between Evil Numero Two and the window. That’s not including his thousand fangirls, but they, obviously, are mentally deranged and so they don’t count for anything.
No, that lucky chic gets to sit with the only sane person left in the cabin.
Alright, so let’s get one thing straight here. I don’t hate the Marauder-raiders for no reason. Uh-uh, I have a long list of offences, starting a week into my first year and continuing onto today. Newest addition to the List of Reasons I, Arianna Louise Falba, Abhor the Four Evils (subdivision: E2).
So, there are a bunch of reasons why I thoroughly dislike Sirius Black. For one thing, it was because of him I fell off my broomstick into the lake during my second flying lesson, and got detention. And then there was that time he was fighting with Snape and ran in front of me, and then ducked down so that I got hit in the face with the hex. Oh, and let’s not forget all of last year, when he annoyed the crap out of me to (unsuccessfully) get Lily to go out with James.
Our conversations would go like this:
Him: Hi, Aria.
Me: What the hell do you want, Black?
Him: Will you pretend to go out with me so that Lily can come with us a double-date and fall for James?
Me: If you aren’t out of my sight in five seconds I’ll hex you.
Him: Is that a yes?
Me: One. Two. Three.
Him: Glad to see you’re considering it.
And then he would run away, laughing his head off like it was all some sort of elaborate joke.
Uh-huh. If there’s one thing I know about Sirius, it’s that the father away you are from him, the better.
So it’s just my luck to be crammed next to him.
“How was your summer, love?” he asks.
“I am not your love, and I am not your anything,” I say with a pointed glare, “so you’d do well not to call me that.”
“No-one else seems to mind,” he says with a grin.
Meggie lets out a strangled sound that could pass for a stifled laugh.
Mr I’m-the-king-of-Hogwarts-so-worship me doesn’t appear to hear her. He just keeps his eyes trained on me, waiting for an answer.
I sigh. “My summer was sucky, thank you for asking. My dad totally forgot about my birthday and my mum just left a two second message on my cell,” I say, forgetting that he probably has no idea what a cell phone is.
“Ah,” he says, the way his face is scrunched up letting me know that my assumption was correct. “Didn’t you have a party or anything?”
“We don’t all have big blow-out celebrations on our sixteenth birthday,” I say pointedly. “And anyway, I’m not rich. Two of my muggle friends just took me out to breakfast, and we went horseback riding later.”
“You have muggle friends?” he asks, appearing fascinated by the idea.
I roll my eyes. “No, I’ve just live with my muggle dad and gone to a muggle elementary school,” I say sarcastically.
His incredulous voice makes me sigh. “I’ve known you for six years, Sirius, and you’re telling me that you don’t know that?”
“Well, it’s not like we’re the best of mates,” he defends.
“True.” In the temporary silence, can hear James asking Lily about her summer, and my friend telling him to shove the hell off.
Sirius tsks under his breath and shakes his head. “I don’t see what her problem with him is,” he says quietly.
“Well, he’s been a bit of a git for the past six years, plus it’s got to be annoying having someone ask you out twenty-four seven.”
“But he’s changing, Aria. Can’t you tell?”
I glance at James, who’s got a desperate look on his face as Lily shuns him. “Not really,” I say. “But I just don’t see what his fixation with her is. After all, there are zillions of girls who’re throwing themselves at his feet, and he has to fancy one of the only females in Hogwarts who doesn’t swoon at the sigh of him.”
“I think that’s why,” Sirius explains. “She’s a change from everyone else. And besides,” he adds, a little grin on his face, “rejection is exhilarating.”
“Exhilarating,” I repeat dully. “Your views certainly are fascinating. Why would you want to be rejected?”
He shrugs, his right shoulder bumping against mine. “Not being rejected, but finding out why you were rejected. It’s so boring just to go out with the majority of Hogwarts girls; they’re all the same. They never say no. Lily fascinates James because she’s so different. See, at our school, we have two groups: the easy girls and the study-don’t-date girls. Lily falls somewhere in between them.”
“What about me?” I want to know.
He grins. “You, Aria, make up the third minority: the neither sleazy nor smart girls who will date sometimes but don’t look for commitment.”
“Why don’t you think I look for commitment?” I ask, surprised. I can’t say that he’s wrong; I just don’t understand how he could know something like that and not know my daddy-dearest is a muggle.
He shrugs again. “I’m not a fortune-reader,” he says. “I just notice you is all.”
I’m not sure how to take that, so I just give a little smile, eyes narrowing as I think. Everyone has their little quirks, and that’s mine, the narrowing-my-eyes thing. I can’t stop it; it’s like a natural reaction and it’s completely irritating. Normally my eyes are pretty wide, but when I think hard about something poof! They magically become narrow hazel slits.
That’s another thing I hate about me: the colour of my eyes. I mean, hazel is well and dandy on say, James for example, and I guess it’d be fine on me, but I have the palest complexion known to man, courtesy of the mother I see, like, once a year. So while Meggie gets to look like Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile, I get stand next to her as Arianna, Ice Queen of a screwed-up family. Trust me, the whole whiteish-skin pale-hair hazel-eyes thing does not work for me.
But Sirius had noticed me? We really aren’t good friends; we never hang out and I talk to him only when circumstances force me to.
So why would he notice me?
Maybe it’s because I’m on the same Quidditch team as him?
Wow, way to be brilliant, Aria… and way to talk to yourself like a crazy person.
The train slows to a stop, after what seems like forever, and I arrive at Hogwarts for my second-to-last year.
And what an eventful year it will be.
Tally's A/N: Emmkayyy, time for the -cackle- author notation!
Wells, Eileen and me came up with this idea when we were bored one day... we're rotating off, so the second chapter is hers. We've written up to three at this point - it's her turn. I'm going to be posting the chapters every three-to-five days, FYI.
Ummm... Aria is about as skilled as Eileen and I are - you'll find out what I mean later. (And we are pretty skilled.) What else can I say? This is both of our first time (times?) writing a Sirius/OC fic (she thought I meant Sirius was moving to the OC when I said it first. She's really cool.). Hope you've liked it so far!!
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