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-Chapter fourteen-


~Sirius~
I had once again landed arse up.

I had tried and I had failed. I had tried again and I failed at that too.

I had been reduced to dirt. I felt low - Ana had made me feel low. Lower than dirt.

I felt small.

In fact if someone was to hold their finger an inch from their thumb I would have to insist I felt smaller still. They would be forced to move closer until I would cry, Ah, that’s it, right there! That’s how big I am!

And then when I thought it was not possible to make that condescending thumb and forefinger need move closer Lily had kindly stepped in to offer her two cents.

“You Sirius Black are an idiot.” she had told me before turning away haughtily. Great. If she knew, everyone one did.

“Thanks for the news flash.” I had mumbled to myself, scrubbing my face with my hands. If I tried hard enough maybe I could go back to yesterday and figure out what had processed me to do all this.

Then after I had that right I would go back to this afternoon and take all that back too.

That definitely hadn’t gone like I had planned.

When I had sat down with Ana I had had wanted to apologise but everything I had wanted to say and had the intention of saying had either come out wrong or not at all.

So small.

I hadn’t meant it the way it had sounded. I hadn’t meant to call her fake – not like that anyway. And everything else after that was said was a mistake. Seeing that familiar look of anger once again directed at me had made me speak without thinking only making matters worse. I wanted to clear all this up, tell her what I really thought of her but now everything I planned to say sounded pathetic even to me.

And after talking to Ana I was given the distinct impression I was wasting my time.

Was I wasting my time?

Was it worth trying to fix any hope of a friendship we had? Well, if we even had one to begin with. It was strange, the more I thought about it the more I saw what James had been saying all along.

He had asked why I was bothering to find her name. I think I had answered that I was curious. All I wanted to do was get her name to settle my curiosity but now that I had done that I was good, right?

Right.

“Hey Padfoot.” James pipped up breaking my chain of thought. “Coming to breakfast?”

I shook my head. “Go without me.”

“What are they?”

I sighed deeply and shoved some of my sketches away. “Just some pictures I drew in another lifetime. What's with the flower?” I asked inclining my head towards the tiny blue flower James was holding. He grinned. Snaps for me. I knew that would be a good subject change.

“For Lily. It’s our one month today.”

“It’s been more than one month!” I exclaimed

He shook his head and started for the door. “Not officially.”

I laughed. “Have a nice officialM day then!”

He raised his hand in a salute and left, whistling some happy tune.

Officially...What a ridiculous concept.

I turned my attention back to the three pictures Ana had chosen. something about them baffled me and I couldn’t help but keep coming back to them. Why had she chosen these particular ones?

I discarded all three. What I really wanted to do was tear them into pieces. I hated all these pictures and what they reminded me of but still I couldn’t bring myself to destroy them.

I picked up the next couple leafing through them with disinterest until one particular one caught my eye. Ana must not have seen this one or I know she would have said something.

With a sigh and the picture still in hand I let my head fall against the head board.

I didn’t know what was best anymore.

I didn’t know what to do. With these pictures, with my family and especially with Ana.

It should be simple. Two choices, one was the answer was right. The other was not.

It was either best for me to move on, forget anything that I had ever thought I saw though her stubborn façade or I try again to make her listen to my pathetic apologies. Simple. Two choices.

Wrong.

It was anything but simple. I knew the answer already and it wasn’t the easy one. I just knew I wouldn’t feel right until I had really made amends and hopefully made her smile for me again.

Basically I was screwed.

I kicked out at my folder in frustration. It landed on the floor with a thud, the loose sheets scattering in all directions. I groaned, instantly regretting my actions.

Fake, a little voice whispered.

Yep, arse up. Big time.

*

~Nat~
Where was he?

He was late.

Well not late but not early.

One year. I was practically jittering with excitement. One year was big. One year was huge. One year was a long time. One year was –

“I hate that owl!” Ana wailed as an owl screeched its goodbyes and flew off again. I glanced sideways at the letters on her plate. Uh oh, they could only be one thing. She picked them up and tried to shake the bits of egg off before turning them over to read the return address.

Here it comes. 3, 2, 1-

“And I hate you!” She whined right on cue. She shoved the yolk covered envelopes in my face just in case I hadn’t picked up on what they were, which by the way I had.

I scanned the great hall distractedly. “You know you have been in such a bad mood since the poster incident.” I said in a bored voice before taking another mouthful of cereal. Like it was my fault that she was receiving letters from strangers... sheesh.

“No. See these?” Ana asked, waving the letters at me again. “This is why I am in a bad mood.”

I pretended I hadn’t heard until she tried to rip them in half.

“Hey!” I cried taking them off her. “At least read them first.”

She looked at me with a face that clearly read not amused. I smiled and waggled my eyebrows at her. “You never know, one of them could be the love of your life.”

Ana scowled at me before snatching the letters from my hand. She tore open the first one and read; “Dear stranger, blah, blah, blah - no.” She then did tear it in two. “It was a stupid idea Nat!”

“Oh, just read them.” I said tiredly. Really this extra grumpy Ana was getting old. “You never know. All you need is one to mention a damn poodle and then I can announce the wedding.”

“Funny.” Ana drawled ripping open the second. “No and-” she stopped to open the last one. “No.”

“I am not going to find him. Maybe Eben was right maybe I made him up. Ana is going crazy. Now there’s a news head line for you.”

And then without finishing her breakfast she left, kindly leaving me sitting alone. On my one year anniversary. Where the hell was Eben?!

I blew my fringe out of my eyes to ease my frustration. It did not work. I was still annoyed. Here she was taking all her anger out on me and she hadn’t even said anything about what today was.

It had been a four days since great poster incident of 1976 and Ana was yet to ease up. I was at a loss. Usually if Ana was pissed off she would rant. She would rant for days, weeks, months! She would rant until I was forced to begin to rant about her ranting.

But this time, nothing. Nothing but a super sour Ana with a short fuse.

Deadly.

I idly picked up a blue envelope and began to tear it into smaller shreds. I had to wonder what would happen if I ever did find Mr midnight for Ana. Would I actually be helping her?

I wanted to help her. She was so angry at the world that at times it must have seemed easier to shut it all out but I wanted to save her from the lonely life she was trying to create for herself. I wanted to make her realise that just because her mother’s and her Gran’s fairytales hadn’t worked out didn’t mean she couldn’t have one of her own. She could and I wanted to help.

Saving Ana, that was my goal. I was going to find him.

All I needed was one person to say poodle.

“Hey, you look like you are doing some serious thinking.” Sirius said drawing me out of my thoughts.

I shook my head to clear the last of the fuzziness. “Yeah, just a bit. What's up with you?”

He shrugged. “Where’s Ana?”

“She stormed that way about five minutes ago.” I said pointing towards the exit. “Surprised you didn’t pass her.”

Sirius chuckled and took a seat across from me. “The way she has been the last couple of days I wouldn’t be surprised if she is still hiding behind a suit of amour.”

I nodded thoughtfully. Very true.

“You’re her friend.” Sirius said suddenly. I nodded. Also very true and well spotted. Good on him! “How can I make it up to her?”

“Easy.” I said standing up. “Ana is stubborn. Give her what she wants.” I advised him before starting away.

“What does she want?” He called after me.

I turned and smiled. “I don’t know she hasn’t told me yet!”

At the doorway I turned again. He was sitting there deep in thought. I sighed. I really hoped he figured it out because aside from Mr midnight he was the next best thing as far as I could see.

“Hey gorgeous.” A familiar voice greeted.

Right, back to me.

I spun quickly to find Eben leaning against the stone newel post.

“Where have you been?” I demanded a grin forcing itself across my face even though I tried to look angry.

He began to walk towards me pulling a square box tied with a pink ribbon from behind his back as he did so. He smiled at me and I instantly gave up, wrapping my arms around his neck while he protested about squashing the box.

One year...

Sigh.

*

~Ana~
“Nat are you ever going to put that thing away?” I asked, rolling my eyes as she flicked through her book for the hundredth time that day. I sat there trying to finish a very annoying problem and the flicking and the sighing and the stupid smile were getting on my nerves!

A little voice in my head kept screaming 'bitter' but I pushed it aside and firmly replaced it with realistic.

I was not bitter, I was realistic.

“Nope.” Nat answered dreamily. “I love it.”

No comment.

“He is so sweet!”

Again no comment. Although I may be sick. Can someone hand me a bucket?

“What are you doing anyway?” she asked finally closing her book.

I tapped my quill impatiently on my book. What did it look like I was trying to do? Bake potatoes? But Nat didn’t notice the look on my face for once again she had flipped to the front to read her fairytale again.

“Did you really help with this, An? i mean, enchantress?”

I nodded. “And you know who did the pictures.”

Nat nodded happily. “I’ll have to thank him.”

“Don’t bother.” I scoffed.

“Ooh!” Nat squealed. “I love it. I love it.”

Rolling eyes... now. “Where is lover boy?”

She waved her hand at me. “Quidditch training.”

“What?!” I screeched jumping to my feet. “I thought that was at three!”

“Calm down.” Nat hushed. “It is at three. He just wanted to talk to James.”

I sat back down with a sigh of relief. Way to freak me out. “What is the time?”

“Two forty.” Nat answered.

I closed my book. “I better go anyway. You coming?” I asked, half standing. Nat nodded and stood up as well.

“Might as well bring my fairytale.” She said giddily.

I said nothing I don’t think I had to. She knew I was inwardly rolling my eyes anyway. So instead I changed the subject; “Hey did I tell you what my David wants to name the baby if it’s a boy?”

Nat actually closed her book to look at me. “No, what?”

“Wendell. He wants to name him Wendell.” I said throwing my arms out to emphasize the absurdity of the idea.

“Wendell?” Nat repeated blankly. “Kid will have no chance. Screwed from the beginning.”

“Yeah.” I agreed. “Heres hoping that it’s a – " I trailed off as something caught my eye. Wait a minute... hold up. “Girl.” I finished slowly.

Nat turned and looked at me wearily. “What is it?”

I pointed. She circled back to look.

“Still, what is it?”

“Its one of his. It Sirius’!” I cried pointing to the picture of a screaming woman. I hadn’t seen this one before but I would recognise his style anywhere. “He drew this.”

“Come on.” Nat urged. “You’ll be late again.”

I followed her down the hallway turning back to look at it. Was it really a Sirius Black original?

And if it was why was it there?

A couple of hours later I stood in the same spot a little more tired and a lot more dirty.

James had told me I was playing like crap. I thanked him for once again complementing me because I certainly felt good after that comment.

It wasn’t my fault. I just couldn’t get the poster out of my head! Well it was either that or Nat and Lily exchanging fairytales in the stands. They really were forming a W.A.G’s club.

I was about to walk away when someone stepped up behind me casting a shadow over the poster.

“This one I chose because I can pinpoint the day I drew it. “ Sirius said slowly. “I can remember exactly what was said to make me draw her that way.

"My mother.” He pointed at the picture. “Exactly the way I remember her; hand raised to slap me and her mouth open to hurl insults for the world to hear. I was terrified of her that day. I was terrified of her most days. She had a way of looming above me so she always seemed larger and formidable even though in actual fact I outgrew her by fourteen.”

I cleared my throat nervously. “What had happened?”

He didn’t seem to have heard my question but went on to answer it anyway. “I usually made my own way back home every summer. But this time she had come to pick up my brother, it was his first year and all.” he said somewhat bitterly.

“She saw me with James, Remus and Pete but didn’t say anything until I actually got home. She screamed at me about my choice in friends, about blood status, honour and what the Black name meant. I thought it was a laugh her talking about honour and loyalty and told her so. I ended up on the other side of the room after that. She left and I went out on the roof top with my notebook. I had never been so angry and I had never hated her so much. I hated what she stood for and how she tried to force me think the same. 

“I could tell you about every stroke that went into the drawing. Every hate laced line that I wished she could feel just so she would realise how wrong she was and still is. Every time I look at it I feel exactly the same way and I hate that."

He turned to me. “You were the first person to ever see those particular pieces. I would say first person I had shown but – “

“You never showed me.” I finished.

“I forgot they were in there and when you pulled them out – “

“You freaked.” I finished again.

Sirius nodded. “I freaked. I don’t know how to explain them and I was worried what you would think. They are so – “

“Truthful?” I supplied.

“Hateful.” He corrected. “Showing them off just means more people ask questions. Dont get me wrong, it's not that I mind people seeing what I can do but I just don't want to showcase these particular pieces.  I don't want to be that trouble kid, screaming for attention though art. I don't want people to think thats what I want either."

"I never thought that." I assured him, worried thats what he was thinking.

"I know that. Look, An, I really didn’t mean what I said. And I am sorry about the posters.” he told me earnestly.

I shrugged and waved it away. "I guess I owe you one too then. I don't want to force you into something you don't want to do. I didn'd understand I guess... but I really think they are good." I said turning back to look at  the picture again. I then took it down and handed it back to him. “You’ve proved your point. Unless there are more.”

Sirius shook his head. “Just this one. I just knew you would walk past here.” he admitted.

I laughed. “Wimp.”

“I’ll take that.” He said with a shrug. We began to walk back towards the common room. “So anniversaries galore today...”

I groaned. “Don’t even get me started!”



***


A/N - i wanted to namethis chapter arse up. i didnt know if i could do that... can i do that??? oh well. We have instead one year, one month watever...
And its late. i dont know what that was like... i have read through parts of it soooo many times but others... yeah. tell me about my spelling and grammar. go on. bring it on!
i have no story this week. too sleepy. class tomorrow. i cant spell and i am expected to know how to spell different carbohydrates... HEY! i chose science so i wouldnt have to anymore! what is up with that???

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