The Best-Worst Day
“She said, No one here can live forever,
quiet in the grasp of dusk and summer;
but you’ve already lost
when you only have
barely enough to hang on…”
Dusk and Summer, Dashboard Confessional
Without opening my eyes, I swat the air around my head. “Go away, Meggie. It’s Sunday… let me sleep, Godammit!”
“Now Aria, you don’t want to waste perfectly good sunlight, do you?” scolded a voice that was not female and definitely not Meggie.
I groan. “Yes, I do. Wasting sunlight sounds great to me right now.”
“Wake upppp,” the familiar voice sings.
I shake my head. “No. I do not want to wake up. Waking up would be extremely unpleasant.”
Suddenly, something feathery-light is tickling my cheek. “Stop it!” I whimper, an idiot grin on my face, turning over and over and attempting to keep my eyes closed.
But I’m fighting a loosing battle (and I should know what one of those looks like — Merlin knows I fight them often enough).
My eyes flicker open and I see, of course, Sirius grinning at me.
I glare at him. “I was sleeping,” I tell him in a huffy voice, scooting into a sitting position, my back against the trunk of the beech tree.
He shifts position so that he’s leaning over me. He brings his face closer and brushes his nose against mine, our lips less than an inch apart.
Oh, just kiss me already! I’m thinking, but I smile anyway. It’s funny how hesitant Sirius can be at times.
His arms are around my waist, pulling me away from the tree and tightly, safely, into his chest, and mine slide around his neck. Impatient with his teasing, I just lift my head up and smash my lips into his.
I part my mouth as his tongue brushes my lips, then just let myself go.
Later — I don’t know how much later; I’ve lost track of the time — I smile at Sirius, my head resting on his chest, his arms protectively around me.
He smiles back and we’re silent for a few minutes, listening to each other breath.
Then I say, remembering something, “So does this make me easy?”
He laughs. “I would hardly call getting you ‘easy,’ Arianna Falba.”
“I don’t like ‘Arianna,’” I mumble to him, eyes closed.
He kisses my forehead. “I know, love,” he tells me in a gentle voice.
“Why don’t you like it?”
“What?” I open my eyes, my gaze meeting his. “What do you mean?”
“You always say you don’t like the name Arianna whenever anyone calls you it… and I was wondering why,” he says.
“Oh. Um,” I say, shifting so that my face is partly covered by my hair. “I dunno, Sirius…”
He brushes my hair from my face. “I think you do,” he says in a teasing voice, “but you don’t want to tell me.”
“I just don’t like to talk about it. Nothing personal,” I tell him.
He’s quiet. “Do Meggie and Lily know?”
“Sirius…” I frown.
“Alright, Aria,” he murmurs. “I won’t ask.”
I tilt my head up and kiss his cheek. “Thank you.”
We watch the sun slowly sink down. He brushes his hand through my hair. I’m cuddled against his chest comfortably. I’ve never felt as safe as I do now, here with Sirius.
“Hey,” I whisper.
“Hey,” he replies, smiling at me.
I swallow. “Sirius?”
“Aria?” he mimics.
“I’ll tell you.”
For a moment, he doesn’t speak. Then he says, “You don’t have to.”
“No. I want to.”
“’Kay,” he says softly, kissing the skin right beneath my ear.
I squirm, fighting to hold in a laugh. “That tickles!”
He kisses me again and again and this time I do laugh. “Stop, stop!” I giggle.
He stops, a smile on his face. “You were saying?”
The solemn mood returns. “Well,” I say, “for one, it means ‘very holy.’” Sirius laughs. I elbow him, pretending to be annoyed.
“And Aria doesn’t mean the same?”
“No,” I say. “Aria means lion.”
He arches an eyebrow. “How do you know this?”
I shrug. “Me and Jill, my muggle friend, looked it up on the internet one day when we were bored.”
“Internet?” he questions.
“Right. I’ll just add that to my list of muggle things I’ll never know about: cancer, global warming, and now internet.”
I giggle, kissing him briefly. “Anyway, that’s one reason. Also, my mum named me… and, well, we aren’t on the best terms, to put it mildly… haven’t been since I was twelve and I found out what she did…”
“What’d she do?” he asks curiously, but I shake my head and don’t answer.
“She calls me Arianna… my dad calls me Aria. I don’t like being reminded of my mum, so I don’t like being called Arianna. That’s really it.”
“Ah, I see,” he says, though I can tell he doesn’t.
I shrug. “It just bothers me is all.”
He smiles. “Can I call you ‘Arian’?” he teases.
“Sure you can,” I tell him, mood instantly brightened.
“Good. But for the record, I think Arianna’s a beautiful name.”
I smile. “You don’t think you’re just a bit biased?”
“Nope,” he announces. “But you are. Just because your mum named you doesn’t mean it’s bad.”
“That’s what you think,” I tell him.
“I’m sure she cares about you more than you know,” he says.
“Riiight.” I’m unconvinced.
He gets to his feet, takes my hands, and pulls me up next to him. “Come on, let’s go inside,” he says. “It’s almost dark anyway.”
I nod. “Alright,” I agree and follow him inside.
We walk, hand in hand, to the Gryffindor Common Room. Once there, however, Sirius gives my hand a tight squeeze and drops it, striding over to James, who’s sitting on the couch, hands balled into tights fists and brow furrowed.
“What’s wrong, Prongs?”
James hardly looks at him. “My mum, Sirius.” His voice is soft, almost hoarse. “My mum.”
Sirius glances at the letter on his lap. “Your mum’s in the hospital?” he asks.
James nods. “They said she’ll be fine, but I’m worried. Last time she was in the hospital…”
“I know,” Sirius tells him soothingly. “James, she’ll be fine. This is different. She’ll be fine, okay?”
James is silent.
“What happened?” I feel the need to ask.
Sirius smiles tensely at me. “Nothing, love.”
“My mum,” James says, “is in the hospital.”
“Is she okay?”
“Apparently. She fell down the stairs.”
“Oh,” I say, not sure why this is even a big deal. I fall down the stairs almost every day. “That’s too bad…”
“She’s pregnant,” James adds.
“Oh. Wow. I’m sorry. But she’ll get better?”
“That’s what they said. See, James, no need to worry. Come find Moony with me, okay?”
James frowns. “I guess,” he says, sounding reluctant, but stands anyway.
Sirius kisses me quickly. “See you later, Aria,” he tells me with a smile, and they leave.
I climb the stairs to the girls’ dorms.
Meggie and Lily are lying on Lily’s bed, talking quietly.
“Hey, guys!” I greet.
Meggie looks up at me, frowning. Lily doesn’t even look at me. She just bites her lip and shakes her head.
“What?” I ask. “What happened?”
For a few minutes, neither of them speak. Then Meggie says, quietly, “Aria… your dad died this morning.”
I feel my eyes widen. “What?” I manage to choke out. “No. No, you did not just say that!”
“Aria…” Meggie puts a hand on my shoulder. I jerk back roughly.
“Don’t! He’s not dead!” I shout, then run out of the room. I can hear the blood pounding in my ears. My whole head throbs. No. No. No.
Sirius catches me as I dart down the stairs. He rocks me back and forth slowly in his arms as I start to cry.
My dad is dead.
“It’s okay, Ars,” Jill tells me softly.
I bite down on my lip, shaking my head. I’m unable to speak without crying. It’s not okay. It’ll never be okay again.
On my other side, Sirius has his arm around me. I lean my head against his shoulder, closing my eyes tightly, trying to block everything out. God, no. This can’t be happening.
“Aria?” Jill asks quietly, squeezing my hand that’s closest to her.
“What happened, Jill?” I ask her hoarsely. “What happened?”
She shakes her head, golden braid whipping behind her shoulder. “Heart attack, that’s what the doctor said,” she whispers. “He had a bad heart.”
A bad heart. The words sound funny to me. A bad heart. His heart was the kindest I knew; anything but bad.
To my abashment, tears start rolling down my cheeks for what seems like the hundredth time today. I hiccup. “Why him?” I ask the back of the car seat in front of me.
Sirius kisses the top of my head wordlessly.
The car stops and we all tumble out. Aunt Hoolia gets out from the driver’s seat and wraps me up in a big hug.
“Erghh,” I mumble into her shoulder, trying hard to dislodge her arms from their chokehold around me. She smells bad…
After a few minutes she lets go.
God, if I ever smell her breath again it’ll be too soon.
I take a step back, pressing my back against Sirius’s chest. I need reassurance I’m not alone.
He slides his arms around my chest and murmurs, “It’ll be over soon, Arian…”
His nickname makes me smile.
Aunt Hoolia leads us into the house that I’m so familiar with. She smiles tightly, but I can tell she’s itching to go.
“I’ll show them the guest rooms, Aunt Ho—Aunt Julia,” I say, careful not to reveal the nickname my dad and I gave her when I was only five.
She pats my head. Honestly, what am I? A dog? “Good girl. Will you find food?”
Not that she cares.
“Yeah, we can order pizza,” I say. “Jill has her driver’s license, so if we need anything she can take us out.”
Aunt Hoolia smiles. “Good girl,” she says again. “Have fun!”
“Yeah, you too. Bye,” I say. Have a nice time clubbing, I add to myself, but don’t say it out loud.
Once the door swings shut behind her, I turn to my friends and attempt a smile, brushing the remaining tears from my cheeks. “So,” I say.
Jill takes my arm. “I have a cure for sadness,” she informs me seriously.
“Oh yeah?” I arch an eyebrow.
I smile slightly. “I dunno, Jill…”
“Oh, come on,” she says. “You’ll have enough time to be sad tomorrow. Forget about it for now.”
“Alright,” I agree. “What d’you want me to do?”
She points to the phone. “Order pizza.”
After getting high on about fifty tons of candy and two boxes of pizza (granted, Sirius did eat a whole box himself), I say, “Well that was fun, but I’m ready to call it a night.”
“Right-o,” Jill agrees, giggling immediately. She does worse with candy than I do.
“You know where the guest room is.”
She nods – of course she does. She’s been coming to sleepovers here, in my dad’s beautiful Victorian house he took over from his parents, since we were about eight.
“Later,” she calls, disappearing down a hall.
I glance at Sirius. He’s watching me, a smile on his face. I smile back, feeling almost shy for some reason I don’t even understand.
“Come on,” he whispers, taking my hand in his larger one. “Show me to my room.”
I lead him up the winding staircase and down the hall, to my room. I watch him as I open the door and flop onto my bed, kicking off my shoes.
He looks around, then back to me and smiles. “It suits you,” he says.
“It should. My dad helped me pick out everything.” My voice is quiet. “This is my favourite room in the entire world.” There’s my bed, pushed up in the far left corner. My dad and I painted it ourselves one day, light blue with sponged-on white-grey clouds. The walls are dark blue. Dad and I painted them, too. I have pictures on my dresser, of me and Jill and my dad and my muggle friends, but also of Lily and Meggie when they came to stay with me a few summers ago. I’ve got a desk, painted like the bed, with a computer on it. Then, of course, a bookshelf, completely filled. There are books stacked around it too.
“Sirius,” I whisper.
He smiles at me, striding forward. After hesitating a second, he sits on my bed and pulls me into his arms.
I close my eyes and lean my head back against him. “I miss Dad so much. That’s stupid, isn’t it? I wouldn’t even be here right now if he were still alive, and I wouldn’t see him anyway. But…”
“It’s not stupid,” Sirius says gently, rocking me back and forth in his arms. He kisses my forehead.
I lean back hard. He falls against the pillows. I kick down the sheets and pull them over us, leaning over my bedside table to turn off the lamp.
“Goodnight, Aria,” he whispers.
I feel his chest rise and fall against mine as he breathes, and I let my eyes close. I feel more peaceful than I’ve felt in a long time.
I’m just about asleep then Sirius shifts, pulling me closer to him. His breath tickles my face. “Are you awake?”
“Yeah,” I whisper.
He’s quiet for a moment. Then he murmurs, “I love you, Arianna.”
I snuggle up against his chest. “I love you too,” I tell him softly, tucking my head under his chin.
It’s the first time he’s put it into words, and it makes me realise: Sirius Black loves me.
This will be make an interesting conversation topic next time I talk to Lily and Meggie.
But as startling as that revelation is, I find something even more startling.
I love him.
A/N: Well, I know.... I know. But as Eileen seemed to have a mistaken idea of 'fluff', I just wanted to show her exactly how fluffy fluff can be -cackle- xDD Although I had to have /something/ happen, so her dad died. Even though that isn't exactly /fluff/, it set up some more fluff! WOOT.
Anyway, so now I'm hiding from Julia as well. (Well, this is what happens I'm in a bad mood and you ask me to give you a namesake!) She doens't like Aunt Hoolia very much -big happy face-
Gahh I'm extremely annoyed. I bought Death Cab For Cutie's 'Plans' album earlier because I'm madly in love with the song 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' and I expected the rest of the album to be like that. Although the album is really good, it's nto like that. And that angers me xP
But on a side-note, the other album I got, Eyes Open by Snow Patrol, is /really really/ good. Yeah. I'm rambling. I know. Ahh okays, so today is 9.21 and I'm going back through and editing the weird spacing in all the chappies ... WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! Geeze.The Death Cab album is amazing. Don't listen to me. xD
Tomorrow, both Eileen and I are going on trips. I dunno when she gets back, so I can't tell you when the next chapter will be up. But even if she finishes in two days, I won't be able to post it until July 10th, when /I/ get back (at least, I think that's when I get back...) So, enjoy the chapter and sorry in advace for the wait =)
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