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Yes, your eyes do not deceive you! I am back once more for another chapter! Yes! The plot bunnies are racing through my head and now I think this plot is really going to take off! Thanks for any and all support offered and now onto the chapter!

Chapter Three

Mr. Fake

*Ava*

When Ava returned to the Common Room after spending some time in the library, she knew she would have to look at the letter from Kiss Me Kate once more. It seemed like a good idea to take another look at the letter, considering how frustrated and angry she had been before. It was her job to give honest and clear advice, not advice clouded by her own personal problems. She took a few deep breaths before taking her favorite seat near the fireplace and began to write.

Dear Kate,

It seems to me that you have a very clear and accurate head on your shoulders. It can be quite hard to pick up on subtle changes in someone’s personality. To me I would say that this relationship is doomed to failure. You say that you have attempted to confront your boyfriend about this problem, but he simply shrugs it off. It appears that you have done everything you can to solve it yourself. Until he gets it though his head that you want to date him instead of Mr. Fake, I would break it off. Perhaps breaking up with him will be the wakeup call he needs to realize that being himself is actually important and essential to an individual. If you continue to date him, you will continue to be unhappy and he will learn nothing. A relationship built on untrue things cannot survive.

Best luck,

Ms. Anonymous

Ava sighed and leaned back in her chair; letting its cozy material sink in around her. That was much less brutal than “dump the bum!” It got the same message across but it has reasoning and logic behind it. Besides it would be up to Kate what to do anyway; Ava was just offering one solution. With a contented nod Ava slid the response into a letter to send out in the morning.

********

The sky was a solid grey and the trees were bending from a strong west wind the next morning when Ava awoke. She made her bed and quickly got dressed. When she had gotten into her black, Hogwarts robes she paused for a minute to examine herself in the mirror. She rarely did this, but today, for unexplained reasons, her reflection made her stop. It seemed she had grown again; she was easily one of the tallest girls in the school. Her legs and arms seemed to go on for miles; she was built like a pencil, missing curves that most all girls seemed to have. Her hair was her favorite feature. It was a dark blonde but it fell in perfect waves and curls; falling well down her back. Thick eyelashes clustered around her dark, brown eyes above her thin lips. Her father always said she was pretty but let’s face it, he was a bit biased. There was no doubt something awkward about her appearance; her body always seemed to be out of proportioned. Ava shrugged at her reflection and pulled her hair back into a long ponytail. She was about to head for the stairs when a voice sounded behind her.

“Morning, Ava!” Ava turned to find Lily Evans smiling at her with a towel wrapped around her head.

“Hey, Lily,” Ava responded, returning the smile. Back in her first and second year Lily and Ava had been inseparable. They hung out, told secrets, laughed, learned, and so on and so forth. However, around their third year Lily began hanging around with some new girls who fixated on appearance; hair, makeup, and such. Ava felt left out, having no experience or desire to engage in such practices. As the days passed, the two girls simply drifted apart. There was no other way to say it. However, Ava bore no hard feelings towards Lily and always looked at her with fond memories.

Lily was such a pretty little thing with her vibrant red hair, and green eyes. She had all the poise and grace Ava seemed to lack.

“How are you?” Lily asked cheerfully; she was a morning person.

“Can’t complain,” Ava said a hint of grumpiness in her voice; she was NOT a morning person.

This was how most of their conversations went. They were always polite and…nice…but it always felt a bit strange since they used to tell each other everything. Ava asked Lily how she was doing and Lily responded in the same manner. With a smile and a small wave Ava continued towards the door and actually made it down the stairs.

She scanned the room for Tom, whom she could normally find among the throngs of other students. By the time she reached the portrait hole, she had still not spotted him. He was probably already down at breakfast.

Her assumption proved correct as she entered the Great Hall. There were only a few students at the Gryffindor table, so it was quite easy to pick Tom out. Instantly, Ava knew something was wrong. He had a plate of food in front of him, but it appeared to be untouched. He was using his fork to push around bits of egg and sausage but absolutely nothing was completing the journey to his mouth. Tom was always eating. Especially if there was a plate of food smack in front of his face. Fearing the worst, Ava went over and sat down across from him.

“What’s up buddy?” she asked, not able to keep the worry out of her voice. Tom kept looking at the food, biting his lip as he searched for words. Ava was about to inquire further, when Tom spoke in a hushed whisper.

“Ava, I’m gay.” Ava couldn’t help but crack a small smile.

“Tom, this isn’t new.”

“I know,” he muttered, running his hand through his hair. “But it’s so hard. I got this letter from my parents today. They wanted to know how I was doing this year so far but of course at the end they had to ask if I had any prospects of a girlfriend. And if not, they know some lovely girls that would be perfect for me.”

Ava groaned. This was nothing new. Tom’s parents were important members of the Ministry of Magic and they seemed bent on getting Tom what they called “a nice girl.” The previous summer Tom had been close to finally revealing the truth to his mother but he ended up talking himself out of it.

“Tom, you’re going to have to tell them sooner or later,” Ava said to him, probably for the millionth time in their years of friendship. Tom twisted his lips into a desperate frown.

“I can’t EVER tell them. Do you know who my parents are? Do you know what they would do if they ever found out? Bye, bye Tom. I would be kicked out in a heartbeat. Then what? Where am I supposed to go?”

“Okay, okay,” Ava said. Hearing all this was also something else that wasn’t new to her. She and Tom must have talked for ages about what would happen if he finally came out to his parents.

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore,” Tom declared. “So how are you? Have any more shouting matches with Sirius Black?” Ava rolled her eyes.

“Of course not. When I said that I hoped we never spoke again, I meant it,” she replied, her eyes darkening at the very thought. “We’ve gone five years at this school without getting in each other’s way; I think we can get through two more.”

“Why do you hate him so much?” Tom asked, finally eating a bite.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Ava answered, filling her own plate. “I would have to care to hate him. We had a minor disagreement and now its over. Forever. Period.” Tom shrugged.

“You have to admit, he’s pretty cute Ava.”

“Please,” Ava lied. “I’d rather look at the Giant Squid.”

********

*Sirius*

“I can’t believe how brutal this potions exam was,” Peter groaned, flourishing his newly graded paper in the air. James snatched it from his hand and whistled.

“You weren’t kidding. You got a D? Seriously, I thought you were doing better in that class.”

“I can help you study,” Remus said kindly. Sirius smiled at his three friends as they headed away from the potions classroom. As they pushed their way through the crowded hallway, Sirius suggested that they spend their free period outside near the lake.

The three others agreed happily and regardless of the severe wind, settled underneath their favorite tree which was beginning to lose its leaves. The others were still discussion the potions exam, but Sirius kept his mouth shut until…

“Hey, Padfoot,” James said suddenly. “What did you end up getting? Did Slughorn slam you as well?”

“Oh yeah,” Sirius answered immediately, shoving his paper away in his bag. “Got another D.”

“Cripe,” James said, smirking. “How you ever got into sixth year is beyond me.” Sirius laughed at the comment and watched as James moved to the edge of the lake to skip rocks. Peter and Remus were still discussing exam questions enthusiastically. Sirius took this chance to give his exam a proper look.

He pulled it out and smiled to himself.

He had actually done quite well. A curvy E was at the top of the exam and a smile face from Slughorn. He looked over the questions he had gotten wrong before putting the paper safely back into his bag. His insides twitched slightly as James returned to sit next to him. Why did he just lie to his friends? Remus always did well on tests. Why didn’t he just tell them he had done well too? These thoughts jumped through his mind every time he discussed grades with his friends and he never could come up with a satisfied answer.

“I haven’t seen Kathleen for awhile,” James said, breaking Sirius from his thoughts. “You guys still doing alright?” Sirius blinked at the question. Kathleen Rinsler, his girlfriend of two month, had been strangely distant lately.

“I think we’re having a fight,” he admitted. Remus looked up from his book, confused.

“You think you’re having a fight? How could you not know?”

“Well she used to be around all the time, at meals, between classes,” Sirius explained, lying on his back, looking up at the sky. “Now, she’s almost never around. I see her on the weekends but that’s about it.”

“What did you do?” Peter asked.

“I have no idea,” Sirius said. “I really like her and I thought things were going well.”

“Pssh,” James said, patting him on the back. “When have you ever had a girlfriend for more than a couple months anyway?”

“Shut up,” Sirius replied, giving James a playful push.

“I would find her and ask her what’s going on,” Remus advised. Sirius nodded but didn’t respond vocally. When he didn’t start to get up from the soft grass, Remus spoke again,

“The sooner the better, Sirius.”

Sirius nodded again before bidding his friends a quick goodbye. He shoved his hands into his deep robe pockets to protect them from the fierce wind that was dashing its way across the earth. Small groups of students were scattered along the lawns and in the courtyard. Sirius scanned them just to make sure that Kathleen was not there; though he had a good idea where to find her.

Kathleen was a devoted artist who was deeply drawn to the Forbidden Forest. While she never actually set foot inside the forest, she enjoyed sitting on the outskirts drawing whatever happened to inspire her that day.

Just as he predicted, Sirius spotted Kathleen sitting indian style at the border of the forest making dashes at the parchment she was holding with a pencil. Her short, chin length, brown hair was flapping in the wind and her petite figure seemed even smaller curled up in the position she was. Kathleen wasn’t a startling beauty but she had such a personality and such a grace that she seemed to shine. With natural, rosy cheeks and smiling pink lips, the girl was downright adorable.

Her back was towards Sirius but the very second he came close to her she spoke.

“Hey Sirius,” she murmured without turning around.

“Hey love,” Sirius answered, glancing at Kathleen’s picture from over her shoulder. It was a drawing of a flower, but only the stem was still standing. The base and the petals that once clung to it were in a depressing heap near the bottom of the page. The other plants around it were whipping around in the wind but the flower in the center of the page was merely a feeble stem, its remains strewed about.

Sirius sat next to Kathleen and stared off into the forest.

“What’s been going on lately?” he asked gently. “I haven’t seen you much.”

“Sirius,” Kathleen breathed, turning to face him. “I’m not going to dodge around the subject.” She took a breath. “I want to break up.” These words hit Sirius and all he could do was break into laughter.

“You’re kidding right?” he grinned, winking at her. “Girls don’t dump me, I dump them.”

Kathleen snorted. “Well, I might be the first, but this isn’t s joke. I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”

Sirius suddenly realized how cold the grass was. Why was Kathleen doing this? He almost asked, but changed his mind. Did he really want to know?

“Fine,” he muttered, pushing himself to his feet and beginning to walk away. Kathleen jumped to her feet.

“Sirius, you have to know why,” she called loudly, because of the wind.

“I don’t want to hear it,” he said back. “I’ve been nothing but wonderful to you, but clearly its not enough.”

“That’s not what the issue is!” Kathleen shouted, both because of the wind and now anger.

“Well what is the issue?” Sirius snapped, coming back and staring down into Kathleen’s eyes.

“I’ve tried to tell you so many times,” Kathleen stated. “And, I’m tired of wasting my breath.” Sirius was about to say something back, when Kathleen shoved a copy of the Hogwarts Howler into his hands.

“Page seven,” she whispered in his ear. “You might find something interesting.” She held her sketches close to her chest as she began the trek back up to the castle.

Sirius opened up the paper and found page seven. He scanned the page. Ask Ms. Anonymous? What did that have to do with anything? He continued to look at the page until he came to a specific letter that made his eyes widen. Kiss Me Kate? Kathleen occasionally let her close friends call her Kate.

“I have a problem with my boyfriend. He is very well liked and extremely attractive. However most of the time I feel like he is being fake with me.”

Fake? She was calling him fake? She had no idea what she was talking about! Asking some mystery girl if she should break up with him or not! When he reached the response from Ms. Anonymous he gritted his teeth in anger.

“Until he gets it though his head that you want to date him instead of Mr. Fake, I would break it off.”

Who was this girl to tell people what to do! She didn’t know the whole story! He had to do something. Maybe he could get the newspaper to submit a retraction. Maybe he could convince Ms. Anonymous that he was in fact a good guy and that her advice was ill based. But where to start?

Bolting back to the lake where his friends where sitting, he crouched down by Remus.

“What did she say?” he asked, looking worried at Sirius’ red face.

“Where does the staff for the Hogwarts Howler meet?”

“Is that what she said?” Remus joked.

“No!” Sirius said a little too loudly, startling his friends. “I just need to know where they meet, and Remus you know everything about that paper. You were almost going to join it this year.”

“They meet on fourth floor in the abandoned Ancient Runes room,” Remus replied. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“When do they meet?” Sirius inquired, ignoring the other question.

“Well, it’s a free period so some of them might be there now…” Sirius rushed off towards the castle.

He stormed up to the fourth floor, unaware as to why he was so angry. Being called fake? Being broken up with? That had NEVER happened before. He found the room that the Remus had indicated and entered without even knocking.

*Ava*

Ava was working at her desk scribbling out a new idea that she knew Chelsea would never approve. She watched as Chelsea walked up and down the rows of desks watching her staff members with sharp eyes. Ava’s desk was the furthest back, considering she was the newest member. It didn’t really bother her; she was closer to a window. Only she and five other staff members were working at that time.

Ava heard the door crash open and spotted Sirius Black come in, very red in the face. She froze. Before yesterday, she had never really noticed the guy, and now he seemed to be everywhere. Fortunately he never looked in Ava’s direction but instead went right for Chelsea.

“I need you,” Sirius growled, “To point me in the direction of Ms. Anonymous.” Ava’s heart started ramming in her chest and she quickly ducked down behind her desk to hide herself from view.

“What could he possibly want with me?” she asked herself desperately. What had she done? Nothing! At least nothing today! And he had looked pretty pissed off.

“Mr. Black,” Chelsea responded authoritatively. “This is a newspaper, and you cannot simply barge in here unannounced and demand to know classified information.”

“Classified information?” Sirius asked, collecting himself slightly. Ava peeked out from over her desk and watched Sirius’ approach change. Instead of yelling at Chelsea, he was going to try and charm her instead.

“I know this newspaper is professionally run,” he said smoothly, giving Chelsea a wink. “But maybe you could make one exception, for me.” Ava laughed to herself. Sirius obviously didn’t know anything about Chelsea.

Chelsea actually did laugh out loud before speaking even more harshly than before. “Mr. Black, I have no time for your pitiful flattery. Either escort yourself out or I will find someone who will do it for you.”

Chelsea didn’t yell, but the way she spoke made it seem like she was raising her voice. Sirius actually cowered a bit before letting out a defeated sigh.

“Goodbye, Mr. Black,” Chelsea said, as Sirius went out the door.

Thank you Chelsea! Ava was thrilled as she sat back in her seat. She would remember this the next time she wanted to throttle Chelsea.

********

*Sirius*

So that was that. He was now Mr. Fake and Mr. Dumped. Ms. Anonymous was going to stay anonymous it seemed.

Sirius was about to head down the stairs when he spotted someone heading for the room he had just been kicked out of. The girl looked rather familiar.

Ah ha! That was right! It was the girl he had knocked over the other day in the hall. The girl who was friends with Ms. Rude. He didn’t know she was on the paper staff.

“Hey!” he called out to her. The girl had short, curly blonde hair and her eyes widened in dreamy surprise when he stepped next to her.

“Hi,” she answered, as if in a daze. Sirius grinned. His charms would work here; unlike they had on that black haired girl who ran the paper. She had been frightening.

“I didn’t know you worked on the paper,” he said truthfully. “That is so cool.”

“Really?” the girl responded, staring up at him.

“Yeah, I saw you and I just wanted to apologize for running into you yesterday.”

“Oh its not a big deal at all,” she said immediately. “As you can see I’m perfectly fine.”

“I can see that,” Sirius smiled, making the girl blush. Now the questioning could begin.

“So I’m interested in the paper,” Sirius bluffed. “Particularly this column here,” he said taking out his paper and showing the girl page seven.

“Ava’s column?” the girl asked quickly, before clapping a hand over her mouth. “Oh no! I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone! Please don’t say anything!”

But Sirius didn’t respond. He was too lost in thought.

Ava! Ms. Rude strikes again!

********

And that’s chapter three! What did y’all think? I like this story and I am feeling quite good about it, for the moment at least. I hope you enjoyed yourself and I shall see you when chapter four rolls around.

Much love,

Kira

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