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I am terribly sorry that this chapter took so much longer to get out of my head. I spoiled you with all those fast updates and now as the harshness of the school year rears its ugly head I am feeling quite overwhelmed. I shall update as often as I can but I can tell that you are the understanding sort of bunch and won’t have any sort of problem with it. See you guys at the bottom of the page!

Chapter Five

Ms. Crazy

*Ava*

“You’re, fired! Ava? Did you hear me? You’re fired!” Ava broke out of her trance and was met with the angry, red face of Chelsea. She had come into the paper today and Chelsea had ordered Ava into her over to her desk first thing. However, Ava was lost in thought considering it was the first night she was going to be meeting with Sirius.

“Fired?” Ava gasped. “What did I do?”

“What is your column name?” Chelsea asked sharply. She was a whole head shorter that Ava but her intimidating nature was nothing to be trifled with.

“Ask Ms. Anonymous,” Ava replied cautiously, not understanding where this was going.

“How can you expect to still have a job when your column is no longer anonymous?” Chelsea yelled, raising her eyebrows.

“The column is safe!” Ava assured, putting her hands up. “The person who found out won’t say anything.”

“Then can you explain to me why Maggie came to me this morning in tears, telling me that your identity was revealed and the column was doomed?”

Ava sighed.

“Maggie overreacted,” she answered calmly. “She was distraught by the fact that she might have blown my cover that she panicked.”

“You’re absolutely sure that the person who found out will keep the information to themselves?” Chelsea snapped. “I won’t have the credibility of this paper being jeopardized.”

Ava paused for a minute. Could she really trust Sirius? One of the biggest pranksters and smoothest talkers in the school? As she thought, Sirius’ sincere face when he asked her for help swam into her mind.

“Yes, I am absolutely sure that nothing will come of this. Besides, I’ve decided to do a sort of favor for the person who found out, which will only spur his silence more.”

“Who is this person?” Chelsea demanded rifling through a thick stack of parchment on her desk.

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not?”

“I promised.”

Ava stood waiting for Chelsea to reply.

“What are you just standing here for?” Chelsea asked angrily. “You’re un-fired. Get to work.”

********

“So I’m still confused about what you’re actually going to be doing,” Tom said again, as he and Ava walked around the lawns near the lake.

“You’re going to be hanging around with a guy you don’t like to help him be a better person?”

“I’m going to help a guy…” Ava started but Tom jumped in,

“Who you’ve called on numerous occasions as fake, obnoxious, rude, pretentious…”

“Got it Tom,” Ava sighed, frustrated. “And you can’t tell a soul that it’s Sirius Black I’m helping.” She softened the volume of her voice to her whisper as she said his name.

“Because it’s part of your deal?” Tom grinned. “Don’t you think people will notice when you guys become all chummy?”

“We’ll just tell them that I’m helping him with Transfiguration homework.”

“The real question is, does he actually want to change, and what does he want to change into?” Tom stated wisely. “This doesn’t seem to make much sense and you have no idea what you could be getting yourself into.”

“Ok Tom,” Ava said, rolling her eyes. “I’m saying it makes any sense but for some reason when he asked me, I couldn’t say no. It seems like he really wants to change.”

“Once again, change to what?” Tom asked, kicking at a small rock in his path.

“I guess we’ll find out,” Ava murmured. “What could the school’s most popular boy want to change into?” Tom didn’t venture an answer. As the two students walked past a group of Ravenclaw girls, one of them stuck an intentional foot out into Ava’s path. She staggered as she fell over it, clinging to Tom for dear life.

When she had reclaimed her balance she turned to face the girl who had tripped her. Considering how tall Ava was, the girl barely came to her shoulders. She had a head of very straight, blonde hair that fell just past shoulders. She had bright, but angry blue eyes and a small pink mouth. High, arched eyebrows and thick eyelashes made her eyes sharp and distinguished. Her smooth skin was bathed in sheer makeup that created an effect that Ava couldn’t have accomplished in her dreams.

“Whoops,” the girl laughed. “Better watch where you’re going.” Tom was about to say something in response, but Ava grabbed him by the arm and lead him away. She had enough experience to know that retaliation in this instance would be pointless. They wouldn’t hear her, no matter how loudly she spoke. What was it that caused people to be mean? Especially people that she had little to no relations with. Ava saw the girl around enough, as they were in the same year, but she wasn’t sure of her name. She had a high, cackling laugh that made Ava’s skin crawl when she heard it so Tom declared her name to be Ms. Crazy.

“I can’t believe you’re just going to let Ms. Crazy trip you!” Tom muttered angrily as the pair trudged onwards coming closer to the mass of trees that made up the forest. “She had no right, and certainly no cause!”

“She’s stupid Tom,” Ava said, running her hand along the petals of a particularly tall flower. “What’s the point? If I said anything this sort of thing would happen all the time. The only people they like are themselves and people who for some reason aspire to be like them. She’s mean to nearly everyone. She’s horrible but that doesn’t mean I need to be. I would rather just have one or two little incidents with her along a big span of time, than have to encounter her everyday.”

“So you’re going to solve this conflict, by avoiding the conflict?” Tom asked.

“This isn’t a conflict,” Ava answered. “So Ms. Crazy was a little rude, so what? I’m a big girl, and perfectly capable of taking care of myself.” Tom thought for a moment, and then a smile broke onto his face.

“So riddle me this Ava,” he said grinning. “Why was it that when Sirius Black was a little rude to you, you not only got into various arguments with him, you also were bent on teaching him a lesson?” Ava was used to being able to answer all of Tom’s questions. But this one stumped her.

She wasn’t a person who normally embraced conflict, but when Black was around she would always seem to rise to the occasion. What was the difference between Mr. Fake and Ms. Crazy being rude to her? Why did her normally cool and clear head get so fired up when he was around? What was wrong with her?

Even thinking of him got her fired up. And she was going to have to spend time with him. Whose fault was that? Well, her own.

Why did she ever agree to this?

********

*Sirius*

“You’re not going to believe this Padfoot!” James roared as he took the seat next to his best friend, clapping him on the back. “Those third year guys over there want to play us in Exploding Snap…no wait for it…for money! Don’t they know that we’re the best players in the school? Cocky little buggers aren’t they? Padfoot? Are you listening?”

Sirius looked over at James, blinking. They were in the Gryffindor Common Room and he was sitting in his favorite chair, staring into the fire.

“That’s hilarious,” Sirius agreed, looking over at the boys James was pointing to. They were short third years and they were looking excitedly in his direction.

“They’re not too different than we were back then,” Sirius commented. “Remember when we challenged those sixth years to a Quidditch game?”

“Yes!” James laughed. “We had to go find five other people who were willing to get trampled along with us! But, we wouldn’t be the fine specimens of men that we are today with out said experience. Which is why it is our solemn duty to clobber these guys tonight.”

“Tonight?” Sirius said, remembering that he had to meet Ms. Rude..er Ava. “I have plans.”

“You’re meeting a girl!” James declared loudly standing up and drawing looks from nearly everyone in the Common Room. Sirius reached up and grabbed James by the neck of his robes and pulled him over so his face was nearer to his.

“Yes,” he muttered through gritted teeth. “I’m meeting Ms. Anonymous.” He let go of James and he sat down again, adjusting his robes, smirking.

“So you’re really not going to tell me who she is?” James asked, making a sad face. “Come on, I tell you everything that goes on between me and Lily.”

“It’s not like this girl and I are dating,” Sirius responded, returning his gaze to the fire. “Don’t you remember the plan?”

“Excuse me, I believe that I was the one that came up with the plan,” he answered, raising his eyebrows. “Don’t you go forgetting this when you’re all snuggly again with Kathleen.”

As if by magic, Kathleen appeared in the Common Room, but something was wrong. She was holding the hand of a curly haired blonde boy whose name Sirius could not recall. Sirius caught her gaze for the briefest of seconds before she turned away and gave her attention back to the boy she was with.

“Are they…together?” he asked James, watching the two walk away. James’ smile flipped instantly to a frown. He answered with a shrug.

“I could find out for you,” he offered gently.

“Forget it,” Sirius responded, getting up and leaving James and the Common Room behind.

********

Sirius ran his fingertips along the stone wall of a corridor as he wandered purposelessly around the castle. So far, the plan was not off to a great start. Kathleen wasn’t supposed to find someone new. She was supposed to wait until he could prove that Ava’s advice was incorrect. How was that ever going to happen now? So much had to be done. And he had to spend time with Ava telling him to do….who knew? He had no idea what was going to happen when he arrived in the old Ancient Runes classroom; the same room he stormed into previously demanding to see Ms. Anonymous.

He kept walking. He had no particular destination in mind, and the truth was he didn’t want one. Was he truly upset about Kathleen? He couldn’t exactly place what he was feeling about the whole situation. No…this was some unknown feeling. What was it?

He was continuing to ponder this when a figure seemed to jump out of nowhere and arrived in front of him. He stopped short and was staring into the cold blue eyes of a Ravenclaw girl with a bunch of straight, blonde hair. She was a very pretty girl, but something in those eyes made Sirius’ heart jump…and not in a good way.

“Hi,” she said, in a vain attempt to be sweet.

“Um, hello,” Sirius replied attempting to move around her.

“I was so sorry to hear that your ex has a new boyfriend,” she continued, putting a hand on Sirius’ shoulder. Sirius backed away instantly so her hand fell away.

“Um, thank you,” he answered, finding it hard to start his sentences without the word um. “Who are you?” Moony was right, he needed to learn his classmates better. The girl laughed as though he had told a fantastic joke.

“You joke!” she tittered. “But I’ll play along. I’m Maria of course! But you knew that, obviously.”

“Oh yes,” Sirius lied.

“So, what are you doing tonight?” Maria asked. She was looking at Sirius up through her eyelashes, which was for some reason disturbing him.

“Got plans,” he said, now finding it hard to even form full sentences. It looked as though Maria was going to keep trying so he added quickly, “Actually, I’m late for keeping up with those very plans. See ya.”

Then without another word, he sprinted off down the hall. When he had turned the corner, he shuddered. There was something about that girl. She was…what was the word? Ah yes! There was no other way to say it. That girl was crazy.

*Ava*

Ava tapped her foot on the floor of the classroom nervously as she waited for Sirius. She truly had no plan as to what she was going to do. What exactly did he want form her? What would he do if he didn’t get it? Would he keep his promise and not reveal the information?

Their meeting time was for a half past six. It was already a few minutes past the scheduled time. Ava decided that if it got to be ten minutes she would simply leave. Being in the empty classroom with none of her fellow writers and only a couple of floating candles as company was unnerving and it made her skin prickle. When Sirius was ten minutes late, Ava jumped to her feet and made for the door.

The moment she put her hand on the handle the door was pushed open from the other side and Sirius Black came inside.

“No faith, Ava?” he asked as he breezed past her.

“Excuse me, but you’re the one who’s ten minutes late?” Ava replied, angrily. Her heart rate had picked up again; his unexpected arrival must have startled her. “You don’t think I have better things to do?”

“Nope,” Sirius joked, taking a seat and propping his feet up on another desk.

“If you’re going to try and be funny, I can and will find other things to do.” Ava remarked, going over and pushing his feet to the floor.

“Well, teach away,” Sirius responded, folding his hands and looking up at her expectantly. Ava bit her lip. This was the part she was worried about.

“I don’t really know what it is you expect me to do,” she said honestly. “I agreed to help you, but I don’t really know how. You say you want to be less fake, so I guess the question to ask is…how are you fake?” She sat down in the desk next to him and surveyed him up and down as he thought.

“I don’t know, what do you mean by fake?’ Sirius asked.

“I don’t know, do you ever tell lies to your friends, or anyone really?”

“I guess so.”

“Lies about yourself?”

“This is stupid.”

Ava felt her anger rise.

“This was your request, may I remind you!” she shouted. “I don’t know what it is you expect me to do. But if you don’t cooperate with me it is certain that nothing will be changed! Now what is something you lie about?!”

“I lie about my grades.” Sirius’ response was so unexpected that Ava’s jaw almost dropped. She had never thought yelling at him might actually prompt an answer.

She made sure that her voice volume was back down to normal before speaking again.

“You mean you lie and say that your grades are better so everyone thinks your smarter?” she tried.

Sirius laughed bitterly. “It’s actually the other way round.” Ava flipped the two things and stated the result, still feeling confused.

“You lie and say your grades are worse than they are so everyone thinks you’re dumb?”

Sirius nodded, and actually looked genuinely upset.

“Why would you do that?” Ava asked, quite curious as anyone would want worse grades.

“There are certain characteristics that go along with getting good grades,” Sirius answered, and it was clear that he was wrestling with words.

“Are you saying you don’t want people to know you have good grades because then you would be a nerd?”

“It’s not who I am,” Sirius continued.

“Well, who are you?” Ava asked, the question coming out of the blue of her mind. This question stumped Sirius, who fell silent.

“Are you proud of your good grades?” she inquired, not taking her eyes off of him.

“You know what?” he responded. “I really am. I work hard for them. I study when my friends aren’t around and I hide my test grades.”

“That’s terrible Sirius!” Ava gasped. “You can’t go through life changing yourself to fit what others want from you. You need to do what’s right for you. If you continue listening to the rest of the world, you’re going to lose the ability to listen to yourself. You can’t keep playing the part of the slacker if that’s not who you are. Life is not meant to be some performance where we select the persona we believe people will accept. We need to be the person that makes us the happiest and find those who respect and want us to be that way.”

She paused, realizing she had just ranted for about a full minute. Sirius was looking at her as if he had never seen her before.

“How did you do that?” he asked.

“Do what?”

“Did you just come up with that off the top of your head?” He still had a look of shock on his face.

“I suppose. What’s the big deal?”

“That was…well…it was good,” Sirius admitted. “I liked that.”

“Thanks,” Ava answered. “Sorry for throwing all that at you at once. It wasn’t really intended.”

“I said I liked it.”

“Can I offer a suggestion?” Ava said, to which Sirius responded with a nod. “The next time you’re proud of a grade you get, share it with your friends. I mean if they’re your friends you must trust them not to make you feel badly about yourself. I’m not saying you have to do anything, but I think you could give it a shot.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Sirius said, looking thoughtful. “That is if I can keep Ms. Crazy off me long enough to.”

Ava laughed out loud, but clapped a hand over her mouth to hide it.

“Was that a real laugh?” Sirius asked, his eyes twinkling. “Did you just laugh at something I said? And a smile too? Who knew you could be nice?” Ava cleared her throat and composed herself.

“I am nice,” she responded forcing a bit of irritation into her voice. “That’s why I’m helping you. And, yes I can laugh. I’m not some robot Sirius.”

“I like the way you say my name,” Sirius said, his big grin still dancing on his face. “You really emphasize the last s at the end. Siriussss.”

“I DO not,” Ava declared. “I say it in a perfectly normal fashion. Sirius.”

“Ah! You did it again!” Sirius laughed, clapping his hands as a small amount of blush crept up Ava’s neck.

“So, you refer to someone as Ms. Crazy?” she asked, gratefully changing the subject and getting up to leave. Sirius followed her, still talking as they moved out into the hall.

“Yeah, this terrible Ravenclaw blonde who has these eyes that…”

“That seem bent on freezing your very soul?” Ava finished.

“Yes!” Sirius said loudly. “Do you know her?”

“Unfortunately, but I suppose know is a bit of a stretch. She trips me sometimes.”

“And you haven’t gone and yelled at her? Ms. Rude you are letting me down! Or is your yelling specifically reserved for me?”

“Speaking of Ms. Crazy,” Ava said, pointing down the hall. Ms. Crazy was coming down the hall right towards them.

********

All done…for now! I hope I shall get to updating again real soon. I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I’ll see you next time!!!!!

Oh, please leave a review if you gots the time!

Much love,

-Kira

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