The Paradox of Existence
Chapter Ten: The Week From Hell
Remus and Peter stared slack-jawed at James and Sirius as they finished growling out their story about what had happened after Remus had been sent back to the dorms.
"And as the door slammed shut we heard Snivellus screeching about how unfair it all was! As if he deserves special treatment for having a huge nose or something." Sirius kicked off his shoes.
"Seven days tied to that slimy git." James glared at nothing in particular. "I'd rather scrub chamber pots."
"You! I have to be dragged around by the most vainglorious peacock in the school. I think I'll chop Malfoy's hair."
"Second most vainglorious peacock in the school," Remus muttered. "This is a joke. Tyler wouldn't do something like that, it's… It wouldn't be right. You'll miss classes. You have to be making it up."
James scratched at his arm. "I wish it was just a joke. What will Lily think? All this hanging about with Snape." He groaned and lay back on his bed. "She'll never speak to me again."
"She barely speaks to you now."
"Shut up, Sirius."
Looking back and forth between the two pranksters, Remus tried to find a hint of a joke in either of their expressions. There was nothing. He shook his head in wonder. Tyler really had beaten them at their own game this time.
The following morning saw the impossible. Sirius Black was early to breakfast. And not only was he early, he was awake, fidgeting with the sleeve of his robe and staring at the doors of the Great Hall without blinking.
Remus elbowed him, and Sirius turned his attention back to his plate but didn't eat anything. Peter kept asking what had happened to his normal bottomless appetite and Sirius kept responding by flicking bits of his sausage at him.
When Snape and Malfoy walked through the doors, Sirius's head shot up quickly, followed by the rest of his body. He narrowed his eyes in anger and didn't move from his position. James had stood as well and, pushing past Sirius, went to say good morning to the two Slytherins.
Most of the students at breakfast (and even most of the teachers) were watching with rapt attention.
A quick nod, and Snape followed James to the table where they took their seats. A low curious buzz started at the Gryffindor table and carried throughout the hall. This had to be one of the oddest things the students had seen in some time.
Then the rumours started. First it was a huge prank that the Gryffindors were playing on the school. They were going to do something completely unexpected and were pretending to friend the Slytherin as cover. Then there was the truth, but no one gave it much credence. That Tyler would bind the Gryffindor to the Slytherin was just too far-fetched.
Or was it?
Malfoy was still standing by the entrance to the Great Hall and Black was still glaring. Neither had moved. And then it happened.
It was as if they'd been hit by an anti-gravity spell. Their bodies lifted off the ground, and they took off, flying toward each other, meeting over the Hufflepuff table where they collided and spun out of control. Sirius hit the floor hard and was pulled under the table where Malfoy had landed.
Twin groans escaped and the two boys glared at each other. From the Head Table Tyler's laughter could be heard even though he quickly smothered it.
The whole bonding thing didn't seem all that far-fetched, after all.
The whole school decided that Potter and Snape looked good with purple hair the next day. Some students even went out of their way to tell the boys that they almost looked like twins. Especially when they glared.
Of course that caused more glares, and when they realised that, they quickly tried to hide their expressions. Which didn't work. So one would always try to storm off and end up on his arse only five feet away.
The students were having as much fun with the prank as Tyler was. He was always lurking around watching the boys and snickering behind his hand. It was as if there was a whole level to the punishment that only he understood.
By lunch everyone had heard what had happened. Snape had slipped a potion into James's pumpkin juice at breakfast that was supposed to change his hair colour, but somehow it had ended up carrying over and changing Snape's hair as well.
Dumbledore, for his part in the hilarity, complimented the boys on their fabulous fashion sense and decided that it'd be a wonderful idea to add some colour and flair to certain persons. Tyler was one of them, and the laughter turned on him when Dumbledore flicked his wand and forced Tyler's hair to turn a startling colour of green "to match his eyes."
Smiling, Tyler turned the tables. Albus's hair and beard turned shocking blue and even appeared to start twinkling when he laughed.
"To match your eyes," said Tyler.
It was even better the next day when Tyler's hair had returned to normal, but Dumbledore's was still blue.
It was bound to come to blows sooner or later. Half the school was surprised it had taken as long as it had. No one knew what Malfoy and Sirius were arguing about, but it didn't really matter. What did matter was the curse that Sirius cast.
Malfoy was completely bald and the Great Hall was silent.
Except for Tyler who turned to Albus. "Don't even think it."
Everyone waited for Malfoy's retaliation, and they saw it at lunch that afternoon. Or at least, they thought it was Malfoy's payback. Malfoy seemed to be enjoying it, anyway.
Sirius's hair was down to his ankles and Remus and Lily were taking turns pulling it or prodding it with their wands as Sirius grimaced and told them to knock it off. Nothing would cut through the long black locks, and with every compliment Sirius received on his hair his glower turned blacker than his name.
By supper Sirius's hair had grown more than anyone had expected. Somehow it had even managed to ensnare a house-elf. Sirius did his best to ignore the little creature's pleas to be let loose, but he was obviously failing as a deep red flush crept up his neck and face, even turning his ears red.
The first boy that commented how pretty he looked when he blushed barely managed to miss Sirius's fist.
Shaking his head, Tyler had approached the Gryffindor table where the boys were sitting and told Sirius that his hair would be much more manageable if he would just take the time to braid it. Sirius crossed his arms and scowled.
With a quick flick of his wand and a muttered spell, Tyler returned Sirius's hair to its usual shaggy length. As well as Malfoy's -- though his wasn't shaggy or unkempt -- who was finally able to discard the hat he'd stuck on his bare head.
No one was prepared to see a screaming James being led down the hall by Madam Pince the next day, an armless, quiet Snape next to her. The missing appendage was floating along on its own beside the trio as they made their way to the hospital wing.
Never before had Poppy had such a good patient, but she kept having to scold James for his blubbering. It wasn't as if his arm had been cut off, after all.
No one saw what happened the next day because the four bonded boys had spent most of their time outside by the greenhouses, unable to move.
They were carted up to school proper by Hagrid and handed over to an annoyed Professor Tyler.
"Thought by now the four of you would have given up. It seems I'm wrong." He crossed his arms over his chest and stared down at the four bodies looking up at him from their prone positions on the ground. "I'm sure it was a fight, but as I have no idea who threw what, I'll just leave it to your Heads of House to figure out and deal with."
The Gryffindors heard his laugh until McGonagall, dragging them along by their ears , pulled them around the corner.
No one saw Malfoy or Sirius at dinner the next night. It didn't take long for the rumours to start circulating around the Hall that they had figured out a way to kill each other. The rumours changed quickly when Malfoy strode into the Great Hall a few minutes after eight with a book under one arm and a smug expression.
Rest in Peace, Sirius Black.
His eulogy had been almost completely planned when Sirius stumbled into the dorm that night, cursing all Malfoys -- present, past, and future -- and Sprout's Devil Snare.
An hour later, smelling like bruise salve and still cursing Malfoy, Sirius rolled over and tried to fall asleep.
The next day no one quite knew what to make of Sirius Black, wearing nothing but pants, flying through the open doors of the Great Hall. He looked bleary eyed and battered, dragging a leg from a suit of armour. Or what to make of Malfoy getting hit by the leg of the armour as he flew out of his seat at breakfast and crashed into Sirius over the Hufflepuff table.
The Hufflepuffs bemoaned the loss of their breakfast for the second time that week.
Harry contemplated the four boys sitting in front of him that night. They'd run into his classroom exactly at the stroke of eight and held out their arms. Instead of undoing the bond right away, he barked an order at them to sit. They did.
He wondered if he could talk them into jumping through a hoop in order to get the bonding cords off. It was possible, but they really had given him enough entertainment that week without him forcing them to do anything else.
"You all realise that it could have gone easier for you if you had just behaved, and endeavoured to get along for a week."
The looks on their faces let him know just how impossible and insane the four thought that idea.
Harry sighed. Well at least he had had some good laughs out of the whole mess. ♦